Monday, March 8, 2010

Melbourne hail storm - don't mention climate change


by Flowerpower

Melbourne experienced a hail storm March 6th that has done hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of damage. The storm has been labelled a "once in a century" event. What's not been mentioned is that the storm fits the predicted pattern of the impact of Climate Change on South East Australia.

Whilst the sceptics bellow their crap in the media and on the internet, the recent storm fits into a pattern of weather in Melbourne and Victoria that supports the growing impact of climate change on our region. The predicted impacts of climate change on South East Australia include changes to rain patterns and more extreme weather events.

Victoria is in the midst of a long term drought. This fits the predicted changes of more extended dry periods for Melbourne interspersed with major rain events. In addition to the lemon sized hail on Saturday was a major rain event which caused flash flooding across the city.

Only about 12 months ago Victoria was experiencing one of the worse heat waves and droughts on record culminating in Melbourne's hottest day ever of 46 degrees on Black Saturday 2009, a day when 173 people perished.

Even though neither event can be 100% attributed to climate change, they fit the pattern of freak "once a century" events happening more and more often in South East Australia as the global temperature rises. Interesting there has not been one mention of climate change in all of the mainstream coverage of the event as even a possible contributing factor to the storm even though one reads in the Herald Sun that experts say the storm is more typical of tropical weather patterns. eanwhile down in the Latrobe Valley we continue to burn brown coal as politicians of both major parties adopt a business as usual approach. If events like this become more common the "economic costs" of doing nothing start to be put in perspective.

References
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter11.pdf

http://www.csiro.au/files/files/p6fy.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming_on_Australia

http://www.listandalucia.com/news/news-world/melbourne-smashed-by-100-year-storm/

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/experts-are-still-assessing-cost-of-melbourne-storm-damage/story-e6frf7jo-1225837961570

Image from Bureau of Meteorology event summary - http://www.bom.gov.au/inside/services_policy/public/sevwx/vic/20100603_thunder.shtml


My comment on this event:

Incidence and intensity indicate global warming

Any one weather event cannot be attributed directly to climate change, but the change in the incidence and intensity of such extreme weather events is an indication of global warming.

This particular storm was one part of a major weather event through Northern and Central Australia, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The Bureau of Meteorology described it as a 'An exceptional rain event' beginning on Feb 22 to march 8. The floods in Central Queensland were hailed as a 1 in 100 year event.

More records broken:

'The most remarkable aspect of this event was the area covered by the heavy rainfall and the total volume of rainfall that fell. Daily totals exceeded 100 mm over 1.7% of Australia on 1 March and 1.9% on 2 March. The latter is the largest area of 100 mm-plus daily totals on a single day in the Australian meteorological record, breaking the previous record of 1.7% set on 22 December 1956.

28 February was the wettest day on record for the Northern Territory with an NT-wide average of 29.23 mm, while 2 March set a new record for Queensland with a Statewide average of 31.74 mm1.'

On March 8, Yan Yean, with 86.2mm of rain, had its wettest March day on record since records began 130 years ago.

More Information:

  • National Climate Centre, 2010. A significant rainfall event for central and eastern Australia,
    Bureau of Meteorology, Special Climate Statement 20 (PDF)
  • Severe Thunderstorms in Melbourne 6 March 2010, Event Summary