It seems like it never stops raining in summer in Queensland these days. Hard to believe that only a couple of years ago we were worrying that our dams would never be full again. Something to thank global warming for, or is it?
It’s been some years since I looked at any rainfall charts, but I did again yesterday and was startled to find that since the 1940s, when the IPCC believes that CO2 became significant as a forcing, there has been quite a substantial increase in Australian rainfall.
How did the “experts” get it so wrong? Well there are a couple of explanations. One is that the average (I have overlaid a 15 year running average on the data courtesy of the BOM) looked like it was trending down or flattening out for a while, and is trending up again now because of a couple of exceptional years (of which there have been more since the 70s, than before).
The other is that they claimed that the increase in rain was only occurring in the northern half of Australia.
This too is now obviously wrong as this graph for rainfall in Southern Australia shows.
It’s not as dramatic, but the increase in rainfall since CO2 became significant is inarguable.
The only place where rainfall is declining is south western Australia, although the decline predates the 40s.
I was prompted to write this post by the daughter of a friend who confidently assured me that global warming was causing more droughts, and this was a double problem because the world also faced huge population pressures.
When presented with the empirical evidence that, at least in Australia, this was wrong, I was told that “Ms P (her teacher) had done a lot of study in this area, so must be right…” and that she didn’t want to be confused for her exam and lose marks.
I note that Julia Gillard has launched a back to basics reading blitz campaign in schools. All well and good, but the problem lies a lot deeper than that. While teachers like Ms P remain inured to the facts and demand adherence to orthodoxy, rather than intellectual exploration, as the price for passing exams, Australia’s education system is going to continue to lurch down the education league tables.
Ms P has also set an assignment task – to compare the severity of the problems that global warming brings. On the evidence above it would be more appropriate to tally up the costs and the benefits. A wetter Australia can’t be a bad thing.