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.

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 change, sustainability, plus sundry other stuff