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Fri, 21 Jan 2022
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The MIT Global Warming Gamble

MIT Researchers AGW
© unknown

Climate science took another step backward last week as a new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was announced which claims global warming by 2100 will probably be twice as bad as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted.

The research team examined a range of possible climate scenarios which combined various estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system with a range of possible policy decisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which (presumably) cause global warming. Without policy action, the group's model runs "indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees".

Since that average rate of warming (about 0.5 deg. C per decade) is at least 2 times the observed rate of global-average surface temperature rise over the last 30 years, this would require our current spate of no warming to change into very dramatic and sustained warming in the near future.

And the longer Mother Nature waits to comply with the MIT group's demands, the more severe the warming will have to be to meet their projections.

Footprints

US: Oregon campers shut out over Memorial holiday as parks still buried in snow

Campers and picnickers this Memorial Day weekend may find a cold, wet blanket of snow over some of their favorite high-country picnicking and camping spots.

On the Deschutes National Forest, visitors are warned of 8-foot snow depths at campgrounds and picnic sites above 5,500 feet. The Cascade Lakes Highway, south and west of Bend, has been plowed open but offers barely enough room for two cars to pass between snowbanks.

On the Mount Hood National Forest, visitors are likely to encounter snow on any road or trail at 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet elevation, said Rick Acosta, another Forest Service spokesman.

"Some of our more popular spots are snowed-in still," he said. "It just depends on where you go. A lot of those campgrounds are normally open for Memorial Day, but this year, they are not."

Better Earth

US: Giant blob found deep beneath Nevada

The blob, which drips like honey, is between 15 and 20 million years old

Hidden beneath the U.S. West's Great Basin, scientists have spied a giant blob of rocky material dripping like honey.

The Great Basin consists of small mountain ranges separated by valleys and includes most of Nevada, the western half of Utah and portions of other nearby states.

While studying the area, John West of Arizona State University and his colleagues found evidence of a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada. Comparison of the results with CAT scans of the inside of Earth taken by ASU's Jeff Roth suggested they had found a so-called lithospheric drip. (Earth's lithosphere comprises the crust or outer layer of Earth and the uppermost mantle.)

Snowman

Hundreds of Mt. Qomolangma trekkers stranded after heavy snowfall

Kathmandu -- Heavy snowfall and storm have hampered hundreds of tourists and trekkers in Mt. Qomolangma region with most of them stranded at the base camp, 5,365 meters on Tuesday.

According to Nishant Shrestha, field officer of Sagarmatha Pollution Control Committee at Namche, Solukhumbu, more than 300 persons who were on their way to Lukla, were affected by the snowfall in the region.

Arun Pokharel, senior officer at the Mountaineering Department of the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, said that tourists and trekkers couldn't proceed to their destinations due to the storm and snowfall in the upper part of Mt. Qomolangma region including the base camp.

It is a very unusual phenomenon and the Himalayan range hadn't witnessed this kind of snowfall this season, said the general manager of Himalaya Expeditions, Satish Neupane.

Mr. Potato

Professor Steven Chu: paint the world white to fight global warming

As a weapon against global warming, it sounds so simple and low-tech that it could not possibly work. But the idea of using millions of buckets of whitewash to avert climate catastrophe has won the backing of one of the world's most influential scientists.

Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more sunlight and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday.

Speaking at the opening of the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium, for which The Times is media partner, Professor Chu said that this approach could have a vast impact. By lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the colour of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world's cars off the roads for 11 years, he said.

Comment: With eight years of global cooling, a quiet sun, recovering and expanding ice extent, increasing the albedo effect of the natural environment may only hasten the cooling.

Mr. Potato Head indeed.


Igloo

Extreme cold temperatures cause death of 133 children under the age of five

Peruvian Child
© unknown

Climate change continues to wreck havoc in Peru's southern Altiplano, where the arrival of freezing temperatures since March - almost three months earlier than usual - have killed more than 133 children.

The extreme cold has claimed the lives of 133 children so far this year, Radio Radio Programas, or RPP, reported on Monday. Most of the deaths were registered in Puno, an important agricultural and livestock region located in southeastern Peru.

Ambulance

Cyclone Aila kills more than 165 people

Calcutta, India -- Cyclone Aila's swath of destruction in Bangladesh and India left scores of humans and about a dozen endangered Royal Bengal tigers dead.

The Bangladesh Daily Star reported Wednesday the storm, spawned in the Bay of Bengal, killed at least 121 people in Bangladesh after making landfall Monday. The official death count was 91, the newspaper reported.

Bizarro Earth

Western Iran - Earthquake Magnitude 4.7

Image
© US Geological Survey
Date-Time

* Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 23:52:52 UTC
* Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 03:22:52 AM at epicenter

Location 34.078°N, 48.445°E

Depth 61.1 km (38.0 miles)

Region WESTERN IRAN

Distances

* 67 km (42 miles) N (8°) from Khorramabad, Iran

* 78 km (48 miles) S (189°) from Hamadan, Iran

* 116 km (72 miles) W (270°) from Arak, Iran

* 325 km (202 miles) WSW (238°) from TEHRAN, Iran

Alarm Clock

Extraordinary Abundance of Life in Oceans Past

Uxbridge, Canada, - Imagine large pods of mighty blue whales and orcas darkening the waters off Cornwall, England, while closer to shore blue sharks and thresher sharks chase herds of harbour porpoise and dolphins.

Pure fantasy? No, in fact that extraordinary abundance of marine life off the English coast was the norm for oceans around the world not so long ago, researchers have now documented.

And then humans began to mine the seas of anything worth eating.

Bizarro Earth

'Clean' Energy and Poisoned Water

In the musical "Urinetown," a severe drought leaves the dwindling supplies of clean water in the hands of a corporation called Urine Good Company. Urine Good Company makes a fortune selling the precious commodity and running public toilets. It pays off politicians to ward off regulation and inspection. It uses the mechanisms of state control to repress an increasingly desperate and impoverished population.
Truthdig gas drilling
© AP photo / Keith Srakocic
A drilling rig used to bore thousands of feet into the earth to extract natural gas from the Marcellus Shale deep underground stands on a hill above a Pennsylvania farm.

The musical satire may turn out to be a prescient vision of the future. Corporations in Colorado, Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and upstate New York have launched a massive program to extract natural gas through a process that could, if it goes wrong, degrade the Delaware River watershed and the fresh water supplies that feed upstate communities, the metropolitan cities of New York, Philadelphia, Camden and Trenton, and many others on its way to the Delaware Bay.

"The potential environmental consequences are extreme," says Fritz Mayer, editor of The River Reporter in Narrowsburg, N.Y. His paper has been following the drilling in the Upper Delaware River Valley and he told me, "It could ruin the drinking supply for 8 million people in New York City."