Von einem Boom bei der Elektromobilität kann keine Rede sein. Vielmehr dümpelt in Europa der Anteil der Elektrofahrzeuge bei den Neuzulassungen vor sich hin. In Deutschland, wo die Regierung nun die Fördergelder gestrichen hat, droht gar ein Rückgang dieses Anteils. Alex Reichmuth hat im Nebelspalter (https://www.nebelspalter.ch/themen/2024/01/die-flaute-bei-der-elektromobilitaet) einige einschlägige Zahlen zur E-Mobilität zusammengetragen.
Die Flaute bei der Elektromobilität
Die Ausgangslage: Man könnte annehmen, die Nachfrage nach E-Fahrzeugen steige rasant: Dieser Schluss liegt nahe, wenn man die Schlagzeilen verfolgt. «Boom beim Absatz von Elektroautos zum Jahresende», titelte etwa der Blick am 1. Januar (siehe hier).
Warum das wichtig ist: Bis in wenigen Jahren sollen zumindest in Europa keine Autos mit Verbrennermotoren mehr auf den Markt kommen. Die EU hat sogar ein Verbot ab 2035 beschlossen. Damit das durchsetzbar ist, müsste der Absatz von Elektrofahrzeugen derzeit gewaltig steigen. Die Realität sieht allerdings anders aus.
Die ganze Story gibt es im Nebelspalter (https://www.nebelspalter.ch/themen/2024/01/die-flaute-bei-der-elektromobilitaet). Der Artikel kann nach 20 Sekunden Werbung freigeschaltet werden.
Linnea Pedersen auf phys.org:
Plastic litter in oceans overestimated but could persist longer than expected, study suggests
There is less plastic littering the ocean than scientists previously thought, but what is there could persist for a long time, a new study said Monday.
The modeling study estimated that pieces of plastic bigger than 25 millimeters (one inch) make up over 95 percent of plastic floating on the ocean.
While most plastic particles in the ocean are very small, the total mass of these microplastics—defined as less than five millimeters (0.2 inches)—is relatively low.
The preponderance of larger floating pieces suggests that the total amount of plastic in the ocean is “much lower” than previously thought, according to the study published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Plastic pollution in the ocean has been estimated at more than 25 million metric tons, with a quarter of a million tons floating on the surface.
But the study said that the amount of plastic on the ocean surface is much higher, at about three million tons.
Researchers reveal mechanism triggering Arctic daily warming
Prof. Ren Baohua and his team from the School of Earth and Space Sciences, the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), uncovered the connection between Arctic daily warming and the equator region as well as Atlantic storms. The series of studies have been published in npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, Environmental Research Letters, and Advances in Atmospheric Sciences.
As one of the coldest places where the average winter temperature is -30°C, the Arctic temperature has reached the melting point several times, for instance, in late December 2015 and 2022. Those Artic daily warming events have drawn growing interest.
Currently, most researchers focus on the long-term growth of the Arctic temperature but pay little attention to Arctic daily warming events. In the series of studies, the research team investigated the influence of the North Atlantic oscillation (NAO), the El Niño-Southern oscillation (ENSO), and the Central Pacific El Niño-Southern oscillation (CP ENSO) on the Arctic daily warming occurrence.
The researchers investigated the impact of the NAO on the Arctic winter daily warming events induced by Atlantic storms, known as the Atlantic pattern-Arctic rapid tropospheric daily warming (Atlantic-RTDW) event.
They discovered that the relationship between the NAO and the Atlantic-RTDW-event frequency has weakened since the mid-1980s, which was attributed to a stronger Atlantic Storm Track (AST) activity intensity. During this period, the strong AST induced an enhanced NAO-related cyclone via transient eddy-mean flow interactions, resulting in the disappearance of southerly and northerly wind anomalies over the NA.
Furthermore, the researchers found that ENSO has urged a stronger Rossby wave due to its heightened intensity since the late 1970s, allowing El Niño to deepen the Aleutian Low, thus decreasing (increasing) Arctic daily warming events. This model offered a potential link between the equator and the Arctic which can assist in the prediction of extreme Arctic daily warming events. With global warming, this potential relation may be strengthened.
Nevertheless, after the mid-1980s, the planetary wave associated with CP ENSO could not propagate upwards into the stratosphere, cutting the teleconnection between CP ENSO and Iceland Low. As a result, CP ENSO’s influence on the occurrence frequency of A-RTDW events was weakened.
The findings provided a new perspective on the weather and climate changes in the Arctic. Those studies can help strengthen the prediction of Arctic daily warming events.
Cen Wang et al, An Interdecadal Change in the Influence of the NAO on Atlantic-Induced Arctic Daily Warming around the Mid-1980s, Advances in Atmospheric Sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1007/s00376-022-2218-8
Cen Wang et al, Change of the CP ENSO’s role in the occurrence frequency of Arctic daily warming events triggered by Atlantic storms, npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41612-023-00399-y
Eine Welt nur mit Solar- oder Windstrom: Ist das mehr als eine Träumerei?
Wer die Energiewende will, schwört auf erneuerbare Energien. Doch ein Forscher mahnt: Damit das gelingt, braucht es in einem Bereich einen gewaltigen Innovationsschub. Sonst steigen die Kosten ins Unermessliche.
Die Befürworter einer schnellen Energiewende argumentieren aber, dass der Umstieg auf Erneuerbare nur am fehlenden politischen Willen scheitere. Doch Idels Schätzungen zeigen vor allem eines: Je stärker man auf Ökostrom setzt, desto teurer wird es.
Die Aufwendungen für eine Megawattstunde Solarstrom erhöhen sich im 100-Prozent-Szenario gegenüber den reinen Produktionskosten um den Faktor 40, bei Windstrom um den Faktor 15. Bei fossilen Kraftwerken und neuen AKW gibt es dagegen nur geringe Verschiebungen. Berücksichtigt man also die Systemkosten, kehrt sich die Reihenfolge um. Dahinter steht vor allem ein Faktor: Es sind die Speicher, die nötig werden, um stets genügend Strom zu haben, die ins Geld gehen.
Ganzen Artikel in der NZZ lesen.
Jane Pilcher und Anna-Maria Balbach auf The Conversation:
Why naming storms is a risky business
Since 2015, the UK’s Met Office has used forenames to label storms, as a strategy for improving people’s awareness of severe weather warnings. The list of names for the 2023 storm season was compiled in conjunction with the Irish forecaster Met Éireann and KNMI, the Dutch national weather forecasting service.
The list includes forenames suggested by the British public – Daisy, Glen, Khalid, Owain – as well as the winner of a public vote on Twitter, Betty. KNMI has honoured famous Dutch scientists with its selections: Antoni, Hendrika, Johanna, Loes, Tobias and Wouter. And Met Éireann has plumped for Cillian, Fleur, Íde, Ruadhán and Nelly.
Getting the public involved in naming storms injects an element of fun into the otherwise serious business of heightening awareness of perilous weather. When we use people’s names for non-human things, we anthropomorphise (or humanise) them, and so they gain more of our interest and attention. But naming storms also has its pitfalls.
How storm names reflect cultural tendencies
With the exception of Cillian, which was the ninth most popular given to baby boys in Ireland in 2021, the 2022-23 storm names tend not to mirror today’s popular baby names. In terms of popularity, Wouter and Hendrika are the next most highly ranked baby names on the list (being respectively, the 37th most popular name given to baby boys and the 42nd for baby girls in the Netherlands).
In other words, compared to Noah, Ella or Emma, they’re not overly trendy.
They do however reflect the cultures, religions, ethnicities and linguistic diversity of the countries involved. Íde is an old Irish saint’s name, Owain is Welsh, Khalid is Arabic, Priya is Sanskrit and Loes is the Dutch form of Louise.
Also, the storm names replicate the cultural tendency in Europe and elsewhere for forenames to be gendered. Most of the names on the list are what naming specialists identify as typically female or typically male forenames. The list alternates on this basis.
Almost all of the typically female names in the list end in a (phonetic) vowel (Hendrika, Ide, Johanna, Priya) or they are a pet form (Betty, Daisy, Nelly). These elements are considered to be linguistic femininity markers, that is, linguistic features that occur predominantly in female names and only rarely in male names.
Likewise, most of the male names in the list show the typical linguistic masculinity markers found within many Germanic languages, including in English and Dutch. All apart from Antoni end in a consonant.
Masculine names can hold greater prestige and there is debate about whether storms with feminine names are taken less seriously. Given this, the inclusion in this year’s list of three gender-neutral names (Glen, Sam and Val) is to be welcomed.
Naming things can adversely impact eponymous people
Using people’s forenames to identify things such as storms, that are not people, can also have unintended consequences. In 2015, Isis was removed from the UN’s storm name list and people with the name Isis have faced stigma, because it is now associated with a terrorist group. Similary, the devasting hurricane Katrina of 2005 led to this forename dropping down the rankings of popular baby names in the US, from position 281 to 942 in 2012.
Naming problems have been a constant thread throughout the pandemic too. Mere geographical names for new variants have led to instances of racism and xenophobia directed at people from the places invoked. And in 2020 a boy called Corona was reportedly bullied because he bore the informal name for the virus.
Including names like Khalid or Kamil on lists of storm names does give recognition to how names signal cultural diversity. However, it can adversely impact people too. If a minority ethnic forename is used to name a storm that turns out to wreak extensive damage, injuries or deaths, people with that forename may subsequently experience even more disadvantage than they already face due to their name being considered “non-white” or “foreign”.
Historic building and street names can lead to similar predicaments. While the public figures honoured might have been esteemed at the time of christening, with today’s knowledge they are often no longer considered worthy candidates.
Should the buildings, public squares and roads bearing the names of slave traders in London and Liverpool, for example, be renamed? Or should they keep their names and serve as a cautionary reminder of the past?
In Germany, historical commissions have spent decades tracking down the many streets named by the Nazis after their idols and most ardent members. These are then renamed, in some instances, with the names of victims of the Nazi regime.
Similarly, Berlin is in the process of substituting the colonialists named on street signs in its north-western Afrikanisches Viertel (African quarter) with the names of African liberation fighters.
The naming of storms, streets or buildings is a complicated and risky business precisely because names are not just benign words. They are powerful cultural workhorses, brimful of meanings that say so much about who we are and how we experience the world.