Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nature's Republic

The thing that a caring state concept such as Nature's Republic may show is that either each of us benefits, or very few (if any) of us will. This profound climate change on an epochal time scale leaves no other choice.

We should be able to take care of ourselves as independent adults, and state help can increase unwelcome dependence. But we are not just dependent on the eco-system. We are a part of it! And we simply cannot legislate for the trees to take care of themselves - they have no will. We can only legislate that they should be taken care of by us. That is, if we are convinced that that activity is PART OF TAKING CARE OF OURSELVES.

I don't think I am an idealist. Radicals, dictators and mad mans will still occasionally grab hold of power. But the resounding demand over other tribulations should simply be looking after Nature's needs first.

Human nature in all it's shades and glories
included. And that's cold hard reality and there's nothing new in that if you look at it that way.

So if anything, I am a Nature's Republican. And that power base - some kind of Green-Republican. Coalition that is both pragmatic and forward looking - may be a positive outcome of all these current birth pains.

Roosevelt's 'Republicans' in the US were largely the same progressive base as Menzie's 'Liberals' became in Australia.

Electric Sun Brightening

The cause for the Electric Sun is a very interesting one. Today I gave some serious thoughts to so called climate change sceptics or global warming sceptics as labelled in the media. And I came away with a mixed bag of thoughts.

The predominant among them is the consequence of an electric weather system on Earth caused by the activities of an ELECTRIC Sun.
But close second is that 'sceptics' don't seem to deny that something is profoundly changing. Instead, they emphasise two plausible axioms: (1) Changes may NOT be irrevocable; and (2) We humans may not contribute to the current rapid climate change as much as we think we do.

In other words, vast greenhouse component in the atmosphere in the past may have been the consequence of global warming and not the cause. Indeed, just thawing permafrost alone could have contributed to a runaway warming that stopped the Gulf stream so many times in the past and in the end triggered ice ages. The cause? Electric Sun proponents possible answer: Vastly increased Sun activity out of literally nowhere. And it comes and goes they say.

We still need to become self-sufficient, as the current overconsumption of Earth is tragically unsustainable. The last time I looked the US was 9-11 times overconsuming Earth's resources per capita. Even Switzerland was overconsuming it 5 times. This means that if the rest of the world would be consuming so hard and fast, we would need 5-11 Earths every single year to meet those demands.

Make no mistake. We WILL run out of affordable oil pretty soon, then gas, then a little later coal. Global warming is occurring and it WILL dramatically reduce the amount of potable fresh water. And we DO contribute to it with all the greenhouse gases that we emit in rapidly increasing quantities.

The only thing different with a view to a vastly brighter Electric Sun is the Sun's contributions to our unfolding drama. But it IS playing out at a scale that is indeed planetary.

If it is any consolation they say, ALL the planets are warming up. And our Sun HAS become vastly more bright in the past decades literally out of nowhere. It was expected to be more intense as the 11 year clockwork period for it has come. But NOT as much as it is NOW.

The Sun in recent decades must be channeling OTHER energy they say, we don't know what kind.

We also don't know, they say, to what extent out weather is electric in nature. But if so, which is not proven but increasing hypothesised, our climate including perhaps the more intense El Nino Southern Oscillation (or ENSO) is a much more a consequence of a so much brighter and more intense electric Sun then previously thought.

Do we need to prepare for a change. Oh yes. Is it going to be big? Oh yes. Will it take at least a millennium (1000 years!) for things go back to normal? You bet! (For instance there may be at least a 1000 years natural delay in the feedback between the Atlantic and the Southern Pacific thermohaline circulation.

So what's the difference between what scientists labelled 'sceptics' say from the vantage point of an Electric Sun. Nothing in terms of what we need to do to slow our appetite and change to renewables. But the difference is big in terms of our guilt and inability to change things back.

Because what they say is that (a) We are not guilty as charged - the Sun is the culprit; and (b) no matter how hard we try, we cannot work against the Sun and hence cannot change climate back.

Quite a food for thought. And the fact that we should not be shameful for all of the current changes as they say is a helpful ploy to ACT. Indeed, it would be so much easier without guilt.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Yesterday's Researcher Today's Witness

Time to give a new status to the research scientists of Global Warming and Climate Change. Let's call them Expert Witness instead of Scientific Researcher. Here is why.

For the next 30-40 years and possibly longer, the most they can do is to research the consequences. As they are playing catch up to events out of our and their influence finding out new consequences daily pretty much overwhelms their task of finding out the reasons. By the time a new reason is pinpointed two new and unexpected consequences bob up redefining the status and validity of those earlier reasons.

You need facts? Here is the latest all encompassing and really disturbing set:

Changes play out with speed where a scientist can do a good job at following consequences on a hot trail, but a poor job in keeping with redefining the reasons. All they can do really is to investigate consequences and answering to questions we pose about WHAT is happening as Expert Witnesses.
Play video >>

And even that is not easy. In fact it is damn hard and eats up tremendous resources. The cause may be as simple as an overkill of green house gas in the atmosphere compounded with an increased sun flare activity that arrived as clockwork at the end of the zodiac age of Pisce to be concluded by 2012.

But the Earth atmosphere is an extremely hyper complex system. There is no direct cause and effect in any given sequence, micro or macro. Multiple events occur parallel and simultaneous all the time. Even simple causes play out on an imaginable scale of complexity. Even if scientists turn expert witnesses playing catch up they have more than a full time job on their hand.

We can not ask of them more than that.

We are on shifting sand. It is no longer viable to interrogate causes. That time has passed big time. We need to ACT boldly and go where instinct tells us we need to go.

Scientists now need to work on averting bigger disasters BEYOND the 40 years horizon. How we do that? We ACT WITH AN IMPACT and then keep doing what we do now. MONITOR THE CONSEQUENCES.

Fertilise the Oceans? I don't know. But if what we sow is effective to reap GLOBAL COOLING thereafter, then by all means. We are now global peasants plowing oceans. And all nations need to come plowing otherwise there will be no harvest to share. Otherwise many more will become disenfranchised as the desperate new nomads in Nature's Republic. But Nature, including our Human Nature can and will do better.

In this, scientists should be relieved of the burgeoning responsibility of finding the right causes and made Expert Monitors of the Consequences sought.

Earth needs a correctional facility with the best Expert Witnesses we can have.

Otherwise the carriage pulls the horse, and not the other way around.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

About Climate Change and the Law of the Land

Let's start by asking.

Can we exclude anyone from the changes we bring about that effect Global consequences?

The unwanted bi-product of progress and industrialization coupled with Solar Warming - energy changes in our entire solar system - is threatening to feed back on each other bringing about drastic and abrupt climate change that is collectively called Global Warming.

Something most of us fear of.

Suppose we could, could we then say: "oh but we only change back climate for this nation, this country or this race?" Yes we could. We could say that. But the point is, we can't really do that.

And that's one good thing in my book about trying to change climate back.

Now, can we abandon the task by saying: "Hey, we don't want to help some ignorant bastard who lives miles away and by the way, we don't even know him / or her. For all we know he or she could be ignorant by nature." Yes, that's true. We could say that. But would it make sense?

We would have to be kind to someone who may not deserve this. And that makes us uncomfortable.

Yet we would be acting on legal, not just moral grounds here. It is not about forgiving, because we don't even know those sins and whether or not they exist for those we are necessarily ignorant of. It is not about a spiritual strategy of moral preemptiveness of redeeming someone else to a cause by certain deeds either -- precisely for the same reason. It is about a legal foundation of believing in the common good. That we collectively have a purpose. And being a good shepherd - a responsible and independent carer of our resources - is part of it.

But we can only be independent of the wrath of nature if we allow ourselves to depend on it being our friend, not our enemy. Not something to be master of. But something to live in Alliance with.

Not to enslave nature but to cohabit with it. Do you think it possible?

CCB = NR x C2
Where Climate Change Back equals Nature's Republic multiplied by Care square.

In mathematics, a multiplying function such as this denotes homogeneity. And it IS tricky, because it would have to applied to a non-homogeneous system that is weather and other related biological patterns.

Perhaps a new tool set of legislature would have to integrate non-linear mathematics and systems science, and not just the occasional interrogation of scientists about this or that statistical deviation.

It will not be easy while a conventional jurisdictional discipline dominates the legislative process and science is just a side show clown.

There is a profound belief that science is value-neutral, and we can interrogate it for the benefit of an objective legislative process. Yet no legislative process is objective and science itself may prove less and less value-neutral to stay relevant to climate change priorities.

The task is, then, to integrate science in the law of the land while carefully avoiding to shake the belief system that science is the objective rock upon which one can build solid environmental legislation.

Perhaps, in this respect, the letter of the law itself may need some shake up.

Here, Australia occupies a unique place. We don't have a Bill of Rights, but we have a solid Constitution. This may be a blessing in disguise, if we talk about not certain inalienable and arguably disputable rights of individuals over communities and vice versa - such as happiness, freedom and self-expression, -- but of a community itself being inclusive of the Nature it is of, by and for.

Here come in the rights and values related to and subject of ownership, spiritual beliefs and common consensus. Land of old inherently holds spiritual values and these rights emanate from it being God given. Yet ownership rights and values of new frequently and arbitrarily override this it being subject to changes in common consensus.

Thus a scenario ensues that the legal owner of a land can force someone else to respect and maintain it's Natural Content. Should we keep defining that Natural Content in its renewable value measured in products or in some kind of world standard such as resource neutrality in respect to one or many limited resources -- coal, crude oil, gas etc, whatever the case of a world consensus may be?

If they were to be established, what would happen to such standards when significant new resources were discovered, or the Solar system passed back to its usual energy level - if it ever will? What body or institution would administer those standards and on what consensus still -- voluntarily accepted or partly forced?

Would there have to be one ultimate legal sovereign - an individual or a constituency such as a State or a Federation of States - for it to be successful in this respect?

And what is our collective overriding purpose? Perpetuating the life and well-being of a certain Constituency according to it's linear cause-effect-precedence hierarchy of structured Law of Order, -- or that of a large, highly complex, non-linear and unpredictable Chaotic System such as the Planetary weather or the biosphere the Ecological system are?

Are these good questions to ask? Well, what do you think?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Atlantic Carbon Uptake Halved!

Breaking news today: Now this is worrisome to say the least. In the narrow time space of the past 10 years the carbon uptake of the Atlantic ocean has shrunk dramatically. We need to watch this trend very closely. It could signal Purgatory time.

The combined data of some 90 thousand measuring time-points (that is a staggering set of almost 100 thousand separate measurement) shows a disturbing trend. In the past ten years since the 1990s the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that the ENTIRE Atlantic ocean can mop up from the atmosphere has been cut i.

Why is it important? For two reasons at least.

One, the oceans are thought to be the real deal compared to old growth rain forest when it comes to cleaning up the atmosphere. And two, it is not just surface absorption by the huge body of water that helps. It is just as much important that the tiny crustacean organisms living there breath in CO2 and build it in the carbon of their tiny shells. When they die, they sink to the bottom, removing that carbon pretty much forever. And they live by the zillions, so this is a huge amount of carbon we are talking about.

The current measurement is alarming because it shows that a tremendous stress on those organisms could be taking its toll already. Their capacity to breath in CO2 may not have changed, but because of the salinity of the oceans that has increased due to the enormous amount of carbon it now absorbs, the size of shells those tiny creatures can grow is greatly eroded. Saline waters thin those shells. So when they sink in the end, they remove that much less carbon.

The halving of the overall carbon uptake in 10 short years is not a good trend. If it stays just linear then by the end of the next 20 years the uptake will be as little as 12.5% of what would be needed. However, because less uptake means more salinity which then means yet thinner shells, the trend is expected to feed back on itself. Further, yet thinner shells may no longer sink, only drift away and finally wash up. When those shells erode, the carbon is washed back into the waterways, soil and oceans increasing the salinity of all that.

So in case the trend is NOT linear, in just 20 years the uptake could reduce to just 3.125% of its original size. There in that period may actually come a point where shells could become so thin that they no longer sink at all. They would start drifting instead as it is not just the density of shells that matter but also the buoyancy of the water that would now keep them from sinking. Increasing storms would ensure huge braking waves and tornadoes sucking up then spitting the leftover CO2 into the lower atmosphere.

Notice that by this point, OCEANS COULD BE CO2 (or carbon dioxide) contributors. That level of salinity might start locally rotting a lot of surface plants such as sea weeds and such. And so OCEANS COULD BECOME CH4 (or methane) contributors. And that would be a big bad news as methane is much more potent greenhouse gas then carbon dioxide. Saline surface waters would also erode the thin shells now drifting and floating aimlessly there.

Weaker and weaker thermohaline circulation in the Atlantic could further exacerbate the trend as heavy and salty cold waters would not be available by then to still help with the sinking of critically thin shells.

By then oceans would no longer be refusing to mop up, but they would be net emitters of massive quantities of CO2 and possibly methane. We need to watch this disturbing trend VERY CLOSELY.

And regardless of what alarming data scientists measure, drastically reduce your personal carbon emission. If but one of us does not do it, the effort of all the rest of us becomes disrespected and soiled. Also mop up carbon individually as much as possible. The picture in 30-40 years is ain't pretty any way you cut it.

But if you don't stop engine when idle, don't walk or bike instead of any form of transport, cremate instead of burials and the list goes on, the picture is not likely to clear up after the PURGATORY of the next decades.

Do we really want to burn alive? Why bring Hell on Earth when it could be the stepping stone to Heaven.

The good thing about changing climate back is that path is now OPEN to ALL OF US. By the People, Of the People, for Mother Earth - All the Peoples Included.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Beholden to Digital Limits

At times of hardship we try to deceive ourselves that all may be well it is just us who worries. And pass up the proper looking at the bottom of it. Now, with the ever increasing problem solving power of computer models it may be no different. In fact, the digital realm itself could be a problem.

In the old days, folks saw drying rivers and crops wilting from searing heat and they KNEW they were in for rough times. Today to believe most anything we are beholden to the might of all-knowing digital models. The extent of the changing climate included. But digital models are the product of the mind well fed from the abundance of food and prosperity. Little wonder it is then that at the time of the hardships we face digital worlds can just as well blindfold us. And when they do, they do it with a false authority of objectivity.

Today, we see what is on our nose but don't necessarily believe it. Not unless digital models can simulate in minute detail the same. There are scientists who now want to simulate Earth weather in fine detail. That is - the weather system of the entire Planet. Never mind that cloud formation alone is an incredibly complex algorithm. And even though we may need advanced modeling very much, science is just not almighty. Human synergy is, because it is so much more powerful. But it needs to act on the same premises - danger, but without panic. And that's not easy. So digital models are good proxi to calm our mind because until those models are conclusive enough, we don't really know HOW to act.

In the old days people gathered reserves to overcome extended drought. A seven years drought was not unknown even though it may have been quite a stretch back then.

Today we are looking down the barrel of a mother of all droughts minimum decades long. At any rate it is already in its 6th year with little sings of relenting. And we just don't know what to do individually. You ask why that might be happening? I don't quite know. But we don't really associate our food with drying, starving soil do we? Sure we know about the stuff, but we don't even know the region of the world where the farmer got the stuff off mother Earth we eat. So what we really associate our food with is the safe and air-conned environment of supermarkets. Food for us comes in nice packages off shelves.

There is nothing we can smell about its origin so why should we care anyway. It may become less, less nutritious and much more expensive, but why worry now. We'll deal with it then. When it will be a real problem for us. Sure there is a problem out there for farmers, produce, cattle and game food, but scientists are on the job. Sure there is a problem for fish, fruit and crops, but our computers are so much more powerful we can even simulate how it happens.

In a few years time where many rivers will run half dry or flood mightily depending on the season, who knows, we might even simulate how our future will look like by then.

But can you imagine any scenario of it looking any better if You don't act? Find out what you can do and do it. If it is just to blog about it. Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. It is ok to doubt, but when convinced and compelled so, mobilize others. No panic. Timely and calculated calm. That's what leaders do and you are one if you act and get others act too.

Because when digital models are an excuse NOT to act, they are a much more powerful blindfold than old fashioned self deceit has ever been.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Gore - Obama 08

This Blog is much apolitical. But our best hope for a long term Nature's Republic is a Gore-Obama ticket in 2008. Let me explain.

The ticket would have all the money Obama raised. It would also have Gore's tremendous standing. Gore would probably be easily re-elected if climate would show a worsening trend in a 4 year term. Obama would be a Governor General type Vice President with a growing standing. He is the most talented politician of his age in the States today. After 8 years he will have easily won nomination.

Now for the climate part. Gore is undoubtedly equipped with what it takes to shift the economy into a new and very profitable trajectory. This would be not just the cutting of losses because of major re-tooling. (That's what corporations would do without the Gore vision that already exists and well manifested. It has tremendous reach. It is also and very clearly working.)

Check it out for yourself how Gore's vision would re-engineer triple bottom line on the scale of interacting global economies. is the work of a Gore project Fellow Jed Emerson is Gore's ecological investment foundation

To readers of this blog Obama needs no introduction I am sure.

Capitalism would get a new impetus by NOT exploiting ecology, and America would gain back the title of tour de force in progress and innovation.

But no one is infallable. Too much time with too much power in the same hand is not good for any democracy. Gore HAS the Oscar and the Noble. He is the great man of today. But he is only human. After 8 years Obama would inevitably take over and refresh the movement with new energy and insight.

Think about it. IF CLIMATE IS REALLY A PROBLEM, wouldn't this be the Only plausible ticket: - For now and for the future?

Three headed dog

We knew that changing climate back was long term. But 600 years ? At least that is what the a phenomenon called by CSIRO climate scientist Dr Wenju Cai (marine and atmospheric research) calls the "three headed dog." Avid Planet Ark-ers will have read this already to much of their dismay I am sure.

But even if we fix climate and arrest global greenhouse gas emissions (he mentions CO2 but one may also count in methane) the recovery will take longer than our lifetime, much longer. Over half a millennium, according to Cai and his calculations.

What it means that in southeast and southwest Australia their is an unsavory combination of climate elements causing extended drought. The Indian Ocean Dipole, the Southern Annular Mode shifting westerlies southward, and increasingly powerful El Nino events create three interacting prongs.

1. Confluence of a "wet weather" La Nina event in the Pacific and a "dry weather" Indian Ocean Dipole effect in the west, where the dry Indian Ocean weather effect is overwhelming the wet La Nina event. As a result, El Ninos become more frequent and possibly more powerful.

2. Rising temperatures warm the dry Australian landmass faster than the ocean [partly due to much of it's barren surface]. In southwest Western Australia, the drying-out is being intensified by westerly wind jets shifting towards the Antarctic in response to ozone depletion over the last 30 years.

3. Unabated and increasing carbon dioxide emissions. This third prong also intensifies the other two.

Putting it in perspective: If farming will relocate to wetter areas (where-ever they may form) for the next 600 years, would you call that adaptation to climate or an utter change of nomadic proportions?

The questions now on everyone's lips: is that INEVITABLE?

Friday, October 5, 2007

Ice age favours North

Another reason to start 'house cleaning' at the North Atlantic thermohaline conveyor belt. Ice age if it comes, may affect less the the Southern hemisphere.

We knew from earlier and Change-Climate-Back has reported on this at some length that the warming will actually increase ice in the Antarctic because snow precipitation there is still more than ice melting.

We have also reported that due to fresh-water leaks from melting ice in the North Atlantic the thermohaline circulation here (also known as the Gulf Stream) has already weakened significantly. Some estimate that decrease at 30%. The process may foreshadow a potential shut down of the circulation, which from earlier data appears to conclude in 3 short years substantially decreasing the mean temperature at the North - that is much of the northern part of the Northern hemisphere.

But it has received less public attention that the Atlantic and the Pacific ocean conveyor belts are linked though the connection appears less direct. There may also exist a substantial delay between a mass off water exiting the one stream and entering the other.

But the sum effect of that link according to a report by Timothy Burrows published in the journal Science is that when it works the south exports heat to the north. But when the link is broken, there is no more export and the cooling of the Northern hemisphere is offset by a relative heating of the South.

This appears to have happened many times over, most notably at the end of the last Ice Age called the Younger Dryas geological event around 13,000 years ago. This meant rapid cooling for the North right after rapid Global Warming at the end of the Ice Age called the Pleistocene geological epoch. It was due to the same process that is happening now - the rapid mass melting of the Northern ice sheets that accompanied rapid global warming shut down the Gulf.

Back then the Southern hemisphere actually got warmer with the mean temperature here being 2 degrees higher than it is now.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Let's avoid hysteria NOW

Every problem can be turned into a solution. Most with technologies that exist today. Only we need to DECIDE / ACT FAST.

Ok, let's name two problems here to illustrate how this works. One is quite old, but no one so far cared to give it a policy focus with teeth. The other is so new, it seems even the UN have not considered yet.

About the rate of change
Hydro-power is methane emitter unless ...

Before listing them in more detail here, one thing needs an early highlight:

Problems - and solutions - come up so fast these days that the bureaucratic never-ending procedures of all kinds of panels, UN blessing, scientists back-forth throwing the ball etc etc needs a bit of speeding up.

Why, you aks? The first problem I list will answer it amply: -
It is not just the change of temperature that matters, but equally, the rate of that change.

Average emperature may only increase a couple of degrees and so is our target for the containment of a potentially harmful increase. As an example, we set a target of say 2 °C increase over a long-term. But that is just the first part of the story even if we reach that target. We also need to set targets for the rate of increase. Too fast a change, and side effects will all but eat up the benefits of contained overall temperature target. Animals may adapt faster. But plants are slow adapters as they cannot move away to favorable climate. They need to replant themselves first. But that very slowness can actually limit the possible rate of change to target.

1. Rate of change limit to sustain ecosystems

A convincing study by Leemans and Eickhout back in 2004 found that forests ability to migrate to stay within the climate zone they are thus adapted to is limited. The critical limit seems to be 0.4 °C per decade. If the rate should exceed that rate, this relatively old but remarkably important study predicts that all ecosystems will be quickly destroyed. In their wake opportunistic species will start dominating (mostly weeds I assume.) The breakdown of biological material will lead to even greater CO2 emissions. This will in turn increase the rate of warming undoing all the benefits the limited targeted rise would otherwise bring.

Currently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that global average temperature is already increasing by 0.2 °C per decade. That rate cannot rise without consequences and all policy should target a limit change frozen at that rate, lest we will get close to destroying all ecosystems EVEN if we manage to contain the amount of INCREASE.

THE CRITICAL TIME PERIOD IN THIS IS THE NEXT FEW DECADES, as fastest changes could occur around that time.
THE FOCUS IN THIS should be the short-lived greenhouse gases – such as methane and tropospheric ozone – and particles with a warming effect, such as soot (black carbon).

2. Shallow Dams, Hydro-power Plants. New design

After a new focus comes on an old problem comes a brand new problem. It is about methane emissions (much more potent heat trappers than CO2) that shallow dams feeding hydro-powers create.

Now dams are not natural lakes with their own ecosystem braking down methane to CO2. NEW dams cover rotting plants that emit vast amount of methane trapped in water under normal circumstances. But when that water passes through the turbine of a hydro-power plant gas fizzes out like bubbles do when you open a soft drink.

According to Ivan Lima, National Institute for Space Research, Brazil: - Dams worldwide could generate the equivalent of one-fifth of methane from ALL OTHER sources. In particular, brand new tropical shallow dams can be most harmful if they are linked to hydro-power plants.

But new problems, if tackled fast enough can bring up brand new solutions. Let's take the world's shallow dams. They produce MORE methane per unit of power than some fossil-fuel burning options, say many scientists. But what if we trap the methane that fizzes out; - And not only contain it but use it to generate MORE power?

Methane is the main component of natural gas and Lima estimates that in China alone (the most ambitious hydro-power builder by far) around 2.6 million tonnes could be collected from dams for additional power generation, or the equivalent of over seven months of natural gas imports.

All we need is change the design of dams and the way they are linked to hydro-stations to minimize methane emissions on one hand but also to trap the rest for power. The technology exists to do both, Lima says.

It would provide countries with more cheap and clean energy instead of a global warming burden.

So again, it doesn't matter if the problem is new or old, solutions should come FAST so that the result can be MORE CHEAP & CLEAN ENERGY WITH TECHNOLOGIES THAT EXIST TODAY.

In summary

- The target rate of temperature change should be limited, not just the amount of change
- The next few decades will be critical for all ecological systems to survive
- Shallow dams and hydro-power plants urgently need new design

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Arctic Melt Increases

Previous predictions need yet new update.
The article is thought provoking and confirms the general assumption that feedback processes have not yet been included in many models.
In this case, disappearing ice sheet would reduce reflection that would send heat back to space and in turn increase the amount of trapped heat. Would be interesting to see if this was factored in the assumptions.
Also, the IPCC May Report that was issued for policy makers around the world has admittedly not included the fact and consequences of faster meltdown.
The report also seems to confirm expert predictions often cited on this Change Climate Back blog that 30-40 year changes have already been locked in and are largely due to the amount of carbon dioxide already trapped.
Related post:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Vortex Engines Change Climate Back?

Change climate back with Atmospheric Vortex Engines (AVE)? Industrial Scale AVE activity Could Expel Trapped Greenhouse Heat Across the Globe. This may be one of the cornerstone inventions against swift global warming effectively marking the beginning of Changing Climate Back.

The proposition is extraordinary: Create clean energy that does NOT require carbon-expensive cooling towers. But that is just the beginning of it.

atmospheric vortex engine expels trapped greenhouse heatUsing the same process Vortex engines would in effect propel excess hot air into the troposphere and beyond. In theory this would eventually expel heat and radiate it back to space where it came from in the first place.

They would be built over oceanic platforms in the tropics (preferably right on the equator) where hot air directly rises into the troposphere.

The troposphere is already warming. So it must be absolutely ensured that radiating heat whizzes past the troposphere and into the stratosphere (currently cooling and also unexpectedly retaining water vapor) where it then can safely expelled from.

Something tells me we will hear about AVE and this idea a lot in the coming years. Call it a hunch ...

Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE) by inventor and founder of AVEtec private corporation Frenchmen Louis Michaud.

Download Business Case presentation power-point:

Official site
Atmospheric Vortex Engine

Monday, July 9, 2007

Community Gardens

Community gardens and City Farms are not just about changing climate back. They are about adapting to changing climate in such a way that could be exemplary even after climate consolidated.
Why you ask? Because the loss of agricultural land is already a reality as well as genetically tempered produce that is out of public control (in part because companies make the the production "blue-print" commercially confidential.)

Add to it that we may start assigning increasing amount of land to growing crops for burning it as fuel just to get from A to B (that is for bio-ethanol or bio-fuel.) That takes them out of the zero sum game, that is the amount of land available globally for agricultural produce. As a result, the intensity with which the public will require clean and controlled production of food produce (and possible hobby plants and cut flowers that are not toxic or contaminated) may in turn increase dramatically - no matter what.

The extending drought and the shortage of irrigation water bringing these gardens to life and making them ever more popular. My hunch is that as they will grow in size they will inevitably specialize. But until then I would like to see them managed for growth or just simply better managed in the face of inherent conflicts of interest implicit in running many of them.

Related links and posts:
Serious problems inside community gardens:
Over-consumed land and other resources:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Desalinated Salt

About The Immense Salt Concentrate By-Product From Desalination Plant

This post will get into the problem of:
Where, Why, and How We May Put Them For Best Use
Fresh off the press: by 2010 Victoria will receive a desalination plant to ease freshwater crisis caused by this extended drought. (Drinking water shortage is likely to be curbed, giving us a false sense of security that all is well.) But where to put the immense salt that is created as a by-product to making freshwater?

I suspect there will be enough desalination plants soon, to have large industrial quantities of precious sea salt. But also have the mounting problem of where to put them.

Let's ponder that ...

Here is an idea: - We should pump it back where it is most needed. And I blogged enought on the subject to suggest the following.

Re-salinate the Thermohaline circulation starting with the Gulf stream ...

Locate the most sensitive vortexes that power the return deep undercurrent streams in the thermohaline circulation (these are mainly the Gulf Stream and the Kuro-siwa) by blasting cold water down. Position air-born stations right above them with a pump hooked up to them pointing downwards. Next, pepper them with industrial quantities of salt. Simply use the massive sucking power of the vortex to pump the salt back where needed to re-salinate our withering deep sea currents. Though the the two circulation systems are interlinked, it also appears that the Gulf is at a bigger risk. It has already weakened 30 percent and ice melt that causes it has been accelerated decade on decade. So start there, and soon. There, it might just go right where needed most. Monitor the effects and relocate the pump as needed.

But this measure by itself would NOT be enough. We need some kind of freshwater arrangement for folks in and around floodplains of the endangered rivers: Danube, Mekong, Ganges, Yangtze, and a few others. (Ganges, Mekong and Yangtze are slated to become seasonal river-beds - dry outside the flood season - by 2030 as Himalayan glaciers feeding them melt away with increasing speed.) These areas will be next wanting new reserves of freshwater such as delatinated water badly.

And of course we'll all wait and see what will happen to our Murray-Darling system. And our very own desalination plant. And if you are here for getting ideas, remind yourself that the cost of such of a plant will be offset, by doubling the water rates. There, food for thought.

Coordinated effort to change climate back is needed. Ultimately, we need freshwater back in the rivers, because that's how it is natural. For a little more brain fodder, look up some Earth-architect project posts listed below.

Related posts:

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Adapt To Change. Count The Seasons.

When adapting to change the future may lay in the past.
Let's count the seasons and compare.

At last we have winter again in Melbourne. The last time we had winter it was 2000. So all we need to do really is to count 2 Olympics and presto. In 7-8 years we have winter again. And what winter. We used to have 4 European seasons in a day during winter. And if that wasn't enough, we now have a great deal more.

But in face of the projected drastic and perpetual changes it also begs the question: - Weren't things like this before?

As hot midland air pushes precious rain more and more southward we see a dry and cold winter as a growing menace. But how about thinking in not just more seasons but also different ones. How about looking to many old seasons in the face of a formidably new weather system forming around us as we speak?

Aboriginal people living in the same land had their calendar written for them by the native plants and animals - all superbly adopted their lives to the harsh climate. They were the Wurundjeri people and they observed 6 seasons at least. Now, I look to the flowers and birds, and I take some solace in that they still read weather with familiar accuracy.

Winter for them is actually two seasons. Early winter lasts from late March to mid May. This is the time when fungus grows and birds migrate north. Then comes late Winter from late May to July and the Antarctic birds arrive to our shores. July brings the flowering of flax lillies and geraniums. August is when the silver wattle is blooming. In early November tea tree blooms and snappers arrive to Port Phillip Bay. But there is an unerring overlap also: from April to June our beautiful and prized banksia begins to flower and low and behold, brushtail possums get into the groove - the mating season is upon them.

At least in Melbourne Australia, plants and animals still read the weather as they would for tens of thousands of years before. They do it the old, flexible way. And as we follow their clockwork regularity we end up with a handful of seasons - a great deal more than we thought we had.

Much like to old days, when Aboriginal people counted and followed just as many seasons.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Perpetual Drastic Change

It's time to re-frame the debate, so it begins to ring the bell.

Just posted this on RealClimate. You will be able to see it in a flesh here:

Just curious.
Broad consensus appear to support:
Oceans will rise for millennia, due to heat expansion, even if all the ice to melt is gone. But suppose, by some yet unspecified MIRACLE we stop earlier. At what level ocean rise can be stabilised AFTER an expectedly epochal time-period is over.

Has anybody EVER taken into effect what the best scenario would mean in terms of increased pressure on fault and rift lines under the sea? What kinds of super-vulcanoes - if any - are brewing there?

Gigantic underwater chambers are sucked dry form oil and gas reserves means suddenly there is no inside pressure to stabilize them, so the pressure on the rifts that are around them that before acted against gigantic tectonic weights is decreased dramatically. Before, oil pressure was huge and acted in all directions. Now it is gone at it can engender collapse of large rifts. Meanwhile gigantic heaps of hydraulic pressure are piling upon them from the outside -- this coming from increased columns of oceanic water.

Earth down there has the habit to break without sending SMS to you and me as to the exact time it intends to schedule such a momentous event.

Atmospheric system change is no less unpredictable. Does that make that less mortally dangerous? Do we as scientists have the luxury of time to learn and educate AT THE SAME TIME about yet new signs of stresses in the most complex systems on Earth - Climate?

It appears, some trees are already so overstressed, they are net CO2 emitters. The stratosphere has begun retaining water vapour. Methane from under permafrost gone is beginning to equal industrial outputs. We may have foreseen these events happening now individually as we could measure them individually. But who knows what their coupled effects are.

We all experience a new planetary weather system in the making. Problem is that though we apparently want to change things back, we don't don't know what we are about to really change.

Do we really expect elected officials otherwise well trained in adversarial logic to act on such a premise?

Perhaps we should stop arguing that the temperature is not rising and look for UNEXPECTED anomalies. And there are plenty.

Here is one:

If YOU SEE the temperature not rising for decades DESPITE the mega-tonnes of output, ask yourself and the apparent Solar Warming. Isn't that an anomaly? Isn't that the proverbial horse that has 4 white legs?

And finally, I have a major problem with how we frame the debate. If we found a name for the sum of events that is already apparent, we would be much closer to communicating apparent dangers.

What is not familiar, doesn't ring the bell.

None of us actually knows from experience what climate change or global warming is. Though warming is a familiar notion, we just cannot contemplate PERPETUAL warming on a planetary scale.

In a room closed, it would mean something obviously horrendous -- burning alive. Suddenly, the spine shivers, because that is a familiar scale. Now, mention "perpetual drastic and unexpected anomalies in the climate system", which PERPETUAL climate change really is, and most stock analysts turn a death ear.

But mention the SAME HAPPENING on the STOCK MARKET and suddenly they WILL KNOW, and be busy piling up gold the very next day.

We haven't yet found a comprehensible word for either Perpetual Warming or Perpetual Change let alone the combination of BOTH. Yet gut feeling tells that most of us are experiencing the sum effect of both.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Revisit Geoengineering In Light Of The Solar Shield Risk Report

In light of the recent report released, the much heralded Solar Shield may not be such a good idea after all.

The report is on scientific simulation by Ken Caldeira (et al) of Stanford University.

According to the study released 4 Jun 2007, the Fresnel lens shield contemplated by NASA and others to block some sunlight and cool the planet this way carries TOO Large Risks of causing the opposite. Because if the project was firmly in place, but for some reason failed afterwards, an abrupt runaway heating would result, far worse than we would have otherwise. Also the rainfall would increase dramatically on a Planetary scale.

This last may be attributable to the large water vapor reserve now building up in the currently cooling stratosphere. Cool it some more, and you mess it up big time. Abruptly heat it then (as a result of shield failure) and you have a burst shower on your hand, but more like on a huge planetary scale.

Temper or not to temper?

First, the climate is a sum of organic movements, much like the stock market. And like with the stock market - abrupt, sudden and drastic change can send undesired shock waves and trigger unexpected results.

Second, in the context of something as awesomely vast as the planet we may need to talk about augmentation rather then engineering and even that pretty quietly and humbly. GEntly underpinning deep ecology is how I prefer to think about it if in any way...Augmentation would actually mean working with the Planet's natural and organic processes, not against it or to it.

Certainly a solar shield blocking a sun would be such an Unnatural measure and on an EXTREME scale. Any such measure should be gravely avoided. And ONLY Used as last resort, not as a preemptive tool.

It just may be that no one wants an insurance policy that increases risks. And the shield used preemptively could be such an ill-considered insurance, according to the report.


My other Global Engineering Post:
Change climate with sentient bots?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Six-pack Solar Hot Water

Someone say that solar hot water is expensive.
Not if you like beer.

Hey we live in Aussie Land, we could do much better. But I suspect it wasn't invented Down Under because we like beer in those bottles, not water. Still, a fitting invention. And of all countries, a Chinese villagers had to come up with it. Well done! A TOP Diy idea.

Mr Ma Yanjun with his Bear Bottle Solar Hot Water invention.Mr Ma Yanjun with his Bear Bottle Solar Hot Water invention.

Yes folks, those ARE beer bottles, ingenuously connected to each other and a circulation plastic pipe. All fixed to a board. And there are some serious numbers there. 66 bottles, say 50 cent each and a couple of meters of hose plus a board will set you back a whopping $50 bucks. Terrible I say. Just TOO expensive to keep up with this climate change nonsense.

You think it can't work? Think again. Mr Ma Yanjun, of Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province says it provides enough water for a family of free. And it spreads like WILDFIRE I tell you. Already, 10 other families are catching on the RAGE in the village.

Via Ananova, official page:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Obama Stumbles - and Stays in Limbo

Presidential candidate and current Illinois senator Barack Obama has to be in two minds about dirty coal. He wants to get rid of it but he also wants to keep it. So now he is in limbo. With a little Bushism, Obama wants to "cleanify" the tainted coal. Via

To do justice to the man, he is senator of the state that is already among the biggest dirty coal producers in the US. Not to mention that her yet unmined reserves would offer untold riches in energy production for Illinois. So how could Obama not support the good people of the State that gave Lincoln to the US. Would be unfair, wouldn't it.

The name of the game of course is clean coal, just so long as coal is still part of the plan. So Obama promptly proposes this course of actioan - he and others want call it coal-to-liquids - just as any sensible man in his place would do. He proposes a legislation in the senate to promote turning coal into liquid fuel for vehicles. He figures it is a win-win and who wouldn't.

"Obama wants to cleanify
tainted coal...?"

The problem it seems lay not with the assumption, but with the calculation. You see what it would do is keep dirty coal mining alive and well. And on the top of that a little other thing. That is the reminder of the process, the actual turning coal into liquids and then burning it to get from A to B would produce much more CO2 than the current processes for petroleum based fuel.

Why liquid coal is not the answer:

Though the proposed amendment has been defeated once in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Obama still has the chance to introduce it again in the Senate. The proposed Act is called the Coal-to-Liquid Fuel Promotion Act of 2007. And to be true to its intention it would give federal loans for the planning and permitting of such processing plants, federal guarantees for construction loans, and tax credits.

The intention is novel. The problem is once again, a key lawmaker lacking the acumen and discipline of a scientist. Not his fault though.

We now live the time of Governing Certainties. See the consequences of it and the premises here and here. Politicians in government and aspiring for government are Lawmakers or at the very least folks trained in handling adversary, which is what the human nature.

Problem is, Nature is NOT adversarial, it is simply uncertain. It always has been. And very few scientists are actually trained in listening to the rapidly evolving uncertainties of today. I stress uncertainties, not facts or statistics. Even less from the current breed of lawmakers can handle the advice of such scientists in a truly constructive manner.

The Path to Changing Climate Back is Nature's Republic.

Obama still has the chance to do something remotely like that. And if he wants to give a bigger role in solving environmental problems and possible downpours of fortune to his home State - So be it, right ... ? Only it seems if the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council is anything to go by, transport and coal has to be separated, not linked.

So to sum up ...

Obama doesn't run away from responsibility. He just running in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Sceptic Gets Mired in Controversy

Well known Global Warming sceptic Professor Bob Carter gets a fair hearing and gets into trouble. He got more than flashy soundbites to elaborate on his position. He got himself against a mighty listener: Dr Stephen Schneider. All we ask that Mr Carter should also listen. To himself.

So hear Mr Carter out. In introduction, his position is that putting Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into the air is like putting coats of white paint on a house. The first quantum (layer) will reflect most of the sunshine and consecutive layers - no matter how many - will not add much more to the reflectivity. Similarly, he says, doubling CO2 is causing most of the warming and consecutive outputs are not that big of a concern.

He supports his argument by saying that warming should be seen on a very long time horizon measured in hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of years. He argues these are processes of geological length. And than he turns around and says, a shining fact to support him is the fact that in the past 3-5 years warming that is more than the background noise warming (we don't know what he means by that and he does not elaborate) has not increased.

Well done Mr Carter. No one needs to argue with you if you defeat your own argument. Twice.

First: How historic long term is 3-5 years? Probably not much.
Second: If most of the warming is caused by the doubling of CO2 and not the consequtive outputs and changes are locked in for 30-40 years already (a consensus reached by scientists of both side of the barrier) than we should worry probably even more about the destructive nature of CO2 and its effects on the whole eco - AND biosphere.

It appears that it was a noble intention on his part to broaden the definition of change - not just weather change. But Mr Carter ran into a formidable opponent in Dr Stephen Schneider. While Mr Carter is certainly an able proponent of possible changes on the geological time-scale (himself being from the Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University.)

Professor Schneider is offering advice to help scholars communicate more clearly with the media and policymakers.
Mr Schneider however is a person monitoring really broad interdisciplinary consequences. Mr Schneider being Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, he appeared to be an able advocate of very long term processes including biological ones.

To sum up ...

Allow me just two final figures to contemplate.

If animals or plants go extinct because of too high stress on their respective habitat, what goes with it is what took evolution about 25 million years of perfecting those species to that habitat. A new, drastically different habitat might take similarly long geological time spans to have a new biosphere similarly adopted.

Scientist have reached consensus and agree that ocean surface level rise is mostly due to heat expansion that is about to go on for a thousand to two thousand years.

Both are very long time spans indeed.

So what's the point of arguing consequtive CO2 emissions (that is happening today) if what is already there is so damaging for the very long term, indeed.

Congratulation to Phillip Adams of ABC Radio National LNL for convening such an informative debate and big cheers to story producer Jane Shields.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Cost of Global Warming Fix Uses Old Model

By the time government representatives managed to broker something they found acceptable the model it has been based on had become outdated.

Still there is something very newsworthy in this: The scientific panel was international and it included a delegation from the US. Also, price tags for Plan A, B and even C have been calculated.

Further the panel found that:

Summary report pdf to download

"... blunting the consequences of global warming will require different lifestyles, higher prices for basics including gasoline and electricity, and a much greater investment in research and development efforts."

These are very important and very striking statements. You may want to compare the statement on lifestyle change to this previous ChangeClimateBack blogpost: ../2007/04/problem-with-overconsumption.html

The other important point is that costs are affordable. However, the report is seriously lacking by it's own admission.

"... estimates of potential price increases for gas and other energy sources were not included in the report because they were based on assumptions that have not been well studied."

Now if you read between the lines, you find the the whole process of negotiation was much much longer then the 5 days delegates spent in Bangkok. As a result, the model they used was the same as it was before negotiation started. At the time relevant and inclusive, but by the time agreement was reached - outdated and old. For istance it did not include new findings that the Polar Ice cap actally melting faster than the model predicted back then.

[report] ... do not take into account the most recent discoveries -- such as findings that the Arctic ice cap appears to be melting at a much faster rate than described in the February IPCC report.
That's how much has changed just in the 4 months between February (the climate report) and May (the agreement brokered) to the model they uses as base. You can't blame them though. This was as exceptionally fast process. Today, may be enough. Tomorrow, not good enough.

Bottom Line?

It is important that now the talk is serious and is about exact costs and timelines of fixing. The complexity of the changes however is such that the model upon which calculations and predictions are based need to be updated more frequently than haggling process to reach agreement by politicians usually lasts. We may not like this but climate change is on a footing that requires emergency fast reaction time to important model changes.

... model upon which calculations and predictions are based need to be updated more frequently than usual haggling process ...

And it is even more so now, that some feedback processes start. Polar melt is a case in hand. Reduced albedo effect from white ice gone reduces reflection and increases warming as a second generation so called negative feed back process kicks in. Similarly, some trees are now reported to undergo such stress that they become net producers of CO2 - they breath carbon rather then oxigen. This is another negative feedback recently observed.

Such processes (both positive - there are a little, but could be important - and negative feedbacks) now alter model structures and acceptable predictions more rapidly. Some actual measurements now frequently and routinely carried out also defy predictions - some on the positive, some on the negative side.

Negotiations of any real merit should go real time and based on models updated in real time. In practical terms, at least adjusted in the interim before final agreements are reached.

The best medium for this would be expert internet forum, rather then a suit-and-tie air conditioned chain of events in venues across the globe. You do the sums: kerosine, gas, petrol, air-conditioning - all lost for wanting eggheads (save a respectful, but largely powerless minority) to agree on and old and outdated presumption.

Still, there is progress ...

Panel Calculates Cost of Global Warming Fix -

Friday, April 27, 2007

Simple Carbon Saving Tips - for FREE

A few simple things I am committed to do that you can do too. It costs you nothing. Nada. Zilch. (If anything you'll save.)
In fact, the state of the Planet is such that if even one of us skips trying these, it makes the effort of the rest of us so much less useful.

  • Don't use your car when you don't have to. (When I did a major research about shopping habits I found that millions of millions of people jump in the car twice daily for a singular item - loaf of bread, bottle of milk - from the local.)
  • Stop the engine when you can and it makes sense. (Most everyone I ever met on the roads, keep their engine running at long red lamps or while the boom gate is down. And it is just silly.)
  • Try not to drive alone whenever you can and it makes sense. When with friends you know are responsible drivers, give up that ego thing for a while. Jump in thier car when you "just pop out" somewhere together. The trip is always longer for some reason, but more than that. This way it'll be memorable too. You might even discover new amusing things about them.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The problem with overconsumption

The problem with overconsumption is the overuse of global resources NOT local products. There is only so much resource the Planet can afford for a person. That amount is a zero sum (what goes in should come out) and the Planet is pretty unapologetic about that. Presently we are overeating that amount by an unhealthy margin. There is little offering solace for change.

The area needed to support one person including aquaculture, mining, agriculture and energy generation is called a per capita global hectare. It has been calculated and the figures are not pretty. Equally spread accross countries our Earth can afford 1.8 hectare per person. Presently we are using 2.2 per capita - that is 122% of all available global resources. And we cannot stretch the Planet to make it 22 percent bigger just to fit.

Now let's put that into perspective ...

If you are eating more than your body can burn - recycle it in the form of useful energy - you go fat. Then is a good idea to lose weight. But what if you that frequently. Well, the bad news is that if you can't sustain weight loss, you are going to consume EVEN MORE global resources. You will frequently spend your hard earn money for EXTRA the global resources that go into your weight loss package. It's that simple even though the calculations I imagine would be quite complex.

Similarly, if we were to go off oil globally and change to ethanol this in itself could be a poor result. Why? Because the impact on global resource consumption could actually INCREASE. Because we would need to grow immense amount of canola and other crop additionally to what we already consume just to burn it for getting from A to B. Don't get me wrong. I do think we need to use less oil. That would definitely impact LESS our global resources - no one argues that. But we would need to take that reduced usage state and convert it into someting else with similarly REDUCED loads on global resources My hunch is that if the amount of cars used keep increasing - which is likely given that the largest economies are predicted to double in the foreseeable future - then the amount of global resources consumed per capita is on the increase.

Positive growth and increase in consumption ...

Currently we measure growth with the increase of consumption. If consumption grows most economists are happy as Larry. They look at a basket of stuff we consume and they measure positive changes. By the way, in that basket cars figure prominently. And it is not likely to change any time soon.

Keep that unchanged and the planet may keep going to be overconsumed. If we just get drunk on food and fuel - and it doesn't really matter if that food or fuel is designed to trim - overconsumption is here to stay.

If your belly grows when you want to trim it you register that as a negative change. Similarly, some growth should count negative if it goes into overconsumption. So even though there would be so and so much more cars produced a portion of it should count as a negative growth, not positive.

Change your life-style - so you can GET a life ...

Now there is a good thing to be learnt from diet designers' pitch.
They all talk about the need of life-style change. Change your life so you can GET a life, the chant goes.

Actually, same should go for the Planet WITH US INCLUDED.

Change your lifestyle to GIVE life to the Planet first - and we'll all get a life BACK.

Global Climate Engine 3D Animated

This is where the cookie crumbles. The Pacific near surface water body temperature is the Number One Global Climate Engine. This where El-Nino and La-Nina form - the climate events of planetary length and reach. They can last up to 3-5 years bringing drought or rain to areas across the Globe respectively.

Pictured is our best hope for a La-Nina - again - in nearly 60 months - that is 5 years. The cool blue shows colder surface temperature where it should be - in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific region. But previous patterns show that it needs to "bite in" for more than the half the with of the Pacific Ocean for a La-Nina to successfully stabilise.

If you switch animation to slow, you'll see that such conditions where formed a few times, none of them bringing a real La-Nina yet. Now is the chance.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

La Nina may bring RAIN and break the drought

The satellite image was computed from a multiple of buoy data (Feb. 28, 2007)

I have been following this for a few weeks now. We all know that El Nino is officially over. It is common wisdom, that La Nina (the opposite of El Nino) tends to form on the tail of its brother waning away. And now it appears that oceanic surface tempereature drop in the Equatorial Pacific (a main pattern of La Nina formation) is spreading or at least has been stabilising over the past weeks or so.
A recent update was computed (Apr. 20, 2007)
Here you can follow current data all the time.

If the trend continues, welcome rain may arrive at North-Eastern Australia.
It is too early to tell though the signs are welcoming.

At the very least I am going to clean the old gutter below the eucalipt tree that I've been putting off for some time now. So when the rain comes the pipes won't be blocked. Even if it is unlikely that Victoria will receive a lot of it. But who knows, with Gods help we just might.

You folks out there don't know what RAIN will mean in Australia. We currently have the dire prospect officially announced by the PM, that the food bowl of our country (The Murray-Darling river and catchment area) will be stopped in about 5-6 weeks if welcome rain does not arrive.

So severe is the drought at the moment. Let's not contemplate what that might mean in terms of inflation and rates. Let's welcome the rain with all our heart. Let's hope that La Nina will be mighty gracious.

NOAA News Online (Story 2805)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Environmental risk awareness about Global Warming doubles in the US.

Important development in public awareness.
Environmental risk awareness about Global Warming doubles in the US.
But Americans are devided about new tax allocations to tackle the problem. Costs of tax increase on electricity and gasoline now seems to outweigh the public's growing focus on opportunity costs such as energy efficient fuel.
The situation is getting ripe for the latter as it gains bipartisan support in the House.
Efficiency is the key word in the public mind with a view to better products such as air conditioners and refrigerators.
Growing Number of Americans See Warming as Leading Threat -

New Green Entrepreneurs on the Block

Look out for them new Green Entrepreneurs with a responisble and laudable agenda. And they - Rick, Karen and Debbie have some interesting things to say. They only just started to so let's follow them with interest.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

How Green Altruism Can Pay

A great way to evaluate green stocks from a 50/50% safe/greedy "home base".


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Make Markets Work for Climate

This was a major event, so I report on it in some detail. (It came ot my attention only recently.)

Make Markets Work for Climate
October 16, 2006

Opening Session

Katherine Sierra
World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development

The first major point was delivered right a way and it sounds like this:
On the short term fossil fuel should be part of the mix. Reason? We need to serve the "1.6 billion people in the developing world" who "have no access to modern energy sources."
Also, transformation to low carbon economy is not possible in that same term.

The "investment gap" for developing countries as a whole is about "$80 billion a year, in order to get access to energy services and generate growth."

Ms Sierra also addressed and encouraged the "good samaritan" company representative saying: "The companies and private institutions present here have realized the real meaning of Corporate Social Responsibility. They have shown leadership and courage in making viable the idea that what is good for business and communities can also be good for the climate."

This, though rhetoric and wishful in nature in nature, carries a further important message. The World Bank will expect that private companies will pick up the slack that is currently created by governments arguing issues to pretty much death.

Snapshot of the Carbon Economy today

13 governments and 62 private sector companies, a $10 billion market, 57 projects with carbon contracts, allocated World Bank funds: $1,2 billion.

"The first carbon fund – the Prototype Carbon Fund – was conceived in late 1999 several years before the Kyoto Protocol eventually entered into force. The Government of the Netherlands, along with other European governments and a cross-section of European and Japanese companies, some of them represented here today, joined hands together with the Bank as pioneers in the carbon market.

Seven years later, a market with a volume that surpassed $10 billion last year has the potential to double in 2006. The Bank manages nine carbon funds and facilities on behalf of 13 governments and 62 private sector companies. The funds have a value of about $1.9 billion. More than $1.2 billion has been allocated to 57 projects for which carbon contracts have been signed."

The profile of the market: (1) waste management; such as "solid waste land fills, waste water, and agricultural refuse." (2) small scale renewable energy; (3) forestry; (4) chemicals.

The sad realisation ...

We need large scale renewable energy in the mix NOW, because of "the long lead times associated with these projects – it takes anywhere between three to five years to obtain financing, get the necessary licenses and clearances, and complete construction before emission reductions can be generated."

2006 plus 5 years is 2011. The Kyoto protocol deadline for setting up operational large scale renewables is 2012. The window of opportunity therefore is one year.

However ...

The long term framework for low carbon market is already in the making. This could be good news, but not if it is built (as is the case now) on shifting sand. So what else we can do? We should hang on to being innovative.

There is a current whole in the Kyoto Protocol, let's plug it in. Deforestation in the tropics amounts to about 20% in greenhouse emission, yet for some reason there is no incentive in the Protocol for these countries to protect their old growth rainforests. Don't ask how that happened. The directive to plug the whole in does not cost a red cent. Yet when implemented, a whopping 20% could potentially be cut from the emission. (Being innovative offers quite an attractive cost-benefit ratio ...)

My comments

Encouraging? Depends what you make of it. It certainly is a frank assessment. The wishful forecast was that the Carbon Economy might double in the next year.

I think that would be a good trend. A doubling in volume every year for the next 5 years could create a ripple on effect to a point where that economy would automatically transform itself into a Low Carbon Economy. (I just don't think that we should discount internal mechanics of any mature robust market.) Signs of large scale renewable investments and practical interest from PPPs NGOs would then start to become more evident. That might also become the point when for governments - finally - it will become sexy to contribute 30-50% to private investment.

Matching citizens' investment dollar for dollar in Low Carbon Green Economy could effectively double starting capitals.

Meaning in simple terms, that the volume of the economy could still continue to double into the foreseeable future.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sea level could rise faster while Antarctic gains mass

Hot off the press are some interesting findings.

In brief:
If iceberg calving in the Antartic (huge chunks braking off the ice shelves) continue at current rate, glaciers could get involved. It appears that, if unencumbered, they slip faster into sea, then previously thought. This could far accelerate sea level rise beyond the currently projected 28-43 cm over the next 100 years.
However, overall, the Antarctic is not likely to loose ice mass. Instead it will gain from more intense precipitation in the form of snow fall. Also, widespread thawing of the Antarctic is not likely due to the extreme cold.
This current finding seems to support the idea that the Atlantic sea mass and currents are at greater risk of widespred change then the Pacific. For that reason too, when it comes to regulating oceanic changes, Earth agmentation should start at the Gulf. Check out this article on the subject.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Artificial Photosynthesis - to power up and mop-up

Fields of iron plants to power up and mop up.

Inspirational, doable and viable. And they are only years away thanks to a new breakthrough that pinpointed the heart of the real photosynthesis: a single atom of manganese.

Artificial systems will mimic the water-splitting chemistry of natural photosynthesis, they will not look like plants. Artificial systems will use metals such as ruthenium and iron.

Future Hi: Promise of Artificial Photosynthesis

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Global warming could make your faucets run dry?

Not likely, but restrictions are on the way. See your future in Australia.

In Australia, which is the driest piece of continent on the planet, we already have permanent water restrictions. It quickly went from level 1 to level 3. In some rural parts of the country it is level 4 already.

Many of our water storages are lower than 30% and we would need several years of normal rain-fall for them to recover.

Global warming could make faucets run dry, expert says | CNET

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Fusion - bring the Sun down

The sunlight is harmful and dangerous? So let's bring the Sun down. No, not literally.

I talk about the energy of a fusion reactor of course. The time-frame is unresolved, bu the milestones are set. Currently the largest one being buit South of France in Cadarache (ITER) is still for experimental reasons. The amount of energy needed to trigger fusion will be far larger than the energy generated. But we know that the equation begins to tilt in favor of feasibility if a fusion power station is sufficiently large. The one in Cadarache will be around 500 MWatt at full capacity.

Still, a commercilly feasible fusions station is some time away. At today's knowledge, the year this is expected is no earlier then 2025-2030, some 25 years away.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bio-diversity - lost forever in language

Scientists estimate that a staggering amount of visible species has not even been classified and the knowledge once existed about them is about to be lost.

Over 80% of visible species doesn't even have a written record. Yet the languages of those who closely observed those species have all kinds of verbal records.

Trouble is, languages are dying out at an alarming rate. With them goes the knowledge about much of biodiversity that has been reposited in those languages.

Climate Change - How to stay alive

"The latest discovery on Earth will be to figure out how to actually stay alive and survive." (Robert Swan)

The Leadership on The Edge education program starts streaming next week from an uninhabited antarctic shed.

Swan fell in love with the Antarctic at a tender age of 11. Says Swan: The Antarctic is one of those places where the signs of change are most striking. Climate is clearly milder than 10 years ago, and the level of precipitation has also increased.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Ozone hole. Visual, and what's eating it

ozone hole above antarctic - seen from spaceVisually it makes it much easier to imagine the Ozone Hole when there are good images and real-life comparisons. So thanks to Cquest University Toronto for making it so much more clear. accoring to their content in 2003 it measured about 11.1 square miles, roughly three times the size of the US.

And if you want to learn more about what's been eating away at the Ozone hole where it is in the stratoshpere, just visit the nice web at the CQUEST, UToronto.

The Gulf slowing, but Why? And Why bother...

A crucial and far-reaching feedback in global warming and subsequent climate change is the slowing down of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation colloquially known as the Gulf stream.

If the Gulf current weakens further...

When it happened before ( and it happened - according to native Americans memories) the midland drought on the American continent lasted 40 continous and relentless years. Currently we could be in about the third...

Kuro-siwa and Gulf

The two most important oceanic streams known are the Kuro-siwa in the Pacific and the Gulf Current in the North Atlantic. Both already weakened and continue to weaken. The first is getting diluted by ice melting in the Antarctic and the second - by the ice melting in the Polar Ice cap and the Greenland ice sheet.

Out of the two the Gulf may be at larger risk. In the picture below you can see streams along the coast lines. The blue and green streams are deep ocean currents carrying heavy and more salty cold water. The orange and red ones are the warm surface currents. Between the two are yellow streams.

There are many things that effect circulation, but here we'll concentrate on two. One is the heavy salt that makes cold water sink so it can remain cold while it journeys back to the Mexican Gulf. The second is the many multitudes of smaller streams around the Greenland plain that constitute mostly the cold back-flow. If there is no back flow - there is no current.

Warm surface water carries warm air above. That constant supply of warm air is responsible for the relatively mild climate of Northern Europe. The sun doesn't heat this area sufficiently, so without the Gulf circulating there would be no warm air here. The Gulf is the guardian angel of moderate climate in this region.

Imagine it slowing and slowing to the point where just the jagged edges of Greenland alone would pose a significant barrier to that flow. The South Pacific section of the Kuro-siwa is much less hampered by such impediments. That is quite a reason why the Gulf may be at a larger risk.

Now let's take a look at just how deep those cold currents are.

Very deep. This is a section across the Atlantic. To the left is the East coast with Florida, no mistake there. To the right are the Skandinavian peninsula, the UK, Spain and Africa. At the top is Greenland.

Beginning to have an idea of how the Gulf works? Great. Now take a closer look at where the sinking of cold water takes place? These points are called the Atlantic overturning points. The significant portion (the left part) of the Gulf sinks just off the coast at West Greenland. And what makes it possible? Salty water that is heavier than freshwater.

That is the same area where very significant build-up of fresh water reserves has been detected. Source? Melting Greenland freshwater ice sheets - there could be other reasons, but this is most compelling to consider. Important back-flowing section (the sinking part) of the Gulf is being bombarded by freshwater bombs breaking up the sinking stream into yet smaller streams. Coincidentally, the Gulf has been weakened. It has already slowed down about 30%.

This means that more and more of its activity is in the inner circle that just circulates warm water and air between the East Coast and Africa. Here, coastal surface water now often reaches an unbelievable 35 degrees centigrade. And when it does, it serves a perfect brewing ground for large and fast tornadoes.