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Topics - silkman

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Policy and solutions / Fusion
« on: October 16, 2014, 03:10:21 PM »
All I can say is that this would be a game changer if it proved to have legs:

http://m.aviationweek.com/technology/skunk-works-reveals-compact-fusion-reactor-details

Unlike the sorry, mad professor tales of cold fusion many years ago, this story emanates from Lockheed Martin no less.

Is it credible? It seems highly unlikely given the billions spent by governments in pursuit of this particular holy grail but....

I'm not sure if I like the vision of a future with essentially limitless energy on tap any more than the apocalypse that will result from unrestrained anthropogenic carbon release.

My preference for my grandkids (all five of them so far) would be a world that understood the importance of sustainable limits.

What are your thoughts?


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Policy and solutions / Julia Slingo
« on: April 08, 2014, 11:14:55 AM »
I’ve just listened to Julia Slingo being interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s The Life Scientific.

Podcast here:

http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/radio4/tls/tls_20140408-0930a.mp3

What struck me most was her total dignity towards the end of her interview (25 minutes or so in) when Jim Al-Khalilli probes her attitude towards the climate change skeptics and, in particular Lord Lawson, who once publicly referred to her as “this woman Julia Slingo”. It’s very clear that she’s suffered greatly from such attacks but seems to be bearing them with fortitude.

That prominent individuals in society should subject anyone working for the greater good to such aggression has to be totally unacceptable.

Professor Slingo has had a controversial term at the top of the Met Office but her public defense of her own position and of the efforts of mainstream science to unravel the climate issues being created by society’s determination to continue on a BAU pathway in the face of real and present risk is to be applauded.

There are folk on the other side of this debate who should hang their heads in shame for their behaviour if not for the views they hold.

It’s well worth a listen.   

3
Policy and solutions / IPCC Working Group II Report
« on: March 31, 2014, 08:01:43 PM »
So the much trailed WGII report is out after a week of discussions in Yokohama and is receiving in depth coverage by the BBC here in the UK.

As ever, the Beeb is doing a decent job in communicating the seriousness of the situation picking up John Kerry's quote that the cost of inaction would be catastrophic:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26824943

Nonetheless they still feel the need to give the "balanced" view and the only interview I've seen has been with Richard Tol, the economist who asked for his name to be removed from the report:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-26822868

Tol is now inevitably a hero on WUWT. Why is it that even the informed media feel it necessary to feed the trolls?



4
Consequences / Siberian Fires
« on: June 30, 2013, 08:56:23 AM »
MODIS this morning has a very clear image of wild fires in Siberia with the smoke plume spreading hundreds of miles to the East.





Though these are a part of the natural course of events it's concerning to consider the implications of more frequent conflagrations on this scale in such a remote area, particularly to arctic albedo.

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Policy and solutions / Storing up Problems for the Future?
« on: March 28, 2013, 11:31:19 AM »
As a "newbie" I hesitate to start a new thread so please forgive me if this either incorrect or self evident.

The forcing mechanism behind AGW is well understood and is a result of a greenhouse gas driven imbalance. Energy radiated by the Earth is less than than it receives from the sun via insolation.

This excess energy (heat) has to go somewhere with the oceans providing the single greatest sink.

New evidence now seems to indicate that the dynamics of heat distribution in the upper layers of the ocean are more complex than previously thought. As a result, sea surface temperatures seem to be increasing slower than models predict. But the globe is still warming (to use that now politically incorrect phrase) but less visibly as more of the excess heat than we thought is now sequestered out of sight and out of mind.

But the fact the increase in surface temperature is being dampened by this excess heat sequestration in deeper water has a direct impact on the baseline energy imbalance as the rate of radiation out to space is directly related to surface temperatures. In short, moving heat from the surface to deeper water will actually make things worse.  The result has to be a ratcheting up of the baseline forcing and the sequestered energy will eventually come back to bite us.

Now put that picture into a political context. Surface temperatures are not rising as fast as forecast by the modellers and the politicians, driven by their focus groups, rapidly lose their interest in addressing a problem that seems to be going away. In the UK, Cameron's "greenest government ever" is fast becoming wedded to "drill baby drill".

It simply terrifies me that the scientific establishment, aided and abetted by the funding agencies seems happy to see policy driven by clearly flawed computations of a chaotic system.

The Arctic Ice has the potential to be the saviour in this situation. If the speculation on this Forum and over at Neven's Blog is correct, the excess heat referred to above will make its first appearance below the Arctic Ice.

If that is indeed the case then maybe it will provide the shock we need to wake our political leaders up to the continuing realities of Climate Change.

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