These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.
This edition has a pot-pourri of stuff which I’ve posted pretty much in the order it came to hand. I’ve excised an item on the impact of solar on Qld electricity supply which I’ll sort out after I’ve finished the IPCC round-up.
1. Climate Commission site fades to white but lives on
The cretinous clowns we elected to govern us have taken down the Climate Commission site. I’m still getting the front page (probably from cache memory) but when I seek to go further this is what I get:
The Climate Commission ceased operation in September 2013.
There were 27 reports prepared with taxpayer money. Would it harm the national interest for them to be available?
The good news is that the National Library of Australia archived the site on 19 September 2013. The least the Government could do is provide a link!
2. Women organise internationally
Via Desmogblog, The first International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit was held in Suffern, NY from September 20- 23.
Over 100 invitation-only participants came from 35 countries equally divided between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The summit’s purpose, explained co-founder Osprey Orielle Lake, was to bring women together who are in strategic positions to implement the critical solutions that are needed to address the world’s pressing climate challenges.
The Summit declaration includes the statement that they call on themselves, their communities and their governments to:
Recognize that the transition to renewable energy does not justify or require a massive increase in mega hydro dams, biofuels and major monoculture biomass plantations that cause displacement, food insecurity, human rights abuses and deforestation
3. Climate change vulnerability report
We need to help those vulnerable to climate change to strengthen their defences, right? Well it’s not so simple. Benjamin Preston runs the only blog I know devoted to climate change adaptation. Based in Tennessee he did time here in the CSIRO compiling a report on climate vulnerability. It’s a “top-down, cursory evaluation of vulnerability assessment practice.”
What we find is that there is no settled definition of vulnerability and no standard vulnerability scale. Colloquially vulnerability and risk are often used interchangeably. But risk occurs when there is a hazard, plus exposure to the hazard, to which you may be vulnerable.
Preston gives the whole concept a thorough workout.
Together with Johanna Mustelin and Megan Maloney he has recently published a paper which
urges adaptation researchers and practitioners to think critically about the assumptions or heuristics they use in framing adaptation. Climate Adaptation Heuristics and the Science/Policy Divide defines the concept of an ‘adaptation heuristic’, presents a critical content analysis of the adaptation literature to identify the use of such heuristics, and comments on their potential implications for adaptation research and practice.
4. Ocean acidification may amplify global warming
Joe Romm at Climate Progress reports on a study from August found that the ocean is acidifying 10 times faster than it did during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum 55 million years ago. Apart from marine extinctions such acidification may cause 0.9F extra warming.
So we have up to 0.9°F [0.5°C] warming from acidification this century that isn’t in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report models. You can add that to the carbon feedback from the thawing permafrost — also unmodeled by the new IPCC report — which is projected to add up to 1.5°F [0.83°C] to total global warming by 2100.
That means actual warming this century might well be 2°F [1.1°C] higher than the IPCC projects. In the case where humanity keeps taking little or no action to restrict carbon pollution, that means actual warming by 2100 from preindustrial levels could exceed 10°F [5.5°C]. (C values added)
5. Thawing permafrost in the Arctic
Joe Romm again is not impressed with a NOAA/NISDC study by Schaeffer et al on the prospective effects of the warming land-based permafrost. Seems the permafrost is due to melt within the next 200 years. Amazingly the study assumes that only CO2 will be produced and no methane, and no consideration was given to ocean methane clathrate beds.
As Romm says, “no climate model currently incorporates the amplifying feedback from methane released by a defrosting tundra.” When they get around to it I hope they get a mathematician to include the full warming effect, and don’t use the common conversion of methane as 23 times more potent than CO2. That’s after 100 years. The full effect according to Dessus et al is shown in this graph:
6. Queensland weather
The mean temperature anomaly, +2.75 °C set a record for Australia’s largest positive monthly mean temperature anomaly, for any month, displacing the previous record of +2.66 °C in April 2005.
“These records are being set in a ‘neutral’ period of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation cycle (neither El Niño or La Niña), as well as a Negative Indian-Ocean Dipole pattern, which is normally associated with higher than average rainfall over southern and western Australia during the cooler months.”
This picture tells the story: