With winter snow in the northern hemisphere, we tend to forget the heat that summer brings to the southern half of the world. It can get pretty hot down there. The Guardian reports that Australia is entering the third day of another terrible heat wave, remarkable not just for how hot it is, but how much of the country it covers: basically, all of it.
Like most people, I live on land, not at sea. I even live in the northern hemisphere.
Global warming isn’t the same everywhere. In particular, it’s happening faster on land areas than over the oceans. While the globe as a whole is warming at a rate of around 1.7 to 1.8 °C/century over the last several decades, the land areas alone have been warming up more than 50% faster, at about 2.8 °C/century. And of course, not all land areas are warming at the same rate either. On the whole, the northern hemisphere land is warming faster than southern hemisphere land; here in the north we’re heating up at around 3.2 °C/century (for land areas, I like to use the data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project).
One of those things, which happened to come up in conversation recently, is that climate change has its most profound effect on extreme events. Climate change is a change in the probability function (the odds for each possible outcome) of weather, and when you look at probability functions you find that if they change in the way we expect them to, it can increase (or decrease) the chance of extremes by a surprising amount.
Temperature varies, through day and night, from day to day, from month to month, and year to year. The most common way to note its changes is to record each day’s high temperature and low temperature, which has been done at Kremsmuenster, Austria since 1876. Here’s a snapshot of five years of that data, from 2010 through 2014:
A new paper by Risbey et al. examines the so-called “pause” in global temperature, and demonstrates convincingly that it wasn’t a real phenomenon, it was just random fluctuation that can look like a pause all along. I’ve been saying this for some time now. I’m also a co-author on the paper.
‘An idea for storing renewable energy’
was first posted on ccq.org.uk, 25th March 2012
Question “Is it a good idea or barmy?”
1. There are times when renewable energy cannot be used. Sources tell me that 20% or more of wind energy is grounded (i.e. thrown away) because sometimes the generated energy cannot be used. Other renewable sources (solar, wave power) are also intermittent. Biomass is an exception. Continue reading An idea for storing renewable energy (2012)→
I’ve been studying how temperature has changed over the years in the Arctic. The longest record I’ve got is for land areas only, from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which starts way back in 1750:
This was an appendix to Garden Cities and Green Evolutionary Settlements but that’s buried too deep to casually reference. It is reproduced here to show that lifestyles can be affected by a different structure of local finances. I look forward to the Butlins designing Green Evolutionary Settlements to begin the transformation towards more sustainable ways of living.
The report relies on the HadRM3 Regional Climate Model. This may underestimate or omit the effects of certain climate feedbacks which are mentioned on the NERC website:
– reduced sea ice cover – reflecting less of the sun’s heat back out to space, changing ocean circulation patterns
– less carbon dioxide absorption by the oceans
– increased soil respiration
– more forest fires
– melting permafrost
– increased decomposition of wetlands