Climate Crisis Or Coincidence? Examining the Recent Surge In Rainfall And Its Implications

 

DELUGE DEBATE: UNRAVELLING THE MYSTERY

 

Have you noticed that we seem to getting more flooding events and extreme storms?

 

Are we imagining this or is it real? In this post we explore the facts, and some of the key environmental drivers behind our changing weather. And ask – can we do something about it?

 

Across Australia we have recently seen huge surges in rainfall, flooding and damage resulting from severe storms. So why is this happening? Scientific investigation shows that the record rainfall levels fit with the pattern of climate change. A key indicator of global warming is warmer air, which can store more moisture – roughly 7% more for every degree celsius of temperature increase. As a result, patterns of rainfall can become more intense and frequent as a result of this increased moisture content in the air. 

 

Warmer temperatures also speed the evaporation of water, especially from large bodies of water like the oceans that encircle Australia. This causes rain clouds to form more quickly and significant rain events occur as a result. Deforestation, which compromises soil integrity and increases landslides and erosion, adds to the devastation following large downpours and flooding. We know that eventually, all watercourses and drains lead to the ocean so the effects of sedimentation intensify when flood water and runoff enters our watercourses. In turn this creates a devastating environmental impact on communities downstream.

 

AUSTRALIA’S FLOOD DISASTER REALITIES

Following several years of major flood events in the Moreton Bay region, researcher at the University of Queensland, Alistair Grinham, recently released shocking findings that around 98% of the floor of Moreton Bay is covered by a thick layer of mud and plastic debris. Caused by human activity, the layer of mud is so heavy that plants and aquatic life are being choked and entire ecosystems are at risk of permanent damage. 

 

With well over 100,000 people living or working in the Hawkesbury-Nepean flood plain, Western Sydney, is the most flood-exposed region of NSW, according to authorities. The effects of climate change, higher east coast temperatures and the pending La Nina, more than doubles the chance of major flooding in the region. Floods in the Windsor region that have exceeded 10 metres since 1900, have all occurred during a La Nina period. 

 

 

Source: abc.net.au 

Across the entire Queensland region, 2024 has been the year of rain and floods. Not only Moreton Bay but other areas have faced significant storms, flooding and loss of human and animal life. Samford Valley was one of the worst hit, receiving 300mm in three hours, while 126mm fell in two hours at Upper Caboolture. 

 

“Everything’s just so unstable, with more rain on sodden ground, that was already destabilised, they have finally let go.” 

Scenic Rim Mayor, Greg Christensen  

 

These are just some of the thousands of similar stories across Australia and the globe. The recent rainfall event that hit Dubai with an entire year’s worth of rain falling in just 3 days which shut down the country and infrastructure. Not only are we facing environmental destruction, the economic impact, loss of property, life and community are also at risk. Floodwaters carry tonnes and tonnes of debris, plastic being at the top of the list along with wood, metals and other waste. 

 

At Nationwide we know the only way to sustainably manage waste and stop plastics entering our waterways is in partnership with an experienced waste management service team. In consultation with you and your team we can prioritise any immediate issues and then help you to plan strategies for a holistic approach to minimise your waste. In turn, this decreases the amount of waste that is sent to landfill which is a key focus of our sustainable waste management programmes. The Moreton Bay example above is just one case where we could have prevented this potentially dire situation if proper plastic waste management practices were in place.    

 

CAN WE SLOW DOWN OR REVERSE GLOBAL WARMING?

The simple answer is YES. Whilst we can’t stop global warming right away, we can slow it down and control its impact by reducing human made emissions and soot (also known as “black carbon”) that we release into the atmosphere. At Nationwide we have long championed the circular economy and helped thousands of businesses to manage their waste more effectively. One of the most common services we provide is skip hire so that bulk waste can be collected, removed from site, meticulously sorted, reused and recycled. Only the bare minimum actually goes into landfill.

 

Every person on this planet, every business large or small, needs to manage waste more effectively. At home the correct sorting of household waste is imperative, you can create a compost heap, grow your own veggies, reuse and recycle. Buy second hand goods instead of new, shop locally at farmers markets and always support those businesses with a ‘green’ ethos, versus those who don’t. The United Nations are one such organisation who are actively engaging in encouraging more effective waste management at home.  

 

From a business perspective, educating your employees about sustainable waste management is an imperative first step – from the top of the organisation to the front line. Introduce a sustainable waste management champion into the business, or nominate them internally. Ensure that you have all of the correct processes and bins in place for separating waste and that you are meeting the standard as specified by local authorities. We are your dedicated experts in clinical waste services, chemical waste management, plastic collection services and more. Our team at Nationwide can assist in the education process, provide a full waste assessment and map out your journey toward a more sustainable future. We are true waste warriors who want to help you create a healthier planet now and for generations to come.     

 

RAIN CHECK: WHAT’S THE REST OF THE WORLD DOING ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?

The Paris Agreement was signed by 195 governments in December 2015. Countries are working diligently to fulfil this agreement, which is the most significant for global collaboration in combating climate change. A number of nations have made legislative commitments to achieve nett zero emissions by 2050, including the UK, Norway, France, and New Zealand. But are we actually on course to meet the targets outlined in the Paris Agreement?

 

When they signed the Agreement, the countries of the world agreed to ‘well below 2°C’ as the maximum increase in global warming, with a target of 1.5°C. The graph below shows expected global warming projections based on the agreement and policies that have been put in place by the participating countries.  

 

 

Source: Climate Action Tracker

 

In order to build a resilient and sustainable future, climate change must be addressed. It also creates new economic prospects by fostering the expansion of the green economy. A zero-carbon economy and society can prevent climate change threats and their consequences. This includes creating and implementing new innovations as well as implementing established zero-carbon technologies, such as energy-generating wind and solar power plants, energy-storage batteries, and electric cars that replace gas and diesel vehicles. Also a shift away from fossil fuel-based energy sources for homes and businesses, as well as changes in consumer behaviour and lifestyle choices.

 

By preventing the catastrophic effects that climate change has on our society, these initiatives have economic benefits as well. Reducing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, bushfires, and flooding are key outcomes from reducing our environmental footprint. Think about recycling and reuse rather than timber waste disposal, there’s loads of handy ideas around for repurposing timber and old pallets. Get creative! 

 

CLEAR SKIES AND SUSTAINABLE WASTE SOLUTIONS

The path to sustainable waste management requires constant dedication to environmentally conscious practices. Nationwide Waste can provide a path for future generations to enjoy a cleaner, healthier future by collaborating with our clients to provide innovative waste management solutions. Whether you need holistic advice, or are looking for specific services like confidential document services (including secure document destruction), cardboard recyclers or a grease trap company to manage your FOG waste, we can help. By working together, we can not only reduce our carbon footprint, we can provide environmentally friendly waste management services that will guarantee a better, more sustainable future for everyone.

 

Contact our team today for more information or to book an assessment with our expert team.  

Some of the other waste, recycling and related services offered by Nationwide include:

ISO Certified Waste Company

Feminine hygiene bins

Washroom services company

Brisbane waste

Melbourne waste

Sydney waste

Brisbane liquid waste

Melbourne liquid waste

Sydney liquid waste

Pest control Sydney