March 3, 2006

Ice Factory

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Now how smart is that?

"...I guess you haven't noticed that today's global economic playing field has been leveled and that three billion new players from India, China and Russia have walked onto the field, buying new cars, homes and refrigerators. So if we don't break our addiction to crude oil, we're going to heat up this planet so much faster - enough to melt the North Pole and make Katrina look like a summer breeze.

"...I guess you don't realize that because of this climate change and the rising cost of crude, green technologies are going to be the industry of the 21st century, and gasoline tax is the surest way to make certain that our industries innovate faster and dominate innovation in green cars, homes and appliances."

Web Link - "Who's Afraid of a Gas Tax" - by Thomas L. Friedman - NY Times - March 1, 2006


An Entrepreneur Does Climate Science
Text and photos from Science Magazine, Vol.311, 24 February 2006

"Gary Comer knew something wasn't right. John Franklin and 128 companions had famously tackled the Northwest Passage in 1845, and none of them returned. Roald Amundsen finally conquered the passage in 1906; it took him 3 years. Yet in the summer of 2001, Comer was motoring unscathed through open Arctic waters that should have been ice-clogged. He made the transit over the top of North America in just 19 days. "We were able to do it, and so many people had failed," he says. "Something had happened."

"Comer's entrepreneurial career as well as his foray into science funding really began on Lake Michigan. Born to a working-class family and raised on the South Side of Chicago, he began sailing small boats off Chicago at age 14. By age 30, Comer had sailed his 7-meter Star Class Turmoil to second place in the world championships. At the same time, he was having second thoughts about his 10-year advertising career as a copywriter at Young & Rubicam, a job he had approached through sailing friends. So he started a sailing-gear supply company, Lands'End Yacht Stores (misplacing the apostrophe by typo), which morphed into the huge catalog and Web apparel business of Lands'End Inc."

"Comer initially gave $1 million to WHOI's Climate Institute, followed by an unrestricted $5 million gift to WHOI, some of which went to climate-related research. He expanded his centerpiece, the Comer Fellows, to 31 " mentors" running two fellows each over 5 years. The fellows program will end 2 years from now, if all the pending renewals go through as expected, for a total of about $6 million. Most of the mentors were chosen by Rowland and Broecker and some more after Broecker brought in glaciologist Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University in State College to form a troika of overseers. " It's quick funds," says Comer. " We don't have a peer-review system." His motto: " Keep it simple." In addition, Comer has set aside $5 million to be distributed with advice from the troika. Unsolicited proposals are not considered."
PDF file - read the entire article
An Entrepreneur Does Climate Science by Richard A. Kerr - Science Magazine - Vol.311, 24 February 2006

The Ice Factory
Text and photos from Oceanus Magazine

"It starts at the narrow Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia, where cold and relatively less salty water from the Pacific Ocean enters the largely enclosed Arctic Ocean. In winter, frigid winds from the icy Alaskan interior blast over the shallow Chukchi Sea. The cold air freezes coastal seawater into sea ice and then pushes it farther out to sea, leaving new pockets of seawater available for freezing. This is "the ice factory," which, in the process of manufacturing ice, also transforms the seawater left behind."

"When seawater freezes, it releases salt into surface waters. These cold, salty waters become denser and sink, spilling over the continental shelf into the basin of the western Arctic Ocean. They create a layer known as a halocline (from the Greek words for "salt" and "slope"). Halocline waters lie atop a deeper layer of saltier, denserčand warmerčwaters that flow into the Arctic from the Atlantic Ocean."

"The halocline provides a barrier that shields the sea ice cover from contact with deeper, warmer waters," said WHOI physical oceanographer Al Plueddemann. "This protects Arctic ice from melting."

Follow the water: Cold, relatively fresh water from the Pacific Ocean enters the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. It is swept into the Beaufort Gyre and exits into the North Atlantic Ocean through three gateways (Fram, Davis, and Hudson Straits). Warmer, denser waters from the Atlantic penetrate the Arctic Ocean beneath colder water layers, which lie atop the warmer waters and act as a barrier preventing them from melting sea ice. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientists have launched a variety of missions to explore how global climate change is affecting the Arctic, and how changes in the Arctic, in turn, could spill out and cause further climate change well beyond the polar region."

THE ARCTIC HALOCLIINEčWhen sea ice forms, it releases salt into surface waters. These waters become denser and sink to form the Arctic haloclineča layer of cold water that acts as barrier between sea ice and deeper warmer water that could melt the ice. (Illustration by Jayne Doucette, WHOI)
Web Link -
Oceanus magazine - read the full article


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Photo of the week

ICE IV - February 2006

Redbud Wind - energy project archive - Updated 1/20/06
Click the wind turbine icon see progress notes
for the Redbud Wind I site at Enid, OK.

George Beggs 3/2006 - Feedback is welcome

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