JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Nature paper: Global droughts unchanged in 60 years

How many images have we seen of drought-stricken cracked land, or been told this is the future? How many headlines have suggested that global warming causes droughts?

Since the end of World War II humans have produced some 85% of all their CO2 emissions, but here is a new study showing that for all those emissions, and for all that warming, droughts back then were just as bad globally as they are today.

Essentially, researchers thought that the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) was the way to measure global drought levels, and they thought that warming would increase global drought conditions. But the PDSI considers only temperature, not humidity, sunlight and wind. This paper shows that when these factors are included, worldwide drought is about the same now as it was in 1950.

Researchers are finally accounting for the fact that a warmer world usually means more evaporation (especially from the ocean) and thus more rain. It’s good to see that someone has crunched those complex numbers on a global scale. Credit to Sheffield, Wood & Roderick.

global droughts

Figure 1 | Global average time series of the PDSI and area in drought. a, PDSI_Th (blue line) and PDSI_PM (red line). b, Area in drought (PDSI ,23.0) for the PDSI_Th (blue line) and PDSI_PM (red line). The shading
represents the range derived fromuncertainties in precipitation (PDSI_Th and PDSI_PM) and net radiation (PDSI_PM only). Uncertainty in precipitation is estimated by forcing the PDSI_Th and PDSI_PM by four alternative global precipitation data sets. Uncertainty from net radiation is estimated by forcing
the PDSI_PM with a hybrid empirical–satellite data set31 and an empirical estimate. The other near-surface meteorological data are from a hybrid reanalysis–observational data set(31). The thick lines are the mean values of the different PDSI data sets. The time series are averaged over global land areas excluding Greenland, Antarctica and desert regions with a mean annual precipitation of less than 0.5mm d-1.

 

The paper notes AR4 was wrong about this too:

“The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summarized the evidence in the following terms: ‘‘More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics. Increased drying linked with higher temperatures and decreased
precipitation has contributed to changes in drought’’.

Figure 2 | Trends in the PDSI and PE. a, c, e,Non-parametric trends for 1950–2008 in annual average PDSI (averaged over the results using the four precipitation data sets and, for the PDSI_PM, also over the two net radiation data sets) fromthe PDSI_Th (a)andthePDSI_PM(c), and their difference (e).b,d, f,Non-parametric
trends for 1950–2008 in annual average PE from the Thornthwaite equation (b) and the PM equations (d), and their difference (f). Values are not shown for Greenland, Antarctica and desert regions with amean annual precipitation of less than 0.5mmd21. Statistically significant trends at the 95% level are indicated by  hatching. The difference in trends in e and f and its statistical significance are calculated from the time series of differences between the two data sets.

It’s good to see this being reported on The Conversation, ScienceNews, and NewScientist. Naturally, this dangerous information could be misinterpreted (unlike most previous drought studies eh?) so caveats are rampant on The Conversation. The caveats take the usual meaningless and vague catch-all approach:” this paper should not be misconstrued as evidence that climate change is not happening” type of warning. Where were these caveat-writers when all the photos of cracked plains were showing on the evening news?

Now we find that “Drought has not been an effective way of measuring climate change over the past 60 years,” he said. [Michael Roderick, The Conversation]

Perhaps that’s because things were a bit circular in drought science?

Roger Pielke Jr of the University of Colorado in Boulder says that since the PDSI uses a formula that assumes higher temperatures cause more droughts, it was hardly surprising that it finds a link.       [ NewScientist]

Kevin Trenberth doesn’t think this new method is right:

Simon Brown of the UK Met Office in Exeter says Sheffield’s analysis is probably right. “There has been a growing acknowledgement that the PDSI should not be trusted when doing climate change studies,” he says. But one of the lead authors of parts of the 2007 IPCC report, Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, is sceptical. He backs work by Aiguo Dai of the State University of New York, Albany, who reported last year that using the Penman-Monteith equation “only slightly reduces the drying trend”.  [ NewScientist]

There are other scientists who are not convinced either:

The finding comes in stark opposition to the results of several recent studies. “It presented a somewhat different view of the drying trend for the last 60 years,” says Aiguo Dai, an atmospheric scientist at the State University of New York at Albany, whose own research suggests that the two equations yield very little difference in drought estimates. Dai says the new study fails to consider trends in soil moisture and other variables. He also claims that the new study relies on outdated weather records and questionable radiation data. However, Sheffield and colleagues attribute the disagreement to inconsistencies in the weather data used by Dai and others.[ScienceNews,]

But if it’s right, the new results may have wider implications:

Sheffield’s findings raise important questions, says Steve Running at the University of Montana in Missoula. “If global drought is not increasing, if warmer temperatures are accompanied by more rainfall and lower evaporation rates, then a warmer wetter world would [mean] a more benign climate.” [ NewScientist]

Actually Fred Pearce at NewScientist has done a respectable job of canvassing opinions from all sides. It’s good to see.

If the paper stands up to scrutiny lets hope the information reaches a wider crowd. If they are right there is 20 years of propaganda to undo.

Little change in global drought over the past 60 years
Justin Sheffield1, Eric F.Wood1 & Michael L. Roderick2

ABSTRACT

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming1–3. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4,5. The simplicity of the PDSI, which is calculated from a simple water-balance model forced by monthly precipitation and temperature data, makes it an attractive tool in large-scale drought assessments, but may give biased results in the context of climate change6. Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation7 that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles8 that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years. The results have implications for how we interpret the impact of global warming on the hydrological cycle and its extremes, and may help to explain why palaeoclimate drought reconstructions based on tree-ring data diverge from the PDSI based drought record in recent years9,10.

REFERENCE

Sheffield, Wood & Roderick (2012) Little change in global drought over the past 60 years, Letter Nature, vol 491, 437

H/t John Coochey, Willie Soon.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.9/10 (42 votes cast)
Nature paper: Global droughts unchanged in 60 years, 8.9 out of 10 based on 42 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/b4m8dyz

76 comments to Nature paper: Global droughts unchanged in 60 years

  • #
    Winston

    I’m so disillusioned, Jo.

    First hurricane and tornado frequency shows no trend of increased severity, then the modern warming period is shown to be of similar or even lesser degree than the MWP and RWP, and now droughts are no more or less frequent or severe than before. Next you’ll be telling me that the Arctic sea ice has melted before and the Ozone Hole is a natural phenomenon!

    What possible excuse will I have now to stop worrying about the vicissitudes of climate and start concentrating on things that actually matter, like poverty alleviation, technological advancement and restoring economic accountability and responsibility?

    How will I ever cope, without a looming climate apocalypse to worry about?


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    • #
      Dennis

      Don’t worry Tim Flannery will dream something up for you to worry about.


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    • #
      J Cuttance

      Winston…the evil thing is there are real environmental problems around that could have been dealt with given a fraction of the resources that have been applied to this imaginary one (declaring and interest here; I’m in pest control for which I’m not suggesting a government agency solution because that is a contradiction in terms)


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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      How will I ever cope, without a looming climate apocalypse to worry about?

      Very well I think.


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    • #
      elva

      The statement that “the science is settled” regarding climate science has to be the most arrogant, irritating and pompous statement of all time.

      Such a statement could never be made in any other area of science…physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, astronomy, engineering, geology, psychology, electronics, computers, optics and any other one could name.

      It is now well acknowledged that 97% of the universe is ‘made’ of unknown (dark=not seen) matter and energy. Surely those who propose to know all there is to know about climate and 100 year forecasts should see they are going far beyond what any other science would dare to suggest.

      The likes of Newton and Einstein would turn in their graves if they could hear such statements of utter certainty never allowed to be challenged.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        … physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, astronomy, engineering, geology, psychology, electronics, computers, optics …

        Elva, Note that none of the above disciplines feel the need to put the word “science” on the end – there is your clue.

        Climate Science comes from the same stable as Political Science and Social Science. Putting the word “science” on the end means that no empiricism is required.


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      • #
        Rereke Whakaaro

        I would also add that Climate Science is not the same thing as Climatology nor Meteorology. If it were, the Climate Scientists would not need to call Climate Science, Climate Science.

        There is obviously a distinction in their minds, and we would do well to make that distinction as well.


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      • #
        observa

        That’s ‘climate seance’ to you lot and it was all settled at the big spiritual kneesup at Copenhagen you ignoramuses.

        You are the sort of people who ignore all the ‘Psychic Expo’ posters up in Adelaide on the weekend wondering why on earth they bother advertising. I know your type only too well.

        As for Winston’s dire problem I’ve just had to give up worrying about global warmening, climate change, extreme weather and dirty weather spiritualism and take up worrying about him now. Some people just don’t seem to care anymore.


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  • #

    Winston
    November 16, 2012 at 6:45 am · Reply

    How will I ever cope, without a looming climate apocalypse to worry about?

    Well if you are a hopeless addict to panic and the “Act now” mantra you could start warning about natural cyclic caused cooling events getting worse due to the cold phase of various cycles synchronising. These will cause poverty without cheap reliable energy and food. For example: http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2012-11/15/content_15933255.htm
    So the obvious global “technological advancement” if CO2 causes warming and increases crop yeilds is to pump up more CO2 now before it is too cold and to late. So if you need to stay in the habit of educating people on the “precautionary principle”, just keep warning how bad things could get if a negative value for carbon emissions is not enforced. Every day we wait is another day of increasing albedo! Just look at Antarctica and the increase in northern hemisphere snow.


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  • #
    James

    .. and may help to explain why palaeoclimate drought reconstructions based on tree-ring data diverge from the PDSI based drought record in recent years

    No way. They are hiding the decline!!!!!


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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      Would you care to elucidate on that rather cryptic comment?


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    • #
      AndyG55

      “No way. They are hiding the decline!!!!!”

      Yep, there probably has been a decline in worldwide average drought severity. But to actually say so would cause uproar in the CAGW, dirty weather, cult.

      Certainly the recent drought in Australia was nowhere near as severe as some other droughts even in our short history. The only reason it caused problems was because of bad planning and the lack of dam construction over many years. Having expanding urban populations without expanding the water storage system, is pretty stupid (brought to you by the Greens, of course, hence the stupidity).

      When will these people understand that a slightly warmer Arctic means less difference to drive weather events, and therefore leads to a more benign average climate.


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  • #
    Evan Thomas

    A note for Jo in particular. Last night Nov. 15 ABC 1 TV Catalyst complete 30 minute program with BOM was devoted to climate change – temps, rainfall, snowfall and sea levels etc. Some of the data was cherry picked. An expert needs to check this program out (was it raw data?), complain to ABC and BOM. Best wishes from a supporter.


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  • #

    I may have had an influence on one local CO2 panicker. Actually got them to buy a 1% CO2 datalogger.
    So now they know that after sunset, every day, ppm outside climbs from 390 – 400, to 425 – 450, and interior levels are rarely below 500 at any time. Baby steps perhaps.


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    • #

      Evan says here:

      … and interior levels (of CO2) are rarely below 500 (PPM) at any time.

      So, let me see if I’ve got this right.

      Inside the home being measured, probably typical of every home, the CO2 content rarely falls below 500PPM.

      Perhaps now we’ll see all those friends of the dirt green followers wanting to ban people from living inside their own homes because of the high CO2 content.

      Oh, how inconvenient that must be.

      Either that, or banning the sale of CO2 dataloggers to private individuals.

      Tony.


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      • #

        Sorry, that should have read ‘Martin says here’ and not Evan.

        Tony.


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      • #

        CO2 Data Loggers.

        Hmm! Very interesting.

        Could be a very handy demonstration device.

        Tony.


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      • #

        Something like this subject that Martin has raised makes you think.

        Let’s see if I’ve got this right now.

        Let’s think for a moment about air conditioning, you know that thing which is being blamed for, well, everything really.

        Here I want you to think not only of home air conditioners, but of every building (in every town or city) that is taller than 2 levels. Think Sydney or Melbourne skylines now as just one image.

        Every one of those buildings has air conditioning, not to keep that building warm in Winter or cool in Summer. The main reason for those (huge) conditioners is to supply a constant circulation of breathing air throughout that building. You cannot just shut them down, even overnight, as to do so would render that building uninhabitable in a very short time, and even if it could be done, it would mean that the following morning the compressors, those huge consumers of electrical power would have to run flat out, probably all day, and virtually doubling the electricity consumption, and costing the owner occupiers of those buildings an added extra fortune in electricity costs, all this to get the inside of the building back down to the set temperature, which remains virtually the same all year round, effectively meaning the inside of those buildings ‘feels’ warmer in Winter and cooler in Summer. Those tens of thousands of buildings are huge consumers of electricity, because of the absolute requirement for that air conditioning, and that is just one reason why the Base Load on those charts I link to every so often is so high, and for 24 hours of every day. You just cannot turn them off.

        So, let’s see now, without that conditioned air being moved around the building, the insides would get stuffy and, as you might expect, the CO2 content would, quite literally skyrocket, and the same applies for home air conditioning as well to a somewhat lesser degree.

        So, in actuality, air conditioning is in fact a good thing. It is removing the high CO2 (dangerous pollutant) content of the inside of that building and replacing it with outside air, (now conditioned) with a considerably lower CO2 content.

        Oh the bitter irony!

        Tony.


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        • #
          Snafu

          I work in a club. We have 2 coolrooms. A small one behind the bar, and a larger ‘main’ coolroom. This coolroom has a CO2 monitor installed. The temp in this coolroom is a constant 6-7C…..the CO2 varies anywhere between 450 – 700ppm……constantly. You can stand there and watch the CO2 meter ‘bounce’ around between 450 – 700ppm – every 20secs or so.


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      • #

        Following up on Tony’s comments:
        One of the problems I experience when talking about CO2 monitoring is the number of people who think I am talking about one of those b***s**t meters you plug in to tell you what your carbon footprint is. When I explain that I have had a CO2 meter for a while, to pick up faulty air-handling, monitoring workplaces, especially confined ones, often the response is something like “ah then you admit that CO2 is a pollutant !!”. Huff puff … in goes 0.04%, out goes 5% …. or if they are fitness fanatics, maybe 6%? More efficient metabolism? Carbon-based life forms on a carbon-based planet.

        On the subject of coolrooms (Snafu above), Australian safety standard AS5034 came into effect in January 2012 and requires all workplaces that dispense beverages using carbon dioxide (CO2) and inert gases to comply with the new regulations, so your club premises comply by the sound of it. I assume the levels bounce due to the door opening and closing, but you’d know if a barrel or feed line sprang a leak.


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    • #
      Myrrh

      I wonder what one of these would show at the station on Mauna Loa..?

      How anyone can claim they can show this unproven idea of “thoroughly well-mixed background” levels of Carbon Dioxide from the top of the world’s biggest active volcano surrounded by constant volcanic production of carbon dioxide from surrounding volcanoes erupting, venting and quaking in the great heat spot creating volcanic islands in warm seas..

      It is anyway a lie that anthropogenic can be differentiated from volcanic – http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

      Both tectonic and volcanic CO2 are magmatic and depleted in both 13C & 14C. In the absence of statistically significant isotope determinations for each volcanic province contributing to the atmosphere, this makes CO2 contributions of volcanic origin isotopically indistinguishable from those of fossil fuel consumption. It is therefore unsurprising to find that Segalstad (1998) points out that 96% of atmospheric CO2 is isotopically indistinguishable from volcanic degassing. So much for the Royal Society’s unexplained “chemical analysis”. If you believe that we know enough about volcanic gas compositions to distinguish them chemically from fossil fuel combustion, you have indeed been mislead.


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Now we find that “Drought has not been an effective way of measuring climate change over the past 60 years,” he said. [Michael Roderick, The Conversation]

    Pray tell Mr. Roderick, what has been an effective way of measuring climate change over the past 60 years?

    Oh, I’m Sorry! Please forgive me. For a minute there I forgot that you don’t know. How silly of me.


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    • #
      AndyG55

      “what has been an effective way of measuring climate change over the past 60 years”

      Using temperatures in ever expanding urban centres, of course. ;-)

      (and then “correcting” them as necessary to show what Hansen et al want this ex-data to show)


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      • #
        gai

        “what has been an effective way of measuring climate change over the past 60 years”

        Using temperatures in ever expanding urban centres, of course
        _____________________________________
        NO, NO!

        The correct way to measure temperatures:
        First use rural areas before the 1950′s
        Second switch to urban areas for the last half of the 20th century
        Third then switch again to airports.
        Fourth drop low reading temperature stations.

        I wish I was joking but alas I am not.http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/on-the-march-of-the-thermometers/


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        • #
          AndyG55

          And don’t forget, because you are using rural temps at the beginning, you have to adjust them downwards. Just ‘because’.!

          I was also implying that many/most rural sites actually got urbanised, which although the UHI effect is clearly identifiable and measureable with thermometers, had absolutely no effect on the particular thermometers at those sites that changed from rural to urban.


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    • #
      Winston

      As you rightly point out- the serial failures of climate computer models show that you can’t quantify “climate”, nor can you seem to attempt to quantify attributable “change” when you believe in “Climate Change”.

      I think that Schrodinger’s cat needs desperately to go to the vet!


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  • #
    Peter Miller

    Al Gore is doing one of his science fantasy love ins for losers today.

    I watched it for about 15 minutes – very slick in parts, in fact, far too slick.

    There was a section claiming how the current drought in the Middle East was definitely caused by global warming – camera pans to some desert sand dunes to help prove the point.

    If you live in the Middle East, one thing you know for sure is that there are droughts and there have been droughts there since before the time of Moses.

    Anyhow, this paper is just another of those inconvenient facts on climate that Gore routinely likes to ignore. It’s amusing to see how alarmists are beginning to think Gore is giving them a bad name.


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    I think we should all remember what really matters in climate change — the models. We must above all else believe the models and not our lying eyes, thermometers or satellite observations. ;-)


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  • #
    JFC

    Well, if AGW is a hoax perhaps you’d better tell Exxon. You know the jig is up when even an oil company concedes there’s a problem. What next, a tobacco company conceding there might be a link between smoking and cancer? What is the world coming to?

    From Peter Sinclair:

    Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington


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    • #
      Winston

      The skeptic position is that Big Oil has always been on the alarmist side, and that representations to the contrary were merely a smear to discredit those who fail to be persuaded by dodgy science. Thanks for just confirming that for us.

      So, now all you need to explain is why Big Oil are in favour of Carbon taxes and ETS’s, if it allegedly is going to speed us away from fossil fuels toward a clean energy future. Could it be that you are being played? Could it be that petrol price rises are actually good for business, and peak oil paradigm is just an excuse to make much more money from a resource that, if it was known how plentiful it was, would be much cheaper?


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    • #
      gai

      The Rockefellers, who own a large chunk of stock, leaned on Exxon.

      (You really ought to check facts instead of accepting the spoon fed propaganda)

      Rockefeller family members press for change at Exxon

      HOUSTON — The Rockefeller family built one of the great American fortunes by supplying the United States with oil.

      Now history has come full circle: Some family members say it is time to start moving beyond the oil age.

      The family members have thrown their support behind a shareholder rebellion that is ruffling feathers at Exxon Mobil, the giant oil company descended from John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil….

      You really ought to follow the Rockefeller money trail.


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  • #
    old44

    Notice that Trenberth is still sticking to the alarmists creed of “if the observations don’t fit the theory then the obsevations are wrong”.


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  • #
    MartinX

    JFC: Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) is part of a growing coalition backing a carbon tax as an alternative to costly regulation, giving newfound prominence to an idea once anathema in Washington

    Sounds about right. They’d rather shift any costs to the consumers than take on the burden of extra regulation. Doesn’t mean they’ve conceded that there’s any “problem” apart from the actual tax and how it’s implemented.


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  • #
    Ross

    OT but reading some of the comments on WUWT about the WUWT TV showing —David Evans gets rave reviews !! Well done David
    ( and the others)


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  • #
    StefanL

    Have the proponents of the PDSI truly ignored the effect of humidity on evaporation rates ?
    If so, they deserve to be stripped of their academic degrees.
    There’s a reason why evaporative air-conditioners work better in Adelaide than in Cairns :-)


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  • #
    Andre Lewis

    I’m confused about the Sydney Morning Herald story today that according to the US National Climatic Data Centre the US is heading for a ‘record warm year’ and the ‘world has warmed by 1.04 degrees above normal’. Surely all the latest reliable data is that the earth is not warming so how can a government body like this put out such statements?


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  • #
    Mattb

    But I thought papers like this were impossible to publish in reputable journals because of a grand pro-AGW conspiracy?


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    • #
      cohenite

      The conspiracy is not a “grand” one matty, merely squalid and petty.


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    • #
      Winston

      I believe the answer to that, Matt, is that without the blogosphere like WUWT, Jo Nova et al “keeping the bastards honest” that the number of such papers that would have found the light of day and been published “in reputable journals” would have been a big fat zero. The integrity of the science is getting better, and results are not wholly filtered through the alarmist prism.

      It seems, unfortunately for you, that skeptic is the new black.


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      • #
        Mattb

        Winston I have to say I was uncomfortable when all the stupid people agreed with me… it is high risk as they say stupid things. You are welcome to them… or should I say the serious skeptics are welcome to have you back.


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  • #
    pat

    EUAs plummet after EU struggles to sell permits
    LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters Point Carbon) – European carbon prices fell nearly 10 percent to a three-month low on Thursday after the EU sold 4 million spot allowances at a steep discount in a poorly attended auction.
    Front-year EU Allowances fell on the news, plummeting from 7.57 euros when the auction ended to as low as 7.06 euros by 1437 GMT.
    Prices then climbed back to 7.25 euros by 1556 GMT, down 67 cents or 8.5 percent on Wednesday’s settlement…
    “Nobody is buying anymore … The people that bid up the price ahead of the EU’s backloading proposal are now not capable of supporting it, and this is a very bad sign,” another trader said…
    Meanwhile, Dec-12 CER prices fell 15 percent to 61 cents – a cent above the all-time low hit on Wednesday – before climbing back to 71 cents at the time of writing.
    http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/reutersnews/1.2060886?&ref=searchlist

    EU delays vote on 1.5 bln-euro clean energy subsidies
    LONDON, Nov 15 (Reuters Point Carbon) – The EU Commission has postponed a decision on which companies should receive 1.5-billion euros in subsidies to help them build renewable energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects across the bloc, EU documents showed…
    http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2061038

    House leaders pledge to oppose carbon tax bills
    WASHINGTON, Nov 15 (Reuters Point Carbon) – Republican leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives said on Thursday they will oppose any efforts to enact a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, a concept that resurfaced after President Obama’s re-election…
    http://www.pointcarbon.com/news/1.2061359?&ref=searchlist


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  • #
    pat

    because of the Govt & Opposition support for the RET, we seem to be sleepwalking into the same future:

    16 Nov: Bloomberg: Stefan Nicola: Munich’s Biggest Power Outage in Two Decades Brings City to Halt
    Munich is recovering from its biggest power failure in two decades, a blackout that affected at least 450,000 customers in Germany’s third-biggest city, halting underground trains and trapping people in elevators…
    Power supply has moved to the center of the political agenda in Germany ever since Chancellor Angela Merkel decided in March 2011 to replace nuclear reactors with clean fossil-fired plants and a growing share of renewable-energy sources. Her government has backed plans to prevent utilities including EON SE and RWE AG (RWE) from closing unprofitable power plants as the nation seeks to safeguard supply…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-15/munich-s-biggest-power-outage-in-two-decades-brings-city-to-halt.html


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  • #
    pat

    16 Nov: Bloomberg: Jim Snyder/Dawn Kopecki FERC Suspends JPMorgan Unit’s Power-Trading Authority
    The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday suspended a JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) unit’s electricity-trading authority, saying it had filed false information to regulators.
    The action, part of a more aggressive effort by the commission to monitor U.S. power markets, prohibits J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp. from selling electricity at market-based rates for six months starting April 1, 2013.
    The FERC said the company made “factual misrepresentations” and omitted material information in communications with the California Independent System Operator, or Caiso, and in filings to the commission. Caiso operates the state’s power grid.
    “This is very significant in the history of that agency,” Charles Peabody, a bank analyst with Portales Partners in New York, said in an interview…
    JPMorgan would still be able to trade derivatives under the order…
    “The provision of false, misleading or inaccurate information undermines the integrity of the FERC decision-making process, the smooth operation of markets and FERC’s ability to ensure just and reasonable rates for customers,” FERC said in an e-mailed statement…
    The commission is also investigating alleged manipulation by traders for Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) and Barclays Plc…
    Since January 2011, the agency has announced 11 market-manipulation probes, and in March it reached a $245 million settlement with Constellation Energy Group Inc. over one of those cases. Last month, the agency proposed a record $469.9 million in penalties for Barclays, which says it will contest the finding…
    While the unit accounted for a small portion of JPMorgan’s $97.2 billion in 2011 revenue, yesterday’s decision adds to regulatory trouble for the New York-based company. At least 10 federal agencies and a U.S. Senate panel are investigating a multibillion-dollar trading loss at its chief investment office in London…
    The company schedules and controls the dispatch of electricity from 10 power plant units in Southern California, according to Caiso.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-15/ferc-suspends-jpmorgan-unit-s-power-trading-authority.html


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    pat

    your presentation may have been short and sweet, jo, but it was also, perhaps, the most prescient:

    15 Nov: Prime Minister’s Office: Speech to Business Council of Australia Dinner
    It’s been observed by some that there are controversial Labor policies reflected in the White Paper – like the NBN, like school improvement, like pricing carbon…
    In total around sixty per cent of the world’s GDP is either subject to a carbon price today, or has one legislated or planned for implementation in the two or three years ahead.
    International carbon markets will cover billions of consumers this decade. Ask the bankers at your table whether they want Australia to clip that ticket. We’re going to help them get their share…
    http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/speech-business-council-australia-dinner

    the absolute corruption of the banksters – LIBOR & so much more – and public anger over the banker bailouts by the very constituents worldwide who would be natural Labor voters, has escaped our PM entirely.


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    peter azlac

    This study by Roderick and colleagues is supported by the worldwide Class A pan evaporation data, see:
    Changes in NZ and Australian pan evaporations since the 1970’s:
    http://biology.anu.edu.au/CMS/FileUploads/file/Farquhar/228RoderickNZpan2005.pdf
    http://home.shirazu.ac.ir/~kompani/DryLandHydrology/papers8788/houston-EvapoAtacama-2006JOH.pdf
    http://hydrology.usu.edu/Reynolds/documents/climate.pdf
    These data can be accessed from the USDA-ARS Northwest Watershed Research Center database through the anonymous ftp site: http://ftp.nwrc.ars.usda.gov.


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    michael hart

    Fred Pearce, being English and writing for New Scientist, will not be unaware that many parts of the UK saw water rationing introduced this year just as the wettest Spring for 100 years set in.

    I know the joke has been made before, but, “It’s worse then we thought. Droughts are getting wetter. We’ll get the worst of both worlds.”

    Perhaps Phil and Kevin will devise a new definition of drought for us, such as one that allows increased Antarctic Sea-Ice to qualify as a drought… :)


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    AndyG55

    On the first graphs…..
    “The shading represents the range derived from uncertainties in precipitation (PDSI_Th and PDSI_PM) and net radiation (PDSI_PM only). ”

    Can someone please explain why the range of uncertainty increases going towards the right ?????


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      michael hart

      I don’t know for sure, but I can speculate that it could be related to the definition of drought, which is part of the problem discussed. That is there may be places that are currently experiencing less than normal (whatever “normal” is) rainfall, and if this persists for xyz number of years then it would meet the criteria of “drought”.

      Of course all that merely returns us to how do you define a drought. But it is another quite cute way to draw a graph showing that things “are going to get worse than we thought” in the future, by just tinkering with definitions.

      I confess, I am almost in admiration of the abilities of people who can continuously do this sort of thing.


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    [...] Jo Nova How many images have we seen of drought-stricken cracked land, or been told this is the future? How [...]


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