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yonza bam

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About yonza bam

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    Visiting for tea often

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    I'm no' falling for that one. Do you think I came up the Clyde on a banana boat?
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  1. Cut & paste. 'Hearsay' evidence, mostly. I'm sure it'll turn out to be COVID-19. "The Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan on Thursday warned Chinese citizens living in the country of a local pneumonia of unknown cause, which local media reported has a "much higher" fatality rate than COVID-19.The unknown pneumonia in Kazakhstan caused 1,772 deaths in the first six months of the year, including 628 people in June alone, including Chinese citizens, the embassy said in a statement on its WeChat platform on Thursday, citing Kazakh media reports.The fatality rate of the disease is much higher than COVID-19, and organizations including Kazakhstan's health department are studying the "virus of this pneumonia," the embassy quoted media.There hasn't been any indication whether this disease is related to the COVID-19." https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1194082.shtml
  2. More evidence that the virus is evolving towards a strain that doesn't elicit such a damaging immune response. The article is in Swedish. Click on 'English', top right for translation. https://www.svt.se/nyheter/inrikes/kraftigt-minskad-dodlighet-bland-covidpatienter-pa-iva
  3. A mutation of the virus, which has actually been around for a while, but is different from the original Wuhan strain, appears to have become the dominant strain, and is much more infectious, three to nine times more infectious than the original Wuhan virus according to the article in the link. This sounds like really bad news, but it appears not to be causing more severe illness. It is more adept at latching on to, and infecting cells. It's not clear if the higher rate of infection may also be due to a higher viral load being emitted from a cough of an infected person. Viruses are subject to Darwin's law, 'survival of the fittest'. Obviously, strains that are better at infecting cells are 'fitter'. Those that replicate more in cells would also be fitter. Those that cause less severe illness in the infected person, so that they are socialising and spreading it, rather than lying in bed in isolation, are also fitter. Severe COVID-19 is caused by an over robust NF-kB driven cellular immune response. It's the person's immune system that causes the damage. Assuming that the new strain is causing a higher viral load in infected people, it must also be eliciting a less damaging immune response, if it's not causing more severe illness, and that's very good news. Viruses that evolve in a way that doesn't elicit such a damaging immune response would also be fitter.This is my own take on the situation. If I'm right, and the virus continues to evolve along this trajectory, it could eventually become much milder, with less need for lockdowns and social distancing. But, the rate of mutation isn't as rapid as flu viruses, so it could take some time. https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/new-mutant-version-of-coronavirus-spreads-faster-but-doesn-t-make-people-sicker/ar-BB16h6vt
  4. New swine flu with pandemic potential discovered in China. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/30/new-swine-flu-with-pandemic-potential-identified-by-china-researchers Probably not a big deal, but the article states that more than 10% of swine workers have antibodies to the virus, and 4.4% of the general population also have antibodies. Then it goes on to say that there's no evidence of person to person transmission. How the heck can 4.4% of the population have antibodies to this novel flu virus if it's not being spread from person to person? Five minutes googling shows you can't get swine flu from eating pork. Yet, this article from the normally reliable CNBC website states that 'it has not been known to infect humans'. Contains some quotes from Dr. Fauci, the chief advisor on the coronavirus in the US. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/30/dr-anthony-fauci-says-new-virus-in-china-has-traits-of-2009-h1n1-and-1918-pandemic-flu.html
  5. How Covid-19 can damage the brain. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200622-the-long-term-effects-of-covid-19-infection
  6. From The Guardian: Air cooling systems used at abattoirs could be an overlooked risk factor accounting for Covid-19 outbreaks, according to scientists who have studied conditions at a meat-processing plant at the heart of a cluster of infections in Germany. Martin Exner, a hygiene and public health expert at the University of Bonn, spent two days analysing the Tönnies plant in Gütersloh, a western German city sent back into lockdown this week after around 1,500 employees were infected with coronavirus. At a press conference, Exner said the air filtration system in the slaughter area had contributed to the spread of aerosol droplets laden with the virus, describing it as a “newly recognised risk factor”. The area of the plant where animals are slaughtered, gutted and cut to pieces is kept at a cool 6-10C degrees. To do this, the cooling system circulated the same unfiltered air, thus keeping aerosols in motion, Exner said. A filter fitted to the cooling system was not able to keep out the virus, his analysis found. Meat plant must be held to account for Covid-19 outbreak, says German minister The findings would have “big consequences” for other abattoirs as well, Exner said. Slaughterhouses have also been at the heart of Covid-19 outbreaks in America, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and other German regions.
  7. Coronavirus: why have there been so many outbreaks in meat processing plants? Lots of suggested contributory factors in this BBC article, but the one that rings my alarm bell is the suggestion that the fact that the plants are refrigerated may be a factor. I've never thought that this would be a winter virus, due to the carnage it caused in Guayaquil, Ecuador, which is on the equator. Now, I'm not so sure. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/53137613?__twitter_impression=true
  8. The most northerly temperature of 100 F was recorded yesterday, at Verkhoyansk, in Siberia, which sits 70 miles north of the Arctic circle. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/arctic-records-its-hottest-temperature-ever-2020-06-20/
  9. UK ministers order urgent vitamin D coronavirus review. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/17/uk-ministers-order-urgent-vitamin-d-coronavirus-review
  10. Low cost commonly prescribed steroid drug (dexamethasone) found to have a significant effect on the survival chances of patients with COVID-19, reducing deaths in ventilated patients by a third. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/16/steroid-found-to-help-prevent-deaths-of-sickest-coronavirus-patients?utm_term=Autofeed&CMP=twt_gu&utm_medium&utm_source=Twitter#Echobox=1592311129 The symptoms of COVID-19 are being caused by an overactive immune system response, driven by an immune system 'master molecule' called NF-kB. Dexamethasone damps down the NF-kB driven response. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16641216/ Apart from steroids, there are other cheap, widely prescribed drugs which have the same NF-kB suppressing effect. These include statins and ACE inhibitors.
  11. The latest supercomputer models are telling us that it's worse than we thought. From the Guardian: Worst-case global heating scenarios may need to be revised upwards in light of a better understanding of the role of clouds, scientists have said. Recent modelling data suggests the climate is considerably more sensitive to carbon emissions than previously believed, and experts said the projections had the potential to be “incredibly alarming”, though they stressed further research would be needed to validate the new numbers. Modelling results from more than 20 institutions are being compiled for the sixth assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is due to be released next year. Compared with the last assessment in 2014, 25% of them show a sharp upward shift from 3C to 5C in climate sensitivity – the amount of warming projected from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the preindustrial level of 280 parts per million. This has shocked many veteran observers, because assumptions about climate sensitivity have been relatively unchanged since the 1980s. “That is a very deep concern,” Johan Rockström, the director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said. “Climate sensitivity is the holy grail of climate science. It is the prime indicator of climate risk. For 40 years, it has been around 3C. Now, we are suddenly starting to see big climate models on the best supercomputers showing things could be worse than we thought.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/climate-worst-case-scenarios-clouds-scientists-global-heating
  12. The NASA global temperature anomaly (ref 1951-80) for May is in, and it sets a new record for the month, at +1.02 C, beating the 2016 record of +0.96 C. The annual anomaly for 2020 looks very likely to beat the mega El Nino boosted 2016 record, despite being a non El Nino year. From Wunderground: 'Global temperature records are more likely to be set during the peak of the solar cycle--and during strong El Niño events, due to the extra heat the tropical Pacific Ocean gives up to the atmosphere. The remarkable warmth of 2020 has come in the absence of an El Niño event and during the minimum of one of the weakest 11-year solar cycles in the past century, underscoring the dominant role human-caused global warming has in heating our planet.' That's disconcerting. https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/may-2020-earths-warmest-may-on-record
  13. Good question. Regarding the reduction in CO2 output, a negligible effect. However, the decrease in particulate and sulfur dioxide (SO2) pollution as a result of reduced industrial activity and transport might actually have a short term warming effect. Global warming due to man's input of CO2 had been predicted by scientists since the 19th century, but was slower than had been expected. There was a surge of warming in the 40s, mainly in high northern latitudes, then it subsided, and the current strong warming didn't get going until the late 70s. Some scientists have speculated that the introduction of clean air laws in the US and Europe in the 70s may have had something to do with it. Particulates (tiny soot particles) intercept sunlight, preventing it warming the surface. But, it's very complicated science, and I've seen it suggested that particulates might actually have a warming effect, by absorbing energy, and acting as microscopic 'storage heaters'. I favour the simpler explanation, that they have a cooling effect, by preventing sunlight reaching the ground. SO2 is more straightforward. It reflects back sunlight, and has a cooling effect. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo ejected a massive amount of SO2 into the stratosphere, which had a global cooling effect of 0.2 C for two years. It was SO2 from coal fired power plants that was mainly responsible for the ecological damage caused by acid rain, as it converts to sulfuric acid in cloud water droplets. Clean air laws have made a big difference to SO2 emissions, at least in the west, but many developing countries are still using high sulfur coal for electricity generation. It seems likely that at least some of the global warming since the 70s is due to clean air laws in the west. Air travel is a bit complicated. Planes produce CO2, but they also create contrails, and this is another area of unsettled science. After 9/11, aircraft were grounded throughout the US, and some scientists claim that this resulted in a warming of around 1 C in the US, due to the reduction in contrails. There's another body of opinion that claims that contrails have both a cooling and a warming effect, depending on their age. Newly emitted contrails cool, while dispersed contrails act like greenhouse gases. That makes sense. Water vapour is a powerful greenhouse gas, but when it condenses to form clouds, it screens sunlight, cooling the surface, although some clouds, like the high, wispy cirrus variety, are believed to have a warming effect. It's complicated stuff, but the short term effects of reduced transport and industrial activity, due to the coronavirus, will have very little effect on the global warming juggernaut.
  14. Today (June 1st) is the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season. The eastern Pacific's first named storm of the year, Amanda, has tracked across central America, causing a lot of flash flood damage, and is now entering the Bay of Campeche, after staying offshore and drenching the Yucatan peninsula. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) gives it a 90% chance of restrengthening to a tropical storm in the next 48 hours, which would make it the earliest third named Atlantic storm on record. It would be rechristened 'Cristobal'. The current record for the earliest third Atlantic named storm is Colin, which was named on June 5, 2016. This very strongly suggests that global warming is extending and intensifying the hurricane season, which has always been a 'no brainer' prediction by climate scientists. The NHC predicts an above average hurricane season. https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/deadly-flooding-in-central-america-from-amanda-new-development-in-western-gulf Did some googling, and found that current Arctic Ocean ice volume is only the sixth lowest on record, which makes the current extremely high Jan-Apr global temperature anomaly pretty mysterious. I still think it's related to decreasing winter Arctic ocean ice volume, but global warming is going to spring many surprises. Awaiting the May global temperature anomaly with interest. Should be out in two weeks.
  15. It's early days, but 2020 is shaping up to be the warmest year, globally, since records began in the 19th century, and very probably the warmest year Earth has experienced since the end of the last Ice Age, 11,500 years ago. Usually, when a new record is set, it coincides with an above average intensity El Nino, which is a periodic warming of the tropical Pacific. This was the case during the record intensity 2016 El Nino (on a par with the then record 1997-98 event). 2016 is the current global temperature record year. El Ninos usually last for several months, straddling the end of one year, and the start of the following year. The global temperature anomalies for the first four months of the following year are almost always the most extreme, and this was the case in 2016. According to the NASA GISS data, 2016 was 1.02 C warmer than the average for 1951-80. The Jan-Apr anomaly averaged 1.26 C, but only some of this large anomaly would have been due to El Nino. Something else is going on, which I'll get to later. For comparison, the weak or non El Nino (ENSO neutral) years of 2017, 2018 and 2019 had global temperature anomalies of 0.92 C, 0.85 C and 0.98 C, respectively. The Jan-Apr average for those three years was 0.98C. The May-Dec average for 2017-19 was 0.89 C, or 0.09 C less than the Jan-Apr average. Despite no El Nino, the average anomaly for the first four months of 2020 was a whopping 1.19 C. If we assume that May-Dec monthly anomalies average the same 0.09 C less, this would give an annual global temperature anomaly of 1.13 C, obliterating the 2016 record in an ENSO neutral year. This is quite dramatic stuff, and the questions that arise are 1) is this the start of a global warming surge, probably due to positive feedback effects starting to kick in, and 2) if so, what's causing it? Most of the warming caused by greenhouse gases (GHGs) is not due to the direct reradiation of outgoing infrared radiation back to the surface. It's caused by positive feedback effects. For example, water vapour is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and the relatively modest amount of direct warming caused by CO2, methane, and other greenhouse gases, causes more water to evaporate from the ocean, amplifying the initial warming. Cloud formation prevents this feedback effect from becoming 'runaway' global warming, which is what's believed to have happened on Venus. Other positive feedback effects include the reduction of snow and ice cover, decreasing Earth's albedo, so that more sunlight is absorbed, and the release of CO2 and methane from melting permafrost, and from warmer soils due to increased bacterial activity. The release of methane from methane ice below the sea bed as the sea temperature rises, particularly under the Arctic Ocean, has also received much attention, but this is more conjectural, although there's no doubt that vast amounts of methane in ice exist there. The ocean is the 'sleeping giant' of climate change. It's an enormous heat sink, and it's estimated that 94% of the extra energy trapped by GHGs is absorbed by the ocean, and most of that is transported to the depths. There is enormous potential for various positive feedback effects to kick in as a result of warming in the ocean, which are poorly handled by the computer models, so we don't hear much about them. It seems very likely that the recent strong anomalies in the early months of the year are due to heat being given off by the Arctic Ocean in winter. At first glance, this seems counter intuitive. Although the September minimum ice cover area in the Arctic Ocean has decreased considerably in recent years, winter cover has not changed much, but what has changed is the depth of the ice. Although satellite pictures show little change in winter area of Arctic Ocean sea ice, what they don't reveal is how much it has thinned. And, it's thinned a lot. Typically, it may only be a metre thick, when it was several metres thick in the past. Syukuro Manabe is a retired Japanese climatologist who spent most of his career working in the US, and was an early pioneer of computer modelling of greenhouse gas effects on climate, particularly in the area of coupled ocean-atmosphere modelling. A few years ago, I watched a Youtube video of him explaining how thinning Arctic Ocean ice in winter could have a profound effect on global climate. Annoyingly, I haven't been able to find it, since. When the ice is thick, the heat from the ocean can't get through to warm the air above. But, when the ice thins appreciably, it can permeate through to warm the air above. The water below the ice is about -2 C, while the air above may be -40 C or lower in winter. So, there is enormous potential for a positive feedback effect involving warming of the air above the Arctic Ocean in winter as the sea ice thins. And what goes on in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. This may be responsible for the high monthly global temperature anomalies in the Jan-Apr period in recent years. If it is, then the extremely high 2020 anomalies is cause for concern, as it might be an early indication that this largely unheralded, but potentially large, positive feedback effect may be about to take off. Many ice core studies in recent years have overturned the previous misconception that climate change is always a gradual process. Analysis of Greenland ice core samples have shown that there have been very rapid sustained temperature changes in Greenland of around 10 C in the past, occurring in just a few years. The ocean surface water mixes with water at depth. If it didn't, there would be no oxygen, and no life, in the deeper parts of the ocean. This mixing is dependent on salinity and temperature differences. Warmer surface water expands due to the heat, so is less dense than deeper water, and therefore less able to mix. But, the evaporation at the surface makes it more saline, and this makes it more likely to sink. Recent research concludes that, as the surface of the ocean gets warmer, it will become more stratified, and less prone to sinking, so that less heat is transported downwards, thus greatly enhancing surface warming. Presumably, this will mean that the 94% figure for the amount of energy trapped by GHGs that is absorbed by the ocean will drop, and there will be a surge in atmospheric warming as a result. Yet another potentially large feedback effect that you don't hear much about. Much of the CO2 produced by man goes into the ocean. This is dependent on the temperature of the ocean surface, and the amount of CO2 already dissolved. The colder regions absorb CO2, while the warmer regions actually outgas it. Therefore, as the oceans warm, there will be less uptake, and more outgassing. In theory, the ocean could eventually become a net emitter of CO2 to the atmosphere, a nightmare scenario. The same thing happens with oxygen. Marine phytoplankton and seaweeds produce oxygen, but it is also absorbed from the air. As with CO2, this is temperature dependent, and some warmer regions may outgas oxygen to the point where they become anoxic 'dead zones'. Such zones are often seen close to shore, as a result of fertiliser runoff, but anoxic dead zones are increasingly being identified in warmer oceanic regions far from the influence of agriculture. In the distant past, mass extinction events were associated with high atmospheric CO2 levels, global warming, anoxia in the oceans, and a mysterious terrestrial charcoal layer, indicating that the world burned. It only takes a small increase in atmospheric oxygen to make the world much more combustible, and high levels of atmospheric oxygen, due to outgassing from warmer oceans, and increased lightning due to a warmer climate is a plausible explanation for the charcoal layer. https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v4/GLB.Ts+dSST.txt
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