Thursday, January 20, 2011

Rainfalls are now just a thing of the past

by Chully Onion
January 11, 2010

Australia's summer ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: rain is starting to disappear from our lives.    

Farming precariously on the barren landscape, collecting water in dams, and jumping puddles are all a rapidly diminishing part of Australia's culture, as drier weather - which scientists are attributing to global climate change - produce not only fewer wet Christmases, but fewer wet Januaries and Februaries.

How bad is it? One Australian newspaper is reporting:

"DROUGHT will become a redundant term as Australia plans for a permanently drier future, according to the nation’s urban water industries chief…. "The urban water industry has decided the inflows of the past will never return," Water Services Association of Australia executive director Ross Young said. "We are trying to avoid the term ‘drought’ and saying this is the new reality."
(The Age, 2007)

"Drought is too comfortable a word," said John Williams, the New South Wales state Commissioner for Natural Resources. "Drought connotes a return to normal. We need to be adjusting."
(Cosmos, 2007)

"Australia is the harbinger of change," said paleontologist Tim Flannery, Australia's most vocal climate change prophet. "The pattern that we're seeing now in the weather in Australia is very much the pattern was predicted by computer models as much as a decade ago.We will have to get by with less water. The CSIRO's telling us that. We're seeing it now, in the evidence before our eyes in our rivers and creeks, and of course the computer models in the global models have been predicting just this now for some years. I think all evidence says that this is our new climate and we have to get by with less water than we've ever had before."
(Interview, 2007)

"Ultimately", he says, "Australian children could have only virtual experience of water. Via the internet, they might wonder at river scenes - or eventually feel virtually wet."

Hopefully Australia will see the value and urgency in taking climate action before the last puddle dries up, since unrestrained greenhouse gas emissions are projected to accelerate drought and desertification.


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