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The Mad Monk's Journal
Posted by TheMadMonk in Environment/Energy
Sat Jan 29th 2011, 10:41 PM
...and flat as a bloody pancake over most of it.

Our highest point is 2230m above sea level. What mountains we have are almost all along the East and SE coasts. Close enough that when we get flash flooding events like Towoomba the water heads for the coast in a sheet. There isn't any room to corall it into flood channels.

An area larger than Texas went under and we got plenty more flood plains that didn't even get damp this time around. The entire country is one big swale (low tract of land).

Apart from costal and mountain flash flooding, virtually all floodwaters in Australia move in flat sheets. We deal with excepional floods by erecting temporary levys around towns as the waters approach.

And once upon a time we were smart enough to raise our floors up on stumps. But we got cheap, lazy and dare I say it "wheelchair obsessed". Modern building practices tend to put indoor floors on almost the same level as the ground outside. I don't blame insurers for refusing to cover flood damage to a ri



Now for a "cistern", I personally like the idea of permanently flooding the Lake Eyre basin from the ocean. Which should I think stabilise SE Australian climate patterns considerably by preventing or mittigating droughts there during an El Nino event. Western and southern NSW should also get a small but permanent boost to their rainfall too.

And repeat around the world. Flooding the Dead Sea and a rift opening up in Northeastern Africa could bring rain back to much of the Middle East, particulary if flooding rates were selected to maximise evaporation from the innundated areas.

Death Valley would also be a good candidate, but forget that one, Amurika would never allow it.


Flooding sub-sealevel dry basins seems such a no brainer: An immediate, albeit minor mittigating effect on rising sea levels; shallow waters warm more and evaporate faster leading to increased cloud cover and some mittigating cooling. The geography of virtually every such basin is such that it is pretty much guaranteed that several somewheres which currently experience low or highly variable rainfall patterns, good steady rains in perpetuity.

Yes there would be significant ecological sacrifices made, but such sacrifices are being blindly made right now, simply as a byproduct of "business as usual".

Funnily enough, we are just now reaching the level of sophistication that would allow us to begin deliberate ecoengineering on a global scale. We can use our models to figure out where to plant a forest to begin bringing rain back to the Sahara.

Or locate solar towers (1/2 km tall chimney surrounded by a few square km of greenhouse) to create rain cloud nucleation plumes.

A few hundred gigawatts of microwaves from a platform in orbit could safely steer a hurricane away from land. Or steer a rain system on land to where it is needed.


I think were well past the point where we can just put it all back. We now have to think about how best to work with what we have irreverisbly done. One way or another ECOSYTEMS WILL LOSE OUT. If so then why not deliberately choose to make the losers the base ecosystems that remain when more complex ones collapse.
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