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October 08, 2005
Buckle Your Seat Belts

Stan deaths hit 610 as survivors search for bodies

Some 1,400 dead in Guatemala mudslide: fire brigade

More Stan stories.

A 4.2 earthquake hit California.

And we already know a massive earthquake hit South Asia, although I give the NYTimes the award for Most Callously Indifferent Headline Of the Day: Pakistan Quake in Remote Area Kills Over 1,000

And, just by way of casual reference, how about that aid situation?

Based on Katrina, we can expect a "remote" area of Pakistan to wait a month or so to receive any aid, right?

But! No! UK sends aid teams to Asian quake Just a few hours! How amazing Civilization is! We gotta get us some of that!

Has the Age of Chaos Begun?

The genesis of two category-five hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) in a row over the Gulf of Mexico is an unprecedented and troubling occurrence. But for most tropical meteorologists the truly astonishing "storm of the decade" took place in March 2004. Hurricane Catarina -- so named because it made landfall in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina -- was the first recorded south Atlantic hurricane in history.

Textbook orthodoxy had long excluded the possibility of such an event; sea temperatures, experts claimed, were too low and wind shear too powerful to allow tropical depressions to evolve into cyclones south of the Atlantic Equator. Indeed, forecasters rubbed their eyes in disbelief as weather satellites down-linked the first images of a classical whirling disc with a well-formed eye in these forbidden latitudes.

Subtropical Depression Forms Near Bermuda

Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free in Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say

Mother Nature is annoyed with us.

Posted by AnneZook at 12:32 PM


"Arctic Ocean Could Be Ice-Free in Summer Within 100 Years, Scientists Say "

I find that quite believable. I may have already said this on your website, but once when I was a kid, my dad showed me a little experiment, to teach me about global warming. It went like this:

Get a glass and fill it half way with soda. Now pack it the rest of the way with ice cubes. Wait a few moments so it can cool down. Now put it in the window so the hot sun can hit it, or, if the day is overcast, put it somewhere else that is hot. Put a thermometer in it. Take the tempature every 3 or 4 minutes.

What happens to the tempature? Nothing, at first. The tempature remains stable, for as long as there are still ice cubes left in the glass. You can apply more heat or less heat and the only thing you'll effect is the speed at which the ice cubes melt. However, once those ice cubes are just about gone, the tempature takes off like a rocket.

Supposedly the Earth has been warming since the year 1850. But the tempature change has been moderate: only about 1 degree celcius. The more dramatic change has been the retreat of the glaciers. A tour of Alaska reveals bay after bay that is now water but that Jack London knew only as glaciers. The Thames river no longer freezes solid every winter. Hudson Bay is now navigable several months each year.

The ice that keeps the Earth moderate is in rapid retreat. The more it disappears, the more we can expect the tempature to spike. Thus, tempature increases in the next 100 years are likely to be much more dramatic than they've been in the last 100 years.

Posted by: Lawrence Krubner at October 12, 2005 02:49 PM

No, I don't think you'd mentioned that experiment before. Thanks for sharing it.

Posted by: Anne at October 13, 2005 10:33 AM