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The Monsoon, variability & climate change - Cartoon sketchnotes by Josh

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Last night Dr Madhav Khandekar, a former Environment Canada scientist and expert reviewer for the 2007 IPCC Report, gave a talk on the Indian monsoon, variability and climate change. The talk was organised by the GWPF and held at the House of Commons in London.  Madhav is also the author of the GWPF report on 'Global Warming - Extreme Weather Link'.

The main message seemed to be that the monsoon impacts 4 billion people and yet is the biggest climate anomaly on the planet. The variability of the monsoon is not well understood and the current climate models are not as useful as the older statistical-empirical model which uses large-scale atmosphere-ocean circulation patterns.

You can download the Powerpoint slides here

Please do let me know if I got something wrong on the sketchnotes above and I will amend - it was a challenge to keep up!

Cartoons by Josh



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Reader Comments (8)

I am finding the slides quite fascinating as they confirm my own experiences.
Much of my working as a pilot with BOAC and British Airways was spent flying to the Far East and Australia.
As I recall the Monsoon could be very erratic in frequency and intensity. I do not think climate models are up to forecasting the vagaries of the Monsoon with any accuracy. Generally when visiting the Met forecaster he would produce charts based on past and current observations.
Without the Monsoon millions would starve, the fact that it takes its toll on life is due to overpopulation on flood plains.

After all Meteorology is based on observations and derived laws such as Buys Ballot and adiabatic lapse rates.
Mathematical laws require conversation factors and climate models do not have one for CO2 amount to global temperature.
The advent of the Meteorological Satellite has added a greater certainty to the short term forecast as you can what is heading your way.

Sep 16, 2015 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

If the timing of the monsoon, flow of the Ganges etc can not be explained by climate science, traditional beliefs in Divine control must take precedence, over the God that is Green.

The God that is Green should be incinerated on a funeral pyre, made up, of the many made up Hockey Sticks, so that all disappear as a plume of smoke, to be reincarnated as trees. It would be sound for the environment, and the human race.

Sep 16, 2015 at 4:10 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I hope And then there's puysics was there......he could mansplain it for us.

Sep 16, 2015 at 11:48 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes


"Mathematical laws require conversation factors"

That's either a typo or rather profound - I can't decide!

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:13 AM | Registered Commenterjamesp
Link now dead

“As torrential rain sweeps in from the Indian Ocean, floods are triggered almost annually. Its floodplain was an early cradle of civilisation 9,000 years ago. Here people first gave up their nomadic ways to farm livestock and cultivate crops. The Indus Valley is home to 100 million people, who rely on it completely for drinking water and irrigation. Due to population growth, the people are now living in the alluvial flood plains, which used to be left for the river to meander about.

Today the river is changing its course and as it flows down, it engulfs many of the populated areas. 500 km of the river bed’s floodzone is called “kacha”. This is the natural flood plain of the river. However the “kacha area” is inhabited by millions of people and those who live there are poor people who do not have the means to live in safe areas.

People living in these areas do so at their own risk. Property cannot be bought and sold in “kacha”, however successive government have allocated the lands and even electrified the villages that exist in the flood plains.

Geologist Professor Peter Clift of Aberdeen University, has been precisely dating layers of flood-deposited sand in the Indus floodplain, in order to work out past changes in river flow, with surprising results:

“During a warm period 6,000 years ago, the Indus was a monster river, more powerful and more prone to flooding than today. Then, 4,000 years ago, as the climate cooled, a large part of it simply dried up. Deserts appeared where mighty torrents once flowed.”

The article then asks the question, “But what caused these thousand-year cycles of Indus drought and flood?”

I suspect it wasn’t coal-fired power stations and SUV’s.

More geological history:

The fall of the Harappan Civilization has been associated with rapid weakening of summer monsoon rains. New work now shows that changing river patterns may also have played an important part in their demise. Peter Clift reports.

"No period is better for illustrating the interrelationship of environment and culture than the Late Neolithic, when the Indus, Akkadian, and Longshan civilisations all appear to have experienced a major shift in the way they lived. The Indus Valley, or “Harappan” civilisation (see Box) was one of the earliest advanced urban cultures known to archaeology - and appears to have collapsed around 2000 BCE."

Sep 17, 2015 at 10:59 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

Similarly ignored - The annual Indonesian haze must be having quite large climate effects.
Green Fantasy media land : bangs on about an increase relatively thin layer of carbon dioxide particles supposidly having a mega influence on temperature and peoples health way in the future.
..And has devoted time to diesel particles in London,yet the Euro6 standard engines allow almost no particles at all
Yet TODAY in the Real World 2015 here in Borneo it's a mega haze which must be effecting millions of peoples health and be large enough to effect GLOBAL temperature stats just like a mega volcano eruption.
It's not just a one day thing from a few fields out of town. Today it's been like dusk visibility all day, this is the 6th day I have needed to wear a mask all day, the haze has been in the sky 30 days but recently got worse and worse. This haze doesn't come from nearby but from hundreds of Km across the sea from out of control forest fires in Sumatra. Schools are closed for thousands of Km from Borneo, Sumatra, all the way up to Kuala Lumpur.
- The technical details will take some figuring out, as involves not only masses of CO2, but the heating effects of mass burning and the cooling effects of the sun been blocked out from a large area of the planet's surface for a month.
I guess greens try to hope the effects all cancel themselves out and don't want any messages distracting from the CO2 causes doom narrative.
Today on BBC : Indonesia arrests executives of 'haze-causing' companies
..Good background from SBS

Sep 17, 2015 at 12:59 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


The point I wanted to make was that climatologists do an awful lot of guessing.
For example, my gas bill is derived from an equation which converts cubic feet of gas to pounds and pence
using known conversation factors for calorific value, BTU to kWh and pence per kWh.

Climatologists and Universities slave away at their computers calculating the mean annual global near surface temperature and the gigatons of carbon emitted into the atmosphere.

Climate sensitivity , supposedly the global warming (temperature) factor due to greenhouse gases (in particular CO2) does not appear to have a finite figure. No warming for 15years would suggest a climate sensitivity factor of zero.
The fact that ocean water temperatures are now measured does not provide an argument to say that since 1998 the missing heat has decided to go into the oceans.

Sep 17, 2015 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterShieldsman

Walker, Bjerknes... All in the 1920s.
How about this reference?

And from Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate, 2nd ed. 2010 Springer/Praxis

"Genetically, a monsoon is therefore the extension into one hemisphere of a trade wind originating from an Anticyclonic Agglutination in the opposite hemisphere, or directly from an Mobile Polar High, drawn across by a thermal low in the summer hemisphere. The term summer monsoon is thus tautological. The monsoon meets, along the Meteorological Equator, a (continental) trade wind from the opposite hemisphere, and the area of extension of this trade is considerably reduced."

Sep 22, 2015 at 4:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterTomRude

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