Climate change and the Murray Darling Basin

With record rainfall in large parts of Australia in recent months there has been a bit of a tendency to think that normal service has been returned. But record rainfall is by definition exceptional. This is how the last three months look on the BOM maps: Continue reading Climate change and the Murray Darling Basin

Climate clippings 3

It’s been almost a year since Climate clippings 2. Shall I say that intentions are good now, as they always have been.

I have included a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. It doesn’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.

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

Continue reading Climate clippings 3

What can save the majestic rainforests of West Kalimantan?

One of the most depressing articles I’ve read in a while is Borneo’s majestic rainforest is being killed by the timber mafia recently in The Guardian. This comes on top TV programs on of what seem like futile attempts to save the Orangutan. Wikipedia tells us:

The total number of Bornean orangutans is estimated to be less than 14 percent of what it was in the recent past (from around 10,000 years ago until the middle of the twentieth century) and this sharp decline has occurred mostly over the past few decades due to human activities and development.

The IPCC AR4 report put the net emissions from forestry at 17.4% of the total:

Continue reading What can save the majestic rainforests of West Kalimantan?

Coral bleaching hits the Coral Triangle

From the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies:

International marine scientists say that a huge coral death which has struck Southeast Asian and Indian Ocean reefs over recent months has highlighted the urgency of controlling global carbon emissions.

Many reefs are dead or dying across the Indian Ocean and into the Coral Triangle following a bleaching event that extends from the Seychelles in the west to Sulawesi and the Philippines in the east and include reefs in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and many sites in western and eastern Indonesia.

“It is certainly the worst coral die-off we have seen since 1998. It may prove to be the worst such event known to science,” says Dr Andrew Baird of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook Universities. “So far around 80 percent of Acropora colonies and 50 per cent of colonies from other species have died since the outbreak began in May this year.”

This means coral cover in the region could drop from an average of 50% to around 10%, and the spatial scale of the event could mean it will take years to recover, striking at local fishing and regional tourism industries, he says.

The bleaching event has also hit the richest marine biodiversity zone on the planet, the ‘Amazon Rainforest’ of the seas, known as the Coral Triangle (CT), which is bounded by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Continue reading Coral bleaching hits the Coral Triangle

Cancun looms, ready or not

Climate talks in Tianjin, China have ended. That’s it now until Cancun, Mexico on 29 November-10 December, where the optimists hope than a binding post-Kyoto treaty on climate change might be concluded.

That can’t happen without China and the US patching up their differences. The chances of that approach zero, according to Bloomberg.

The BBC report goes further:

On Saturday, one of the Chinese climate negotiators reportedly accused the US of behaving like a preening pig, complaining about Beijing when Washington had done so little itself.

Reuters explains this reference to Chinese classical literature:

Su likened the U.S. criticism to Zhubajie, a pig in a classic Chinese novel, which in a traditional saying preens itself in a mirror.

“It has no measures or actions to show for itself, and instead it criticizes China, which is actively taking measures and actions,” Su said of the United States.

Continue reading Cancun looms, ready or not

Climate clippings 2

In this post I have included a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. It doesn’t preclude treating any of these topics in a separate post.

It can also serve as an open thread.

The “Big Freeze”, the Younger Dryas, happened in the space of a few months

mg20427344.800-1_300In case you have been feeling hot I thought we’d start with a story about the cold.

William Patterson of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, and colleagues have developed a technique where they use a scalpel to slice off layers of mud 0.5 to 1 millimetre thick, each representing up to three months of time.

The group studied a mud core from an ancient lake, Lough Monreagh, in western Ireland and found that the Younger Dryas over 12,000 years ago which plunged Europe into Siberian-type weather for about 1300 years, took hold in the space of a few months.

Now Patterson’s mob have built a robot able to shave 0.05 micrometre slivers along the growth lines of fossilised clam shells, giving a resolution of less than a day. “We can get you mid-July temperatures from 400 million years ago,” he says. You just have to work out where in the world the clam was 400 million years ago, and that could just about be anywhere.

Continue reading Climate clippings 2

Climate clippings

In this post I have included a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. It doesn’t preclude treating any of these topics in a separate post.

It can also serve as an open thread.

Continue reading Climate clippings

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff