Sunday, January 10, 2016

The GOP/NRA/Michigan Teabillies want you to know lead poisoning is no big deal.

Gun nuts want you to know there are liberal "myths" about lead poisoning 

Perhaps this sort of bought-and-paid-for willful ignorance is why Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and his Teabilly legislature were totally blindsided by the water crisis in Flint.
Apparently in the mind of the conservative, lead poisoning is no big deal but even if it is real we can blame it all on leaded paint and gasoline that were banned decades ago by the pesky EPA that they want to eliminate ASAP for making all those unnecessary regulations.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Listen to your voice mails people..

My last voice mail from Tina..

She killed herself later that night. I didn't know about this message until I checked my voice mails after I got the news.  She was going through a really tough time in her life.  We spent a lot of time on the phone very occasionally with me listening to her vent about how horrible she had been treated by her ex-husband a local doctor of questionable character who somehow managed to use his money and influence to make it a crime for her to even visit with her three young children in the days leading up to her committing suicide. I had known Tina since 1st grade at Christ the Good Shepherd in Lincoln Park, Michigan .   RIP for you Tina, but not yet for those of us who could have done more to help you.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Gulf Stream, the Psychrometric Chart and Megastorms.

First the story about the abrupt changes now being observed in the Gulf Stream, the prevailing ocean current that has traditionally moved surface water from the tropical areas in the Atlantic ocean northward along the eastern coast of the USA, and into the North Atlantic ocean where it helps heat Northern Europe.   

Abrupt Change and the Decades-Long Time Frame: Greenland and the Gulf Stream
"...The theory is that freshwater melt from ice floats on salty sea water and creates a blockage in the warm northward flowing waters of the Gulf Stream. When the Gulf Stream shuts down, winter cold freezes the north Atlantic allowing cold air to penetrate much farther south, which has a reverberating cooling effect around the globe."
This point is backed up in the blue area shown in the North Atlantic.  The blue area is where ice is melting, leaving the surface water cooler as a result from the loss of ocean water circulation.

 Next, the Psychrometric Chart showing the relationships between air temperature, relative humidity, amount of water vapor absorbed, and total energy of air under the full range of variation.


What brings these two together?  If the prevailing Atlantic ocean current commonly known as the Gulf Stream is truly being disrupted as recent evidence suggests than it would mean that more of the sun's energy that lands in equatorial regions of the Atlantic area would have to migrate toward cooler areas away from the equator as heat energy stored in molecules of air traveling in the wind instead of as heat energy stored in water molecules within the ocean currents.

When heat travels in the ocean currents, the warmed water delivers heat in a northerly direction along the coastline. Regional wind patterns pick up the heat from the oceans and distribute the energy.

When the heat energy travels in the wind, the energy exists as a combination of an elevated temperature of the air and the amount of water vapor absorbed into the air. Hot humid air transfers more energy than cold dry air.  And according to the Psychrometric chart, we can make two basic predictions about the future weather patterns we will see if the Gulf Stream is indeed disrupted.  I am not proposing a theory as much as simply interpreting what the chart shows in plain sight.

1) Warmer air can absorb exponentially more water vapor than cooler air.
2) Warm humid air has a lower density than cold dry air. As air cools, it shrinks.

This means that in the seemingly random locations where  warm humid air masses collide with cold air masses, there will be relatively larger amounts of snow or rain. and the resulting drop in barometric pressure will continue to pull in more surrounding air and source of precipitation.

It's a double-whammy. Higher average temperatures resulting from increased human activity not only lead to an increase in the amount of water vapor carried away from the equator region in the wind, the disruption in the Gulf Stream further increases the amount of water vapor carried away from the equator region in the wind.  And all that extra absorbed water vapor has to fall out of the sky eventually.

So the megastorms are the new normal.  


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Climate Change and Megastorms. I told you so.

This is a misleading headline because the cold blob shouldn't be puzzling to scientists.

Cold Atlantic "Blob" Puzzles Scientists 

(CNN)At first glance, it stands out like a sore thumb. That blob of blue and purple on the map. One of the only places on the globe that is abnormally cold in a year that will likely shatter records as the warmest globally.
It's being called the Atlantic "blob." It's a large area in the North Atlantic that is seeing a pronounced cooling trend. The ocean surface is much cooler than normal and in fact record cold in some locations.
The mysterious cold blob is evidence that the traditional prevailing ocean current formerly known as the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt has been disrupted by the effects of our warming climate.  Just like NASA scientists predicted back in 2004 and others before that. 

A Chilling Possibility: By disturbing a massive ocean current, melting Arctic sea ice might trigger colder weather in Europe and North America.

March 5, 2004: Global warming could plunge North America and Western Europe into a deep freeze, possibly within only a few decades.
That's the paradoxical scenario gaining credibility among many climate scientists. The thawing of sea ice covering the Arctic could disturb or even halt large currents in the Atlantic Ocean. Without the vast heat that these ocean currents deliver--comparable to the power generation of a million nuclear power plants--Europe's average temperature would likely drop 5 to 10°C (9 to 18°F), and parts of eastern North America would be chilled somewhat less. Such a dip in temperature would be similar to global average temperatures toward the end of the last ice age roughly 20,000 years ago.

More heat energy from the sun lands at the earth's equatorial regions than lands at the earth's poles. The heat energy has to somehow migrate away from the equator toward the poles either within ocean currents or through air currents.  So assume that the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt has been disrupted just like the cold blob indicates and that the excess heat from the equatorial region is being forced to migrate away from the equator toward the poles through currents in the atmosphere, or wind instead of through ocean currents.

Heat energy or enthalpy exists in the atmosphere in two forms.  One is the sensible heat, the temperature of the air that you could measure with a thermometer in degrees F or C.  The other form of energy in the atmosphere is the latent heat, the water vapor absorbed in the air, that you could measure with a hygrometer in % Relative Humidity.  The warmer air becomes the more water vapor it can absorb and the capacity to carry moisture increases exponentially as air warms.  See: Psychrometric Chart.  Hot humid air stores more energy than hot dry air but whatever amount of moisture is absorbed into the air in one location will eventually fall back to the ground as precipitation somewhere else.

Here is a Pathteacher post from the archives 2012 about the interaction of temperature and humidity in the atmosphere and how the Psychrometric Chart predicts the major weather trends we can expect in our warming climate.

Pathteacher: This chart explains why we can expect more extreme weather

I think it is reasonable to say the amount of precipitation will tend to decrease in areas where the atmosphere is typically the warmest and the amount of precipitation will tend to increase in areas where the air is the typically the coolest. We will see more persistent droughts, more intense wildfires and growing deserts in hotter areas and an increasing number of random Megastorms that dump huge amounts of precipitation causing flooding, property damage, crop losses and infrastructure failures in cooler areas. This doesn't bode well for the agriculture or property insurance industries, or for our prospects in general.       

Which brings me to an image of the storms currently pounding the Atlantic Coast in the Southern USA.  This is a massive storm being described as the largest storm in the area in 1,000 years and the rain that has fallen over a foot deep in many places is causing catastrophic damage over a wide area. Yes, there have been massive storms in the past, but as the global climate continues to warm, the rate of incidence and destructive power of the massive, catastrophic, Megastorms like this one will increase.  

Get used to it.  This is the future we have chosen, or at least ignored as a real threat.  A typical climate denier might say this is all just business as usual or point out how the climate changed before there were 7 billion people on Earth or recite end-times prophecy, or maybe even admit that climate denial is an easier alternative to admitting they don't give a shit about the world their children and grandchildren will inherit.  But none of that matters anymore because climate change is happening right now and I plan to keep reminding people I told you so.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Scrooge McTrump vs all the other ducks

If the GOP leadership really wants Donald Trump left out out of their 2016 Presidential primary elections then they are going to have to forcibly restrain him with Lilliputian tactics.  The GOP base is comprised of a million tiny people who post about conservative values anonymously of course in the reader comment sections and they are prepared to tie down the Donald and his hair to the ground while he sleeps. But the Donald doesn't actually sleep and if the Lilliputians try to tie him down he will just hire undocumented workers from nearby Islands to chop away at those tiny ropes and after becoming a free man again, Gulliver Trump will be inspired to run as a 3rd party candidate just to spite the GOP leaders and to show deference and respect to HRC in return for future business / banking / foreign policy considerations.  Assuming this is all true (which of course it will be or my name isn't Abernathy P. Duckling)  the biggest question left is:

1. What will Donald Trump call his 3rd party?

a)  American Eagle Party
b)  Liberty for All Party
c)  True Patriot Party
d)  Unity Party
e)  TRiUMPh! Party

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spectacular photo from the Pacific coast of South Africa

I took this photo in 2012 during a work trip to Port Elizabeth on a Sunday side trip with my American host.  I have thought about this and other amazing sights along with the wonderful people I met while was there just about every day since.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Detroit Graffiti Art

Here are some examples of Detroit's world class graffiti artwork painted on buildings along Grand River near Canfield a couple miles from downtown.   In Detroit you can paint a whole building and people are like... Cool, do more!

And the taco truck of course..