Bats, the furry things, and Vikings, the bearded ones

16 Jun 2011

At www,cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(08)0075-3 there is an abstract of an article in Current Biology on bat fatalities near wind turbines, and one of the causes is called barotrauma - rapid air pressure reduction changes that creates damage to their lungs due to an expansion of air in the lungs that is not accommodated by the appropriate exhalation. Contact with blades was perhaps responsible for half the bat fatalities but barotrauma was a strong secondarily cause. An unintended consequence, it might be said - just as the deaths of raptors caught in the downdraft of the blades is also a killer. Yet, wildlife organisations appear to be unabashed and still strongly adhere to the AGW meme - which is quite amazing mental dexterity. 

There has also been an interesting debate at www.bishophill,squarespace.com over the last few days (including some well connected comments) on who pays for taking down the wind turbines when they have finished their life - in 20 years or so time. Who is responsible for disposing of the heavy metals and hazardous chemicals in the appliances. In both cases it would seem that local authorities are going to foot the bill - that means you and me. It seems the renewables industry has employed some very clever clauses in their agreements and terms of business - hoodwinking those not so clever civil servants and council employees. In more remote locations it will be the landowners - and they might not be so keen to take them down but leave them standing even if idle. Its a treble whammy for the taxpayer - largely ignorant of what is really going on as it not only results in higher fuel bills as a result of subsidies, the cost of building them and the connection of them to the Grid but the cost also of demolishing them and getting rid of noxious materials. That should cheer everybody up.

Meanwhile, at http://joannenova.com.au/2011/06/climate-helped-drive-vikings-from-green... is confirmation that it was a cooling climate that drove the Vikings to abandon their settlements and farms in Greenland. Paleo-climate temperatures on Greenland were previously solely known from ice cores taken in the interior - on the massive ice cap. Now, temperatures have been reassembled from the region that was inhabited - and it seems they plunged dramatically in the 1400s AD. The paper was published by PNAS - but cites other factors in their demise such as a reliance on trade contact with Scandinavia for essentials, too big a focus on agriculture (it is assumed fishing played a minor role) and a reliance on livestock as a food resource. As Scandinavians were used to cold weather this is a bit hard to believe - but the growth of glaciers and permfrost would have made it impossible to farm. Might there not be some other factor involved? What was going on in the 1400s?