Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Language of Climate

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  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    “we have found that the winter air temperature in Indianapolis, Indiana, is well correlated with the frequency of noctilucent clouds over Antarctica.”

    The Guardian reports on similar findings…

    China’s air pollution could be intensifying storms over the Pacific Ocean and altering weather patterns in North America, according to scientists in the US. A team from Texas, California and Washington state has found that pollution from Asia, much of it arising in China, is leading to more intense cyclones, increased precipitation and more warm air in the mid-Pacific moving towards the north pole.

    One effect, the study says, is an “intensification of the Pacific storm track”, a narrow zone over the ocean where some storms that pass over the US begin to gather.
    “Mid-latitude storms develop off Asia and they track across the Pacific, coming in to the west coast of the US,” said Ellie Highwood, a climate physicist at the University of Reading. “The particles in this model are affecting how strong those storms are, how dense the clouds are, and how much rainfall comes out of those storms."

    …and we seem to be getting more of these storms here, perhaps they are pushed down here by the larger ones crossing the pacific – patterns and presentations are changing….

    This might be a very good long lost weekend to think about it...

    Maybe we can blame those pesky butterflies…

    Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    (re: electric cars) ….the current novelty of the vehicle

    they’re old hat in Chchch… The Walker Electric Truck, 1918

    There are many debates in the 21st century about the viability of electric vehicles, but in the early part of the twentieth century they were a common sight on Christchurch streets.
    One of the most prized examples of motoring heritage in New Zealand, the Walker half-ton electric truck is still in the ownership of the Christchurch Electricity Network Company, now called Orion NZ.

    Hat tip to Paul Kean and Joe Wylie for pointing me there

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    That's a truck, not a car! Cool that they existed, but I'm not surprised that the rise of gasoline vehicles would have superceded something with a top speed of 22kph and an "optimistic" range of 65km. Good idea for an around town delivery vehicle, if there was a lot of individual deliveries or pickups (like a postie or a milk truck, or garbage truck), though, starting and stopping all the time, and wanting to be quiet and unsmokey. I'd expect the average top speed around Auckland would have been about 5kmh, and the range closer to 10km. This based on my experience with electric bikes that have had all their stats calculated in Christchurch.

    But the electric trucks of now are much much more capable. Trucks are actually much easier to convert than cars, because their structural load bearing is designed for heavy weight, so they don't need to be altered to hold the batteries. Amongst electric conversion enthusiasts, the recommendation is to convert a ute. They've already got somewhere to put the batteries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    For a modern version the Wrightspeed garbage truck. I had the great pleasure to meet Ian Wright at a Kiwifoo camp and was quite surprised and pleased to hear that his actual aim was not to really sell the amazing supercar that he designed, but to retrofit electrics into truck fleets using the same technology. I fully expect the guy to eventually make an absolute fortune out of what he's doing. I really hope that happens.

    Not bad for crazy Kiwi inventor.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to BenWilson,

    eclectic motors...

    That’s a truck, not a car!

    Sorry, point taken, but I just thought 'car' derived from carriage...

    Meanwhile back on Orwell's Automotive farm,
    the thinking is "four wheels good..."

    :- )

    Crappy day here, flooding again in Flockton Lagoon and Heathcote
    - Hope Hebe and family (and others) are okay.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7943 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    Looks like the bad weather's finished here, just cleaned up the wreckage around the property. Who'd a thunk that only a few days after this thread, Tamaki Drive would be underwater?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • henry laurensen, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    eclectic tractors?
    http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/photograph/18408/electric-tractor

    Too expensive to run , apparently.

    N.Z. • Since Apr 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • henry laurensen, in reply to BenWilson,

    Quite a lot of energy about yesterday. That's what the thread is actually about isn't it ? :-) Population and energy.

    N.Z. • Since Apr 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to henry laurensen,

    Too expensive to run , apparently.

    They probably didn't have mains power then, so charging the battery would have been done with a generator. Just transfers the fuel burning somewhere else, plus the added inefficiency of pushing it into a battery, and carrying the battery around on the tractor. I bet the expense would be a lot less with cheap electricity via mains to the farm.

    ETA: Ok, no battery. It ran a cable from a truck carrying a transformer? So a truck was tied up for the entire time. Not surprised that would be expensive. Not sure how the electricity got to the truck, presumably from mains. It does look like a much more complicated set up than just a single vehicle plowing away, and the underlying efficiency is dependent on how they made electricity, and how efficiently they delivered it to remote locations. What would the mains have been powered by? Coal?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • henry laurensen, in reply to BenWilson,

    Assumed that it would be the pre-hydro era . So probably coal.

    N.Z. • Since Apr 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • henry laurensen,

    Seems that there is a debate out there ( yeah right out there) which deals with the issues in a wholistic sustainability framework. Just stumbled on this stuff :-

    http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2014-01/holmgren-s-crash-demand-be-careful-what-you-wish

    N.Z. • Since Apr 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • henry laurensen,

    These people seem to be deadly serious. Big action indeed!

    Personally, I believe a rapid financial crash combined with an initially slow, but then increasingly rapid fall in energy supply is the most likely scenario. Financial crisis can cause many of the effects Holmgren discusses in his scenario work in relation to energy and climate impacts.

    http://www.theautomaticearth.com/crash-on-demand-a-response-to-david-holmgren/

    N.Z. • Since Apr 2014 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    There's a new nine part documentary series about climate change called 'The Years of Living Dangerously'. The first part is available on Youtube and features Harrison Ford, Don Cheadle and Tom Friedman.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • debunk,

    Palm oil..palm by product..NZ dairy industry.."sustainability" ....?Mmmmm

    New Zealand • Since Aug 2012 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    Politico has an extended interview with Al Gore here.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

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