From the Inkstain Australia desk, word that folks Down Under are turning to crime in response to drought:
Rainwater tanks around Canberra have been drained and farm ponds have been pumped dry. Police say stealing water is often the perfect crime because evidence disappears without trace.
Arctic temperatures of the 20th century showed a warming phase to the 1940’s, a cooling phase to the 1970’s and renewed warming to 2003. Climate science has never adequately explained the decades long climate variations in the context of steadily increasing greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere.
The temperatures trends in the Arctic reflect the warming and cooling periods seen in the global surface temperature record. These periods mirror shifting phases of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), a natural climate phenomenon that has been traced back in trees and coral for more than 400 years. The divergent climate states were first discerned in arctic fisheries in 1996 but have since been discovered in changing abundances of anchovies and sardines in Monterey Bay (having given rise to John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row) and in Australian multi-decadal rainfall trends (long periods of persistent droughts or long periods of persistent floods).
The divergent states are the warm and cool phases of the PDO. A cool phase brings persistent La Nina conditions over a few decades (more summer rainfall in Australia) and reduced global temperatures (fewer El Ninos). The alternating phases last for 20 to 30 years. The last warm phase of the PDO (1975 to 1998) produced between 1976 and 1977 a 0.50C rise in the temperature of the lower atmosphere.
(http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2004/08/09/non-linear-climate-change/ – see Figure 2 especially).
Australia has good flood records going back more than 100 years. It has been known for some time that Australia experiences decades long periods of extended drought and, alternatively, decades long periods of flooding. These periods coincide with the temperature record of the last century. The period of rising temperature to the mid 1940’s saw drought, the period to 1975 was a wet period and then dry again to – well – now.
Recent flood analysis suggests that the phenomenon is a result of long term modulation of both the frequency and intensity La Nina and El Nino events in the El Nino Southern Oscillation. There is a direct relationship between increasing frequency and intensity of El Nino and higher global temperatures.
The indication from increasing negativity of the PDO index since 1998 is that the PDO has shifted phase – this is supported by other observations. The lack of an increase in global temperature since 1998 suggests that the effect of a ‘cool phase’ of the PDO is being felt. The effect will last for decades and will moderate global warming – although I am still waiting for the rain to fall.
This is not to suggest that carbon dioxide does not impose a rising temperature trend on a background of naturally variable climate. Simply, that GHG alone are insufficient to account for climate variation over the last century.
The powerful climate signal of the PDO is not included in the climate models because, quite simply, there is no agreed explanation for the observed phenomenon. Although this seems a trifle theoretical when confronted with real world observations – it was assumed that the background variations were chaotic and unpredictable when in fact they are cyclical and predictable.
I do not endorse continually increasing the concentrations of GHG in the atmosphere. There are serious problems with this course of action even with a moderation of global warming.