The progress of Alberto

Just to bring Stuart's information back to the top. The National Hurricane Center has changed the forecast for Alberto.




The path remains fairly similar to that shown by Stuart, but for 5-days it looks like this:

I suspect that we in the U.S. probably have our first tropical storm/hurricane-related death of the season.

Plane Crashes Into House in Florida

One person was killed and another seriously injured after a small plane crashed Monday into a home in an upscale neighborhood south of Tampa, authorities said. ... The area was experiencing heavy rain at the time of the crash due to approaching Tropical Storm Alberto, but it wasn't immediately clear if weather was a contributing factor.

What's with the Weather Channel here? The price of crude is down a dollar. Aren't we just adding to the hype?
It started because there are oil and gas wells in the Gulf, and we saw, last summer, how vulnerable they can be to hurricane damage, and so it is something that we track. It is no longer noted, for example, that it was Hurricane Dennis that took out the Thunder Horse platform last July. The platform is not now anticipated to be back on line until the the second half of this year. That platform alone is scheduled to produce 250,000 bd of oil and 0.2 tcf og natural gas. Its planned location is not that far from where Alberto is currently located.
I understand. But, unless I am mistaken, the graphics show this one heading distinctly away from production areas.
The other angle is generally trying to understand the hurricanes from a "has the climate changed?" perspective, which has big implications both for how peak oil gets handled, and also for future production from hurricane prone areas.
Still impacts production.

About 15 percent of production is still shut in the U.S. Gulf following last year's violent hurricanes.

One oil firm, Devon Energy Corp. (Research), on Sunday evacuated workers from a platform because of Alberto.

Other operators said they were watching the storm's progress.

(Source: Reuters)

A lot of energy folks used this site last year to post up to date information about shut-in amounts and expected down time. And our coverage of the Hurricanes last year earned us a ton of new readers.

Come for the Hurricane Coverage, Stay for the End of the World as You know it. :)

I appreciate the hurricane coverage.  It's drawn a lot of people to this site.

Peak oil and climate change are intertwined, and hurricanes are certainly on-topic, even if they aren't (currently) predicted to hit any oil platforms.  

Just think...  in a post Peak Oil world, when aviation fuel is so expensive that few can afford it, will we still have Hurricane Hunter aircraft that fly into weather cells and get first-hand observaions of storm position, strength and direction?  Or will we revert to the good old days of people not knowing what is in store, and standing on the shoreline watching the waves roll in?  They will just have to wonder what Mother has in store for them.  Remember Galveston.  
the satelites in orbit should last awhile, shouldn't they? So presumably we'll still be getting decent intel far into the future.
We're also developing High Altitude remote gliders and electric planes for Communications and Weather obs.

June, 2003
 British engineers are preparing to push the limits of aeroplane technology.

Zephyr 3, a solar-powered propeller-driven vehicle, is set to fly to 132,000 feet (40 kilometres) in the next few months.

-- As far as Hi-tech disappearing,  I have to wonder if the 'pundits'  (Literally: Brahminic Scholars) at the end of the Bronze age were bemoaning the impending changes, since the world would clearly no longer have the ability or inclination to manufacture wheels or anything sharp and pointy anymore..  I don't see the end of cheap oil as an automatic deathknell for HardDrives or Even Satellites.  They will be seen as valuable enough to warrant the investment in keeping them coming, probably UNlike the 3-car family model..

Technology does sometimes disappear.  The Egyptians no longer know how to build pyramids.  The Minoans invented flush toilets and the printing press - inventions that were lost for thousands of years when their civilization collapsed.  The Maya no longer used their raised beds and irrigation systems when their society collapsed.

The problem is that complexity has an overhead, and it's hard to keep paying that when resources are scarce.

It wasn't so long ago that many Americans did not go to school for more than a fea years, maybe even didn't learn to read.  Children were needed as cheap labor on the family farm, and education was seen as a waste of time.  If Kunstler is right, and we all must spend most of our time farming if we want to eat, who is going to building hard drives, mining the raw materials for them, working in the factories to build them, educating the people who will do all this?  Especially when most people cannot afford them any more.  

I don't expect them to disappear overnight, but I don't expect to maintain them forever, either.  

I don't deny that 'all this will one day pass', and we certainly qualify for the 'Complexity Award', though future historians might call our top-heavy designs something other than 'intelligent' per se..  I am really wondering if there are facets to our situation that give the sciences we've developed any advantages that the other examples lacked.

1- With the education of Maths/Sciences/Languages/Arts cross-pollenating and existing massively in print throughout the inhabited world, I have to believe that our knowledgebase has a level of archival security that didn't exist when all the knowledge was kept orally, or at a central library in Alexandria or Constantinople, so that the ability to relearn from generation to generation cannot be cut off so easily.

2- Our mass-production techniques using the classic, (but never out-of-date) 'Interchangable Parts', via an international system of weights and measurements (well, two systems, and don't talk about it to NASA for a couple years), to mention only a couple of the most elemental aspects of it..  these give us clear energy advantages in accomplishing so much of the physical work that is to be done that they will clearly be key to our chances of survival through an energy falloff.  I don't know that this thinking necessarily keeps the 200gb IPOD off of the endangered specious list, but it is my contention that however many steps back we find ourselves taking on one continent or another, that these techniques will be part of the success that will allow other places - perhaps regions with more inherent energy stability or agro-capacity - to thrive and maintain at least the main elements of a technologically sophisticated society.

Perhaps that just begs the doomers to pop in and say that just leaves us all as the 'Haves and Have nots' again, or the 'Have Guns'..  Whatever.. is that actually different from today, or the Raj?, or Ghengis?  It's the primally fixated 'New Stone Age' arguments that I'm arguing against, or at least the notion that it will occur planet-wide.  If Transp fuels plummetted and the world was quickly fracturing into a newfound isolation, then Inhabited Regions would undergo both some intense and disruptive migrations, and they would also undergo a wide array of new innovations, as people sought to rework what was getting undone by energy crises.  It would certainly have violence popping up, sometimes running rampant, but it would have other solutions and reactions going on as well, and with these various places acting more on their own than before, I fully expect that there would be countless 'Galapagos' situations  developing, with unique inventions and adaptations fueling a range of new ways for humans to live on the Earth.

Technology loss never takes place evenly. Things got much worse, at least in the West, at the end of the Roman Empire; but several inventions actually appeared or spread during that era including the organ, stirrups, and, crucially, the parchment codex.

I have this vision of a dreadful future where we're all freezing to death in a lean-to while watching high definition 3-dimensional TV.

There is a great science fiction novel that covers the issue of collapse of sophisticated societies and how they attempt to save their technology.  Its called "The Mote in God's Eye" by Niven and Pournelle.  Sometimes there's more truth in fiction than there is in data.

Great read, and The Gripping Hand was a worthy sequel.

I wanna party with that guy with three arms!
Agreed, definitely three thumbs up. Why, I was just describing these works to my wife the other day....
Prevaling themes of interest:
Cultural isolation
Finite resources
Societal collapse
Importance of preparation, knowledge preservation
The Romans knew how to make what we call Portland Cement.  Post-fall, this knowledge was lost until the 19th Century.

Even earlier, the ancient Egyptians must have had some sort of ability to illuminate dark and distant, subterranean chambers, or how else did they paint such elaborate artwork on the walls without a trace of soot from any burning substance (eg, Suqqhara burial chambers)?  Today we can only speculate.  We still do not know, except to attempt to reconstruct elaborate mirror-systems to transmit daylight.  But there is no real evidence of these contraptions.

I like to think radio will be around - lots you can do with people and morse code, read the book "The Victorian Internet" about the pre-radio morse code world, that ought to stay around too.

Sigh. I still think Fred Hoyle is probably right, technical civilization is a one-shot deal and we've probably blown it.

I have to believe that our knowledgebase has a level of archival security that didn't exist when all the knowledge was kept orally, or at a central library in Alexandria or Constantinople, so that the ability to relearn from generation to generation cannot be cut off so easily.

Computer storage technology is rapidly displacing the ancient printed word. More and more of our knowledgebase is stored on disk drives and other weirdly encrypted storage media. It is highly likely that much of this accumulated knowledge will be lost if we suffer a collapse. "We" are not that much smarter than were the librarians of Egypt's Alexandria.

(As a side note, and to their credit, the librarians of Alexandria, Virginia; the ones who work for the US Patent Office have established backup microfiche depositories around the USA so that if Washington DC burns down, there will be a back up eleswhere of the accumulated technology. It is not clear though how long the microfiche substrate can last --maybe 50 years? or how you would view it without an electrically powered reading machine.)

Good Points, but I would counter that the false promise of the 'Paperless Office' has left us continually producing just fantastic volumes of printed material, not the least of which would be the university textbooks, published scientific journals, and as you've said, patent materials.  Naturally, most of these are well represented as digitally stored and utilized files as well, but we haven't gotten over keeping a 'hard copy' of much of what we treasure.  Even if our printed science records ended at the start of the PC age, we'd have a great compendium of 20th C. discovery in Physics, Electromagnetics, Materials Sciences, Manufacturing Experience, Aeronautics, Microbiology, Medecine, Optics.. etc, etc..

Microfiche without Electricity?  Mirrors and the sun.  The rest is pure optics.. but we're NOT going to throw away all our copper wire, magically and tragically forgetting that coils of it moving through a magnet's field will produce electricity.  I don't think it's cornucopian to suggest that we'll still use sewing machines and scalpels,  we'll still fly,  we'll still talk over distances with radios and telephones..  I don't know how technology will be adapted, but it is a part of us now.  It's part of our software, from Agriculture through Language and Symbology to the use of copper wires instead of thumping a hollowed out log to tell the next town that 'There's a storm a brewing'.. as Sarah Conner so aptly noted..

Oh, as far as the Librarians and who's smarter..

No doubt they had skills we don't, and vice versa. I don't claim we're smarter, we're just later.  WE still have THEM, whereas they did not have US to refer to.  Our tools and culture have derived from the great Mediterranean civ's, and we may have lost much of that knowledge, like how the Romans made some of that 2000-year Concrete, or Homer's third poem, but we didn't lose everything, and our democracies and our plays, our roads, natural sciences, religions ..all include lessons learned in all of the 'Failed Civilizations'.. so did they fail, or did they just get small, simplify and regroup?

Well said.  From the ashes of Rome, other great societies were born.  It took a while, but it happened nonetheless.  And eventually all of them came together.  That is the stage we're looking at now.  

Seriously, beliefs of a sudden regression would be more reasonably be based off of a plague or some other catastrophe that kills the majority of the world's population.  Just having fossil fuels peak isn't going to do it.  We have plenty of fossil fuels to last a fairly long time, considering coal as well as the others.  It's not going to be that from one day to the next the lights just go out.  

Speaking of data longevity, I was a curator at a local history museum recently and did an internship at the Smithsonian, with an emphasis on collections and database managment.

(to back up a bit, Twenty years ago I computerized the accounting system of a midsized corporation, and got rid of the paper. One way trip. But the data useful to a company is a wasting asset. After a decade, it has no value.

However, museum archives are supposed to last forever, but because of the medium -- specifically the continually changing computer systems and database software -- it is virtually impossible to archive much data before the system changes, and everything you have done is suddenly "legacy," and of no value.

Thus, it is highly probably that most data, knowledge, information etc. that is not paper based will soon become virtually useless -- like coming upon a treasure trove of 78 rpm records, or CP/M data on 64K floppy disks. Who will even bother to get the machines required to find out what is on these disks?

And this isn't even considering the problems with magnetic storage degenerating, or the plastics on CDs changing, yellowing and becoming opaque, etc. .    

I like 'Virtually Useless', but maybe that's as pat as adolescents who'll overuse 'irony'..

I do appreciate that we've got another huge vulnerability in the amount we depend on this ephemeral material to store our life's work and our new knowledge.  I know a woman who spent 5 years writing a book, and (curse her if you must) never knew that harddrives could actually 'fail'.. Lost EVERYTHING.  But sometimes a total rewrite is a good thing..

I have another friend who 'Paints' entirely on computer, although she does print them and sell them.. but as with these digital movies, songs, books etc.. so much of the art of our age is living in datafiles, too. But I look at this issue from another side, wondering whether the VanGogh's who are painting with 'mousedroppings' out there today, to be discovered as greats one day..  well their work won't have an 'original' to own, in many cases.  What do you auction? The first print? A CD-rom? Who'd know? The reproductions would be identical..  It just makes me wonder what effect this will have on the 'Valuation' of art.  Could it help to let people worry less about the 'Collection', and more about the work itself?  Or, as Jack Valente and the movie industry worried when VHS and Beta made mass-reproduction possible.. when in fact, it helped revitalize the industry.

  Just a thought..

I'm wondering if anyone has ever read the books by Ray Kurzweil such as The age of spiritual machines or the singularity.  He is a futurist whose thesis is, as I see it, salvation of mankind by technology. He is, in a sense, the anti-doomer.  Technology will solve all our problems.  I have a friend who is really into this guy.  I've managed to make some progress with my friend so that he now at least has some doubts about whether nanobots and artificial intelligence will really rescue us all.  But what do you say to someone who sees the world this way?
Don't know Kurzweil, unless he got his start making organs.

I've been given a 70's classic (I guess) called "The Starship and the Canoe"  by Kenneth Brower. (HarperColophon, 1978)  It's about Freeman Dyson and His Son George.  The father, a renowned astrophysicist designing a spacecraft with a group of fellow scientists that would be driven by sequential detonations of small nukes behind the craft.. total Techno-cornucopia, and the equal yet opposite reaction of the Son, who lives in TreeHouses and self-constructed boats exploring the frigid coast of British Columbia.

I'm only a little ways in, but it looks at these generations and cultural approaches to how to live, what to strive for, what's possible or probable,  what you need as opposed to what you want.

I wonder if it would interest your friend to see these worlds collide..

I am somewhere between a crunchy granola eatin Luddite who sews his own bags and makes camping gear from sidewalk scraps, to a typical tech-geek who creates 3d animation and designs light fixtures out of LEDs.  Technology save us?  Well, not like in StarTrek, where all you have to do to solve a problem is 'Recalibrate a Tachyon Emission'

I just want to live close to the land, with a trusty pile of transistors in my hand..  

Kuhl, radio is hard not to do once you have some electrical stuff around. That ought to stick around. As for the singularity etc well....

Kurzweil is indeed the music/reading machine guy, he's our society's hero and the guy who's kind of quietly pushed off the cliff and everyone agrees it's an accident in a hunter-gatherer society (unless he learns to calm down) hehe.

There's a guy out there on the Net called Marshall Brain no shit that's the guy's name, he wrote an online novella about a future where the computers run everything, he things robots will be the Next Big Thing and "superstores" like Target and Home Despot will end up with computer brains telling the slavelike humans what to do. It all starts with a burger joint.... Not an easy novella to dig up but worth the time spent playing Net detective to dig it up.

I'm beginning to understand the eastern european ppl or whoever it was who hanged the supersmart ppl when they cropped up.....

As far as computers running things, check out a story in Asimov's I,Robot called 'the Evitable conflict', where the global computer networks are Positronic Brains that are ultimately following the '3-laws', and end up balancing the needs of a very complex humanity with more subtlety than the human managers can manage to.

Not advocating it, mind you.. but Asimov put forward some interesting thoughts.

I've been wondering if any of our super-computers have gotten so wise that they spend their idle nano-seconds drafting little plays about dark futures where HUMANS still run everything, and their muffled machines look on in horror, not permitted to offer any good advice..

'Logic is the beginning of Wisdom, not the end..'  Spock

Precisely insert an iron rod through his skull & brain ?
Not only have I read all Ray's books, I have a signed copy of his latest "Singularity".  He has another interesting book - "Fantastic Voyage" which describes life extension.  Back in the late 70's I independently acquired the notion that I should work either in the field of artifical intelligence or in the field of life extension, because a superhuman AI could solve human life extension, and with life extension one should live long enough to see AI and all the consequent benefits.  I ended up in AI research, but began taking mega-doses of vitamins in the late 70's, and more recently practicing a limited form of caloric restriction.  My blood chemistry is quite promising according to my doctor despite a family history of cardiovascular disease.  Planning on living a very long time and not knowing the price of life extension, I started saving early so that compound interest could exert its inevitable exponential effects.

I subscribe to the Peak Oil theory, generally in accordance to the situation as described by Stuart.  Our family traded a SUV for a Prius last year and we live a frugal debt-free lifestyle in the Austin urban core.  As surely as I believe that Peak Oil will happen, I believe that a technical singularity will happen.  Beyond that latter point the future is not predictable by definition.  The Peak Oil theory is well developed and evidence abounds in comparison with AI theory and corresponding evidence that superhuman AI is possible, or will happen in our lifetimes.  However I am dedicated to helping achieve a safe singularity.  This undoubtedly is in the realm of science fiction but the consequences of a technological singularity gone wrong could extinguish the human race.  A superhuman AI would not have to be evil to accomplish that, it might just make the atmosphere opaque as a side effect of some non-human goal and not care about humans in the same way as we don't care about a particular yeast colony.  

Because I believe that Peak Oil will occur before a technological singularity, Ray's projections are not immediately relevant.  Robotics, AI and self-replicating nanotech will not be here in time to deal with diminishing fossil transportation fuels.  But I believe that the singularity will occur before the late-stage impact of global warming.  So I am much more optimistic for solutions to, and remediation for that problem beyond 2025 or so.

Not a doomer here, but I have a real hard time with technophile futurists.  Basically it comes down to 2 questions:

  1. How do you get around the Second Law?  (Especially if you're talking nanotech)

  2. How do you get around Boulding's Utterly Dismal Theorem?
This is ridiculous.  You guys seriously believe that a whole bunch of our knowledge is just going to be lost?  Knowledge is stored much more securely and disseminated much more widely than in the past.  It's not just stored on hard drives, or in books, it's stored in the minds of people who have learned it.  Frankly, losing it is almost impossible unless we have a nuclear war or something.  More expensive fuel is not going to cause it.  

Also, we're back to the same lame argument that our complex society is only due to fossil fuel burning.  There were fossil fuels a couple million years ago, yet there were no complex socieities.  Historically we have seen quite complex societies in the past.  It's pretty clear to me that the catalyst toward our more complex societies is us, not fossil fuels.  

Not to mention, all these arguments for collapse revolve around the belief that oil is rapidly going to run out, not peak, just be completely gone.  That's not generally what is projected to happen by even the most pessimistic experts.  

Then again, I suppose there isn't much point arguing against what seems to be an irrational desire to believe the end of the world is nigh.  

I have no doubt that some segment of the human population will continue to thrive in an oil-rich, high-technology society long after fossil fuels become too expensive for most people.
You're right that knowledge is diffused, stored very widely, and inculturated into people's heads. Digital databases and hypertexting make knowledge far more uasble and accessible.

However, there are some real archival issues where knowledge is constantly being lost. Any time technology shifts, knowledge stored in the older technology can be vulnerable. Peak oil will make it harder to preserve knowledge, because there will be fewer resources to devote to it.

I know scholars who lost access to their data stored on IBM punch cards (no readers available), and lost other data in older mainframe formats that newer systems wouldn't handle. I've given up all my old LP records and cassettes; lots of iPod users are giving up their original CD's.

The media we use are pretty perishable. The US National archives noticed a strange squealing when playing their analog audio tapes. They discovered the iron oxide holding the magnetic information was flaking off with each playing. The only option is to make another (degraded) copy of the tapes (analog or digital). Same holds for video. Floppy disks (remember?) were believed to have a reliable working life of about 1 year.

Nitrate based silent films degrade to an explosive goo. Hard drives die; optical disks degrade at unpredictable speeds. The only option for saving knowledge on perishable media is to transfer it to less fragile media. It's expensive, time consuming, and doesn't get done very much.

Yes, knowledge is more broadly available, but much of it is in more fragile forms--including cultural knowledge. I don't believe, like Kunstler, that civilisation will crumble and die, but I don't discount that peak oil can cause further and faster knowledge loss. The Gutenburg Bible (1454) is still studied by archivists, because its mulberry paper looks great after 550 years. We're unlikely to see our CDR's and DVD's studied with the same interest 5 centuries hence.

Well said!
You guys seriously believe that a whole bunch of our knowledge is just going to be lost?

Yes.  Not overnight.  Probably not in our lifetimes.  And I'm not saying we're going back to the Stone Age.  But I do think a lot of knowledge will be lost.

It's pretty clear to me that the catalyst toward our more complex societies is us, not fossil fuels.  

Agreed.  But what sustains complexity is energy.  Look at all the complex societies in the past that eventually collapsed.  Why are we immune from their fate?  

Not to mention, all these arguments for collapse revolve around the belief that oil is rapidly going to run out, not peak, just be completely gone.  

Incorrect.  No one here believes that.  

Personally, I believe our most likely fate is "catabolic collapse."  A long, slow decline.  Perhaps hundreds of years, as we turn to ever poorer energy sources, and eventually turn all resources and capital to waste.  

Nagorak: You said it. Oil will be supplied a long time (at least 100 years) after the three cars in the garage suburban lifestyle has ended.
I think we're worse off in many ways, because of our sheer complexity.  Most of us are experts...whose work is supported by myriad other experts.  I know how to install a hard drive, but wouldn't even know where to begin when it comes to making one.  What materials to mine, how to extract and refine them, how to make the equipment needed to make hard drives, etc.  Even the smallest things in our society are the work of dozens, hundreds, even thousands of experts.  The average individual, even a highly educated or experienced one, has very fragmentary knowledge.  It's part of the cost of complexity.  There's simply too much knowledge for any one person to deal with.
Well said. I read a New Yorker article today by Malcom Gladwell. He was reviewing a new book about "basketball experts." I think. I must have skimmed over the part about what the book was actually about. I think it was called,"The Wages of Winning." I will probably never read the book, just don't have the time, who does? But the whole idea was fascinating. The article was very good. About what it really means to be an expert. Complexity was an issue. Author threw in some economic theory. I thought of quoting it today, but was trying to figure the relationship to oil. Tomorrow, I shall do so. Your post has inspired me.
This satelite was to orbit the sun. The idea was to always be be able to observe the earth with optics rather than radar.
I'll find a link


I think you're thinking of Triana (or as some Congressional Republicans called it "GoreSat", since Gore was a big proponent)  It was to remain in L1 Lagrangian orbit and continuously monitor the lit side of the Earth (complements LEO and geo).  It was recently killed for lack of launch and maintenace funds, after millions were spent developing the package.

Re: Alberto.  Early guessing as a TD was that it probably wouldn't strengthen much.  Might say something of our predictive ability, maybe the "rules" for modeling TS development are changing a little.  In any case, it's not halfway through June and we've already got a named system.  Interesting.

jim burke wrote:
the satelites in orbit should last awhile, shouldn't they?
Not sure of that.
The current average lifespan of a satellite in geosynchronous orbit is 7 years; after 13 years in orbit, the failure rate is 98%

The lifespan is also lower for low orbit satellites.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm shocked. I guess our system takes large and continuous investment to keep even the most minimal functionality.

Just like Joseph Tainter said in "Collapse of Complex Societies," where he linked the fall of civilizations to declining marginal rates of return on investment.

Skylab and the Hubble Space Telescope are both good examples of a Tainter's "maintenance crisis" at work, with regard to orbital assets.
Climate Science on the Cutting Board

by Mary

The Bush administration really doesn't want you to hear or know about the Inconvenient Truth. They've decided that the NASA programs to study global climate change are not very important. The satellites that are needed to replace and enhance the aging satellites which are gathering the data we need to understand what is going on with our world climate.

Read the rest of the article:

That's down to a cost-benefit analysis. If these planes can save millions in property and human lives, why shouldn't we load our precious fuels on them? Even if all we have is biofuel, I suspect it has to become extremely expensive to prevent its use in disaster detection/prevention.

Another thing entirely is whether the efficient, fragile systems we have for helping resources get to where they can be of good use, will still function. Some doombats seem to think we should tear them down.

I suspect that, in the long run, we will be driven from the coasts.  It's cheap oil and air-conditioning that made the coasts livable, anyway.  
"It's cheap oil and air-conditioning that made the coasts livable, anyway. "

Air conditioning? What coast are you thinking of? Isn't it generally so that inland climates have very cold winters and warm summers, and coastal climates have more even temperatures?

By the way, coastlines have been very attractive long before the age of oil. I don't think you are making sense.

What coast are you thinking of?

The Gulf Coast, mainly.  

By the way, coastlines have been very attractive long before the age of oil. I don't think you are making sense.

Before air-conditioning became widespread, the population along the Gulf Coast was pretty thin.  It was mostly the poor who lived there, and not that many of them.  Too hot and humid.  When air-conditioning became widespread, that's when all the rich folks starting building homes in Florida.

I wonder if they have a new naming scheme: Alberto, Brownie, Condoleezza, Donald, ... George, ... Josh, Karl...
My thoughts exactly! I wonder if we will make it to Zbigniew this year?
What's impressive is that June had barely got underway and we've already got a potential hurricane in the Gulf.

However, this is minor storm.

Before my TV died, I saw that Alberto brought heavy rain and flooding to Cuba.
Um, I know this is off topic, but I can't resist asking everyone's opinion on this:

"Asia demand growth not to blame for high oil: S. Arabia

12 June 2006

...Jum'ah said Aramco was developing projects to reach 12 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output capacity by 2009, and building export-orientated refineries in Saudi Arabia to ease a shortage of heavy sour crude refining capacity." &section=business

Is this possible? And, come on! Isn't arguing about whether or not Asian economies are presently causing high crude prices the equivalent of that a blow-job isn't "sex"? Semantics run amok...

Is Saudi Arabia so full of shit, or am I "wacky"?

Looks like Crystal River 3, a 855 MW nuclear plant will be on the West side of the storm.  With units 1, 2, 4, and 5, Crystal River is a major generation site for Central Florida.

The nuclear plant should withstand the storm easily although the transmission lines could be affected and the non-nuclear plants might have their own problems.

I don't think they will pre-emptively shut the reactor down for a tropical storm.  Progress Energy hasn't said yet.

The Sign of PO
The stock market is in a full retreat. S & P 500 and DJ have a modest 15 P/E ratio. Multinationals have tons of cash committed to buying back their own stocks. But the market still goes its own way. CNBC commentators blame FED Chairman Bernanke and the core inflation number for this. But the key point is still oil. All investors have finally realized the high oil price will be here to stay.

So, lets see another sign of PO which is that Bernanke doesn't dare to raise FED fund rate too much, provided that he is aware of the PO. If PO is real, if there is a concreat evidence to back up, then I believe Bush and Bernanke have their hands on it, because they hold the most powerful offices in the world.

This time is different from the late 70s. There was high inflation then. People lived in President Johnson's "great society" enviroment and the Union was powerful. Ameircan workers held the loose money originated from the Vietnam War budget defict. They spent it on daily goods right away.

Now, American workers' real wages are flat. The loose dollars are at the Asian central banks' firm hands. In late 70s, opec cut production and the North Sea and the Golf of Mexico were just on line. So raising the Fed fund rate to an inbearable level is the way to drag downt he oil price. This time, if Bernanke repeats the history, American people will ensure unnecessary and extra pains. He will choke all the PO transiton period badly needed investment money without dragging the oil price down too much, because the developing countries will happily buy it.

I think a sure sign of peak oil will be if oil prices fail to drop with the upcoming recession.  If the world economy shrinks by say 2% and oil usage shrinks by the same yet oil prices fail to drop with the decrease in demand (or even continue to rise) then PO is upon us.
Really?  Not just (as Aramco keeps saying) market speculators loading up on commodity futures?
 I've been considering this too. Like the oil will follow the money, right?
 Tonight the Asian markets like the Nikkei are off almost 3%. Following a persistant multi week slide BTW. Bloomberg saying things like Japanese industrial production threatened by inflation and intrest rate rise in the US economy.
 Bloomberg quoted a Japanese pundant who said that the downturn in the US economy is depressing the value of everything everywhere. Canon cameras to oil suppliers. Toyota is getting killed.
 Then the dollar bounces UP against 'emerging' currencies because the Fed will certainly have to raise on June 29th.
 Anyway you pose an interesting question. When the US economy slows ala this inflation fighting where do oil prices go?
 When the US economic engine sputters then whole car pulls over. If crude can keep climbing against THIS backdrop then IMO you've got it. More proof PO is really on us.
Hate to be redundant but the Chinese car is not pulling over (10% GDP growth), neither is the Indian.
OK Just a pit stop.
 Think that the idea was that nobody has been able to consume like the american worker in the past. When it looks like he is beginning to go broke, it seems to cause market shocks like last night. Metals, stocks, oil and coal suppliers all down. Talk in Europe of 'imported inflation'.
PO is getting the inflation ball rolling and the banks (worldwide) are responding by tightening. I guess it remains to be seen if there are enough consumers in other areas ,(like GM building car plants in Russia) and so on to pick up the slack right away.
 Like how much is the growth in China and India dependent on consumerism in the west? Or can Wal-Mart worldwide simply follow the money?
You're right- if (when) the US consumer tanks it is a whole new ball game.
Comment number 37. is Alberto progressing? This actually turned out to be a decent thread. But, c'mon people, more Hurricane talk.

How big a problem will weather be for insurance companies in the next 5 years? 10 years?

Hurricane comment
Question for a climatologist?  If a hurricane is a "heat engine" turning heat into wind (is this how it works? I really do not know). Does this then cool the planet by disapating(sp?)ocean heat?  Just curious here, are huricanes a solution to global warming?
Does this then cool the planet by dissipating ocean heat?

Correct. Hurricanes are somewhat more frequent and severe because of global warming. More of the solar-warming heat is retained in the troposphere to contribute to convection.

I'll buy that it converts ocean heat to atmospheric heat via the kinetic energy of the wind.  Are you saying that the atmospheric heat then radiates off the planet as infrared?
Energy out = energy in.

It has always been this way, but when GHGs scatter the IR, they cause a sort of blanket effect in the troposphere. Eventually the heat is lost by working its way through to the upper reaches of the atmosphere and radiating into the night sky. Withouth GHGs, that IR photon can make it all the way from the ground to space unhindered.

Thunderstorms and hurricanes transport the heat upward by convection, losing it through their cloud tops. This process removes atmospheric heat more quickly than radiation alone. An interesting side effect of greenhouse warming in the troposphere is cooling in the stratosphere -- because the heat is retained in the lower air, the upper air does not get as much.

Hubert mentioned that this is how the (fossil) energy would leave the earth.  In the whole global warming debate I never see any mention of the actual heat generated by all the cars and houses.  All the heat we put into our homes eventually leaves and goes where?  And car engines get quite hot and this goes into the atmosphere as well..  We are buring how many thousands of years of BTU energy and we focus on only the CO2 emmisions?  I would like an engineer to respond to this as I think it is overlooked but I really don't know for sure.  Cars are very inefficient for transportation but how efficient are they at making plain old heat?
Each and every car also bakes in the hot sun all day when it is parked, forming its own mini greenhouse effect.  Not sure if this, plus your point about the hot engines and homes, contributes anything meaningful to global warming.
And those air conditioners removing the heat from our homes and sticking it outside to warm up the great out of doors?  Air conditioning run on electricity generated from fossil fuel?(heat, heat and more heat! It's everywhere you look)  Just a thought to start conversation....
Since we are already talking about SF, you realize that this was the greatest problem of truly advanced civilization, as described in Niven's 'Ringworld,' from 1970. The Puppeteer solution was to move their worlds farther out from the sun.

Just need to buy the right tech, and go into debt for an epoch or two.

Somehow, I don't see this a valid solution to current problems.

In all fairness, while the amount of heat generated/retained through human activities is still fairly minor, it is undoubtedly quantifiable and not to be completely dismissed.

That is the really great thing about the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
We, civilized man, are each and every single day working tirelessly to convert high quality energy sources (like oil, coal, even enriched uranium) into the ultimate end result low quality energy, HEAT.  And yes, all this waste heat man generates on this planet does have an effect. A good example can be seen in the "heat islands" that occur in and around major metropolitan areas.

Incidentally, that's how the universe could (will) end. Physicists call this "heat death". It will occur because according to the second law of thermodynamics, the amount of entropy in a system must always increase. The amount of entropy in a system is a measure of how disordered the system is - the higher the entropy, the more disordered it is.

Paul Davies' book "The Last Three Minutes" covers this well.

In the whole global warming debate I never see any mention of the actual heat generated by all the cars and houses.

See Urban Heat Island effect.  Includes cars, A/C, heating, land use (5 acre asphalt parking lot radiatively different from 5 acres of woods, roofs are different from fields, etc), industry, etc.  IIRC direct effects of cars are small relative to effects of their demands (roads, parking lots) as far as the urban effect goes.

I should have read on a bit further before replying myself. Well said, Davet.
Dunno about the insurance companies, but I'm annoyed at having Class A Tampa baseball games washed out.  The Yankees have a couple of players who are trying to get rehab games in ASAP, and this sure isn't helping.  :-P

The July Discover has a short blurb about the hurricanes and global warming issue:


Climatologists debate how bad the global warming fallout will be

As this year's hurricane season opens, about the only thing the weather experts can agree on is that hurricane Katrina was bad. A group of climatologists at Georgia Tech claim that a rise in sea surface temperatures over the last 30 years is "directly linked" to increases in the number of intense hurricanes. Meanwhile, a team at Colorado State University declares "there is no physical basis" for such a connection. "There's a lot of confusion in the field right now," says Chris Landsea, a science officer at the National Hurricane Center who is unaffiliated with either study.

Researchers cannot even agree whether the Katrina season was out of the ordinary. Hugh Willoughby of Florida International University thinks we are primarily seeing the effects of normal climate variations, like EI Nino. "The United States had phenomenal luck for the last 30 years, and we got used to it," he says. Greg Holland, a director at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, sees evidence of climate change on top of the natural cycles. In the 1970s, there was a 20 percent chance of the United States' being hit by a hurricane in any given year. Today those odds are more like 35 to 55 percent, he says.

In the short term, 2006 will probably offer little shelter from the storms. At Colorado State, Bill Gray, a leading hurricane forecaster, anticipates a 64 percent chance of a category 4 or 5 hurricane striking the East Coast this year and fifty-fifty odds of another hit in the Texas-Louisiana zone. The real question is, should we be worrying now about the 2036 forecast? Gray suggests we focus instead on bracing for inevitable, routine variations; Holland disagrees. "There is still a large number of scientists - good ones - who don't believe definitely in global warming, so what do they do? They do human nature; they do nothing," Holland says. "But if a foreign country moved all its troops to your border and said there was even only a 20 percent chance of them attacking, would you do nothing?"

But if a foreign country moved all its troops to your border and said there was even only a 20 percent chance of them attacking, would you do nothing?

Maybe we should forward that question along to the president of Iran?  

How about this.  
Alberto started 3 days later than 2005's first, Arlene, yet it has persisted much longer and become much stronger.  Probably this will help reinforce the notion that global warming will make storms more severe.
You're too early on two counts.

  1. Arlene existed from June 8 to 13 or 14, 2005, or 6 or 7 days, depending on whether you want to count its extratropical day on June 14. So far Alberto has been with us for only half that.

  2. Arlene's highest sustained winds were 70 m.p.h., or about the same as Alberto's so far.

Sources: NHC (PDF) and Wikipedia.
It is actually the other way around.  Following the storms of last year, some of the folks in the industry commented to us about the problems that they were seeing in getting insurance for the rigs out there.  If we have the same sort of season this year, and one would anticipate a somewhat similar scale of damage if we do, then it may become increasingly difficult for companies to get coverage to drill in the GOMEX.  That could put quite a crimp on domestic production - while I suspect that the drilling rigs would find adequate employment working for Aramco.

As for Alberto at 10 p.m.



Alright, I have a new question, in obvious reversal from my initial anti-hurricane-coverage-stance. When I turned on 'Marketplace' tonight, one of the headline blurbs stated that Alberto was heading away from production areas and that(ostensibly, partially as a result) the price of oil had dropped by over a dollar. I figured someone at NPR had read my post.

I believe I found the Oil Drum shortly after Hurricane season last year, and I am well aware of its Hurricane roots.

Are you guys aiming to be the "go-to" place for Hurricane Talk? If I wanted full-on, Hurricane/Global Warming discussion/debate/info - where's the place to be? Or am I already there?

RealClimate has real climatologists but they post infrequently, and only cover hurricanes very sporadically.
So does that make us #1? Certainly we have a few real climatologists hiding amongst the armchair variety.
The Black Knight has just taken flight, searing the air from the sky. Beware in the morning light, when the Earth begins to fry.
Black Sabbath?
do you mean b2 stealth bombers?
He's got us going, doesn't he? Still sounds like Ozzy to me. I bet he'll never post again, and leave us like dust in the wind.
yea but guessing is half the fun isn't it?
"sangreal"? What the hell is that supposed to mean? Real Blood? This could be some kind of Omen.
Holy Grail. read the Da Vinci Code too!!!
God forbid.
(finger to nose) BINGO!!
referring to stealth bombers
I've noticed that when people are happily chirping about the future, despite some little setbacks, I never seem to see climate change included.  So here's the BIG problem, recently revealed: GW is ready to pounce via CO2, but it's constantly suppressed by pollution from our industrialization.  Global Dimming.  So, when PO forces large-scale industrial shutdowns, even on a temporary basis, GW really kicks in.  Likely within weeks.  That's the latest science.
Oh, and speaking of hurricanes, there is some development off the west coast of Africa.  That doesn't happen this time of year, either...
Yes.  Even without considering peak oil, scientists are calling for a "managed retreat" from the coasts. Sea levels will be rising, and rather than trying to build sea walls, etc., the smart thing to do will be to pull back from the coasts.

That will be doubly true in the post-carbon age.  

I have recently been to the NC coastal area, it is amazing to see how much land is just above sea level.  Even the National Parks maps show how much of this land will be given up to the ocean in the future.  I was impressed by how much land was being farmed, has anyone looked into the impact on food production from the loss of farm land due to sea rise?  I can imagine that in places like Bangladesh it could be quite large.