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63 responses to “Climate clippings 91”

  1. Doug

    Thanks for your work with these clippings.I shall look forward to the blog

  2. Henry2

    What about the Antarctic follies Brian? Slipped your memory?

    [Moderator note: Hey, y'know that cute thing you're doing using a URL that doesn't actually exist in the user website field? Not actually that cute, and welcome to the pre-mod filter, and all your comments will be redacted to link to our comments policy in the user website field instead. ~ Cat Herding Cabal]

  3. David Irving (no relation)

    I reckon the sock poppet is talking about the Russian ship caught in the ice off Antarctica, Brian. What passes for his thinking is obviously something like “ICE!!!11! Take that, Global Warming!”

  4. Henry2

    Sock puppet?

  5. David Irving (no relation)

    No, sock poppet, Henry2. Most of my “typos” are deliberate (except for the ones that aren’t).

  6. David Irving (no relation)

    Brian, I think a lot of people think “2 degrees by 2100? That doesn’t sound too bad really” without realising that warming doesn’t end there. 8 degrees by 2200 is terrifying, and I’m glad I’ll be long dead.

  7. Pterosaur

    Brian, thanks greatly for your considerable efforts in putting together this series of informative posts.

    Looks like we’re (human civilisation) is pretty well stuffed from where I’m sitting. and a bit like DI(nr), I too am glad that I’ll be well out of the picture as the extreme effects of AGW become more apparent.

  8. Pterosaur

    A link to a story that you may find interesting/useful

    Researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) make available for anyone the opportunity to know their community, state or country’s weather activity for today and months ahead.

    And anotherto Moclic software

  9. jungney

    Thanks Brian. I reckon that one of the early warming issues to herald major social changes will be management of outdoor work in summer. I can’t imagine that anyone will be expected to routinely work outdoors in 45C+, day after day, month after month. We’ll need to shift, fairly rapidly, to night work across large areas of the economy. Then there’s the matter of simple heat management for the poor and elderly. There’s already a call for libraries to be converted to ‘cooling centres’ for those unable to pay for peak aircon or those unwilling to use it. And the tendency, all the time, will be to more and more aircon in businesses and shopping centres otherwise who would go into them? A fair dinkum attitude would see some pretty severe power management regulations for all new buildings insisting on maximal passive cooling, no more glass curtain buildings and so on.

    But no. Headed for catastrophe. I’m sorry for my kids.

  10. John D

    Jugney: I have spent years working in places where the temperatures in the shade are often over 40 and sometimes over 45. Bearable (but not desirable) if it is dry heat, you are acclimatized, appropriately dressed and have plenty of water. High humidity is much harder to take, particularly if there is no breeze or fans where you are working. (Also spent years on Groote Eylandt we started to sweat in Aug and stopped in May.)
    Add a few degrees and working at night becomes more and more attractive.

  11. Val

    Hi all, I’ve put my first go at providing info on community solar on my blog ( which you can access through clicking on my name, above). I’m currently at my holiday reveg block, with a small solar panel, which my brother kindly installed – it’s enough to charge my mobile, but pretty hard to blog from a mobile.

    So in other words, happy for any of you to visit and add useful info/ correct anything.

  12. jungney

    John D: well, I a pink Aussie, a sweater, and am even now wearing a bandanna to prevent rivulets pouring down my face. I can’t imagine outdoors all day in 45 degrees except as some sort of vision of hell.

    Best of luck.

  13. John D

    Jugney: At 45 deg dry heat you will not be covered by sweat – it disappears so fast sweat is definitely not a problem. You will also find that it is more comfortable out of a breeze than in the breeze.
    You will find that water consumption is enormous. I remember one not noticeably day when I lost 2 kg in a few hrs doing a low energy bushwalk.
    The amount of energy you can expend will probably depend on the rate your body will absorb water.
    You will also find that many things that are out in the sun are too hot to touch.
    No doubt there are studies on just how much work a fit worker can do in 45 deg heat.

  14. jungney

    John D: I’ve had to change my attitude, since being a kid, to drinking water. In the old days, on a club bushwalk, we were encouraged to conserve what water we carried against there being none in upcoming creeks. It got so that I could smell water in a gully, however little it was. The result, some thirty years later, after many years not drinking much, was the agony of stones. So, now I drink, in humidity, with consequent moist results. Maybe one day I’ll enjoy 40 degree heat out of a breeze. In the meantime, I exist by using aircon only on the worst of days in a little isolated and heat shielded room in the middle of the house. All old fashioned stuff – the blinds drawn, windows and blinds shut and all opened up as soon as the sun is down.


  15. Graham Bell

    A practical question. Whenever you do start your own climate blog, would you be able to email each of us please? The interwebs is a very b-i-g place and trying to find you by guesswork would need the patience of Job (I’m lazy, that’s all :-) ).

    Jungney @ 16:
    John D has wise words there @ 14 and 17.
    (I used to be a soldier and then a railway fettler – doing heavy work at 40+ was standard).

    The current polar vortex hitting the United States is the other extreme of climate disruption. Minus 45 in Minnesota.
    Better learn how to cope with never-seen-before cold as well.
    There are differences between -6 and -16 and between -16 and -30 (my coldest was -35 and it was uncomfortable even when properly dressed and behaving sensibly). Ask a Finn or Russian Siberiak or a Canadian for worthwhile advice.

    As for the climate change deniers who use this current polar vortex as “proof” that climate change is a load of bunkum – just tell them to shove it up their jumper …. and to rush out and stock up on thermal underwear before the shops sell out. Ha-ha-ha-ha.

  16. John D

    I bush walked most weekends during the time i lived in the middle of WA. This meant there were many days when I would have walke when shade temperatures were over 40 deg C. A few tips:
    – Carry a lot of water.
    – Turn around when you have used 1/2 of the water unless you are very very sure that you can find water further along the track.
    – Dont assume that a pool or spring marked on a map will have water. (Or in many case, that you will be able to find it – Many of the pools of water I used were about the size of a bath.)
    Learn where water is likely to be in the sort of country you are using. Well used kangaroo tracks often lead to water.
    Carved nested circles are often a sign of nearby water.
    Smart to do what I did and gradually explore out over a number of walks. This helps you know where you are and where water is or is likely to be.
    Carry a lot of water in your vehicle so that you have a chance of survival if the vehicle breaks down or you have used all your water by the time you get back to the vehicle.
    Breathe through you nose to conserve moisture – also puts a limit on how energetic you can be – reduces the risk of heat exhaustion.
    Know the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Once heat exhaustion starts, slow down (better still lie down in the shade for a while.) Wet clothes or immerse yourself in a pool. (I wetted hat and shirt every time I came to a pool for comfort.) Drink water. There is no prize for dying from heat stroke to conserve water.
    Dont drink water to cool down, drink when you feel a bit thirsty.
    Make sure someone really knows where you are going and when to push the panic button. (I used to mark on a map the track I intended to take.)
    Where loose clothes of thickish cloth. (I used heavy duty cotton work shirts. The thick cotton protects from the heat of the sun and absorbs sweat so that it can evaporate and cool instead of dripping off.

  17. Val

    Just wanted to mention that I’m back from holidays and I’ve updated my community solar post http://fairgreenplanet.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/community-solar-update.html with a lot more information. This is part of my campaign to get public health people more active in addressing environmental issues and I will be tweeting about it tomorrow from @valakay.

    I know I’ve had differences with some people on this site, and I know we’ve had debates on the climate clippings threads about whether we’re all stuffed and it’s hopeless, or whether we should still focus on encouraging action (which I suspect is also an internal debate for many people, including Brian), but I hope you will support me in my efforts to enlist the health lobby in promoting environmental sustainability.

    I look forward to your return in three months Brian, and I hope we will all be able to find you via google, so you don’t have to email us all. If you aren’t accessible via google in a few months’ time, maybe you could send a broadcast email to explain what’s happened. All the best.

  18. Val

    Brian @ 27
    Sorry I don’t think I expressed it very well – I’m not asking that you (or anyone else) support me specifically, or join any specific group (though I think a few posts back you did encourage people to join local environmental groups or add their voices to causes eg through Get Up?) Basically I mean that no matter how pessimistic people might feel, I hope they will keep advocating for action and patiently explaining to people what can be done through whatever forums or means they can.

    Personally I think getting the public health lobby on board (some are already but there isn’t a united voice) would be really useful, so hope you and others reading or commenting on this blog will also advocate for that eg as a topic for future posts or in whatever way suits you. Anyway, thanks again for all your work, see you (virtually) in the future I hope.

  19. John D

    Brian @26: Drinking by the clock can waste water when you are bushwalking and carrying water in hot weather. It is easy to waste water by drinking to keep cool instead of when you need it. Feeling thirsty is a reasonable guide but you may need to drink more if you start getting a headache or feel heat stressed.
    The mines I have worked at in hot areas of Aus now have “pee charts” to tell you whether you are drinking enough. Deep yellow or orange is a clear message that you need to drink more.
    Closest I have ever come to being in trouble was in the Kimberleys. i was walking along cliffs above a running river assuming that I could get down to the river when I needed a drink. By the time I realized that that note of the gullies going down to the river actually got me there I was feeling pretty uncomfortable. Lots more uncomfortable by the time I retraced my steps to a place where I could climb down the cliff to water.
    A classic case of assuming there was accessible water ahead and starting to get into trouble when I realized there may not be.

  20. drsusancalvin

    I designed, project managed and owner built a 2 level 400 m sq house (Phillip Island) that focused on mitigating high temperatures rather than worrying about the few weeks of cold weather. There is no inbuilt heating or cooling and whilst I’m not too fussed about the numbers, I can report that after 2 years the external temp range for the period is 45C to 3C whilst the internal range (upper level) was 14C to 28C, and even more stable downstairs. I’m using this data to refine the design of the PV system, and can report that all the classic passive solar design principals work a treat.

  21. John D

    Brian: People die from drinking too much water The link explains why this happens. The article includes with:

    Every hour, a healthy kidney at rest can excrete 800 to 1,000 milliliters, or 0.21 to 0.26 gallon, of water and therefore a person can drink water at a rate of 800 to 1,000 milliliters per hour without experiencing a net gain in water, Verbalis explains. If that same person is running a marathon, however, the stress of the situation will increase vasopressin levels, reducing the kidney’s excretion capacity to as low as 100 milliliters per hour. Drinking 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water per hour under these conditions can potentially lead a net gain in water, even with considerable sweating, he says.

    While exercising, “you should balance what you’re drinking with what you’re sweating,” and that includes sports drinks, which can also cause hyponatremia when consumed in excess, Verbalis advises. “If you’re sweating 500 milliliters per hour, that is what you should be drinking.”

    But measuring sweat output is not easy. How can a marathon runner, or any person, determine how much water to consume? As long as you are healthy and equipped with a thirst barometer unimpaired by old age or mind-altering drugs, follow Verbalis’s advice, “drink to your thirst. It’s the best indicator.”

  22. jungney

    Personally, I reckon I sweat more since the change from F to C. Celsius doesn’t provide enough gradation. Heat management, according to old common sense rule of thumb, is forgotten culture. At 105 F. I always put myself in the shade and sat out the worst of the heat for the afternoon. On water was best of all.

    There is a madness associated with the heat. Here in Drastic there is a certain class of retiree or pensioner who won’t commence to mow the lawn until say 14:00, right in the thick of it; it appears to be a challenge to the gods, one last act of defiance against common sense.

    Thirty years ago anyone who went running at 105F would have been regarded as a nutter. These days it is nothing to see people running and cycling long at 40.5C.

  23. John D

    Jugney: For me 100 deg F always sounded hotter than 40 deg C even though this is 104 deg F. Personally I think of “hot” as being 43 deg C because in central WA this was the temperature when it becomes cooler out of the wind. Never heard the one about deg C making it feel hotter before.
    Brian: You would have to be pretty extreme to be killed by drinking too much water. However, you can become bloated, particularly if you have chilled water to tempt you drink more. The key thing is adjust your work rate to the temperature and humidity and to be aware of the colour of your pee and whether you are starting to really become heat stressed.

  24. Val

    Please excuse long quote but I just came across this in an article by McCartney et al (Public Health 2008, 122:658-663)

    The first two articles in this series have argued that public health professionals in the Western world face new challenges and unsolved problems from the 20th Century … . It has been argued that these problems arise as a consequence of the prioritization of economic growth as the central purpose of society. It is contended that climate change and rising energy costs will lead to profound changes in industrialized economies. This will bring many threats but there is also the prospect of a health dividend (less obesity, greater well-being, less inequality) arising from successful change.

    It is now argued that to realize this dividend and avoid the worst consequences of an unsustainable future, three stages of change are required: (i) a realistic but optimistic mindset; (ii) a new public health discourse; and (iii) the use of an appropriate methodology which will define a new set of public health tasks

    This is the kind of project I am engaged in, as I’ve previously discussed. I particularly liked the phrase “a realistic but optimistic mindset“.

    I know this mindset that may be difficult at times, but I like this as a message for my (probable) last comment on “Climate Clippings”, while looking forward to Brian’s New Blog.

  25. John D

    Val: I like “realistic but optimistic mindset.” There are changes in what people (and business’s) are doing and saying that give me cause for optimism.

  26. Val

    Brian @ 41
    Well I was thinking that might be my last comment here – but anyway, yes optimism could be inborn temperament but I think likely also relates to early childhood experience too. However I think to some extent we can also decide how we view the world – a la mindfulness, cognitive behavior therapy etc

    On related note, I also saw research with teenagers that showed a hopeful outlook on climate change was associated with pro environment behavior UNLESS it was based on denial, in which case it was negatively associated.

    So I guess the trick is to remain positive about what we can do, while also being realistic. Bit hard last night here when it was 36 at 2 am and you’re thinking ‘is this the future?’ – which it likely is more and more I guess. Interesting about WA being the canary, I think south eastern Australua may be a bit that way too in terms of heat waves. Unlike 2009, this isn’t the end of a long drought so we may not reach catastrophic fire conditions, but I think they could get pretty bad.

    I’m becoming a bit like some other people who almost feel that we need bad things to happen to show how wrong Abbott is. Unfortunately though we are already in what the BOM terms emergency heat wave conditions, so sadly it is likely that people will die. Hopefully our community care system is better prepared than in 2009, so there won’t be so many deaths, but it shouldn’t take 100s of premature deaths to make a government see sense, especially when it’s already happened before.

  27. John D

    Brian: A useful article on how the body handles heat.
    how heat, humidity and nightime temperatures affect you Key points:
    1. Skin temp must be below 35 deg for enough cooling to take place.
    2. We will die if the wet bulb temperature goes above 35 deg C.
    3. We need to cool off at night for our bodies to recover from hot days. It is the hot nights that really do the damage to the elderly and very young.

  28. John D

    Brian: I am surprised that productivity dropped when the temp fell below 18 deg C. Up to a point, lower temperatures should be OK with warm clothing providing that you haven’t got hold. On the hot side, humidity makes a lot of difference, 28 deg C would be pretty comfortable in Newman, uncomfortable on Groote.
    What you are used to and level of fitness is important too.
    We have air con in one room and rarely use it. Personal fans make a lot of difference in Bris.

  29. BilB


  30. John D

    Brian: the fans we use in brisbane are 50w – and usually run in the slowest speed. You would need a lot to consume more than air conditioning.

  31. Val

    Can’t manage without my LP fix! I have just been advised by a commentator on The Conversation that the Abbott government is ending the Home Energy Saver Scheme (http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/communities-and-vulnerable-people/programs-services/financial-management-program/home-energy-saver-scheme/home-energy-saver-scheme ) in June 14, a year ahead of schedule.

    The reason I found out is that I have been advising people on benefits that they may be eligible for a No Interest Loans Scheme loan to buy solar panels under the HESS scheme. So – just as we get through another heatwave in Victoria, the federal government gets rid of a scheme that helped vulnerable groups to reduce energy costs and improve their home’s capacity to cope with temperature extremes!

    I despair. The meanness and incompetence of this government knows no bounds.

  32. John D

    Val/Brian: Some Xmas cheer would be nice. Meanwhile those this article from REnewEconomy offered some interesting facts and graphs re what has happened in the currrent (Jan 2014) heat wave and those nasty solar panels that have taken away the cream the fossil generators made during heat waves.

    Among other things it is killing fossil power company profits: “Generators and retailers use elaborate hedging policies to reduce their exposure to such fluctuations – which can be triggered as much by bidding tactics and other factors as much as weather – but the fact remains that a large revenue pool has been evaporated by the impact of solar.
    In the same way that one third of the network costs are to cater for about 100 hours of peak demand a year, generators source a huge amount of their annual revenue from similar events. The problem for many coal generators is that they grew to rely on these peak pricing events to boost their revenue, and inflate their values. Solar eats into those revenues whenever they produce – because the output comes during the day-time period, when prices are normally higher.

    The financial advisors to the coal operators were so sure of the future that the coal plants were hocked to the eyeballs in debt, but when these pricing events started to decline, some generators – such as Loy Yang A – were barely able to meet even their interest payments, until AGL picked it up at a bargain basement price and refinanced and reduced the debt level.

    In Queensland, the government’s antipathy towards solar may be explained by what it is doing to the state-owned generator, Stanwell Corp, which has more than 4,000GW of coal and gas fired generation, but didn’t make a single dollar in profit from those assets last year, only coal exports. It blames solar for putting into doubt the long term sustainability of its business.

    One other graph is worth contemplating, and it is one that will continue to bedevil the established grid operators – be they networks, generators or retailers – and those who set policy and tariffs.

    At the peak of demand the price in Victoria (and South Australia for that matter) made occasional jumps above $12,000/MWh. See the graph below, and thanks to Energy Matters for that one. As Energy Matters noted, the price of generation at those times was equivalent to nearly $13/kWh. The price of rooftop solar for households that had them? It would have remained constant – at just 13c-20c/kWh.

    Other links with good data on the heat wave included this one from business spectator and this one

  33. zoot

    It blames solar for putting into doubt the long term sustainability of its business.

    Ignoring completely the fact that in the long term its business is not sustainable anyway (or any way).

  34. jules

    What zoot said.

    Really “sustainable” and “coal generated power” are mutually exclusive terms.

  35. Chris

    At the peak of demand the price in Victoria (and South Australia for that matter) made occasional jumps above $12,000/MWh. See the graph below, and thanks to Energy Matters for that one. As Energy Matters noted, the price of generation at those times was equivalent to nearly $13/kWh. The price of rooftop solar for households that had them? It would have remained constant – at just 13c-20c/kWh.

    So those on on the full FiT in SA get around 52c/KWh all year round even when demand is really low. The FiT is a lot lower for new installations. However I think it would be reasonable for rooftop solar households to ask to be just paid the spot price at the time they are generating power. Which may be $13/kWh during the peaks and lower than what they get currently at other times. The owners would get to choose between a guaranteed payment rate all year based on an average return versus what the market pays.

  36. John D

    Brian: I remember reading somewhere that the whole of the UK would have to be devoted to growing fast growing willow to generate enough charcoal to balance the UK emissions.
    Just think about how much wood it would take per person to cancel out our per capita emisisons!

  37. zorronsky

    There’s a cloud on the horizon, Man made and with it’s own climate.
    Wally Atkinson.