Climate clippings 25

Sea level risk worsens: Need for greater urgency as Arctic ice melting faster

The ice of Greenland and the rest of the Arctic is melting faster than expected and could help raise global sea levels by as much as one and half metres this century, dramatically higher than earlier projections, an authoritative international assessment says.

The findings ’emphasise the need for greater urgency’ in combating global warming, says the report of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), the scientific arm of the eight-nation Arctic Council.

The melting of Arctic glaciers and ice caps, including Greenland’s massive ice sheet, is projected to help raise global sea levels by 90 to 160 centimeters by 2100, AMAP said, although it noted that estimate was highly uncertain.

Now the AMAP assessment finds that Greenland was losing ice in the 2004-2009 period four times faster than in 1995-2000.

The last bit is interesting, the rest is not news, except that the article appeared in the Courier Mail. Probably just a page-filler grabbed off the wires. Turn over a few pages and there was a column by Jennifer Marohasy. Normal service restored. Continue reading Climate clippings 25

Climate clippings 24

I’ve been on holidays for a bit. Here are some links that I saved from a few hours spent on my daughter’s computer last week by checking some of the usual sources. In the next few days I’ll check the feeds and see whether there are more links to share.

E10 debacle puts the brakes on biofuels in Germany

German motorists have shown uncommonly good sense by not buying the biofuel mixture E10.

The real reason, though, was confusion over which car models could use the stuff without harm. Meanwhile a study found that:

up to 69,000 square kilometers (about 27,000 square miles) of forest, pasture and wetlands would have to be cultivated as farmland to satisfy the future demand for biofuel in Europe alone. This is an area twice the size of Belgium. One consequence of such cultivation would be the release of up to 56 million tons of CO2 a year, or the equivalent of the emissions of an additional 12 million to 26 million cars on European roads.

Continue reading Climate clippings 24

Climate clippings 23

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Melting glaciers

A new study has looked at the contribution of glaciers to sea level rise based on observations of the Patagonian icefields between Chile and Argentina.

They found that the glaciers have lost volume on average “10 to 100 times faster” in the last 30 years, faster than at any time in the last 350 years. Continue reading Climate clippings 23

Climate clippings 22

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Gillard’s speech goes global

On 16 March 20011 Julia Gillard gave a speech to the Don Dunstan Foundation.

Climate Progress picked it up, quoted a long slab and highlighted these bits with approbation and the wish that Barack Obama would do as well:

Australians of the future will look back on [opposition leader Tony] Abbott’s campaign with pity and shame. The pity and shame posterity reserves for leaders who miss the wave of history and misjudge the big calls.…

We will cut carbon pollution. We will not leave our nation stranded by history. We will not live at the expense of future generations. We will get this call right and get this job done: For our nation. For our people. For our future.

It’s a mighty fine speech, but why did I have to find out about it from the other side of the world? Continue reading Climate clippings 22

Minchin’s junk science

Articles like this give the impression that climate change doubters and believers talk from two legitimate but different scientific frames of reference.

Wrong!

Roy Spencer is one of the main proponents paid as an academic scientist who claims that the human effect on climate is negligible. Barry Bickmore of Brigham Young University critically analyses Spencer’s position. In a 2008 paper:

Spencer was only able to obtain this result by assuming unrealistic values for various model parameters. If realistic values are used, the effect Spencer described is negligible.

Then in later work Spencer “claims to show with his simple climate model that, not only is climate sensitivity low, but most of the global warming in the 20th century can be explained by a natural cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.”

I took apart Spencer’s climate model, programmed it into my computer, and showed that, once again, he was only able to come to his conclusions because he was willing to use absurd values for some of his model parameters. Furthermore, he used a bizarre statistical technique that he apparently just made up, because it was capable of giving him nearly any answer he wanted.

Continue reading Minchin’s junk science

Climate clippings 21

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Mega-heatwaves in Europe

Mega-heatwaves like the one in 2003 will become five to 10 times more likely by 2050 according to a recent study, occurring at least once a decade. The 2010 heatwave was something else again.

But the 2010 heatwave was so extreme – 10C above the average for the first week of August between 1970 and 2000 – that similar events are only expected to occur once every 30 years or so.

The 2010 event caused some 50,000 deaths, reduced the Russian grain crop by 25% and cost the nation $15 billion. It should be noted that the link between that event and climate change as such has not yet been established, but the incidence of mega-droughts is expected to increase nevertheless. Continue reading Climate clippings 21

Climate clippings 20

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Nicholas Stern: Climate inaction risks a “global war”

Climate Progress has the story:

The temperature increases, the temperature changes of this kind, transform where people can be. In the upwards direction, you’re going to get some areas that become deserts, probably most of southern Europe. Others that are inundated: Florida, Bangladesh, and so on.

What we’re talking about here — this the cost of inaction, the cost of not doing much — is a transformation of where we can be. Over a hundred, 120 years, we can’t be that precise, a serious risk of global war, really, because you’ve got hundreds of millions of people, perhaps billions of people moving. That’s the cost of inaction. It’s potentially immense.

It should be noted that Stern is not a security analyst, but Gwynne Dyer who is told us three years ago that security establishments were gaming scenarios where they saw mass migration due to climate change. And troubles over major river systems, like the Nile, the Mekong, the Tigris and Euphrates, and the numerous rivers on which Pakistan depends. Continue reading Climate clippings 20

Immodest perturbation

Incurious and Unread in this comment talked about a “modest perturbation” and positive and negative feedbacks:

I can’t help feel that Gaia is letting us down here. It seems that we keep on getting positive feedback effects on the climate rather than negative feedback.

That seems kind of odd. As I understand it, the climate has been fairly stable pre-AGW, which suggests that negative feedback effects dominated. We have what seems to me (probably in my ignorance) a modest perturbation and suddenly we are envisaging positive feedback and an uncontrollable excursion to a new Venusian equilibrium.

Is it just that it is the positive feedback stories which hit the headlines, or is there some underlying reason why there are more positive feedback than negative feedback effects?

First up, it’s forcings that change the temperature positively or negatively. Forcings are amplified by feedbacks, positive and negative. For a stable climate the net effect of forcings and feedbacks should be zero, they should cancel each other out. Continue reading Immodest perturbation

Climate clippings 19

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

Garnaut Update Paper 5: The science of climate change

Garnaut’s series of update papers has now reached Update Paper 5: The science of climate change. This is worth a longer look, but suffice it to say here that the sense of urgency has grown considerably.

  • Observable trends seem to be running ahead of predictions.
  • The 2C limit looks high and may in fact represent the boundary between dangerous climate change and extremely dangerous climate change.
  • 450 ppm looks high, but we are going to shoot through it.
  • Garnaut has picked up on the “emissions budget” approach I have been banging on about. On present trends we (the world) will use up our remaining budget of allowable emissions in a couple of decades.

Continue reading Climate clippings 19

Climate opinion surveys – a cautionary tale

University of Michigan psychologist Jonathon Schuldt led a study which asked this question:

“You may have heard about the idea that the world’s temperature may have been going up over the past 100 years, a phenomenon sometimes called ‘global warming.’ What is your personal opinion regarding whether or not this has been happening?”

People were asked to respond on a seven-point scale, from “Definitely has not been happening” to “Definitely has been happening.” They were also asked to identify their political allegiance.

Turns out 86.9% of Democrats endorsed global warming, whereas only 44% of Republicans did. Continue reading Climate opinion surveys – a cautionary tale

Climate clippings 18

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

China puts climate above reckless growth

Prime Minister Wen Jiabao:

“We must not any longer sacrifice the environment for the sake of rapid growth and reckless roll-outs, as that would result in unsustainable growth featuring industrial overcapacity and intensive resource consumption.”

China’s environment minister on Monday issued an unusually stark warning about the effects of unbridled development on the country’s air, water and soil, saying the nation’s current path could stifle long-term economic growth and feed social instability.

We need them over here to talk to HM Opposition. Continue reading Climate clippings 18

Climate clippings 17

These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.

The permafrost giant is stirring

We predict that the PCF [permafrost carbon flux] will change the Arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42–88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible…

Continue reading Climate clippings 17

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff