Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Modelling Climate Change Uncertainties

By David Holland

Global climate models are used in the Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report Four (AR4) and Assessment Report Five (AR5) to predict future climates.

How have the modellers resolved the uncertainties of climate change predictions?

This article is based on study related to Masters of Environmental Management (Natural Resources) undertaken by David Holland 2016

When entering the world of prediction we are looking into a crystal ball with many possibilities. With Climate change predictions, we may know the past, howbeit in less detail than would be desired, but the future is simply a guessing game.  Satellite technologies have produced data since the year 2000 with increased accuracy which has increased the hindsight data available to both AR4 and AR5. Increasingly data is becoming more refined and reflective of what is actually happening on the ground.

Wigley and Raper (2001) as cited in Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007) as part of IPCC AR4, states the main uncertainties are uncertainties in emissions, the climate sensitivity, the carbon cycle, ocean mixing and aerosol forcing.

But uncertainty in the future is about the best guess based on past experience. We do not know how much meetings like the Paris accord will change the governments of the world to react to the climate issues or how quickly they will react and as a result we simply do not know the volume of future GHG emission into the future.

Volcanologists can predict certain volcanic events but the prediction of where, and how big a volcanism events may be, and then how long an aerosol event may last is less certain. All we can say is that there is a likelihood of future volcanism.

We understand that the sun has a11-year cycles between sun spot activity by looking into the past but in the future things may change. As unlikely as it seems solar forcing could change.

But the most sensitive and possibly most uncertain is radiative forcing changes. This relates to the potential for changes in the concentrations of GHG’s in the atmosphere and the resultant heat retained in the atmosphere from solar radiation. There is a range of variables associated with this process. The feed back loop related to CO2 atmospheric /oceanic flux, the albedo effect reduction as ice caps melt and more ocean is exposed and how the ocean and atmospheric circulations will be affected by all this.

The first coupled models started their life in 1995 by the Climate Variability and Predictability Numerical Experimentation Group, which came out of the reconstituted World Climate Research Programme. They were call “Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIP)”. (Gerald A. Meehi, Curt Covey, Bryant McAvaney, Mojib Latif, and Ronald J. Stouffer, (Jan 2005) )

Coupled models are more advanced models, which incorporate complex software interactions of data relationships to produce output that mimics a natural system.

They are defined as a complex interaction of the various software components in the model. This interaction produces results that could be skewed by the addition of a spurious variables or a factor in the maths that may be erroneous. So inherently within the model there are at least two uncertainties, the weighting of the variables and the models complexity not fully understood as it attempts to mimic real natural systems.

As time went on several versions of this model emerged and with a variety of data sets being used to run on these models. CMIP3 was one of the better early models but it, as all the models had inaccuracies.

The various data sets from recorded data would produce a range of results from the coupled models and as a result any output from the model would have  uncertainty as to which results could be considered correct if at all any were correct.

Land use changes also have an impact of the future accuracy of a model. Land use change can change the dynamics of the complex interactions of GHGs, flux, radiative forcing within a system. If the model does not have this information then the change will not be reflected in the model output.

The CMIP5 model was able to used much less grainy data sets, which enabled CMIP5 to produce regional climate models (RCMs). But as these were on smaller scales some anomalies were observed on the edges of the regions that did not seem to match an adjacent regions boundary. As a result questions were raised as to what uncertainties needed to be addressed to correct these aberrations.

Clearly climate modelling is peppered with uncertainties, but the argument is that with better and more extensive data sets and the ground truthing of existing models, better models will be made in an attempt to reduce internal anomalies. But the fact remains that modelling is still attempting to predict an uncertain future.

Unfortunately there are a variety of data sets available to feed into the models and a range of models.

The next generation of models were used in the IPCC’ assessment report 4. These multi-model means were starting to be used because the various coupled models seemed to give both accurate and inaccurate correlations to the real natural system as recorded in the past. So if the model produced an accurate simulation on past data then it was reasoned likely that future predictions on simple climate model trends data would produce an accurate coupled data result for the future.

The fact was that coupled data results varied considerably using differed data sets and climate model versions. So it seemed to be logical that if the result were averaged, the results of the 5% to 95% results, (which gets rid of the eccentric data results), we will get from a lot of uncertain results a more certain result. This is an understanding of what a multi-model mean is. A mean of many results of a range of coupled models produced from a range of data sets and a range of assumptions of the future.

The interesting thing about this method is that each model has been set up differently with a range of parameters, some with higher GHG emissions for a future scenario, and some with lower emissions. The end result would be that if the majority of the uncertain future predictions now placed in the models were inaccurate, then the averaging out of the results of all the models would predict a wrong future for the earth.

The method starts with uncertainty as if it was a sows’ ear and suggests that it can make a silk purse by averaging the sows’ ears.

Maybe the analogy is too harsh. It is about the opinions of the model managers who input into the model their best guess of the future. If the manager feels that there will be a reduction of GHGs by a certain date and the majority of model managers believe that this will be the case then the mean of the models will trend that way.

So where does this leave us in predicting the future climate? It leaves us with a best guess solution based on the past’s data collection.

The way the IPCC have handled the uncertainty is by creating several scenarios of the future. These scenarios are based again on varies social and environmental predictions.

However in reality, the prediction that recent data has followed is in fact the highest or least safe prediction for the potential to return the climate to a normal state.

References:

MEEHL Gerald A. , COVEY Curt , MCAVANEY Bryant , LATIF Mojib , AND STOUFFER Ronald J. ,(Jan. 2005) Overview Of The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, American meteorological society, meeting summaries, https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/gam0501.pdf, cited September 2016.

Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007), Global Climate Projections Coordinating Lead, IPCC assessment report 4, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter10.pdf, accessed September 2016.

REICHLER THOMAS , KIM JUNSU, (March 2008)How Well Do Coupled Models Simulate Today’s Climate?,   In Box – Insights and Innovations, , AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, Publ. NOAA, http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/brooks/public_html/feda/papers/ReichlerKimBAMS08.pdf

Social justice for poor farmers

By David Holland

When markets are invented that enable a purchaser to buy not only a good quality product, and the knowledge that the product has been produced in an environment of social justice and sustainable practices, there is hope for poorer farmers in the world to have more income security.

Security that involves better profits for the effort expended and better outcomes for producing the next crop planted by the farmer. These ideals in conjunction with the quality of the product are communicated to the consumer by an organised certification system.

Systems like FSC and PEFC have been trail blazing the way with forest products and over the years for coffee and banana farmers as well through the Fair Trade certification for coffee products and bananas through the FLO.

With imagination similar schemes could be implemented for other products that are exported from third world counties to the developed world where consumers can afford a premium for the social component of the product.

However, there should be some caution in developing the market to widely. The force of commercialism tends to devalue the social and sustainable practice commodity component of the product and the price of the commodity tends to fall as the social commodity component becomes the norm.  (Renard 2003; Taylor 2005)

It could be then said that the exercise of providing security for the farmer has then been achieved, but social engineers should always be wary of the market, it has a tendance to do what Adam Smith pronounced, and that is that it always finds the lowest price a person is willing to pay for a service or product.

 

Reference

Renard, M. C. (2003), Fair trade: Quality, market and conventions. Journal of Rural Studies, 19(1), 87 96, Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/S0743016702000517/1-s2.0-S0743016702000517-main.pdf?_tid=5e177a6a-49c3-11e7-a49b-00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1496649090_99cba8c98206f21fe6864909487a559e, June 2017.

Taylor, P. L. (2005), In the market but not of it: Fair trade coffee and forest stewardship council certification as market-based social change. World Development, 33(1), 129 147, Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0305750X04001883, June 2017.

 

 

Urban and rural communities affected by climate change; how can we mitigate the effects?

By David Holland

As we move towards 2030 AD, it is no longer a question of just finding ways to mitigate climate change (Garnaut, R. 2008), it is a call for the survival of our livelihood as we know it. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) benchmarks for 2030 for RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 are up to 190mm increase in sea level on 2005 levels, and up to a shocking 880 mm by 2090 under RCP 8.5. (Climate Change in Australia (1))

In coastal regions, the effects on urban areas is going to be enormous. There will be less frequent but larger storms with large storm surges. Potential the storms will cause inundate to large areas of low lying urban land.  (CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology 2015)

If measures are not taken urgently to reassess settlement patterns, and the way we insure property assets, communities and all levels of Australian government can expect serious social and political discontent. (Holland 2012 Aug.: Holland (2015): Holland (2016 Feb.): NCCARF) The measures to reduce potential flood impacts and massive insurance claim costs, which are pushing up premium, would be to move urban areas away from hazardous zones. See Holland (2015)

Increasingly, daily temperatures and weather patterns are being affected by climate change. Recently, cyclone Debbie affected the whole east coast of Australia with flood and destruction. (Climate Council) In the summer of 2014 and 2017, the lower Hunter region of NSW was effected by mini cyclones which devastated the region.  In the summer of 2013 and in 2017, the Central Coast experienced very high temperatures. The 2017 event was experienced widely across NSW and Queensland. (BOM 2017: The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s 2015)

These events will continue to happen with more regularity. There is no remedy except to move to a more southerly location or stay indoors and have a good air conditioning system. To help conserve power, ensure that your home is fitted with solar panels and is well insulated.

Rural communities in Central NSW will experience more drought, less winter rains and more unpredictable extreme rain events. (Climate Change in Australia (2)) Winter rains often recharge the soil with moisture. Crops like cotton need that moisture for the summer planting season. (Holland 2016 Oct.)

In many places of the Darling River basin where irrigated crops are grown, water from the river will become depleted due to high use and evaporation rates. (Climate Change in Australia (2): Holland 2016)

As day temperatures rise, increased night time temperatures will damage the quality of the crop. Crop failures will potentially devastate communities due to the resulting economic down turn. (The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s (2015): Holland 2017)

Where high risk of crop failure and water shortages are likely due to climate effects, it would be up to the relevant State governments to take a proactive approach in mitigating the effects of climate change in these regions and ensure that alternate agricultural strategies are employed to avoid social disintegration. (Holland 2017)

 

References:

 

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) (2017 April), Special Climate Statement 61—exceptional heat in southeast Australia in early 2017 Updated 11, April 2017,  Australian Government, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs61.pdf,  cited April 2017.

Climate Change in Australia (1),  Eastern coast south Australia Projection summaries, Future Climate, Projections for Australia’s NRM regions, https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-projections/future-climate/regional-climate-change-explorer/sub-clusters/?current=ECSC&popup=true&tooltip=true#, cited April 2017

Climate Change in Australia (2),  Central Slopes  Australia Projection summaries, Projections for Australia’s NRM regions, https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-projections/future-climate/regional-climate-change-explorer/sub-clusters/?current=CSC&tooltip=true&popup=true, cited April 2017.

Climate Council, Intense Rainfall and flooding, The Influence of climate change, http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/5dafe61d7b3f68d156abd97603d67075.pdf, cited April 2017.

CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2015), Climate Change in Australia Information for Australia’s Natural Resource Management Regions: Technical Report, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/publications-library/technical-report/, cited April 2017.

Garnaut, R. (2008). The Garnaut climate change review. Cambridge University Press, http://www.garnautreview.org.au/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2012 August), Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales, https://habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com/tag/david-holand/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2015), Planning for Sea Level Rise Risk in some Coastal Regions of Australia – A Market Approach, Habitat Town Planning Forum, WordPress, https://habitattownplanningforum.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/planning-for-climate-change-the-risk-model-for-sea-level-rise-discussion-paper-3rd-edition-rev1-20151.pdf, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2016 Feb), A national security problem – Sea Level rise, Habitat Town Planning Forum, WordPress, https://habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/a-national-security-problem-sea-level-rise/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2016 Oct.), The cotton growing industry near Bourke NSW A future with climate change, Habitat Association, WordPress, https://habitatassociation.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/cotton-bourke2.pdf, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2017), A warning to the NSW State government about the potential for the economy of rural towns reliant on agricultural crop income being affected by climate change, Habitat Association, WordPress, https://habitatassociation.com.au/2017/04/26/a-warning-to-the-nsw-state-government-about-the-potential-for-the-economy-of-rural-towns-reliant-on-agricultural-crop-income-being-affected-by-climate-change/, cited April 2017.

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), What does climate change mean for Australia?, https://www.nccarf.edu.au/content/adaptation, cited April 2017.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s (2015), Technical Report on Climate change in Australia Projections for Australia’s NRM Regions,  http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/publications-library/technical-report/, cited April 2017.

Sanda, Dominica (2017 March 16), Throwback Thursday: Mini Cyclone lashed Region, The Newcastle Herald, http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4482752/throwback-thursday-mini-cyclone-lashes-region-photos/, cited April 2017.

White Bellied Sea Eagle – The Wadalba Warrior

Habitat Centre for Arts

What a Magnificent Bird!

This is the Wadalba Warrior.

A bird that has gained the admiration of a town. A town called Wadalba.

Wadalba it located in the Central Coast of New South Wales Australia and is the home of this magnificent bird.

White Bellied Sea Eagle White Bellied Sea Eagle

The artist painted this sea eagle (copied from a photo on the white bellied sea eagle site on the internet) the reason for this water-colour painting is because there has been a battle over a housing development project on southern Wadalba Hill on the Central Coast of NSW.
There is a white bellied sea eagles nest on a tree at the edge of a clear felled forest. The chicks were inside and the site was clear felled nearly up to the tree.
The parents have been back every day to feed the chicks despite the clearing and destruction going on nearby. There is an…

View original post 68 more words

Megan Hitchens at the Choose yourself exhibition

Habitat Centre for Arts

This exclusive exhibition of fine art is for only 8 artists, giving them the opportunity to show their unique works. Megan has used a drawing style for these two drawing called the  Zentangle drawing method. For more information about this style see the link www.zentangle.com

Choose-Yourself-Flyer   T6

cipher 2

The Exhibition flyer for the time and place is available on the following link. Click to view or reproduce for your friends: Choose-Yourself-Flyer

View original post

Climate Change related Sea Level Rise Policy changes in New South Wales

Habitat Town Planning Forum

This is an up date of a paper first written in 2010 but still relevant in 2014 more than ever with continued evidence of the effects of chi mate change in a range of environments. 

Since this paper was written in 2010 there has been a series of developments related to both NSW State government and some Central Coast local government councils and their policies.

After the Labor State government announced in 2009 the recognition of sea level rise being a scientific fact through the Draft Flood Risk Management Guide published by the Department of Environment and Climate Change Water (DECCW) several predictable things happened.

Firstly we need to understand that the DECCW based finding of 900mm sea level rise by the year 2100 on the shore of NSW from data produced by the 2007 fourth session report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[1]. This report indicated that sea level…

View original post 1,057 more words

Risks and impacts on governments and the community when planning coal mining projects in urban growth areas

Habitat Town Planning Forum

Planning for population growth is one of the challenges Australia has to face to ensure a good socio-economic future. This means that mismanagement and errors due to bad planning will affect our prosperity both individually and as a nation.

Currently Australia is going through an increase in applications for mining operations. Some of the recent policy of State governments has been to embrace mining and exports to improve royalty revenues. In the face of climate change, Australian states are continuing to give approvals for mining operations to take advantage of carbon-based resources.

This paper will investigate how a population growth area and a coal mining application are in conflict on the Central Coast of New South Wales (NSW). It identifies a range of planning principals for urban growth areas and superimposes a real life proposal for a mining operation within the locality of the growth area on the Central Coast…

View original post 347 more words