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SA’s weather has started changing

Floods don't only affect humans - a frog hitching a ride on a snake's back in Queensland

 It’s official: the weather is going to get weirder. Data compiled by the SA Weather Service shows that our regional climate has already changed and is becoming warmer and more extreme since 1960- which is when we started recording our weather.

This is what they found:
• An overall decrease in the number of frost nights in SA
• An average 0.5 degree increase in temperature
• A marked increase in the number of extreme rainfall seasons (wet and dry)

Latest cost estimates for the flooding in SA are around R580 million (Cape Times, 21 Jan 2010) And, SA is expecting even more rains over the coming months. Although scientists are unable to directly link the floods to climate change, scientists are warning that we need to adapt fast to unpredictable weather here in SA. The National Disaster Management Centre has warned that more extreme weather is expected over the coming months. Read more here  

I found this interesting summary about the recent floods happening in SA, Australia, Brazil and Sri Lanka which shows the devastation these floods have casued over the past few months on iafricanews

South Africa
Area affected:  Following floods and heavy storms, 33 municipalities in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces were declared disaster areas.
Death toll: At least 123 people have been killed (88 in KwaZulu-Natal alone).
Number displaced: Roughly 20 000.
Infrastructure damage: The government has warned that the floods may have caused as much as R160-billion worth of infrastructure damage. Preliminary estimates placed crop damage at R1-billion ($145-million) and property damage at R368-million ($52-million). At least 20 000 hectares of agricultural land have been affected. The government will not compensate farmers.
Cost: Thus far, flood damage – excluding the abovementioned infrastructure damage – has been estimated at R356-million ($51-million).

Australia
Area affected: Floods swamped an area larger than France and Germany combined in Queensland, including the capital city Brisbane. These floods were followed by floods in Victoria and flash floods in the city of Toowoomba.
Death toll: 22 dead in Queensland (35 dead since the flooding began in late November).
Number displaced: The flooding is estimated to have affected 3.1 million people across Australia. At least 70 towns were directly affected.  Three quarters of the state of Queensland was declared a disaster area.
Infrastructure damage: Damage was initially estimated at around AUS$1-billion. More than 6000 sheep were washed away during the flood and 41 hectares of crops were damaged, costing the agriculture sector as much as AUS$2-billion (very close to $2-billion) in lost production and damaged infrastructure.
Cost: In Queensland alone, the cost of recovering from the floods is estimated at up to $20-billion. The estimated reduction in Australia’s GDP is roughly AUS$30-billion.
 
Brazil
Area affected: Described as the “worst natural disaster in Brazilian history”, flooding and massive landslides wiped out entire neighbourhoods in Nova Friburgo (near Rio de Janeiro) and in Brazil’s southern Santa Catarina state. A state of emergency was declared in 33 cities.
Death toll:  At least 812 dead, with 417 missing.
Number displaced:  More than 30 000 people were left homeless.
Infrastructure damage: Although Brazil’s main export crops – soy, sugar cane, oranges, and coffee – were not badly affected by the floods, the infrastructure damage was still considerable.
Cost: Rebuilding is expected to cost at least $1.2-billion. Reconstruction of the city of Teresopolis alone is expected to exceed $298-million.
 
Sri Lanka
Area affected: Monsoon flooding and mudslides hit the island’s northern, central and eastern regions.
Death toll: At least 68 dead and 26 missing.
Number displaced: More than one million people were temporarily displaced by the floods and landslides.
Infrastructure damage: 50 500 hectares of paddy land – used to grow rice – have been devastated by the floods. The Sri Lankan government warned that this damage could result in soaring food prices.
Cost: The cost of the damage caused by the floods could amount to $500-million.

A kangaroo being rescued from the floods in Australia

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5 responses to “SA’s weather has started changing

  1. Pingback: Australia Weather

  2. this is so true. i live in sri lanka and these days it should be hot as hell. but at the moment its raining. i dont know what others are thinking but for us life as we know it is changing.

  3. Millions of years CO2 was stored in the ‘carbon sink’. Now we retrieve it and
    blow it all into the atmosphere within 100 years. And methane hydrate blow-outs happen from perma frost thawing and the ocean floors in soon dangerous quantities. More energy evaporates more ocean water which forms clouds. Through the earth rotation Eastwards, passat winds blow this humid air to the West.
    Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico are born in West Africa, similar South America where there is rain in La Paz all the time and the Atacama desert has never any rain in the West. Perth has heat waves whereas the North West has flooding. South Africa has floods in the West whereas Cape Town
    and the West Coast is hot and dry. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the other way round. In summer heatwaves in the East like Moskow region and cloudy with rain for weeks in Germany (July 2010).Brace yourself for more intense floods, heatwaves and fires.
    Melting glaciers on Greenland send every year thousands of cubic kms cold
    ‘sweet water’ into the oceans. As it is lighter than the warmer salt water traversing the Atlantic North Eastwards via the ocean conveyor, the salt water is pushed into the depth sooner every year and the conveyor (warm current) slows down and eventually turns South earlier every year.
    Remember the last two winters in the Northern Hemisphere? Blizzards in USA, London and even Madrid, Also Russia suffered in extremes (heat, fires and blizzards). The ‘Day after Tomorrow’ by Roland Emmerich is no science fiction anymore. The greenhouse effect causes a small ice age in winter. There is a high probability that the Amazone will burn down in a firestorm before 2020. In 1998 a simulation in London forecast this event by 2027 which is rather late seen as from today. This will have a similar effect as a super vulcano outbreak. This is only the core of climate change. Human suffering and habitat loss for fauna and flora will be cataclysmic.
    Facit: Best antidote for long term depressions – ignorance, watching sport events, overeat and drink as usual. The ‘point of no-return’ has passed (but that is a taboo!).

  4. Sorry, correction: South Africa’s floods happened in the East (not West)

  5. hi Lasitha, yes it seems that the weather is changing all around the world. All the more reason for us to start to cut carbon!
    Thanks Wilfred for your interesting and informative comment, although quite ‘doom and gloom’! There is still time, don’t be despondant. We can still cut our emissions to safe levels. We just need action by government, large companies and of course, all of us individuals. So, what are we all waiting for?

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