Australia: The New Tale of the Boy who Cried Wolf

When you think of Australia, your mind may drift to images of beauty: cuddly koalas, laptop background worthy beaches, and maybe, if you’re like me, the Hemsworth brothers. No matter what you think of when you think of Australia, your thoughts are likely drawn to some beauty of the land. Australia has so much biodiversity that you are bound to be enamored by some aspect of it. The preservation of this beauty is becoming essential. Very few realize the detrimental effects that climate change is having on Australia’s unique environments.

Recent global satellite maps show that the vegetation in the interior of Australia has stopped responding to increases in rainfall all together. Think of it as “the boy who cried wolf.” The rain is the boy, and the interior has stopped listening. It learned that no matter how much rainfall it gets within a certain period of time that drought will soon follow. It’s safe to say that the interior land is having some serious trust issues with rainfall. Scientists aren’t sure if the two will ever work out their relationship problems. It’s up to us, the third wheel of the relationship, to find a means to reconcile the broken-up couple. This is clearly an aspect of climate change, not “global warming.”


The above image shows the current Vegetation Sensitivity Index (VSI) of the globe. Green areas have low sensitivity, while red indicates high sensitivity. The color gray means that the area is barren or covered in ice.

Nature, a scientific journal, published these global satellite maps, which analyze 14 years of data on key climate variables. The data shows that east Australia is very sensitive to variability in water, while the interior shows little sensitivity. This demonstrates the need to address climate change and water conservation.

These maps can be used to better understand how the ecosystems are coping with large-scale processes like climate change, but it doesn’t do quite enough. On-ground research is still necessary for scientists to learn more specifics on climate change’s effects on the interior.

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