Archive for May, 2011

John Cook’s climate blog scepticalscience joins the list of those pushing the man made global warming meme which delete comment answering their brash rhetoric in ways they can’t rebut fairly in open debate.

I have been posting comments to a thread promoting a John Cook book entitled Climate Change Denial: Heads in the Sand.

Before I show you the comment and my censored reply, here is a  quote from the book:

“Just because there a professor of something denying climate change does not mean it is not true, it is just that the professor is in denial. This is why one must make use of the prepondera­nce of evidence in science, the collective view.” – John Cook (“Climate Change Denial”, 2011).

John Cook and his acolytes have a lot to say about the mental state of people who have doubts about the IPCC view of climate change, making frequent reference to Dunning-Kruger, delusion and etc

It’s a scarily brief step from

“The professor is in denial” to “The professor is delusional” to “The professor would be better off keeping quiet” to “The professor has been removed to a mental institution for the good of himself and society”.

First they came for the professor…

But I digress.

Here is the comment and my reply, now, sadly,



The nuclear world is all abuzz over this invention. A nuclear reaction which leaves no waste. It uses a catalyst (possibly aluminium)  and a patented process to convert Nickel and Hydrogen to Copper, releasing a lot of energy in the process. 1MW system due to come online in November in Greece, this is exciting stuff.

The blog seems pretty busy: 934 comments and counting

A few more details, but see the first link for more complete information.

Tests and demonstrations have been carried out, the process succesfully generated 1.5 Kw while requiring an energy input of only 80W, sometimes dropping to 20W. It looks like there may have been a replication in America too.

If this is the real deal, the implications are enormous. Nickel is relatively abundant, and if the catalysing agent is too, then there would be a stampede to license the process and generate commercially. Prices as low as 1 cent per Kw are being discussed. You can be sure it will cost the consumer a good deal more though…

Clearly, a clean power production process with no dangerous residues and no emissions of unpleasant substances such as sulphur dioxide, thorium or fine particulates would be of huge benefit. No co2 emissions would make those who believe in it’s power to dangerously affect Earth’s climates should be happy too.

I’ll have a hunt around for some schematics to brighten the post up with. Meanwhile, some youtube links:


I have thought for years that the Milankovitch cycles, the cyclic changes in the Earth’s orientation and orbital parameters, had a lot to do with the coming and going the Earth’s ice ages. But until I came across this paper today, I had only seen graphs which show a vague correspondence between ice volume and these cycles.

This paper from 2006 put’s the question beyond doubt. Instead of looking at ice volume or extent, it looks at the rate of change of ice volume. And what drives the changes in the Earth’s orientation and orbital parameters which give rise to the Milankovitch cycles? Jupiter, along with the other gas giants, and Venus affect the eccentricity of Earth’s orbit, and our Moon and Sun affect obliquity and precession. More details here. Once again we are finding that it is solar system dynamics which primarily govern changes to climates on Earth, not trace gas quantities. Note however, that co2 could make some difference to the amplitude of the temperature swings between glacial and interglacial coditions, although I would expect changes in atmospheric water vapour levels would make a much bigger difference.

In Defense of Milankovitch
Gerard Roe
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L24703, doi:10.1029/2006GL027817, 200
Received 9 August 2006; accepted 3 November 2006; published 21 December 2006


  1. tallbloke says:

    Leif Svalgaard says:
    May 24, 2011 at 11:46 am
    The easy way out is just to accept my analysis.

    This rebel isn’t ready to be assimilated. I have my own internally consistent pet theory with data to back it up, just like you.

  2. tallbloke says:
    May 24, 2011 at 4:08 pm
    This rebel isn’t ready to be assimilated. I have my own internally consistent pet theory with data to back it up, just like you.
    As you said: “I think you should consider letting other peoples ideas and data speak too”,
    but I take it then that you would rather continue with blinkers on, instead of seriously looking at the “actual empirical observations”. This was, of course, predictable, although deplorable.


Guest post by Roger Andrews

Figure 8 shows the net solar and anthropogenic contributions to SAT

In a previous post ( Tim Channon replicated the Lean TSI reconstruction very closely using a solar cycle-based analysis. Tim’s results are shown below:


After mulling over the necessity for downward mixing of solar heated surface waters and thinking about coriolis forces, I arrived at the Wikipedia page on internal tides, which has some interesting things to tell us, not least about how poorly GCM’s handle ocean mixing:

Figure 1: Water parcels in the whole water column move together with the surface tide (top), while shallow and deep waters move in opposite directions in an internal tide (bottom). The surface displacement and interface displacement are the same for a surface wave (top), while for an internal wave the surface displacements are very small, while the interface displacements are large (bottom). This figure is a modified version of one appearing in Gill (1982). [2]

The surface tide propagates as a wave, in which water parcels in the whole water column oscillate in the same direction at a given phase (i.e, in the trough or at the crest, Fig. 1, top). At the simplest level, an internal wave can be thought of as an interfacial wave (Fig. 1, bottom). If there are two levels in the ocean, such as a warm surface layer and cold deep layer separated by a thermocline,then motions on the interface are possible. The interface movement is large compared to surface movement. The restoring force for internal waves and tides is still gravity but its effect is reduced because the densities of the 2 layers are relatively similar compared to the large density difference at the air-sea interface. Thus larger displacements are possible inside the ocean than at the sea surface.


Ash cloud confirmed from Grímsfjall volcano

[Update 23-5-11] UK airports could be affected this week by the ash cloud from Iceland’s Grímsfjall volcano
The Grauniad is reporting that :
“Airlines and airports have been warned to expect ash from an erupting Icelandic volcano to arrive in UK airspace by Tuesday, with the possibility that it could affect Heathrow airport by the end of the week.Europe‘s air traffic control organisation, Eurocontrol, told airlines and airports on Monday that particles from the Grimsvötn volcano could reach Scotland by 1am on Tuesday and southern England by Thursday or Friday, depending on wind direction.An aviation industry source said if the volcano continues to erupt at same intensity ash cloud could reach the west of the UK on Thursday or Friday, but the Met Office has low confidence in the forecast because of a prevailing low pressure system.However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said it was confident that a new Europe-wide safety regime introduced after the Eyjafjallajökull eruption last year would reduce disruption significantly and avoid the continental shutdown that stranded millions.

Under previous guidelines, aeroplanes were summarily grounded if there was any volcanic ash in the air. Now, airlines can fly through ash plumes if they have a safety case demonstrating that their fleets can handle medium or high-level densities of ash.”

Posted on May 21, 2011 by Jón Frímann

A eruption ash cloud has been confirmed from Grímsfjall volcano. I do not know how high it currently is. But Icelandic news is reporting that the cloud is rising fast and high (estimated 3000 – 4000 meters and rising). Explosions have been seen from good distance.

Update 1: They estimate that there are 10 to 12 hours until the glacier flood appears from this eruption. The ash cloud can be tracked with lighting map here.

News about this.

Strókur rís hátt yfir Grímsvötnum (Rú, picture)
Tíu til tólf klukkutímar í hlaup (Rú, new picture)
Allir viðbragðsaðilar komnir af stað vegna gossins (Ví, Picture)
Mjög öflug gosstöð (, New picture)

H/T Gray Stevens who also links:

Dr Roy Spencer has finally come off the fence regarding the Svensmark effect: the theory that solar modulation of galactic cosmic rays affects levels of cloud cover, and therefore insolation levels at Earth’s surface.

Roy says:


(image clickable)

One of the oldest space experiments which has taken many years of post flight data processing is now concluded.

A provisional copy of the primary paper is now available Gravity Probe B: Final Results of a Space Experiment to Test General Relativity

The experimental data , so far not released, might contain new information about the solar system, the sun and perhaps as a few people have written, about the path of the sun through space.

The mission was essentially a technical failure when malfunctions became obvious and was cancelled by NASA. The science team then managed with great difficulty to find funding for the completion of a very difficult data correction operation.

Unexpected gyroscope problems were the main difficulty.

I noticed the mission uses star pointing, the far distance fixed orientation reference. The method is stated as using dither but I have a background in signal processing and what is described I do not recognise as dither. The point of dither is the magic of completely incoherent noise, which then is valid for simple statistics, simple data average: the noise reducing, any signal is coherent and stays put. (hence a single data bit can be processed to 24 or more bits in data converters; a simile is a fluidise bed such as sand with water flowing through it, randomly jiggling the grains so that they behave as a liquid)

A petal pattern for dither?

The question now is what else is in the data if anything?


The unexpected development of cycle 24 emphasizes the need for a better way to model future solar activity. In this article, we analyze the accumulation of spotless days during individual cycles from 1798 – 2010. The analysis shows that spotless days do not disappear abruptly in the transition toward an active Sun. A comparison with past cycles indicates that the ongoing accumulation of spotless days is comparable to that of cycle 5 near the Dalton minimum and to that of cycles 12, 14, and 15. It also suggests that the ongoing cycle has as much as 20±8 spotless days left, from July 2010, before it reaches the next solar maximum. The last spotless day is predicted to be in December 2012, with an uncertainty of 11 months. This trend may serve as input to the solar dynamo theories.

The signed sunspot series, barycentric solar angular momentum series, and solar distances from the solar system barycenter plotted through the Dalton Minimum (1795-1830), can be seen in Figures A1 and A2, from

Whereas the solar angular momentum series at the start of the current solar minimum (2008) correlates very well with the solar angular momentum series at the start of the Maunder Minimum (1650), it is seen that the angular momentum and postion plots at the start of the Dalton Minimum around 1795 correlate equally well to the angular momentum and position plots around 1980, but not at all to 2008. In addition, the phase of the signed sunspot series in 1795 is maintained in 1980, and 2008 occurs 1.5 signed cycles later.


Ed Fix has sent me a couple of his latest plots generated by the model has developed to simulate solar planetary effects on solar variation. The CSV files are available for download below the plots too, along with some discussion. Ed plans to expand on that discussion soon.


Spain quivers

Posted: May 12, 2011 by tchannon in Earthquakes

There have been two magnitude 5.1 earthquakes in the Mediterranean region during the past week.

CSEM web map of Med region

European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre 


The multiple quakes in the Spanish area are unusual, Greece etc. is normally highly seismic.

Initial news reports talk of deaths.

UK Daily Telegraph and has worldwide coverage Japan

WUWT has an article about a recent paper published in Astronomy & Astrophysics

“A new approach to long-term reconstruction of the solar irradiance leads to large historical solar forcing
A. I”. Shapiro1, W. Schmutz1, E. Rozanov1,2, M. Schoell1,3, M. Haberreiter1, A. V. Shapiro1,2, and S. Nyeki1″

PDF of the paper

The PDF has an online material section where Fig 5 is about solar spectral change at extreme short wavelengths.

Solar spectral modelling

The implication is solar TSI has varied more than popularly supposed within the formal science community.

Note: I am Tim Channon and I am helping out Tallbloke with blog moderation

Over on WUWT David archibald has published an intriguing graph containing the signed sunspot series from 1914 and a red line which coincides closely, and predicts and interesting solar future. We are assured this is from a “paper in press” by someone identified as “Ed Fix”…


Ian Wilson has written to me with a link to this pdf by Bart Leplae. It expounds a possible explanation for apparent solar spin-orbit coupling caused by the planets and an interplanetary medium rotating with them. I think this is worth a ponder and discussion.