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Australia Fires Update

Bushfire PageThe ABC reports on the current situation: NSW fire crews prepare for horror day

The Rural Fire Service has used improved weather conditions overnight to attempt to bring a fire threatening the townships of Kandos and Rylstone in central-west NSW under control.

The fire, fanned by strong winds, came within 8 kilometres of the townships.

But firefighters will be given no reprieve with weather conditions expected to deteriorate today with winds and high temperatures forecast.

Overnight 70 fires were burning across the State, mostly in remote and inaccessible terrain in the Blue Mountains the Hawkesbury region and northern areas.

Much of New South Wales is expected to get above 40 degrees, with winds gusting at up to 60 kilometres an hour forecast.

First some background: November in Australia is like May in the US, so temperatures above 96° F [40° C] are decidedly not normal for an area that corresponds to Virginia in the US. This is the end of their Spring, and New South Wales is the coldest area of the country. This is where the ski resorts are.

Update: From comments Australian climatic zones to help you see what’s going on.


1 Kryten42 { 11.21.09 at 5:38 pm }

Yeah, it’s pretty bad. It’s cooled here in Vic and is raining with gale force winds. Looks like the back fence is going to come down. *shrug* It’s expected to heat up again tomorrow.

Half of the ski resorts are in NSW, the other half are in Victoria (roughly). 🙂 Even Tasmania, which is the furthest South part of Australia (not counting our Antarctic territories) has been very hot. This heatwave probably isn’t doing the Antarctic any good. 🙂

Here’s a map of Australia’s climate zones that might help understand better. 🙂

Australian climatic zones

2 Bryan { 11.21.09 at 9:28 pm }

Thanks for the climate zone map. Most people have a hard thinking in terms of it gets colder the further South you go.

The North Coast will probably get an active typhoon season with the water as warm as it is. Another bad year top to bottom.

3 Kryten42 { 11.21.09 at 10:29 pm }

No problem, I understand. I have the same issues thinking Northern hemisphere. 😉

Something you may find interesting, on that map you see the SW most tip of Tasmania, a place called Cape Grim. I worked there many years ago installing and configuring computer systems. I was there about 3 weeks. Another name for it is unofficially ‘Shipwreck Cove’ (hence the name Cape Grim. It was a sailors nightmare a century ago, and still is actually). Anyway… the air and water there are said to be about the purest in the World! BOM & CSIRO set up a baseline weather station there (hence teh computer systems). I found a link on that BOM site, thought you might be interested. 🙂

Cape Grim Baseline Air Pollution Station

It’s also where CSIRO have their atmospheric research station. And *GREAT* seafood!!! Mmmmmm… 😆

BTW, since the station began operation in ’76, they have measured a 10% increase in carbon dioxide. No wonder it’s hitting the 40’s in Nov, El Niño not withstanding (we’ve had many El Niño events, 25 or so since 1900, and I never heard of it hitting 43C in Melb in Nov!)

Here’s another BOM page showing the effects of El Niño & La Niña:

Australian rainfall patterns during El Niño and La Niña events

4 Kryten42 { 11.21.09 at 10:34 pm }

I just found a cool site with a graphic and good explanation of El Niño and La Niña, from NOAA. I thought some people here might be interested. 🙂

NWS JetStream – Effects of ENSO in the Pacific

A picture IS worth a thousand words! 😉

5 Bryan { 11.21.09 at 11:24 pm }

One of my clients in California did a survey for windpower on Tasmania in the mid-1980s. We parted ways before any final decisions were made, but they were already dealing with green energy generation issues that long ago. He was a Canadian and the equipment was from Scandinavia. I did some number crunching for the project and it looked really good, fairly consistent in the standard generation range for the equipment that was proposed.

The Southern Ocean is not for amateurs and there aren’t that many professionals that want to deal with it either.

6 Kryten42 { 11.23.09 at 9:03 pm }

Oh yes!! Bass Strait is definitely not for the foolhardy or faint hearted! Over a hundred shipwrecks have happened between Vic & Tas since about the 1870’s.

Heres an up-to-date (though a bit boring) text list:
SHIPWRECKS OF VICTORIA – including Great Ocean Road and Gippsland.

Here is an illustrated article someone put up about shipwrecks off King Island (One of my most FAVE places in this Galaxy!) 😉
The Shipwrecks of King Island in Bass Strait

I keep telling people… Australia is a very dangerous and unforgiving place! Don’t mess with the Aussies! We are used to harsh conditions and love danger. 😆 😉

7 Bryan { 11.23.09 at 11:30 pm }

I was just reading about the guy who tried to stop “Skippy” from drowning his dog and got sliced with a kick to the stomach.

It seems like if it isn’t poisonous, it can open you up with a horn, a claw, or teeth, and you actually sell vegamite to people as food. Now that’s pretty nasty.

Given the general conditions, you have to wonder how you can have an overpopulation of rabbits, unless they’re learning kung-fu in their warrens.

The Florida Strait, between Cuba and Florida, can get nasty, depending on the tide flow in the Gulf of Mexico, but the waters South of Australia are no place for taking a nap or trying autopilot. You can get a highspeed run on sail down there, but things can go wrong quickly. That area seems to eat a lot of round-the-world contestants. I have a friend who is a sailing fanatic, and that is the only area I have ever heard him say he has no interest in trying. He is not exactly sane when it comes to sailing, so I assume it is very bad news.

8 Kryten42 { 11.26.09 at 12:28 am }

I was just reading about the guy who tried to stop “Skippy” from drowning his dog and got sliced with a kick to the stomach.

oh yes! I’ve seen what a pissed off ‘roo can to to a man. many years ago, when I was camping with my Uncle (we used to fish and hunt back then), we were just preparing to cook the fish we’d caught just as the sun was setting, and we heard a commotion and a man scream from the nearby valley. We grabbed our rifles and took off… When we got to the ridge in the fading light, we saw a big male red roo grab a guy with it’s forepaws on the guy’s shoulders, then rear up on it’s tail and shred his chest with it’s powerful hind legs. I was about to shoot and my uncle stopped me, the ‘roo was moving off up the valley pretty fast and we lost it in seconds in the rocks and scrub. We figured the guy had gone to take some happy snaps of a family of roos that were known to live up the valley. His camera was found and the film processed, and the last photo was a flash photo of the roo’s really close and right in the face of the alpha male. There were signs posted NOT to go near the roo’s in the area, especially at night. They *WILL* defend their families. It was a stupid thing to do, he was a tourist apparently. Tourists who go out of the cities here, and don’t take the rules seriously, or use common sense, often end up in need of a doctor or dead. The guy’s family wanted us to hunt and kill the roos, but that wasn’t going to happen. Life is a bitch, and stupidity is it’s own reward in this harsh land. People like that should stay at the tourist resorts.

The guy trying to save his dog was very lucky. A big male roo would have killed him easily. I’ve traveled extensively around Aus, and I’ve never had problems that could easily have been avoided (That’s not to say I never got into trouble. You travel a big country long enough, and you’re bound to have problems. But you prepare for them and deal with them.) I’ve never been bitten by a snake, though I have seen a lot of them.

Most people quote the adage “You live and you learn”, but that’s ass-backwards and stupid IMHO! You learn, and you live. 🙂

Most of the rabbits here now have myxomatosis. Even the foxes and dingoes mostly leave them alone. 😉

I had to laugh while surfing the ‘net last night! I came across a blog that had a photo of a rather well endowed young lady wearing a T-shirt (and a big grin) that said “Not Everything is Flat in Florida”! LOL She was obviously proud of the fact too. 😉

9 Bryan { 11.26.09 at 5:00 pm }

I live the “mountainous” part of Florida. The highest point in the state, all 345 feet of it, is North-Northeast of me near the Alabama border. Actually, at some point there was a lot more of Florida as there are archaeological sites 100 meters out in the Gulf that have been discovered when people were looking for shipwrecks. They probably date back to the Ice Age.

Actually, that should be “If you live, you learn” in most places. It’s nice to know that someone finally tested “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. For some time when I had food poisoning I felt death was surely a better option, and I don’t remember feeling well, much less stronger, for quite a long time afterwards.

Feral animals are called feral for a reason, be they kangaroos or cats. They are not your friends, and you should exercise caution.