There is another contender in the alternate energy, renewable fuels sweepstakes that combines aspects of solar energy and biofuels. Most solar technologies are aimed at producing electricity, but a new class of solar chemical reactors aims to make liquid fuels from air, water, and sunshine. This could, in theory, provide a carbon neutral replacement for liquid fossil fuels. The catch? The process is costly and unlikely ever to compete with gasoline produced from fossil fuels without a punishing tax on carbon emissions.
The Oklo uranium mine in Gabon contains well known evidence of natural nuclear reactors, but how widespread were they? A team of researchers has proposed a scenario to account for the disappearance of a radioactive mineral from the geological record. Part of their hypothesis is that a surge of oxygen billions of years ago caused the creation of millions of tiny nuclear reactors. If true, this primordial nuclear age could have played a role in the evolution of early life forms.
A new study has confirmed the astronomical theory of the ice ages, but with a new twist: The shutoff of the meridional ocean circulation, or MOC, and an associated southward shift of tropical monsoon rain belts seems to play an integral role in the melting of glacial period ice sheets. These changes cause warming of the Southern Hemisphere and a rise in atmospheric CO2 levels, which in turn provides a positive feedback loop that helps drive glacial termination. This is why, every 100,000 years or so, the great Northern Hemisphere ice sheets collapse and glacial conditions give way to a warm interglacial period, such as the Holocene warming humanity is currently enjoying. This, however, does not support recent claims that global warming is causing the Southeast Asian monsoon to fail.
Contrary to what is said in the popular media, water (H2O) is the most important greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere, not the small amount of demonized CO2. But aside from acting as a greenhouse gas, water vapor plays an active role in shaping global atmospheric circulation and thus Earth's climate. Water does this by undergoing state changes—from liquid to vapor and back again—allowing water vapor to carry significant amounts of latent heat from the warm equatorial regions toward the poles. The importance of this heat transfer mechanism in climate regulation is poorly understood but new data have begun to show the impact is major. One thing is certain, most widely used climate models do not correctly account for the complex dynamics of water vapor.
The supporters of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim that they have science on their side. Time and again we are told that the debate is over, the science is settled and consensus among the world's scientists reached. If that is true, why are so many scientists coming forward to oppose and denounce the climate alarmist's theory? To understand the true nature of the climate change debate it is necessary to understand what a scientific theory is and how to judge a theory's validity.
The lingering cool temperatures being experience by much of North America has weather forecasters wondering if we are entering a new Little Ice Age—a reference to the prolonged period of cold weather that afflicted the world for centuries and didn't end until just prior to the American Civil War. From historical records, scientists have found a strong correlation between low sunspot activity and a cooling climate. At the end of May, an international panel of experts led by NOAA and sponsored by NASA released a new prediction for the next solar cycle: Solar Cycle 24 will be one of the weakest in recent memory. Are we about to start a new Little Ice Age?
Even though the new US President gives occasional lip service to nuclear energy, recent actions by his administration force us to ask, “is the Obama administration trying to kill nuclear energy?” The first indication that Obama's support for nuclear power was less than whole hearted came during the stimulus debate, when a push to include tens of billions of dollars in insurance for new nuclear reactors failed. Then, the Obama administration came out this month against storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Coming on the heals of the EPA and CARB decisions, to include all production emissions when evaluating biofuels, a new study from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology says that it may be better to burn crops than turn them into biofuels. The UN has reported that world food prices are rising due to competition with government subsidized biofuel programs. Combined with new concerns over nitrous oxide production from agricultural crops, this may signal the death of America's foolish foray into crop based ethanol.
A Russian project currently underway aims at ringing the Arctic Circle with 70 MW floating nuclear power plants. In a report by Interfax, a Russian state controlled news agency, Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom and the far northern Siberian Republic of Yakutiya signed an agreement last week for the construction of four floating nuclear power plants for use along the Republic’s coastal areas on the Arctic Ocean. This moves forward existing plans to construct scores of new power plants in the Arctic region.
In a new report in Science, scientists present results matching neither the hypothesis of inter-hemispheric synchrony during the mid to late Holocene nor rhythmic asynchrony, downplaying the importance of global driving mechanisms. It seems that several glacier advances occurred in New Zealand during classic northern warm periods. Understanding the relationship between climate changes in the northern and southern hemispheres during the Holocene, along with their causes, remains a major problem of climate science.
The Earth Institute at Columbia University held a panel discussion recently on the subject of climate change. The main themes of the evening were the complexity and fluidity of climate science, interweaving policy, politics and science, and evolving public attitudes. Not surprisingly, being held in an academic environment, the audience at Columbia was firmly in the camp of climate change believers and was preoccupied mainly with deflecting attacks by deniers. Why do anthropogenic global warming proponents seem so paranoid about opposing views?
Increased scrutiny of climate catastrophists' claims is leading to panic among the promoters of global warming hype. Rather than attempting to counter mounting evidence that global warming—at least as defined by the IPCC and its supporters—is not a valid scientific theory, a number of leading catastrophists have issued a public call to climate scientists. Their plea? Further dumbing down climate science by using a simplified “common climate language” to “advance the public's decision-making capacity.”
Currently the sun is in one of its least active periods since the Maunder Minimum, during the depths of the Little Ice Age. A quiet Sun comes along every 11 years or so—it's a natural part of the sunspot cycle, discovered by German astronomer Heinrich Schwabe in the mid-1800s. What does this have to do with global warming and climate change? It just may be why things keep getting colder as climate activists tell us Earth is melting down.
“The worst-case IPCC projections, or even worse, are being realized,” said Katherine Richardson, co-chair of the Copenhagen Climate Congress. Emissions are soaring, projections of sea level rise are higher than expected, and climate impacts around the world are appearing with increasing frequency, the University of Copenhagen biological oceanographer told delegates in the opening session of the 3-day meeting. Why are the doomsayers suddenly all over the news media? Because of the changing climate—the political climate that is.
Most everyone has heard the recent announcement that Global Warming has been put on hold for 20 to 30 years. Earth's variable climate continues to make fools of climate scientists, obstinately refusing to follow the IPCC's climate change script. Why? Because the climate change doomsayers put their faith in computer models, not in hard science.