Climate Change - Prof Michael Bird
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Climate Change - Prof Michael Bird






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  • <br />
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  • Source EPA <br /> <br />
  • Derived from salinity time series – evaporating water is getting saltier, precipitating water is getting fresher <br /> Fig. 5. (a) The 1950–2000 climatological-mean surface salinity. Contours every 0.5 pss are plotted in black. (b) The 50-yr linear surface salinity trend [pss (50 yr)−1]. Contours every 0.2 are plotted in white. Regions where the resolved linear trend is not significant at the 99% confidence level are stippled in gray. (c) Ocean–atmosphere freshwater flux (m3 yr−1) averaged over 1980–93 (Josey et al. 1998). Contours are every 1 m3 yr−1 in black. <br /> Durack, Paul J., Susan E. Wijffels, 2010: Fifty-Year Trends in Global Ocean Salinities and Their Relationship to Broad-Scale Warming. J. Climate, 23, 4342–4362. <br />
  • Seidel et al. (2008) Widening of the tropical belt in a changing climate doi:10.1038/ngeo.2007.38 <br />
  • Changes in average temperature for Australia for each year (orange line) and each decade (grey boxes), and 11-year average (black line – an 11-year period is the standard used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). Anomalies are the departure from the 1961-1990 average climatological period. The average value for the most recent 10-year period (2002–2011) is shown in darker grey. <br /> Increase in annual average daily mean temperature from 1960 to 2011 (in °C). Most of Australia has experienced warming over the past 50 years, with some areas experiencing warming since 1960 of up to 1 °C. <br /> Each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. <br /> Australian annual average daily maximum temperatures have increased by 0.75 °C since 1910. <br /> Australian annual average daily mean temperatures have increased by 0.9°C since 1910. <br /> Australian annual average overnight minimum temperatures have warmed by more than 1.1 °C since 1910. <br /> 2010 and 2011 were Australia’s coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events. <br /> In the past 12-month period a large number of temperature records have fallen across Australia including: <br /> Australia’s hottest summer day on record (7 January) <br /> Australia’s warmest winter day on record (31 August) <br /> Australia’s hottest month on record (January) <br /> Australia’s hottest summer on record <br /> Australia’s hottest January to August period on record <br /> Australia’s warmest 12-month period on record <br />
  • The rate of sea-level rise around Australia as measured by coastal tide gauges (circles) and satellite observations (contours) from January 1993 to December 2011. <br /> Global average mean sea level for 2011 was 210 mm above the level in 1880. <br /> Global average mean sea level rose faster between 1993 and 2011 than during the 20th century as a whole. <br />
  • April to September (autumn and winter) rainfall deciles from 1997 to 2011 for Australia (a decile rainfall map shows whether the rainfall is above average, average or below average for the most recent 15-year period, in comparison with the entire rainfall record from 1900). Areas of highest on record and lowest on record are also shown. <br />
  • Unprecedented = state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability <br />
  • <br /> Australia generates about 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, on a per capita basis, Australia is one of the world&apos;s largest polluters.  

For the year to June 2012, our national inventory emissions per capita were about 24.4 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per person. Only a few countries in the world rank higher — Bahrain, Bolivia, Brunei, Kuwait and Qatar. <br />
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  • Kahan, Dan M. and Peters, Ellen and Dawson, Erica Cantrell and Slovic, Paul, Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government (September 3, 2013). Available at SSRN: or <br /> respondents performed wildly differently on what was in essence the same basic problem, simply depending upon whether they had been told that it involved guns or whether they had been told that it involved a new skin cream. <br />
  • doi:10.1038/nature12540 <br /> Mora et al., (2013) The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability <br /> Tropics go first because climate varibility in a lot of it tends to be low, so its easier to recognize when you are out of the previous bounds. <br />

Climate Change - Prof Michael Bird Climate Change - Prof Michael Bird Presentation Transcript

  • Anthropogenic climate change: an update Michael Bird Earth and Environmental Science and Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) James Cook University
  • outline • What does the latest IPCC report say the future holds for us all? • What does anthropogenic climate change mean for us here (in the tropics)? • What happened to climate change as a political issue?
  • IPCC - temperature • x
  • IPCC - temperature • x
  • IPCC - oceans • Ocean warming dominates the increase in energy stored in the climate system, accounting for more than 90% of the energy accumulated between 1971 and 2010 (high confidence). • The global ocean will continue to warm during the 21st century. Heat will penetrate from the surface to the deep ocean and affect ocean circulation.
  • IPCC - oceans • The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence). • Over the period 1901–2010, global mean sea level rose by 0.19 [0.17 to 0.21] m. • Under all RCP scenarios the rate of sea level rise will very likely exceed that observed during 1971–2010 (range 0.26 -0.82m to 2100)
  • IPCC - ice • Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence). • It is very likely that the Arctic sea ice cover will continue to shrink and thin and that Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover will decrease during the 21st century as global mean surface temperature rises. Global glacier volume will further decrease.
  • IPCC - water • Changes in the global water cycle in response to the warming over the 21st century will not be uniform. • The contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will increase, although there may be regional exceptions.
  • IPCC – the future
  • Us - in general… • The tropics have expanded by 1-3˚ latitude N and S since 1979, as determined by several measures • ‘poleward movement of largescale atmospheric circulation systems, such as jet streams and storm tracks, could result in shifts in precipitation patterns affecting natural ecosystems, agriculture, and water resources.’ – Seidel et al., 2008 Lucas et al. (2013) The expanding tropics: a critical assessment… WIREs Clim Change doi: 10.1002/wcc.251
  • Us - temperature • • • • Each decade warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. average daily mean temperatures have increased by 0.9°C since 1910. 2010 and 2011 were Australia’s coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events. It will get hotter and there will be more extremes of temperature
  • Us - temperature • Williams et al. (2003) ‘Extinction rates caused by the complete loss of core environments are likely to be severe, nonlinear, with losses increasing rapidly beyond an increase of 2°C...’ (and then there’s the GBR…)
  • • Sea levels will increase • Storm surges will have more impact • Coastal erosion and inundation will be more prevalent • NQLD has seen faster rates of rise than average
  • Us - water • Intensification of the water cycle may not change amount of rain too much, but variability will increase as will extremes • Maybe not more cyclones, but more intense cyclones
  • Us – it will happen sooner… • Mora et al. (2013) world will move to ‘unprecedented climates’ between 2047 (low emissions) and 2069 (high emissions) • ‘will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change.’
  • Not our problem? • Australians are high per capita GHG emitters
  • And finally… • There is overwhelming scientific consensus as to the reality of anthropogenic climate change John Cook et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024
  • But… • Nothing I say will change your mind.. • How do we decide our position? – Science comprehension theory – Identity-protective cognition theory • Kahan et al. (2013) ‘subjects…use their quantitative-reasoning capacity selectively to conform their interpretation of the data to the result most consistent with their political outlooks’
  • Questions?