Climate Letter #1079

Air pollution may be helping to make the Arctic warmer.  That is the conclusion of a new study that finds a link between particulate air pollution and cloud formation in the Arctic region.  The denser clouds then go on to trap more heat that would otherwise escape into space.  The authors note that clouds in high latitudes have a reduced effect on Earth’s albedo because snow and ice at the surface already provide high albedo when the sun is shining.
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Experiments confirm the potential for extraordinary improvement in performance for lithium-based batteries.  The effect is largely achieved by gaining and controlling an active role for oxygen.  This allows four times more lithium to be employed and also doubles its effectiveness, while usage of cobalt can be replaced by iron.  The work was performed by a collaboration of researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratories.  For what it’s worth, the team now plans “to explore other compounds where this strategy could work.”  Maybe something cheaper and more plentiful than lithium?
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A huge relatively new source of demand for electricity is in effect right now and will accelerate in the future.  It’s all about communications driven by devices connected to the internet, immensely popular in all parts of the world.  There will be a challenge for renewable power sources to keep up with it in addition to replacing existing high-carbon sources and taking care of several other major new demands for power.
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A story about the science of attribution, linking extreme weather events to climate change.  Scientists are quite confident that they can now accurately determine the difference made by today’s climate conditions compared with what once was considered normal.  It is still not easy for them to show the rest of us how they do the calculations, or how they can be so sure of being right when one half of the comparison is essentially hypothetical.
–Here is an example of what they do, applied to Hurricane Harvey:
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An inspiring story about how one individual, formerly an office worker, turned 70 acres of desert into an oasis.  Farmers in a nearby district have learned much from his efforts and successfully converted much more land.
Carl
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