Saturday, January 12, 2008

Do the latest numbers make global warming real enough?

Juliet Eilperin has an important story in today’s (Sat. Jan 12, 2008) Washington Post, page A03, “Last Year Among the Hottest on Record, Say Experts,” here.
This was the hottest year on record except for 1998, with an average sea-land temperature for the planet just over 50 o F. (about 14.5 o C), about one degree over the average from 1951 to 1980. Anecdotally, many people started noticing warmer temperatures back in the 1980s. The “average” for the US is likely to be about 54 o F. (Calculating it is a good integral calculus and numerical analysis problem).

A related Post story appears by Mira Kamdar, on p B03, “It’s Costs just $2500. It’s cute as a bug. And it could mean global disaster.” The link is here.
This is about the tiny little scareb-like car called the Nano, from the Tata Group in India. If everyone in the developing world can afford a fossil fuel burning car, or even a car burning biofuels, there could be an incalculable effect on global warming, raising new ethical questions that we are hardly ready for.

I drive a 1997 car with 100,000 miles and could savor the idea of a new car under $3000.

Update: Jan. 14, 2007

See the stories on the rapid melting of part of the Antarctic ice cap, and effect on sea levels. A typical story is by Marc Kaufman "Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica: Sheets Melting in an Area Once Thought to Be Unaffected by Global Warming", link here.

Marc Kaufman and Eric Rignot has a Q&A session on the Washington Post website today Jan. 14, "Science: Climate Change Impact on Antarctica", transcript link (with all the reader questions and answers) here. There is a lot of discussion of the specific geography of Antarctica.

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