April 13, 2014

Tropical Cyclone Ita Leaves Queensland Behind

In their latest cyclone warning bulletin the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane revealed this forecast track for Tropical
Cyclone Ita:

Forecast track for Tropical Cyclone Ita at 7:57 pm EST Sunday 13 April 2014

Forecast track for Tropical Cyclone Ita at 7:57 pm EST Sunday 13 April 2014

The bulletin adds that:

Tropical Cyclone Ita is expected to maintain a southeast track as it crosses the Whitsunday Islands this evening before moving offshore away from the Queensland east coast overnight.

GALES with gusts to 90 kilometres per hour are possible between Bowen and Mackay this evening, before possibly extending further south to St Lawrence tonight and to Yeppoon early Monday. Gales should ease from the north tonight as the system begins to move offshore of the Queensland coast.

Heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding, is expected to occur between Proserpine and Mackay, and should extend further south to Gladstone overnight. Rainfall totals of at least 100 to 200mm are likely and isolated falls to 400mm are possible.

As the system tracks near the coast abnormally high tides are expected between Proserpine and Mackay, but the sea level should not exceed the highest tide of the year. Large waves are likely along the foreshore.

People between Bowen and Yeppoon, including Mackay, should take precautions and listen to the next advice.

Here's how Ita looks from on high this morning, once again courtesy of  NASA Worldview and the Aqua satellite:

Tropical Cyclone Ita on Sunday 13 April 2014

Tropical Cyclone Ita on Sunday 13 April 2014

WeatherZone reports that there have still been no fatalities in Australia, although there have been some close calls:

Power blackouts and flooding continue across much of north Queensland in the wake of Cyclone Ita, as the storm system continues moving south. The category one system, which made landfall on Friday night, is tracking south of Townsville and is heading for Mackay. Falls of 400 millimetres were expected in some parts of the coast this afternoon, with Cyclone Ita expected to maintain tropical cyclone intensity as it moves south-east over the next 24 hours. Ken Kato from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says conditions are still extreme. Wind gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour are expected this evening between Ayr and Mackay.

"Our warning also covers the possibility of abnormally high tides between Townsville and Mackay," he said.

The popular holiday destinations of Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands were copping the brunt of Ita on Sunday afternoon, while the weather bureau advised residents from Bowen down to Yeppoon to prepare for flash flooding.  In Airlie Beach, four people had to be rescued from their car after becoming stranded. Swift water rescue crews arrived to find them sitting on the roof of the vehicle.

Meanwhile in other news from the Solomon Islands, and somewhat reminiscent of that from Haiti four years ago, the BBC reports that:

An earthquake of magnitude 7.6 has hit near the Solomon Islands, but there have been no reports of major damage or casualties.

The undersea quake was registered at a depth of 29km (18 miles), 100km (60 miles) south-east of Kira Kira.

A tsunami warning issued for the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia was later cancelled.

Strong waves were reported after the earthquake struck at 07:14 on Sunday (20:14 GMT Saturday).

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April 12, 2014

The Aftermath of Cyclone Ita

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita has now reduced in strength to category 1. Here's a report from 7 News about the arrival of Ita in North Queensland:

Cooktown bore the brunt of the damage. Many properties are without power, and a few without roofs, but thankfully there are currently no reports of any loss of life in Australia.

However at least 23 people were killed and a number of others remained unaccounted for in the Solomon Islands after the precursor tropical low to Cyclone Ita caused flash flooding at the beginning of April.

An estimated 49,000 people are homeless. Entire riverside communities and bridges were washed away when the Matanikau river in Honiara broke its banks on Thursday. The government declared a state of emergency.

Rivers in the north-west, central and north of the island also flooded, destroying homes and displacing communities.There are more than 5,500 people in three of the most populous of the 13 evacuation shelters in Honiara, where aid groups report dengue fever is threatening to spread.

Here's an ITN video from the Solomon Islands:

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April 11, 2014

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita Heads For Australia

A report from the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane this morning warns that:

SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE ITA, CATEGORY 4, poses a serious threat to communities along the far north Queensland coast. It is expected to continue to move in a general south-southwest direction and make landfall near Cape Flattery tonight with VERY DESTRUCTIVE WINDS to 275 kilometres per hour near the core and GALES extending out to 185 kilometres from the centre.

DESTRUCTIVE WINDS with wind gusts in excess of 125 kilometres per hour are currently occurring at Cape Flattery and should develop elsewhere between Cape Melville and Cooktown this evening, extending south to Cape Tribulation overnight and possibly to Port Douglas during Saturday morning. GALES are occurring between Cape Melville and Cooktown and should extend south to Cape Tribulation this evening and inland to Laura and Palmerville overnight. Gales may extend south to Cairns and Innisfail and inland to Chillagoe during Saturday, and possibly to Cardwell later in the evening.
There remains the small possibility that Ita could track south close to the coast tonight and maintain an intensity capable of generating destructive wind gusts to 150 kilometres per hour in Cairns during Saturday.

Here is the current forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita,

Forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita at 5:55 pm EST Friday 11 April 2014

Forecast track for Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita at 5:55 pm EST Friday 11 April 2014

As you can see Ita has recently reduced in intensity from Category 5. Here's the view of Ita from the Aqua satellite at the moment, where you can just make out the "eye of the cyclone" just offshore when the image was recorded:

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita on Friday 11 April 2014

Severe Tropical Cyclone Ita on Friday 11 April 2014

Regarding the potential storm surge and flooding,  the Bureau of Meteorology had this to say:

Coastal residents between Cape Melville and Cape Tribulation, including Cooktown are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast tonight. The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level which will be significantly above the normal tide, with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low-lying areas extending some way inland. People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities.

Very heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, is developing about parts of the Peninsula and North Tropical Coast and Tablelands districts and should gradually contract southwards with the system over the weekend.

Here is the current swell forecast for Queensland, courtesy of the MagicSeaweed surf forecasting web site:

Magic Seaweed swell forecast for Northern Australia on Friday 11 April 2014

Magic Seaweed swell forecast for Northern Australia on Friday 11 April 2014

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March 24, 2014

US Navy 2014 to 2030 Arctic Roadmap

The US Navy recently released their new "Arctic Roadmap" for the years 2014 to 2030. According to the Navy's press release:

In the coming decades, as multi-year sea ice in the Arctic Ocean recedes, previously unreachable areas may open for maritime use for a few weeks each year. This opening maritime frontier has important national security implications and impact required future Navy capabilities.

"Our goal is to have the Arctic continue to unfold peaceably," said Vice Admiral Michelle Howard, Deputy CNO for Operations, Plans and Policy. "Working with our maritime and inter-agency partners, and by investing smartly in future capabilities, we can contribute to a secure and stable Arctic region."

"As the perennial ice melts and open water is available for longer periods of time, we are committed to expanding our Arctic capabilities," said Rear Admiral Jonathan White, Oceanographer of the Navy and the Navy's Task Force Climate Change director.

Given the vast distances and virtually no supporting infrastructure there, naval forces without specialized equipment and operational experience face substantial impediments. Naval operations in the Arctic Ocean require special training, extreme cold-weather modifications for systems and equipment, and complex logistics support.

Amongst many other things the roadmap document itself discusses future reductions in sea ice cover in the Arctic:

Reduction of Arctic Ocean sea ice is expected to continue, and major waterways will become increasingly open. By 2020, the Bering Strait is expected to see open water conditions up to 160 days per year, with 35-45 days of shoulder season. The Northern Sea Route will experience up to 30 days of open water conditions, with up to 45 days of shoulder season conditions. Analysis suggests that the reliable navigability of other routes, including the Transpolar Route and the Northwest Passage, is limited in this timeframe. There will be shoulder season route variability based upon ice age, melt, and movement.

By 2025, the Bering Strait will see up to 175 days of open water (and 50-60 days of shoulder season). These figures increase to 190 days of open water (and up to 70 days of shoulder season) by 2030. For the Northern Sea Route, predictions are for up to 45 days of open water (with 50-60 days of shoulder season) by 2025, increasing to 50-60 days of open water by 2030 (with up to 35 days of shoulder season conditions). This period will begin to see greater accessibility of the Transpolar Route, which is forecast to be open for up to 45 days annually, with 60-70 days of shoulder season. Analysis suggests the reliable navigability of the Northwest Passage will continue to remain limited in this timeframe.

Beyond 2030 environmental conditions are expected to support even greater and more reliable maritime presence in the region. Major waterways are predicted to be consistently open, with a significant increase in traffic over the summer months. The Northern Sea Route and Transpolar Route should be navigable 130 days per year, with open water passage up to 75 days per year. The Northwest Passage will be increasingly open during the late summer and early fall.

Here is the US Navy's graphic representation of how the sea ice will recede and commercial shipping will increase in the Arctic over the next 15 years or so:

US Navy graphic showing projected Artic sea ice extent from 2012-30Summarising matters, the Roadmap's introduction concludes that:

Anticipating the impacts of climate change, the Navy will take deliberate steps to prepare for near-term (2014-2020), mid-term (2020-2030), and far-term (beyond 2030) Arctic Ocean operations. As security conditions change and the Arctic Region becomes more accessible, the Navy will re-evaluate its preparedness. The Navy must make targeted investments in Arctic capabilities to hedge against uncertainty and safeguard enduring national interests.

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March 17, 2014

Stormy Winter Weather Moves South

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA for short) has published an article on the stormy weather we experienced over the winter. They say that:

In the North Atlantic [there have been] an unusually high number of hurricane-force storms. Between October 25, 2013, when the first hurricane-force event of the season occurred, and March 8, when the most recent one to date occurred, 43 unique hurricane-force events have blasted their way across the North Atlantic. Thirty of them underwent rapid intensification. The most intense system occurred on December 24, 2013; pressure in the heart of the storm dropped to 929 hPa as the storm lurked north and northwest of the British Isles.

and show this chart of wind speed anomalies over the North Atlantic compared to the 1981-2010 average:

North Atlantic wind speed anomalies for January-February 2014

North Atlantic wind speed anomalies for January-February 2014

Notice the large area of blue revealing abnormally high winds out in the Atlantic to the west of Great Britain. There's a smaller but even more intense area of strong winds between Iceland and Greenland. The NOAA go on to point out that:

Another difference between this winter and last is that while both seasons saw storm tracks passing near Greenland, many of this year’s events took a more southerly track through the eastern Atlantic near the British Isles.

We had noticed that! So had the UK's Met Office, who have produced this video that covers the stormy weather we experienced here in the UK in January 2014:

As the Met Office point out (at 00:18):

For the South of England it was the wettest January on record, and also the wettest January in the long running England and Wales precipitation series, that extends back to 1766.

They have also produced two detailed online reports on the storms, for December/January and January/February,  together with an even more detailed downloadable briefing report. The last two paragraphs of the summary section of the latter states that:

There is an increasing body of evidence that extreme daily rainfall rates are becoming more intense, and that the rate of increase is consistent with what is expected from fundamental physics. There is no evidence to counter the basic premise that a warmer world will lead to more intense daily and hourly heavy rain events.

More research is urgently needed to deliver robust detection of changes in storminess and daily/hourly rain rates. The attribution of these changes to anthropogenic global warming requires climate models of sufficient resolution to capture storms and their associated rainfall. Such models are now becoming available and should be deployed as soon as possible to provide a solid evidence base for future investments in flood and coastal defences.

Here's a couple of pictures taken at the Haldon Forest Park just up the hill from here, to give you some idea of some of the local effects of all the recent wind and rain:

The entrance to Haldon Forest Park on February 24th 2014

The entrance to Haldon Forest Park on February 24th 2014

Haldon Forest Park on March 8th 2014

Haldon Forest Park on March 8th 2014

One final message of cold comfort from the NOAA:

These intense winter storms don’t always call it a season with the arrival of the spring equinox in late March. Last year’s final event occurred on April 19th, 2013.

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March 13, 2014

Westminster Debates South West Wind Farms

Yesterday afternoon up in Westminster a selection of South West Members of Parliament, together with one or two from further afield, debated the controversial topic of "Planning policy and wind turbines in the South West" led by Geoffrey Cox, the Conservative MP for Torridge and West Devon. Here's a video recording of the proceedings:

The "They Work For You" web site has conveniently extracted a transcript of the debate from Hansard, in which the controversial phrase "Den Brook wind farm" occurred more than once. It didn't sound as though the locals present were very keen on such things. By way of one example my own MP, Mel Stride from Central Devon, had this to say amongst other things (at 2:30):

On the visual impact of turbines, I do not want to get into a bragging war about who has the largest turbines, but those that he mentioned were probably no higher than 60 or 70 metres. Those that are likely to be built now in the Den Brook valley will be 120 metres high; that is almost the height of St Paul’s cathedral. Whether they are smaller turbines up on hill ridges, which are obviously visible, or turbines down in valleys, they are often of such a magnitude that they are visible for miles around.

My hon. Friend knows that Devon’s tourist industry is valued at about £1 billion a year. There will be huge, cumulative detrimental impact on that business if we continue to despoil our landscape in this way.

One thing Mel didn't mention however, is that some of the unfortunate side effects of our changing climate are already having a huge, cumulative detrimental impact on agriculture, tourism and other businesses down here in soggy (and now also windy) South West England.

Duncan Hames, the Liberal Democrat MP for Chippenham also spoke (at 43:20). Hansard records his opening remarks as follows:

I congratulate Mr Cox on securing this debate. I anticipate that I will be a dissenting voice—[Hon. Members: “Lone voice.”] We shall see.

Mr Hames spoke some more, but he didn't mention climate change either. That controversial topic was eventually raised by a Labour MP from up country, Andy Sawford from Corby. Here's some of what he had to say (at 1:04:50):

Political division at Westminster, some of which has been reflected today, means that we are sleepwalking into a national security crisis on climate change. The science has not changed, and the terrible events of the last few weeks should serve as a wake-up call. The climate change consensus that once existed in this country has frayed.

The transition to a low-carbon economy is essential, but it also presents a huge opportunity for the UK, with the potential to be a major source of jobs and growth that we need now more than ever. The Government started out by promising to be the greenest Government ever, but the reality is that they have a terrible record on climate change. We see squabbling and inconsistent messages from Ministers and policy uncertainty on decarbonisation and support for renewables. The Prime Minister says that he has not changed his mind, but, in the face of pressure from his Back Benchers and the UK Independence party, he has ignored the issue or allowed it to become downgraded across Whitehall. Indeed, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs apparently refuses to be briefed on climate change by his own civil servants.

I fear Mr. Sawford's speech won't be sufficient to persuade me to vote Labour at the next general election, but his remarks do seem to sum up quite well my own views on the sorry state of both energy policy and climate change adaptation policy over here in the once, but no longer, Great Britain.

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February 28, 2014

Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?

Last week the United Kingdom's Committee on Climate Change "launched a call for evidence in order to identify relevant published information of the risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change". Perhaps not entirely coincidentally, last night I attended a talk organised by Transition Exeter entitled "Climate Change Update – The Pathway to Two Degrees Warming" and subtitled "Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?"  The evidence was presented on the night by Dr. Jeff Ridley from the Met Office's Hadley Centre here in Exeter and consisted of an overview of the results of the UK Government funded AVOID research programme, followed by a question and answer session with the members of Transition Exeter. The brief executive summary of the answer to today's headline question is :

No – There's not a snowball's chance in hell!

By way of explanation, according to one of the glossy brochures Jeff was handing out last night, produced by the Met Office and published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change:

Climate change is happening and climate science from the Met Office and research partners adds to the evidence that early and rapid reductions in emissions are likely required in order to avoid significant impacts.

A UK Government funded initiative, the ground-breaking AVOID research programme, has helped to put the latest scientific knowledge about dangerous climate change into the hands of policymakers.

Funded by UK Government, AVOID saw scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre working alongside experts in three other leading climate organisations: the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College and Tyndall Centre through the University of East Anglia. Many other national and international collaborators contributed to this vital work through the AVOID network.

The obvious supplementary question to ask at this juncture would seem to be "What use have UK policymakers made of the relevant published information of the risks and opportunities to the UK from climate change that they already possess". The answer seems to be "Not a lot"! By way of some anecdotal evidence for my hasty assertion, here's an extract from the ministerial foreword to the UK Government's previous "Climate Change Risk Assessment Evidence Report", published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on January 26th 2012:

Climate risks affect all aspects of society. Rising temperatures, rising sea levels, and increasing frequency of extreme events have direct effects on people’s lives, as well as disrupting commodity prices, supply chains, markets, and economies. Building resilience is a long-term investment, but we can start now, particularly for risks where decisions have long-term consequences, for example planning our infrastructure.

The UK is at the forefront of climate science. Whilst the future is highly uncertain, we can use the best scientific evidence available alongside well established risk-based decision approaches to assess risks and decide how to respond.

and here's an extract from paragraph 3.4 concerning "Buildings and Infrastructure":

Climate change may have significant implications for the built environment, including buildings and energy, transport, water and ICT infrastructure. Infrastructure assets and buildings are in operation or use for many years, which means that decisions made now about their design and construction will have long-term consequences.

The UK Government and the Devolved Governments have a range of responsibilities for the built environment, including policy for the planning system, building regulations and building control, water and transport infrastructure and flood and coastal erosion risk management. Furthermore, new low carbon infrastructure and the ‘Green Deal’ for homes and businesses will have a crucial role in aiding the transition to a low carbon economy. It will be important to consider climate resilience as part of this process.

According to the Met Office's AVOID programme overview:

  • The 2 °C warming limit is achievable with a 50% chance with a peak in emissions in the next few years followed by rapid long-term reductions in emissions.
  • The later emissions peak, the more likely that techniques to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will need to be developed and employed to limit warming to 2 °C.

Armed also with recent evidence about the UK Government's progress in addressing their responsibilities for the built environment and a new low carbon infrastructure you may wish to experiment with the "Predicted Global Temperature Rise" widget on the AVOID programme's home page. You may wish to ask your local Member of Parliament to do so as well. Here's one scenario I managed to come up with:

How to avoid a 4 degree global temperature rise by 2100

How to avoid a 4 degree global temperature rise by 2100

To summarise briefly, business and politics as usual are predicted to produce a global temperature rise of 4 degrees Celsius by 2100. If global emissions of carbon dioxide and equivalent greenhouse gases were to peak in 2016 and then reduce at 3 per cent per annum thereafter the global temperature rise by 2100 could be reduced to 2 degrees Celsius. As I said in my own executive summary above, the available evidence strongly suggests there's not a snowball in hell's chance of that happening.

P.S. A more in depth discussion of these issues has now ensued over on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum:

AVOIDing dangerous climate change. Can Global Warming be Limited to Two Degrees?

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February 27, 2014

The Weather Report from Soggy South West England

The mass media have (for a change!) recently been full of reports about floods in South West England (amongst other places!). Here we offer our own perspective on recent events, together with a few additional bits of information that don't seem to have been widely reported as yet.

First of all here's a (slightly cloudy) view of the Somerset Levels taken from on high by the Landsat 8 satellite on January 23rd 2014:

The Somerset Levels from on high, on January 23rd 2014

The Somerset Levels from on high, on January 23rd 2014

If you're familiar with the West Country you might be able to make out the town of Bridgwater at the top left, with the M5 motorway heading past it in our direction. East of that you can see the main railway line from Exeter to Bristol gingerly making its way across one of the big blue bits.

Secondly, here's a view of the South West's soil being washed out to sea on February 16th 2014, courtesy of NASA Worldview and inspired by George Monbiot's article in the Guardian entitled "How we ended up paying farmers to flood our homes":

The South West of England from on high, on February 16th 2014

The South West of England from on high, on February 16th 2014

As George puts it:

It has the force of a parable. Along the road from High Ham to Burrowbridge, which skirts Lake Paterson (formerly known as the Somerset Levels), you can see field after field of harvested maize. In some places the crop lines run straight down the hill and into the water. When it rains, the water and soil flash off into the lake. Seldom are cause and effect so visible.

Last, but not necessarily least, here's Network Rail's time lapse video of their attempts to repair the Great Western main line from Plymouth and Penzance to the rest of once Great Britain, which was washed away at Dawlish by the storm of February 4/5:

At around 18 secs you can see the impact of the next big storm that arrived on February 14/15. The current estimate for the trains to start running again is "Mid April". According to the leader of Plymouth City Council "the rail disruption was costing the city £5 million a day". According to Robin Gisby, Managing Director of Network Operations for Network Rail:

We'll worry about adding up all the numbers later on.

Meanwhile over in the South East of England David Cameron has apparently recently stated that:

Man-made climate change is one of the greatest threats to the UK and the rest of the world.

When are you going to start putting our money where your mouth is David?

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February 12, 2014

Rydon Farm Solar Park Approved by Teignbridge DC

At the Teignbridge District Council planning committee meeting held on January 13th Orta Solar's application to construct a 12 MW large scale solar PV park at Rydon Farm between Newton Abbot and Totnes was approved by 17 votes to 2. I had an online debate about some of the issues with Nick Pascoe of Orta last year, when Teignbridge's screening decision was announced. I referred to my opposition to the construction of solar farms on what the planners call "our best and most versatile agricultural land", and some of the objectors in this case used that argument too. Nick assured me that in this case:

The fields we're planning to use have topography that does not suit arable cropping

The problem is that although I think that this sort of  issue should be a valid planning consideration it looks a lot as though in practice it actually isn't. Previous applications to Teignbridge at Tedburn St. Mary and Shillingford were rejected on the grounds of "adverse visual impact". In the case of the Fulford Solar Park outside Tedburn that verdict stood even after two applications followed by two appeals to the Planning Inspectorate! In those two cases Teignbridge's Landscape Officer recommended refusal. Here's what they had to say in this case:

The proposal is acceptable subject to conditions. I consider that the impacts have been underestimated to some extent. I consider that there would be some significant effects, but that these would be limited in number and mitigated in a relatively short space of time. Overall the proposal could be accomodated within the landscape in an acceptable way.

That's why included in the minutes of the council meeting is the opinion from one of the committee members that:

There were no material considerations, nor any policy which could be sustained at appeal to refuse the application.

So there you have it. In a few months time you'll be able to turn off the Newton to Totnes road at the Two Mile Oak in the direction of Denbury to discover whether you can see (or hear!) Teignbridge's first big solar farm in operation. When that time comes do please pop back here and let us know what you think of it.

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January 20, 2014

Free MIT online course in Climate Science

It has just been brought to my attention on the Arctic Sea Ice Forum that edX are offering a free 12 week online course on the topic of climate science, starting on February 19th. The course is (provocatively?) entitled "Global Warming Science", and is led by three lecturers from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It provides:

An introduction to the physics of the climate system and the basic science underpinning discussions of anthropogenic climate change.

The course is free of charge, and is one example of the growing trend for universities worldwide to offer massive open online courses (or MOOCs for short) to anybody anywhere in the world with access to an internet connection. There are some recommended educational prerequisites for this course. According to edX once more, the course:

Does not require any prior knowledge of climate or atmospheric science. Some college-level mathematics (calculus, including ordinary differential equations) and physics (electromagnetism, mechanics) as well as high-school chemistry are required. Beyond these requirements, familiarity with the concept of a partial differential equation and some knowledge of basic thermodynamics will be helpful, but not essential; extra readings will be available for students unfamiliar with the concepts.

I've already done all that sort of stuff (albeit many moons ago!) and it's also a very long time since I've done any exams, so I've signed up to "audit" the course. Here's the introductory video:

and here's a more detailed syllabus:

12.340x introduces the basic science underpinning our knowledge of the climate system, how climate has changed in the past, and how it may change in the future. The course focuses on the fundamental energy balance in the climate system, between incoming solar radiation and outgoing infrared radiation, and how this balance is affected by greenhouse gases. We will also discuss physical processes that shape the climate, such as atmospheric and oceanic convection and large-scale circulation, solar variability, orbital mechanics, and aerosols, as well as the evidence for past and present climate change. We will discuss climate models of varying degrees of complexity, and you will be able to run a model of a single column of the Earth's atmosphere, which includes many of the important elements of simulating climate change. Together, this range of topics forms the scientific basis for our understanding of anthropogenic (human-influenced) climate change.

Would anybody else care to join me?

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