Is this global warming?

Friday, January 5, 10.30am.

High tide and I am watching waves beating at the windows of a neighbour's house. Other neighbours have flooded gardens and water is flowing up the road. The Turret Rd causeway is flooded.

Neighbours commented they had "never seen anything like it", and one noted that "it is worse than the storm of 1955".

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My 12-year-old asked: "Is this caused by global warming?"

The answer is yes and no. The direct cause of this event is a deep depression that was positioned to create enormous fetch up the harbour, combined with king tides. The combination of circumstances was unfortunate, and catastrophic for some. Is this just bad luck?

What global warming delivers is increased frequencies and extremes. Storms will be stronger, extreme or unusual weather will be more frequent (remember that balmy December), coastlines will be subject to stronger wave action that reaches higher up the beaches, and so on.

The frequency of extreme events is increasing, exactly as predicted. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at a level never experienced in the entire history of the human species, and the global temperature and sea-level trends are both up. Catastrophic events such as this are the new normal.

Associate Professor Ian G. McLean
Tauranga


Foxton space should be recreated here

I was recently in Foxton and visited its new museum/library/cultural/community centre.

Foxton celebrates both Maori and Dutch heritage and it does this in a brand-new building.

It was inspirational to see what a small place can do with a new purpose-built building, interactive displays, library spaces interspersed, meeting rooms, a cafe and hangout space.

Perhaps someone from Tauranga should go and have a look?

Surely it can't be that hard to achieve something here.

Jillian Carey
Mount Maunganui


Maori wards

Peter Dey argues (Letters, January 4) that Maori wards are needed to ensure Maori are adequately represented in local government because, he claims, "in elections people vote for candidates that are most like themselves".

In that situation, with 80 per cent of the electorates being non-Maori, Maori don't get elected, he claims.

Then please explain why of nearly 30 Maori in Parliament of 120 MPs, only seven of them are elected in the seven Maori electorates?

How come we have a fabulous Maori MP representing Tauranga?

The wonderful thing about New Zealand's democracy is we are all equal and I, for one, am grateful we live in a democracy where we are all, men and women, free to stand for local government.

Margaret Murray-Benge
Bethlehem