There’s always the weather to talk about…

Used to be a nice safe topic once, but not so much any more. Well the weather probably still is,but the amount of crap flying around about the climate is truly mind-blowing. I know it is hard to credit but there are still people who think that because it was very cold and damp in Wollongong yesterday then it follows that climate change, specifically global warming, isn’t happening.

Five seconds thought should nail that but it never seems to, does it?

Yes to yesterday in Wollongong:



No to this having any great relevance to the question of climate change. See my former colleague at SBHS geographer Maximos62: #SMH not telling the full story on the #weather and #climate. And see my comment there.

Aside from the obvious but often ignored difference between weather (highly variable and day-to-day) and climate (30 year trends and averages, essentially) people also forget that even if by some freak we had a week of subzero temps in Sydney in December or even a white Christmas, we would do well to see what’s happening in other parts of the globe. In La Nina times watch them bake and suffer on the other side of the Pacific! Check out what’s happening in the Arctic,

Climate change can’t be assessed by looking at a week or two of weather in one spot on the globe or by sticking your head out the window.

And if you think the Herald is bad, try The Australian. But I know you have more sense…

Well word is coming in about the global picture. For example: Provisional Statement on the Status of the Global Climate from the World Meteorological Organization.

2011: world’s 10th warmest year, warmest year with La Niña on record, second-lowest Arctic sea ice extent

Global temperatures in 2011 have not been as warm as the record-setting values seen in 2010 but have likely been warmer than any previous strong La Niña year, based on preliminary data from data sources compiled by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The global combined sea surface and land surface air temperature for 2011 (January–October) is currently estimated at 0.41°C ± 0.111°C (0.74°F ± 0.20°F) above the 1961–1990 annual average of 14.00°C/57.2°F. At present, 2011’s nominal value ranks as the equal 10th highest on record, and the 13 warmest years have all occurred in the 15 years between 1997 and 2011. Model reanalysis data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) are also consistent with this ranking. The 10-year average for the period 2002-11, at 0.46°C above the long-term average, equals 2001-10 as the warmest 10-year period on record. Final annual figures for 2011 will be available once November and December data are available in early 2012.

Global climate in 2011 was heavily influenced by the strong La Niña event which developed in the tropical Pacific in the second half of 2010 and continued until May 2011. This event, which on most measures was one of the strongest of at least the last 60 years, was closely associated with many of the year’s notable regional climate events, including drought in east Africa, the central equatorial Pacific and the southern United States, and flooding in southern Africa, eastern Australia and southern Asia. Strong La Niña years2 are typically 0.10 to 0.15°C cooler than the years preceding and following them. 2011’s global temperatures followed this pattern, being lower than those of 2010, but were still warmer than the most recent moderate to strong La Niña years, 2008 (+0.36°C), 2000 (+0.27°C) and 1989 (+0.12°C). La Niña conditions have redeveloped in recent weeks but are not expected to approach the intensity seen in late 2010 and early 2011…

See also Denial Of Facts Is No Way To Understand Science.