March 24, 2012

Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation

Green Army: Research and Development

Figure 7.1.1
The projected temperature range [for Australia] by 2090 shows larger differences between RCPs, with
  • 0.6 to 1.7 °C for RCP2.6,
  • 1.4 to 2.7 °C for RCP4.5 and
  • 2.8 to 5.1 °C for RCP8.5. …
Median projected temperature increases [for RCP8.5] are typically 4°C by 2090, while those in the north-east and far south are 3°C or less.
(CCIA Technical Report, 2015, p 91-2)

Table 7.1.2 (Adapted): Projected number of days over 35°C in Australian capital cities

(CCIA Technical Report, 2015, p 98)
19952030 RCP4.52090 RCP4.52090 RCP8.5
Brisbane (Amberley)12182755

Australian Climate Variability and Change

By 2030, Australian annual average temperature is projected to increase by 0.6-1.3°C above the climate of 1986–2005 under RCP4.5 with little difference between RCPs.
The projected temperature range by 2090 shows larger differences between RCPs, with
  • 0.6 to 1.7°C for RCP2.6,
  • 1.4 to 2.7°C for RCP4.5 and
  • 2.8 to 5.1°C for RCP8.5.
(p 91)

  • Snowfall in the Australian Alps is projected to decrease, especially at low elevations
  • Soil moisture is projected to decrease and future runoff will decrease where rainfall is projected to decrease
  • Southern and eastern Australia are projected to experience harsher fire weather; changes elsewhere are less certain
    Extreme fire weather days have increased at 24 out of 38 Australian sites from 1973-2010, due to warmer and drier conditions. …
  • Sea levels will continue to rise throughout the 21st century and beyond; extreme sea levels will also rise
  • Oceans around Australia will warm and become more acidic — salinity may also change

(pp 6-9)

A recent analysis of northern hemisphere heatwaves has shown
  • that very hot summers have increased in frequency approximately 10 fold since the 1950s, and
  • that a number of recent summer heatwaves (such as the European 2003 and Moscow 2010 heatwaves) have been so extreme that their probability of occurrence without global warming would be close to zero.
(p 33)

[Greenhouse] gas concentrations [may] end up being larger than those assumed under the RCP8.5 scenario [+2.6 to 4.8 °C relative to 1986–2005].
Higher values might arise through the release of carbon dioxide or methane to the atmosphere from, for example, thawing permafrost from Arctic and sub-Arctic peat bogs over the 21st century.
Some thawing has already occurred over Alaska, Canada and northern Russia and further thawing is expected.
However, the magnitude of the increase in emissions from thawing over the 21st century is very uncertain.
(p 34)

Australia will warm substantially during the 21st century

There is very high confidence in continued increases of mean, daily minimum and daily maximum temperatures throughout this century for all regions in Australia.
The magnitude of the warming later in the century is strongly dependent on the emission scenario.

Warming will be
  • large compared to natural variability in the near future (2030) (high confidence), and
  • very large compared to natural variability late in the century (2090) under RCP8.5 (very high confidence). …

Mean warming is projected to be greater than average in inland Australia, and less in coastal areas, particularly in southern coastal areas in winter.
(p 91)

More frequent and hotter hot days and fewer frost days are projected

Projected warming will result in
  • more frequent and hotter hot days and warmer cold extremes (very high confidence) and
  • reduced frost (high confidence).

Hot days are projected to occur more frequently.
For example, in Perth, the average number of days per year above 35°C or above 40°C by 2090 is projected to be 50% greater than present under RCP4.5.
The number of days above 35°C in Adelaide also increases by about 50% by late in the century, while the number of days above 40°C more than doubles.

Locations where frost occurs only a few times a year under current conditions are projected to become nearly frost-free by 2030.
Under RCP8.5 coastal areas are projected to be free of frost by 2090 while frost is still projected to occur inland.
(p 95)

Cool-season rainfall is projected to decline in southern Australia; other changes to average rainfall are uncertain

Southern Australia

Cool season (winter and spring) rainfall is projected to decrease (high confidence), though little change or increases in Tasmania in winter are projected (medium confidence).
The winter decline may be as great as 50% in south-western Australia in the highest emission scenario (RCP8.5) by 2090.
The direction of change in summer and autumn rainfall in southern Australia cannot be reliably projected, but there is medium confidence in a decrease in south-western Victoria in autumn and in western Tasmania in summer.

Eastern Australia

There is high confidence that in the near future (2030), natural variability will predominate over trends due to greenhouse gas emissions.
For late in the century (2090), there is medium confidence in a winter rainfall decrease.

Northern Australia and northern inland areas

There is high confidence that in the near future (2030) natural variability will predominate over trends due to greenhouse gas emissions.
There is low confidence in the direction of future rainfall change for late in the century (2090), but substantial changes to wet-season and annual rainfall cannot be ruled out.
(p 99)

Extreme rain events are projected to become more intense

Extreme rainfall events (wettest day of the year and wettest day in 20 years) are projected to increase in intensity with high confidence.
Confidence is reduced to medium confidence for south-western Western Australia, where the reduction in mean rainfall may be so strong as to significantly weaken this tendency.
(p 115)

In a warming climate, the atmosphere can hold more water vapour, around 7% more for every degree of global warming.
(p 33)

Time in drought is projected to increase in southern Australia, with a greater frequency of severe droughts

The time in drought is projected to increase over southern Australia with high confidence, consistent with the projected decline in mean rainfall.
Time in drought is projected to increase with medium or low confidence in other regions.
The nature of droughts is also projected to change with a greater frequency of extreme droughts, and less frequent moderate to severe drought projected for all regions (medium confidence).
(p 119)

Mean wind speeds are projected to decrease in southern mainland Australia in winter and increase in Tasmania

By 2030, changes in near-surface wind speeds are projected to be small compared to natural variability (high confidence).
By 2090, wind speeds are projected to decrease in southern mainland Australia in winter (high confidence) and south-eastern mainland Australia in autumn and spring.
Winter decreases are not expected to exceed 10 % under RCP8.5.
Wind speed is projected to increase in winter in Tasmania.
Projected changes in extreme wind speeds are generally similar to those for mean wind.
(p 125)

Tropical cyclones may occur less often, become more intense, and may reach further south

Tropical cyclones are projected to become less frequent with a greater proportion of high intensity storms (stronger winds and greater rainfall) (medium confidence).
A greater proportion of storms may reach south of 25 degrees South (low confidence).

Mid-latitude weather systems are projected to shift south in winter and the tropics to expand

The observed intensification of the subtropical ridge and expansion of the Hadley Cell circulation are projected to continue in the 21st century (high confidence).
Both represent an expansion of the tropics.
(p 129)

More sunshine is projected in winter and spring, with lower relative humidity and higher evaporation rates throughout the year

There is high confidence in little change in solar radiation over Australia in the near future (2030).
Late in the century (2090), there is medium confidence in an increase in winter and spring in southern Australia.
The increases in southern Australia may exceed 10% by 2090 under RCP8.5.
(p 131)

Relative humidity is projected to decline in inland regions and where rainfall is projected to decline.
By 2030, the decreases are relatively small (high confidence).
By 2090,there is high confidence that humidity will decrease in winter and spring as well as annually, and there is medium confidence in declining relative humidity in summer and autumn.
(p 133)

There is high confidence in increasing potential evapotranspiration (atmospheric moisture demand) closely related to local warming, although there is only medium confidence in the magnitude of change.
(p 134)

(Technical Report, Climate Change in Australia: Projections for Australia's National Resource Management Regions, 2015, emphasis added)

State of the Climate 2016

  • Australia’s climate has warmed … by around 1 °C since 1910.
  • The duration, frequency and intensity of extreme heat events have increased across large parts of Australia.
  • There has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.
  • May–July rainfall has reduced by around 19% since 1970 in the southwest of Australia. …
  • Global average annual carbon dioxide levels are … likely the highest in the past two million years.
  • 2015 was the warmest year on record for the globe since … 1880.
    The last 15 years are among the 16 warmest years on record.
  • Globally-averaged ocean temperatures and heat content are increasing.
    Observations reveal this warming extends to at least [2 km] below the surface.
  • Globally-averaged sea level has risen over 20 cm since the late 19th century, with about one third of this rise due to ocean warming and the rest from melting land ice and changes in the amount of water stored on the land.

(p 3)

The recent drying across southern Australia is the strongest recorded large-scale change in rainfall since national records began in 1900.
(p 10)

The impact of all greenhouse gases in the atmosphere combined can be expressed as an ‘equivalent CO2’ atmospheric concentration, which reached 487 ppm in 2015.
(p 19)

The global annual CO2 increase in 2015 was 3.0 ppm, the largest ever observed. …
During 2015 the rate of increase in fossil fuel emissions slowed.
However, the strong El Niño, which led to increased fires and associated greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a weakening of natural CO2 sinks through drought and reduced rainfall over large regions led to increased emissions from natural sources in 2015.
(p 20)

State of the Climate 2014

  • {2013 was Australia’s warmest year on record …}
  • Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910 …
  • Global mean temperature has risen by 0.85°C from 1880 to 2012. …

Atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to rise and continued emissions will cause further warming over this century.
Limiting the magnitude of future climate change requires large and sustained net global reductions in greenhouse gases.
(p 3-4)

Australian Climate

Seven of the ten warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

Over the past 15 years,
  • the frequency of very warm months has increased five-fold and
  • the frequency of very cool months has declined by around a third,
compared to 1951–1980. …

Since 2001, the number of extreme heat records in Australia has outnumbered extreme cool records by
  • almost 3 to 1 for daytime maximum temperatures, and
  • almost 5 to 1 for night-time minimum temperatures.
(p 5)

[Overall,] Australian average annual rainfall has increased since national records began in 1900, largely due to increases in rainfall from October to April, and most markedly across the northwest. …
[However, since] 1970 there has been a 17% decline in average winter rainfall in the southwest of Australia.
{In the far southwest, streamflow has declined by more than 50% since the mid-1970s.}

The southeast has experienced a 15% decline in late autumn and early winter rainfall since the mid-1990s, with a 25% reduction in average rainfall across April and May. …
[And in] the far southeast, streamflow during the 1997–2009 Millennium Drought was around half the long-term average.
(p 6)

Number of days each year where the Australian area-averaged daily mean temperature is above the 99th percentile for the period 1910–2013. …
This metric reflects the spatial extent of extreme heat across the continent and its frequency.
Half of these events have occurred in the past twenty years.

Recent studies examining heavy monthly to seasonal rainfall events that occurred in eastern Australia between 2010 and 2012 have shown that the magnitude of extreme rainfall is mostly explained by natural variability, with potentially a small additional contribution from global warming. …

The research on cyclone frequency in the Australian region is equivocal, with some studies suggesting no change and others a decrease in numbers since the 1970s.
(p 8-9)

Global Atmosphere and Cryosphere

  • Ice-mass loss from the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets has accelerated over the past two decades.
  • Arctic summer minimum sea-ice extent has declined by between 9.4 and 13.6% per decade since 1979, a rate that is likely unprecedented in at least the past 1,450 years.
  • Antarctic sea-ice extent has slightly increased by between 1.2% and 1.8% per decade since 1979.

The mean estimated rate of ice loss from the Antarctic ice sheet has increased nearly five-fold
  • from an estimated mean of 30 gigatonnes per year (Gt/yr) for the period from 1992 to 2001,
  • to 147 Gt/yr for the period 2002 to 2011.
The rate of ice loss from the Greenland ice sheet has increased [more than six-fold] from 34 to 215 Gt/yr over the same period.

The average rate of ice loss from glaciers around the world, excluding glaciers on the periphery of the ice sheets, was
  • very likely 226 Gt/yr over the period 1971 to 2009, and
  • very likely 275 Gt/yr over the period 1993 to 2009. …

The [slight] increase in Antarctic sea-ice extent has been linked to several possible drivers, including
  • freshening of surface waters due to increased precipitation and the enhanced melting of ice shelves, and
  • changes in atmospheric circulation resulting in greater sea-ice dispersion.
(p 10)


  • Global mean sea level … in 2012 was 225 mm higher than in 1880. …
  • Ocean acidity levels have increased [by 26% since 1750.]

Warming of the world’s oceans accounts for more than 90% of additional energy accumulated from the enhanced greenhouse effect …
The ocean today is warmer, and sea levels higher, than at any time since the instrumental record began.
  • The upper layer of the ocean, from the surface to a depth of 700 metres, has increased its heat content by around 17 × 10^22 joules since 1971, accounting for around 63% of additional energy accumulated by the climate system.
  • Warming below 700 metres over the same period accounts for approximately 30% of additional energy.
  • The remaining 7% has been added to the cryosphere, atmosphere and land surface.

Change in ocean heat content (in joules) from the full ocean depth, from 1960 to present.
Shading provides an indication of the confidence range of the estimate.
(p 11)

Global sea level fell during the intense La Niña event of 2010–2011.
This was ascribed partly to the exceptionally high rainfall over land which resulted in floods in Australia, northern South America, and Southeast Asia.
[And] was compounded by the long residence time of water over inland Australia.
Recent observations show that sea levels have rebounded in line with the long-term trend.
(p 12)

Greenhouse Gases

  • The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 2011 to 2013 is the largest two-year increase ever observed.

Global anthropogenic CO2 emissions into the atmosphere in 2013 are … about 46% higher than in 1990.
Global CO2 emissions from the use of fossil fuel are estimated to have increased in 2013 by 2.1% compared with the average of 3.1% per year from 2000 to 2012.
(p 13)

Global atmospheric CH4 … and N2O [concentrations] are at their highest levels for at least 800 000 years.

[The combined] ‘equivalent CO2’ atmospheric concentration [of all GHGs] reached 480 ppm in 2013.
(p 14)

Future climate scenarios for Australia

  • [An up to 3-fold] increase in the number of extreme fire-weather days is expected in southern and eastern Australia [by 2015,] with a longer fire season in these regions. …
  • The frequency and intensity of extreme daily rainfall is projected to increase. …
  • Projected sea-level rise will increase the frequency of extreme sea-level events.

[Between] 1910 to 1990 [Australia] warmed by 0.6°C.
Warming by 2070, compared to 1980 to 1999, is projected to be
  • 1.0 to 2.5°C for low greenhouse gas emissions and
  • 2.2 to 5.0°C for high emissions [ie business as usual. …]

Further decreases in average rainfall are expected over southern Australia …
[Consequently, droughts] are expected to become more frequent and severe in southern Australia. …

Reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions would increase the chance of constraining future global warming.
Nonetheless adaptation is required because some warming and associated changes are unavoidable.
(p 15)

State of the Climate 2012

Australian average temperatures over land

Each decade has been warmer than the previous decade since the 1950s. …
[Daily] maximum temperatures have increased by 0.75 °C [and] overnight minimum temperatures have warmed by more than 1.1 °C …
2010 and 2011 were Australia’s coolest years recorded since 2001 due to two consecutive La Niña events. … (p 3)


Global-average mean sea level for 2011 was 210 mm above the level in 1880.
Global-average mean sea level rose faster between 1993 and 2011 [3 mm/year] than during the 20th century as a whole [1.7 mm/year.]
(p 6)

State of the Climate 2010

Since 1960 the mean temperature in Australia has increased by about 0.7°C. …
Some areas have experienced warming since 1960 of up to 0.4 °C per decade [3 times the global average] resulting in total warming over the five decades of 1.5 to 2ºC.
(p 1)

March 18, 2012

Prosperity Without Growth 4

Sustainable Development Commission

Adam Smith (1723 – 1790):
A linen shirt, for example, is, strictly speaking, not a necessary of life …
But in the present times, through the greater part of Europe, a creditable day labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt, the want of which would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, no body can well fall into without extreme bad conduct. …
(The Wealth of Nations, 1779)

Amartya Sen:
[To lead a] life without shame [is] to be able to visit and entertain one’s friends, to keep track of what is going on and what others are talking about … requires a more expensive bundle of goods and services in a society that is generally richer …
(The Living Standard)

Gerhard Bosch:
One of the fundamental preconditions for the working time policy pursued in Germany and Denmark … was a stable and relatively equal earning distribution.

Governance for Prosperity

[That it is legitimate] for the state to intervene in … the social logic of consumerism is far less problematic than [it is generally] portrayed.
[The] task is to identify (and correct) those aspects of [the] social structure which [incentivize] materialistic individualism and [by so doing] undermine the potential for a shared prosperity. …
[Balancing] individual freedoms against the social good.
[Exercising] prudent choices … between the present and the future. …

[To] prevent ourselves from trading away [long-term wellbeing for] short-term pleasures, society has evolved a [range] of 'commitment devices': social and institutional mechanisms which [tip] the balance of choice away from the present and in favour of the future. …

[Affluence has progressively eroded and undermined] these commitment devices [through] the relentless pursuit of novelty [and increasing] family breakdown and [declining community trust has been the result].
(p 95, italics added)

[The current schizophrenia of the state has been induced by an] unsustainable macroeconomics.
[To heal both itself, and society more broadly, government must:]
  1. develop and [implement] a robust macro-economics for sustainability
  2. redress the damaging and unsustainable social logic of consumerism [and]
  3. establish meaningful resource and environmental limits on economic activity.
(p 99)

March 7, 2012

British Broadcasting Corporation

Green Army: Communications

Small girl looking at a New Home New Life book in Afghanistan

Edmund Burke (1729 – 97):
One of the first and most leading principles on which the commonwealth and the laws are consecrated is, lest the temporary possessors … unmindful of what they have received from their ancestors or of what is due to their posterity, should act as if they were the entire masters …
[That] they should not think it among their rights to … commit waste on the inheritance by destroying at their pleasure the whole original fabric of their society, hazarding to leave to those who come after them a ruin instead of an habitation …
(Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790)

Yo Hayek:
Legend has it that, at her first cabinet meeting as Prime Minister in 1979, Margaret Thatcher thumped a copy of Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty on the table declaring:
This is what we believe!

Alistair Cooke (1908 – 2004)

I myself think I recognize [in America] several of the symptoms that Edward Gibbon saw so acutely in the decline of Rome …
  • a love of show and luxury;
  • a widening gap between the very rich and the very poor;
  • the exercise of military might remote from the centers of power;
  • an obsession with sex;
  • freakishness in the Arts masquerading as originality and enthusiasm pretending to creativeness; and
  • a general desire to live off the state: whether it's a junkie on welfare; or a government subsidized airline. …

[In 1972, I] made the point that, in the welfare state, too many of us expect a handout, a government subsidy, big daddy will provide.
But I didn't think, so soon, we would elect a president in protest against this liberal system that we've come to take for granted. …

I have tried to show that the original institutions of this country still have great vitality.
[That much] of the turmoil here springs from the energy of people who are trying to apply those institutions to forgotten minorities.

[As] for our rage to believe that we've found the secret of liberty in general permissiveness from the cradle on, I can only recall the saying of a wise Frenchman:
Liberty is the luxury of self-discipline.
And, historically, those peoples that did not discipline themselves had it thrust on them from outside …

As I see it, in this country, … the race is on between
  • its decadence, and
  • its vitality …

I believe that Monroes' solution, shipping negros back to Africa to form their own nations, might have been wise in 1820; but it's a century and a half too late.
I do not know what the realistic solution is. …
I do know … that nothing is more mischievous to good government than splendid rhetoric that doesn't pay off.

Now look what's being asked:
  • the rehousing of the population,
  • the chance of free education through college,
  • the strangling of the drug traffic at the roots, and
  • the radical overhauling of the prisons, the jury system, the courts.
Now this is going to call for … a massive subsidy of taxes, white taxes, beyond our experience.

As an historian, I'm not sure and integrated society will work.
As an old reporter, I suspect the blacks will not get more than Lincoln's "the mass of whites", who live here in the ratio of nine to one, is willing to give them.
[Perhaps the] only sensible hope is that the mass of whites have greatly changed since Lincoln's day (or will change) so that the blacks … can become an equal race, separately respected. …

[Since 1972, the] black revolution has achieved less and more than it promised. …
I would never have dreamed
  • that by today most of the big cities of America would have black mayors — Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Washington; or
  • that there would be black generals in the armed forces; or
  • that my bank manager would be a young black woman. …

(David Heycock, The More Abundant Life, America, Episode 13, 1972)

Shandi: Indian For Matilda

There was a young girl in [the Indian radio drama] Taru called Shandi [who] goes to her mother and says:
"Hey Mom, can I have a birthday like my little brother?"
And her mother explains:
"In our caste, in our society, girls don't have birthdays."
… Shandi is a very precocious, persistent young girl [so] she goes to her grandmother and says,
Grandmother, can I please have a birthday like my little brother?
Grandmother goes:
No, we don't do that.
[Finally Shandi] meets Taru [who] has come back to village [to work] in the health care sector …
[She's] from a different caste, she's a little bit more educated, and she [gives] Shandi the answer she wants to hear:
"Yes Shandi, let's make you a birthday party."
Over the next 10 episodes, the 250 million people of Bihar, hear something they've never heard before.
They hear about a girl choosing what cake she wants.
They hear about invitations going out.
They hear about presents.
And finally … Shandi has her birthday party. …

[A] month later, two months later, across Bihar, little girls are having birthday parties.
No just one, but you have whole villages, that are committing, and signing up for,
"We will treat our boys and our girls equally."
[Shandi] showed people the power of a persistent young girl; and, through Taru [they] learnt the power of being able to change. …