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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #10

Posted on 9 March 2013 by John Hartz

  • Australia links 'angry summer' to climate change
  • Climate change as history's deal-breaker
  • Climate change dates back to dawn of first farmers,
  • Climate change poses threat to Scotland's future oil revenues
  • Colombia's glaciers could disappear in 30 years
  • Hicks nix climate fix
  • Insurers unready for climate change-related disasters
  • Obama’s ‘all of the above’ energy and environment nominees
  • Pakistan launches first national climate change policy
  • Shareholders file first-ever 'Carbon Bubble' resolutions
  • Three things to know about Obama’s pick for EPA chief
  • US scientists report big jump in heat-trapping CO2 

Australia links 'angry summer' to climate change

The hottest summer on record. The hottest January on record. The hottest day on record for Australia as a whole. Bushfires in every state and territory. Daily rainfall records and major flooding. Over a period of 90 days, these were some of the 123 extreme weather records broken during Australia's "angry summer".

Australia links 'angry summer' to climate change – at last by Jessica Aldred. The Guardian, Mar 7, 2013

Climate change as history's deal-breaker

Can there be any doubt that, to steal a phrase from that era, the personal is indeed political?  On the other hand, the apocalypse, particularly an apocalypse that features Science and Nature in its starring roles, seems anything but personal or stoppable -- unless you’re a farmer and a pipeline filled with a particularly nasty version of oil runs right through your nearest aquifer.  The real issue here is how to make climate change personal in a way that doesn’t simply cause us to shut down.

Climate Change as History's Deal-Breaker by Tom Eglehardt, TomDisptach, Mar 3, 2013

Climate change dates back to dawn of first farmers

Deforestation by early farmers likely kicked off an era of man-made climate change long before our present era, suggests a climate scientist taking a hard look at agriculture's early effects.

Climate change dates back to dawn of first farmers by Dan Vergano, USA Today, Mar 3, 2013

Climate change poses threat to Scotland's future oil revenues

Scotland's fate as a rich independent nation is again being fought over with a battle raging over the risks of relying on North Sea oil. But in future, climate change will pose a far more serious challenge.

Climate change poses a far greater threat to Scotland's future oil revenues by Steven Carrell, Mar 7, 2013

Colombia's glaciers could disappear in 30 years

Colombia’s glaciers are melting so fast that the country has lost more than half of its glacier mass over the past three decades due to rising temperatures linked to climate change, according to a report by the Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM).

Colombia's glaciers could disappear in 30 years by Anastasia Moloney, Alertnet, Mar 5, 2013

Hicks nix climate fix

But with the announcement this week of the usual suspects of city-bred, East Coast, well-credentialed types to the cabinet-level team that Obama is assembling to fight climate change, it’s time to consider a farmer as a leader of that cause.

Hicks Nix Climate Fix by Timothy Egan, New York Times, Mar 7, 2013

Insurers unready for climate change-related disasters

The insurance industry is ill-prepared to handle climate change-related disasters, regulators and industry watchers warned Thursday, saying the business hasn’t evolved enough in the face of rising sea levels and extreme weather fueled by climate change.  

Report finds insurers unready for climate change-related disasters by Erika Bolstad,  McClatchy Newspapers, Mar 7, 2013

Obama’s ‘all of the above’ energy and environment nominees

President Obama’s choices for his next energy secretary and Environmental Protection Agency administrator are, like so many of his actions, unsurprising and practical.

Obama’s ‘All of the Above’ Energy and Environment Nominees by Andrew Revkin, New York Times, Mar 4, 2013 

Pakistan launches first national climate change policy

Disaster-prone Pakistan has launched its first ever national policy on climate change, detailing how it plans to tackle the challenges posed by global warming, mitigate its risks and adapt key sectors of the country's economy to cope with its consequences.

Pakistan launches first national climate change policy by Nita Bhalla, Alertnet, Mar 1, 2013

Shareholders file first-ever 'Carbon Bubble' resolutions

Shareholder activists are concerned that fossil fuels could become unburnable because of climate laws—and they want firms to divulge the financial risks.

Shareholders File First-Ever 'Carbon Bubble' Resolutions by Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News, Mar 7, 2013

Three things To know about Obama’s pick for EPA chief

Since Lisa  Jackson announced that she would resign her post as administrator of the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, environmental advocates have anxiously  awaited news of who would take her place. On Monday, the suspense came to an end  as President Barack Obama announced his official nomination: Gina McCarthy, the  assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation and a known  champion for public health.

3 Things To Know About Obama’s Pick for EPA Chief by Beth Buczynski, Care2, Mar 4, 2013

US scientists report big jump in heat-trapping CO2

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures show.

US Scientists Report Big Jump in Heat-Trapping CO2 by Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, Mar 5, 3013

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Comments 1 to 14:

  1. As reported by several newspapers and blogs there's a very nice visualisation (well, technically...) available on "The Future of Glaciers" as part of an exhibition "Mathematics of Planet Earth (2013)" [].

    Another source is the webpage of one of the authors: Guillaume Jouvet, Free University of Berlin.

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  2. ajki:

    Thanks for the links.

    Would you be interested in drafting a guest blog post about the status of glaciers worldwide?

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  3. John, you're welcome. It was you who encouraged users to provide additional material within in the "news" sections.

    Beside my personal lack of scientific knowledge, I doubt the need for a specific blog post regarding the status of glaciers. There are multiple arguments listed on SkS with regards to glaciers, prominently the argument "Are glaciers growing or retreating". AFAIK these myth rebuttals are carefully updated with data from World Glacier Monitoring Service (wgms) - so there is no lack of knowledge regarding the global trend (90+% shrinking).

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    Moderator Response: [JH] Many of the exisitng SkS rebuttals need to be updated. The all-volunteer author team will soon embark on a major effort to do so.
  4. There is the new study by Marcott et al in Science extending the Hocky Stick to the whole Holecene (11.5ka) that is making quite a stir. MM has put many links to plenty of news on his facebook, for example this one. Certaithenly big news, especially for Mike who is predicting that professional denialist will turn their attention to the new 'extended' reconstruction.  Perhaps Mike will be taken a little bit off the "denialist stage", or at least he will now share that "stage" with Shaun Marcott. Personally, I think denialists and political intimidators have lost a lot of momentum behind their lies comparing with early 2000s, but who knows, we will see...

    I don't have access to the full text of Marcott et al 2013 but Mike is saying the results apear to be robust (i.e. at the same time vulnerable to the political attacks) and their conclusion correct.

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    Moderator Response: [JH] The seoond listed article in this News Roundup summarizes the study you refer to.
  5. chriskoz, yes Watts has aready gone into a full scale meltdown about how this Marcott global reconstruction doesn't match data from a single remote location in Greenland and thus must be false. You'd think his readers would know how stupid that argument is by now, but nope... they remain clueless.

    However, I agree with you on the 'momentum'. Indeed, if you read the news coverage of the Marcott study in every mainstream source you can see a profound change. I haven't seen one news outlet quoting Pielke, Monckton, Spencer, or any of the other usual deniers. Instead they are reaching out to people like Gavin Schmidt, Katherine Hayhoe, and Michael Mann. Several describe Mann as 'an expert in the field' and bring up the 'hockey stick controversy' as an example of unfounded personal attacks on scientists. It seems as if the deniers have lost the mainstream media. They told too many whoppers that proved to be false and finally people are taking notice. I couldn't pinpoint a single 'turning point', but it does seem to me that the tide has definitively turned and anti-science on AGW is rapidly imploding.

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  6. chriskoz & CB Dunkerson:

    I intend to capture many of the high-quality MSM articles about the Marcott study in a special news bulletin. Right now, I have to crank out the Weekly Digest and finish a thrid news bulletin about the Alberta tar sands & the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

    As they say, When it rains, it pours."  (Especially true in a warming climate.)

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  7. With respect to australian issues ;-) another article should not go unnoticed.

    Vladimir Petoukhov (Lead Author) and Stefan Rahmsdorf  have written a short introduction for their recently published study

    Quasiresonant amplification of planetary waves and recent Northern Hemisphere weather extremes []

    on "The Conversation". See:

    Weather extremes: atmospheric waves and climate change []

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  8. In regards to Australia's 'angry summer' (superstorms, angry summers, snowquesters).....LOL.

    World record of most consecutive days of 100 °F (40 °C) or above, during a period of 160 days from 31 October 1923 to 7 April 1924. Marble Bar, WA.


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    Moderator Response: [JH] Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right. This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum. Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it. Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.
  9. Snafu, you are cherry-picking temperatures at one location whilst the report looks at all extreme weather events happening in the whole of Australia, including national records.

    Ironic that you have a dig at this blog when you are going out of your way to misrepresent a report.

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  10. How is the world record of the longest period of days over 40C a cheery pick? It has not been broken anywhere on the globe since 1923-24.

    If the globe is supposed to warming (as we are lead to believe), this record should have been broken long ago. No place on the planet has got anywhere near it in 89 years!

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  11. No, the world record for the longest period of days in one location doesn't need to be broken to show that the globe is warming. We have global temperature datasets for this, as well as the melting of ice, the shifting of species, etc. Again, you're cherry-picking one aspect as well as building a strawman, since no one's ever made the claim you're making, instead of looking at the whole body of evidence. For Australia, we're talking about the warmest summer of record, with each state and territory setting new records and national daily temperature records reaching new levels. 26 daily rainfall records were also broken at the national level, and 5 river-height records were broken. To suggest the globe isn't warming or the climate isn't changing because one record hasn't been broken yet doesn't make any sense when you look at all the evidence.

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  12. snafu, I don't know if you've noticed, but the general circulation system is quite complicated.  If it were a fixed system, some of your complaints would be valid.  It is not a fixed system.  First, there are a variety of short- and long-term regional oscillations that pulse energy across the system.  These oscillations are dynamically integrated, and the pattern of that integration can result in anomalous regional conditions regardless of global warming.  Second, when energy accumulation is taking place (as it is now), the system itself begins to change.  For example, the Hadley circulation has shifted about 5 degrees poleward in the last 30 years.  That's a change to a major system component, and it is affecting other components.  The polar cell is going through a fundamental change.  If you look at a close analogue to the current warming, you'll see that the general circulation system has been radically altered by rapid global warming in the past.

    Do you get it?  The circulation system is complex and can concentrate energy in specific regions while other regions remain "normal" or even undergo record cold.  The confidence with which you speak is not supported by your demonstrated understanding of the science.

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  13. What Snafu is leaving out is the fact that, 

    "On average, Marble Bar experiences about 154 such days each year. The town is far enough inland that, during the summer months, the only mechanisms likely to prevent the air from reaching such a temperature involve a southward excursion of humid air associated with the monsoon trough, or heavy cloud, and/or rain, in the immediate area. This may sometimes be associated with a tropical cyclone or a monsoon low. In the record year of 1923-24 the monsoon trough stayed well north, and the season was notable for its lack of cyclone activity. (In fact, the entire Australian continent was untouched by tropical cyclones throughout the season, a rare event in the 20th Century)."

    This "great record" only broke the average number of 100+ days at Marble Bar by 6, and it was weather freakiness that year that did it.  That's not much of a heat wave; that's just a touch above normal for Marble Bar.  It says absolutely nothing about the relative global temps from back then and now.  How coould it possibly?

    You'll have to do a lot better than that to even begin to make a case it hasn't been warming. 

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  14. If anyone is interested (in light of snafu's comments), I made a gif animation of part of that incredible heat wave over Australia.  (You probably need to know what's 'normal' in January to fully appreciate it.  Definitely what happened was a long way from 'normal'.)

    Not that what we're getting now down in SE Australia is 'normal' for autumn, either.  It's too hot for this time of the year.

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