The weather is quieting down and warming up for the next couple of days. The best part of the forecast is less wind. It should only be 5 to 10 mph all the way through the weekend. It is still cold today but tomorrow the mercury should rise back up to normal (mid 20s) and over the weekend we could be talking 30. Snowfall should be minimal, only a dusting or half inch in a few spots on Saturday. The next chance of significant accumulations will occur on Monday and Tuesday of next week. Keep that in mind if you have travel plans.
Scientist proclaims Arctic ice fields are receding like mad. The ice fields being referred to are on Canada’s Baffin Island. They have decreased in size by 50% in the last 50 years. What goes un-noticed in this article is surprising revelations from the long term trend. The scientists carbon dated some of the dead plant material that was revealed after the ice melted away and it dated back 1,600 years. Which of course means that 1,600 years ago there was no ice on that spot on Baffin Island, which means it was warmer then, than it is today. Which most likely means the ice conditions across the arctic were the same as today or there was even less. Even more interesting is that the lead researcher George Miller claims that there was a general cooling trend over the last 10,000 years which abruptly came to an end around the beginning of the 20th century. Which means the average temperature was even warmer prior to 1,600 years ago. Which means there could have hardly been any ice anywhere in the arctic. Which brings a couple questions to mind. How did the polar bears survive? How did the coral reefs survive? How did the penguins, seals, and walruses survive? We are told that all of these animal species will go extinct because of the recent warming trend, yet it seems they survived even warmer weather for many thousands of years (prior to about 400 AD).
With all the talk about AGW, I am always keeping my eye on the newest alternative energy technology. Here is a new method for producing hydrogen using strained titania. I am not really a big fan of converting the automobile industry over to hydrogen fuel because it takes to much infrastructure development and it is not as efficient as using just plain electricity. However, this article did make a good point about how hydrogen could be useful. Using this new efficient technology, hydrogen could be produced during the day when the sun is out and then that hydrogen could be run through a fuel cell at night in order to keep electricity flowing to the grid. I don’t know how efficient this would be as compared to storing electricity in batteries or ultracapacitors but it is an interesting alternative.
In other news another company is producing cheap thin film solar panels. Global Solar Energy has achieved a record 10% efficiency in thin film solar panel. This is the second company making waves by producing flexible thin film solar panels. Nanosolar shipped their first products earlier in January.
On the energy efficient scene, I haven’t heard if Polybrite’s LED light bulbs are available as of yet, but more and more people are taking notice of LED’s potential. Here is a nice video about the coming LED revolution. One thing that might hinder the adoption of LEDs is price. They are already the most expensive form of lighting and if people start buying them more than compact fluorescent (CF) then the prices of CF bulbs might fall quite a bit, thus making them very attractive. As of now, most of the lighting manufacturers have invested heavily in CF bulbs and they aren’t going to just switch over to making LED bulbs and throw away billions worth of CF inventory. It is more likely that all the CFs will be sold at a deep discount.
And now for something completely different. If you have ever wanted cool space pictures for your computer wallpaper, you can find the best ones at the Hubble telescope wallpaper site. I use them all the time.
Meteorologist Justin Loew
Posted under Uncategorized
This post was written by jloew on January 31, 2008