Archive for November, 2012


SPECIAL REPORT / Practically half of the EU’s renewable energy currently comes from wood and wood waste, according to the EU statistics office Eurostat, but a lack of sustainability criteria for measuring its environmental impact is stoking fears of a hidden carbon debt mountain.

The new Eurostat numbers were issued in conjunction with the UN’s Year of Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL), which sets ambitious renewables, energy efficiency and universal energy access targets.

According to the Eurostat statistics, on average, 49% of renewable energy in the EU 27 states came from wood and wood waste last year, and most EU states met the majority of their renewable energy obligations this way.


Vukcevic commented yesterday that the polar fields are now both across the zero line.


Submitted on 2012/11/26 at 6:26 pm

An important moment for the SC24, the solar magnetic field has finally changed polarity
a bit later than expected.


Last night reports a new high latitude feature with reversed polarity – an emerging spot.

A bipolar reversed polarities region emerged at a high latitude and was located at N70E03 at midnight. No spots have been observed so far.

Overnight talkshop contributors ‘project722’ and Bill McKintyre reported the spot as definite.


Posted: November 30, 2012 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

Feelings are running high as the Govt. energy bill details go public. Plans to exempt the big energy users while hammering household tax payers for ‘green energy taxes’ are particularly contentious. I’m down in London for a couple of meetings and happened across this demo at the corner of Horse Guards Parade near St James Park. New Green party chief Natalie Bennett was there to rouse the attendees with some illogical twaddle – vid on youtube soon. I grabbed the microphone and told them about the UBS report I blogged last year. And got a round of applause! 🙂




From the National Observer, via the GWPF

Last month, 60 residents of New York’s Herkimer County filed a lawsuit in Albany that provides yet another example of the growing backlash against the wind-energy sector. It also exposes the double standard that exists in both the mainstream media and among environmental groups when it comes to “green” energy.

The main defendant in the lawsuit is the Spanish electric utility Iberdrola, which is the second-largest wind-energy operator in the U.S. The Herkimer County residents — all of whom live within a mile or so of the $200 million Hardscrabble Wind Power Project — are suing Iberdrola and a group of other companies because of the noise and disruption caused by the wind project.


Err, wow…. I think. Wayne Jackson has been mostly absent  over the last six months but obviously not idle. Now he has dropped in on an old thread of Stephen Wilde’s and left this remarkable comment:

Sorry it has taken me six months to reply to this thread Stephen but it has taken a LOT of digging to get myself a handle on what really matters in planetary atmosphere temperature profiles. I have picked up a lot of clues from many including gallopingcamel, Nikolov & Zeller, Miskolczi, Ramanathan and the CERES team, even Huffman, but none of them seemed to give the complete, 100%, answer but each had hints in their texts.

gallopingcamel said:
“The derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate is taught in high schools and provides an explanation of the observed temperature gradient in Earth’s atmosphere.”

Absolutely. I have come to realize that a lapse rate is a terrible metric to use if you are striving to describe an atmosphere, it is the pressure ratio between two layers and the mean heat capacity ratio (λ=Cp/Cv) adjusted for the natural greenhouse function (1 minus 1/3) that exactly describes each atmosphere. The GH adjustment is therefore G=2/3 for optically thick atmospheres.


My thanks to Michele Casati for suggesting this image from . A split in the polar vortex is imminent, with cold arctic air spilling down into northern Europe and as far south as Andalucia and the Italian Lakes. Times to antifreeze the vehicles and get your  split timber ready for burning.



My thanks to Ian Wilson for an update on his tidal-torquing model, which relates the motion of Venus, Earth and Jupiter to changes in sunspot numbers and the flows observed on the Solar surface. This elegant solution looks very promising in terms of forecasting solar variation, as well as offering a hypothesis explaining a mechanism underlying the strong correlations between solar variation and planetary motion. The following article is reposted from Ian’s excellent blog.

Ian Wilson : November 2012

The problem with the collective blog postings about the
Spin-Orbit Coupling or Tidal-Torquing Model that are described
at the end of this post is that they only look at the tidal-torquing
(i.e. the pushing and pulling of Jupiter upon the Venus-Earth
tidal bulge in the Solar convective zone) when Venus and Earth
are inferior conjunction (i.e. when Venus and Earth are on the
same side of the Sun). However, a tidal bulge is also produced
when Venus and the Earth align on opposites sides of the Sun,
as well (i.e at superior conjunction).

This means that in the real world, tidal bulges are induced in
the convective layer of the Sun once every 0.8 years rather
than every 1.6 years, as assumed in the original basic model.
This is achieved by a sequence of alternating conjunctions
of Venus and the Earth:


Here’s an interesting article which was published in ‘Punch’ in 1976. My thanks to Ian Laidlaw for providing copy. It provides some historical context to the climate debate, and shows not much has changed in terms of uncertainty. It’s also a fun, well written piece. Following that, some more very british humour from Marriot Edgar, for the amusement of those hit by flooding this weekend.



UPDATE: The talkshop can exclusively reveal the photograph taken by the Rover at the site where the soil sample was taken, just before the camera feed was lost. See below the break:

Exciting news from the Mars Rover Team in this NPR interview yesterday:

Scientists working on NASA’s six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it’s a good problem.

They have some exciting new results from one of the rover’s instruments. On the one hand, they’d like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.

It’s a bind scientists frequently find themselves in, because by their nature, scientists like to share their results. At the same time, they’re cautious because no one likes to make a big announcement and then have to say “never mind.”

The exciting results are coming from an instrument in the rover called SAM. “We’re getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting,”

John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, says during my visit last week to his office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. That’s where data from SAM first arrive on Earth. “The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down,” says Grotzinger.

SAM is a kind of miniature chemistry lab. Put a sample of Martian soil or rock or even air inside SAM, and it will tell you what the sample is made of.

Grotzinger says they recently put a soil sample in SAM, and the analysis shows something earthshaking. “This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” he says.

Grotzinger can see the pained look on my face as I wait, hoping he’ll tell me what the heck he’s found, but he’s not providing any more information.



From ‘the left hand does’t know what the right hand is doing’ dept. The ever-so-green Eurocrats apparently don’t want an emissions reduction from energy efficiency…

BRUSSELS MAY KILL GREEN DEAL Date: 23/11/12  by GreenClick

The future of the Government’s flagship Green Deal programme hangs in the balance after an intensifying tax dispute with the European Commission. If, as threatened, Europe sticks to its ruling it means the Green Deal will be grounded because it will no longer be financially viable.

Brussels bureaucrats have warned Whitehall to overhaul the tax rules regarding energy-saving materials or face the prospect of massive fines at the European Court of Justice.

Currently, the UK Treasury levies a reduced rate of 5% VAT for insulation materials for walls, ceilings, floors and water tanks. However, the full 20% rate of VAT still applies to energy-efficient windows and doors.

In August, the European Commission warned the UK Government the reduced 5% tax rate is unlawful and it must change the law or face the prospect of the European Court imposing huge financial penalties.

The UK Government is fiercely disputing the ruling but today a spokesperson for Europe’s Tax Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta said it was unlikely the challenge will be successful and said the UK had only this week filed the formal paperwork to appeal.

“The current infringement proceeding is on the application of the reduced VAT rate to some goods and services which according to the VAT directive would not be subject to this rate,” she added.

“How this infringement interacts with the eligibility criteria of investments under the Green Deal is a domestic UK issue on which we do not have comments.”

However, she warned of a lengthy delay to a final outcome as the Commission deals on average with 400 to 500 infringement cases a month.

If, as threatened, Europe sticks to its ruling it means the Green Deal will be grounded because it will no longer be financially viable.


Here’s a nice freebie from the  Institute Of Physics; a special issue of ‘Physics World’ looking at animals which employ interesting physics in their daily lives. Grab the link below the break.



It is my pleasure to publish this guest post by Tim Cullen, an independent solar system researcher. His previous post here didn’t get the attention it deserved due to the other events occurring around the same time, so take a look at that too. Tim Cullen has generously given me permission to add a link to a full pdf copy of this article. Please disseminate it widely.

The Problem with TSI
Tim Cullen November 2012

The problem with Total Solar Irradiance [TSI] is two fold:

Firstly:             Scientists aren’t Climatologists.

Secondly:        Climatologists aren’t Scientists.

Let me explain.

Scientists have been using satellites since 1979 to measure Total Solar Irradiance.

The current generation of measurements come from the state-of-the-art satellite mission called the Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment [SORCE]:

The Solar Radiation and Climate Experiment (SORCE) is a NASA-sponsored satellite mission that provides state-of-the-art measurements of incoming X-ray, ultraviolet, visible, near-infrared, and total solar radiation.


My thanks to Gerry Pease for sending in this press cutting  from Queensland Autralia, where a 2 minute 5 second totality Solar Eclipse took place on November 14. He and his good lady witnessed this awesome celestial event:

We were on the Palm Beach jetty, on a part of it where (surprisingly) it was not very crowded, and we had a great naked eye and 7X binocular view throughout the two minute totality.  Barbara took some pictures of the eclipsed Sun at totality and of the crowds after totality, which we may send out later.

The Diamond Ring effect is shown following totality of the solar eclipse at Palm Cove in Australia’s Tropical North Queensland on November 14, 2012. Eclipse-hunters have flocked to Queensland’s tropical northeast to watch the region’s first total solar eclipse in 1,300 years on November 14, which occurred as the moon passed between the earth and the sun, casting a shadow path on the globe and lasting for a maximum on the Australian mainland of 2 minutes and 5 seconds. Photo: Greg Wood, AFP/Getty Images / SF

Gerry Tells us:

The diamond following totality got really bright a fraction of a second after the above picture was taken, totally wowing all observers.  This was one of the most spectacular solar eclipse diamonds that Barbara and I have seen in any of the four total eclipses we have observed.

From The era of pamphleteering in the late 1700s was the same. The governments used repressive legislation and printing press breaking gangs to prevent the populace from using the written word as a means of dissemination and organisation. Do not be complacent, the failure of the AGW Paradigm is a blow to the centralising tendency, and the UN is planning a backlash against the medium which exposed its hidden agenda.

We love the internet.
And we’re guessing you do too. Think about all the awesome things it gives us: A vast communication network; innovative businesses; a platform to freely speak or challenge powerful governments; and hundreds and hundreds of hours of cat videos.

All this great stuff is available because the internet was designed in an open and inclusive way, with a multitude of voices being able to get a say on how it’s governed.

But the internet is in danger.
There’s a meeting between the world’s governments in a just a few weeks, and it could very well decide the future of the internet through a binding international treaty. It’s called the World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), and it’s being organized by a government-controlled UN agency called the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

From This is South Wales news of a landmark victory for local people:

THERE were cheers and applause from the public gallery as plans for 21 wind turbines in Carmarthenshire were rejected by councillors this afternoon.

The planning committee refused to give energy company Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Ltd permission to build on Mynydd Llanllwni, in north east Carmarthenshire.

It remains to be seen if RES will now appeal to the Welsh Assembly against the decision.
Speaking in County Hall in Carmarthen, where members of the public packed the gallery, Llanfihangel ar Arth county councillor Linda Evans said:

“Obviously, developments of this nature will have a long term effect on the lives of people in the area. The landscape will be destroyed forever. Please do not destroy our heritage.”

The committee heard from a range of protestors including David Ablett, from Llanllwni, who said it would endanger birds on the moorland.



The recent death of Sir Alastair Burnet leaves a shining example of a quiet light spreading what only genuineness can do.

I never met him but I did know the older regime in broadcasting from my connections in radio and television behind the scenes. Independents really were hard working thoroughly professional and competent crowds, a pleasure to work with.

In contrast the BBC were losing the only marble it had as staff and departments were ejected. BBC Research for example had plenty of live wires, disbanded. I nearly went to work for the company they formed, no, not my style. What was left for today was predatory and horrid. Technically… well why did they pay outside experts? This is fine if there are competent in house overmanagers who know their stuff.


Ilya Usoskin says:

I have been pointed to this discussion by someone who got surprised by Leif Svalgaard’s claims on the drifts in Oulu NM data. I am the PI of the Oulu NM and am quite surprised that this issue, including direct cliams of my misqualification, are discussed here without contacting me first!
Oulu NM is regularly checked for the stabiity of electronics and counters and is regarded by experts as one of the most stable station of the world network. No aging is observed. Moroever, as Leif claims, Oulu is counting MORE cosmic ray than Thule, but this cannot be due to aging, unless this is aging of Thule. Aging can lead only to decreasing count rate!
Comparing Oulu to mid- and low-latitude stations is incorrect as the modulation during the cycle 23-24 is known to be more energy dependent than before. Moreover, Oulu data is totally consistent with most of the high-latitude stations (Apatity, McMurdo, Kerguelen, Terre-Adelia etc. – see ), except only two – Thule and even greater difference with the South Pole, the latter both showing a decreasing trend, absent in other stations. Moreover, McMurdo being counting even more than Oulu during the last years.
Thus, I consider Leif’s comments ungrounded and offensive as publicly discussed behind my back. I advice everyone to ask experts first if you think some data are wrong, not just claiming the data wrong because they don’t support someone’s idea.
Please don’t reply to me here, I am not reading this forum. If you have any questions, write to me directly (contact info is at ).

Sincerely yours,
Ilya Usoskin


lsvalgaard says:


Figure 1

[UPDATE] I have made a mistake although I had included caution, something looked wrong. On looking closely at the old file which is the source for this analysis it is for Earth, not the Sun. The basics will be similar. See comments, we are going to carry on because what has appeared in intriguing. In the process a rework on other versions of data will be much quicker and easier : Tim]

Recently on the Talkshop a discussion has started about Sol and gravity forces. I stepped up in case I can help. I think this is where the recent discussions commenced.

Story goes that some time ago I went down the route of attempting a computation but the result didn’t seem interesting in relation to whatever I was doing so I dropped the work.

Somewhat boring plot. Devil in the detail?