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Good News And Bad News

While the number of fires still burning has been reduced to 8 and real progress is being made in containing them as the weather cooperates, Australian Broadcasting tells us: Victoria ‘could face worse fire danger next summer’

An expert in climate modelling says next summer could see even higher fire dangers for Victoria due to extreme temperatures.

It has been predicted that an El Nino climate event could hit Australia this year, causing higher than usual temperatures across the country.

Professor Roger Stone from the University of Southern Queensland has told ABC Radio’s AM program the added risk highlights the need for a risk-management approach.

“There’s probably about a 60 per cent chance of an El Nino developing mid-winter, and if that happens that will exacerbate the whole drought and therefore fire situation over a lot of Australia, not just Victoria,’ he said.

El Niño conditions in the Pacific affect Gulf Coast weather as well, so I watch for them to develop. With all of the shifts that are taking place, the presence of this huge patch of warm water in the Pacific is not good news for a quiet life.

Even more disturbing, if I lived in Australia, would be the last paragraph in the article:

Premier John Brumby says he is expecting an interim report from the Commission later this year ahead of its final report by July 2010.

Great, the report that is going to tell the government what the problems were for this fire season is not going to be released until after the next fire season. I know that things take time, but government need to prepare now for the next fire season, not wait.  It is never a good idea to give government an excuse to stall or put off action.  The longer you wait the more expensive it will be, and people want to rebuild their lives now, so they need some direction.


1 Kryten42 { 02.16.09 at 2:17 am }

The interim report is due in August (which considering the scope, is pretty short).

Ahhhh… ‘Risk Management’ 🙂 Isn’t that a lovely phrase? 🙂 As an engineer and project manager on several projects, I know what that *actually* means. 🙂 To any senior exec (whether holding public or private office) it means ‘Cover my ass and to hell with anyone else’. 🙂

Same old, same old… nothing changes. Hang a few of them, and don’t stop until the rest learn. That would minimize the public risk in no time. IMHO, the fewer greedy, ignorant, myopic, self-absorbed exec’s around, the lower the risk.

Simple really. 😉 LOL

2 cookie jill { 02.16.09 at 9:39 am }

You’ve been covering both extremes of the spectrum….fire (australia) and ice (alaska.)

3 Bryan { 02.16.09 at 1:13 pm }

The most effective manager I ever knew was Colonel Ratto on Shemya. He stayed out of the way and provided a lot of good food. He really didn’t get involved with what we were doing, but gave us what we needed that was within his power [and some that, technically, weren’t]. That’s management you can believe in. Given that he had to balance SAC, the Alaskan Air Command, 15th Air Force, and USAFSS/NSA, that was quite a performance. The key was that he had to do everything, there was no way to shift things because there was no staff to speak of.

It would be nice if they could simply the command lines when there was a major event so that everyone knew who to connect to without all of the layers that a political system creates. Everyone in one place, reachable in one call, so that things can be coordinated ASAP and resources allocated.

Obviously communication with the people affected need to be improved, and that will cost money so the politicians have to be involved, but that has to happen now so people don’t forget why it’s being done. Waiting too long to take action removes the pressure to do it.

Actually, it is warmer at both extremes, Jill. Not only were the fires triggered in part by higher than normal temperatures, the Yukon Quest trail has been affected by higher than normal temperatures. Sled Dog races may have to shift dates to get the cold conditions required. The dogs can’t run if it gets too warm because the effort generates too much heat. They can get heat related problems at 30° and that happened in last year’s Iditarod with some of the teams that were raised in the deep interior cold. You may see teams racing only at night to get colder temperatures.

4 LadyMin { 02.16.09 at 1:37 pm }

While most of the planet seems to be negatively affected by the El Nino, here in the Midwestern US we see warmer winters with less snow. I didn’t realize until recently that it caused such havoc with the climate everywhere else. I suppose this is a good preview of what global warming will bring.

LadyMin´s last blog post..I Love Red Flowers

5 Bryan { 02.16.09 at 4:12 pm }

It is a real example of why this is “climate change” and just warming. Essentially it disturbs the major currents in the atmosphere, so that the weather systems that form go to different areas.

We are getting weather and rain that belongs North of us in the Winter. This creates a problem for the Midwest because it is providing the moisture for the big snow falls by sucking water from the Gulf. The jet as moved further South than normal.

The El Niño normally moves that jet further North which is why we get more hurricanes, but you get milder weather.