Australia As Bellwether For The New Global Climate

USMC-100909-M-3740P-136Extreme weather events in Australia are now commonplace and scientists believe it may be a bellwether for the rest of the world. Report from National Geographic:

In early 2012 once-in-a-century floods submerged swaths of Great Britain and Ireland, causing some $1.52 billion in damages. Then in June record-high temperatures in Russia sparked wildfires that consumed 74 million acres of pristine Siberian taiga. Months after that, Hurricane Sandy pummeled seven countries, killing hundreds and running up an estimated $75 billion in damages. Just this week, a tornado of virtually unheard of size and ferocity tore through a small city in Oklahoma, leaving 24 people dead.

Each of these one-off traumas was bad enough, wreaking havoc, but in Australia such events seem to be becoming commonplace.

The Lucky Country has experienced a major spike in extreme weather in the past few years, with a string of devastating incidents just since January.

That has people wondering if the island continent is somehow a perfect bellwether for the Earth’s changing climate. So scientists are bearing down on the problem with intensity, investigating Australia’s increasingly violent weather patterns and trying to figure out what they might portend for the rest of the world as our climate changes.

So Hot Even the Summer Got Angry

The rough-hewn sandstone buildings perched atop Observatory Hill have been keeping an eye on Sydney Harbor since 1858. They’ve pretty much seen it all—from the installation of the city’s first gaslights to the construction of the now iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge.

But at 2:55 p.m. on January 18, 2013, meteorological equipment in the observatory registered something new: a read-out marking the hottest day in the city’s history: 45.8°C (114.4°F).

Much of the continent was languishing in the grip of a heat wave that would break 123 heat and flood-related records in 90 days—among them, the hottest summer on record and the hottest seven consecutive days ever recorded…

[continues at National Geographic]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

15 Comments on "Australia As Bellwether For The New Global Climate"

  1. Fortunately Australia is loaded with invasive species which are able to adapt well to climate change.

  2. ParanoidCoast | May 24, 2013 at 6:35 pm |

    It’s really annoying when nature doesn’t cooperate with humans.

  3. BuzzCoastin | May 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm |

    OZ is a great example of how white people can destroy an entire Continent
    by mindless farming & building practices
    and accomplish this extraordinary feat in less than 300 years
    a significant improvement on the record set by their English cousins in Merka

    • InfvoCuernos | May 26, 2013 at 12:21 am |

      give us some credit, we’d have done it quicker if the Indians hadn’t gotten in the way.

      • BuzzCoastin | May 26, 2013 at 12:25 am |

        none of us has anything on the Neolithic culture
        that turned the Sahara & Gobi into one big desert
        we’re pikers compared to them

        • InfvoCuernos | May 26, 2013 at 12:31 am |

          Whoa! You just blew my mind. People were responsible for the Sahara? Damn, that’s fucked up.

          • BuzzCoastin | May 26, 2013 at 1:40 am |

            it’s one of the theories
            it’s a historical fact that “modern agriculture”
            began there about 10,500 years ago
            and about 500 years later the Sahara was a desert
            and that every known place “modern agriculture” started
            has become a desert too
            the Fertile Crescent, now almost totally desert
            is our most widely known example
            the US is presently undergoing a rapid desertification
            that will ultimately make the OKey Dust Bowl of the 30’s
            a fond memory of fertility

            “modern agriculture” is primarily the mass production of food
            using irrigation & mono-cropping techniques
            coupled with unnatural uses of land & water

  4. Noah_Nine | May 24, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

    i wrote a song about this when i was 14 called Catastrophic Weather Patterns… that was like 20 years ago…. its been going on for awhile…. seems to be getting worse though….

  5. DrDavidKelly | May 24, 2013 at 10:35 pm |

    Yet where I live in Melbourne we have had a pretty stock standard run of weather. Queensland and New South Wales have had all the floods.

  6. No… Because Glenn Beck.

Comments are closed.