Monthly Archives: February 2020

Dust Storms in Australia

Hail and dust storms have ravaged Australia in the aftermath of the terrible fires.

Here is an article from – please follow the link below to see the full article.

Dust Storms in Australia

Destructive Hail And A Massive Dust Storm Descend On Fire-Ravaged Australia
January 20, 2020

Bill Chappell

“Australia’s southeast was already dealing with the terrible effects of historic bushfires and huge smoke clouds. Then Canberra, Melbourne and other places were hit by golf-ball-sized hail that destroyed car windshields, killed birds and shredded the leaves off trees.

The Bureau of Meteorology in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, warned residents of “damaging winds, large, possibly giant hailstones and heavy rainfall” as it issued severe thunderstorm warnings in the east and northeast.

The storms also prompted warnings of flash floods — adding another element of risk to areas that have been hit hard by the fires.

In the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital city of Canberra, the weather service reported hail Monday measuring up to nearly 2 inches in diameter — accompanied by wind gusts that were near hurricane-strength.

The storm was intense and fast-moving. The territory’s Emergency Services Agency reported receiving a record 1,900 calls for help — more than three times the average for a storm. All of those calls came in after midday, the agency said.

“Lucky I rode my bike today,” Hilary Wardhaugh said on Twitter, posting a video of a parking lot at the National Library of Australia where cars’ rear windshields had been smashed by hail.

“It was like Armageddon, basically,” Wardhaugh tells the ABC. “Unbelievable. There were people running into the library but I’m really hoping that there’s no one caught out in it.”

The hail forced Australian National University in Canberra to close its campus for both Monday and Tuesday, saying it needed to assess damage “to a large number of buildings” and begin repairs.

The dangerous storms came at the end of a weekend that brought a huge dust storm to western portions of New South Wales — another jarring twist in Australia’s summer of extreme weather.

“Day turns into night!” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said via Twitter as it posted video of the leading edge of a massive dust storm that was poised to engulf the town of Narromine, some 250 miles northwest of Sydney. The huge storm quickly plunged the area into darkness.

Residents of Narromine and nearby communities had been looking forward to getting some much-needed rain — but as the ABC reports, those parched areas got only a sliver of rain, compared with the torrents that later hit the southeast portion of New South Wales.

Recent rains have provided some relief from Australia’s drought. And they’ve helped firefighters gain new leverage in controlling dynamic wildfires. The bushfires have destroyed more than 2,600 homes since September, and 28 people have died — along with hundreds of millions of animals.

Showing the dramatic difference a steady rain can make for fire-ravaged areas, the actor Russell Crowe posted two images to Twitter Sunday showing his land in New South Wales, which was charred and smoky 10 weeks ago and freshly green on Sunday after heavy rains.

As Australia takes stock of what it has lost in the epic fires, some forests and other important habitats might not be able to recover fully.

“The normal processes of recovery are going to be less effective, going to take longer,” ecologist Roger Kitching of Griffith University in Queensland tells The Associated Press. He adds, “Instead of an ecosystem taking a decade, it may take a century or more to recover, all assuming we don’t get another fire season of this magnitude soon.””


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


South Africa takes mining health and safety very seriously.  Safety and Health gives us this information on Khumbul’ekhaya – a health and safety CEO led strategy program.

Khumbul’ekhaya – Link

“Khumbul’ekhaya, which is the Nguni word for “remember home”, is a CEO-led strategy on health and safety that has been developed by the CEO Zero Harm Forum to drive and sustain the mining industry’s pursuit of zero harm.

The emphasis on “home” directly acknowledges that fatalities have the greatest impact on loved ones at home and encourages mineworkers and their managers to bear these loved ones in mind as they go about their day-to-day tasks.

The Khumbul’ekhaya health and safety strategy began as a meaningful conversation about health and safety. On 25 January 2019, 34 industry CEOs and four Minerals Council office bearers gathered for a half-day facilitated event. Called the CEO Heartfelt Conversation, the event aimed to encourage deep and intense introspection into and facilitate engagement on health and safety-related issues in the mining industry. It also aimed to emphasise the personal role CEOs held in turning the industry’s regressive and plateauing health and safety performance around.

While CEOs agreed that improvements in safety and health performance over the past two decades have been significant, they recognised that a step-change is required in order for the industry to achieve zero harm. The result was Khumbul’ekhaya.

The objectives of the Khumbul’ekhaya strategy are to:

-Promote a holistic approach to the elimination of fatalities
-Develop a system of understanding occupational deaths in and beyond employment
-Adopt methods for more effective and competitive training, for example through centralisation and modernisation
-Adopt globally leading practice to learn better and faster from others

As part of its holistic approach, Khumbul’ekhaya complements and supports existing initiatives in place, especially the work being undertaken by the MHSC, the MOSH Learning Hub and the Mandela Mining Precinct.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Impact of the Australian Bush Fires

The Australian bush fires have and will continue to have, a devastating effect on the environment.  Fires, floods, thunderstorms, hail and dust storms have been plaguing Australia in the last few months.  Here is one article that sheds some light on the impact of the fires.

Please follow the links to the original article to read it in it’s completion.

Impact of the Australian Bush Fires

Five Environmental Consequences of Australia’s Fires

Link –

“Australia’s road to recovery may be long: Here’s a developing list of how the fires are affecting glaciers, wildlife, water supplies, and global carbon emissions.

The bushfires in Australia are a never-ending story of loss, tragedy, and record-setting moments.

The fires have claimed the lives of at least 27 people and countless animals and destroyed 2,000 homes—and bushfire season still has 2 months to go.

Even as the fires rage on, the smoke is beginning to clear around the long-lasting environmental impacts of the blazes. Here’s a (nonexhaustive) list of their short- and long-term effects on the environment.

1. Scientists fear an immediate loss of biodiversity in Australia, because many species are endemic to the continent.

The fires are proving deadly for Australian wildlife.

An estimated 1 billion animals have been killed so far, according to scientist Chris Dickman at the University of Sydney. But this number doesn’t include frogs, invertebrates, or bats. Invertebrates, which include insects, earthworms, snails, could be dying by the trillions, according to Science News.

Relief efforts have just begun after fires on Kangaroo Island, whose landscape was called “apocalyptic” by the Humane Society International. The organization said that in a particularly hard-hit portion of the island, they found one living koala among thousands of carcasses of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds, according to the Guardian.

Many species call Australia their only home, making the threat to their habitat particularly worrisome.

2. Debris from the fires could threaten water supplies.

Cheers broke out in Sydney last week as rain fell lightly on the capital. Rain and cooler temperatures could help tamp down the blazes.

But too much rain, falling too heavily, could spell disaster for Australia’s water supplies.

Ash, soot, and charred vegetation could clog up streams, dams, and beaches, leading to blooms of algae and threatening water quality.

Warragamba Dam outside of Sydney is one cause for concern: The dam supplies water for 3.7 million people, but 80%–90% of the catchment area has burned, National Geographic reports. If heavy rains wash off burned forests in the areas, a torrent of sooty material could choke up its waters and lead to blooms of cyanobacteria.

3. Animals are hungry and ecosystems may grow back differently.

Many animals couldn’t outrun the blazes because the wildfires moved quickly and burned hotter than normal. Drought and high temperatures fanned the flames.
The lucky animals that did survive face a new reality: Their food sources have gone up in smoke. As fire eradicated vegetation on the rocky habitat of brush-tailed rock wallabies in New South Wales, the government air-dropped thousands of carrots and sweet potatoes to supplement the marsupials’ diet.

4. Smoke from the fires is circumnavigating the planet and ratcheting up carbon dioxide emissions.

Smoke billowing from the fires is making its way around the planet, injecting aerosols in the upper atmosphere and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Measurements of the ultraviolet aerosol index by NASA satellites last week showed aerosol values at some of the highest levels ever recorded. Larger aerosol values indicate that the smoke is sitting high up in the atmosphere in a layer called the stratosphere. Large pyrocumulonimbus storms above the fires in Australia are acting like chimneys, shooting smoke high into the air as if they were volcanic eruptions or nuclear explosions.

5. The fires are raining soot on New Zealand’s glaciers, which could speed up melt.

A view of the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand revealed another consequence of the fires: “caramelized” snow darkened by soot. One Twitter post said that the snow was white just 1 day earlier.

White snow has a high albedo and reflects sunlight at a relatively high rate. The darker the color the snow is, however, the lower the albedo will dip, and the more heat the glacier absorbs.

The Australian reported ashy snowfields in New Zealand in early December. The country is in the middle of summer, so although the high glaciers may get a new coat of snow soon, the lower glaciers might not get one until March.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.


Dust Monitoring Training Course 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Course

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course date is the 11th of February 2020 until the 13th February 2020.
This will be held in Rustenburg.

R4400 per person per day. The course has 3 CPD points if all three days are attended.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.

Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring
082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)
083 308 4764 (Gerry)
021 789 0847 (Cape Town)
011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)
+1 832 422 5031 (USA)
0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)

Dust Monitoring Training Course 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Course – action shot!

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020 - Chris Loans

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is 11th February 2020 Rustenburg and the other dates at this venue and the Pretoria venue are shown below for the year.

11-13 Feb (Rustenburg)

11-13 Aug (Pretoria)

R4400 per person per day. The course has 3 CPD points if all three days are attended.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.

Synopsis of Training – Practical 1 Day:

  • Changing DustWatch buckets
  • Basic operational use of the DustWatch units
  • Filtering water from the buckets and collecting the dust on filters.

Synopsis of Training – Theoretical 2 Days:

  • What is fallout dust and how to collect it;
  • Settling velocity and shape of dust particles;
  • Understand how to calculate the fallout dust monitoring results in mg/m2/day and how to interpret these results;
  • Trace element analysis;
  • South African legislation interpretation;
  • Report writing and interpretation of results.


Chris Loans