Down under climate messages get more strident
Southern ocean warming worries scientists, heatwaves terrify government
Australia’s government has warned that rising global temperatures already represent a health risk – one that’s going to get worse as the country records more heatwave days.
Saying that “climate change must be considered a health priority”, the federal government’s Climate Commission believes the increase in hot days over the last 50 years has already led to an increase in heat-related deaths.
While the “headline” numbers bandied about in the climate change debate, such as two or three degrees in the average temperature, don’t sound too bad, such changes are associated with a sharper increase in the number of dangerous days, where the mercury surpasses 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit).
By the end of the century, the commission predicts, the “top end” (where some cranks believe Australia should be building new cities) will have daytime average maxima over 35 degrees for ten months of the year.
According to a report in Scientific American, another worrying health impact can be seen in 2011’s sudden rise in the fatal Hendra virus, which spreads from bats to humans via horses.
The health warnings come as scientists working in the Southern Ocean, which is the entry point for about 40 percent of the carbon stored in the Earth’s oceans, is warming, becoming less salty and more acidic, and is suffering an increased carbon load.
In this interview, Dr Steve Rintoul of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, says the fall in salinity in the Southern Ocean agrees with predictions of climate-driven rainfall patterns.
“The fact that the surface waters are getting fresher tells us that there’s more rainfall than there used to be,” he said. “So the Southern Ocean provides one of the clues but that’s already happening now.”
Rintoul's report, "Position Analysis: Climate Change and the Southern Ocean", is available here. ®
Colour me cynical
Is it any surprise that such articles are coming to the fore in the run-up to the start of the carbon tax? I predict many more will come out over the next 6 months.
This carbon bullshit is all attacked the wrong way i.e. a carbon tax whereby big users are given exemptions or relief whilst residents get fucked over. Surely cap and trade with caps reducing makes more sense for big business? If you want residents to use less then tier the pricing so that reasonable use is reasonably priced but heavy use is heavily priced. The average daily consumption for a household is something like 18kWh. We use 10-14 including heating and air con usage (depending on time of year). I've spoken to sparkies and air con fitters that have worked in houses using 40kWh per day (on average), that is just fucking nuts. Don't even get me started on the covered shopping centres with no doors that are blasting out so much cold air you can cool down in the height of summer by standing within 10m of the entrance.
This is summer????
haha...dying from heatwaves...what a joke...I live in outback Australia.....first day of summer today...temps in low 20's, have had a cardigan on all day...cool and raining here all last week...hope it warms up soon!!
Politicians are not terrified
Politicians want us to be terrified so that can say they are doing useful things like taxing carbon, which actually isn't that useful, since industry is finishing up its move to China.
The "top end" is in the tropics so you'd expect fairly stable temperatures year-round. What is far more fun is the bottom end. We had a high of 33C yesterday and a high of 17C today in Melbourne and we'll get highs in the low-to-mid-40's during the summer. It's rather difficult to plan for.