It is getting cooler outside and perhaps you have dreams of ice fishing right around the corner (ok, maybe just a few of you), so how about a "cool" little discussion about how fast water freezes. Does hot water freeze faster than cool water? You would think the answer is no, but it might not always be the case, depending on the conditions. Why would hot water freeze faster than cold water (an effect first reported by Erasto Mpemba in 1963)? There are several reasons. First, hot water evaporates faster so by the time it freezes there is less mass than in a similar volume of cold water. A smaller volume of water freezes faster. Faster evaporation from the hot water assists the cooldown as well. A third factor is convective currents within the hot water. When water at the top evaporates it cools down and sinks to the bottom. Stronger convective currents in the hot water could cause a faster cooldown. There are of course limits to this effect. If you start out with a volume of water at 120 degrees and another at 33 degrees, the 33 degree water is going to freeze first. But there are certain temperature ranges where the effect can be measured.
On the subject of ice, it appears there will be no record low amount of arctic sea ice this year. If there was, believe me, you would have heard about it through every website and media outlet in the world. Instead what has been reported is a possible record low volume of sea ice (not a record low surface area). Also the article above mentions a possible record rate of ice loss during August. Call me cynical (its alright) but it seems since there was no record low in surface area, many AGW theorists are trying to frame the "ice issue" in as worst terms as possible to keep people worried. I suppose if there was no hype then people might not support green initiatives, laws, and regulations. A bigger problem with AGW regulations is that they are going to cost money – lots of money. The question in many people’s mind is whether all the bad things predicted to happen because of AGW are worse the the economic pain of the regulations. Airlines have thus far been excluded from strict carbon regulations but there is pressure to include them in the future and here is an article claiming the airline industry will have to contract (as well as shipping) in order to cut carbon emissions. Many could go out of business and there will definitely be less travel and shipping options. Higher shipping costs will filter down to consumers. Here is an article assessing the risk vs. reward. Climate projects will cost billions, but they will save billions in the future is the worst AGW projections come to pass. Some European leaders are worried that people will not want to pay for climate projects because of the recent downturn in the economy. Spending billions on climate projects (regulations, and carbon trading schemes) will extend the economic downturn.
Some people are pushing for more nuclear power generation in order to combat AGW. The main problem in most people’s mind is the radioactive waste. Here is some good news about de-activating radioactive waste. New research suggests that nuclear waste could be "treated" so that it loses its radioactivity in a couple hundred years instead of a couple million years. This would make nuclear power a little more palatable to some folks.
Solar energy is also a bright spot in the AGW and alternative energy story. U.S. researchers have set a new efficiency record at 40.8%. This is of course an expensive prototype, but bodes well for the future. Unfortunately, the technology advances are not the only part of the solar story. Economics also come into play. At least one company is expecting a downturn in the solar business in the next couple of years. They say the solar business is experiencing a bubble and it will burst leaving up to 80% of solar companies bankrupt. Wow. Be careful if you are investing in some of the newer solar stocks. The key in this business is the price of oil and coal generated power. If the price of oil drops below $100 a barrel and stays there, then it will make it tough on the solar business. The higher the price of oil, the more solar companies will stay in business. One aspect that people might forget about is that national governments around the world provide a lot of solar subsidies. If the economic downturn continues then some of the subsidies might dry up.
How about a nice viewer picture to round things out today. This one was taken by Carolyn Ball of Antigo. The colors are very near the peak in the northern half of the area so this week would be a good time to go out and see them. The problem is that we will have we will have more clouds than sun from today through Thursday. Friday and Saturday should have more sun. High temps on Friday will be in the low to mid 50s. Saturday could be the best day with high temps in the upper 50s to low 60s. The next chance of significant rain will be on Sunday.
Have a fine Tuesday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.
Posted under Uncategorized
This post was written by jloew on September 30, 2008