Back in 2003 a heatwave centred in France killed over 70,000 people. Another which struck Moscow in 2010 killed 10,000. During the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria 173 people tragically lost their lives from the fire. However, health authorities believe Victoria’s record-breaking heatwave may have contributed to the deaths of about another 374 people with the state’s death toll 62% higher than at same time in the previous year.
The elderly were worst affected, but the very young and those in frail health are also typically affected in events like this. Continue reading Sizzling summers presage a global future
On Monday and Tuesday this week we are going to have the AFR national Energy Summit in Sydney with everyone there, including Josh, Jay, Bill, Andrew Vesey and a different Malcolm Roberts (Chief Executive, APPEA). Should be fun.
The Weekend AFR had about half a dozen articles, led off by an article by Ben Potter, Angela Macdonald-Smith and Mark Ludlow (no doubt pay-walled) which said our energy has become dirty, expensive and annoyingly unreliable. They reckon something has to be done, it’s just that:
the causes identified by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – or unofficial backbench energy spokesman Tony Abbott – are not the same as the causes power industry experts and regulators highlight. Continue reading Climate clippings 117
For me the main point of George Monbiot’s article about Hurricane Harvey is that the course we are currently on to achieve 3.5 to 4°C of warming by the end of the century is equivalent in magnitude to the change between the last ice age and the balmy times of the Holocene. To talk about whether this or that extreme weather event was caused by anthropogenically induced climate change seems beside the point.
The short answer is that everything about the climate has changed, so we are experiencing a climate that is different from how it would have been, and it will change much more during the life spans of the next few generations. Generally speaking, as Climate Central’s Climate Extremes Index indicates, extreme weather events are on the increase: Continue reading Storms for our grandchildren
Well, not everywhere, it’s dry here this winter, but definitely in Texas, and in India, Nepal, Bangladesh and now Pakistan. In fact, in the Indian subcontinent more than 1,400 people are dead since the recent rains started, and more than 45 million are directly affected, many having had their livelihoods destroyed. Mumbai, a city of some 20 million people, had a month’s rain in a single day. Two-thirds of Bangladesh was said to be under water. Here’s an early map from August 29:
Continue reading Water, water everywhere
When Elon Musk dramatically promised to build a grid-scale battery in South Australia, the media was enthralled. Share traders and a string of Australian fund managers smirked. They’d seen it all before, and were shorting him in the market.
In that very week he was in the market with plans to raise $US1.15 billion in equity and convertible notes. I understand also that Tesla has gone strangely quiet about SA since then. Continue reading Climate clippings 201
At time of writing, cyclone Debbie is looming to make landfall at Bowen, south of Townsville on the Queensland coast:
Continue reading Cyclone Debbie
1. Ballarat and Bendigo targetted for blackouts to keep lights on in NSW
It didn’t happen, but the phone call was made during the early February heatwave:
Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio confirmed she was approached by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) with the suggestion that either Ballarat or Bendigo could potentially lose electricity for a period of time to assist NSW.
Victoria was not impressed and have demanded an explanation. Continue reading Climate clippings 199
1. 39,000 lightning strikes
We had 39,000 lightning strikes in one storm the other day. Apparently more than a million in the first six days of summer if you count cloud-to-cloud strikes.
Nothing too unusual about all that if you’ve lived in these parts for a while. Continue reading Saturday salon 10/12
In what is called ‘attribution science’ climate scientists are getting better at analysing how much climate change has influenced particular extreme weather events.
In short, it is no longer a question of weather there is an influence, rather how much.
It would be useful to know, for example, whether the kind of storm that hit South Australia is still a once in 50 years event. Continue reading Climate clippings 185
1. Stupidity over SA blackout
“Ignorant rubbish” is what Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews called Malcolm Turnbull’s initial comments on the SA electricity blackouts. “It’s the weather, stupid”, is more or less what Bill Shorten said, and he was right. The press has reported two ‘tornadoes’ in the north of SA which made pylons look like this:
The questions to be asked in this case are not about the reliance on renewables, rather on why fractures to the grid 200 km north of Adelaide took the whole state down. Continue reading Saturday salon 30/9
NOAA’s annual State of the Climate report has recently been released, showing the climate change is proceeding apace on all fronts. The 300 page report compiled by 450 scientists from 62 countries confirmed there was a “toppling of several symbolic mileposts” in heat, sea level rise and extreme weather in 2015. From The Guardian:
“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” Michael Mann, a leading climatologist at Penn State, told the Guardian. “They are playing out before us, in real time. The 2015 numbers drive that home.”
Continue reading State of the Climate 2015
No doubt there has been wild weather before at this time of year, normally a drier time in Queensland. I took this screen shot of the BOM page just as the system had dumped its lot on us:
Continue reading Wild weather carries a warning