What did the kookaburras think of this lot?
While the world's leaders were ducking and weaving about climate change solutions in New York this week, Australia saw a real live demonstration of what our future could be if we don't act with speed on this front.
My brother lives just outside Sydney and woke up at dawn on Wednesday to see that the sky was what he described as 'fire engine red'. It was 'the day the outback dropped in'.
A gigantic dust storm had picked up many many tonnes of our precious outback topsoil and flung it, willy-nilly, 1500km across the country and out to sea. The air pollution was 1500 times as bad it would have been on a normal day - the highest since such records began here.
This is how it looked soon after dawn from beneath the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Peer through the haze to the majestic sails of the Opera House ...
As my brother said, the sky changed from fire engine red at dawn to bright orange and gradually, over some hours, to yellow and to grey. This image would have been taken around mid morning.
Young people made their way to school in an orange glow.
People put handkerchiefs to their noses and unwise joggers, fit and young, ended up in hospital emergency departments struggling for breath.
This amazing image is Luna Park, a fun fair on Sydney's northern shore.
How eerie and frightening it must have been ...
This householder/photographer wouldn't have kept the laundry door open for long. Everything is too clean. Cars, houses and plants were swamped with the clinging dust.
The images above were from websites of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sydney Telegraph, some taken by staff, but many sent in by readers.
Results of the dust storm reached the coast and spread more than 2,000km from Sydney to the Gulf of Carpentaria not far from the northernmost tip of the land.
The dust struck my home 900km north of Sydney late in the morning. I was speaking to my sister on the phone and looking out of the window at the same time. I became mesmerised when the landscape began to disappear.
Five minutes later a whoosh of wind changed the world. I could see no further than houses 200m away. Everything beyond that disappeared: the trees, cars, high rises on the border, houses.
I could taste dust on my tongue. I had no shoes on and the ceramic floor tiles felt gritty. I was frightened because I am an asthmatic.
I'd closed down hours before thinking the dust might reach us, but left one door open for fresh air. I shut it quickly and all doors and windows at my place remained tightly closed for the rest of the day, and throughout the night.
So you see, I took no photographs of our dust. By the time it reached northern NSW the sun was high in the sky, and the dust had taken on a grey hue. No outdoor photography for me!
Next morning though the skies were blue, but so was I, feeling much like a dishrag, needing a good clean out. I went for a long bike ride to get rid of the grit.
Today the dust is back in a reduced way, bringing only a haze on our horizon, and leaving the high rises as so many ghosts in the distance. Even so, I won't be going outside today ...
Ben Cubby, an environment reporter on the Sydney Morning Herald said the dust storm on Wednesday was 'consistent with what we know about the effects of climate change'.
Those politicians had better get cracking!
Melbourne Age website - images of the Sydney dust storm set against an excerpt from John Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath'.
As a little lamented Prime Minister of Australia once said 'we should be alert but not alarmed'. He was talking about terrorism, not our environment. But my goodness we MUST surely be more alert than we've been when such signs of climate change become ever more relentless.
Have you signed petitions or other ways acted on the climate change front?
Do you try to do your little personal bit towards easing this problem - eg using less water or installing a solar panel on the roof? Add such individual efforts together and it will mean something.
Please tell me in a comment.