By the way, the satellite orbits at a height of over 24,000 km (15,000 miles).
CNet has a little more.
"Like many threats, global warming calls for greater government activity, and that rightly worries people. But in the twenty-first century the alternative to government action is not individual liberty; it is corporate power. And the role of large corporations in this story has mostly been negative, a tale of self-interested obfuscation and short-sighted delay.... the public interest can only be protected by public rules."
-- Spencer Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming: Revised and Expanded Edition (New Histories of Science, Technology, and Medicine)
|Stony Brook physics building|
A new report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has labeled BrightSource Energy's Ivanpah project a "mega-trap" for insects and birds that may get singed or in some cases, burned alive flying through the intense solar radiation reflecting off the thousands of mirrors surrounding three solar towers at the plant in eastern San Bernardino County.It gets specific about the carnage:
"Although not analyzed in detail, there was also significant bat and insect mortality at the Ivanpah site, including monarch butterflies," the report said. "It appears that Ivanpah may act as a 'mega-trap,' (original emphasis) attracting insect-eating birds, which are incapacitated by solar flux injury, thus attracting predators and creating an entire food chain vulnerable to injury and death."Thre were 141 avian mortalities counted at Ivanpah over a 17-month period, from July 2012 to December 2013. "One third, or 47, were due to solar flux."
Solar flux is the intense radiation coming off the reflecting mirrors. At Ivanpah, the radiation is so intense it creates what look like small clouds around the boilers at the top of the project's three 459-foot-tall solar towers. These clouds appear to be attracting the insects which in turn attract the birds.
"Ivanpah employees and OLE staff noticed that close to the periphery of the tower and within the reflected solar field area, streams of smoke arise when an object crosses the solar flux fields aimed at the tower. Ivanpah employees use the term 'streamers' to characterize this occurrence.The article claims that one streamer was seen "about every two minutes." That seems like just a guess, quite incongruous with the number reported above, but assuming it's true, at 12 daylight hours a day, that'd be 373,000 more dead birds in the 17-month period, or 263,000 per year.
Estimates of annual bird deaths, by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (2002):
Building window strikes: 97-976 million per year
Communication towers: 4-5 million per year
Transmission lines: up to 174 million per year
Cars: up to 60 million per year
Pesticide poisoning: about 72 million per year
Oil and wastewater pits: up to 2 million per year
Cats: hundreds of millions per year
March 2014 17th warmest on record in #Oregon, which was bad news for mountain snow. Avg temp of 41.6 ˚F was 3.3˚F above avg #stateofclimate
— Oregon Climate (@ORClimateSvc) April 15, 2014
|Amber waves of less nutritious grain|
These findings imply that food quality will suffer under the CO2 levels anticipated during this century unless more sophisticated approaches to nitrogen fertilization are employed.The Times of India quotes the lead author, Arnold Bloom of UC Davis:
"Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing," said lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the department of plant sciences at University of California, Davis.The article says that wheat "provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet." It concludes:
"Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop," he said.
Bloom noted that other studies also have shown that protein concentrations in the grain of wheat, rice and barley — as well as in potato tubers — decline, on average, by approximately 8 per cent under elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide.That is, 3% is the difference between the increase from CO2 fertilization and the decrease in protein density.
"When this decline is factored into the respective portion of dietary protein that humans derive from these various crops, it becomes clear that the overall amount of protein available for human consumption may drop by about 3 per cent as atmospheric carbon dioxide reaches the levels anticipated to occur during the next few decades," Bloom said.
"Some found the connections plausible, but to most scientists the speculation sounded just like one more of the countless sunspot correlations that had been announced only to be rejected sooner or later. Even if the evidence had been stronger, it would have met with deep skepticism, for scientists cannot well fit data into their thinking unless theory meanwhile prepares a place."It reminded me of this slide from somebody's symposium:
"And finally, please please just stop saying it is the responsibility of ‘environmentalists’ to come up with tactics to persuade the rest of us, who by implication are perfectly entitled to sit back and not take our responsibilities on this issue seriously unless and until ‘environmentalists’ come up with arguments that are appealing to us in every way. Gaaaaah!"
-- Tom Toles, "Environmentalists Doing It Wrong, Again," Washington Post 4/10/13
Synopsis: While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, exceeding 50% by summer.with "the oceanic heat content to the largest March value in the historical record back to 1979" [graph].
Despite this greater model consensus, there remains considerable uncertainty as to when El Niño will develop and how strong it may become. This uncertainty is amplified by the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring.Will definitely be fun to watch. Roy Spencer says after past El Niños, peak tropospheric warmth occurs about 2 to 4 months into the next year.