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Climate Change

What is causing Australia’s flood crisis?

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Twenty Australians have lost their lives in floods this year, as authorities continue their search and rescue efforts

For the third time this year, floods have battered Australia’s largest city.

Some areas have received eight months of rain in just four days.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says some parts of New South Wales have seen 800mm alone. For perspective, Greater London receives this type of rainfall over the course of a year.

There are more than 100 evacuation orders across Greater Sydney for the current emergency.

It’s the typical narrative for disasters like these, where a cesspit of data floods headlines.

It comes as the BOM confirms this season’s La Niña has ended, so what is causing these floods?

Divulging the data

The Indian Ocean Dipole is a technical term for the differences in sea surface temperatures between the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean.

This phenomenon is likely to shift ‘negative’ over the coming months.

This means “warmer waters concentrate near Australia, leading to above average winter–spring rainfall as more moisture is available to weather systems crossing the continent,” according to the BOM.

“We have seen some of these impacted communities being hit by floods for a third and fourth time in 18 months, which is extremely distressing to the residents of these communities.”

Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt

Meanwhile, the SAM refers to the Southern Annular Mode. This is a term used for the non-seasonal, north-south movement of the strong westerly winds.

When the SAM is in the ‘positive’ phase, it directs more moisture-filled air into eastern Australia.

The BOM says this is “driving above average rainfall and more east coast lows”.

This has forced a cargo ship to remain at anchor by the ferocious conditions off the coast of Sydney.

In fact, this happened 15 years ago when storms grounded the Pasha Bulker—a 40,000 tonne bulk carrier ship.

The Pasha Bulker stranded off the coast of Newcastle.

Is this climate change in action?

It is difficult to link any single flood to climate change. But many climate models suggest Australia will repeatedly fall victim to climate change.

Critically, these areas have been battered by heavy rains in recent months. The La Niña has also saturated the ground and filled dams. These are some of the crucial factors that lead to flash flooding.

“Similarly, we’re now working hard together to make sure that impacted communities get the financial and other assistance they need as soon as possible,” Senator Murray Watt says.

Sydney’s bustling population has pushed development into low-lying areas, which also places residents at an increased risk.

A boat passes under the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge as heavy rain batters the city.

Greg Mullins is the leader of the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action group, who recently met with Australia’s new government.

“There is absolutely no doubt extreme weather events are being intensified because of climate change.”

“The science is very clear that we’re seeing wild fluctuations between periods of flood and fire, because of warming. On the East Coast of Australia in the last 18 months we’ve now had four major floods,” he says.

Senator Watt says he is committed to learning from past natural hazards, which turn into disasters when they intersect with vulnerable communities, devastate infrastructure, and lead to economic consequences.

This occurred when over 400 people were killed when deluge swept through South Africa in April.

“It’s time for the world to wake up and take real action on climate change. Communities having to deal with flood event after flood event is absolutely affecting our response and recovery,” Mullins says.

Costa is a news producer at ticker NEWS. He has previously worked as a regional journalist at the Southern Highlands Express newspaper. He also has several years' experience in the fire and emergency services sector, where he has worked with researchers, policymakers and local communities. He has also worked at the Seven Network during their Olympic Games coverage and in the ABC Melbourne newsroom. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts (Professional), with expertise in journalism, politics and international relations. His other interests include colonial legacies in the Pacific, counter-terrorism, aviation and travel.

Climate Change

Why ‘zombie viruses’ could be the next biggest public threat

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A new report reveals the world will see an increase in so-called ‘zombie viruses’ that are emerging beneath us

A new report by scientists at the French National Center for Scientific Research has revealed the global threat of ‘zombie viruses.’ As climate change continues to take effect, the earth is undeniably getter hotter.

Global warming essentially means significant areas of permafrost are now melting. Permafrost is a frozen layer on or under the Earth’s surface, holding beneath it millions of ‘zombie viruses’ not seen in millions of years.

The now melting permafrost means it is lifting the veil on potentially dangerous microbes that human kind isn’t prepared for.

In Siberia, the scientists uncovered a ‘zombie virus’ which they believe is 50,000 years old. This would be the oldest age of a frozen virus returning to life and able to infect.

Researchers are concerned about the global health impact if the earth continues to warm at its current rate.

 

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Climate Change

Australia warned to brace for more extreme weather events

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From wild floods, to raging fires. Australia has experienced it all

And that’s not changing anytime soon.

The country is getting warmer and residents are being warned to prepare for the worst.

From an increasing number of extreme heat days to flash flooding, wild bushfires and rising sea levels – the Bureau of Meteorology says we need to buckle up and brace for impact.

This comes as the New South Wales flood crisis is ranked as the most expensive natural disaster in Australia’s history.

$5.5 billion worth of insurance claims have been lodged right across the state and now residents as residents are being told their policies won’t be renewed.

So is there anything we can do and is there any hope for our environment?

Meanwhile, say goodbye to those cloudy skies – Weatherzone predicts Australia will flip from the current wet La Nina weather system to its hot and dry cousin, El Nino next year.

If this is true, residents can expect a long period of warm conditions, including reduced rainfall, warmer temperatures and less tropical cyclones.

So how likely is this prediction?

But don’t celebrate just yet.

While the weather system means more days to lie by the pool, spare a thought for those living amongst the trees.

As the risk of severe wildfires skyrockets.

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Climate Change

Climate change will force this country to enter the metaverse

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Tuvalu could become the first completely digitised country in the metaverse if climate change inaction continues

The low-lying Pacific nation of Tuvalu is currently experiencing the effects of rising sea levels like no other.

The country is home to nearly 12,000 people but climate change and rising sea levels could force the entire archipelago underwater in a matter of decades.

In fact, Tuvaluan lawmakers believe the country could become completely digitised in the metaverse as they seek to secure a future.

“As a progressive nation, we are excited at the opportunity for Tuvalu to exist in the metaverse—but not to the extent of losing our lands. The tragedy of this outcome cannot be overstated,” said Simon Kofe, who is the nation’s foreign affairs minister.

Mr Kofe addressed delegates of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

He said it is time world leaders looked towards alternative solutions to save his country.

“The world’s inaction means that our pacific region must take greater action and forge our own path as leaders on the international stage, but our action alone cannot stop the current trajectory of climate change.”

SIMON KOFE, FOREIGN MINISTER OF TUVALU


The small island nation has been asking world leaders to act and adhere to commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“But because the world has not acted, we must. Tuvalu could be the first country in the
world to exist solely in cyberspace – but if global warming continues unchecked, it won’t be the last,” Mr Kofe said.

His speech highlighted the need for digital sovereignty to preserve Tuvalu’s culture, place, identity, and statehood.

A glimpse of what Tuvalu could look like in the metaverse.

The Tuvalu Government will build digital replicas of its nine atolls under the Future Now Project.

It will depict an accurate and virtual model of the real-world environment.

Documents, records of cultural practices, family albums and traditional songs are among those set to enter the metaverse.

The virtual-reality space allows users to interact with a computer-generated environment.

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