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Urban Resilience

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Australian Floods,


Sydney-based designer Dan Hill happened to be in Brisbane this week when floodwaters overtook the city.


There will be much finger-pointing after this, from insurance companies refusing to pay up due to the releases from dams not technically being floods (what on earth else are they then?); from those who point out that, as memory of the '74 floods faded, developers were allowed to build in flood plains earmarked for further dams; from those pointing out that the floods are a result of climate change (even if these ones aren't, future ones will be); from those pointing out that the entire fragile mode of suburban development of Australian cities is particularly unsuited to the resilience required of the near-future; that development should not have been allowed on the riversides and basins of floodplains, and so on.

There will be a time for discussing how to achieve more resilient patterns of settlement in Australia. I'm not at all convinced that Australians have the appetite for genuinely addressing this, even despite the floods. Most people are apparently incapable of thinking about the future on the scale required for investment in things like urban resilience, even accepting we need to get better at communicating all this. I'm not sure people see the connection between devastating flooding and a culture where property developers call the shots, where cost drives aspiration in building and infrastructure, and where a car-based fabric of dispersed tarmac'ed low-density communities is virtually the Australian dream. But if it's not events like this, I'm not sure what else it would take to make this clear and force the issue.


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Australian Floods.... like the ones in 1974.

And in the times of Noah... etc

People built settlements on flood plains and got flooded out. No big surprise. More people means fewer places to live.

It's the same as people who live on the side of a volcano or on a fault line, being surprised when their homes are engulfed by lava or fall into a hole in the ground... It's just a matter of time.

(Are you listening San Francisco?)

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The Thames froze over!!! Run for the hills... in 1600's


And see what happened in 1953...


And just LOOK at how much ice has been lost since the end of the ice age!!!


And here's a ufo...


And a ghost...


Oh and look.... an asteroid that might hit the earth some time.


Sleep tight boys and girls...

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There is actually a 2009 study that provides clearcut support for the above analysis, “Temperature response in the Altai region lags solar forcing†(subs. req’d). It makes use of “ice core oxygen isotope record from the continental Siberian Altai, serving as a high-resolution temperature proxy for the last 750 years.†It found that:

The strong correlation between reconstructed temperature and solar activity suggests solar forcing as a main driver for temperature variations during the period 1250–1850 in this region.

It also concluded that

during the industrial period (1850-2000) solar forcing became less important and only the CO2 concentrations show a significant correlation with the temperature record.

The Earth’s overall temperature does not change randomly on a decadal scale — it changes when it is driven to do so by an external forcing.

Yes, the Earth has had brief warming and cooling periods since 1250. But those temperature changes were not random. They were largely responses to changes in the solar radiation hitting the earth (which is itself affected by volcanoes).

A long-term increase in the Earth’s average temperature is caused by a change in the planetary energy balance (incoming vs. outgoing energy), also known as a ‘radiative forcing.’ If the amounts of incoming and outgoing energy are equal, the planet is in equilibrium and its temperature will not increase on average.

CO2 is a heat trapping gas, upsetting the Earth's energy balance, less energy going out...

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