First, this: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/02/26/weather-storms-hurricanes/5575663/
It seems that at least USA Today has realized that “extreme” weather is what we have always and always will (and which only mentioned “climate change”, i.e. global warming once)!
I was sidetracked in my writing by:
This looked like a huntsman spider, though since I unfortunately had to “dispatch” him (for hiding under my husband’s computer monitor!), it’s hard to tell. The eyes tell all and his really don’t speak anymore!
This is a wolf spider. I found him first by my washer and gave mashing him a run, but he was too quick and hiding in a corner. At that time, I did not know what kind of spider he was. (We generally kill all spiders except at few orb-weavers that we find in the house. It’s forbidden, however, to kill them outside, except black windows.) Yesterday, I found him in the middle of the dining room, on the floor. I snagged him with a jar and took more pictures, deducing he was indeed a wolf spider. Last night, we tossed in a baby Cuban cockroach and he dined on it. I probably won’t toss him outside for a while–it’s supposed to snow this weekend and get below zero. (There’s a video of him wrestling the cockroach at: http://www.shutterfly.com/video/myVideos.sfly?fid=8742d57818ca111dc7e45aad1e0cdff4#D-52c2e2dae4b02ab6b1d800c2-530f593ce4537409d07f5ebf)
Once I had identified the spiders, etc, I decided to check my carbon footprint. The result of my searches–carbon footprint calculators are as bogus as psychics. Several wanted to know my income. What does my income have to do with my carbon footprint? Then there were the sites that insisted my only choices for heating were electric or natural gas. I filled out the questions on one site, finding out if everyone used what I do, we would need six earths. However, when I forwarded to the next page, all of the instructions for reducing my carbon footprint I already do: Car with high mileage for long trips, I get my water from a well, I keep my thermostat lower that apparently half the country does (based on news items about propane costs), compost, garden, grow trees, don’t water my yard (just the trees and garden), use natural bug control when possible, eat wild meat, use CFLs where appropriate, low-flush toilets, etc, etc. I guess the part where the only way to stop global warming is to live in a hole in the ground and eat dirt may actually be true. Seems there’s no way to please the carbon people. I would also note that many sites were trying to sell carbon credits, so this is really about money.
Next, the high cost of propane. Propane is not regulated as a utility so the dealer you have can pretty much charge whatever he wants. You cannot have a dealer fill another dealer’s tank. Most of the time, you have minimum purchase amounts (mine will cost $800 next time I buy–200 gallon minimum, over $3.75 a gallon plus fees), and often dealers just dump high priced fuel in your tank and bill you without your knowing they were going to fill your tank (I actually padlocked the tank once to keep them from filling it.) What does this have to with global warming, you ask? The alternative to propane is generally a wood stove. Mine is from 1983, so it probably does not meet EPA standards. Every morning now the neighborhood smells like a forest fire. People are burning wood, rather than using propane. My furnace is 96% efficient–my fireplace is not. However, the cost of propane and the complete lack of care for customers (propane dealers know they own you and they don’t care if you like their service or not. There are only two dealer where I live. If I change, I have to get a new tank and wait for a refund from the old one. Dealers often won’t quote you prices, so you have no idea if the move is worth it or not.) So what we have here is a situation that our “Stop Global Warming” President ignores entirely while the amount of smoke in the air goes up and up as people drop the cleaner fuel. All talk, as usual. Right now, the option is to go to whatever fuel is cheaper and easier to obtain, no matter how dirty because you have one of two unregulated utilities (the other is fuel oil).
The first class on climate change was introductory—discussing what will eventually be covered. I was surprised to see a “hockey stick” graph, especially since Michael Mann’s lawsuit again Tim Bell was dismissed allegedly because Mann would not produce his data. (Note: It appears the report of the lawsuit being dismissed was not true. It remains true that Mann will not release his data, however. Unless someone has a link to the data and wants to share?) One would think a high quality university would shy away from such questionable data. It wasn’t Mann’s graph, which is good. Still, most temperature graphs I see now have a leveling of the gradient, not a hockey stick. More disappointing was how many of the graphs are old (going only to 2006 or before) and have no information on the source of the graph. Perhaps later on there will be more information.
I did find the brief discussion of the Milankovich cycles interesting. I have always been fascinated with the snowball earth period and its transition to today’s earth. Paleo climate is quite interesting.
I am hoping that later on they discuss the pause, the slowing, whatever one wants to refer to the flattening of the “hockey stick” blade. Perhaps when we get to models. I would like to know what is involved in the models. So far, there was one example, with CO2 and volcanoes, aerosols, volcanoes and ozone. A very, very simplistic model. Hopefully, they get better.
Going through the videos, I came up with a lot of questions. In researching, I found several items involving the Medieval Warming period and how warm it was and how global it was. It has always fascinated me that climate change science just wiped out two very important historical events: the Little Ice Age and The Medieval Warming period. I suppose that is not really that surprising in today’s culture. My understanding is that Columbus is now an evil conqueror who never should have disturbed the natives living a utopian existence on the continent. It’s amazing how easy it is to alter history to one’s politics. If history, why not science?
One interesting item was the definition of climate: “the statistics of weather”. Of course, the first thing that popped into my head was the book “How to lie with statistics”. Not what they were hoping for, I would guess……
This week is about the physics of climate change. Maybe it will be better.