Tuesday, July 17, 2012

We are the heroes who stopped climate change

We - you, me and everyone else reading this - are the heroes who stopped climate change. We saved the lives of millions of people. We prevented the extinction of thousands of species. We halted the acidification of the oceans and the collapse of global fish stocks, averting immense suffering. Thanks to us, wars that would have been fought over water never occurred. Thanks to us, the lives of every one of the billions of humans on this fragile and beautiful planet are better than they otherwise would have been. We are heroes.

It was not an easy battle. It cost money - large amounts of money. All of us sacrificed something. Our lifestyles altered. Our choices narrowed. Our lives were by some measures worse than they would have otherwise been. But we did this to make the lives of future generations better than they would have otherwise been; we gave up choices to allow our children more choices. And the alterations to our lifestyles, while difficult in the transition, became for us badges of honour and hope. We are heroes.

We made difficult political and personal decisions. We had the courage to research, refine and adopt nuclear power, overcoming our reservations in the face of the huge dangers that climate change presented. We had the vision to support the creation of solar and wind energy systems to run electric vehicles, moving completely away from fossil fuels - with which transport had seemed axiomatically and inextricably intertwined - in the course of a few short decades. We - sometimes reluctantly; sometimes disgruntledly - changed our eating habits. And came to realise that there were health benefits for us as well as for the planet. We are heroes.

Many things stood in our way; sometimes we stood in our own way. There were those who opposed us out of self-interest and those who opposed us out of honest disbelief. There were those who labelled us dupes or liars or simply wrong. And we were wrong on some things. We made mistakes. But we overcame. Our words were listened to and our deeds spoke for themselves. We are heroes.

As you look around today and see the world that we created, you will notice that it is not perfect; that it is not in all ways the way that you want it to be. But while there is still suffering, corruption, famine, conflict, disease, destruction - still many challenges to be overcome - there is far less of it thanks to you and I; thanks to all of us. Be proud. We are heroes.

note: this is an idea that I have for motivating people to take action on climate change


I have been offline for eight months, with personal stuff happening. But I am back now.

The main thing to discuss is that we have had a fair bit of rain this year. :)

However, inflow has again not come close to matching historical averages.

In 2011, we received  577.7 mm of rainfall, with inflow of around 55,000 megalitres.

Thus far in 2012, we have received 495 mm, with inflow of around 45,000 megalitres. With an El Nino forecast for late spring/early summer, it is likely that we will get less than average rainfall. However, we should still get more than average for the year, given that we are only 120 mm or so short.

I will also discuss the state of the Arctic sea ice. At present, satellites are recording the lowest ice area on record, with ice extent in the bottom three (2007 and 2011 are the lowest and second lowest). Area and extent are two different but related ways of measuring the amount of sea ice. For a clear discussion on the difference, see here: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/faq/

With regard to volume, PIOMAS (http://psc.apl.washington.edu/wordpress/research/projects/arctic-sea-ice-volume-anomaly/) currently estimate that sea ice volume is the lowest for this date in the historical record, around 1,000 cubic kilometres below the previous record set last year. For context, last year's minimum was around 4,000 cubic kilometres. My own model predicts that this year's minimum will be 3,200 cubic kilometres. (This is up from the prediction made last year, because the PIOMAS model is now version 2). At present, the situation is tracking below that, but not too much below.

Weather over the next three months will determine if we set records. But the sea surface temperatures in the Arctic are three, four, five and more degrees above average in many areas, and significant melt is to be expected.