Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Archive for March 15th, 2012

Two summary climate reports for Oz

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Yesterday the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO released their State of the Climate 2012 report and today the Climate Commission released The science behind southeast Australia’s wet, cool summer. Both documents outline the latest changes with clear explanations and useful diagrams.

State of the Climate 2012 showed a general trend toward increased spring and summer monsoonal rainfall across Australia’s north, and a decline in late autumn and winter rainfall across southern Australia.

Sea-levels had risen around Australia at rates equal to or greater than the global average, and sea-surface temperatures in the region had increased faster than the global average.

State of the Climate 2012 documents the annual growth in global fossil-fuel CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases. The CO2 concentration of the atmosphere had risen to around 390 parts per million in 2011, a level unprecedented in the past 800,000 years. During the past decade it has risen at more than 3% per year, which is projected to cause significant further global warming.

The Climate Commission Report was written by Professors Will Steffen, Matt England and David Karoly:

Most parts of Australia have experienced exceptionally heavy rains over the past two years, filling many dams around the country and breaking the drought of 1997–2009. There has been much confusion in the media about what this means for climate change. This report seeks to set the record straight.

The main point for me, which I fully endorse:

Climate change cannot be ruled out as a factor in recent heavy rainfall events. The Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) around northern Australia during the spring and early summer of 2010–2011 were the highest on record. This has very likely contributed to the exceptionally heavy rainfall over much of Australia in the last two years. La Niña events bring high SSTs to the seas around northern Australia, but warming over the past century has also contributed to the recent record high SSTs.

Written by Roger Jones

March 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Living Treasures and Vogon Poetry

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Living Treasure Clive Palmer told the ABC’s 7:30 Report last night that he intended to challenge the government’s carbon legislation on the basis of a constitutional challenge to its tax status:

CLIVE PALMER: Well, our advice is that the carbon tax in its current form is unconstitutional, and that’s recognised in the legislation itself when it says it’s found to be unconstitutional, the Government will (inaudible) us through other acts – that’s in the legislation.

CHRIS UHLMANN: On what grounds is it unconstitutional?

CLIVE PALMER: Well the grounds are set out in legal advice and they’ll be coming in the High Court.

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Written by Roger Jones

March 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

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