Russel Norman

Climate change, hottest years, floods and coal

by Russel Norman

So it turns out that 2010 was the hottest year on record, equal with 2005.

The year 2010 has tied 2005 as the Earth’s warmest on record, according to an assessment by U.S. government scientists.

Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that the combined global land and ocean annual surface temperature for 2010 was 1.12 degrees Fahrenheit (0.62 degrees Centigrade) above the 20th-century average

It was the 34th consecutive year that the global temperature was above last century’s average. Nine of the 10 warmest years on record occurred in the past decade. The exception was 1998, the third-warmest

And the flood in Queensland is the kind of extreme weather event that we can expect more of with climate change.

Dr Roger Stone, from the University of Southern Queensland…

He says the extremes being encountered in Australia this week fit climate change models, but it is too early to prove a direct link to changing weather patterns.

“It certainly fits the climate change models but I have to add the proviso that it’s very difficult – even with extreme conditions like this – to always attribute it to climate change, but it does fit the climate change models,” he said.

The evidence of climate change is compelling, and the costs of more extreme weather events are starkly revealed in Qld. No one extreme weather event can be said to be caused by climate change, but these kind of extreme weather events will happen more frequently because of climate change.

And yet we still have governments, like the current and previous NZ governments, that won’t take serious action to cut emissions.

It is also noteworthy that Queensland is one of the biggest coal exporters in the world and so is making a significant contribution to climate change. I hope that, once the cleanup is underway and people have a chance to recover from the impact, the 2011 flood leads to a debate in Queensland about whether they want to continue to be such a big contributor to climate change given that climate change makes such extreme weather events more likely. And a debate as to the wisdom of building more single story houses on the flood plain.

Love to all my family and friends over there. – ’74 didn’t take out Brissie and neither will ’11!

Published in Environment & Resource Management by Russel Norman on Thu, January 13th, 2011   

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