Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Melting of Arctic Ice predicted to accelerate warming.

Here is an article that says that the melting of Arctic ice will enable twice the previously expected absorption of sunlight, and hence increased climate warming.

It is worth reading, but bear in mind that the same effect could cause increased clouds at mid-latitudes and increased reflectivity. Thus the overall effect is unknown.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Remembering Gramma Jo

Today would have been my grandmother's 112th birthday. She was born in January of 1900 and almost lived out the century, making it until 1998. Gramma Jo was a liberated woman before they were invented. She was widowed in her early thirties and raised two children as a single mother. When she retired in 1965 she circumnavigated the globe, even beating the hippies to Nepal. I keep thinking I should retrace her steps when I retire but I am not sure I am gutsy enough. The childhood photo shows Gramma Jo with the younger members of her family. She is the youngest girl and there were also two older brothers who are not in the picture. The other picture is more like I remember her. She was so active in her senior years that whatever age she was, I ended up thinking that wasn't old, as in "sixty-five isn't old", "seventy-five isn't old", etc. At 90 she walked down at the Accokeek boardwalk with me. Finally at 95, she did start to seem a little old. Her core good humor was legendary and remained until the end.
She liked to cook and especially to make desserts. She was good at sewing and knitting. Her retirement hobby was woodcarving and she made the woodcarving below for me when she was around 80.

Gramma Jo worked at making her grandchildren into better people. I remember how she would not let us slack on a job like washing the dishes - it meant that not only did the dishes have to get washed but you needed to sponge off the counter, too! I'm grateful now for all her influences.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Arctic and Antarctic Ice Contrary Trends

Arctic ice continues a slow decrease while Antarctic ice increases. Actually, none of the trends seem all that clear to me until the recent abnormalities of solar flux are clarified by further yearly data.

In any event, it seems possible to postpone the implications of the Arctic ice situation for national policy. It is clear that, for reasons of national energy security, that it is a good idea to proceed with electric cars , with natural gas power, with nuclear power and with solar power. All of these measures will help global CO2 emissions anyway. Hence further measures can be postponed. Wind energy is, in principle, a good idea, but natural gas energy resources are currently unexpectedly large and thereby undercut wind on a price basis. Solar panel prices have decreased a lot, and that too will be favorable for all concerned.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Runciple Spoon and Pumpernickel Fly Away

Air travel is apparently a bit tough on the two tough little dachshunds. Here is the message from Lynnis and Bryan en route to distant parts via Amsterdam:

We've completed the short leg. Still a very long trip behind and ahead. Spoon was very antsy and fussy but pumpernickel was perfectly behaved. We were never so glad to be in the company of a fussy baby to overshadow the whines.