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Global Warming

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#31 Lazarus Long

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Posted 24 February 2003 - 01:37 AM

These wars will probably not just be nuclear, but the full range of NBC "first strike", unilateral wars deployed in a series of national conflcts in which we have yet to discuss the impact of biological war (the "B" in "NBC") and how biological war is not so easily contained once it is started.

Bob, I not only agree with what you say but have to add that the "C" doesn't just stand for Chemical Warfare which also hasn't been included, but for "Conventional" Warfare, which can reach a level of destructive power equivalent to Nuclear and Chemical Combined. And as the Great Influenza epidemic of 1919 and St. Luis Encephalitis epidemics of 1921 indicate are incubated in the horrors of "Conventional Warfare" and its dire aftermath.

Despite all the nay sayers to the contrary, and the grotesque mistakes that may have also been made, it is still arguable that the UN's efforts during the post WWII period and the Post Korean War Period helped to prevent and alleviate the probability of similar global plagues of Smallpox, Polio, Typhus, Diptheria, and Influenza.

The history of Warfare demonstrates conclusively that Plague (of one form or another) is what follows victory, as well as defeat. We would have to work fast and furiously to prevent this from being the same after the next phase of global conflicts begins. It is also clear that we do not have the resourcs to actually prevent these propbabilities from becoming reality once they start on a global scale. And global plague is more likely if the Biological aspects of Warfare are encouraged.

Plague as we know it for example can be treated and even prevented with antibiotics and hygiene, but there are methods for making the Plague non responsive to antibiotics and airborne in transmission ability. These would eventually come back to our shores through trade and can't be fully prevented.

Too many of the current policies are predicated on the Old World Mentality that we are protected from what happens "over there" by the safe distance of ocean and wealth.

On a very sinister note I am unconvinced that some of those pushing for war aren't fully aware of all this and in fact desire the worst case scenario figuring they (individually) have a high likelihood of survival and would like to see a drastic reduction in global population while being able to maintain "Plausible Deniability" as to their own culpability.

#32 Mind

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 06:07 PM

Mind, is what I am saying outlandish to a Climatologist?

Not at all.

Also, I have studied climatology but my official title is Meteorologist. I am a private forecaster but continue to study climatology at times.

One of the main problems with climate forecasts is that the verification time is very long (decades). With short term forecasting the accuracy can be verified within a couple days or even a couple hours when dealing with severe thunderstorms. One way to circumvent this problem is to use historical data and see if the models can accurately predict past climate changes. There has been some success with these methods.

Here is a link Climate Change FAQ that has a lot of good information. The link presents data without all the "end of the world" scenarios.

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#33 Lazarus Long

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Posted 25 February 2003 - 06:48 PM

Also, I have studied climatology but my official title is Meteorologist.

I apologize if I misspoke. I am aware of both the distinction and the fact that you are " Officially" called a "Meteorologist" (so are the Weather forecasters on TV :) ) I just took it for granted that anyone who is a Meteorologist had to have a serious cross over study of climate in order to be making a forecast.

Otherwise what the hell are they doing?

Reading tea leaves and smoke?

Oh yeah, waving their asses on TV... ;)

Now go ahead and let us all hear what you really feel about NOAA.


For your own good you probably shouldn't but I can say for myself that it was working for the Government that made me the most cynical about the entire process.

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#34 Lazarus Long

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 04:23 AM

Here add this one too.

NASA Solves 50-Year-Old Moon Mystery

By Cathryn Conroy, Netscape News Editor
It was November 15, 1953. Using a camera attached to an 8-inch telescope, amateur astronomer Dr. Leon Stuart photographed what he believed to be a massive, white-hot fireball of vaporized rock rising from the center of the moon's face.

There was just one problem with this theory: No one had ever before witnessed or documented the impact of an asteroid-sized body hitting the moon's scarred exterior. Dismissed as unproven and inconclusive, the whole thing became known as "Stuart's Event." Skeptics insisted there was no mystery at all, saying the flash was not an image of a lunar impact, but rather the result of a meteorite entering Earth's atmosphere.

Dr. Bonnie J. Buratti, a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and Lane Johnson of Pomona College, Claremont, California had other ideas. "Stuart's remarkable photograph of the collision gave us an excellent starting point in our search,"

Buratti said in a news release issued by NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "We were able to estimate the energy produced by the collision. But we calculated that any crater resulting from the collision would have been too small to be seen by even the best Earth-based telescopes, so we looked elsewhere for proof."

Closely studying photographs taken by the Clementine spacecraft in 1994, they located the site of the crater in Stuart's photograph. The crater's size is consistent with the energy produced by the observed flash in 1953 and has the right color, reflectance, and shape. Buratti and Lane calculated the energy released at impact was about .5 megatons, which was 35 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. NASA estimates that such events occur on the lunar surface once every half-century. "To me this is the celestial equivalent of observing a once-in-a-century hurricane,"

Buratti said in the news release. "We're taught the moon is geologically dead, but this proves that it is not. Here we can actually see weather on the moon," she said. Dr. Leon Stuart will never know he was right. He died in 1969. The study findings were published in the space journal, Icarus.

You won't believe what NASA engineers think they could build on the Moon!

Do you know what happened just over 30 years ago? Find out the surprising anniversary we passed in December.

#35 Mind

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Posted 26 February 2003 - 11:09 PM

If we can generate solar power in space and on the moon all the better. Despite all the doom and gloom scenarios painted by the global warming crowd, things are changing for the better. I know that the carbon dioxide will be staying in the atmosphere for a few decades, however we continue to be more energy efficient and environmentally aware. It is happenning even without strict mandates. Sure, less developed countries that are in the process of industrialization are worse polluters but they will more rapidly move towards cleaner living because better technology will be available quicker than it was available to the "older" industrial nations like the U.S. and Europe.

I am quite optimistic that we are naturally evolving towards a cleaner environmental future. The question is, will the environment be so harmed by humans in the next 2 to 3 decades that it will not recover. I doubt it. Looking at the extremes of climate throughout the history of the Earth, it would seem life can withstand anything (except complete destruction of the earth by astronomical collision or an explosion of the sun). Life has continued to evolve RELENTLESSLY in the face of great warmth, ice ages, extreme volcanic activity, and large meteor collisions. Sometimes have been more difficult than others but there has never been a red light on the street of life.

#36 Lazarus Long

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 09:13 AM

A Darkening Sky
Sun Mar 9, 7:00 PM ET

V. "Ram" Ramanathan sat on an airliner heading south from Bombay. Ahead were the Maldives, an archipelago near the equator, where the atmospheric scientist from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography near San Diego planned to set up instruments to study haze and weather. He expected that results from the international project would come slowly and be of interest only to specialists. He was not prepared for what he saw just gazing out the plane window.

As he took off from Bombay, the layers of brown gunk in the sky were no surprise. Pollution controls on factories and vehicles are rare in his native land. Hundreds of millions of its citizens burn low-quality coal, wood, and cow dung for cooking and heating. But nearly 1,000 miles later over the open sea, the dirty pall still had not given way to blue sky and white clouds. "The haze just kept going and going. It didn't even seem to thin out. I was thinking, this is something big."

It is. Since Ramanathan's 1998 flight, scientists have realized that the pall he saw is just part of a vast brown cloud that often extends thousands of miles east, across China. A stew of dust, ash, and smoke from fires and industry, the cloud threatens the health of the billions who live under it. The fine particles, or aerosols, also warm some areas and cool others, drying up storm clouds and perhaps even shifting India's life-giving monsoon. In many places the haze swamps greenhouse gases as a climate-changing force, say scientists. The atmospheric havoc in Asia may even play a role in El Niño, the climate cycle now drenching the southern United States.

Much of this picture is still fuzzy, but scientists are working to sharpen it. Ramanathan and his Scripps colleague Paul Crutzen, a chemist and Nobel laureate, made a start with their Indian Ocean Experiment in the late 1990s, which studied haze from a score of ground stations and from aircraft. Their glimpses of the cloud's extent and impacts helped set off an explosion of similar studies across India, off Japan and Korea, and in China, which has launched the largest single scientific project in the country's history to analyze aerosols and climate. And it has spawned a new United Nations (news - web sites) effort called Project Asian Brown Cloud. Led by Ramanathan and Crutzen, it is organizing a massive study of the pollution's sources and effects, and what to do about it.

In a way, Asia with its dirty, fast-growing industry is repeating on a far vaster scale the smoky evolution of European and U.S. industry in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Coal consumption in China, for example, was 50 percent higher than in the United States in 1999 and could be twice as high by 2010. Across Asia, coal heats houses and cooks meals. Smoke from agricultural burning and wildfires adds to the brew. In China, the haze sometimes starts as dust blowing off western deserts, "but it picks up all kinds of toxic pollutants as it travels," says F. Sherwood Rowland, a University of California-Irvine chemist who received a Nobel Prize for work on ozone. "We can detect Asian aerosols blowing all the way across the U.S."

Yet just five years ago, Ramanathan could be startled by the pall he saw from the plane window because experts still thought of smog outbreaks as local, covering a city or filling a river valley. Until recently nobody had seen the goop all in one glance. Cameras on early weather satellites were calibrated for clouds but not hazes. But new full-color satellite camera systems now send images of a nearly continuous, 2-mile-thick blanket of sulfates, soot, organic compounds, dust, fly ash, and other crud draped across much of India, Bangladesh, and Southeast Asia, including the industrial heart of China.

The sand-colored air of Los Angeles is pristine by comparison. When Chinese scientists told U.S. colleagues about foul air back home, "we'd say we have smog here too," says Lorraine Remer, who analyzes satellite data at NASA (news - web sites)'s Goddard Space Flight Center. "Then we saw the extinction numbers"--satellite data on how much the brown cloud dims light. Across much of Asia, they were several times higher than anything ever seen in American smog. "We were standing there not believing it," she says. In and around India, the researchers found sunlight was reduced by 10 percent. Crop scientists say this is enough to reduce rice yields by 3 percent to 10 percent across much of the country.

Ground data in China show the same thing. In Beijing, airborne particulates are routinely five times as high as in Los Angeles. Donald Blake, an atmospheric chemist at the University of California-Irvine, says that a colleague on a visit asked a group of kindergartners to draw the sky. They all reached for the gray crayon.

It's worse than unsightly. India has 23 cities of more than 1 million people; not one meets World Health Organization (news - web sites) pollution standards. Indoor smoke from poorly vented fires is blamed for half a million premature deaths annually in India alone, mostly women and children. In southern China and Southeast Asia, as many as 1.4 million people die annually from pollution-related respiratory ills.

Disturbing effect. Researchers are coming to realize that, through a long chain of effects, the brown cloud may also be to blame for drought and flooding. Scientists' understanding of how aerosols shape climate is not nearly as well developed as it is for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, still No. 1 on any list of human impacts on climate. "But one common aspect," says Ramanathan, "is that the haze and its heating of the atmosphere is sufficient to disturb climate a lot."

Unlike the whitish sulfate particles from cleaner-burning power plants in the United States and Europe, the Asian hazes are dark with soot. As a result, they absorb sunlight and can double the rate at which it warms the atmosphere several thousand feet up, while shading and cooling the ground below. Some scientists think that the net effect is to boost global warming (news - web sites). But the more certain impact of the hazes is on rainfall, says Jeff Kiehl of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "They are radically changing the temperature profile of the atmosphere in many areas, with a big impact on where rain falls and how much."

By cooling the northern Indian Ocean, the haze reduces evaporation, cutting the water supply for rainfall. On land, the warm air aloft acts as a lid on cloud formation, quashing the convection that feeds thunderstorms. And the aerosols themselves seed the formation of tiny mist particles--so many that they suck water out of the air and choke off the growth of larger drops that would fall as rain. While the haze particles dry out the land, the rain does fall over the sea, where larger, natural sea-salt particles promote droplet growth. "We're shifting rain from the land to the ocean," says Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

At least that's the theory, and there are signs it may be happening. Some computer climate models predict that the hazes over India should displace the annual monsoon rains, leading to floods in the south and east of the country while drying the north and shrinking the vital Himalayan snowpack. "That's just the pattern we are starting to see emerge," says Surabi Menon of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City.

In southeastern China, where haze has cut sunlight by 2 percent to 3 percent every 10 years since the 1950s, temperatures are dropping, while rising elsewhere in the country, presumably because of greenhouse gases. The changed temperature patterns have rerouted storm tracks, one recent Chinese study said. The study blamed the shift for severe floods in the nation's south in recent years, coupled with drought in the north. It ranked the new weather pattern as the greatest sustained change in China's climate in more than 1,000 years.

Some scientists also suspect that the pollution cloud could be cooling the sea surface and slowing evaporation in the far western Pacific, off Asia. The effects could ripple across half the globe to the United States, because the western Pacific is the breeding ground for El Niños, the bouts of Pacific warming that change rainfall across the Americas and beyond.

All of this is enough to make Asia's brown cloud, and the sparser hazes elsewhere, into a global climate threat. Fortunately, hazes are far easier to counter than greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Clean up industry and smother the fires, and in a few weeks rain would wash the skies clean. Carbon dioxide, in contrast, lingers for centuries, and ordinary pollution controls can't touch it.

Going after hazes. Some scientists, distressed at the reluctance of the U.S. government and many developing nations to tackle greenhouse gases, hope that the relatively easier task of curbing fine particles could kick-start international efforts to address climate change. Going after hazes, particularly those heavy with soot, is "a no-lose situation as far as I'm concerned," says Stanford University atmospheric researcher Mark Jacobson.

The Chinese government, rattled by the data on the country's polluted air, is doing just that. For both health and weather reasons, it has largely replaced home use of coal with cleaner-burning natural gas in big cities and is starting to require catalytic converters on vehicles. China also hopes to restore blue skies to Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics.

At the same time, some scientists worry that major assaults on aerosols might divert attention from the far tougher problem of carbon dioxide and other culprits in global warming. Jacobson laments that President Bush (news - web sites) cited the climate impact of soot as one reason to abandon the Kyoto climate change agreement, which deals with greenhouse gases. "You can't stop with aerosols," Jacobson says. "You definitely have to go after the greenhouse gases, too."

But the lesson of the Asian brown cloud, says Ramanathan, is that there's more to global change than greenhouse warming. "If all you deal with is CO2, then you don't understand climate at all."

#37 bobdrake12

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Posted 15 March 2003 - 05:26 PM

Despite all the doom and gloom scenarios painted by the global warming crowd, things are changing for the better.


My concern has never been global warming but global cooling.


#38 Lazarus Long

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 12:32 AM

Posted Image
The Castillo pyramid, built by the Maya possibly as early as A.D. 618, has four stairways totaling 365 steps, which may represent the days in a year.

Photograph by Otis Imboden, copyright National Geographic Society

Climate Change Killed Off Mayan Civilization; Study says

With their awe-inspiring architecture and sophisticated concepts of astronomy and mathematics, the Maya were undoubtedly among the great ancient civilizations of Mesoamerica. At the peak of their glory, around 800 A.D., the Maya ranged from Mexico's Yucatán peninsula to Honduras.

Then, almost in an instant, a society of some 15 million people imploded, leaving deserted cities, trade routes, and immense pyramids in ruins. The sudden demise is one of the greatest archeological mysteries of our time. What caused the collapse of the great Maya civilization?

The answer, say researchers, is climate change. According to a new study published in the current issue of Science, a long period of dry climate, punctuated by three intense droughts, led to the end of the Maya society. "Climate change is to blame for one of the most catastrophic collapses in human history," said Gerald Haug, a professor of geology at the University of Potsdam, Germany, and one of the study's authors.

Identifying the Culprit

The drought hypothesis is not new. Sediments taken by scientists in 2001 from a lake on the Yucatan peninsula showed that a series of extended droughts coincided with major cultural upheavals among the Maya people.

But the study of that lake also found man-made effects, such as deforestation and soil erosion, and therefore didn't reflect a "pure climate signal," according to Haug. For the new study, the scientists instead analyzed sediment core from the Cariaco Basin off northern Venezuela, where the record is cleaner.

Identifying annual titanium levels, which reflect the amount of rainfall each year, the Swiss and U.S. researchers found that the pristine sediment layers in the basin formed distinct bands that correspond to dry and wet seasons. According to the scientists, there were three large droughts occurring between 810 and 910 A.D., each lasting less than a decade.

The timing of the droughts matched periodic downturns in the Maya culture, as demonstrated by abandonment of cities or diminished stone carving and building activity.

Experts say the Maya were particularly susceptible to long droughts because about 95 percent of their population centers depended solely on lakes, ponds, and rivers containing on average an 18-month supply of water for drinking and agriculture.

Reading the Sun

The Maya were skilled astronomers who constantly followed the movements of the sun and the moon. They predicted eclipses, explained the movements of planets, and devised a sophisticated calendar of the solar year.

Scientists have found that the recurrence of the drought was remarkably cyclical, occurring every 208 years. That interval is almost identical to a known cycle in which the sun is at its most intense every 206 years. Nothing suggests the Maya knew anything about the sun's change in intensity.

The drought theory is still controversial among some archeologists who believe a combination of overpopulation, an internecine struggle for control among the nobles, a weak economic base, and a political system that didn't foster power-sharing led to the Maya's collapse. One hypothesis suggests the Maya people themselves were responsible for their downfall as a result of environmental degradation, including deforestation.

Defenders of the climate change theory, however, say the droughts sparked a chain of events that led to the demise of the Maya. "Sunny days, in and of themselves, don't kill people," said Richardson B. Gill, author of The Great Maya Droughts: Water, Life, and Death. "But when people run out of food and water, they die."

Living on the Edge

In their twilight days, the Maya were a society in deep trouble, according to the authors of the new study. Densely populated cities strained resources. Agricultural production became crucial in order to feed the people. "They were living on the absolute edge," said Hoag.

While the Maya had learned to live with shorter droughts, the study indicates that a more subtle, long-term drying trend was ongoing during the collapse. The three specific droughts may have been what pushed the Mayan society over the edge.

"Not only did the Maya have to face an intense climatic catastrophe, but the duration was something that they had never experienced before," said Hoag. "If they had stayed for another two years, they may have survived. But how could they know that the drought would end?"

Learning from the Past

Other human societies have succumbed to climate swings. In Mesopotamia, a canal-supported agricultural society collapsed after a severe 200-year drought about 3,400 years ago. With wetter conditions, civilizations thrived in the Mediterranean, Egypt, and West Asia. Ten years after their economic peak in 2,300 B.C., however, catastrophic droughts and cooling hurt agricultural production and caused regional collapse.

Other societies, however, have survived past climate changes by changing their behavior in response to environmental change. About 300 years after the Mayan collapse, the Chumash people on California's Channel Islands survived severe droughts by transforming themselves from hunter-gatherers into traders.

Experts say the Maya collapse could serve as a valuable lesson today to societies in Africa and elsewhere that are vulnerable to droughts. When droughts strike, they can trigger a chain reaction beginning with crop failures, leading to malnutrition, increased disease and competition for resources, and ultimately causing warfare between nations and sociopolitical upheaval.

"We can handle climate change if we're prepared for it," said Hoag. "The Maya were not prepared."

On AOL Dry Spell Linked to Mayan Demise

WASHINGTON (March 13) - A study of southern Caribbean sediments suggests that a centurylong dry trend may have been the killing blow in the demise of the Mayan civilization that once built pyramids and elaborate cities in Mexico.

Konrad A. Hughen, a geochemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said sediments from the Cariaco Basin in northern Venezuela clearly record a long dry siege that struck the entire Caribbean starting in about the seventh century and lasting more than 100 years.

Within this dry period, said Hughen, there were years of virtually no rainfall. It was in those periods of extra dryness, he said, that the Mayan civilization went through a series of collapses before its final demise. Hughen is co-author of a study appearing Friday in the journal Science.

The Cariaco Basin is on the southern Caribbean; the Mayan lived for about a thousand years on the Yucatan, now part of Mexico, on the northwestern edge of the Caribbean. Hughen said both areas share the same climate, with a wet season and a dry season, so the dry trend detected in the Cariaco Basin sediments is thought to reflect the same climate experienced on the Yucatan.

Hughen said the Maya flourished in what is known as the pre-classic period before 700 A.D., building cities and elaborate irrigation systems to support a population that soared above a million. The civilization collapsed and many of the sites were abandoned early in the 800s. They were later reoccupied only to collapse again, with some cities deserted in 860 and others in 910.

''Those abandonments occur synchronously with the timing of the droughts in our record (from the sediments), suggesting the droughts were causing those events,'' said Hughen.

The sediment records show that the gradual drying started about 1,200 years ago, but there was still enough rain for the Mayans to flourish.

''They were still getting rain, but clearly it was less than their grandparents did,'' said Hughen. ''Then, all of a sudden, there were periods of nine, three and six years when there were very dry conditions.''

He said the populations were already stressed by a trend of sparse rainfall and the ''exceptionally severe'' periods were enough to cause the collapses.

''A severe event didn't have to be long'' to force the Mayans to abandon some sites, said Hughen. ''Each one of those dry events resulted in the collapse of a certain portion of the Mayan population.''

A severe dry spell in 910, he said, ''was the last straw.''

Mayan communities in the southern and central lowlands collapsed first, while those in the northern highlands lasted for another century before the final collapse.

''The northern areas had access to more ground water resources,'' said Hughen. ''They were able to weather the first and second dry periods, but not the third.''

T. Patrick Culbert, a professor emeritus at the University of Arizona and a noted authority on the Mayan culture, said the climate study offers a plausible explanation of what happened to the Mayans.

''They were so vulnerable that anything could have knocked them over,'' said Culbert. ''If there were these severe droughts, it would have been a disaster for them.''

Takeshi Inomata, an associate professor at the University of Arizona who studies early American civilizations, said the study by Hughen and his colleagues supports other studies linking climate to the Mayan collapse. There could have been other contributing causes, he said.

''The general climate problems may have contributed to the Mayan collapse, but that isn't all that we need to consider,'' Inomata said. ''It may have been more complex than that.''

AP-NY-03-13-03 1819EST

#39 Lazarus Long

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 12:57 AM

Since we are looking at models for Global Warming-Cooling trends, examples from Nature are relevant at describing the mechanisms for a Nuclear Winter by comparing the newer models for the K-T Event.

The National Geographic must have been listenning to us Bob because a recent issue is PACKED with articles and links, Along with the following one and the one that goes with the newer satellite images that now outline in detail the actual crater wall. Here is the link to that article.
"Dinosaur-Killer" Asteroid Crater Imaged for First Time

Enlarged Map and Satellite Image of Crater

Posted Image

Researchers Rethink Dinosaur Die Off Scenario

David Braun
National Geographic News
February 26, 2002

Dinosaurs may not have been killed off by asteroid impact dust blocking out sunlight, a geologist says. Instead, the mass extinction associated with an asteroid impact 65 million years ago might have been caused by soot from global wildfires or sulfuric acid clouds that were a consequence of the collision.

Whether ash, soot, or acid clouds from the impact, what difference does it make how the dinosaurs and other life forms died in the mass extinction event?

"It probably doesn't seem important what mechanism was triggered; either way it still seems that the impact caused the extinction," says Kevin Pope from Geo Eco Arc Research in Aquasco, Maryland. "But the difference is important because it may have implications for the predictions of the consequences of future asteroid impacts, as well as explain why impact extinction events are so rare."

To understand the difference, consider some of the mechanisms triggered when a large object from space hurtles into the Earth.

Posted Image

A large asteroid enters the atmosphere at extremely high speed, glowing red hot as the friction of the air turns it into a fiery cannon ball. Its impact with the ground results in a massive explosion, vaporizing the space object and launching perhaps over a trillion tons of gas, ash and rock dust into the atmosphere.

If the asteroid is big enough— Pope says about three kilometers (two miles) in diameter— the energy released by the impact would hurl enough debris into space to envelop the Earth in a rain of fire.

The ejected debris would re-enter the atmosphere like billions of meteorites, raining burning balls of fire back to Earth in a giant display of planetary fireworks. The brilliant glow from these billions of fireballs would ignite forest fires across the globe, generating vast, thick clouds of smoke and soot.

The asteroid that is associated with the mass extinction of the dinosaurs is believed to have been the one that created the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico. It was certainly bigger than three kilometers across (more like ten to 15 kilometers or six to ten miles) and it would have caused global fires, Pope says.

"Another important factor is that the Yucatan, where the giant asteroid hit, was especially rich in sulfur-bearing rocks (calcium sulfate). The impact vaporized the sulfate rock and deposited billions of tons of sulfur dioxide gas in the atmosphere.

"Studies of volcanic eruptions have shown that this gas would convert to sulfuric acid clouds in the atmosphere, and that such clouds could remain in the atmosphere for years. These clouds may have initially been thick enough to shut down photosynthesis for a year, and perhaps they blocked the sun long enough (several years) to cause major global cooling. This mechanism helps explain why the impact was especially devastating," Pope says.

The original theory, proposed by Luis Alvarez and his colleagues in 1980, is that asteroid dust from the Yucatan impact formed dense clouds that surrounded the Earth, obscuring the sun. The prolonged period of darkness that shrouded the planet caused the plants to die, breaking the food chain and starving the animals. Many of them, including the dinosaurs, died out.

But now Pope is challenging this theory. Arguing in the February issue of Geology that the assumptions behind the asteroid dust theory are wrong, he says that the damage estimates from future asteroid impacts are also amiss.

Model Used to Show Dust Dispersal

Pope used a model to show how the large dust particles found in the K-T layer [the geological term for the layer of Earth that dates to the time of the asteroid impact associated with the mass extinction] could disperse. From the results of his test he extrapolated how the finer dust particles, the ones that were supposed to have surrounded the Earth and altered its climate, would have dispersed.

He believes that the Yucatan impact could not have produced enough dust particles of a size that it would take to shut down photosynthesis for any significant length of time and therefore the original extinction theory is not valid.

Instead, Pope believes it may have been sulfur gases produced from impacted rocks and soot from global fires that shut down photosynthesis and caused global cooling.

The original studies of the clay layer found at the K-T boundary assumed much or all of this layer was derived from fine impact dust, he says. "More recent studies of this layer have shown this not to be the case. Furthermore, earlier estimates were based on extrapolations of data from surface atomic bomb blasts, which had about 100 million times less energy than the Chicxulub impact. Extrapolation over eight orders of magnitude is risky business. "

Pope, who was involved with the identification of the Chicxulub crater as the dinosaur killer in 1989-1990 when he worked at the NASA Ames Research Center, says that the current widely held theory suggests that the ash particles caused by the impact were so fine that they would have remained suspended in the air for a long time, making the Earth dark for an extended period.

But his model indicated that not enough ash could have been generated to do that. "In any event, the ash would not have dispersed in that way," Pope says. "Most of the ash would have fallen rather quickly near the impact area, causing substantial regional damage but having less effect with increased distance from the site," he says.

"The implication is that asteroids of a smaller size— with a diameter of under three kilometers— would not necessarily have the dire consequences for the planet that is currently believed," Pope says. "They would cause heavy regional damage, but the ash fall-out would not be as great as previously believed."

Pope says some scientists have challenged his theory. "They say there may be some other extinction mechanisms that smaller impacts trigger besides dust. That may be true, but no one has done the detailed studies to back up such arguments."

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#40 bobdrake12

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Posted 16 March 2003 - 04:57 AM

A large asteroid enters the atmosphere at extremely high speed, glowing red hot as the friction of the air turns it into a fiery cannon ball. Its impact with the ground results in a massive explosion, vaporizing the space object and launching perhaps over a trillion tons of gas, ash and rock dust into the atmosphere.

If the asteroid is big enough— Pope says about three kilometers (two miles) in diameter— the energy released by the impact would hurl enough debris into space to envelop the Earth in a rain of fire.

The ejected debris would re-enter the atmosphere like billions of meteorites, raining burning balls of fire back to Earth in a giant display of planetary fireworks. The brilliant glow from these billions of fireballs would ignite forest fires across the globe, generating vast, thick clouds of smoke and soot.

The asteroid that is associated with the mass extinction of the dinosaurs is believed to have been the one that created the Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico.

Lazarus Long,

Posted Image

To-date there is no corrective action in place to stop one of these large asteroids from hitting this planet and causing massive destruction.


Edited by bobdrake12, 16 March 2003 - 04:59 AM.

#41 Lazarus Long

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Posted 17 March 2003 - 05:07 PM


And Now for the Weather, Aboriginal Style
1 hour, 16 minutes ago

By Michael Perry

SYDNEY, Australia (Reuters) - When the bearded dragon lizard sits upright and points its head to the sky, it is going to rain the next day. If a flock of currawongs flies overhead, you have four hours to get the washing off the line.

If the queen wattle blooms heavily, bull ants abandon their tree nests for mounds of dirt, or meat ants cover nests with tiny, heat-reflecting quartz stones, then bushfires are coming.

Sounds like mumbo-jumbo?

Not to Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, which hopes to tap into the tens of thousands of years of Aboriginal weather knowledge to help it expand its understanding of the island continent's harsh climate.

Aboriginal ideas about the weather can be starkly different.

Unlike the conventional European notion of four seasons -- summer, autumn, winter and spring -- Aborigines in different parts of Australia count as little as two or as many as six, each intimately linked to subtle changes in the local environment.

"The bureau comes from a purely Western scientific meteorology perspective. It is something entirely new for a weather bureau to recognize the importance of this other weather knowledge," said bureau forecaster John O'Brien.

"Our concepts of meteorological science have a time span of several hundred years, whereas Aboriginal culture based on weather, flora, fauna and climate is tens of thousands of years old," O'Brien told Reuters.

The Bureau of Meteorology has launched an "Indigenous Weather" Web site (www.bom.gov.au/iwk) mapping Aboriginal weather knowledge and plans to keep on updating it as it documents new indigenous weather calendars.

Aboriginal culture is dominated by a creation time called the "Dreaming," which links past and present in a continuum. In it, the weather, land, plants, animals, people, previous generations and supernatural forces are all inter-related.

Aboriginal culture is passed down from generation to generation in oral form, using stories and legends, but this generation is the first to start recording weather knowledge.

Frances Bodkin, a descendant of Sydney's D'harawal aborigines, said indigenous weather patterns were signposted by plants, animals and the stars and were as accurate as any modern-day meteorological forecast.

"Present-day scientists do their studies by measurements and experiments. Aboriginal people are just as good scientists, but they use observation and experience," Bodkin, a botanist at Sydney's Mount Annan Botanical gardens, told Reuters.

In 1788, when English settlers first arrived in Sydney, they imposed the four European seasons on their new home without any real knowledge of local weather patterns, yet the local Aborigines lived according to an annual six-season calendar.

For longer-range weather forecasting they used an 11-12 year cycle and a massive 8,000-10,000-year cycle, said Bodkin, who is entrusted with D'harawal weather knowledge.

The bushfires which burned through Sydney in the past two "European summers" came as no surprise to Aborigines as Sydney's queen wattle trees bloomed heavily for the past two years, a sign bushfires were coming, said Bodkin.

"When it has a very heavy bloom the D'harawal people knew they had 18 months to burn off before massive fires went through," explained Bodkin. "That gave them two really good seasons to burn off before the fires appeared."

Bodkin warned the queen wattle had a massive number of buds this year and would again flower heavily -- a portent of more fires to come.


Sydney's six-season Aboriginal calendar is based on the flowering of various native plants.

-- Murrai'yunggoray, when the red waratah flower blooms, is the first season. Spanning September and October, it is a time when temperatures rise.

-- Goraymurrai, when the two-veined hickory wattle flowers, occurs around November to December. It is a time of warm, wet weather and historically Aborigines would not camp near rivers for fear of flooding.

-- Gadalung marool, when the single-veined hickory wattle flowers, is hot and dry. It occurs from January to February and Aborigines only ate fruit and seeds as the heat meant stored meat would spoil quickly.

-- Banamurrai'yung, when the lillipilli tree produces tiny sour berries, is around March to May and is a time of wet, cooling temperatures, a signal to make cloaks to keep warm.

-- Tugarah'tuli, when the forest red gum flowers around June to July, is a cold time. Aborigines would traditionally journey to the coast where food was more abundant.

-- Tugarah'gunyamarra, when the gossamer wattle flowers around August, is the end of the annual weather calendar. It is a cold and windy season, a time to build shelters facing the rising sun. It was also a time for Aborigines to return to Sydney's western highland, following fish upstream.

The weather phenomenon El Nino has been blamed for Australia's worst drought in 100 years -- a dry spell which has seen bushfires blaze along the eastern seaboard, ringing Sydney and razing hundreds of homes in the national capital, Canberra.

But according to the D'harawal Aborigines, El Nino is not to blame, but the rare meteorological convergence of three ancient climate cycles -- the annual hot and dry Gadalung marool, the hot season of the 11-year Djurali cycle and the 8,000-10,000 Talara'gandi, which means ice and fire.

The 11-year cycle started in 2001 with the appearance of the Aurora Australis, the luminous pale green and pink phenomenon that occurs in the upper atmosphere above the South Pole, said Bodkin. The Aurora Australis is caused by the interaction of electrons and protons from outside the atmosphere.

The Talara'gandi, or ice and fire, had in the past been responsible for Ice Ages and desertification, said Bodkin and it started when the sea began rising. Aborigines tell stories that the ocean was once a three-day walk east of Sydney's coastline.

"We are in a period of absolute extremes, where we should be getting very cold, dry winters and very hot, dry summers," said Bodkin. "If you superimpose the 10,000-year cycle on top, I think it may last for 2,000 years."

#42 Lazarus Long

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Posted 21 March 2003 - 02:40 PM

Spring Drought Seen in U.S. West, Plains -NOAA
Thu Mar 20, 4:03 PM ET
By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A severe drought parching the Midwest, northern Plains and western United States is not expected to improve in coming months because of light winter snowfall and scant spring rains, U.S. weather forecasters said on Thursday

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned in its spring weather outlook that Western states such as Montana, Colorado, Wyoming and Nebraska face "bleak" water supplies lingering into the summer.

However, it was a different story for the Eastern seaboard, where above-normal snowfall and rain have erased last year's drought and could unleash flooding, NOAA said.

Thick ice on rivers in eastern New York state and northern New England could lead to serious flooding if heavy rains combined with rapid snow melt, the agency said.

"Depending on where you live or play, you're either thankful for the drought-busting Eastern rains and snow, or disappointed by the lack of Western snow pack," said NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher.


Some areas of the West are entering their fifth year of drought, which has shriveled crops, drained rivers and sparked fires in bone-dry forests. For Colorado, 2002 was the driest year since record-keeping began in 1895, while neighboring Nebraska, Wyoming and Nevada recorded their third-driest year.

The recent snow storm that dumped 30 to 80 inches on the area will help, but it will take more than one storm to ease drought conditions in those states, NOAA noted.

About one-third of U.S. land remains in a drought, down from 53 percent at this time a year ago, NOAA said.

The dryness throughout much of the West also could boost electricity prices, because a shortage of water to cool nuclear generating plants forces them to throttle back production, and low water levels hinder hydroelectric plants.

According to the Northwest River Forecast Center, which predicts runoff in the heavily dammed Columbia River, water flow into the lower river is running about 30 percent below normal.

"With El Nino's influence fading, the major factor this spring is the long term, multiyear water shortages in parts of the West," said John Jones, deputy assistant administrator for NOAA's National Weather Service.

Significant rain is "unlikely" until summer or autumn, he added.

El Nino, Spanish for "boy child," is an abnormal warming of waters in the Pacific that occurs every four to five years. The El Nino of the past few months increased winter storms in the eastern United States and curtailed snow in the Plains states.

Forecasters said El Nino has rapidly faded, and should be gone by the end of April.


This winter's El Nino brought good news to Eastern states, replenishing low water levels after several years of below-normal rainfall, NOAA said.

The one-time precipitation shortage has turned into a glut in some areas. Boston and Baltimore each recorded nearly 40 inches of snow in February, a record for the month.

The wet fall and winter set the stage for possible flooding this spring across eastern states. The largest threat is from eastern Texas to the Ohio Valley and east to the Atlantic.

In farming states of the Midwest and northern Plains, where winter snowfall was several inches below normal, NOAA urged growers to prepare for spring drought.

"I suspect it will be another difficult year for those regions in terms of crops," said Lautenbacher.

Spring planting is due to begin throughout the region during the next few weeks.

A swath of rain has moved through key parts of the Great Plains in recent days, however, easing concerns over the fate of hard red winter wheat plantings. But forecasters said it would take a series of storms to fully alleviate drought conditions in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska.

Farther west, NOAA said any melting of the mountain snowpack would be quickly absorbed by parched land, providing limited relief to depleted reservoirs.

Last summer, the United States battled one of the worst droughts in history, with high temperatures and a lack of rain scorching corn, wheat and soybean crops. The drought also helped burn some 7.1 million acres of forest land, marking the second worst fire season in U.S. history.

At one point last year, a drought covered nearly half of the United States, with weather ranging from moderately dry to conditions mimicking the Dust Bowl era of the 1930s. Many states declared emergencies and urged residents to conserve water.

#43 Lazarus Long

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Posted 22 March 2003 - 05:35 AM

Article & Links

Sun's Output Increasing in Possible Trend Fueling Global Warming
Fri Mar 21, 9:28 AM ET
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer, SPACE.com

In what could be the simplest explanation for one component of global warming, a new study shows the Sun's radiation has increased by .05 percent per decade since the late 1970s.

The increase would only be significant to Earth's climate if it has been going on for a century or more, said study leader Richard Willson, a Columbia University researcher also affiliated with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

The Sun's increasing output has only been monitored with precision since satellite technology allowed necessary observations. Willson is not sure if the trend extends further back in time, but other studies suggest it does.

"This trend is important because, if sustained over many decades, it could cause significant climate change," Willson said.

In a NASA-funded study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Willson and his colleagues speculate on the possible history of the trend based on data collected in the pre-satellite era.

"Solar activity has apparently been going upward for a century or more," Willson told SPACE.com today.

Significant component

Further satellite observations may eventually show the trend to be short-term. But if the change has indeed persisted at the present rate through the 20th Century, "it would have provided a significant component of the global warming the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports to have occurred over the past 100 years," he said.

That does not mean industrial pollution has not been a significant factor, Willson cautioned.

Scientists, industry leaders and environmentalists have argued for years whether humans have contributed to global warming, and to what extent. The average surface temperature around the globe has risen by about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1880. Some scientists say the increase could be part of natural climate cycles. Others argue that greenhouse gases produced by automobiles and industry are largely to blame.

Willson said the Sun's possible influence has been largely ignored because it is so difficult to quantify over long periods.

Confounding efforts to determine the Sun's role is the fact that its energy output waxes and wanes every 11 years. This solar cycle, as it is called, reached maximum in the middle of 2000 and achieved a second peak in 2002. It is now ramping down toward a solar minimum that will arrive in about three years.


Changes in the solar cycle -- and solar output -- are known to cause short-term climate change on Earth. At solar max, Earth's thin upper atmosphere can see a doubling of temperature. It swells, and denser air can puff up to the region of space where the International Space Station orbits, causing increased drag on the ship and forcing more frequent boosts from space shuttles.

#44 Mind

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 02:25 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A severe drought parching the Midwest, northern Plains and western United States is not expected to improve in coming months because of light winter snowfall and scant spring rains, U.S. weather forecasters said on Thursday

Some of the west has received beneficial rainfall since March but many areas are still labeled as in extreme drought. You can check out the current drought conditions at this link US Drought Monitor

#45 Mind

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 02:27 AM

New Climate Study Challenges Thinking on Large-Scale Global Climate Change

A study of past climate changes in the South American tropics has challenged traditional understanding of the mechanisms that triggered the advance and retreat of glaciers during the last ice age. The National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study was published in the May 31 (2002) issue of Science.

A research team found that glaciers in the tropical Andes Mountains retreated several thousand years earlier than North American glaciers during a period of wet climate conditions, and during a time when the sun's warming radiation (solar insolation) was at a minimum.

Full Details at Climate Change Study

#46 Lazarus Long

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Posted 08 April 2003 - 12:44 PM

Good article Mind, thanks.

This finding supports my suspicions on the matter and I wonder how much of the modelling is based on "local perspective" still but I think that is changing.

The finding contradicts traditional thinking that climate conditions in the northern latitudes generate the advance and retreat of global glaciation, and that glaciers retreated during dry climate conditions and when solar insolation was at its maximum, said lead researcher Geoffrey Seltzer of Syracuse University. "If the tropics warmed earlier than the northern latitudes, as our study demonstrates, that means there is something else influencing climate change that we don't yet understand."

I suspect that not only is there still a 'force" and "dynamic" that we have yet to fit into the model adequately but as teh premise for the article demonstrates we have also failed to correlate our data in a manner to give the fullest picture of "what" happened "when" and "where". I suspect however that when you get rid of the "model" that there is nothing counter intuitive about the "tropical climate" warming ahaed of "polar lattitudes". What is counter intuitive is assuming we understand all the "mechanics of glaciation" not just the "causal factors".

#47 Mind

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 12:59 AM

One thing I am very disappointed with in the whole global warming subject is the Kyoto accords. There was an opportunity to get the world together on an issue (such as with CFCs) and help the environment. Unfortunately anti-Americanism ruined this initiative. What came out of the Kyoto meetings was a pure, distilled, unabashed tranfer of wealth proposal. Take money from the Americans and distibute it to the rest of the world. There is no debating this. The European union countries were quite shrewd in setting 1990 as the baseline year for reducing CO2 emmisions. The year had nothing to do with the science of climatology and was all about money. Much of eastern Europe was full of coal-fired Soviet era power plants in 1990 which had mostly been replaced by the time Kyoto was developed. In essence almost all of Europe had already met their Kyoto emmission levels by the time it was written. Also, the biggest potential future polluters, India and China, were exempted.

If the Europeans were really interested in curbing CO2 emmissions they would have pushed for better technology or suggested credits for using energy efficient cars and appliances. Instead they led the development of a "transfer of wealth" agreement.

#48 Lazarus Long

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 05:24 PM

There is a need to alter the dynamic of the process Kyoto was a continuation of "Protocol Development" that began at a previous conference some years earlier at Bonn that were never seriously negotiated by the global Scientific community at all in between. The science during that period also evolved by quantum leaps and was still gathering data at ever increasing rates.

To make matters worse the political agenda is controlled by those guys, the politicos, who only give scientists money to get out them out of their hair or produce lots more wealth, but politicos are about as interested in listening to scientific issues as to a fortune teller, even less so if she is cute.

Of course the Kyoto conference was controlled by barely hidden socio-economic political agendas there’s no surprise there, only a lack of preparedness on our part going in. Oh yeah and that was Clintons Administration not Bush's. The final watered down product wasn't approved by Congress anyway and let’s get this clear up front socio technological economics is a valid issue. Your entire rebuttal is predicated upon its importance.

Shifting energy use, its impact, its sources, its quantity, and availability are all about economics. But if you remember I refuse to support either left or right in the Capitalism versus Socialism debate BECAUSE I see this issue as one that challenges BOTH the evolutionary biology and psychology of our species. War is about deterring the flow of resources and trade is too. Trade is the memetic alternative to war.

I have argued for a very long time that the evolution of currency was a not only a means of abstracting value to represent commodity, but as an alternative for weapons for our species to apply to questions of large scale distribution of resource requirements.

Edited by Lazarus Long, 11 April 2003 - 05:41 PM.

#49 Lazarus Long

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Posted 11 April 2003 - 05:40 PM

Here is a bit of history about the process. http://www.ce.umn.ed...3501/kyoto2.pdf

The Kyoto Accords, or Kyoto Protocol, was adopted at the third meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Control (UNFCCC). The convention was first formed in 1992 to deal with the issues surrounding global warming.

The UNFCCC was to recognize the problem of global warming, present possible solutions to the problem, and decipher possible means of funding such solutions. Specifically, the Kyoto Protocol contains the additions and amendments agreed upon in Kyoto in December 1997, all of which centered around the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in developed countries.

The Kyoto Protocol was to be the first agreement to set firm restrictions on amount of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases released in industrial nations. The document called for all the developed members to reduce their emissions levels to 5% below those of 1990 by between the years 2008-2012. For the protocol to take effect, a collection of countries that emit 55 percent of the world's industrial greenhouse gases would have to ratify it.

In Bonn, Germany on July 23rd 2001, the world's leading countries made a compromise agreement finishing a treaty that for the first time would formally require industrialized countries to cut emissions of gases linked to global warming. “The agreement, which was announced here today after three days of marathon bargaining, rescued the Kyoto Protocol, the preliminary accord framed in Japan in 1997, that was the first step toward requiring cuts in such gases.

That agreement has been repudiated by President Bush, who has called it ''fatally flawed,'' saying it places too much of the cleanup burden on industrial countries and would be too costly to the American economy1.”

The United States, the world's largest economy and one of the world’s
1 New York Times, July 24, 2001 largest polluters is far from being the only country balking at approving a strong, ambitious agreement. “Saudi Arabia, Canada, Japan and Australia, for instance, also oppose deadlines for the conversion from oil and gas power to windmills, solar panels and other forms of renewable energy. The European Union objects to eliminating subsidies for activities that threaten natural resources, like commercial fishing2.” Although Bonn was a victory on some level for the Kyoto Accord, the protocol has a long way to go in convincing many industrialized nations.

#50 Mind

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Posted 12 April 2003 - 12:55 AM

Of course the Kyoto conference was controlled by barely hidden socio-economic political agendas there’s no surprise there, only a lack of preparedness on our part going in. Oh yeah and that was Clintons Administration not Bush's. The final watered down product wasn't approved by Congress anyway and let’s get this clear up front socio technological economics is a valid issue. Your entire rebuttal is predicated upon its importance.

I have suggested to compadres in the field to back a new innitiative with achievable goals and attractive incentives. How about a world fund to develop alternative energy sources and more efficient electical devices (from computer chips to cars)? While it remains uncertain the "total" affect of increased carbon on the climate, it is obvious we are changing the carbon cycle of the planet. I am sure most of the general public would back reasonable proposals to gradually get us back to a more natural cycle.

#51 Mind

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 12:22 AM

Smoke is clouding our view of global warming, protecting the planet from perhaps three-quarters of the greenhouse effect. That might sound like good news, but experts say that as the cover diminishes in coming decades, we are in for a dramatic escalation of warming that could be two or even three times as great as official best guesses.

Read the rest here.....

If soot gives us a few extra years of only mild warming that is great...it gives us more time to develop cleaner technologies...technologies that seem imminent within the next decade.

Also, June 1st....a new all-time record low for the month of June was established at the Oneida county airport near Rhinelander Wisconsin. The low was 27 degrees F. Just a little local flavor for the discussion.

#52 Mind

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Posted 02 October 2003 - 09:39 PM

Supercomputer climate model whips up a storm

The above link is an article about improved resolution in global climate models. The models that have run in the past were coarse with many atmospheric factors removed for number crunching reasons. Soon there will be new results with a greater degree of confidence. This should help policy makers make sound decisions. There was enough uncertainty in the past to allow apathy and argument amongst lawmakers.

New record low in Wausau Wisconsin October 2nd - 24 degrees F. It was an amazing sight this morning in the frigid air. Almost all the trees with compund leaves across town defoliated within 2 hours of sunrise. It was as if snow was falling (by the way Boulder Junction, Wisconsin had 5 inches of snow on October 1st, well out of season). Cars and sidewalks were covered with leaves. I was so amazing I had to take pictures. I'll try to remember to post the pictures when I get the film developed. Possible reason for this once in a lifetime event ("lifetime" according to the elders of the town), a month long drought in late summer followed by a record hard freeze.

Edited by Mind, 06 October 2003 - 02:40 PM.

⌛⇒ current fundraiser: B.A.S.E Victor @ OpenCures

#53 Mind

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 05:57 PM

Too little' oil for global warming

10:00 05 October 03
New Scientist 
Oil and gas will run out too fast for doomsday global warming scenarios to materialise, according to a controversial analysis presented this week at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. The authors warn that all the fuel will be burnt before there is enough carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to realise predictions of melting ice caps and searing temperatures.

Read The Rest Here

This of course relates to the other thread

Taking Peak Oil Seriously

Their analysis suggests that oil and gas reserves combined amount to the equivalent of about 3500 billion barrels of oil ­ considerably less than the 5000 billion barrels estimated in the most optimistic model envisaged by the IPCC.

The worst-case scenario sees 18,000 billion barrels of oil and gas being burnt ­ five times the amount the researchers believe is left. "That's completely unrealistic," says Aleklett. Even the average forecast of about 8000 billion barrels is more than twice the Swedish estimate of the world's remaining reserves.

I generally trust the climatologists creating the climate models, but the initialization is something that can easily be manipulated. It should be no surprise that the Kyoto socialists tweaked it in their favor.

Even if oil and gas run out, "there's a huge amount of coal underground that could be exploited", he says. Aleklett agrees that burning coal could make the IPCC scenarios come true, but points out that such a switch would be disastrous. Coal is dirtier than oil or gas and produces more CO2 for each unit of energy, as well as releasing large amounts of particulates.

According to the study referenced 2 posts above this one, more particulates means less warming so coal may have a nuetral effect on climate. Review here

The atmosphere and its interactions with the biosphere are complex.

Edited by Lazarus Long, 06 October 2003 - 06:13 PM.

#54 Lazarus Long

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 06:06 PM

And this is the good news? :))

BTW, I edited only your layout Mind not content and I just thought I would mention it as this is the role I see us performing moer than acting as speech cops. More like back up on a team placy.

#55 Mind

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 10:40 PM

And this is the good news?

Well, the good news in my mind is that we are running out of oil and by the time we do... there should be alternative energy sources so we do not have to burn coal.

#56 Mind

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Posted 21 October 2003 - 11:02 PM

And now here is an article from the side of the "non-believer's", or anyway those who feel the oppressive Kyoto protocol is the wrong approach to an overstated problem. Be sure to check out the powerpoint presentation.

Global Warming: The Always-Imminent Threat
Friday, July 11, 2003
12:00 p.m.

Despite the embarrassing disclosure that the climate models used in the recent "National Assessment" of global warming performed worse than a table of random numbers when applied to U.S. temperatures, the Senate has passed a resolution urging adoption of the Kyoto Treaty on the basis of that model.

Read the rest here

#57 kevin

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Posted 25 October 2003 - 02:48 AM

Link: http://us.rd.yahoo.c.../arctic_warming
Date: 10-24-03
Author: -
Source: Yahoo News
Title: Arctic Temps Show Rise, NASA Study Says

Arctic Temps Show Rise, NASA Study Says
NEW YORK - New evidence of a rise in Arctic temperatures may be a further warning sign of global warming (news - web sites), according to a NASA (news - web sites) study to be published next month.

The study — which used satellite images taken from space — found that most of the Arctic warmed significantly over the last 10 years, rising 1.08 degrees per decade.

The biggest temperature increases occurred in North America, with an increase of 1.9 degrees in 10 years.

"The warming rate is quiet high compared to what we observed previously," Dr. Josefino C. Comiso, the study's author, told APTN.

Comiso, the senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said the study looked at surface temperatures taken from satellites between 1981 to 2001.

Last year, another NASA study found that sea ice in the Arctic was declining at a rate of 9 percent per decade. That study also found that in 2002, summer sea ice hit record low levels.

Scientists fear that these trends are a result of greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere.

According to NASA's new study, the rate of warming in the Arctic over the last 20 years is eight times the rate of warming over the last 100 years.

The new study also found that temperature trend varied by region and season. While warming was prevalent over most of the Arctic, some areas, such as Greenland, appear to cool.

However, warming trends may still affect ocean processes, said Michael Steele, senior oceanographer at the University of Washington.

Water absorbs the sun's energy rather than reflecting it into the atmosphere the way ice does. As the oceans warm and ice thins, more solar energy is absorbed by the water, creating further melting, said Steele.

This changes the temperature of ocean layers and marine habitats, he said.

The new Arctic warming study, to appear in the November issue of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, was conducted to record Arctic changes and develop a better understanding of climate worldwide.

The surface temperature records were obtained through thermal infrared data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites.

On the Net:


#58 Lazarus Long

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Posted 06 November 2003 - 05:27 PM

This article addresses some of the relationships of consumption with demand, and supply, as well as profound cultural distinction when we define "need".

The issues are linked but in many more ways than are generally addressed. Global Warming is an issue that in itself will have profound impact one way or another but it should be already understood to be having a profound impact and not merely one in the "future tense".

As Advancedatheist printed elsewhere this is also about energy: Who has it, who uses it, who needs it, why, and how?

What the full impact will ultimately be is uncertain except for one aspect that is being grossly overlooked by myopic mortals, it will force confrontation and change in an escalating spiral of chaotic reactionary socioeconomics and the longer we avoid dealing with the problem in order to defend the status quo the worse the likely outcome will be for the majority even if it serves the interests of minorities.

Posted Image
As Earth Warms, the Hottest Issue Is Energy
Published: November 4, 2003

Suppose that over the next decade or two the forecasts of global warming start to come true. Color has drained from New England's autumns as maple trees die, and the Baltimore oriole can no longer be found south of Buffalo. The Dust Bowl has returned to the Great Plains, and Arctic ice is melting into open water. Upheavals in weather, the environment and life are accelerating around the world.

Then what?

If global warming occurs as predicted, there will be no easy way to turn the Earth's thermostat back down. The best that most scientists would hope for would be to slow and then halt the warming, and that would require a top-to-bottom revamping of the world's energy systems, shifting from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas to alternatives that in large part do not yet exist.

"We have to face the fact this is an enormous challenge," said Dr. Martin I. Hoffert, a professor of physics at New York University.

But interviews with scientists, environment advocates and industry representatives show that there is no consensus in how to meet that challenge. Some look to the traditional renewable energy sources: solar and wind. Others believe use of fossil fuels will continue, but that the carbon dioxide can be captured and then stored underground. The nuclear power industry hopes concern over global warming may help spur a revival.

In an article in the journal Science last November, Dr. Hoffert and 17 other experts looked at alternatives to fossil fuels and found all to have "severe deficiencies in their ability to stabilize global climate."

The scientists believe that technological fixes are possible. Dr. Hoffert said the country needed to embark on an energy research program on the scale of the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb during World War II or the Apollo program that put men on the moon.

"Maybe six or seven of them operating simultaneously," he said. "We should be prepared to invest several hundred billion dollars in the next 10 to 15 years."

But to even have a hope of finding a solution, the effort must begin now, the scientists said. A new technology usually takes several decades to develop the underlying science, build pilot projects and then begin commercial deployment.

The authors of the Science paper expect that a smorgasbord of energy sources will be needed, and they call for intensive research on radical ideas like vast solar arrays orbiting Earth that can collect sunlight and beam the energy down. "Many concepts will fail, and staying the course will require leadership," they wrote. "Stabilizing climate is not easy."

The heart of the problem is carbon dioxide, the main byproduct from the burning of fossil fuels. When the atmosphere is rich in carbon dioxide, heat is trapped, producing a greenhouse effect. Most scientists believe the billions of tons of carbon dioxide released since the start of the Industrial Revolution are in part to blame for the one-degree rise in global temperatures over the past century. Carbon dioxide concentrations are now 30 percent higher than preindustrial levels.

With rising living standards in developing nations, emissions of carbon dioxide are increasing, and the pace of warming is expected to speed up, too. Unchecked, carbon dioxide would reach twice preindustrial levels by midcentury and perhaps double again by the end of the century. That could force temperatures up by 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, according to computer models.

Because carbon dioxide is colorless, odorless and disperses immediately into the air, few realize how much spills out of tailpipes and smokestacks. An automobile, for example, generates perhaps 50 to 100 tons of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.

The United States produces more carbon dioxide than any other country by far. Each American, on average, generates about 45,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. That is about twice as much as the average person living in Japan or Europe and many times more than someone living in a developing country like Zimbabwe, China or Panama. (Even if the United States achieves President Bush's goal of an 18 percent reduction in the intensity of carbon dioxide emissions by 2012, the output of an average American would still far exceed that of almost anyone else in the world.)

Even if all emissions stop, levels of carbon dioxide in the air will remain high for centuries as the Earth gradually absorbs the excess.

Currently, the world's energy use per second is about 12 trillion watts — which would light up 120 billion 100-watt bulbs — and 85 percent of that comes from fossil fuels.

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Of the remaining 15 percent, nuclear and hydroelectric power each supply about 6.5 percent. The renewable energy sources often touted as the hope for the future — wind and solar — provide less than 2 percent.

In March, Dr. Hoffert and two colleagues reported in Science that to limit the temperature increase to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, non-carbon-dioxide-emitting sources would have to generate 7 trillion to 25 trillion watts by midcentury, 4 to 14 times as much as current levels. That is roughly equivalent to adding a large emissions-free power plant every day for the next 50 years.

And by the end of the century, they wrote, at least three-quarters and maybe all of the world's energy would have to be emission-free.

No existing technology appears capable of filling that void. The futuristic techology might be impractically expensive. Developing a solar power satellite, for example, has been estimated at more than $200 billion.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham cited the Science paper from last November in a speech at the American Academy in Berlin two months ago. Mr. Abraham said that merely setting limits and timetables on carbon dioxide like those in the Kyoto Protocol could not by themselves solve global warming.

"We will also need to develop the revolutionary technologies that make these reductions happen," Mr. Abraham said. "That means creating the kinds of technologies that do not simply refine current energy systems, but actually transform the way we produce and consume energy."

Too Far Away

Some long-hoped-for options will almost certainly not be ready. Fusion — producing energy by combining hydrogen atoms into helium, the process that lights up the sun — has been heralded for decades as a potentially limitless energy source, but scientists still have not shown it can be harnessed practically. Experimental fusion reactors do not yet produce more power than they take to run.

Increased energy efficiency — like better-insulated buildings, more efficient air-conditioners, higher mileage cars — is not a solution by itself, but it could buy more time to develop cleaner energy.

The much-talked-about hydrogen economy, in which gasoline-powered engines are replaced by fuel cells, is also not a solution. It merely shifts the question to what power source is used to produce the hydrogen.

Today, most hydrogen is made from natural gas, a process that produces carbon dioxide that is then released into the air. Hydrogen can also be produced by splitting apart water atoms, but that takes more energy than the hydrogen will produce in the fuel cell. If the electricity to split the water comes from the coal-fired power plant, then a hydrogen car would not cut carbon dioxide emissions.

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Wind turbines and solar power, which are renewable energy sources, provide less than 2 percent of the world's electricity.

Exploiting What's Here

A fundamental problem remains: how to produce electricity without carbon dioxide.

Hydroelectric power has reached its limits in most parts of the world; there are no more rivers to dam.

Nuclear power is a proven technology to generate large amounts of electricity, but before it could be expanded, the energy industry would have to overcome longstanding public fears that another accident, like those at Three Mile Island or Chernobyl, will occur. Solutions also need to be found for disposing of radioactive spent fuel and safeguarding it from terrorists.

Marvin Fertel, senior vice president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group, said warming had become such a worry that some environmental groups were becoming amenable to new nuclear plants. "In private, that's what we get from them," he said.

Researchers at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., espouse a major expansion of nuclear power, coupled with a switch from gasoline to hydrogen to power cars and trucks. Electricity from the nuclear plants would split water to produce hydrogen, and then cables made of superconductors would distribute both electricty and hydrogen, which would double as coolant for the cables, across the country.

"I think in 30 to 50 years there will be systems like this," said Dr. Chauncey Starr, the institute's founder and emeritus president. "I think the advantages of this are sufficient to justify it."

In the short run, fossil fuels will still be widely used, but it is still possible to control carbon dioxide.

In his Berlin speech, Mr. Abraham highlighted two projects the Energy Department was working on: carbon sequestration — the capturing of carbon dioxide before it is emitted and storing it underground — and FutureGen, a $1 billion prototype coal power plant that will produce few emissions. The plant will seek to demonstrate by 2020 how to convert coal to hydrogen on a commercial scale that will then be used to generate electricity in fuel cells or turbines. The waste carbon dioxide would be captured and stored.

The technology for injecting carbon dioxide is straightforward, but scientists need better knowledge on suitable locations and leak prevention.

Sequestration, however, will probably not be cost-effective for current power plants. The filters for capturing carbon dioxide from the exhaust gas will by themselves consume 20 percent to 30 percent of the power plant's electricity.

Renewing Renewables

Solar is still a future promise. The cost of energy from solar cells has dropped sharply in the past few decades. One kilowatt-hour of electricity — the energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 10 hours — used to cost several dollars when produced by solar cells. Now it is only about 35 cents. With fossil fuels, a kilowatt-hour costs just a few cents.

But solar still has much room for improvement. Commercial cells are only 10 to 15 percent efficient. With much more research, new strategies to absorb sunlight more efficiently could lead to cells that reached 50 to 60 percent efficiency. If the cells could be made cheaply enough, they could produce electricity for only 1 or 2 cents a kilowatt-hour.

Dr. Arthur Nozik, a senior research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., said the advanced solar concepts were scientifically feasible. But, echoing Dr. Hoffert, Dr. Nozik said: "We need like a Manhattan Project or an Apollo program to put a lot more resources into solving the problem. It's going to require a revolution, not an evolution. I wouldn't expect to get there in 2050 if we're going at the same pace."

But if scientists succeed with a cheap, efficient solar cell, "you'd be on Easy Street," Dr. Nozik said.

Wind power is already practical in many places like Denmark, where 17 percent of the electricity comes from wind turbines. The newest turbines, with propellers as wide in diameter as a football field, produce energy at a cost of 4 or 5 cents a kilowatt-hour. Further refinements like lighter rotors could drop the price by another cent or two, making it directly competitive with natural gas.

Dr. Robert W. Thresher, director of the National Wind Technology Center at the energy laboratory, envisions large farms of wind turbines being built offshore. "They would be out of sight," he said. "There's no shortage of space and wind."

Solar and wind power will be hampered because the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow. The current power grid is not well suited for intermittent power sources because the amount of power produced at any moment must match the amount being consumed. To exploit the sun and wind, utilities would have to develop devices that could act as giant batteries.

One concept is to pump compressed air into an underground cavern. When electricity was needed, the air would be released, and the air pressure would turn a turbine to generate electricity.

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A solar power satellite is among the possible alternatives to carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels. It could take advantage of the fact that the sun shines 24 hours a day in space.

The Big Ideas

Then there are the big ideas that could change everything. To get around the problem of the intermittency in solar power, solar arrays could be placed where the sun shines 24 hours a day — in space. The power could be beamed to the ground via microwaves.

Another big idea comes from Dr. Klaus S. Lackner, a professor of geophysics at Columbia University: what if carbon dioxide could be scrubbed out of the air? His back-of-the-envelope calculations indicate it may be feasible, although he is far from being ready to demonstrate how.

But if that were possible, that would eliminate the need to shift from gasoline to hydrogen for cars. That would save the time and cost of building pipelines for shipping hydrogen, and gasoline is in many ways a superior fuel than hydrogen. (Hydrogen needs to be stored under very high pressure or at very cold temperatures.) Owners of gas-guzzling S.U.V.'s could assuage their guilt by paying for the scrubbing of carbon dioxide produced by their vehicles.

Eventually, the captured carbon dioxide could be processed to create an artificial gasoline, Dr. Lackner said. Then the world would discover, much to its surprise, that everything old would be new and clean again.

"Carbon may actually be just as clean, just as renewable," Dr. Lackner said.

Interactive Graphic: One Recipe for a (Mostly) Emissions-Free Economy

#59 Mind

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 01:25 PM

In an article in the journal Science last November, Dr. Hoffert and 17 other experts looked at alternatives to fossil fuels and found all to have "severe deficiencies in their ability to stabilize global climate."

Stabilize Global Climate? That is an oxymoron if I ever heard one.

With rising living standards in developing nations, emissions of carbon dioxide are increasing, and the pace of warming is expected to speed up, too. Unchecked, carbon dioxide would reach twice preindustrial levels by midcentury and perhaps double again by the end of the century. That could force temperatures up by 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, according to computer models.

To be correct that paragraph should end "according to some computer models."

They are not thinking things through very well. If we are still driving cars and burning coal in 2050, I'll crap my future pants. The "peak oil" people say we are going to run out of oil by 2010. I am not sure how we are going to drive gas-guzzlers without gas.

Also, I am not a big fan of wind power. To me, it is an ugly pock-mark on the landscape. The mills can be a death trap for birds. Plus, "back in the day" everyone thought hydro power was great because it was renewable and clean. Now the Greens want to take out the dams, because they disrupt the natural flow of water and the ecology that goes with it. Guess what?, wind mills disrupt the flow of air. They take momentum out of the air. Wind power generation is small enough that no one can notice a change in the weather at the present. If in the future, most of our power comes from wind mills, there will be noticeable effects.

Out of all the ideas presented in the article I most favor the solar collectors in space. Of course, solar is getting cheaper here on the ground too. This is great.

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#60 Mind

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Posted 08 November 2003 - 01:55 PM

Sun more active than for a millennium

09:00 02 November 03
Exclusive from New Scientist Print Edition. 
The Sun is more active now than it has been for a millennium. The realisation, which comes from a reconstruction of sunspots stretching back 1150 years, comes just as the Sun has thrown a tantrum. Over the last week, giant plumes of have material burst out from our star's surface and streamed into space, causing geomagnetic storms on Earth.

The dark patches on the surface of the Sun that we call sunspots are a symptom of fierce magnetic activity inside. Ilya Usoskin, a geophysicist who worked with colleagues from the University of Oulu in Finland and the Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, has found that there have been more sunspots since the 1940s than for the past 1150 years.

The findings may stoke the controversy over the contribution of the Sun to global warming. Usoskin and his team are reluctant to be dragged into the debate, but their work will probably be seized upon by those who claim that temperature rises over the past century are the result of changes in the Sun's output (New Scientist, print edition, 12 April 2003). The link between the Sun's magnetic activity and the Earth's climate is, however, unclear.

Read the rest here - New Scientist

Now why would Usoskin not want to debate the contributions of the sun to earth's climate changes. The sun is the number one influence on the Earth's weather. When the "greenhouse effect was first described it was basically sold with 2 graphs - one of increasing temperature, and one of increasing carbon dioxide during the same period. The same thing can be done with solar activity and the earth's temperature. Solar activity has been increasing during the same time the temperature has been increasing. In fact, the coldest period of the "little ice age" corresponds with the Maunder Minimum and the greatest solar output corresponds with the last couple decades of warmth (graph in article).

The only reason I could envision climate scientists ruling out potential contributions to climate changes is political. How can the Greens blame humans for climate change if the sun is the culprit?

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