1. State of the climate 2012
BOM amd the CSIRO have produced the State of the Climate – 2012 report. BOM has a handy summary summary and link to the brochure. The CSIRO site has some added interviews. I’ve extracted two images. First is the relentless increase in ocean heat content:
Second is the rainfall pattern for April to September from 1997 to 2011:
According to the report we can expect the same only more so in the future.
See also The Conversation.
2. Southeast Australia’s wet, cool summer
The Climate Commission has also produced a report by Will Steffen on The science behind southeast Australia’s wet, cool summer which you can download from here. (Thanks to Roger Jones for the headsup.)
It makes the point that the wet weather in the past few years is consistent with scientists’ understanding of climate change.
Climate change cannot be ruled out as a factor in recent heavy rainfall events. The Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) around northern Australia during the spring and early summer of 2010–2011 were the highest on record. This has very likely contributed to the exceptionally heavy rainfall over much of Australia in the last two years. La Niña events bring high SSTs to the seas around northern Australia, but warming over the past century has also contributed to the recent record high SSTs.
Atmospheric temperatures tend to be cooler during La Niña years, but La Niña years are getting warmer. Both reports have a version of this graph:
The La Niña are blue and El Niño orange.
3. Climate shifts are step-wise
That’s what Roger Jones has found in relation to SE Australia and thinks it holds true elsewhere also. The notion is that heat captured by GHGs goes mostly into the ocean whence it is re-emitted periodically into the atmosphere, although the identification of the physical processes is, I gather, a work in progress. Step-wise change makes adaptation more difficult.
4. Looking into the deep past
David Spratt at Climate Code Red has an addendum to the CSIRO/BOM report. It’s really a correction. The report said CO2 levels were the higher than at any time in the last 800,000 years, a fact that has been highlighted. I heard one of the authors on the radio say that CO2 hadn’t been above 300 ppm over the last 800,000 years, a much less misleading statement. Spratt quotes new work by Triparti et al:
The last time carbon dioxide levels were apparently as high as they are today — and were sustained at those levels — global temperatures were 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit [DS: 3 to 6 degrees Celsius] higher than they are today, the sea level was approximately 75 to 120 feet higher than today, there was no permanent sea ice cap in the Arctic and very little ice on Antarctica and Greenland.
Make that 25 to 40 metres.
5. Salt-resistant wheat
Australian scientists have produced a strain of salt-resistant durum wheat. Durum wheat is used to make products like pasta and couscous. They now working on a salt-resistant strain of bread wheat.
Dr Matthew Gilliham of Adelaide University:
“It’s currently estimated that about 69 per cent of the Australian wheat belt is affected by salinity, and currently about 11 per cent of the total agricultural land in Australia is affected by salinity,” he said.
“This figure is predicted to rise to about 34 per cent in the next 38 years due to the affects of climate change.”
6. Efficiency standards
Stephen Lacy at Climate Progress reports on American efficiency standards.
The CO2 savings from existing standards in 2010 were 203 million metric tons, an amount equal to the CO2 emitted by 51 coal-fired power plants. By 2025, the CO2 savings grow to 448 million metric tons, an amount equal to the emissions of 112 average-sized coal-fired power plants.
Are we doing anything here? If we are I haven’t heard.
7. Understanding the India’s monsoon
The Climate Commission document @ 2 above said that we can have greater confidence in future priojections at a global and continental scale rather than at a regional or local. Scientists have had trouble in coming to grips with what may be the future of the Indian monsoon. Now they have had a comprehensive look at the past over the last 10,000 years, finding step-wise drying 4,500 and 1,700 years ago. They also found a stabilisation over the last 100 years, with a lessening of long droughts. So warming may not be bad for the future of the Indian monsoon. Then again…
8. Time to end the clean coal charade
Tristan Edis at Climate Spectator pays out on the clean coal charade, particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS). This is old news to LP readers, but the problem is still there. CCS is an integral part of Treasury modelling of the carbon price and in the IEA future energy scenarios.