The drought is over

Weather Bureau: It’s offical

THE drought is officially over, and farmers in southeast Australia can afford a wry smile. But the Bureau of Meteorology has warned that despite above-average rains last month, on top of the big wet earlier in the year, there is a still a long-term rainfall deficiency and more is needed to fill dams and run the rivers of the Murray Basin.

But while farmers speak of relief at the bureau’s official confirmation on Friday that the drought was finally over, there are those, like Barrie Hunt, who can claim a little vindication.

A CSIRO honorary research fellow, Mr Hunt argued for two years that the drought was due to natural climate variability, not climate change, and would break.

Vindication? CSIRO? Funny that. What about this prediction:

SCIENTISTS studying Victoria’s crippling drought have, for the first time, proved the link between rising levels of greenhouse gases and the state’s dramatic decline in rainfall. A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change.

And this, from NSW ex-Premier Bobb Carr:

“This is the ninth consecutive year, speaking nationally, when rainfalls have been lower than average and average temperatures are climbing,” he said. “Those people who are sceptical about global warming ought to think again because this is the first very practical intimation of global warming being upon us,” he said.

Or this, from our illustrious Prime Minister at the Lowy Institute:

As one of the hottest and driest continents on earth, Australia’s environment and economy will be among the hardest and fastest hit by climate change if we do not act now. The scientific evidence from the CSIRO and other expert bodies have outlined the implications for Australia, in the absence of national and global action on climate change: by 2070, up to 40 per cent more drought months are projected in eastern Australia and up to 80 per cent more in south-western Australia.

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