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Jet stream affected by global warming? Danger for aircraft (esp transporting nuclear wastes)

Global warming may be affecting jet stream, SMH, 13 Feb 15  A winter of strange weather and turbulent transatlantic flights in the northern hemisphere has scientists asking: Has a predicted climate imbalance of the jet stream begun?

The Arctic is warming faster than other parts of the world, and scientists believe that is having a dramatic impact on the jet stream, which may be responsible for the unusual weather and stronger upper atmospheric winds of late.

n January 8, thousands of Britons were left without electricity in the aftermath of the most violent storms to hit the isles in more than a century. British Airways Flight 114 carried by strong winds journeyed from New York to London in a record five hours and 16 minutes.

Several jetliners flying from Europe to North America in recent weeks faced powerful headwinds, which forced them to make unscheduled mid-flight stops to refuel.

The jet stream – a narrow, variable band of westerly air currents miles above the Earth – is strongest in winter, when boundaries between hot tropical and cold polar air masses are most pronounced.

Currents can be even more turbulent at high altitudes flown in by jetliners some 10 kilometres above the Earth, where winds can reach 300 kilometres per hour.

Since 2012, researcher Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University in New Jersey has been trying to develop new scientific tools to study these “very messy” changes in the jet stream.

“Last winter and this winter the jet stream has been unusually strong,” she told the Royal Society of Britain last year, adding that scientists expect more of the same in coming years…..

February 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Foolish risks in trying geoengineering to solve climate change

Geoengineering and the folly of playing God with the planet WP, By Jason Samenow February 10 There’s this wild, grandiose idea – mostly discussed in academic circles – that we could offset and reverse the effects of global warming by intentionally spraying reflective particles high into the atmosphere.

“[It] would mimic the effects of a volcanic eruption,” writes the Post’s Joel Achenbach. “The thin haze would reflect sunlight, cooling Earth’s surface. Our planet would literally be shinier when seen from space.”

The idea is taken seriously enough that the National of Academy of Sciences released a report today evaluating its merits. The report prudently concludes such geoengineering schemes “pose considerable risks and should not be deployed at this time.”

But I’d go a step further and say it’s an idea that almost certainly will never be practical and could be more dangerous than the problem it’s trying to solve

We do not understand the climate system well enough to predict the disruptive impacts injecting particles would likely have. Although we know with certainty they would result in a net cooling of the climate — just as adding greenhouse gases would ensure net warming — how the effects would play out at the local and regional scale is a huge wild card. It might cause drought in some areas, and bring floods to others.

Our climate models cannot, with reliability, predict the manifestation of regional precipitation changes induced by altering the composition of the atmosphere.

Applying this type of geoengineering plan would require the global community to effectively sign-up for unpredictable climate changes that could benefit some areas at the expense of others. It’s akin to seeking global agreement on the mechanics of playing God with the planet – establishing a world government to set and control a thermostat for Earth, and amicably living with whatever consequences.

Not to mention injecting particles into the atmosphere would not remove the carbon pollution that can persist in the air for decades to centuries with consequences beyond warming, including the acidification of the oceans……..

The best way to confront climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the root cause of the problem, and better understand and cope with the climate changes we are dealt. We need not introduce new ways to alter our climate and further tinker with our one and only livable planet.

If we can’t reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to sufficiently slow climate change, we may even have another way out. The National Academy of Sciences also issued a companion report that discusses “climate interventions” that would directly remove carbon from the atmosphere. To me, those are much more promising than other particle-injecting geoengineering schemes……..

February 13, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Elliott Capital Advisors put $152 million into UK’s solar industry

graph-solar-upOne of the world’s largest activist hedge funds has made a $152 million bet on Britain’s solar power industry  Business Insider, THE TELEGRAPH FEB 9 2015, by Marion Dakers Financial services editor from The Daily Telegraph One of the world’s largest activist hedge funds has made a bet worth nearly £100m on Britain’s solar power industry, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

Elliott Capital Advisors, the UK arm of the American hedge fund, has put money into half a dozen unnamed projects capable of generating about 85 megawatts — making it one of the largest privately-held solar power operators in the country.

Elliott has hedged its bets by taking out short positions in five other renewable energy funds listed on the London stock market. It made its biggest bet against a firm last week, spending an estimated £9m to short 2.21pc of The Renewables Infrastructure Group (TRIG).

The hedges amount to a £17m position against the publicly-traded renewable firms. Elliott is thought to have spent up to four times as much so far in building its own solar projects……..

February 13, 2015 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

UK: Establishment pressure on the Press

Interception Commissioner: 82 journalists’ phone records grabbed by police in three years, judicial oversight needed, Press Gazette  William Turvill 04 February 2015 Some 82 journalists have had their communications data obtained by police under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act in three years, the Interception of Communications Commissioner’s Office has found.

And the IOCCO has said forces should require judicial approval to do so in the future.

The report, which was partly prompted by the Press Gazette Save Our Sources campaign, reveals that in the last three years 608 RIPA applications have been made by forces for communications data to find journalistic sources……..

The RIPA scandal broke in September, when Press Gazette was the first news outlet to report that The Sun’s phone records had been targeted by the Met Police as part of Operation Alice into Plebgate.

Since then, it has emerged that two more Sun journalists had their phone records obtained by the Met under Operation Alice.

In addition, Kent/Essex Police has admitted to using RIPA to find a Mail on Sunday source, and Press Gazette has revealed how Suffolk, Thames Valley and Cleveland forces have also used the act to find journalistic sources.

Last month, Press Gazette co-ordinated a letter sent to the Prime Minister stating that the Home Office’s draft RIPA code was not acceptable. It was signed by every UK national newspaper editor.

More then 1,500 people have signed the Press Gazette Save Our Sources petition calling for judicial oversight of police requests to view journalists’ call records.

Sir Anthony May, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, said: “In October 2014 due to the serious nature of the concerns reported in the media about the protection of journalistic sources, and the allegations that the police had misused their powers under Chapter 2 of Part 1 of RIPA to acquire communications data the Rt Hon.

“Sir Paul Kennedy, who was at the time acting as interim Commissioner, considered it necessary to launch this inquiry and make an additional report to the Prime Minister……

“I am very pleased to be able to publish our inquiry report today and I hope that Parliament and the public will find it helpful.

“Our report sets out the extent to which these powers have been used by police forces to identify journalistic sources, examines the appropriateness of the use of Chapter 2 of Part 1 of RIPA for this purpose, and makes recommendations to ensure adequate safeguards are provided to protect journalistic sources.”

The full report can be read here.

February 13, 2015 Posted by | media, UK | Leave a comment

1,000 homes being torn down after decontamination

NHK has learned that at least 1,000 homes in Fukushima Prefecture will be demolished — even after they have been cleaned of radioactive fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident.

Local officials say that’s a waste of time and money. They call on the government to run the decontamination work more efficiently.

NHK polled officials from 9 Fukushima municipalities where demolition is under way. Each municipality remains partly or completely evacuated.

Officials from 3 towns said about 1,080 houses are to be torn down despite being decontaminated as requested by residents. Naraha Town reports the largest number, around 870.

Officials say leaking rain and animal intrusions are damaging the homes while residents remain evacuated. They also say many evacuees have given up on returning and found new homes instead.

The government pays for both decontamination and demolition programs in evacuation areas. The Environment Ministry says decontamination takes about 2 weeks and costs about 8,300 dollars on average.

An official says the ministry tried to speed up decontamination work at local governments’ requests. He says the ministry will now pursue efficiency as well.

Source: NHK

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Fukushima child tests positive for thyroid cancer in second survey

Feb 12, 2015

A child in Fukushima Prefecture has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the latest health survey to assess the impact of the triple core meltdown that tainted the region with radiation in 2011.

Seven others in the survey of 385,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture are also suspected of having thyroid cancer but have not received a definitive diagnosis, a prefectural committee said. The survey began in April 2014, three years after the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

The child diagnosed and the seven others tested negative in the first survey, which covered all 370,000 children in the prefecture who were 18 or younger at the time of the disaster. Those born a year after the meltdowns were not included.

“Despite the new results, I don’t think we need to change our previous view” that they were not affected by the radiation, said Hokuto Hoshi, who heads the panel.

In the first survey, 86 children were confirmed as having thyroid cancer and 23 were suspected of having it.

In both surveys, the thyroid glands were first scanned with ultrasound to measure the size and shape of any lumps, and assigned four grades of severity. Those children assigned the two highest grades were then given blood tests and cell biopsies.

The child confirmed to have thyroid cancer and the seven suspected of having it were between 6 and 17 at the time of the accident, according to Fukushima Medical University, which conducted the survey.

Source! Japan Times

February 13, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment