Sea ice again

So, the question was, how much effect does removing the Arctic sea ice make to the rest of the world? In particular, what is the direct effect, ignoring all the feedbacks that would occur on SST and so on? Happily, an atmosphere-only GCM can answer this question, and happily I had one to hand, viz HadAM3.

Continue reading “Sea ice again”

Tracy says…

They’re cr*p, aren’t they? Tracy Says was the name of a band at the UK Met Office. They got their name from the quote :-). Reading the appalling stories that “Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing” I am irrestistibly reminded of them. The Register has a bit more; thanks to Inel for the tip.
Continue reading “Tracy says…”

The impact on the stability of the Greenland ice sheet as well as on global weather patterns would likely be nearly unimaginable?

I have got complained at for responding to “The impact on the stability of the Greenland ice sheet as well as on global weather patterns would likely be nearly unimaginable” with “…as for the impact on the weather, there is no reason to suppose any problem.” This in the context of the recent loss of Arctic sea ice. So maybe its worth discussing a bit.
Continue reading “The impact on the stability of the Greenland ice sheet as well as on global weather patterns would likely be nearly unimaginable?”

Subprime fun

Reading the torygraph business section I came across Deutsche Bank in ownership court row: “An American judge has prevented Deutsche Bank from repossessing 14 homes because the bank could not prove it owned the defaulting mortgages involved… Pooling involves taking hundreds if not thousands of mortgages, putting them in one unit, and then selling parts of that unit to others. As a result, it can often be unclear which bank actually owns the individual mortgages. Judge Boyko had ordered lawyers acting for Deutsche Bank National Trust Company to prove the lender was the ultimate owner of the mortgages. When it could not do so, he dismissed the cases.”

Oops, someone has been careless.

[Update: thanks to C for Tanta -W]

Pix from a trip

To Belgium, for Wouters thesis; and congratulations to him. Pix are on Flickr once you get past the bonfires.

Now the new line from St Pancreas is in, it takes less than 2 hours to get there, and new posters are splashed all around, some of them quite good.

The one featuring Thatcher, Major and Blair is fun and preserves the proper stereotypes. Major looks like a tw*t; Blair is looking to Major for approval; and only Thatcher is actually going to do anything. Dunno who this is. Being Belgium, the posters are also in Dutch, but I couldn’t read those ones and neither could you 🙂

Looking at people looking at pictures is fun, especially the famous ones. Someone (not these people) went up to this, said to his wife “Ah gee honey this is is sooo famous” and then they promptly walked on with barely a look at the picture. The Belgians are very good about letting you take pix, as long as you don’t use a flash (or a tripod).

St A being tempted by Dali. Close up. Look closely, you can see the grey background going through him. It isn’t an optical illusion: I guess Dali was in a hurry and didn’t have time to prepare the ground for the figure properly.

I even had time to make it to the Grand Place.

Electric car emissions?

OK, who knows how electric car emissions compare to, say, diesel in terms of CO2/km? I mean pure battery electric, not hybrid. Obviously you have to assume some generating mix to produce the electricity, and the answer might vary for where you live: if you take France’s 70% nuclear electric then you get a different answer to our coal/oil/gas/electric mix.

But are there any decent numbers up anywhere?

[Update: the first commenter seems to have found the best ref, thanks. The answer is that EVs are a bit better but it does depend on what you’re burning to make lectric.

Note: the Times on friday had an article claiming that the UK was making a big mistake by investing in more diesel trains rather than electrification, because in trains the diff is a factor of two -W]

Torture and detention

Over in the mad world, CIP castigates his fellow countryfolk for promoting torture. AFAIK we’re not doing that (except very quietly and discretely, one suspects) so instead we’re going for detaining people for implausibly long times. We’re currently at an insane 28 days and our glorious leader wants to extend this to a totally barking 56 days. At least thats less than the 90 they wanted at one point.

Unfortunately most of the debate is over how extending 28 would be bad; I don’t see anyone saying that even 28 is grossly illiberal.

One silly piece of humour that came out of this was the sad saga of Minister Lord “Simple Sailor” West, who Dared to Disagree, at least briefly. But after Number 10 stomped on him he toed the party line. See grauniad or BBC.

And we still have all the f*ck*ng insane restrictions on plane baggage (not that I care, I’m not flying for the forseeable future and who knows it might put a few people off) and other madness. Still, it beats doing something useful on climate change and may distract the Public for a while. James notes that the friendly Japanese are planning to fingerprint us all; but as I recall the US fingerprinted and retina-photographed me just for transitting through LA. At least our trains are currently sane (I mean, in terms of security, of course), though the govt are working on that.

Oh, and before I go, let me moan at you a bit more… “Tourists visiting the capital often question why there are no litter bins on the London Underground. The simple answer, wearily repeated by staff, is “security”. ” [bbc]. I suspect that the answer is “Its a lot cheaper and more convenient not to have to bother empty them, and security provides a convenient excuse”.