Categories
English Geography Omnologos

Curious Continents (Geography has still a lot to discover)

A recent tweet has inspired some curious fact-finding.

It shows that there is little dry land on Earth where the antipodes are dry land as well, instead of just ocean. This can be explained at least partially by there being only 29.2% of land.

In theory then, every piece of land has only 29.2% chance of being a place where “if you drill through the globe, you’ll hit land on the other side” (as written by a commenter on Twitter to describe the situation very briefly). However, since the land is concentrated in huge continents the actual number is likely smaller.

For example Africa covers 20.3% of the Earth’s land, i.e. 5.9% of the total surface. The simplified chance of finding land on the other side of Africa is therefore (remaining land)/(ocean surface+remaining land), i.e. (29.2-5.9)/((100-29.2)+(29.2-5.9))=22% (this is because Africa cannot be at its own antipodes).

End of story? Not quite. A comprehensive look at the situation reveals it as full of tantalizingly curious details.

The world and its antipodes

The picture above (click to enlarge -hope it’s clear enough even if a bit rough!) uses transparency to show what’s on the other side of the world (original Mercator projection by Google Maps -used here as I’m interested in directions – the map by Amazing Maps uses the Peters projection instead).

Among the amazing peculiarities:

  1. Australia seems cut out of the lower North Atlantic ocean. Its coastline follows the contours of the eastern US coast, then the coasts of Venezuela, the Guyanas and Brazil, and even partially the western coast of Africa
  2. Likewise North America has the perfect shape to fit in the Indian Ocean, roughly following the south-eastern coast of Africa and then curving as if to “avoid” Australia
  3. The northern coasts of Russia and Alaska eerily follow (on the other side of the world) the same path as much of the coast of Antarctica: what is land to the north is ocean in the south, and vice-versa
  4. The antipodes of Africa and of most of the Eurasian continent sit comfortably in the Pacific ocean. Europe manages to just touch New Zealand, and only partially so (mostly, this concerns the volcanic northern island of NZ)
  5. The entire path of India’s migration from Madagascar to the Himalayas is antipodal to and follows the contour of the ocean to the west of Mexico
  6. The odd ones out are (a) the area of Chile and Argentina, corresponding to central China and eastern Mongolia; (b) the Antarctic Peninsula, just to the south of Chile and Argentina and jutting towards them and (c) Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago
  7. Note also that almost exactly on the other side of the narrow strip of land known as Central America, there is the elongated archipelago known as Malaysia and Indonesia.

If confirmed with a more accurate map, my impression would be that there is a hitherto-hidden physical law at play here. It seems that continents cannot simply hang about at random locations, and their place in the Big Schema of the Planet depends on something that has been overlooked until now.

For example, consider that Pangea was constituted 300 million years ago and began to break up 200 million years ago. Now, if we reduced 100 million years to just one year, Earth would be spinning at more than 1,000 revolutions a second. From the point of view of a continent, our planet is like a centrifuge. This has to have its consequences.

 

Categories
AGW Climate Change English Omnologos

The Climate Elusion

Some early morning realization here…

What Steven Goddard, suyts, WUWT, the Bish, McI and many others are writing about (and myself at times during the years) is not so much what climate science should be and actually isn’t. Climate science is obviously being done somewhere else. You need time, money, political support, access to mainstream media, and much more, in order to do public health policy-affecting climate science.

They/we are describing the elusion that has taken over much of what passes as climate science.

It was surface temps before it was heat hiding in the deep oceans. It was decreasing snow before it was increasing snow. It was ice extent before it was ice volume. Etc etc. Whatever happens, there is always a new story devised/concocted to “explain” that whatever is happening is wholly compatible with AGW and especially with the “it’s worse than we thought” meme.

And sadly that’s all true. Whatever happens _is_ wholly compatible with AGW. We all know that there is no possible observation that would disprove the idea that the climate is changing for the worse (if anybody knows of of any, please do tell). This has made the whole enterprise extremely foggy, and constantly bordering between science and faith.

We have no way to tell what is scientifically plausible to think about future climates.

Categories
AGW Climate Change English Omniclimate Omnologos

Hole in the Fog: an extraordinary visualization of UHI

Says Wikipedia

An urban heat island (UHI) is a metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. The phenomenon was first investigated and described by Luke Howard in the 1810s, although he was not the one to name the phenomenon. The temperature difference usually is larger at night than during the day, and is most apparent when winds are weak. UHI is most noticeable during the summer and winter.

Does UHI have a large role to play in global warming? Maybe. Maybe not. But it surely has a very visible impact in the Po Valley in Italy.

This is a Eumetsat picture from sometimes on Dec 8, 2013. Can you spot where the city of Milan is?

Po Valley, Italy, Dec 8 2013

Of course you can. It’s the hole in the fog. With just 8 million people and a GDP of $150 billion (not far from New Zealand’s) Milan wouldn’t affect its weather, would it? /sarc

As a rough guide to the areas involved, Milan covers 70 sq mi, and the fog on that day around half of the Po Valley‘s 17,760 sq mi (4 parts in 1000).

(H/T Meteogiornale where the original news appears)

Categories
Omnologos

What They Were Looking At…

(original idea by a fan of George Takei’s)

What They Were Looking At

Categories
AGW Climate Change English Global Warming Omnologos

Guardian’s Nuccitelli linked to leading alternative energy company

Remember when rabid arch-warmist Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science and Guardian fame was discovered to be in the pay of an “oil and gas” company (Tetra Tech) (aka Dana’s Dirty Little Secret) and thus probably the worst person to pontificate about eg how bad coal and tar sands could be for the world’s climate?

It actually gets worse.

It turns out that Tetra Tech has a subsidiary company called Tetra Tech Construction, Inc. And what do they do? For example, they do “energy” (of the ALTERNATIVE variety that is):

Tetra Tech Construction expertise in the alternative energy field allows us to support and deliver energy-related projects using engineer-procure-construct (EPC), design-build and/or bid-build models. We provide design and construction services for wind, solar, hydroelectric, cogeneration, geothermal, natural gas drilling and extraction, combined-cycle, waste-to-energy, and electric transmission projects. […]

Surprise, surprise, they are also big in…”wind energy“:

Tetra Tech Construction brings our expertise to support and deliver energy related projects using engineer-procure-construct (EPC), design-build, bid-build models. We provide design and construction services for solar, hydroelectric, cogeneration, geothermal, natural gas drilling and extraction, combined-cycle, waste-to-energy, and electric transmission.

[…] We have completed construction services to clients on 19 wind construction projects in the past two years valued at more than $340 million. These projects supported nearly 1,700 MW of power, over 1,000 foundations, and over 600 turbines installed in states from New York, Alaska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, Idaho, to Oregon. In fact, the Tetra Tech family of companies has experience on more than 250 wind projects in 34 states and Canada, totaling more than 20,000 MW of wind power generation. Our experience in the construction of wind facilities provides a more practical understanding of front-end activities, including environmental compliance and engineering, thus providing a more complete perspective for achieving project goals.

Wind power is so important for Tetra Tech Construction, it takes special pride of place in their Projects portfolio map:

Tetra Tech Construction, Inc.
Tetra Tech Construction, Inc.

It also means Tetra Tech Construction is in trouble if wind power subsidies disappear, as mentioned in a newspaper article published just two days ago. In what has to be a fantastic coincidence, Tetra Tech is juxtaposed to “interests” linked to “fossil fuels” and the “XL pipeline”:

Renewal of the wind tax credit, which can provide up to $1 million to developers of a large turbine, is a politically contentious issue. In addition to tea party congressional Republicans, opposition to continuing the wind credit comes from the American Energy Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based industry group linked to petrochemical interests that promote expanded drilling for fossil fuels, including in the protected Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and approval of the proposed XL pipeline to bring Canadian tar sands oil to refineries in Texas and the Gulf Coast.

“This lack of certainty over the wind credit creates a boom and bust cycle, which is really detrimental to wind project developers,” said Valerie Strauss, executive director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York, an Albany-based lobbying group for alternative energy companies.

One such local business is Gloversville-based Tetra Tech Construction. Its website says it has built 21 wind projects in the U.S. It is currently involved in building the Orangeville wind farm outside of Buffalo, owned by Chicago-based Invenergy, and the only wind farm project under construction this year.

A Tetra Tech official declined comment, referring questions to a corporate office; phone calls to that office were not returned.

The article continues revealing another fantastic coincidence: Tetra Tech’s fortunes go down with the expansion of fracking.

Wind energy plans have been shrinking in the state, as the industry faces a glut of cheap natural gas from hydrofracking, uncertainty over federal support and dwindling financing. The amount of wind power expected to one day plug into the state’s electrical grid has fallen by more than two-thirds since 2009 as developers shelve projects.

I think that’s digging enough. Dana Nuccitelli, rather understatemently described by a reticent Guardian as “blogger on environmentguardian.co.uk […] environmental scientist and risk assessor, and also [contributor to] SkepticalScience.com” has for all intents and purposes an undeclared conflict of interest the size of a planet.

I’ll let readers decide how much such an individual can be trusted with speaking anything near the bare, honest, transparent scientific truth in anything climate change, global warming or even energy in general.

Disclaimer: I never blog or tweet or write on facebook about my day job exactly to avoid any conflict of interest. Because if you write positively about the company you work for, everybody will be entitled to believe you’re brown-nosing or worse. And if you write negatively, you’re immediately out of a job.