Giant red crabs invade the Antarctic abyss
From the New Scientist via Huffington Post “Huge crabs more than a metre across have invaded the Antarctic abyss, wiped out the local wildlife and now threaten to ruin ecosystems that have evolved over 14 million years.”
These critters occupy a layer between 1400 and 950 metres deep, where the water is a little warmer. Further up the water is cooled by melting ice.
Global warming seems to be the culprit. Back in 1982 the minimum temperature there was 1.2°C, too cold for king crabs. Last year it had risen to a balmy 1.47°C, enough for the crabs to thrive.
The temperature rise at 0.27°C is not large, but I suspect it takes a lot of energy to produce it.
Human fingerprints of climate change
Climate Progress has published seven human fingerprints of climate change. The one I want to highlight is #4 which shows that nights have been warming faster than days. This is important because the records created by the daily highs are the ones we tend to hear about.
The figures were published in John Cook’s booklet The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism. Cook, of course, is the man behind the Skeptical Science blog. Go here for links to 13 topics often raised by sceptics.
Pacific Islands Forum
We knew that climate change and in particular sea level rise was one of the main issues, but there was little information coming out of the forum. Nic Maclellan at New Matilda explains why. The meeting was top-heavy with celebs and the press packs following the Australian and NZ PMs were more interested in domestic issues such as asylum seekers and rugby union than the Forum agenda.
I did hear on the radio that the main concern was over funding for climate change adaptation, and whether new funds announced were actually new. That’s borne out in this report but here again the reporting is mainly about who should be there.
Paras 14-17 of the Forum Communique cover climate change. Mostly motherhood and procedure.
Sea level oscillated during the Eemian
Sea levels oscillated up and down during the Eemian interglacial about 120,000 years ago according to Woods Hole research. The research used new methods of interpreting the uranium and thorium isotope ratios used in dating coral giving more accurate chronologies.
I’m not sure why we should be surprised. I’ve always had the impression that the stability of the Holocene was exceptional. Also the West Antarctic sheet partially collapsed and regrew over 60 times during the last few million years with a mild forcing like orbital changes as the main driver, suggesting that the sheets respond quite sensitively to temperature.
Ammonia as car fuel
Ammonia produces just nitrogen and water vapour when burned and, unlike hydrogen, it is relatively easy to store in liquid form. It can also be produced cheaply at the filling station, according to research done by John Fleming and Tim Maxwell at Texas Tech University. Ammonia can be used together with conventional petrol, or the car can be modified to run solely on ammonia.
They are also developing an ammonia engine that drives a generator, which produces electricity to drive the wheels.
They don’t say how much energy is used in making the ammonia, but I expect it could be solar.
Originally published in the New Scientist.
China’s new plan for solar power supremacy
Melanie Hart has done a guest post at Climate Progress on China’s review of its clean energy plans. So far the story in China has been wind power. Now it looks like solar will be given top billing. The suggestion is:
10 GW of installed solar capacity by 2015, including 9 GW from photovoltaic installations and 1 GW from solar thermal electric power generation, and 50 GW total installed capacity by 2020.
Of note, the article says that China too has a fossil fuel lobby, and renewable plans include 30GW of pumped water storage.
With assistance from Melanie Hart Stephen Lacey’s post looks at China’s predatory pricing strategy to knock out American production.
On another thread, jumpy linked to Solyndra’s sad demise. In response, dylwah suggested that a price on carbon might help and linked to an article by Thomas Friedman. I’m not sure what that would do in the face of dumping.
While on solar, here’s a link about spray-on PV developed by Mitsubishi.
Vauxhall/Opel two-seater EV Concept
Finally via John D’s Gizmag browsing here’s Vauxhall/Opel’s two-seater EV Concept which they claim “could revolutionize” urban transport. The article points to similar concepts by other makers and thinks they represent
a line-blurring class of sub-sub-compact cars – a category that we’ve long seen as playing a key role in the future of urban transport.