State of the Climate 2012

State of the Climate 2012


The long-term warming trend has not changed.
Guillaume Brialon

Australia’s land and oceans have continued to warm in response to rising CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

This is the headline finding in the State of the Climate 2012, an updated summary of Australia’s long term climate trends released by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology today (14 March 2012).

The long-term warming trend has not changed.

Each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. Global-average surface temperatures were the warmest on record in 2010 (slightly higher than 2005 and 1998). 2011 was the world’s 11th warmest year and the warmest year on record during a La Niña event. The world’s 13 warmest years on record have all occurred in the past 15 years.

On land around Australia the observed warming trends are consistent with the global-scale warming – despite 2010 and 2011 being the coolest years recorded in Australia since 2001.

In the oceans around Australia, sea-surface temperatures have increased faster than the global average, and sea-level rise since 1993 is greater than, or equal to, the global average.

Australian average temperatures over land

Australian annual-average daily mean temperatures showed little change from 1910 to 1950 but have progressively warmed since, increasing by 0.9 °C from 1910 to 2011. The average temperature during the past ten years has been more than 0.5 °C warmer than the World Meteorological Organization’s standard 1961-1990 long-term average. This increase continues the trend since the 1950s of each decade being warmer than the previous.

The warming trend has occurred against a backdrop of natural, year-to-year climate variability. Most notably, El Niño and La Niña events during the past century have continued to produce the hot droughts and cooler wet periods for which Australia is well known. 2010 and 2011, for example, were the coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events.

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.
Bureau of Meteorology
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Rising sea level

Global-average mean sea level for 2011 was 210 mm (± 30 mm) above the level in 1880. The observed global-average mean sea-level rise since 1990 is near the high end of projections from the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

Rates of sea-level rise are not uniform around the globe and vary from year to year. Since 1993, the rates of sea-level rise to the north and northwest of Australia have been 7 to 11 mm per year, two to three times the global average, and rates of sea-level rise on the central east and southern coasts of the continent are mostly similar to the global average. These variations are at least in part a result of natural variability of the climate system.

High-quality global sea-level measurements have been available from satellite altimetry since the start of 1993 (red line), in addition to the longer-term records from tide gauges (blue line, with shading providing an indication of the accuracy of the estimate). Sea level rose at a global-averaged rate of about 3 mm per year between 1993 and 2011, and 1.7 mm per year during the 20th century as a whole. CSIRO
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The rate of sea-level rise around Australia as measured by coastal tide gauges (circles) and satellite observations (contours) from January 1993 to September 2011. CSIRO
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Increasing sea-surface temperatures

Sea-surface temperatures in the Australian region in 2010 were the highest on record, with nine of the months during 2011 ranked in the top ten warmest months on record. Sea-surface temperatures averaged over the decades since 1900 have increased for every decade. Terrestrial and ocean surface temperatures have shown very similar warming trends over the last century.

The warm sea-surface temperatures in 2010-11 were strongly influenced by La Niña. Ocean temperatures around Australia were warmer during 2010-11 than for any previously identified La Niña event, likely due to the influence of the long-term warming trend of the past century.

Greenhouse gases

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions account for about 60% of the effect from anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the earth’s energy balance over the past 250 years. These global CO2 emissions are mostly from fossil fuels (more than 85%), land use change, mainly associated with tropical deforestation (less than 10%), and cement production and other industrial processes (about 4%). Australia contributes about 1.3% of the global CO2 emissions. Energy generation continues to climb and is dominated by fossil fuels – suggesting emissions will grow for some time yet.

CO2 levels are rising in the atmosphere and ocean.

About 50% of the amount of CO2 emitted from fossil fuels, industry, and changes in land-use, stays in the atmosphere. The remainder is taken up by the ocean and land vegetation, in roughly equal parts.

The extra carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans is estimated to have caused about a 30% increase in the level of ocean acidity since pre-industrial times.

The sources of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere can be identified from studies of the isotopic composition of atmospheric CO2 and from oxygen (O2) concentration trends in the atmosphere. The observed trends in the isotopic (13C, 14C) composition of CO2 in the atmosphere and the decrease in the concentration of atmospheric O2 confirm that the dominant cause of the observed CO2 increase is the combustion of fossil fuels.

Measurements from Cape Grim, Tasmania, showing: increasing monthly-mean, background concentrations of CO2 (parts per million,top) showing that the CO2 growth rate has increased above the linear trend (dashed line) through the measurement period; the decreasing ratio of 13CO2/12CO2 in the atmosphere (expressed as δ13CO2 in units of per mille, centre); and decreasing concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere (expressed as the ratio of oxygen to nitrogen, bottom), including measurements at Cape Grim from both CSIRO (light green) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography (dark green). CSIRO
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Future changes

Australian average temperatures are projected to rise by 0.6 to 1.5 °C by 2030 when compared with the climate of 1980 to 1999. The warming is projected to be in the range of 1.0 to 5.0 °C by 2070 if global greenhouse gas emissions are within the range of projected future emission scenarios considered by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These changes will be felt through an increase in the number of hot days and warm nights, and a decline in cool days and cold nights.

Climate models suggest long-term drying over southern areas during winter and over southern and eastern areas during spring. This will be superimposed on large natural variability, so wet years are likely to become less frequent and dry years more frequent. Droughts are expected to become more frequent in southern Australia; however, periods of heavy rainfall are still likely to occur.

Models generally indicate an increase in rainfall near the equator globally, but the direction of projected changes to average rainfall over northern Australia is unclear as there is a lack of consensus among the models.

For Australia as a whole, an increase in the number of dry days is expected, but it is also likely that rainfall will be heavier during wet periods.

It is likely (with more than 66% probability) that there will be fewer tropical cyclones in the Australian region, on average, but the proportion of intense cyclones is expected to increase.

CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology will continue to provide observations, projections, research, and analysis so that Australia’s responses are underpinned by science of the highest quality.

A list of peer-reviewed references underpinning State of the Climate 2012 can be found on the CSIRO website.

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Climate Action Now – Rally Saturday 12th March @ 11am – Treasury Place Melbourne

Climate Action needed now!

The fear campaign against a price on pollution has become so absurd that talkback radio hosts are claiming that a price on pollution means the end of our economy and life as we know it. Independent MPs are even receiving death threats.

Now, these same radio hosts have joined with climate deniers and far-right politicians to organise anti-climate action rallies as part of Tony Abbott’s “people’s revolt”. They start on Saturday outside Julia Gillard’s electorate office in Melbourne. We must make sure that on the other side of town, our movement comes together to present the positive, mainstream views that hard-line ‘shock jocks’ prefer to ignore.

If we’re successful, the media won’t be able report on the anti-carbon price rallies without also reporting that more people turned out to express support for a price on pollution.

Can you join us?

Where: Treasury Place, Melbourne.
When: This Saturday (March 12) at 11am

Right wing shock jock Chris Smith said last week on MTR radio: “I’ll do my best on a daily basis to spread the word”. We don’t have a radio network to promote our rally, but GetUp members have proved before that, when it counts, we’re willing to publicly show how much we care about clean energy & climate action.

I was in Canberra last week and almost every politician and journalist I met with talked to me about the anti-climate action rallies. They’re spooked. I assured them that the campaign for climate action was just as strong — and now, we need to demonstrate this.

That’s why it’s so important we join together for a few hours this Saturday March 12 — not to have a louder, angrier rally, but to show the difference in both size and tone. While they’re shouting their angry slogans and misinformation, on the other side of Melbourne we’ll hold a positive, family-friendly gathering to stand up for our vision for clean energy and preserving a safe climate for our kids.

With your help, we’ll prove there are more of us than there are of them and in doing so we’ll make a powerful statement.

See you this Saturday.

P.S. We’re counting on more then just your presence. We counting on your creativity (as you make a clever homemade banner if you can) and your persuasiveness (as you charm your friends into joining you).

Climate Leadership











Climate leadership

I want to share an example of climate leadership that helps make the case for a bold and fair treaty from the Copenhagen climate talks next month. Last year Johson Diversey joined WWF’s Climate Savers by making a commitment to directly reduce its greenhouse emissions by 8% by 2013, against 2003 levels.

Due to investment, research, planning and because their employees rallied around the cause, the company was able to announce that it will triple its absolute emissions reductions commitment to 25% over the same period. Climate Savers is a World Wildlife Fund program comprising 22 leading corporations that have made exact commitments to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past ten years, Climate Savers companies have prevented the emission of 50 million tons of CO2, the equivalent of Switzerland’s annual emissions. If a multinational corporation like JD can achieve this, imagine what will happen if all of us triple our commitment. Different ways to do this—for businesses, individuals, families and students— are listed at (click on the banner at the top). Climate Savers companies have shown that absolute greenhouse gas emission reductions do not impede business growth.

Environment versus economy is no longer a justifiable argument. Saving the planet can make good business sense—even in the short term: for a $12 million investment in emissions reductions, JohnsonDiversey will reap $32 million in cost savings.

There are two messages associated with this development: – The bottom line and tackling climate change can go hand in hand – We need a bold and fair climate change agreement out of Copenhagen To help share these messages, we have created an Electronic Press Kit, which includes embeddable banners, videos, MP3 files and other digital assets, at: .

The Press Kit also contains a copy of this year’s Green Building Market and Impact Report by Rob Watson, “father” of the LEED green building standard. This report was released during a Webinar with Johnson Diversey President & CEO Ed Lonergan. Please feel free to use and distribute this content and links freely, including posting it to any of your websites.

Let The Clean Economy Begin The Let The Clean Economy Begin campaign unites Climate Savers companies with a common message that it is possible to grow business while reducing carbon emissions. These companies are calling on both their peers and political decision makers to make the changes necessary to move the world toward a clean economy; and for COP15 to deliver an ambitious, fair and effective agreement to cut global greenhouse gas emissions.

An introductory video can be found in our EPK at: . The world’s leading companies are saying to world leaders, We are implementing changes—now it’s your turn. It’s time to exhibit true climate leadership in ushering in a new era of possibilities. The future is calling.

Dinner with Al Gore

Dinner with Al Gore

Sunday 12 July 2009 – The Great Hall – NGV

Hosted by
- Australian Conservation Foundation
- The Climate Project

I was privileged to attend an intimate dinner with Al Gore which was held during his recent visit to Melbourne as part of the Asia Pacific Climate Summit.

Seated with Senator Christine Milne – Greens Tasmania, Danny Vadasz – ACF and a number of other fascinating guests we heard Al Gore talk about the Asia Pacific Summit and training he is delivering to 300 participants from across 19 countries including China, Singapore, New Zealand, Fiji and Indonesia.

This is the first time people from the Asia-Pacific region have been brought together to be trained by the Honourable Al Gore.

The summit enables them to communicate directly with their communities about generating a combined effort to insist, as a region, on the best possible outcomes at Copenhagen.

The trainees represent a diverse group including diplomats, doctors, chief executives, students, economists, school principals, a fruit grower, a fire-fighter, climate relief workers and an associate professor of philosophy.

One in 75 Australians have now seen a presentation delivered by the 250 Al Gore-trained Climate Project Presenters working throughout communities in Australia.

“This really is the time to build a groundswell of public support in favour of strong action at Copenhagen,” said Don Henry, Executive Director of the Australian Conservation Foundation, which is helping to organise the training sessions.

The evening was thoroughly enjoyable with roving performers greeting guests upon their arrival, before we moved into the great hall, with its illuminated coloured glass ceiling, to enjoy dinner and conversation.

A set of 3 songs was performed by Katie Noonan, accompanied by a string quartet and guitarist. Climate Project ambassadors, Merrick and Rosso, provided their own unique presentation on the event and climate change which included a short spin around the gallery on a fold up bike.

A number of items were donated and auctioned to raise funds for ACF Copenhagen campaign featuring an $8,000 Intrepid overseas travel voucher, Akubra hat signed by Al Gore and many other great gifts.

As the evening drew to a close we walked away with an inspired and motivated vision to keep promoting and communicating the outcomes we seek to achieve in Copenhagen during December 2009.