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Geothermal Future

While I am a big proponent of nuclear energy to solve our energy needs as well as to allow us a green source of energy, geothermal also offers some advantages that may be worth considering.

Like nuclear, it takes years to implement a large geothermal plant (perhaps decades). It is imperative that the United States aggressively and quickly begins the construction of these alternative sources of energy rather than building more coal fired plants.

The NY Times ran an editorial on geothermal which I have reproduced, in part, below. Also, for those that don’t understand the technology, the following video will allow you to learn the basics.

In short, geothermal energy is:

  • safe to operate in very populated areas

Scientists find bigger than expected polar ice melt

There is no question that our climate has changed slightly compared to 20 years ago.  Most of the data points to increases of temperature and the most significant (and obvious if you are in the Arctic) is the diminished amount of ice in the Arctic Ocean.  While there is some question as to the cause of this melting (see my ocean currents article), there is little question that it is occurring.

This article discusses some of the observations that scientists have seen regarding the ice melt and some possible repercussions.  The article is somewhat refreshing though in that it focuses on what can be observed rather than focusing on what might be causing the warming.  Since it was so evenly reported, I felt it was of significant interest to my readers.

Not cool anymore

I really can’t comment on the news that it will take 1,000 years to recover from today’s carbon dioxide pollution better than Mr. Taranto of the Wall Street Journal.

I do want to make three additional comments before you read below.  If it takes 1,000 years to recover from an overload of carbon dioxide that has already poisoned our atmosphere then:

  1. why would we risk ruining our current economy for a solution that is likely to not ever happen?
  2. if it takes 1,000 years to get healthy doesn’t it stand to reason that it takes 1,000 years (or at least a couple of hundred) to get sick?
  3. is this just another example of inference based on mathematical computer models that have little to do with reality?

UK explorer to measure effect of global warming on Arctic ice

International Herald Tribune – October 16, 2007

My first reaction when reading this article was “but aren’t we doing this already?” Obviously not but that is a shame. I repeat my often heard message that if we are going to spend trillions of dollars to reverse human induced global warming then we need to fully understand the true causes and effects of the phenomenon. Something as simple as mapping the ice on Greenland and in the Arctic seems like a good first step.

I give credit to Pen Hadow and his three-member team in conducting this research. I wonder what would happen if the poor guy had enough funds to launch a couple dozen three-member teams.

The Global Warming Learning Curve

Time – October 17, 2007

I am not sure what inference can be drawn from this study but I do find it interesting. The study analyzes the search patterns of words on the Internet that relate to the topic of global warming. Without a doubt, this activity has fallen in the past few months but as with all trends, the causality is still in question.

Global warming makes Mont Blanc grow

Telegraph – October 15, 2007

First of all, the Mont Blanc in this story is not the famous luxury pens. Rather it is the mountain that the pens were named for. And the mountain really isn’t growing but rather more snow and ice are being added to it, which does factor into the official measurement evidently.

It seems that France has been having warmer summers lately (I didn’t independently verify this) and that has caused more snow and ice to accumulate on the higher elevations of the mountain. This is a known phenomenon that it is not just cold temperature that creates (or eliminates) glaciers but also the correct levels of humidity.

The Scientific and Social Challenges of Global Warming

LITA – October 6, 2007

This is an interesting overview of global warming and its social challenges. I think that the author has oversimplified the conversation to some degree and may have even extrapolated some events that may not be applicable.  For instance, it is very difficult to say that polar bears will be extinct in 40 years since we do not have a good understanding of the numbers of polar bears today. There does not appear to be multiple and repeatable studies that show that current polar bear population is even declining.

The author also says that hurricanes will be more powerful in the future due to global warming and multiple scientists have come out against that hypothesis. Once again, it does not appear that the facts support that claim.

Consensus discussion – Liars or Statistics?

There is an old saying that statistics don’t lie but liars use statistics.

While I am not going to call anyone a liar, I will point out that the belief of the individual analyzing raw data can affect the outcome of the data. This is one of the reasons why one should always be skeptical.

This posting will not be about any given article but rather will cover several articles that have recently been getting a lot of discussion among skeptics and non-skeptics on the theory of global warming and its causes. I admit that I am somewhat of a “junkie” when it comes to climate news so you may not have been affected by all of the news so here is the high-level:

Why is Arctic ice melting 50 years too fast?

HowStuffWorks

This is an excellent article to give you some background on the recent announcement about the increasing speed of Arctic ice melting.  In August, a survey of scientists funded by Japan announced that the Arctic is melting much faster than current climate models indicate that they should.

Edwards wins online poll on climate change

Boston.com – July 11, 2007

I think that, after Iraq, climate change may be the biggest global political issue. It is also an issue where the leadership of the US President is very influential across the world. For my readers outside of the US, the citizens of the United States will elect a new President on November 4, 2008.  Our current President, George W. Bush, will step down and is not able to run again due to constitutional term limits.

This survey is not scientific and so I am not sure how valid it is.  It is interesting that John Edwards nearly doubled his rivals, however this could be that the respondents just preferred Mr. Edwards.