Monday, January 17, 2022

1.5°C by 2033

Berkeley Earth has global warming at 1.2°C (a little higher than NOAA and GISS by 0.1°C) and is projecting 1.5°C by 2033, relative to 1850-1900, which is the baseline I think everyone should be using now if they can. (Or the oldest baseline they can obtain.)

Reminder: this tweet won't display properly in the Edge browser. Google's little joke, I guess.

Gasoline Prices vs Median Family Income

OK thanks to commenters I think we're honing in on the truth about gasoline prices, by comparing them to median family income since 1990. It paints a much different picture than comparing them to personal income per capita:

Clearly median family income is barely, if that, keeping up with gas prices, and that's only in recent years. And now falling behind again.

And just as clearly, median family income isn't keeping up with personal income per capita -- evidence of the widening income inequality, I guess.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Early Bud

Now there's a tree/shrub in front of my porch with buds on it. I don't think this is normal for central Oregon in mid-January. And the buds have been there for several days -- I only took this picture yesterday. The meteorological records say the average daily temperature in Salem falls to a minimum on Dec11-Jan5; usually the third week of January is the week with snow here, though this year it was Dec26-28. May still snow more, who knows. I haven't kept close tabs, but it seems very early to see a bud on anything here. 

Gasoline Price vs Personal Income

Here is the average US gas price vs personal income per capita, since 1990. Neither is adjusted for inflation, and both are set to a scale of 100 on 8/20/1990, when the gasoline data begins.

The personal income data is annual, so it ends in 2020.

So, at least for the average person, gas prices surged ahead under the oilman Bush, but income is now outpacing the price of gas over the last 30 years.

Even if you started working in 2010, you're still ahead, assuming you're getting the average increase in personal income.

But it never seems that way, does it?

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Price of Gasoline Isn't That High

Some people are complaining about the price of gas, and ok it is at a 7-year high. But both nominally and adjusted for inflation, it's been significantly higher much of the time over the last 15 years:

Gasoline prices here are the weekly US national average from the EIA's This Week in Petroleum, adjusted via the Consumer Price Index. The blurriness is brought to you by Google (who owns Blogger). Click on the graph to get a clearer version.

I keep track of what I pay for gas, and my mileage, and while I haven't adjusted it for statewide inflation here is what I've paid since two years before I moved to Oregon in 2006:

So there hasn't been much of any increase here, and would obviously be a slight decrease over time if adjusted for inflation. 

I think people (that is to say, Americans) just like to complain about the price of gas no matter what, think they have an inherent right to $2/gallon gasoline, and imagine their political leaders can do something about it (as I once sort of did). But it's mostly a function of the price of oil:

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

All Climate Data in One Small Place

Someone should put this on a business card and laminate it, and sell it at climate conferences, teacher conferences, and wherever science is discussed.

Friday, January 07, 2022

Sidney Crosby is a Class Act

Sidney Crosby is the best:

On the other hand, it's surprising how little you have to do to be labeled a "class act" when you're already a superstar.

Seriously though, I've never heard of a classless thing Sidney Crosby has ever done.

OK, maybe this. But it was against the Flyers, cross state rivals, cross state haters, who surely deserved it.

Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Books I Read This Year

I thought I'd list the books I read in 2021. My goal is always to read a book a week, but I never succeed -- this year I read 27, which is lower than last year's 32. I try to read a diverse selection, including nonfiction (N) and fiction (F); over the years 56% of the books I've read have been nonfiction. A few things here I read were to write reviews for Physics World: Seven Pillars of Science, Lightspeed, and (coming) A Quantum Life. After the authors I list the year of publications.

I've highlighted in bright yellow books I absolutely loved, and in light yellow books I thoroughly enjoyed. The Ministry for the Future was unique sci fi and I think would be quite appealing to anyone who closely follows climate issues. Tenth of December is a book of short stories from George Saunders, who has a wild imagination--the stories were a joy to read, and one in particular still quite memorable. And The Overstory by Richard Powers is simply one of the best novels I have ever read. It's a book about trees, and I'm still thinking about some of them, and the people who were involved with them. It's a remarkable book and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially those with an environmentalist bent. I cried more than once while reading it, and I'm actually getting a tear in the corner of my eye right now. I'm not even sure why--that's the beauty and power (and mystery) of this book. At least it was to me.

I'm interested in hearing what books you loved this year and would recommend.  

Just A Nice Chart

Earth's average global surface temperature compared to total radiative energy from the Sun. Diverging.


Friday, December 24, 2021

Didion Quote

“I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends.”

-- Joan Didion, On Keeping a Notebook

Didion died on Thursday at age 87.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Omicron Less Severe Than Delta, But More Contagious

So it appears, based on a preliminary study in Scotland, that the omicron variant of COVID is more transmissible but less severe than the delta variant.

Perhaps good news for individuals, but bad news for hospitals.

From the Washington Post, about a study conducted in Scotland with apparently a population with characteristics close to the US:

The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, found that people infected with the omicron variant were almost 60 percent less likely to enter the hospital than those infected with delta, the globally dominant variant is being eclipsed rapidly.

The Scottish scientists said that recently vaccinated people appear to have some protection against symptomatic infection from omicron but less so than against delta. A third dose or booster of an mRNA vaccine was associated with a 57 percent reduction in the odds of developing symptomatic covid-19. Boosters gave better protection against the delta variant — more than 80 percent.


That group, led by Neil Ferguson, reported that those infected by omicron were 15 to 20 percent less likely to go to an emergency room with severe symptoms and 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized overnight, when compared with those infected by delta.

But they say the numbers are too small to reach definitive conclusions.

Still, those aren't odds I'm interested in playing. The unvaccinated clearly don't care anyway, but will no doubt use this as justification to stay unvaccinated, even though many of them will still die.


Ferguson also urged caution.

“Our analysis shows evidence of a moderate reduction in the risk of hospitalization associated with the omicron variant compared with the delta variant,” he said. “However, this appears to be offset by the reduced efficacy of vaccines against infection with the omicron variant.”

Ferguson stressed that given the high transmissibility of the omicron variant, “there remains the potential for health services to face increasing demand if omicron cases continue to grow at the rate that has been seen in recent weeks.”

To my surprise, new US COVID cases on Tuesday were down from Monday, 189,030 compared to 276,389. But they'll be higher today. We'll see how much higher.