Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Cyclone Slams Australia

« MTSAT satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration shows Category 5 Cyclone Yasi hitting land on the north coast of Queensland February 2.
(Getty Images)

A Category 5 super cyclone just slammed into Northeastern Australia, downgrading to a Category 4 as it crossed land. The cyclone is the largest in living memory to hit the continent nation and is causing widespread damage. Record droughts, followed by record floods, and now a record cyclone. What has Australia done to deserve this?
The cyclone, named Yasi, is so big that radar images show it covering an area almost the size of half of the state of Queensland.
“We haven’t had anything comparable since [1918],” said Prof. Jonathan Nott from the Australasian Palaeohazards Research Unit. “It’s a serious event. It’s the biggest one that anyone living today has seen in Queensland.” The Guardian is reporting that it is the biggest storm to hit that coast since Europeans settled the continent.
Beyond human casualties, the analysts at Stratfor forecasting say that the consequences of the supply disruptions will “reverberate worldwide” (February 2). Already the price of coal and copper has jumped as major mining, refining and exporting operations have shut down. Depending on how extensive flooding becomes, shortages could be especially acute in Japan, Korea and parts of China.
Banana, sugarcane and other agriculture industries are also sure to be hurt. In a worst-case scenario, depending on the size of the storm’s surge, the Great Barrier Reef could also suffer severe damage—hurting a major draw for the nation’s tourism industry.
Following the record floods that inundated the southern part of the state last month, this record-sized cyclone is the last thing that drenched Australians need.
What is happening to the weather? After years of drought, Australia is now drowning in water.
It’s as if nature is trying to tell us something, but we are not listening—so it is getting louder and louder.