Recently saw David Attenborough’s 2006 doco again


Or do you prefer such as Andrew Bolt on the subject? Or anyone else who constantly mutters “warmist” or “alarmist”? David Attenborough is interesting as he began as a sceptic, this 2006 documentary being his clearest statement to that date of his current view. It is definitely worth watching the whole two hours still.

Attenborough had confessed to previously being sceptical about the belief that global warming is predominantly caused by humans. But now, he argued, the evidence of it was too overwhelming to ignore. He became sure of it when he saw graphs provided by climatologists that demonstrated the link between increasing temperatures and the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, with the growth in population and industrialisation:

I was absolutely convinced this was no part of a normal climatic oscillation which the Earth has been going through and that it was something else.

…This is our planet: planet Earth. It contains an astonishing variety of landscapes and climates. Since life began, around 4,000 million years ago, it has gone through extraordinary changes in its climate and in the species that live on it. But now it seems that our planet is being transformed — not by natural events, but by the actions of one species: mankind.

— David Attenborough’s opening narration


All that is a prelude to commending Australia’s record-breaking summer heat linked directly to climate change and A look at the recent record high temperatures in Australia.

There were three distinct heat waves in southeast Australia during January and February, with the highest temperatures recorded from February 9th to the 12th. For much of the country, the heat peaked on the weekend of February 11th and 12th, when many places hit upwards of 113°F (45°C). The 2016-2017 heatwaves broke long-standing records in central New South Wales that were originally set back in January of 1939 …

The WWA team and colleagues from the University of New South Wales conducted a rapid attribution analysis to see how climate change factored into the exceptionally warm summer (December to February) of 2016-2017. The team also looked at the hottest three-day average February temperatures in Canberra and Sydney….

The team then looked at the maximum summer temperature for New South Wales… Based on climate model simulations (weather@home and CMIP5) and observational data analysis (ACORN-SAT), maximum summer temperatures like those seen during 2016-2017 are now at least 10 times more likely in the current climate than in the past, before global warming began. In the past, a summer as hot as 2016-2017 was a roughly 1 in 500-year event. Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1 in 50 years – a 10-fold increase in frequency. Today, climate change has increased the odds to roughly 1 in 50 years – a 10-fold increase in frequency. In the future, a summer as hot as this past summer in New South Wales is likely to happen roughly once every five years. In addition, climate change has increased the intensity of an exceptionally hot summer like this by roughly 1ºC (1.8°F). In the future, the intensity increases by roughly 2°C (3.6°F)….

For Sydney, a coastal city, the effect of climate change on this heat wave is less clear. Observations show that climate change increased the chance of such a heat wave occurring, but the high year-to-year variability makes identifying a clear human influence more difficult.

The Future

The heat seen this past summer across parts of Australia is still rare in our current climate. However, if greenhouse gas emissions are not dramatically reduced, intense summer heat will become the norm in the future.

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