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Fitzroy River - CQ

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2024 7:36 am
by ronje
We're in the middle of the El Nino "dry" period predicted by BOM in Sept last year ( dry, little ran, fewer cyclones).

North Aus has subsequently had 5 cyclones and unusally heavy rainfall north of the NSW border. A very prominent and unusual El Nino "dry" season indeed.

Taking note of the BOM prediction, many in the defence, agriculture, mining, maritime industries planned (and acted upon) their activities in respect of planting, stocking, maintence, new work etc. with many ag downsizing stock numbers.

Emergency service responders also noted the prediction and "leaned" their expected activities more towards probable fire response.

Well, the predicted El Nino didn't materialise (not for long anyway).

The USA's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is the international organisation that sets trigger levels for declaration of El/La Nino predictions. Nominally + or - .5 degrees difference from the 30 year average water temp measured at the equator in the middle of the pacific ocean at the same time of year.

Being much cleverer than NOAA, BOM has been using its own trigger level points of +/- .8 degrees difference.

There has been criticism of BOM over that failed prediction. BOM's reaction to that criticism is easily found in news reports.

I've tried to link such a video on here without success. You can easily find it though by using the following in your search tool: La Nina: 85 per cent chance....

In the 2022/2023 year, BOM had a budget of $335 million from taxpayers. It also had sales of $85 million from "customers" (more taxpayers).

BOM charges fee-for-service as a money-making role from defence, aeronautical, agriculture, mining, shipping and other users.

Its taxpayer portion of $335 million is guaranteed by Fed govt budget.

Its commercial income of $85 million is from sales and is not guaranteed but is dependent upon the accuracy of its predictions which determines its credibility.

That accuracy and credibility has been put to the test by its Sept 23 El Nino prediction failure. Purchasers of BOM services don't seem to be happy with BOM and would have to ask themselves if its worthwhile paying BOM for poor predictions.

Other non-paying customers are also questioning BOM's credibility. Nothing new in that I suppose (been happening for many years. Free forecasts etc so don't complain) except for the $335 million it costs to receive "dud" information). Value for taxpayer money?

The $85 million income is a different story. BOM has to be seen to be "doing something".

With a total budget of $420 million, is BOM delivering value for money?

Probably if BOM stops trying to be so clever and also stops the "fudging of data" attempting to support the govt's climate change agenda.

An example of the fudging is setting of the .8 degree difference (instead of NOAA's recommended +/- .5 degree difference).

BOM is proposing to reg-jig its Nino prediction calculation by being "not so clever" and dropping its Nino trigger point levels back towards the NOAA recommended levels. Not right back but closer AND by giving that Nino index a new name. Relative Index.

Digressing for a moment, name changing is nothing new for federal govt departments. In my search and rescue work days, I dealt a lot with the Federal Dept of Transport in which the Aus search and rescue cordination centre was housed.

That DOT centre used various subsequent names with the name changes brought about by bad publicity when a S&R job went wrong and somebody died. Some names I recall are Marine Rescue Cordination Centre, Federal Sea Safety, Marine Operations Centre. I think the latest is Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

So BOM is simply following public service practice of name changing when things go wrong.

Here in CQ, the freshwater flows from rain have been continual and interferred with barramundi spawning at the mouth of the Fitzroy.

In the NT there's a lot more freshwater flow meaning that one of the "ducks" (salinty) that has to line line up to induce spawning to commence (eg mouth of Mary R) takes place a little further out from the river mouths than it does in our waters here (eg Mouth of Fitzroy R Q)).

Another "duck" is water temp. THAT'S one of the reasons there are multiple strains of barramundi (differing water temps in which easch strain has evolved).

There has been little spawning and little recruitment so there'll be a "hole" in fish sizes moving through the barra stock for the nex 5-10 years. A group of us from Qld who fished the Roper R annually first encountered such a "size hole" a couple of years after a "wet" failed.

Once BOM decided that it was cleverer than NOAA and the rest of the world and started using its own calculations, then it was just a matter of time before things came to grief.

Re: Fitzroy River - CQ

Posted: Fri Mar 29, 2024 3:58 pm
by Matt Flynn
Dry as I've ever seen it in southern Tas, and fly fishos have been lamenting state of rivers, also a plague of cormorants.

Local river is flowing normally, but paddocks are dusty.

Looks like the mainland got it all.

Re: Fitzroy River - CQ

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2024 6:02 am
by ronje
Over the last 10 years, we've had rain here but not our usual "wet".

Now our "wet" has been spread out over the winter period with less intense events but more of them. Many more low cloud days but heavy drizzle rather than rain. Inland in the Fitzroy catchment, the change has also been evident but with rain events a little heavier thus flow in Fitzroy spread out more over the year.

Barrage gates stay open longer due to more frequent freshwater flows but no floods.

Looks to me like the positions of the high and low pressure systems that march across Aus from west to east are changing their latitudes eg the Roaring Forties are no longer at 40 degrees south and the Horse Latitudes have also changed.

With these bands of pressures changing, the weather patterns on the earth's surface simply follow.

As climate is the long term result of weather and the weather is changing, we have climate change.