Thursday, 30 October 2014

A hot summer coming?

The seasonal climate outlook released by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology suggests warmer than normal November to January days are more likely for Australia, except for far western areas of WA. Strongest odds are across northern and eastern parts of the country. Likewise, warmer than normal nights are more likely for most of the continent, except for far western parts of WA, and the northern Queensland coast.
2014-10-30_temperature
Climate influences include warmer than normal temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and near normal tropical Indian Ocean temperatures. Maximum temperature accuracy is moderate to high over most of Australia, except for a region just south of the Gulf of Carpentaria. Minimum temperature accuracy is generally moderate to high over most of Australia.
When it comes to rainfall the Bureau suggests a drier than normal November to January is more likely over the northern and eastern Kimberley region of WA, the NT, Queensland, northeast SA, NSW, and most of Victoria. Elsewhere, the chances of a wetter or drier season are roughly equal.
2014-10-30_rainfall
The November monthly outlook shows a drier than normal month is more likely over most of the northern half of WA, most of the NT, Queensland, northeast and central SA, and southeast NSW.
Climate influences include warmer than normal temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, near normal tropical Indian Ocean temperatures, and normal to below normal sea surface temperatures off our northern coasts. Outlook accuracy for the season is moderate to high over western and northern parts of WA, parts of the Top End of the NT, and the eastern mainland States. Elsewhere, accuracy is low.
If the seasonal outlook proves accurate then there probably be a political impact. Researchers keep finding that the weather people experience at the time has more influence on people’s attitude towards global warming than any predictions by the experts about long-term trends. A hot summer and support for action will increase only to decline again the next time the weather outside the window turns cold.

The ways of lobbyists seeking favorable deals

2014-10-30_golf
  • Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General – “Attorneys general have become the object of pursuit by lobbyists who use campaign contributions, personal appeals and other means to sway investigations or negotiate favorable deals, an investigation by The New York Times has found.”
  • Singapore upholds law that criminalizes gay sex – “Singapore’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that a law that criminalizes sex between men is in line with the city-state’s constitution, rejecting two separate appeals by three men that the measure infringed their human rights. The judgment comes as gay rights have become an increasingly thorny issue in Singapore’s traditionally conservative society.”
2014-10-30_growthrates
  • Is economic growth permanently lower? – “The assumption that the mean growth rate is one of the great economic constants in advanced economies is simply wrong. … The slowdown in long run growth in the developed economies therefore seems to have become a permanent fact of life, rather than a temporary result of the financial crash that will disappear over time. But the actual path for GDP has fallen well below even the depressed long run equilibrium path since 2009.”
  • France grapples with rising tide of homegrown jihadis
  • Afghanistan: ‘A Shocking Indictment’ – A review of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes by Anand Gopal – “His new and shocking indictment demonstrates that the failures of the intervention were worse than even the most cynical believed. … Again and again Gopal reminds us that the state, which the West was supposed to be developing, was far weaker than anyone acknowledged—and often simply didn’t exist. In truth, international statements about establishing “the rule of law, governance, and security” became simply ways of saying that Afghanistan was unjust, corrupt, and violent. “Transparent, predictable, and accountable financial practices” were not a solution to corruption; they were simply a description of what was lacking. But policymakers never realized how far from the mark they were. This is partly because most of them were unaware of even a fraction of the reality described in Gopal’s book. But it was partly also that they couldn’t absorb the truth, and didn’t want to. The jargon of state-building, “capacity-building,” “civil society,” and “sustainable livelihoods” seemed conveniently ethical, practical, and irrefutable. And because of fears about lost lives, and fears about future terrorist attacks, they had no interest in detailed descriptions of failure: something had to be done, and failure was simply “not an option.”
  • Hillary Clinton’s New Image: Cool Grandma. Can She Maintain It? – ‘When did Hillary Clinton become cool? … Whenever her ascent began, it reached a peak in March, when GQ published an interview with musician Pharrell Williams. In one of the most convoluted sentences ever recorded in the English language, he not only endorsed Clinton for president in 2016 but also predicted her win, one that would usher in purple-tinted national unity and a worldwide pro-choice matriarchy: “When we are a country and we are a species that has had a Martian Rover traveling up and down the crevices of this planet looking for water and ice, okay, and we’ve had a space station that’s been orbiting our planet for sixteen years—but we still got legislation trying to tell women what to do with their bodies? Hillary’s gonna win. Listen, I’m reaching out to her right now. She’s gonna win.” ‘
  • Do You Have To Open That Bottle Of Wine A Guest Brought To Your Home?

The Office of Forbidding Midday Alcohol Consumption

And you thought the nanny state was bad enough in Australia. Well the city of Shangqiu in Henan province has gone a step further. In 2007 it set up the Office of Forbidding Midday Alcohol Consumption to reduce alcohol consumption at government-funded lunches. No nipping out for a quiet glass at your own expense either. Officials were forbidden from consuming alcohol during the day. Staff members of the Office of Forbidding Midday Alcohol Consumption wait at the doors of restaurants, randomly inspect offices, and talk with officials to see if anyone has disobeyed the rule.
Details of this and other interesting aspects of China’s massive bureaucracy are given in the latest Tea Leaf Nation report “Foot Spas, Steamed Buns, and Midday Drinking”. Those steamed buns, it seems, are a matter of vital concern.
The proliferation of steamed bun offices has been causing trouble since at least 2001, when a local paper reported that in Zhengzhou alone, there were a total of six steamed bun offices at various levels, all of which held the power to approve (or to halt) the production of buns, a staple food for Henan residents. Jurisdictional conflicts often took place between these six offices, and the Zhengzhou city government later revoked their charters. But that hasn’t stopped other provinces from operating their own steamed bun regulatory committees. An Oct. 23 article in national outlet Beijing News showed staff from the steamed bun office in the ancient capital of Xi’an conducting a spot check on the weight of buns in a local kitchen.
2014-10-30_weighingbuns
I was rather taken by The Watermelon Office.
This organization in Zhengzhou, the capital of the central province of Henan, helps suburban farmers sell their watermelons in the city by creating a “watermelon map” to connect buyers and vendors. The watermelon office isn’t short on social media savvy; the office now boasts over 50,000 followers on its verified account on Weibo, China’s Twitter.
2014-10-30_watermelonofficeChina’s state owned media are publicising efforts to streamline such “redundant” local committees out of existence following the June 2013 launch of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “mass-line campaign,” which seeks to fight corruption by bringing cadres in the ruling Communist Party closer to the people they ostensibly serve. The Xinhua newsagency reported this month on the efforts to reduce bureaucracy and red tape. But the redundancies are easier to claim than to achieve.
Tea Leaf Nation noted:
State media may be trumpeting Xi’s mass-line cleanup a bit prematurely. Some of the cited organizations continue to exist. After the publication of Xinhua’s critical article, the director of the Watermelon Office told one news outlet that the office would not be disbanded and would continue to serve farmers next year. There is no evidence showing the Pingshan government has gutted its ragweed removal outfit. And according to the website of the Xi’an Grain Bureau, its version of a steamed bun authority still persists.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Democracy is for infidels and other news and views for Wednesday 29 October

We are following Allah's word. We believe that humanity's only duty is to honor Allah and his prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are implementing what is written in the Koran. If we manage to do so, then of course it will be a success. ...
A Muslim is a person who follows Allah's laws without question. Sharia is our law. No interpretation is needed, nor are laws made by men. Allah is the only lawmaker. We have determined that there are plenty of people, in Germany too, who perceive the emptiness of the modern world and who yearn for values of the kind embodied by Islam. Those who are opposed to Sharia are not Muslims. We talk to the people who come to us and evaluate on the basis of dialogue how deep their faith is. ... 
Democracy is for infidels. A real Muslim is not a democrat because he doesn't care about the opinions of majorities and minorities don't interest him. He is only interested in what Islam says. Furthermore, democracy is a hegemonic tool of the West and contrary to Islam.
  • The Sectarian Apocalypse - "Despite fighting bitterly against each other in Iraq and Syria, many of the Sunni and Shi‘a militants who have been drawn to the battlefield are motivated by a common apocalyptic belief. ... One might expect that the recent entry of infidel armies into Iraq and Syria would lessen the internecine tone of the prophesying and focus attention on the Mahdi’s battle with the infidels. But it has only heightened the sectarian apocalyptic fervor as each sect vies to destroy the other for the privilege of destroying the infidels. Little wonder such a heady reenactment of the End Times drama on the original stage where it was performed is drawing an unprecedented number of Sunni and Shi‘a foreign fighters to the theater. In the sectarian apocalypse, everyone has a role to play in a script written over a thousand years ago. No one wants to miss the show."


  • Who Will Win The Senate? - According to the New York Times: "According to our statistical election-forecasting machine, the Republicans have a moderate edge, with about a 68% chance of gaining a majority."

  • Are Economists Ready for Income Redistribution? "It’s not the job of economists to tell society whether or not they should redistribute income, or if fiscal policy should be used to combat recessions. It’s to inform society of the potential consequences of policy actions, good or bad, and how to best reach particular goals. Too many economists allow their ideological beliefs to color the research they conduct, the advice they give, and the presumed goals of policy."

  • Address of the Holy Father Francis at the inauguration of a bronze bust in honor of Pope Benedict XVI at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 27/10/2014 - "Are you addressing the issue highly complex evolution of the concept of nature. I will not go at all, I understand well, the scientific complexity of this important and decisive question. I just want to point out that God and Christ walking with us, and are also found in nature, as stated by the apostle Paul in the Areopagus speech: "In God we live and move and have our being" ( Acts 17:28). When we read in the Genesis account of Creation in danger of imagining that God was a magician, complete with a magic wand that can do all things. But it does not. He created beings and let them develop in accordance with the internal laws that He has given to each one, because they develop it because it arrived to its fullest. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time in which he assured them of his continued presence, giving being to all reality. Thus, the creation has been going on for centuries, millennia and millennia until it became what we know today, because God is not a creator or a wizard, but the Creator who gives being to all entities. The beginning of the world is not the work of the chaos that has another of its origin, but is derived directly from a supreme principle which creates love. The Big Bang , which today stands at the origin of the world, does not contradict the divine creator intervention but demands it. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve."



Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Some new old Bob Dylan while Neil Young saves the earth along with other news and views for Tuesday 28 October

2014-10-28_dylan
  • First Listen: Bob Dylan, ‘The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11′ – “Recorded during a period of seclusion after Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle accident, The Basement Tapes present the already-iconic figure as he intentionally departs from the confrontational invective and tightly wound wordplay of the triumphs in his recent past — among them the single “Like A Rolling Stone” and the album Blonde On Blonde. Driven by what sounds like a desire to simplify his art, he begins by diving deeply into traditional American gospel (“My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It”) and modern offshoots (a tremendous version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready”), folk (“Po’Lazurus”) and country (Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and “Folsom Prison Blues”). The Band’s Robbie Robertson has said that during this early phase, Dylan was “educating” his collaborators on folk and other styles they’d only recently encountered; they’d been primarily an R&B band before the Dylan tour. From there, Dylan wrote at a torrid clip, generating simple ballads, allegorical blues and story songs. These follow the general outlines of the covers; they eschew fancy language in favor of blunt declarations, and are built on the crisp, regular cadences of the blues. Though they’re not exactly heavy treatises, Dylan does at times venture into heavy topics — like the nature of goodness, salvation and the meaning of existence, themes he tackled more directly on his next album, John Wesley Harding.”
2014-10-28_neilyoung
  • A new green anthem – “Who is going to stand up and save the earth … this all starts with you and me.” A blunt-force environmentalist protest song — “End fracking now,” Neil Young demands at one point. Even Alan Jones might play this one from the Storytone album due out early next month.
  • The Pope and the Precipice – “To grasp why events this month in Rome — publicly feuding cardinals, documents floated and then disavowed — were so remarkable in the context of modern Catholic history, it helps to understand certain practical aspects of the doctrine of papal infallibility. On paper, that doctrine seems to grant extraordinary power to the pope — since he cannot err, the First Vatican Council declared in 1870, when he “defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.” In practice, though, it places profound effective limits on his power. Those limits are set, in part, by normal human modesty: “I am only infallible if I speak infallibly, but I shall never do that,” John XXIII is reported to have said. But they’re also set by the binding power of existing teaching, which a pope cannot reverse or contradict without proving his own office, well, fallible — effectively dynamiting the very claim to authority on which his decisions rest.”
  • Companies shouldn’t cave in to the demands of climate-change activists
  • It’s my belief and I’m sticking to it – “Part of the reason American voters have become more polarized in recent decades is that both sides feel better-informed. … A common response to this increasing polarization is to call for providing more unbiased facts. But in a phenomenon that psychologists and economists call “confirmation bias,” people tend to interpret additional information as additional support for their pre-existing ideas.”
2014-10-28_election
  • How the election could go into overtime – “Runoffs, quirky candidates and tight races in a number of states may mean that control of the Senate won’t be decided on Election Day.”
  • Your Creativity Might Be Stifled by Your Expertise – “It’s great to be an expert, right? Of course it is. But is it possible that your expertise is actually undermining your ability to think creatively and be open to new ideas? Recent research has revealed that this is exactly what can happen. Innovation–by definition–includes an element of newness. The more you know about a topic, though, the less likely you are to be open to truly groundbreaking advances in the same area. Put another way, the expertise that got you ahead can actually limit your creativity and willingness to consider new ideas.”
  • Who’s Going to Get Rich Fighting the Islamic State? – “Obama’s small war means big profits — and little oversight — for defense contractors and hired guns.”
  • Comcast: Broadband battleground – “The group may become the world’s largest media company. Content companies are worried. … The recent, shortlived $71bn bid for Time Warner, owner of HBO and CNN, from Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox was driven in part by a need to create a company big enough to stare down Comcast in negotiations on distribution over its cable systems.”

Antony Green shows us just how much less than 50% Labor needs to win in Victoria

That wonderful one-man resource Antony Green has another of his helpful seat calculators on the Victorian state election. It helps immensely in interpreting what the opinion polls might mean in terms of seats won if repeated on polling day.
Take that Labor 52% two party share shown today by Galaxy. With that uniform swing of 3.6 percentage points Labor would end up with 50 seats to the Coalition’s 38. To get a tied result of 44 seats all, Labor only needs a vote of 48.8%.
The pollsters are going to be very off the mark if Labor does not get to that level.

Monday, 27 October 2014

The opinion polls are aligned and pointing strongly to a Victorian Labor victory

Two new opinion polls on the Victorian state election out today and they confirm the regular Newspoll in having Labor comfortably in the lead. Galaxy puts the two party vote at Labor 52% with the Coalition 48%; Morgan has Labor 52.5%, Coalition 47.5%; Newspoll is at Labor 55% and the Coalition 45%.
The new Galaxy result:
27-10-2014 galaxy
This afternoon’s  “special” SMS Morgan Poll on State voting intention in Victoria conducted over the last few days (October 24-27, 2014) with a representative cross-section of 1,860 Victorian electors shows the ALP (52.5%, down 1.5% since September 2014) with an election-winning lead over the L-NP (47.5%, up 1.5%) on a two-party preferred basis.
On primary voting intention the L-NP (37.5%, unchanged) still leads the ALP (34%, unchanged). The ALP’s two-party preferred lead is because the high primary vote for the Greens (18.5%, up 0.5%) is boosting the ALP two-party preferred vote into the lead. Other minor parties include the Palmer United Party (PUP), 2.5% (down 0.5%), Family First (2.5%, up 0.5%), Country Alliance (0.5%, unchanged) and Independents/Others (4.5%, down 0.5%).
Gary Morgan in commenting on the results said that “the Greens vote is currently very high and unlikely to be maintained at the Victorian Election – recent polling before several National and State Elections has shown the Greens vote high in the months before an election but dropping at the election itself. The high Greens vote is caused by ‘disenchantment’ with the policies of the two major parties. ”
Newspoll is by now a touch historical but its reading for the July-August period had Labor well in front. Like Morgan, Newspoll had the Greens with support well above their level at the last state election.
27-10-2014 newspollvictoria

Fairfax’s Adele Ferguson exposes a government looking after its financier friends

  • Call on CommBank Royal Commission disappointing and shallow – “The decision by the federal government to reject a bipartisan call for a royal commission into the Commonwealth Bank was always on the cards, but its reasoning was both disappointing and shallow. Its response to a landmark Senate inquiry into the performance of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, outlined in a press release on Friday, essentially says CBA’s revised compensation scheme, a so-called “open advice review”, is enough. This glib response fails to take into account the Senate’s original call for a royal commission; that it was “unable to get answers from the regulator or the bank”. “We tried and failed and decided it is important that this is cleared up,” it said. What it did was take a dissenting report by one of its own, Liberal senator David Bushy, and embrace it.”
  • National armies for global health? – From an editorial in The Lancet: “… the security of one nation’s citizens is inextricably linked to others through both global health and climate change. Therefore, the military seem set to play a greater part in global civilian health in the future. The question is what should this role look like in the 21st century?”
  • The rise of the female diplomat
  • Treasury’s War on the Islamic State – “The green-eyeshades crew is taking the lead in trying to choke off the illicit millions that fund the terrorist group. But the Islamic State’s own overreach may cost it more than sanctions.”
  • What have British troops achieved in Afghanistan? – As British troops end combat operations in Afghanistan, BBC Kabul correspondent David Loyn asks if the war was worth it.
  • The world’s biggest economic problem – “Deflation in the euro zone is all too close and extremely dangerous.”
  • The Zombie System: How Capitalism Has Gone Off the Rails – “Six years after the Lehman disaster, the industrialized world is suffering from Japan Syndrome. Growth is minimal, another crash may be brewing and the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen. Can the global economy reinvent itself?”
  • Why Europe is doomed, in 3 paragraphs  – “This, from Reuters, tells you everything you need to know about Europe’s continued descent into depression:
    According to German officials, Merkel felt betrayed by Draghi’s speech at a central banking conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in August in which he pressed Berlin for looser fiscal policy to stimulate the economy.
    Her entourage is also deeply skeptical about Draghi’s plan to buy up asset-backed securities (ABS) and covered bonds in the hope of encouraging commercial banks to lend.
    Most of all, politicians in Berlin worry that if this scheme doesn’t work, the ECB president will be tempted to launch full-blown government bond buying, or quantitative easing. This is a taboo in Germany and a step Merkel’s allies fear would play into the hands of the country’s new anti-euro party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Enough to bring tears to an old sub’s eyes

From the media section of The Australian this morning:
2014-10-27_onion

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Following the neighbours and green envy

Forget about politically trendy liberals being influenced by their green credentials. The the single most important factor driving whether people instal solar is peer influence. That, at least, is what two researchers at Yale and the University of Connecticut have discovered. Their recently published paper Spatial patterns of solar photovoltaic system adoption: the influence of neighbors and the built environment says empirical estimation demonstrates a strong relationship between solar adoption and the number of nearby previously installed systems as well as built environment and policy variables.
“People have called it green envy before, where you want to be green so that you can show off your greenness effectively,” says Yale’s Kenneth Gillingham, a professor at the School of Forestry and one of the study authors. From an interview with the Washington Post:
In addition to initiatives like the Solarize program, Gillingham says the research suggests that it can be very important for houses who have just installed solar panels to let the installer put up a yard sign, especially if the installation is on the back of the house. “A common technique is to put a big sign in the front yard saying, ‘This house went solar,'” says Gillingham. That then rubs off on neighbors, proving that while there may be many good economic and policy reasons to support clean energy, in the end, humans are also social animals, and motivated by peer and group effects.
“You want to conserve, and be environmental, but you want to do it in a conspicuous way,” says Gillingham.

Rare honesty – what money buys from an Australian politician

It’s not often to hear a politician talk openly and honestly about what is given in return for campaign donations. Full marks then to the former Northern Territory Deputy Chief Minister David Tollner for declaring donations would open his door “if you ever need to talk to me about something”. Speaking on 105.7 ABC Darwin on Friday Mr Tollner said people who did not donate faced “a line-up at the door”, explaining “you have to start prioritising”.
The ABC website reports:
Mr Tollner said it was “extraordinarily difficult” for political parties to raise funds for campaigning.
He said it was “incredibly important” for the democratic system that parties and candidates have the funds to run what he said was a “legitimate campaign”.
“But there will always be a question in people’s minds… what is someone donating for?” Mr Tollner said.
“When I have talked to people about donating money and the like, the best you can say is ‘your donation will open my door if you ever need to talk to me about something’.
“You are supporting a democratic process and are supporting a conservative view of the world… but you can’t buy anything more than that.”
Asked if people who did not make a political donation could make an appointment to meet with a government minister, Mr Tollner said the wait could take a while.
“When you become a minister you find quickly there is a line-up at the door… you have to start prioritising,” he said.
He denied there was any issue with having the ear of a government minister because of political donations.
“Getting an audience with someone is not giving [them] a great favour,” Mr Tollner said.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

How physical appearance influences who wins elections and other news and views for Thursday 23 October

23-10-2014 makeover
  • It Is a Beauty Contest – “It’s shameful, of course, that physical appearance should affect something as important as who gets elected president. But the reasons for that are pretty obvious, and they pre-date democracy by several million years. That doesn’t make them right or wise or inevitable, but it does make them hard to avoid.”
  • Capitalism’s Suffocating Music – “I kept thinking of another writer, David Foster Wallace. His novel “Infinite Jest,” published in 1996, imagines a tomorrow in which time itself is auctioned off to the highest bidder and the calendar becomes a billboard. There’s the “Year of the Whopper,” the “Year of the Whisper-Quiet Maytag Dishmaster” and even the “Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad” — a 12-month paean to posterior discomfort, 52 weeks in honor of hemorrhoids. Is that future so far off? While recording devices have liberated many of us from commercials on television, the rest of our lives are awash in ads. They’re now nestled among the trailers at movies. They flicker on the screens in taxis. They’re woven so thoroughly into sporting events, from Nascar races to basketball games, that it’s hard to imagine an era when they weren’t omnipresent.”
2014-10-23_rhino
  • Death Of Northern White Rhino Leaves Only Six Left In Existence
  • Bertha and the French Professor: Lessons for Public Private Partnerships – “Jean Tirole is an influential, respected, and by all accounts gracious man who won this year’s Nobel Prize in economics. Bertha is a 7,000-ton tunnel boring machine that’s been stuck under Seattle for nine months—but is still tweeting—as state officials and a private contractor battle over who should pay to get her out. What do Prof. Tirole and Bertha have in common? They show the strengths and weaknesses of public private partnerships.”
  • Sins Of Commission – How thirty years and nine official inquiries obscured the truth of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence – On Wednesday 31 October 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her guards, both Sikh. In the ensuing violence, which lasted roughly three days, 2,733 Sikhs were killed in Delhi. Sikhs were also attacked in several other Indian cities, including Kanpur, Bokaro, Jabalpur and Rourkela. It remains one of the bloodiest and most brutal episodes of communal violence in independent India. Over the next two decades, nine commissions of inquiry were instituted. Seven of these investigated specific aspects of the tragedy, such as the death count, which was officially established by the Ahuja Committee in 1987. Two of the panels—the Ranganath Misra Commission, constituted in 1985, and the Justice GT Nanavati Commission, whose final report was published in 2005—were required to look at the violence in its entirety.”

Castrating hogs on an Iowa farm – my favourite political ad for this season

“I’m Joni Ernst. I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm. So when I get to Washington, I’ll know how to cut pork.”
It is certainly an ad you are likely to remember.
NPR features some other memorable moments from this year’s Congressional campaigns.

World in 2014 still heading towards a record hot year

The relative plateauing of world temperatures since the late 1990s has become the major argument of those who argue that global warming is nonsense. But I wonder what they will say if 2014 turn out to be a new record high point? Personally I’m looking forward to Andrew Bolt’s explanation.
And an explanation is looking more and more likely. I reported earlier this month how, according to NASA, September just gone was the warmest September globally since records began being kept in 1880. Now the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has reached a similar conclusion and has speculated as well with a couple of graphics on what the whole year will end up like.
The graphics compare the year-to-date temperature anomalies for 2014 (black line) to what were ultimately the five warmest years on record: 2010, 2005, 1998, 2003, and 2013. Each month along each trace represents the year-to-date average temperature. In other words, the January value is the January average temperature, the February value is the average of both January and February, and so on.
The first graphic shows the basic year-to-date comparison.
2014-10-23_yeartodaate
The second graphic zooms even further to what were ultimately the five warmest years on record, and shows several end-of-year results based on the following scenarios:
The years 2013 and 2014 are the only years on this list not to begin during a mature El Niño event. The years 1998 and 2010, each of which became the warmest year on record at the time, ended the year in a strong La Niña event, as evidenced by the relative fading of global average temperature later in the year.
The anomalies themselves represent departures from the 20th century average temperature. The graph zooms into the warmest part of the entire history.
2014-10-23_scenarios
(Click on graph to enlarge)
As for the prospects of an El Niño event to kick temperatures along even further, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorologysaid on Tuesday that El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators, as well as Australian rainfall patterns, continue to show some El Niño-like signatures, but remain in the neutral range.
The tropical Pacific Ocean has remained warmer than average for more than six months, while the Southern Oscillation Index has remained negative since early June. However neither has reached typical El Niño levels for any sustained period, and only weak atmosphere-ocean coupling appears to have taken place so far.
International models surveyed by the Bureau suggest that warmer-than-average tropical Pacific waters are likely to persist. While there has been some easing in model outlooks over the past month, three of eight models reach El Niño thresholds by January and another two remain just shy of the thresholds for an event.
Australia has generally been dry and warm over recent months. A warmer central tropical Pacific late in the year typically heralds warmer and drier conditions for parts of eastern Australia, as well as a reduction in the number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region and increased bushfire risk in the south.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is likely to remain neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on the Australian climate from December to April.