Saturday, May 28, 2005


I have used both oil-based and plastic house-paint for years and there is no substitute for the hard, smooth glossy finish that oil gives. It also makes the only wood-primer worth having. Other primers tend to allow "bleed-through" of timber volatiles -- leaving a brown stain. And I would like to see the proof that these restrictive rules do any good to anybody

Carlos Diez felt a little extreme when he stockpiled 1,000 gallons of oil-based house paint last November. But with his stash of the precious glossy dwindling, he's going a bit crazy again, stopping at any store he thinks might have some cans squirreled away. "I feel like an addict. I went to Strosniders last week in Bethesda. They had about 40 gallons. I bought all 40 gallons," he said. "I've been talking to everyone. I say, 'You have paint? What color?' If it's a color I think I can use, I buy it." When his stockpile is gone, he said, "I don't know what I'm gonna do."

What he'll probably do is switch to latex paint, as so many other painters in the area have done because of a new, but largely unpublicized, regulation restricting the sale of oil-based, or alkyd, paint in the mid-Atlantic region. It's a measure aimed at reducing ground-level ozone pollution, but it's one that many consumers and painters were unaware of until oil paint just started vanishing. "I will have to say that 75 percent of them don't have a clue," about the new rule, said Edgardo Lopez, assistant manager of the Northern Virginia paint store Alexandria Paint Co. "Twenty-five percent have heard a little bit but thought it was a myth."

Similar rules have been in effect for a while in California, and restrictive oil-paint laws are being crafted in many northern states. But the mid-Atlantic region has not made as much progress reducing overall pollution as New England has, so the paint restrictions kicked in first in this area. Since Jan. 1, stores in the District, Northern Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York have not been able to order most of the oil-based paints commonly used in household and commercial applications. Paint stores are allowed to sell the alkyds they had on the shelves when the rule took effect, and some stores piled up their stockrooms in anticipation of the change. But those reserves are slowly depleting, just as painting season arrives.

That has created a burgeoning market for imports -- from southern Virginia, where the restrictions are not in place because the pollution there is not as bad. At the Virginia Paint Co. Benjamin Moore store in Fredericksburg, there has been a spike in oil paint sales. "It's been growing as they sell out of inventory in Northern Virginia," said Ted Arthur, outside sales representative for the store. "We're starting to see that influx of customers here to get that oil-based product, definitely."

Not all painters are wedded to oil-based paint, as it smells, it's harder to clean up and it dries so hard that it can crack rather than breathe with the typical expansion and contraction that weather can cause. There have also been great strides in the quality of water-soluble latex paint in recent years, in part because manufacturers have known for at least a decade that this regulation was coming. Oil paint accounted for 16.5 percent of the market in 2003, according to the Commerce Department, down from 18 percent in 1997.

Because many painters now use latex, especially for exterior jobs, little information about this change was passed on to painters and consumers. "This was supposed to be relatively seamless for them," said Christopher Recchia, executive director of the Ozone Transport Commission, an organization created under the Clean Air Act and charged with helping Eastern states develop regulations to prevent further diminishing of the ozone. "For the most part, you can go and buy these products that not only work as well as the other products, but they are environmentally safer."

The problem with oil paints is that as they dry or sit out in the open, they give off volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that not only make the paint smell but interact with sun and heat to create ozone pollution. Recchia said alkyds create 170,000 tons of emissions a day in the so-called Ozone Transport Region. "It's one of the largest causes of VOC emissions, and it's comparable to some of the industrial plant sources," he said.

The rules do not eliminate VOCs but set such low limits that most products had to be reformulated into latex versions. And a few industrial-use paints, such as those for metal or roofs, were allowed to stay on the market. But the interior versions most popular with painters are going away. For high-end painters, oil has long been the covering of choice for wood trim and certain other applications.

"We're just not going to be able to do as nice a looking job as previously," said painter Mitchell Fagan, whose jobs include faux painting styles that rely on some of the oils taken off the market. "Once I've used what I've stockpiled, we won't be able to achieve certain looks."

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And temperature is only a minor influence on them anyway. The main influence is the amount of snowfall, which varies from year to year

The Mote, et al papers referenced earlier included the statement: "A study of springtime mountain snowpack in the Pacific Northwest showed widespread declines in snowpack since 1950 at most locations with largest declines at lower elevations indicating temperature effects."

Note the starting point for this analysis; the late 1940s-early 1950s were an exceptionally snowy period in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. The Mote, et al papers used 1950 as a starting point because snowpack measurements were "widespread by the late 1940s" (Mote, et al, 2005) and much less extensive earlier. However, in view of the fact that climate conditions prior to the late 1940s were very different, one might wonder if inclusion of longer period data sets would change the result. We explore that here.

Snow course measurements are made throughout the winter by USDA and other agencies. These are currently collected and archived by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Early measurements were made manually, usually once per month. The "rule of thumb" for high elevations is that the deepest snow pack occurs on or about April 1. For the purposes of this analysis, historical values of April 1 snow water equivalent (SWE) -- the water content of the snow pack -- were examined.

Initially, the linear trend in SWE from 1950-current was calculated. It is recognized that linear trends are inappropriate for many time series, but they were used in the Mote, et al analyses and we wished to be consistent. For stations whose period of record extended back well before 1950, linear trends for the entire period of record were calculated....

The longest available SWE data set in the region is from Bumping Lake, Washington, for which data are available back to 1915. As above, trends in the data were computed for 1950-current and for period of record. They are shown in Figure 10, with the shorter data set exhibiting a downward trend of 16" per century, but the period of record data actually showing a slight increase.....

Finally, in an attempt to answer the question "what is the primary variable causing variations in snow pack?" we present Figure 14, a double scatterplot of total monthly snowfall versus average monthly temperature and monthly snowfall versus monthly precipitation for January (1953-2003). The site is Government Camp, at about 4000 feet in elevation on the south side of Mt. Hood in the northern Oregon Cascades; January is the snowiest month at that location. The chart reveals an expected positive correlation between precipitation and snowfall and a negative temperature-snowfall relationship. Note, however, the r-squared values: .08 for temperature and .55 for precipitation. In other words, temperature variability explains only 8% of the variance in the snowfall values, while precipitation trends explain 55%....

The use of snowpack trends from 1950 through current suggests a much different (steeper) trend than if period of record measurements are used. Granted, there exist relatively few stations that extend back prior to 1940, but those stations whose records are available make it clear than monotonic decreases in snow pack do not occur through the entire period of record.

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Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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