Posted on December 7th, 2015 No comments
I fully expect the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be more than modicum concerned about public opinion as the full toll of damage to property, businesses, farmland and the loss of life in Cumbria of the December 2015 floods becomes clear. The flooding in the Somerset Levels in the winter of 2013/2014 led to strong public criticism of the government’s management of and investment in flood defences.
The flood defences that were improved in Cumbria after the rainstorm disaster of 2009 were in some cases completely ineffective against the 2015 deluge. It appears that the high water mark at some places in Cumbria was higher in the 2015 floods than ever recorded previously, but that cannot be used as David Cameron’s get-out-of-jail-free clause. These higher flood levels should have been anticipated as a possibility.
However, the real problem is not the height of flooding, but the short recurrence time. Flood defences are designed in a way that admits to a sort of compromise calculus. Measurements from previous floods are used to calculate the likelihood of water levels breaching a particular height within a number of years – for example, a 1-in-20 year flood, or a 1-in-200 year flood. The reinforced flood defences in Cumbria were designed to hold back what was calculated to be something like a 1-in-100 year flood. It could be expected that if within that 100 years, other serious but not overwhelming flooding took place, there would be time for adaptation and restructuring of the defences. However, it has taken less than 10 years for a 1-in-100 year event to recur, and so no adaptation has been possible.
This should suggest to us two possibilities : either the Environment Agency is going about flood defences the wrong way; or the odds for the 1-in-100 year flood should be reset at 1-in-10-or-so years – in other words, the severity profile of flooding is becoming worse – stronger flooding is more frequent – which implies acceptance of climate change.
The anti-science wing of the Conservative Party were quick to construct a campaign against the Environment Agency in the South West of England in early 2014 – distracting people from asking the climate change question. But this time, I think people might be persuaded that they need to consider climate change as being a factor.
Placing the blame for mismanagement of the Somerset Levels at the door of the Environment Agency saved David Cameron’s skin in 2014, but I don’t think he can use that device a second time. People in Cockermouth are apparently in disbelief about the 2015 flooding. They have barely had time to re-establish their homes and lives before Christmas has been cancelled again for another year.
Will the Prime Minister admit to the nation that climate change is potentially a factor in this 2015 waterborne disaster ?
I remember watching in in credulity as the BBC showed the restoration of Cockermouth back in 2010 – it was either Songs of Praise or Countryfile – I forget which. The BBC were trying to portray a town getting back to normal. I remember asking myself – but what if climate change makes this happen again ? What then ? Will the BBC still be mollifying its viewers, lulling them back into a false sense of security about the risks of severe climate change ? What if there is no “normal” to get back to any more ? Is this partly why the Meteorological Office has decided to name winter storms ?
Can future climate-altered floods be escaped – or are the people of Britain to remain defenceless ?Academic Freedom, Arctic Amplification, Bait & Switch, Be Prepared, Big Number, Big Picture, Big Society, Burning Money, Change Management, Climate Change, Climate Damages, Delay and Deny, Delay and Distract, Demoticratica, Disturbing Trends, Engineering Marvel, Environmental Howzat, Extreme Weather, Financiers of the Apocalypse, Floodstorm, Global Warming, Hide the Incline, Human Nurture, Incalculable Disaster, Major Shift, Mass Propaganda, Media, Modern Myths, Paradigm Shapeshifter, Policy Warfare, Political Nightmare, Price Control, Rainstorm, Realistic Models, Regulatory Ultimatum, Social Change, Social Chaos, Stirring Stuff, The Data, The War on Error, Water Wars, Western Hedge, Wind of Fortune
Posted on February 4th, 2013 1 comment
During the worst of the austral summer in Tasmania at the start of 2013, an Austrian friend of mine was travelling through the region, and sent back the following report.
“We arrived in Tassie [Tasmania] on the 6th of January 2013. When I looked outside the window of the plane I saw many burning fields and a lot of black smoke was in the air.”
“We picked up our luggage and went to the car rental counter. Actually we were lucky to catch the last rental car, as most of the cars were stuck in the Peninsula at Port Arthur and people couldn’t drive them back as all roads were blocked already.
There were over 40 bush-fires in the area and most of the people have been evacuated either by sailboats and ships, as the whole island (Peninsula) Dunally was on fire.
We drove directly up to the northern part of Tasmania away from the bush-fires.
On the radio we heard many additional fire-warnings and had to take another highway in order to reach the Cradle Mountain National Park.
The air was filled with smoke and the smell was terrible. As we arrived in the National Park all of a sudden it started to rain and didn’t stop for the rest of the day. The next day also…rain, rain, rain.
250km south of Tassie bush-fires and here we are and felt like we were swept away by the strong winds and rainfalls in the middle of Tassie. 🙂 It has been also really cold. Strange feeling to experience such a different weather-condition within only one day.”
Video which describes it best:
Arnie speaking German in front of students in Vienna on the 31st of January:
“Let’s keep in touch. We have to step out of the comfort zone into the smoking zone in order to reach people for the “truth” about climate change. :)”Be Prepared, Big Society, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Disturbing Trends, Extreme Weather, Firestorm, Global Singeing, Hide the Incline, Human Nurture, Incalculable Disaster, Nudge & Budge, Paradigm Shapeshifter, Pure Hollywood, Rainstorm, Screaming Panic, Social Chaos, Stirring Stuff, The Science of Communitagion, Wildfire
Posted on September 14th, 2012 No comments
There are some things we can do nothing about. Forgive us our stupidity.
Supertyphoon Sanba is heading Japan and South Korea’s way. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on July 11th, 2012 No commentsBe Prepared, Big Picture, Climate Change, Climate Damages, Disturbing Trends, Eating & Drinking, Extreme Weather, Fair Balance, Feed the World, Firestorm, Floodstorm, Food Insecurity, Freak Science, Freshwater Stress, Global Warming, Heatwave, Hide the Incline, Human Nurture, Incalculable Disaster, Major Shift, Meltdown, Mudslide, Neverending Disaster, Paradigm Shapeshifter, Public Relations, Rainstorm, Realistic Models, Sandstorm, Science Rules, The Data, The War on Error, Water Wars, Wildfire, Wind of Fortune
Posted on April 21st, 2012 No comments
Walking out to buy a few household essentials from the corner shop, I ran into somebody I’ve known since my childhood, practically, returning from the drycleaners with two trailing kids in tow.
“Happy Spring !” I said, and smiled, and pointed out the lovely blossom on the urban street tree. Eldest child grumbled about hayfever. Parent mentioned April Showers.
“It’s been the wettest drought, ever !”, proclaimed eldest child, who I noticed was wearing a Team GB tracksuit and therefore probably up to speed with current events. “It has been rather damp”, I admitted, “and yet the drought’s not over yet. If you look at the Met Office records, you can see we’re still not up to normal levels of rainfall. And it was like this last year.” “And the year before that”, added parent, “although I expect for this month it might show we’ve had quite a lot more than normal.” (Select “Rainfall”)Big Picture, Big Society, Climate Change, Climate Damages, Cost Effective, Disturbing Trends, Droughtbowl, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Freshwater Stress, Global Warming, Hide the Incline, Human Nurture, Paradigm Shapeshifter, Policy Warfare, Rainstorm, Realistic Models, Science Rules, Sea Level Risk, Social Capital, Social Change, Social Chaos, Solution City, The Data, Water Wars
Posted on March 30th, 2012 1 commentAcademic Freedom, Bad Science, Be Prepared, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Climate Damages, Conflict of Interest, Delay and Deny, Demoticratica, Droughtbowl, Extreme Weather, Fair Balance, Floodstorm, Freak Science, Global Heating, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Hide the Incline, Media, Non-Science, Rainstorm, Realistic Models, Science Rules, Scientific Fallacy, Sea Level Risk, The Data, The War on Error, Unqualified Opinion
Posted on December 30th, 2011 No comments
On my Christmas journey, on the train from Brussels, Belgium, to the Dutch border, besides the wind turbines, I counted the number of solar electric rooftop installations I could see. My estimate was that roughly 300 kilowatts of solar could be seen from the track.
There has been an explosion of deployment. The renewable energy policies that are behind this tide of photovoltaics in Flanders seem to be working, or have been until recently.
On my journey back from Holland to England, I pondered about the polders and the low-lying landscape around me. I don’t know what river it was we crossed, but the river was only held in place by narrow banks or dikes, as it was higher than the farmland around it – waterlogged fields in some places – where parcels of land were divided by stillwater ditches instead of hedges or fences.
“Oh no, we don’t have “Mary Poppins” on Dutch TV any more at Christmas every year like we used to. We’re going to see the film “The Storm”…” said my host. Curiouser and curiouser. “De Storm” is a film that harks back to an actual historical event, the major North Sea flooding in 1953. “I remember what it was like afterwards,” says an older English relative, “I visited Belgium and Holland with my aunt and uncle just after the flooding – he wanted to visit the family war graves. We stayed in Middelburg. You could see how high the water reached. There were tide marks this high on the side of the houses, and whelks left stuck on the walls.”
The film attempts to nail down the coffin casket lid of bad weather history. By telling the narrative of major, fearful floods of the past, people are distracted from the possibility that it may happen again. History is history, and the story tells the ending, and that’s a finish to it.
However, for some people, those people who know something of the progress of the science of global warming, this film is like a beacon – a flare on a rocky landing strip – lighting the way to the future crash of the climate and the rising of sea levels, which will bring havoc to The Netherlands, Dutch engineers or no Dutch engineers.
We have to be prepared for change, major change. If you or anyone you know has Dutch relatives and friends, think about whether you can invite them to live with you in future if things get really bad. One or two really bad storms combined with excessive tides and a few centimetres of sea level rise could be all it takes to wreck the country’s ability to organise water and destroy a significant amount of agricultural land.
“I’ve been studying Climate Change science”, I told another host. “You believe in Climate Change ?”, he asked, somewhat incredulously. “It’s 200 years of science”, I replied, smiling, “but we probably shouldn’t discuss it. I don’t think it would be very productive.”Acid Ocean, Be Prepared, Big Number, Big Picture, Big Society, British Sea Power, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Climate Damages, Dead End, Design Matters, Disturbing Trends, Eating & Drinking, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Energy Socialism, Engineering Marvel, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Food Insecurity, Freak Science, Freshwater Stress, Geogingerneering, Global Warming, Hide the Incline, Human Nurture, Incalculable Disaster, Major Shift, Near-Natural Disaster, Neverending Disaster, Paradigm Shapeshifter, Rainstorm, Realistic Models, Science Rules, Screaming Panic, Solar Sunrise, Solution City, The War on Error, Water Wars, Wind of Fortune
Posted on June 5th, 2011 1 comment
I’m looking quizzical, rubbing my chin. Adam Curtis appears to have lost control of his mind, or at the very least, is showing signs of unhealthy self contradiction. Where are the checks and balances ?
At the start of Part 2 of “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace”, he unpicks, and, I would suggest, stamps on, the idea that ecosystems are networks of feedback loops, tending to re-balance. And then at the end of the same presentation, he asserts that human revolutions fail, and society folds in on itself and returns to the state of power and control it was in before. Now which is it to be, Adam Curtis ? Self-correcting stability or non-correcting ebbs, flows and shifting sands ?Animal Kingdoom, Bad Science, Big Picture, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Climate Damages, Demoticratica, Direction of Travel, Extreme Weather, Fair Balance, Feel Gooder, Freshwater Stress, Gamechanger, Global Heating, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Heatwave, Human Nurture, Incalculable Disaster, Media, Optimistic Generation, Peace not War, Political Nightmare, Protest & Survive, Rainstorm, Scientific Fallacy, Social Capital, Social Change, Social Chaos, Stirring Stuff, The War on Error, Wildfire
Posted on February 21st, 2011 1 comment
[ UPDATE : Don’t tell me. I know the images are mostly from India, but the music is Punjabi… ]
“Draft of national climate change policy finalised : Noor Aftab : Monday, February 21, 2011 : Islamabad : The draft of National Climate Change Policy has been finalised after two years of deliberations and now the Environment Ministry would present it to the federal cabinet for final approval, the sources told The News here on Sunday. The sources said the recommendations in the draft would certainly test the government’s commitment as it has been proposed to go for alternative energy resources instead of using fossil fuel, considered one of the major reasons for environmental degradation. The sources said the draft recommendations prepared by a core group of the Environment Ministry mainly focuses on two areas including adaptation and mitigation with an aim to enable the country to cope with fast increasing environmental challenges. One of the top officials of the Environment Ministry told this correspondent that continuity of casual approach towards environmental sector has now made economic managers and policy makers feel the heat as environmental degradation has started costing five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in Pakistan…”
“Sunday, February 20, 2011 : UK to keep helping Pakistan’s flood victims: Sayeeda Warsi : LAHORE: Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, a British cabinet minister of Pakistani-origin, said on Saturday that the United Kingdom would continue supporting Pakistan in the post-flood operations. “Today I have been heartened to see and hear how the UK is helping millions of people in Pakistan rebuild their lives, but there is much more to do, with widespread malnutrition and the risk of disease outbreaks,” Warsi said while talking to reporters in Islamabad. The primary purpose of Warsi’s visit to Pakistan is to learn how the country is recovering, what more needs to be done, and to see how more than Rs 27.7 billion from British people is supporting the flood victims. “When I was here exactly six months ago in August at the peak of the floods with the UK International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell I saw scenes of devastation,” the British lawmaker recalled. She said that some areas of Sindh were still under water, adding that reconstruction of millions of houses, bridges and schools that were destroyed would take years…”Be Prepared, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Climate Damages, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Environmental Howzat, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Fossilised Fuels, Global Singeing, Global Warming, Green Investment, Green Power, Health Impacts, Incalculable Disaster, Major Shift, Marvellous Wonderful, Near-Natural Disaster, Neverending Disaster, Political Nightmare, Rainstorm, Regulatory Ultimatum, Screaming Panic, Social Change, Social Chaos, The Power of Intention
Posted on February 8th, 2011 No comments
Received by e-mail from Australia
18 January 2011
Thanks for this. The thoughts and prayers of […] friends are much appreciated.
Yes, the flooding across huge swathes of eastern Australia ([Queensland], [New South Wales], Victoria, Tasmania) has been terrible. The sheer scale of it is hard to comprehend. It hasn’t affected the areas of New South Wales where my family lives. We are, however, experiencing a very sticky and rainy Summer.
Three quarters of the state of Queensland, an enormous area, has been declared a disaster zone. Major population centres, including Brisbane, Bundaberg and Toowoomba have been affected, as well as various towns.
Horribly, in the Lockyer Valley, a sudden tide of water swept people to their deaths. Some 20 people have died across the state and there are still about ten missing.
The impact on farmers from the floods is severe. Mining has also been affected – including coal export – which has been talked about in the media largely without irony.
The [Queensland] Premier has announced a commission of inquiry into the disaster, and has launched a flood appeal. Emergency funding packages are being made available to people affected. A flood recovery taskforce has been established.
It has been terrible, but at the same time I have been struck throughout how relatively well equipped Australia is to cope with such circumstances – in contrast, for example, to Brazil and Pakistan.
I am also glad to see how communities come together and support each other. I pray for such coming together before – not just after – the fact in the face of the challenge of climate change.
Dozens of towns in Victoria have also been flooded. The town of Horsham, on the Wimmera River, has seen its largest ever recorded flood.
As for Queensland, emergency funding, a flood appeal, and a recovery taskforce have been established. As far as I am aware, there have as yet been no deaths in Victoria.
The Churches’ Responses
Churches across the country are offering support to flood affected communities.
To read about various appeals and statements, see :-
For an account of ecumenical cooperation, see :-
[…] might also be interested to see a flood liturgy and intercessory prayers which were written by members of the Uniting Church […] :-
The intercessory prayer says :-
We pray for all those in farms, small towns, and cities in Australia whose lives have been disrupted and whose dreams have been dashed by the floods that have devastated the country.
We pray for those who have lost their homes, their cars, their treasured possessions, their crops, their animals, and their livelihoods. It is a terrible thing to be homeless and helpless.
Be with and sustain those whose entire world has been torn apart and washed away.
Assuage their fears and be patient with their anger.
Grant them patience and hope that eventually they can rebuild their lives and start afresh.
We are grateful to the emergency flood workers and all those who were heroes in helping those in distress during the floods.
May they continue their missions of mercy.
Be with those who are caring for flood victims that their compassion and presence will be life-sustaining.
May they continue their missions of mercy.
We are thankful for those who serve others and provide us all with the inspiration to do the same.
We are sending love, peace, strength, and courage to all our brothers and sisters in Australia.
May this nightmare end shortly.
May healing begin swiftly.”
It is too soon to estimate the damage bill, and the crisis is ongoing, but I have heard figures of up to [AUD] $20 billion.
See the following article about the links between climate change and the flooding : http://www.climateactioncentre.org/floodsclimatechange.
What seems clear is that higher ocean temperatures result in increased evaporation, increasing the amount of rain in this current La Nina cycle that is affecting eastern Australia.
This flooding comes on the back of severe drought, and in the middle of a consultation process in the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan – a national plan of management for the huge Murray-Darling river system, which runs through [Queensland], [New South Wales], [Australian Capital Territory], Victoria and South Australia.
The Murray Darling Basin has been overexploited and placed under severe stress – stress that may be temporarily abated with flooding but which will inevitably return.
Peace and love,
Posted on February 1st, 2011 No comments
The key question tonight in Queensland is : how safe can we make the house before morning ?
The second key question that should tonight be asked in Queensland Australia is : are the damages from Climate Change likely to be more expensive than changing our energy sources to stop it ?
“27 January 2011 : Australia floods: PM Julia Gillard unveils new tax : Julia Gillard announces the details of the new tax : Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced a new tax to help pay for devastating floods that she says will cost A$5.6bn ($5.6bn; £3.5bn) in reconstruction. Ms Gillard said the 12-month tax, starting from 1 July, would be levied on those earning A$50,000 or more, and those affected by floods would not pay. “We should not put off to tomorrow what we are able to do today,” she said…”
“Gillard warms to permanent disaster fund : Phillip Coorey : February 1, 2011 : THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is prepared to entertain the idea of a permanent natural disaster fund if it helps win the support of key independents in both houses. But she is not prepared to bend on the details of her one-off $1.8 billion levy to help with flood reparations in Queensland. As negotiations began with independents yesterday before the legislation for the flood measures is tabled in Parliament next week, Ms Gillard would not rule out a permanent fund. ”We’re happy to have a conversation about the longer term,” she said. But the floods, she said, were ”an extraordinary circumstance which requires a response in the short term”…”Be Prepared, Big Picture, Burning Money, Carbon Commodities, Carbon Rationing, Carbon Taxatious, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Climate Damages, Cost Effective, Disturbing Trends, Energy Change, Energy Revival, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Global Warming, Green Investment, Green Power, Incalculable Disaster, Major Shift, Near-Natural Disaster, Neverending Disaster, Rainstorm, Social Chaos
Posted on January 13th, 2011 No comments
Posted on January 12th, 2011 No comments
On average, 2010 seems to have been as hot as 2005, which was probably the hottest year ever recorded, according to NOAA :-
Whatever the other datasets show, 2010 was certainly one unusually warm year, definitely in the warmest. Yet what interests me more is that it was also the wettest.
Rain got dumped around the world, in large, emptying-the-bath type events. The heavens really opened. Sheets of rain fell suddenly out of the skies.
One report of serious rainfall and flooding (or storms and flooding) was followed by another, and another. It was subjectively a year of unceasing rain, even before the objective records were counted.
There was Central America of course. And parts of deep Europe. Then Pakistan, which nobody could have missed. There were major Typhoons causing untold havoc in East Asia. The Caribbean was not spared. Parts of the United States of America became swampland.
Even though the BBC have only just woken up to the fact that the East Coast of Australia is suffering unusually high levels of precipitation, torrential rain and flooding have been going on there for at least a month :-
It’s so significant, it’s even got its own Wikipedia page :-
The BBC TV News anchormen and anchorwomen think that we can all breath a sigh of relief because the peak of the Brisbane flood wasn’t as bad as had been feared, but seriously, it’s laughable to try to find something positive about what’s happening.
Unfortunately, things could still continue to get worse, even in Brisbane.
Check the live satellite :-
Wake up, Ms and Mr BBC news correspondent ! This is a major, persisting crisis, and it’s not over yet.
Posted on October 21st, 2010 No comments
Irony alert ? “Typhoons ? They happen all the time. It’s just a little local storm. Nothing to worry about. Happens every season or so. The locals know how to read the warning signs, and head to high ground or build their huts on stilts. Power lines down ? Oh, they’ll be strung back up in no time. And the rice paddies will benefit from all that extra rain.”
Watch out China – here comes Megi :-Be Prepared, Climate Change, Climate Chaos, Disturbing Trends, Eating & Drinking, Extreme Weather, Floodstorm, Food Insecurity, Global Warming, Incalculable Disaster, Landslide, Mudslide, Neverending Disaster, Rainstorm, Screaming Panic, Social Chaos, The Data China, disaster, emergency, Flooding, Juan. Typhoon Megi, Megi, Philippines, Rain, storm, Super Typhoon, Taiwan, The Philippines, Typhoon, Typhoon Juan
Posted on October 8th, 2010 No comments
Please consider signing the ONE.org petition to the International Monetary Fund to freeze Pakistan’s national debt.
The country has been subject to a cataclysm, most likely made worse by Global Warming, which is most likely mostly caused by humankind’s fossil fuel burning, mostly caused by the actions of rich people in the West and North :-
“OVERVIEW : The sheer scale of the floods in Pakistan is staggering and the country will need all its available resources to help it recover from this crippling crisis and to fight long-term poverty. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) – the institution that oversees debt repayments – can play a key role in this. Ensuring all of Pakistan’s debt is frozen for 2 years would mean an extra $6 billion available to help those affected.”
This is how I signed :-
Dear Dominique Strauss-Kahn, IMF Managing Director,
Please help freeze Pakistan’s debt to ensure the country’s poorest people are able to recover from the devastating floods.
I believe it is an ethical and economic inevitability that, since global economic instability will continue, all debts to undeveloped nations will need to be permanently frozen or annulled.
The aid, development and emergency organisations are struggling to make their funds cover all the current needs and disasters, and the situation is being made worse by Climate Change, and will only deteriorate.
The poor are unable to pay back, and these debts therefore are becoming odious as well as untenable.
I think it would be appropriate to begin the process of recognition of this evolution by starting with Pakistan, whose people are suffering unimaginable catastrophe to their agricultural way of life, and are at high risk in the short-term of malaria, respiratory disease and water-related digestive system infections.
If you are in the United States of America, or Europe, you can afford to buy insurance against disaster. In Pakistan, you can’t, and anyway, in this case the disaster is so overwhelming, a normal risk-based financial product simply couldn’t restore the cropland, livestock, homes, public utilities and water sources for something like 20 million people.
Insurance is all about “all for one and one for all”. For Pakistan it’s too late, too impossible, for insurance.
Go on – show you’re an altruistic human and ask for Pakistan’s national debt to be frozen !
Let’s be one, and all for Pakistan.
Posted on September 19th, 2010 No comments
It just won’t stop raining violently this year. And it’s raining violently everywhere.
Typhoon Fanapi could be China’s worst storm this year :-
And in the next few days, the double-hearted spinner of Hurricanes Igor and Julia could cause some nasty downpours in the Eastern Seaboard of the United States :-
Meanwhile, in the South Pacific, “a storm the size of Australia” has just brought misery to New Zealand :-
Hurricane Karl brought storms to Mexico :-
Tornadoes hit New York City during storm :-