Mystery Of 1952 Killer London Fog Solved


December 5, 1952 – residents of London, England woke to cloudless skies characteristic of a prolonged pattern of unusually chilly weather. Shivering citizens fed coal burning fireplaces with earnest, soot belched from thousands of chimneys. Within a few hours thick fog settled over the city, by afternoon fog began to turn “sickly yellow” in hue.

Unaware of temperature inversion caused by a stalled high pressure weather system, Londoners had no way of knowing warm temperatures 1,000 feet above ground blocked noxious soot’s escape. Reeking of rotten eggs, poisonous sulfur rich smog halted air, train, boat and surface transportation. Those who ventured outside reported streets thick with sticky goo and blackened faces of coal miners. Over 5 days an estimated 12,000 succumbed to the killer fog. A government investigation resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1956, restricting burning of coal in urban areas and grants to convert coal heat to gas, oil or electric.

Knowing coal emissions trapped in fog are lethal isn’t the same as understanding chemical interactions at play. It took a trip to China (a coal burning nation, home to 16 of the 20 most polluted cities in the world) by Texas A&M researcher Renyi Zhang to publish findings Oct. 9 2016 in Proceeding of The National Academy of Sciences. Research indicating the same phenomenon takes place today.

“People have known that sulfate was a big contributor to the fog, and sulfuric acid particles were formed from sulfur dioxide released by coal burning for residential use and power plants, and other means.

But how sulfur dioxide was turned into sulfuric acid was unclear. Our results showed that this process was facilitated by nitrogen dioxide, another co-product of coal burning, and occurred initially on natural fog. Another key aspect in the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfate is that it produces acidic particles, which subsequently inhibits this process. Natural fog contained larger particles of several tens of micrometers in size, and the acid formed was sufficiently diluted. Evaporation of those fog particles then left smaller acidic haze particles that covered the city.”

http://www.history.com/news/the-killer-fog-that-blanketed-london-60-years-ago

Climate Change GIF


There are those who flatly deny man-made climate change, others who prescribe to global warming as a natural earth cycle, and scoffers convinced the whole thing is an elaborate hoax. Presidential wannabe Donald Trump contends climate change a conspiracy perpetrated by China to undermine the U.S. economy. Bastions of tight ass right wing patriotic duplicity, the likes of Heartland Institute, Americans for Prosperity and the Heritage Foundation, use their considerable non-profit resources to cast doubt on climate science – target of choice, the NOAA. Inhabiting the opposite end of the spectrum, a plethora of organizations from the David Suzuki Foundation to Greenpeace champion the result of humanity’s indifference to drastic warning signs of climate calamity.

On Monday UK climate scientist Ed Hawkins of the University of Reading, posted this “infographic” on Twitter. In a Washington Post article, Jason Samenow wrote –

“Over the years, scientists have attempted to visually communicate the Earth’s warming in many ways.  They’ve developed an array of maps, charts, and animations that present an unmistakable picture of a warming world.

But I’ve seen no visual as striking and effective as the infographic posted to Twitter Monday by climate scientist Ed Hawkins.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/05/10/the-most-compelling-visual-of-global-warming-ever-made/

Regardless of which camp you call home, ponder Hawkin’s graphic. Each ring represents a year from 1850-2016.

See Earth’s Temperature Spiral Toward 2°C : Discovery News

Edible Water Bottle


Over 50 billion bottles of water are consumed each year in America. A United Nations study estimates our oceans contain 46,000 pieces of floating plastic per square mile. In America alone, 1.5 million barrels of oil (reported at the 2007 U.S. Conference of Mayors, likely much higher today) are needed to produce plastic for water bottles, that’s enough oil to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars for a year.

Enter Ooho, the edible water bottle. Brown algae and calcium chloride form a gel around water, the process of “spherification” (think egg yolk) forms a double membrane, keeping contents safe and hygienic while allowing a label to be placed between the two layers of membrane. Water is frozen before being “dipped” in calcium chloride, then bathed in brown algae to strengthen  by creating a second layer.  At a cost of 2 cents per “bottle” Ooho’s future should be bright, but it has a few problems.

London design student and creator Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez concedes container strength is akin to the skin of fruit. Toss in how to re-seal the vessel and ways to keep membranes sanitary for consumption. Technicalities aside, the edible water bottle demonstrates life without plastic water bottles is conceivable.

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/Heres-A-Water-Bottle-You-Can-Actually-Eat-180951185/?no-ist

ooho.jpg

The Ooho edible water bottle can’t be closed, but is biodegrade. (Rodrigo García González)

Feeling crafty? Make an edible water bottle at home –

Voracious Carbon Eating Microorganisms


Ponder hungry microorganisms lurking within the Arctic tundra. Vast regions of permafrost – defined as permanently frozen layers of rock, soil and sediment – now thawing at alarming rates due to increased global temperatures. I’m not talking the thin “active” top layer of permafrost covering 24% of Northern Hemisphere land – ponder deep layers of ancient glaciated tundra surrendering to the elements.

Boreholes in northern Canada, Norway and Russia indicate a .4 degree increase in ground temperatures at a depth of 60 meters. It might sound like no big deal – let me assure you otherwise. In the last decade it translates to an increase greater than the last 100 years. So why worry about mushy tundra?

Trapped in that permafrost are enormous amounts of formerly frozen ancient carbon. As the ground warms, billions of voracious microorganisms belly up to the all you can eat buffet. Devouring carbon releases vast amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere – CO2 that contributes to accelerated global warming.

Robert Spencer from the University of Florida, lead researcher of a paper published April 23, 2015 in Geophysical Research Letters said –

“When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions. The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect.”

http://earthsky.org/earth/carbon-from-melting-permafrost-goes-back-to-atmosphere?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=1ac6825dd9-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-1ac6825dd9-393970565

http://icestories.exploratorium.edu/dispatches/big-ideas/tundra-and-permafrost/

While the climate denial camp busily pats itself on the back for convincing the masses we have nothing to worry about – stop and ask yourself why people gobble their self serving propaganda hook, line and sinker.

Holy Fracking Earthquake


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report on April 23, 2015 outlining evidence of “sharply increased” seismic activity due to human activity – “fracking” to be precise.
DEFINITION of ‘Fracking’

A slang term for hydraulic fracturing. Fracking refers to the procedure of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting fluid into cracks to force them further open. The larger fissures allow more oil and gas to flow out of the formation and into the wellbore, from where it can be extracted.

Slick assertions by fracking advocates, paint rosy pictures of harmless and inconsequential necessity. Common sense dictates otherwise. Last year Oklahoma had more magnitude 3 or greater earthquakes than California. Oklahoma, by far the banner state for “human” triggered seismic activity, went from an average of 1.5 shakes per year in 2009 to 2.5 a day in 2014.

Texas, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Ohio all reported increased seismic activity associated with industrial activity – translation, fracking.

Contained in the USGS official announcement…

“Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells”

Fracking involves more than increased seismic activity – much more than an estimated 72 trillion gallons of water a year. Ponder 360 billion gallons of chemicals – formaldehyde, methanol, hydrochloric acid to name a few. Roughly half of this chemical sludge is recovered, taken by tanker or pumped into open pit pools to evaporate. Final “disposal” requires nothing more than a burial – groundwater, wells, agriculture of little consequence.

An article posted last September on conservative website American Thinker made me laugh. The headline – “The Science Is Settled:Fracking Is Safe” illustrates the sorry state of right wing wisdom. The first paragraph, managed in a few short sentences to take a jab at climate change, declare fracking safe, followed by “end of discussion”. Citing the National Science Foundation, Duke University and “others”, the article stated extensive research examined 130 wells, concluding that only a “subset of cases” – 7 wells in Pennsylvania and 1 in Texas (faulty construction or cement) polluted groundwater. There are over 500,000 wells in America – using the ratio of 7/130, that’s over 26,000 environmental disasters. The rest of the article just made me mad – linked below if you can stomach nonsense about how over 1 million frackings resulted in an infinitesimal 7 screw ups – they “examined” 130 wells, holy crap.

http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2014/09/the_science_is_settled_fracking_is_safe.html

If the world was perfect, each and every one of these nincompoops would be forced to live in a community beside a fracking site.

 

https://i2.wp.com/en.es-static.us/upl/2015/04/earthquakes-manmade-USGS-20151-e1429813354755.jpg

http://earthsky.org/earth/usgs-more-earthquakes-due-to-human-activities?utm_source=EarthSky+News&utm_campaign=2810865bda-EarthSky_News&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c643945d79-2810865bda-393970565

Survey: WeatherCasters Coming Around on Climate Change


Had to do it 🙂 Be sure to watch the second clip of Pippa the “Weather-girl” going rogue.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

One of the frustrations for climate communicators over the years has been the unwillingness of TV weathercasters to come to grips with climate change.  That’s a big deal, because for a large majority of citizens, the weather guy or gal is the closest thing they ever see to an actual atmospheric scientist.
Most of them are not meteorologists, but rather communication specialists with (maybe) some met 101 courses in their transcript. Many are employed by extremely conservative media organizations, and are loathe to be seen as promoting a “liberal agenda” (science!).

For several years, there have been ongoing efforts by a number of top flight scientists and communicators to reach out and answer questions for this group.  It may be that these efforts, and the accelerated pounding by Mother Nature, are having an effect.

A new survey offers a glimmer of hope.

Below, Pippa the Weather Girl goes Rogue!

View original post

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial


Starting April 28, 2015 Australia’s University of Queensland launches a remarkable first in “open to all” climate denial education. “Making Sense of Climate Science Denial” is the brainchild of John Cook, Queensland Global Change Institute climate communication fellow, and founder of climate science myth debunking website, Skeptical Science.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2015/apr/21/university-offering-free-online-course-to-demolish-climate-denial

A seven week course – free, and open to all who register – includes interviews with top scientists, lessons on climate science, psychology of popular myths and how people respond to them.

In a perfect world the likes of James Inhofe, Marco Rubio and propagandists at Heartland Institute would register – if for no other reason than to learn their reigning days of asinine stupidity are numbered. “Students” from over 130 countries have signed-up by the thousands to learn how climate denial “fact” is skillfully twisted into mythical “truth”.

“97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming; however, less than half of Australians are aware of humanity’s role in climate change, while half of the US Senate has voted that humans aren’t causing global warming. This free course explains why there is such a huge gap between the scientific community and the public. Our course looks at what’s driving climate science denial and the most common myths about climate change.” – John Cook

Register on the link below.

https://www.edx.org/course/making-sense-climate-science-denial-uqx-denial101x#!

Another great link from politifact

http://ecowatch.com/2013/09/17/lies-from-climate-change-denying-heartland-institute/