Talking about the weather

This entry is double-posted and marks the end of the photoblog for the foreseeable future: photos will appear regularly here. I have been thinking of doing this for some time now.

Here in Wollongong we continue to feel the effects of La Niña and, apparently, a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event in the Indian Ocean. You may read all about this on several pages from the Bureau of Meteorology: ENSO forecasts from POAMA; Moderate to strong La Niña event in Pacific; Models predict La Niña event will persist into at least early 2011.

La Niña periods are generally associated with above normal rainfall during the second half of the year across large parts of Australia, most notably eastern and northern regions. Night time temperatures are historically warmer than average and Tropical Cyclone occurrence for northern Australia is typically higher than normal during the cyclone season (November-April).

A negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event in the Indian Ocean also continues. Negative IOD events are typically associated with above average rainfall over large areas of southern Australia during spring. IOD events usually decay in the months of November and December with the onset of the Australian monsoon. A recent rise in the IOD index and southwards movement of the monsoon trough indicates the event may already be weakening.

So the area around The Bates Motel continues to look like this:


Mind you, you can get nice effects happening at times:


Quite a contrast to this time last year!

That’s in Sydney of course, but I’m sure The Gong was similar.

So does this affect the reality of global warming? Hardly. Lower than normal temps in one part of the world in one season don’t affect the overall climate trend.

GSL_logo_with-straplineFor the latest reputable science on that see Climate change: evidence from the geological record from The Geological Society: A statement by the Geological Society of London.

Climate change is a defining issue for our time. The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That evidence is highly relevant to understanding how it may change in the future. The Council of the Society is issuing this statement as part of the Society’s work “to promote all forms of education, awareness and understanding of the Earth and their practical applications for the benefit of the public globally”. The statement is intended for non-specialists and Fellows of the Society. It is based on analysis of geological evidence, and not on analysis of recent temperature or satellite data, or climate model projections. It contains references to support key statements, indicated by superscript numbers, and a reading list for those who wish to explore the subject further…

While these past climatic changes can be related to geological events, it is not possible to relate the Earth’s warming since 1970 to anything recognisable as having a geological cause (such as volcanic activity, continental displacement, or changes in the energy received from the sun)43. This recent warming is accompanied by an increase in CO2 and a decrease in Arctic sea ice, both of which – based on physical theory and geological analogues – would be expected to warm the climate44. Various lines of evidence, reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly show that a large part of the modern increase in CO2 is the result of burning fossil fuels, with some contribution from cement manufacture and some from deforestation44. In total, human activities have emitted over 500 billion tonnes of carbon (hence over 1850 billion tons of CO2) to the atmosphere since around 1750, some 65% of that being from the burning of fossil fuels18,45,46,47,48. Some of the carbon input to the atmosphere comes from volcanoes49,50, but carbon from that source is equivalent to only about 1% of what human activities add annually and is not contributing to a net increase.

In the coming centuries, continued emissions of carbon from burning oil, gas and coal at close to or higher than today’s levels, and from related human activities, could increase the total to close to the amounts added during the 55 million year warming event – some 1500 to 2000 billion tonnes. Further contributions from ‘natural’ sources (wetlands, tundra, methane hydrates, etc.) may come as the Earth warms22. The geological evidence from the 55 million year event and from earlier warming episodes suggests that such an addition is likely to raise average global temperatures by at least 5-6ºC, and possibly more, and that recovery of the Earth’s climate in the absence of any mitigation measures could take 100,000 years or more. Numerical models of the climate system support such an interpretation44. In the light of the evidence presented here it is reasonable to conclude that emitting further large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere over time is likely to be unwise, uncomfortable though that fact may be.



6 thoughts on “Talking about the weather

  1. “So does this affect the reality of global warming? Hardly. Lower than normal temps in one part of the world in one season don’t affect the overall climate trend.”

    Heh. But as we all know, higher temps in one part of the world are examples of global warming. You said so yourself in your post about high temps in Russian summer (it all occurred after your ‘but’). This is part of how you annoy me to no end. Low temps, rain in Australia – they mean nothing. But if it gets hot for a few days or doesn’t rain for a month – it’s climate change! Deadly killer climate change! It would be quite funny, except you’re serious in your belief.

    Haven’t you noticed yet that the only believers in AGW left are the scientists who get paid to promote it and the UN that wants to tax you, to save you from it? After so many years of non-warming and lies about it, you still believe?

    And of course, the hippie environmentalists still believe too, but they’re inconsequential. Always have been. Hopefully, they always will be. They will always believe anything that makes human progress look bad.

  2. Whatever happens in the next month or so in Wollongong you can be sure that world figures for 2010 will indicate the warming process is still going on, thanks to the Northern Hemisphere where the effect is more pronounced, as all the records and models show.

    The significance of the Geological Society’s statement, however, is that they are quite plainly NOT in the research fund loop you and others use as a lame excuse for ignoring the real science.

    It is also interesting that former sceptic John Howard now finds the latest Royal Society publication well argued. I assume he read it and not the twisted account of it in the Murdoch Press.

  3. Link Howard’s comment if you get a chance? I love that guy. It will be quite a blow to me if what you say is true that he has started believing in paid consensus science over the real thing. With the joy of seeing so many scientists converting back to true science these days, it will really hurt to hear Howard, my Australian idol, say he’s going with pseudoscience instead.

    Oh, and there’s a hard freeze expected tonight here in Louisiana, 39 days before normal. AGW sure does cause cold weather a lot. AGW… so sneaky. Just when you think it’s going to zig, it zags!

  4. TONY JONES: Okay. Let’s move on. Our next question comes from Tim Matthews.

    TIM MATTHEWS: Mr Howard…

    TONY JONES: Sorry. Sorry, we’ll go to Tim Matthews. They put the wrong thing up on the autocue. But, Tim, go ahead.

    TIM MATTHEWS: When you were in government you supported the idea of an emissions trading scheme, yet before the last election the Liberal Party pretty comprehensively dismissed the idea. Were they wrong in doing so and do you think the Liberal Party’s environmental agenda has been derailed by climate sceptics?

    JOHN HOWARD: Well, I’m a climate agnostic. I’m not an agnostic on other things but I’m a bit of an agnostic. I think there is some evidence – strong evidence that mankind has contributed to the warming process, the extent of which I think is open to a lot of debate. I was very impressed with a recent report I read from the Royal Society which I thought gave a very balanced assessment of the issue. But, look, when we went out of government, once thing I said to my former colleagues is, “Look, you are obviously going to take positions on some issues that are different from what my government did and, you know, feel free to do so. I mean, you can’t be bound to follow exactly everything that the former government did. I mean, there have to be reasons why you lose an election and the idea that you sort of slavishly follow everything that was followed by the former government is not a good idea.

    TONY JONES: Are you talking about the emissions trading scheme?

    JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, the emissions trading scheme. Yeah. Look…

    TONY JONES: Because you brought the first emissions trading scheme (indistinct).

    JOHN HOWARD: Yeah, I proposed one but I did propose it and this is the crucial difference between my approach and Mr Rudd’s approach. I did say that we should not try and run ahead of the rest of the world and we should not impose it in circumstances where we would hurt our trade exposed industries. So I think there was a very big difference between my ETS and the one that Mr Rudd was championing but, look, current opposition…

    TONY JONES: But even having an ETS suggests you believe there’s a problem that needs to be dealt with.

    JOHN HOWARD: Look, I’m not running away from what I proposed in government. No, Tony, I’m simply making the point that when you have a change of government and change of party leadership and everything, obviously there are going to be some things that are done differently and I don’t expect Tony Abbott to agree with everything that I did. He won’t and he shouldn’t because he’s living in different circumstances…

    Q&A Monday 25 October, 2010

  5. Ouch. Well, at least he’s agnostic, which is probably where we all should be, since AGW is not proven (temps aren’t rising even though GHGs are continuously rising), and cannot be disproven (since everything that happens is a sign of AGW to the True Believer).

    Still, it left a mark. Thanks for posting it!

  6. It’s actually a little worse than I previously stated. He says he’s unsure (agnostic) about the situation, but is still willing to come up with a solution for it. That’s a ‘solution’ for what might be a problem, or it might not be anything at all. Incredibly unscientific.

    That does it. I was knitting John Howard a cape and suit with a giant red S on the front of it. Now, I don’t think I’m going to bother finishing it. At least not until he changes his tune a bit.

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