In what has now become something more serious than a joke, Geelong’s monthly rain once again – for the fifth month on end – has fallen below average.
Across the urban area the totals were around 34 mm on 12 rain days, well short of the average 45 mm. West Barwon Dam received 64 mm, just over half the May average – over the whole of autumn it recorded just 176 mm, well below the normal 250 mm and not “slightly below” as reported in another newspaper.
Otways catchments now total just 25.3% of capacity, and owing to Barwon Water’s obstinate refusal to construct another dam, the only alternative is to continue to rely on harvesting water from the underground aquifers. This was supposed to be a short-term measure but has now reached the point of possible environmental damage, as already noticed by local farmers. The most absurd development is the recent decision to “make Geelong drought-proof by 2010”, by harvesting yet more underground water from Anglesea, without any plans to recharge the aquifers being drained.
Of all those in authority, only new Councillor Andrew Katos has the common sense to question Barwon Water’s strategy. For a large and growing city, relatively close to a high rainfall region, to become reliant on groundwater, is very short-sighted. Of course, in the short-term, it is cheaper, and this seems to be the bottom line in all decision-making these days.
May was slightly colder than normal by 0.3 degree C. Average daily minimums were 7.1 degrees, compared to the normal 7.8, and maximums averaged 17.2, close to the normal 17.1.
The lowest minimum was 1.6 degrees on the 24th and the highest maximum reached just 21.5 on the 15th. As a result, because of a muchwarmer March, autumn ended up 0.75 degree C warmer than normal. This of course has nothing to do with “global warming caused by emissions”, and everything to do with natural variability, since global atmospheric temperatures as monitored by satellite since 1979 have not shown any warmertemperatures than those of 1998. And the decline over the past 10 years has come about despite increased carbon emissions.
Despite threats, there were no thunderstorms in the immediate area during May, although a few rumbles were heard in the Otways.
There was only one strong wind day, 72 kph at Mt Duneed on the 2nd.
Generally the fine and settled weather that dominated most of the month was due to a series of high pressure ridges crossing Victoria, which prevented many cold fronts from reaching their full rain potential before slipping away harmlessly to our southeast. There is no doubt that this current trend is due to the changing climate, but I and many others believe no man-made cause is responsible.
|Clifton Springs (1)||30.4||(n.a.)|
|Clifton Springs (2)||42.0||(n.a.)|
|Forrest (West Barwon)||64.0||(108.4)|
|Mt Duneed Airport||30.6||(49.0)|
|Mt Duneed West||36.7||(49.0)|
|Average across Urban Area||34.0||(47.2)|