Tuesday, March 20, 2012

US coastal areas at risk with a 1 meter rise in sea level

There is an interactive map from the Surging Seas project of Climate Central showing vunerable areas in the US if sea levels continue to rise.  Ron Meador from MinnPost has a very good article on the subject with excellent links. 

The most vunerable areas in the world are in Southeast Asia.  Millions of people have been displaced by heavy rains and storm surges in the past year.  If the projections are correct and the situation is much worse within the next decade, it will be interesting to follow the proposed solutions to the problem.  Will millions of people be permanently relocated to higher ground?  Will Geoengineering be used to cool the climate?

Source IDRC - 2009 - The darker red areas are more vunerable to warmer climate change.

Monday, March 19, 2012

India's ancient air conditioning design

CNN reports on the use of a very old air conditioning design for the Pearl Academy of Fashion built in Jaipur, India. The design incorporates evaporative moisture from below the building and lattice work on the windows to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters the building. 


In reviewing the design, I am not sure if it would work in more humid or colder climates.  The lattice work to reduce direct sunlight makes sense.  Keeping the building elevated above the ground makes sense for warmer climates and in areas prone to flooding.  It may be more problematic in colder climates as there would be a significant heat loss or a need to heavily insulate the floor of the structure.  On the positive side it would eliminate problems with slab on grade water infiltration.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Asteroid not likely to hit earth in February, 2013

According to RT.com News, NASA is considering options to divert a 60 meter asteroid 2012 DA14.  It expected to pass by the earth closer than geosynchronous satellites during February, 2013.   The asteroid was discovered by Spanish stargazers in February of 2012.
Options to change the path of the asteroid are limited as it would take more than a year to launch a mission to destroy or divert it.  One of the options being considered is to paint the asteroid to change its course.  This may keep it clear of the earth this time but would make predicting its path more difficult in the future.

Updated report: Mike Wall from Space.com:  NASA researchers report (March 6, 2013) that the small asteroid will not get closer than 3.2 of earth radii or 20,400 kilometers

If an asteroid of this sizewere to impact the earth the damage is expected to be similar to the 1908 Tunguska blast in Siberia which leveled more than 2000 square kilometers of trees.  This is a link to the Russian site on the subject.  A Google translator is available to convert most of the text into English.

Photo of tree blow down from Tunguska
Scientists are not certain of the precise cause of the Tunguska event.  The most likely theory involves an icy portion of a comet that exploded in the atmosphere above the area.  A volcanic eruption or a meteor have also been considered. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Security implications of fossil fuel reliance

An upcoming talk by rear admiral Neil Morisetti, (UK Climate and Security Onvoy) will focus on security issues caused by over reliance on fossil fuels. Friday, March 2, 3–4:30 p.m. in the lobby level conference room of the University of Minnesota’s Cargill Building, 1500 Gortner Ave. in St. Paul.

Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti in Climate change and conflict- 7 min. - 2015