Friday, April 30, 2010

Global Warming and NASA - and the EPA

Popular Science reports:  In 1985, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey found a giant hole in the ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere over the South Pole. This discovery prompted a largely successful international effort to ban CFCs, the chemicals largely responsible for man-made thinning of the ozone layer.
Unfortunately, a new analysis from Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) suggests that stopping ozone depletion may actually increase global warming and speed up sea level rise. This discovery pits two important environmental missions against each other, while highlighting the complexity of our effect on the planet.
New Scientist reports: ...GOODBYE air pollution and smoky chimneys, hello brighter days. That's been the trend in Europe for the past three decades - but unfortunately cleaning up the skies has allowed more of the sun's rays to pierce the atmosphere, contributing to at least half the warming that has occurred.
Christian Ruckstuhl of the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science in Switzerland and colleagues took aerosol concentrations from six locations in northern Europe, measured between 1986 and 2005, and compared them with solar-radiation measurements over the same period.
"The decrease in aerosols probably accounts for at least half of the warming over Europe in the last 30 years," says Rolf Philipona, a co-author of the study at MeteoSwiss, Switzerland's national weather service.
The latest climate models are built on the assumption that aerosols have their biggest influence by seeding natural clouds, which reflect sunlight. However, the team found that radiation dropped only slightly on cloudy days, suggesting that the main impact of aerosols is to block sunlight directly.   [Oops - does this mean we need to beginning using aerosols with CFC's once again?  I'm confused.]
Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano is emitting between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per day, a figure placing it in the same emissions league as a small-to-medium European economy, experts said on Monday.  
This week’s Obama NASA speech stirred up controversy in more ways than one. There’s the fact that he said he plans to ditch going back to the moon in favor of landing on asteroids. There’s also his stated plan to privatize space exploration. Add to that the usual grand plans with little if any detail or idea as to how to make those plans come into fruition, and you have controversy. One person sees it one way, another sees it another way. The Obama NASA speech in Florida this week even got a commentator on MSNBC a little vexed. It seems that no NASA employees allowed to hear the president’s plans for the future of American exploration into space.
Obama took a trip down to Florida to give a speech to NASA about is vision for the future of U.S. space travel. The problem is, the whole this was apparently staged. I know, I know, staging Obama is not news. However, this one was not just the ever-present teleprompters we’ve grown so accustomed to that we don’t even comment on them any more. It wasn’t even just the planted questions or the invitation only audience. This one went so far that it even caught the attention of long-time NBC science correspondent Jay Barbree. It seems that Obama’s speech to NASA didn’t include NASA. NASA was simply not invited.
Proving once again that weather and Mother Earth cannot be easily predicted comes this news from Brussels: The computer models that guided decisions to impose a no-fly zone across most of Europe in recent days are based on incomplete science and limited data, according to European officials. As a result, they may have over-stated the risks to the public, needlessly grounding flights and damaging businesses.
“It is a black box in certain areas,” Matthias Ruete, the EU’s director-general for mobility and transport, said on Monday, noting that many of the assumptions in the computer models were not backed by scientific evidence.
 CNX News reports:  President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is encouraging the public to create video advertisements that explain why federal regulations are "important to everyone."

The contest, which ends May 17, will award $2,500 to the makers of the video that best explains why federal regulations are good and how ordinary citizens can become more involved in making regulations. The videos must be posted on YouTube and can be no more than 60-90 seconds in length.

In the current contest, each video must include the slogan “Let your voice be heard,” and it must direct viewers to the government’s regulatory website The winning video will then be used by the entire federal government to promote the regulatory process and enhance the public’s participation in it.
[I am not knowledgeable enough to do it, but if I could, I would send in a video about why overreaching federal regulations are NOT good. This is particularly true for regulations for which Congress is not allowed to vote, a usurpation of our Constitutional three branches of government.  To my knowledge, the EPA is not one of those branches.  It would include the questions I pose below, by the way.]
From the Little Traverse Conservancy news:  Just a few mile southeast of Petoskey, MI lies a high glacial moraine, deposited onto the land when the ice masses retreated more than 11,000 years ago.  From atop this hill are sweeping views of Little Traverse Bay.  [What I've always wanted the global warming crowd and EPA to answer is this: what caused the glaciers to "retreat" 11,000 years ago?  Or what caused Greenland (so called because it was verdant and green at one time) to become a land of ice? If they could answer that it was mankind, then I might begin to believe that we actually have the capacity to stem what Planet Earth has been up to for millions of years.]  

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