Severe weather alert: a busy hurricane season
That’s the forecast for 2011.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a 70 per cent chance of 12 to 18 named storms, six to 10 of which are likely to reach hurricane force – with wind speeds of at least 119 kilometres per hour.
A normal season would have 11 named storms, six of them hurricanes. During 2005, which brought us Katrina, there were 28 named storms.
Record extreme spring precipitation in the US
Jeff Masters says that the extreme spring fits what you’d expect during a la Nina season, but
it also fits the type of precipitation pattern climate models expect to occur over the U.S. by the end of the century due to human-caused warming…
Kevin Trenberth says it won’t happen in the same places each year – last year Russia and Pakistan, this year in the US – but:
the kinds of changes being recorded are just what we expect and have been predicted for the human influence on climate.
What drives tropical deforestation?
Definitely corporate interests rather than smallholder farmers, according to Climate progress.
Here’s a full-size look at the graphic:
“Croplands” includes soy in Latin America and palm oil in Asia. The post mentions campaigns against Nestlé for palm oil in Kit Kats, against Mattel for packaging Barbie and palm oil in Girl Scout cookies.
Only Nestlé took any notice, it seems.
Algae for airlines
According to Climate Spectator technical approval has been given by ASTM International to use fuel processed from algae and other organic waste and inedible plants for up to 50 per cent of their fuel needs.
The preliminary decision is expected to open up the $140 billion a year aviation fuel industry to a host of new biotech and biofuel competitors and suppliers, including several algae start-ups in Australia.
The CSIRO in recommending that Australian airlines should aim to source 5% of their total jet fuel requirements from bio-stock by 2020, rising to 40% by 2050 lacks ambition, I think. We’ll have to do better than that if we want to continue flitting around the world.
Quick gas to balance the intermittency of wind and sun
Whatever you concluded from the solar PV thread there will be a need to smooth intermittency in the grid.
The same Climate Spectator item (see Building Bridges) an upgraded combined-cycle power plant known as KA26 has been developed by French energy supply giant Alstom which boasts a higher efficiency rate of 61%, and can ramp up from low load to deliver 350MW to the grid in less than 15 minutes.
This one is perhaps worth a separate post, but here goes. Climate Spectator draws attention to the growing difference between nation states counting the carbon they produce and the embedded carbon they consume. This is starting to become a factor in the politics of climate change with the Chinese “already stressing that addressing ‘embedded carbon’ is a critical part of reaching a fair post-Kyoto global agreement.” From this graph it is easy to see why:
The example of the UK is instructive:
according to the Carbon Trust, net imports of carbon represented 34 per cent of the total in 2004, growing to 42-46 per cent by 2010, and could reach 73-96 per cent by 2025.
CO2 is not the only problem
We should also think about nitrous oxide, molecule for molecule 300 times more potent than CO2, says Professor Richard Conant of the QUT’s Institute of Sustainable Resources.
Professor Conant’s latest research suggests the best way to reduce greenhouse emissions is to improve the way nitrogen fertiliser, which releases nitrous oxide, is applied to crops throughout the world.
It’s just that the article left me a bit confused about how exactly that would be achieved.
Remember also black carbon (soot), ground level ozone and methane
That’s according to a new report on “fast action pollutants” compiled by an international team of more than 50 researchers chaired by Drew Shindell of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and released at the climate change talks in Bonn.
“There are now clear, powerful, abundant and compelling reasons to reduce levels of pollutants such as black carbon and tropospheric ozone along with methane: their growing contribution to climate change being just one of them.”
Climate change benefits include the action of soot on ice and in the release of methane from permafrost. Then there’s ground level ozone:
Reductions in ground level ozone could also contribute to reduced crop damage equal to between one to four percent of the annual global corn, rice, soy bean and wheat production.
New batteries and stuff
Readers who didn’t go the distance on the solar PV thread may have missed references to new technologies, such as PolyZion zinc-plastic battery and the ‘Cambridge crude’ slurry battery linked to by John D. These may be important for local home storage and electric vehicles.
Then per kind favour of Lefty E we had a link to the synthetic tree that removes CO2 from the atmosphere 1000 times faster than a real tree and has the potential to remove 12% of the carbon from the atmosphere, it is claimed.
It’s do or die for Labor and the Greens
“It’s his way or the highway!”
That’s Christine Milne, also inclined to be stubborn at times, accusing Martin Ferguson of holding out for concessions on fugitive emissions from mines, as Labor and the Greens enter a potential death struggle.
failure to get a carbon price in place in this term of government would be a defeat from which the Labor party might never recover. The Labor members of the committee, being Julia Gillard, Wayne Swan and Greg Combet, are all too well aware of this fact, even if Ferguson likes to give the impression that he’s not.
The article suggests that voters may not be inclined to forgive The Greens also if they fail to find a compromise this time. At stake also is the steel industry, but the main game must be around the price of carbon itself, surely.