Flooding in York

December 29, 2015

This was a man-made disaster. It was not “unforeseen” as it’s happened before–more than once, in fact. The cause has nothing to do with “climate change” (whatever that means!).

In this instance, the UK Environmental Agency in York noticed that “water was entering the building” (the building holding pumps which were to operate to mitigate the effects of fooding), and they decided that this electrical equipment was “at risk”. So, they lifted a flood barrier thus deliberately flooding a large residential area.

See Martin Brumby discuss this story, as an insider, at http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/12/27/the-eus-role-in-the-floods.html#comments, Dec 29 9:23 a.m. where he asks the pertinent questions:

So, were the pumps working and, if not, why not?

Were the electrics maintained and sited above flood levels? (Think:- Fukushima!) If not, why not?

Who made the decision to open the barrier and make the £8M (1982 prices) installation an irrelevance? Who was consulted?

How many of those responsible will be sacked?

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NY Times a Hypocrite

December 13, 2015

In the front page of today’s NY Times web site, I see links to the following two articles next to each other.

One implies doing something “green” will “keep the sea from rising” and the other applauds winter skiing and all that goes with it (mountains deforestation, outdoor heating, long-distance travel by air and car, etc.) which I can’t help but think, if you believe such things, could cause the seas to rise.

Jeez.

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New Discoveries about our Planet using Modeling, Eyes, and Brains

December 3, 2015

Today’s New York Times has a fascinating article “Searchers Refine Possible Path of Lost Malaysian Flight 370“.

Investigators have refined the possible flight path of a missing Malaysia Airlines jet using a set of probability tools that they say takes them closer to locating the jetliner in the southern Indian Ocean.

The was struck by the more-detailed explanation what they did:

The report recalculated Inmarsat satellite communications data, aircraft dynamics, wind, air and atmospheric temperature, along with a re-examination of fuel consumption and engine efficiencies to map possible flight paths and then test their validity.

The are reported to be using conventional computer modelling technology along with doing even more detailed assumptions of the modelling parameters and incorporating a probabilistic view. All good stuff. Someday they will find the plane and they will then be able to validate these models. In the meantime, this technology is their best view of what “might have happened”. I applaud their efforts.

The search is also having an unintended benefit of providing new insights, data, and mapping about a part of our planet where humans have never really yet looked. In the areas where they are searching the seabed is reported to be almost four miles deep. They are making discoveries:

The seabed, which has been mapped for the first time, is marked by volcanoes, plateaus and ridges, all of which have made the underwater search using towed sonar devices and an autonomous underwater vehicle extremely difficult.

Next step: How might these newly found volcanoes (they don’t say how many, but my hunch is they have discovered many), affecting the ocean chemistry and temperature?