Clear Thinking on Climate Change
And shortly after I’d written on Lake Poopo, I re-read “Coopers Creek” by Alan Moorehead and stumbled across this gem (below).
Geologists tell us that an Inland sea, a thousand miles in extent, pretty well cut Australia into two portions along a north-south axis.
The sea dried up.
By the 1950s we had good records of rainfalls, and so we now know that Lake Eyre, in particular, spends most of its time as a dry salt pan, but every ten years or so becomes navigable.
I have seen the same effect on an HOURLY basis back in the days when I harvested wheat during a university vacation. The farmer stared morosely out of a kitchen window, morose because we were losing a day’s harvesting during the rain storm and certainly another day tomorrow while the ripened wheat dried out.
I was excited for I could see a lake where there had been just stubble a few hours before.
“Watch!” said the farmer and went off to make another pot of tea.
While I watched and we drank tea, the little lake disappeared and re-appeared a half a mile further to the west.
We were watching a river” flow, largely underground, but breaking the surface wherever the underlying rock rose in a slight wave.
I have watched lakes form and disappear in half-hour intervals.
Why should I worry about seventy-year intervals>
I have re-read “Coopers Creek” by Alan Moorehead and stumbled across this gem (above).
Stop and think about it for thirty seconds. The Australian Aborigines were adapted to survival in areas that killed (not “could kill” but “did kill”) European immigrants. The Aborigines made use of knowledge that Europeans never had and now never will have.
OK. Here’s my take on it: We believe that much mathematics might have started in the Arabian deserts where the skies are clear at night and there’s little else to do except ponder the stars, and the wandering stars (“planets”).
We might suppose that in their own way the Australian Aborigines were astronomers, especially with regard to the moon. Twenty-eight days can be notched on a small stick as an aide-memoire (the world’s first memory-stick?)
If you can count to 28 (days) then you can keep track of 13 (lunar months).
So if you knew that the rains always started so-many months/days after the sun rose over THIS part of the mountain when you were camped at THIS spot on the creek, then you’d easily know it was time to start walking upstream to catch the rains from the early monsoons or trades or Westerlies.
I quote here an excerpt from “The ‘Cross I Bare”:-
“Once a year as many Anglicans as possible gathered for the Parish Picnic.
“My parents dutifully showed up for the Picnic Planning Meeting.
“My mother, Lancashire born and bred, raised her hand to ask a question: “But what if it rains?”
“Consternation swept the room; no-one had thought of that, and Yorkrakine Rocks were a good twenty-five miles from anywhere.
“Missus Greaves” began the chairman, “It never rains on the third Sunday in September”.
“Farmers, of course, keep detailed diaries, and in living and written memory (both about seventy years at that time) rain had never been recorded in this area. Which is, of course, whey the Parish Picnic was scheduled, each year, to fall on the third Sunday in September.”
There are places in Australia where you can bet large sums of money on whether (nice pun Chris!) or not it will rain on a specified day well into the future.