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Storms that battered Australia's east coast are a harbinger of things to come
UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES
Storms that battered Australia's east coast are a harbinger of things to come and a stark reminder of the need for a national effort to monitor the growing threat from climate change, UNSW coastal researchers warn.
"The damage we've seen is a harbinger of what's to come," said Ian Turner, Director of the Water Research Laboratory at the University of New South Wales. "Climate change is not only raising the oceans and threatening foreshores, but making our coastlines much more vulnerable to storm damage. What are king high tides today will be the norm within decades."
Turner's lab manages one of the world's longest-running beach erosion research programs, at Collaroy and Narrabeen in Sydney, using drones, real-time satellite positioning, fixed cameras, and airborne LiDAR and quadbikes. The variability, changes and trends in coastal erosion at the beaches have been tracked since 1976.
But the data collected by the UNSW team is only reliable for modelling when it comes to predicting effects in southeastern Australia. For the vast bulk of Australia's 25,760 km long coastline, researchers -- and the governments and coastal communities they advise -- are largely making guesses based on limited or non-existent data, say researchers.
"The wealth of data we've collected over decades makes our models of coastal variability increasingly more reliable -- but only for a 500 km stretch of southeastern Australia," Turner added. "But when it comes to modelling other parts of Australia, in many locations we are basically working blind.
Donald Trump would allow Keystone XL pipeline and end Paris climate deal
Trump pledged to cancel the Paris climate agreement, endorsed drilling off the Atlantic coast and said he would allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built in return for “a big piece of the profits” for the American people.
Increases in energy efficiency, the spread of affordable wind and solar, slowing economic growth, and concern over climate change will continue to damper demand. Meanwhile, the oil industry -- now equipped with fracking technology and other advanced extractive techniques -- will continue to boost supplies. It’s a formula for keeping prices low.
Why the Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive
Your smartphone allows you to get almost instantaneous answers to the most obscure questions. It also allows you to waste hours scrolling through Facebook or looking for the latest deals on Amazon.
More powerful computing systems can predict the weather better than any meteorologist or beat human champions in complex board games like chess.
But for several years, economists have asked why all that technical wizardry seems to be having so little impact on the economy. The issue surfaced again recently, when the government reported disappointingly slow growth and continuing stagnation in productivity. The rate of productivity growth from 2011 to 2015 was the slowest since the five-year period ending in 1982.
One place to look at this disconnect is in the doctor’s office. Dr. Peter Sutherland, a family physician in Tennessee, made the shift to computerized patient records from paper in the last few years. There are benefits to using electronic health records, Dr. Sutherland says, but grappling with the software and new reporting requirements has slowed him down. He sees fewer patients, and his income has slipped.
“I’m working harder and getting a little less,” he said.