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Climate Science Science Teacher Conferences Feb 2013 Keith Burrows Download this presentation from: Australian Institute of Physics Education Committee.

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Presentation on theme: "Climate Science Science Teacher Conferences Feb 2013 Keith Burrows Download this presentation from: Australian Institute of Physics Education Committee."— Presentation transcript:

1 Climate Science Science Teacher Conferences Feb 2013 Keith Burrows Download this presentation from: Australian Institute of Physics Education Committee

2 Download this and other presentations from:

3 What’s new? 17 November 2012 IPCC 4AR 2007 2009 2012

4 The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between 2 o C and 3 o C I would have been much more strong about the risks of a 4 o C or 5 o C rise.” January 2013

5 Permafrost is melting (much) faster than expected

6  The Age, UNEP

7 International Permafrost Association

8 “The latest estimate is that some 18.8 million km 2 of northern soils hold about 1,700 billion tonnes of organic carbon. [Australia = 7.7 million km 2 ] That is about four times more than all the carbon emitted by human activity in modern times and twice as much as is present in the atmosphere now.”

9 Permafrost is melting (much) faster than expected  Nature

10 But in News (very) Limited: (28 Nov) (28 Nov)  “Meanwhile, a United Nations report has warned that thawing permafrost covering almost a quarter of the northern hemisphere could "significantly amplify global warming" at a time when the world is already struggling to reign in rising greenhouse gases.”  “But it said studies of permafrost had proved inconclusive.”

11 “The complacency is astonishing. Last time the permafrost thawed, temperatures rose 6 degrees. Sea levels were up to six metres higher in the last interglacial period. But that was long before modern civilisation. Today's 7 billion people depend for their survival on reliable, stable sources of food and water. Billions live in vulnerable coastal areas. It may soon be beyond our powers - political or technological - to keep climate change in check, forcing us to turn our attention to managing and adapting to life-changing challenges. And these will be much more costly and difficult than the challenge of cutting our emissions.”

12 Arctic sea ice is declining rapidly 2007

13 Typical 1970’s 80’s Typical 2000’s

14 2012 – Record low September ice

15 Now about HALF what it has been for tens of thousands of years!

16 “But the global warming theory itself is based on just 16 years of warming – from 1980 to 1996.”

17 More Bolt Nonsense! ... the British Met Office released data showing no statistically significant warming for 16 years.....  “Lindzen, arguably the world's most famous climate scientist, has argued for two years that there has been no warming since 1997... ... the rest of the world seems to have lost Australia's crusading zeal to stop a warming that for now seems to have stopped itself.... ... increasing disasters we were told to expect have not happened. Hun 7/2/13

18 Daily Mail (UK) 13 October 2012

19   Q.1 “please confirm that they do indeed reveal no warming trend since 1997.”   As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi- decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system....Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade....The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.

20   Q.2 “Second, tell me what this says about the models used by the IPCC and others...”   The models exhibit large variations in the rate of warming from year to year and over a decade, owing to climate variations such as ENSO, the Atlantic Multi- Decadal Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. So in that sense, such a period is not unexpected...

21   Q.3 “Finally, do these data suggest that factors other than CO2 – such as multi-decadal oceanic cycles – may exert a greater influence on climate than previously realised?”  ...they may act to slow down or accelerate the observed warming trend....also influenced by... changes in solar activity, volcanic eruptions or aerosol emissions. Combined, several of these factors could account for some or all of the reduced warming trend seen over the last decade

22  warming theory based on “just 16 years of warming” ??  or “no warming since 1997...” ??  no increasing disasters ??

23  Deniers will focus only on arguments about short term temperature rises (or not) and completely ignore (or totally misrepresent):  The basic science (and computer models)  The extent to which we have changed the atmosphere  Arctic, Antarctic and glacial ice melting  The danger of melting permafrost  Increasing weather extremes  The geological record  The Earth’s energy balance  Statements from the vast majority of climate scientists and every scientific body in the world

24 Try 200 years of solid physics!!!

25 So what is the (Earth’s) ‘Greenhouse effect’ ? It’s all just a bit of physics! Actually it started with Joseph Fourier (1820’s) John Tyndall (1860’s) Svante Arrhenius (1890’s)

26 Climate Science 101  “The Earth should be a lot colder than it is” Joseph Fourier ~1820

27 Climate Science 101  Tyndall found it was the water vapour and carbon dioxide gases in the air John Tyndall ~ 1860

28 Climate Science 101  Svante August Arrhenius worked it out in 1896 It’s a matter of the Earth’s energy balance

29 Just how wrong can Bolt be?!!!

30 Climate Science 101

31 +33 + ? degrees

32 Climate Science 101  This is a bit like a greenhouse...  So it is called the “Greenhouse Effect”  It keeps the Earth at a warm +15 o C (average) instead of that freezing –18 o C  Greenhouse Effect = +33 o C

33 Murdoch Media Bias Alan Jones addresses an anti C-tax rally in Melbourne ''The notion of global warming is a hoax. This is witchcraft. Commonsense will tell you it's rubbish; 97 per cent of all carbon dioxide occurs naturally … 3 per cent around the world is created by human beings.''

34 Murdoch Media Bias Alan Jones addresses an anti C-tax rally in Melbourne '“And of course carbon dioxide isn’t a pollutant. It’s a harmless trace gas that’s necessary for life” Alan Jones, 2GB, 15 March 2011.

35 “Climate change is natural, just get used to it!” “Since 1998 the Earth has been cooling” “Climate change is crap”

36  Plimer says “the climate has always changed” – we just have to get used to it. Where do they get it? “If we humans, in a fit of ego, think we can change these normal planetary processes, then we need stronger medication.”

37 Climate science  300 ppm (or 0.03%) might not sound like much, but here is the effect of adding 300 ppm of ink to a glass of water:

38 Climate Science 101  The water is like the atmosphere – it has no effect on the light  The ink absorbs visible light just like the carbon dioxide absorbs infrared light  If we could ‘see’ in infrared the atmosphere would look quite opaque!

39 Science and politics don’t mix!  Unfortunately climate change has become a political issue  Many on the ‘right’ see government action as a threat to ‘freedom’  Many on the ‘left’ see it as an issue which supports their view of capitalism.  But it is fundamentally a scientific issue and the science is clear!


41 Global temperature is rising – just as the physics says it should  So are the consequences!

42 The denier view

43 ENSO and solar variability

44 Temperature CO 2 Sun

45 But what if?!!




49 Bolt says temperatures have not increased as predicted Really?

50  BEST

51 Denier tactics:

52  BEST



55 Climate extremes  The RATE at which high temperature records are being broken is INCREASING



58 Emitted Atmosphere

59 November 2012 “The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development….

60 While every region of the world will be affected, the poor and most vulnerable would be hit hardest.” “A 4°C world can, and must, be avoided.” Dr. Jim Yong Kim President, World Bank Group

61 Earth’s past climate Pliocene CO 2 drops from >400 ppm to ~300 ppm PETM natural greenhouse event

62 Earth’s climate

63 Earth’s climate – looking at the past The last ‘interglacial’ – similar to current climate. Maybe ~2°C warmer than last century average...

64 last interglacial period when sea level peaked at around 10 metres higher than today. His findings suggest that at one point the sea rose 3 metres within 50 to 100 years.” “Paul Blanchon's team at the National University of Mexico has been studying 121,000 year old coral reefs in the Yucatan Peninsula, formed during the Temperatures in that interglacial were only a couple of degrees warmer than the 20 th C. July 2009

65 10 m higher than today Sea level in the last inter- glacial Today

66 Earth’s climate – looking at the past 2010

67 +3°CPliocene

68 Pliocene Sea levels between 25 and 75 metres higher than today

69 Earth’s climate  There is much more!  Some past abrupt climate changes have been linked to sudden releases of greenhouse gases National Academies Press (USA)

70 Is the Earth warming? Satellites can measure the heat escaping to space … Low radiation High radiation

71 Is the Earth warming?  … and IT IS LESS THAN THAT COMING IN from the Sun!  The Earth must warm until they balance! Reflected visible radiation Emitted IR radiation

72 Is the Earth warming?  Half a watt per square metre! That’s about:  20 times ALL the power being used by humanity  or 40,000 Hiroshima bombs EVERY DAY  This MUST heat the Earth

73 Is the Earth warming?

74 Is the Earth warming? The Ocean

75 Is the Earth warming? Storms

76 New England (USA) February 2013 - The second huge storm in four months (NASA)


78  Warming in the Arctic pushes more cold air up Is the Earth warming? Cold winters

79  This higher pressure pushes frigid air further south Is the Earth warming? Cold winters

80 Is the Earth warming? Glaciers



83 Is the Earth warming? Greenland

84 Blank  Text … Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of Arctic climate change is the risk of passing tipping points…The Arctic region arguably has the greatest concentration of potential tipping elements in the Earth system, including Arctic sea ice, the Greenland ice sheet, North Atlantic deep-water formation regions, boreal forests, permafrost and marine methane hydrates. Recent analyses have added several more candidates…The Arctic therefore presents a test of our capacity as scientists, and as societies, to respond to abrupt climate change. But this response is being delayed because parts of the scientific community and the media have descended into semantic debate over whether Arctic sea ice has a ‘tipping point’. We argue here that this is distracting attention from the urgent need to focus attention on developing early warning indicators of abrupt change, addressing its anthropogenic causes, and rebuilding resilience in climate, ecosystems …

85 Is the Earth warming? Antarctica



88  “The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming places on Earth – average temperatures from meteorological stations near James Ross Island have risen by nearly 2°C in the past 50 years.”  “Approximately 600 years ago the local temperature started to warm again, followed by a more rapid warming in the last 50–100 years that coincides with present-day disintegration of ice shelves and glacier retreat.”  “This new ice core record of Earth’s past climate puts into perspective how unusual the recent warming of the Antarctic Peninsula has been and why we should be concerned about the impact that continued warming will have on the Antarctic ice sheets.”

89 Is the Earth warming? Sea levels


91 What to do?  By all means change the light bulbs (etc!)  But the most important thing missing at present is political will  So we must TELL PEOPLE!  Write to papers and politicians  Join with others to spread the word

92 And if it’s NOT a big hoax?

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