Thongchai Thailand

THE EXTREME WEATHER EVENTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Posted on: January 30, 2021

The deadly weather events of 2020 overshadowed by COVID-19 | World Economic  Forum

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A CLIMATE COUNCIL REPORT ON THE EXTREME WEATHER IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN AUSTRALIA PRESENTED IN A YOUTUBE VIDEO. THE POST IS IN THREE PARTS. PART-1 IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE LECTURE IN THE YOUTUVE VIDEO. PART-2 IS THE TEXT OF THE AUSTRALIA CLIMATE COUNCIL REPORT CITED IN THE VIDEO. PART-3 IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE LECTURE AND THE CLIMATE COUNCIL REPORT. THE YOUTUBE VIDEO APPEARS BELOW.

PART-1: TRANSCRIPT OF THE YOUTUBE VIDEO LECTURE

On January 4 last year, a suburb in Sydney’s west was officially the hottest place on earth. Just four weeks later Sydney was pounded with more rain in 4 days than in the previous 6 months. Australia has always been a country of extreme weather but the climate council report finds the frequency of extreme weather events is increasing and so is the cost of the damage. {displays chart showing cost data}: The cost of extreme weather in Australia has risen to $35 billion in the past decade (2010-2020) {blogger’s note on inflation: $100 in 1970 $1,193.06 in 2020}.

The report also says that Australia probably crossed a tipping point in last summer’s fires which burned more than 20% of the country’s forests.

INTERVIEW WITH WILL STEFFEN:

THE LADY ASKS: Will Steffen, your analysis makes grim reading in documenting what is already happening like the ??hading penrus??, last summer’s bushfires, and something called ??flak drought??. ??Your forth?? suggests worse events that we were expecting at lower temperatures?? WILL STEFFEN ANSWERS: Yes that’s right, the report shows in fact that the last two years have been remarkable for extreme weather around Australia. Penrus was the hottest place on earth for one day. We saw the third mass bleaching event of the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone in Eastern Australia for certain remembers the bushfires of 2019-2020. And during 2020 we had massive coastal erosion along northern New South Wales, and into Queensland. All of these events are at the upper end and beyond the upper end of what we were expecting at 1.1C temperature rise (since pre-industrial?). So this is basically showing us that Australia is more vulnerable to the extreme weather events that are being fueled by climate change. More vulnerable than we thought even 5 or 10 years ago.

THE LADY ASKS: It does suggest we’re going to have to take drastic steps faster exactly as we were warned ten years ago. WILL STEFFEN ANSWERS: That’s exactly right. We were warned 10 years ago that if we wanted to meet what turned out to be the lower Paris target of 1.5C, we had to start gettiing emissions down during this past decade. We didn’t do that. That means that it is virtually impossible that we can hold temperature rise to 1.5C. So that brings the 2C target into question already. 2C is going to be a pretty difficult climate to live in, but even that means that we cannot afford any more delay. THE LADY ASKS: How does that compare with the targets that the government and the opposition are talking about. It’s basically a doubling of the reduction task, isn’t it? WILL STEFFEN ANSWERS: That’s correct. The present target is 26% to 28% emission reduction by 2030 from 2005 levels. That’s far far too weak. When we just analyzed what the targets ought to be given the Paris Agreement, at the very minimum we need to cut our emissions by 50% by 2030 (5% per year) from 2005 levels not 26% to 28%. That means we need to get them headed down quite strongly by 2025. Covid has given us a bit of a boost here in 2020 and emissions have gone down by 6% or so, but that was because of the pandemic not because of climate action so we need to build on this and keep reducing our emissions as we go through this decade and beyond. THE LADY ASKS: What does it mean for the government’s so called gas led recovery? WILL STEFFEN ANSWERS: There is absolutely no room for the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. That’s absolutely clear. To meet these Paris targets to get the emissions down 50% by 2030 we have to rapidly reduce our use of fossil fuels – coal, gas, and oil – and that means you simply can’t expand any of these industries if you know that you’ve got to reduce then by 20% in just one decade – that is a massive task ahead of us. THE LADY ASKS: Finally, what would Australia look like with temperatures that were 3C higher than they are now. WILL STEFFEN ANSWERS: A {+3C world since pre-industrial} is a pretty frightening one when you actually start looking at it in any detail. Extreme heat would be beyond anything we are experiencing now – what we call extreme heat between 35C and 40C might be considered a cool day during the summer with a 3C temperature rise. The Great Barrier Reef would be gone. The forests would probably burn as soon as they grow back. In fact we wouldn’t get many forests they would be converted to savannas or grasslands. The droughts, what we’re experiencing in the Southwest and the Southeast, in our major agrocultural zones, is very likely to be much more severe. And that means that we may become a food importer rather than exporter. It will be really tough to grow the food that we need. When you think about it, this is a world where you can absolutely and positively say is a “collapse scenario” cannot be ruled out. This is going to be a really really tough world just to live in – let alone survive in any sort of reasonable sense. THE LADY ASKS: A very depressing outlook, thank you Will Steffeb: END OF VIDEO.

PART-2: THE TEXT OF THE CLIMATE COUNCIL REPORT

LINK: https://www.climatecouncil.org.au/resources/new-report-australia-takes-massive-financial-hit-from-climate-change/

THE COST of extreme weather in Australia has more than doubled since the 1970s, and totalled $35 billion over the past decade, a new Climate Council report has found. The Climate Council’s report is called Hitting Home: The Compounding Costs of Climate Inaction. “There is no doubt that we have entered an era of consequences arising from decades of climate inaction and delay,” said lead author and Climate Council spokesman, Professor Will Steffen. And it is going to get worse. By 2038, extreme weather events driven by climate change, as well as the impacts of sea-level rise, could cost the Australian economy $100 billion every year,” said Professor Steffen. For Australia, the devastating Black Summer fires, a crippling drought, and yet another mass bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef highlight our acute vulnerability to climate impacts. “Australians are five times more likely to be displaced by a climate change-fuelled disaster than someone living in Europe. In the Pacific, that risk is 100 times higher,” said Professor Steffen. “The regional impacts of climate change will profoundly undermine Australia’s national security. Unlike most other wealthy countries, Australia is in a region with many densely populated, near-neighbour, developing countries that are highly vulnerable to climate change,” said the former United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Dr Robert Glasser. REPORT KEY FINDINGS: The latest science projects that (1) by 2100 annual deaths from extreme heat worldwide will outstrip all COVID-19 deaths recorded in 2020. In 2019-20, we ushered in a new and dangerous era of megafires that ravaged Australia, Brazil, Siberia and the US West Coast. We are on track to eliminate all of Australia’s and the world’s tropical coral reefs. Climate-related hazards have affected six times more people in the Asia-Pacific than in the rest of the world combined. Ignoring climate change is deadly. Australians are now paying the price for our own and the world’s failure to reduce emissions quickly enough or deeply enough. We need bold, concerted action across all levels of government, business, industry and community to reduce Australia’s emissions to net zero as soon as possible and prepare for worsening extreme weather events. Because many climate impacts are already locked-in, we must learn to live in a new era of drought, floods, and megafires. It’s equally clear that far greater dangers lie ahead if we fail to act with the urgency and determination that the science demands, said Dr Glasser. No developed country has more to lose from climate change-fuelled extreme weather, or more to gain as the world transforms to a zero-carbon economy, than Australia does, said Professor Will Steffen. Over the coming decade, Australia must aim to at least halve its emissions, and reach net zero by 2040 at the latest. The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community. For further information, go to: climatecouncil.org.au

About Will Steffen: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/07/the-holocene-is-the-anthropocene/

Will Steffen: The Age of the Anthropocene - YouTube

PART-3: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

(#1): The analysis of global warming and global climate action in terms of Australian emissions and Australian temperatures is not possible. Australia’s fossil fuel emissions are less than 1.5% of global emissions, well within the error margin in the global emission estmate thought to be 10% or greater. Therefore it is not possibe to relate forecasts of global mean temperature based on Australia’s fossil fuel emissions. A meaningful analysis in this context must relate global mean temperatures to global fossil fuel emissions.

(#2): The global warming targets of 1.5C and 2C do not relate to warming from the present nor from 2005. It relates only to warming “since pre-industrial“. In the IPCC version of this issue, the term pre-industrial is a reference to the year 1850 so that the 1.5C and 2C warming targets are from 1850 to the target year. The IPCC science also says that we have already warmed a little more than 1C since pre-industrial. This means that the 3C warming target since pre-industrial will be breached when we warm another 2C from today and the 2C target will be breached when we warm another 1C from today. A further complication in this issue is that although climate science must be studied in terms of warming since pre-industrial there appears to be some confusion as to exactly when that was and what the temperature was back then. In their first report, the IPCC had determined that the pre-industrial year was 1760 but in their very next report, the pre-industrial year was brought forward by 90 years to 1850 and it is still 1850 in IPCC publications. However, eminent climate scentist James Hansen and NASA GISS have determined that the pre-industrial year was 1950. The problem here may be the ETCW issue in climate science, the Early Twentieth Century Warming anomaly where climate science is unable to relate temperature to atmospheric CO2 until 1950 or later. It is likely for this reason that the reference pre-industrial year is 1950 at NASA GISS and also in the works of James Hansen. In this case, the “warming since pre-industrial” is a reference to warming since 1950.

(#3): Yet another consideration is that these temperatures are a reference to global mean temperature. How that relates to Australian temperatures is not known because of the complexity imposed by internal climate variability. Consider that Australia constitutes 1.56% of the surface area of the world and 5.37% of the world’s land area. Although a relatively large country in comparison with other countries, it is rather insignificant in matters that relate only to global mean temperaures and global emissions. As described in a related post: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/16/the-internal-variability-issue/ , the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) relates rising global mean surface temperature (GMST) to rising global atmospheric CO2 concentration as a logarithmic function in terms of the equilibrium climate sensitivity parameter (ECS). This relationship is understood only in global terms, or for signficant latitudinal sections thereof, and only over long time spans longer than 30 years. In a related post we show that the stability of the ECS climate sensitivity, on which the theory of AGW is based, can be found at time spans of 60 years or more; LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/01/22/empirical-sensitivity/ . If these constraints are violated, surface temperature dynamics can no longer be understood in terms of AGW because internal climate variability dominates under constraints of limited geographical extent and brief time scales. Details of the internal climate variability issue provided in a related post linked above.

(#4): In view of the information presented in item#3 above, we propose that it is not possible that temperature events or short term temperature dynamics geographically limited to Australia can be understood in terms of AGW. This means that the theory of AGW does not contain information for making temperature forecases for Australia at decadal time scales as proposed in the video by Will Steffen.

(#5): The claims made in the video and in the climate council report with respect to rising destructive impacts of AGW in terms of forest fires, droughts, and high temperatures are made in terms of the cost of extreme weather in Australia. We are told that the cost of extreme weather events in Australia has doubled to $35 billion in the past decade (2010-2020). It is not clear that the financial impact reported is proportional to the extent of the extreme weather event in question because because inflation data is not taken into consideration in this comparison. In fact, this comparison is made over a period of high inflation such that $100 in 1970 is equivalent to $1,193 in 2020. If over this period the cost of extreme weather only doubled, it does not imply rising damage due to extreme weather. It actually implies declining damage due to extreme weather.

(6): No rationale is provided for the attribution of these extreme weather events to anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Although the internal climate variability issue would make it almost impossible to present such attribution with a any degree of certainty, at the minimum, climate science requires that such attribution should be supported by what is called an “Event Attribution” study. This procedure was initially created by the UN to set guidelines on which extreme weather events in poor countries (non-Annex countries) should receive compensation from rich countries (Annex-1 countries). The procedure involves the use of climate models to estimate the probability of the event with (P1) and without (P0) global warming. The probability that the extreme weather event can be attrbuted to AGW is computed as P=(P1-P0)/P0. The extreme weather event is then considered fundable if P>0.5. Details of this procedure are provided in a related post: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/07/10/event-attribution-science-a-case-study/ . Although a purely bureaucratic tool of the UN to have some way to determine whether extreme weather events are fundable, the procedure was adopted by climate science as “Event Attribution Science” as a method of identifying extreme weather events that can be attributed to AGW. It is a flawed device but such an event attribution study is considered a minimum requirement for the attribution of extreme weather events to AGW. Neither the video nor the climate council report provides the relevant information on how event attribution was made in the cases where extrme weather events in Australia are attributed to AGW. It appears therefore that the mere fact that an extreme weather event occurrred at a time of AGW is taken as evidence that it was a creation of AGW. If so all such attributions can be rejected on this basis as creations of supersition and confirmation bias: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/27/superstitious-humans/ . THAT AN EXTREME WEATHER EVENT OCCURRED DURING A PERIOD OF GLOBAL WARMING IS NOT EVIDENCE THAT IT WAS CAUSED BY GLOBAL WARMING.

(7): A reference is made by Will Steffen to a destruction of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) by way of AGW. It is noted in this context that the GBR is located in a known highly active geological area with extensive heat sources in the ocean floor below in terms of submarine volcanism, mantle plumes, and hydrothermal vents. Ocean temperature dynamics in such areas cannot be understood purely in terms of AGW. Therefore, such attribution to AGW requires a heat balance analysis to make that attribution. It is also noted that not just the GBR but most coral reefs we see today are not unique to this warming cycle but have lived through and survived all previous warming and cooling cycles of the Holocene as well as the intense warming in the first millennia of the previous interglacial. The assumed role of humans as caretakers and preservers of coral reefs seems to be an extension of the assumed role of humans as planetary managers that forms the foundation of the Anthropocene theory of which Will Steffen is an active proponent and which we propose is a creation of the Bambi Principle of environmentalism where humans are not part of nature but its masters and caretakers. LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/08/history-of-coral-reefs/ .

Bambi

POSTSCRIPT#1: WILL STEFFEN’S ANTHROPOCENE ACTIVISM; LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/12/07/the-holocene-is-the-anthropocene/

POSTSCRIPT#2: GLOBAL WARMING DATA

WARMING RATE FOR EACH CALENDAR MONTH FOR TEN GLOBAL REGIONS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: TROPICS-LAND, TROPICS-OCEAN, NORTHERNEXTENT-LAND, NORTHERNEXTENT-OCEAN, SOUTHERNEXTENT-LAND, SOUTHERNEXTENT-OCEAN, NORTHPOLAR-LAND, NORTHPOLAR-OCEAN, SOUTHPOLAR-LAND, SOUTHPOLAR-OCEAN. AUSTRALIA IS IN THE SOUTHERNEXTENT-LAND ZONE.

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  • chaamjamal: Thank you for your input
  • Ruben Leon: When your mind is made up you ignore the data and try to justify the bias you acquired as a juvenile and never questioned. The fact that the Antar
  • chaamjamal: Thank you for raising these interesting points. We live in strange times. Some day we may figure this out.
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