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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

Heatwave drains River Po and exposes WW2 Bomb

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Well how’s this for a climate discovery

Heatwaves across Europe are scorching fields and draining rivers.

In Italy, the waters of the nation’s River Po are now running so low they revealed a previously submerged World War Two bomb.

Military experts have now defused the device and carried out a controlled explosion.

The 450 kilogram bomb was discovered by fisherman on July 25 near a northern village.

Around 3,000 people living nearby were evacuated for the disposal operation, and the area’s airspace was also shut down.

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Climate Change

Floods: authorities search for stranded motorists

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Authorities are desperately searching for stranded motorists after Death Valley was drenched by a near-record downpour

1,000 people are believed to be stuck inside the National Park, forcing the site’s closure.

On top of this, 60 cars belonging to park visitors and staff have buried in several feet of debris at an historic luxury hotel near the park headquarters.

Flash floods are a natural part of the region’s ecology and occur somewhere throughout the national park every year, often reshaping its canyon landscape.

Authorities say no further monsoonal rain is expected imminently, but additional showers have been forecast.

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Climate Change

Iran mudslides leave 69 people dead

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Iran mudslides and flash floods have left 69 people dead

Extreme landslides and flash floods have hit Iran’s major cities and provinces.

The extreme weather event has devastated thousands of civilians across 20 provinces, including the Tehran region.

Iran’s crisis Management Organisation says approximately 20,000 residential homes have been damaged and 45 people are still missing.

Many of the regions major airports and highways have also been impacted with thousands of people urgently evacuated.

Iran has been fighting the heavy rainfall for over two weeks, with deadly mudslides sweeping livelihoods away.

The Iranian Meteorological organisation has warned the floods are set to continue, with predictions more heavy rainfall is on the way.

So far, the floods have caused millions in damages to major provinces. Ten of thousands of livestock and animals have also been washed away.

Many locals have taken to social media to show the extent of the floods.

Many scientists around the world are blaming climate change for these kind of frequent weather disasters.

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