clouds ahead

The consensus among climate modelers is that global warming would lead to more evaporation, which would create more water vapor in the air and more clouds. Yet more water in the atmosphere may not lead to more clouds, because higher temperatures would require more water vapor to become saturated. This means that more water vapor would be needed to form clouds leading to a grand conundrum about upcoming clouds.

The study of clouds is ongoing.

sport hunting

The stars are all immensely hot and glowing objects, similar in nature to our Sun …. some bigger than the Sun, some smaller … but all of them shine by their OWN light.

Brian May:

No ! – we are absolutely not obsessed ENOUGH with animals. You are, sadly, asking the wrong question here.

We humans, as a race, are insanely obsessed with ourselves … and have the completely unjustifiable idea that we are the only species on this planet that is worthy of decent treatment. I believe our whole manner of treating the other animals on Earth is tragically off-beam.

It’s time we all got a grip, and realized that EVERY animal is worthy of respect.

asteroid update

When you get a chance, here’s 3 minutes to fundamentally shift your brain, an excellent rendition of what’s following us down our drain to the Sun.

30 years in NASA’s audit of asteroids

Before you travel off to YouTube, these are not new asteroids. It’s an animation of the asteroids we’ve discovered. See? All that ‘stuff’ has been there all along, we just didn’t know it.

sewer spillover

“Plants take up drugs, antibacterials from sludge used as fertilizers… on the basis of this research, we should now consider changing biosolids policy to discourage the use of Class A biosolids by home gardeners on their food crops.” I’ve been following sloppy sludge management for years. Status quo wastewater treatment just cannot continue.

science or fiction

The Holocene is then and before. Humans penetrated everywhere.
The Anthropocene is now and now on. The business of Earth and Air.

Aggregate and fiber, binder and solvent. Enough to kill us all. Six billion people using Earth’s water, energy and matter. Our future simply foolish? Or do we account for humanity’s influence?

Humans On Earth


friendly glass

Safe glass for birdsMore than 100 million birds die each year in a collision with our windows. An award winning glass coating is coming to market that’s transparent to humans but appears to birds as a snarl of spider webs.

Birds see what’s outside reflected on the window. Do what you can to break up reflections with decals or decor, screens or coverings. Install windows at a tilt.

Move feeders and perches about 3 feet from windows —they won’t be flying fast enough to get hurt.

gas data widgets
The discussion hopes CO2 can be restrained around 350ppm. We know that’s bearably safe, we’ve lived in it. At 450ppm, few want to predict, or can predict, how wild things will become. Models say we’ll put a few cities on stilts, move millions of farms… cherries in the Yukon, and so on.

Real Time CO2 widget

plankton fertilization

…don’t want no more ceee oooh twooo:

it has been shown that atmospheric CO2 concentration (up to 90% of global warming) was roughly twice higher in the not too distant past, some 70,000 years ago. What caused CO2 to drop to a low level around 1850? It was primarily due to plankton growing on the surface of the sea where it absorbs CO2. Sinking to the bottom of the sea, it’s eventually trapped in sediments where it turns to oil or gas.

There simply isn’t enough growing on 35% of the Earth’s surface to soak up the excess atmospheric CO2 that we have to contend with.

Plankton, on the other hand, grow on 65% of the Earth, the seas, where it absorbs atmospheric CO2 faster, in greater quantities. and sequesters it for thousands of in the form of oil and gas.

All we need to do is to dust the surface of the ocean with rust !

What prevents us from proceeding? Damn uncertainty. Uncertainty and what’s beyond. And that’s enough for me.

serious boom

The ash from Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull eruption dispersed roughly 600 miles across Western Europe. A light dusting – “it would be generous to say half a millimeter”. Six hundred miles from the blast at Yellowstone’s caldera the ash is about 1.5ft. thick – one thousand times thicker.

Yellowstone caldera ash

climate calves

“What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done.” – Richard Alley

Greenland’s Petermann glacier lost a 100 sq mile chunk of ice, 4-times the size of Manhattan.

And all the ice of Greenland will disappear in just ten years as temperatures rise as little as 2C.

And seas will rise 23 feet.

our shameful waters

This year’s hypoxic zone, er, dead water, is nearly the size of the state of Massachusetts. The second largest hypoxic zone worldwide is the Gulf of Mexico adjacent to the Mississippi River. Delivering water that can no longer support life, the Big Muddy has become the Big Dead.

The oil spill rightly gets the headlines, but corn is every bit as harmful to the gulf – 120,000 tons of fertilizers washing off Midwestern farm fields last year alone. Oil consuming bacteria will add to the shame by consuming Gulf oxygen as well.

America’s environment is industry.

A. There’s hardly a family in the Gulf region that does not have a member involved in the oil industry. My father was a tugboat captain who handled barges of crude oil for the sprawling refineries, my brother sells oilfield equipment and technology, my nephew captains offshore supply vessels, my great-nephew operates a giant crane currently picking Katrina-smashed equipment from the Gulf floor. Cousins manage oil leases.

B. There’s hardly a family in the Midwest that does not have a member involved in agriculture. My father managed sprawling farmland, my brother sells farm equipment and irrigation, my nephew brokers exports, my great-nephew operates a giant combine harvesting corn across Iowa and Nebraska. Cousins manage feed mills.

The USA has become a dead water drain. NOAA’s Hypoxia Research Team is here. National Geographic’s animated map of world rivers is worth a visit.

Focusing on a spill as large as a continent is astounding challenge. Mega-fixes and macro-engineering might restrain industrial impact if implemented across national scale. There’s 50 million educated unemployed in the OECD and we stimulate hi-ways and retail. Geesh.

Mississippi Drainage Basin

Safe Cottages for New Orleans

[Press Release – The White House – September 9, 2008]
FEMA Introduces New Katrina Cottage

“These are smart, safe homes and cost much less than a trailer,” FEMA officials announced at the White House today.

FEMA Quik-Cottage introducedThe affordable Kwik-Cottage developed by the Southern Pine Council and the Army Corps of Engineers advances residential architecture, reflects the famous old world charm of New Orleans and enhances public safety.”

“The Hurricane Recovery Housing Program is ground breaking, no pun intended,” said Gov. Bobby Jindal, “This is a breakthrough for business.”

NOLA area opponents remain critical, saying taxpayers are footing the bill.

From lede transcript, NOLA-TV News Feature – Buckets? We Got Buckets

‘Protesters told reporters, “The Wall Street Journal doesn’t vote, it’s the Republican caucus on the ballot. Just like Sarah Palin, they fire commissioners. They shifted the Louisiana Recovery Authority to the Louisiana Cottages Administration to steer tax funds to cronies. It’s ‘big government, less government’ but it’s our money.”

‘At the French Quarter today, crowds are loud under the iron filigree as marchers slow step the famed avenue of haunts and jaunts, chanting a brassy syncopation of Louisiana politics, “Earmarks. Earmarks. Pork. Pork. Pork”.

The Obama Campaign said public funds should be directed to advanced engineering such as the Army Corps of Ecology or for real science on the Mississippi and not wasted on a lobby for a few contractors in New Orleans. “This falls on the heels of falling down on the job all over again,” said Obama.

A letter from the D.C. McCain-Palin office said their new Re-Entry Mortgage Bill will boost the economy and get government off the back of emergency housing, give builders a brand alternative, plus reduce taxes in the lucrative crisis marketplace.

Circles of burps

Livestock – predominantly cattle – are responsible for an astonishing proportion of global warming gases – 18 per cent of the total to be precise:

  • a fifth of all emissions which is more greenhouse gas emissions than all the transport on earth
  • seventy per cent of all agricultural land is used to raise animals – that’s a third of the land surface of the entire planet
  • over a third of all cereal production goes to feed those animals
  • animal methane is more destructive than industrial CO2
  • 296 times the global warming power of carbon dioxide, sixty five per cent of human related emissions of nitrous oxide are from the nitrogen in animal manure.

[post at the BBC]

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) staff jointly with University of Melbourne scientists have made a breakthrough in reducing bovine emissions by feeding an extract from the bark of black wattle (Acacia mollisima ).

The scientists found that feeding the crystallised powder not only reduced methans but also nitrogen emissions, and increased milk production.

DPI “Greenhouse in Agriculture” team leader Dr Richard Eckard said in an interview “A tannin in the bark combined with nitrogen in the rumen making it easier to digest and giving more benefit to the animal. The nitrogen goes out in the dung and then released slowly into the environment. The tannin stopped the nitrogen going into the bloodstream, where the animal had to work hard to process it.

The cattle might spend the energy equivalent of one litre to 1½ litres of milk to excrete the nitrogen in their urine. There is evidence that tannins reduced methane and it was now necessary to develop a method easily to feed the supplement to the cattle. [via AllAboutFeed]

before condemning meats and becoming a vegan, consider these points from Ben Smith:

A critical point that is being missed is where this carbon comes from.

Cars, ships, etc.:
This carbon comes from carbon that has been buried deep underground. It is unearthed, burned, and then released into the atmosphere. Therefore, any carbon released is added to carbon already present in the atmosphere = global warming.

Cows, agriculture:
This carbon comes from the atmosphere. The plants take up the carbon dioxide. Livestock then eat the plants and release the carbon back into the atmosphere. Therefore, any carbon released by the cows was already in the atmosphere to begin with (carbon neutral) = no global warming.

The problem isn’t the re-releasing of carbon that was already in the atmosphere (livestock, agriculture), but the unearthing of new carbon sources (gas and coal) and then adding these to the atmosphere.

The Guardian reports on a new pill to trap some of the energy from the methane, which is naturally produced in the fermentation process when a cow digests grass and is later mostly burped out through their mouths.Cut down on flying, sell the car and recycle your bottles. But if you really want to tackle global warming, you should stop your cow from burping.According to scientific estimates, the methane gas produced by cows is responsible for 4% of greenhouse gas emissions. [previous post]