The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Inc

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From The President - Mar 2019

1 Mar 2019 7:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Dear Members, it was great to see so many of you at our Welcome evening on February 5th. The overview presentations from our special interest groups gave a good idea of what is planned for this year’s Society activities, overseas tours, treks and monthly lectures. I hope you can enjoy participating in some of these events.

The re-fitting of our new home in Level 1/28 Fortescue street Spring Hill is proceeding as planned. The Gregory House committee has negotiated with tradesmen to undertake the work we require to change the layout of the space to fit our purposes. With the Christmas-New Year holidays it was not possible to commence construction until late January. It is anticipated that the work will be completed in March. At present there is limited access to the premises, so we will have the March lecture meeting at the Lavalla Centre in Rosalie. The RGSQ office in Fortescue street will be staffed throughout and can be contacted as usual.

As always with geographical interest, we have noted the extreme weather events experienced across the globe in January-February 2019. In both the northern hemisphere winter and southern hemisphere summer climatic conditions have been more severe than those experienced at the same time in 2018. The Mid-West of the USA experienced a “polar vortex” – a super cold period with temperatures plummeting to minus 40deg. in some parts and with heavy snow drifts causing road and air transport chaos.

Australia’s heatwave January 2019; source Bureau of Meteorology

At the same time in Australia, a prolonged heatwave affected much of the country throughout the month of January, breaking records for duration and individual daily extremes. On January 24th the town of Port Augusta (SA) reached a new record of 49.5 deg., while Cloncurry (Qld.) claimed an unenviable record of 43 consecutive days over 40 °C. Meanwhile 53 bushfires have been burning in Tasmania, some still some out of control at the time of this writing. Imagine the damage to flora and fauna in our temperate world heritage areas of Tasmania!

Townsville flooding. Source: ABC News, 5 February 2019

North Queensland received very heavy rainfall caused by the combined effects of the arrival of the annual monsoon trough with an embedded low pressure system. Townsville was the worst affected recording more than a year's worth of rain (1,134 millimetres) in nine days until Monday 4th February. Widespread flooding occurred in the city. With the Ross River dam reaching a flood-mitigation capacity of 240%, the flood gates had to be fully opened on February 4th causing further inundation in many parts of the city. Initially welcomed on previously drought-affected properties in north-western Queensland, the flooding rains have unfortunately resulted in heavy losses of cattle by drowning. An enormous relief effort is being undertaken by Emergency Service agencies, the ADF, the SES, Red Cross and other volunteers. If I am deployed with Red Cross to assist with evacuation centres and recovery, I will give you a “geographer’s view from the ground” in the next Bulletin. In the meantime, stay safe for the rest of summer!

References:

Steve Turton (Geographer, RGSQ Thomson Medallist) The stubborn high-pressure system behind Australia’s record heatwaves; The Conversation 25 January 2019 https://theconversation.com/the-stubborn-high-pressure-system-behind-australias-record-heatwaves-110442

Port Augusta's hot weather record broken again; Sun Herald 24 January, 2019 https://www.theherald.com.au/story/5869116/port-augustas-hot-weather-record-broken-again/

BOM says Townsville flooding far from over, as city lies trapped in weather 'convergence' zone; ABC News, 5 February 2019 https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-05/what-is-causing-record-rainfall-and-floods-in-townsville/10779032

Dr. Iraphne Childs, President



The Royal Geographical Society of Queensland Inc
Level 1/28 Fortescue St, Spring Hill Qld 4000
Tel 07 3368 2066
ABN 87 014 673 068
info@rgsq.org.au

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