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Posts Tagged ‘Hadley Centre

What’s the weather like, honey?

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A couple of articles about our weather prospects.

Let me start with a recent report from Environmental Research Web, part of IOP Publishing.

Nov 24, 2011

Extreme weather will strike as climate change takes hold, IPCC warns

From the Guardian

Heavier rainfall, fiercer storms and intensifying droughts are likely to strike the world in the coming decades as climate change takes effect, the world’s leading climate scientists said on Friday.

Rising sea levels will increase the vulnerability of coastal areas, and the increase in “extreme weather events” will wipe billions off national economies and destroy lives, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the body of the world’s leading climate scientists convened by the United Nations.

Later on the article includes this,

Simon Brown, climate extremes research manager at theHadley Centre, the climate research unit of the UK’s Met Office, said: “This focus of the IPCC on extremes is very welcome as less emphasis has traditionally been given to these phenomena which are very likely to be the means by which ordinary people first experience climate change. Human susceptibility to weather mainly arises through extreme weather events so it is appropriate that we focus on these which, should they change for the worse, would have wide-ranging and significant consequences. This review will be very helpful in progressing the science by bringing together a wide range of studies – not just on the physical weather aspects of climate extremes but also on how we might adapt and respond to their changes in the future.”

Now I turn to last week’s Economist newspaper.

Climate change

The sad road from Kyoto to Durban

The latest UN climate summit says much about why the world is failing to tackle global warming

Dec 3rd 2011 | from the print edition

IN HARD times governments are consumed by short-term problems. But this does not mean the archetypal long-term problem, climate change, has gone away. Science continues to support the case for curbing greenhouse-gas emissions so as to minimise the risks of catastrophe. Meanwhile it is clear how wretchedly the world is failing to do so. Even if countries honour their promises, the UN reckons that by 2020 emissions will exceed the trajectory for keeping warming under 2°C by up to 11 gigatonnes. That is equivalent to more than double the emissions of every car, bus and truck in 2005.

The concluding paragraph reads,

No one should imagine such a deal would turn the tide on climate change. That tide will rise, and countries will need to adapt to a lot of warming. But by acknowledging that everybody has a responsibility to act, it would represent progress.

‘Countries will need to adapt to a lot of warming.’  Tomorrow, I will publish a recent essay on TomDispatch.  As a taster the opening paragraph is,

The good news? While 2010 tied for the warmest year on record, 2011 – according to the U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO) — is likely to come in 10th once November and December temperatures are tallied. In part, this is evidently due to an especially strong La Niña cooling event in the Pacific.  On the other hand, with 2011 in the top ten despite La Niña, 13 of the warmest years since such record-keeping began have occurred in the last 15 years.  Think of that as an uncomfortably hot cluster.

We live in interesting times.

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Copenhagen – that’s clear then.

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Will we ever know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

It’s a week since the start of The United Nations Climate Change Conference – Copenhagen, 2009 and it’s clearly been a media success if nothing else.

My instinct has, for many years, been the assumption that mankind behaves in many ways that harm our environment and that, ultimately, harming the very planet upon which our survival depends could happen.  Stupid, yes!  But in line with some of the more strange behaviours of homo sapiens.

But like millions of people, I do not have either the scientific background or the time available to test the statements made by so many governments and other ‘wise’ bodies as to whether the science of climate change, global warming or whatever, is real and irrefutable.  One thinks that would be relatively easy to do and that after all the years and millions of dollars spent on climate research, the proof would be there.  Cause and effect were perfectly understood.

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Written by Paul Handover

December 14, 2009 at 00:00

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