Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The absence of competent risk analysts in the court of Mr Thwaites has yet to dawn on his collegues and the people of Victoria .Our leaders splash around 1 in 1000 and 1 in 100 as if the difference between such numbers means little. What if the number was not 1 in 1000 but actually with the flods in gippsland recently 1 in 30 .
Talk of numbers may mean little to those wanting the media spotlight but the right numbers mean a lot to the farmers and local governance agents who have to live with goverenment leaders who don't know what they are talking about ! The better publicity for bigger numbers draws out, in the absence of planners , the bigger numbers; they become gospel; feeding the frenzy of disaster management wastage . cost , planning and relief implications from correct use of these figures are huge -yet you wouldn't get that impression from all the careless talk of them.
With all this careless numbers and risk leveltalk, one hopes, for the sake of good governance and professional environmental planners and scientists, that change of leadership happens soon.
Instead of risk prevention specialists, the dummies are developing disaster management specialists ( eg bushfire s and floods ). The current Victorian government, like never before, is learning too late about one of its main responsibilities- - planning.
The Bracks government will be remembered , not for its ability to prevent disasters, but its ability to create institutions and budgets to manage them . The floods in Gippsland were quite predictable and therefore the State governmnet is liable for not anticipating the high daily rainfall totals in that week . Their ignorance is no excuse .


The unusually high runoff , landslide, soil erosion and stream bed energy risks associated with consistent northerly air flow are not unusual or unpredictable . Such events can be expeceted to have return period of around 10-30 years . High stream gradients, and siltation patterns in the streams running south provide conclusive landscape evidence of processes that have been going on along the southern fall of Victoria for eons . Pity our current leaders miss something as obvious to env planners as that !

See the annual rain fall map above which also indicates, by showing the edge of public forest, the steeper country and higher mountains in the region. The natural tendency to periodic drought and the reliance that localised areas have on irrigation should, we hope, be noted by those who don't like dams . Hopefully all that water going out to sea last week was also a timely lesson to learners too , about the complexity of water conservation in the budget of ag production in Victoria .

Moist air masses in southern Victoria do not commonly or easily produce much more than 25 mm of rain (one inch is used as a general guide only ) in an hour or for more than an hour (they can produce more , but the area affected becomes smaller) . Normally rain in June doesn't easily produce runoff because drier soils can readily absorb a small amount under 25mm . This physical limit to high intensity rain production ( greater than 25mm/hr) keeps high intensity and high total falls to normally small areas and short time frames ( for example :25mm /hr for the first hour but then , for example only , 10 mm for the next hour ) The only time when a high intensity rate such as 25mm/hr can be maintained for more than an hour , is when a moisture laden air flow , and an orographic uplift , such as the mountains in the top left of the picture above combine ) This effect enables the cooling and raining effect to be maintained for many hours .. Such localized and complex atmospheric processes explain how areas near mountains ( such as that air mass which was forced up on the eastern highlands shown on the above map ) on the southern fall can get over 20mm/hr for 10 hours , or the 200 mm in a day that was reported recently in Gippsland .

Here's another scoop for Gippsland - you heard it first on blogger, The map above can be used to ALSO demonstrate yet another poor planning of resource conservation -- the problem is alluded to ( but not yet spelled out just yet ) here
The Bracks government will thus be liable for not doing anything to reduce the viability of farming in the Gippsland area because of their ignorant,reactive , planning poor and disaster centered approach to governance . You heard it first on blogger



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