Bushfire smoke, dust storms and asthma

Images of Brisbane shrouded in an asthma-inducing smoky haze on Monday reminded me of Queensland Ballet’s season launch in 2009. We had driven down for the matinee on a day when a massive dust storm was predicted. By the time we came out, the dust haze was so thick you could barely see the ABC headquarters across the road from the Lyric Theatre. No doubt those of you who remember that were reliving it on…

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Where there’s (bush) fire there’s smoke

Oops- the tail light is out- better get that fixed! Fast forward to King St. Mechanical in Warwick. John came out and promptly fixed it- ‘No worries, mate. No charge’! It would have been the perfect introductory day in a new town, had it not been for the pall of bushfire smoke hanging over Warwick and communities to the east. At Yangan, 18 kms East, smoke from two fires burning in inaccessible country around Swanfels…

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Climate debate burning fiercely

As we prepared to move from the Sunshine Coast hinterland after 17 years, the air was full of bushfire smoke, dust and haze from an early, hot start to spring. It blew a gale up there for the best part of a week; strong south-westerlies, the last thing you need in an early bushfire season. Multiple properties were lost around Stanthorpe and in the Gold Coast hinterland between Sarabah and Canungra as hot gusty winds…

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Climate extremes – from bushfires to a polar vortex

February is the one month of the year when the climate extremes of the northern and southern hemisphere starkly remind us of the threat to civilisation posed by climate change. In the northern hemisphere, a polar vortex in January and February brought record low sub-zero temperatures to the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. Cars disappeared beneath mounds of snow; Chicago’s river froze as temperatures dropped to a rare -46 degrees Celcius (wind chill temperature). The…

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