US LAUNCHES WEATHER SATELLITE (In the Nick of Time)

NASA and NOAA got GOES-R up in Space Before Inauguration

President Obama may or may not have a chance to Appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court during a Senate Recess, or because many Constitutional Scholars are saying that the Senate had its “Advice and Consent” chance and ignored it, but NASA succeeded in launching a multi-billion multi-year advanced technology weather Satellite, GOES-R up on Saturday, November 19th at Cape Canaveral.

The old weather satellites are nearing the end of their lives, and as climate extremes become more common, our need for accurate, detailed and timely weather info like hurricanes, wildfires, even tornadoes becomes more important.

GOES -R uses sophisticated mapping technology that can span the Western Hemisphere in 5 minutes with 4 times the resolution and transmit the info to the entire network of the world’s weather networks.

The Washington Post did an excellent piece on the technology but what I found most fascinating is that almost all nations with satellite technology have been cooperating for years by sharing weather data freely amongst each other, mainly through the World Meteorological Society, WMO. They realized they needed to cooperate for the sake of the planet and have even covered each other’s asses when one country goes dark for some reason, another will move a satellite over to cover them.

According to Richard Rood, a Professor at the University of Michigan now, but also a longtime NOAA researcher, at times a nation would threaten to pull out. But they just did an analysis of what that meant for accurate predictions and everyone just stuck together.

It’s the closest model of cooperation to the Paris Agreement that I have seen. Even Russia is part of the effort. They know their joint cooperation saves lives. Weather extremes don’t have flags or national anthems, they just strike.

It will be active in 2017, just as our new President is deciding whether the US should cooperate on saving the planet from even more of the ravages that GOES-R is set to better prepare us for.

 

 

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs

That is the headline of an article in the July 29th edition of Scientific American, written by  Rowan Jacobsen, Ensia.

Call it a Desali” a natural” ization breakthrough because researchers figured out how to eliminate the Achilles heel of desalination that requires costly and chemical intensive agents with a natural chemical-free process, and now Israel, has the largest reverse osmosis facility in the world and gets 55% of its water from desalination.  Here is an excerpt of the Scientific American article:

Bar-Zeev, who recently joined Israel’s Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research after completing his postdoc work at Yale University, is an expert on biofouling, which has always been an Achilles’ heel of desalination and one of the reasons it has been considered a last resort. Desal works by pushing saltwater into membranes containing microscopic pores. The water gets through, while the larger salt molecules are left behind. But microorganisms in seawater quickly colonize the membranes and block the pores, and controlling them requires periodic costly and chemical-intensive cleaning. But Bar-Zeev and colleagues developed a chemical-free system using porous lava stone to capture the microorganisms before they reach the membranes. It’s just one of many breakthroughs in membrane technology that have made desalination much more efficient. Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants.

The article goes on to point out that Syria, facing the same drought of 2008, just kept drilling deeper and deeper until the wells and farmland collapsed, causing an exodus to cities and creating the current unrest and crisis.

So maybe, juts maybe, the solution isn’t to “bomb the hell out of ISIS” but to have the world build them as Israeli-invented Desalination plant, get refugees back to their farms and take away the desperation that drives so many to join ISIS in the first place.

Just saying…

These next-generation batteries could end energy poverty

So Stop Whining About Renewables Being Viable to Compete with Fossil Fuels

The World Economic Forum has ranked NextGen Batteries as #3 The top 10 Emerging Technologies for 2016.

The prices for wind and solar have dropped an astonishing 80% and the growth of renewables is in double digits now as the world developing nations are embracing a cleaner and cheaper infrastructure system. The naggy problem has been the batteries needed to store the energy from the wind and sun.

Now, a new generation of batteries have emerged. According to the World Economic Forum:

“Within the past few years, new kinds of batteries have been demonstrated that deliver high enough capacity to serve whole factories, towns, or even “mini-grids” connecting isolated rural communities. These batteries are based on sodium, aluminum or zinc. They avoid the heavy metals and caustic chemicals used in older lead-acid battery chemistries. And they are more affordable, more scalable, and safer than the lithium batteries currently used in advanced electronics and electric cars. The newer technology is much better suited to support transmissions systems that rely heavily on solar or wind power.”

The batteries like these and the grid-size utility batteries  Elon Musk are producing are changing the landscape – literally to a cleaner path to energy.