Friday, January 06, 2017
2016 was the hottest year ever on Australia’s East coast, confirms Bureau of Meteorology
How sad for the BOM! Only the East coast was very hot on average in 2016 -- and that's no more than 5% of Australia's land area. And it wasn't even consistent along the East coast. While Sydney and Melbourne were frying, temperatures in Brisbane were mostly much lower, despite Brisbane being closer to the tropics. What a nonsense it is to try to extract generalizations about temperature from a system as chaotic as the Earth's weathrer!
And note how humble the BOM now are over El Nino. The old triumphalism is gone. They now admit that 2015/2016 temperatures were much influenced by El Nino and make no claims of anthropogenic global warming for the years concerned. They now see anthropogenic global warming only in "long term trends"! A Trump effect?
A RECORD breaking year of scorching heat and driving rain on Australia’s east coast meant that climate-wise, many of us have "shifted a few hundred kilometres north," a weather expert has said.
Australia’s average national mean temperature rose 0.87C above average to make 2016 the fourth-warmest year on record, according the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Climate Statement, released on Thursday.
But the residents of Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart sweltered through their hottest year ever.
The report comes as a heatwave punishing south eastern Australia shows no sign of ending.
Melbourne and Sydney will have highs in the mid-thirties in the coming days but it’s South Australians really in the firing line with a string of 39C days heading into the weekend.
Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist at the weather bureau, told news.com.au the El Niño weather system and climate change combined to send the mercury soaring.
"Australia’s climate in 2016 was certainly consistent with long term trends over the last century which has seen Australia warm to the same degree as the rest of the world and all the indications are these warming trends will continue into the future."
The only years in Australia that were warmer than the past 12 months were 2013 followed by 2005 and then 2014. The past four years have all been in the top six hottest years in Australia.
Globally, 2016 is likely to be confirmed as the world’s hottest year ever.
"It was a year of two halves with a relatively dry first four months and then from May onwards it became very wet with late autumn to early spring the wettest such period on record," said Mr Trewin.
"The contrast was especially clear in Tasmania with drought conditions earlier in year and then they had so much rain is was the sixth wettest year on record."
The higher than normal temperatures and increased rain along much of the east coast led to weather conditions more usual for cities much further north.
Sydney verged on the tropical with highs in the city more like coastal towns on the NSW mid-north coast, such as Nelson Bay and Forster.
Climate wise, Brisbane was effectively pushed even further into the tropics experiencing rain and heat more standard for towns like Gympie and Maryborough beyond the Sunshine Coast.
"Along the east coast it was about a degree above normal and while that doesn’t equate to the whole difference between Sydney and Brisbane, that level of warming is equivalent to shifting a few hundred kilometres north," said Mr Trewin.
Some of the notable climatic events in Australia last year were bushfires in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia and a nationwide heatwave from late February to mid-March. That added up to the warmest Australian autumn on record.
Then in May, drought-breaking rains led to flooding in multiple states and the wettest ever late autumn to early spring period.
For the country as a whole, annual rainfall was 17 per cent above average.
Sea surface temperatures around Australia were the warmest on record in 2016, and were 0.77°C above average.
The warmest year on record for the east coast contrasted with South Australia which pretty much hit the average in terms of temperature.
Inland parts of south west Western Australia was one of the few places globally to come in cooler than usual.
Across the globe, climate change has seen temperatures continue to rise over the long term.
However, this is exacerbated in El Niño years such as 2016. The El Nino weather system is caused by warmer sea temperatures in the Pacific sucking warm air over North America while leaving Australia hot and dry.
The opposing La Nina system usually brings wetter conditions across the continent.
"El Niño years tend to be warmer and La Nina tend to be cooler so if you look at handful of years in last 30 that have come in below average they are La Nina years."
Looking ahead, Mr Trewin said the lack of El Niño would mean 2017 would probably be a cooler year overall than 2016. But it certainly won’t be cold.
La Nina never really got started depriving the east coast of the wet weather it brings.
"Our outlook for the early part of this year is relatively dry conditions in Eastern Australia, particularly NSW and southern Queensland, but conversely relatively wet conditions in much of Western Australia.
"It’s unlikely 2017 will be as warm as 2016 globally but it’s likely to be warmer than all years prior to 2015."
Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies is calling for a mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of killing an infant
Having taken a whole life away, the killers should have their life taken away too. Hang them
MANDATORY life sentences for child killers have been urged by the state’s top victims’ advocate.
The deaths of nine children in 2016 have prompted Victims of Crime Commissioner Greg Davies to call for the life terms for anyone convicted of killing an infant.
"They’ve lost 90 years of their lives, what will these offenders lose? Twenty-odd years of their liberty? That to me doesn’t say we value human life," Mr Davies said.
"If someone murders an infant, no one cares about their circumstances, no one cares about their prospects of rehabilitation and that they’re unlikely to do it again, they’ve surely lost their right to a second chance. These mongrels deserve life."
Executive chair and the founder Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, said she supported Mr Davies’ views on mandatory sentencing for child killers. "He’s not going to get any argument from me," she said.
"The judiciary will baulk at it, saying every case has its own merits, but I support it.
"Anyone that would kill a child, whether they are criminally liable or mentally incapacitated, has no place in a society where there’s children. It’s just too dangerous."
Shadow attorney-general John Pesutto said the Opposition had also been reviewing Victoria’s sentencing.
"The Liberal-Nationals have been calling for urgent changes that will deliver stronger sentences for serious crimes like murder, but (Premier) Daniel Andrews has refused to do anything about it," he said.
"Child murder is horrific and the Victims of Crime Commissioner is to be congratulated for proposing solutions while the government has completely failed to put victims first."
Life sentencing for child killers has long been urged by those families left behind.
'We are being taken for mugs by opening up our doors': Pauline Hanson demands security checks for migrants and slams 'childish, laughable' citizenship test questions
Pauline Hanson has backed calls for Australia's citizenship test to be revamped, saying many Australians would not be able to answer the 'childish and laughable' current questions.
She said performing security checks on migrants and ensuring they were financially independent and able to pay for their own health care was more important than whether they could pass the citizenship test.
The One Nation leader told Channel 7's Sunrise on Wednesday there needs to be a renewed focus on English skills and ensuring migrants did not rely on welfare payments.
She was asked for her reaction to Immigration Minister Peter Dutton's plan to overhaul the citizenship test, which he said was filled with 'trivial' questions.
Senator Hanson told Sunrise host Michael Usher: 'One of the questions is what's the relevance of the two animals on the coat of arms, do you know that?
'One's the native animal and one's the native bird - what relevance is that? Most Australians wouldn't even know that question,' she said.
She said ensuring immigrants to Australia had money behind them, health insurance and police checks was more important.
'In other countries around the world you have to have a bank statement saying you can actually support yourself for a period of time, you have to have your own health insurance as well,' she said.
'That in itself should be a point of getting your citizenship in Australia.'
She also said questions, such as Australian cricketer Sir Donald Bradman's batting record, were irrelevant.
When Sunrise's Michael Usher asked for her response to statistics that showed 96 per cent of approved migrants had sat the test at least three times before passing since 2012, Ms Hanson said she was 'concerned'.
'If you can’t communicate how can you expect anyone to assimilate into our society,' she said.
'We have to get tough on who we bring into this country because you know what, it will all come down to our standard of living, our way of life and our safety and security.
Transgender students to choose their own toilets, uniforms and sleep alongside students of their chosen sex in new public school policy
Transgender school students will soon be able to use their preferred names, wear the uniform and use the toilets of their choice.
An Education Department policy has outlined how transgender students should be treated in South Australia.
They will also be able to sleep alongside students of the gender they identify with on school camps.
The department says the policy will ensure 'consistent' treatment of transgender pupils by school leaders.
'The difference is that this clearly articulates what we require from schools,' executive director of statewide services and child development Ann-Marie Hayes told The Advertiser.
'We had a number of queries from schools and parents, and we needed to make it very clear what our legislative requirements were and how schools enact them - supporting principals in particular but also families in what they can expect from schools.'
Hayes also defended the policy and said it could not be taken advantage of and that a boy could not pretend to be transgender in order to sleep in the same area as girls on a school camp.
Hayes also felt that the policy is one of tolerance and would send an important message to other students that transgender children are not to be bullied.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the Education Department for comment.
Victoria's piranha union again
UFU secretary Peter Marshall is the big ego behind all the trouble
The United Firefighters Union wants $1.6 million in state funding, a demand labelled "extremely unusual" by Victoria's Labor government as the firefighters' pay dispute drags into another year.
The UFU is demanding the money while also announcing a rally at Parliament House on January 19 to complain about the unresolved pay deal.
"Additionally, pre-election and post-election commitments have not been delivered," the UFU's first bulletin to members for 2017 says.
Emergency Services Minister James Merlino, who is also acting premier, says the decision on funding is up to the CFA, but such a move would be odd. "I would say that a statutory authority to provide funding would be extremely unusual and I wouldn't expect that to be the case," he said on Thursday.
Mr Merlino said he understood the union's anger but it was the federal government's fault.
The only promise the state made to the union was that the pay dispute would be resolved, and that was done before the federal government stepped in and made changes to the Fair Work Act, he said.
"The fact is the CFA and the UFU did reach an agreement," he said. "The only reason for the delay, the only reason that the parties are back at the Fair Work Commission is because of Malcolm Turnbull and the federal Liberal government using our firefighters as political footballs."
The union says in a statement on Thursday it has asked the CFA for the same level of funding as the Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria gets from the CFA and state government.
UFU secretary Peter Marshall says the union deserves the funding because, like the union, the VFBV is "acting as an industrial body" and performing industrial advocacy.
"Why should career firefighters, who are being dragged into these disputes by the VFBV, be forced to pay excessive legal expenses whilst the VFBV are given a free ride, at the taxpayers' expense," he says in the statement.
The UFU's money grab was unheard of, Liberal emergency services spokesman Brad Battin told reporters. "I've never heard in the past where a union asks for state money. And this is the arrogance of Peter Marshall who think's he's got control over Daniel Andrews," he said.
"There must have been a deal before the election for him to continue to ask for things that are just ridiculous, and put families and communities at risk across our state."
Changes to the Fair Work Act to protect volunteer organisations did not make the VFBV a "psuedo-union" and to blame the Fair Work Act changes for the delays in reaching agreements was ignorant, Mr Battin said. "The volunteers were going to get shafted by this government and the federal government had to step in to make sure they were protected."
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