Missing persons report

Although we’re getting say a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas of Australia, that’s translating to a 60 per cent decrease in the run-off into the dams and rivers. That’s because the soil is warmer because of global warming and the plants are under more stress and therefore using more moisture. So even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and our river systems, and that’s a real worry for the people in the bush.

Professor Tim Flannery, February 2007
(ABC Landline interview)

My house is under water here. Where the fuck is all this water coming from? Did someone say the dam’s full? Nah, can’t be. Can it?

(Probably) someone living downstream of the
Warragamba Dam in NSW, this weekend

The noted environmentalist and warble gloaming activist Professor Tim Flannery is currently presumed missing.

Concerns for Professor Flannery, named Australian of the Year in 2007 and appointed head of Prime Minister Gingery Dullard’s Climate Change Commission, have arisen since he can normally be relied upon to talk very loudly about warble gloaming whenever the weather does anything. His failure to put in an appearance and speak at length on how the rain currently falling and filling the dams proves his point that even the rain that falls won’t fill the dams has been described as ‘deeply worrying’.

Many have suggested that heavy rainfall filling dams in fact disproves Flannery’s prediction and that this may be the real reason for his silence. Meanwhile meteorologists have said that just possibly a mammologist/palaeontologist, even one who’s written books about warble gloaming and has campaigned very publicly on the issue, should leave the weather predicting business to them.

In response a Commission spokeswoman said that Professor Flannery, who is reportedly paid $180,000 a year for a three day week role as the impartial Chairman of the absolutely neutral body set up to sell the need for a carbon tax to the Australian public, is currently in Germany. Whether this was a particular part of Germany with no access to phones or internet and thus leaving him unable to explain why the rain has been caused by the drought was not said. The recent series of cold European winters has been ruled out as a possible cause of being unable to communicate from Germany, allowing speculation as to Tim Flannery’s whereabouts to grow.

Okay, joking aside now. I have to be fair here and say that Flannery is no doubt very busy on something or other in Germany and anyway it is only just the one dam that’s fil… oh.

Yeah, that’s a bit more of a problem, especially as this is of course the second year in a row that parts of Australia have experienced the kind of flooding rains that we were told wouldn’t happen again because of the kind of droughts we were having instead. Perhaps we shouldn’t be listening quite so much to predictions of future doom without bearing in mind voices of past observers, such as one I’ve mentioned here once or twice before.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When sick at heart, around us,
We see the cattle die-
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady, soaking rain.

Core of my Heart, aka My Country – Dorothea Mackellar, 1911

Obviously there’s a difference between careful scientific observation (a whole other argument which I’m happy leave to folks such as Anthony Watts) and poetry, but really it doesn’t sound as if in a country supposedly ravaged by warbly gloamed climate change things have actually changed much at all. Droughts, check. Flooding rains, check. Cattle dropping dead, check. Steady soaking rain, check. Mackellar’s words are as relevant a century on as they were when she wrote them, whereas Tim Flannery’s talk of what rain we are going to get being inadequate to fill the dams seems debatable after only five. It wasn’t a prediction involving a specific date but nonetheless I’m adding it to the list of warble gloaming dates for your diary.*

It’s been a few months since this list was updated and in all fairness to Tim Flannery it must be said that with a claim that four or five billion people will be dead by the end of this year his prediction is actually one of the more sensible ones on there.


* This is actually a double update because I’ve just noticed that I haven’t got that one about British kids never seeing snow again.

Posted on March 4, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. He’s holding a seminar entitled “How academics can help, and influence, the climate change policy of governments and business”, at City University of Hong Kong on 21st March.

    Free registration. I was very tempted to go and heckle / pose awkward questions but my parents are visiting from the UK that week, so no can do.


    Mr. Frost

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