Study

Climate Change – New Records

SETH BORENSTEIN Published:  2012-03-26 The lower 48 states were 8.6 degrees above normal for March and 6 degrees higher than average for the first three months of the year, according to calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, with both March and the first three months of the year far exceeding the country’s old records.(AP Photo/David Goldman) WASHINGTON (AP) – It has been so warm in the United States this year, especially in March, that national records were not just broken, they were deep-fried. Temperatures in the lower 48 states were 8.6 degrees (4.8 degrees Celsius) above normal for March and 6 degrees (3.3 degrees Celsius) higher than average for the first three months of the year, according to calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That far exceeds the old records. The magnitude of how unusual the year has been in the U.S. has alarmed some meteorologists who have warned about global warming. One climate scientist said it is the weather equivalent of a baseball player on steroids, with old records obliterated. “Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good,” said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist who specializes in extreme weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. “It’s a guilty pleasure. You’re out enjoying this nice March weather, but you know it’s not a good thing.” It’s not just March. “It’s been ongoing for several months,” said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. Meteorologists say an unusual confluence of several weather patterns, including La Nina, was the direct cause of...

Oil Depletion Protocol

As drafted by Dr. Colin J. Campbell WHEREAS the passage of history has recorded an increasing pace of change, such that the demand for energy has grown rapidly in parallel with the world population over the past two hundred years since the Industrial Revolution; WHEREAS the energy supply required by the population has come mainly from coal and petroleum, such resources having been formed but rarely in the geological past and being inevitably subject to depletion; WHEREAS oil provides ninety percent of transport fuel, is essential to trade, and plays a critical role in the agriculture needed to feed the expanding population; WHEREAS oil is unevenly distributed on the Planet for well-understood geological reasons, with much being concentrated in five countries bordering the Persian Gulf; WHEREAS all the major productive provinces of the World have been identified with the help of advanced technology and growing geological knowledge, it being now evident that discovery reached a peak in the 1960s, despite technological progress and a diligent search; WHEREAS the past peak of discovery inevitably leads to a corresponding peak in production during the first decade of the 21st Century, assuming no radical decline in demand; WHEREAS the onset of the decline of this critical resource affects all aspects of modern life, such having grave political and geopolitical implications; WHEREAS it is expedient to plan an orderly transition to the new World environment of reduced energy supply, making early provisions to avoid the waste of energy, stimulate the entry of substitute energies, and extend the life of the remaining oil; WHEREAS it is desirable to meet the challenges so arising in...

What to plant based on Global Warming

Seth Borenstein He stands by the giant fig tree in his suburban Boston yard stands as an example: “People don’t think of figs as a crop you can grow in the Boston area. You can do it now.” The new guide also uses better weather data and offers more interactive technology. For example, gardeners using the online version can enter their ZIP code and get the exact average coldest temperature. Also, for the first time, calculations include more detailed factors such as prevailing winds, the presence of nearby bodies of water, the slope of the land, and the way cities are hotter than suburbs and rural areas. The map carves up the U.S. into 26 zones based on five-degree temperature increments. The old 1990 map mentions 34 U.S. cities in its key. On the 2012 map, 18 of those, including Honolulu, St. Louis, Des Moines, Iowa, St. Paul, Minn., and even Fairbanks, Alaska, are in newer, warmer zones. Those differences matter in deciding what to plant. For example, Des Moines used to be in zone 5a, meaning the lowest temperature on average was between minus 15 and minus 20 degrees. Now it’s 5b, which has a lowest temperature of 10 to 15 degrees below zero. Jerry Holub, manager of a Des Moines plant nursery, said folks there might now be able to safely grow passion flowers. Griffin, Ga., used to be in zone 7b, where the coldest day would average between 5 and 10 degrees. But the city is now in zone 8a, averaging a coldest day of 10 to 15 degrees. So growing bay laurel becomes possible. It...

Resource Protectionism

As a policy agenda, protectionism is defended by three major arguments. The first is that protectionist policies like high tariffs and subsidies save jobs in domestic industries. This argument reasons that if a domestic industry, such as the steel industry in the United States, is forced to compete against a foreign country that produces steel more cheaply, such as Brazil, then that domestic industry will have to lay off hundreds or thousands of workers in order to stay competitive. Entire communities whose livelihoods depend on the steel industry will be decimated by poverty. Governments that employ [bargaining-chip]theory use tariffs and subsidies as bargaining chips at the negotiating table with other countries. The second argument, a corollary to this one, is that eventually, left to compete for too long against Brazil, a domestic industry like U.S. steel might collapse completely, leaving the United States dependant on foreign steel. This, the argument goes, could be devastating if the United States suddenly went to war with everyone (a scenario that seems less and less implausible these days), as it would find itself unable to produce a badly needed resource. The third argument favors protectionist policies for a slightly different reason. This argument postulates that a country’s protectionist policies should be reciprocal to those of other countries – in other words, that our barriers have got to be as high as the other guy’s. Governments that employ this theory use tariffs and subsidies as bargaining chips at the negotiating table with other countries. This so-called “bargaining chip” theory is neither pro- nor anti-trade, but views protectionist politics as a game of give and...

April 2011 Record-setting for Tornadoes

RANDOLPH E. SCHMID Published: Aug 3, 2011 WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. set a record for the most tornadoes within a month with April’s deadly storms. The final report for the month shows 753 twisters across the country, including a super outbreak on April 25-28 that killed more than 300 people in the South and Midwest. While final death statistics are still being studied, the toll on April 27, being called the Dixie Outbreak, set a one-day record for tornado deaths since 1950. It topped the 310 deaths on April 3, 1974. Current estimates for the day range from 313 to 317 and could go higher, according to federal Storm Prediction Center data. Follow-up studies that eliminated duplicate reports cut April’s tornado total down from the preliminary count of 875 that generated widespread publicity. But the storm center says that still tops the former monthly record of 543 tornadoes in May 2003. Atmospheric scientists noted that April had an active weather pattern across the 48 contiguous states, with strong storms moving through the center of the country, tapping into moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as they matured across the mid-Mississippi Valley. Contributing to the thrashing were the La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the increase of moisture in the atmosphere caused by the warming climate. Thomas Karl, head of the National Climatic Data Center, has cautioned against focusing on any single cause for the unusual chain of events, saying “clearly these things interconnect.” The tornado death toll for the year so far is 546, including 364 in...
Climate Change – Driest Day on Record

Climate Change – Driest Day on Record

2011-06-27 – Driest day in recorded U.S. history The National Weather Service in Las Vegas, Nevada issued a statement yesterday saying they had reached a record “dew point depression” of 129 degrees (or: low humidity of below 1%) when the local temperature was 107 with a dew point of -22 F. They explain on their webpage: “Las Vegas’ largest dew point depression ever recorded was set on June 27, 2011 at 129 degrees. The dew point depression is the difference between the air temperature and dew point temperature. At this time the relative humidity was 1%. The previous record dew point depression was 120 degrees set on July 2, 2007. This makes June 27, 2011 the driest day ever recorded based on the dew point depression“ You can’t see the maximum depression on the official data graph above, where data only updates once an hour, but they posted a picture of the 1-minute data on their Facebook Page: Relative humidity readings below 10% were widespread over the Southwest on June 27th 2011, though the KLAS airport was the driest on the Mesonet...

Biodiesel to Generate $70 Billion Year

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– In 2010 the revenues on the global market for biodiesel were estimated to be more than $18 billion, this index being projected to grow unprecedentedly in the coming years – the revenues are forecast to climb to the peak of $70 billion. New-age technologies coupled with economical and ecological advances will further on play in favor of biodiesel market development and growth. Newer feedstock sources such as waste grease, algae, yellowhorn and jatropha are undoubtedly posed to spur the market too. Nowadays China has reached the highest figures of automobile units sold thus becoming the largest automotive market leaving even the USA behind. Given the latest concern of the Chinese government in ecological security, biodiesel market boom is projected for the country along with vast investments influx. Detailed review and forecast on global, regional and country markets of biodiesel can be found in the new market research report “Biodiesel World Market Outlook 2011” that covers present situation, historical background and future forecast and addresses comprehensive data showing biodiesel capacities, production, consumption, trade statistics, and prices in the recent years are provided (globally, regionally and by country). Report Details: Biodiesel World Market Outlook 2011Published: January, 2011Pages: 200http://mcgroup.co.uk/researches/biodiesel The report indicates a wealth of information on biodiesel producers and suppliers, covers biodiesel production in the respective country, major biodiesel producers, biodiesel consumption in the country market, biodiesel trade in the country, biodiesel prices. Biodiesel market forecast for next five years, including market volumes and prices is also provided. The study on biodiesel has been completed by Merchant Research & Consulting Ltd, an internationally recognized market research agency, specializing in...
Food vs. Fuel

Food vs. Fuel

Image above: Cartoon by Ramirez focusing on food shortages. By Tony C. Dreibus on 26 April 2011 for Bloomberg News – (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-04-26/food-costs-seen-reaching-record-by-year-end-as-world-inflation-accelerates.html) Global food prices may rise 4.4 percent to a record by the end of the year, driven by demand for meat, oilseeds and grains used to make ethanol, adding to costs that mean inflation is accelerating from the U.S. to China. The United Nations’ Food Price Index may climb to 240 points from 229.84 last month, said William Adams, a fund manager at Zurich-based Resilience AG, which has $22.2 million of assets. Global corn stockpiles are shrinking the most in seven years, inventories of nine edible oils will drop to the lowest since 1974 and U.S. beef stocks will be the smallest since 1999, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. “The stockpiles are being severely depleted,” said Adams, who correctly forecast gains in heating oil and gasoline prices last year. “Eventually it gets to the consumer. The U.S. government isn’t subsidizing pork chops like it is ethanol.” The cost of living in the U.S. rose at its fastest pace since December 2009 in the 12 months ended in March. Chinese consumer prices rose last month by the most since 2008. The People’s Bank of China raised borrowing costs four times since October and the European Central Bank increased rates on April 7 for the first time since 2008. World Bank President Robert Zoellick said April 16 that the world is “one shock away” from a crisis in food supply and prices. Price Report The UN’s food-price index, which covers 55 commodities, reached an all-time high of 236.8...

Yellowhorn in Saline

Xuefeng Wang  Hirafuji, M.  Res. Inst. of Forest Resource Inf. Tech., Chinese Acad. of Forestry, Beijing, China This paper appears in: Image and Signal Processing (CISP), 2010 3rd International Congress on Issue Date: 16-18 Oct. 2010 Volume: 4 On page(s): 1937 – 1941 Location: Yantai Print ISBN: 978-1-4244-6513-2 INSPEC Accession Number: 11676775 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/CISP.2010.5648095 Date of Current Version: 29 November 2010 Abstract With fossil fuels decreasing, society is faced with an unprecedented energy crisis.  One of the most important ways to solve this problem is by identifying sustainable alternatives for fossil fuels. This article studied the salt tolerance of shinyleaf yellowhorn which is a strong drought resistant and high-quality plant which produces oil seeds for biodiesel. After the plant was segmented from original color images of different salt concentration and different growth time, the tolerance to salinity of the plant was analyzed based on the changes of the plant pixels number to provide reference data for cultivation and some methodological guidance for the research of plant growth rules based on images. Several conclusions were obtained:  (1) It is a good way to study the dynamic rules of plant growth according to the changes of the pixels number based on image; (2) Color plant images can be segmented well by using the chromaticity coordinate cg, which is equal to 0.40 in this study as the critical value. (3) Shinyleaf yellowhorn seedlings can survive in hydroponic solution when the salt concentration is 1.5%, but died when the concentration is 3%.(4) Shinyleaf yellowhorn seedlings grow normally in the soil with 3% salt concentration, stagnate when the concentration is 4.5%, and...

New Technology for Better Biodiesel

Luis F. Cabea†, Lucinia V. Marconcini†, Giovanni P. Mambrini†, Rodrigo B. V. Azeredo‡, and Luiz A. Colnago*† † Embrapa Instrumentao, Rua XV de Novembro, 1452, So Carlos, SP, Brazil, 13560-970 ‡ Instituto de Qumica, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Campus do Valonguinho, 24020-150 Niteri, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Energy Fuels, Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/ef200294j Publication Date (Web): May 9, 2011 Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society Abstract: The transesterification reaction used to produce biodiesel was monitored with 1H high-resolution nuclear magnetic resonance (HRNMR), conventional low-resolution NMR (LRNMR), and unilateral NMR (UNMR) spectroscopy. HRNMR was used as a standard method to compare with the methods of LRNMR and UNMR. A Carr–Purcell–Meiboom–Gill (CPMG) pulse sequence was used in both LRNMR and UNMR experiments. In LRNMR, the CPMG signal was used to measure the transverse relaxation time (T2), which depended on sample viscosity; it showed a good correlation (R = 0.994) for the concentration of biodiesel in the oil/biodiesel mixture. These measurements could only be used when the samples contained less than 1% of methanol. In UNMR, the CPMG decay of the biodiesel/oil mixture strongly depended on molecular diffusion because of the intrinsic high magnet field gradient (G) associated with the magnetic. The T2eff had a good and negative correlation (R = −0.997) with the biodiesel concentration in the biodiesel/oil mixture. The UNMR measurements were insensitive to the methanol contamination up to 50%, which was contrary to the LRNMR method. As methanol diffused rapidly, its magnetization lost coherency quickly in the presence of strong G and it was not fully refocused by the CPMG sequence. Therefore, the use of the fast, portable, and low...