Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 30 Oct 2008











Northern Borneo Satellite Images! 30 Oct 2008











{News} 081031! Drought woes to continue: Jamstec

Drought woes to continue: Jamstec

Weekly Times, October 31, 2008


BLEAK is the only way to describe Japanese forecasters' latest outlook for southeast Australia.
"Large parts of Australia will still suffer from the long-lasting drought (until) the end of this year," according to Japan's Frontier Research Center for Global Change, Jamstec.
Jamstec senior scientist Jing-Jia Luo said the group's Sintex computer model showed conditions would remain dry until January in southern Australia.


"Early next year, good rain might occur in association with the demise of IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) and weak cooling in the central equatorial Pacific," Mr Jing-Jia said.
The Jamstec team, led by Prof Toshio Yamagata, has predicted the last three positive IOD events.


The group's most accurate modelling is based on pooled three-month outlooks across the Pacific and Indian oceans.
The Jamstec team produces monthly forecasts that show southeast Australia will experience a relatively dry October, some rain in November and a dry December.
The only month showing any promise of significantly higher than above-average rainfall is January.


Bureau of Meteorology climate analyst David Jones said the present three-year run of positive IODs was unprecedented.
"The sequence of the last three years has been very odd," Dr Jones said. "It's something we've not seen before. There's a real worry this is one of the things we expect with global warming."
Dr Jones said international climate-change models showed positive IODs and El Nino events becoming more frequent, in response to rising greenhouse gas levels.
But he said only a few of the numerous computer models predicted anything as severe as the last three years in southern Australia.


"Our climatic system is behaving very oddly," he said.
"We've had a decline in autumn rainfall in the past 30 years. Now we've had a sequence in the last five to six years where spring rain has declined. It's too early to call a trend, but it's a very odd pattern."


When the IOD is positive the sea surface temperatures around Indonesia and northern Western Australia are cooler than average. The cooler conditions reduce sea-surface evaporation, and moisture in the atmosphere. Reduced atmospheric moisture leads to a slump in the formation of crucial northwest cloud bands that sweep across the continent to deliver rain to southeast Australia.

Source: http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2008/10/31/20555_national-news.html

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

{News} 081027! Can smoke and mirrors ease global warming?

Can smoke and mirrors ease global warming?
By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Oct 27, 2008


OSLO (Reuters) - Backers of extreme technologies to curb global warming advocate dumping iron dust into the seas or placing smoke and mirrors in the sky to dim the sun.
Splinters of ice peel off from one of the sides of the Perito Moreno glacier in a process of a unexpected rupture during the southern hemisphere's winter months, near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, southern Argentina, in this July 7, 2008 file photo.


But, even though they are seen by some as cheap fixes for climate change when many nations are worried about economic recession, such "geo-engineering" proposals have to overcome wide criticism that they are fanciful and could have unforeseen side effects.


"We are at the boundaries, treading in areas that we are not normally dealing with," said Rene Coenen, head of the Office for the London Convention, an international organization that regulates dumping at sea.
The London Convention, part of the International Maritime Organization, will review ocean fertilisation at a meeting this week.


Among those hoping for approval for tests is Margaret Leinin, chief science officer of California-based Climos, a company that is looking at ways to use the oceans to soak up greenhouse gases.
"The world has not been able to get carbon emissions under control" Leinin said. "We should look at other options."


Climos is seeking to raise money to test adding iron dust to the southern ocean to spur growth of algae that grow by absorbing heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the air. When algae die, they fall to the seabed and so remove carbon.


Other short-cut ideas include spraying a smoke of tiny particles of pollutants into the sky to dim sunlight, or even deploying a vast thin metallic barrier in space, with 100 space shuttle flights, to deflect the sun's rays.


"CHEMICAL SOUP"
The U.N. Climate Panel has said world greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels, rose 70 percent between 1970 and 2004.
But it said that fertilising the oceans or dimming the sun "remain largely speculative and unproven, and with the risk of unknown side-effects."


"More evidence has been coming in since then, but it's far from making a reliable case for geo-engineering," said Terry Barker, head of the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research and one of the leading authors of the U.N. panel report.
The seas are already suffering enough from a "chemical soup" of pollution from humans, he said. "There's no need to add to the mess."


With fears of recession and amid the deepest financial crisis since the 1930s, some governments may find cheap geo-engineering attractive compared with reducing carbon emissions. "It would be shortsighted," Baker said.
Last year, the London Convention said that "knowledge about the effectiveness and potential environmental impacts of ocean iron fertilisation currently was insufficient to justify large-scale operations."


Those doubts were "still valid," the Convention's Coenen said.
Firms such as Australia's Ocean Nourishment, Atmocean in New Mexico and Climos are working on varying sea-based projects. Another start-up, Planktos, indefinitely suspended operations in February after failing to raise cash.
Some like Climos hope that sucking carbon into the ocean, if it works, could qualify for credits as carbon trading.


"It is possible to design experiments to avoid harm to the oceans," said Leinin. Climos wants to test iron fertilisation in the southern ocean, at the earliest in January 2010 in a test that could $15-20 million, she said. If it works, Leinin said it could be one of the cheapest ways to combat global warming.


LESSER RISK
Among objections are that carbon makes water more acidic and could undermine the ability of shellfish, crabs or lobsters to build shells. That in turn could disrupt the marine food chain.
Backers of geo-engineering say the risks are slight compared to far bigger disruptions from climate change, stoked by human emissions of greenhouse gases, which could lead to heatwaves, floods, droughts, more disease or rising seas.


"We are already bludgeoning nature," said Victor Smetacek, a professor at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany, who is planning an iron sulphate fertilisation experiment off Antarctica in early 2009.


His institute will cooperate with India to disperse 20 tonnes of iron sulphate near South Georgia over 300 sq kms.


"Iron has a very positive effect. Added to the ocean it's like water in the desert," he said. "We don't have space to store the carbon we are producing on land," he said of proposals including planting more forests.


They will study how far algae grow and absorb carbon. The extra algae, as food, might help a recovery of stocks of shrimp-like krill, a species on which penguins and whales depend.
Among other schemes, Nobel chemistry prize winner Paul Crutzen has floated the idea of blitzing the upper atmosphere with sulphur particles to reflect some sunlight back into space.
"The price is not a factor...it's peanuts," he told Reuters in Nicosia earlier this month. "The cost has been estimated at some 10, 20 million U.S. dollars a year."


Similar smoke is released naturally by volcanic eruptions, such as Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 or Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. The Indonesia eruption led to a "year without a summer," according to reports at the time.


Other proposals reviewed by the U.N. Climate Panel include installing a metallic screen covering a 106 sq km patch of space 1.5 million kms away from earth in the direction of the sun.
The 3,000-tonne structure could be put in place over 100 years by 100 space shuttle flights. "The cost has yet to be determined," the panel said.


Another idea is to spew more sea spray into the air -- a natural process caused by waves. The plan would make low-level clouds slightly whiter and bounce solar rays back into space.
Advantages are that the only ingredient is sea water, and production could be turned off. But the U.N. panel said "the meteorological ramifications need further study."

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE49Q02B20081027

{News} 081029! Models raise the mercury

Models raise the mercury
29/10/2008 9:15:00 AM, FairFax Digital


CENTRAL Victoria is bracing for another hot summer, with the Bureau of Meteorology's latest outlook indicating higher than average temperatures through to January.
Higher daytime and night-time temperatures look set to exacerbate an already dry spring and cause more water losses through evaporation.
The latest climatic outlook based on modelling of ocean temperatures shows a probability of up to 70 per cent that daytime temperatures will exceed the median from November to January.
The probability in relation to night-time temperatures is as high as 80 per cent.
However, the silver lining is that rainfall outlooks don't show any strong tendency to be below or above average.
Even average rain of about 110mm over the next three months would be a blessing.
The two-month spring rainfall total in Bendigo is only 15mm, so it is tracking to be one of the worst on record.
Climatologist Robyn Gardiner said the strongest influence on the outlook was the warming trend of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia.
Modelling showed a possible increase in northerly airflows from the centre of the continent.
At the same time Pacific Ocean temperatures, which most directly influenced the El Nino and La Nina patterns, remained neutral - continuing the indications of a one-year interval between the events.
However, from a rainfall perspective it is the weakening of the Indian Ocean dipole that brings the most positive news to Victoria.
The IOD is caused by cooler water in the Indonesian and eastern Indian Ocean blocking the generation of moisture-laden air, which historically has given Victoria much of its spring rainfall.
Ms Gardiner said modelling showed the indicators had faded from a peak in August and September and were reverting to normal.
CSIRO principal research scientist Dr Wenju Cai, a specialist in marine and atmospheric research, believes the dipole has been an important element in the recent failure of spring rains.

Source: http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/models-raise-the-mercury/1345640.aspx

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

{News} 080910! Chemicals being dumped in Sulu Sea?

Chemicals being dumped in Sulu Sea?


GMA News, 10/09/2008 04:27 AM

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Residents of Tawi-Tawi province have sought assistance over alleged dumping of tons of chemicals in the Sulu Sea as part of an "ocean cleansing" project of an international organization.Governor Sadikul A. Sahali claimed Ocean Nourishment Corp. (ONC) did not inform his office of the plan to dump tons of chemicals, specifically urea, into the province’s seas.The company, in its Web site http://www.oceannourishment.com/, described itself as "an ethical organization established with the dual goals of managing planet-wide greenhouse gas concentrations and providing protein-rich food for malnourished populations."Officials of the company listed on the Web site could not be contacted for comment. BusinessWorld also repeatedly tried to contact Malcolm I. Sarmiento, Jr., director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, to clarify if his agency has cleared ONC’s operation, but he was not immediately available for interview.Mr. Sahali said seaweed farmers and fisherfolk in his province are complaining of contamination and the diseases that have inflicted seaweed farms. Tawi-Tawi, which is the top producer of dried seaweed and high-value commercial fishes in the country, is near the cleansing operation of ONC.In a document posted on the Web site of the Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment, it was noted that ONC plans to dump 500 tons of urea (nitrogen) into the Sulu Sea for a large scale "carbon sequestration" experiment.It said the dumping of urea will clean the industrial waste and agricultural runoff in the sea.Mr. Sahali said the ONC has already dumped 100 tons of urea in Sulu Sea.

Source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/125912/Chemicals-being-dumped-in-Sulu-Sea

{Annoucement} 081008! ENSO Wrap-up

ENSO Wrap-up

BOM, Oct 8, 2008

Summary: Neutral ENSO conditions to continue
The overall state of the climate in the Pacific Basin remains neutral with respect to ENSO. The eastern tropical Pacific Ocean has shown further cooling over the past fortnight, with surface temperatures now close to their long-term average. Also, recent cooling in the subsurface indicates the possibility of a further surface cooling over the coming weeks, especially in the eastern Pacific. This cooling has been largely driven by stronger than normal trade winds over the central and western equatorial Pacific during September. The SOI, although slightly weaker than two weeks ago, remains positive at +10.
Given current conditions and trends in the equatorial Pacific there is now little potential for an El Niño event to occur in 2008. Historically, there is a strong tendency for the phase of ENSO to remain constant through the southern spring; therefore a switch to La Niña conditions is also very unlikely. This is supported by climate model forecasts, which show neutral conditions are likely to remain until the end of the year. The Indian Ocean Dipole is following its normal cycle of decay in the spring and is currently close to zero.

Source: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/

{News} 081015! Climate's three-headed dog

Climate's three-headed dog
MATTHEW CAWOOD

Farmonline, 15/10/2008 2:10:00 PM
There's a "three-headed dog" savaging Australia's climate, according to CSIRO scientist Dr Wenju Cai, and two of the heads are eating away at rainfall in southern Australia.
The three climate influences referred to by Dr Cai are El Nino, the Southern Annullar Mode, and the Indian Ocean Dipole.
All are driven by ocean temperatures, and all are being intensified, to Australia's disadvantage, by global warming.
El Nino, driven by temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, is well studied and has had fairly predictable consequences for mid-latitude eastern Australia.
The other two influences are less well known, but Dr Cai said there is growing evidence that their fluxes are behind the drying-out of southern Australia.
One, Southern Annular Mode (SAM), appears to be driving rain-bearing winter fronts progressively out into the Southern Ocean.
To the west, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is blocking the generation of moisture-rich air that crosses the continent to bring Victoria, South Australia and southern NSW vital spring rains.
Dr Cai, a principal research scientist with CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, believes that it's the IOD that is behind the failed spring rains currently causing stress to farmers in the south-east.
In a "good" year, the eastern Indian Ocean lying off Western Australia is warmer than the ocean off Africa.
The warmth produces convection, and humid pressure systems that stream across to south-eastern Australia where, on meeting cold air from the south, they produce rain.
When the eastern Indian Ocean is cool, convection dies away and south-eastern Australia (mainly Victoria and South Australia) can expect less spring rain.
According to Dr Cai, the IOD is now at work with rare savagery.
"During 2006-07-08, we've had a very unusual situation in that three Indian Ocean Dipoles occurred consecutively," Dr Cai said.
"The only time we've known this to occur before is in 1944-45-46. From 1939-46 were big drought years.
"The polar shift of the fronts [SAM] is also going on, but these consecutive dipole events are making that very much worse."
Modelling, and trends to date, indicate that as atmospheric carbon dioxide rises, warming patterns in the Indian Ocean will be "dipole-like", Dr Cai said — that is, the phenomenon is likely to be more frequent.
Unusually in the world of modelling, all nine major climate models agree on SAM.
The theory, according to Dr Cai, is that as the planet warms, the big rain-bearing fronts that deliver southern Australia much of its winter rain are progressively tracking further south, out to sea.
Frontal systems are always moving west-to-east across the upper reaches of the Southern Ocean, shifting around the globe in a broad band defined by ocean temperature.
SAM refers to the seasonal north-south movement in those fronts as oceans warm and cool with the seasons.
In summer, with the warming of the oceans that share a latitude with southern Australia, the weather systems move south, tending to track across the ocean.
In winter, as the cool temperature gradient moves north again, so do the fronts.
Historically, their winter track has been over southern Australia, delivering the south much of its characteristic winter rainfall.
But Dr Cai said that as climate change and ozone depletion warms the planet's oceans from the equator down, the ocean temperature gradient is changing.
As the temperature rise creeps south, it takes these rain-bearing systems south - not just in summer, but in winter too.
"This is the most consistent result we see in the computer models," Dr Cai said.
"The only possibility for stopping it is to stabilise levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and stop the change in ocean temperature gradient."
And even then, he added, it might take hundreds of years for patterns to re-establish themselves to those of the recent past.
"I don't have any good news," Dr Cai confessed.

Source: http://nqr.farmonline.com.au/news/state/agribusiness-and-general/general/climates-threeheaded-dog/1334547.aspx

Vietnam Satellite Images! 19 Oct 2008





Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 19 Oct 2008





Sulu Sea Satellite Images! 19 Oct 2008





Sulu Sea Satellite Images! 17 Oct 2008





Malacca Straits and Andaman Sea Satellite Images! 16 Oct 2008





Northern Borneo Satellite Images! 15 Oct 2008





Sumatra and Java Satellite Images! 14 Oct 2008





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