Knee deep, and still digging

GreenlandmeltsmallJames Hansen, perhaps the most outspoken of mainstream climate scientists, reckons that unless we take urgent steps to cut emissions we’ll be committing the world to multi-metre sea level rise this century. In this week’s New Scientist, he presents his reasons why:

In my opinion, if the world warms by 2 °C to 3 °C, [..] massive sea level rise is inevitable, and a substantial fraction of the rise would occur within a century. Business-as-usual global warming would almost surely send the planet beyond a tipping point, guaranteeing a disastrous degree of sea level rise.

That’s a controversial viewpoint, and has lead to Hansen being described as “alarmist

Fuel from willows

Interesting interview with Jim Watson, former President of the Royal Society of NZ on Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon programme this morning (podcast here, but only for a week). Watson, the founder scientist of Genesis Research & Development discusses the new Biojoule project being established at Taupo. A species of willow (not the cricket bat kind) will be grown and harvested to produce ethanol as a biofuel, and lignin, a biological chemical alternative to hydrocarbons from fossil fuel as a feedstock for plastics. Home grown technology in every sense of the word.

Climate change: sex change

NZ’s iconic tuatara are threatened by climate change. I’ve got the full story in Hot Topic (the book), but Reuters have beaten me to press. Tuatara eggs incubated above 21.5ºC become males, and climate change is already producing a sex imbalance in the population. Male tuatara on a predator-free island near the top of the South Island already outnumber females by 1.7 times, reports Victoria University researcher Jennifer Moore. Full story on TVNZ and the UK Telegraph.

Arctic sea ice melting faster than expected

Arctic sea ice is melting faster than modelling (and the IPCC) predicts, the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) reports.

The shrinking of summertime ice is about thirty years ahead of the climate model projections,