Mar 242014

Original story by Jeanavive McGregor and Jake Sturmer, ABC News

The latest United Nations report card on the impacts of climate change predicts Australia will continue to get hotter.

Sunset over Adelaide. Scientists believe the world is still on track to become more than two degrees Celsius warmer. Photo: Ching-Ling Lim

Sunset over Adelaide. Scientists believe the world is still on track to become more than two degrees Celsius warmer. Photo: Ching-Ling Lim

The ABC has obtained drafts of the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Scientists believe the world is still on track to become more than two degrees Celsius warmer – and that potentially means whole ecosystems could be wiped out.

Chapter 25 of the IPCC’s report has identified eight potential risks for Australia:

  • The possibility of widespread and permanent damage to coral reef systems – particularly the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo in Western Australia.
  • Some native species could be wiped out.
  • The chance of more frequent flooding causing damage to key infrastructure.
  • In some areas, unprecedented rising sea levels could inundate low-lying areas.
  • While in others, bushfires could result in significant economic losses.
  • More frequent heatwaves and temperatures may lead to increased morbidity – especially among the elderly.
  • And those same rising temperatures could put constraints on water resources.
  • Farmers also could face significant drops in agriculture – especially in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Worst-case scenario could see 40 per cent drop in production

The report said the worst-case scenario for the Murray-Darling Basin, south-east and south-west Australia would mean a significant drop in agricultural production.

The rigorous report process

The upcoming report includes 310 lead authors from 73 different nationalities.

Australian scientists are heavily involved as authors and reviewers of the Working Group reports.

Lesley Hughes, the lead author of the paper on Australasia, says Australia “punches above its weight”.

“We are disproportionately a larger group than you might otherwise think based on our population in the IPCC authorship team,” she said.

“We have a lot of scientists working on climate change issues and that is because we see Australia as being particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”

The reports take up to five years to produce, undergoing a rigorous review process.

For example, 48,000 review comments were received on the upcoming report.

Professor Hughes says the process is not really a matter of achieving consensus, but rather is about evaluating the evidence.

The Australasia chapter alone has 1,000 references.

“They are certainly the largest reports ever produced on climate change and its associated risks but I think probably some of the most careful documents put together anywhere,” she said.

“I rather naively thought that eight people and 25 pages to write, how long can it possibly take to write three-and-a-bit pages?

“The answer to that is about three years. There is much discussion about the weight of evidence so it’s a very long, detailed and careful process.”

CSIRO chief research scientist Mark Howden said the latest science predicts production could drop by up to 40 per cent under a severe drying scenario.

“At current rates of emissions, we are likely to go past two degrees,” Dr Howden said.

“There are various analyses that indicate it’s highly unlikely that we’ll stay below two degrees in the absence of major activities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“The longer we delay activities to reduce those … emissions, the more likely it is we’re going to go above two degrees.

“Higher degrees of temperature change also carry with them higher degrees of rainfall change, both in terms of their average rainfall and likely increases in rainfall intensity.

“Both of those have implications for agriculture and both of those aren’t necessarily good.”

Despite forecasts of less rain and hotter temperatures, irrigators maintain they have a central role to play in the nation’s future.

“That is why you have irrigation. It evens out those severe weather events such as a drier climate,” National Irrigators Council chief executive officer Tom Chesson said.

“People forget that Australia is so far ahead when it comes to water management. We are the cutting edge of water management in the world.

“It would be a [mistake] to think that we have been sitting on our hands and doing nothing. Necessity is the mother of all invention.”

Concerns about future of coral reefs

The final draft of the Australasia chapter raises serious concerns about the future of the the nation’s coral, finding there is likely to be “significant change in community composition and structure of coral reef systems in Australia”.

University of Queensland marine scientist Ove Hoegh-Guldberg says there are already concerns about the rate of change.

“We’re seeing changes which haven’t been seen since the dinosaurs,” Professor Hoegh-Guldberg said.

“If we continue on this pathway, corals continue to plummet and places like the Great Barrier Reef may no longer be great.

“If we keep on doing on what we’re doing – and that’s ramping up local and global stressors – coral reefs will disappear by the middle of this century or be in very low amounts on reefs around the world.”

Ocean temperatures continue to rise

Three years ago during a plenary session in Venice, the member nations of the IPCC resolved for the first time to include a separate chapter on oceans for the Working Group II report.

Oceans cover 71 per cent of the planet’s surface and changes to the ocean’s environment are playing a central role in the management of climate change.

Scientists agree that the ocean’s surface temperatures have continued to increase throughout the 20th century and into the 21st.

IPCC drafts indicate the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans have warmed by as much as half a degree, which has profoundly altered marine ecosystems.

Rising water temperatures and some levels of ocean acidification mean species are on the move.

Changed migratory patterns of fish and other catch pose significant risks to commercial fishers and other coastal activities.

Sea urchins once found only as far south as New South Wales have made their way to Tasmania.

The CSIRO’s Elvira Poloczanska said the urchins could destroy kelp forests, which had flow-on effects for rock lobsters.

“Kelp forests, much like forests on land, provide a habitat for a huge number of species,” Dr Poloczanska said.

“So a number of fish, vertebrates – including commercial species such as the rock lobster.

“As the forests disappear, so these species will disappear from the particular area as well.”

But interestingly, scientists do see some benefits and opportunities for some commercial fishing and other aquaculture industries in line with these changing patterns.

Despite progress being made on mitigation and adaptation measures, land management practices including pollution, nutrient run-off and overuse of marine resources also pose risks to marine life.

The report calls for internationally recognised guidelines to assist adaptation strategies already in place.

The report is due to be released on March 31.

Nov 012013

In-Stream 22:11If you missed the ANGFA convention in Melbourne don’t dispair, our assistant editor Leo O’Reilly gives us the run down in this issue of In-Stream.

Our editor Adrian Tappin introduces the mysterious and beautiful “Red Neon” Blue-eye thought to have originated in West Papua and yet to be formally named.

We take a close up look at Cherax quaricarinatus, the Reclaw Crayfish, and Adrian shows off a fabulous exposé of watergardens as a celebration of Spring.


As always, if you have an interesting story or photo to share we’d love to hear about it – so please contact us if you’d like to contribute to In-Stream.

Oct 012013

In-Stream 22:10In this issue of In-Stream we travel with Adrian Tappin west of the Great Dividing Range on Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland to visit the Ducie River as it makes its way into the  Gulf of Carpentaria.

We also get up close and personal with some the most beautiful, interesting and/or unusual inhabitants of  Australian freshwaters (and sometimes aquaria). This time the focus is on Blind Cave Gudgeons, Giant Jungle Prawns (Macrobrachium lar), Blue Stream Gobies (Sicyopterus lagocephalus), and Mudmat (Glossostigma).

Make sure you find the cryptic creature featured in the cover photograph of this issue too – just another example of what makes Australia waterways so special 😉 .

As always, if you have an interesting story or photo to share we’d love to hear about it – so please contact us if you’d like to contribute to In-Stream.

Sep 012013

In-Stream 22:09, September 2013

In-Stream September is out now!

In this edition we go fish sampling on Mabiaug Island with seasoned field biologist Glynn Aland who’s found Threadfin Mangrovegobies (Mugilogobius filifer), freshwater crabs (Austrothelphusa sp.) and an unusual form of Pacific Blue-eye (Psuedomugil signifer).

There’s a close up of the Macquarie Turtle (Emydura macquarii).

Our esteemed editor takes us on a river tour in New South Wales where we’ll see the Hastings River and the Camden Haven River. And Adrian will take a special look at some fish foods, from culturing paramecia to selecting a commercial product.

Hopefully enough to tide you over to the convention and our next meeting (which has been postponed to October 18th because of the convention).

Aug 012013

In-Stream 22:08, July 2013Augusts’s In-Stream is out now.

This month our esteemed editor puts the quality of our town water supply under scrutiny and discusses what it means to fishkeepng – with details about the dangers of chlorine and chloramine, and the steps you can take to keep your aquarium fish safe .

If you liked Adrian Dawson’s presentation about the production and keeping of marine ornamentals at the last meeting, then you’ll find his introduction to a marine nano tank a treat.

Adrian Tappin demystifies Pomacea diffusa (AKA Pomacea diffusa or the ‘Mystery Snail’) then takes us on a tour of Queensland’s Archer River.

Jul 012013

In-Stream 22:07, July 2013July’s In-Stream is out now. Come and take a look at the beautiful Mimulus ‘Monkey-flower’ or perhaps find out about the Flinders Range Purple-spotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda clivicola. Our editor takes us downstream on the Coleman River before tripping around the rest of the rivers of the Cape York Peninsula.

If all of that isn’t enough the intrepid Glynn Aland provides some insight into field techniques for chasing even the most elusive of fish. You can make the most of his years of experience traipsing along the rivers and creeks of the Australian bush, adding to our knowledge of native freshwater fish, invertebrates, and other wildlife.

Jun 012013

In-Stream 22:06In-Stream for June is now available. In this issue David Roberts takes us out on the club field trip to the Sunshine Coast where members fished Martins Creek and the South Maroochy River. Judging by the photos it was a great location and it sounds like everyone enjoyed the day out. Adrian Tappin talks about fish choices for frog ponds, moving bed biofiltration, and takes us on tour to the Prince Regent River in Western Australia. There’s a look at Lilaeopsis (swampstalks or hairgrass), Unspecked Hardyheads, and a brand new Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca pygmaea)  described in W.A.

Don’t forget, if you’ve got an interesting story to tell or even a photo to share we’d love to hear from you.

Contact us to add your contribution to In-Stream.

May 312013
In-Stream magazine cover from June 2003

In-Stream Volume 12 Number 3 JUNE 2003

Take a peek back at In-Stream from a decade ago, when ANGFA Queensland was getting ready for a Brisbane Convention anticipating a presentation from Dr. Gerry Allen about his exploits in eastern New Guinea.

Adrian Dawson reported about a combined clubs trip between ANGFA NSW and ANGFA Qld that included a weekend of fishing northern New South Wales – Woolgoolga Creek, Corindi Creek, the Orara River, and Never Never Creek.

Our editor, Adrian Tappin, with his ever present wanderlust of prose, took readers on tour to the Keep River in the Northern Territory, before explaining how to measure pH and why it matters for our aquarium fish and plants.

Through the work of Helen Larson we got introduced to some beautiful gobies from the Mugilogobius genus. With photos from Neil Armstrong and (of course) Gunther Schmida providing exquisite illustration of these charming little fish.

Our Vice-President and plant enthusiast  Heidy Rubin was the librarian back then and gave her regular write up from the Brisbane Plant Study Group “Tales from the Crypts”.

And the club took a look back at where it began, 20 years prior in 1983 entitled 20 Years Ago…

20 Years Ago…

Its twenty years since ANGFA (Qld) officially began. The first ‘official’ meeting was held at the home of Adrian Tappin in early 1983. Meetings were organised for the last Friday of each month to be held at different members’ homes on a rotating schedule. However, at a later meeting it was decided that if this young organisation was to grow it would have to have a permanent meeting place, so the group moved into its first public location at the Sherwood State School, with meetings held bi-monthly.

In June 1985 the first official newsletter was produced and was welcomed by the general membership. The publication of a regular newsletter in the intervening months with bi-monthly meetings has been a major factor contributing to the success story of ANGFA (Qld). Below is a photo of a promotional display in 1983 with the Editor at the helm.

ANGFA Qld display from 1983

Here’s to another 30 great years!

May 112013

In-Stream 22:05In-Stream for May is now available. In this issue Glynn Aland takes on tour as he surveys the remote tropical beauty of Moa Island. Adrian Tappin also paints a picture of the King Edward River in Western Australia and gives us some updates from the world of science with a look at some intersting stories from the journals.

Don’t forget, if you’ve got an interesting story to tell or even a photo to share, contact us to add your contribution to In-Stream.

Apr 012013

In-Stream 22:04April edition of In-Stream is out now! This month our illustrious editor Adrian Tappin takes us to the Moyle River, provides a look at the taxonomic history of Melanotaenia nigrans (Black Banded Rainbowfish) and shows us some potted water gardens, while Adrian Dawson discusses some low maintenance techniques for keeping native fish outdoors.