These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.
They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.
The world’s reefs are in serious danger
Last December Charlie Veron said:
Reefs are the ocean’s canaries and we must hear their call. This call is not just for themselves, for the other great ecosystems of the ocean stand behind reefs like a row of dominoes. If coral reefs fail, the rest will follow in rapid succession, and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be upon us — and will be of our making.
Now at Climate Progress we are told that the current season looks like the second worst on record. This is how the Australian sea surface temperature has been going;
If ocean temperatures and ocean acidity continue to rise in Australian waters at the same pace as has occurred over the past 100 years, the Great Barrier Reef will be in significant danger by 2050.
See also Skeptical Science.
“Unstoppable effects” of climate change will last for 1,000 years
the impact of rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years, causing researchers to estimate a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet by the year 3000, and an eventual rise in the global sea level of at least four metres.
It is based on best-case, ‘zero-emissions’ scenarios constructed by a team of researchers from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (an Environment Canada research lab at the University of Victoria) and the University of Calgary.
Creeping tide set to drown our coast
That’s according to according to Professor John Cole of the University of Southern Queensland’s Centre for Sustainable Business and Development.
He says a federal government report released just before Christmas points to rising sea levels and severe cyclones and tidal surges continuing to pound Queensland, threatening the economic prosperity and beach culture of many communities.
The report, Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coast, prepared by a panel of scientists, provides the first national assessment of the threats from rising sea levels.
Erosion from rising sea levels poses a threat to beaches at the heart of the tourism industry, which directly or indirectly employs 220,000 Queenslanders and injects $9.2 billion a year into the economy.
Actually, the report has been around for a while, but in case you missed it:
Up to $63 billion worth of residential property faces inundation, as well as 120 ports, some airports – including Brisbane and Sydney – and 1,800 bridges.
Greenland tipping point approaches
There are various processes in train in the melting and decay of the Greenland ice sheet, which all appear to be accelerating. If we keep to our current course, and that means implementing agreements made at Cancún, ice dynamics could take over after reaching a tipping point in about 30 years.
After that nothing will prevent the ice cap from eventually vanishing entirely.
How to fix global warming
Joe Romm at Climate Progress has had a new look at how to stabilise at 350 to 450ppm. Looks more like 450ppm to me.
Humanity has only two paths forward at this point. Either we voluntarily switch to a low-carbon, low-oil, low-net water use, low-net-material use economy over the next two decades or the post-Ponzi-scheme-collapse forces us to do so circa 2030.
If we take the first option we save our progeny a lot of grief.
He’s identified 12-14 wedges we need to implement over the next four decades starting ASAP.
We need to peak around 2020, then drop at least 60% by 2050… and then go to near zero net carbon emissions by 2100.
You won’t be surprised if I tell you that it’s too little too late.
Let’s drill the Arctic
Yesterday, Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) said that the rapid warming of the Arctic because of oil pollution means that more Arctic drilling should commence.
Begich was responding to the presidential oil spill commission’s report, which recommended new drilling around Alaska, subject to stronger standards. The Democratic senator from the state most changed by global warming pollution used the commission’s report to emphasize his desire for more “Arctic development“.
Climate change footprint in Australia
Climate change may be implicated in Australia’s flooding:
Climate change may be partly responsible for the intensity of the floods inundating the eastern Australian city of Brisbane, scientists say.
Climate change has likely intensified the monsoon rains that have triggered record floods in Australia’s Queensland state, scientists said on Wednesday, with several months of heavy rain and storms still to come.
NOAA ranks 2010 as equal hottest
Not only the equal hottest, but also wettest:
Precipitation globally was one area that was not lacking in 2010. The year ranked as the wettest on record since 1900 far exceeding the 1961 – 1900 average.
On a smaller scale, Central America, parts of Australia, southwestern China, east Asia, Borneo and much of India were the wettest regions. Drought however was widespread in northwestern Canada, parts of Peru and Brazil, as well as the Hawaiian Islands.
Snow in winter!
Surprise, surprise! It snows in winter.