Tuesday, June 07, 2005



Flannery in the SMH

Tim Flannery has an article in the Sydney Morning Herald [Reg Req] blaming Sydney's water crisis on climate change - and on climate change which has already happened. According to Flannery, Earth's climate has changed twice since 1976, and each time Australia has become drier. The small rise in temperature over the last century combined with ozone depletion (which cools the stratosphere and affects weather patterns) has resulted in generally lower winter rainfall, but more importantly, there has been a rise in the frequency and severity of the el Nino weather pattern, which causes droughts in Australia. Sydney will apparantly face a serious water crisis in three years just from these effects alone, but what's worrying is that all are likely to grow more serious as the planet warms. Which means that in the long run, Sydney is either going to have to install desalination plants, or dry up and blow away.

It's rather sobering to think that climate change could already be having this sort of effect, and on somewhere so close to home.

9 comments:

another intrepretation is that aussies just use too much water. and now they're trying to justify the fact that they're running out by blaming 'da weavva'.

there's a great little example in a recent policy document on encouraging social responsibility among aboriginal people in remote communities.
the suggestion is made that they grow 'fresh vegetables', which of course includes great things lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers etc.

you get the picture.

mind you, since being back over here i've noticed that kiwis use even more that aussies, but, with out rainfall, no big.

Posted by the other 'Che' : 6/07/2005 07:49:00 AM

It's an interesting contrast, the projected effects of climate change on New Zealand and Australia. From my research for this story:
http://www.listener.co.nz/default,3010.sm

I concluded while Australia was going to be shafted (droughts on the South-East and -West coasts), New Zealand will fare reasonably well - at least in the short-term.

How Australia deals with water shortages (Perth in particular) will be one of their great strategic challenges of the 21st century. Dare I say it, a bigger one than that posed Islamic militants, and certainly effecting more individual Ozzies.

Posted by Matt : 6/07/2005 09:14:00 AM

I just looked up the rainfall figures - Sydney gets more rain than either London or Auckland. (Guess which is the driest!)

I suspect their problem is that they get their rain in downpours, most of which run down storm drains into the ocean - combined with the fact that building dams hasn't kept pace with the expansion of the city.

Posted by Rich : 6/07/2005 04:20:00 PM

One of the problems is that it usually rains in the wrong place - outside the catchment area so it can piss down with rain on the coast with very little falling into the Warragamba dam which provides 80% of Sydney's water. But yes it is one of the key challenges facing Australia and Sydney is some way behind Perth in facing up to the challenge. It's undoubtedly going to require some bold initiatives on the part of Government. Left to their own devices Sydneysiders will happily continue in their wasteful and unsustainable ways. Crunch time is nigh.

Posted by lloydois : 6/07/2005 08:23:00 PM

Global warming has good and bad effects.

Technically global warming could be quite fantastic for the NZ economy it will make the south island bareable in the winter and the far north plesantly tropical. We will make an excellent all year round vacation spot.

Major powers like China and Russia may also benefit generally speaking. with large areas of land getting a bit warmer and more fertile.
Sure australia and the USA might suffer but I dont see them complaining now.

Posted by Genius : 6/07/2005 11:29:00 PM

wow.... thats so stupid im just blown away
"global warming could be quite fantastic"? go give yourself a couple of uppercuts son

Posted by Anonymous : 6/13/2005 01:47:00 AM

wow.... thats so stupid im just blown away
"global warming could be quite fantastic"? go give yourself a couple of uppercuts son

Posted by Anonymous : 6/13/2005 01:47:00 AM

NZ might get more tropical cyclones coming down from the north, if climate models are correct.

They say the worst thing about climate change may be that it will make the weather more variable, and so humans will have to adapt rapidly and then adapt some more, and all the resultant chaos will lead to uncertainty and conflict. Many civilizations/ways of life have collapsed because of climate change. I dont think you have to be Nostradamus to see some mighty changes coming up.

Posted by robbitybob : 6/18/2005 12:34:00 AM

NZ might get more tropical cyclones coming down from the north, if climate models are correct.

They say the worst thing about climate change may be that it will make the weather more variable, and so humans will have to adapt rapidly and then adapt some more, and all the resultant chaos will lead to uncertainty and conflict. Many civilizations/ways of life have collapsed because of climate change.

I dont think you have to be Nostradamus to see some mighty changes coming up.

There were some interesting articles in New Yorke recently on Climate Change,

Part 1 - How The Earth Is Changing
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050425fa_fact3

Part 2 - The Curse of Akkad
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050502fa_fact3

Part 3 - What Can Be Done?
http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?050509fa_fact3

Posted by robbitybob : 6/18/2005 12:38:00 AM