IMPACT POINT Kindle Book : What The Readers Are Saying.

7 May

Check out a sample of Amazon reader reviews for IMPACT POINT. At £1.99/$2.99 why not give it a go and see what you think?

ECO-THRILLER MEETS SCI-FI

“This is the author’s second Robert Spire thriller and I was looking forward to it after reading Tipping Point. An intriguing mix of environmental thriller and sci-fi action as we follow environmental lawyer Robert Spire who – since his first adventure in Tipping Point – has now been signed up to GLENCOM, a kind of environmental MI6. He is asked to investigate, after the discovery of two dead blue whales, and is assisted by an attractive San Diego-based marine biologist and ex-marine Travis Dexter as he travels to some exotic locations in search of answers to the whale deaths and a meteorite stolen from the home of a Californian based philanthropist. The book is an unique blend of environmental, sci-fi and action adventure thriller which becomes more sinister as the adventure proceeds. The Impact Point of the title is soon revealed. A seemingly well researched and enjoyable read.”

A JOLLY GOOD READ

“I can recommend this book as an entertaining, exciting read. I intend to purchase more titles by this author in the near future.”

TIPPING POINT Kindle thriller: What The Readers Are Saying.

7 May

Check out a sample of Amazon reader reviews for TIPPING POINT. At £1.99/$2.99 why not give it a go and see what you think?

MIXED COCKTAIL.

“This is a nice and easy read, and overall likable. I could deduce the following forumla:

– take the science from the ‘The Day After Tomorrow’
– take an ex- KGB assassin from Fredrick Forsyth
– mate Jack Reacher (Lee Child) with John Grisham’s lawyer to produce a wanna-be James Bond
– Bring in twists and turns of a James Bond movie.
– Borrow a punchline from Bond – “My name is Spire, Robert Spire”!!
– Shake them well

Viola! You have the ‘Tipping Point’. Mind you, I am not bad-mouthing this novel, just giving you a feel of what to expect. Rosser has done an appreciable job of blending all the elements together, and such an effort from a working professional balancing his day-time job, family and life, is commendable. I like this for the fun read this was, for the sincere effort of the author, and obviously, the story that was interesting enough for wanting to turn the page.”

COMPELLING STORY ABOUT A VERY CURRENT ISSUE

“Really enjoyed this fast paced book and the characters were very believable. The content was very interesting and I did wonder if it was all fantasy or whether there was any fact to it!”

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Kindle Book Publishing And Promotion

29 Apr

Whether you’re a newbie publisher or a more established author, here is a trio of books from established authors that I found very useful and interesting. The following Kindle books are targeted at Kindle book publishing and Kindle book promotion.

First off John Locke’s How I Sold A Million eBooks In 5 Months.

John Locke, as i’m sure you all know – unless you’ve been on a desert island someplace – holds the mantle for becoming the world’s first self published Kindle author to sell over 1 million ebooks. His book on how he did it gives an honest and frank explanation of how he managed it, although I’m sure his books must also be very good to be selling by the bucket load. I’ve not read any yet, but millions have. An example of Mr Locke’s marketing skills is his ability to write  a Western – hardly a popular genre – and make it a top selling Kindle book.  Follow The Stone is still selling very very well. In fact, we are reminded from his website that “Every 7 seconds, 24 hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world!” Not bad eh?

His book discusses the main promotional tools Twitter and blogging in some detail and his ability to reach potential readers through relevant and touching blogs which it seems go almost viral, spreading the word about his Kindle books in the process. See my Amazon review of his book HERE.

My second recommendation is Michael R Hicks’ book The Path To Self Publishing Success. Mr Hicks is a successful Kindle author with his SciFi “In Her Name” novels and recently gave up his day job after Kindle book sales took off. The guide gives a detailed account of all you need to know to turn your novel into a Kindle published book and then how to go about promoting it. Some interesting stuff about pricing structure, use of Twitter in particular and monetizing websites. Helps arm the author with the right tools to get on the path to Kindle publishing success. His novel Season Of The Harvest and its well worth a read. The authors website can be found HERE.

Finally, we have author J.A Konrath’s A Newbie’s Guide To Publishing. To be honest, I’m still only 75% through this ebook because it is one information-packed guide on literally  (no pun intended)  everything you need to know about the publishing industry. Here is a list of what the book contains;

BREAKING IN – Over forty essays on how to find an agent and sell your writing.

PUBLISHING – More than twenty essays about the publishing business, and how it works.

PROMOTION – Over fifty essays on marketing, advertising, and self-promotion.

TOURING – Extensive, in-depth details on how to do book tours and signings.

INTERNET – Dozens of essays on how writers can effectively use the world wide web.

EBOOKS – Speculation and real-life examples of digital publishing, the Kindle, print on demand, and self-publishing.

MOTIVATION – Over fifty essays guaranteed to enlighten and inspire your writing efforts.

Mr Konrath is the author of the Jack Daniels thriller series, where each novel is named after a well-known cocktail. His blog, A NEWBIE’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING is essential reading for anyone wanting an insight into book publishing and promoting.

You really need to read this book to see how much effort this guy puts into promoting, touring and writing. In fact, I have no idea how he has time to blog! Amazing.

I hope this selection of helpful books helps you all in your writing careers. Good luck! Click the following link if you enjoy, or fancy trying  ECO-THEMED THRILLERS. 

Kindle Direct Publishing: Kindle Book Promotion

17 Apr

KDP Select is a relatively new promotional tool offered by Amazon to their Kindle authors who sign up to a 3 month exclusivity deal when you publish your ebook. You must agree to only publish your ebook on the Amazon Kindle platform to the exclusion of all other e-readers during the 3 month period. In return you get 5 days when you can offer your hard written book for free, and get the benefit of Amazon’s Kindle lending library. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

You might be thinking? If your book is only available on the Kindle, what about all the lost sales from the other reading devices, The Nook, Sony or I-Pads that you probably service though your Smashwords account? Well, those sales will be lost, but how many sales were you really getting from those sources anyway?

I had 2 books selling via Smashwords and Kindle before I joined KDP Select. THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING (UK) and TIPPING POINT (UK). Combined sales for both on Smashwords were about 10 a month. Sales via Kindle were a combined 30-40 a month. No big deal, but still sales. So, I decided to go exclusively with Amazon’s KDP Select programme and started by giving away Tipping Point for free for two days during the last weekend of January 2012.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Well, I was amazed to say the least. By Sunday evening, 4,500 copies of TIPPING POINT (USA) had been downloaded. Around 2500 in the UK and 2000 in the USA, not forgetting about 75 in Germany! So what’s the benefit of that You might ask? Well, 4,500 readers – hopefully they read and enjoyed the book –  are now aware of me and my other two books, THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING (USA)  and recently released Robert Spire thriller number 2 – IMPACT POINT. (UK)

Since then I’ve used all my 5 free giveaway days on both TIPPING POINT and IMPACT POINT (USA). I’ve a few left for the A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING and I admit the subsequent giveaways weren’t downloaded at anywhere close to the level of the first 2 day giveaway of TIPPING POINT, but still a few hundred readers downloaded my books each time.

EFFECT ON GENERAL SALES

After the first free promotion ended, actual paid for sales of TIPPING POINT continued and I sold around 80 by the Monday morning and sales reached 360 for all 3 books in the month of February. That’s up from 30 sales for 2 books the month before joining KDP Select.

Since then sales have remained constant at the post KDP levels

This translates to a quadrupling of sales following the free downloads after signing up for KDP Select.

AMAZON PRIME

Amazon Prime provides a free Kindle book lending service to Amazon customers. For an annual fee, Prime members receive free delivery of all Amazon products and can borrow one book a month from the lending library – you the author get paid however from money set aside by Amazon. The payment varies depending upon how many people have borrowed your books and how many other authors have lent theirs out. This month Amazon set aside $600,000.   “Every time a customer borrowed an independently-published book in March, the author earned $2.18. That’s more than many authors earn when their books are sold,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. 

CONCLUSION

KDP Select increases your sales simply because the free downloads increase the visibility of your book both on Amazon’s rankings as the free books are downloaded and via the “Customers who bought this item also bought,” promotion. This has the overall effect of helping with your book sales as more and more readers become aware of it and the important part – hopefully enjoy reading it!

Well done Amazon!

                                                           

Summer’s On The Way: How’s Earth’s Temperature?

8 Apr

With Summer on the way – Yippy – and an unseasonally hot spell 

for March/April so far in the UK, I thought I’d post a blog on Temperature,

taken from Chapter T of THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING.

Temperature is generally measured using the Celsius scale,

except in the USA, where the Fahrenheit scale is used. Zero degrees

Centigrade corresponds to the temperature at which water freezes,

and 100 degrees when it boils. These temperatures are represented

as 32 and 212°F respectively.

The Earth’s average temperature, assisted by its naturally

occurring greenhouse-gas blanket, is about 15°C (59°F). The

average temperature of the human body is about 37°C (98°F), and

if temperatures get too high harmful reactions and even death

may result.

Just like a human being, if Earth’s temperature increases too

much, the planet will start to get sick and serious consequences

will result, some of which are already becoming evident.

 

 

How much has the Earth’s temperature increased?

 

The Earth’s global mean surface temperature according the Fourth

Assessment Report of the IPCC puts the rise at 0.74°C (1.33°F)

over the period 1906 to 2006.

Global temperature is measured by taking the average near-surface

temperatures over air, sea and land.

This rise may not seem like much, but according to NASA,

this means that the Earth is now reaching and passing through

the warmest period in the current interglacial period, which has

lasted for nearly 12,000 years.

 

 

How fast is Earth’s temperature rising?

 

The Earth’s temperature has risen by about 0.2°C (0.36°F) each

decade over the last thirty years. The studies show that warming

is greatest at higher latitudes of the northern hemisphere, and

larger over land compared to the oceans, as the oceans have a

much higher heat capacity compared to the land.  Air temperatures

in the Arctic region for example have, on average, actually

increased by about 5°C (9°F) over the last 100 years.

 

 

What about historical warming?

 

We know from Chapter H that the Earth has had many periods

of warming and cooling, and historically these temperature

changes have had little to do with manmade greenhouse gases,

as mankind has been emitting greenhouse gases significantly only

since the Industrial Revolution, in and about the late nineteenth

century.

Two of the most recent temperature changes took place during

the Little Ice Age, in the years 1350–1850, or thereabouts, when

temperatures dipped, and the Medieval Warm Period between

years 1000–1300, or thereabouts, when temperatures got

comparatively warmer again. An explanation for the Little Ice

Age, or Maunder Minimum is the lack of sunspot activity and

solar irradiance that occurred during this time .

 

 

What about more recently?

 

Well, temperatures have been measured accurately with scientific

instruments for about only 150 years or so. Prior to this a range

of proxy data is used, such as tree rings, ice cores, lake and sea

sediments, corals and historical records.

Researchers from NASA, Dr James Hanson and his colleague

Mark Imhoff, analysed records from 7,500 global weather stations

and used satellite observations of night-time weather stations to

identify minimal human influence, such as urban heat island effects.

The team concluded that from 1900 to 1940 it was possible the

Earth warmed partly as a result of increased levels of greenhouse

gases and partly due to natural climate variability.

Between 1940 and 1965 the Earth cooled by about 0.1°C (0.18°F),

which some scientists attribute to the increased use of aerosols

and other airborne pollutants from the burning of fossil fuels.

This was especially so in the northern hemisphere, where cooling

occurred most during this period, which can lead to increased

cloud cover, which in turn blocks and reflects incoming solar

radiation. This is a phenomenon that has been termed ‘global

dimming’. Aerosols, certainly in the northern hemisphere, have

been slowly phased out however, which may have helped reveal

the true extent of greenhouse-gas-induced warming.

The period from 1965 to 2000 showed large and widespread

warming around the world.

 

Indeed the IPCC concluded in 2001 that there is new and stronger

evidence that most of the warming observed at least over the past fifty

years is attributable to human activities.

 

 

Link between global warming and human activities?

 

There has been much debate between scientists over attribution

of climate change and global warming, and much of this discussion

has focused on a temperature graph produced in 1999 for the IPCC,

by climatologist Michael Mann and his colleagues, which showed

temperatures extending back 1,000 years. The debate became

known as the ‘hockey stick’ debate.

This name came from the graph itself, as it shows temperatures

for about 1,000 years remaining more or less constant, then from

about 1800 a sharp upward trend occurs that resembles the end

of a hockey stick.6 The reconstructions showed the 1990s to be

the warmest decade, with 1998 the warmest year ever.

The graph seems to support the warming influence human

beings have had on climate over the last 150 years or so, as

evidenced by the sudden upward trend in temperatures recorded.

Certain criticism was made of the fact that accurate temperature

records go back only 150 years, and that the data and methods

used to recreate the temperature prior to about 1850 cannot be

reliable as it comes from proxy sources such as tree rings, corals

and ice cores, etc.

It would appear however that much of the debate as to who

is responsible for global warming is now settled. While solar

intensity and even volcanoes and other natural factors can explain

variations in global temperatures in the early nineteenth century,

rising greenhouse gas levels can provide the only plausible

explanation for the warming trend over the past fifty years.7

In response to the controversy over the Mann temperature

graph, in 2006 the US Congress requested the National Research

Council prepare a report. They concluded that there was a high

level of confidence that the global mean surface temperature

during the past few decades is higher now than at any time over

the preceding 400 years. There is less confidence prior to the year

1600 to support temperature reconstructions, as there is less data

available from whatever source. There was even less confidence

about the conclusions reached that the 1990s were the warmest

decade and 1998 the warmest year. The committee did indicate,

however, that none of the reconstructions showed that

temperatures were warmer during medieval times than during

the last few decades.

The main conclusion, however, is that the build-up of

greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will cause several degrees

of warming, and this is based on the laws of physics and chemistry.

The link between greenhouse gases and temperature is well

established, as we know from Chapter G, so when additional

CO2 is added to the atmosphere, by burning fossil fuels, the

temperature is going to increase. This has been confirmed by

reliable scientific instruments over the last 150 years.

 

 

How high will temperatures go?

 

For the last three decades temperatures have been rising by about

0.2°C (0.36°F) per decade. There is evidence however that the

warming may accelerate as positive feedback mechanisms come

into play. Examples would be the release of methane from the

ground as the permafrost starts to melt, thus accelerating the

warming. Studies already indicate that warming is greater over

the northern hemisphere. As the snow and ice melt in the Arctic

regions, darker surfaces are uncovered, which reduces the albedo

effect of the ice/snow-covered areas, which allows more sunlight

to be absorbed, thus increasing warming. Likewise as the

atmosphere warms it is able to hold more water vapour (itself a

greenhouse gas), which allows it to trap more heat. These are two

examples of positive feedback mechanisms.

It is not yet possible however to determine what temperature

will result from a certain level of greenhouse gas.

It is estimated that if greenhouse gas could be stabilised at

today’s level of about 430 ppm CO2 equivalent, the Earth would

be committed to an eventual temperature increase of about 1–

3°C (1.8–5.4°F) above pre-industrial levels.

 

 

Projected CO2/temperature level scenarios

 

The amount the Earth’s temperature goes up depends on

greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

Projections of future warming depend on projections of global

emissions. If emissions were to remain at today’s levels, then

greenhouse gas would reach about 550 ppm CO2e by about 2050,

based on the current annual increase of 2.5 ppmv CO2e. This would

commit the world to a temperature rise of about 2–5°C (3.6–9°F).

The IPCC however projects that without intervention

greenhouse gas levels will rise to 550–700 ppm CO2e by 2050,

and 650–1,200 ppm CO2e by 2100! This would cause temperature

rises of between 1.5–4.4°C (2.7–7.9°F) and 1.8–5.5°C (3.2–9.9°F)

respectively, just on the lower forecasts of 550 and 650 ppm CO2e

levels alone!

‘A temperature rise of 2–3°C (3.6–5.4°F) above present

levels would put the Earth at a temperature not

experienced for three million years and far outside the

experience of human civilisation.’

The Earth is already committed to a 1–3°C rise (1.8–5.4°F) on

current greenhouse gas levels. If the Earth warms by a further

1°C (1.8°F), NASA scientists point out that this will be the warmest

Earth has been for the past 1,000,000 years. At 2 or 3°C higher

(3.6–5.5°F), the Earth would become a different world from that

we know. As mentioned above, the last time this occurred was

about 3,000,000 years ago, and sea levels are estimated to have

been twenty-five metres higher (eighty feet) than present!

There seems to be no alternative therefore other than

humankind reduce greenhouse gas emissions, significantly, and

fast, in order to prevent disastrous consequences. The big

problem is that like a huge oil tanker trying to make a U-turn,

even if emissions could be halted now, the effects of current

levels will continue to cause temperatures to rise for a long time

to come.

 

 

Any evidence of increasing temperatures currently

affecting Earth?

 

According to the WWF, evidence comes from the bleaching and

degradation of coral reefs (discussed further in Chapter V), due

to increasing sea temperatures, which could degrade Australia’s

Great Barrier Reef in a single human lifetime. Alpine forests

struggle to spread to higher, cooler locations, and glaciers are

melting all over the world.

The Caribbean saw its warmest ever ocean temperature in 2005.

Scotland in the UK saw its hottest year on record in 2003, which

caused hundreds of adult salmon to die, as the water became too

warm for the fish to extract oxygen from it.

New modelling work by the UK’s Hadley Centre shows that

the summer of 2003 was Europe’s hottest for 500 years.

In the Arctic, sea ice measurements in 2007 recorded the smallest

sea-ice cover ever at the end of the summer melt season.

In 2003, the world’s major cities sweltered under heatwaves.

In France, during the summer of 2003, the heatwave killed about

14,800 people in Paris alone, according to official figures released

in September 2003.

Summer temperatures have been analysed in sixteen of Europe’s

cities, which show that the continents’ capitals have warmed by

up to 2°C (3.6°F) in the last thirty years.

London is the city where average maximum summer

temperatures increased the most, up 2°C (3.6°F) over the last

thirty years, followed by Athens and Lisbon (1.9°C or 3.4°F),

Warsaw (1.3°C or 2.3°F) and Berlin (1.2°C or 2.1°F).16

Between 2000 and 2005, average summer temperatures in

thirteen out of sixteen cities looked at were at least 1°C (1.8°F)

higher than during the period 1970–1975.

 

 

Earth’s warmest years

 

According to climatologists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space

Studies the five warmest years since the 1880s have been;

 

1 2005/2010

2 1998

3 2002

4 2003

5 2006

 

The year 2005 and 2010 therefore have been the hottest so far, though they

share this accolade with 1998, which was virtually as hot. Year

1998 temperatures were enhanced however by the strongest

tropical El Niño for almost a century, which boosted temperatures

above the level they otherwise would have been. As the El Niño

gets underway in the topical Pacific Ocean, 2007 could be even

hotter, bringing with it increased warmth. 

 

 

A 2°C (3.6°F) increase limit

 

The WWF is advocating that temperatures cannot be allowed to

rise by more than 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, otherwise

dangerous climate change may occur. The Earth has already

warmed by 0.74°C (1.33°F), which means another 1.3°C rise (2.34°F)

could be too much.

The 2°C (3.6°F) threshold is based on the best available science

and is accepted by many governments including the prime

ministers and presidents of all twenty-five EU member states.

The only way to prevent temperatures staying below this level

is for CO2 concentrations to stay below about 400 ppmv, the

equivalent to greenhouse gas levels of around 450co2e. If this were

possible, staying below 2°C (3.6°F) is likely, according to climate

models.  Levels of CO2 however are already at 395 ppmv, which

means the chance of stabilisation below 400 ppmv is therefore

very unlikely.

 

 

What would a 2°C (3.6°F) rise in temperature

mean?

 

The WWF has looked at three regions to see what a 2°C (3.6°F)

temperature rise would mean for those regions.

 

 

The Mediterranean

 

Everyone enjoys going on holiday to the ‘Med’, with its beautiful

warm climate. However, as temperatures rise in the region, water

shortages could become common as annual rainfall could decrease

by twenty per cent, and more heat-waves cause all-year-round risk

from serious forest fires, as maximum temperatures could rise

by up to 5°C (9°F).

 

 

The Arctic

 

Temperatures would rise by about 3.2°C (5.7°F) here, maybe even

double that if temperatures rose by 2°C (3.6°F) elsewhere. Less

ice means more heat absorption as the darker water absorbs the

sun’s energy. Arctic summer ice could totally disappear, leaving

wildlife habitats, such as the polar bears, deteriorating or

destroyed.

 

 

Eastern Canada

 

Important species of trees, including the sugar maple, Canada’s

national symbol, will be forced to move northwards, which could

cause problems if the trees cannot adapt. Canadian fisheries will

also struggle, which could be the final straw for the already

endangered Atlantic salmon.

These are just examples of three regions and the effects of a

2°C (3.6°F) rise in temperature. Of course, many other regions

would also suffer similar consequences.

 

According to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change,

some climate models suggest that a global 2°C (3.6°F) rise above preindustrial

levels would mean that there is potential for the Greenland

ice sheet to begin melting irreversibly, a rising risk of the collapse of

the West Antarctic ice sheet, and a rising risk of the collapse of the

ocean thermohaline circulation.

 

If temperatures rose more than 5°C (9°F), which is possible if

emissions continue to grow, and positive feedback mechanisms

kick in, such as the release of CO2 from carbon sinks and methane

from permafrost, then the rise in temperatures would be equivalent

to the amount of warming that took place between the end of

the last Ice Age and today.

Such a rise in temperature would be far outside human

experience. A very sobering thought!

The Earth, like a sick human being, is already beginning to

show the effects of higher temperatures. A 2°C (3.6°F) global

temperature rise appears to be the limit recognised as causing

catastrophic climate change.

Staying below 2°C (3.6°F) requires CO2 levels to be stabilised

at 400 ppmv, and this appears unlikely as CO2 levels are already

at 395 ppmv and increasing annually. Greenhouse gas levels are

already at 430 ppm CO2e, ( 2008 level ) and rising at 2.5 ppm CO2e annually.

If this continues, the Earth may well be 2–5°C (3.6–9°F) warmer

by 2050, when greenhouse gas levels would reach about 550 ppm

CO2e.

It seems the only answer will be for all nations and all

individuals to do their bit as far as possible to prevent, or at least

reduce, greenhouse gas emissions. The science appears clear. While

it may not be possible to prevent a 2°C (3.6°F) temperature rise,

it seems everything must be done to prevent rises over and above

this level, and the window of opportunity to do so is rapidly

disappearing.

 

Key points

 

➢ Earth’s global mean surface temperature has

increased by 0.74°C (1.33°F) over a hundred-year

period, 1906–2006.

➢ Temperatures in the Arctic however have increased

by about 5°C (9°F) over a similar period.

➢ If greenhouse gases could be halted at present

levels, the Earth would still warm by about 1–3°C

(1.8–5.4°F) above pre-industrial levels (possibly

2.26°C more than present).

➢ The last time Earth was 2–3°C (3.6–5.5°F) higher

than present was 3,000,000 years ago, when sea

levels may have been twenty-five metres (eighty

feet) higher than present.

➢ The warmest year since 1880 was 2005 and 2010, virtually

on a par with 1998, when temperatures were

boosted by an exceptional El Niño year, while 2007

has become Earth’s second warmest year jointly

with 1998.

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‘Point’ Action-Thriller: Two Novel Compilation

4 Apr

Get TIPPING POINT and IMPACT POINT  in one great Kindle double novel pack. Download both Robert Spire eco-action thrillers at the same time and save ££/$$! Treat your Kindle to some eco-environmental action adventure thrills today and save money. What a great deal!

I can’t guarantee the books will be twice as good however!

Blue Whales and Asteroids

25 Mar

An unlikely combination I appreciate, but nonetheless the title sums up the story line of IMPACT POINT Kindle Thriller. So, how can whales and rocks from space be connected?

Well for one, both blue whales and asteroids and comets are pretty rare, but unlike asteroids and comets, blue whales are unlikely to harm you, unless of course your name is Moby Dick. OK, so it wasn’t a blue whale that got him, but you know what I mean! On the other hand, if a large asteroid or comet strikes the Earth, we would all be vaporized, much like the dinosaurs were 65 million years ago.

First of all, some facts. The blue whale is the largest creature that has lived, yes, even bigger than any dinosaur that ever existed. There are estimated to be only around 5-12,000 blue whales left in the world’s oceans, down from around 200,000 – 250,000 back at the start of the Twentieth Century, before man hunted them to virtual extinction. Thankfully their numbers are now increasing, but they still face numerous threats from shipping, global warming, increasing levels of ocean noise and being attacked by its natural predator, the orca whale.

In IMPACT POINT, Robert Spire’s adventure is kick started after a blue whale beaches itself in front of him on his local stretch of Welsh coastline. A second whale is discovered in South Carolina in the USA. What is the connection? It transpires that both whales have ingested the mineral olivine, to discover why, you’ll have to read the book otherwise i’ll give away too many spoilers!  Suffice to say, Spire is helped in his task by marine biologist Dr Sally Rivea; her name is actually an anagram for Dr Sylvia Earle – American oceanographer and author of many a book on the world’s oceans and its lifeforms.

What about the space rocks? My fascination began long ago, when I first read about the massive comet that wiped out the dinosaurs. That comet is thought to have been 10 kilometers  wide and left an impact crater – the Chicxulub crater – 180 km in diameter and 10 km deep in the Yucatan Peninsular of Mexico, which just happens to be the ancient home of the Mayans, who just happen to foretell the end of the world in December 2012, but that’s another story…

Back to space rocks. First some facts.

Asteroids, leftovers from the formation of our solar system generally reside in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and there are millions of them.

Near Earth asteroids have orbits that take them close to the Earth. NASA has found 19,500 objects between 100 meters and 1000 meters in size to date. There are 981 over 1000 meters in size, with an estimated 70 objects over 1000 meters still undetected. In November 2011, an aircraft-sized asteroid 2005 YU55 passed by Earth at only 201,700 miles away, closer than the Moon!

The next closest approach that we know about will be Apophis, when on Friday, April 13th – yes, that’s the genuine date – it will pass by at only around 18,300 miles away, a very close shave. Needless to say, NASA are keeping a close eye on it!

Meteoroids are generally classified as space rocks less than 10 meters across – these are the shooting stars that people often spot streaking across the night sky.

Comets are icy bodies with nuclei – ranging from hundreds of meters to tens of kilometers across – comprised of ice, dust and rock. Just over 4000 are known about. The comet or asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs was about 10 kilometers across.

Centaurs are objects that display characteristics of both comets and asteroids. They have unstable orbits that cross one or more of the giant planets. It is estimated there are about 44,000 of them with diameters over 1 kilometer.

Pholus, one such Centaur is thought to be partly composed of olivine.

So, if the above facts don’t scare you a little, try IMPACT POINT. Your thoughts when looking up at the night sky will never be the same again!

Melting Arctic; Geoengineering; Tipping Point Kindle Thriller.

18 Mar

An eminent UK engineer is suggesting building cloud-whitening towers in the Faroe Islands as a “technical fix” for warming across the Arctic.

Scientists told UK MPs this week that the possibility of a major methane release triggered by melting Arctic ice constitutes a “planetary emergency”.

The Arctic could be sea-ice free each September within a few years.

Wave energy pioneer Stephen Salter has shown that pumping seawater sprays into the atmosphere could cool the planet.

The Edinburgh University academic has previously suggested whitening clouds using specially-built ships.

At a meeting in Westminster organised by the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (Ameg), Prof Salter told MPs that the situation in the Arctic was so serious that ships might take too long.

Credit – BBC news. Read the full article here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-17400804

Interested? Try Kindle Eco-thriller TIPPING POINT, a Robert Spire thriller, which involves a race by French climatologist Francois Trimaud to get to the Arctic to test a geoengineering theory to seed the Arctic Ocean in order to prevent global warming in the area before the Earth is plunged into environmental disaster.

The Sun: What’s The Fuss Over Solar Flares?

9 Mar

THE SUN

With the Sun and Solar Flares currently in the news, i thought i’d update my blog by adding chapter S from my book The A-Z of Global Warming, which discusses the Sun’s impact of global warming, and gives some facts and figures on Earth’s nearest star…

Bear in mind the book was written in 2008 – but mentions the increase in Solar activity now in the news…

The sun is a star, which is located at the centre of our solar system.
It is only one of about 100 billion stars in our own galaxy, the
Milky Way, which in turn is one galaxy of literally billions in the
universe, each containing billions and billions of stars.
Our sun has been in existence for about 4,600,000,000 years,
and it will provide life support for planet Earth for another 5–
6,000,000,000 years, until it transforms into a red giant gas star
and finally dies.
The energy from our sun, in the form of sunlight, supports
life on Earth and is responsible for the Earth’s weather and climate
systems. The sun cannot be ignored in the context of global warming.

Earth’s power supply

The surface of the sun has a temperature of about 5,500°C (9,932°F),
and it’s even hotter on the inside! As you might expect, being
the only source of heat in our solar system, its effects on Earth’s
climate and temperature will be significant.
The total amount of radiant energy emitted by the sun that
reaches Earth is termed the total solar irradiance or TSI, and it
is measured in watts per metre squared.
Energy from the sun is measured both at the top of the Earth’s
atmosphere, called the solar constant, and at the surface of the
Earth, insolation.

Has the sun caused or contributed to global warming?

This is the question many scientists are trying to answer. NASA
satellites have measured total solar irradiance since 1978. Six
overlapping satellites have monitored TSI since 1978, and the first
records came from the Nimbus 7 Earth radiation budget (ERB)
experiment from 1978–1993. NASA’s ACRIM 1 satellite, which
is an acronym for Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitors,
also studied the sun, from 1980–1989, and ACRIM 2 from 1991–
2001. Finally ACRIM 3 from 2000–2005.
These satellites produced a wealth of information about the
sun. Richard Wilson, a researcher affiliated with NASA’s Goddard
Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute
in New York, compiled TSI records over the twenty-four-year
observation period by piecing together the records.
The results showed a 0.05 per cent decade upward trend of
TSI measured in watts per metre squared between solar minimum
solar cycles, 1978 to the present (solar cycles twenty-one to twenty-three).

What are solar cycles?

The sun goes through cycles, called solar cycles, every eleven years.
During this period the sun goes through a period of increased
magnetic and sunspot activity, called the solar maximum, when
solar-energy output increases, followed by a quieter period, called
the solar minimum, and back again. During a solar cycle, the
number of sunspots also varies with solar minimum and solar
maximum, with peak sunspot activity occurring at the solar
maximum.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots are basically dark and relatively cooler regions of the

sun, caused by concentrated magnetic fields. Sunspots can cause

decreases in TSI by about 0.2 per cent during say a week-long
passage of a large sunspot group across the ‘Earth facing’ surface
of the sun. These changes are insignificant however to the sun’s
total output of energy, but still equivalent to all the energy
mankind produces and consumes in one year!
So, when the sun is at solar maximum, irradiance and magnetic
activity are at their highest, which is proportional to solar activity.
Sunspot numbers are representative of the general level of solar
activity.
At present the sun is just coming out of a quiet period, which
is solar minimum of solar cycle twenty-three. The last solar
maximum was in about the years 2000–2002 (cycle twenty-three).
NASA scientists have recently discovered a new technique,
‘helioseismology’, which works in a similar way to ultrasound,
but in the case of the sun, not part of the human body!
The sun’s magnetic fields, plasma flows and magnetic
signatures left by fading sunspots are looked at by NASA’s solar
and heliosphere observation satellite (SOHO). This has led the
NASA team to predict that the sun’s next solar cycle will begin
with an increase in solar activity in late 2007 or early 2008, and
this will be thirty to fifty per cent more intense than the current
cycle, reaching its peak in about 2012 (cycle twenty-four).
This could affect space satellites and any technology that relies
on them, as the sun’s energy output increases together with
perhaps a temporary increase in the Earth’s temperature during
this period.

Has the sun affected the Earth’s climate in the past?

While NASA satellites have been monitoring sunspot activity and
TSI since 1978, scientists and astronomers have been looking at
the sun through telescopes for almost 400 years, since shortly after
the telescope was invented.
As we know from Chapter H, the Earth entered a cooling period
about 1350–1850, which was termed the Little Ice Age. Temperature
drops around the globe were noticeable. Glaciers in the Alps
advanced, canals in Holland regularly froze and the Thames in
London would freeze over every twenty years or so.
During the coldest part of the Little Ice Age, between about
1645 and 1715, very low sunspot activity was observed.10
This period is called the Maunder Minimum, after the English
astronomer who made the observation.
Scientists now consider there is a link between the Little Ice Age
and the low level of sunspot activity recorded during that time.
So, it would seem that from scientific studies of the sun so far
that the sun’s irradiance may be slightly increasing by 0.05 per
cent each decade, which may have an effect on climate change
over timescales of 100 years or more.
The sun’s energy output may be responsible for causing or
contributing to the Little Ice Age, as very low sunspot activity
was observed for seventy years during the coldest part of this
period.

Is it the sun, yes or no?

While there is little doubt about the fact that global temperatures
have increased during the last 100 years, there is continuing
scientific debate in respect of the sun’s contribution to current
global warming.
According to the 2007 IPCC report, changes in solar irradiance
since 1750 are estimated to have caused a radiative forcing of 0.12
(+0.6 to +0.30) watts per square metre.
This is compared to a total net anthropogenic (manmade)
forcing of 1.6 (+0.6 to +2.4) watts per square metre.
Manmade radiative forcing is therefore much greater than the
effect the sun has had warming the Earth since the year 1750.
Radiative forcing is basically the change in the balance between
radiation entering the Earth’s atmosphere and leaving it. Positive
forcing will warm the Earth and negative will cool it.
It seems therefore that while the sun does of course have an
effect on the Earth’s climate, and therefore potentially global
warming, such effects are nowhere near as great as those of
anthropogenic or manmade causes, the burning of fossil fuels etc.
However, much longer studies will have to be made, it seems,
to determine the answer for sure!

Key points

➢ Light energy emitted from the sun, solar
irradiance, has increased by about 0.05 per cent
each decade from 1978, which could affect Earth’s
climate over the long term.
➢ The sun goes through solar cycles, which occur
every eleven years.
➢ Sunspot numbers represent the general level of
solar activity, with peak sunspot activity occurring
during solar maximum.
➢ During the coldest part of the Little Ice Age,
sunspot activity was observed to be at its lowest.
➢ While the sun does of course have an effect on
Earth’s climate, solar irradiance has had a radiative

Interested in reading more? Try the book…

NASA’s Missing Moon Rocks.

21 Feb

“The US space agency Nasa recently announced that many of the Moon rocks brought back to Earth from two Apollo space missions have gone missing. They were given as gifts to the nations of the world. So what happened to them?

Towards the end of the Apollo 17 mission on 13 December 1972, Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt – the last men to have set foot on the Moon – picked up a rock.

Cernan announced: “We’d like to share a piece of this rock with so many of the countries throughout the world.”

His wish was fulfilled.

President Richard Nixon ordered that the brick-sized rock be broken up into fragments and sent to 135 foreign heads of state and the 50 US states.

Each “goodwill Moon rock” was encased in a lucite ball and mounted on a wooden plaque with the recipient nations’ flag attached.

Moon rock collected during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 was also distributed to the same nations and US states.

There were 370 pieces gathered for this purpose from the two missions. Two hundred and seventy were given to nations of the world and 100 to the 50 US states.

But 184 of these are lost, stolen or unaccounted for – 160 around the world and 24 in the US.

The rocks were distributed to countries ranging from Afghanistan to Trinidad and Tobago.

“Gaddafi’s government was given two Moon rocks – they’re missing. Romania is missing its Apollo 17 goodwill Moon rock,” says Joseph Gutheinz Jr, the Texas-based lawyer and former Nasa agent, who has become known as the “Moon rock hunter”. His search continues… story credited to BBC News

Speaking of missing Moon rocks, New Robert Spire thriller IMPACT POINT out now on the Kindle involves Spire in the investigation of multiple blue whale deaths after two of the world’s largest ever creatures wash up on both sides of the Atlantic. The mystery deepens following the discovery of the mineral olivine in the mammal’s blood.

The death of philanthropist Julian Smithies in the USA opens up a new lead after a rare and valuable olivine-rich meteorite is stolen from his home.

Spire finds himself on a dangerous adventure as he and marine biologist Dr Sally Rivea travel to the Bahamas in an attempt to uncover the clues. The more they discover, the more the terrifying truth is revealed. Can the seemingly inevitable cataclysm be prevented?

Robert Spire’s latest adventure might be the world’s last…