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Australia Heatwave Jan 2019 (General)

by dulan drift, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 18:06 (499 days ago)

This is shaping as a new climate change high-water mark for Australia. 'End of the world' style heatwave going on with suburbs of Sydney on a 4-day run of 40+ days, including over 45 today!

Bunch of records broken across Australia. Up to 49 in South Australia with minimums above 33.

Weak cool change due to roll through over next couple of days but then its forecast to crank back up again.

Some bushfires in Tasmania, but they haven't been a big problem in other states yet - that could quickly change though

The media coverage is interesting - it's a major story but all about the effects - cooling off at the beach, elderly take care, poor old farmers etc. There is occasional mention of climate change but no real focus on why it's happening or that now might be a good time to get serious about gas/petrol/electricity consumption.

How is it possible that politicians can still get elected without vowing instant action to achieve 100% renewable targets?

Meanwhile I can see vast tracts of Australia becoming inhabitable - and permanently unsuitable for agriculture in the near future

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 18:18 (499 days ago) @ dulan drift

No worries. Trump has assured us that global warming is a scam, fake news.

I saw this story earlier today: But, as you point out, it's about effects.

It's amazing how climate can so easily get pushed out of public dialogue. It's just not as sexy as Brexit or the stock market or the disaster that is the current US government. They can put faces on those stories and suggest that everything can be solved with a vote. It appears we're entering a perfect storm of sorts -- environmental meltdown coupled with economic and political chaos. Yikes.

What's odd is that any economic discussion in the media I've viewed is suggesting that 2019 is going to see a slowdown in economic activity, and perhaps something far more severe, and yet stock markets are hitting highs or near it. This is very, very similar to what was happening just before the 2008 and 2000 meltdowns. And that means, assuming we're entering a recession, that the climate is going to be pushed even farther back on the stove.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Thursday, January 17, 2019, 20:19 (499 days ago) @ dan

"It appears we're entering a perfect storm of sorts -- environmental meltdown coupled with economic and political chaos."

That's an apt analogy - and a plausible scenario - feels like watching a planetary car crash unfold in slow motion

The so called '2 degree warming' is looking like a dramatic underestimation of where this might be heading. The current January heatwave is coming on the back of the hottest Dec on record in Australia - which broke the previous record by 1.5 C. That's not 1.5C above the average, which is already a lot, but 1.5 above the previous hottest ever!

Even while I was in Taiwan the last several summers were consistently 2 degrees or more above average - the temps we're experiencing now are 8 degrees or more above ave! I'm wondering now if 8 degrees might be the new 2 degrees.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Friday, January 18, 2019, 10:54 (499 days ago) @ dulan drift

Well, although I have no idea about the science being used, one thing is for sure and that is that this is the first time they've had to create models for any of this. We're in uncharted territory. We can actually predict very little when it comes to common climate and geological events. We cannot accurately predict fires, typhoons, tornadoes, lightning, volcanic activity, earthquakes, magnetic shifts, or all sorts of precipitation. Sure, we can make general predictions, but not specific ones. And these are common, isolated events we're talking about.

If we can't even predict daily patterns that we've been observing and recording for thousands of years, how can we assume we can predict this new, far more complex thing happening on a global scale? I wonder if we haven't underestimated the extent to which this will snowball due to the effects of, for example, all the carbon being unlocked by the melting poles, all the carbon added by the fires, population growth in developing countries, etc.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 08:03 (498 days ago) @ dan

That's an interesting point regarding how limited we remain in terms of predicting natural events

Can you see a 'trigger event' that may force a committed reaction?

The frustrating thing is that the technology is already all there for a switch away from fossil fuels

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 15:54 (497 days ago) @ dulan drift

"Can you see a 'trigger event' that may force a committed reaction?"

I can't, I mean not any more than what we've already had. I think we're already well past the point of no return, and that what it will come down to, in addition to switching to renewable energies, is developing technologies to not just stop the progression of global warming, but to actually reverse it.

But I don't think it will be a single event that triggers this. Whole towns burning down doesn't frighten people enough. I think it will take the very wealthy and powerful to feel really threatened. I mean, they don't care now if some hillbillies lose their lives or homes. When Manhattan starts taking on water, maybe then. Democracy isn't going to fix it. We had agreements and votes, and then... nothing. One dickhead in power or another will just nix the agreement of the day.

So it will come down to, when it gets bad enough, finding the technology to reverse it. Now the discussion is about stopping the cause of the damage, and that will be part of it, but it won't be enough. They'll (because we'll be gone by then) have to engineer climate change in their favor, which means messing with the atmosphere. That's what will happen next I'm guessing.

Or they could build big bubbles, or move underground. I'm just happy to have had the opportunity to live on and enjoy this beautiful planet before we started messing it up too much.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Saturday, January 19, 2019, 16:14 (497 days ago) @ dan

And also, one reason I don't think we'll be seriously addressing global warming, as a world, any time soon is because as it gets worse and affects more localized events, combined with just general political and economic meltdown cycles which seem to be getting more frequent and serious, the climate will take a backseat. Even with Paradise, CA burning down, most discussion is not about the climate, but about the government's reaction.

We can't even come together over little things like limiting nuclear weapons or providing food and water to those in need, let alone genocide and the active use of chemical weapons. I don't see us working together for the climate any time soon.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Monday, January 21, 2019, 22:00 (495 days ago) @ dan

That most disturbing thing about your prognosis is that it makes a kind of mundane sense. Man ignores impending disaster because he's busy focussing on self-interest things.

Coming to realise that future events are mostly predictable in a probability wave kind of way - the information is already under our noses - it's just a matter of recognising and weighting it

Your scenario whereby remedial action turns out to be too little too late, which then leads to desperate measures such as climate manipulation technology is a very plausible reading of the tea leaves - presumably countries would be working on this already do you think? Would make a good movie plot even if they're not!

One possible trigger could be a food shortage - there are increasing swathes of agricultural land in Australia that are becoming unsustainable - if that was multiplied across the globe - but then again it may just trigger hoarding and conflict rather than any action.

Meanwhile, the heatwave is set to reload this week. Large parts of inland Victoria and NSW are looking at another run of 4 x 40+ days starting from tomorrow - Friday is shaping up as the dangerous one so far as bushfires go - up to 45C in many places and 40kph winds.


Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 09:11 (495 days ago) @ dulan drift

The bushfires have started - around 40 fires burning in Tasmania - mostly started from dry lightning strikes.

Conditions expected to get worse in coming days.

Tasmania, an island twice the size of Taiwan in the southeast of Australia, is normally a pretty cold and wet place with large areas of forested wilderness. This wilderness, in the right conditions (which we have - dry, hot summer), represents a massive fuel source for a major fire.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 18:07 (494 days ago) @ dulan drift

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 20:07 (494 days ago) @ dan

Yes, I saw that article also and was going to post it, haha! It does seem to be more data that climate change may currently be going into overdrive. The heat here is totally nuts but somehow it's all business as usual. With the frog in the boiling water analogy, this is the point where the frog should be saying, 'Fuck! That's fucking hot! Get me out of here!''

Have noticed being back in Australia, and looking at properties, how big a deal real estate commercialism has become. The advertising is everywhere - major sponsors of big sporting codes. They're now top level corporate players - with strong vested interest in downplaying climate change. No real estate agent is ever gonna say 'don't buy here coz it's gonna be hammered by coastal erosion or bushfires or typhoons'.

Add them to the oil industry, the building industry, mining, cars, airlines, sugar etc - that's a stack of powerful groups who aren't going to be leading the charge against climate change

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 06:14 (493 days ago) @ dulan drift

Here we go with the second peak of the heatwave as it pushes in a south easterly direction across the continent

45C forecast for Adelaide today - Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia

49 forecast for Port Augusta - that's incredible for a southern coastal city

43 forecast for Melbourne tomorrow (where the Australia tennis grand slam is being held), and 45 for most inland areas and winds up to 50 kph.

Cool change is expected to follow late in the day with 15C drop in 15 minutes - which will be ... cool

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Thursday, January 24, 2019, 20:38 (492 days ago) @ dulan drift

46.2 in Adelaide, which is a record for any Australian capital city.

Port Augusta, which is also on the coast hit an astonishing 49.5!

Thankfully the wind is not too bad so no reports of major bushfires outside Tasmania, though tomorrow winds are expected to pick up. Victoria and South Australia are the states most at risk.

World heat map:


Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Friday, January 25, 2019, 14:16 (491 days ago) @ dulan drift

Fires are going in Tasmania and Victoria. The fires appear to be inside National Parks.

The main Victorian fire is in east Gippsland - a heavily forested area so hard to contain - though also means it's not in a heavily populated area at this stage - but could easily come charging out.

Residents of Timbarra, a small settlement were given the 'too late to leave' text warning.

No reports of extensive property loss so far though some towns are within seeing distance of the flames.

Conditions would seem to be easing - the cool change has come through - bringing a change of wind and some big gusts. if they can ride that out then should be ok for the time being.

Reports of a smoke column from the Victorian fire up to 10 000 (m?) high producing its own lightning! That sounds cool from an awesome nature view point but also highly dangerous from a death point in that those self generated strikes can ignite fire jumping over significant distances, in unpredictable ways - which I will definitely be putting in my fire disaster Hollywood blockbuster script when I write it!

The biggest danger is probably still when the next heatwave hits. With no real rain forecast for the next week it will be nigh impossible to extinguish the fires - contained is the best they could hope for. That means the next time there's 40+ and a big northerly, there's a big fire already in position, ready to explode. Traditionally early Feb is the hottest time.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Friday, January 25, 2019, 15:02 (491 days ago) @ dulan drift

Btw, it was a good call from the Vic Fire Authorities to declare the day as 'Extreme' and not 'Catastrophic', which is the highest level of fire alert, considering it was 40+ and windy. They were right, so 'way to hold your nerve' and not wear the term 'Catastrophic' out. There will be worse days to come when you need people to know 'Get out or you will be fried'.

All round, the Victorians have handled the situation pretty well. They were seriously dangerous conditions. They handled it way better than Queensland handled their self-started fire disaster.

Interestingly the Victorian energy minister did start talking about climate change in her press conference. It was more as a politician's excuse used to defend the power outages, than any bold plan to get the fuck off fossil fuels now or 'We're all gonna fucking DIE!!!!' - but at least it was acknowledged as a thing

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Friday, January 25, 2019, 19:06 (491 days ago) @ dulan drift

These temperatures and conditions are phenomenal. Coming on the back of last years fires in California, there seems to be little room for doubt that something very serious is happening on a global scale, and by happening I mean biting us in the ass, not just showing up on graphs in some article.

Here's a rather depressing headling: Corporate America Is Getting Ready to Monetize Climate Change

"As the Trump administration rolls back rules meant to curb global warming, new disclosures show that the country’s largest companies are already bracing for its effects. The documents reveal how widely climate change is expected to cascade through the economy -- disrupting supply chains, disabling operations and driving away customers, but also offering new ways to make money."

And when it comes down to it, corporations are going to do everything they can to maximize short term profit. Shareholders vote short term profit, not global health. The system rewards short term gains and punishes long term investment. This is going to get very, very serious before it gets better, in fact we might very well just die out.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Friday, January 25, 2019, 19:24 (491 days ago) @ dan

Another quote from the article:

"For one thing, more people will get sick. “As the climate changes, there will be expanded markets for products for tropical and weather related diseases including waterborne illness,” wrote Merck & Co. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

More disasters will make iPhones even more vital to people’s lives, Apple predicted."

Granted, the article noted ways in which climate change will negatively impact corporate profit, but the message is that they will not respond by addressing climate change, but by addressing their business models to profit from climate change.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Friday, January 25, 2019, 19:21 (491 days ago) @ dulan drift

Maybe this will help you cool down. I took this out my classroom window yesterday.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Friday, January 25, 2019, 18:45 (491 days ago) @ dulan drift

That looks like one big fire.

EDIT: I was referring to this post:

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 22:33 (487 days ago) @ dan

Yes, that's my sense of it as well - big business just adapts short term - air conditioner sales go up, now it's over to Rick at the sports desk - and life goes on - till it doesn't

Heard a comment from an ex-Prime Minister here who is eyeing a comeback - when asked about climate change he said he was "more focused on bringing down electricity prices for average Australian families" - which translates as full steam ahead with fossil fuels

He then claimed "Australia only produces 1.9% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions so even if you closed down the whole Australian economy tomorrow then it wouldn't make any difference"

This is the kind of comment that annoys me. Apart from the fact that per capita Aus is right up the top of the world's biggest emitters, what the world needs now is leadership - not this selfish kind of thinking.

The fires are still burning away in Tasmania and Victoria though conditions are relatively benign - some heat and wind coming again tomorrow but not at that really scary level. Still got the whole month of Feb to get through though

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Friday, February 01, 2019, 21:08 (484 days ago) @ dulan drift

No surprises here, but on the back of the hottest Dec ever, Australia just recorded its hottest January on record - in fact it was the hottest month on record. Included records for the hottest minimums, maximums, and average.

Apart from the fires in Vic and Tas, which risk flaring up again in the next two days, there has been a massive fish kill in some of the major river systems - another 'canary in the cage' scenario.

The lack of rain (plus bureaucratic bungling regarding reservoir releases and over-irrigation) causes the rivers to barely flow then the extreme heat causes an algae bloom - then the temps crash (in the south temps typically rise and fall - max of 40 one day then down to a minimum of 10 a couple of days later), whereupon the algae dies, which de-oxygenates the water - which causes the fish to die. In their millions.

It was an appalling sight - some of these fish are 50 years old - huge native cod over a metre long - it's heart breaking to see them all dying - they've survived pretty much everything to get to that size.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Saturday, March 02, 2019, 14:12 (455 days ago) @ dulan drift

As it turned out there was a significant cool period after the last heatwave, a few weeks or so that lasted through what is traditionally the most dangerous period - but it's back on again now with a late burst. Not in the 'catastrophic level' but nudging 40C, quite windy. Several fires are burning out of control and emergency warnings in place.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Sunday, March 03, 2019, 15:55 (454 days ago) @ dulan drift

Several homes lost today. Thankfully the wind hasn't been too bad, which has stopped it turning into a major disaster.

Eerie footage from the fire below

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dan @, Monday, March 04, 2019, 06:05 (454 days ago) @ dulan drift

Yikes! I guess at this point it doesn't much matter if there's not a spark arrester on the muffler or if you throw your cigarette out the window.

Australia Heatwave Jan 2019

by dulan drift, Monday, March 04, 2019, 21:06 (453 days ago) @ dan

Yikes! I guess at this point it doesn't much matter if there's not a spark arrester on the muffler or if you throw your cigarette out the window.

Haha, I guess they were driving through after the fire had passed but would have been scary - huge danger of a tree falling on the car

Potentially disastrous situation on the cards tonight/tomorrow morning in the west of the country with high temps and wind gusts up to 90 kph!

There are fires already going there - will be impossible to control in those conditions.

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