Wimbledon or Washout?

24 Jun

Wimbledon starts tomorrow! I love Wimbledon, or I should say, I used to love Wimbledon when it was filled with players like John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Steffi Graph, Chris Everett and Martina Navaratalova! Yep, I’m showing my age a bit here, but looking back, I have fond memories of great matches involving the above players, exciting rallies and of course long hot summers…

When I look back at some of the matches, I must have been only 12, hard to believe, but my best memories of Wimbledon are from around that age until I was in my late twenties – so around 1995 I guess. By that time, most of the above players had played their last matches and my memories of the Wimbledon tournament are of newer but far less exciting players and matches – and bad weather!

The only benefit of the rained off matches is that sometimes the old classic games are shown on T.V!

The Wimbledon weather this year is looking distictively wet towards middle of the first week – no surprises there – which will mean the tournament going into three weeks possibly, so plenty of time to show old matches maybe? If not, I’ve dredged a few up from U-Tube anyway so in case you’ve all forgotten, you can see what I mean…

First off, some John McEnroe classic tantrums – not Wimbledon, but who cares?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxAPKtOe0fQ

And;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcWNsS6wEps

What about the classic tie break with McEnroe and Borg in 1980?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qaweRhyAxk

Or this 1986 Becker and Lendl final;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1NcGiBCHDs

A lot of people say that the reason for those great rallies is because of the older wooden raquets the players used. The modern raquets just give too much speed, meaning the game is all about power shots, rather than exciting rallies, and this seems to be true. Ahh well, it’s a good job the older classic matches are still available to watch, especially on a rained off Wimbledon day.

Going back to the weather, i’ve discovered that not all is as bad as imagined. Here’s some weather facts;

Wimbledon weather facts

  • The warmest Wimbledon Championship on record was 1976, where temperatures averaged at 25.4 C.
  • In 1997, 118.3 mm of rain fell during the championships, making it the wettest Wimbledon on record.
  • Perhaps rather unfairly, Wimbledon has always been associated with bad weather and particularly with rain. But actually play has only been totally rained off 32 times in 125 years.
  • Most years, some rain does fall during the championships, however there have been seven years where rain did not interrupt play at all – 1931, 1976, 1977, 1993 and 1995, 2009 and 2010.

UK winner facts

Last British female singles winner – Virginia Wade 1977

Last British Male singles winner – Fred Perry 1936

So, If you get really bored when/if the tennis is rained off, then there’s always Robert Spire action-adventure thrillers TIPPING POINT, IMPACT POINT and to keep you entertained, or for anyone interested in the bad weather and climate, THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING!

Enjoy the Wimbledon fortnight, and just remember – it used to be so much better, whatever the weather!

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The Tunguska Event

20 May

Just after 7 AM on June 30th 1908 a massive air blast occurred over Tunguska in Siberia – the Tunguska event – caused by a meteorite or comet fragment. The blast released the same amount of energy as 185 Hiroshima nuclear bombs. The object is thought to have been around 120 feet in diameter. It will happen again, it’s just a question of where and when… 

Ever since I first saw a picture of the flattened trees radiating out from a central location in a desolate region of Siberia when aged about 11, I was fascinated by what could have caused the devastation that occurred there in 1908. Various theories were put forward;

 A crashed UFO

A miniature black hole striking the Earth

Antimatter collision

Or of course an exploding comet fragment of meteorite.

Well, recently Italian scientists who have been searching for remnants and evidence of what could have caused the explosion, think they may have found evidence of a stony fragment at the bottom of lake Cheko. The story can be read HERE.

I also found a great U-Tube video taken from the wonderful Carl Sagan’s cosmos program. It’s not on long and well worth a watch.

 

Fascinated and equally concerned by the event, I decided to weave the facts into an action thriller, which turned into Robert Spire’s second adventure IMPACT POINT. Why not click on ‘Look Inside’ on the Amazon page and read the first few chapters…

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.

Image    

‘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.