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Climate - May 20

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Study Says Global Warming Not Worsening Hurricanes

Associated Press via NY Times
Global warming isn't to blame for the recent jump in hurricanes in the Atlantic, concludes a study by a prominent federal scientist whose position has shifted on the subject.

Not only that, warmer temperatures will actually reduce the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic and those making landfall, research meteorologist Tom Knutson reported in a study released Sunday.

In the past, Knutson has raised concerns about the effects of climate change on storms. His new paper has the potential to heat up a simmering debate among meteorologists about current and future effects of global warming in the Atlantic.
(19 May 2008)


Climate Change and Tropical Cyclones (Yet Again)

Rasmus Benestad & Michael Mann, Real Climate
Just as Typhoon Nargis has reminded us of the destructive power of tropical cyclones (with its horrible death toll in Burma-around 100,000 according to the UN), a new paper by Knutson et al in the latest issue of the journal Nature Geosciences purports to project a reduction in Atlantic hurricane activity (principally the 'frequency' but also integrated measures of powerfulness).

The close timing of the Knutson et al and Typhoon Nargis is of course coincidental. But the study has been accorded the unprecedented privilege (that is, for a climate change article published during the past 7 years) of a NOAA press conference. What's the difference this time? Well, for one thing, the title of the paper: "Simulated reduction in Atlantic hurricane frequency under twenty-first-century warming conditions" (emphasis added).

... Given these considerations, we would argue that coastal homeowners, insurers, the re-insurance industry, and every other potential stakeholder in this debate would be wise not to take false comfort from the notion (which the headlines resulting from this paper will inevitably feed) that climate change poses no future Atlantic hurricane threat. In fairness to Knutson et al, they do explicitly point out that their projected decrease in frequency is mostly coming from the weak end of the TC [tropical cyclones] intensity spectrum.
(18 May 2008)


Zones of death are spreading in oceans due to global warming

Jonathan Leake, UK Times
Marine dead zones, where fish and other sea life can suffocate from lack of oxygen, are spreading across the world’s tropical oceans, a study has warned.

Researchers found that the warming of sea water through climate change is reducing its ability to carry dissolved oxygen, potentially turning swathes of the world’s oceans into marine graveyards.

The study, by scientists from some of the world’s most prestigious marine research institutes, warns that if global temperatures keep rising there could be “dramatic consequences” for marine life and for humans in communities that depend on the sea for a living.
(18 May 2008)


Riverland businesses in crisis as Murray drought drags on

Adelaide Advertiser
THE Riverland is facing an unprecedented economic crisis as the lack of water in the River Murray system leads to a dramatic contraction in business.

... The crisis in the Riverland's once-mighty irrigation industries is taking a horrific toll.

More and more Riverland families are struggling to put food on the table as spending tightens.

Shop owners across the Riverland said yesterday that all towns were feeling the impact of the downturn in the irrigation industries.

... Many growers have their properties on the market but there are few, if any, buyers.

Employment has declined dramatically, welfare problems are rapidly worsening and a greater number of people seek work outside the region.
(20 May 2008)
EB contributor Michael Lardelli writes:
This article is about the irrigated fruit-growing region of South Australia but it could just as well be about what will happen to farming districts remote from cities as oil declines.


Animated map brings global climate crisis to life

Jeremy Lovell, Reuters
A new animated map of the earth from space illustrates the potential impact of climate change over the next century and can be viewed on your computer.

The project, Climate Change in Our World, is the result of cooperation between web search engine Google, Britain's environment ministry and the country's Met Office.

Based on Google Earth which uses NASA satellite images, viewers can run a time lapse series to watch the earth warm under medium case scenarios up to 2100 either from a planetary perspective or zeroing in on countries and even cities.

... See the new animated map at Earth Outreach KML: Climate Change In Our World
(19 May 2008)


Climate booklet from National Academies

National Academies
Announcing the 2008 Edition of "Understanding and Responding to Climate Change." This booklet presents recommendations from the National Academies' many expert reports on climate change in an easy-to-read format. Now in its third edition, the booklet includes an expanded section on impacts and updated figures and graphics
(May 2008)
Downloadable as a PDF.
About National Academies.
About Our Climate Change Activities.

UPDATE (Dec 21, 2010). The pamphlet still appears on the site, together with other information. -BA

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