Showing posts with label drought. Show all posts
Showing posts with label drought. Show all posts

Petrichor the Smell Before Rain

Man like other animals has inherited a fine sense of smell from ancestors who did not have technology to know things that would help them survive. The environment gives out smells when something changes. Because we now mostly live indoors these smells do not come to our attention. However, they still exist.
Petrichor the smell before rain mattiak ka attar
Before it begins to rain the air falls and oil is released from the earth. A special odour is notable. CSIRO has named this smell "petrichor". It seems no one had given it a named before. The particular smell was made public in 1964 when Isabel Bear wrote a paper which was published in Nature journal. Mineralogists were first aware of it and mentioned the odour in text books but little was made of the smell.

Aboriginals would have know of it because oils given off before rain are stronger after drought. The word "mattiak ka attar" is used in Asia to describe the odour trapped in sandalwood oil to enhance the perfume.

Scientists at CSIRO identified a yellowish colored oil on soil and rocks that was created by moisture. Humidity is the trigger: water droplets form in crevices thus leaching the oil. It becomes stronger when it actually rains. The smell gets into the wind and is picked up by mammals.
Chemistry by Ty Buchanan
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            Australian Blog   Adventure Australia

Australian Leaders Wear Ear Muffs to Keep Out Global Warming

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his mate Maurice Newman are both as thick as a post. They are both climate change skeptics. Business advisor Maurice Newman wants a Royal Commission into the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) claiming that it has doctored temperatures to support global warming.

If anyone is looking for a phantom in the cupboard it is the couple above. After all, Tony Abbott blindly believes that there is a God. How stupid is that in this day and age - religious fanatics not withstanding? In regard to God, you can knock on the door but there is no one home.

So the Australian weather authority is lying. What about weather departments in other countries? The poles are clearly melting. Global warming is a fact. Take note skeptics: scientists are telling the truth.

That is the trouble with "businessmen": they don't want a free market; they want a fixed market. They want to legislate to ban any reports of global warming because it is bad for business.

In the long run Tony Abbott's removal of the carbon tax will make him look ridiculous. Other countries will eventually take action to curb world pollution. More natural disasters due to a hotter planet will prove a cost too hard to bear.
Science by Ty Buchanan
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     Australian Blog                         

Climate Change is Inevitable

Australia is one the world's major producers of wheat. If climate change reduces national output there will be widespread consequences. The economy will suffer with the need to import wheat. Internationally, a wheat shortage will put prices up and many poor people will have to go without.

On the positive side some regions of Australia will get more rain. People will still be able to "fatten up" on sugar and rice, despite research showing that sugar contains no nourishment whatsoever for the human body. Two centuries ago a group of British sailors was shipwrecked on the west coast of Africa. The ship was beached. Even though the ship had a full load of West Indian sugar they all died of malnutrition.

Getting back to the main point. There will be competition for arable land pushing land prices up. There is also a link between the land and sea. Climate change will reduce the fish catch. Living in the bush will become impossible with farming failing to prop up local economies.

Potential for farmers to move up into higher areas is limited because Australia is a flat continent. Of course, we could all choose to move south. This would create the need for massive new investment in infrastructure.

These problems will affect the generation of children living today. By 2050, the food bowls in South Australia for sheep and beef will be no more. Man had little impact on the environment in the past, so we do not have the "genes" to change our ways. Pollution will inevitably continue until all the damaging changes above come to fruition. People working today will for the most part be dead. "It isn't our worry is it mate?"
Agriculture by Ty Buchanan

Climate Change - Buildings Down and the Surf

Australia has always been a harsh place to live. Despite the luxury living on the coast with all the latest modern services, inland there is a desert. Many people who are born in the harsh center remain there all their lives. A fewer number choose to live there moving from coastal cities. Let's face it many prefer the heat over the cold and they have personal reasons for choosing to do this.

We do yet know what lies ahead for us in this vast continent. Climate change is happening at this very moment most definitely. El Niño and La Niña are the major factors influencing the weather on the east coast. Scientists forecast more extremes from these usually opposite climate impacting factors. The intermediate stage between these cycles has lasted for several years now. Weather is very unpredictable ranging from drought inland to too much rain on the coast. It seems we experience one or the other extreme with changeable in between.

The level of the ocean is rising. Coastal buildings will be inundated and lost forever. Oddly, this is bad news for surfers. As the sea rises the surface becomes smoother. This means smaller waves on the beaches. The era of Australia being a surfing nation could come to an end. Storms along the coast will decrease further exacerbating the problem. With more water volume, temperature differences in the ocean even out leading to calmer weather. The few storms that will occur will be very large indeed. High-rise buildings on the Gold Coast in Queensland will fall into the sea. We will lose our tourist mecca.
Climate by Ty Buchanan
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     Australian Blog                         

Sea Levels Fall in Eastern Australia

It seems the Earth is trying to balance out global warming itself. There could be a natural balance level that the planet is attempting to reach. In Australia an unusual phenomenon has taken place.

We have had a lot of rain in coastal regions, while inland it remains dry. The arid regions have soaked up the excess water only gradually releasing it to the ocean, so sea levels have not increased. Indeed, sea level has fallen 7 millimeters.

Damaging floods cost Queenslanders millions of dollars. It was so bad that insurance companies refused to reinsured low-lying towns. Even the dry Northern Territory had floods. One of two very close La Ninas was the strongest ever recorded. The year 2012 was rain, rain and more rain.

This is not something that global warming critics should put forward as a natural solution. Only in Australia does the unusual geographic structure of the continent exist. Humid air moved slowly east but moved as far south as Melbourne, pushing up rainfall 20 per cent. Tropical air has never reached Melbourne before.

The fall in sea level is only a blip on the rising graph. The average rise is 3.2 millimeters a year. By the end of the century ocean levels are expected to increase by 820 millimeters, up from previous estimates of 590.

Rising use of carbon fuel may make sea levels rise even more. The oil "boom" in the US threatens all the good work being done by environmentalists to change behavior. Higher production has pushed "peak oil" well into the future. Enthusiasm for non-carbon power sources is waning.
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     Australian Blog                         
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El Niño Predicted a Year in Advance

The world is in a crisis of bad weather. Extremes of climate are becoming regular phenomena. While coastal eastern Australia is getting unprecedented levels of rain. inland there is a drought. We have a drought even though El Niño has not been in effect for years. It could be said that the rain on the coast is caused by La Nina. This does not explain "the dry" inland. Where once weather could be clearly predicted by the El Niño/La Niña cycle, this is no longer the case.

Improvement in weather forecasting now helps in knowing a year in advance whether El Niño or La Niña will be dominant. An El Niño is due. The US would be pleased to get some relief from damaging drought and fires. Australia's last drought was severe. The Queensland government invested heavily in water catchment and storage. When La Niña arrived the government was condemned and even ridiculed for "wasting" money. At the time the investment was deemed necessary by government and constituents alike.

Knowing what will happen a year in advance and preparing for the consequences are not ordinarily done. We usually take action after the fact. There is a lot of inertia out there. People have short memories. When El Niño arrives grass pastures will turn to dust and water rationing will return as well. Australia has historically experienced climatic extremes. This will not change.
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Australian Blog                         

World Food at Record High Prices

Enjoy "cheap" food prices now, because they are going to rise and stay high long into the future. The world population is increasing and developing countries are developing Western tastes. Meat demand is increasing, particularly beef.

When drought hits, like in Russia, the US, Ukraine and Kazakhstan at present, high demand pushes food prices up. Farmers reap the benefit. South Australian farmers are getting 30 per cent more for grain. Though Australia relies on the export of minerals for income, it is hoped that this country will be one of the world's future food baskets. Everyone concentrates on the mineral industry. Note that SA's agricultural income rose by at third from 2009-10 to 2010-11. This is a result of food being at record high prices over the last two months.

When the US cannot supply Australia jumps in as provider. This has always been the case. The reverse is also true. Another factor in rising prices is that local consumers are moving to chicken as other meat is too expensive. There has been an incredible rise in poultry production since 2004, from 10.5 tonnes to 66.25 tonnes.

Despite high prices for pork, demand remains solid, Lamb is no longer an Australian staple. This is due to lambs being bred mainly for wool, so the meat tends to have more fat than that produced in say New Zealand or Britain. Diligent farmers are no longer producing sheep. They have moved to vegetable production such as tomatoes and mushrooms.
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Global Warming But Floods in Australia!

There is something strange going on with the weather. Despite reports telling us that Australia is becoming drier we are getting more rain than ever. They say that global warming will make it rain more but water will evaporate faster.

In Britain they may have to set water restrictions because it is raining less. Holding water in dams in Australia at the moment is a silly idea. With La Nina seemingly fixed off Australia's coast more and more rain is predicted. Some east coast towns, many inland, have had three house-destroying floods in three years.

The poles are melting. We know this. Yet long-term predictions about future weather for different countries is like water divining. It seems to be right, though the truth will be known only by what actually eventuates.

If the sea does rise and Australia still gets flooding rains people will abandon low, flood-prone regions permanently. There are only so many times you can repair a house. Australia will become what it has been in the past - hundreds of small islands. With new ports planned in this country to export more coal to the world this possibility becomes a probability.
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Beware the Ozone

Ten years ago the ozone layer was a major topic. "The ozone is decreasing," headlines proclaimed. Then, it was just as quickly forgotten. It may not be growing so much but the ozone layer is still causing problems. The weather has been altered. Wet and dry extremes are the result. Desalination programs have been put on the backburner for now. They will be needed soon as the cycle swings back to dry.

The ozone hole shifts high-altitude wind circulation southward. Most notable for Australia has been the movement of the Southern Hemisphere jet stream to the south. This has severe effects. For example, in the north Britain has got very cold winters in recent years due to blocking of the Northern stream. Estimates are that Australia's weather has changed by a magnitude of 35 per cent. More rain has been brought here. With the impact from greenhouse gases this water evaporates very quickly, so the overall impact is dryness.

With the combination of ozone, greenhouse gases and El Nino the weather has become chaotic for Australia. Chlorofluorocarbon reduction has been successful. Nonetheless, we should not become complacent. Damage still persists in the Arctic. Besides, greenhouse gas emissions is doing more damage now than the depleted ozone. Australians need to consider the country as a whole. Eastern states are now soaking in water. Western Australia, however, is in drought.
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