CLEVELAND - Last night I enjoyed a glass of delicious Australian Shiraz, a 2010 Mollydooker. An outstanding red wine. Big plum flavors with a hint of smoke & anise. In my opinion, the Aussies make some of the best Shiraz in the world. Perhaps it’s because of the often warm, very dry climate where these grapes grow. They are places called Barossa, Adelaide, & Coonawarra... perfect for growing grapes that make outstanding wines. Of course, all plants, including grape vines need water. But the less water grape vines have during the summer and fall, the more flavorful the grape. The algorithm goes like this: Dryer weather = less water in the berry + more sugar and intense flavors = great wines in my glass.
But, imagine my chagrin when I read today about the impending doom of the Australian Wine Industry due to Man-Made Global Warming/Climate Change/Climate Chaos. Here's what they said in the Prague Post this week:
"Predictions are that if temperatures rise another 2 C, growing vines will become untenable in many of the world's more renowned wine regions by 2050. One such case is Australia, whose vineyard area could disappear entirely... in such an event, water, not wine would become the overriding priority."
OMG! So, water will become so scarce in Australia, that grape vines won't grow and there won't be any water to siphon off for the vines. Instead, every available drop will need to be diverted for basic human existence. It’s worse than we thought!
A quick web search yields other dire predictions for the Land Down Under. Australian Professor and Government Official Ross Garnaut , told a crowd in Western Australia in 2011: "The drying of the South-West has been predicted by climate change scientists, and climate changes in the region are directly attributable to carbon levels in the atmosphere."
Other predictions preceded Doctor Garnaut's.
In 2005, during a decade of severe drought, Australian Climate Change Commissioner, Tim Flannery predicted Sydney’s dams could be dry in as little as two years because global warming was drying up the rains, leaving the city “facing extreme difficulties with water.”
In 2007, Flannery predicted cities such as Brisbane would never again have dam-filling rains, as global warming had caused “a 20 per cent decrease in rainfall in some areas” and made the soil too hot, “so even the rain that falls isn’t actually going to fill our dams and river systems."
In 2008, Australian Head of the National Climate Centre at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, David Jones told residents it could be time to stop describing south-eastern Australia as gripped by drought and instead accept the extreme dry as permanent : “There is a debate in the climate community, after … close to 12 years of drought, whether this is something permanent. Certainly, in terms of temperature, that seems to be our reality, and that there is no turning back."
In 2009, TheAge.com said this: "It’s not drought, it’s climate change, say scientists.
A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed what many scientists long suspected: that the 13-year drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change…
Scientists working on the $7 million South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative. To see what role greenhouse gases played in the recent intensification, the scientists used sophisticated American computer climate models. ‘’It’s reasonable to say that a lot of the current drought of the last 12 to 13 years is due to ongoing global warming,’’ said the bureau’s Bertrand Timbal."
I guess it's time to start hiding my prized Aussie wines!
But, hold on. There's a problem. Australia isn't dry right now. Here's the headline in the UK Telegraph newspaper this week: "Hundreds more evacuated in Australian floods"
Floods? You mean the kind caused by excess water? Yes, it’s true. Australia is wet.
This is from Reuters News Service, from February 3, 2012: "Heavy rains shut four coal mines in eastern Australia on Friday as military helicopters evacuated stranded residents from inundated towns, and authorities warned of further flash flooding. There's more headlines: "More than 11,000 people in Queensland State have been isolated by the flooding and thousands had been evacuated, emergency services authorities said. The town of Moree, the centre of the region's cotton growing, has been cut in half by record floodwaters, while authorities are using helicopters to relocate 300 people already at an evacuation centre in the outback town of Roma to another centre on higher ground. Whitehaven Coal said it had shut four mines due to heavy rainfall, but the mines were not flooded and no equipment had been damaged. Other miners and liquefied natural gas producers reported their operations had so far not been affected."
And its not just rain. It's record rain (Figure D). Headlines from March 2 of 2012 read "Southeast Australia remains under water:" "(There were) heavy falls ... across parts