Australia: 'could face worse fire danger next summer'
In light of the following report, we need our political leaders to pay attention to predictions re. climate change.
The 'circumstances of climate change' require strong, courageous, and smart leadership, more than ever, to unify people, and encourage them to rally to implement necessary changes, including a major overhaul of the failed neo-classical economic system which is the cause of our social and environmental troubles.
A good example from the history books: John Curtain became Prime Minister of Australia a few weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and Darwin. He is remembered for standing up to Churchill's directives, by bringing home Australian troops, thus saving Australia from invasion by Japan. He is also remembered for establishing the Australian alliance with the United States, and consequently, Australia's growing independence from Britain. In 1942, Curtin said 'No single nation can afford to risk its future on the infallibility of one man, and no nation can afford to submerge its right of speaking for itself because of the assumed omniscience of another'. He understood that the 'circumstances of war' gave him a chance to bring prosperity to all Australians. He is remembered because he rallied all Australians like no other since.
I live in hope that President Obama will serve that purpose for the USA, and then bring all other countries together to meet this global emergency.
Victoria 'could face worse fire danger next summer'
An expert in climate modelling says next summer could see even higher fire dangers for Victoria due to extreme temperatures.
It has been predicted that an El Nino climate event could hit Australia this year, causing higher than usual temperatures across the country.
Professor Roger Stone from the University of Southern Queensland has told ABC Radio's AM program the added risk highlights the need for a risk-management approach.
"At the moment there's probably about a 60 per cent chance of an El Nino developing by mid-winter. If that happens that will exacerbate the whole drought and therefore fire situation over a lot of Australia, not just Victoria for next summer," he said.
"So even though it's not guaranteed at this stage, a risk management approach has to be developed for such an event.
"Of course if it covers more than Victoria. That means the resources are spread thinly over Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and so on, and firefighting and water supply systems and so on are much more thinly spread.
"So it becomes quite a major national issue then. So next summer is looking a bit worrying at this stage, even at this early stage."
Professor Stone says the effects of global warming on Australia could also be harsher than previously thought.
His comments follow those of a leading climate change expert, who warned at the weekend that a recent report by a panel of scientists seriously underestimated the reality of global warming when it published its findings just over a year ago.
Professor Stone says some recent climate patterns in Australia have been worse than expected.
"There's a little bit more work to do though, to see just what's going on in Australia," he said.
"I think in the polar regions there's been some suggestion that underestimation may already be taking place. For Australia we need to do a bit more work.
"But I have to say some of the work we're doing for the Murray-Darling system suggests that there's potential for some underestimation and the patterns we've seen in the last 10 years are already worse than some of the climate change projections."
Temperatures on the rise
Average Australian temperatures are expected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 degrees Celsius over the next 20 years, according to Dr Penny Whetton from the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research .
She says it is more likely the rise will be at the upper end of this scale.
"I think the warming at the low end of that range are going to be reducing their likelihood, unless we can start reducing our greenhouse gas emissions."
Dr Whetton says this will lead to more hot days, a drop in rainfall across southern Australia and will increase the intensity of tropical cyclones.
"Some of these sorts of changes are detectable now. We can see an increase in temperature in the Australian region over the last few decades.
"There's also been an increase in frequency of hot days, decrease in cold days. So the changes are already taking place, but what we expect is as the decades go by these changes will get stronger."