It seems the trickiest bit of planning for sea level rise is dealing with the increased risk of storm surges. Scientists have been taking a look at New York City.
The biggest they know about was a 3.2 metre surge in 1821, a one in 500 year event. Most buildings have a 60 to 120-year usable lifespan. With a 3-foot rise a once a century surge of 5.7 feet above tide level could occur every three to 20 years. Continue reading Climate clippings 68→
In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Igor Semiletov, of the Far Eastern branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that he has never before witnessed the scale and force of the methane being released from beneath the Arctic seabed.
“Earlier we found torch-like structures like this but they were only tens of metres in diameter. This is the first time that we’ve found continuous, powerful and impressive seeping structures, more than 1,000 metres in diameter. It’s amazing,” Dr Semiletov said. “I was most impressed by the sheer scale and high density of the plumes. Over a relatively small area we found more than 100, but over a wider area there should be thousands of them.”
I realise this has been linked to three times in the previous thread, but it’s important and not everyone reads the comments threads.
A separate study has found that the methane stored in permafrost is three times larger than earlier estimates. It could release 1.7-5.2 times more carbon than previously thought, depending how rapidly the world warms.
In a cautionary note here, James Hansen reckons we are forcing the system 20,000 times faster than commonly happened through natural caused in the past 50 million years. Continue reading Climate clippings 58→
The article is behind the paywall, but New Scientist reports Federation Internationale d’Automobile (FIA), is calling for proposals for a “Formula E”, an electric vehicle championship it hopes will kick off in 2013. They claim the series will drive EV technology, but hey, let’s have some fun along the way.
Meanwhile at the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, California on 26 November, we will have the EV Cup. In this race all drivers will have the same vehicle, the iRacer (above), built by UK firm Westfield Sportscars. Each car will have 340 kilograms of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries that, for safety, are distributed around the car in eight 50-volt units. That should keep them screaming around the track for 15 to 20 minutes.
Following the decision to phase out nuclear Germans are being told that achieving 35% renewables by 2020 will only cost 1c per kilowatt hour, or the price of a latte per month. Others calculate the cost at five times that amount, or an additional cost of €175 ($250) a year, a figure confirmed by an internal estimate making the rounds at the Economics Ministry.
Electricity customers already pay more than €13 billion this year to subsidize renewable energy. PV solar receives almost half all renewable energy subsidies, even though it makes up less than one 10th of total green electricity production, or 1.9% of total production.
I’ve been on holidays for a bit. Here are some links that I saved from a few hours spent on my daughter’s computer last week by checking some of the usual sources. In the next few days I’ll check the feeds and see whether there are more links to share.
E10 debacle puts the brakes on biofuels in Germany
The real reason, though, was confusion over which car models could use the stuff without harm. Meanwhile a study found that:
up to 69,000 square kilometers (about 27,000 square miles) of forest, pasture and wetlands would have to be cultivated as farmland to satisfy the future demand for biofuel in Europe alone. This is an area twice the size of Belgium. One consequence of such cultivation would be the release of up to 56 million tons of CO2 a year, or the equivalent of the emissions of an additional 12 million to 26 million cars on European roads.
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.
Gillard’s speech goes global
On 16 March 20011 Julia Gillard gave a speech to the Don Dunstan Foundation.
Climate Progress picked it up, quoted a long slab and highlighted these bits with approbation and the wish that Barack Obama would do as well:
Australians of the future will look back on [opposition leader Tony] Abbott’s campaign with pity and shame. The pity and shame posterity reserves for leaders who miss the wave of history and misjudge the big calls.…
We will cut carbon pollution. We will not leave our nation stranded by history. We will not live at the expense of future generations. We will get this call right and get this job done: For our nation. For our people. For our future.
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→
On another thread, John Michelmore has been telling us about an article by Lahouari Bounoua et al (behind the paywall) which finds that the enhanced effect of CO2 on plant growth provides a cooling feedback, so that doubling current CO2 to 780ppm would only cause a temperature increase of 1.64C. Hence we can all relax in relation to global warming mitigation. There’s no need to panic.