The Climate Show #34: four Hiroshima bombs a second

It’s been almost half a year since Glenn, Gareth and John last met over the intertubes to discuss climate news — but we’re 97% sure we’re back, catching up on all the recent climate news. John discusses the recent Cook et al (where al is the Skeptical Science team) paper on the 97% consensus on climate science and the accompanying Consensus Project web site, “sticky” facts like using Hiroshima bombs as a unit of warming. Plus all the news on recent weather extremes — flooding in India, Canada, and Europe, climate impacts on the wine business, and Gareth’s recent interview with Bill McKibben. Show notes below the fold…

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TDB Today: Tim Groser’s utter nonsense

At the National Agricultural Fieldays earlier this month, climate change minister Tim Groser claimed that including agriculture in the emissions trading scheme would be “utter environmental and economic madness”. At The Daily Blog today, I explain why Groser is talking utter nonsense, and agriculture needs to be included in the ETS as soon as possible. Comments at TDB, please…

I think it’s going to rain today (when it’s wet, it’s very very wet)

I took Rosie the truffle machine for a walk around the farm just before dark yesterday. We were both a bit stir-crazy after four days of cold, cold rain and a couple of days of screaming southerlies that brought snow to our hills. The ground passed field capacity at the beginning of last week, when an atmospheric river brought torrential downpours and flooding to much of the South Island. Now the soil is sodden, quivering with water and oozing mud at every footstep. Every drop of extra rain is taking that mud and sluicing it down to the river. A stream runs through my black truffle plantation. I spent this afternoon digging a drainage trench. Truffles don’t enjoy sitting in water. My crop might rot. The Waipara is roaring along at the bottom of our cliff at about 50 cumecs1, an impressive sight for a river that normally dribbles down to the sea at under a cumec. It peaked last week at about 110 cumecs. The riverbed will have been reshaped. But we got off lightly.

Over the last couple of days the New Zealand news has been dominated by extreme weather. The southerly storm that soaked us also battered Wellington and brought deep snow2 to much of the South Island. It made for compelling pictures. But what’s going on elsewhere in the world is even more dramatic:

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  1. Cubic metres per second. []
  2. The Mt Hutt ski field got 2.8 meters of snow — just over 9 feet in the old money — a record start to the season. Take a look at the green line on their snow graph to get some sense of the context. []

People talking #11

Is it really six months since I posted the last open thread? I do apologise — please avail yourselves of the facility. I’m busy battening down the hatches before the first big winter storm hits, and preparing for the first Climate Show recording in a long while. Meanwhile, severe weather in Europe is striking very close to my heart, with a dramatic hailstorm devastating vineyards around Vouvray1 in the Loire Valley. And in Britain, the Met Office has called a meeting to see if they can tease out why they’ve had the recent run of wet summers and sharp cold spells in winter. The influence of the Arctic is definitely up for discussion…

  1. NZ can grow excellent Chenin Blanc — the grape of Vouvray — and make a wine that more than stands comparison with its French antecedents. I tasted the 2001 Forrest Chenin Blanc a few weeks ago, and it was quite magnificent. []

Prat watch #11: don’t fone us…

Bill McKibben must have been doing something right during his New Zealand tour: he’s drawn the ire of the local climate cranks in no uncertain fashion. Perhaps it was the packed houses he addressed in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, or his interview on RNZ National’s high-rating Saturday Morning show with Kim Hill, but the clarity and certainty of his message drew a vituperative response from “Climate Conversation” blogger Richard Treadgold. In an ill-tempered personal attack, Treadgold described McKibben as a “climate nutcase” and “a madman”.

His voice is engaging, almost reasonable, but his wild eyes cannot help but flash his burning lunacy at the camera.

It’s par for the course for Treadgold, whose tenuous claim to fame is as the man who kicked off the climate cranks’ losing attempt to sue the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA)1, but his fact-free and ill-informed rant was not the only attempt to counter McKibben’s message.

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  1. They still haven’t paid a brass farthing of the costs awarded against them. []