Category Archives: Australia

Australia in Color (Part II)



One of the best parts about the Australian Institute of Marine Science was the wildlife.  Northern Australia has had below-average rainfall this year, partially because of El Nino.  The greenery has mostly shriveled up, except for small patches of lawn near the Institute.

Guess where the hungry wallabies go.

So my work suffered frequent wallaby-watching breaks.  Over the two months I was there, this joey went from a full-time pouch resident to a semi-independent adolescent.  So proud!

Continue reading Australia in Color (Part II)


Burned stump at Tidbinbilla Nature ReserveMy time in Australia’s dry tropics amounts to three words: Fires. Fires everywhere.  I’m sure the region has a certain amount of paranoia about this year’s growing El Nino, which brings droughts to the region, and the increased threat of wildfires.  But, drought or no drought, controlled burns have been a traditional part of Australia’s ecological management for 40,000 years.

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Seat-of-the-Pants Climatology

A week ago, I took a 10,000 mile journey from New York to Sydney.

It’s still mind-boggling to me that we can travel to the (almost) opposite side of the world in just 25 hours.  Granted, 25 hours is plenty of time to get bored.  Looking outside over the nighttime Pacific, you’d see no difference if somebody taped black construction paper over the windows.  My biggest source of entertainment on flights is looking out the windows.  Deprived of that option, I slept.

A few hours later, turbulence rattled me awake.  I’d be worried about crashing if I weren’t too sleepy to care.  But, since I was awake, I might as well check our location on the seatback TV map.  We were right near the equator.  Maybe a hundred miles north.

Turbulence?  Near the equator?  Is that a coincidence?

Nope.  It’s the Intertropical Convergence Zone!  I felt the ITCZ!

Continue reading Seat-of-the-Pants Climatology