Friday, March 23, 2012

Good news, bad news

SMH: The good news is that the US National Intelligence Council thinks "a water-related, state-on-state conflict is unlikely during the next 10 years". The bad news is that after ten years, all bets are off: "as water shortages become more acute beyond the next 10 years, water in shared basi[n?]s will increasingly be used as leverage [...] The use of water as a weapon or to further terrorist objectives also will become more likely beyond 10 years". Full report here.

CP: March Madness. The recent North American heatwave is breaking a record-breaking number of records. Between the 9th and 19th of March more than 4,000 US heat records were broken, and only something like 113 cold records, a ratio of about 35 to 1 (the average ratio since 2000 in the US is 2.04:1). Some places set March records higher than April records, some had daily low temperatures that broke previous daily highs, and some had old records broken by as much as 17ºC.

HuffPo: 21stC oil will break the bank and the planet.

Asian Development Bank Says Climate Migration Poses Growing Threat: "In a new report, the bank says more than 42 million people in the region were displaced by environmental disasters over the past two years alone. In 2010, it said, more than 30 million people were displaced, some permanently, primarily by devastating floods in Pakistan and China."

NYT: OECD warns of ever-higher greenhouse gases. This is what we're headed towards without a significant change of direction.

CP: Do trees have rights? Revisiting The Lorax.. In a certain sense, they already do, at least under US law.

SEI: Valuing the oceans: "climate change alone could reduce the economic value of key ocean services by up to 2 trillion USD a year by 2100". I'm more than a little sceptical about such attempts to place an economic value on ecological realities, since they obscure the fact that the economy is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment. The damage we are doing to the oceans is not simply to be measured in missing dollars, but in broken lives, lost species, a weeping Creator.

Wit's End: Tropospheric ozone - blighted trees, breathing difficulties and pernicious corruption of science. The atmospheric pollution you probably haven't heard much about. This is not the "ozone layer" (stratospheric ozone), in which ozone molecules are precious and save our bacon from frying, but surface level ozone, which is an altogether different and nastier beast: "health costs due to global ozone pollution above pre-industrial levels by 2050 will be US$580 billion (year 2000$) and that mortalities from acute exposure will exceed 2 million."


byron smith said...

CD: Expect water wars soon. As usual, CD has a slightly more alarmist spin on this water story, though they include more quotes from and about the report than the SMH.

byron smith said...

Planet3: Record number of records? The precise number of records broken seems to be slightly different in different sources.

byron smith said...

The Conversation: Water desalination made better. Some interesting developments here. Hope they continue to improve since cheaper (in terms of both $ and energy) desalination technology could be a very important piece of the puzzle in the next few decades.

byron smith said...

OECD: Ground-level ozone.

"Urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation."

byron smith said...

Guardian: Attribution of US heat wave. I note in passing that the number of records since 12th March is now more than 7,000.

byron smith said...

Climate Central: An interactive feature allowing you to explore the records set in the recent heatwave.

7,271 records were set or tied for the warmest daytime high temperature at a weather station.
7,156 records were set or tied for the warmest nighttime low temperature at a weather station.

During the same period, only 852 cold records were set, an overall ratio of almost 17:1.

byron smith said...

Michael Tobis: What just happened. An extended discussion of the recent US heatwave and its implications. Very helpful.

I also note this fascinating new study on the effect of a melting Arctic on northern hemisphere weather, which tries to offer a rationale for why we might expect such events.

byron smith said...

CP: March US heatwave, a final roundup of stats and quotes.

byron smith said...

CP: I thought the prev link was the last one, but NOAA have released more data on the US March heatwave.

• Warmest US March on record.
• 15,272 warm temperature records broken (7,755 daytime records, 7,517 nighttime records).
• 21 instances of the nighttime temperatures being as warm, or warmer, than the existing record daytime temperature for a given date.
• heat records crushed cold records by over 35 to 1.
• March 2012 was 8.6 degrees F above the 20th century average for March and 0.5°F warmer than the previous warmest March in 1910. Of the more than 1,400 months (117+ years) that have passed since the U.S. climate record began, only one month, January 2006, has seen a larger departure from its average temperature than March 2012.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Resources depletion, Chinese expansion and future conflict.

byron smith said...

Jeff Masters: Another set of US heat records tumble in a further 2012 heatwave.

byron smith said...

Guardian: Why global water shortages pose threat of terror and war.