Thursday, 29 January 2015

Warmer summers (and other seasons) ahead

Yesterday the Cairns Post had an article giving a local angle on the latest update from the CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology on climate change in Australia.

The article made reference to the fact we will be facing a tripling of the number of days above 35°C. Such days make it difficult for our 37°C bodies to radiate away excess heat. Our summers will be a good deal less comfortable. As Professor Steve Turton said for the article, other species, without the benefit of air conditioning, face an even more difficult future:
“There are also implications for our ecosystem,’’ he said.

“We know that a lot of our upland mammals, particularly, and some of the birds are adapted to a cooler climate above about 800m.

“Some of those animals are very susceptible to heatwaves, so potentially if heatwaves become more common, it’s ­certainly not only an issue for human comfort but also for a lot of the rare and endemic species that comprise the wet tropics.”
Little comment was made in the article of sea level rise, which surprised me a little. We recently had our highest tides for the year, and I had intended to head to the Esplanade to take a photo of the waters lapping against the boardwalk but work got in the way. Imagine what such days would be like with another 50cm of water - the roads would be awash. We're likely to get at least 50cm, and possibly more than double that by century's end. The expense of constructing sea walls will be substantial.

The wingnuts have been quite restrained on the article so far. There are a couple in the comments of the web page, and I expect the usual suspects will appear in the print edition tomorrow or in Saturday's paper. I'm guessing the "NASA admitted there's only a 38% chance that 2014 was the hottest year" argument, trotted out by one wingnut on the story and by a couple earlier this week in response to an earlier article, will get another play. I further suspect "no warming since 1998" or a variant will appear, and Tim Flannery's words will be taken out of context.

No comments :

Post a Comment