Sunday, July 22, 2007

New Catalyst May Revolutionize Biodiesel Production

Victor Lin, a chemistry professor at Iowa State University, has developed a catalyst that he thinks will revolutionize biodiesel production. Lin has founded a company in Ames, Catilin Inc., to develop and market that technology.

...Lin is working with Mohr Davidow Ventures, an early stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., the Iowa State University Research Foundation and three members of his research team to establish a startup company to produce, develop and market the biodiesel technology he invented at Iowa State.

From ScienceDaily

Monday, July 9, 2007

Thousand of new volcanoes revealed beneath the waves

The true extent to which the ocean bed is dotted with volcanoes has been revealed by researchers who have counted 201,055 underwater cones. This is over 10 times more than have been found before.

The team estimates that in total there could be about 3 million submarine volcanoes, 39,000 of which rise more than 1000 metres over the sea bed.

Human beings aren't near as smart as we think we are, a point I exemplify on a daily basis at Climateer Investing.

From NewScientist

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Apology To Dr. Nigel Weiss

Nigel Weiss, professor of astrophysics at the University of Cambridge, believes that the warming trend in Earth's climate is caused by greenhouse gases produced by human activity, and that the effect of a potential future reduction in solar activity would not reverse or cancel out that trend, but might have a small effect in mitigating it. He has held these views for several years. Incorrect information appeared in a column in the Financial Post on Feb. 2. The National Post withdraws any allegation that Dr. Weiss is a global warming "denier" and regrets the embarrassment caused him by the Feb. 2 column and a further column on Feb. 9.

From the National Post

Maybe it's Not Global Warming

Gene discovery may solve childhood asthma puzzle

The link between the gene and the disorder is so strong that scientists may have a complete understanding of what causes asthma within three years, predicts the team leader, British respiratory physician William Cookson.
From (Australia)

“The leaders in our low-income communities have seen the ties between asthma and global warming,” Chairman Markey continued. “Global warming and clean energy are not just environmental issues, but economic and human rights issues as well.”

Edward J. Markey (D-MA) Chairman
House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
May 22, 2007

Thursday, July 5, 2007

No Link Between Cosmic Rays and Global Warming

According to Sloan and Wolfendale, the 2000 paper highlighting the connection between cosmic rays and low-level clouds completely avoids clouds at other altitudes. This is surprising because cosmic ray ionization should increase with altitude. Cosmic rays should be intercepted earlier by the atmosphere and turned into clouds, not down at the lowest altitudes. If cosmic rays were to blame, you would expect the exact opposite, with more high-altitude clouds.

It can't be ruled out, but it's pretty unlikely.

Abstract: It has been claimed by others that observed temporal correlations of terrestrial cloud cover with ‘the cosmic ray intensity’ are causal. The possibility arises, therefore, of a connection between cosmic rays and Global Warming. If true, the implications would be very great.
We have examined this claim to look for evidence to corroborate it. So far we have not found any and so our tentative conclusions are to doubt it. Such correlations as appear are more likely to be due to the small variations in solar irradiance, which, of course, correlate with cosmic rays. We estimate that less than 15% of the 11-year cycle warming variations are due to cosmic rays and less than 2% of the warming over the last 35 years is due to this cause. (8 page PDF)

From Wired
HT: Is It Getting Warmer

Greenland's ancient forests shed light on stability of ice sheet

Again, as below, we're still learning.

From EurekAlert:

The research implies that ancient forests covered southern Greenland during a period of increased global temperatures, known as an interglacial period. When temperatures fell again, the area became covered in ice. This ice sheet appears to have remained during the last interglacial period (116,000-130,000 years ago) when the temperature was 5°C warmer than today, contrary to the view currently held by scientists. Professor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, also at the University of Copenhagen, has shown that in fact, even during this interglacial period, the ice thickness at Dye 3 would have been reduced to between 1 km to 1.5km.

"If our data is correct, then this means that the southern Greenland ice cap is more stable than previously thought," says Professor Willerslev. "This may have implications for how the ice sheets respond to global warming."

However, Professor Willerslev was keen to dismiss the idea that this meant sea levels would not rise to the levels predicted by scientific models.


Oldest DNA ever recovered suggests earth was warmer than previously believed

I have no Idea what it means, other than we're still learning.

From EurekAlert:

The DNA samples suggest the temperature of the southern Greenland boreal forests 450,000 to 900,000 years-ago was probably between 10C in summer and -17C in winter. Also, the reduced glacier cover in that region means the global ocean was probably between one and two metres higher during that time compared to current levels.

Sharp, who has been a supporter of the idea that the current global warming trend is human induced, believes the new research offers evidence that climate warming on the current scale is possible through natural conditions.

However, he cautions that this research does not prove the current global warming trend is not human induced.


The Earth is smaller than assumed

Although the discrepancy is not large, it is significant: Geodesists from the University of Bonn have remeasured the size of the Earth in a long lasting international cooperation project. The blue planet is accordingly some millimeters smaller than up to now assumed. The results are important, for example, to be able to demonstrate a climate contingent rise in sea level. The results have now appeared in the renowned Journal of Geodesy.

From EurekAlert

Kamchatka volcano blows its top

Klyuchevskoy’s been erupting since January, but the largest explosions in the eruption began June 28, 2007. These explosions created a 1,360-mile-long band of ash, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk to the Aleutian Islands, clogging well-used air routes with volcanic ash that prove deadly for aircraft.

From EurekAlert

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hurricanes may be unlikely saviours of coral reefs

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita may have been unlikely saviours for the coral reefs under their paths, say researchers. They have found evidence that the cooling effect hurricanes have on sea temperatures may help corals recover from the bleaching caused by warming oceans.

..."It is a controversial debate at the moment, but if the frequency of hurricanes increases with global warming, then the negative effects that are expected for coral bleaching [due to ocean warming] could be mitigated by the cooling that the hurricanes bring about"...

From NewScientist

What is wrong with NASA?

In the post below, we read:

"It is clear that PMCs are changing, a sign that a distant and rarified part of our atmosphere is being altered, and we do not understand how, why or what it means," stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III, Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth's environment is being altered."

Four years ago NASA put out this press release:


Exhaust from the main engines of NASA’s space shuttle, which is about 97 percent water vapor, can travel to the Arctic in the Earth’s thermosphere where it forms ice to create some of the Earth’s highest clouds that literally shine at night, according to a new study led by the Naval Research Laboratory and jointly funded by NASA and the Office of Naval Research.


NASA Satellite Captures First View of 'Night-Shining' Clouds

These mystifying clouds are called Polar Mesospheric Clouds, or PMCs, when they are viewed from space and referred to as "night-shining" clouds, or noctilucent clouds, when viewed by observers on Earth. The clouds form during the Northern Hemisphere's summer season that begins in mid-May and extends through the end of August. They are being seen by AIM's instruments more frequently as the season progresses. The clouds also are seen in the high latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere during the summer months.

Very little is known about how these clouds form over the poles, why they are being seen more frequently and at lower latitudes than ever before, or why they have been growing brighter. AIM will observe two complete polar mesospheric cloud seasons over both poles, documenting for the first time the entire, complex life cycle of PMCs.

"It is clear that PMCs are changing, a sign that a distant and rarified part of our atmosphere is being altered, and we do not understand how, why or what it means," stated AIM principal investigator James Russell III, Hampton University, Hampton, Va. "These observations suggest a connection with global change in the lower atmosphere and could represent an early warning that our Earth's environment is being altered."


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Al Gore on Venus

Russ Seitz take Al Jr. to the woodshed for telling stories. First Mr. Gore in today's New York Times:

Consider this tale of two planets. Earth and Venus are almost exactly the same size, and have almost exactly the same amount of carbon. The difference is that most of the carbon on Earth is in the ground — having been deposited there by various forms of life over the last 600 million years — and most of the carbon on Venus is in the atmosphere.

As a result, while the average temperature on Earth is a pleasant 59 degrees, the average temperature on Venus is 867 degrees. True, Venus is closer to the Sun than we are, but the fault is not in our star; Venus is three times hotter on average than Mercury, which is right next to the Sun. It’s the carbon dioxide.

Now Mr. Seitz:

The data say otherwise. Exerting a pressure equal to 3000 feet of sea water , Venus' alien atmosphere is 90 times more massive than Earth's . It gets hot enough to melt lead in the 100 atmosphere regions near the floor of this gaseous abyss. Yet even beneath the mother of all Greenhouse blankets, with a CO2 concentration 2,500 times higher than Earthly air, the temperature of Venus' clouds falls below human body temperature as the pressure altitude reaches the equivalent of Earthly sea level.

That's not what Al told Congress on C-Span in March.He said that our sister planet is "hotter the boiling point of lead." If NASA's Magellan mission and other space probes are to be believed, that's a cool 1,000 degree exaggeration. Just click the charts to see how astronomically Al has overun the factual limits of planetary science this time. If he keeps this up, I may have to rescind the gentleman's C my review of An Inconvenient Truth allowed him for keeping its factoid to fib ratio under 4 to 1.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Without hot rock, much of North America would be underwater

“If you subtracted the heat that keeps North American elevations high, most of the continent would be below sea level, except the high Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and the Pacific Northwest west of the Cascade Range,” says study co-author Derrick Hasterok, a University of Utah doctoral student in geology and geophysics.

“We have shown for the first time that temperature differences within the Earth’s crust and upper mantle explain about half of the elevation of any given place in North America,” with most of the rest due to differences in what the rocks are made of, says the other co-author, David Chapman, a professor of geology and geophysics, and dean of the University of Utah Graduate School.

From EurekaAlert

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A bad explanation is better than none at all

This week Sydney had the perfect storm: the one that didn't happen. The Bureau of Meteorology said we should have been struck by a gale of 100kmh winds about 5am Wednesday. It didn't happen. The experts were wrong.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, says our lives are surrounded by a miasma of false predictions and forecasts. As a result, much of the medium- or long-term planning done by individuals, companies and governments is of dubious value.

Taleb, once a trader on the finance markets, now has one of the best job descriptions I've heard. He is a professor in the sciences of uncertainty at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

From the Sydney Morning Herald

Monday, June 18, 2007

The world's habitable spaces are under pressure

"Once you cut off the water from the marshes, they die a slow death," Alwash said. "Saddam could not wait for the marshes to die slowly. He started burning the reeds to flush out the resistance and kill all the wildlife so people would not have an ability to survive."

Reflooding of some Iraqi wetlands began immediately after Hussein was ousted in April 2003, and local and international scientists started planning the reconstruction. This attempt has been more successful than anticipated; in December 2006, satellite photos revealed that nearly 50 percent of the marshes had been restored.

From Seed Magazine

Antarctic To Cover Global Water Shortage

" The WMO regards drinking water shortages among principal obstacles to sustainable development. Even now, one third of humanity experiences permanent water shortages. Two thirds will share the plight by 2025 if the trend persists."

Antarctic ice offers a remedy..." From Terra Daily

Sunday, June 17, 2007

84 Siberian Tigers Born at China Center

Fewer than 400 Siberian tigers -- also known as Amur, Manchurian or Ussuri tiger -- are believed to survive in the wild, about 20 of them in China and the rest in Russia.

From PhysOrg

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Full moon’s light has a warming effect on Earth

"One explanation is that moonlight can warm the Earth slightly at full moon, although only at night, of course.

I'm speechless. No, wait, one word:


From the Times of London

Friday, June 8, 2007

Surge in hurricane activity is only a return to normal: study

Okay. I am baffled.
Ten days ago we had Kerry Emanuel quoted as saying "There has been a large upswing in the frequency of Atlantic hurricanes, beginning in 1995," Emanuel said on his Web site, "This corresponds to an upswing in tropical North Atlantic sea surface temperature, which is very likely a response to increasing anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gases." Source

Now PhysOrg has this " Investigators believe the greenhouse effect cannot be blamed for a surge in hurricane activity since the mid-1990s."

"The phase of enhanced hurricane activity since 1995 is not unusual compared to other periods of high hurricane activity in the record," they report on Thursday in Nature, the weekly British science journal.

Here's PhysOrg

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Sediment core links monsoons to global climate evolution

"Monsoons, the life-giving, torrential rains of Asia and Africa, have an ancient, unsuspected connection to previous Ice Age climate cycles, according to scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Kiel University in Germany."

Climate (along with Brain Science) is the most complex subject human beings have ever attempted to comprehend.

Remember the sequence: Data>Information>Knowledge>Wisdom.

I think we're at information or wisdom. I'm sure we're not at wisdom.

From UC Samta Barbara

Saturday, June 2, 2007

El Nino And African Monsoon Have Strongly Influenced Intense Hurricane Frequency In The Past

“The processes that govern the formation, intensity, and track of Atlantic hurricanes are still poorly understood,” said Donnelly, an associate scientist in the WHOI Department of Geology and Geophysics. “Based on this work, we now think that there may be some sort of basin-wide ‘on-off switch’ for intense hurricanes.”

From ScienceDaily

And from Reuters by way of Planet Ark:

" Intense hurricanes hit when local sea surface temperatures were warm or cool. In fact, "the Caribbean experienced a relatively active interval of intense hurricanes for more than a millennium when local sea surface temperatures were on average cooler than modern," the study said."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Migratory Birds, Whales Confused by Warming, UN Says

We have achieved consensus.
Me, the whales and the birds.
As a non-migrator, I just sit, with a puzzled look on my face.
Or so I've been told.
Reporting from Bonn, ENN

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Widespread 'Twilight Zone' Detected Around Clouds

"There seems to be something new under the sun..."
“The effects of this zone are not included in most computer models that estimate the impact of aerosols on climate,”

From PhysOrg

Monday, April 30, 2007

NOAA announces next solar storm cycle will likely start next March

From NASA:
In the cycle forecast issued Wednesday, half of the panel predicts a moderately strong cycle of 140 sunspots, plus or minus 20, expected to peak in October 2011. The other half predicts a moderately weak cycle of 90 sunspots, plus or minus 10, peaking in August 2012. An average solar cycle ranges from 75 to 155 sunspots. The late decline of Cycle 23 has helped shift the panel away from its earlier leaning toward a strong Cycle 24. Now the group is evenly split between strong and weak.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Solar Forecast: Sunny with Chances for Moderate Coronal Ejections

A sense of humor at Scientific American

There's more at Space Daily

Monday, April 23, 2007

Climate reporting "too balanced" say scientists

This is one of the oddest headlines I've seen in a while.
From Cosmos.

Jim Hansen

This is a rewrite of Mr. Hansen's National Press Club speech.

I am thinking of moving all Hansen related posts to the politics blog. I'll let you know if I do and explain why.
In the meantime I've been spending a lot of time at the Climateer Investing site.

Friday, April 6, 2007


All posts relating to the IPCC WG II release will be found at the Climateer Economics blog.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Global Warming at the reference frame

Professor Motl has been on a bit of a roll lately:

Borehole climate reconstructions & hockey stick revolution

James Hansen on scientific reticence (I had posted the paper below, this a.m.)

Role of mathematics in science

Numerical Models, Integrated Circuits and Global Warming Theory

I had trouble deciding whether to post this on the economics site or here, so I did both. I've been thinking about cumulative errors for a month, it's time to let it go. This is by a guy who seems to know his way around an abacus.

Cross posted at ClimateerEconomics

Global temperature change

From the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: seven page PDF

I'm encouraged that Mr. Hansen believes in publishing in open access forums like the PNAS and the arXiv (see below). This is the only paper I've ever seen wherein the author refers to his Senate testimony. I should probably start posting his stuff on the Politics and Economics blog.

Scientific reticence and sea level rise

From Prometheus

HT: Junkscience

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Monday, March 12, 2007

The DO-climate events are probably noise induced:

From Climates of the Past:

Here's Comes The Sun:

International Heliophysical Year To Examine Sun-Earth Relationship
From ScienceDaily:

Political Corruption of the IPCC Report

From The Meridian Programme:

HT: Junkscience

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Build your own 3D glasses

The STEREO Solar Mission
From NASA:


The Solar-B (Hinode) joint U.S.-Japan-UK mission.
From the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan:

India’s “wet desert” hit by global climate change

From the Khaleej Times:

Cosmoclimatology: a New Theory Emerges

By Henrik Svensmark in Astronomy&Geophysics
From the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition:

HT: JunkScience

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Viewpoint: Global Warming Natural, May End Within 20 Years

From The Ohio State University:

Finding Hydroxyl

Radioactive carbon monoxide is used to trace key atmospheric "cleanser"

From Chemical and Engineering News:

Climate Change 2007

By Vincent Gray:

HT: climateaudit