Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Climate Change - Living in Melbourne

The headline today: "Melbourne records its hottest March night since records began". Temperatures hovered around 29-30C for most of the night; we had a bedroom fan running all night.  It would be interesting to see what the power load was over night and what the longer term implications are for energy provision and the management of heat stress which is exacerbated when there are consistently high minimum temperatures i.e., the absence of relief from heat stress.

Asked to comment:

"Professor Will Steffan, from the Climate Council, said the heatwaves seen in south-eastern Australia “have the fingerprints of climate change all over them”.

“Without serious action on climate change, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra could all experience a doubling or tripling of days over 35C by 2070,” Steffan said.

“But Australia’s emissions continue to go up in the absence of a credible plan to meet Australia’s commitments in Paris."

We live in North Melbourne, part of Melbourne City Council which is engaged in a major tree planing program to try and ameliorate the heat island effect.  Our street is particularly affected by high temperatures and after some lobbying we have a commitment from the Council to plant trees in April - see tree guards already in place in the picture.

It is to be hoped the trees will eventually make a difference; unfortunately most of the buildings in this street were built without serious attention to standards for thermal insulation, including double glazing.  Past poor practice is bad enough but the new building - a series of units, going up at the end of our street - has some of the flimsiest construction I have ever seen.  It is just not acceptable when building standards are not in place to meet climate change impact.

Meanwhile recent analysis has shown that:

"Climate zones head south. Analysis by the Australian Grains Export Innovation Centre shows that Australia’s climate zones have moved significantly in the past 15 years. Mediterranean climate and winter dominant rainfall is contracting in a south-westerly direction, while summer dominant and neutral rainfall zones have expanded south." 

Aust _Seasonal Rainfall Zones _2000_2015_ 

Elsewhere it has been reported that:

 "Eastern Australian ecosystems are among the world’s mostly highly sensitive to climate change according to a new study published in Nature. Researchers estimated how plant growth across the world has varied with fluctuations in temperature, water availability and cloud cover and which of the three climate variables is most important for each ecosystem. Understanding vegetation responses to current climate variability will help improve predictions of future consequences of such variability on our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity, and our security and welfare." 

When will our governance systems change to become fit for purpose for the world we are already experiencing?

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