Monthly Archives: February 2013

The tropical “hotspot” is still missing…..and does not exist

Click here or image below for further discussion.

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IPCC climate models fail to reproduce ENSO or Indian summer monsoon

Mathew Roxy, Nitin Patil, Karumuri Ashok, K. Aparna. Revisiting the Indian summer monsoon-ENSO links in the IPCC AR4 projections: A cautionary outlook. Global and Planetary Change. Available online 17 February 2013

The climate change experiments under the fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), namely the twentieth century simulations (20C3M) and Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1B, are revisited to study whether these models can reproduce the ENSO and ENSO Modoki patterns as the gravest two modes from statistical linear analysis as observed. The capability of the models in simulating realistic ENSO/ENSO Modoki teleconnections with the Indian summer monsoon, and also the implications for the future is also explored. Results from the study indicate that only ~ 1/4th of the models from 20C3M capture either ENSO or ENSO Modoki pattern in JJAS. Of this 1/4th, only two models simulate both ENSO and ENSO Modoki as important modes. Again, out of these two, only one model simulates both ENSO and ENSO Modoki as important modes during both summer and winter.

It is also shown that the two models that demonstrate ENSO Modoki as well as ENSO associated variance in both 20C3M and SRESA1B represent the links of the ISMR with ENSO reasonably in 20C3M, but indicate opposite type of impacts in SREA1B. With the limited skills of the models in reproducing the monsoon, the ENSO and ENSO Modoki, it is difficult to reconcile that the teleconnections of a tropical driver can change like that. All this indicates the challenges associated with the limitations of the models in reproducing the variability of the monsoons and ENSO flavors, not to speak of failing in capturing the potential impacts of global warming as they are expected to. More research in improving the current day simulations, improving model capacity to simulate better by improving the Green House Gases (GHG) and aerosols in the models are some of the important and immediate steps that are necessary.

Click here for full article.

Dead body plugs Los Angeles (CA) hotel water system….

“Tourists staying at a Los Angeles hotel bathed, brushed teeth and drank water from a tank in which a young woman’s body was likely decomposing for more than two weeks, police said.” Click here for news article….

Fluoride chemical study swats at a fly, but swallows a Camel

The presumption of this study, of course, is that there are no health risks associated with adding a fluoride chemical to drinking water, and thus the camel has been swallowed. Swatting the fly (impurities in the chemicals) is a side show….Of course, there is a more fundamental flaw in this study, which is a theoretical risk estimation as this does not represent real people. People are not a statistical category. It is incorrect to say that a water system that adds fluoride by switching chemicals will “reduce the number of lung and bladder cancers among their citizens.” The study estimates statistical cancers, not real cancer cases. Lastly, the study completely ignores the adverse impacts of adding additional fluoride exposure to the population via drinking water fluoridation. If fluoridation is eliminated altogether (which I support) then all of the impacts mentioned in this study as well as fluorosis and other negative health effects of the ingested fluoride would not occur at all, saving $$ billions.

J. William Hirzya, Robert J. Cartonb, Christina D. Bonannia, Carly M. Montaneroa, Michael F. Naglea. Comparison of hydrofluorosilicic acid and pharmaceutical sodium fluoride as fluoridating agents—A cost–benefit analysis. Environmental Science & Policy, Available online 16 February 2013

Water fluoridation programs in the United States and other countries which have them use either sodium fluoride (NaF), hydrofluorosilicic acid (HFSA) or the sodium salt of that acid (NaSF), all technical grade chemicals to adjust the fluoride level in drinking water to about 0.7–1 mg/L. In this paper we estimate the comparative overall cost for U.S. society between using cheaper industrial grade HFSA as the principal fluoridating agent versus using more costly pharmaceutical grade (U.S. Pharmacopeia – USP) NaF. USP NaF is used in toothpaste. HFSA, a liquid, contains significant amounts of arsenic (As). HFSA and NaSF have been shown to leach lead (Pb) from water delivery plumbing, while NaF has been shown not to do so. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health-based drinking water standards for As and Pb are zero. Our focus was on comparing the social costs associated with the difference in numbers of cancer cases arising from As during use of HFSA as fluoridating agent versus substitution of USP grade NaF. We calculated the amount of As delivered to fluoridated water systems using each agent, and used EPA Unit Risk values for As to estimate the number of lung and bladder cancer cases associated with each. We used cost of cancer cases published by EPA to estimate cost of treating lung and bladder cancer cases. Commercial prices of HFSA and USP NaF were used to compare costs of using each to fluoridate. We then compared the total cost to our society for the use of HFSA versus USP NaF as fluoridating agent. The U.S. could save $1 billion to more than $5 billion/year by using USP NaF in place of HFSA while simultaneously mitigating the pain and suffering of citizens that result from use of the technical grade fluoridating agents. Other countries, such as Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and Australia that use technical grade fluoridating agents may realize similar benefits by making this change. Policy makers would have to confront the uneven distribution of costs and benefits across societies if this change were made.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Volatilization assessment drafted for chlorpyrifos exposure

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has proposed an approach for assessing risks of spray drift from volatilized chlorpyrifos, a common agricultural insecticide.  Click here…..if adopted the approach could be applied to other pesticides……

State Water Resources Board (CA) wants agriculture tax, fees to fund water systems

“California water officials are urging state lawmakers to create a new source of funding by implementing some new taxes and fees so that communities with high levels of nitrates in their drinking water can build and operate safe water systems.”

Click here for full news article….

Spanish researchers Barredo et al. rule out anthropogenic climate change as affecting flood losses

This study failed to find a significant positive trend in the adjusted insured flood losses in Spain. The authors conclude that the increasing trend in the original losses is explained by socio-economic factors, as found by virtually all other researchers who have examined this issue. Their analysis “rules out a discernible influence of anthropogenic climate change on insured losses.”

Barredo, J. I., Saurí, D., and Llasat, M. C.: Assessing trends in insured losses from floods in Spain 1971–2008, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 12, 1723-1729, doi:10.5194/nhess-12-1723-2012, 2012.

Economic impacts from floods have been increasing over recent decades, a fact often attributed to a changing climate. On the other hand, there is now a significant body of scientific scholarship all pointing towards increasing concentrations and values of assets as the principle cause of the increasing cost of natural disasters. This holds true for a variety of perils and across different jurisdictions. With this in mind, this paper examines the time history of insured losses from floods in Spain between 1971 and 2008. It assesses whether any discernible residual signal remains after adjusting the data for the increase in the number and value of insured assets over this period of time. Data on insured losses from floods were sourced from Consorcio de Compensación de Seguros (CCS). Although a public institution, CCS compensates homeowners for the damage produced by floods, and thus plays a role similar to that of a private insurance company. Insured losses were adjusted using two proxy measures: first, changes in the total amount of annual surcharges (premiums) paid by customers to CCS, and secondly, changes in the total value of dwellings per year. The adjusted data reveals no significant trend over the period 1971–2008 and serves again to confirm that at this juncture, societal influences remain the prime factors driving insured and economic losses from natural disasters.

Click here for full article (Open Source).