Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A Sunburnt Country We Can't Love

Greetings from the Australian National University, where the Climate Change Institute is hosting a talk by Dr JoĆ«lle Gergis on her book "Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia" (April 2, 2018). This started with an excerpt from Dorothea Mackellar's poem My Country: "I love a sunburnt country ...". Then some historical climate records about great droughts and floods were discussed. The story then went back further to natural records in tree rings and coral growth. Worryingly, the records show that Australia has been subject to extreme heat, drought in the past and this will become more extreme due to global warming. Dr Gergis' book is both scholarly and entertaining, even if makes for uncomfortable reading. If you want to read the raw science, which is still readable,  Dr Gergis' thesis is available on-line.


Gergis, J. L. (2006). Reconstructing El Nino-southern Oscillation: Evidence from Tree-ring, Coral, Ice and Documentary Palaeoarchives, AD 1525-2002 (Doctoral dissertation, University of New South Wales). URL
ps: One point I don't agree with Dr Gergis on is that global warming is the biggest intergenerational challenge ever faced. I spent my childhood expecting to die in a nuclear war. That risk is now again increasing and it is a challenge which is yet to be faced. Ironically such a war would solve global warming, by causing a nuclear winter.

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