Australian Outback Landscape

Australian Scientists Are Disappointed To Admit That Extreme Weather Is Now The Norm

At a four-day conference themed around “Australasian weather, climate, and oceans: past, present, and future,” climate scientists from Australia and New Zealand found the topic of discussion drifting repeatedly to global warming, and the impact of climate change on Australian weather patterns.

“There is definitely what you would call ‘climate fatigue’ on the part of scientists,” said Dr. Andrew Glikson, from the Australian National University’s (ANU) School of Archaeology and Anthropology.

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“There were hundreds of scientists there, and my impression is while we continue to do the science as best we can, there is a fatigue when it comes to arguing in public.”

Despite mounting evidence proving the effect global warming has had on the world’s climate, there is still a large segment of people who continue to deny the existence of climate change. Climate change skeptics, Glikson said, are people who don’t think in “scientific terms.” He said these people either refuse to accept “the basic laws of nature,” or have a “vested interest” in refuting the evidence – and possibly something to gain from ignoring the harmful impacts of climate change.

“You can explain it to them as long as you like but if they don’t wish to understand, they won’t,” he said.

One of Australia’s leading voices on the subject of climate change, Glikson reached out to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year – with an open letter, signed by more than 150 other scientists, insisting that the government take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It’s no secret that Australia has been faced with record-breaking weather in recent years – and even the blazing temperatures during the conference set new all-time records throughout New South Wales, leading to catastrophic bushfires that destroyed more than 30 homes. Western Australia struggled with rain and widespread flooding, which has so far claimed two lives – the state’s wettest February since 1955.

“I think that’s a trend we’re going to have to get used to,” said Karl Braganza, the Bureau of Meteorology’s head of climate monitoring. “When the conditions are favouring a hot spring or a hot summer, we’re seeing temperature records. Clearly that has an impact on the landscape.”

The Canberra conference wrapped up after a talk from Professor Will Steffen, a climate scientist from the ANU. Steffen’s presentation discussed the concept of a new geological era, where humans are the major force on the planet – the Anthropocene.

“That is being formalized in scientific literature and that really affected me, just seeing this eminent scientist standing there at the end of this conference when we’ve been talking for five days about models and data and climate mechanisms and so on,” said Dr. Ben Henley, a research fellow from the University of Melbourne who was in the audience.

“It’s a sad fact. We study the mechanisms and the data and remove our personal feelings as much as possible, but then every now and then it just hits you that this is what we’re actually doing to our planet.”

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2 thoughts on “Australian Scientists Are Disappointed To Admit That Extreme Weather Is Now The Norm

  1. I see loads of hypocrisy in too large a fraction of those vocally expressing climate change fears. They want to blame big companies and governments and want them and workers who lose their jobs to make the sacrifices necessary to combat climate change. I think anyone wanting to get on a soap box about climate change should be donating at least 20% of their income to climate change mitigation projects (as they are expecting others to do)
    We also need to own that it is our buying and consumption choices that have caused the problem. People trying to shut down the coal industry are hypocrites if they don’t do the same for oil. Are you not using petrol and are self sufficient with solar panels on your roof?

    1. Wake up, Graham Sutherland. Who exploits and profits from fossil fuels – I think you’ll find its big companies and governments. There are plenty of jobs that don’t involve making the planet uninhabitable. Most of us would starve if we gave away 20% of our income. We are disempowered to the point where we are not free to make those choices. Wake up.

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