Climate Blog



Global Warming - Humans are NOT to blame

First of all I wish to reject the argument that we human beings are responsible for the warming up of the earth, as I strongly insist it is a natural occurrence since the birth of the planet.  We are going through a natural cycle and this earth is warming up and no one can deny this.

However the earth has been through cooling periods such as Ice Ages and it will occur again in the future after the warming period has peaked.  There is nothing we humans can do to stop the warming of the earth because it is part of a natural cycle.  Even if we did not clear lands, build dams and so on, and even if we try to reduce greenhouse gases, global warming will still have occurred anyway.

We humans have cleared land on the earth ever since the planet was born, and it is a natural part of the life of the earth, and it's okay to clear land as long as it is in the best interests of the environment and economy.

The governments are very correct to build dams, farms, nuke mines and roads because it is trying to contribute to the national economy and it is acting in the best interests of humans and the environment.

If rainforests and snow is the thing of the past due to global warming, so be it but they will eventually come back when the earth cools again.  Again there is nothing human beings can do to prevent the earth from warming or cooling down because the earth is designed to both warm up and to cool down.

No one can prevent floods, cyclones, droughts, bushfires or even thunderstorms of all kinds.  They have occurred since the earth was born and as much as we don't like them we cannot stop them.

I want everybody to understand that we humans cannot stop global warming or earth cooling because it is just a natural occurrence of it happening since the birth of the planet.

Cold snaps Iíve experienced

As a native North Queenslander who was born and lived in Ayr my entire lifetime, the recent and latest cold snap have really hit me very hard with a minimum temperature of 3 on Friday June 2000, the lowest I have ever felt in Ayr in my life.

However I have been in much worse cold snaps than this one. 3 years back, I went through 4 days of below zero temperatures in a row in Darling Downs and Ipswich with the lowest being minus two in late June 1997 with a rare day of snow.  I saw some sleet east of Dalby during a brief snow storm, and the maximum was only 8 degree at Toowoomba as I was travelling to Brisbane.

I wasn't prepared for it that time because I was a visitor from North Queensland visiting South Queensland, I thought "Nah don't you worry about that!" I assumed that Dalby would be as cold as Blackwater in central Queensland which would only go down to 3. I thought Central and south Queensland always share the same climate.

One day as I was walking down the street in Dalby it was 19 (warm by Dalby's standard) and it was cloudy, I was well at the time.  However someone in Dalby told me, as I saw the cloud clear she heard on the WIN Local Weather, that it would be cold as a high of 1041 developed in the Bight and two east coast lows develop east of Sydney.  Sure I knew it will get cooler, but not cold. I assumed probably 5 or 6 or at least 3 degree.

As I prepared for the night, I could feel the temperature dropping, I thought "nah, don't you worry about that. It will probably go to 3." but it got colder and colder and I could see icy dew (named frost) on grass, then I thought maybe 1 or 2 or 0.  Alas I got a shock!  Someone who I stayed with heard on radio and told me, Dalby reached minus two and Oakey reached minus five. I fell ill after the first time the temperature dropped quickly because I wasn't prepared for it.  I got the flu in Dalby, and made to stay indoors all the time.  I thought next morning it would get better, but as I prepare for that night in bed, I could feel temperature dropping again fast, I thought "Nah it would be 1 or 2."  The next morning it was bitterly cold so cold it bit me very badly, and that same lady said Dalby got minus two that morning, anyway I saw some storm clouds coming from the south that day.  That night I again have to undergo a drop in temperature but I thought the weather will get warmer next day.  Alas! The same thing happened again when the lady said Dalby was minus two, but the condition was far worse.  It started to rain when I was heading for Brisbane from Dalby after a week's stay in Dalby, when I arrived at Oakey sleet started to fall, and it was raining ice.  It was actually a light brief snow storm at Oakey and the temperature only reached 8 degree that afternoon. When the cloud cleared, I arrived at Ipswich, and that night the temperature started to fall quickly again and by next morning it was minus two at Ipswich.

I was ill that time due to lack of preparedness to handle severe cold snaps. I wasn't prepared because I thought nothing like that would happen in Queensland but it did. I thought that only cold weather came from frost before a sunny day. I was half right. Another factor in cold snaps is snow storms due to the severity of the cold snap.

Despite Queensland is the Sunshine state, where we usually get warmer winters than southern states, but cold snaps like these are also a fact of life in Queensland, so it's extremely wise to be prepared for it, no matter how odd or expected they are, otherwise it will be extremely dangerous.

Also in the Northern Territory, where I currently live, I was holidaying in Alice Springs in June 2006, and it was the coldest holiday I had ever experienced.Throughout the holiday there were no nights which were more than 2 degrees in the morning, and the lowest temperature I have ever experienced to date was minus four at Alice Springs on the 13th of June 2006.That morning the taps couldnít run because the water was too icy to flow and there was ice on cars everywhere.Yeah even in the warmest states of Queensland and the Northern Territory frosts can occur in certain places in winter.

Snow storm

My father, myself and my grandma, as North Queenslanders were holidaying in Sydney when we attended the 2000 NRL Grand final on 27th August 2000 at Stadium Australia, three weeks before the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games commenced.

We wanted to see our relatives in Blacktown, so we flew to Sydney by plane, and we holidayed in Sydney from 19th to 29th August for 10 days before flying back to Townsville.  We only stopped at Brisbane airport for a few minutes both ways.

A few days before the 2000 NRL grand final, we set out from Blacktown, a city in the western suburbs of Sydney to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains via Penrith by train, and we could see storm and low clouds hovering over the mountains to the west.  It started to rain falling as sleet and light snow before we got to Katoomba.  I could see few white icy flakes falling from the sky to the ground on the train both ways to and from Katoomba on the higher parts of the ranges.

It was a very cold, wet, unsettled and cloudy day, and when we got to Katoomba, my hands were so numb I had to buy some gloves, and we had to blow white air all day because it was so cold.  The sun did shine for a while, but the maximum air temperature was 8 degrees in the afternoon that day, the second time in my life when it failed to reach 10 degrees in a day.  We went to see the 3 sisters at Katoomba, which is part of the Blue Mountains, and by the time we got there the sun stopped shining after a short period of time, and a storm was brewing.  I was expecting to hear thunder and lightning, but it didn't happen that day much to my relief as I hated thunder and lightning anyway.  Instead we got a surprise.  It was raining ice, sleet and snow and we were standing watching the 3 sisters in the middle of the snow.

It looked like a rain shower, but it fell more heavier and thicker than rain, and it hit me hard, especially as I haven't been outdoor in a snow storm before, and it was very cold as well.  The snow soon stopped falling, but as we went to the railway station the sleet kept on falling which was lighter than before.  We walked on the street in the middle of Katoomba in the sleet as well, and there was very little warmth to get comfortable in.  Then when we were in the railway station there was a heater in the room, it was so cold the sliding door at the Katoomba railway station had to be shut and the snow started falling again, and it fell heavier and heavier, and it looked white to me.

It is a rare occasion that I have to experience since I was born in the tropics, not only did I experience the 1st snow fall for real, I got caught in the snow storm outdoors for real as well at the same time.

See Photos of the snow storm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney in the Photo Gallery

Tropical Cyclone Aivu

On Tuesday 4th April 1989, a natural disaster struck the Burdekin District.  A powerful category four tropical cyclone with winds of 250 kms, and a central pressure of 935 hpa crossed the coast near Ayr and caused a lot of damage costing millions of dollars to houses and sugar cane farms.

Tropical Cyclone 'Aivu' originated on the waters around Solomon Islands and made a straightforward southwesterly track toward the Queensland Coast.  As it approached the coast, it intensified to a system that would be very powerful for a storm to affect an area in Autumn.

When it was about to cross the coast, Tropical Cyclone 'Aivu' had the strength of that of Tropical Cyclone 'Tracy' which struck Darwin on Christmas eve 1974, only that 'Aivu' moved more straightforward, the reason there wasn't as much damage caused by 'Aivu' as was caused in Darwin by 'Tracy'.

In the Height of the storm, I stayed indoors in the middle of the house, as winds increased up to mid-morning.  By mid-morning after the winds were at it's strongest, a strange thing happened.  The winds dropped suddenly to a point where there was barely any wind, and in that period of calm, I went outdoors, and guess what?  I was in the middle of the calm period called an 'eye'.  When I saw the eye of Cyclone 'Aivu' I could see some light through the cloud from the sun, and around the eye, I could see the cloud moving very fast, pushed by the winds that were around the eye.

As the eye passed, I was told to move back indoors quickly, as the second lot of winds started to blow, and at first the winds were as strong as the winds before the eye, before gradually calming down.  Fortunately there was little damage to our house despite a cyclone passing with the strength of Cyclone 'Tracy', but iron roof sheets from a nearby car garage blew in our lawn at the back.  The winds were very noisy, and I could hear the winds hitting and howling on the roof together with rain pelting very heavily from the cyclone.

See Photos of Tropical Cyclone Aviu in the Photo Gallery

Tropical Cyclone Rachel

I was going to Darwin from Alice Springs in early 1997, and as I approached Darwin, the weather turned from sunny, dry and hot to cloudy, humid and wet.  As I neared Darwin the rain fell heavier and the winds started to blow.  Suddenly someone told me that Darwin was on a cyclone alert.  The next morning Cyclone 'Rachel' formed near Darwin, and blew winds of 120 km / h and it was raining and windy for the most of the day.  The only damage left was trees fallen on the grounds, branches of trees, and so on.

Tropical Cyclone Ingrid

A very intense tropical cyclone called Tropical Cyclone Ingrid played havoc with the weather in Darwin, Northern Territory, where I now live.  It originated on the waters off North Queensland, intensified to a Cat 5 system off Cooktown, Queensland and went across the cape as a weakened cyclone and then came across the gulf and the NT northern coast and re-intensified in a Cat 5 storm.  At the time of writing it is believed to be going out to sea.  Thanks god!

While it did not do any damage in Darwin, it gave me the fright of my life.  It brought back memories of Tropical Cyclone Aviu which hit Ayr as a Cat 4 storm.

On the day on March 12 I was with friends in the northern suburbs of Darwin near where I live where I suddenly got caught in a very vicious electrical storm, and it was full of cloud to ground lightning (very bright thick bolts of lightning) in the western tail of Tropical Cyclone Ingrid and a lot of loud thunder, although the core of the cyclone was about 450 kms east of Darwin, moving along the coast of the Northern Territory.

The electrical storm associated with the cyclone's western tail in Darwin's north brought back memories of myself seeing cloud to ground lightning (a lot of it) in a electrical storm near Bowen, Queensland, and it was the worst cloud to ground lightning storm I have seen for nearly 30 years.

I found out it was a very tense waiting game preparing for a Cat 5 storm and it was a very frightening experience.  I am used to preparing for Cat 1 to 4 storms but not Cat 5 storms, and Ingrid made history, it was the 1st Cat 5 storm I was threatened with.

Thankfully Ingrid was not as destructive as Aviu was, but if I was asked which was the most threatening cyclone I have ever been associated with, Ingrid takes the prize.

Smaller Tropical Cyclones

I have been through other cyclones albeit smaller ones, mostly in the Burdekin.One of them, Tropical Cyclone Ita was one of the most lightning active cyclones I have ever seen, when it was full of lightning and thunder.Justin and Charlie was more watery cyclones which brought flood rains to the Burdekin.

Facts on Tropical Cyclones

Tropical cyclones are not a nice experience, but that's something we have to accept while living in the tropics.  Cyclones usually originate and hit the coasts 25 to 30 degrees from the equator on both sides, and the waters must be around 26 degrees or more before a cyclone develops, and usually they develop between December and March.  Tropical Cyclone 'Aivu' which hit the Burdekin in April was a rare event, so powerful for a system in Autumn which made the event ever more rarer.

Cyclones vary in structure, direction, strength and sizes, but they have something in common.  All originate from tropical waters each wet season, and while we might not like them they are a part of the tropical climate.  Cyclones are different to southern east, south and west coast lows which affect the New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and south Western Australian coasts, because they can move in any direction and hit at any time.  Also cyclones have a more circular cloud mass around the eye than the cloud mass and structure of a southern east, south and west coast low.  Sometimes a tropical cyclone which originated from tropical waters, and which moves south towards polar waters, eventually becomes a east coast,  or a west coast low if it is moving on the ocean toward the south.

William Walker