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 clippings 16

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.

Brits view climate change as a current or imminent threat

Fully 83% of them do, as reported at Climate Progress.

The public’s belief in global warming as a man-made danger has weathered the storm of climate controversies and cold weather intact, according to a Guardian/ICM opinion poll published today.

Asked if climate change was a current or imminent threat, 83% of Britons agreed, with just 14% saying global warming poses no threat. Compared with August 2009, when the same question was asked, opinion remained steady despite a series of events in the intervening 18 months that might have made people less certain about the perils of climate change.

So the so-called ‘climategate’ kerfuffle had no noticeable impact on public opinion. Continue reading Climate clippings 16

Climate clippings 15

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.

Beware the collapse of the planet’s lungs

Amazon drought is consistent with what scientific models predict for a warmer globe.

Normally, rainforests function like great carbon sinks, absorbing a large proportion of the CO2 that human activity produces. But in 2005, thanks to deforestation, the Amazon became a net emitter of carbon dioxide. In that year, the rainforest is estimated to have emitted some 5 billion tonnes of CO2, almost as much as the entire output of the United States.

Continue reading Climate clippings 15

We have a Climate Commission

Greg Combet has announced the establishment of a Climate Commission to be headed by Tim Flannery.

Mr Combet said the Climate Commission would provide expert advice and information on climate change to the Australian community.

“The Climate Commission has been established by the Gillard Government to provide an authoritative, independent source of information for all Australians,” he said. “It will provide expert advice on climate change science and impacts, and international action. It will help build the consensus required to move to a clean energy future.”

The Climate Commission would have a public outreach role, he said, to help build greater understanding and consensus about reducing Australia’s carbon pollution.

“The Commissioners are eminent Australians who are leaders in their fields and I’m pleased one of Australia’s leading science communicators, Professor Tim Flannery, a former Australian of the Year, has accepted the role of Chief Commissioner,” Mr Combet said.

“The Climate Commission will fulfil a key information and education role, enabling the Australian community to have a more informed conversation about climate change. I am delighted to lead this new Commission,” said Professor Tim Flannery.

Continue reading We have a Climate Commission

Climate clippings 14

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.

Monckton madness

John Cook at Skeptical Science has a post on two of Monckton’s oft-repeated pieces of climate change misinformation – that climate sensitivity, a measure of how much the earth warms from rising CO2, is so low that you can burn coal with impunity and that sea levels are not going to rise much in the future.

Cook has conveniently collected all his articles on Monckton Myths. Indeed this one lists 15 of them together with their antidotes. For example, Monckton claims that Arctic sea ice loss is matched by Antarctic sea ice gain, whereas in fact Arctic sea ice loss is three times greater than Antarctic sea ice gain.

Oops, said I wasn’t going to mention ice this time. Continue reading Climate clippings 14

Yasi – it’s big, bad, ugly and coming our way

This morning Cyclone Yasi was upgraded to category 5 with winds up to 295kph. That could go to 320kph.

Yasi, early 2 February 2011

The projected path is here:

Cyclone Yasi expected path

The suggestion is that it could be still a category 2 when it’s 400km inland.

Townsville is evacuating 15,000 people.

For some time now, Anna Bligh has been using the term “life-threatening”.

The NOAA link is here.

More from Brisbane Times and the Courier Mail.

The previous post is here.

Update: Here’s a screen shot from the BOM site from 12.15am with the eye over Mission Beach, near Tully about 50km south of Innisfail:

Yasi over Mission Beach at 12.15 am

Cyclone watch

Cyclones Bianca and Anthony

Three cyclones, actually. Cyclone Bianca is threatening to hit Perth, Bunbury and Busselton, possibly weakening to a category one.

Bianca is not expected to be as bad as Cyclone Alby which hit Perth in 1978. Alby claimed five lives and caused widespread damage in the Perth metropolitan area.

Before the rain comes the wind, and ironically the first danger could be fire from the high winds.

Does anyone know how often Perth experiences cyclones? I recall one a few years ago that started in the Coral Sea, I think, possibly the Gulf of Carpentaria, which headed west and ended up giving Perth a dousing, probably as a rain depression.

Meanwhile Cyclone Anthony re-formed into a category one storm and is currently about 950 kilometres north-north-east of Townsville. Continue reading Cyclone watch

Climate clippings 13

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.

Hansen and Sato say that limiting human-made warming to 2°C and CO2 to 450 ppm is a prescription for disaster

They say we could be looking at sea level rise of up to 5 metres by 2100.

There are posts at Climate Progress and treehugger but you are better off reading the abstract of the draft paper itself. Then cop this:

Perhaps the most striking characteristic of Pliocene climate reconstructions is that low latitude ocean temperatures were very similar to temperatures today. High latitudes were much warmer than today, the ice sheets smaller, and sea level about 25 m higher (Dowsett et al., 2009 and references therein). Atmospheric CO2 amount in the Pliocene is poorly known, but a typical assumption, based on a variety of imprecise proxies, is 380 ppm (Raymo et al., 1996).

We conclude that Pliocene temperatures probably were no more than 1-2°C warmer on global average than peak Holocene temperature.

But it was considerably warmer at the poles, with consequent loss of ice sheets bulk. The effect is sometimes known as polar amplification. This involves a strong albedo feedback which could produce a doubling of ice loss every 10 years. The cumulative effect is shown in this graph: Continue reading Climate clippings 13

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.

Climate change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff