Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 hottest year globally with a La Niña event, 10th warmest on record

2011 is likely to be the world's tenth warmest year on record. This is despite a particularly strong La Niña which usually acts to dampen global temperatures, according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The WMO has released its summary and status of the global climate and weather for 2011 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks taking place in Durban South Africa.

"Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have reached new highs. They are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2 to 2.4 degree Centigrade rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our Earth, biosphere and oceans," said WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Attenborough warns of ice shelf destruction in Antarctica

UK Naturalist and documentary maker David Attenborough has warned about the implications of melting ice sheets in the polar regions but emphasised the changes under way in Antarctica "is likely to have the most dramatic effects of all".

His comments were made in a November 2011 article in the BBC Radio Times reported by the Independent newspaper. While the title of the Independent newspaper article - Warning over melting ice at North Pole - places emphasis on processes in the Arctic, the important statement by Attenborough is about the collapse of ice shelves fringing Antarctica and the implications for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pacific climate change: temperatures rise, sea levels increase, rainfall changing

A major new report on climate change in the Pacific Ocean region reports that the region is getter hotter, sea levels are rising, rainfall is changing and equatorial winds have weakened. While cyclone may tend to decrease slightly in the future, cyclone intensity is likely to be greater.

The report launched today - Climate change in the Pacific, scientific assessment and new research - contains 530 pages in 2 volumes with over 100 authors. The research was led by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) and Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) with strong input from 15 National Meteorological Services, Geoscience Australia, and from universities in the region. The report includes observations and climate projections for 15 partner countries involved : Cook Islands, East Timor, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Grid battery energy storage break-through a promising solution for solar and wind power

Large scale grid power storage for energy may become possible with use of nanoparticle electrodes for batteries being researched and developed by researchers at Stanford University in the US.


The copper compound nanoparticle electorodes are cheap and easy to make for easy scaling for industrial production. This break-through development could lead to building batteries big enough for economical large-scale energy storage on the electrical grid. Such development offers a significant solution to intermittent energy production by solar and wind power.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Climategate 2.0 a storm in a teacup while extreme weather worsens with climate change

See the Bigger Picture, Act on Climate Change - Oxfam

More emails by climate scientists have been publicly released from the break-in to the University of East Anglia servers two years ago. The theft was dubbed Climategate, and although climate sceptics argued that the emails showed scientific misconduct, a total of nine separate independent investigations exonerated all the climate scientists. Climategate was all about throwing mud at climate scientists in the hope that some would stick; about sowing doubt broadly among the public in denigrating science, and in particular climate science.

The real story is the way the media sensationalised reporting of Climategate and the lack of investigative journalism in reading the stolen email excerpts in context and follow up with reporting any inaccuracies found in the peer reviewed climate science and reporting it honestly to the public. I don't remember seeing any reports of a scientific study being discredited by a review due to climategate. And the climate science since Climategate only gets stronger. The recent IPCC report on extreme weather events associated with climate change highlights a growing public concern.

The release of these emails, all appearing to be from the same theft, appears to be timed to disrupt the public perceptions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Durban negotiations of COP17 starting in late November.

Extreme weather, risk management and adaptation in a warming climate - latest IPCC report

Over the weekend the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX). There were no surprises for anyone who follows climate science, and the report succinctly integrates a discussion of vulnerability, risk management and adaptation strategies for extreme weather disasters.

The report looks at the evidence for each extreme weather event and gives an assessment of probability and confidence value of each weather event assessment and the future trend. It involved some 220 expert authors from 62 countries and involved more than 18,000 review comments.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The carbon economy of logging native forests and CO2 reduction

An interesting seminar was held at the Australian National University on November 10, 2011 on logging of native forests and the timeframe for dealing with CO2 emissions for climate policy. The seminar was given by Dr Judith Ajani, an economist at the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society and the author of The Forest Wars (MUP 2007). She examines both sides of the debate regarding logging of native forests and whether native forests should be used for bioenergy or biodiversity.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Logging East Gippsland old growth forests destroys wildlife refugia in a warming climate

Environmental activists have been out in old growth Forests in East Gippsland this week attempting to stop more rape of our natural environment and protecting important refugia habitats for endangered species. Logging operations on Survey Rd on the Errinundra Plateau were halted by a tree-sit attached to five logging machines and suspended 40 metres up in the tree canopy.

"In the face of recent Baillieu government moves to weaken the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act, conservationists have again taken their message to logging sites where important wildlife habitat continues to be logged for woodchips", said Ms Amelia Young, spokesperson for the conservationists of the Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) (Facebook).

Intact native Forests mitigate bushfire in a warming climate

As Australia's climate warms up we are facing increased bush fire risk. Old growth forests trap moisture and provide an important bulwark against bushfires, while previously logged forest regrowth with trees of the same maturity will tend to burn at a much higher intensity.

Chris Taylor from Beyond Zero Emissions and Melbourne University has done an extensive bushfire data analysis that proves intact native forests mitigated the 2009 Victorian bushfires. He was speaking at the Australian Forests and Climate Forum 2011 held in August


Maybe it is time to stop logging our native forests for woodchip and protecting them as important bushfire management zones as well as important refugia for biodiversity in a time of global warming. Forests also play a major role as carbon sinks according to scientists with Victorian forests are amoung the world’s most carbon-dense which should be preserved and protected.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

BBC short changes Climate change in overseas sales of Frozen Planet nature documentary

The BBC has relegated the seventh and final episode of the Frozen Planet series presented by Sir David Attenborough to an optional extra. The seventh episode - On Thin Ice - deals with how climate change and global warming is impacting the polar regions and how it affects us all. The final episode is heavily narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

Managers at the BBC decided the series would sell better by making the seventh episode and a behind the scenes documentary available as optional extras which broadcasters could choose to take or leave. Evidently 30 networks across the world have already bought the series but a third of them have opted not to take the seventh episode on climate change and the behind the scenes documentary episode. DVD versions of the series will include all episodes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sea Surface Temperatures around Australia remain elevated, La Niña builds slowly


The Sea Surface temperature Anomaly around Australia in November 2011 remains elevated. A slow cooling in the tropical mid Pacific indicates that La Niña is also slowly building. A persistently warm Indian Ocean is also a main driver for forecast wetter conditions in Australia this summer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Victorian Environment and Climate going backwards under Premier Ted Baillieu

Stop Taking Us Backwards, Baillieu panorama - marching backwards under Baillieu rally

Victorian Environment groups gathered to protest the Environment and climate actions of the Baillieu Victorian State Government on Sunday November 13, 2011 on the steps of State Parliament. To highlight the direction the Government is taking Victoria's environment, the protesters marched backwards to the Treasury Gardens.

Related: Flickr Photos from Friends of the Earth | Takver

Background: Coalition’s 2km wind farm veto sets a risky precedent | Retreating on climate policy - Victorian Government stops discussions on Hazelwood closure | Victorian Government needs to come clean on plan to achieve 20 percent emissions cut by 2020

Thursday, November 10, 2011

IEA: Bold change of direction needed globally to meet climate commitments

Safe Climate - Get on with it - Close Hazelwood

A Bold change of direction is needed to limit global average temperature rise to a 2 degree limit as per the commitment made in Copenhagen in 2009 and re-affirmed in Cancun in 2010, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook for 2011.

Related: Record increase in Greenhouse gas emissions for 2010 | Carbon Emissions need to peak this decade to meet 2 °C temperature goal warns new study | 4 Degrees or More? Climate Change: The Critical Decade - a speech by Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to use a bikelock to save the Great Barrier Reef - protest halts Gladstone dredging

Derec Davies used a bicycle U lock to attach himself to a dredger in Gladstone Harbour this morning. The direct action was taken to protect the Great Barrier Reef against the development of Gladstone harbour liquefied natural gas facilities on Curtis Island to export Coal Seam Gas. Massive Dredging of the Gladstone harbour is occurring which fisherman and environmentalists say is causing turbidity in the water and causing illness of fish effectively closing down the local fishing industry. Development is endangering the World Heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef.

Related: In 2010 Conservationists criticised government over coal ship grounding on Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone | Capricorn Conservation Council: The LNG invasion of Curtis Island | ABC TV Four Corners: Great Barrier Grief | Getup! petition to Save the reef

Sunday, November 6, 2011

CO2 Supply chain study recommends carbon price at point of extraction

An in depth study of the CO2 supply chain by scientists argues that enacting carbon pricing mechanisms at the point of extraction could be efficient and avoid the relocation of industries that could result from regulation at the point of combustion.

Most of Australia's contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions comes from the export of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. But because we export this, the CO2 emissions are counted against the country where it is combusted, even though much of it may be used in the manufacture of goods imported back into Australia.

Global Warming in Antarctica: Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers accelerating, West Antarctic Ice Sheet losing mass

Scientists have been studying the climate change impacts on ice shelfs and glaciers for some time in Antarctica, and particularly around the Antarctic Peninsula where there is substantial warming occurring increasing ice shelf melt and the speed and discharge of glaciers. The most recent studies predict a faster retreat for the Thwaites Glacier and that warm ocean currents are already speeding the melting of the Pine Island Glacier and Ice Shelf and Getz Ice Shelf. A NASA Icebridge flight detected a major new rift in the Pine Island ice shelf on October 14 - the start of the calving of a massive iceberg. A recent paper in Nature Geoscience discusses the Stability of the West Antarctic ice sheet in a warming world and the likelihood of collapse that would raise sea level by more than three metres over the course of several centuries or less.

Related: The Wilkins ice Bridge collapsed in April 2009 as Polar regions felt the heat of climate change. I reported as far back as 2004 that warming in Antarctica was cause for concern with ocean food chain crashing due to Antarctic warming. More recently in April 2011 I discussed Penguin numbers suffering with krill decline due to Global Warming.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Record increase in Greenhouse gas emissions for 2010

Greenhouse gases increased 6 per cent during 2010, one of the largest annual increases on record according to the US Department of Energy. In 2010 about 512 million metric tonnes more of carbon was emitted to the atmosphere than in 2009. Total emissions for 2010 were 30.6 Gigatonnes, 5% higher than the previous record year in 2008, according to an International Energy Agency report in June 2011.

The latest figures put global emissions on track with the worst case projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 report.

Figure 1: IEA global human CO2 annual emissions from fossil fuels estimates vs. IPCC SRES scenario projections. The IPCC Scenarios are based on observed CO2 emissions until 2000, at which point the projections take effect.