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New Years Eve/Day « Previous | |Next »
January 1, 2008

We spent the early part of the evening on the beach, as the cloud cover had come in, the warm north wind had died, and there was a cooling of the overheated temperature. I took some photos.

Then we came home, had champagne and a baby octopus salad on the balcony at Victor Harbor, and watched the few fire works in the distance.They were nothing like this Reuters image of New Years Eve in Sydney:

SydneyNew YearsEve07.jpg

On New Years day we drove to Goolwa on the River Murray for a coffee and to look at the state of the Murray River just up from the Goolwa barrages, near the Hindmarsh Island bridge. I was shocked by the low level of water near the cafe.

Goolwacafepier.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, Goowla Cafe Pier, 2007

Six months ago boats would pull up at the pier and the boaties would have alighted for a quick cup of coffee before returning to cruising the river with friends. But no more:

GoolwaAquaticClub.jpg Gary Sauer-Thompson, Goolwa Aquatic Club, 2007

You could actually walk out to the middle of the river and thew water is still mid-waist.This part of the river is evaporating as there is no flow from upstream or the sea. It's a lake that is becoming a mudflat during the summer due to lack of rain the Murray-Darling Basin during the winter. The effects (less rain) from the relatively small temperature increases we have already seen are happening more quickly than they had expected.

Pity about all the Hindmarsh Island resort style housing based around the canals with their boats parked out the back door. That whole development depended on continual river flows down the River Murray.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:41 PM | | Comments (9)


We stayed at home all day and watched the rain and wind. The Gold Coast official fireworks were cancelled, although some locals set off naughty backyard versions. The dog didn't even bother flinching.

We drank beer and ate ham left over from Christmas. We watched West Wing dvd's and went to bed before midnight.

As much as I love baby octopus I just can't eat them. Squid, yes. They're social creatures but as dumb as dog poo. An octopus could steal your wallet while tying its shoe laces and teachings its 500 kids to write in faultless cursive with a fountain pen.

at least you had rain. Adelaide bakes--36-42 degrees--- in the relentless heat. It's now hotter for longer. Tuesday was overcast and cool-- a minor cool change with a southerly breeze---along the south coast of the Fleurieu peninsula. Adelaide had no such relief. People fled the city for the south coast. Dry, sunny, hot to very hot is the weather forecast for the next 4 days. That means starting at 33 today and then hovering around 40 degrees for the rest of the week. What's rain?

Victor Harbor still has professional fishing so we eat a lot of fish when we are down there.It's a ritual. Clean and fresh food.

There should be an immediate ban on new coal-fired power plants that do not capture carbon, the phasing out of old coal-fired generators, and a tax on carbon high enough to make sure that we leave tar sands and oil shale in the ground. Queensland is still planning to build new coal -fired power stations, as is NSW.

Gary, you got our Christmas weather. This time of year it should be so hot and humid it's like wading through custard. It's hard to breathe.

It's still raining here and the dams are filling up. I gather a bit of that will make its way down to the Murray? Apparently the Murray cod is under threat which is a very bad sign.

On power generation, over at Unleashed Mark Pesce says

" Nanosolar has already demonstrated that it can produce panels that will cost $2/kw. That's right: solar is already cheaper than coal. Nanosolar completely re-thought the solar panel, eschewing expensive and delicate silicon for a robust "thin-film" technology, using a revolutionary production process that resembles an ink-jet printer, to manufacture panels by the roll.

This isn’t pie-in-the-sky technology either. With US $100 million in funding (some of it provided by the founders of Google), Nanosolar built factories in the US and Germany, and has already sold out its entire first year of production.

Nanosolar is a game-changer. The entire argument against solar power generation has been that it is more expensive than the fossil fuel alternatives. Now that it's proving to be cheaper, will we really need to be building more coal-fired power plants in, say, New South Wales?"

the heat is different across the continent. Adelaide is very hot and dry. The Gold Coast is hot and humid. The weather in the southern and northern parts of the continent are very different. That is why global warming is going to effect Australia differently: less rain in the southern parts more in the northern.

It has been the hottest year in SA and the driest winter. We do not expect rain falling in the eastern states now and in the next few months to reach SA. The long term forecast is more hot dry weather (36-40+ degrees) for the next few months.

2007 was the hottest year on record in the Murray-Darling Basin. The big picture has not changed--it has not received decent rain since 2001.

Whilst the summer rains in December have increased the inflows to the river system, these inflows remain half the long term average.It will help ease the high levels of salinity and algal blooms, but what is needed is above average rains and inflows.

Storage is still low--20%--- and many irrigators will probably receive none of their entitlements in the new irrigation season in June.

Outlook: bleak.

Yes, I know that dry heat from Sydney. We occasionally get it when a Westerly blows through. It's a relief when it happens. On the other hand, the last time it happened we all woke up to find our cars covered in precious topsoil.

Given Nan's scenario we'd have to have damaging floods up this end of the system to ease the problems down your end. Unless we end up with the northern wet season extending further south in the longer term, which would bring its own problems.

It doesn't look good.

I guess it's time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought, and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent.

Recent statistics show that last year was the hottest on record in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the ACT.
It is the 11th year in a row that NSW and the Murray-Darling Basin had experienced above normal temperatures.

Australia is defintely warming, and the changing pattern of close to 12 years of drought is now something permanent.

re your comment

It's still raining here and the dams are filling up. I gather a bit of that will make its way down to the Murray?

The water is flowing down the Darling and me irrigators have had their allocations increased from zero to 100%. It is unclear whether the water is expected to reach the River Murray at Wentworth.

It can no longer business as usual. Big changes will ahve to happen in irrigation communities.

Gratton and Lyn,
there is a Solar Cities Congress to be held in Adelaide early this year.I haven't had a chance to explore it yet.