TO whom it may concern,
CC: Josh Frydenberg (Australian Minister for the Environment & Energy)
Last year I contacted you in regards to updating 7 years of missing tropical cyclone data on the BoM record.
August 16, 2017
I have been a keen observer of weather and climate for well over a climate point (42 years)!
The chaotic system of climate and “climate change” is ever fascinating. Though, today the ‘chaos’ has been replaced by an unhealthy polarization of “the science”, all too often determined by belief, politics and ideology. Sadly, dogma has trumped empirical evidence, corrupting the scientific method.
That said, I am seeking from you an updated version of the cyclone trends graph which ends at 2011. The BoM site has excellent data up to 2017 to complete the series. Is there a reason why the data has not been translated to the current graph? I would be happy to work on getting it up to date if resources are limited!
As a start, there is a written record from 2012-2015 here: http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/history/index.shtml
Jamie Spry (Melbourne, Australia)
TO your credit, communication was swift and missing data promptly updated to 2016/17:
I write to you today seeking access to valuable historical information you once had on your website pertaining to historical “extremes”, namely the devastating 7 year “Federation Drought” 1895-1902…
THE page is no longer available:
ORIGINAL content of Australia’s important climate change history has been thankfully saved in the WayBackMachine and sent to me by Apafarkas Agmánd:
Drought. The word evokes images of barren fields, dying stock, and water holes and reservoirs drying to cracked mud. Shrivelled hopes, failed crops, and often economic ruin are its trademarks.
Drought is also part and parcel of life in Australia, particularly in the marginal areas away from the better-watered coasts and ranges. Of all the climatic phenomena to afflict Australia, drought is probably the most economically costly: major droughts such as that of 1982/83 can have a major impact on the national economy. Moreover, apart from crop failure and stock losses, droughts set the scene for other disastrous phenomena, such as fires, dust-storms, and general land degradation.
Denuded earth and dry watercourses during drought near Gunnedah, in the normally well-watered Namoi Valley region of New South Wales (photo courtesy of the NSW Dept of Land and Water Conservation).
Why is Australia drought prone?
Australia is prone to drought because of its geography. Our continent sits more or less astride the latitudes of the subtropical high pressure belt, an area of sinking, dry, stable air and usually clear skies. The far north and south of the country come under the influence of reasonably regular rain-bearing disturbances for at least part of the year, and the east coast is watered reasonably well by moisture from the Tasman and Coral Seas. However over most of the country rainfall is not only low, but highly erratic.
Many, but by no means all, droughts over eastern and northern Australia accompany the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon, which typically lasts about a year, as in 1982/83. Droughts in the western areas and over much of the interior normally have different causes. Nevertheless, on some occasions (such as 1914 and 1994) El Niño-related droughts may extend across virtually the entire country. On such occasions, the economic and livestock losses are exacerbated
Hand-feeding sheep in western New South Wales during the extended drought in Queensland and New South Wales during the 1990s
(photo c/o the Fairfax Photo Library).
Over much of the country, droughts can extend over several years, relieved only by brief, transitory rains. Indeed, probably the most damaging type of drought is when one or two very dry years follow several years of generally below-average rainfall. The “Federation drought” of the late 1890s through 1902 is an example, as is the more recent 1991-95 drought in Queensland, northern New South Wales and parts of central Australia. Over still longer time-scales, Australia’s rainfall history features several periods of a decade or longer that seem to have been distinctly “drought prone”. For instance, the mid to late 1920s and the 1930s were a period of generally low rainfall over most of the country, continuing through most of the 1940s over the eastern states. A similar dry spell occurred in the 1960s over central and eastern Australia. During these low rainfall periods, not every year is dry; it is just that rainfall in most years is below the long-term average, and there are often runs of years with recurrent drought. Thus in the late 1930s-40s major droughts occurred over eastern Australia in 1937-38, 1940-41, and 1943-45.
The 1990s saw formal Government acknowledgement that drought is part of the natural variability of the Australian climate, with drought relief for farmers and agricultural communities being restricted to times of so-called “exceptional circumstances”. In other words, the agricultural sector was expected to cope with the occasional drought, and relief would be available only for droughts of unusual length or severity.
AS Eastern Australia suffers through another awful drought, it is important that the public is educated into the causes of long-term drought such that appropriate action can be taken, as noted by the Australian Government in the 1990’s, “The 1990s saw formal Government acknowledgement that drought is part of the natural variability of the Australian climate, with drought relief for farmers and agricultural communities being restricted to times of so-called “exceptional circumstances”.
EDUCATION and understanding of the “land of sweeping plains,/Of ragged mountain ranges,/Of droughts and flooding rains.” helps to eliminate spurious claims of human-induced climate change as the cause of drought, all-too-often used by the mainstream media to push a political agenda or ideology.
SUCH wistful activism encouraging a misallocation of funds in a vain attempt to “stop” climate change with precious public money awarded to wind farm, solar panel corporations and power companies, rather than fund drought mitigation schemes (dams) and to aid farmers through tedious times that will always occur naturally, regardless of Australia or the world’s carbon dioxide output.