Did the IPCC Underestimate Sea Level Rise ?

New Scientist has a rather interesting report on how the IPCC may be a little too conservative in their estimates of sea level rise due to climate change.

Previous estimates of how much the world’s sea level will rise as a result of global warming may have seriously underestimated the problem, according to new research.

This is because a new study, by Professor Stefan Rahmstorf, has been published in the journal Science which uses empirical data and computer models rather than relying solely on computational techniques. It apparently matches measured sea level rises very accurately and the New Scientist report goes on to say:

For a given amount of warming, Rahmstorf says, the rise in sea level “could well be twice as much as was so far expected, based on the last IPCC report”.

What does that mean in reality ?

At the top of the range of possible temperature rises estimated by the last IPCC report, the rise could be as great as 140 centimetres by 2100. That would be bad new for cities like London and New York, which lie close to sea level, and would leave them facing an increased risk of devastating storm surges. Even the lowest predicted temperature rises would cause a 50 cm rise, Rahmstorf says.

Keep your lifebelt handy..

Water Usage – Compare and Contrast

In January 2007 Melbourne used a grand total of just over 35 million litres of water, down 24% from January 2006.

Each day in South Australia BHP uses over 32 million litres, all extracted from the Great Artesian Basin, and doesn’t pay a cent for it. Still, at least they didn’t increase it to the 150+ million litres a day they wanted to..

NB: BHP’s water use does not impinge on Melbourne, so don’t think I’m saying I don’t believe in the water savings that are so necessary here!

Ex post facto

It appears that our prime minister believes it would be inappropriate to bring retrospective legislation in to charge David Hicks with offences in an Australian court, but does think it is OK for the USA to do so, even though some prominent US citizens don’t think too highly of ex post facto legislation:

“The sentiment that ex post facto laws are against natural right, is so strong in the United States, that few, if any, of the State constitutions have failed to proscribe them. The federal constitution indeed interdicts them in criminal cases only; but they are equally unjust in civil as in criminal cases, and the omission of a caution which would have been right, does not justify the doing what is wrong. Nor ought it to be presumed that the legislature meant to use a phrase in an unjustifiable sense, if by rules of construction it can be ever strained to what is just.”

(Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Isaac McPherson, August 13th, 1813)

BBC Asking Should New Service Be Microsoft Only ?

The BBC Trust is currently carrying out a consultation exercise into their new “On Demand” TV services over the Internet in which they ask “How important is it that the proposed seven-day catchup service be available to consumers who are not using Microsoft software ?” (see question 5).

The accompanying PDF says:

In respect of the seven-day catch-up over the internet service, the files would require DRM to ensure that they were appropriately restricted in terms of time and geographic consumption. The only system that currently provides this security is Windows Media 10 and above. Further, the only comprehensively deployed operating system that currently supports Windows Media Player 10 and above is the Windows XP operating system. As a result of these DRM requirements the proposed BBC iPlayer download manager element therefore requires Windows Media Player 10 and Windows XP. This means the service would be unavailable to a minority of consumers who either do not use Microsoft or do not have an up-to-date Microsoft operating system. However, over time, technology improvements are likely to enable even more efficient methods of delivery. Further, it is our understanding the BBC Executive are working towards the iPlayer download manager being able to function on other operating systems.

and go on to say:

We also note that the Microsoft-based strategy for rights management will limit usage. Normally, we would expect BBC services to be universally available, as universal access to BBC services is in the public interest. However, as set out above, other mainstream technology platforms do not currently provide the appropriate security.

So the BBC Trust do want greater usage, but don’t seem to understand that DRM will stop that even if people do have access to Windows.

People may want to make their feelings known on this..

(Via Alec)