Friday, March 11, 2011

Sweater, gloves required when driving Chevy Volt in cold weather

Basically, it's useless

The potential popularity of electric vehicles has always been tempered in cold climates like here in Canada because of the concerns that freezing temperatures will reduce the range of an EV’s batteries. And now a long-tem test report of the Chevrolet Volt, in the U.S. magazine Motor Trend, has confirmed that fear and also suggests you may have to keep your winter clothes on while driving the plug-in electric hybrid during colder days.

The magazine found that the Volt uses up a “considerable” amount of battery range to heat up its cabin on colder days, reducing its range to well below 30 miles (48 kms) before draining the battery and reverting to its gas generator to recharge the batteries and power its electric motor — much lower than the optimal 64 km estimate.

Based on using an aftermarket internal thermometer, the magazine also found that the Volt’s climate control system does more than just portion out the air temperature to what is set on the climate control. Using an external thermometer, the Volt’s heater was set to 24 degrees Celsius, but the cabin temperature was closer to 18C. However, the footwell temperature reached about 28.4C.

Apparently, a warm footwell plus heated seats is Chevrolet’s strategy to make Volt drivers feel warm. The result led to the review calling the Chevy EV as “a sweater and gloves commuter car for northern-tier Volt owners.”


Hansen 1986 : “2 to 4″ Degrees Warming From 2001-2010

Another false prophecy

The reality:

SOURCE (See the original for links)

U.K. climate change backlash finds a new voice

Britons, who have become increasingly skeptical about climate change, have found a new political voice: a housewife from southern England who is preparing a campaign to get the country’s groundbreaking 2008 Climate Change Act repealed.

Fay Kelly-Tuncay admits she has an uphill struggle on her hands. The act, which commits the country to slash carbon emissions by at least 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 in pretty much even steps, drew support from all political parties when it was passed by the then-Labour government. But she is undeterred.

“We feel there was a rush to legislate under the influence of the green movement. But the science is certainly not settled, and the general public is not getting an accurate picture,” she asserted to ClimateWire by telephone from her home in Guildford some 20 miles southwest of London.

“We feel that the act should be scrapped. This is a matter of mobilizing public opinion. There is a mood out there that we can tap into,” she added.

She might have a point. A recent public opinion poll showed that only 26 percent of Britons currently see climate change as primarily due to human activity. At the other end of the spectrum, 25 percent think it’s not happening at all.

Kelly-Tuncay, who has been gathering support on the Internet, begins her official campaign on March 19. “We will be launching the campaign and with it a petition. We hope to collect 100,000 signatures over the next year,” she said.

Her message is as simple as it is unequivocal. The climate change issue in general and the Climate Change Act in particular have been hijacked by the financial institutions, which see serious money to be made.

“The whole climate change agenda has been captured by those with a vested interest in making money out of it. Just look at carbon trading. It is riddled with fraud,” she said, referring to the recent theft of about $40 million worth of carbon emission credits under the European Union’s Emissions Trading System—the latest in a spate of such thefts in an insecure international trading system.

“Look at the Climate Change Act. It is pure mitigation with no mention of adaptation. That is just engineering work, so of no interest to the money men,” Kelly-Tuncay said. “The whole financial sector has benefited from climate alarmism.”
‘A case for people power’

But although she watches with interest the activities of former U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Nigel Lawson’s climate skeptic vehicle, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Kelly-Tuncay is not a member.

“I am not a skeptic; I am a climate realist. I have a degree in archaeology and environment and have been taking an interest in it for years. But as I looked deeper, I became more doubtful of the science. It is certainly not settled, regardless of what they were trying to tell us,” she said. “The public have been misled. The Climate Change Act will push up domestic energy bills and force many more people into fuel poverty. That is making a lot of Labour members start to feel very uncomfortable.”

“The trouble is that politicians have got into bed with the people behind the wind farms, so it is very difficult to get any traction. That is why it is a case for people power,” she asserted. “There has been no evidence of climate ‘tipping points,’ so why have we rushed to legislate on this issue?”

Fuel poverty is defined as a household having to spend 10 percent or more of income on energy bills.

Kelly-Tuncay said there was certainly a place for investing in adaptation to natural hazards such as flood prevention but that pouring money into mitigating for an event that might never happen was simply pointless.

She rejected the notions that Russia’s control over Europe’s gas supplies and the current oil price spike from turmoil in the Middle East were strong arguments in favour of investments in renewable energy. “There is a lot of oil out there. They are using alarmism to ratchet up the prices. And as for gas, shale gas and shale oil are real game-changers, and they are much lower in carbon than coal,” Kelly-Tuncay said.

Kelly-Tuncay also rejected the stereotype that most climate change doubters were on the political right. “We are very much a mixed, grass-roots group with membership across all parties. People on the left are starting to feel very let down by what has been going on. Our campaign is a move away from the characterization of skeptics being on the political right.”


Amazing Arctic Reconstructions

There are large natural temperature variations in Greenland and the Arctic generally so shrieks about changes in the last few years are illogical

We hear over and over that any warming at the global scale will be amplified in the Arctic region of the Northern Hemisphere, and the warming will cause ice to melt and sea level to rise and all the rest. Let some ice-free area appear during summer near the North Pole and the global media will take the bait every time and announce we are witnessing geophysical changes of Biblical proportions.

Several articles have appeared recently in leading journals with interesting results regarding the temperature history of the Arctic over the past 1,000 to 1,500 years, and they show that temperatures there have risen and fallen to a significant degree many times in the past (that is, without the benefit of large changes in atmospheric CO2 levels), and they call into question whether any unusual warming (or cooling) has occurred there in recent decades.

The first article appeared in Climatic Change and was generated by six scientists with California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Japan’s Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, the French Laboratoire de Glaciologie et Géophysique de l’Environnement, Japan’s National Institute of Polar Research, the University of California, San Diego, and Japan’s Meteorological Research Institute; the work was funded by the United States National Science Foundation.

This is a long and detailed article in which the authors show that temperatures in Greenland can be reconstructed using isotopes of nitrogen and argon trapped in air bubbles that can be found in ice cores. They used an ice core from central Greenland and made detailed measurements of the nitrogen and argon isotopes. Along with many other tests, Kobashi et al. compared their reconstructed temperatures to actual historical measurements from Greenland’s south and west coasts

While the observational record is at best a few hundred years long, Kobashi et al.’s reconstructed temperatures go back 1,000 years. The full reconstruction is quite interesting as it clearly shows a relatively warm and early period culminating in greatest warmth near 1150; the Medieval Warm Period certainly appears in the record. A cooling begins near 1450 and culminates in a particularly cold period from 1700 to 1850; the authors refer specifically to the “severity of the late Little Ice Age”.

Fortunately, Greenland recovered from the Little Ice Age with pronounced warming from 1850 to 1950. After the final period of cooling from 1950 through the mid-1990s that is depicted in Figure 2, temperatures have once again risen to mid-20th century levels (a rise that occurred after the end of the period of record analyzed by Kobashi et al. and thus not appearing on Figure 2).

But before attributing the temperature rise during the past 10 years to the buildup of greenhouse gases, it is worth considering the ups and downs apparent in the entirety of the temperature record as shown in Figure 2, and also recalling that atmospheric CO2 levels were increasing between 1950 and 1995, when temperatures were declining in Greenland.

Peering back to 1000 AD was fun, but a second recent article in the Norwegian Journal of Geology contains an Arctic reconstruction going back even further, to 500 AD. The work was produced by three scientists with Norway’s University of Tromsø and the Geological Survey of Norway. Rørvik et al. focused on a sediment core extracted from the Malangen fjord located in northern Norway. The fjord is well-situated to capture variations in temperature that would be reflected in changes in currents near the fjord. Just like magic, organic cysts collect on the bottom and over time, variations in the types of cysts are related to variations in temperature. The authors never produce a graphic showing the changes in temperature from 500 AD to present, but they clearly describe the results.

They note “In general, the time from c. AD 500 to 790 in the Malangen fjord is characterized as a cool period with reduced salinity. A cooling during this time interval, referred to as the Dark Ages Cold Period, is supported by regional and local history.”

Next, they state “The dinocyst assemblages during the years AD 790 to 1500 indicate that the Medieval Warm period in the Malangen fjord, was characterized by increased inflow of warm, saline water. The Medieval optimum from the years AD 800/1000 to AD 1300/1500, has been reported as a warm phase from the Vøring Plateau, Norway, from North Sweden and northern Norway, Crête, Camp Century and GISP2 Greenland and Quelccaya Peru and from Nansen Fjord, eastern Greenland” (so much for the Medieval Warm Period being a local phenomenon—Peru is hardly near the Norwegian study area!).

Do you think they found evidence of the Little Ice Age (LIA)? Rørvik et al. state “Bottom water reconstructions in the Malangen fjord clearly reflect a cold period during the LIA and the dinocyst assemblages indicate that the time period from AD1500 to 1940 represents a cool period.”

The Norwegian reconstruction shows warming since 1940 (in their zone D in the core); the authors write “The interpretation of the dinocyst assemblages of zone D, is consistent with somewhat less influence from waters outside the basin and is interpreted to represent a period with relatively high surface temperatures.”

There is no evidence presented comparing the current warm period to the Medieval Warm Period. But a message is clear—temperatures in the high latitudes are naturally quite variable, even on timescales of hundreds of years.

We’ll keep our eyes on the situation, but based on these articles, you’d be hard-pressed to conclude that temperatures in these regions as of late have risen above the rather high noise level characterizing natural variation.

SOURCE (See the original for references and graphics)

Global gas glut unhinges natural gas and crude oil prices

Abundant gas will tend to replace oil and keep energy costs down

A global gas glut has unhinged the natural gas and crude oil price and according to Deutsche Bank Research, new US gas deposits are calling into question nearly all medium and long-term scenarios which still seemed plausible a few years ago.

As a result of the huge deposits, new strategies for the use of excess supply are currently being discussed in the US and if gas exports were possible, this would be another great challenge for all de facto price links to the oil price that are still in place in Europe, and possibly even the final nail in the coffin.

DBR says price trends over the past ten years have played out against a background of gradual transition from a world gas market broadly in equilibrium in terms of volume to a global gas glut. In the early years of the previous decade, the virtually balanced market situation steered market participants' expectations in approximately the same direction.

Up to the middle of 2008 it was thought that global growth in demand for energy necessitated a marked step-up in the supply of gas. Steep increases in the prices of fossil energies since the beginning of the decade made building up and expanding the necessary gas infrastructure profitable. Consequently, financing for these capital-intensive projects was not usually a problem. Moreover, at least up to the middle of the decade many market

Economist, Dr. Josef Auer, says that until a few years ago, prices for oil and gas used to move in sync due to the oft-cited oil price link. However, over the last few months, things have changed. This is obvious even from a short glance at commodities prices. In true textbook fashion, most commodities prices strongly reflected the last global recession at an early stage. But there have been surprising new developments during the current global economic upturn.

The new commercial gas sources in the US are calling into question almost all medium and long-term scenarios which still looked plausible only a few years ago. Thanks to its new ample supply of gas, the US will cease to be a sales market for liquefied natural gas (LNG) from third countries such as Qatar. At present, the share of unconventional natural gas in total US gas output already amounts to 50%, up from a mere 30% in 2000.

Conclusion: The economist says the link between oil and gas prices will make no sense in future. Establishing market prices according to supply and demand is also possible in the case of gas. This will adequately price in current and future scarcities surrounding natural gas. The illusion that the oil price link will persist may cause expensive mistakes, either in the form of large-scale investment - - typical of the gas sector - - such as the development of new deposits or the construction of pipelines spanning thousands of kilometres.

Oil will become considerably more expensive over the coming decades. As regards gas, the current glut made possible by the huge deposits suggests there will be no such growth. It is therefore definitely possible that current pipeline projects such as Nabucco (linking Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey) or South Stream (linking Russia and Europe) will prove less urgent in future and will thus be devalued by the market.


New Study: Spiders adapt to global warming (quite like humans)

A new study shows that spiders are able to adapt to global warming. This is, of course, evident even without any new studies. There has been "climate change" for millions of years, and both flora and fauna have ajdusted, some better, some not quite as well. Even if there would be some degree of human induced global warming - which remains to be proven - homo sapiens would be able to adjust. One can only hope that the new spider study will make some of the most ardent believers in the catasthropic global warming religion start thinking about the possibility of human adaptation: "Yes, we can, if the spiders can". That would already be a step forward ....
The predatory behaviour of spiders is unaffected by increased temperatures, according to research by Yale University, suggesting some species can adapt to global warming.

The Yale research examined a well-studied grassland food web, made up of a predatory spider, its grasshopper prey, and the plants grasshoppers fed on. The spider’s predatory behaviour is known to be temperature-sensitive, decreasing with increased temperatures. Researchers had expected higher temperatures to stop the spiders preying on grasshoppers, leading to more plants being eaten.

However, in the study, spider populations from warmer areas tolerated higher temperature ranges better than the populations from cooler areas and continued to control the grasshopper popualtion. This suggests they can adapt to local conditions and maintain their vital role in the community despite increased temperatures.

‘Species are almost certainly adapting to the climate change Earth has experienced during the past century,' study author Dr Brandon Barton told the Ecologist. 'My results show that species have the capacity to adapt to a range of temperatures, similar to those predicted by climate change models, and that a species’ role in the community can be conserved by this adaptation.’



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