Tuesday, January 03, 2017
PROOF of global warming(!)
A delightful article below by Thomas Levenson, a professor of science WRITING. He applies his writing profession to explain and prove global warming. It's a long article with a lot of initial throat-clearing but rather than bother with the superficialities there, I reproduce below just his attempt to get down to tintacks in a 3-part argument. But that argument is very simplistic and in fact falls at the first hurdle.
1). He begins by harking way back to the original Arrhenius experiment to prove that CO2 does cause warming. I could argue with that but I won't. As is usual with Green/Left writing, far more important is what Levenson omits.
He omits to tell us that Arrhenius gives us no figure on HOW MUCH warming a given amount of CO2 will cause. That figure is called the climate sensitivity and what the figure is, is a matter of great dispute. There are both theoretical and empirical grounds to believe that the figure is small and that global warming is therefore of trivial importance and may even be undetectable. That is my position and the position of most climate skeptics. So the whole Warmist argument falls at that hurdle. Without a solid figure for climate sensitivity, the baneful effect of CO2 is mere speculation.
2). Levenson goes on to tell us that CO2 has risen a lot in the last century. It has. But so what? We cannot conclusively tie any degree of warming to it
3). His third point is that human beings emit a lot of CO2. But again, so what?
Levenson points to various climate facts but ignores the one crucial issue. So he proves nothing. Amusing that he tried though. That's more than most Warmists attempt
Here are some key facts about humankind’s impact on the earth’s climate. Taken together they form a bedrock of understanding for which any attempt to dispute the global warming picture must account.
The founding insight can be traced back to a precise place and time: Stockholm, Dec. 11, 1895, when Svante Arrhenius stood before the Swedish Academy of Science to present his paper "On the Influence of Carbonic Acid upon the Temperature of the Ground." (Carbonic acid is now better known as carbon dioxide.) Arrhenius began by recalling how his predecessors had shown that the gas is transparent to visible light — the sun shines perfectly happily through all the CO2 between it and the earth’s surface — but absorbs energy at longer wavelengths of light — infrared radiation, what we feel as heat.
Arrhenius then took this basic physical insight and used it to build a picture of a planetwide process. He showed that "if the quantity of carbonic acid [in the atmosphere] increases in geometric progression, the augmentation of the temperature [at the earth’s surface] will increase nearly in arithmetic progression" — which is to say, more carbon up there leads directly to more heat down here. He went on to discuss a possible link between CO2 levels and the ebb and flow of ice ages — and he even noted the possibility that burning coal or other fossil fuels might affect the carbon content of the atmosphere.
There it was: One hundred and twenty years ago physicists and chemists already knew that atmospheric CO2 molds global climate. There was and is no disagreement on this. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. It allows visible light to penetrate the atmosphere, and it acts as a blanket, keeping heat from radiating back out into space. This knowledge does not depend on any indirect measurements, assumptions, or elaborate numerical analysis. Rather, it emerges directly from the extremely well established basic understanding of the behavior of atoms and molecules.
The second piece of the puzzle is equally solid. We know how much carbon is in the atmosphere; we know that its concentration is going up; we know by how much. This isn’t a case of argument-by-proxy, an attempt to reconstruct a record through pollen deposits or tree ring data or what have you (though such methods are powerful tools to extract information from the past). There is no question about these facts — because, more than 50 years ago, a guy climbed a tall mountain to find out.
In the mid 1950s, Charles Keeling was a postdoc in geochemistry at Caltech. While there, he built the first instrument that could accurately measure CO2 concentrations in atmospheric samples. He tried his new device out on trips around California, but it was only when he moved to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography that was able to begin an experiment that has outlived him. Beginning in 1956, Keeling and his successors have measured atmospheric CO2 at an observatory high on the flanks of Mauna Loa, one of the two giant volcanoes that dominate the Big Island of Hawaii. There is nothing there to confound the work — no smokestacks, cars, anything. The graph that records what they’ve found over six decades is now called the Keeling Curve — and it is unequivocal.
One of the first things Keeling saw was a jigsaw trace tracking the change of the seasons. As plants grow in the land-rich Northern hemisphere in spring and summer, they grab CO2 out of the air. In winter, as leaves die and fall, some of that carbon gets released back into the atmosphere. As one of the obituaries that followed his death in 2005 put it, Keeling "had discovered that the earth itself was breathing."
But such small fluctuations can’t hide the overall trajectory. When Keeling first began his measurements, carbon dioxide accounted for 310 parts per million of the atmosphere. Since then, each year has seen an increase, drawing a curve that is pretty close to a line pointing ever upward. As of April 13, 2016, the Mauna Loa observatory counted 408.70 parts per million of CO2.
That’s just the way it is: a number that corresponds to a real quantity out there in nature. Like the figure for acceleration due to gravity at the earth’s surface (about 9.8 meters/ second squared) or the chemical composition of water (two atoms of hydrogen bound to one of oxygen), it’s not subject to debate. It’s not an article of Trump’s (or anyone’s) belief. We live on a planet that until recently sported 310 parts per million of carbon dioxide as a thermal blanket — and now has more than 400. Any debate about global climate begins from that unvarnished, unchallengeable reality.
The third beyond-dispute fact about climate change concerns who’s responsible for that rise in atmospheric CO2.
Human society excretes a lot of carbon. The numbers are somewhat less precise than the Mauna Loa measurements — but they’re still based on direct observation. A number of different agencies and research centers collect the various data sets on industrial activity, power generation, deforestation, and the like. In 2014, all that work put together tallied 35.9 billion tons of CO2 produced by burning of coal, oil, and gas, plus or minus a small variance. Land use changes added another 3.3 billion tons of the gas per year over the last decade, though here the uncertainty is larger — plus or minus 1.8 billion tons. (There are other greenhouse gases for which good estimates of human production exist — notably methane — but CO2 remains the single largest culprit in the climate change story.)
From Arrhenius’s first musings about the impact of human action on climate, the key question was whether any possible carbon sinks — especially the oceans — could absorb both natural sources of CO2 (volcanoes, forest fires, and the like) and that released by everything people burn. Now we know — thanks to Keeling’s observations — that the answer is no. The oceans do absorb some of the annual production of CO2 from both natural events and what we produce, but the way we live now creates an excess of carbon that overflows all such natural reservoirs.
These three facts: Atmospheric carbon dioxide regulates temperature at the earth’s surface, its levels have been and are continuing to rise, and human beings are behind that increase — lead directly to a simple conclusion. All else being equal, human action is driving a global process that will create and likely already is leading to a warmer world.
Everything else isn’t equal, of course. The global climate system is intricate, difficult to untangle, tricky to measure, and home to plenty of uncertainties. But here’s the nub: Any claim that the world isn’t getting hotter now and won’t warm in the future can’t rely on just one scrap of information or another. It has to make a bigger argument — some coherent account of why ever increasing amounts of carbon produced directly by human activity won’t end up where at all our basic understanding of how nature works suggests it should.
So, when Ted Cruz argues that all of climate science is a hoax because one piece of information — squinted at just right — suggests a gap in the warming record, he’s not thinking like a scientist. Instead, he’s making a lawyer’s case, pounding the table for the defense. That’s fine work as rhetoric; we’re trained through cultural understanding and uncounted hours of TV courtroom drama to see cases turn on each individual piece of evidence. "If the carbon don’t fit, you must acquit" and all that.
But that’s not how science works, not when studying climate or anything else. A century ago, Albert Einstein produced his General Theory of Relativity, a radical conception of gravity that displaced Isaac Newton’s version. Yet Einstein’s theory didn’t erase all the successes the older idea had in explaining the motions of everything from the moons of Jupiter to tides here on Earth’s tides. That’s why one of the first calculations Einstein performed to test his new idea was to see if it could reproduce Newtonian results at the appropriate scales. Even the greatest discoveries don’t invalidate older knowledge. Rather they frame such prior ideas within their newly emerging picture.
Much of contemporary science has accumulated into a deep understanding of the natural world that is inconvenient for the leading Republican candidates for president. Willed ignorance is a disaster for climate policy in particular. It is worse as an approach to science in the public sphere. For centuries, human curiosity led us to the point where we know so much; it would be good — more, it may well be a matter of survival — to put all that knowledge to use.
The war against climate alarmism is over, and we won it
It just needed one person in a position of power to declare that the emperor had no clothes for the whole fantasy to fall apart -- and Trump has done that
There won’t be a formal surrender, there will be no armistice or cease-fire, there will be no shell-shocked soldiers staggering out of bullet scarred bunkers with their hands raised high waving white kerchiefs and there will be no trials for crimes against humanity for the genocide committed in the developing world, but it’s over.
They’ll just continue to melt away as the murderous craze drifts further into political irrelevance and what will be looked back on as yet another moral aberration of the it’s all about my feelings generation and the politics that pandered to it.
Politically, the whole thing is dead in the water and has been for some time. Global warming is at the bottom of everyone’s list of concerns even if it makes an appearance on the list at all, and we’ve just been through a year-long presidential campaign where it was barely mentioned. Trump being elected as president will be its long overdue coup de grâce, though not in the form of a bullet through the head but rather a knife cutting through its financial umbilical cord down which flow the government grants, concessions and loan guarantees that keep it alive.
For me, being a small part in stopping the harm it was doing if only by a week or two was always the modest ambition, and any idea of punishing those responsible for inflicting needless cruelty on the most vulnerable people on the planet I always knew was never going to happen. I always hated them, always wanted to beat them but at the same time always knew they’d escape any sort of punishment, and that is the way things have worked out. My anger towards them still burns incandescent, but I will not allow it to overrule my reason.
No ending of war is ever that neat and tidy, and any notion of just deserts or some kind of balancing out of cruelties in the real world is a self-indulgence reserved only for those innocent of its callous realities. Punishment, if it ever occurs, will be in their afterlives, if perchance there should be such a thing.
I’ve done the best part of a decade in it, doing in recent years some things above the waterline like this blog and some other stuff well below it, not one of which I regret. For me, it was initially intended to be a quickie, my last war, because in one form or another, I’d seen too many of them but you do get sucked in, and once you go over a certain event horizon, you’re committed and have to see the thing through.
Like most skeptics, that event horizon was when you reached a point where you knew that by going any further off the orthodoxy reservation, you were going to lose friends and be disappointed in people you formerly respected as they hurriedly distanced themselves from you in fear. You were about to learn all about being shunned, both professionally and personally, and that when it came to a “climate criminal” like you, all the rules of civilised behaviour didn’t apply.
You’d become some sort of new age nigger of a freshly unenlightened twenty-first century, of whom anything could be said and to whom anything could be done, just short of actually lynching us though some of them would if they’d the guts to go further than anonymous verbal threats. To compound the jollies, you quickly found out you were going to be adopted as some sort of Saul on the road to Damascus convert by a variety of fringe loonies, all of whom were a bit higher up the insanity scale than a Grand Wizard of the KKK and just as unpleasant.
In the face of that amount of hate, you needed to cultivate not only some fortitude but a pretty robust sense of humour.
On the plus side, you made some new friends who were also engaged in the same push back against what was presented as a massive consensus. Though different in their own approaches to the conflict, they’d all passed over their own particular event horizon, and for the grand reward of not a penny but a lot of pretty vile abuse, soldiered on through the hard years. As Churchill said, when you’re going through hell, keep going, and they did.
It’s when you see people under that amount of stress and still doing the lonely courage thing, you’ll see the worst or the best come out of them. The abiding thing I’ll always take away from my time in the climate wars is I had the honour to serve in the company of heroes and heroines. They were and still are the right stuff.
We’re now in better years, times have changed and alarmism is in various stages of implosion around the world. In some like the USA and UK, it’s a corpse on the receiving end of copious amounts of makeup larded on with a trowel by the legacy media in an effort to kid people there’s still life in the thing, in others such as Europe and the Antipodes the alarmists are aware that though it’s not quite over, the writing is on the wall. They’re busy stuffing their pockets with as much cash as they can get their hands on before the big cleaver comes down on the easy money that used to flow from government coffers.
For some time it’s seemed plain to me that we were engaged in the endgame, they were in a self-destruct spiral downwards and it was just a matter of not interrupting its progress to a satisfactory conclusion, since the passing of time and the momentum of the forces that favoured our side have been irresistible for some years, and are by now unstoppable.
We were certainly a factor in its demise, but not as big a one as some people in the daily fray of the thing might think. After what was a hard start nearly a decade ago, it was just a matter of letting it play itself out.
The big learning to take away from the skeptic campaign was that it was waged primarily on the internet. The legacy media had not only bought into climate alarmism because it offered a non-stop stream of dramatic headlines, but the supposed cure for the non-problem was in essence a social re-engineering of western society along lines that agreed with their overwhelming liberal or outright socialist leanings.
It was information war posing as journalism and as with all infowar, any viewpoint opposing the official line had to be denied any means of expression. No platform for deniers, so we created our own ones.
The response by skeptics scattered around the world was to use the only means of communicating their message that wasn’t under the control of government or hostile media conglomerates – the internet. The elements of what was a diffuse and disconnected opposition independently came up with that way to break the information blockade that there was an alternative narrative available on the dangers or not of global warming.
An unexpected but in retrospect an obvious product of what I suppose you’d have to call the emergent behaviour of the internet, was the gradual creation of a skeptic community centered about a few blogs, their contributors, commenters and readers. A lot of mainline science and technology practitioners gravitated anonymously into that community, but you’d have to nail them to a cross before they’d ever admit it. Certainly in some quarters we were the furtive equivalent of science porn in the early years.
As it turned out, we played the infowar game a lot better than the opposition, helped in no large part in that our content had an element only rarely present in theirs – the truth, and a truth which could genuinely be argued about by the commentators under the blog piece. When you’re paid absolutely nothing for your efforts, there’s no way to exert pressure on you by the legacy media and its owners, so you can just tell it as you see it.
What’s vital though, is that without a free and unrestricted internet, our views would never have been heard.
We pioneered campaigning using primarily the internet because we had to, and Trump presented with the same problem of an overwhelmingly hostile media, did in essence the same with very little usage of a legacy media which could be guaranteed to distort his message.
We merely bypassed the legacy media, but he’s practically made it obsolete. Since people no longer trust them, they’re now the walking dead.
“Hottest Year Evah” Update
Supposedly 2016 was the banner year for global warming. So what has it brought?
Arctic sea ice extent finishes the year at the level of the last few years:
NH snow extent was at the second highest on record this autumn:
Greenland’s ice sheet has been growing at a phenomenal rate:
Hurricane activity for the last 12 months has been normal:
The US tornado season has been one of the quietest on record:
US wildfires have been below the 10-year average:
The decline in Central England temperatures since the peak a decade ago continues:
Rainfall in Australia continues to defy the drought doomsters:
Sounds pretty much like any other year to me!
SOURCE (See the original for links and graphics)
UK: The great green guzzler con
Shortly before midday on March 16, 2016, Richard Whittemore opened the gate of a 20-acre field near Plaistow in West Sussex to find a scene of devastation.
The babbling stream that flows through it had become a glutinous slick of black, toxic sludge.
He knew exactly what it was. The same thing had happened nine months earlier: a massive chemical spillage from the huge ‘green’ energy plant at the neighbouring Crouchland Farm, subsidised each year with millions of pounds from taxpayers.
In all, the spill, rich in poisonous ammonia, contaminated 70 of Mr Whittemore’s acres. In the following days, 28 of his pregnant ewes perished, along with 35 lambs and the fish and other wildlife in the stream for a distance of several miles. The Environment Agency warned that children and animals should stay well away from the polluted water.
‘Part of my reason for farming is to enjoy the countryside, and to work with animals,’ Mr Whittemore said yesterday. ‘To have this happen twice in a year was shattering. I felt like giving up.’
The toxic spill came from an anaerobic digester (AD), one of a fast-growing fleet of industrial machines that turn food and agricultural waste into methane, which is then fed into the national gas grid.
Their supporters claim they are a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly way of producing gas to heat homes while curbing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Anaerobic Digester and Bioresources Association (ADBA), the industry’s lobby group, they will lead to ‘stable energy prices, fewer carbon dioxide emissions, and a financial saving for homes and businesses across the country’.
But the reality is this supposedly green energy source comes at a heavy cost to taxpayers and to the environment it is supposed to protect. An investigation by this newspaper has revealed that:
There is a massive shortage of food and farm waste, which ADs were originally supposed to use as ‘feedstock’. They rely increasingly on specially-grown crops from prime arable land, such as maize and sugarbeet.
New Government figures show that in June 2016, a staggering 131,000 acres of UK land were being used to grow maize for ADs – an increase of 50 per cent in one year. Environmental experts say maize is extremely destructive, permanently damaging soil.
Toxic spills from ADs are common and fast increasing. According to the Environment Agency, ADs caused 12 ‘serious pollution incidents’ in 2015 – a rise of more than 50 per cent on the previous year.
ADs don’t just leak, they sometimes explode. In 2014, an AD blast at Harper Adams University in Shropshire destroyed a huge containment tank and the building housing it, showering the surrounding land with tons of toxic slurry.
ADs making gas for the grid suck up £216 million a year in taxpayer-funded subsidies, making their gas more than three times as expensive as that from conventional sources – money that could be spent on the NHS or schools.
The Plaistow AD has been operating without planning permission since 2013 and faces a planning demolition order – yet in that time has received some £5 million in subsidy.
A Government ‘Impact Assessment’ warned last March that ‘agricultural crops are … not a cost effective means of biomethane production’. Crop-fed ADs might reduce emissions – but only at a cost many times higher than that of burning equal quantities of fossil fuel.
Ecotricity, owned by green multi-millionaire Dale Vince, says it wants to increase the number of ADs producing gas for the grid tenfold, by building 1,000 new plants. Construction of the first, at Sparsholt in Hampshire, is imminent.
The burgeoning AD gas industry is a relatively late addition to the ‘green’ energy scene. The first, small-scale plants, fed mainly by farm waste, did not ‘inject’ gas into the grid but burnt it to generate small amounts of electricity. About 400 of such plants have been built.
However, in 2011, the Coalition government introduced the Renewable Heat Incentive – a subsidy that made it profitable to build much bigger ADs to make gas for the grid, despite their enormous running costs. The first gas-to-grid plant came on-stream that year.
They rapidly took off. In December 2015, there were 70 gas-to-grid ADs, and now there are 86, prompting ADBA chief executive Charlotte Morton to comment: ‘Green gas has gone mainstream… Biomethane-to-grid is a real success story for the Renewable Heat Incentive.’ According to Ms Morton, AD gas heats 170,000 homes.
Others have long been more critical. Before his untimely death in 2016, the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Professor David MacKay, warned: ‘Biofuels can’t add up.’
Farming and processing their feedstock took up so much energy that it almost cancelled out the energy they might produce, so that overall, ‘biofuels made from plants deliver so little power I think they are scarcely worth talking about’.
The AD planned for the Agricultural College in Sparsholt illustrates what he meant. According to Ecotricity, the gas it makes will have an energy output of 49,000 megawatts per year – enough to heat 4,000 homes.
But this, according to the firm’s calculations, will require 60,000 metric tonnes of feedstock from grass and rye to be grown on 3,000 acres of farmland and transported to the site. The AD will occupy 13 acres – an industrial site in the middle of exquisite countryside, the size of seven football pitches.
Growing and harvesting the feedstock, and shipping it to the plant, will consume vast quantities of fossil fuel, mainly diesel.
As well as gas, ADs produce ‘digestate’, which weighs 85 per cent as much as the original feedstock. (Diluted, this can be used as a fertiliser.) To keep the Sparsholt AD operating, every year loads totalling 60,000 tons must be shipped in, and 50,400 tons shipped out.
According to Sparsholt campaigner Stewart Wooles, the 110,400-ton total is the same weight as two ships as big as the Titanic – ‘all being driven through the lanes of Hampshire every year’.
In its planning application – fiercely resisted by residents – Ecotricity admitted that the AD would trigger 12,792 separate vehicle movements a year, mainly tractors pulling trailers, on the narrow local roads – a recipe for traffic chaos.
Mr Wooles said: ‘Ecotricity claims it can get all its feedstock from a 15km (nine mile) radius. I very much doubt that, because they do not yet have a single contract with local farmers for supplying it, and another nearby AD is having to source its feedstock from many times that distance.
‘But even taking them at their word, transporting loads to and from the AD will consume 220,000 litres of diesel a year. That much in a family car would get you the distance to the moon and back five times.’
Yet still the plant is officially classed as ‘green’. John Constable, director of the Renewable Energy Foundation, said that provided it is ‘registered’ by April, Ecotricity can expect to receive £2.43 million a year from taxpayers, on top of about £1 million from selling its gas to the grid. The subsidies mean AD gas costs about three-and-half times as much as that from fossil sources.
Ecotricity and Sparsholt College declined to comment to the MoS, claiming all these issues had been dealt with by the planning process.
Critics say ADs cause problems other than traffic. According to the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), they can provide some local employment, but overall do damage to the local economy: ‘Pubs, hotels, stables, shoots, B&Bs, campsites, wedding venues and any parts of the tourism sector are adversely affected by the smell, the unsightliness and the traffic of a large-scale AD.’
A CPRE report on crop-fed digesters in the West Country added: ‘The countryside around the digesters is becoming an extension of the industrial nature of the AD sites themselves to the detriment of public amenity, the environment and the long-term welfare of the soil.’
In 2016, the Soil Association told the parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee that the area of land being diverted into growing AD feedstock would be enough to produce two billion loaves of wholemeal bread. Growing maize, it added, was ‘subsidised soil destruction’.
In December, the new department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that from April the subsidy per unit of gas would increase. But henceforth, it added, it would only be payable on half a new AD’s output if all its feedstock came from crops. The new policy may jeopardise Mr Vince’s plans to build 1,000 new ADs, although ADs that register before it comes into force will not be affected. Here again, Ecotricity declined to comment – although it continues to trumpet its ‘green gas’ campaign on its website.
Elsewhere, those who live near existing plants must continue to grapple with their consequences. Richard Whittemore farms rare breeds of grass-fed mountain sheep and Highland cattle. On the day of the March 2016 toxic spillage, caused by a flood of liquid digestate from one of the AD’s several open lagoons, he had 500 ewes due to give birth in a fortnight, and had been relying on the field’s lush grazing to feed them.
He was forced to sell almost 400 at knockdown, ‘fire sale’ prices, along with several bull calves. In all, the leak cost him £54,000 – for which he has not been compensated. The earlier leak in June 2015 also forced him to sell 400 animals and the cost was even higher, about £60,000.
Yet the Plaistow AD, run by Crouchland Biogas, has been refused planning permission and is currently subject to an order to demolish it – a decision the firm intends to appeal against in April. It is also covered by a separate order saying it must not truck in feedstock maize – which it still continues to do, in loads that sometimes total hundreds of tonnes per day.
Astonishingly, neither this nor the spillages have affected its subsidy. According to a BEIS official, the subsidies were still being paid ‘because biomethane is being produced’.
The fact that the plant did not have planning permission was a matter for the local authority.
Crouchland’s spokesman insisted the plant was ‘lawful’, saying its planning status would finally be determined at a public inquiry in April. He claimed it was opposed only by a ‘handful of our neighbours who continue to campaign against our farm’. In fact, the planning inspector has so far received 450 individual submissions opposing the plant and a 1,050-signature petition – and just five letters supporting it.
Australia: Big storm in June 2016 in Sydney area
Some extensive excerpts below from an end-of-year climate report by shifty Peter Hannam, environmental reporter for the Leftist Sydney Mourning Harold. In a possible example of a Trump effect, Peter for once mentions "climate change" not once! Is he losing the faith?
Out of all the weather in the whole vast continent of Austraila, the only extreme weather event Peter could find to mourn in the whole year was a big mid-year storm in Sydney that caused a lot of beach erosion. But storms that cause beach erosion are old hat in Eastern Australia, including places just North of Sydney like Byron Bay. Note the following quote:
"Since settlement, the Byron Shire coastline has endured a long history of large coastal storms and coastal erosion and as a result suffered major losses to its dunal system. The properties that lie along Belongil Beach have lost significant portions of their land as the relentless effects of the ocean have eroded away its foredune."
So beach erosion proves nothing. It's routine.
Peter then goes on to temperature, heading his subsection: "Record breaking heat". And Peter goes on to give a careful selection of statistics about temperature. And its all laughs from then on.
The one thing he does not give is the actual maximum temperature for Sydney 2016. He just says vaguely: "40-degree readings". But those readings were all in Western Sydney, far from the sea, where it is always hotter. From what I can gather, coastal Sydney stayed BELOW 40.
He then goes on to say: "Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures"
Note that date, 1858. Convenient. You can prove almost anything by choosing your starting point. Watkin Tench in 1790 was at least as good a scientist as many modern meteorologists -- he didn't "interpolate" [guess], for instance -- and he recorded a maximum temperature in coastal Sydney of 108F (42C). Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
See here and also here for a confirmation of Tench's observations
But the funniest bit of all is Peter's link to a study by dear little Acacia Pepler. I have for many decades had the habit of going back to the original text of anything quoted. And it has been my impression previously that Acacia has got more honesty in her than most BoM personnel -- maybe because she is still a student. And she did not disappoint this time. She was just using rubbishy models -- as they all do -- but reported a run that others -- I suspect -- would have quietly hidden away.
I give the Abstract at the foot of Peter's eructation. She actually predicts a DECREASE in big storms! Pesky! And big East Coast storms are actually Acacia's area of expertise. So Peter certainly gave me a few laughs today.
The storm was generated by a monster east coast low, arguably the state's most significant weather event in 2016, if not Australia's.
In its special climate statement on the event, the Bureau of Meteorology list the tempest's remarkable features. For NSW, it dumped an average of 73.11 millimetres of rain along the state's coastline, the most ever for a single day for any month, beating the previous high set on January 19, 1950, of 68.89mm.
The scale of this mid-latitude cyclone also stretched further, from Queensland to Tasmania, where it broke the Apple Island's drought with record rains.
Also, to underscore the tropical features of the event, all previous storms approaching the amount of rain dumped on eastern NSW had occurred during summer rather than the start of winter, and were linked to tropical cyclones or former ones.
As with other big natural events, social, economic and environmental impacts have lingered long after the storm. Insured losses alone were about $250 million. It has also laid bare vulnerabilities, particularly for coastal communities, of the more intense storms expected as the climate warms. The challenges facing governments include trying to boost resilience and adaptability for residents in a manner that's fair and foresighted.
While major east coast lows have hammered the coastline previously, such as in 1974 and 1978, impacts are likely to worsen with climate change, researchers including Acacia Pepler, a bureau climatologist and UNSW scientist, have found.
For one thing, a warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture – 7 per cent more per degree of warming – and therefore dump more rain. The impact of storms on coasts will also likely be made worse by rising sea levels, with storm surges riding on a higher base.
For Sydney, 2016 had other noteworthy weather, perhaps none more so than the outstanding warmth even if heatwave peaks weren't as frequent as the summer of 2013-14.
As parts of Sydney closed out 2016 with their first 40-degree readings of the summer, the year's last burst of heat was a fitting end to the city's hottest year on record, Weatherzone says.
Sydney will notch its highest readings since reliable data gathering began in 1858 for each of the main measures: for minimum, mean and maximum temperatures.
For day-time temperatures, the city's average day in 2016 will come in at about 23.8 degrees, and nights about 15.5 degrees, Weatherzone estimates. The bureau will release its assessments next week.
For perspective, it's as if Sydney's average year-round conditions matched those of a typical November.
Compared with long-run average, days were about 2 degrees warmer than normal and nights 1.5 degrees. Should similar anomalies by overlaid on 2016 in future years – an increase within the bounds of projected climate change – year-round temperatures would start to feel like a typical December.
Looking back over the year, Sydneysiders might be forgiven for thinking 2016 was not a remarkably hot year – the last few days notwithstanding.
The city did set a few high marks, including the hottest April day on record with 34.2 degrees set on the 6th. December 14 was another standout with its warm minimum of 27.1 degrees, the hottest overnight temperature for the month but the second for any month.
But generally few months set new high marks and autumn was the only season to do so for mean, minimum and maximum temperatures. The average of day and night temperatures easily eclipsed the previous high set in 2014 by 0.4 degrees, the bureau says.
Projected changes in east Australian midlatitude cyclones during the 21st century
Acacia S. Pepler et al.
The east coast of Australia is regularly influenced by midlatitude cyclones known as East Coast Lows. These form in a range of synoptic situations and are both a cause of severe weather and an important contributor to water security. This paper presents the first projections of future cyclone activity in this region using a regional climate model ensemble, with the use of a range of cyclone identification methods increasing the robustness of results. While there is considerable uncertainty in projections of cyclone frequency during the warm months, there is a robust agreement on a decreased frequency of cyclones during the winter months, when they are most common in the current climate. However, there is a potential increase in the frequency of cyclones with heavy rainfall and those closest to the coast and accordingly those with potential for severe flooding.
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Posted by JR at 1:30 AM