22 January 2008

Greener Cars, Snow to Antarctica, a Coming Ice Age

This prototype electric car has some impressive stats: a battery range of over 150 km per charge, and speeds up to 120 km/hr.
Staff and students at the University of South Australia have designed and built a prototype of what they reckon might be the future commuter car for Australian cities. Trev sounds rather impressive. He goes from 0 to 100kph in 10 secs, has a top speed of 120 km/h, with a travel range of 150+km between charges of his 7kWh 44kg lithium ion polymer battery....When charged from mains power he costs you $1 AUD per 100km to run, using what is said to be 1/5th of the energy of conventional car. TH
Speaking of lithium ion batteries, a recent announcement of Li ion nanowire batteries claimed a 10 times greater capacity than conventional Li ion batteries. New Energy and Fuel has taken a look at those claims, and carefully explains why it will take some time just to achieve a 3X or 5 X increase in energy density from nanowires in Li ion. But in the long run--with radical improvements in cathode design, the silicon nanowire modification should work very well.

On a colder front, Russian Acadamician Khabibullo Abdusamatov updates his predictions for a coming (little) ice age.
"A year ago, many meteorologists predicted that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would make the year 2007 the hottest in the last decade, but, fortunately, these predictions did not become reality," Abdusamatov said.

He also said that in 2008, global temperatures would drop slightly, rather than rise, due to unprecedentedly low solar radiation in the past 30 years, and would continue decreasing even if industrial emissions of carbon dioxide reach record levels.

By 2041, solar activity will reach its minimum according to a 200-year cycle, and a deep cooling period will hit the Earth approximately in 2055-2060. It will last for about 45-65 years, the scientist added. Source
via Tom Nelson

As for melting polar ice caps, think again. There has been a doubling of snow accumulation in parts of Antarctica, and prospects of rapid snowmelt in Greenland or Antarctica causing catastrophic sea level rise does not seem to be in the cards.

Personally, I like to think and act clean and green--within reason. Global warming catastrophism is not being green. It is being mindlessly faddish and fashionable. Being caught with your pants down when the next ice age hits could involve some painful frostbite.

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Blogger Audacious Epigone said...

Being caught with your pants down when the next ice age hits could involve some painful frostbite.

Hehe, yet another golden line you've given me to filch and use in trendy social situations!

Tuesday, 22 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Well I keep trying to provide ideas for all my blog friends, AE. But between my family in Phoenix, my family in Toronto, my family in London, and my family in Melbourne, I am hard put to provide for anyone else.

Thursday, 24 January, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Does that American Thinker article on the latent heat of ice actually make any sense to you or did you post the link without reading it? No one at all is claiming the air in the atmosphere is some sort of giant heat reservoir driving glacial melt. The daily and seasonal swings in air temperature would clue a 6th grader in to this fact. The amount of heat first absorbed and then radiated into space day in and day out swamps the amount of heat stored in the air. Roughly 5.5x10^21 KJ of solar energy hits the upper atmosphere every year. A slight change in the balance of how much is trapped versus how much reradiates to space could obviously contribute pretty fast to the 7x10^21 KJ needed to melt 20 feet worth of ice (assuming his calculations are correct, which would seem a stretch given his lack of scientific understanding).

Scary to think that analysis is what "American Thinking" has now become. Is science still taught to American kids? Does anyone at American Thinker actually read what they publish?

Friday, 25 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...


You seem to feel that the simplified engineering argument about atmospheric heating and melting of glacial ice reflects badly on "American Thinking." Perhaps so, but your argument is not that clear itself.

Your criticism does not actually meet the argument. In other words, you say "a slight change in the balance" could contribute "pretty fast" to the 7x10^21KJ needed to melt 20 ft of ice. But the argument is not about melting 20 ft of ice. The argument is about raising the sea level of earth by 20 ft.

Since incoming solar energy is not equivalent to added heat to the atmosphere--given all the things that are done with solar energy by the oceans and the biosphere, a much more rigorous quantitative approach is required, to calculate how long it would take for the necessary amount of atmospheric heat to accumulate, to melt enough ice to raise earth's sea levels by 20 ft. (given recent discoveries of volcanic activity beneath glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica, and the arctic sea ice, heat calculations become a bit interesting)

There is more going on with Earth's climate, and glaciers, than the effect of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Some of the links I place are meant to be provocative and to draw comments such as your own.

You might even be able to e-mail the author of that awful American Thinker article.

Saturday, 26 January, 2008  
Blogger Rhapsodyinglue said...

Trust me, I would have posted a scathing comment on the American Thinker site, but alas they don't allow comments for some reason. Apparently they don't like other American's doing much thinking.

My statement of 7x10^21KJ to melt 20ft of ice, was intended to merely concede for arguments sake what the author had asserted that this would be the energy required to melt enough ice to raise sea levels by 20ft... granted not stated too clearly by me.

Yes indeed the dynamics are quite complicated and I am not nearly qualified to actually make predictions of melting rates. However, the argument in that article is so transparently specious as to require little more than high school science and a bit of common sense to discredit.

Some of the best scientists that are doing the rigorous quantitative analysis (Hansen at NASA, Maslowski at the Naval Post Grad School, U of Colorado, etc.) are currently saying the melt is probably going to occur much quicker than even the most recently published IPCC predictions. Santa is going to need a new summer home sooner rather than later.

I would simply point out that the idea of "to calculate how long it would take for the necessary amount of atmospheric heat to accumulate" is the erroneous logic. Atmospheric temperatures can swing tens of degrees from night to day... it doesn't take any time at all. It simply has to do with the balance of energy flows and where the equilibrium point is. Further, the total amount of heat content of air is not really that much greater at 40F than at 30F, but ice will melt infinitely faster in 40F air.

Sorry to have vented on your blog... unless of course you truly don't mind opinionated comments. People misusing science, on either side of the political spectrum, irritates me to no end.

Saturday, 26 January, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Rhapsody (in glue): Thanks for your clarification.

I would only ask for one further clarification. In your first comment you state 5.5x10^21 KJ of solar energy impacts the upper atmosphere per year. Did you get that number by multiplying 1.74x10^17 W by the number of seconds in a year?

I like for people to vent on my blog. If I'm in a bad mood, I may vent back. But normally I try to learn from comments.

Thanks again.

Sunday, 27 January, 2008  
Blogger Rhapsodyinglue said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Sunday, 27 January, 2008  
Blogger Rhapsodyinglue said...

Yes, my calculation was from that number (174 petawatts) which I found on the "solar energy" wikipedia page. They also give a figure further down of 3850 ZJ per year which would be 3.85x10^21KJ. This seems to be simply reducing the figure I gave by the amount reflected rather than absorbed.

Sunday, 27 January, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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