The Scientific American reports on a paper by Andrew Dessler refuting a paper by Spencer and Braswell. Dessler’s analysis shows:
Clouds change in response to temperature changes. There is no evidence clouds can cause meaningful climate change… “Suggestions that significant revisions to mainstream climate science are required are therefore not supported,” he wrote.
In my words, the story goes Like this. Additional CO2 in the atmosphere traps additional heat from the sun, about 90% of which ends up in the ocean. The ocean is the prime driver of the world’s climate, including changes in cloud cover. There are other lesser drivers but that’s the main story.
In the alternative reality, decreased solar activity lets through more galactic cosmic rays, which increase cloud nucleation, which increase cloud cover, which changes (cools) surface temperature.
OR changes are simply due to internal variability. In any case CO2 has a minor effect and is basically irrelevant.
found that the heating of the climate system through ocean heat transport was 20 times larger than TOA [top of the atmosphere] energy flux changes due to cloud cover over the period in question.
Skeptical Science wins award
Via Climate Progress we learn that John Cook, founder of the blog Skeptical Science, has won the
New South Wales Government Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Advancement of Climate Change Knowledge.
Congratulations to John Cook and the team!
With the annual Arctic sea ice minimum approaching, the NSIDC site has been down. RealClimate have set up a self-updating post based on IARC-JAXA Information System (IJIS) giving area as well as extent. The definitions given at IJIS suggest that extent is the one to watch.
The Polar Science Center at the University of Washington has just updated its calculations of Arctic sea ice volume. 2011 is only just lower than 2010, but the trend looks ugly.
Dura Vermeer, a Dutch company is developing the FLOATEC project, using multiple layers of light plastic foam to allow houses to float.
Maybe Kiribati’s idea of building floating islands is not so bizarre after all.
Will climate change affect migration?
Yes, according to a report from the Migration Policy Institute. With a one metre rise some 37 million will be affected in East Asia. The report suggests that people will remain in the region from which they are displaced.
Meanwhile Bangkok is in deep trouble. Amongst other problems it’s sinking by 1.5 to 5cm a year. Parts of the city of 10 million could be awash by 2030. A million buildings, 90% of which are residential, are under medium to long term threat, whatever that means.
Solar comes of age
Take a look at what the Americans are doing:
Armed with funds from two major investment banks and a loan guarantee from the Department of Energy that will cover close to a third of the $1 billion project, SolarCity plans to install 160,000 solar photovoltaic systems on houses and other buildings on military bases around the country in the next five years.
Wind is cutting energy costs
While the levelised cost of energy from wind farms is higher than that of baseload coal and gas, the deployment of wind energy here and overseas is having a surprising impact on energy market prices: it is causing them to fall.
Climate Spectator explains why.
Wind now accounts for 21 per cent of energy production in SA. Also
some of the peaking plants last year were used less than 1 per cent of the time – little changed from before wind’s arrival.
More on renewables
Frank Jotzo looks at emissions trading
The bottom line is this: economic logic dictates we should facilitate emissions cuts wherever they come at the lowest cost. Separately, the question of who pays for what needs to be dealt with.
Australia – as a rich, high-emissions country – is then going to finance reductions elsewhere. The challenge is to make sure that international carbon trading is not just economically attractive, but environmentally effective and promotes genuine involvement by developing countries.
Better mechanisms will be needed than those devised under the Kyoto Protocol, and Australia can play a role in making it happen. (Emphasis added)
This space is meant to also serve as an open thread on climate change.