Below is the email that just went out to the 350 network in Australia, sent by Blair Palese. To donate to help the thousands affected by the devastating floods in Queensland, click here.


Dear Friends,

You’ve no doubt seen them already: the images of the devastating floods in Queensland and other areas of Australia have shocked the world.

Three quarters of the state of Queensland, an area the size of France and Germany, is under water and some 31 towns including the capital city of Brisbane have been inundated.

Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, their businesses and, for at least 16 people, their lives. Surviving victims have described the floods as “an inland Tsunami”, “a devastating wall of water” and “an angry force of nature”.

Some $13 billion in damages are expected to result from the floods and they are impacting every aspect of life in the area including access to clean water and food and shelter, food production and, ironically, coal mining – the regions primary industry.

As South Australian Premier Mike Rand said yesterday, "It should not take a once in 1000 year drought or a flood half as big as Europe to convince us that our climate is changing".

The science is not especially complicated: warm air holds more water vapor than cold. Because we've heated up the planet, the atmosphere is now 4 or 5 percent wetter than it was 40 years ago. That means there's more water waiting to drop when conditions allow. It doesn't 'cause the rain,' it makes the record-setting floods we're seeing around the planet more likely to happen.

Scientists such as Professor Matthew England of the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Center say that climate change has intensified the monsoon rains that have triggered these record floods.

"The waters off Australia are the warmest ever measured and those waters provide moisture to the atmosphere for the Queensland and northern Australia monsoon," Professor England told Reuters news.

Prominent US climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, agrees saying  “The extra water vapor fuels the monsoon and thus alters the winds and the monsoon itself and so this likely increases the rainfall further. …It is easy to argue that 1 degree Celsius sea surface temperature anomalies gives 10 to 15 percent increase in rainfall."

A great deal can be done to help, whether you're in the region or far away.

In the short term, donations are being accepted to help the many victims through the Queensland Premier’s Department. For information on how to give money or donate other supplies, go to: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

In the long term, let’s not forget that a two degree global temperature rise will lead to extreme weather all over the world. Now more than ever, we need to build a movement powerful enough to tip the political balance and get the world back on track towards 350. If the Australian floods tell us anything about the impacts of climate change, it’s that they are unpredictable, potentially deadly and are likely to touch everyone around the world.

We can act now to reduce emissions and switch to renewable energy or we can sit back and wait for more floods, drought, bush fires and storms.

The choice seems obvious, and in the coming weeks and months we’ll help lead the the charge for change. We hope you'll join us

Onwards,

Blair Palese, 350 Australia

 


Sources

Reauters: "Scientists see climate change link to Australian floods"

Photos: TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images, MECHIELSEN LYNDON/AFP/Getty Images, REUTERS/Daniel Munoz

For more climate movement news, follow 350 on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram

FacebookTwitter