Arctic Ocean


The researchers believe Saharan air reaching the Arctic was a rare but significant factor in an unusual warming event two years ago.

In the winter of 2015/16, something happened that had never before been seen on this scale: at the end of December, temperatures rose above zero degrees Celsius for several days in parts of the Arctic, reports Phys.org. Temperatures of up to eight degrees were registered north of Svalbard.

Temperatures this high have not been recorded in the winter half of the year since the beginning of systematic measurements at the end of the 1970s. As a result of this unusual warmth, the sea ice began to melt.

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Image credit: BBC


Looks like UK councils have better things to do than worry about providing charging points for a few electric car owners. There are no council-run filling stations after all.

Just five councils across England have taken advantage of a government backed scheme for funding electric car charge points, ministers have revealed.

Jesse Norman and Claire Perry, respectively ministers for transport and climate change, have written to local authorities urging them to take advantage of the On-Street Residential Charge point Scheme, which was launched in 2016, reports Utility Week.

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energy_cleaning_3057805The May government’s greenwashing is classic displacement activity. Productivity numbers released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this month should be front and centre of every government policy. Normally productivity growth falls in a recession but then bounces back to the previous trend, the ONS says. This time it didn’t. If productivity had returned to its pre-downturn trend, output per hour would have been very nearly 19.8 per cent higher. Imagine – workers’ pre-tax incomes one fifth higher; a fast-disappearing budget deficit; a government able to cut taxes and provide more resources for the NHS – taxing plastic cups won’t solve the NHS winter crisis – and more money for schools. A strong economy would sail through Brexit and not have ministers quivering in their boots. Instead the conversation is about disposable cups and plastic waste.

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US winter storm 2018 [image credit: NASA]


A sort of review of leading ice age theories. A paper by Ralph Ellis that was featured at the Talkshop gets a mention. A point not mentioned: the carbon cycle dictates that cooling leads to the oceans absorbing more CO2, while warming leads to more outgassing of it to the atmosphere.

Record cold in America has brought temperatures as low as minus 44C in North Dakota, frozen sharks in Massachusetts and iguanas falling from trees in Florida, writes Matt Ridley.

Al Gore blames global warming, citing one scientist to the effect that this is “exactly what we should expect from the climate crisis”. Others beg to differ: Kevin Trenberth, of America’s National Centre for Atmospheric Research, insists that “winter storms are a manifestation of winter, not climate change”.

Forty-five years ago a run of cold winters caused a “global cooling” scare.

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frack-sectionThe last legal challenge has failed and the initial results impress the boss, so it’s full steam ahead for gas drilling tests in 2018.

Fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources said it has discovered a “very sizeable quantity” of natural gas at its exploration site in Lancashire as it prepares to drill what will be the UK’s first horizontal well in shale rock, reports City AM.

The fresh data, acquired by recovering some 375 feet of core samples from a well at the Preston New Road site, suggests the rock quality is excellent for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and holds a high natural gas content in several zones within the shale.

Cuadrilla said it is “exceptionally well positioned to drill its first two horizontal wells into the gas rich zones”.

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Credit: planetsave.com


H/T The GWPF

Trump was more likely winding up the over-zealous climate alarmists, rather than being confused about anything.

Two weeks ago, President Donald Trump greeted the cold snap that was gripping much of the U.S. by tweeting, “Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming.” He was criticized for confusing weather with climate.

But he’s hardly alone in making this mistake say Peiser and Ridley, as we have seen in coverage of the most destructive weather-related events of 2017.

The past year was filled with bad weather news, much of it tragic, with whole communities even now still struggling to recover.

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K2-138 could even have more than five planets. [image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]


And it’s a good one. The abstract says: ‘The periods of the five planets are 2.35, 3.56, 5.40, 8.26, and 12.76 days, forming an unbroken chain of near 3:2 resonances.’

The Exoplanet Explorers project has led to the first discovery of a multi-planet system solely through crowdsourcing efforts, as Futurism reports.

Through a project called Exoplanet Explorers, a band of citizen scientists has discovered K2-138, a far-off planetary system that houses least five exoplanets.

This is the first time that a multi-planet system has been discovered entirely through crowdsourcing.

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Wavy jet stream
[image credit: BBC]


The team say they have found ‘a strong driver of climate extremes in Europe for the last 300 years’, which obviously pre-dates the Industrial Revolution and its ’emissions’ by a wide margin.

Increased fluctuations in the path of the North Atlantic jet stream since the 1960s coincide with more extreme weather events in Europe such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires and flooding, reports a University of Arizona-led team.

The research is the first reconstruction of historical changes in the North Atlantic jet stream prior to the 20th century, reports Phys.org.

By studying tree rings from trees in the British Isles and the northeastern Mediterranean, the team teased out those regions’ late summer weather going back almost 300 years—to 1725.

“We find that the position of the North Atlantic Jet in summer has been a strong driver of climate extremes in Europe for the last 300 years,” Trouet said.

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Who knew? Apart from nearly everyone who ever gave it any thought, that is. But if confirmation and analysis from published research is needed, PEI reports it here. It seems to be worse than they thought.

Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.

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Image credit: Andrew Holt


Parts of the Alps have seen a return to 1978 weather conditions according to this report, with some places only accessible by helicopter.

Hundreds of roads across the Alps in France, Italy and Switzerland were closed, cutting off resorts and villages, after the kind of snowfall that only comes once every 30 years, as Euronews reports.

Tens of thousands of people have been stranded across the Alps after ‘once-in-a-generation’ weather dumped almost 2 meters of snow on some ski resorts in less than 48 hours.

Schools and nurseries have been closed and roads cut off after the Savoie department in France was placed on red alert – the highest warning for avalanches.

Tignes and Val d’Isere have been in lockdown with tourists and residents confined to the area.

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Jupiter-sized exoplanet [Wikipedia]


It seems the planetary structure of our solar system is an oddity compared to most of the exoplanetary systems so far discovered. On the other hand it’s easier to find planets close to their stars than those a long way away, so what is known so far might not be giving us the whole picture.

An international research team led by Université de Montréal astrophysicist Lauren Weiss has discovered that exoplanets orbiting the same star tend to have similar sizes and a regular orbital spacing, says Phys.org.

This pattern, revealed by new W. M. Keck Observatory observations of planetary systems discovered by the Kepler Telescope, could suggest that most planetary systems have a different formation history than the solar system.

Thanks in large part to the NASA Kepler Telescope, launched in 2009, many thousands of exoplanets are now known. This large sample allows researchers to not only study individual systems, but also to draw conclusions on planetary systems in general.

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Ineos to challenge Scots fracking ‘ban’

Posted: January 10, 2018 by oldbrew in fracking, government, Politics
Tags: ,

Grangemouth plant [credit: Ineos]


One report says £50 million was spent on acquiring two fracking licenses and planning permissions, only for the company to find its hands tied. Meanwhile it is importing shale gas from the USA.

Grangemouth refinery operator Ineos is to challenge the Scottish government in the courts over fracking, reports BBC News.

Petrochemical firm Ineos has launched a legal challenge to the Scottish government’s effective ban on fracking.

Ministers announced the prohibition in October 2017, and it was subsequently endorsed by a vote of MSPs.

Ineos Shale has applied for a judicial review of the decision, citing “serious concerns” about its legitimacy.

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Antarctica [credit: Wikipedia]


Some parts of the media may try to give a different impression, but El Niño/La Niña events are natural phenomena with a range of consequences.

A new study published Jan. 8 in the journal Nature Geoscience reveals that strong El Niño events can cause significant ice loss in some Antarctic ice shelves while the opposite may occur during strong La Niña events, reports SpaceRef.

El Niño and La Niña are two distinct phases of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a naturally occurring phenomenon characterized by how water temperatures in the tropical Pacific periodically oscillate between warmer than average during El Niños and cooler during La Niñas.

The research, funded by NASA and the NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, provides new insights into how Antarctic ice shelves respond to variability in global ocean and atmospheric conditions.

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Construction of Chinese ‘solar road’


For less cost they could have put the panels at the side of the road, angled towards the sun.

Road built from solar panels targeted by gang thought to be trying to steal technology, reports the South China Morning Post.

The one-kilometre stretch of photovoltaic highway – built of solar panels which cars can drive over – opened for testing in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province on December 28.

During a routine inspection last Tuesday, staff found that it had been vandalised and a portion of it was missing, Qilu Evening News reported.

A narrow 1.8-metre panel had been removed and seven surrounding panels damaged by the thieves.

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NASA temperature anomaly map (week to 2nd Jan. 2018)


As one university-based climatologist said: ‘Such claims make no sense’. The climate isn’t doing as predicted so far-fetched excuses are produced by climate alarm promoters.

Record snowfall, a “bomb cyclone” and cold Arctic air have once again stirred up the debate over global warming’s impact on winter weather, says Michael Bastasch at The Daily Caller.

Some climate scientists are pointing the finger at manmade global warming as a culprit behind recent wintry weather, but there’s not a lot of evidence or agreement that global warming is currently driving extreme cold and snow.

Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann authored a blog post for the Climate Reality Project, former Vice President Al Gore’s group, claiming what’s happening is “precisely the sort of extreme winter weather we expect because of climate change.” Mann’s argument is that we can expect more “bomb cyclones” and cold snaps as the planet warms.

But Mann, who often invokes the “consensus” on global warming, seems out of step with the evidence on this issue.

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Norway’s Goliat oil platform [image credit: T3n60 @ Wikipedia]


Another attempt to use the law to get a court to take on the role of government over supposed climate issues bites the dust, assuming no appeal. The green groups were ordered to pay the state’s $94,000 legal costs.

Oslo District Court on Thursday ruled that Norway’s drilling for oil in the Barents Sea does not violate a constitutional right to a healthy environment, reports The Barents Observer.

The government acts in accordance with the law when awarding new petroleum exploration licenses for the Barents Sea, the ruling by Oslo District Court reads. Greenpeace, one of the three organizations which filed the lawsuit, has published the court’s 49-pages comprehensive ruling.

The lawsuit was challenging Norway’s 23rd oil licensing round arguing that opening up the Arctic continental shelf would violate the country’s Paris agreement commitments to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

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White winter in the USA


Battered by the bomb cyclone which brought heavy snow and flooding to a swathe of the US, America is facing the threat of the big chill says the Daily Telegraph.

As workers started shovelling away the mountain of snow, temperatures started plunging.

They plummeted to as low as -20C (-4F) in many parts of New England. In Caribou, northern Maine, the wind chill was poised to bring the reading down to -40C (-40F).

According to the National Weather Service, the lowest temperature on Friday, -41C (-42F), was recorded at Embarrass, Minnesota. On the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, forecasters expect the biting winds to make it feel as if it was -100F (-70C).

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turbine-backupSigns of a return to sanity down under. The Australian government has opted for reliability over renewables in the power sector.

In the wake of the “System Black” power failure that knocked out South Australia for up to two days in late 2016, the country’s government has dumped the existing clean energy-based policy in favour of a radically different one.

In October 2017 the Energy Security Board (ESB) provided the COAG Energy Council with advice on changes to the National Electricity Market (NEM) and legislative framework. The proposed national energy guarantee (NEG) aims to support the provision of reliable, secure and affordable electricity with a focus on ensuring:

  • the reliability of the system is maintained
  • electricity sector emissions reductions needed to meet Australia’s international commitments are achieved
  • the above objectives are met at the lowest overall costs.

The NEG is a way to encourage new investment in clean and low emissions technologies while allowing the electricity system to continue to operate reliably.

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What’s in a place name?


Anglo-Saxon England was unusually warm and stormy. Place names coined then could hold clues to how the weather will get wetter and wilder as the climate changes, says Sott.net. Assuming the weather does do that, of course. The author asks: “Is it a surprise that places with watery names are more prone to flooding?”

It’s blowy on the B4380 to Buildwas, writes Richard Webb in the New Scientist. A keen wind whipping across the floodplain from Shrewsbury flaps a misarranged saddle bag strap against my back wheel.

As I cross the river Severn at Atcham, and bend right down the back road past Wroxeter, a black cloud delivers the first dribbles of rain.

England’s place names are a treasure trove of hidden history – if only we could find the key.

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