17 November 2013

Parts of Australia reaching threshold where it is impossible for normal life to continue because of the heat, says climate impacts researcher

Some parts of Australia, such as Darwin, and some farms and factories, are likely to be  unviable in a 4°C hotter world, according to climate impacts research by Dr. Liz Hanna, from the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health.
Paul Brown of Climate News Network reports from the UN climate talks in Warsaw.
UN bodies and health authorities are being advised to prepare for a world temperature rise of 4°C because scientists no longer believe that politicians are capable of holding the temperature rise below the internationally agreed limit, 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Mark Maslin, professor of climatology at University College in London, was speaking at a conference here which also heard that some parts of the world were already in danger of becoming too hot for humans to inhabit.

15 November 2013

Typhoon Haiyan and climate change: connecting the dots (updated)

UPDATED 15 November

NEW:  Super Typhoon Haiyan's Intensification and Unusually Warm Sub-Surface Waters
A remarkable warming of the sub-surface Pacific waters east of the Philippines in recent decades, due to a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns and ocean currents that began in the early 1990s, could be responsible for the rapid intensification of Super Typhoon Haiyan. Hurricanes are heat engines, which means they take heat energy out of the ocean, and convert it to kinetic energy in the form of wind. It's well-known that tropical cyclones need surface water temperatures of at least 26.5°C (80°F) to maintain themselves, and that the warmer the water, and the deeper the warm water is, the stronger the storm can get.

06 November 2013

The Abbott government: climate policy as culture war

by David Spratt, first published at ReNewEconomy

Overnight in London, former prime minister John Howard gave the climate-denialist Global Warming Policy Foundation's annual lecture, telling his audience:
I've always been agnostic about [climate change]… I don't completely dismiss the more dire warnings but I instinctively feel that some of the claims are exaggerated… I don't accept all of the alarmist conclusions… You can never be absolutely certain that all the science is in.
 Agnosticism masking denial has been Howard's trademark. In February 2007, he told Lateline that 4-to-6 degrees Celsius of climate warming "would be less comfortable for some than it is now".  Yes, really!