Archive for November, 2012

EEA climate change report (continued)

November 26, 2012

This is my second discussion of the EEA report. I shall give some citations (in italics) and add my comments. The report says clearly that “climate change” covers both changes due to natural processes and human activity.

CC = climate change,  ACC = anthropogenic CC

A. From the Summary

p.15:
The causes of the most costly climate impacts are projected to differ strongly across Europe
The causes : is it what causes the impact ( i.e. storminess) or is it the causes of (A)CC (i.e. GHG emissions)? Later this fuzziness is cleared: the causes = the climate paramaters, i.e. storminess, heat, sea levels etc.

Current global actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (‘mitigation’) are insufficient to constrain the temperature increase to 2 °C
The causal inference ” increase of GHG emissions -> increase in global (regional)  T ”  is accepted without any discussion (even if the last 15 years show that this inference has not been observed.

p16 to p. 18: OBSERVED IMPACTS of CC

This is quite an important chapter: when there are clear observed impacts of ACC than mitigation and adaptation are reasonable policies. When the observed impacts can not be related to human activity, only adaptation is left.

In the summary the time period over which these impacts are told to have  been observed is not specified; some supplementary details are found in the Technical Summaries (TS)
increase in flood number  -> report says is due to LU changes and better reporting

increase in temperature of water lakes -> report does not specify if this is the case during the last decade but TS says it is during the last 100 years

reduction in forest growth due to storminess  -> but report said above that increased storminess can not be attributed to CC, so there is here a clear contradiction or at least an inconsequential reasoning.

increase in forest fires in the Mediterranean region from 1900 to 2000, but decrease thereafter. So all is well….

thousands of premature deaths per year due to tropospheric ozone -> but report says contribution of CC is difficult to quantify.I am very skeptical on that huge number, even if it is parroted from report to report.

future impacts of CC can be substantially reduced by an ambitious mitigation policy. What if the majority of the observed changes are natural? What are these mitigation policies -> reduction in GHG emissions?

Energy: reduced demand for heating (particularly in northern and north-western Europe) but increased demand for cooling (particularly in southern Europe). Where is the problem?

This report aims at providing a strong knowledge base for the development and implementation of adaptation strategies and actions at both national and EU levels. Here  no mention anymore of mitigation!

The observed increase in damage costs from extreme weather events is mainly due to increases in population, economic wealth and human activities in hazard-prone areas and to better reporting . Exactly what researchers like Pielke Jr. have found, but what causes problems to the climate alarmists!

Estimates of the total costs of future climate change on the European economy are currently not available! Not surprisingly, as most changes are pure speculation that do not allow any serious estimation.

The average temperature over land in Europe in the last decade was 1.3 °C warmer than the preindustrial level, Yes, maybe (but not sure, as UHI is unknown and data unreliable); also unknwon what part of this increase is due to natural evolution (end of LIA, long oceanic and solar cycles….)

p. 18:
The indicators informing this assessment are based mainly on EU-wide research and on global databases. In the future some indicators on climate impacts and adaptation may be based on data collected from member countries. These regional data are missing in this report. We need regional precise data, not global wishiwashi…

Page 19 and following hold the technical summary tables, which are easy to read but difficult to accept uncritically.

B. Chapter 1. (p. 30 and following)

Currently there is a lack of sufficient observations of impacts of climate change on various environmental and socio‑economic systems and on human health
There is no reporting of climate change impacts and vulnerability data and information from EU Member States to the European Commission or EEA.

This admission shows a big  feebleness of the report: most data must be fetched from global observations and probably lack regional precision! What is acknowledged in the report:
Thus the indicators presented in this report are based on data from in situ and satellite monitoring programmes, from national and EU research programmes and from a few global databases.

A very curious sentence is this:
The report furthermore aims to achieve consistency, to the extent feasible, with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on ‘Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX)’ (IPCC, 2012), the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
As  for the moment the definitive AR5 is totally unknown (only drafts float around), how can there be any consistency between this EEA report and the future AR5? Or does that mean, as we know in advance that AR5 will be especially alarmist, so this report stays on the same line?

________________________________

…to be continued

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EEA report on climate change

November 25, 2012

The EEA has published a new report (EEA report 12/2012) on climate change, that should discuss and document climate change in Europe over the last decade (2001 to 2011): “This European Environment Agency (EEA) report presents information on past and projected climate change and related impacts in Europe, based on a range of indicators”.

As always the case with these official and generously funded reports, the graphical quality is excellent, and the writing style is easy to read. So I recommend to download this blockbuster of 304 pages and read it carefully. As I am touring in Australia for the moment, I read through the report rather quickly, so the following comments may be provisional.

Here my overall appreciation:

1. The title suggest a report centered on Europe, but in fact there is much rehashing and copy/paste form IPCC (especially AR4) with a recall “ad nauseam” of global climate evolution, as seen through IPCC’s eyes.

2. The overall tone clearly is alarmist, and not neutral. If for example a phenomenon can clearly not be attributed to climate change, one finds this admirable sentence “attribution to climate change is difficult”.

3. One author seems to be a Jack of all trades: EEA employe Hans Martin Füssel is the author/coauthor/contributor of at least 12 chapters/subchapters !

4. The report should analyze the climate evolution of the last decade, but fails to mention the stand-still of global temperature during this period.

Now let’s discuss in more detail some gems found in the report:

1. Temperature: That “the last 10 years are the warmest since the pre-industrial age”  is a truism for a planet leaving the Little Ice Age in 1850. This information is meant to push a sense of urgency and angst, but is particularly nasty as it does not mention the important plateau reached in global temperatures since at least 15 years. I wonder if the constant reference to pre-industrial climate suggests this period of nasty and cold climate as the enjoyable optimum to be aspired too.

2. Storms: the report mentions that there was an increase in frequency/intensity during  the 1960 – 1990’s, but then a decrease to the present (emphasis is mine). This latter (and correct) finding should at least be discussed, as it points to a natural cycle in storminess (AMO).

3. Snow: Actually, nothing serious to report, as there are no significant changes in winter and autumn (in Europe). So to assure nevertheless  some scary feelings, March snow cover is reported down by 7%.

4. Water limited crop production: Yields of several crops (like wheat) are stagnating, but others are increasing (maize). Could the stagnation be caused by economic factors and not by climatic ones?

5. Ground ozone: Tropospheric ozone is the scare-gas that always comes handy when other catastrophes seem going little: the report speaks of estimated 20000 premature deaths attributed to ozone in Europe, but nevertheless concedes that “attribution to ozone exceedances to climate change is difficult”.

The 20000 premature deaths are a red herring that I do not believe at all. In most part of Europe, ground ozone levels are falling since quite a time (see for isntance here).

6. Ocean heat content: There is practically no change since 2000, so the graph extends to a longer period to impress the reader.

This is a trick that always seems to work!

These comments are, as said above, written after a very rapid lecture of the full report (not only the summary). If time permits, I will come back to this report, that I consider interesting to read, but in -informative to a large degree, and, what is my greatest critique, overtly alarmist and one-sided.