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.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Global Climate Change as a Complex Problem of a Complex System

Conventional sciences tend to focus on isolated systems under controlled circumstances. Decision support sciences must often deal with real world problems, the complexity of which far exceeds the complexity of the problems typically studied in conventional sciences. This realisation has lead to the designation of a new class of problems, complex problems, which includes issues such as global climate change, ... and stratospheric ozone depletion.
Complex problems are characterized by one or more of the following properties
(adapted from NRC, 1988; van Asselt, 2000; Funtowicz et al., 1999; Holling, 2001;
UNESCO, 2005):

  • There is not one problem, but a tangled web of related problems;
  • The underlying processes interact with one another within some sort of hierarchy;
  • The dynamics of the systems studied are not necessarily regular, but are characterized by synergistic and/or antagonistic relationships, indirect relationships, long delay periods between cause and effect, thresholds or non-linear behaviours;
  • The issue lies across or at the intersection of many disciplines, i.e., it has economic, environmental, socio-cultural and political dimensions;
  • There are a number of different, equally legitimate and plausible, perspectives on how the problem should be conceived.

The hierarchical relationships encountered in complex systems may be hierarchies of inclusion and scale, as in a watershed that includes streams, ponds, rivers, lakes and the sea, at ascending levels. Alternatively, they may be hierarchies of function, as in an organism that is comprised of a number of separate organs, each performing a function subordinate to the overall function of the organism, which itself may be sub-ordinate to the overall function of an ecosystem.

Environmental systems may also include human and institutional sub-systems, which are themselves systems. In complex systems, causes and effects are not always obviously related. Pushing on a complex system "here" often has effects "over there" because the parts are indirectly dependent of one another. Similarly, the future conditions in a complex system may not always follow closely on the conditions in the past.

When a particular threshold is exceeded, the system can abruptly shift away from a period of relative stability in one state, to another, fundamentally different state. An example is that of the impacts of climate change on thermohaline circulation, the large-scale ocean circulation that currently transports heat from the mid-latitudes to the high latitudes. Geological analysis and model experiments suggest that these currents can be on or off, and that the two states are characterized by drastically different environmental conditions in Western Europe (Broeker, 1997; Cusbasch et al., 2001). Similar dramatic regime shifts have now been documented for a wide range of environmental systems (Scheffer et al., 2001; Scheffer & Carpenter, 2003).

Because of the hierarchical, indirect, synergistic and non-linear relationships that can characterize complex systems, any attempts at reductionist analysis will be inherently incomplete. The concepts used to represent the functionings of the system will necessarily be rough approximations. The empirical data required may not be available, or may only be available in a form that requires interpreting or massaging to make it relevant to the problem at hand.

An approach inherent to conventional sciences is that of reductionism, whereby an overall system is understood as an assembly of sub-systems. By studying and understanding each of the sub-systems, an understanding of the overall system is achieved.

While the reductionist approach has led to many great achievements in Western science, the properties of complex problems, ... greatly reduce the effectiveness of the [reductionist] approach. Systems that are complex are not merely complicated; by their nature they involve deep uncertainties ...

MR2005-202.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Precautionary paradigm

One of the profound implications of the Precautionary paradigm is its bearing on the legitimacy of regulatory decisions. In ... [the current] system where regulators are meant to be the value-neutral administrators who base all of their decisions on facts, what may justify regulatory interventions and what kinds of interventions are justifiable, in situations where the facts are uncertain? The problem is that this is the case with nearly all environmental and public health issues, which leads to a situation where regulators cannot act, and/or a fa├žade of objectivity is constructed to justify action. The challenge is thus to conceive the regulatory process in a way that ensures the ability of regulators to act in an open and accountable manner in situations of uncertainty.

Although many still perceive science as the provider of the objective truth, it is now increasingly being recognised that science is a social process of knowledge production, subject to its own social and cultural biases. As society becomes more aware of the complexity of the problems it faces and of the difficulties of studying these problems through the scientific approach, it can be expected that the precautionary paradigm will gain in influence, slowly displacing the modern paradigm.

My comments

Statistical reasoning or demanding the facts is not enough:
A new way of dealing with various levels of uncertainties is needed. According to this study, these various levels are: Statistical Uncertainty (known outcomes, known causes and certainty); Scenario Uncertainty (known outcomes, but unknown causes and certainty); Recognised Ignorance (unknown outcomes, unknown causes); Total Ignorance (nothing is known)

MR2005-202.pdf (application/pdf Object)

From modernity to reflexive modernization

Reflexivity is a concept that has been central to social scientific thought since the 1990s, after the writings of authors such as Beck, Giddens and Lash on modernity, risk and the cultural dimensions of contemporary environmental issues (Beck, 1992; Giddens, 1991; Beck et al., 1994; Lash et al., 1996). Beck introduced the term "reflexive modernization" to designate a new stage of development which, according to him and others, society has entered. This new era is characterized by a change in the way society perceives its relation to the risks to which it is subjected.

In the previous era, known as “modernity”, society was exposed to risks generated by external factors such as nature, which society responded to by developing technologies to overcome risks and increase welfare.

In the current era of reflexive modernization, the principle risks to which society is exposed are no longer generated by nature, but by society itself: it is the unintended side-effects of technological development that currently pose the greatest threat
to our welfare. Rather than producing ever-increasing security and welfare for people, industrial society has come to produce ever-greater risks for people and the environment.

The notion of reflexive modernization has led to calls for the development of
institutions and approaches to decision making that foster reflexivity in the regulatory context (Hajer, 1995; Flyvbjerg, 2001). The extent to which a decision-making process can be considered reflexive hinges upon the ability of the policy community to recognize the limitations of the knowledge base underpinning a decision, draw upon the collective knowledge and experience of the past to design a policy, monitor and assess the effects of this policy, and adjust the policy accordingly.

My comments

Such policy requires a level of Quality Control in the execution:
Such policy is not only based on risk management but also, and more importantly, on quality control.

MR2005-202.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Next 30-40 years climate is already locked in

Dr Chris West is Director of the UK Climate Impacts Program. The government funded them to co-ordinate predictions on the impacts of climate change in Britain.

Chris West: The climate we will get over the next thirty or forty years has almost all been determined already by emissions that we've created in the past. So for the next 30 or 40 years we've got one climate future to look at, and then the climate futures start to diverge depending really on what we choose to do now, whether we choose to go on emitting more and more greenhouse gases, or whether we start controlling greenhouse gases. I think people have built up this expectation that science will give you an absolute answer. People take decisions based on very patchy, feeble, messy information all the time and yet they expect climate information to be exact, and I think that's a nonsense. We use four separate scenarios of future climate in the UK for this current century. People come to us and they say what's the most likely? And we can't tell them that, they say well, what's the worst case? We can't tell them that either. All we can do is say look, here's a range of possible futures, it's up to you to plan for these futures. The earth hasn't experienced the temperatures we're going to get in the next century for possibly a million years, so there's the danger that we stray from conditions that we know something about into conditions we've never experienced before.

One of the nasty surprises we could be facing is both the Greenland ice sheet and the West Antarctic ice sheet have the potential to melt faster than we anticipate, and either of those could add six or seven metres to sea level. So if we face that sort of sea level rise, then there are very, very serious political, economic and social impacts for the whole world.

Naomi Fowler: Let's say the climatologists are right and the world's already committed to a metre rise in sea levels. We Brits can only expect the erosion of our coastline to accelerate, if as predicted, this century sees wind speeds 6 to 7 per cent stronger. That means a 15 per cent increase in wave height and that causes a level of storm damage that's a whopping 60 per cent higher than it is now. Add to all that the phenomenal rainfall we're getting and we get a very alarming increase in coastal and river flooding.

My comments

To put that into perspective:
Any sea rise in vertical metres should be multiplied by about a hundred to get the approximate amount of horizontal meters in coastal erosion. That means that a mere one centimetre vertical rise results in about a whole metre horizontal erosion. This I compiled from previous informations.

And it seems to be supported well if you look at the roll on effect of how a 6-7% rise in wind speed can relate to a possible 60% higher storm erosion or damage.

Science Show - 3�February�2007� - Rising sea level in Britain

Thursday, February 8, 2007

On El Nino Climate and Weather Reversal

On the climate change phenomenon linked to El-nino

Every few years atmospheric friction triggers (not creates) a back flow of air accross the Pacific.
The high pressure on one side (say on the east coast of AsiaPacific) and the low pressure on the other (say in the Andes Mountains in Peru) change places. (Note now, this is akin to reversing voltage poles) The triggered effect now creates changed oceanic flow and air flow (yes, akin to changed direction in electric current being triggered by reversing poles.) So now comes drought on one side, deluge on the other - quite the opposite that is normal.

In fact, according to one established theory an event called 'mega' El Nino is said to have destroyed enormous settlements in Peru as a result of extreme draught and dust storms both becoming more persistent and lasting over a period of many many years.

It is being speculated that under the right circumstances a fraction of a few degree temperature rise of oceanic surface water can trigger an El Nino effect.

Response to one order of polarity, and not to a reversed one.
When polarity in air pressure accross the Atlantic slowly but surely reverses air movement and surface temperature, it becomes massive and the anchovi fish (an important livelyhood to locals) can altogether disappear from the Peruvian sea at the time of reversed.

Trigger effects and influence.
The tigger effects of El-nino are well known and documented. It is also known that it has influence over global weather patterns. Eg: It is said that the ancient Mesopothamian civilization of Ur disappeared abruptly (cca 650-600 AD) as a result of a major El-nino pressure pole reversal at the time.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

If the Gulf Current Slows too much or Stops...

If the Gulf Current Stops...
Just what part of England might look like

Eskimo village on Swiss lake. From Ananova

Leddie has a BIG dilemma

Here is (or rather was) my dilemma: my global warming climate change pages on my fun-led-light site get ignored so much, that they begen hurting my ranking. In case you were wondering, these were the culprits, you be the judge:
(I will place their content here, so soon the links will point here too, and may be just redirects if any staying at the old place.)

They both touched on LED light usage but pretty tangentially. I acknowledge, they ARE more about climate change and global warming.

Why do I had them here? Simple. I believe that steps not taken today will hurt us for 40 years if not more. In other words. If we curb ALL extra emission today, (a big word AND undoable) nothing will change for 40 years. That's how enormous the buffer effect of global climate is.

So the steps we make should FIRSTLY reverse the effects of current trends. Only when we started that, can we seriously think emission reduction. Gradually by 20-50-70%. Not the other way around.

That's why I had those pages there and now soon - here. Because NO one ELSE has them. Not this way, anyway. But...

But my resources are very limited. And if something hurts my ranking, it hurts my bottom line. I want to have fun by producing the LED applications I like to see some day. Right now I don't have the resources. So it doesn't matter how brilliant my views are on Stopping the effects of Global Warming, I carry dead wood with them. Too much, too heavy.

Guess I've done my duty by press releasing these pages and ideas. Can only hope that someone more suited will take up the challange. I didn't get any donation, only 5 bucks from a relative, who still firmly believes that I am a nutcase...

(Sooner or later I'll cut these pages from Fun LED Light. Just wanted to share this dilemma with you. Comment here if you want them to stay, and I'll think up something. Till then Cheers on this one, Leedie.)

This is happening right now, one page at a time.