Daily Archives: November 10, 2011

Private water system rate increases driven by regulatory compliance; Is advocacy for new rules a conflict of interest?

Private water system customer rate increases must be approved by a Public Utilities Commission (PUC)….and in the case here, it is the Pennsylvania American Water Company obtaining approval for a rate increase.

The American Water Works Service Company has historically advocated in favor of new state and federal drinking water regulations. But new rules (e.g., climate change, etc), whether justified or not, provide an additional basis to up the price of water.

Is this a conflict of interest? And is the same true for a municipal utility….Just wondering….


Scafetta 2011: A shared frequency set between the historical mid-latitude aurora records and the global surface temperature

This paper is just one more in a parade of peer-reviewed papers that reinforces the role of natural variability in climate changes. For a discussion of the significance of this paper, click here.

Scafetta, N. A shared frequency set between the historical mid-lattitude aurora records and the global surface temperature. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, doi: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.10.013

Abstract: Herein we show that the historical records of mid-latitude auroras from 1700 to 1966 present oscillations with periods of about 9, 10–11, 20–21, 30 and 60 years. The same frequencies are found in proxy and instrumental global surface temperature records since 1650 and 1850, respectively, and in several planetary and solar records. We argue that the aurora records reveal a physical link between climate change and astronomical oscillations. Likely in addition to a Soli-Lunar tidal effect, there exists a planetary modulation of the heliosphere, of the cosmic ray flux reaching the Earth and/or of the electric properties of the ionosphere. The latter, in turn, has the potentiality of modulating the global cloud cover that ultimately drives the climate oscillations through albedo oscillations. In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied, which also include a historical record of meteorite fall in China from 619 to 1943. These findings support the thesis that climate oscillations have an astronomical origin. We show that a harmonic constituent model based on the major astronomical frequencies revealed in the aurora records and deduced from the natural gravitational oscillations of the solar system is able to forecast with a reasonable accuracy the decadal and multidecadal temperature oscillations from 1950 to 2010 using the temperature data before 1950, and vice versa. The existence of a natural 60-year cyclical modulation of the global surface temperature induced by astronomical mechanisms, by alone, would imply that at least 60–70% of the warming observed since 1970 has been naturally induced. Moreover, the climate may stay approximately stable during the next decades because the 60-year cycle has entered in its cooling phase.

Click here to obtain the full paper (free).


Kobashi et al 2011: High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core

This article reports Greenland temperatures are within the envelope of natural variability…..for a good discussion of this article click here.

Kobashi, T., K. Kawamura, J. P. Severinghaus, J.‐M. Barnola, T. Nakaegawa, B. M. Vinther, S. J. Johnsen, and J. E. Box (2011), High variability of Greenland surface temperature over the past 4000 years estimated from trapped air in an ice core, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L21501, doi:10.1029/2011GL049444.

Greenland recently incurred record high temperatures and ice loss by melting, adding to concerns that anthropogenic warming is impacting the Greenland ice sheet and in turn accelerating global sea‐level rise. Yet, it remains imprecisely known for Greenland how much warming is caused by increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases versus natural variability. To address this need, we reconstruct Greenland surface snow temperature variability over the past 4000 years at the GISP2 site (near the Summit of the Greenland ice sheet; hereafter referred to as Greenland temperature) with a new method that utilises argon and nitrogen isotopic ratios from occluded air bubbles. The estimated average Greenland snow temperature over the past 4000 years was −30.7°C with a standard deviation of 1.0°C and exhibited a long‐term decrease of roughly 1.5°C, which is consistent with earlier studies. The current decadal average surface temperature (2001–2010) at the GISP2 site is −29.9°C. The record indicates that warmer temperatures were the norm in the earlier part of the past 4000 years, including century‐long intervals nearly 1°C warmer than the present decade (2001–2010). Therefore, we conclude that the current decadal mean temperature in Greenland has not exceeded the envelope of natural variability over the past 4000 years, a period that seems to include part of the Holocene Thermal Maximum. Notwithstanding this conclusion, climate models project that if anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions continue, the Greenland temperature would exceed the natural variability of the past 4000 years sometime before the year 2100.

Ball et al 2011: Toxicological review and oral risk assessment of terephthalic acid (TPA) and its esters: a category approach.

G.L. Ball, C.J. McLellan, and V.S. Bhat. Toxicological review and oral risk assessment of terephthalic acid (TPA) and its esters: a category approach. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 2011 Nov 4.

Abstract: Polyethylene terephthalate, a copolymer of terephthalic acid (TPA) or dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) with ethylene glycol, has food, beverage, and drinking water contact applications. Di-2-ethylhexyl terephthalate (DEHT) is a plasticizer in food and drinking water contact materials. Oral reference doses (RfDs) and total allowable concentrations (TACs) in drinking water were derived for TPA, DMT, and DEHT. Category RfD and TAC levels were also established for nine C(1)-C(8) terephthalate esters. The mode of action of TPA, and of DMT, which is metabolized to TPA, involves urinary acidosis, altered electrolyte elimination and hypercalciuria, urinary supersaturation with calcium terephthalate or calcium hydrogen terephthalate, and crystallization into bladder calculi. Weanling rats were more sensitive to calculus formation than dams. Calculi-induced irritation led to bladder hyperplasia and tumors in rats fed 1000 mg/kg-day TPA. The lack of effects at 142 mg/kg-day supports a threshold for urine saturation with calcium terephthalate, a key event for calculus formation. Chronic dietary DMT exposure in rodents caused kidney inflammation, but not calculi. Chronic dietary DEHT exposure caused general toxicity unrelated to calculi, although urine pH was reduced suggesting the TPA metabolite was biologically-active, but of insufficient concentration to induce calculi. Respective oral reference doses of 0.5, 0.5, and 0.2 mg/kg-day and total allowable drinking water concentrations of 3, 3, and 1 mg/L were derived for TPA, DMT, and DEHT. An oral RfD of 0.2 mg/kg-day for the terephthalate category chemicals corresponded to a drinking water TAC of 1 mg/L.

Click here to obtain the full paper (fee).