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Friday, January 14, 2011

This is What Climate Change Looks Like.

Brisbane.  Image from ABC news.
Like the rest of Australia I've been watching the events in Queensland over the past few days with shock and sadness.  I haven't felt like blogging.  It seems heartless to blog about what you've been growing and eating when your neighbours' homes are being destroyed.  And here in Melbourne we've been whining about the weather for months.  It's so cold... when's the warm weather coming...so much rain etc, etc.

Last year was the world's wettest on record.  And it ties with 2005 as the hottest year since record-keeping began.  Beside the floods we're seeing in Queensland, there's flooding now in Brazil that has killed at least 430 people.  There've been massive recent floods in Pakistan, California and Tennessee.  Russia saw a record breaking summer heatwave and there were snowstorms across US and Europe.  This is what climate change looks like.

Experts say Queensland's flood disaster is the result of a La Nina weather pattern and global warming.  The El Nina effect results in higher sea temperatures and heavy rain.

When people are directly affected by something, when they feel things personally, they act.  So while I was at the shop the other day and every shop-keeper mentioned the tragedy my comment is also about climate change.  "This is what climate change looks like."

Click here to donate to the Queensland flood relief.

13 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this. I wanted to find a way to say this but couldn't find the right words. My donation is on its way.

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  2. News of the flood in your country have been on many TV news programs and newspapers in Japan. It's very heartbreaking to see many people who lost their homes and evacuated in shelters. I feel sorry for the devastating situation.

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  3. Wouldn't it be nice if we could say WITH CERTAINTY whether climate change is really the result of human activity? It may just be part of a long-term weather cycle we are experiencing, but it may also be that our vastly increased carbon emissions are to blame. You don't know who to believe, do you?

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  4. Yes, climate change. It's happening at many places. There are also many volcano eruptions. It could just be the beginning.

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  5. Here in Brasil we are very sad, a lot of people have died in Rio de Janeiro and others are desapperead...we are very very sad.

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  6. This is a shame and it has been all over our news as well. I hope there is relief in sight.

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  7. That is bad. You can be sure rooftop gardens will soar next season!

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  8. Yes everyone it is terrible isn't it. Li I can't imagine the horror your country is facing with a death toll now over 500. One, volcanoes must be frightening mustn't they, but not the result of climate change I believe. Mark, no-one can predict the future with certainty but the evidence is overwhelming and the huge majority of scientists agree on this. Ice core evidence shows that the changes have never happened so fast. We'd be mad to ignore this don't you think?

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  9. Oh and Craig -rooftop gardens of course! What a great idea.

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  10. I agree VG. Hopefully people will now act now that Mother Nature is poking everyone in the face!

    Sad but true.

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  11. It's all so awful but one thing very heartwarming is watching how much the Australian people rally around to help each other in times of great need. Unlike when similar things happened in other countries when people were left for months and months with no help. This is certainly a great country to live despite the recent tragedy

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  12. Re rooftops gardens (aka green roofs); this is not as unusual as it sounds. Follow this link for a look at the rooftop garden on Chicago's City Hall -
    http://www.greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=21
    or just google "Chicago City Hall"

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  13. The climate certainly is changing. Look at the Arctic ice extent and volumes. There is very little multi-year summer ice left and the winter ice too is less each year. World wide glaciers are retreating. These glaciers have existed since the last ice age 12,000 years ago. They are disappearing at an alarming rate.

    Going back to basics. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Without at least 250ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, we'd freeze to death. With more than 550ppm in the atmosphere, few parts of the world will be habitable for humans and other higher animals. You will not find any credible science that says that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas.

    CO2 concentration levels are rising in the atmosphere, on land and in the oceans. Humans are chopping down or have chopped down immense tracts of forests and are pumping massive amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels. The CO2 concentrations are now approaching 400ppm and the increase is accelerating. Join the dots.

    We will never know for absolute certain that humans are causing global warming. However, the vast majority of scientists that are actually studying the climate believe that humans are having a major influence on the climate.

    Unfortunately, the denialists have been extremely effective in muddying the waters. Believe the scientists, while they could be wrong they have a much greater chance of being right than Bob Katter.

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