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Published on April 7, 2008

Author: Laurence

Source: authorstream.com

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The issue: Pollution is heating the planet :  The issue: Pollution is heating the planet Background The overwhelming majority of scientists believe that the earth’s climate is changing because of the human induced output of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These impacts have the potential to cause major changes in the way we live and behave To reduce the output of greenhouse gases we will have to change the way we use our resources and the way we behave Climate Change, Fire and Flood:  Climate Change, Fire and Flood Climate Change in Victoria The greenhouse effect :  The greenhouse effect Carbon dioxide, methane and other gases trap some of the sun’s energy in the earth’s atmosphere. If they weren’t here the earth would be 30 degrees cooler However, burning of fossil fuels, intensive agriculture and land clearing, are causing greenhouse gas concentrations to rise above natural levels, further heating the planet. Increased concentrations of these gases in the atmosphere will increase global temperatures which will in turn change our climate worldwide. IPCC Conclusion ?:  IPCC Conclusion ? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which advises the United Nations, concluded that: Climate change has accelerated in recent decades, and that most of the warming over the past 50 years is attributable to the increase in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. IPCC Report (2007) Some facts :  Some facts The earth’s diameter is 12,742 km By mass, 50% of the earth’s atmosphere is below an altitude of 5.6 km . 90% of the atmosphere is below an altitude of 16 km. Relative to the size of the earth, there isn’t much atmosphere Australians are each putting 27.5 tonnes of CO 2 into the atmosphere each year Earth Lights (NASA 2007):  Earth Lights (NASA 2007) Earth’s population is 6.6 Billion 7 billion tonnes emitted each year through combustion of fossil fuels 1-2 billion tonnes emitted per year from land clearing (CSIRO 2007). Relationship between CO 2. weather and climate:  Relationship between CO 2. weather and climate Ocean temperatures and currents have a major impact on the earth’s weather. Rising global temperatures will increase weather events such as El Nino Rising global temperatures may induce unwanted events such as El Nino:  Rising global temperatures may induce unwanted events such as El Nino Slide9:  Changes in Carbon Dioxide Levels Link of temperature to CO2 level:  Link of temperature to CO2 level Global trends in temperature and rainfall :  Global trends in temperature and rainfall The Earth’s surface has warmed about 0.6 degrees in the past 100 years, with the 10 warmest years all occurring since 1990. Other evidence of global warming includes more heatwaves, warming of the oceans and lower atmosphere, less snow, and glacial retreat. Slide13:  Temperature Trends In Australia Since middle of the 20th century, Australian temperatures have, on average, risen by about 1°C Rainfall Trends in Australia :  Rainfall Trends in Australia In Northwest there has been an increase in rainfall over the last 50 years. Much of eastern Australia and the far southwest have experienced a decline (BoM 2007) Global Sea Level Predictions:  Global Sea Level Predictions Sea levels increase 10-20 mm last century and are predicted to rise 9-88 cm by 2100 -if we don’t reduce emissions Victoria’s Climate Change Predictions :  Victoria’s Climate Change Predictions The latest findings for Victoria from CSIRO indicate that by 2070: Victoria is likely to be 0.8 to 5.0°C warmer that it was in 1990 Up to three times more hot days above (+35ºC) in some areas Much of the state likely to be frost-free Rainfall decreases are likely. +10% to -25% in most southern and eastern regions, and +10% to -40% in most northern regions Extreme daily rainfall events may become more intense and more frequent in many regions Weather conditions conducive to bushfire will increase Droughts may become more frequent and more intense. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Future climate Future climate in the West Gippsland region is expected to be warmer and drier than it is presently. Temperature Annual warming of 0.2 to 1.4ºC by 2030 and 0.7 to 4.3ºC by 2070. Seasonal warming for the region is expected to increase: By 2030 it is expected that the number of hot days (over 35ºC) will increase by 10 to 100% and by 2070 the number will increase by 30 to 400%. With climate change, there will be a substantial reduction in the number of frosts by 2030 and a possible loss of all frost by 2070. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Temperature Annual warming of 0.2 to 1.4ºC by 2030 and 0.7 to 4.3ºC by 2070. Seasonal warming for the region is expected to increase: By 2030 it is expected that the number of hot days (over 35ºC) will increase by 10 to 100% and by 2070 the number will increase by 30 to 400%. With climate change, there will be a substantial reduction in the number of frosts by 2030 and a possible loss of all frost by 2070. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Precipitation Rainfall in spring, autumn and winter is likely to decrease, however these decreases will likely be strongest in the spring. Annual precipitation decreases are likely - changes of +3% to -10% by 2030 and +10 to -25% by 2070. Areas which experience natural snow cover in Victoria will decrease by 10 to 39% by 2020 and 22 to 85% by 2050. Decreases in snow depth and duration of the snow season will be greatest at lower elevation alpine areas. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Humidity and solar radiation With climate change, humidity is expected to decrease over most of Victoria. In summer and autumn, decreases of up to 3% by 2030 and 9% by 2070 are projected, with larger and more widespread decreases occurring in winter and spring. By 2090, the cloud cover is expected to decrease by 2 to 4% in summer and 4 to 6% in winter. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Water catchments and stream flow Potential evaporation is expected to increase by 2 to 8% per degree of global warming. Runoff in the La Trobe River is estimated to decrease by 0 to 20% by 2030 and by 5% to more than 25% by 2070. (Due to limitations in the model used to generate these projections, very large changes cannot be accurately quantified, therefore the upper range of projections for 2070 is uncertain) Runoff in the Thomson River is estimated to decrease by 0 to 25% by 2030 and by 5% to more than 25% by 2070. Soils are likely to be drier, even if the amount of rain received does increase. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Extreme events Extreme heavy rainfall events may be more intense. Hotter, drier conditions will increase bushfire risk - for Sale, the number of days where the Forest Fire Danger Index (FFDI) is in the extreme or very high category is expected to increase by 16 to 61% by 2050. Similarly, the number of days where the Grass Fire Danger Index (GFDI) is in the extreme or very high category is expected to increase by 9 to 30% by 2050. Droughts are likely to become more frequent and longer in duration, particularly in winter-spring. Dry conditions that currently occur on average one in every five years in winter-spring) may increase up to one in three years by 2030. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Wind Winds are likely to intensify in coastal regions of Victoria, particularly in winter as a result of more intense low pressure systems. Low pressure systems off the east coast of Australia may become more frequent. Sea level Sea level rise of 7 to 55cm by 2070 (0.8 to 8.0cm per decade by 2100). Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Climate change impacts Primary production Identified areas of risk for the region include: grazing and horticulture are likely to benefit from higher carbon dioxide concentrations, but these gains may be offset by the effect of higher temperatures - an overall negative impact on production is more likely is substantial rainfall decreases accompany the warming likely reductions in water available for irrigation will also impact on dairy farming and irrigated agriculture in the region warmer temperatures will also increase risk of heat stress in dairy cattle, reducing milk production, unless management measures such as shade sheds and other cooling measures are adopted warming is likely to increase opportunities for cool climate viticulture in the South Gippsland hills. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Water resource management Victoria's water resources are likely to become increasingly vulnerable to climate change. The need to use water more efficiently will be increased by climate change. While demand for water can be expected to increase as a result of warmer temperatures and increased evaporation, this does not take into account possible offsetting impacts of increases in seasonal rainfall patterns. Water quality may also be impacted by climate change, including, water temperature, carbon dioxide concentration, the number and types of organisms, transportation of water sediment and chemicals, and the volume of water flow. Decreases in stream flow, impacts on coastal underground water and intertidal habitats, and increased salinity will be critical issues for water supply and management as well as natural resource management. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Biodiversity The changes to West Gippsland’s climate outlined above will have significant effects on biodiversity, including: the Wilson’s Promontory bioregion is an extremely important refuge for southern Victorian flora and fauna plains vegetation is highly fragmented and the impacts of climate change on these areas is poorly understood Gippsland’s coastal areas are extremely important as a source of and a mainland refuge for the marine biodiversity of cooler southern waters and for fisheries estuarine ecosystems and wetlands, including the Gippsland Lakes, will be threatened by sea level rise, changes to salinity and potential loss of vegetation on the coastal fringe migration of plants and animals (up slope and southward). It is probable that climate change is already affecting Victoria’s plants and animals, but further research is needed to better identify the effects of climate change on biodiversity. Many of Victoria's ecosystems have a limited ability to adapt to climate change. Those restricted to small geographic areas, or unable to migrate fast enough to keep pace with shifting climatic zones, will be particularly vulnerable. However, some ecosystems and species will be advantaged or unaffected by climate change. Ecosystems and species will respond directly to changing climate conditions, but at the same time will have to cope with and adapt to other climate-induced changes in land use and changes in pests and diseases, particularly invasions by introduced species. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Coasts Climate change will impact on Victoria's coastal areas through sea-level rise, increased temperatures and changing storm patterns. Although the exact nature of impacts is difficult to predict, many natural systems, including estuaries, coastal vegetation, wetlands and reefs are likely to have difficulty adapting to climate change and may become increasingly vulnerable. Current settlement and development trends in coastal areas are likely to lead to greater community risk and insurance exposure to current and future hazards. The eastern coastline of Victoria contains large regions of dunes topography that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Greater erosion due to increasing sea levels and possibly more intense storms may make dune increasingly mobile. Low-lying wetlands will be vulnerable to more frequent inundation due to sea level rise, storm surges and possibly more extreme run-off events. Climate Change – West Gippsland:  Climate Change – West Gippsland Alpine areas Some important areas of the Victorian alpine environment lie within the northern areas of the region, with the most significant of these being the Mt Baw Baw plateau. The Alps’ habitat is important to unique communities of plants and animal species, many of which are already threatened or endangered – for example the Baw Baw frog of the alpine wet heathlands of Mt Baw Baw. Species whose habitat is located in the highest elevations and the coldest environments will have nowhere to retreat to as the climate warms, and will therefore be threatened with extinction. Australian alpine ecosystems and species are highly adapted to their environment and are extremely sensitive to changes in climate. Decreasing snow cover, increasing risk of fire and invasion by weeds and other species will also have an impact. The alpine resort of Mt Baw Baw is also a key economic driver for surrounding communities, and will be affected by reduced natural snow cover as a result of climate change. CSIRO research indicates that the average duration of natural snow cover at Mt Baw Baw will reduce from it current 80 days on average to 30 to 70 days by 2020, and 0 to 50 days by 2050. Global Economics -Stern Report :  Global Economics -Stern Report United Kingdom released the Stern Review on the economics of climate change. The review, authored by Sir Nicholas Stern head of the UK Government Economic Service, is the most comprehensive account of the economics of climate change ever published. The review concludes that unabated climate change risks raising average global temperatures by over 5°C from pre-industrial levels, transforming both the plant’s human and physical geography. Stern concludes that unabated climate change would cost at least 5%, and up to 20%, of global GDP annually. In contrast, the costs of mitigation activities could be limited to 1% of global GDP annually. Stern Report :  Stern Report There is still time to act to avoid worst impacts if we act now The longer we wait the more it will cost to act Climate change will have a serious impact on growth and development The costs of stabilising the climate are significant but manageable; delay would be dangerous and much more costly A range of options exist to cut emissions; strong deliberate policy action is required motivate their take-up Need international approach which need not cap the aspirations of developing nations Equity issues:  Equity issues Stern report : The impacts of climate change are not evenly distributed – the poorest countries will suffer the earliest and the most. When the damages appear it will be too late to reverse the process. Thus we are forced to look a long way ahead Equity issues:  Equity issues The State Government’s Approach:  The State Government’s Approach State has set target to reduce CO2 emissions to 60% of 2002 levels by 2070 Electricity generation highest emitter of CO2 followed by transport and agriculture Victorian Greenhouse Strategy has been put in place to tackle the issue The broad strategy is: Adapt to inevitable climate change Head off avoidable future climate change by : Increasing the efficient use of energy Use more renewable energy Fix carbon (eg forests, carbon sequestration of gases from coal production The State Government’s Approach:  The State Government’s Approach The broad strategy is: Adapt to inevitable climate change Head off avoidable future climate change by : Increasing the efficient use of energy Use more renewable energy Fix carbon (eg forests, carbon sequestration of gases from coal production Some of the State Government’s Programs:  Some of the State Government’s Programs Working with business and householders to reduce waste; adopt energy efficient appliances and to use more renewable energy Research into the sequestration of CO2 from coal driven energy sources Support for introducing coal drying technology into the state’s coal mines Changes in building codes and environmental effects statements The State Government’s Programs :  The State Government’s Programs Support for national emissions trading system Support for disclosure of carbon emissions from big emitters – pre cursor to trading system Working with Victoria’s automotive industry to increase the use of renewable fuels and to produce green and internationally competitive cars Waste management programs to reduce overall waste Use of greenhouse gases from waste and land fills The State Government’s Programs:  The State Government’s Programs Improved public transport focusing on use of renewable fuels, better transport planning and urban development Support for local government to adopt increased energy efficiency and to lead the community to do the same Working with the finance and superannuation industries to focusing investment in greener industries Government leading by buying greener products and adopting more energy efficient processes Research into climate change What can you do today:  What can you do today If you want to do something now go to our DSE external website Use less hot water Switch to green power Minimise energy used for lighting Choose energy efficient appliances 5. Reduce household waste 6. Use public transport, carpool of walk 7. Choose a fuel efficient car 8. Stop use of standby power 9. Install programmable thermostat for your air conditioning 10. Draft proof your house The Great Divide Fires 2006/7:  The Great Divide Fires 2006/7 Q. Are we already in a changed situation, IPCC conclusion would suggest the events may not be unusual but would be the type of environment we may need to live in. Slide40:  Fire (s) commenced - 1 December 2006 Fire contained - 7 February 2007 (69 days) Fire size 1,116,408 ha (677,782 - Gippsland) IFACC locations (Benalla/Traralgon) IMT Locations NE - Mansfield, Benalla, Ovens Gipps - Erica, Heyfield, Bairnsdale, Swifts Ck Firefighting agencies involved Victoria - DSE, CFA, PV, DPI, VF Interstate - SA, NSW, WA, QLD, NT International - USA, Canada, NZ 2007 Fire Statistics Drought then Flood:  Drought then Flood Effect of drought on fire - For the past 10 years, the south-eastern portion of Australia, including Victoria, has been subjected a severe drought, including record low levels of rainfall over extended periods for both winter and summer periods. Exceptionally low soil moisture levels and very dry, elevated fuels resulted in the 2006/2007 Great Divide Complex wildfires extending over an area of approximately 1 million hectares over a 2-month period. Effect of fire on “run-off - The severity of the drought, combined with the intensity and extent of the Great Divide Fire clearly contributed to the seriousness of the recent floods and extent of soil erosion. Whole sub catchments in the headwaters of the Macalister, Thomson, Wellington and Mitchell rivers were left with little protective vegetative cover, and with only 4 months of recovery time for native vegetation to recover from fire, considerable areas of bare ground were subject to extensive erosion. Slide42:  Area burnt in 2003 and 2007 fires Fire Statistics - Gippsland:  Fire Statistics - Gippsland 78 fires suppressed in Gippsland in same period Fire Size - 677,782 ha Fire perimeter - 850 km Firefighters involved - > 7500 Machinery at peak - 150 Helicopters at peak - 13 helis(3H, 4M, 6L) Fixed wing at peak - 4 firebombers, 4 recce planes Fire Statistics - Community:  Fire Statistics - Community Public Meetings - 203 involving 16,965 people Community affected 385 farms assessed 28 farms with stock losses 50 farms with urgent needs 39 farms with crown boundary fencing losses Losses 15 houses, 12 woolsheds, 142 misc buildings, 133 kms crown boundary, 439 km boundary, 252 km internal fencing, 1475 stock (incl 372 sheep, 809 cattle,27 goats,122 poultry) 19859 ssbe hay,8856 ha pasture lost 174 ha field crop, 237 ha horticulture Slide45:  DSE DVD on The Great Divide Fires 2006/2007 DVD of fire bomber at Work in the Cowwarr Area During the 2006/2207 fires Fire Statistics Fire Damage:  Fire Damage Log Crossings Slide47:  Fire Damage Fill Batter Road Surface Gippsland Floods - 1998 Flood East Gippsland:  Gippsland Floods - 1998 Flood East Gippsland Historical Flood Information - Gippsland 1998 In June 1998 heavy rainfall in the vicinity of 284.6mm in 24hrs at Club Terrace, East Gippsland resulted in heavy flooding in the Lakes Entrance area. The rainfall was largely confined to the catchments of the Tambo, Nicholson, Mitchell, Thomson and Latrobe rivers. The rain was caused by the development of an intense low pressure system near the coast of New South Wales which moved south along the coast from NSW into the East Gippsland region1. Research found that streamflows from eastern rivers dominated Gippsland inflows over the course of this event, contributing a combined flow of 320,000 ML/day2. DPI recorded losses: No. Properties with damage 1,483 Buildings Damaged Or Lost 319 Stock Losses 40,725 Fencing lost (boundary) (Km) 569 Area damaged (Ha) 18,477 Hay Lost (SBE) 39,189 1998 Flood – Omeo Area:  1998 Flood – Omeo Area Soil erosion Omeo area Full flood – exposed hillsides were vulnerable in the heavy rainstorms Gippsland - 2007 Flood:  Gippsland - 2007 Flood Cause of the Flood Situation A large easterly cold front on Wednesday 27 June caused major flooding in the Gippsland region. All river catchments in Gippsland were affected including Latrobe, Traralgon, Thomson, Macalister, Avon, Mitchell, Tambo, Snowy and Far East. Rainfall for the 48 hours until 09:00 on 28 June was in the range of 100 – 200 mm across Central and East Gippsland in the river catchments of the Latrobe, Thomson, Macalister, Avon, Mitchell, Tambo, Snowy and Genoa Rivers and all waterways therein. Rainfall for the 24 hours until 09:00 29 June was in the range of 40 – 50 mm. Rainfall for the 24 hours until 09:00 30 June was in the range of 0 – 10 mm. Many of these river catchments had also been burnt in the 2006/07 Great Divide Fire. The Macalister River runs through Glenmaggie Weir into the Thomson River south of Maffra. Inflow peaked at 315,000 ML/day (capacity is 190,000 ML) and the maximum spill from it was at a rate of 147,000 ML per day (during the early morning of 29 June, equivalent to ¾ of it’s capacity). The major flood level spill rate is 35,000 ML. During 28 June, northern parts of the Macalister Irrigation District from the weir wall through Tinamba to the Thomson River were severely flooded. The township of Newry was cut off for several hours and 30 people were airlifted to safety. Maps 1 and 2 (on pages 2 and 3) show the extent of the floods. Gippsland - 2007 Flood:  The deep low pressure system as seen by satellite Gippsland - 2007 Flood Snapshot of 2007 Gippsland Flood Losses:  Snapshot of 2007 Gippsland Flood Losses Losses included: 13 Farm Houses, 6 Woolsheds and 1 Dairy Shed, 9 Homes Declared Uninhabitable 954 km Crown Boundary Fencing, 661 km Boundary Fencing, 1,217 km Internal Fencing 2,965 Sheep, 559 Beef Cattle, 268 Dairy Cattle, 6 Horses, 13 Goats, 43 Poultry 3,112 tonnes of hay and 221 tonnes of grain 22,207 ha pasture, 2,666 ha of field crops and 574 ha of Horticultural crops Source DPI Operational Report 2007 Impacts:  Impacts Approx. 30 communities affected – Including Licola, Tinamba, Newry, Sale, Bairnsdale, Stratford, Lakes Entrance, Loch Sport, Paynesville, Raymond Island and other Gippsland Lakes Communities High rainfall in 2007 and run-off moved significant amounts of light debris from burnt areas of fires into gullies and waterways Floodwaters also moved woody debris from waterways and floodplains Combined load trapped at structures on waterways Significant damage to bridges (eg. Cheynes Bridge) Debris stockpiling also caused damage to banks and deflected flows Slide54:  Wellington Shire Office MECC (Municipal Emergency Control Centre) Gippsland Floods 2007 Gippsland Floods 2007:  Cheyne’s Bridge Slip Road Paynesville Gippsland Floods 2007 Gippsland Floods 2007:  Debris - Cowwarr Weir Mitchell silt jetties 2 July 07 Gippsland Floods 2007 Slide57:  Lakes Entrance 2 Jul 07 Snowy River Entrance 2 Jul 07 Gippsland Floods 2007 Slide58:  Maffra 2 Jul 07 Gippsland Floods 2007 Traralgon Creek 28 June 07 Slide59:  Flood Damage Batter Stability Bridges Slide60:  Flood Damage Road Surface Crossings Flood Damage:  Flood Damage Tamboritha Road Slide62:  Coastal Erosion Seaspray steps Seaspray Surf Lifesaving Club

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