Saturday, October 29, 2011

Climate change, Water Security and drought in the Mediterranean region


A new study by NOAA - the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - has highlighted that climate change is a major contributor to more frequent Mediterranean droughts. According to the study in the last 20 years, 10 of the driest 12 winters have taken place in the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Water security, food security, and increasing wildfire frequency and intensity has the potential to destabilize the region producing conflicts over use of increasingly scarce water resources.

"The magnitude and frequency of the drying that has occurred is too great to be explained by natural variability alone,” said Martin Hoerling, Ph.D. of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, lead author of a paper published online in the Journal of Climate this month. “This is not encouraging news for a region that already experiences water stress, because it implies natural variability alone is unlikely to return the region’s climate to normal.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Climate change, fractional attribution of risk and the Russian Heat Wave

Climate scientists using statistical modeling have estimated an 80 percent chance that climate change was responsible for the July 2010 Russian heatwave.

The paper by Stefan Rahmstorf and Dim Coumou from Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research - Increase of extreme events in a warming world - was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on October 25, 2011 notes:

"For July temperature in Moscow, we estimate that the local warming trend has increased the number of records expected in the past decade fivefold, which implies an approximate 80% probability that the 2010 July heat record would not have occurred without climate warming."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greenland melting in 2011 well above average with near-record mass loss

Professor Marco Tedesco from the City College of New York reports that extreme melting continues from the Greenland Ice sheet this year with close-to-record simulated surface mass balance, bare ice exposure, albedo and runoff anomalies. He warned that glaciers could undergo a self-amplifying cycle of melting and warming that would be difficult to halt.

Related: Record summer melting in 2010 | Greenland sets a new melt record in 2010 - sea levels to rise

Monday, October 24, 2011

Carbon Emissions need to peak this decade to meet 2 °C temperature goal warns new study

Limiting global average temperature rise to 2 °C may be slipping from the world's grasp without urgent action this decade on emission reduction to combat climate change according to new review of climate modeling of emission pathways by a team lead by Dr Joeri Rogelj.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Temperature Study funded by climate sceptics confirms rate of Global Warming


'Global Warming is real' declares new scientific work from an independent group of researchers called the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study. The research team is at least partially funded by the Koch Brothers who fund several climate denial groups. The team was setup to identify flaws in the climate science of global average temperature trends, but has confirmed the analysis undertaken by NASA, NOAA and the Hadley Centre that about 1 degree Celsius of global warming has occurred since 1950.

The study confirmed that "We are seeing substantial global warming" and subtantially eliminated arguments that heat island effects, temperature station quality, and the risk of data selection bias had more than a very modest or marginal impact on the trend for increasing global average temperatures.

Related Commentary: Nature Different method, same result: global warming is real | Climate Progress Hot Dog Bites Skeptical Man: Koch-Funded Berkeley Temperature Study Does “Confirm the Reality of Global Warming”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Engineering Professor: Install solar panels to combat Global Warming rather than paint roofs white

A Stanfoord University Professor of civil and environmental engineering has suggested that installing solar photo-voltaic panels on your house would be a better contribution to reducing global temperatures than the geo-engineering solution of painting vast numbers of urban roofs white to combat the urban heat island contribution to global warming. "There does not seem to be a benefit from investing in white roofs," said Professor Jacobson. "The most important thing is to reduce emissions of the pollutants that contribute to global warming."

Cities and urban areas release more heat to the atmosphere than rural areas - this is known as the Urban Heat Island effect. Climate skeptics have used this to argue that surface temperature data is contaminated by the location of data collection in urban areas. A new scientific study by Stanford University researchers has quantified the contribution of the heat islands on a global basis for the first time, showing that the contribution to global warming from urban heat islands is modest compared with what greenhouse gas emissions contribute.

Related: Skeptical Science: Does Urban Heat Island effect exaggerate global warming trends? | RealClimate: The Surface Temperature Record and the Urban Heat Island

Scientists Estimate Sea level Rise for next 500 years

Rising seas are one of the more long-term catastrophic effects of global warming that will not end at 2100, even with the most drastic emission reductions, but will continue for centuries. Researchers based at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen have calculated the long-term outlook for the next 500 years for rising sea levels in relation to the emission of greenhouse gases and pollution of the atmosphere using a climate model calibrated against actual historical measurements of sea level rise.

The change in sea levels is driven by massive inertia in the earth's climate system. With anthropogenic global warming melting the Greenland ice sheet and mountain glaciers and warming the oceans, the processes causing sea level rise are now underway and accelerating. Increasing Groundwater extraction for agricultural and mining use is also a small but notable contribution to sea level rise.

Caption: The graph shows how sea levels will change for four different pathways for human development and greenhouse gas pollution. The green, yellow and orange lines correspond to scenarios where it takes 10, 30, or 70 years before emissions are stabilized. The red line can be considered to represent business as usual where greenhouse gas emissions are increasing over time.

Related: Sea Level Rise and Australia | Report assesses climate risks of sea level rise for Australia | Impacts of rising sea level a wake up call on climate change | Scientists confirm Rising Sea Levels may exceed one metre this century | The risks of Sea Level Change - Dr Peter Ward | NASA Climatologist Predicts Disastrous Sea Level Rise

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Health and military professionals call for urgent action on climate change

A statement calling for urgent action on climate change has been issued by doctors, health professionals and military personnel participating in a London conference on the health and security implications of climate change convened by the British Medical Journal.


Professor Hugh Montgomery, Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at the University College London and Director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance, talking to OneClimate at The Health and Security Perspectives of Climate Change conference that he helped to organise in London, 17th October 2011.

Related: A Stark Choice between climate justice and climate war where Canadian journalist Naomi Klein discusses militarism and climate change - Peoples Conference on Climate Change, Bolivia, April 2010.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

World Food Day: Global Warming too hot for chocolate? Cocoa farming and Climate Change

Do you fancy a bit of chocolate every now and then? Perhaps a hot cup of drinking chocolate and milk before going to bed? or a few small pieces of a bar of chocolate while watching TV? Maybe a fancy imported Swiss or Belgium chocolate with coffee and liquers at the end of a dinner party? or maybe some cool chocolate icecream on a hot summer's day? This could all become a thing of the past as chocolate becomes an extreme luxury item due to global warming.

Most western people have a bit of a sweet tooth and enjoy the pleasure of indulging in chocolate, either in small amounts, or sometimes less moderate binges. For dentists it provides a continuing customer base. I admit it, I am partial to the odd bit of chocolate. So I am dismayed with the latest reports that climate change will decimate cocoa farming and chocolate production with the decline noticeable as soon as 2030 with a major impact by 2050. The price of chocolate is also escalating as western taste for this luscious indulgence spreads to more people in developing countries.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Passage of Australian Carbon Pricing legislation may influence UN Climate talks

Julia Gillard don't cave in to pressure from big polluters - Melbourne World Environment Day 2011

Could our carbon pricing package be a "game changer" at the next UN climate talks to be held in Durban, South Africa from 28 November - 9 December 2011? Australia's climate change ambassador, Louise Hand thinks it is possible. But first a look at the passage of the legislation through the House of Representatives and some community reactions.

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed the Government's carbon pricing and clean energy legislation with the support of Independent members Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott, Andrew Wilkie, and Greens member Adam Bandt: the vote was 74-72. The legislation passed despite a vociferous campaign against climate change science well orchestrated by right wing talk back radio identities like Alan Jones and supported by the Liberal and National opposition parties led by Tony Abbott, who in the past has denied climate change and also advocated a carbon tax.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Logging of Victorian mountain ash forests increases bushfire risk


New scientific research published in September 2011 highlights that logging in Victoria’s mountain ash forests is increasing the risk of catastrophic wildfires. The cycling of logging and wildfire is creating a landscape trap where the wet forest ecosystem is being permanently converted to a new landscape replaced by other species, particularly wattle, increasing the frequency and intensity of bushfire risk.

"These changes will significantly impair ecological functions like carbon storage, water production and biodiversity conservation," said Professor Lindenmayer. "This is historically unprecedented and is beginning to dominate the mountain ash landscapes we see today."

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Earth relay action on climate change entertains Sydney Road motorists


Motorists, pedestrians and tram passengers were entertained by environmentalists from Climate Action Moreland during Saturday mid morning shopping traffic snarl on Sydney Road, Brunswick. Wielding a huge blow up planet earth, the activists asked motorist to honk for climate action, cyclists to ring their bell, and pedestrians to sign a petition against the proposed HRL coal fired power station. See Images on Flickr

Abbott's 'Community Forum' in Bendigo neither open nor community focussed

On Wednesday October 5 Tony Abbott attended a 'community forum' at the Capital Theatre in Bendigo (See Report in Bendigo Advertiser - Bendigo forum a chance for some sticky questions). Attendance was by a selected audience of about 190 who attended by invite only. Unfortunately the 'community forum' was neither representative of the community nor very open. About 100 people, mainly younger families with children, were not allowed to enter and had to make do holding up a few placards outside the hall. (See Report in Bendigo Advertiser - Abbott gives Bendigo party the slip).

Tony Abbott, cheered by the largely elderly audience inside the hall, was driven around to enter and leave the event from a backdoor. His minders were too afraid for him to confront people who disagree with his policies on tackling climate change.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Philippines calls for progress in climate talks in Typhoon devastation aftermath


Filipinos are fighting for survival amid worsening climate change according to the Philippine delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) round of talks in Panama. The main island of Luzon and the national capital Manila have been blasted and battered in late September and into early October by two consecutive typhoons which have killed at least 76 people and caused at least US$200 million in damage to infrastructure and agriculture.

"Millions of Filipinos are already suffering yet we are only seeing initial climate change impacts. Progress must be made in the climate treaty negotiations," said Commissioner Naderev “Yeb" Saño of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) in a media statement. "We are here in Panama to tell the world that climate change is a matter of life and death for the Philippines," Saño said.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Flooding rains now burning plains - Bushfire risk and climate change


Grass fires and bushfires are starting already, and it is only early October - with bushfire season officially still nearly a month away. The extremely wet season Australia had at the end of 2010 and start of 2011, brought on by one of the strongest La Niña on record, has stimulated vegetation growth and is set to cause great concern as it dries and cures in the summer heat with the onset of the summer bushfire season.

Bushfire CRC | CSIRO - Climate change impacts on fire weather

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sea Level Rise and Australia


Average global sea level is rising at the fastest rate in 2000 years according to scientists, and north and western Australia is copping more than double the global average in sea level rise. The rate of increase has accelerated in the last 20 years which has been attributed by scientists to thermal expansion, small glacier melt and accelerating ice sheet loss from the Greenland and West Antarctic ice caps caused by climate change and global warming. A peer reviewed scientific study published in June 2011 from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has shown the rate of Sea level rise is connected to global temperature rise.

According to the CSIRO (PDF) "From 1870 to 2007, the global average sea level rose by close to 200mm. Sea levels rose at an average of 1.7mm per year during the 20th century and about 3.0mm per year from 1993-2009. These levels are global averages and because of the differing movements of ocean currents around the globe, results vary from place to place. This is true for Australia where since 1993 levels have risen 7-10mm per year in the north and west, and 1.5-3mm in the south and east."