Posted on June 3, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
No smoking gun — yet
Large areas of open water where there historically was ice is affecting regional air temperatures and atmospheric circulation in the Arctic. Image courtesy NASA.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — There’s no doubt that the continuing decline of Arctic sea ice is going to affect climate and weather across the northern hemisphere, but researchers are still trying to pinpoint exactly what the impacts will be.
In one recent study, scientists with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science found that as sea ice disappeared, the areas of relatively warm open water began to strongly influence the atmosphere, increasing surface temperatures in the region, and shifting low- and high-pressure zones around most markedly in the fall and winter.
“The way I see it, it’s one of the wild cards out there,” said Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “The issue is just what those changes are going to look like. That’s what we’re really still grappling with, we don’t have a handle on this … Is there a smoking gun? No, not yet,” Serreze said, discussing the findings of the new study. (more…)
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate, global warming, Jet stream, National Center for Atmospheric Research, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado at Boulder | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 19, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Charles F. Brush's 60 foot, 80,000 pound turbine that supplied 12kW of power to 350 incandescent lights, 2 arc lights, and a number of motors at his home for 20 years. It today is believed to be the first automatically operating wind turbine for electricity generation and was built in the winter of 1887 - 1888 in his back yard. Its rotor was 17 meters in diameter. The large rectangular shape to the left of the rotor is the vane, used to move the blades into the wind. The dynamo turned 50 times for every revolution of the blades and charged a dozen batteries each with 34 cells. For scale, note gardener pushing lawnmower underneath and to right of the turbine.
New research shows a cooling effect that could help prevent fungal attacks
By Summit Voice
Wind turbines in Midwestern farm fields may be doing more than churning out electricity. The giant turbine blades that generate renewable energy might also help corn and soybean crops stay cooler and dryer, help them fend off fungal infestations and improve their ability to extract growth-enhancing carbon dioxide from the air and soil.
Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory and the University of Colorado recently said their studies show that turbines produce a measurable effect on nearby microclimates.
The slow-moving turbine blades channel air downward, in effect bathing the crops below via the increased airflow they create.
“Our laser instrument could detect a beautiful plume of increased turbulence that persisted even a quarter-mile downwind of a turbine,” said, Julie Lundquist, an assistant professor with the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder. (more…)
Filed under: energy, Environment, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Ames Laboratory, renewable energy, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, Turbine, United States Department of Energy, University of Colorado at Boulder, wind power, Wind turbine | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 6, 2010 by Bob Berwyn
Water on the surface of glaciers and ice sheets can trickle down through cracks and transport heat to deep inside, speeding melting. PHOTO COURTESY UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO.
CU research shows how water can warm glaciers and icecaps from within
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — New research shows that water flowing through ice sheets like Greenland‘s can spread heat throughout the ice and speed up melting tremendously, according to the University of Colorado at Boulder.
“We are finding that once such water flow is initiated through a new section of ice sheet, it can warm rather significantly and quickly, sometimes in just 10 years, ” said lead author Thomas Phillips, a research scientist with Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences. CIRES is a joint institute between CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Existing models of ice sheets haven’t accounted for the heat that’s spread internally — they only factored in surface heat from the sun’s radiation and warmer air on the surface of the ice, the researchers said. Based on the study, the Greeland ice sheet could respond to such warming on the order of decades rather than the centuries projected by conventional thermal models. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, Environment, Geophysical Research Letters, global warming, greenland, Greenland ice sheet, ice sheets, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Summit County Colorado, Summit County News, University of Colorado at Boulder | Leave a Comment »