last year’s model already out of date

The science used by the International Committee on Climate Change as the basis of the framework agreement in Bali in 2007 to hold the global warming increase to two degrees is already out of date.

There is now clear evidence that at less than one degree of warming we are already on the precipice of catastrophic climate change that will affect the whole world – from the lower Murray to the Great Barrier Reef, and the Himalayas to Siberia and the Arctic.

The Age (Australia), 26 Feb 2009 – screen copy held by this website

Comment – Merry Christmas!

Among other things, Christmas represents a new beginning.

This website hopes 2017 will, among other things, begin the reform in the area of climate change with the restoration of genuine science and the decline of politicised science.

Merry Christmas to all and particularly to the regular visitors to this website.

(c) Can Stock Photo / derocz

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normal posts continue below this message

ready, aim …

Atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen would like to save the world and darken your day. He proposes in this month’s journal Climatic Change that to screen ourselves from global warming, humans could use heavy artillery to lob huge explosive shells laden with sulphate particles high into the stratosphere.

A potent mix of pollutants would scatter the incoming sublight and bounce more sunbeams back into space. Bingo, you’d lower the rate of global warming and give the fossil-fuel industries more reason to push hydrocarbons. Sun Herald (Australia) 6 Aug 2006 – screencopy held by this website

just when you thought it was safe …

There have been seven shark attacks in North Carolina since June 11. This is already more than last year, when the state saw four attacks.

Although Frank J. Schwartz, a shark biologist with the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, says there’s too much natural variability in weather cycles to blame the recent shark attacks on global warming, George H. Burgess, the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History. says the link is plausible.

“Clearly global climate change is a reality and it has resulted in warmer temperatures in certain places at certain times,” says Burgess. “As warming is expected to increase, it will likely bring more sharks farther north and entice more people to get into the water, which will lead to more bites.”

National Geographic, 29 Jun 2015

 

 

with friends like these…

Any number of people offer views on the politics of climate change. Few cut to the heart of the issue like Harvard don Daniel Gilbert.

“Scientists lament the fact that global warming is happening so fast. The fact is, it’s not happening fast enough,” he said in a speeech last year.

Gilbert does not believe climate change is slow, nor does he want to see the world slide quickly into environmental catastrophe.

But he has some understanding of why people with the capacity to act, including leaders in Canberra and elsewhere, appear hamstrung when faced with the enormity of the threat of climatic disaster.

A respected psychologist, he says part of the reason most people fail to get worked up about climte change is our sensitivity to change; if something moves dramatically overnight we are alert and possibly alarmed, but if it is a gradual shift averaged across the globe over decades, it is much harder to get angry.

The Age (Australia), 9 Mar 2009 – screen copy held by this website

the hanging gardens of Richmond

Christine Berry and Mike Morris were building a beautiful home in Richmond with a focus of getting as much sunlight into the house as possible. Just one problem.

“The site was blighted by a three-storey block of flats,” says Ms Berry.

How she and her architect husband solved the problem gives a visionary clue as to how the city of Melbourne will cope with climate change, the death of its trees and higher-density living.

They turned the rear wall of their courtyard into an eight-metre garden of native grasses and ferns. Sydney Morning Herald 30 Aug 2009 – image held by website

the appliances are taking over!

Your refrigerator could soon be helping to cool the planet as well as your food. A bar fridge built by the CSIRO has the ability to communicate with other refrigerators.

The applicances do not gossip about what kind of milk you have bought, but exchange data that could help balance energy usage acros the day and, ultimately, reduce the need for power stations, said a CSIRO research scientist, Geoff James.

Dr James said the same energy-levelling strategy could be applied to other home appliances that involve some discretion about when power is and is not used, such as water heaters and air-conditioners, the other big domestic power hogs.

Sydney Morning Herald, 21 May 2008 – screen copy held by this website

the idea that launched a thousand ships!

Another way to reflect more sunlight back into space is to increase reflectivity of the world’s marine clouds, which cover a quarter of the ocean’s surface.

John Latham and Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh have proposed wind-powered yachts that would spray seawater droplets into the air to produce more clouds.

Latham says that about a thousand of these vessels would be needed to make the plan effective, and that they should be deployed in the southern oceans, where most reflective marine stratocumulus clouds are.

But more testing is necessary to better understand the ecological and meteorological consequences. Open Knowledge, 10 Jul 2011

the incredible shrinking Christmas tree!

Mark Doggett, of Environment Victoria, says the key to a sustainable Christmas is to substitute “greener” alternatives into our celebrations.

And the best place to start might be with the greenest of all traditional symbols – the tree. The debate is about whether pine or plastic Christmas trees are better for the environment. According to Mr Doggett, the answer is neither.

“But there is no reason you can’t use a potted plant, which you can take outside after Christmas,” he says.

The Sunday age, 9 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

worse than we thought – tropical forests ignited!

Without decisive action, global warming is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than predicted, says Stanford scientist Chris Field, a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Field warns that higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and melt the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gas that could raise temperatures even more — a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control.

Science Daily, 15 Feb 2009

speak for yourself!

The lesson is that if we continue with activities which destroy our environment and undermine the conditions for our own survival, we are the virus. Making the change needed to avoid that fate is perhaps the greatest challenge we have ever faced. (Michael Meacher is environment minister. This article is based on a lecture he will deliver today at Newcastle University)

The Guardian, 14/2/03

a butterfly’s wings flapping

At this week’s launch of a major report scrutinising the impact of corporate sustainability on a company’s earnings IAG chief executive Michael Hawker set out in no uncertain terms how small changes in the weather directly affect the cost of insurance premiums.

Over the past 140 years, the cost and frequency of insurance claims have been steadily rising in line with global temperatures, Mr Hawker said.

A 1 to 2.2 degrees celsius rise in temperatures can have a significant impact on the ferocity of natural disasters. There is a pattern; they are weather related, they are expensive and we pay for that in our [insurance] premiums, he said.

Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Sep 2003

not fast & not furious

Women must stop admiring men who drive sports cars if they want to join the fight against global warming, the Government’s chief scientist has warned.

Professor Sir David King singled out women who find supercar drivers “sexy” adding that they should divert their affections to men who live more environmentally friendly lives.

”I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her to stop admiring young men in Ferraris,” he said. Daily Telegraph, 16 Dec 2007

house on stilts

Houses should be built on stilts to adapt to flooding caused by climate change, scientists have said. The Newcastle University study looked at the impact of predicted rises in temperature – particularly in urban areas.

“Houses built on stilts, flood resilient wiring where the sockets and wires are raised above flood level, and water resistant building materials are going to have to be incorporated into our building plans.” said Dr Richard Dawson, one of the report’s authors.
Daily Telegraph, 12 Oct 2009

smoke and ….

Eric Hu, from Melbourne’s Deakin University, said that while red house roofs absorbed heat from the sun, white ones would bounce energy back into space and “it will never come back”.

He also proposed painting roads white, and building giant mirrors in the outback. He said energy reflectors could be built in the desert using aluminium foil, “like you use in the kitchen”.

A climate change expert at the University of NSW, Andy Pitman, said Dr Hu’s ideas were “not stupid” but required more research to ensure there would be no unwanted side-effects. But better than reflecting energy would be to harness it using roof tiles with built-in solar cells.

Dr Pitman suspected white roads and roofs could inflict glare on motorists and said scientists would need to be sure heat reflected from outback mirrors did not interfere with the weather.

Sydney Morning Herald, 31 Mar 2007

worse than we thought – greenhouse gas levels!

Conservation scientist and Australian of the Year Tim Flannery has warned that huge industrial and economic changes need to be implemented quickly to slow the growth of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

Speaking on the ABC’s Lateline program, Professor Flannery has revealed the contents of a crucial Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, which will be released in November.

He says the report shows that greenhouse gas levels are at levels far higher than has ever been publicly admitted before.

yourdemocracy.net.au, 15 Nov 2007

no more bats

White ash has been the tree of choice for baseball bat manufacturers for decades, due to having the specific balance of weight and strength that you can’t get without resorting to aluminum bats.

Anyway, thanks to changing climates, ash forests are now facing not just a change in temperature which can affect the quality and flexibility of the wood, making them less ideal for bats, but also the ash borer beetle, a little son-of-a-bitch bug that really likes to eat trees.

The beetles are originally for Asia, but some say changing climate has allowed them to adapt nicely to North America, where in five years they managed to destroy 25 million trees.
Cracked, 17 Jan 2010

monsoons decrease

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We have presented evidence from observations that the equitorial Indian Ocean has warmed by about 0.6 to 0.8K during 1950 to 2002, accompanied by a dramatic weakening of the summertime SST gradient in the NIO.

In the model, the weakening of the meridional NIO_SST gradient leads to a large decrease in Indian rainfall during summer months, ranging form 2 to 3 mm per day. Reduction in the NIO_SST gradient basically weakens the model monsoonal circulation and shifts model rainfall from India to sub-Saharan Africa.

Chul Eddy Chung and V. Ramanthan, American Meteorological Society, Journal of Climate, Vol19 Issue 10 (May 2006)

monsoons increase

Despite weakening of the dynamical monsoon circulation, atmospheric buildup due to increased greenhouse gases and consequent temperature increase results in a larger moisture flux and more precipitation for the Indian monsoon. (Douville et al 2000, IPCC 2001, Ashrit et al 2003, Meehl and Arblaster 2003, May 2004, Ashrit et al 2005) IPCC: Climate Change 2007: Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis 10.3.5.2 Monsoons
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surprise finding – air conditioning makes people cooler!

Global warming has been under way for at least 25 years, and there is strong evidence that it is largely man-made and is continuing.

In recent years, temperature and mortality data from several countries shows that cold-related deaths in each age group are falling in most countries. Much of that was due to rising climatic temperature and better home heating.

A surprising finding is that the heat-related mortality rate has stabilized or fallen, despite rising temperatures. Air conditioning has been a major factor in the United States.

Heat-related deaths there are lower among people with air conditioning. An extension of air conditioning was accompanied by the virtual disappearance of heat-related death in North Carolina, despite summers becoming hotter.

The Impact of Global Warming on Health and Mortality, W. R. Keatinge, MA, MB, BCHIR, PHD, FRCP; G. C. Donaldson, BA, PHD – Medscape 2004

the logic of climate change

Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists.

“Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming,” said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford.

“If it wasn’t for global warming this cold snap would happen much more regularly. What is interesting is that we are now surprised by this kind of weather. I doubt we would have been in the 1950s because it was much more common.”

The Telegraph (UK), 3 Feb 2009

worse than we thought – acidity of Great Barrier Reef!

Waters around the Great Barrier Reef are becoming acidic at a higher-than-expected rate.

Professor Malcolm McCulloch of the Australian National University said the findings were worrying. It appears this acidification is now taking place over decades rather than centuries as originally predicted, he said.

Researchers studied a type of reef coral called porites off Cairns and found pH levels were falling faster than previously thought, meaning acidity levels were increasing. This new data on the Great Barrier Reef suggests the effects are even greater than forecast, Professor McCulloch said.

The Age (Australia), 18 Oct 2007

a stitch in time

Failing to fight global warming now will cost trillions of dollars by the end of the century even without counting biodiversity loss or unpredictable events like the Gulf Stream shutting down, a study said today.

But acting now will avoid some of the massive damage and cost relatively little, said the study commissioned by Friends of the Earth from the Global Development and Environment Institute of Tufts University in the United States.

By contrast, spending just 1.6 trillion pounds (NZ$4.5 trillion) a year now to limit temperature rises to two degrees could avoid annual economic damage of around 6.4 trillion pounds, the Tufts report said.

Environmental Economics, 18 Oct 2006

apocalyptic scenario

If the North Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system is shut down — an apocalyptic global-warming scenario — the impact on the world’s food supplies would be disastrous, a study said Thursday.

The shutdown would cause global stocks of plankton, a vital early link in the food chain, to decline by a fifth while plankton stocks in the North Atlantic itself would shrink by more than half, it said.

“A massive decline of plankton stocks could have catastrophic effects on fisheries and human food supply in the affected regions,” warned the research, authored by Andreas Schmittner of Oregon State University.

Agence France-Presse, March 31, 2005

worse than we thought – climate challenge!

A book launched in Melbourne last night, Climate Code Red, argues that the climate change challenge is far worse than officially acknowledged by the Government or modeling undertaken by Government advisor Professor Ross Garnaut.

By economist David Spratt and Philip Sutton, the book warns that glaciologists are convinced the summer Arctic ice will disappear within five years, returning as only a thin layer during winter.

It says the question is not whether this can be stopped, but whether it can be reversed over coming decades to avoid sea level rises much worse than predicted by the comparatively conservative Nobel-prize-winning Intergovernmental Panal on Climate Change – probably between two and five metres.

The Age, (Australia), 18 Jul 2008 – screen copy held by this website

time’s nearly up!

A major new report on global warming slated to be released Friday raises new fears that the earth’s climate is changing faster than anyone thought possible.

Today, 500 of the world’s top scientists are meeting behind closed doors to finish a landmark report on global warming, and the picture they paint is not pretty.

They say significant changes in the climate could start happening within the next 10 years.

“We’re hoping that it will convince people, you know, that climate change is real,” said Kenneth Denman, co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The report predicts an increase in heat waves, intense tropical storms and hurricanes, a sharp rise in sea level and continued melting of the world’s snow and glaciers.

abcnews, 30 Jan 2007

whales wither away

small_whale

Scientists on the US Pacific coast are increasingly observing emaciated gray whales in what they fear is a sign that global warming is wreaking havoc in the whales’ Bering Sea summer feeding grounds.

The gray whales are migrating later, not going as far north, and are producing fewer calves, Steven Swartz, head researcher with the National Marine Fisheries Service told AFP.

Swartz, who with his team meticulously photograph and identify the migrating whales, estimates that at least ten percent of the population is seriously skinny.

Instead of looking plump coming off the summer months, they have noticeable depressions behind the head, with scapulas visible through the skin, and concave sections above the tail, he added. “This is enough to cause alarm.”

Sydney Morning Herald, 13 Jul 2007

scientist demonstrates he has too much spare time!

Humans may evolve bizarre features such as webbed feet and eyes like cats in response to changing environments, a scientist claims today.

Experts calculated how our physical appearance could change under a number of scenarios, including a ‘water world’ if melting ice caps cause rising sea levels.

To adapt to a ‘water world’, Dr Matthew Skinner, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Kent, expects humans would develop webbed hands and eyes like those of cats to help us see in the poor lighting conditions underwater.

We would also retain a layer of baby fat into adulthood as an insulator for spending long periods submerged. Regular foraging in shallow waters could lead us to develop artificial ‘gills’ to help us breathe, extracting oxygen from the water and delivering it to the bloodstream.

This would also lead to our lung capacity becoming greatly reduced, and our rib cages shrinking.

The Daily Mail, 13 Jan 2016

worse than we thought – the tropics!

Climate change is causing the world’s tropical regions to grow, according to a new sientific paper that warns of a significant impact on southern Australia.

The report, a review of five recent studies, found the tropics had expanded by about 2.5 degrees latitude since 1979, faster than the clmate models predicted for the 21st century. Andrew Ash, director of the CSIRO’s climate adaptation flagship, described the rate of expansion of the tropics as “disturbing”.

“This paper is another bit of evidence showing that the rate of climate change is perhaps much faster than we have been expecting,” he said.

The Age (Australia), 3 Dec 2007 – screen copy held by this website

Arabidopsis thaliana on the move!

New research from the University of British Columbia suggests evolution is a driving mechanism behind plant migration, and that scientists may be underestimating how quickly species can move.

The study, published today in the journal Science, builds on previous research that has shown some plants and animals are moving farther north or to higher altitudes in an effort to escape rising global average temperatures due to climate change.

We know from previous research that evolution might play a role in how fast a species can move across a region or continent, said Jennifer Williams, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor in UBC’s department of geography.

“But what our study suggests is that evolution is not only a factor in movement, but that it can, in fact, accelerate the spread, and can do so predictably.”

For the study, researchers used a small flowering plant (Arabidopsis thaliana), a common model organism in plant biology, to test the role of evolution in plant migration. The findings suggest that evolution accelerates the speed of migration, said Williams.

Science Daily, 28 Jul 2016

cold water poured on artificial clouds!

A controversial proposal to create artificial white clouds over the ocean in order to reflect sunlight and counter global warming could make matters worse, scientists have warned.

The proposed scheme to create whiter clouds over the oceans by injecting salt spray into the air from a flotilla of sailing ships is one of the more serious proposals of researchers investigating the possibility of “geoengineering” the climate in order to combat global warming.

However, a study into the effects of creating man-made clouds which reflect sunlight and heat back into space has found that the strategy could end up having the opposite effect by interfering with the natural processes that lead to the formation of reflective white clouds over the ocean.

Our research suggests that attempts to generate brighter clouds via sea spray geoengineering would at best have only a tiny effect and could actually cause some clouds to become less bright, said Professor Ken Carslaw of the University of Leeds.

Heat Is Online – originally The Independent 7 Jun 2010

models as fictions

In spite of its attractions for other sorts of physicists, realism seems to be an inappropriate way to conceive of climate physics: arguments regarding the truth content of our best models seem beside the point when one considers that the horizontal extent of every cloud in HadCM3 is some integer multiplied by its grid resolution 2.5×3.75°.

Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful. – Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University.

The Royal Society, Philosophical Transaction. August 2007 Volume: 365 Issue: 1857

canary in the coalmine – an octopus in the garage!

Octopus in the parking garage is climate change’s canary in the coal mine.

Photos of an octopus splayed out in a flooded Miami Beach parking garage have been floating around the internet all week, prompting some skeptics to call “bogus” on both the discovery of the eight-legged creature out of its element and the force blamed for its appearance — climate change.

Both appear to be all too real. University of Miami associate biology professor Kathleen Sullivan Sealey examined the photos and identified the octopus as likely one of two species common in South Florida waters.

And she said Miami Beach residents ought to get used to seeing strange new creatures making sporadic appearances as rising sea levels push ocean waters deeper and more frequently onto land, along with some of the creatures that live in them.

Miami Herald, 18 Nov 2016

thanks to David Mulberry