Molokai Nature Conservancy office to tap into solar power

KALAMAULA, Molokai – Sunlight will be providing the power needed to run lights, electronics and air conditioning at the Nature Conservancy’s office on Molokai beginning Wednesday, the environmental organization announced.

Rising Sun Solar of Maui installed the office’s 8.88-kilowatt photovoltaic array on the roof of the building in the Molokai Industrial Park on the hot and sunny leeward side.

“We were able to basically cover all of our energy needs and put a cap on our energy costs into the future,” said Suzanne Case, the conservancy’s Hawaii executive director. “It’s good for Hawaii both economically and in terms of sustainability.”

Tapping into sun power will help with the organization’s energy costs on Molokai, which has some of the highest electrical rates in the nation, according to Matias Besasso, a partner with Rising Sun Solar.

“Not only can it reduce costs, but it can lead to job creation and greater energy independence and self-sufficiency for Molokai’s people,” he said.

The conservancy’s Molokai director, Ed Misaki, said the solar energy system has been planned for three years.

“Going green is one of our big goals,” he said.

An Almanac of Extreme Weather

THE news from this Midwestern farm is not good. The past four years of heavy rains and flash flooding here in southern Minnesota have left me worried about the future of agriculture in America’s grain belt. For some time computer models of climate change have been predicting just these kinds of weather patterns, but seeing them unfold on our farm has been harrowing nonetheless.

My family and I produce vegetables, hay and grain on 250 acres in one of the richest agricultural areas in the world. While our farm is not large by modern standards, its roots are deep in this region; my great-grandfather homesteaded about 80 miles from here in the late 1800s.

He passed on a keen sensitivity to climate. His memoirs, self-published in the wake of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, describe tornadoes, droughts and other extreme weather. But even he would be surprised by the erratic weather we have experienced in the last decade.

In August 2007, a series of storms produced a breathtaking 23 inches of rain in 36 hours. The flooding that followed essentially erased our farm from the map.

Contrails or chemtrails?

Some Kaua‘i residents are growing increasingly concerned over what they call ‘chemtrails’ in the sky, suspecting aircraft of spraying potentially harmful chemicals over populated areas. They have been tracking these trails, disseminating information and generating discussion online at kauaisky.blogspot.com. Government agencies assert that ‘persistent contrails,’ line-shaped clouds composed of ice particles, pose no direct threat to public health but may contribute to human-induced climate change.

Contrails or chemtrails?

Research suggests climate change could alter El Nino cycle in the Pacific

Climate change could alter the El Nino cycle in the Pacific, affecting fish stocks and the distribution of nutrients in the ocean, new research suggests.

Scientists recently noticed that El Nino warming is stronger in the Central Pacific than the Eastern Pacific, a phenomenon they call El Nino Modoki, after the Japanese term for “similar, but different.”

Last year, the journal Nature published a paper that found climate change is behind this shift from El Nino to El Nino Modoki.

While the findings of that paper are still subject to debate, a new paper in the journal Nature Geoscience presents evidence that El Nino Modoki affects long-term changes in currents in the North Pacific Ocean.

The research was done by Emanuele Di Lorenzo, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Research suggests climate change could alter El Nino cycle in the Pacific – Hawaii News – Staradvertiser.com

Killer of Aspen Slows, but Worries About a Beloved Tree Remain – NYTimes.com

GUNNISON, Colo. — Aspen trees, with their quivering, delicate foliage and the warm glow of color they spread across the high country of the Rocky Mountains this time of year, have an emotional appeal that their stolid, prickly evergreen cousins do not.

So tree lovers and scientists alike felt the impact when the aspen in the West started dying around 2004 — withering away in a broad band from here in southwest Colorado through the mountains of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico and into Wyoming.

“There’s definitely something powerful about these trees,” said James Worrall, a forest pathologist for the United States Forest Service, gazing at a brilliant yellow swath of healthy aspen in a stand in the mountains here, about four hours southeast of Denver.

“It’s partly, I think, an emotional impression,” he said. “Partly a very real impression that the aspen is very important in our forests — hydrologically, biologically, to wildlife, every kind of way you can imagine.”

The good news is that the phenomenon known as sudden aspen decline, or SAD, appears to have stabilized, Dr. Worrall and other researchers say. Individual trees are still dying, since the process can take years to unfold, but many stands of trees are holding their ground against any new onset.