Elevation map of sea surface temperature shows Gulf Stream

Here is ansnapshot00other 3D map. This one shows differences in sea surface temperature (SST) along the East Coast of the U.S. The elevation differences highlights the Gulf Stream, a surface current that flows north along the western edge of the North Atlantic, transporting warm water northward from the tropics.


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More Wave Interferences Models

DSC_0078 The wave interference models I shared a few months ago followed two dimensional waves over time. (x and z axes represented space and the y axis represented time. As an extension of this work, I’ve started creating models of interaction patterns formed by circular waves.

The models in this post are snapshots showing interaction pattern formed by two longitudinal waves propagating over time.

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Dynamic, Stacked Timeline Visualization

ACF Basin

Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin

The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River water basin (ACF Basin) extends across three states: Georgia, Alabama and Florida. The watershed is the focus of a long running water use dispute between stakeholders in these three states. This conflict is covered in the book “Water Diplomacy: A Negotiated Approach to Managing Complex Water Networks” by Shafiqul Islam and Lawrence E. Susskind. An early figure on the book (figure 2.1, page 11) uses a stacked timeline to show how the water use issues in the ACF Basin became more complex as the population in the region grew and the number of interested parties increased over time.
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Does “sustainable” have any meaning at all?

Ocean waves are a source of renewable energy.  Which is why I find the use of the word sustainable in this press release odd.  Take this line for example:

monitoring underwater noise generated by wave energy conversion devices, represents a significant step toward the ability to successfully and sustainably utilize the ocean as a new renewable energy resource.

The sustainability of a activity has to do with meeting our current needs without compromising the the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Wave energy conversion is sustainable.  Sure, harvesting wave energy causes environmental impacts.  All human activities cause environmental impacts.  Knowing as much as we can about these impact is important. Which is why the research IBM is doing to evaluate noise emissions is of value. However, suggesting that the technology can not be considered sustainable if some sound threshold is exceeded puts the focus in the wrong place.  Wave energy, like wind and sunlight are by their nature non-consumptive. Current use does not prevent future use.

Wave energy conversion is much more sustainable than burning fossil fuels.  This should be the starting point.  The goal then becomes to minimize, as much as is possible, the environmental impact of exploiting this abundant, sustainable resource.

This is more than a simple semantic argument.  Focusing on the study as an assessment if the impacts of an sustainable activity, puts the research into an appropriate comparative context. The questions this research is addressing are

  • How does the noise pollution caused by this technology compare to current ocean uses such as oil exploration and shipping?
  • How does the environmental impact of wave energy conversion compare with the impact from other energy sources?

How loud would this technology have to be to make compare unfavorably with climate change driven by continued dependence on carbon based fuels?  How much noise would the system need to produce to make  risking another deepwater horizon spill look good?