Climate clippings 12

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.

Temperature increases to 2100 could be double what the models predict

That is indeed so, (see Climate Progress).

Other scientists are catching up with what James Hansen told us in 2007, namely, that according to the paleoclimate data ‘long-term’ climate sensitivity is 6°C for doubled CO2, not 3°C as assumed. Continue reading Climate clippings 12

Open thread on floods

We now have a number of specific threads running on aspects of the Queensland floods. This thread is for comments that don’t fit the specific threads or if you want to comment on other current floods lacking a thread, such as those in Victoria, Brazil or Sri Lanka .

These are the previous threads I can identify:

Brian on Queensland floods

Robert on Queensland floods get worse

Mark on Brisbane flood maps and up to date flood information

Brian on Toowoomba flood pics

Brian on Brisbane floods in retreat

Kim on Political cheap shots and the Brisbane floods

Kim on Quick link: Quiggin on water policy after the Queensland floods

Kim on Quicklink: Interactive map of Brisbane flood damage

Kim on Germaine Greer wrong on Brisbane floods

Mark on Social capital, social networking and the Brisbane floods

Hope I haven’t missed any.

Brisbane floods in retreat

The flood clean-up begins as the river retreats.

The swollen Brisbane River has dropped to 2.7 metres and emotions are running high as residents start returning home to survey the damage caused by yesterday’s flood peak.

About 26,000 homes had either major or partial flooding when the river peaked at 4.46 metres.

Weather bureau senior hydrologist Jess Carey says the river system has fallen to 2.7 metres but will rise again to about 2.85 metres this morning.

“It’s certainly been dropping fast. It’s been expected,” he said.

He says the Bremer River is also falling quickly at Ipswich where 3,000 homes were flooded.

Continue reading Brisbane floods in retreat

Climate clippings 11

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 world’s reefs are in serious danger

Last December Charlie Veron said:

Reefs are the ocean’s canaries and we must hear their call. This call is not just for themselves, for the other great ecosystems of the ocean stand behind reefs like a row of dominoes. If coral reefs fail, the rest will follow in rapid succession, and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be upon us — and will be of our making.

Now at Climate Progress we are told that the current season looks like the second worst on record. This is how the Australian sea surface temperature has been going;

Australian sea surface temperature

Looks inexorable.

If ocean temperatures and ocean acidity continue to rise in Australian waters at the same pace as has occurred over the past 100 years, the Great Barrier Reef will be in significant danger by 2050.

See also Skeptical Science. Continue reading Climate clippings 11

What is our legacy on climate change? Where should our grandchildren live?

Midwest superstorm

The image is a satellite photo of the US superstorm taken on October 26, 2010. At the time, Bigfork, Minnesota reported the lowest pressure ever recorded in a U.S. non-coastal storm, 955 mb. It was just one of the many records broken in 2010 when the weather seemed to go a bit crazy. Continue reading What is our legacy on climate change? Where should our grandchildren live?

Toowoomba flood pics

The main purpose of this post is to share some photos sent to me taken by my cousin’s brother-in-law in Toowoomba. But first some context.

Paul Norton described the topography of Toowoomba thus:

Just to give people some idea of what seems to have happened in Toowoomba, the city of Toowoomba is located just on the west side of the Great Dividing Range. As you travel from Brisbane to Toowoomba, the road begins climbing slowly after about Grantham and Helidon, then climbs steeply west of Withcott before cresting the range at a bit under 700 metres. The eastern suburbs on Toowoomba are built on the western slope of the range, whilst the CBD is located in something of a hollow at the bottom of this slope, with gentler slopes to north and south. The “cloudburst” (to used Brian’s word on the older thread) on the range looks to have basically been funnelled into the CBD by the topography.

Further to my previous comment, the range forms a neat half-circle around Toowoomba on the east side, centered on the CBD.

Continue reading Toowoomba flood pics

Climate clippings 10

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 Bolivians were the only ones in step at Cancún

The Bolivians at Cancún were possibly the only ones who followed the science faithfully and took full account of the implications.

Analysts at Climate Action Tracker have revealed that these paltry offers [at Cancun] are nowhere near enough to keep temperature increases even within the contested goal of 2 degrees. Instead they would lead to increases in temperature of between 3 and 4 degrees, a level considered by scientists as highly dangerous for the vast majority of the planet. [Bolivian negotiator] Solon said, “I can not in all in consciousness sign such as a document as millions of people will die as a result.”

Solon again:

“Proposals by powerful countries like the US were sacrosanct, while ours were disposable. Compromise was always at the expense of the victims, rather than the culprits of climate change.”

Continue reading Climate clippings 10

Climate crunch: the fierce urgency of now

In November 2009, in the run up to the Copenhagen conference I published a post Climate crunch and Copenhagen: the fierce urgency of now. For my first climate change post in 2011 I’ve reposted most of that post, with slight variations, and leaving out the direct commentary on Copenhagen.

My intention is to remind people that action on climate change is urgent, and that there is a severe penalty in leaving action to a later date.

Substantively the post outlines the carbon budget approach to climate stabilisation which gives prime place to carbon equity. If Australia wants to show leadership in climate change internationally we should seek zero net emissions by 2030. We would still blow our equitable carbon budget which requires zero emissions by 2019, but with that kind of leadership we should get away with it. Also we should use our land and our forests to create carbon sinks in order to then go negative in net emissions.

The reprised post is below the fold. Continue reading Climate crunch: the fierce urgency of now

Climate clippings 9

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 disconnect between climate policy and scientific reality

There is a dangerous disconnect between climate policy and scientific reality, according to Ian Dunlop of the Policy Development Centre.

Climate change is not just another policy item on the normal agenda, it is a transformative issue which has life-and-death consequences. This is not a time to follow Bismarck’s advice that“politics is the art of the possible”, as Combet suggested. Quite the reverse; we need leaders who can see that what was politically impossible will shortly become politically inevitable.

The continual emphasis on the economy as the main game, with climate change grudgingly considered as an optional extra, ignores the fact that unless we address climate change fast, the economy will be in tatters err long.

The government and the opposition are both missing the boat, according to Dunlop, and the NGOs are no better, settling into going with the flow in order to get something started. Continue reading Climate clippings 9

Will the severe winters in Europe continue?

Quite possibly, not every year but with increased frequency according to an article in The Independent.

A study completed in 2009 by the Potsdam Institute predicted this pattern:

Their models found that, as the ice cap over the ocean disappeared, this allowed the heat of the relatively warm seawater to escape into the much colder atmosphere above, creating an area of high pressure surrounded by clockwise-moving winds that sweep down from the polar region over Europe and the British Isles.

Clever them, because it happened in the following two years. They reckon that cold, snowy winters will be about three times more frequent in the coming years. Two cold winters doesn’t prove it, but the pattern’s looking good. Continue reading Will the severe winters in Europe continue?

Climate clippings 8

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.

California approves first broad US climate plan

California has approved “the most sweeping US plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

It includes a cap-and-trade plan:

Initially, California will technically not restrict emissions but instead freely allocate “allowances” to businesses covering their carbon output. The state will gradually reduce allowances, forcing firms to go green.

Companies can also earn credit by supporting environmental projects in forests or farms, including through preservation of woods in Mexico’s Chiapas state and Brazil’s Acre state.

Not everyone is happy, as the scheme could involve clear-felling to plant trees.

There’s more at Climate Progress. Continue reading Climate clippings 8

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff