Sunday :: Jan 2, 2011

Massive Floods in Queensland, Australia

by Mary

A new severe thunderstorm threatens Queensland, Australia, which is already suffering massive floods. Queensland, an area as large as France and Germany, is experiencing an extreme weather event some are calling 'biblical'. Floodwaters in some areas are as deep as 30 feet.

Australia’s Queensland state is tackling floods that have cut off towns and shut down mines as further heavy rain is forecast to fall on affected regions in the center of the nation’s third-most populous state.

“Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, very heavy rainfall, flash flooding and large hailstones,” the Bureau of Meteorology said on its website. Rockhampton, home to more than 75,000 people about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of the state capital, Brisbane, is cut off from road, rail and air links as the nearby Fitzroy river swells.

Towns across Queensland in Australia’s northeast have been evacuated as flooding spreads over an area the size of France and Germany combined. The disaster, which has affected 200,000 people, is of “biblical proportions” with the state facing the cost of rebuilding damaged infrastructure and the loss of income from mining and tourism, Treasurer Andrew Fraser said.

Combining torrential rain with the season's typhoons, this event can be added to the other extreme weather events that are undoubtedly markers for an increasingly unstable climate.

As Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained it, “there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”

Mary :: 9:19 AM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!