I listened with interest to Kevin Trenberth on the latest Climate Show describing how the increased water vapour in the atmosphere resulting from human-caused global warming is leading to greater extremes in weather events. It sent me back to take another look at the section in James Hansenâ€™s book Storms of My Grandchildren where he explains the greatly increased strength of storms we can expect as the century unfolds, unless we leave most fossil carbon in the ground. I reviewed the book a while back on Hot Topic and thought it worth outlining more closely here, as an extension of my review, Hansenâ€™s argument in the ten pages where he specifically addresses the storms of which the bookâ€™s title speaks.
The Climate Show returns with a packed show, featuring one of the world’s best known climate scientists, NZ-born, Colorado-based Dr Kevin Trenberth — star of the Climategate “where’s the missing heat” emails. He’s been in New Zealand to visit family (experiencing the Christchurch quake in the process) and to attend a conference, and his comments on the state of our understanding of climate change should not be missed. John Cook of Skeptical Science returns with his new short urls and an explanation of why declines have never been hidden, and Gareth and Glenn muse on Arnie “Governator” Schwarzenegger riding to the rescue of climate science, cryospheric forcing and carbon cycle feedbacks from melting permafrost, and a new paper that suggests that current policies are pointing us towards extremely dangerous climate change. All that and hyperbranched aminosilica too…
Show notes below the fold.
It’s a grim day in Canterbury. 75 people are confirmed dead and 300 are missing following the magnitude 6.3 earthquake which struck at 12-51pm yesterday. As I write, teams of urban search and rescue specialists from NZ and Australia (soon to be joined by teams from all over the world) are crawling over collapsed buildings throughout the central city. The cathedral (above) has lost its spire, and there are bodies in the rubble around it. I am glad to report that my family and friends, and that of Climate Show co-host Glenn Williams are well, but no-one is untouched by this terrible disaster. Up here in Waipara the initial shaking was bad enough to make us run outdoors, but our relief at escaping damage was immediately tempered by the realisation that someone had just taken a hammering…
The last few weeks have seen some extraordinary weather events around the world: relentless extreme heat in Russia, biblical flooding in Pakistan and devastating landslides in China. Tens of millions of people have had their lives disrupted and thousands have died, and — beyond reasonable doubt — global warming is playing a part in creating these extremes. But how much of a part? Michael Tobis asked this question in a recent post:
Are the current events in Russia “because of” “global warming”? To put the question in slightly more formal terms, are we now looking at something that is no longer a “loading the dice” situation but is a “this would, practically certainly, not have happened without human interference” situation?
The answer, at least in the case of the current extremes, would appear to be yes.
I must have been asleep last week when the IPCC announced its selection of authors for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), due in 2013/14. As usual, NZ scientists are making a significant contribution:
- Tim Naish is a lead author for Working Group 1 (The Physical Science Basis) chapter 5, Information from Paleoclimate Archives.
- Jim Renwick is a lead author for WG1 Chapter 14, Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change.
- David Wratt is a review editor for Chapter 14 (as is Kevin Trenberth)
- Phil Boyd (NIWA) is a lead author for WG2 (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability), Chapter 6, Ocean Systems.
- Alistair Woodward is one of the two Coordinating Lead Authors for WG2, Chapter 11, Human Health.
- Andy Reisinger is a Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 25, Australasia, Paul Newton (AgResearch) and Andrew Tait (NIWA) are lead authors, and Blair Fitzharris is a Review Editor.
- Ralph Sims is a Coordinating Lead Author for Working Group 3 (Mitigation of Climate Change), Chapter 8, on Transport.
- Harry Clark is a lead author for WG3, Chapter 11, Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU).
- Complete author lists: WG1, WG2, WG3.
Congratulations to all. Now the hard work starts…
And a plug: Jim Renwick is giving a talk on climate change at the Hurunui Library (yes, the one in the heat pump ads) in Amberley on Monday, July 5th at 7-30pm. All welcome. I’ll be heckling from the cheap seats…
[Thanks to Frogblog]