Climate change: Australia floods, with staggering 1.5 metres of rain in 24 hours, are a warning sign we cannot ignore – Scotsman comment
Some places near Sydney reportedly received a staggering 1.5 metres (nearly 5ft) of rain over just 24 hours in what was shaping up to be the worst of four major flood events in the past 18 months.
Despite the weight of evidence, there are still some people who view this as simply bad luck with the weather, rather than another warning sign about climate change, and others who believe this is a problem for future generations.
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The physics is fairly simple. Warm air carries more water than cold air. This means that vegetation and the land tends to dry out more quickly, increasing the risk of wildfires, and, when it rains, the amount of water that falls can be greater.
A UN Environment Programme report has warned extreme wildfires are set to become more frequent and intense, rising by 14 per cent by 2030 and 30 per cent by 2050. And when land has been burned, this increases the rate of water run-off, making both floods and droughts more likely. So the 3.6 billion people who already face inadequate access to water at least one month a year are going to be joined by many more.
The climate emergency is upon us. We cannot ignore it.