Sunday, September 30, 2012

Newcastle residents protest health effects of proposed 4th coal export terminal

Newcastle residents and activists protested the lack of consideration of health and climate change effects in the proposed building of a fourth coal terminal at the port of Newcastle, already the world's largest coal port. A peaceful protest and 'lockon' occurred outside The office of NSW Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard last Thursday who is due to consider the merits of the proposal.


Related: Newcastle’s T4 project puts short-term profit before health | Something in the air: time for independent testing in coal areas | Coal Terminal Action Group

Friday, September 28, 2012

Southern Ocean warming impact on Antarctic Ice Sheet and global sea level rise

Climate change is causing the southern ocean to warm and freshen which will melt ice shelves and glacier tongues affecting glacier discharge and producing Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss and global sea level rise. A new study shows that small temperature changes of the Southern Ocean can contribute to far-reaching changes on the Antarctic ice sheet that could lead to substantial future sea-level rise.

Related: Waking the giant: Global Warming in the Weddell Sea, West Antarctic Ice Sheet and sea level rise | Attenborough warns of ice shelf destruction in Antarctica | Global Warming in Antarctica: Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers accelerating, West Antarctic Ice Sheet losing mass

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Climate change impact on groundwater and alpine landscape in Switzerland



Prof. Dr Daniel Hunkeler outlines how Groundwater plays a major role for water supply in Switzerland. How does climate change affect different groundwater resources? What are the consequences for water supply?

The glaciers of the European Alpine region are melting and retreating due to climate change posing issues in management of groundwater and the changing alpine landscape. Temperatures are rising more quickly in Switzerland than the global average: by up to 2 °C since 1900 particularly at high elevations, a rate that is roughly three times the global-average 20th century warming.

Related: The World Wildlife Fund summary from the IPCC 4th Assessment report on Climate change impacts in Switzerland

Climate change driving US Drought conditions towards a megadrought?


The widespread and persistent drought in the US during 2011-2012 has expanded according to the US Drought Monitor as reported on Climate Central. Are we starting to see the signs of a megadrought in the US southwest? Are human influences such as climate change contributing to or causing this widespread extreme weather event?

As of 18 September 2012, 64.82 percent of the contiguous U.S. has been declared as suffering from at least moderate drought - a new record. Extreme drought occurs across 20.74 percent, while the most severe category has ravaged 6.26 per cent of the land. And the seasonal outlook provided by NOAA provides little happy news predicting the drought will persist till the end of the year.

The drought is the worst to occurr since the dustbowl years of the 1930s and comes as North America experiences well above normal temperatures over spring and summer breaking many temperature records with the first half of 2012 being the hottest on record for the United States. July 2012 was the hottest month on record for the continental United States. But Australia and a few other places had abnormally cool month so putting the chill on a hot July for a global record.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Global Warming imperils coral reefs: 2 degrees warming is too hot say scientists

Increasing sea surface temperatures are imperilling coral reef ecosystems say scientists. A new scientific paper with extensive modelling reveals that atmospheric warming of 2 degrees celsius is too much for nearly all the world's coral reef ecosystems. They argue that to preserve greater than 10 per cent of coral reefs worldwide would require limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C. This equates to the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere to 350ppm, rather than a 2 degree rise or 450ppm that the UN Framwework Convention on Climate Change has adopted as the safe limit at several meetings. Atmospheric concentration of CO2 currently stands at 392.41ppm.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Arctic Summer Sea Ice Extent Minimum record smashed in 2012


Arctic summer sea ice is at a new record low level since satellite measurements began recording data in 1979. The summer minimum is down to about 1.32 million square miles (3.41 million square kilometers), half the average summer ice between 1979 and 2000. The minimum record was last set in 2007 with this year's sea-ice extent being about 18% lower than 2007. Some scientists predict we may see summer sea ice vanish by 2015-16, well ahead of International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 Report predictions.

"The polar meltdown shows we're teetering on the brink of climate-change catastrophe," said Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute. "Arctic sea ice plays a critical role in regulating the planet's climate. As man-made global warming shrinks the ice, our risk of droughts and other extreme weather goes up. We can't wait any longer to cut carbon pollution."

See also: Arctic sea ice Extent drops to lowest on record and still shrinking | Arctic warming at more than double the global warming average | Sea ice volume: Multi-year arctic sea ice reducing dramatically | Radio Ecoshock: ARCTIC MELT DOWN Scientists Speak Out | Climate Code Red: How British government's climate forecasting MET Office gets the Arctic wrong

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

More than enough wind energy to power our world, coal power is so last century



A new scientific study has found there is wind energy in abundance to power the needs of the world with near zero emission electric power several times over. The world currently utilizes about 18TW (TeraWatts) of power. The study identified that the lower geophysical limits for energy harvested from surface turbines (supported on towers on land and sea) was over 400TW. If turbines could be flown by kites to capture the more reliable high altitude winds, more than 1,800TW of power could potentially be extracted throughout the atmosphere.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Climate Change activists step up opposition to coal in Hunter Valley protests from mine to port


A banner drop at a construction site for a new coal loader terminal at the Port of Newcastle in the New South Wales Hunter Valley ended when police instructed the 60 metre crane be lowered to the ground. The Protestors say they were not given warning of this action and alledged it imperiled their lives.

“We are dismayed with the actions of police here today.” said spokesperson Steve Phillips. “We conducted a peaceful protest, with trained and experience climbers, and safety as our priority. NSW Police responded with gross negligence and dereliction of duty, and placed two lives at risk. Our climbers were not even warned before the crane was lowered.”

Climate change causing increase in extreme weather in South Pacific


An international study led by CSIRO oceanographer Dr Wenju Cai has identified that global warming is causing shifts in the rain band of the South Pacific Convergence Zone causing an increase in extreme weather across the island nation states of the South Pacific. The result of the movement causes drought and higher prevalence of forest fire in some areas while other islands experience extreme floods and increased frequency of tropical cyclones.

"Due to its strong rainfall gradient, a small displacement in the [South Pacific Convergence Zone] SPCZ's position causes drastic changes to hydroclimatic conditions and the frequency of extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and tropical cyclones experienced by vulnerable island countries in the region." says the paper.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Humour: And now for the real weather report...


Sick and tired of:

  • ALL those weather records being broken?
  • Record Loss of sea ice in the Arctic?
  • Contemptuous news readers (@kainagata) just reading the smarmy corporate news script?

'Weather reader' Pippa (@pippa_mackie) goes sane and tells us the straight news on our warming climate caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Well done Strut Studios in Vancouver, and Deep Rogue Ram, and @heatherlibby for writing the piece: Weathergirl Goes Rogue.

Not enough water: food production, carbon sequestration and climate change


A new study has found that there is not enough freshwater to meet the anticipated competing demands of water for food production for the global population of about 9 billion by 2050 and water for optimal growth of biomass for carbon sequestration for climate mitigation. As food production is essential, the authors of the study conclude that large scale carbon sequestration may not be realistic as a major method of climate mitigation, and we may need to rely more on direct reduction of emissions.

We rely on freshwater to drink daily, to bathe in and flush our toilets with; but also for growing our veggies and crops; to grow feed for our animals; for healthy riparian and aquatic habitats and ecosystems; for our forests and wild places to sequester carbon dioxide as biomass carbon sinks. But increasingly we are approaching boundaries and limits on the amount of freshwater available and the trade-offs involved in competing uses.

Climate Change Banner drop at London 2012 Games

In an open letter addressed to the international community attending the London 2012 Games, the group Climate Siren outlined why they did the action:

"The 2012 Olympics were a huge inspiration as to how we can come together to overcome challenges and achieve success – at many levels; as participants, as spectators, as competitors, even as a host nation. No doubt the Paralympics will equal or surpass this.

"But these Games can be an inspiration for us to confront the biggest challenge our species has ever faced – perhaps will ever face: The changing climate and the threat it poses to our civilisation’s very existence on this beautiful planet.

Monday, September 3, 2012

'Why is Baillieu funding coal?' demand climate activists


Activists from Quit Coal were able to get a message across this morning: with a banner drop over the main entrance of the Victorian State parliament house. The banner said "'Coal is the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet' Prof. James Hansen, NASA. Why is Baillieu funding coal?"

Four activists eluded security and were able to climb the scaffolding at the back of parliament house to the roof to drop the banner just after 9am. Two chained themselves on the roof while two more dropped down with the banner on ropes. Nine other people chained themselves on the steps of parliament house.

Protestor Dominic O'Dwyer said from the roof: "We are planning on staying here until the government does something recognising the threat that climate change poses. We would like the government to take the threat of climate change seriously."

Related: Further subsidies for Victorian coal by Victorian and Federal Governments | Quit Coal photos: Parliament House Banner Drop & Lock On