2010 possibly the worst ever for extreme weather
That’s according to über-meteorologist Jeff Masters posting at Climate Progress.
The year was extraordinary, featuring the hottest year on record equalling 2005, the most extreme winter Arctic atmospheric circulation on record, the warmest and driest winter on record for North America-Canada, the lowest volume of Arctic sea ice on record and 3rd lowest in extent, a record melting in Greenland, the second most extreme shift from El Niño to La Niña, the second worst coral bleaching year, the wettest year over land, the Amazon rainforest experienced its 2nd 100-year drought in 5 years and, it must be said, we had the lowest global tropical cyclone activity on record. Here’s the precipitation graph:
Climate change and the insurance industry
In the light of all this strange weather we need to be concerned about what the insurance industry is making of it all. Here’s a post by someone who worked for Swiss Re. It’s not reassuring. The industry complains that scientists don’t give them any numbers they can work with and even a small increase in the risk can be significant if the event is severe enough.
As an anecdote I heard someone from Airlie Beach in the Whitsunday complain that this year their premiums had gone up 300% although they had survived two cyclones in the last few years without damage or a claim. Only one company was offering insurance at all.
Defense implications of climate change
It’s been a while since I read anything on the defense implications of climate change. Michael Levi comments a paper by his friend Bruno Tertrais, who seems to think that the relevance of climate change to defense is over-egged.
One of the most powerful (and disturbing) aspects of Climate Wars is in Dyer’s investigation of reports by senior military advisers who work for the CNA Corporation (a military-funded think tank).
Dyer reveals the military in advanced capitalist countries (especially in the US) is fully aware of the grave danger posed by climate change.
See also this column on food riots.
Gore criticizes Obama
Gore details the achievements and shortcomings of Obama on climate change.
“President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis,” he says. “He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community … to bring the reality of the science before the public.”
Here is the core of it: we are destroying the climate balance that is essential to the survival of our civilization. This is not a distant or abstract threat; it is happening now. The United States is the only nation that can rally a global effort to save our future. And the president is the only person who can rally the United States.
Skeptical Science have begun a five-part series on the last interglacial period, The Eemian. I’ve understood The Eemian to have been 1-2C higher than the pre-industrial Holocene temperatures, with the sea level 4-6m higher. There may be later information that I haven’t bookmarked.
All that was achieved with CO2 levels of about 300, which is a worry.
The Pine Island Glacier is eroding from below
…at a rate 50% greater than in the early 1990s, due to the effects of stronger winds and currents.
By one estimate, the total collapse of Pine Island Glacier and its tributaries could raise sea level by 24 centimeters (9 inches).
The new Chief Scientist does climate science
The SMH reports Ian Chubb’s National Press Club speech, which is about science as such more than about climate science. He does consider the central science beyond reasonable doubt.
On Lateline Chubb does a sterling job, for a neuroscientist, and Tony Jones shows how sly he can be.
A whale and algae cross the Arctic
Marine species from the Pacific are now showing up in the Atlantic. Algae and a gray whale spotted in the Mediterranean in 2010 are half a world away from where they should be. The only reasonable explanation is that they came through the Arctic.
The feeling is that we’ve crossed a threshold and more will come.
“It’s a Pandora’s Box,” said professor Chris Reid, from the Sir Alister Harvey Foundation for Ocean Science in Britain who said the algae had now drifted almost as far south as New York.
An influx of species could “be extremely damaging…for fisheries in the North Atlantic,” Reid said. New arrivals would compete with established species such as cod or salmon.