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Saturday, October 4, 2014

WATER IS WONDERFUL AND WEIRD

California is suffering through an exceptional drought.  But this is a worldwide phenomenon, for Colombia, Pakistan, Somalia, Australia, Guatemala, China and Kenya are also severely short of water. The World Economic Forum estimates that drought across the globe annually costs from six to eight billion dollars.

Could global warming be the cause?  Many scientists say yes, including for the catastrophe in California.  That was a Stanford University study.  However, another Stanford research effort  reported that global warming is not to blame for the California drought.  How can the same university announce totally conflicting points of view at the same time?  Well, both headlines come from the same study, led by Noah Diffenbaugh.  How can this happen.  Simple.  The yes it is global warming is out of the National Science Foundation, while the no don't blame climate change, is from Newsmax, a CONSERVATIVE news media organization.

But water is, indeed, a crazy molecule, anyway.  For one, there are at least five different liquid phases and 15 solid phases.  At  almost exactly 39 F (39.16, or 3.98 C), water is at its densest.  This has to do with the shape of the molecule, the electric dipole moment and kinetic energy.  Don't worry about this, but for the knowledgeable:


Most substances expand when heated and have a higher density in the solid state.  Not so for water, as it gets slightly lighter when it freezes.  This is why ice floats.  If ice did not, the bottom of the ocean would be perpetually frozen and the world would be a far different place.  Certainly, in the winter, most fish in cold weather climes would die.  More importantly, Planet Earth would have no life, especially when you include another property of water which has to do with hydrogen bonding and the resistance of the liquid state to vaporize.  Yes, water is wonderful and only one reason we have the miracle of life.

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Hurricane Simon just west of lower Baha is now at 110 MPH and will strengthen into a Category 3, before weakening and crashing into the middle portion of the peninsula:


Typhoon Phanfone is now at 125 MPH, and is currently projected to remain a typhoon over Yokohama and will affect Tokyo Sunday evening:


Here is a van Gogh-like wind diagram:


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