Hotting up in 2013–but my blogs have been a bit tepid…

First the blog stats. Sitemeter for all the “Floating Life” blogs shows visits a touch over 3,000 in December with around 4,250 page views. On this blog alone according to WordPress there were 1,297 page views in December and 10,887 in the eleven months of 2013 that this blog has been going. The top ten individual posts this year have been:

  1. Home page / Archives 6,661 views in 2013
  2. A totally one-eyed flippant squiz at an eon–it seems—of Tony Abbott and friends 178
  3. Lost Wollongong 104
  4. Inspiring people and inspiring television–and a less than inspiring regional government 98
  5. Gatsby revisited 91
  6. My former workplace in the news today 82
  7. About 81
  8. Iraq, Downer, Rudd, and a really positive story to end on 71
  9. First Footprints delivered! 68
  10. Ascended the grand staircase 65

Now to less important matters. Winking smile

Or perhaps:

tony-abbott

I posted that little squib on Facebook yesterday. Some thought I was a tad biased. I say I am just rendering the face that the government we now have rather too often presents to the media and hence to us voters. Tangential to that, it has been fascinating to read Falling dollar, Indonesia concerns revealed in previously secret Hawke era cabinet papers and similar stories on the release of confidential papers from 1986 and 1987, particularly as I have been reading on and off over the past month or two Don Watson’s Recollections of a Bleeding Heart. There aren’t any great surprises in the 86-87 papers – but they do make me feel old as that period was surely just last week!

I would be more optimistic, Tony Abbott – referring to the New Year message, if there were signs you and key advisers such as Maurice Newman were even vaguely believable on what to do about climate change.  Why? Well…

See also Happy New Year. It’s Worse Than We Thought. 

In an opinion piece in The Australian newspaper, Maurice Newman, Mr Abbott’s pick as head of his Business Advisory Council, said high energy costs caused by the carbon tax and the renewable energy target, introduced under the Howard government, had eroded competitiveness.

Under Labor and the Greens, Australia had been taken hostage by ”climate change madness”, Mr Newman wrote.

The research, published on Wednesday in the respected journal Nature, comes as Australia ends its hottest year in more than a century of forecasts, with 2013 eclipsing the record set in 2005.

Steven Sherwood, lead author of the report and a professor at UNSW’s climate change research centre, said the biggest uncertainty in modelling climate change in the past 25 years had been the changes in clouds.

”[This research] cracks open one of the biggest problems in climate science,” he said.

Read more

See also the Bureau of Meteorology’s Climate Updates. The most recent one reads:

Spring 2013: Australia’s warmest spring on record

The spring of 2013 has been Australia’s warmest on record. Mean temperatures for the season were 1.57°C above the 1961–1990 average, surpassing the previous record of 1.43°C (set in 2006) by 0.14°C. Daytime maximum temperatures were also the highest on record, coming in 2.07°C above average and 0.24°C above the previous record (also set in 2006). Overnight minimum temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record with an anomaly of +1.07°C.

As described previously (see Australia’s warmest 12-month period on record) the warmth was most significant in September, which saw a mean temperature anomaly of +2.75°C, setting a new monthly record by more than a degree. At 1.43°C above average, October was also a very warm month. Temperatures during November were 0.52°C above average – the smallest temperature anomaly since August 2012 – but warm enough to complete a record spring.

The spring warmth was extensive, with virtually the entire country experiencing above-average mean temperatures. It was the warmest spring on record over an area covering much of Queensland (sufficient to give Queensland its warmest spring on record), and extending into the eastern interior of the Northern Territory. Records were also set on the west coast around Perth and on parts of the Nullarbor.

Australian temperatures have warmed by about 1° C since 1910, with the warming being fastest during spring. In this context, the recent record warm spring is consistent with the established warming trend. The degree of warmth reflects a combination of factors including global warming, dry conditions affecting much of central and eastern Australia and unusually strong westerly winds.

Check the global situation via NOAA National Climatic Data Center, State of the Climate: Global Analysis. An extract from the latest one:

The average temperature across global land and ocean surfaces during November 2013 was record highest for November in the 134-year period of record, at 0.78°C (1.40°F) above the 20th century average. This surpasses the previous record set in 2004 by 0.03°C (0.05°F) and is also the sixth highest monthly departure from average among all months on record and the highest since March 2010, one of the last months in which El Niño conditions were present in the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. During November, warmer-than-average temperatures across most of the world’s ocean surfaces contributed to the anomalous warmth. Even with ENSO-neutral conditions holding for the 19th straight month, the November global ocean temperature tied with 2009 as the third highest for November, at 0.54°C (0.97°F) above the 20th century average. Regionally, the tropical oceans (20°N–20°S) were 10th warmest on record for November, while the Northern and Southern Hemisphere oceans above 20° latitude (outside the tropics) both tied as second warmest, at 0.64°C (1.15°F) and 0.53°C (0.95°F) above their long-term averages, respectively. With respect to specific areas, according to the Land & Ocean Temperature Percentiles map above, parts of the north east and south west Pacific, small sections of the eastern Atlantic Ocean, and various sections of the Indian Ocean, including much of the south central portion, were record warm for November. Many other regions across all of the oceans were much warmer than average. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts ENSO-neutral conditions to continue in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean into the Northern Hemisphere summer 2014.

But we can’t expect much progress from our government on this front in the coming year – or ever, I suspect. Looking at the USA:

It’s not surprising that Republicans are less likely to believe in evolution that Democrats are; while the numbers vary from survey to survey, there has been a consistent gap. Republicans are also less likely to believe that the earth’s climate is warming, or, if they accept that it is, to believe that the change is caused by human activity. But belief in climate change is actually on the uptick, among both Democrats and Republicans, having reached a nadir in 2009. (Some academics believe the recession helped to depress belief in warming, as people’s worries about their immediate livelihood trumped longer-term concerns.)

What’s surprising in the new Pew evolution numbers is the trend—a more than 10-point drop in belief among Republicans. What explains it?

Read more at Atlantic Monthly

There is another article in Atlantic Monthly to have fun with: In 1964, Isaac Asimov Imagined the World in 2014.

Finally, a lovely photo from the New Yorker.

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Happy New Year!