Saturday, December 19, 2009

Cyclone Laurence is looking after Country

People of the Dampier Peninsula communities, in the north of Western Australia have grave concerns for their environment and their livelihoods and seek to keep the Kimberley and its coastline industry free. The Kimberley is one of the last great wildernesses in the world and many people within the region appreciate that they have moral and ethical obligations to ensure that this very small corner of the planet remains that way.

One accident, one tanker blown aground, one pipe that shoots a leak, a platform or two break their moorings, or LNG processing trains being picked up by category 5 cyclonic winds and tossed around like chop sticks could all be the reality of our changing climate. We do not what to tempt fate by opening the door to the proposal to build the biggest LNG precinct in the world on our community's doorstep, in our recreational backyard.

This Country, its landscapes and its coastal face has been shaped and sculptured into its present form by these natural events and this is a great part of its beauty. Man made industrialised zones are not as flexible or adaptable and have a tendency to blow away in the face of natural menaces.

This illustrative map shows how plausible these concern are.

There is a strong relationship between the depth of the snow that falls in the Himalayas and the amount of rainfall received in north Western Australia.

In late October the throughflow from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, to the north west of Australia, slows, stops and may even reverse at times as the Indian Ocean Counter Current flows west to east into the Timor gap and "blocks" the throughflow.
This leads to a large raft of relatively still water to the immediate north west of Australia. This body of water begins to heat under the tropical sun.

As the sea surface temperature rises, evaporation increases and moist air from this region, thought to be the source of humidity and moisture, will eventually fall during the Australian monsoon (you only get monsoon systems where these static masses of water called warmpools form, not where the currents make the seas cool or cold).

During the wet season there are usually two or three major monsoon events. These events occur when the monsoon trough (a low pressure trough associated with intense rainfall) moves south over the landmass of north Western Australia.

The current level of oil and gas exploitative activities, the enormous increase in tanker and shipping movements and the thousands of kilometers of pipes that have been layered across the ocean’s floor during this insatiable seize of resources along the Western Australian coastline makes Cyclones a major concern for everyone.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence, Issued at 2:57 pm WST Saturday 19 December 2009. Refer to Tropical Cyclone Advice Number 65

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