Hurricane harvest from global warming: further claims

Yet another leading British scientist, this time it is Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, is claiming evidence for global warming increasing the frequency of severe hurrincanes:

Super-powerful hurricanes now hitting the United States are the "smoking gun" of global warming, one of Britain's leading scientists believes.

The growing violence of storms such as Katrina, which wrecked New Orleans, and Rita, now threatening Texas, is very probably caused by climate change, said Sir John Lawton, chairman of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. Hurricanes were getting more intense, just as computer models predicted they would, because of the rising temperature of the sea, he said. "The increased intensity of these kinds of extreme storms is very likely to be due to global warming."
He is not shy about speaking his mind about environmental politics either:
Sir John hit out at neoconservatives in the US who still deny the reality of climate change.

Referring to the arrival of Hurricane Rita he said: "If this makes the climate loonies in the States realise we've got a problem, some good will come out of a truly awful situation."
Asked what conclusion the Bush administration should draw from two hurricanes of such high intensity hitting the US in quick succession, Sir John said: "If what looks like is going to be a horrible mess causes the extreme sceptics about climate change in the US to reconsider their opinion, that would be an extremely valuable outcome."

Asked about characterising them as "loonies", he said: "There are a group of people in various parts of the world ... who simply don't want to accept human activities can change climate and are changing the climate."

"I'd liken them to the people who denied that smoking causes lung cancer."

With his comments, Sir John becomes the third of the leaders of Britain's scientific establishment to attack the US over the Bush government's determination to cast doubt on global warming as a real phenomenon.

Sir John's comments follow and support recent research, much of it from America itself, showing that hurricanes are getting more violent and suggesting climate change is the cause.

A paper by US researchers, last week in the US journal Science, showed that storms of the intensity of Hurricane Katrina have become almost twice as common in the past 35 years.

Although the overall frequency of tropical storms worldwide has remained broadly level since 1970, the number of extreme category 4 and 5 events has sharply risen. In the 1970s, there was an average of about 10 category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year but, since 1990, they have nearly doubled to an average of about 18 a year. During the same period, sea surface temperatures, among the key drivers of hurricane intensity, have increased by an average of 0.5C (0.9F).

Sir John said: "Increasingly it looks like a smoking gun. It's a fair conclusion to draw that global warming, caused to a substantial extent by people, is driving increased sea surface temperatures and increasing the violence of hurricanes."


Dead Cats ain't Dead Cats

A German inventor says he's found a way to make cheap diesel fuel out of dead cats. It takes 20 cats to full his tanks up. He says he has driven 105,000 miles on his home diesel mixture without any problems.

"Ja, she just purrs along.".

Jeez, you could drive the circumference of Australia powered by roadkill.

Australia's energy big picture needs review

The Government energy policies are coming under scrutiny at a time when it is also defending high Petrol Prices:

This week the Government stonewalled public concern about high fuel costs, its belief in market forces transcending its populism. Even those who agree that cutting fuel excise is not the answer say there's a lot the Government should be doing but isn't.
So when do we know to start knocking off the neighbourhood cats to process into kitty-diesel?
"The price of oil is key," said Dr John Wright, head of CSIRO's Energy Futures Forum. "At $US70 [$91] a barrel we can make biofuels and liquid fuels out of gas cost-effectively. But if it drops back to $US50 a barrel the economics get dicey at that point."

Wright's personal view is that the Government should set a price on carbon emissions, which would reduce the risk of investing in renewables and wean the economy off its dependence on oil, particularly for land transport.
And the big picture? Who knows where we should be? Check out Greg Bourne's credentials; he has danced with the devils and slept with the angels ...
The former president of BP Australasia, Greg Bourne, who is now head of World Wildlife Fund-Australia, said rigid free-market orthodoxy could be dangerous if it inhibited policies aimed at reducing dependence on expensive imports and building energy security.

"Greater energy security and resilience to oil shocks requires political leadership," Bourne said. "We need tax and other incentives to make people use more gas at home and in our cars. Bringing North-West Shelf gas onshore for domestic use is probably the most important option we have to rapidly build resilience."
Put that in your exhaust pipe and smoke it.

Global warming increases intensity of hurricanes and cyclones

The debate so far. Using computer modeling conventional scientific wisdom had it that the .5 degree increase in ocean surface temperatures over the past 50 years was not causing an increase in the intensity and frequency of hurricanes.

I checked this up after Hurricane Katrina, curious to know whether global warming was making weather events more extreme. The conventional wisdom was that this would not really happen until 2050 at the current rate of the ocean's surface temperature increase.

Then I heard that someone decided to compare the results of the computer modeling with real historical weather data, getting results that challenge this conventional wisdom:

The analysis by climatologist Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology shows for the first time that major storms spinning in both the Atlantic and the Pacific since the 1970s have increased in duration and intensity by about 50 percent.
This conclusion is also being backed up by independent new research conclusions:
Global warming could be behind a dramatic rise in the number of ferocious hurricanes and tropical cyclones, new research suggests.

As the oceans have warmed, the incidence of Category 4 and 5 storms like Hurricane Katrina has almost doubled.

"What we found was rather astonishing," said Peter Webster, of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, whose team studied the number, duration and intensity of hurricanes worldwide in the past 35 years.

In the 1970s there were, on average, 10 intense storms with winds above 200 kilometres an hour each year. Since 1990 this figure has risen to 18.

Professor Webster said the findings established a link between sea surface temperature, which has risen by about half a degree since 1970, and increasing storm intensity.
Professor Webster also pointed that the link is not simple and that more research was needed. The debate continues.


Carbon credits stimulate cleaner fuel technology race

A breathless rendering about a Montreal mad professor who has come up with a box that gets hydrogen into the engine chamber of the combustion engine for a cleaner burn and 97% fuel efficiency, way up from the current 35% fuel efficiency of the internal combustion engine.

In fact, it could make the Kyoto protocol obsolete. Basically, the H2N-Gen contains a small reservoir of distilled water and other chemicals such as potassium hydroxide. A current is run from the car battery through the liquid. This process of electrolysis creates hydrogen and oxygen gases which are then fed into the engine's intake manifold where they mix with the gasoline vapours.

It's a scientific fact that adding hydrogen to a combustion chamber will cause a cleaner burn. The challenge has always been to find a way to get the hydrogen gas into the combustion chamber in a safe, reliable and cost-effective way
Joe Williams Snr also wants to meet Bill Gates.
Because if Joe Williams turns out to be right, "I think Bill Gates and our group will be shaking hands," he says. "It's that big."
While the journalist may be given to the hyperbole that the H2N-Gen could make Kyoto obsolete, Joe Williams keeps his eyes on his fries.
Furthermore, he would hope to get his hands on carbon credits promised by the Kyoto Protocol. The trade in carbon credits is predicted to be a multi-billion-dollar business as countries attempt to meet their 2012 obligations of cutting greenhouse gases to below 1990 levels.