Satellites enlisted to track world's fire hot spotswe have Peak Water.
The World Today - Wednesday, 8 April , 2009 12:48:00
Reporter: Rachael Brown
ELEANOR HALL: In an attempt to determine which areas of the globe will be most affected by climate change, US scientists have used thermal satellite imaging to help map global wildfires.
Victoria's recent deadly fires feature in the research.
But the paper's authors say that despite fire being a major by-product of climate change, it's often missing from global warming debates.
In Melbourne, Rachael Brown reports.
RACHAEL BROWN: Findings published in the journal PloS ONE, predict climate change will cause major shifts in global fire patterns and that it will happen fast.
Researchers used thermal infrared satellite data of fire behaviour between 1996 and 2006.
The study's author, Max Moritz, a wildfire specialist at the University of California, Berkeley, explains there aren't too many areas, unaffected.
MAX MORITZ: The world's deserts tend to be fire free and the equatorial rain forests and then the very high latitudes, close to the poles, tend to be relatively fire free but as you move away from those areas, you find more fire prone parts of the planet.
RACHAEL BROWN: Researchers looked at the relationship between the affected regions, and climate variables, like fuel loads and weather conditions, and they have plotted what changes the planet can expect if drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions do not occur.
Assistant Professor Moritz admits it's just one model, and a whole suite would be needed to confidently pinpoint areas most at risk.
The preliminary results reveal regions like north east China and central Africa may become less fire prone in the coming decades
He says this finding will surprise those who assume global warming will always equate to more fire.
But he expects there will be hotspots of fire invasion like those forming in parts of the western United States and Tibet.
MAX MORITZ: Say the Tibetan plateau or the real equatorial rainforest belt or up in the high boreal regions of Eurasia. We do see increases over broad areas like that.
But I think one of the more striking take home messages it's about the rate of change that we see some of these patterns shifting.
Record low water inflows into Murray-Darling BasinYes. Look out. They, the scientists who keep telling us that AGW is changing the world, are telling us we must reduce our water use by 40%.
The World Today - Wednesday, 8 April , 2009 12:54:00
Reporter: Jennifer Macey
ELEANOR HALL: Now to the latest grim figures on the Murray-Darling Basin.
The amount of water flowing into the Basin in the past three months has been the lowest in more than 100 years.
The Murray-Darling Basin Authority says the next three months are also looking bleak with drier than average conditions forecast.
Jennifer Macey has our report.
JENNIFER MACEY: Each month, each season, the drought affecting the Murray-Darling River System break yet another record and the latest drought update published by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority for April is no different; with two records broken.
The first three months of this year have recorded the lowest inflows in 117 years and the water flowing into the system for the past three years has dropped by half since the last bad drought 60 years ago.
The Authority's chief executive Rob Freeman says records are normally broken by small amounts but this one is startling.
ROB FREEMAN: The inflows for this three-year period are less than 50 per cent of the inflows of the previous minimum, so it is an extreme new record. It is coming on the back of seven incredibly dry years so we have got soil profiles which are incredibly dry.
What we have got here is a coalition of climate change, climate variability or drought as people often call it, and a legacy of over allocation of water from previous governments. And certainly that wouldn't have been to the extent it is back in 1943/
One of these geniuses even said that, even though we can't do anything about AGW, we must cut CO2 etc, etc, etc.
These nongs findings regarding fire are just amazing. How many bushfires occur in places where there is a desert? I would consider the high plateaus of Tibet to be pretty desertified.
The sooner these charlatans are out of public money and a job the better off the world will be.
The main World Today site is here.
Banks slammed for keeping rates high
Both sides of politics are condemning the decision by the big banks not to pass on the Reserve Bank's latest interest rate cut in full. The Treasurer says the banks risk blunting the RBA's attempt to deal with the economic crisis, and the Opposition wants the banks to justify their actions.
Mortgage industry report weakens banks' argument
Lower interest rates and the Government's stimulus packages have led to a jump in consumer confidence this month, while home loan figures show owner occupiers are pouring into the market. However, the big banks insist they can't afford to pass on the latest interest rate cut.
Doubts raised over Govt's ability to raise broadband capital
A former communications advisor to the Howard government and Optus executive says an upgrade of the nation's broadband system is necessary, but he also believes there are major questions over whether the government will be able to raise the private money it will need.
Govt moves to assuage cable concerns
While most of the new fibre optic cables for the Federal Government's national broadband network will have to be strung up on street poles, it's already facing industry opposition to renting any Telstra pipes to put some of the other cables underground.
Territorians warned of surge in power bills
Northern Territory residents are facing a major increase in their power and water bills, with some households having to pay an extra $800 a year. However, the extra costs are only half the increase recommended by a recent review into the Territory's utilities provider.
New tremor hits L'Aquila
Aftershocks are continuing to rattle central Italy.. two days after an earthquake killed more than 230 people in the region. People are still being pulled alive from the rubble of L'Aquila.
Footage indicates G20 victim pushed by police
Newly released footage of the G20 protests in London shows that a man was hit and pushed to the ground by a police officer just a few minutes before dying of a heart attack. The footage backs up statements from a number of witnesses who said police used excessive force during the demonstrations
Samoa facing law and order crisis
Police on the Pacific Island of Samoa have introduced a gun amnesty, in response to revelations that weapons are being smuggled into the country from the United States. Criminal gangs have also been engaging in a lucrative trade in drugs brought in from New Zealand.
Boat lands on Christmas Island undetected
A boat with about 45 people on board has arrived on Christmas Island. The Home Affairs Minister says the group will be detained to undergo health and security checks to establish their identity and reasons for their voyage. But it's not known how the boat landed undetected.