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Climate change has been underestimated. #auspol #science

Science has underestimated Earth’s sensitivity to CO2 changes, study finds
By Jim Shelton

April 7, 2016

Global warming

A Yale University study says global climate models have significantly underestimated how much the Earth’s surface temperature will rise if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as expected.

Yale scientists looked at a number of global climate projections and found that they misjudged the ratio of ice crystals and super-cooled water droplets in “mixed-phase” clouds — resulting in a significant under-reporting of climate sensitivity. The findings appear April 7 in the journal Science.
Equilibrium climate sensitivity is a measure used to estimate how Earth’s surface temperature ultimately responds to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Specifically, it reflects how much the Earth’s average surface temperature would rise if CO2 doubled its preindustrial level. In 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimated climate sensitivity to be within a range of 2 to 4.7 degrees Celsius.
The Yale team’s estimate is much higher: between 5 and 5.3 degrees Celsius. Such an increase could have dramatic implications for climate change worldwide, note the scientists.
“It goes to everything from sea level rise to more frequent and extreme droughts and floods,” said Ivy Tan, a Yale graduate student and lead author of the study.
Trude Storelvmo, a Yale assistant professor of geology and geophysics, led the research and is a co-author of the study. The other co-author is Mark Zelinka of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison.

A key part of the research has to do with the makeup of mixed-phase clouds, which consist of water vapor, liquid droplets, and ice particles, in the upper atmosphere. A larger amount of ice in those clouds leads to a lower climate sensitivity — something known as a negative climate feedback mechanism. The more ice you have in the upper atmosphere, the less warming there will be on the Earth’s surface.
“We saw that all of the models started with far too much ice,” said Storelvmo, an assistant professor of geology and geophysics. “When we ran our own simulations, which were designed to better match what we found in satellite observations, we came up with more warming.”
Storelvmo’s lab at Yale has spent several years studying climate feedback mechanisms associated with clouds. Little has been known about such mechanisms until fairly recently, she explained, which is why earlier models were not more precise.
“The overestimate of ice in mixed-phase clouds relative to the observations is something that many climate modelers are starting to realize,” Tan said.
The researchers also stressed that correcting the ice-water ratio in global models is critical, leading up to the IPCC’s next assessment report, expected in 2020.
Support for the research came from the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship Program, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Press link for more: Yale.edu

Scientists up their projections for sea level rise. #auspol 

Scientists keep upping their projections for how much the oceans will rise this century

 A 30-mile-long meltwater river runs through Petermann glacier, Greenland, on August 27, 2016. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

A report by a leading research body monitoring the Arctic has found that previous projections of global sea level rise for the end of the century could be too low, thanks in part to the pace of ice loss of Arctic glaciers and the vast ice sheet of Greenland.
It’s just the latest in a string of cases in which scientists have published numbers that suggest a grimmer picture than the one presented in 2013 by an influential United Nations body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
The new Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic report presents minimum estimates for global sea level rise by the end of the century, but not a maximum. This reflects the fact that scientists keep uncovering new insights that force them to increase their sea level estimates further, said William Colgan, a glaciologist with the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, who contributed to the sea level rise section.
“Because of emerging processes, especially related to the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet, it now looks like the uncertainties are all biased positive,” Colgan said.
The assessment found that under a relatively moderate global warming scenario — one that slightly exceeds the temperature targets contained in the Paris climate agreement — seas could be expected to rise “at least” 52 centimeters, or 1.7 feet, by the year 2100. Under a more extreme, “business as usual” warming scenario, meanwhile, the minimum rise would be 74 centimeters, or 2.4 feet.
The new findings were published Tuesday as part of a broader overview report by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, a working group of the intergovernmental Arctic Council, which unites eight Arctic nations, including the United States, and six organizations representing the indigenous peoples of the Arctic.
It is the work of 90 scientists and 28 peer reviewers and is expected to be presented in Fairbanks, Alaska, next month at the next summit of Arctic political leaders.
The report bluntly contrasts its sea level findings with a previous 2013 report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which had put the “likely” low end sea level rise number for these two scenarios at 32 centimeters (about 1 foot) and 45 centimeters (1.5 feet) for the period between 2081 and 2100. That global body — whose high end sea level rise number for the year 2100 was just shy of one meter, or 3.2 feet — has often seen its assertions on sea level rise faulted by scientists for being too conservative.
“These estimates are almost double the minimum estimates made by the IPCC in 2013,” said the new Arctic Council report, which is dubbed a “Summary for Policymakers” because the technical report underpinning it has not yet been released.
The new Arctic report is hardly the first of late to call the IPCC’s figures into question.
An influential study of Antarctica published last year in the journal Nature suggested that the frozen continent alone could nearly double the IPCC’s sea level projections for the end of the century.
(The IPCC did concede that sea levels could be higher than its “likely” forecast in the event of a “collapse of marine-based sectors of the Antarctic ice sheet” — but it added that “there is medium confidence that this additional contribution would not exceed several tenths of a meter of sea level rise during the 21st century.”)
And since then, several other scientific documents — presumably aware of this Antarctic research — have cited the possibility of particularly extreme sea level rise by 2100, even if they cannot necessarily quantify the likelihood of it occurring.
At the close of the Obama administration, a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested that, at least as an “extreme” case, seas could possibly rise by as much as 8 feet by century’s end.
And yet another report, prepared for the state of California and released this month by a team of climate researchers, has now also presented the possibility of extreme sea level scenarios by 2100 — albeit ones that have either a low or an unknown probability of occurring.
That document looked specifically at California coastlines, and found that for San Francisco, for instance, the “likely” range for sea level rise in the year 2100 under a high global warming scenario would be 1.6 to 3.4 feet. But it also said there was a 1-in-20 chance of 4.4 feet, a 1-in-200 chance of 6.9 feet, and even a chance, whose probability could not be estimated, of 10 feet.
“We’re learning an increasing amount about the instability of marine based ice, and the amount of marine based ice that there is in Antarctica,” said Bob Kopp, a sea level researcher at Rutgers University and one of the authors of the California report. “And as we take more of these processes into account, the extent of the things that we don’t know that much about and aren’t yet able to quantify well has become clearer.”
The report for the Arctic Council, by contrast, focuses on a growing Arctic contribution to sea level rise, rather than an Antarctic one. Antarctica has far greater potential to raise seas over all, but the Arctic report emphasizes that for now, Greenland is actually raising seas the most and that it too has a great deal of potential sea level rise to contribute.
“These estimates of higher sea level contributions from the Arctic will only add to the new, higher estimates of potential sea level contributions from Antarctica — which is not good news,” said Rob DeConto, a geoscientist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst who published the aforementioned Antarctica study and also worked on the California study. He was not involved in the new Arctic report.
Here’s a figure that the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland’s Colgan provided, showing the new sea level projections for a modest and more severe warming scenario, as well as the different and changing components of sea level rise over time:

 The sources and amounts of sea level rise from 1850 to the present, and then projected to the year 2100. RCP4.5 represents a modest global warming scenario that’s not too much warmer than the goals contained in the Paris climate agreement, whereas RCP8.5 represents a more severe “business as usual” scenario (William Colgan)

The Arctic report states that Greenland, in particular, lost 375 billion tons of ice per year from 2011 through 2014, enough to single-handedly raise the global sea level by about a millimeter per year. That annual loss, the document states, is “equivalent to a block of ice measuring 7.5 kilometers or 4.6 miles on all sides.”
Meanwhile, the melting glaciers of the Alaskan, Canadian and Russian Arctic are all steadily raising seas as well and could also see their contributions grow. The report therefore estimates that 19 to 25 centimeters (0.6 to 0.8 feet) of sea level rise in this century will come from the Arctic alone, and that must be combined with all the sea level rise contributed by Antarctica, other glacier systems and the steady expansion of seawater itself as it gets warmer.
Because of the difference between the worst case and more moderate sea level rise scenarios, the report concludes that the Paris climate agreement could substantially reduce the global sea level rise seen by 2100, even though seas will still rise considerably under any scenario.
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“You have to have a deliberate and sustained implementation of Paris for 30 years before you see a significant difference in the rate of global sea level rise,” Colgan said.
The Trump administration has been divided over whether to stick with the president’s campaign pledge and withdraw the United States from that agreement. Because of the upcoming G-7 meeting in May, where Trump is likely to be pressed on climate change, many observers expect a decision relatively soon.
It is unclear how the United States may react to the new Arctic report at the upcoming Arctic council meeting — the U.S. is currently chairing the council — or whether this will also put any additional pressure on the Trump administration.
Meanwhile, scientists studying the planet’s ice and its seas continue their work.
“If you look at the history of sea level rise projections over the last 20 years, they’re going up through time,” said Colgan. “Not just because of sea level actually rising, but also because of our understanding of the processes improving through time.”

Press link for more: Washington Post

Climate Outlook May Be Worse Than Feared. #auspol 

Climate Outlook May Be Worse Than Feared, Global Study Suggests
Newswise — As world leaders hold climate talks in Paris, research shows that land surface temperatures may rise by an average of almost 8C by 2100, if significant efforts are not made to counteract climate change.

Such a rise would have a devastating impact on life on Earth. It would place billions of people at risk from extreme temperatures, flooding, regional drought, and food shortages.
The study calculated the likely effect of increasing atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases above pre-industrialisation amounts. 

It finds that if emissions continue to grow at current rates, with no significant action taken by society, then by 2100 global land temperatures will have increased by 7.9C, compared with 1750.


This finding lies at the very uppermost range of temperature rise as calculated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

It also breaches the United Nations’ safe limit of 2C, beyond which the UN says dangerous climate change can be expected.
Research at the University of Edinburgh first created a simple algorithm to determine the key factors shaping climate change and then estimated their likely impact on the world’s land and ocean temperatures. 

The method is more direct and straightforward than that used by the IPCC, which uses sophisticated, but more opaque, computer models.
The study was based on historical temperatures and emissions data. 

It accounted for atmospheric pollution effects that have been cooling Earth by reflecting sunlight into space, and for the slow response time of the ocean.
Its findings, published in Earth and Environmental Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, may also help resolve debate over temporary slow-downs in temperature rise.
Professor Roy Thompson, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who carried out the study, said: “Estimates vary over the impacts of climate change. 

But what is now clear is that society needs to take firm, speedy action to minimise climate damage.”

Press link for more: Newswise.com

Irreversible Threshold of #ClimateChange 

IN LATE 2015, a chilling report by scientists for
the International Cryosphere Climate Initiative
on 

“Thresholds and closing windows: Risks of irreversible cryosphere climate change”

Warned that the Paris commitments will not prevent the Earth 

“crossing into the zone of irreversible thresholds”


In polar and mountain glacier regions, and that crossing these boundaries may 

“result in processes that cannot be halted unless temperatures return to levels below pre-industrial” 

The report says it is not well understood outside the scientific community that cryosphere dynamics are slow to manifest but once triggered “inevitably forces the Earth’s climate system into a new state, one that most scientists believe has not existed for 35–50 million years” 


Ian Howat, associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, says: 

“It’s generally accepted that it’s no longer a question of whether the West Antarctic Ice Sheet will melt, it’s a question of when. 

This kind of rifting (cracking) behaviour provides another mechanism for rapid retreat of these glaciers, adding to the probability that we may see significant collapse of West Antarctica in our lifetimes.”


The scientists I have communicated with take the view that Rignot, Mouginot et al. is a credible paper and, together with the evidence published since, it would be prudent to accept that WAIS has very likely passed its tipping point for mass deglaciation, with big consequences for global sea level rise (SLR). 

DeConto and Pollard project more than a metre of SLR from Antarctica this century. 

This tallies with the Hanse, Sato et al scenario, which is also consistent with the findings of Phipps, Fogwill and Turney.

The reality of multi-metre SLRs is not if, but how soon. 

“The natural state of the Earth with present CO2 levels is one with sea levels about 70 feet (21 metres) higher than now” 

says Prof. Kenneth G. Miller. 

Other research scientists agree it is likely to be more than 20 metres over the longer term.

So how much could we expect sea levels to rise this century?

OVER TWO METRES

Press link for more: media.wix.com

An Atmospheric River Takes aim at #California Welcome to #ClimateChange

Atmospheric River Brings Historic Flood Risk to California
California is now experiencing its worst storm yet — with the potential to reshape its history.
By Eric Holthaus

A rainbow is made by spray from water coming down the damaged main spillway of the Oroville Dam on February 14th, 2017, in Oroville, California. (Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)

Amid the wettest start to a rainy season in state history, California is now experiencing its worst storm yet—with the potential to reshape its history.
An atmospheric river — a narrow band of tropical moisture — is taking aim at the central California coast on Monday and Tuesday, and providing a textbook meteorological scenario for major flooding. The National Weather Service office in Sacramento used dire language to describe the threat, urging residents to be prepared to evacuate with less than 15 minutes notice and warned of flooding unseen for “many years” in some places. More than a foot of rain is expected over a 36-hour period in higher elevations.

A weather model projection of the atmospheric river, as of Monday evening, with tropical moisture creating heavy rainfall as it hits the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

As of Monday morning, a cascade of flood warnings are in effect for the Bay Area and the Central Valley, as heavy rains reach the coastline. Dozens of lightning strikes have been detected offshore, and numerous landslides are being reported. A weather station near Big Sur, on the central coast of California, picked up more than an inch of rain in just an hour — a rainfall intensity more typical of a heavy tropical thunderstorm.
By Monday evening, damaging winds nearing hurricane force could spread across much of the central and northern part of the state, prompting the National Weather Service to warn of “long-lasting” power outages for thousands of households.
Heavy rains will continue on Tuesday, at which point serious problems could begin to emerge. The fragile Oroville Dam will again be tested, but dozens of other dams — like the one at Don Pedro Reservoir near Modesto — are also nearing capacity statewide and planning emergency contingencies.
By late Tuesday, the San Joaquin River — the main hydrologic thoroughfare of the vast Central Valley — is expected to exceed a level not seen since 1997, and then keep rising the rest of the week. The river is already in “danger” stage — the stage above flood stage when critical levees could begin to become compromised.
California’s levee network constrains the flow of water as it leaves the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and makes its way toward the Delta region near Sacramento. Overwhelming this system could bring a flood that, according to a study from the United States Geological Survey in 2011, could inundate hundreds of square miles and cost hundreds of billions of dollars, knocking out the water supply for two-thirds of Californians in the process; it would be the worst disaster in American history. That study, referred to as the “ARkStorm” scenario, was designed to anticipate the impact of a flood with an expected return period of about 300 years, similar to the one the region last experienced in 1862. A 2011 New York Times Magazine article about that scenario used the word “megaflood.”
Weather models on Sunday showed that rainfall intensity on Monday near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta could briefly reach levels not expected more than once a century — or even once per millennium if the slow-moving atmospheric river stalls completely, a scenario consistent with past levee breaches.


Making the impact of this storm even worse is the fact that Northern California has already racked up more than double the amount of rain it typically receives between October and late February. The rainy season is running about a month ahead of the previous record-setting pace set in 1983 — a rate not seen in at least a century of record-keeping. San Francisco has already eclipsed the total it typically receives in an entire “normal” rainy season in less than half the normal time.
The ARkStorm scenario was constructed without taking into account the effects of climate change, which helps to make atmospheric rivers more intense. A warmer atmosphere increases the rate of evaporation and causes more precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow. In California, the intensity of atmospheric rivers could double or triple by the end of the century.
Should this week’s atmospheric river morph into a megaflood — and it is still unlikely, though not impossible that it will do so — it will mean California has quickly transitioned from milliennial-scale drought to a millennial-scale deluge. Welcome to climate change.

Press link for more: psmag.com

We’re at War to save the planet! #auspol #climatechange #science 

By Paul Mason

It hits you in the face and clings to you. 

It makes tall buildings whine as their air conditioning plants struggle to cope.

 It makes the streets deserted and the ice-cold salons of corner pubs get crowded with people who don’t like beer. 

It is the Aussie heatwave: and it is no joke.

Temperatures in the western suburbs of Sydney, far from the upmarket beachside glamour, reached 47C (117F) last week, topping the 44C I experienced there the week before.

 For reference, if it reached 47C in the middle of the Sahara desert, that would be an unusually hot day.
For Sydney, 2017 was the hottest January on record. 

This after 2016 was declared the world’s hottest year on record. 

Climate change, even in some developed societies, is becoming climate disruption – and according to a UN report, one of the biggest disruptions may only now be getting under way.

El Niño, a temperature change in the Pacific ocean that happens cyclically, may have begun interacting with the long-term process of global warming, with catastrophic results.
Let’s start by admitting the science is not conclusive. 

El Niño disrupts the normal pattern by which warm water flows westwards across the Pacific, pulling the wind in the same direction; it creates storms off South America and droughts – together with extreme temperatures – in places such as Australia. 

It is an irregular cycle, lasting between two and seven years, and therefore can only be theorised using models.
Some of these models predict that, because of climate change, El Niño will happen with increased frequency – possibly double. 

Others predict the effects will become more devastating, due to the way the sub-systems within El Niño react with each other as the air and sea warm.
What cannot be disputed is that the most recent El Niño in 2015/16 contributed to the extreme weather patterns of the past 18 months, hiking global temperatures that were already setting records.

 (Although, such is the level of rising, both 2015 and 2016 would have still been the hottest ever without El Niño.) 

Sixty million people were “severely affected” according to the UN, while 23 countries – some of which no longer aid recipients – had to call for urgent humanitarian aid. 


The catastrophe prompted the head of the World Meteorological Association to warn: 

“This naturally occurring El Niño event and human-induced climate change may interact and modify each other in ways that we have never before experienced.”
The warning was enough to prompt the UN to issue a global action plan, with early warning systems, beefed-up aid networks and disaster relief preparation, and calls for developing countries to “climate proof” their economic plans.
Compare all this – the science, the modelling, the economic foresight and the attempt to design multilateral blueprint – with the actions of the jackass who runs Australia’s finance ministry.

Scott Morrison barged into the parliament chamber to wave a lump of coal at the Labor and Green opposition benches, taunting them: 

“Don’t be afraid, don’t be scared. 

It’s coal. 

It was dug up by men and women who work in the electorate of those who sit opposite.” 

Coal, argues the Australian conservative government, has given the economy “competitive energy advantage for more than 100 years”. 

Labor and the Greens had called, after the Paris climate accord, for an orderly shutdown of the coal-fired power stations that produce 60% of the country’s energy.
The Aussie culture war over coal is being fuelled by the resurgence of the white-supremacist One Nation party, led by Pauline Hanson, which is pressuring mainstream conservatives to drop commitments to the Paris accord and, instead, launch a “royal commission into the corruption of climate science”, which its members believe is a money-making scam.
All over the world, know-nothing xenophobes are claiming – without evidence – that climate science is rigged. 

Their goal is to defend coal-burning energy, promote fracking, suppress the development of renewable energies and shatter the multilateral Paris agreement of 2015.


Opposition to climate science has become not just the badge of honour for far-right politicians like Ukip’s Paul Nuttall.

 It has become the central tenet of their appeal to unreason.
People facing increased fuel bills, new taxes on methane-producing cattle farms, dimmer light bulbs and the arrival of wind and wave technologies in traditional landscapes will naturally ask: is this really needed? 

Their inner idiot wishes it were not. 

For most of us, the inner rationalist is strong enough to counteract that wish.

What distinguishes the core of the rightwing populist electorate is its gullibility to idiocy-promoting rhetoric against climate science. 

They want to be harangued by a leader who tells them their racism is rational, in the same way they want leaders who tell them the science behind climate change is bunk.


Well, in Australia, people are quickly finding out where such rhetoric gets you: more devastating bushfires; a longer fire season; more extreme hot days; longer droughts. And an energy grid so overloaded with demands from air conditioning systems that it is struggling to cope.
And, iIf the pessimists among climate scientists are right, and the general rise in temperature has begun to destabilise and accentuate the El Niño effects, this is just the start.
The world is reeling from the election victory of Donald Trump, who has called climate science a hoax.

 Dutch voters look set to reward Geert Wilders, whose one-page election programme promises “no more money for development, windmills, art, innovation or broadcasting”, with first place in the election. 

In France, 27% of voters are currently backing the Front National, a party determined to take the country out of the Paris accord, which it sees as “a communist project”.
The struggle against the nationalist right must, in all countries, combine careful listening to the social and cultural grievances of those on its periphery with relentless stigmatisation of the idiocy, selfishness and racism of the leaders and political activists at its core.
It’s time to overcome queasiness and restraint. 

We, the liberal and progressive people of the world, are at war with the far right to save the earth. 
The extreme temperatures and climate-related disasters of the past 24 months mean this is not some abstract struggle about science or values: it’s about the immediate fate of 60 million people still recovering from a disaster.

Press link for more: The Guardian.com

Climate Change One of Mankind’s Most Serious Threats. #Auspol 

Catastrophic Climate Change Makes List of Mankind’s Most Serious Threats
Extreme climate change is among the greatest threats facing mankind, says a new study released by the Global Challenges Foundation


Still politicians (Who receive huge donations from coal miners) push coal ignoring climate scientists.

Scott Morrison  Liberal Party in the Australian Parilament 
The GCF works to raise awareness of Global Catastrophic Risks, defined as events that would end the lives of roughly 10 percent or more of the global population, or do comparable damage.


The industrial landscape across the Dee Estuary at sunrise as steam rises from Deeside power station, Shotton Steelworks and other heavy industrial plants on April 13, 2016 in Flint, Wales. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The list includes “significant ongoing risks” such as nuclear war and worldwide disease outbreaks but also highlights several scenarios that are “unlikely today but will become significantly more likely in the coming decades,”such as the continued rise of artificial intelligence. 

It’s there, among the emerging risks, that the study places the threat of catastrophic climate change.

Politician addicted to coal donations

Barnaby Joyce National Party in the Australian Parliament 
Even if we succeed in limiting emissions, the study says, scientists expect significant climate change to occur, which could lead to a host of global challenges including environmental degradation, migration, and the possibility of resource conflict.

The study goes on to say that, in a worse case scenario, global warming could top 6 degrees Celsius, which would leave “large swathes of the planet dramatically less habitable.”
“The precise levels of climate change sufficient to trigger tipping points – thresholds for abrupt and irreversible change – remain uncertain,“ the study says, “but the risk associated with crossing multiple tipping points in the earth system or in interlinked human and natural systems increases with rising temperature.”

The main goal of the study is to raise awareness of these potential catastrophes and encourage greater global cooperation to keep them at bay.
(MORE: Climate Change Poses Urgent Health Risk, White House Says)
“Market and political distortions mean that these risks are likely to be systematically neglected by many actors,” the study says.
The study suggests there are three main ways to reduce the risks from climate change: adaptation to climate change, abatement of emissions, and geo-engineering. Research communities should increase their focus on understanding the pathways to and the likelihood of catastrophic climate change, and possible ways to respond, the study says.
MORE ON WEATHER.COM: Before and After Shots of Rising Sea Levels

This photo illustration depicts Durban, South Africa, after a 2 degrees Celsius increase in global temperature, a threshold that, if surpassed, could usher in catastrophic global impacts from climate change. (Credit: sealevel.climatecentral.org/Nickolay Lamm) 
Press link for More: Weather.com

Welcome To Hell On Earth in Australia #ClimateChange #auspol 

Welcome to hell on Earth in Australia
The strongest heatwave for 2016/17 is about to sweep South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland bringing extremely hot conditions with increased bushfire and heat stress risks. 

Above image – Maximums via OCF/BSCH for Saturday, February 11th.
Over the next 4 to 5 days, a low pressure trough is forecast to move slowly though South Australia and VIC before drifting North through New South Wales and Queensland. 

This trough is forecast to combine with a ridiculously hot airmass overhead and dry in very dry and hot conditions ahead of it to produce widespread severe to extreme heatwave conditions.

BOM Heatwave Pilot for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

 
5 capital cities are forecast to be in the firing line with the following temperatures over the next 4 to 5 days.

• Adelaide 41 / 41 / 39 / 37

• Melbourne 34 / 37 / 27 / 28

• Canberra 26 / 35 / 40 / 41 / 35

• Sydney 26 / 29 / 35 / 39 / 36

• Brisbane 31 / 31 / 32 / 35 / 37
While most people will be feeling the above temperatures given the population density in cities. Spare a though for those in Western NSW, Eastern SA, North-West VIC and Southern/South-West QLD. Maximums, which for an extensive period of time have been in the mid 40’s, are about to get even hotter. Here are some of the following temps.
• Mildura (VIC) 40 / 44 / 44 / 42

• Moomba (SA) 46 / 46 / 45 / 46

• Birdsville (QLD) 46 / 46 / 45 / 45

• Port Augusta (SA) 45 / 45 / 44 / 45

• St George (QLD) 39 / 39 / 40 / 43 / 45

• Ivanhoe (NSW) 42 / 43 / 45 / 47

• Wilcannia (NSW) 45 / 44 / 46 / 47

• Penrith (NSW) 27 / 34 / 43 / 43 / 40
Some locations are expected to at least challenge February records, some of these could be long standing. 

The addition of Summer records is also possible given many locations in NSW are closing in on records for the number of days above 35ºc and 40ºc. 

The heat is forecast to continue over Northern NSW and Southern QLD beyond these 5 days, however there will be a seperate blog for that.

Press link for more: higginsstormchasing.com

On the science of Climate Change #auspol

On the science of climate change
In an interview last week, Computer Science professor David Gelernter told the News: “For human beings to change the climate of the planet is a monstrously enormous undertaking…I haven’t seen convincing evidence of it” (“Gelernter, potential science advisor to Trump, denies man-made climate change,” Jan. 25, 2017). Gelernter is widely rumored to be in consideration for the position of President Donald Trump’s science adviser, and his comments insinuate that human activity is insufficient to cause such change.

While we agree with Gelernter’s premise about the magnitude of human activity needed to alter the planetary climate system, we disagree with his conclusions.

 In consulting peer-reviewed scientific literature, we find that the energy expended by billions of people over nearly two centuries is in fact a significant climatological and geological force.
Carbon dioxide (CO2), along with other carbon-bearing molecules in the atmosphere such as methane, is a greenhouse gas that warms the planet — a relationship that has been known since the release of a classic study by Svante Arrhenius in 1896, and which has been confirmed by numerous independent experiments.

 


CO2 levels have now risen above 400 parts per million by volume, relative to a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppmv. That difference corresponds to about 250 billion tons of carbon added to the atmosphere. 

 Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a 2007 global inventory of fossil fuel combustion, cement production and land-use changes such as deforestation indicates that humans have emitted about 500 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere since 1850. 

This is indeed a “monstrously enormous” figure. 
 It is so enormous that the abrupt atmospheric CO2 rise, reaching levels substantially higher — and at a pace far faster —than those of natural glacial-interglacial cycles, represents only half of the anthropogenic effects on Earth’s carbon cycle. The other half of the emitted carbon has been taken up in roughly equal measures by the land surface and the oceans. 

As a result, the oceans have been slowly acidifying.
How sensitive is global climate to CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere?

 The connection is quantified using a factor called the “climate sensitivity,” which is the number of degrees Celsius rise caused by each doubling of CO2.

 “Sensitivity” is an appropriate term given that even small variations of greenhouse gases can lead to either a completely ice-covered or totally ice-free Earth; as illustrated by many computer simulations of climate, including a pioneering 1992 study by Ken Caldeira and James F. Kasting. 


 The climate sensitivity factor combines the summed effects of ocean heat uptake, changes in atmospheric humidity, as well as changes in clouds and planetary reflectivity. Climate sensitivity is not constant under all conditions; the estimates summarized by Reto Knutti and Gabriel C. Hegerl in 2008 range within 2-5 degrees Celsius per CO2 doubling.
It should be no surprise, then, that during the same industrial-era time interval when atmospheric CO2 rose by nearly 50%, the averaged global temperature has risen by about 1 degree Celsius, as documented by a team of scientists from Oregon State and Harvard in 2013.

According to a 2004 study by R.J. Klee and T.E. Graedel, carbon emissions are just one example among many cases where human activity has mobilized geological materials at rates far exceeding natural processes. Our species has become uniquely powerful in its environmental potency. Those who deny an anthropogenic cause of global warming have been called “climate skeptics,” a euphemistic term that would appear to give them an elevated ethical standing in critical thought. Based on our consideration of well-documented scientific research, and like the vast majority of Earth scientists — as documented in a 2016 study in the journal Environmental Research Letters — we reject the hypothesis that human carbon emissions have had zero effect on global climate.
We welcome rational discussion on this issue, grounded in reference to peer-reviewed studies by researchers with a long-term and serious engagement in climate science. Skepticism expressed for its own sake — without factual knowledge — does not contribute to scientific advancement and does not belong in the conversation.
David Evans is a professor of Geology & Geophysics. The column is jointly written with 18 other faculty members in the department: Jay Ague, David Bercovici, Ruth Blake, William Boos, Mark Brandon, Alexey Fedorov, Pincelli Hull, Jun Korenaga, Kanani Lee, Maureen Long, Jeffrey Park, Noah Planavsky, Alan Rooney, Brian Skinner, Ronald Smith, Trude Storelvmo, Mary-Louise Timmermans and John Wettlaufer. 

Press link for more: Yale Daily News

Women refusing to have children. #Climatechange #auspol 

When Sara Kelly, the 30-year-old founder of SAK PR firm in Philadelphia, posted an article to her Facebook page in December — one describing the growing trend of women refusing to have children for environmental reasons — it received more than 60 impassioned comments, mostly from friends of childbearing age debating the merits of the movement. 

“The topic comes up at least once a week,” Kelly told Salon. “People on both sides are having to put a lot more thought into their reasons than ever before. 

We’re forced to weigh the impact of climate change more than any generation before us.

 At dinner, cocktail hours, birthday parties. . . it’s on everyone’s mind.”

And increasingly, it’s on everyone’s newsfeed. 

With the UN announcing that the global population will hit nearly 10 billion people by 2050, and experts warning that man-made climate change will strain resources to a dire extent, 2016 became the year of the population-related think-piece, each one raising the question: Is having babies bad?

Every time a story like this is published, its comment section predictably devolves into a digital screaming match — on one side are parents and would-be parents espousing the primal human instinct to reproduce, and the folly of denying that drive. 

On the other side are activists who, like Kelly, believe the way to best protect our children is by not having more. 

Or, put another way, if you want to preserve the planet for future generations, shoot the stork. 

Caught in the middle? Twenty- and thirty-somethings torn between the desire to start a family and guilt over doing so.
So, in the great population debate of 2016, who came out on top: the pro-baby set, or population-control enthusiasts?

 It doesn’t really matter, some experts contend, because we’re having the wrong conversation.
“We have a generation of people whose decisions are deeply and painfully complicated by climate change,” 

Josephine Ferorelli, co-founder of the nonprofit Conceivable Future, which frames global warming as a reproductive justice issue, told Salon. “There isn’t a correct answer here — it’s an impossible choice. 

So we’re trying to refocus the conversation to something larger.”
That “something larger” is not whether women should forego having children based on a planet in crisis, but the systems in place that have put this planet in crisis — like the continued use of fossil fuel over renewable technologies.

 In other words, forget for a moment where you stand on kids in the age of climate change.

 Instead, get fired up that you have to factor it in at all.

“What people are experiencing now isn’t just your average do-I-want-to-be-a-parent hand wringing,” Conceivable Future co-founder Meghan Kallman, PhD, told Salon. “Reproductive sovereignty is yet another thing being curtailed by massive corporate interests, and if this makes you angry, that’s okay. 

The relevant question isn’t population but, rather, what are people in power privileging over a habitable future?”

Conceivable Future — a network that welcomes parents as well as non-parents — encourages women of every experience to share their struggles in an attempt to put political will behind emotion. 

So far, they have more than 70 testimonials and counting. 

While they’re often mistaken for a population control advocacy group, this isn’t the case, largely because discussions of population control, they believe, are often rooted in classist ideology. 

Because it’s women in developing countries who tend to have more children, it’s these women who are often targeted. 

In reality, the largest per capita carbon emissions come from America. (And Australia)

According to Mother Jones, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s daughter Zahara will likely produce 45,000 pounds of CO2 yearly, but that number would shrink to 221 pounds had Zahara stayed in Ethiopia.
It’s this discrepancy that’s increasingly shaping the plans of future mothers. 

Take Mary Sullivan, a 31-year-old school teacher from Newton, New Jersey, who has decided to foster children rather than have her own. “Climate change is already killing children in the developing world, and soon we will see the effects on the most vulnerable citizens of our country,” she told Salon. “Arguably, we are already.


 I don’t consider myself especially vulnerable, but I also don’t think I’ll ever be in a financial position to guarantee my child’s safety in the midst of a global crisis. 

With that in mind, yes, it does make me angry that there are people in the world who don’t even have to think about this — and these are often the very people making the decisions causing this disaster or refusing to address the problem.”
Refocusing this reproductive discussion away from population and toward social systems (and those who implement them) is difficult.

 When Erle Ellis, PhD, Professor of Geography & Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, presented the idea in a New York Times editorial in 2013, he received widespread backlash.
“It’s not about how many people are in a society,” Ellis told Salon. “It’s about how these societies use resources. For instance, there’s worry about how we’re going to feed 11 billion people, which is where experts think we might top out during this century. But the reason people starve is not because there isn’t enough food in the world — it’s about how that food is distributed. This has nothing to do with productivity. It’s a social problem.”
If you’re still feeling climate change-induced despair over the decision to have children, take heart.
“Make a choice that’s best for you,” Kallman told Salon. “There’s a wide range of experiences, and we honor and affirm all of them. The only recommendation we make is to get involved. Whatever you decide, it’s not the end of this fight.”

Press link for more: salon.com