22 March 2021   Leave a comment

Australia suffered some of the worst wildfires in its history in 2019-20, fires which were attributed to devastating droughts. Today, Australia is enduring unprecedented flooding. The Washington Post reports:

“Most of eastern New South Wales and southeast Queensland has seen four inches or more of rainfall since late last week, with many locales picking up a great deal more:

Comboyne, about 150 miles northeast of Sydney on the Mid North Coast, had received a staggering 35 inches by Monday morning local time. Sydney itself had its wettest day of the year Sunday with 4.4 inches.

Minnie Water, about 125 miles south of Brisbane in New South Wales, had seen more than 10 inches of rain since between 9 a.m. local time Monday and midnight. Nambucca Heads, just to the south, had tallied 9.6 inches, while nearby Woolgoolga saw 7.2 inches.

Reuters reported the flooding in Sydney’s western regions was the worst since 1961.

The floods come at the end of a wetter-than-average summer, with dams and catchments at close to capacity.”

Millions of Australians have been evacuated because of the floods which are expected to continue for two more days. Counterintuitively, climate change is likely responsible for both the wildfires and the flooding. Extended droughts are associated with climate change as are periods of intense rainfall. Robert Glasser, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, explains:

“Premier Gladys Berejiklian has described the devastating flooding in NSW as a ‘one-in-100-year event’ that was ‘beyond anyone’s expectations’. She’s wrong on both counts. Climate change is rapidly increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as the floods that are now spilling over Warragamba Dam.

“Little over a year ago, the unprecedented Black Summer bushfires also threatened the dam and its catchment, a critical source of Sydney’s water supply. These back-to-back disasters are becoming the new normal.

“For many Queenslanders, this is the new normal. In just the past three years, 53 of that state’s 77 local governments have been buffeted by three or more major disasters.

“It is no longer useful or accurate to describe disasters such as the current floods as one-in-100-year events. These determinations are based on Australia’s historical experience of floods in a stable climate, not one in which the global average temperature has now risen by more than one degree and is probably on its way to at least two degrees.

“The rapid pace of global change is completely outside of human experience. In only a matter of decades, for example, what has historically been a one-in-100-year extreme coastal flood will become annual events in most places.

Australians now have to endure droughts, floods, and the COVID pandemic. Climate change seems to be creating catastrophes of biblical proportions.

Posted March 22, 2021 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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