Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The biggest threat ever

The biggest threat ever is still ignorance and the fear that goes with it . Consider all the hype over floods this week on the East Coast of Australia .
The huge floods in Geelong in 1995 were caused by major flows in only a small area of the Barwons' huge catchment. But noone outside our territory , just as with the Gippsland  floods over 10 years later seemed to know clearly what the return period really was  .
On shore Easterlies were the key . They are rare down here but are still clearly influential in producing higher than ARR&R curve daily rainfall return estimates. We discovered that well before 1995,  but it was news to many ( won't name them here ) who thought ARR&R design curve methods to be key to RP 's in design with flood water.
The floods currently affecting the east coast of Australia are being "talked up"  almost every hour ( . "the biggest,  the most unusual ever ". Careless talk needs to, like justice, be quickly killed if it is not to be come gospel. If agencies are still arguinng about answers, the public will be confused and easily led. What do you think is happening ? .
 Localized geomorphic planning (based on soils shapes and substance on the ground ) provided us over 20 years ago with more reliability in rainfall estimates, runoff prediction and risk elements ( eg nature of bedload and debris) in a particular situation. The soil and slope elements alone require substantial integration beyond the arithmatic simplicities of water column measurements and estimates . We also found a way to explain why the BOM should not have dismissed the very high 24 hour totals recorded at both Benwerrin and Tanybyrn ( as they did) ,  using rainfall physics and orographic effects .
BOM rainfall estimates are not reliable simply because there are not enough of them where they are needed and the volunteers who man them are not always trusted ( you heard it first from EA)

The questions are
  1.  Are agencies all across Australia still relying on an series of modelling curves and measurement scatter that doesn't take into account the specific geomorphic driver dimensions  in a situation?  
  2. Above aside , what are governmnets doing to ensure clarity of risk in any situation ? Clearly it is easier and tempting ( the way the press and polys treat a threat story ) for some to conclude that the Gippsland floods in 2007 and Toowoomba Ipswich flows in 2011 were thousand year floods( 1in 1000, 1in 5000 or 10000 etc )  when infact they should,  like we do in the Otways,  expect then much more often than that .The above flood in Geelong was caused by what we estimate was a  1:100 yr event or less . BW estimates over over 1in 1000 don't make sense in light of poor measurement records , inadequate researchthat considers actual catchment elements and their contribution.   
  3. For insurance and drama and news purposes,  is it  easier to blame God rather than clear up our own areas of predjudice , ignorance and fear ? Are Governments and the media playing on fear ?
  4. At what cost do authorities dismiss realistic risk estimates? 
  5. Why shouldn't people who choose to live / sell blocks in a high risk area pay extra or appropriate insurance? 
  6. Why should  we all pay for what appears to be a range of personal,  local government and developer failures? ( the question of levies)  
  7. As the Political Parties seem to be unified in support of levies,are we all then by implication to blame for a lack of real accountability ( in say planning ) here?  
  8. Will insurance work for anyone in ten years if individual people are not held responsible for taking risky choices ? 
  9. Is this casual acceptance of levies a powerful  example of unsustainable approaches to risk management and insurance ? Governments who encourage risk takers instead of really warning them 
  10.  The BOM ( January 29th 2013)are currently asking for people to help collect climate data "to improve the climate record " Bit of a skew in the data? What value is "now and future data " when we aren't taking seriously the past and its history ( incl geomorphology) . Good to see that at last they are reviewing historical records more  closely  but is it a bit late to take the voluntary hours of thousands of Australians serioulsy?( esp friends who ONCE lived worked and recorded rain each day on the Otway and other ridges) Will BOM acknowledge that the data collection on climate has been poor and that a review of old data in the light of geomorphic and high implication error factors would be an important "now type" use of public money?  

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, January 18, 2013

Not everything we do with nature is wrong... Take Roads

Infact our roads MUST  become safer places or more people will die on them . Who is allowing some of these this extremely tight and very high risk compromises for road users to remain on our roads ? Ted Baillueu and Peter Ryan haven't done anything to show their understanding that both the Shire and DSE officers are the problem ; soundly argued clearing along roads would take away half the officers workload  and make them work,  and think as well. A pile of red tape rules makes it easy for these officers to not make decisions;- just leave the general impression that its " wrong "' to touch anything on roadsides (As it happens ,it isn't always illegal , but DSE are not leading here in saying so!!!!!)  The local  officers have it easy because of all the rules pushed on them over the years by DSE heirachies. Noone in power is allowed to suggest those in power are paranoid about what they don't know .   Duckshoving real practical decisions to a rules book to be read down the line by the bookreaders group is complete madness but its been the modus operandi for decades. Question : what do these growing emergency management agencies do when there is no emergency ? Write rule books?  
Risk avoidance therapy by governments remains an easy way to stop being reasonable and scientific about these complex combinations of diversity and ecosystems. Wood on the ground that could house an animal is often not allowed to be moved so , whether its a rabbit hollow ( most likely) or a native animal , it becomes the sacred unknown life  . Landholders are allowed up to 3 metres clearance  - why don't the Shires show they have the same power to clear and protect ? While the unknown  subject remains sacred  and the trumpet call is unclear , people will die .

Respecting nature doesn't mean never touching it, as some unthinking single focused people think. Only ever seeing 2 uses on a roadsides ( them and us ) is blinkered and single focused . Lots of things use te space and there rights need to be balanced .  Roadsides often need things they no longer get because people have got preciuos about presummed rights of the native vegetation and the animals we house there . This road in the picture divides on a steep ridge and 2 cars can't pass between the two old trees - a seriuos accident waiting to happen.
Retained forest and fallen timber and bark near roads is, in Victoria,at this moment , hundreds of accidents waiting to happen . The form of these old fire remnant forests will not last anyway,so the musuem view of their protection is shortsighted; As is so much of the frightened techno politically correct religious speak from Head office and their lawyer driven "no real advice here " crew .Must we must pay more for better advice ?
The commissioner at the time of Marysville was clearly afraid to use the word " evacuate "and many yes men in the system still are . Why oh why ABC investigators is that ?  I wonder how many people died just becuase it wasn't assummed by many that it could be expected to happen .It was,  at it always  was , "your idea that kills you" -" its nothing to do with what I , the commissioner , the ABC do " . "Your plan"  talk remains the garbage garbelled newspeak even today . Where was Bailleu's  enquiry into the whitewash of Marysville and that very word "evacuate " ?Victotian  governement don't want to offend anyone ----even if it means more deaths ??
Roads also need drainage and cars need places to pass . These spaces are often NOT now allocated when they should be because of a compromise in favor of nature worship.Trees and habitat are more important . The greeneries allow cars ( because they have to ) but the safer places implied by car use - they don't quite undertsand is part of the eco deal - dumb,  pathetic  and shallow loopy
We were driving through Lara yesterday ( grassland ecosystem extending from Geelong to Melbourne) when 17 people lost their lives several decades ago 1969 . Interestingly on the topic of eco specific advice ( see bleow) they probably would have lived if they had not left their cars ( normal thing to do if the fire is parked on a road near ( but not neccesarily  in ) grassland. How would that happen and would it happen today ? It would be madness to say that the Lara native timber in that area was a forest ( then or now as its sparse and low and grassland  mainly ) But there were enough trees in one spot to create  the same old  timber dry hardwood frame disaster that we bushies knew is plan dangerous anytime .The road was one of the first to have freeway width and yet people were killed on it in 1969 . Do our road users know any better today when to stay indoors and where is safe and what to keep in the car ? .

The whole truth is not told ,,,so the advice is suspect and dangerous. 
Unlike the 60's,  though,  instead of avoiding parking near the standing  tinderbox we live in them .Noone is dared to tell the truth - so innocent  people die because the truth is not told  .Worse people pretend that any old advice apart from the harsh truth will save them . God help the compliant  when the right trial is held charging the right people . Meanwhile the danger is not avoided for some . A sort of strange perveted right of entitlement is given to trees and animals over humans. We die when they mustn't. Strange twisted and confusing moralities are all around us . 
The creation of extra lanes on the Geelong Melbourne Road in recent times makes any loss of life on that long road through western plains grassland  less and less likely but ----with our national broadcaster and many others still claiming in their ignornace and arrogance to  to give advice on risk in every space is wrong . Basic education  and exposure , not nanny led powerbrokers  and genarilized advice  is still sorely needed .Rebellion is thankfully breaking out amongst the commercials " use all sources " they said a few days ago. 
Some reasons to be more reasonable about the monocultural fire related forests that often occupy our roadsides 
1. Protection from incineration  It’s extremely dangerous to be near OUR native forests on hot days when the wind is blowing .
Because of the namby pambying  and silence , those who pretend that living in the bush is safe keep doing it and somehow pretend  that the road out through it will be safe . Neither are true and the danger is ever present to all of who use roads near bush .

2. Biodiversity enhancement
Its clear that despite all the talk on the media most city people have no idea of the reality  that road formations and clearing can and do create lots of biodiversity . The forest produced by fire is relatively  uniform so that the light access and water concentration produced by our roads adds to the diversity of habitats near them.
Roads  produce runoff for grass production in dry summers and light access for animals seeking some grasland diet species.   The need for clearing is nowhere more evident than at Zumsteins in the Grampians  where no kangaroos now congregate ( growing wattle s at the moment) . Tourists will however find them feeding on the private pastures provided by landowners nearby.

3.Long term ecosytem protection Looking after the forest is not leaving it to rot and fall over ( The only  habitat in old trees is dry space - there is therfore little habitat in rotting wet centres of the old trees in the picture. Its leaving to burn or burning it early ( the needed favor option )that makes sense naturally .

4.Controlled burning may not be the best compromise   The idea that you can burn these areas every year is wrong ( controlled burning preoccupation of the current government). The flora will change , more weeds will come and the natural sequence of at least  10 years between fires is broken .Realistically, a lower native form also often suits the new landscape (say where clearing has occurred on both sides) .The leaves of many monocultural fire related forest  do not like the wind exposure of being on the edge of such road side remnants ;groups too which have no need to no longer grow tall to compete for light but which can be expected to change character on the edge and in substoreys because of light entry changes.( in the longer term)

5 Confusion over the great divergence of risk between grassland and forest 
One very serious reason the public are not aware of the danger is that major controversies have plagued the fire agencies for years –One power group CFA favours staying  while another favors going and evacuation . The dummies in charge seem to fear that having two actions would threaten the advice and authority of government . Sensible thoughtful people know the confusion is imaginary and not real . One applies to grassland with occasional trees .The other applies to native forests and plantations of such trees .Diversity is a no brainer unless you are a myopic singlebagger ( as many are in leadership culture these days )  Instead of taking responsibility for good advice, the governemnet listen to lawyers who advise irresponsibility by governments."If you die mate it will be because of a decision you made" - "listen to YOUR plan" . "we don't really have a plan" )   The environment and the dead people take second place to big agencies and weak governments who allow pride in their own areas of expertise to stand in the road of reason in relation to real environmental reality .( This is the myth that need s busting , the worship of nature “ : You can stay  near grass fires (CFA reasoning ) but you mustn't try to stay  IF  you are living close to the Australian Bush . Vic government are so weak they allow this internal confusion of policy direction  to continue .  You read it first on blogger from a highly effective risk planner of 3decades experience bloke who was sacked because he told the truth.

Will the government care for you  in your hour of need ?
Useful  risk management advice comes from sifting the relevant from the trash ; being tough and making tough choices when it matters - not handing out suck eggs advice; Ditching talk and noise of the obvious from the particular, the direct from the drivel , searching beyond the good for the best and most direct . It’s a bit like the job  of sifting what your parents say to find the bits that are infact correct ( and disaster avoiding)  not " crap to be spread in a  predictable dumb shit handling exercise  - “a war against everything"   It’s not about information but the right information ---about the relevant forces operating in our space and  time – about the incredible diversity and freedom  we live in - our legacy of freedom and freedom within limits.There is real freedom !

If you don't yet believe me think, the specific sites and how the dummies in charge , instead of respecting the need for site specific judgement ( apart from " your own plan " which is Ok to a point ) try to force us to learn together in one place and time ( "hang into the news" while you burn to death? ) ;
--The specifics of why cypresses did in fact protect homes and people in Western District  fires ,
-- why non bark and ember producing NON NATIVE ( shock horror) trees should be planted MORE ( they are doing it Canberra where the hard lesson was put upon them )
--why some roads are still on this very day HUGE  danger traps because noone is allowed to clear them of risk factors ( by Shire planners and DSE)
-- why is the compromise of control burning accepted ( required once a year if you create a strong undergrowth( normal) Its often much more destructive of ecosystems than the natural fire pattern which patch burns every 10 years plus  or so on average . (http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/fire-and-other-emergencies/major-bushfires-in-victoria)
 Get as much advice as you can - wherever you can .  Don't be like children, and follow like sheep or the dishonest children in charge 

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,