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Archive for the ‘climatology’ category

Apr 28, 2016

The Oceans Are Running Low on Oxygen

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

File this under definitely not good: global warming is depleting the oceans of oxygen. You know, that little molecule that we, along with all other complex life forms, require in order to breathe and therefore live.

The reason is simple. According to basic thermodynamics, cold water can hold more dissolved gases than warm water. As our ever-warming atmosphere heats the surface of the ocean, the oxygen content starts to fall. Also, as water warms, it expands and gets lighter. This makes it less likely to sink, which in turn reduces the transport of oxygen from the atmosphere into the deep ocean.

All of this is well-established science. It’s also understood that the oxygen content of the ocean varies all the time due to changes in weather, seasons, latitude, and longer-term climate patterns like El Niño. But a study published this week in Global Biogeochemical Cycles is the first to show that the oxygen content of the world’s oceans is now falling thanks to climate change.

Apr 18, 2016

Business At The Speed Of Thought

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, business, climatology, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance

One of the most underrated, overlooked promises of digital money, is the esteemed ideal of sending money as easily as sending email. With the current third party infrastructure of today, this is possible, yet limitations exist on larger transactions. Further, all payments must first go through a series of checkpoints before being approved. Although peer-to-peer money is still in its infancy, direct payments which require no third party and are confirmed near instantaneously are a tantalizing prospect. The increase in the velocity of money which would accompany this type of infrastructure would be accelerate the velocity of money to a point where it is conceivable that business would be conducted at the speed of thought.

New Phase Of Growth

As bitcoin continues to leave its roots as a monetary experiment and enter a new phase of growth, it will facilitate a velocity of money which is frictionless, peer-to-peer, and near instantaneous. Such an increase in the velocity of money which digital cryptocurrencies promise, could be a catalyst for growth in the 21st century as we see developing nations leapfrog traditional banking infrastructure and move directly to a bitcoin-enabled financial paradigm. In this scenario, the bitcoin blockchain would serve as a sort of “cyber bank account” with cryptocurrency technology acting as the engine of growth in stagnant economies which have a record of tenuous currency stability.

Continue reading “Business At The Speed Of Thought” »

Apr 5, 2016

Federal legislation to jumpstart space solar power

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, food, government, law, nuclear energy, security, solar power, space, sustainability

The United States is transitioning from a primary reliance on fossil fuels to greater use of sustainable natural and nuclear energy sources. There are two reasons for this transition. The first reason is that the abnormally high and increasing level of atmospheric carbon dioxide has created scientific uncertainty and concern as to the detrimental impact this may have on the environment and, consequentially, human civilization. Almost certainly, this abnormal level is due to anthropogenic causes linked to the tremendous expansion in the human population since the early 1700s, the growth of human civilization (e.g., agriculture and industrialization), and the increasing use of fossil fuels. Although fossil fuels have enabled worldwide progress in elevating the standard of living, most of the world’s nations have reached the conclusion that the world should transition entirely to sustainable energy by 2100 (see “The Paris climate agreement and space solar power”, The Space Review, February 29, 2016). It is, however, very important to manage this transition carefully to avoid economic hardship or energy deprivation.

While the United States has large remaining fossil fuel resources, only some are technically recoverable with current safe, legal, and profitable extraction methods. The remaining known and yet-to-be-discovered domestic technically recoverable fossil fuels are inadequate to sustain US fossil fuel energy needs to the end of this century, especially given likely continued immigration-driven US population growth (see “US fossil fuel energy insecurity and space solar power”, The Space Review, March 7, 2016). While the United States has an ethical environmental obligation to end its use of fossil fuels by the end of the century, the reality of having inadequate oil and natural gas resources makes the urgency of transitioning successfully to new sustainable energy sources a clear matter of national energy security. This warrants federal government leadership and strong American private sector engagement.

Unfortunately, due to its large and growing population and per capita energy needs, the United States lacks sufficient suitable land to utilize terrestrial renewable energy to replace fossil fuels. (see “US terrestrial non-fossil fuel energy vs. space solar power”, The Space Review, March 14, 2016). While the United States will utilize terrestrial domestic renewable energy to the extent it is politically acceptable, many factors will likely limit their scale-up. The expansion of nuclear fission energy is also not a satisfactory approach, given the large number of reactors needed. These factors lead to the conclusion that only space-based sustainable energy, such as space solar power, will enable the United States to practically transition away from fossil fuels.

Mar 31, 2016

Reports of Planet Earth’s Death Have Been Greatly … Underestimated

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

Are you really surprised?

Mar 28, 2016

Study suggests Earth is heading toward a second catastrophic hot-house event

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats, sustainability

If you dig deep enough into the Earth’s climate change archives, you hear about the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, or PETM. And then you get scared.

That was a time period, about 56 million years ago, when something mysterious happened — there are many ideas as to what — that suddenly caused concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to spike, far higher than they are right now.

The planet proceeded to warm rapidly, at least in geologic terms, and major die-offs of some marine organisms followed due to strong acidification of the oceans.

Continue reading “Study suggests Earth is heading toward a second catastrophic hot-house event” »

Mar 25, 2016

Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target

Posted by in categories: climatology, nuclear energy, sustainability

Nuclear fusion needs a “Wright brothers” moment, to convince the world of its promise of unlimited clean and safe energy and so unlock significant private investment, according to a physicist whose says his company is closing in on that goal.

David Kingham, the chief executive of Tokamak Energy, has announced his company’s target of producing its first electricity by 2025 and feeding power into the grid by 2030, as well as investment from the UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Harnessing the nuclear energy which powers the sun has long been touted as the ultimate solution to the challenge of powering the world while halting climate change. But, as fusion sceptics often say, the reality has stubbornly remained a decade or two away for many years.

Continue reading “Nuclear fusion needs a ‘Wright brothers’ moment, says firm closing on the target” »

Mar 24, 2016

Modified NWChem Code Utilizes Supercomputer Parallelization

Posted by in categories: chemistry, climatology, evolution, materials, quantum physics, supercomputing

Quicker time to discovery. That’s what scientists focused on quantum chemistry are looking for. According to Bert de Jong, Computational Chemistry, Materials and Climate Group Lead, Computational Research Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL), “I’m a computational chemist working extensively with experimentalists doing interdisciplinary research. To shorten time to scientific discovery, I need to be able to run simulations at near-real-time, or at least overnight, to drive or guide the next experiments.” Changes must be made in the HPC software used in quantum chemistry research to take advantage of advanced HPC systems to meet the research needs of scientists both today and in the future.

NWChem is a widely used open source software computational chemistry package that includes both quantum chemical and molecular dynamics functionality. The NWChem project started around the mid-1990s, and the code was designed from the beginning to take advantage of parallel computer systems. NWChem is actively developed by a consortium of developers and maintained by the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) located at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Washington State. NWChem aims to provide its users with computational chemistry tools that are scalable both in their ability to treat large scientific computational chemistry problems efficiently, and in their use of available parallel computing resources from high-performance parallel supercomputers to conventional workstation clusters.

“Rapid evolution of the computational hardware also requires significant effort geared toward the modernization of the code to meet current research needs,” states Karol Kowalski, Capability Lead for NWChem Development at PNNL.

Continue reading “Modified NWChem Code Utilizes Supercomputer Parallelization” »

Mar 22, 2016

We had all better hope these scientists are wrong about the planet’s future

Posted by in categories: climatology, sustainability

A controversial climate change catastrophe study has now made its way through peer review.

Mar 14, 2016

Michigan company looks to halve offshore wind costs

Posted by in categories: climatology, energy, physics

Company uses physics of thunderstorms to summon energy out of air.

Mar 10, 2016

Watch a Spectacular Lightning Show Splinter Across the Skies Over Dubai

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats

Dubai’s skyline is an ever-growing collection of impressive towering skyscrapers, including the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. And you know what loves tall buildings even more than tourists do? Lightning.

Instagrammer faz3, also known as Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum (the Crown Prince of Dubai), captured this amazing lightning show over Dubai at 1,977 frames per second, turning what is normally a split second occurrence into a beautifully drawn-out ballet of bolts splintering their way across a dark stormy sky.

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