Contributed by Jim Hayes
The floods devastating the northern part of Australia are much worse than predicted. They are the worst in memory and creeping south along the eastern side of our island continent. The question is, why is this happening?
The wall of water, dubbed the “rain bomb,” is technically the result of a low-pressure area over the south coast of Queensland, sacking moist air from the Coral Sea and combining with cold air high pressure at a higher altitude.
Eastern Australia reeling from NSW and Queensland 2022 floods as downpour moves south
Video from Guardian Australia
According to the bigger picture, the word’s weather patterns are altering. Behind this is global warming. This is having an impact on the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, which is becoming more intense, and La Nina is a major determinant of the weather in Australia’s east coast.
Climate scientists are warning that this is the world into which we are heading.
The latest major assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found global warming caused by humans was causing dangerous and widespread disruption, with many effects expected to be more severe than predicted.
Sydney on alert: NSW flood threat moves south
Video from 7 NEWS Australia
In Australia, it said extreme events exacerbated by emissions – heatwaves, droughts, floods, storms, and fires – were causing death, injury, and financial and emotional stress. Their impacts were “cascading and compounding” across nature, society, and the economy.
The floods have so far killed eight people in Queensland and New South Wales.
The evidence confirms the relationship between the floods and climate warming. According to the Australian Bureau of meteorology, which says that Australia’s climate has warmed by an average of 1.44 degrees Celsius since records began in 1910. Most of this has occurred since 1950. The Bureau makes it clear that a spinoff is that rainfall seasons are becoming ore intense
The Australian Academy of Science released report last year, where it noted the risks to Australia, as the world heads towards a possible 3-degree temperature rise. The report details the serious ecological, economic, and social harm this will bring.
See what three degrees of global warming looks like
Video from The Economist
Global warming is a given. It is beginning to dawn that there will be a serious impact on Australia, and yes, this threatens the survival of many species. But nothing brings this home so hard than the human cost. Flooding is killing People, destruction of homes and businesses is a reality, and communities are hard hit. The cost will spread through Australia’s entire society and economy and society.
Imagine how hard it will be in a world where shocks of this kind become more frequent and severe. There will be no thriving economy, few jobs, more poverty, uncertainty, loss of food and water security, and increasing social tension.
If there is one good thing about the present flooding, it is that, just like the last major bushfire season, nature is warning Australia to do much better to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and champion it on the world stage.
The other gift is that ordinary people come together in times of crisis, display extraordinary courage, and put others before themselves. We are witnessing this in the flooded areas. It is in this capacity that our hope for a better future lies