Environmental change and migration
The British Government Office for Science has published a report Foresight: Migration and Global Environmental Change (Financial Times article here) looking at displacement and migration, both internal and transnational, due to environmental factors up to 2050.
Moving can be to a place of greater vulnerability, as from drought devastated area to a flood plain, or it can be part of the solution. There is concern over vulnerable populations that can’t move. Effectively they are “trapped”.
17 million people were displaced by natural hazards in 2009 and 42 million in 2010 (this number also includes those displaced by geophysical events).
Future numbers are impossible to estimate.
For the report itself, download from here or go directly to the Executive summary.
There more at Climate Spectator. Continue reading Climate clippings 51
This is serious!
First we were told that rising temperatures would make it difficult to grow tea in
Uganda and in Kenya, then it was going to become too hot for chocolate. Now Starbucks is warning that climate change will threaten the world supply of coffee.
This story has gone viral, but I liked this neat post. Obama should indeed do something. What Al Gore said. Continue reading Climate clippings 50
Greenland ice loss
The rate continues to accelerate, according to Skeptical Science.
It looks ugly, but see comment 24 and the correction @ 27. Doubling the rate each decade will give you 3,200 gt each year by 2050. But that’s still only a bit less than 9mm pa of sea level rise, according to my calculations. Concerning, certainly, but not yet catastrophic. Continue reading Climate clippings 48
In Climate clippings 46 I thought the most important segment was the last, on Deep heat. I don’t think it attracted a single comment.
To recap, the world’s oceans have a total mass of 1.37 billion gigatonnes of water. A gigatonne of water equals a cubic kilometre.The average temperature is, I understand, 3.5C, so the capacity for storing energy in the oceans is truly massive.
Around 90% of heat trapped by greenhouse gases ends up in the ocean.
A post by Kevin Trenberth on the earth’s energy balance tells us of a study that will show that energy can easily be “buried” in the deep ocean for over a decade.
Skeptical Science now has a post on this study, by Meehl (2011), including this graph showing periods of more than 10 years with the ocean heat content at 0-700m roughly static: Continue reading Ocean heat content and Earth’s energy balance
You will recall that we recently had a look at work done by Dr Jasper Kirkby and others in the CERN/CLOUD project.
The possible story in my words from cosmic rays to temperature change is this.
The earth is constantly being bombarded with galactic cosmic rays (GCR), high-energy particles from exploding stars. These act on tiny particles (aerosols) of sulphuric acid and ammonia molecules which cluster together to forms “seeds” called cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) from which clouds grow. Clouds are assumed to have a net cooling effect on surface temperature.
An active sun protects the Earth from GCRs to some extent. Conversely with a less active sun more cosmic rays get through. More cosmic rays mean more clouds and the cooler global temperatures.
It’s important to understand that CCNs can and do form without the assistance of GCRs, and that it is the change in GCRs operating at the margin which may or may not cause a significant change in temperature.
Every step of the way must be scientifically examined and proven. The mechanism must work, and in quantities large enough to make a difference. Continue reading More on cosmic rays and clouds
EV motor racing is about to begin
The article is behind the paywall, but New Scientist reports Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA), is calling for proposals for a “Formula E”, an electric vehicle championship it hopes will kick off in 2013. They claim the series will drive EV technology, but hey, let’s have some fun along the way.
Meanwhile at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, California on 26 November, we will have the EV Cup. In this race all drivers will have the same vehicle, the iRacer (above), built by UK firm Westfield Sportscars. Each car will have 340 kilograms of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries that, for safety, are distributed around the car in eight 50-volt units. That should keep them screaming around the track for 15 to 20 minutes.
And screaming is the operative word. EV cars at speed do make a noise, but the acoustics are being designed to sound like the Pod Racers in Star Wars. Continue reading Climate clippings 47