Saturday, June 20, 2009

National Report on Climate Change

The recent report issued on climate change is excellent. About the only thing I would caution against is that not all of the graphs are up to date, nor are the trend lines all that clear. Read the legends accordingly.

As you would expect, both benefits and detriments accrue from climate change. Less winter heating fuel will be required. In the summer, northern states might experience up to 30 days of over 100 degree F weather in the summer with attendant need for air conditioning for elderly safety. For the most part, agriculture will benefit, however, cold weather crops like apples, blueberries and cranberries will suffer. There will be increasingly inequitable distribution of rainfall with heavy downpours in some areas and drought in others. That suggests to me that construction of colossal aqueducts might be a good idea.

One of the report's unexpected predictions is that increased lightning protection will be urgently required. It costs only $100 or so to install in your main panel a surge protector for the entire house. Many firms install lighting rod systems for reasonable prices. I would guess that less than $500 would do most houses. Remember that it is too late to shut the barn door after the horse escapes, so, do it now, especially if you live in a wood frame house.

The basic strategy for lightning protection is to install ground rods catty-corner across a house, run wire up the eaves, then along the ridge of the roof with a few rods along the way and especially at the peak ends. You can buy the supplies yourself and do it inexpensively. Special lightning wire provides minor advantages, heavy stranded wire will do the job in most places. Use no less than #4 bare copper stranded for a minimal installation, with heavier wire being advised. The ground rods should also be connected to the ground rod of your electrical service entrance and also to any structural steel girders at their ends.

The only way the predicted climate change can be avoided is if the Sun changes character, and, that is not impossible. The Sun has proven variable in the past. In any case, increased carbon dioxide will acidify the oceans with carbonic acid with attendant biological effects.

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