Tuesday 29th of November 2022

when the dust settles...

dust storm

picture by Gus

A lot could be said about the recent dust storms in Sydney, in regard the weather being slightly out of whack for whatever reason.

A week ago Sydneysiders enjoyed their third series of sunny days in the low 30 degrees C (89-90 F). Then the weather cooled off. A big electric storm one night was followed the next morning (September 23rd) by a massive red dust storm that had passed over by around midday. The roll of dust, as seen on satellite pictures, was more 2000 kilometres long, as it passed through Brisbane and further north, as well as way south of Sydney.

Three days later another lesser dust storm passed over the city and by 9 o'clock it had all gone.

Today the temperature barely lifted above 16 degree C and, in the magnificent Blue Mountain, at 1000 metres altitude, about 60 kms from Sydney, it snowed.

For Australian farmers, dust storms are not unusual events, except that now they have to worry about contamination of crops with GM pollen (especially canola — I do not used canola products) going all the way to New Zealand while spreading all over the Autralian countryside as well.

In the next few blogs I will elaborate on the possible origins of these more weirdo weather patterns than usual, possibly stemming from global warming, and the impact they have — and will have — on the Australian landscapes.

more dust...

everything is dusty... even the "clean" air feels dusty.

digging our own grave...

When does planting a tree become a revolutionary act – and unleash an army of gunmen who want to shoot you dead? The answer to this question lies in the unlikely story of Wangari Maathai.

She was born on the floor of a mud hut with no water or electricity in the middle of rural Kenya, in the place where human beings took their first steps. There was no money but there was at least lush green rainforest and cool, clear drinking water. But Maathai watched as the life-preserving landscape of her childhood was hacked down. The forests were felled, the soils dried up, and the rivers died, so a corrupt and distant clique could profit. She started a movement to begin to make the land green again – and in the process she went to prison, nearly died, toppled a dictator, transformed how African women saw themselves, and won a Nobel Prize.

Now Maathai is travelling the world with a warning. As she told the United Nations climate summit last Tuesday, it is not just her beloved rainforest that is threatened now, but all rainforests. "As human beings, we are attacking our own life-support system," she says. "And if we carry on like this, we are digging our own grave."

4 degrees Celsius hotter...

Global temperatures may be 4 degrees Celsius hotter by the mid-2050s if current greenhouse gas emissions trends continue, a new study says.

The study, by Britain's Met Office Hadley Centre, echoed a United Nations report last week which found climate changes were outpacing worst-case scenarios forecast in 2007 by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Our results are showing similar patterns [to the IPCC] but also show the possibility that more extreme changes can happen," said Debbie Hemming, the co-author of the research which was published at the start of a climate change conference at Oxford University.

In July leaders of the main greenhouse gas-emitting countries recognised a scientific view that temperatures should not exceed 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels, to avoid more dangerous changes to the world's climate.

The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its fourth assessment report, or AR4. One finding was that global temperatures could rise by 4 degrees by the end of the 2050s.

Today's study confirmed that warming could happen even earlier, by the mid-2050s, and suggested more extreme local effects.

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As I have mentioned before on this site, it would be difficult for us mere mortal to gauge an increase in temperature of one degree by just "feel" — and it would still be difficult to know — by feel — that the average temperature had gone up by about 2 degrees C average. Only the frequency of events such as dust storms and a few other extreme weather phenomenom (including more severe drought) might tell us that something is not quite right. Hard to gauge as well the increase of sea level, unless it starts to demolish our jetties and piers.

But a 2 degrees C increase will have catastrophic result for some of Earth's more fragile inhabitants. And we will notice a much faster melt of ice caps (which is presently happening faster than predicted). A 4 degrees C increase by 2050 would mean a full-on 9 degrees C increase by 2100, about 3 degree higher than the decimating 6 degrees C I have predicted (by calculation) a few years ago (1994).

But an increase of 4 degree C by 2050 is not out of the question. Recently around the world, winter temperatures have been about 2 degrees C above average. Presently, although the sea temp at Sydney's beaches is around 17.5 degrees C, there is a strong eddy offshore with surface waters at 21 degrees C. Near Darwin, the sea surface has already reached 31 degrees C plus. Yet there will be patches of cooler weather that will hide the real trend.

That the present increase of temperature outpaced the worst case scenarios is something bad, but that they could outpace my own dire calculation, say we're in deep shit.

And bollocks to the climate change deniers... We can't wait for them to come to terms with the problem and come on board. They never will, even if their pants are on fire...

2025 before 2032

There... I am going to take the plunge and tell it like I see it, if we want to tackle climate change before we loose our pants by 2032.

By 2025:

1) ground transport to be "public" transport. Private "cars" to use renewable (possibly solar) energy only or pedal power. Creation of graveyards or mothball-grounds for fossil-fuel driven cars, SUVs  and heavy trucks(recyling: too warming costly)

2) air travel to be reduced to "essential" minimum. Air Ambulances, firemen, etc. Politicians allowed 3 local trips a year — no overseas junkets. Reduction of numbers of politicians.

3) tourism to be fully restructured — transformed into a new format in which less is more, local visit on foot or bicycle, or virtual. No exception.

4) heavy industries to be scaled down to less than 15 per cent of present activity.

5) heavy transport reduced to "essentials' only, including foodstuff.

6) employment to be sustained by light industries, using renewable energy, producing mostly renewable energy units.

7) reduction of consumerism to bare minimum. "Essentials" only. Heavy penalties for failure to comply to strict new code

8) human population on Earth to be arrested below 7 billions then decreased to below 5 billions by natural attrition.

9) preservation of ALL forest PRESENTLY (2009) existing. Replanting new forests with local indigenous species. minimisation of forest fires by careful watch and naturally hastened recycling of forest litter into soil.

10) electronic means used for business communications (conferencing). No travel allowed.

11) All electricity used in homes to be from personal renewable-energy units.

12) gas use limited to 1 hour per household, for cooking only, daily. (gas fire nore efficient that wood fire)

13) sea transport making use of wind to 70 per cent of energy requirement. Highly controlled and heavily reduced traffic.

14) apart from reforestation, efficient alternatives for carbon dioxide capture to be put in place.

15) money market being public use only. Total restructuring of fairer allocation of social means.

16) ban of genetically modified food stuffs.

17) food production to be more efficient, more local, less industrialised, employing "more" hands.

18) entertainment to be more local and public

19) armies to be reduced by 80 per cent across the board.

20) New political institutions set up for control and administration, relying mostly on the good will of world citizens.

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All this would stablise CO2 emissions below those of 1930, possibly arresting the rise of temperature at about 2 degrees C above average for years to come till 2100. Although a rise of 2 degree C will have devastting efects, the effects wont be 'catastrophic". If we don't follow these 20 points (more could be added), a rise of at least 6 degree C by 2100 is inevitable. That would be "catastrophic" on a scale unimagined. Be prepared.

We can produce more per acre...

From above:

16) ban of genetically modified food stuffs.

17) food production to be more efficient, more local, less industrialised, employing "more" hands.

 

From the US, The American Conservative:

 

The government’s monopoly on meat regulation began in 1906, when in response to public panic resulting from the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, Teddy Roosevelt signed legislation mandating federal meat inspections. Today, Salatin claims that agricultural regulation favors multinational corporations such as ConAgra and Monsanto because the science that supports the USDA regulatory framework is paid for by these corporations, which give large grants to leading agricultural academics. “The research coming out of the land-grant universities is a mouthpiece for the corporations,” says Salatin, who argues that conventional models don’t account for energy consumption: “We can produce more per acre on a fifth of the fuel as the industrial food system.”

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I don't rest my case... More can be said...

super storms...

Millions of flood-hit survivors of devastating Typhoon Ketsana waited desperately for aid and braced for a new super storm on Thursday as the disaster's death toll climbed to 383.

One of the most destructive storms in recent years, Ketsana wreaked havoc in the Philippines over the weekend then strengthened over the South China Sea to batter Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.

The Philippines early this morning raised the number of confirmed dead from Ketsana to 277, Vietnam to 92 and Cambodia to 14, while aid groups said 10 people were missing in Laos.

In Manila, nearly 700,000 people swamped makeshift government-run shelters amid fears that a storm east of the Philippines could develop into a 'super typhoon' and lash areas still reeling from Ketsana.

"We are dealing with a very strong typhoon, so we should be at the highest level of preparedness," state weather bureau spokesman Nathaniel Cruz said as Typhoon Parma churned towards the Philippines, with landfall expected Saturday.

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Meanwhile:

September was the hottest September on record in Sydney (150 years of records) and was the driest for six years with less than 10 per cent of its average rainfall. October started wih a 33 degree C max. Today the max temperature is 2 degree C below average while the min temp is 3 degree C above average.

junkyard power...

The extraordinary true story of a Malawian teenager who transformed his village by building electric windmills out of junk is the subject of a new book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind.

Self-taught William Kamkwamba has been feted by climate change campaigners like Al Gore and business leaders the world over.

His against-all-odds achievements are all the more remarkable considering he was forced to quit school aged 14 because his family could no longer afford the $80-a-year (£50) fees.

When he returned to his parents' small plot of farmland in the central Malawian village of Masitala, his future seemed limited.

But this was not another tale of African potential thwarted by poverty.

Defence against hunger

The teenager had a dream of bringing electricity and running water to his village.

the beginning of dust....

On the plains of Marsabit the heat is so intense the bush seems to shiver. The leafless scrub, bleached white by the sun, looks like a forest of fake Christmas trees. Carcasses of cattle and camels are strewn about the burnt red dirt in every direction. Siridwa Baseli walks out of the haze along a path of the dead and dying. He passes a skeletal cow that has given up and collapsed under a thorn tree. A nomad from the Rendille people, he is driving his herd in search of water.

He marks time in seasons but knows that it has not rained for three years: "Since it is not raining there is no pasture," he says. Only 40 of his herd of sheep and goats that once numbered 200 have survived. Those that remain are dying at a rate of 10 every day.

Already a herder before Kenya's independence he has never seen a drought like this.

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see image at top.

climate change tourists...

A Swiss resort is offering climate change hiking trips to show the changes in the landscape scientists say are the result of global warming.

Mobile phones with GPS show the area as it once was, but melting and retreating glaciers have caused huge changes to the area - not least flooding and landslides.

Imogen Foulkes reports from the Swiss resort of Grindelwald.

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see image at top.

urgency is needed...

Scientists hope weather data from 18th Century ships' logbooks will throw new light on how the climate has changed in the past 200 years.

A new UK project is digitising nearly 300 Royal Navy captains' logs from voyages dating back to the 1760s.

They include the voyages of Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle, Captain Cook's log from HMS Discovery and Captain Bligh's journal from The Bounty.

The logbooks will be available on the National Archives website next year.

But scientists are already transcribing the data as part of a project led by the University of Sunderland.

Detailed records

The logbooks contain detailed records of weather in the oceans, which were updated daily or even hourly by senior officers.

There are measurements of wind speed and direction as well as temperature and pressure recordings. As time went, on the measurements became more instrumented and accurate.

The logs are proving to be a vital tool for modern day climate researchers, who are using them to build up a picture of weather patterns in the world at the beginning of the industrial era.

The researchers are cross referencing the data with historical records for crop failures, droughts and storms and will compare it with data for the modern era in order to predict similar events in the future.

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May you spread the word that global warming requires urgent , strong and immediate action. Becasue it does. In 15 years there won't be any window of opportunity as the "sun would have come back online" (more solar activity) and the delay in implementing anything will have stuffed up any change of limiting the damages. One day I will explain in detail how climate and climate change works. Meanwhile do your own study, reduce your consumption and protect trees...

fist fight about warming...

What happened to global warming?

 

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down.

These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles.

Professor Easterbrook says: "The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."

So what does it all mean? Climate change sceptics argue that this is evidence that they have been right all along.

They say there are so many other natural causes for warming and cooling, that even if man is warming the planet, it is a small part compared with nature.

But those scientists who are equally passionate about man's influence on global warming argue that their science is solid.

The UK Met Office's Hadley Centre, responsible for future climate predictions, says it incorporates solar variation and ocean cycles into its climate models, and that they are nothing new.

In fact, the centre says they are just two of the whole host of known factors that influence global temperatures - all of which are accounted for by its models.

In addition, say Met Office scientists, temperatures have never increased in a straight line, and there will always be periods of slower warming, or even temporary cooling.

What is crucial, they say, is the long-term trend in global temperatures. And that, according to the Met office data, is clearly up.

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Gus: : The correlation between warming and CO2 in the atmos is near enough parallel... As we add ppms of CO2 in the atmosphere, we increase the opportunity of warming... As we belch ppms of CO2 from our factories, cars planes, as we have forest fires, as we cut down the carbon sinks in the trees but replant not enough to make for the difference, as the sea becomes more acidic from more CO2 capture, yet captures less and less as it heats up or become "saturated", we are doubling our chances of frying by 2100.

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PM warns of climate 'catastrophe'

 

The UK faces a "catastrophe" of floods, droughts and killer heatwaves if world leaders fail to agree a deal on climate change, the prime minister will warn.

Gordon Brown is to address the Major Economies Forum in London, which brings together 17 of the world's biggest greenhouse gas-emitting countries.

Mr Brown will say there will be "no plan B" if agreement is not reached at December's UN summit in Copenhagen.

Negotiators have 50 days to save the world from global warming, he will add.

Beijing has been shrouded in dust

Beijing has been shrouded in orange dust as a strong sandstorm blew hundreds of miles from drought-struck northern China to the nation's capital.

The authorities have issued a level-five pollution warning and urged people to stay indoors.

In Tiananmen Square, clouds of dust obscured monuments and visitors wore masks to avoid the dust and soil.

The storm has already caused havoc in Xinjiang, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei regions and is heading to South Korea.

Residents of the South Korean capital, Seoul, as well as those in central and western regions, have been advised to stay indoors.

'Improving situation'

By Saturday, the storm had spread over an area of 810,000 sq km (313,000 sq miles) with a population of 250 million, state news agency Xinhua reported.

It was expected to last until Monday, the meteorological agency said in a statement on its website.

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see picture at top and article below it...