21 April 2017

A three-track strategy for climate mitigation

by Graeme Taylor

The challenge

In his analysis of the Paris Agreement on mitigating climate change, The Guardian’s George Monbiot said: “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.” On one hand the outcome was better than predicted as Article 2 states that parties to the agreement will hold global average temperature increases “to well below 2°C” and “pursue efforts” to limit this to 1.5°C.

The "carbon law" for the 2-degree target, from “A roadmap for rapid decarbonization”, Rockström, Gaffney, Rogelj, Meinshausen, Nakicenovic and Schellnhuber, Science 355: 1269-1271, 24 March 2017

01 April 2017

Climate change pushing floods, cyclones to new extremes, with worse to come

 With Australia experiencing the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and record-breaking rains and severe flooding in south-east Queensland and along the north coast of New South Wales, here’s a look at how global warming has, and will, push floods and cyclones to new extremes.

Flooding extremes

Warm air can be more humid than cold air, that is, it can hold more water vapour in absolute terms. And atmospheric water vapour content increases seven per cent for each 1-degree-Celsius increase in global average temperature, establishing the conditions for more intense rainfall events.