Posted by Big Gav in global warming
the SMH has a bevy of global warming related articles - first a prediction that this year will be the hottest in recorded history - Scientists tip 2010 as hottest yet.
HE past six months have been Australia's warmest winter-spring period on record and it is likely next year will set global temperature records.
Scientists predict that, whatever the outcome at Copenhagen, Australia must adapt to unprecedented heatwaves.
David Jones, the head of climate analysis at the Bureau of Meteorology, said yesterday that claims by sceptics the planet was cooling were wrong.
Every decade in Australia for the past 70 years had been getting warmer, and this decade has been the globe's warmest so far.
''Clearly global warming hasn't stopped, and it's warming in our backyard,'' said Dr Jones, who was speaking in Melbourne after the release of the World Meteorological Organisation's annual climate statement on Tuesday night.
Apart from temperature records, which have been criticised by sceptics amid the stolen email affair, heating was evident from sea-level rises, disappearing snow and shrinking sea ice, he said. ''The climate system's having the final say.''
Dr Jones said an El Nino event in the Pacific Ocean - linked to hotter, drier conditions in Australia - would have an effect on the world's climate next year. ''There is a significant probability next year will be the globe's warmest year on record.''
The past decade has been the warmest decade too - Past decade the warmest since records began in 1850.
THIS year has been the third-hottest on record in Australia, and is ranked as the fifth-warmest globally.
A report by the World Meteorological Organisation, published last night, concluded that the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the warmest since instrumental climate records began in 1850.
In 2009, only the United States and Canada experienced conditions that were cooler than average. ''Given the current figures, large parts of southern Asia and central Africa are likely to have their warmest year on record,'' the report said.
Published as world leaders gathered in Copenhagen to consider climate change, it highlights extreme weather conditions around the globe this year, including three ''exceptional heatwaves'' in Australia, China's worst drought in 50 years and the wettest October in the US in 115 years.
Andy Pitman, co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW, said this year should have been a cool year because of low solar activity and a recent La Nina weather event. ''The fact it ranked in the top 5 since 1850 is actually frightening,'' he said.
This year's heatwaves in NSW, Victoria and South Australia also did not bode well for next year, Professor Pitman said.
And finally, a look at the "climategate" affair - Climate emails: a dirty war swirls around 'swindle'.
The wall of noise plays into the hands of the vested interests who want to see nothing done. It is used to frighten people whose jobs depend on digging coal or smelting steel.
It has helped deliver a political landscape in Australia, unique in the developed world, where the leader of a major party can now base its climate change policy on the belief that the world seems to be getting cooler.
This, in turn, has taken the pressure off the Government's own questionable climate change policy.
Climate science may be complicated, but it's not rocket science. It is in the public domain, open to informed scrutiny, and it has been there for decades. The self-styled climate sceptics movement - not a term climate scientists approve of - has had ample opportunity to debunk arguments that the world can no longer ignore.
We know that carbon dioxide, some other gases and water vapour trap heat from the sun in the atmosphere. We know this because it can be measured, and replicated in lab experiments. We know that the warming trends we have detected are closely correlated with the rising carbon dioxide content. The computer models used to predict future climate change scenarios take these simple concepts and some other variables, such as solar activity, into account. The reason we know that these models work is that we can model past climate scenarios using the same criteria and match the results up against the existing temperature records. If your model starts with the conditions we know to have been present in the year 1900, and produces the conditions we know to have existed through the 20th century, it is a fair bet it works.
Even if climate models are discounted as evidence, direct observation of the natural world adds to an already compelling case.
We know that the ocean is struggling to absorb carbon dioxide content because we can measure it, and measure its effects on marine life. We can measure the extent of decline in Arctic and Antarctic ice, rising sea levels and melting glaciers. We can measure changes in forests and deserts. We can measure these results against the level of warming that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere leads us to expect, and they match.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded it is 90 per cent certain that the current cycle of climate change is being driven by human activity. It's fifth assessment report, discussed overnight in Copenhagen, will further bolster the evidence. Few scientific theories approach this level of certainty.