Model Climate

Lt. Dominic DiMaggio describes the area captured by NPS’s innovative Arctic climate model, a project involving 25 researchers and graduate students from 10 institutions.

Tucked away on the third floor of the Naval Postgraduate School’s building of Engineering and Applied Sciences, a small team of researchers is leading an effort that will change the way the world thinks about the world. Their project is the Regional Arctic System Model (RASM), and it is arguably the most advanced – and accurate – Arctic climate model in existence.

On a recent, sunny winter day, U.S. Navy Lt. Dominic DiMaggio – a master’s student in physical oceanography and meteorology and a RASM team member – lays out the model’s virtues and complexities, casually throwing around terms like “parameterization” and “highly non-linear functions.”

Then, almost 60 dizzying minutes later, he just as casually points to a graph showing a RASM projection for melting Arctic sea ice, a phenomenon that occurs every summer but has been accelerated by climate change: By the summer of 2016, the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free, opening the door to vast reserves of fossil fuel, and eventually, freeing up a shipping lane between Europe and Asia.

NPS Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, who leads the team of researchers behind RASM, says 2016 is at “the lower bound” of the current range of projections, while DiMaggio calls it “an aggressive interpretation” of RASM. But most conventional climate models predict the Arctic won’t have a sea ice-free summer until 2100. So why is the RASM model so different?

Mainly, it’s a matter of scope. Because most climate models are projecting the global climate, there is not enough computing power to account for what can often be key regional details.

One example DiMaggio gives is the Bering Strait, a narrow strip of water that is too small (51 miles wide) to be accurately accounted for in the wider lens of global models, but which “is significant in its impacts to the central Arctic.”

The amount of detail that RASM is able to capture in the Arctic is at least 10 times greater than a global model, and not only calculates projections based on air, ocean and ice conditions (which are standard in global models), but also includes inputs for land and riverflow.

“We’re modeling river runoff, the permafrost, the glaciers, even the chemical and biological processes,” says DiMaggio. “The ocean isn’t just the water, it’s the entire environment. And that’s what we’re trying to capture.”

RASM’s findings will help inform the Navy’s understanding of a region that is home to over a thousand miles of U.S. coastline, and which is changing faster than many expected, a reality charged with geopolitical implications. The Navy predicts the potential for extracting fossil fuels and minerals, as well as significantly shorter shipping routes, will likely attract commercial interests.

The stark image of an ice-free Arctic, meanwhile, might also impact the climate change discussion, one that Maslowski hopes “will be a critical argument against skeptics of global warming.”

RASM has the potential to greatly alter current global climate models.

“We’re hoping global modeling groups will use what we’ve learned to improve their models,” Dimaggio says, “so the decision makers have a better understanding of what’s actually happening.”

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(1) comment

Daniel Ferra

Melting the Arctic, how will we cool the Northern Hemisphere ? We have to change the way we generate our electricity.

"Tell the PUC: No new dirty gas plants!

Every year, more than 70,000 California kids are rushed to the hospital because they can’t breathe, due to air pollution in Calfiornia.

Unfortunately the Governor and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) are considering huge new gas-fired power plants to replace the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Dirty gas plants will make our air worse and just aren't needed.

We can't sit by and let our air get dirtier and our kids even sicker, when we've got cheaper, cleaner, safer options like Renewable Energy." Sierra Club

California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Residential and Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

The Southwest is in the midst of a record drought, some 14 years in the making, which means the water supply for many Western states - California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada - is drying up. Last month the Bureau of Reclamation announced they're cutting the flow of water into Lake Mead, which has already lost 100 feet of water since the drought began.

What happens if the Southwest drought does not end soon?

Will we keep using 3 to 6 million gallons of Clean Water per Fracked well, to extract natural gas?

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

The State of California has mandated that 33% of its Energy come from Renewable Energy by 2020.

The state currently produces about 71% of the electricity it consumes, while it imports 8% from the Pacific Northwest and 21% from the Southwest.

This is how we generate our electricity in 2011, natural gas was burned to make 45.3% of electrical power generated in-state. Nuclear power from Diablo Canyon in San Luis Obispo County accounted for 9.15%, large hydropower 18.3%, Renewable 16.6% and coal 1.6%.

There is 9% missing from San Onofre and with the current South Western drought, how long before the 18.3% hydro will be effected?

Another generator of power that jumps out is natural gas, 45.3%, that is a lot of Fracked Wells poisoning our ground water, 3 to 6 million gallons of water are used per well. If Fracking is safe why did Vice Pres Cheney lobby and win Executive, Congressional, and Judicial exemptions from:

Clean Water Act.

Safe Drinking Water.

Act Clean Air Act.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act.

National Environmental Policy Act.

"Americans should not have to accept unsafe drinking water just because natural gas is cheaper than Coal. the Industry has used its political power to escape accountability, leaving the American people unprotected, and no Industry can claim to be part of the solution if it supports exemptions from the basic Laws designed to ensure that we have Clean Water and Clean Air" Natural Resources Defense Council.

We have to change how we generate our electricity, with are current drought conditions and using our pure clean water for Fracking, there has to be a better way to generate electricity, and there is, a proven stimulating policy.

The Feed in Tariff is a policy mechanism designed to accelerate investment in Renewable Energy, the California FiT allows eligible customers generators to enter into 10- 15- 20- year contracts with their utility company to sell the electricity produced by renewable energy, and guarantees that anyone who generates electricity from R E source, whether Homeowner, small business, or large utility, is able to sell that electricity. It is mandated by the State to produce 33% R E by 2020.

FIT policies can be implemented to support all renewable technologies including:
Wind
Photovoltaics (PV)
Solar thermal
Geothermal
Biogas
Biomass
Fuel cells
Tidal and wave power.

There is currently 3 utilities using a Commercial Feed in Tariff in California Counties, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, and Sacramento, are paying their businesses 17 cents per kilowatt hour for the Renewable Energy they generate. We can get our Law makers and Regulators to implement a Residential Feed in Tariff, to help us weather Global Warming, insulate our communities from grid failures, generate a fair revenue stream for the Homeowners and protect our Water.

The 17 cents per kilowatt hour allows the Commercial Business owner and the Utility to make a profit.

Commercial Ca. rates are 17 - 24 cents per kilowatt hour.

Implementing a Residential Feed in Tariff at 13 cents per kilowatt hour for the first 2,300 MW, and then allow no more than -3 cents reduction in kilowatts per hour, for what ever the first tier Residential rate is in you area, for the remaining capacity of Residential Solar . A game changer for the Voting, Tax Paying Home Owner and a Fair Profit for The Utility, a win for our Children, Utilities, and Our Planet.

We also need to change a current law, California law does not allow Homeowners to oversize their Renewable Energy systems.

Campaign to allow Californian residents to sell electricity obtained by renewable energy for a fair pro-business market price. Will you read, sign, and share this petition?

http://signon.org/sign/let-california-home-owners

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