On a recent trip to Tasmania I recall standing on the edge of the world. Well, that’s what they called it at Arthur River. The wind blew across the Great Southern Ocean with power and purity all the way from the south coast of America. You could lean your face into the wind and breathe air that hadn’t been in contact with the land for 15,000km.
Not quite the same feeling standing in the paddock, lining up fence posts and you’re getting buffeted from one to the next by successive gusts of wind. Where does all this wind come from and why do we cop such a lot at the end of winter, coming into spring?
Science will tell us it’s a meeting of the air masses. The sun is moving higher into the sky and rapidly, believe it or not, and begins heating the ground below. Meanwhile, Antarctica is shaking off the long, cold winter and there is extremely cold air hanging about over the Southern Ocean. This large difference in temperatures drives pressure patterns. The air wants to move away from the high pressure and escape to an area of low pressure. The more intense the pressure, the stronger the winds.
In terms of Landcare we often take a catchment approach. Which seems logical enough. What we do at the top of the catchment is going to have an influence on those living downstream, sometimes many kilometres away. Ultimately, we are all living in a connected system, right down to the air we breathe.
- Ruth Aveyard
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