This is what climate change looks like
[Update 24:00 EST Feb 2. Can it be true? No one has been killed or seriously injured? If that holds up over the next few days it will be absolutely stunning. Kudos to Australian govt and Australians.
[Update 17:30 EST Feb 2. Yasi has moved well inland leaving devastated coastal towns and landscape behind – houses flattened, 90% of trees broken, not a leaf left on bushes. Pix here
[Update 10:30 EST Feb 2 LANDFALL: South of Cairns at the beautiful town of Mission Beach as Cat 5. This is where Cyclone Larry came ashore in 2006, the worst cyclone in 100 yrs, and destroyed much of the area. The last 1500 endangered cassowaries — large flightless bird — live in the jungles there.
[Update: 18:00 EST Feb 1- Yasi landfall expected at high tide bringing storm surge of 3-
4 9! metres propelled by 280-300 kph winds. City of Cairns in direct path. “Catastrophic” storm says Premier]
Following the recent record-breaking flooding, Queensland, Australia’s is facing yet another extreme weather event as super cyclone Yasi bears down on them. Yasi
is expected to reach has reached dangerous Category 4 5 strength, generating winds of up to 280 300 kph when it hits the Queensland state coast early on Thursday (2pm Wednesday, GMT). Yasi is a huge storm as the satellite image above shows – it is about 600-700 km diameter making it an extremely large cyclone (cover half the USA). (Latest Met service satellite imagery)
For comparison Hurricane Katrina was also very large but only about a Cat 1 or 2 on landfall based on final data from NOAA that went largely unreported. Katrina’s storm surge caused most of the damage which could be the case with Yasi. One major difference is that Queensland does not have a major city on the coast (or even a small one protected by poorly designed levees). Shockingly even a year after Katrina more than 500,000 people remained displaced.
Large areas of Queensland are still underwater or mud-covered from flooding just 2 weeks ago that caused billions of dollars in damage. It was so bad that Australians now have to pay a temporary flood damage tax to help cover the costs… And now Yasi.
Australia may need a permanent climate change disaster tax.
This is what climate change looks like – record-breaking extreme weather events. The Queensland floods nor Yasi are the direct result of climate change. However because burning fossil fuels traps more of the sun’s heat in the atmosphere the odds and strength of extreme events increase as climate science has stated for two decades now. Here is my latest article on this The Yin and Yang of Climate Extremes We Will See More of.
Climate change loads the dice in favour of extreme events. Queensland has been very unlucky lately. Help them out if you can. — Stephen