Tuesday, January 22, 2008

"Take all" Turf Disease Strikes in the Northern Territory

The turf disease known as take all is a serious problem in many areas of the southern, south-west and gulf states of the USA. It appears as a problem dead area in the turf in summer, the wetter months, after damage was done in the spring and sometimes the autumn.

While known from the east coast of Australia, the first case of this devastating turf disease has recently been confirmed in the Northern Territory of Australia.

The area was recently sown to Buffalo turf, as sod, in several tranches, in October and November 2007. Conditions were dry [late dry season] and hot to very hot [day temperatures 33- 36C], but adequate irrigation was available and the sod established quite well, and vigorous growth commenced. Adequate slow release fertiliser had been placed under the sod, and the turf area was developing, with roots pegging the sod to the basal soil.

Typical late dry season conditions continued with intermittent storms and dry periods through to late December, with monsoonal conditions from December 27, 2007. Irrigation was used through to late December.

An urgent call in early January from the client – “my lawn is dying” and investigations began.

The lawn has been devastated, with large dead patches across almost all the site. Typical insect damage from army and sod web worm was ruled out as no active caterpillars were found, although superficially damage was similar. At this stage plant disease was suspected and investigations soon lead to the possibility of take all.

Samples were sent for analysis at the local Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries labs at Berrimah, with the disease being confirmed as Take All. Thanks to the staff there for help with confirming the diagnosis.

This is a new plant disease record for the Northern Territory.

The disease does occur on almost all turf grasses including those in the tropics, where the disease seems to be more aggressive. Buffalo grasses [ St Augustine in the USA] seems particularly susceptible.

Control is difficult, with agronomic management as important as any use of spray fungicides. In the USA, best results have come from a combination of soil and turf stolon [that material close to the soil especially] pH management, raised cutting heights, modest fertiliser rates and reduced nitrate rates [ammonium forms preferred]. All have a part to play, with the pH management most important. In essence, preventative measures rather than true control through any spray program. Early signs of yellowing were not noted, although that is a frequent early warning of the disease.

There is a l
ot of US material on the web worth a look. Search for “take all”, with a few university extension agencies having excellent brief technical information suitable for commercial contractors and home gardeners. More photos at:

Further work is continuing to aid the recovery of the turf. Dry, generally sunny weather from around the second week of January seems to have helped with development of new stolons, which have recolonised some areas. A spray with a fungicide known to have had some effect in slowing the disease also seems to have helped.

We can offer professional consulting services if your area is affected with this disease.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Plastic Shopping Bags Can Make Steel

While many parts of the world – including China – either have, or are planning, to ban plastic bags, and often plastic packaging, there is now a new patented option to truly reuse and recycle that plastic. Plastic waste now has a new life!

Six years of research at the University of NSW has developed an improved, more efficient steelmaking process using plastic packaging that would otherwise finish up in landfill. Currently many of the major supermarket chains in Australia have plastic bag recycling drop off points……but many consumers have been sceptical of what happens to them. Now you know that there is a real second life for them.

Veena Sahajwalla, a professor in the school of materials science and engineering, has invented a methodology for extracting carbon from plastic packaging, and in the process to use it to replace 30 per cent of the coke and coal used to make steel. The process could save millions of dollars and reduce greenhouse gases.

But it's the prospect of diverting large amounts of plastic packaging from landfills that excites Professor Sahajwalla most about the technology. "It's a win-win situation, better for the environment and the company," she says. "In making steel there's essentially no difference between the polyethylene plastic in shopping bags, soft packaging and some drink containers, and a natural resource like coal."

A deal signed between NewSouth Innovations (UNSW's commercialisation arm) and OneSteel, a major steel producer in Australia, will allow for millions of tonnes of plastic packaging to be recycled to produce steel. Professor Sahajwalla hopes this is only the beginning and is working on technologies that will make use of other materials to replace coke and coal. "This is about sustainability as well as protecting the environment, this is definitely ongoing research."

OneSteel has been sponsoring Sahajwalla's work and has also acquired the rights to sub-license the new technology. Professor Sahajwalla is highly regarded in the field of materials engineering, and has received several awards for her research as well as sponsorship from national and international institutions.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Is Plastic Making People Fat?

Never a day goes by that some new issue appears that seems to cause more potential for concern about most items considered safe to use. The latest concerns development of obesity in adults.

Being fat has long been seen as a personal problem, fixed only by struggling against the proliferation of fast food restaurants, unlucky genes, and a sedentary life.

But could something in the environment also be making many westernised people fat in epidemic numbers?

Animal studies in recent years raise the possibility that prenatal exposure to minuscule amounts of common chemicals - found in everything from baby bottles to toys - could predispose a body to a life of weight gain. The chemicals, known as endocrine disrupters, mimic natural hormones that help regulate, for example, how many fat cells a body makes and how much fat to store in them. Some of these chemicals are even now found in drinking water.

These findings have led some scientists to put forth a provocative argument: They say diet and too little exercise clearly are key reasons for the worldwide rise in obesity in the past 20 years, but they may not be the only ones.

Food intake and exercise just haven't changed that much in that period, they argue. And while genetics obviously play a role - just think of someone you know who can eat three Big Macs a day and never gain an ounce - these researchers say it would be impossible to see such widespread genetic change in just two decades, giving them more reason to suspect the environment. "This is a really new area . . . but from multiple labs on multiple levels we are getting preliminary data that all say the same thing: Chemicals can play a role," said Jerry Heindel, a program administrator for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

"We know that nutrition and exercise are very, very important, but underlying that could be environmental exposures during development that alter your physiology, including how you respond to food and exercise."

Thousands of chemicals have come on the market in the past 30 years, and some of them are showing up in people's bodies in low levels. Scientists studying obesity are focusing on endocrine disrupters - which have already been linked to reproductive problems in animals and humans - because they have become so common in the environment and are known to affect fat cells. Many endocrine disrupter chemicals including break down products from contraception pills are now found in the water supply of many cities, particularly where drinking water is sourced directly from rivers, often the sewer pit from upstream.

One key researcher in the field, Bruce Blumberg of the University of California, Irvine, has even coined a new word for chemicals that can make you fat: Obesogens.

A recent US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that about 93 percent of the US population had bisphenol A, a chemical that can be found in canned goods and in hard, clear plastic items such as baby bottles and hiking containers [predominanatly made from polycarbonate], in their body. As a resultof this and related work, a number of outdoor supply companies have removed polycarbonate bottles from sale and further manufacture.

A study at the University of Missouri-Columbia showed that mice fed bisphenol A during early development - at lower amounts than what would have resulted in the levels found in most people in the CDC study - become markedly more obese as adults than those that weren't fed the chemical. Tufts University scientists observed similar phenomenon in rats.

Well.......I suppose if we all switch to aluminium water bottles, a spike in the incidence of alzheimers disease can be expected in a few years too.

Sourced partially from: http://www.boston.com/news/health/articles/2008/01/14/is_plastic_making_us_fat/

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Climate Change, Tipping Points, Feedback and the North

This has been amended slightly from another blog - Triple Pundit, as linked to ENN News. Definitely worth a read, as are the embeded links.

Andrew Burger posted two excellent articles on 3P here and here regarding the general state of research, science, and the modeling of climate change. I refer you to those article for a good foundation. There are also a variety of excellent resources on the web, some of which Andrew cites in his posts, and other worthwhile sources such as RealClimate, The National Academy of Sciences, USCap (an alliance of business and environmental research and advocacy groups), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

One of the best sources for getting a grasp on science in general and climate change in particular is the video series from “WonderingMind42”. If you are at all concerned or interested in climate change, even if (especially if) you harbour scepticism regarding the efficacy of the science and are bothered by words like “consensus” - see these great videos. Look especially for the “Nature of Science” videos to get a great overview of the process of science and a guideline to assessing the credibility of sources.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the peer-reviewed science represented in the aforementioned sources and so aptly explained in Andrew’s posts. James Inhofe has released his report from 400 “prominent” scientists refuting the reality of anthropologic climate change. Many disagree with the “James Gang” — but you should make up your own mind.

Good scientific theories are continually challenged as a means of making them stronger.

I’d like to follow up in this post regarding tipping points, a look at 2007, and why I expect to be very cold next month as I try to learn more about climate change.

Positive Feedback Loops that Can’t Just be “Turned Down”

In the WonderingMind videos there is a detailed discussion of positive feedback loops and tipping points. His method of demonstration does a great job showing the nature of thresholds and positive feedback, and relates directly to my own practical experience as well.

We’ve all seen the bit in TV shows and movies where some nervous (or guilty) individual steps tentatively up to a microphone, taps it (something you should never do incidentally), and causes the sound system to emit an ear-piercing screech. We all know about “feedback” in live sound systems, but did we ever relate that phenomenon to climate change?

Despite the fact that the typical scene I just described demonstrates an unrealistically low feedback threshold in most cases (unless you’re inexperienced setting up sound systems), it is an excellent example of a system reaching a threshold or “tipping point”, after which the system enters an accelerating and largely uncontrollable positive feedback loop — Screech!

Two salient points here are 1) that the exact location in the system dynamics of a tipping point or threshold, after which the system becomes unstable, is unknown until that threshold has already been crossed and 2) once crossed things get crazy and happen fast.

Even running a sound system you are very familiar with, in a room worked in for years, with sound sources that, more or less, remain the same, you can never be fully confident that they will not unexpectedly run the system into feedback.

Certainly with modern tools and experience, it is possible to have a good estimate of where that tipping points is, and thus keep the system from reaching that point most of the time. But not always. Every so often a “mic will ring” and — oops — I’ve crossed a threshold and the system is out of my control until I turn the offending sound source down.

Sound systems, acoustics, and the physics of sound can be complex subjects, but they are obviously child’s play in relation to understanding the nature of our climate. I can just turn down a sound system, but once a system in our climate has reached its tipping point, something we won’t know until it is passed, the “steady-state” of the system is replaced with accelerating positive feedback loops of increasing instability that cannot simply be “turned down” and the effects of which are highly unpredictable.

And it is not always apparent that the tipping point has been reached even if we’ve reached it. In terms of global averages, last year was the second warmest year on record (behind 2005). However, in northern latitudes temperatures are increasing much more rapidly than the global average and there are indications that 2007 represents a tipping point in the far north, with arctic ice and permafrost melt.

Permafrost and peatland are an area of concern for scientists studying the climate. Alaskans are increasingly confronted with shifting land and damaged housing and infrastructure from melting permafrost. Of even more significant concern is the vast stores of methane and carbon in the permafrost of the subarctic and arctic regions and what happens when it melts, releasing that carbon and methane into the atmosphere, further warming the climate, accelerating the melting ice and permafrost, releasing more carbon and methane, warming the atmosphere even more”¦ Screech!

Dr. Peter Kershaw studies the subarctic region known as the “continental treeline”, a region where permafrost underlies the landscape, and has established several study plots throughout the Hudson Bay region near Churchill, Manitoba. Kershaw’s goal is to quantify the environmental conditions present in this region of permafrost and peatland landforms and monitor the changes in order to best asses the effects climate change has on these landforms, and how those changes in turn effect ongoing climate change.

Many see 2007 as a tipping point. It is something, in one way or another, everybody that contributes is talking about — how to create a sustainable and prosperous world. In terms of climate change, potential environmental tipping points possibly are already crossed as climate models for arctic sea ice are proven wrong — and conservative. But also where public, corporate, and even government awareness has reached it’s own tipping point — where positive feedback is good thing.

And thus, 2007 may be the point where the reasonable and responsible debate moves forward.

Climate change is here. Human activity is a major contributing factor. At some point, we need to respectfully choose to ignore those that refuse to act reasonably in the face of the evidence. They may think and act as they choose, of course, but we do not need to give it much credence until there is real, falsifiable evidence to warrant it.

Therefore, the debate must be: What do we do about it?

Readers of this information are among the smart innovators, visionary business leaders and solution-minded individuals that can help answer that fundamental question.

And so I say to you, to me, to all of us — let’s get after it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

'White Gold" Raises Rural Fortunes in India

India overtook the United States in 2007 as the second largest producer of cotton in the world, thanks to a bumper 2007/2008 harvest.

According to general manager of India's Vardhman Group, IJ Duhria, the sub-continent is on the cusp of a "white gold revolution", with 70 million people there engaged in cotton production.

"Slowly but continuously a quiet revolution is taking place," Mr Duhria said. "In India, cotton is sown over 9.5 million hectares, which is significantly larger than any other country - accounting around 27pc of the total world cotton area. "Production has grown significantly since mid 1980s due to improvement in both area and yield, but major impetus in cotton cultivation has come in after the introduction of Bt Cotton in India in 2002-03. "Since 2003-04 the area under Biotech Cotton has increased from mere 86,000ha to 5.5m ha in 2007-08 and production of cotton in country has increased by more than 72pc from 17.9 million bales in 2003-04 to projected 31 million bales in 2007-08, which makes India the second largest producer of Cotton in the world after China.

"The productivity of cotton in the country has rallied to a higher level despite the fact that the major area is still grown under rain-fed conditions, making the farmer dependent on monsoons."

The dramatic turn-around of the country's cotton fortunes means that from being an importer of about 2.5 million bales, India is now the second-largest exporter of cotton, with around six to seven million bales. This in itself is very interesting in that most areas are NOT irrigated. True, India has some great vertisol soils, typically used for cotton as well as other crops. And most cotton is grown by smaller producers.

Once again the role of biotechnology in improving cotton prospects offers a stark contrast and reminder of the situation in north Australia where opposition by vocal environmental groups has effectively prevented development of a northern Australia cotton industry.

Agricultural research has taken place, environmental work has shown biotech cotton will not be a weed, other work has also shown that pesticide use will be low........but POLITICS is stopping the developmental progress to a potential cotton growing industry in the north.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Phytoliths in Grass - Adding Long Term Soil Carbon

Agriculture might save the world again, if more grass is grown, and in the process help save the world from climate change.

New research is showing that the world's forests are absorbing less man-made carbon dioxide each year, yet some Australian scientists said some plants could store CO2 for thousands of years.

Grasses such as wheat and sorghum can store large amounts of carbon in microscopic balls of silica, called phytoliths, that form around a plant's cells as they draw the mineral from the soil, a report in the latest issue of New Scientist says. Earlier work also indicates that both tropical pasture grasses including Brachiaria spp and tropical wetland plants such as rice and other grasses and the Cyperaceae family store even greater amounts. And the Brachiaria spp group is a major pasture species widely used in many regions of the tropics.

When a plant dies, the phytoliths, or plantstones, enter the soil and lock in the carbon for potentially thousands of years, said the Southern Cross University agricultural scientists, Leigh Sullivan and Jeff Parr.

The next step would be to see if plants that best store carbon in plantstones have higher or lower crop yields and quality. "So far our studies of wheat and sorghum suggest that there is no trade-off between yield and carbon sequestration," Professor Sullivan said.

Strains could be bred to better produce plantstones and farmers could potentially claim carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol, the report said.

The forestry industry is already heavily involved in carbon storage but storing carbon in plantstones could become more widespread because farmers could also still earn income by selling the crops for food, the report said.

This report has focussed on the role of annual grass crops, but potential annual biomass yields of tropical pasture grasses usually exceeds that of crop species, and with potentially higher phytolith % in these species, is there now a key measurable item that can be used to correlate the long term addition of carbon to soil, that can be a key to pasture growers being part of the carbon storage industry?

Also see the blog post here on terra preta soils.

[partially sourced from Sydney Morning Herald, a Fairfax Media publication]

Friday, January 04, 2008

Green Fatigue - Do YOU Have this Condition Yet?

There is a new contagious condition developing rapidly in the developed world..........green fatigue. Overload with environmental issues, climate change and no immediate fix in sight [nor is there lilkely to be one either] are, along with rampant consumerism, prime causes of the condition.

In a world of instant gratification, green fatigue cannot be cured instantly, hence the dilemna. Can we do anything meaningful? Why bother....NIMBY! Who cares anyway? A cohort of people all who have had a diet of the instant fix are now confronted with a condition that requires patient, thoughtful, continuing and slow efforts to remediate. Hence the green fatigue.

Analysts in the UK say few people are taking action to deal with the threat of climate change, although over the past 12 months the vast majority have come to accept that it poses a real threat to the world.

Opinion polls reveal much confusion among the public about what Britain should do to combat the problem. There is every reason to believe the same situation occurs in Australia given the inaction by the previous government. A backlash is now a real threat, said Phil Downing, head of environmental research for Ipsos Mori. 'There's cynicism because on the one hand we're being told [the problem] is very serious and on the other hand we're building runways, mining Alaskan oil; there's a lot going on that appears to be heading in the opposite direction.'

This is particularly evident in the huge public resistance to green taxes. 'There's a cynicism the government is using the green agenda as an excuse for hitting motorists and people who want to fly,' added Downing.

In short, 2007 may have brought final acceptance of the danger of global warming, but it has not triggered demands for urgent action. However, Chris West, head of the government-sponsored UK Climate Impacts Programme, believes there are signs it is starting.

'The people who before were saying, "It may or may not be happening, who cares?" are now saying, "This is something we'll have to deal with - but how do we do it?"

And the people already accepting the fact and struggling with how to do it are actually getting fed up with how difficult it's been to do something and are finding their own ways of dealing with the issue.'

Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, agreed. The 'vast majority' of British businesses 'are still not into sustainability and climate change', she warned. In the UK, people have made no noticeable changes to their behaviour and are taking increased numbers of car journeys, going on more flights, pumping out more carbon dioxide and using more electricity to heat their homes. At the same time there is deep antagonism towards green taxes and the introduction of wind farms to the countryside to generate carbon-free electricity. But we do at least understand the danger we are in, experts added.

Pat Thomas, editor of the Ecologist, said reports about conditions at the North and South Poles - including the breaking up of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the opening of the North-west Passage through the Arctic, and studies which suggested the Arctic could be ice-free in summer by 2013 - had been particularly important in changing public perceptions. In addition, changes in seasons, campaigning films, storms, floods and media reports about spreading droughts helped convince a once-sceptical nation in 2007 that global warming is real and man-made. In Australia, evidence of hot dry conditions throughout most of the country reinforce the issue of climate change.

Recent opinion polls now indicate that nine out of 10 UK citizens believe climate change is occurring and is being driven by human activities - in particular increases in industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. Publication of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change latest reports on global warming were also important.

In 2007, the IPCC declared it now believed it was more than 90 per cent likely that climate change was being triggered by humans; that natural systems on all continents are being affected; and that humans have eight years to avoid the worst effects impacting on the environment. 'The IPCC's message wasn't tremendously different [from past reports], it's just that its evidence was very much better,' added West. Other influential events included the Australian drought and the forest fires that swept through Greece and California. Then Britain suffered its wettest summer on record and some of its worst flooding for decades. Thousands of homes were devastated and billions of pounds worth of damage caused.

'This is the stuff of climate change, so we'd better get ready because there's a lot more where this comes from,' added Young. 'The reality is that the physical impacts of climate change have probably been with us for some time.' Or as Thomas put it: 'People are now experiencing climate change in their own lives.' But if these events were crucial in convincing the public that man-made climate change was real, imminent and potentially highly destructive, there has also been considerable difficulty about how it, the public, can deal with the problem. This is a real problem as a now willing public are confused as to how to act and what to do.

The report by Ipsos Mori that found that almost nine out of 10 people believe climate change is happening also revealed that there was a lack of understanding about what should be done to counteract it. In particular, it was discovered that there is a general reluctance for people to do anything significant on their own.

Although 70 per cent thought 'the world will soon experience a major environmental crisis', virtually nobody said they were prepared to do anything about it beyond trying to reuse plastic bags and recycle some rubbish.

The problem in the UK is heightened by the government's own failure to halt rises of carbon dioxide emissions, despite its pledges to cut them drastically. Traffic on UK roads rose in the first three quarters of 2007, peaking at 132 billion vehicle kilometres between July to September. At the same time, numbers of flights worldwide rose 4.7 per cent to nearly 30 million during 2007.

In Britain, carbon emissions have risen in five out of the 10 years that New Labour have been in power and are now 2.2 per cent higher than they were in 1997. By any standards the government is doing very badly when it comes to taking effective action to deal with carbon emissions. There are some encouraging signs with more people taking action into their own hands, for example by insulating their lofts to cut fuel bills, or by joining movements like Transition Towns where communities agree to reduce their dependence on coal, oil and gas. Businesses are investing in more eco-friendly products in expectation, said Richard Lambert, the CBI's director-general.
'They are ahead of the consumer.'

Whether the public becomes more proactive in 2008 when it comes to climate change depends on several issues, added analysts. A key factor will be the weather, said West. 'If we have a nice average year, whatever that means, people will say: "Climate change: what of it?" But if we have either an extreme heatwave or more flooding, I think there's going to be a cumulative effect.
The next time we have a national-scale weather-related emergency, people will say: "Enough ... we can't allow this to be normal". In a way, if that happens, it makes our job easier, but clearly I don't want to wish a disaster on anyone.'

In a way, green fatigue has arisen in the ordinary consumer, tired of messages but with no way to respond, and often not knowing how to respond, or having to make decisions to even respond. A dumbed down society, now having to think and adjust.Duh! A bit hard heh!

Those a tad older remember the days of taking your own bag to the shops, reusing newspapers to wrap the vegie peel and brown paper school book covers and so on. Even a small home vegetable patch. So a brain readjustment is not so tricky, and green fatigue rarely strikes hard; afterall it is life.

For those whose find last week's new MP3 player / phone / gas guzzling SUV is now oh so passe, that a new one is required ........well, it is a might more difficult to escape the green fatigue.

[sourced partially from www.guardian.co.uk ]

Organic Food is not always Good Food

partially sourced from a media release of: Organic Consumers Association
Published January 3, 2008 10:11 AM

Thousands of Tons of Organic Food Produced Using Toxic Chemicals

California Farmers Want Classification for 'Sustainable' Produce
Anheuser-Busch Pledges to Use Only Organic Hops In Organic Beer
EarthNews Radio: Organic Consumers Association
Farmers Relying on Growing Trust in Organic Labeling /top_stories/article/28572
Straight to the Source : Daily Mail, UK, January 1, 2008 ]

Thousands of tons of organic vegetables sold in British shops this year were produced using toxic chemical pesticides, it emerged yesterday.

Many shoppers - who pay premium prices for "naturally" grown veg - are unaware that any chemicals are allowed on any organic produce. Under Soil Association rules, a small number of sprays are permitted.

But yesterday it emerged that increasing numbers of potato farmers have been asking for special permission to use large amounts of copper fungicide over the summer and autumn.

According to new figures, a third of UK organic potato farmers were given permission to spray crops with fungicides made with copper - a heavy metal that can cause liver disease.
The pesticide is one of a handful approved by the Soil Association - the charity that certifies and promotes organic food.

The association's website describes it as toxic, while the EU is planning to ban it in the next few years following concerns about its health effects.

Farmers were forced to resort to chemical sprays after one of the worst summers on record for potato blight - the disease that caused the 19th century Irish famine.

The Soil Association said 30 per cent of its growers had applied for special permission to use the fungicide while industry sources said organic farmers had bought "close to record" amounts over the summer.

Professor Tony Trewavas, an Edinburgh University plant scientist and critic of organic food, said copper compounds were 1,000 times more toxic than fungicides used on non-organic potatoes.


Just goes to show, not all organic food is as good as merchants assert........and that modern agriculture is not always a villain. Without modern agricuture, most of the world would not get a decent feed, and the gains in agriculture in most developing economies are largely due to modern agricultural methods and agricultural science. Recent data for Africa indicate a drop in poverty due to superior agricultural performance.

Organic food is only as good as the certification systems in place. In Australia the organic systems are quite robust, but food quality is also an issue for the Food Safety Authorities - a combined body for Australia and NZ. Copper fungicides are "old technology", with complementary food safety issues. Organic standards rarely cover "quality" of the produce only the production methodologies.

Full Story on organic food problems
: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news....in_article_id=505427&in_page_id=1770

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Alternative Energy in India

Do not despair over the potential for emerging economies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

India is a rapidly developing economy and with a vibrant alternative energy sector. A recent article on wind energy places India as the 4th largest user of wind energy, and that is likely to rapidly expand. For more, see the following : http://www.enn.com/energy/article/26176

India has a long coastline, and is well suited to wind power development. China is also very active in wind power development.

Maybe there are implications for north Australia in this area, as both India and north Australia are in similar latitudes. Yet......it seems in north Australia, they say the wind in inadequate. Surprised? Most people are.

The Indian government has also announced a new incentive scheme for improved use of solar panels and solar power.

If it can be done in India........it can be done in north Australia too.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Monsoon is Here!!

At long last the monsoon has hit northern Australia.

Although Malaysia, Indonesia and even Singapore had a lot of rain over the past few weeks, even with floods in eastern Malaysia, it was not until just after Christmas that the monsoon westerlies and north westerlies had crossed into the north west of Australia with Darwin recording strong winds and rain from around 27 December.

Sure, it is now wet.........even very wet, with around 200 - 250mm of rain since last week, and the ground is a bit saturated, but the cloud cover means lower temperatures and great conditions really, with a few sunny periods.

Without the monsoon to bring life back to plants, animals, replenish the groundwater and rivers and generally reviving everything.......you are in deep trouble.

A detailed information brief is on the website of the Met Bureau http://www.bom.gov.au/ under tropical climate note.

It is now too wet to plant crops and pastures.........the old adage of "being planted by Christmas" in this part of Australia is very accurate this year. And current prognostications indicate it will be wet for a while yet too.

Rain on!