Saturday, May 31, 2008

Act On Climate Change, Top Scientists Warn US

May 30, 2008 - A group of 1,700 leading scientists called on the US government yesterday to take the lead in fighting global warming. Citing the “unprecedented and unanticipated” effects of global warming, the scientists, including six Nobel prizewinners, presented a letter calling for an immediate reduction in US carbon emissions.

The statement came as the Senate prepares to debate a bill next week that would impose economy-wide limits on greenhouse emissions to avert what it describes as “catastrophic climate change”.

The letter, issued by the non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists, warns: “If emissions continue unabated, our nation and the world will face more sea level rise, heatwaves, droughts, wildfires, snowmelt, flood risk, and public health threats, as well as increased rates of plant and animal species extinctions.”

The White House joined in the chorus of gloom when it issued a long-delayed report bringing together research into global warming. The report was issued after environmental groups won a court order last year enforcing a statute that obliges the government to produce an assessment of global warming every four years. Described as “a litany of bad news in store for the US”, the report catalogues threats from drought, natural disaster, insect infestation and energy shortages. More >>>

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tidal power fuels Britain's National Grid

May 27, 2008 - Tidal power has been harnessed to generate electricity for Britain's National Grid for the first time, it has been announced. Tidal power is harnessed off Orkney The move has been hailed as a milestone in the development of marine energy, which could provide up to a fifth of Britain's electricity needs.

It came when a single turbine on the Atlantic seabed off Orkney was connected to the National Grid on Monday morning. The area off the north of Scotland is regarded as potentially one of the best in the world for tidal power and has been described as the "Saudi Arabia of marine energy".

Although only a small amount of electricity was initially generated as part of a trial, output will be stepped up over the next few weeks to provide enough power for around 150 homes. More >>>

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sharp rise in atmospheric CO2 in 2007

Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) Indicates Sharp Rise in Carbon Dioxide and Methane in 2007

April 23, 2008

Last year alone global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global climate change, increased by 0.6 percent, or 19 billion tons. Additionally methane rose by 27 million tons after nearly a decade with little or no increase. NOAA scientists released these and other preliminary findings today as part of an annual update to the agency's greenhouse gas index, which tracks data from 60 sites around the world. More >>>

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Peak Oil Crisis: Transiting to Transit

08 May 2008: With crude oil now above $120 a barrel and threatening to go higher, it is clear that our preferred and convenient means of going places, our car, the airplane and the rental car soon are going to be parked because they will be too expensive to operate.

Like it or not, most of us are going to be riding some form of mass transit or multiple passenger vehicle – trains, buses, trolleys, car pools, van pools etc.- while waiting for our cars to be replaced with electric or higher mileage vehicles. As there are currently about 220 million cars and light trucks registered in the U.S. and 700 million or so elsewhere, the replacement process is going to be lengthy one.

In America, our accustomed daily transportation needs are so diverse that it is difficult to foresee how new transportation methods and patterns will come about. For some simply accepting the inconvenience of taking public transit to work or joining a car pool will save enough gasoline each week that much higher prices, shortages and ultimately rationing can be accommodated without undue hardship. More >>>

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Solar water heat required in new Hawaii homes

State becomes first to do so; owners pay up front but save over time

HONOLULU May 6, 2008 - All new homes in Hawaii will be required to have solar water heaters installed starting in 2010 under a law approved by the Legislature.
Hawaii becomes the first state requiring the energy-saving systems in homes.
Solar water heaters typically cost home buyers about $5,000 extra on their mortgage, but island residents will save thousands of dollars over the years on their electricity bills, supporters said .

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Cyclone Nargis Floods Myanmar (Burma)

May 05, 2008 - The first cyclone of the 2008 season in the northern Indian Ocean was a devastating one for Myanmar (Burma). According to reports from, Cyclone Nargis made landfall with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 150-160 mph, which is the equivalent of a strong Category 3 or minimal Category 4 hurricane.

News reports stated that at least 10,000 people were killed, and thousands more were missing as of May 5. Flood water can be difficult to see in photo-like satellite images, particularly when the water is muddy. This pair of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite use a combination of visible and infrared light to make floodwaters obvious. Water is blue or nearly black, vegetation is bright green, bare ground is tan, and clouds are white or light blue.
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Super-Active 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season Predicted

FORT COLLINS, Colorado, May 1, 2008 (ENS) - With one month to go before the start of the 2008 hurricane season, a closely watched team of forecasters predicts a well above-average Atlantic basin tropical cyclone season in 2008.

Philip Klotzbach and William Gray with the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University say they have increased their seasonal forecast from their initial early December prediction. "We anticipate an above-average probability of United States major hurricane landfall," they now say.
The hurricane season officially opens on June 1 of each year and ends in November. The team estimates that Florida is at elevated risk for at least one major hurricane landfall on the state's east coast and also on its Gulf coast this season.

The U.S. East Coast, including peninsular Florida, is at a 45 percent risk this season, while the average for the last century is 31 percent, Klotzbach and Gray estimate. The Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville is at a 44 percent risk this year, while the average for the last century on the Gulf Coast is 30 percent, The probability of a major hurricane making landfall in the United States is estimated to be about 135 percent of the long-period average. More >>>