Global warming has accelerated: the oceans tell us so. From Skeptical Science comes a report on a new study of ocean warming that has just been published in Geophysical Research Letters showing a dramatic warming of the earth’s oceans. The journal article by Magdalena Balmaseda, Kevin Trenberth and Erland Källén is behind a paywall, but Skeptical Science argues there are several important conclusions that can be drawn from the paper.

“Completely contrary to the popular contrarian myth, global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years. This is because about 90% of overall global warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically.

“As suspected, much of the ‘missing heat’ Kevin Trenberth previously talked about has been found in the deep oceans. Consistent with the results of Nuccitelli et al. (2012), this study finds that 30% of the ocean warming over the past decade has occurred in the deeper oceans below 700 meters, which they note is unprecedented over at least the past half century.

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“Some recent studies have concluded based on the slowed global surface warming over the past decade that the sensitivity of the climate to the increased greenhouse effect is somewhat lower than the IPCC best estimate. Those studies are fundamentally flawed because they do not account for the warming of the deep oceans.

“The slowed surface air warming over the past decade has lulled many people into a false and unwarranted sense of security.”

The main results of the study are illustrated in its Figure 1.

The summary of the research findings concludes:

“Perhaps the most important result of this paper is the confirmation that while many people wrongly believe global warming has stalled over the past 10–15 years, in reality that period is ‘the most sustained warming trend’ in the past half century. Global warming has not paused, it has accelerated.”

Taking a sickie. More than one Australian in six took time away from work, study or school in the fortnight before the Australian Bureau of Statistics asked them the question in a health survey. And sickies are becoming more prevalent.

The ABS found that in 2011-12, 13.3% of all persons who were employed, currently studying or at school reported they had taken time away from work or study/school in the previous two weeks due to their own illness or injury, while 3.9% took time off to care for someone else. This was an increase from 2004-05, when 11.5% reported having time away for their own illness or injury, and 3.2% to care for someone else. Proportionally more women than men took time off due to their own illness or injury (14.5% compared with 12.2% respectively), and to care for someone who was ill or injured (4.5% compared with 3.3% respectively).

Getting confused about what pollsters measure. That Newspoll lot have got me baffled. I just cannot believe that voting intention jumps around in the amazing fashion it has suggested this year. A high of a two-party preferred vote at 49% to a low of  42%? Way beyond anything I experienced during election campaigns I worked on. If you force me to choose a poll I’ll stick with Crikey’s own Essential.

Reopen Port Arthur. Send them to Malaysia. Bring back the cat o’ nine tails. Refurbish the leg irons. Do anything you can until September 14 except tell people the truth. In a world full of desperate people, asylum seekers are going to keep on coming, and it’s time we started realising it.

News and views noted along the way.

  • Little optimism for breakthrough in Thailand’s forgotten jihad
  • Gates Foundation says it’s time for a snazzier condom — “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up $100,000 to the best proposal for a more fun and pleasurable condom.”
  • What can bees teach us about gang warfare? — “In Los Angeles, an anthropologist is using equations to teach police about how street gangs operate.”
  • On the reliability of Chinese output figures — “Some commentators have questioned whether China’s economy slowed more in 2012 than official gross domestic product figures indicate. However, the 2012 reported output and industrial production figures are consistent both with alternative Chinese indicators of the country’s economic activity.”
  • The quest for the $1000 genome — “In probably the most frustratingly anti-climactic victory in scientific history, the sequencing of the human genome told us virtually nothing of use or interest.”
  • Hot money blues — Paul Krugman writes: “I don’t expect to see a wholesale, sudden rejection of the idea that money should be free to go wherever it wants, whenever it wants. There may well, however, be a process of erosion, as governments intervene to limit both the pace at which money comes in and the rate at which it goes out. Global capitalism is, arguably, on track to become substantially less global.”
  • Are pension funds getting smart about passive investments? — “… the California Public Employees’ Retirement System is considering moving to an all-passive portfolio. … [I]t was probably the most important Wall Street development you’ll read this week. It’s an undeniably good sign for people who care about the retirement funds of teachers, firefighters, and other public-sector employees. And it should strike terror into the heart of every hedge-fund manager and private-equity executive in midtown.”
  • Why are the French drinking less wine? — “Recent figures merely confirm what has been observed for years, that the number of regular drinkers of wine in France is in freefall. In 1980 more than half of adults were consuming wine on a near-daily basis. Today that figure has fallen to 17%. Meanwhile, the proportion of French people who never drink wine at all has doubled to 38%.”

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Australia has spoken. We want more from the people in power and deserve a media that keeps them on their toes. And thank you, because it’s been made abundantly clear that at Crikey we’re on the right track.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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