Jan 092011

I’ve been away, sampled the pleasures of the bush, the serenity of listening to the trees and the sound of rain drops on the overhead tarp. Lots of rain drops!

Let’s be frank and admit that weather in South-Eastern Queensland…..no, let’s make that Queensland in general, absolutely and positively SUCKS! I haven’t seen rain like we’re currently experiencing since 1974. That’s right…the year Brisbane flooded thanks to cyclone wanda. I was all of 17 years of age then but in hindsight, I seem to recall that weather patterns of that time were much like they are now. That’s right. Think back, if you’re of an age similar to me. Winter’s were a lot colder, and I mean a ‘LOT’. Summer’s were wetter, in fact, I remember being in Cairns 1976 to 1979 and at least on wet season we had a 2 week stretch where rain fell hard, 24/7, for 14 days straight. Cairns, like Mackay, is set up for such rainfall. Huge drainage culverts directing the run-off to the sea. It’s one of my most poignant memories of that time. The incessant rain during the wet. But over the intervening period, I don’t recall a genuine ‘wet’ season since 1981. Even the ubiquitous seasonal cyclones, of which there were at least two per season, haven’t eventuated.

But is this ‘Climate Change’? Is it, as I heard on the ABC Local Radio coverage today (and bloody good coverage it is too!) just an example of a 30 year cycle between wet and dry? I’m open to any opinion, as long as it can be backed, and I do recall that 30-odd years ago, things were a hell of a lot wetter than they were, say, a decade ago. Mind you, weather science, while not a perfect science, does understand the flow of ocean currents which is what drives the planetary weather. El Nino and La Nina. One being the drawing of moisture to continental Australia, the other being the drawing of moisture away from the continent. That said, it is unusual, at least in the timespan of a single human lifetime to experience such a radical change in weather conditions.

Which brings me back to the premise of Climate Change. I find it at the least unusual that weather patterns can change sufficiently within the frame of a single human life time to be marked as sufficient to be classified as unusual without the consideration of anthropomorphic change being considered as part and parcel of the overall climate change process. I do not believe that humanity – the largest single factor capable of influencing climatic change – can be dismissed from the considerations when assessing changing global weather conditions. Changes in ocean temperatures in one part of the globe MUST have influential change on weather patterns in other parts of the global system. To deny such inevitabilities is to simply deny the scientific probability without acceptable evidence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Surely we’re seeing that evidence being presented almost weekly.

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