Daily Archives: January 9, 2012

Politics: Candidate Santorum on climate

For those interested in candidate views on climate, Mr. Romney and Mr. Gingrich’s positions have been well publicized.  Mr. Santorum provides an insight into his thinking in this video (click here) at 1:12:18….Transcript of Rick Santorum’s climate change talk in Belmont, NH: 

Voter: I was wondering how you’ve integrated your financial policies with the findings of current climate change science. 
Rick Santorum: The question is on how do I get my policies with climate change science.

I get asked this question a lot, and you look at the data and you can see some change in the climate.

But then again, pick a point in history where you haven’t seen a change in the climate.

The climate does change.

The question is, what is causing the climate to change.

And I think most scientists, in fact, I assume all scientists would agree there are a variety of factors that cause the climate change.

I don’t think any scientist in the world would suggest there isn’t a variety of factors, and I think the vast majority of scientists would say there’s probably a hundred factors that cause the climate to change.

And so why have we decided that this one particular factor, carbon dioxide, is in fact that tip of the tail that wags the entire dog. 

Why from a scientific point of view do we make the assertion that this is in fact what is the case when there is a whole lot of other factors out there that could be affecting it?

So, that’s the question.

Some people have very strong feelings that it is that. 

There are a lot of other people who don’t.

Here’s the question. 

Let’s even assume, for purposes of argument, not that I agree with it, but for purposes of argument, that they are right.

Then what would be a rational response?

Well, if you have a problem and you want to craft something, what should that thing that you’re crafting do?

Solve the problem.

Do any of the proposed solutions put forward by Al Gore and his friends do anything to solve the problem?

Even the scientists who support the theory will admit to you that it doesn’t do anything to solve the problem. 

So query, why support the solution, other than you may have some other agenda that may be in place here. 


And let’s go back to what that agenda is. 

There’s a common theme that you should be hearing here.

They don’t trust you to allocate resources in a way that they believe is best, and so they want to have a system that forces you to do what they think you should do in running your business and your lives.

Reality Check: Ocean acidification, pH variation, and CO2

The claim has been made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator Lubchenco that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause catestrophic acidification of the oceans.  But this peer-reviewed  paper supports the premise that natural pH variations already occur.  Click here for more discussion….

Hofmann GE, Smith JE, Johnson KS, Send U, Levin LA, et al. (2011) High-Frequency Dynamics of Ocean pH: A Multi-Ecosystem Comparison. PLoS ONE 6(12): e28983. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028983

Abstract: The effect of Ocean Acidification (OA) on marine biota is quasi-predictable at best. While perturbation studies, in the form of incubations under elevated pCO2, reveal sensitivities and responses of individual species, one missing link in the OA story results from a chronic lack of pH data specific to a given species’ natural habitat. Here, we present a compilation of continuous, high-resolution time series of upper ocean pH, collected using autonomous sensors, over a variety of ecosystems ranging from polar to tropical, open-ocean to coastal, kelp forest to coral reef. These observations reveal a continuum of month-long pH variability with standard deviations from 0.004 to 0.277 and ranges spanning 0.024 to 1.430 pH units. The nature of the observed variability was also highly site-dependent, with characteristic diel, semi-diurnal, and stochastic patterns of varying amplitudes. These biome-specific pH signatures disclose current levels of exposure to both high and low dissolved CO2, often demonstrating that resident organisms are already experiencing pH regimes that are not predicted until 2100. Our data provide a first step toward crystallizing the biophysical link between environmental history of pH exposure and physiological resilience of marine organisms to fluctuations in seawater CO2. Knowledge of this spatial and temporal variation in seawater chemistry allows us to improve the design of OA experiments: we can test organisms with a priori expectations of their tolerance guardrails, based on their natural range of exposure. Such hypothesis-testing will provide a deeper understanding of the effects of OA. Both intuitively simple to understand and powerfully informative, these and similar comparative time series can help guide management efforts to identify areas of marine habitat that can serve as refugia to acidification as well as areas that are particularly vulnerable to future ocean change.

Click here for the full paper (free).


Hannah and Bell 2012: Regional sea level trends in New Zealand

These researchers found the sea level rise over the past 50 years to be less than 7 inches per century with no evidence of acceleration…..once again refuting the exaggerated claims of the IPCC….click here for further discussion… 

J. Hannah, R.G. Bell. Regional sea level trends in New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research, VOL. 117, C01004, 7 PP., 2012 doi:10.1029/2011JC007591

In terms of sea level data sets able to be used for long-term sea level trend analysis, the Southern Hemisphere is a data sparse region of the world. New Zealand lies in this region, presently having four (major port) data sets used for such trend analysis. This paper describes the process followed to compute new sea level trends at another six ports, each with very discontinuous tide gauge records. In each case the tide gauge has previously only been used for precisely defining an historical local Mean Sea Level (MSL) datum. The process used involved a comparison of the old MSL datum with a newly defined datum obtained from sea level data covering the last decade. A simple linear trend was fitted between the two data points. Efforts were then made to assess possible bias in the results due to oceanographic factors such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO). This was done by taking the longer time series from the four major ports and assessing the spatially coherent variability in annual sea level using the dominant principal component from an empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis. The average relative sea level rise calculated from these six newly derived trends was 1.7 ± 0.1 mm yr−1, a result that is completely consistent with the analysis of the long-term gauge records. Most importantly, it offers a relatively simple method of improving our knowledge of relative sea level trends in data sparse regions of the world.

Click here for the full paper (fee).


LeFevre et al 2011: Fate of Naphthalene in Laboratory-Scale Bioretention Cells: Implications for Sustainable Stormwater Management

G.H. LeFevre, P.J. Novak, and R.M. Hozalski. 2011. Fate of Naphthalene in Laboratory-Scale Bioretention Cells: Implications for Sustainable Stormwater Management. Environ. Sci. Technol., Article ASAP. DOI: 10.1021/es202266z; Publication Date (Web): December 9, 2011

Bioretention cells are increasingly popular in low-impact development as a means to sustainably mitigate the environmental problems associated with stormwater runoff. Yet, much remains to be known regarding the removal and ultimate fate of pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons in bioretention cells. In this work, laboratory-scale bioretention cells were constructed inside sealed glass columns. The columns were periodically spiked with 14C-naphthalene over a 5-month period and the fate of this representative hydrocarbon and the influence of vegetation on naphthalene fate was studied. Three column setups were used: one planted with a legume (Purple Prairie Clover, Dalea purpureum), one planted with grass (Blue-Joint Grass, Calamagrostis canadensis), and one unplanted (i.e., control). Overall naphthalene removal efficiency was 93% for the planted columns and 78% for the control column. Adsorption to soil was the dominant naphthalene removal mechanism (56–73% of added naphthalene), although mineralization (12–18%) and plant uptake (2–23%) were also important. Volatilization was negligible (<0.04%). Significant enrichment of naphthalene-degrading bacteria occurred due to contaminant exposure and plant growth as evidenced by increased biodegradation activity and increased naphthalene dioxygenase gene concentrations in the bioretention media. This research suggests that bioretention is a viable solution for sustainable petroleum hydrocarbon removal from stormwater, and that vegetation can enhance overall performance and stimulate biodegradation.