Friday, March 19, 2010

Impact of climate change in Singapore??

In 2007, Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim announced a 2 year research programme to "gauge the impact of global warming". Implicit in that announcement was that global warming was already a given. The study was merely to look at the impact of such a certainty.

Recently, Minister Yaacob announced some findings of that study by the NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute that "by 2100 the average daily temperature here could increase by between 2.7 and 4.4 degrees Celsius from the present average of 26.8 degrees Celsius. In the same time-frame, sea levels could rise by between 24 and 65 cm". This is quite a substantial effect.

No mention here that climatology has recently been hit by a roiling wave of scandals which have threatened the very credibility of climate science altogether. The term "climategate" has been applied. Even the credibility and authority of the much vaunted IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) has been called into question. A considerable amount of the raw data that had been generated by the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit has been called into question, and review of the data has been directed by Britain's Met Officer. And since it now appears that this set of data has been the main data set that other agencies have used as the raw data for the predictions, conclusions previously thought to be unquestionable, must now be questioned.

It is unclear what assumptions have gone into the NUS Tropical Marine Science Institute's computations. These assumptions are important, as is the raw data used to model the bold predictions the TMS Institute made for Minister Yaacob. Since, the report is not available for public scrutiny, either on NEA's website, or at the Institute's website, we cannot at the moment form an independent opinion of the validity of those predictions, and must depend on Minister Yaacob's summary presentation of those findings.

Assumptions are critically important in any predictions of future outcomes. Hopefully, the TNS Institute and the NEA will release these study report soon, so that the methodology and assumptions that were used in estimating the impact of any climate change of Singapore's environment impacclimate change can be understood by the public.

No comments: