Cyclones — assessing the risk
Each year, about 75 severe tropical cyclones — or typhoons or hurricanes as they're known north of the equator — develop around the world. One in five of these forms off Australia. From not far north of Perth in the west round the north coast to near Brisbane in the east, every part of the coastline may find itself, some time or other, in the path of a summer cyclone. Severe effects can be felt up to 50 km inland.
Comfort maps of Australia
In 1916 an Australian meteorologist, Griffith Taylor, divided the continent into four climate zones: scorching, muggy, keen, and raw. Although crude, this effort at classification did express the notion that people are strongly interested in describing the nature of the climate where they live; indeed, climate in many ways determines where people live and what sort of livelihood can be followed there.
Catalysts and the coming liquid fuel shortage
One of last year's petrol droughts in Sydney resulted from a combination of industrial strife and the closure of a refinery's ‘catalytic cracker’ for maintenance. As the city's population discovered, catalytic cracking, which involves the breaking of large hydrocarbon molecules to give the smaller ones needed in petrol, is an essential step in oil refining.
Towards industrial use of solar energy
Solar water heating has come a long way in Australia since the 1950s, when early enthusiasts installed the first simple and often unsightly collectors on the roofs of their houses. Home-made collectors gave way to the products of small but innovative engineering enterprises as interest in solar hot-water systems grew. Now collector manufacture is becoming big business.
Those hardy radiata pines
Although not reckoned to be the most drought-hardy of pines, radiata pine still shows a remarkable capacity to cope with little rainfall. It's widespread success in plantations throughout Australia offers some evidence of this, but experiments by Mr Kurt Cremer of the CSIRO Division of Forest Research supply more substantial proof.
DDT residues in ducks
Use of DDT has declined greatly in recent years in Australia. However, it is a highly persistent pesticide, and its residues will remain in the environment for a long time to come even if its use stops completely.
Kosciusko’s fascinating flora
During summer, a magnificent wildflower display begins above the tree-line in the Mt Kosciusko area. The slopes, snow-covered for much of the year, become carpets of yellows, mauves, reds, and white blended into a green-brown background.
Carbon dioxide and crop yields
One of the main causes for concern that the world may experience significant climate changes in the foreseeable future is the increasing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. The vast outpouring of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion seems to be the main cause of the increase.
Taking stock of Australia’s water resources
Australia is the driest of the inhabited continents, yet our modern society makes large demands on water supplies for domestic, industrial, and agricultural purposes. The average annual run-off from the Australian mainland has been assessed as the equivalent of only 5 centimetres depth over its surface. The run-off from Africa, the next driest continent, is equivalent to a depth of 17 cm.
Praying mantis preys on birds and frogs
If insects were to take over the world (as has often-times been supposed) then the praying mantis would surely rule supreme. This voracious creature, with its mobile triangular head and huge eyes, is strictly carnivorous. It consumes other insects with a relish that disdains such niceties as killing them first.