IPCC Climate Change Report

Professor Markku Rummukainen from Lund University on the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

The IPCC is an international scientific organisation that provides research-based information about the causes and consequences of climate change, including both human-influenced and naturally-occurring climate change. It also assesses measures for lessening the severity of climate change and the potential for adapting to its consequences. Its purpose is to inform government policy, but it does not recommend which policies governments should adopt.

The IPCC was formed in 1988 by two bodies: the United Nations Environmental Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. Thousands of scientists from across the world voluntarily contribute to its assessment reports, which are published every six years or so.

September 2013 sees the first phase in the publication of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), which consists of four reports and summaries for policymakers. The first summary from Working Group 1 is released on 27 September with the full report published on 30 September. Subsequent reports from Working Group 2 and Working Group 3 are published in March 2014 and April 2014. Finally, the Synthesis Report, providing an integrated view of climate change drawing upon the individual working group reports, is published in November 2014.

via Met Office

Ocean energy

The oceans contain a huge amount of energy. Changes in salinity, thermal gradients, tidal currents or ocean waves can be used to generate electricity using a range of different technologies. These could provide reliable, sustainable and cost-competitive energy. Capturing ocean energy could have substantial benefits.

The energy in the ocean waves is a form of concentrated solar energy that is transferred through complex wind-wave interactions. The effects of earth’s temperature variation due to solar heating, combined with a multitude of atmospheric phenomena, generate wind currents in global scale. Ocean wave generation, propagation and direction are directly related to these wind currents. On the other hand, ocean tides are cyclic variations in seawater elevation and flow velocity as a direct result of the earth’s motion with respect to the moon and the sun and the interaction of their gravitational forces. A number of phenomena relating to earth rotational tilt, rate of spinning, and interaction among gravitational and rotational forces cause the tide conditions to vary significantly over time. Tide conditions are more apparent in coastal areas where constrained channels augment the water flow and increase the energy density.

via OES Ocean Energy

The development of wave and tidal resources as a source of energy is the subject of growing international investigation. Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resources have significant development potential and are considered as being among the best in the world, with the practicable wave energy resource estimated at more than 6000MW.

At present there is no well-established wave energy industry anywhere in the world. Ireland has the potential to become a world-leading developer and manufacturer of the technologies that will enable the harnessing of ocean energy resources. To achieve this, the Marine Institute is working with Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland to implement a National Strategy for Ocean Energy. The main objectives are the creation of a centre of excellence in OE technology and the stimulation of a world-class industry cluster and the connection of 500MW of ocean energy by 2020.

via Irish Marine Institute

Finally, an example showing the peak wave power in Galway Bay, obtained using a Spectral Wave Model in summer storm conditions, made using DHI MIKE Coupled Models. If on average wave power is above 30kW/m, energy generation is viable.

“Walking” Shark Discovered

A new species of shark that “walks” along the seabed using its fins as tiny legs has been discovered in eastern Indonesia, an environmental group said.

The brown and white bamboo shark pushes itself along the ocean floor as it forages for small fish and crustaceans at night, said Conservation International, whose scientists were involved in its discovery.

The shark, which grows to a maximum length of just 80 centimetres and is harmless to humans, was discovered off Halmahera, one of the Maluku Islands that lie west of New Guinea.

Bamboo sharks, also known as longtail carpet sharks, are relatively small compared to their larger cousins, with the largest adult reaching only about 120 centimetres in length.

They have unusually long tails that are bigger than the rest of their bodies and are found in tropical waters around Indonesia, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Conservation International said the discovery of the shark, which was first disclosed in the International Journal of Ichthyology, “should help draw diver interest to this mega-diverse but largely undiscovered region”.

via ‘Walking’ shark discovered in Indonesia – IOL SciTech | IOL.co.za