Friday, January 12, 2007

Damned weather patterns

Selling off rivers

El Nino cycling

New frog species doomed


Selling off rivers

I wrote recently about Australia's water woes and I'm fascinated that this dry isolated region I've landed in temporarily is constantly at the heart of the issue. I chose Queensland and the arid semi-outback for my respite simply because I'd never experienced it before. It seems though, we are never really isolated from raging controversy.

Latest news is that the Queensland government is going to auction off the nearby Warrego River. "The Warrego is a major tributary of the Darling River, and Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Water Malcolm Turnbull yesterday described it as a volatile river."

Now the Qld government insists that it is not auctioning off the water in the Warrego River but are in fact auctioning ‘access' to the river!. Last time I looked the muddy chain of puddles didn't look like an attractive purchase. But access means the right to grab the river's contents when it does have water in it. Hey, I only report this stuff, I don't split the hairs!


El Nino cycling

The fact is, drought or not, this is a dry country. More than 70% of Australia is too dry to support agriculture, a lot of the remaining 30% is marginal at best. The enemy is El Nino, but Scientific America reports: "The El Nino weather pattern in the Pacific, blamed for severe drought in Australia, is losing intensity and normal rains may return in months, an Australian government climatologist said on Thursday."

"The main drought-affected areas have been through the south and the east (of Australia), and what we typically see during the end of an El Nino is for increased rainfall in those parts of the country," Climate Meteorologist Grant Beard of Australia's Weather Bureau told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.


New frog species doomed

No sooner had Australia's newest frog species been identified than its discoverer warned that the amphibian's existence was threatened by climate change.

The frog, Mixophyes carbinensis (the Carbine Tableland barred frog), lives on or near mountain tops in cool rainforest pockets in far north Queensland. The species could have less than 50 years to live according to researchers.

Conservation biologist Michael Mahony, who helped identify the species, says the frog faced two potential threats: climate change that would not only make life too hot for it, but might also allow a deadly disease to flourish.

"Even with moderate predictions of global warming, its habitat will disappear before 2050," Dr Mahony said.

The rare frog lives 1200m to 1400m above sea level in the Carbine Ranges, inland from the Daintree region. "What we know from the predictions of global climate change and global warming is that the first places that will experience significant change are high altitudes," Mahony said.


Praguetwin said...


I can't help but to wonder... what the hell are you doing out there that is gainful?

I guess it is the economist in me.

Cartledge said...

PT, we would be talking an inexpensive respite and R&D facility between gigs. With the added benefit of minimal distractions.
Even the accountant would be pleased with that :-)