It is hard to get people impressed with the size of the disaster flooding over Australia’s north east province of Queensland. Should Texas and California be similarly flooded Americans would think the world was coming to an end. That’s about the equivalence in territory affected, some 350,000 square miles, or half of the entire province.

Weeks of rain destroyed cotton crops, halted coal deliveries, shut mines and prompted BHP Billiton Ltd., Xstrata Plc, Rio Tinto Group and Peabody Energy Corp. to declare force majeure, a legal clause allowing them to miss contracted deliveries.

Missed Royalty Payments

In addition to the rebuilding cost, the state will miss royalty payments from those mines, with Fraser estimating it may take three months for some to resume normal production.

Queensland, which accounts for about 20 percent of Australia’s A$1.3 trillion ($1.3 trillion) economy, expects the impact on the state’s finances to eclipse the A$800 million it spent on natural disasters last year, Fraser said on Jan. 1.

Maybe flooding of such proportions is too abstract? Maybe it’s just water? How about this to get some reality embedded?

Stranded Kangaroo in Queensland Flooding

From Climate Progress

One of the most basic predictions of climate science is that global warming will cause more intense precipitation. As Dr. Kevin Trenberth, head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, explained it, “there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.”

Last year appears to have been the hottest year on record — and it saw an astonishing amount of intense rainfall from Nashville’s ‘Katrina’ to the great Pakistani deluge.” And so it should be no surprise that the year ends with another unprecedented deluge of “biblical proportion.”

Oh, and by the way, New Zealand is not doing so well, either. The north end of the South Island has had it’s worst flooding in 150 years.

Motueka River in New Zealand five hours apart on December 28, 2010

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