A Drought Predicted in New South Wales.
METEOROLOGISTS DIFFER. Mr Charles Egeson, meteorologist at the Sydney Observatory, has contributed to the Press a statement to the effect that evidence of a great and inauspicious change is to him overwhelming, and he predicts a recurrence of the severe three years' drought of 1827-30. This is to commence in about six or nine months. The conditions attending the weather preceding that arid period have been closely reproduced during the last few years, and he believes the present summer will probably be exceptionally wet j that a dry winter will succeed, and the drought commencing six or nine months hence will probably extend into the middle of 1893. Mr Egeson adds:—" From six to nine months is not long in which to prepare for a three years' drought, yet much might be done to avoid what might otherwise prove disastrous by making good use of the rain which will yet be plentifully distributed before the trying time comes." Mr Egeson has been successful in forecasting the weather on several occasions, and his opinions naturally received much credit. Mr R. L. J. Ellery, Government astronomer, Victoria, and Mr Charles Todd, holding a similar position in South Australia, however, both decline to endorse Mr Egeson's predictions, refer to that gentleman's youth and enthusiasm in climatic matters, but allege that it is impossible to predict a drought any considerable period ahead. Mr Clement Wragge, Government astronomer of Queensland, addß his testimony to that of Mr Ellery and Mr Todd. Ho states that he dare not endorse Mc Charles Egeson's prediction with referetoar to a three years' drought, and says iJJjk' Mr Egeson's statements are decidedly—premature in the present state of meteorological and solar physical science ; hence the prediction is unnecessarily alarming. MR EGESON'S HEPLY. In justification of his prediction of a three years' drought, Mr Egeson writes the following letter:—" I have noticed the Btrictures of the Government astronomers of Victoria and South Australia upon my prediction of a coming three years' drought, and take this opportunity of repeating my former conviction on tiie subject. I will stake my position (my little all) on the issue, and if the Government astronomers would do likewise the public would have an opportunity of judging as to whether' an equal intensity of conviction prevailed pro and eon on the subject at issue. The fact that lam a young man, with only four or five years' experience in meteorology, should not, I think, be adverse to me. Meteorology properly so-called (not mere weather lore) is of quite recent development. Not only is it continually developing new features, such as were not even dreamt of a generation ago, but it is also yearly throwing off the coverings of its embryo state. Anyone who studied meteorology twenty or thirty years ago has to unlearn much of their early training before they can follow present developments. We know if one gets into a groove it is not easily got out of; such is human nature. It is no reproach to anyone that it is so; on the other hand, a young man with an unbiassed mind may grasp new developments with readiness. All young men-will, I think, regret such allusion should have come from the Government astronomers, and if the science they represent is consecrated to old age, then, oh progress, farewell ! Mention is made of the authorities having agreed that no periodicity could be traced in the meteorological elements, but I contend that on this subject opinion is divided, even by the best authorities. No authority worth mentioning ever said that it would not, or could not, be done. As regardß former investigations into peiiodicity of climate in Australia, I have consulted infinitely more data in my investigation than v/as previously done. With all respect to the past and the treasures of knowledge, we cannot, accept it as more than the foundation upon w.hich to build the grand-Struc-ture of tbe fdture. But there is another aspect of the subject—one which has of late years been gaining ground in all parts of the world—vjz., that meteorolbgyhas arrived at a stage when, to do it justice, it requires the undivided attention or specialists. I leave it with an intelligent public to draw tbeir own conclusions as to how far they can trußt me; and when the time comes, and tbe unerring judgment of, Nature is given one way or other, it will expose charlatanism which exists on one side or the other. In the meantime I shall consider that I have performed a moral duty."
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A Drought Predicted in New South Wales., Evening Star, Issue 8041, 18 October 1889
A Drought Predicted in New South Wales. Evening Star, Issue 8041, 18 October 1889
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