Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Brayton Cycle Solar Thermal power under development by CSIRO


Image: CSIRO

The CSIRO has begun installing 450 large heliostats (mirrors) for a Brayton Cycle solar thermal tower system, the largest of it type in the world, located at the CSIRO National Solar Energy Centre in Newcastle.

The mirrors are manufactured locally at Wyong on the Central Coast by Performance Engineering, a company specialising in automotive manufacturing. The panels are manufactured with a lightweight steel frame with a simple design highly suited for mass production for commercialisation of the technology.

Monday, October 25, 2010

September 2010 was Australia's wettest in 111 years


The USA based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center have stated that September 2010 was Australia's wettest month in 111 years of precipitation records being kept.

A moderate to strong La Niña event - known scientifically as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) - in the tropical Pacific Ocean is bringing wetter conditions across much of eastern Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. "La Niña is the flipside to the well known drought-producing El Niño. It usually brings wetter than average spring and summer conditions to much of eastern Australia" said the Manager of the NSW Climate Services Centre, Clinton Rakich.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Climate scepticism, anthropogenic global warming and drought in south east Australia

With the release of the CSIRO report on Climate variability and change in south-eastern Australia (CSIRO: South East Australia becoming drier, Global Warming implicated) CSIRO hydrologist and lead author Dr David Post has come under criticism for comments on whether anthropogenic global warming has contributed to drought conditions in south east Australia.

Dr David Post said in a CSIRO media release on October 22 that "The research indicates that these changes can be linked to global warming, making it a likely contributor to the recent drought."

In January 2010 David Post released a report on the potential climate impacts regarding Water Yield availability in Tasmania. He was interviewed in regard to this report in the Canberra Times and was attributed with saying there was "no evidence" linking drought to climate change in eastern Australia: "At this stage, we'd prefer to say we're talking about natural variability. The science is not sufficiently advanced to say it's climate change, one way or the other. The jury is still out on that," (Canberra Times, Jan 19, 2010 - Jury still out on climate change: CSIRO.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

CSIRO: South East Australia becoming drier, Global Warming implicated


Caption: Figure 1. Rainfall deciles across Australia for 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2009; deciles based on climatology from 1900 to 2009 (Bureau of Meteorology) - from the report

A new report into the changing climate of South East Australia and particularly the Murray Darling Basin indicates an increasing risk of below average rainfall and runoff into streams and generally drier conditions. The change in the climate has, at least in part, been attributed to an increase in atmospheric anthropogenic greenhouse gases associated with global warming.

The South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative (SEACI) report: Climate variability and change in south-eastern Australia, highlights the effects of climate variability and change on the water resources of the south-east which should have major implications for water allocations planning currently under consideration by the Murray Darling Basin Authority and in community hearings. The research was undertaken by the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Arctic climate warming at unprecedented rate due to Global Warming

A new reportcard for 2010 highlights record temperatures across Canadian Arctic and Greenland, reduced summer sea ice cover, and record snow cover decreases, indicating rapid global warming in the arctic polar region.



The report card was produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), part of the US Department of Commerce, and tracks recent environmental changes, with 18 essays on different parts of the environment, written by a team of 69 international authors, and supported by 176 scientific references. The report card has been produced on an annual basis since 2006.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Study predicts Extreme Drought conditions worsening globally with climate change

Extreme Drought and aridity is likely to increase within decades across much of Africa, Australia, North and South America, South west Asia, and around the Mediterranean Sea according to a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai.

Earlier research published in 2005 by Aiguo Dai and scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the USA found that Global Warming is a major factor in Drought increasing globally.

Dai used 22 computer climate models and a comprehensive index of drought conditions, as well as analyses of previously published studies for his review. Extreme drought may reach such a scale in some regions by the end of the century that has rarely, if ever, been observed in modern times.

Climate study: Australia falling behind in indirect carbon pricing


A report commissioned by the Climate Institute has analysed the indirect carbon price in the electricity generation sectors of six countries: Australia, UK, USA, China, Japan and South Korea, with Australia languishing at the bottom just ahead of South Korea.

"A direct and broad based price tag on pollution is required if Australia is to meet its targets at lowest short and long-term cost. However, it is also critical to ensure that our international competitiveness is not lost to other countries gaining early mover advantages in clean energy investment and reducing their economies' dependence on pollution," said Mr Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of the Climate Institute.

"Countries such as India are already taxing imports of pollution intensive products like coal. Putting a price tag on pollution is also insurance against possible trade measures aimed at highly polluting exports." said Mr Jackson.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Combet cool on Hazelwood closure

Hundreds of activists travelled to the Hazelwood brown coal fired power station, 180 km east of Melbourne, for the 101010 global work party on Sunday.

Environmental groups in Victoria are behind a campaign to replace the aging Hazelwood power station with renewable energy. Premier John Brumby wants to close the power station down in stages and wants Federal Government financial assistance in doing so. But the new Federal climate change minister Greg Combet is decidedly cool on the idea.

Friday, October 1, 2010

On the brink: Penguins face an uncertain climate future

Early this year the African Penguin was redlisted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as in danger of extinction. In response to a 2006 petition by the Centre for Biological Diversity the US Interior Department has listed the African penguin, the only species of penguin breeding on the African continent, for protection under the US Endangered Species Act.

A pair of African penguins, Boulders Beach, South Africa

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) upgraded the status of the Afican Penguin in 2010 to endangered citing "recent data has revealed that it is undergoing a very rapid population decline, probably as a result of commercial fisheries and shifts in prey populations. This trend currently shows no sign of reversing, and immediate conservation action is required to prevent further declines."

Related: Penguin numbers suffering with krill decline due to Global Warming (April 2011)

The risks of Sea Level Change - Dr Peter Ward

Dr Peter Ward claims that the single biggest threat and impact of climate change will be rising seas, rather than hot weather, or even drought. He has a new book out this year called The Flooded Earth: Our Future In a World Without Ice Caps which explains why, how, and how fast the seas will rise, due to global warming. Dr Peter Ward is a paleontologist and professor of Biology and of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle.

The interview is done by Alex Smith from Radio Ecoshock