Archive for the ‘nature’ Category


Quick pic

October 18, 2009
twilight in the forest

twilight in the forest

I borrowed the camera from my brother a few weeks ago, and made this picture on an early sunday morning.



March 13, 2009

Previous weekend I visited some refugees from Holland who moved to Grenoble; I smuggled some contraband syrup waffles over the border … I have to admit I was a little afraid, but it was for the greater good. On the other hand, I wasn’t yet ready to die like a martyr. Luckily, all went well, and the waffles disappeared from the radar in a few days.

The town and its surroundings are really nice; it’s located in a valley, which is a nice change from holland where everything’s flat.

Here are some pics; I forgot to make a picture of Grenoble at night though :(.

I again want to thank C&G for their hospitality :)


Pictures from Marseille

August 28, 2007

Although we’re back in Holland for quite some time, I still wanted to show some pictures I made Marseille.

View of the Vieux Port in Marseille, at night:

vieux port2-1 copy

Left: Front view of the Église Saint Vincent de Paul dite des Réformés, a block away from our apartment

Right: Cathédrale La Major

IMG_5887-1 IMG_5793

The left picture was taken from Fort St. Jean, which you see on the second picture. In the background you see the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.


From the Fort St. Jean

Historic Tower Fort St. Jean

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde

This was taken on the beach; I just liked the nice blue colour.


La plage rouge

Some pictures from the mountains; Callelonge and Calanques. On the last picture you see a bay where we swam.


Callelonge - Massif de Marseille Veyre


Calanques 2

Finally, a hooker who was prancing ‘our’ street daily; and a somewhat vague picture made at the Vieux Port (but I liked the reflections):


hooker Vieux port


Hurricanes and global warming

July 19, 2007

There’s an article in Scientific American (July 2007) about the relation between global warming and hurricanes. I learned a few things from this:
A cyclone, typhoon and hurricane are the same thing; they only differ in the region where they are observed.

How do hurricanes form?

  • The sun raises the Sea Surface Temperature (SST)
  • Water is evaporated to release the excess heat
  • The moisture raises and condenses into rain
  • When raindrops are formed, latent energy is released
  • The heat goes up and creates ‘updrafts and thunderclouds’
  • Beneath this area, a low pressure zone is created which ‘sucks up’ moist air
  • Due to Coriolis forces due to the earth’s rotation a vortex is created
  • “The eye” is a low pressure area at the bottom of this vortex
  • Due to the circling hot air, the rising air dries and gains energy
  • Some of this air is absorbed again in the eye, and some of the air ‘spirals out’ over a large area (many kilometres)

How hurricanes form - Copyright Scientific American

The different seasons play a role as well:
The energy released when raindrops form heats the atmosphere

  • In winter, the heat goes up and radiates into space
  • In summer, the heat rises to higher altitudes in tropical areas

Further ingredients needed to start a hurricane:

  • high SST (>26 degrees Celsius); SST may rise due to the greenhouse effect
  • plentiful water vapour
  • low pressure at the ocean’s surface
  • weak wind shear between low and high altitudes (strong winds destroy emerging vortices)

The rising SST may (partly) originate from the greenhouse effect. However, in 2004 and 2005 we saw a lot of hurricanes, but 2006 was a quiet year.

Some scientists believe this is due to the “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation” (AMO), which is basically a cycle in which temperatures rise and fall. But simulation shows that this can’t be the whole story (the temperature difference is only 0.5 degrees Celsius). The models do show (as far as they are correct; which is difficult to assess) that human action is likely a cause of the rising SST. Approximately 0.6 degrees Celsius can be attributed to human action (probably without the AMO) since 1970. It is noted that this may sound small, but only one degree can change the storm’s intensity to a higher category. This may well explain the rise in the number of ‘high’ category hurricanes.

The fact that 2006 was a quiet year (in stark contrast to 2004 and 2005) is due to a different factor. In 2004/2005, El Nino warmed the ocean. La Nina cooled the ocean the subsequent year. This is explained in the remainder of the article.

The article concludes that the hurricane threats are likely to get more severe.