Queensland To Stay Wet For Decades

From a comment on WUWT w h/t to “Pat” in http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/17/after-the-noachian-floods-in-1861-california-experienced-a-punishing-drought/#comment-576849:

we have a link to this article from


The point? La Nina impacts on Australia cluster in roughly 30 year groupings (that ‘ol 60 year PDO ‘cycle’ – though it isn’t a pure cycle).

La Nina ‘here for decades’
Siobhain Ryan From:The Australian January 14, 2011 12:00AM

THE big wet may not be over for Queenslanders for another few decades, with the La Nina climate pattern tipped to be a repeat visitor.

Stewart Franks, associate professor in environmental engineering at NSW’s University of Newcastle, said his research suggested “enhanced” La Ninas would dominate eastern Australian summer weather patterns for years to come.

“What we noticed is El Nino and La Nina events are actually not random, they tend to cluster, and they cluster on time frames between 10 to 40 years,” he said.

Professor Franks, an Australian national representative to the International Association of Hydrological Sciences, said the last run of strong La Ninas occurred between the mid-1940s and mid-1970s, culminating in the 1974 floods.

They were followed by about three decades dominated by El Nino dry climate patterns.

So looks like “She’s BAAAaaack!” and it’s going to be rain and flooding for a couple of decades, on and off.

Fits with my understanding of the cyclical nature of weather.

Further down in the same article:

“We are seeing a return to the devastating impact of the enhanced La Ninas we saw in 1945 to 1975, so that indicates to my mind that it’s entirely possible that were facing 20 to 30 years of repeated, frequent or enhanced La Ninas,” he said.
Professor Franks, who has publicly challenged some of the world’s top scientists on climate change, said successive La Ninas would result in far wetter summers and larger flood risks, particularly for the area from Rockhampton in Queensland to the NSW central coast.

Hope folks who rebuild there do it on stilts and poles…

And from the OMG, why can’t this just end department (but they do note it’s not likely):

Peter Baddiley, the bureau’s Queensland flood warning service manager, said the risk of flooding would continue through to March. “You just cannot rule out the possibility of floods again in Queensland, possibly in different areas, possibly in the same areas,” he said.

But Mr Baddiley said he doubted the state would see such severe wet weather again this summer.

“You need a special set of circumstances to create that level of record rainfall and flooding over such a wide areas and it would be really low in the odds to receive something of that scale again,” he said.

So we can expect some continued disruptions to Australian coal in future years. US Coal stocks would be likely to benefit.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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31 Responses to Queensland To Stay Wet For Decades

  1. George says:

    One thing that I discovered tonight and find fascinating:

    Go here:


    Select AQUA ch05 v2 and then “draw graph”. Wait for Java to load the graph.

    Now once the graph is displayed, in the check boxes below the graph, select “Average” and “2010” and redraw the graph again (leaving 2011 checked, also).

    Through almost all of 2010, the average global temperature at 14,000 feet altitude was about a half a degree above the “average”. A funny thing happened on November 12. In the period from November 12 to November 19 (one week), the global average temperature dropped to the long term average and has stayed there tracking right along with it for the past two months. It actually started down in October but recovered so that isn’t unusual for the normal amount of noise but maybe that November jump was just a “dead cat bounce”.

    So in a period of one week, the entire global average temperature dropped 0.5C and has stayed there since. I find it interesting as an example of how suddenly the climate of the entire planet can seem to make a “regime change” in a very short period of time.

  2. George says:

    US Coal stocks would be likely to benefit.

    I doubt it. Once again Obama seems to have done just exactly the thing that would be the most damaging at precisely the most damaging moment (sort of like reducing the Social Security tax just as the boomers start turning 65).


    A move by the Environmental Protection Agency to revoke the long-standing permits for a mammoth coal mine in West Virginia sends a strong signal that President Obama plans to implement key parts of his agenda even though newly empowered Republicans can block his plans in Congress.

    In the aftermath of the November elections, many political pundits predicted that the once-unchecked Obama legislative machine would turn it’s energies to federal rulemaking as a way to circumvent Republicans on Capitol Hill. And the EPA’s decision last week suggests that those forecasts were spot-on.

    Much to the consternation of the West Virginia delegation in Congress, the coal industry, and the working people of the Mountain State, the agency took the unprecedented step of revoking a mining permit that it had issued four years ago to Arch Coal’s Spruce No. 1 Mine in Logan County, West Virginia.

  3. Keith Hill says:

    I mistakenly hoped this latest display of the power of natural cyclical climate variability would finally shame those who think Man can exercise any control over the vast forces affecting climate, weather or temperature – call it what you will.

    Greens party leader in Australia, Bob Brown, appears to have finally flipped completely in calling on Coalmine owners to pay for the clean-up of what he and other self-styled experts term an “unprecedented” event, allegedly the result of AGW caused by the burning of fossil fuels.

    He and all the other AGW believers should take an ice-cold shower then look up the history of known flooding in the Brisbane and Ipswich area dating from observations by explorers in the 1820’s together with recorded major floods throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. 1841 and 1893 were particularly devastating and CO2 was certainly not a factor!

    All the infomation is listed at http://www.bom.gov.au/hydro/flood/qld/fld_history/brisbane_history.shtml

    Makes very interesting reading and well worth a look E.M

    We’ve had flooding in parts of Tasmania over the weekend resulting in some damage to infrastructure and loss of vegetable crops but nothing like the Queensland experience. On the home front my vegie garden tells me we’re havng a cooler summer as I’m getting Scarlet Runner Beans setting on their first flowering.

    [ link fixed. -E.M.Smith]

  4. Keith Hill says:

    Apologies E.M. left the v off gov on the link above.


  5. Keith Hill says:

    Third time lucky (hopefully). The link above should take you to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology site but maybe not the page. On their site just search for
    Known Floods in the Brisbane & Bremer River Basin.

  6. pyromancer76 says:

    Fine reading. No time to comment. Just sent my “subscription” to one of the finest “news and information services” for me, always with a unique perspective on fascinating issues. Thanks much. Want to let you know I could not find your PayPal button. Had to go directly there. Is it just my sleepy eyes?

  7. It seems that nothing has changed: The tale of Global Warming goes on:

  8. Kent Gatewood says:

    Should Queensland should leave their dam on empty just before the rainy season?

  9. George says:


    How can you be sure the rains will come before the rainy season starts? What happens if you release all the water in anticipation of the rains but they don’t come?

  10. R. de Haan says:

    100% certainty this guy will link the floods to climate change.

  11. @R. de Haan:
    As we say in Spanish “bullets just don’t get into them”. They are preparing their next jamboree:

  12. E.M.Smith says:



    Now I need to figure out what publicly traded company mines coal NOT in Australia or the USA…

    Sigh. I really wish politicians would leave markets alone.

    Obama is “Sovereign Risk” writ large…


    Per Dam Strategy… (Damn Strategy? Damn Dam Strategy?…)

    When you don’t have a dam, you get floods and droughts. When you do have a dam, you get blamed.

    Best is run it “1/2 full” with a capacity of 2 years+ rain or one mammoth year of rain if possible kept both in and out at the same time…. Takes a big lake for that.

  13. George says:


    Who mines coal in Indonesia?

    Kaltim Prima Coal, located in northeast Kalimantan, has one of the world’s largest open pit mining operations. Kaltim Prima Coal is 100 per cent owned by PT Bumi Resources Tbk.

    Australian copper producer Straits Resources subsidiary Straits Asia Resources owns and operates the Sebuku Coal Mine in Indonesia.

  14. George says:


    * Britmindo
    * Bumi Resources
    * Fajar Bumi Sakti
    * Indo Tambangraya Megah
    * Indonesian Coal Mining Association
    * Kartika Selabumi Mining
    * Pendopo Coal
    * PT Berau Coal
    * PT Borneo Indobara
    * Pt Elka Surya Abadi

    * Pt Gantari Utama
    * PT Kitadin
    * PT Multi Harapan Utama
    * PT Pinang Coal Indonesia
    * Sinarmas Energy and Mining
    * Dewata Coal,Mining,General Contractor & General Tradining
    * Indonesia Coal
    * P.T. Adaro Indonesia
    * PT Arutmin Indonesia
    * PT Asminco Bara Utarna

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Thus the problem of the “Expert Commisar”… and why markets are much much better.

    AN idiot can run off a cliff. Most folks will see that and stop following. But when that idiot has the full faith, credit, and power of The State, the rest of you (us?) get herded off the cliff with them…

  16. Baa Humbug says:

    Wivenhoe dam is now back down to 100% capacity from the high level of 192% during the height of the flood 8 days ago.

    So they’ve shut the gates. But they’ll have to open them again in the next day or two because I just had 42mm of rain in one hour with a little bit more to come over the next couple of hours. The rain came from the west, travelled over the Wivenhoe catchment before hitting me.

    The problem for the dam managers is that they MUST follow the written guidelines. these guidelines were prepared by a committee consisting of dam managers, politicians or their representatives, engineers, hydrologists and environmentalists.

    Environmental flows are given the same weight as irrigation use and drinking water storage, meaning the welfare of fish and other aquatic species are just as important as people and food production.

    Here in Se Queensland, we have barely begun our wet season. The months of Feb and March are usually wetter than Jan. Commonsense should dictate that the dam level needs to be somewhat lower than the present 100% to avoid another flood that could be just days or weeks away.
    But commonsense doesn’t enter into it when one has “The Book” to go by (a book that was written during the height of the water crises by the way)

    And there we have (IMHO) the essence of the problems we face in the 21stC

  17. @Baa Humbug
    meaning the welfare of fish and other aquatic species are just as important as people
    There is a difference between the two: Fishes can breath below water!, human beings can’t. :-)

  18. George says:

    @Baa Humbug

    It seems to me that “the book” should have three modes of operation:

    Normal mode: When precipitation levels over the past season or two have been at or near normal levels and no significant event is seen on the horizon (no major El Nino or La Nina event seen brewing)

    Flood mode: When precipitations levels have been or are expected to be high due to some event such as a strong La Nina or based on recent above average rainfall amounts.

    Drought mode: When precipitation levels have been low over the past one or more seasons and normal to low precipitation levels are expected or weather conditions such as a strong building El Nino would increase the likelihood of a dry year.

    In the “normal” mode, one could be expected to make the optimal “environmental” releases in addition to irrigation use in order to maintain a more “normal” flow level of the river. The other modes would allow adjustments or deviations from this norm.

    Note that without any dams at all, the river is still subject to the impacts of drought and flood years. In nature, river levels could become very low without the presence of humans. To attempt to maintain river flows at high “environmental” maintenance levels during drought conditions is actually quite unnatural and should be avoided. During those periods the river should be allowed to draw down to what would be its normal flow in such drought conditions and the stored water should be used for human use.

    Water in flood years that simply flows to the ocean is “wasted” and the banking of that water behind dams should be first designated for human use. The river flow out of a reservoir into the channel for environmental maintenance should not exceed the inflow and the river should be allowed to draw down to the same level it naturally would under the same conditions without the dam in place. Then the additional stored water would be rationed for irrigation and municipal use as required. But it is my opinion that under no circumstances should river levels be allowed to remain higher than they would otherwise naturally be under the current weather conditions no matter how stressed the biota. This would be a perfectly natural, cyclical stress that serves to weed out week specimens of the species and maintain a healthy river environment. That environment actually depends on those stresses to maintain the proper adaptation profile of the species and to keep out invading species who might survive in a modified flow regime but could not survive drought stress the way natives can.

    Messing around with the river flows is generally a bad idea for the species involved. They could actually be “saved” to death.

  19. @George
    Fourth Mode: When in a Solar Minimum…:-)

  20. George says:

    Eh, not really sure that is important. Even in a solar min we will see one of the other three conditions. It might change how often we are in the three, might be in flood mode more during min, drought mode more than max.

    Also note that while this cycle is weak, we have currently nothing to indicate that this is more than just a single weak cycle. We have had such one-off weak cycles before. Jumping to conclusions is just that. The fact is that we are just going to have to wait and see.

  21. George says:

    meant: drought mode more during max.

  22. Bruce of Newcastle says:

    The agencies seem quietly to have started to accept that la Nina is more common in the bottom half of the PDO cycle. This from yesterday:

    “Premier Ted Baillieu … said he had been told yesterday that Melbourne Water was now saying Victorians should expect 30 per cent more rainfall in the next 10 years.

    ”You’ve only got to go back 12 months ago and they were saying Victorians should expect 30 per cent less,” Mr Baillieu said.”

    One step closer to victory…

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Baa Humbug:

    What the fish emphasis also misses is that those species have by definition dealt with far stronger drought / flood processes as the dam was not there in the past.

    Here in Calif we have the same ‘issues’ (thus a famine area in one of the best food growing parts fo the country as the water is let wash to to sea for the Delta Smelt…)

    BTW, one of the LARGEST impacts on fish here was that the dams now prevent the massive flood surges that used to wash out a large number of the species. The “flood opportunists” are now disadvantaged. But “the book” says to manage for the fish as of the time of study, and that was after the flood opportunists had already suffered declines post dam …


    Yes, “saved to death”… we’re doing a lot of that here in California. Lately we’ve been “saving jobs”…

    @Bruce of Newcastle:

    Oh Boy! One tiny ray of sunshine…

  24. George says:

    Heard on the radio this evening (John Batchelor show) that Victoria is now experiencing floods in Australia.

  25. George says:

    I guess this is where China’s replacement source of coal is coming from:


    By Michael Rank
    China has for the first time shipped coal from the North Korean port of Rajin following a deal by a Chinese company to renovate the port, a Chinese website reports.

    The 20,000 tonnes of coal, mined in Hunchun, about 80 km north of Rajin, was shipped to Shanghai last month. After going through customs inspection at Hunchun, it was transported by road via the Wonjeongri border post near Dumangang, the report said.

    It noted how shipping the coal from Rajin saved the cost of transporting it to the nearest suitable Chinese port of Yingkou or further afield by train and how the deal to renovate and expand Rajin’s no 1 dock would help to boost trade from northeast China more generally.

  26. Stephan says:

    That guy from BOM should be arrested just like the guys from the British Met Office for basically lying and leading us to believe that the Tim Flannery effect is here to stay (ie Eternal Drought due to AGW). They are causing a lot of damage due to their lack of professionalism and following the AGW agenda

  27. George says:

    Another bout of rain headed for Queensland:

    Cyclone Anthony intensified to a Category 2 storm with winds of 80 mph (130 kph) and was expected to cross the Queensland state coast early Monday morning. The Bureau of Meteorology warned residents in coastal communities to brace for destructive winds and more flooding.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/01/30/cyclone-headed-australias-flooded-north/#ixzz1CY5BIkIs

  28. George says:

    And this from Jennifer Morohasy

    Residents of my community on the Capricorn Coast in Central Queensland are being warned of two cyclones: Anthony may hit the coast to our north on Monday morning and a second forming near Fiji is scheduled for later in the week.

    The wind has been blowing strongly for two days. This morning there was a run on food with shelves again emptying at the local supermarket. …


  29. Ken McMurtrie says:

    In simple terms – it seems that while the AGW alarmists (Garnaut, Gore, BOM and CSIRO (Australia)) are making suspect claims that all these somewhat extreme weather events (cold, snow and cyclones activity) are due to ‘global warming’, we have here some impressive SCIENTIFIC evidence and reasoning that supports the opposite view.
    I greatly appreciate this post and the comments.
    Thank you all!

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