Davos


It hasn’t been this bad since the 1999-2000 meeting. As President Trump might say, they could do with some of that good ol’ global warming. Then again, if you go to a Swiss ski resort in January…

The global economy and geopolitical tensions are taking a back seat to a more immediate problem at this year’s Davos summit of political and business leaders: heavy snow is burying the venue, as Reuters reports.

High in the Swiss alps on Monday, on the eve of the opening sessions, many of the roughly 3,000 delegates struggled to reach the ski resort. Part of the main train line into Davos had been buried in snow over the weekend, forcing people onto buses, and helicopters were disrupted by poor visibility.

Some pre-summit meetings were canceled or delayed as the first waves of delegates waded through snow-blanketed streets with luggage, looking for their hotels, or had to wait for road crews to dig their limousines out of drifts.

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We don’t normally do press releases at the Talkshop, but this one might be interesting if we can work out what it really means. The fact that they refer to grid stability implies it’s an issue in Germany at least.

Automobile, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network: In a pilot project the Audi Smart Energy Network for the first time interacts with the power grid.

This marks a major advance for grid stability, claims Audi’s press release.

As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners.

This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system.

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biomassExcerpt from National Review.  Whichever way you look at it, burning the world’s carbon sinks to meet the EU’s arbitrary renewable-energy targets is environmentally insane. Not only will the voracious appetite of Europe’s power stations for American timber threaten valued woodland habitats in forests across Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia, it has damaging economic effects, as it pushes up the price of timber, with knock-on effects to the cost of building new homes. Without question, it is better for the environment to burn coal and plant trees than to cut down trees and burn them in power stations.

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One local complained: ‘Residents used to be able to watch the sun setting over the sea at Blackpool. Now all they can see is a mountain of muck.’ Not to mention the foul smell.

Clayton Hall, a supposedly ‘green’ electricity plant in Lancashire, has been generating misery for months – by shrouding thousands of nearby homes in a stinking fog of poisonous gas, writes David Rose in The Mail on Sunday.

The owners of the plant at the Clayton Hall landfill site in Lancashire, sandwiched between the commuter towns of Leyland and Chorley, a golf course and pretty, rolling hills, have received about £1.7 million in green energy subsidies since it opened in 2010.

These levies are added directly to consumers’ household bills. The firm has made a further £1.7 million from selling power to the grid.

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Hyperloop: Future or fantasy?

Posted: January 20, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel


Hype or hope? BBC reporter Rory Cellan-Jones visits Virgin Hyperloop One’s test track near Las Vegas.

So, here’s the plan – we’re going to load you into a pod, and then shoot you at 700 mph (1,123 km/h) through a vacuum, taking you to your destination in minutes rather than hours.

That is the rather unlikely pitch of Hyperloop One.

But the remarkable thing that struck me on a recent trip to the project’s test site in Nevada was that nobody thought it was, well, remarkable.

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Exoplanet – NASA impression


YZ Ceti is a recently discovered star with three known planets (b,c and d) orbiting very close to it. Although some types of mean motion resonance, or near resonance, are quite common e.g. 2:1 or 3:2 conjunction ratios, this one is a bit different.

The orbit periods in days are:
YZ Ceti b = 1.96876 d
YZ Ceti c = 3.06008 d
YZ Ceti d = 4.65627 d

This gives these conjunction periods:
c-d = 8.9266052 d
b-c = 5.5204368 d
b-d = 3.4109931 d
(Note the first two digits on each line.)

Nearest matching period:
34 c-d = 303.50457 d
55 b-c = 303.62403 d
89 b-d = 303.57838 d

34,55 and 89 are Fibonacci numbers.
Therefore the conjunction ratios are linked to the golden ratio (Phi).

Phi = 1.618034
(c-d) / (b-c) = 1.6170106
(b-c) / (b-d) = 1.618425

Data source: exoplanets.eu

Earth and climate – an ongoing controversy


But the researchers are still hooked on the unlikely idea that trace gases alone can ‘determine’ variations in global temperatures, despite lack of correlation in the data and poor results from climate model ‘projections’.

Earth’s surface will almost certainly not warm up four or five degrees Celsius by 2100, according to a study released Wednesday which, if correct, voids worst-case UN climate change predictions, reports Phys.org.

A revised calculation of how greenhouse gases drive up the planet’s temperature reduces the range of possible end-of-century outcomes by more than half, researchers said in the report, published in the journal Nature.

“Our study all but rules out very low and very high climate sensitivities,” said lead author Peter Cox, a professor at the University of Exeter.

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Image credit: Siberian Times


Claims that everywhere apart from the Eastern USA was warmer than ‘normal’ this winter turn out to be wide of the mark, in parts of Siberia at least.

The thermometer in a remote Siberian village known as the coldest inhabited place on earth has broken as temperatures plunged to near-record depths, reports the Daily Telegraph.

The public device, which was installed in Oymyakon as a tourist attraction, recorded -62C, before malfunctioning this week.

Meanwhile the Siberian Times reports that some locals had readings as low as -67C – in touching distance of the record -67.7C, which was logged in the village in February 1933.

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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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