Forecasts for an El Nino this winter have given way to the prospect of more La Nina-like conditions as sea surface temperatures in the central-eastern Pacific cool rapidly. Surface temperatures in the critical area of the Pacific have fallen to 0.2 degrees Celsius below average, down from 0.7 degrees above average in the week centered on June 28. The rapid cooling has forced meteorologists to reassess the outlook for the northern hemisphere winter. —John Kemp, Reuters, 5 September 2017
South Africa is set for its biggest maize crop harvest on record following improved weather conditions. At least 16.4 million tonnes of maize can be expected from the maize belt this season. Almost 60 percent of the yield will be white maize, which is the regional staple used for human consumption. —The South Africa, 1 September 2017
In 2015, a vicious El Niño weather pattern swept across southern Africa. When it intensified the following year, it caused severe droughts and threatened the food security of millions. But in 2017, that trend is set to reverse. South Africa is expecting a 15.63m tonne maize harvest, the highest yield of the crop ever. Now 85 percent of South Africa’s crop is genetically modified, with even Malawian and Zambian farmers taking up higher-yield seeds at a rapid rate. With the surplus, maize prices have dropped some 60 percent since last year. While this is good news for some consumers, for farmers it is making it hard to balance accounts. The solution: look to export the bumper crop. –Charlie Mitchell, This Is Africa, 27 June 2017
The identification of causal effects is a fundamental problem in climate change research. Here, a new perspective on climate change causality is presented using the central England temperature (CET) dataset, the longest instrumental temperature record, and a combination of slow feature analysis and wavelet analysis. The driving forces of climate change were investigated and the results showed two independent degrees of freedom —a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which seem to be connected to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively. —Geli Wang, Peicai Yang & Xiuji Zhou, Scientific Reports, April 2017
The numbers are scary. Africa, with 1.2-billion people and 20% of global land mass, makes just 3% of the world’s electricity. GWPF director, Dr. Benny Peiser, agrees with Ayeni that power generation is vital toward changing Africa for the better. “If you worry about Africans in poverty and people drowning in the Mediterranean or the rise of militia and criminal networks, do something about it. And that must begin with electricity.” Peiser said it was “an outrage that, in 2017, some African states produce less power than a mid-size town in Europe or America. China has 1.4-billion people, roughly the same as Africa, but it generates 12 times more electricity. You only get those numbers from hydro plants on rivers and, for the most part, from coal and gas.” —Geoff Hill, Daily Maverick, 4 September 2017
Former prime minister Tony Abbott will give the annual lecture to one of the world’s leading climate change sceptic think tanks, the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London. The title of Mr. Abbott’s address will be “Daring to doubt”. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 2 September 2017
There are many scientific agreements and disagreements in climate science. While there is general agreement about the modern global warming trend (since 1850), scientific controversies increase as climate research moves further back in time, and predictions move further into the future. Climate realism acknowledges the significant difference between verifiable and replicable knowledge and hypothetical knowledge based on indirect evidence. The lecture will attempt to address which knowledge claims are more reliable and trustworthy, and which are less so. –Benny Peiser: Climate Realism – A Lukewarm Approach To Global Warming, University of Birmingham
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