Archive for February, 2013

Hat tip to Michele Casati for this news from A cometary impact on Mars could potentially leave a 500km wide crater this October! A near miss will be just as interesting in terms of the way the coma is affected by Mars’ magnetosphere. The ‘Electric Universe’ and plasma science people will be busy making predictions I should think.

Author: Leonid Elenin


Chris Smith / NASA

As I wrote previously, the recently discovered comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will make a extremal close approach to Mars on 19 October 2014. A collision scenario isn’t ruled out either. Today, at the ISON-NM observatory, new astrometric measurements were received for this comet. Based on the existing measurements, more accurate orbital elements were calculated. The results of the second calculation for the close approach show that the comet might pass just 41,000 km (0.000276 a.u.) from the planet’s centre, that is less than 37,000 km from its surface!


Chilbolton: slight drizzle

Posted: February 26, 2013 by tchannon in Clouds, Surfacestation, weather


There was slight dizzle yesterday, slightly more at times. Low cloud, low light levels.

Larkhill is quite close to Chilbolton (26km west) and by a stroke of luck are launching at the moment. This plot is for the next day, weather is similar.

On check later it seems C. Lidar was not working on the 26th! Never ever all the data. Lidar data has updated 03:30hrs.
Basically heavy low cloud all day.


If you live in the UK, get yourself over here and sign the epetition to scrap the Climate Change Act.
UPDATE. From GWPF: Breaking news from the European Parliament where a vote on the ETS Carbon Market has been inexplicably cancelled. See below Doug Carswell’s article.

I was wrong about the Climate Change Act
By Douglas Carswell MP

carswellMy biggest regret as an MP is that I failed to oppose the 2008 Climate Change Act. It was a mistake. I am sorry.

On the very day the Labour government passed this fatuous attempt to “stop global warming”, it was, if I remember rightly, snowing. Had I opposed the Bill, it wouldn’t have made much difference, but I feel I should have known better.

Unlike much of the gesture legislation that goes through Parliament, this law has turned out to have real consequences.  The Climate Change Act has pushed up energy prices, squeezing households and making economic recovery ever more elusive.

The aim of the Climate Change Act was to create a low carbon economy. I fear the Act will do that, but perhaps not the way intended. The Climate Change Act is giving us a low carbon economy the way that pre-industrial Britain had a low carbon economy.


Al Gore: Arguing for censorship in 1992  (a blast from the UK media past)
guest post by Russell Cook

goreWhen the idea of human-induced global warming cannot stand on its own scientific merits, the critical necessity now – as it always has been – is to marginalize critics in the eyes of the public by any means possible. And to erase any hint that a “consensus” does not actually exist.

Thankfully, the UK Independent sees fit to maintain a current web link to a July 6, 1992 US New Republic “Green Cassandras” article by Gregg Easterbrook. (original scan is at the U. of California San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, despite the article not mentioning a single word about tobacco or cigarette smoking).


Etna Observatory. Etna is in major erruption.

The Forge of Vulcan by Lombardo -The hermitage, St Petersburg- (I hope health and safety aren't looking)

The Forge of Vulcan by Lombardo
-The hermitage, St Petersburg-
(I hope Health and Safety aren’t looking)

Observatory reports are dry. Lot of news content around too.

“On the evening of 23 February 2013, a new episode of lava fountaining occurred at Etna’s New Southeast Crater, two-and-a-half days after the previous episode from the same crater, and 36 hours after the latest eruptive episode in the summit area, which took place at the Bocca Nuova on the morning of 22 February. The 23 Febriary paroxysm was more intense than its predecessors, with lava fountains up to 600-800 m tall, and an eruption cloud charged with ash and scoriae that was blown northeastward by strong wind, whereas the lava volume this time is smaller than that of the previous episodes. The culminating phase of this episode lasted less than one hour. A more detailed report will be posted here shortly.” Some has English translations.


From the Sunday Telegraph, an article by Tony Blairs bette noir, Andrew Gilligan:

NowindWriting in the scientific journal Nature, the scientists, Dr Jo Smith, Dr Dali Nayak and Prof Pete Smith, of Aberdeen University, say:

“We contend that wind farms on peatlands will probably not reduce emissions …we suggest that the construction of wind farms on non-degraded peats should always be avoided.”

Dr Nayak told The Telegraph: “Our full paper is not yet published, but we should definitely be worried about this. If the peatland is already degraded, there is no problem. But if it is in good condition, we should avoid it.”

Another peat scientist, Richard Lindsay of the University of East London, said: “If we are concerned about CO2, we shouldn’t be worrying first about the rainforests, we should be worrying about peatlands.

“The world’s peatlands have four times the amount of carbon than all the world’s rainforests. But they are a Cinderella habitat, completely invisible to decision- makers.”


From Science Daily:

A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. (Credit: European Space Agency)

A constant stream of particles and electromagnetic waves streams from the sun toward Earth, which is surrounded by a protective bubble called the magnetosphere. A scientist at NASA Goddard has recently devised, for the first time, a set of equations that can help describe waves in the solar wind known as Alfven waves. (Credit: European Space Agency)

Feb. 21, 2013 — Many areas of scientific research — Earth’s weather, ocean currents, the outpouring of magnetic energy from the sun — require mapping out the large scale features of a complex system and its intricate details simultaneously.

Describing such systems accurately, relies on numerous kinds of input, beginning with observations of the system, incorporating mathematical equations to approximate those observations, running computer simulations to attempt to replicate observations, and cycling back through all the steps to refine and improve the models until they jibe with what’s seen. Ultimately, the models successfully help scientists describe, and even predict, how the system works.

Understanding the sun and how the material and energy it sends out affects the solar system is crucial, since it creates a dynamic space weather system that can disrupt human technology in space such as communications and global positioning system (GPS) satellites.


Chilbolton: freezing fog

Posted: February 22, 2013 by tchannon in atmosphere, climate, Surfacestation, weather



Morning of the 20th was foggy and below freezing.


Chilbolton: cold sunny winter day

Posted: February 22, 2013 by tchannon in climate, Clouds, Surfacestation, weather



This is the first day I have seen were there were no obvious clouds. This reveals the cold sky pyrgeometer values.

However there is a surprise, the pyranometer short wave solar hump is considerable offset in time from the shallow hump of long wave. Eyeballing it looks 2 to 3 hours later.  (more…)


Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 09:07

rain_forest_clearing_cameroonAn independent evaluation leaked earlier this week found that the World Bank’s support for the logging of tropical rainforests is failing in its key aims of preventing their destruction and addressing rural poverty. But, according to sources in the Bank, its forestry department is refusing to reconsider its approach, is lobbying the Board hard to avoid being held accountable for its failures, and has stated its intention to continue supporting tropical forest logging.
“The World Bank’s evaluation confirms what has long been obvious – cutting down trees on an industrial scale is not the way to preserve the world’s remaining tropical forests or help the people that live in them.” said Rick Jacobsen,  of Global Witness. “When Bank Board members meet on Monday to decide next steps, they need to act on the evaluation’s findings and demand that the Bank pursue alternatives to industrial logging in tropical forests that better help the poor and preserve forests.”


It might be interesting if someone could attend this free Royal Society event and write it up for the talkshop. We could then compare and contrast the tenor and tone with the proceedings of the workshop run by Tim Palmer that I attended last year at Chicheley Hall, where Judith Curry told the assembled scientists that their models were not fit for purpose. Liz howell was there and came across to me as someone studiously avoiding any discussion of how the BBC presents ‘climate change’. Audio of all the presentations at the link above.

Storms, floods and droughts: predicting and reporting adverse weather

6:30 pm – 7:30 pm on Monday 04 March 2013
at The Royal Society, London

David Shukman, Science Editor for BBC News, in conversation with Professor Tim Palmer FRS and Liz Howell

nulliusEvent details

2012 was one of the “top five wettest years on record”, however the beginning of the year saw a widespread drought across much of the UK. Join David Shukman, Science Editor for BBC News, and Professor Tim Palmer FRS as they discuss extreme and adverse weather conditions with Liz Howell, Head of BBC Weather. How do these events arise, how they are reported, and how can the latest research improve the forecasting of storms or flooding in the future?

David Shukman previously worked at the BBC as European Correspondent, World Affairs Correspondent and Environment and Science Correspondent. He has reported from more than 90 countries, made a dozen trips to the Polar regions and is one of the few journalists to have flown on a weather research flight.

Professor Tim Palmer FRS is a Royal Society Research Professor in Climate Physics at the University of Oxford. He has pioneered the development of techniques to quantify uncertainty in weather and climate forecasts and was previously Head of the Probability Forecast Division at the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts.


My thanks to Lawrence Wilson, who has taken the time and trouble to continue investigating the controversy around the question of the focus of Earth’s orbit. This has an important bearing on the climate debate, as quite large swings in TSI will occur if the Earth orbits the solar system barycentre (SSB) rather than the Sun-Earth barycentre. Surprisingly, expert opinion seems to be that the Earth doesn’t orbit the Sun, but the SSB. I’m awaiting a reference to Newton’s calculations. All I’ve ever seen is a small illustration showing an ellipse around the sun, not an epitrochoid. This leaves me uncertain that Newton ever did detailed calculations resolving this issue.

Solar Inertial Motion – Earth/Sun Displacement
Lawrence Wilson – 19 Feb 2013

Gravity-1The phenomenon of SIM was defined mathematically by Isaac Newton, his conclusion being that all planets followed a primary orbit around the SSB (their primary orbital foci) rather than the CofM of the Sun, indeed the Sun itself also proceeding on a seemingly ‘haphazard’ orbital dance around the SSB.
[Editor’s note] Newton states that:  “The focus of the orbit of the Earth [is] in the common centre of gravity of Venus, Mercury and the Sun.” – Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy Vol III pp28

In more technical terms its path is described as an epitrochoid, a path which is near repetitive each 178 years. Scientists subsequent to Newton who have studied the phenomenon and its potential implications, such as Jose, Landscheit, Fairbridge, Charvatova and numbers of others too, have independently validated Newton’s analysis.

Richard Mackey in his essay on the related work of Rhodes Fairbridge describes it in this way:-

The general form of the sun’s barycentric orbit is an epitrochoid, a big circle continuous with a little ring nestling asymmetrically inside it. At one phase, the orbit is nearly circular, almost two solar diameters in diameter. At another phase, the Sun is impelled on a backward, or retrograde, journey in which it undergoes a tight loop-the-loop, crossing over its own path in a loop that is less than one solar radius. The epitrochoid’s asymmetric ring arises from the sun undergoing the retrograde loop-the-loop.


Many other people have noticed Phi relationships in the solar system in the past, from Kepler onwards, and there are several websites which cover this interesting topic. But up until now, so far as I know,  no-one has been able to find a single simple scheme linking all the planets and the Sun into a harmonious whole system described by the basic Fibonacci series. A couple of weeks ago while I was on holiday, I had a few long ‘brainstorming sessions’ with Tim Cullen, and decided to roll my sleeves up and get the calculator hot to test my ideas. What I discovered is laid out below in the style of a simple ‘paper’. Encouraged by an opinion from a PhD astrophysicist that this is “a remarkable discovery”, I will be rewriting this for submission to a journal with the more speculative elements removed and some extra number theory added to give it a sporting chance of acceptance. For now, this post establishes the basics, but there is much more I have discovered, and I will be using some of that extra material in more posts soon.


Relations between the Fibonacci Series and Solar System Orbits

Roger Tattersall – February 13 2013


The linear recurrence equation: an = an-1 + an-2 with the starting conditions: a1 = a2 = 1 generates the familiar Fibonacci series: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13… This paper will use the first twenty terms of the sequence to demonstrate a close match between the Fibonacci series and the dynamic relationships between all the planets, and two dwarf planets in the Solar System. The average error across the twenty eight data points is demonstrated to be under 2.75%. The scientific implication of the result is discussed.


Since it was noticed that five synodic conjunctions occur as Earth orbits the Sun eight times while Venus orbits thirteen times, many attempts have been made to connect the Fibonacci series and it’s convergent ‘golden ratio’ of 1.618:1 to the structure of the solar system. Most of these attempts have concentrated on the radial distances or semi-major axes of the planet’s orbits, in the style of Bode’s Law, and have foundered in the inner solar system.


Happy Birthday to Nicolaus Copernicus, born this day 540 years ago. Though his work on orbits still left us with epicycles (Kepler would succeed in eliminating them with his elliptical orbits replacing Copernicus’ circular ones) he nonetheless moved the science of astronomy and cosmology forward by his placement of the Sun at the centre of the system. He had the good sense to hold off from publication until near his death, but this didn’t prevent various theologian-astronomers of a more Aristotelian bent from damning him later. It is the fate of innovators to be chastised by the gatekeepers of the times it seems – no matter how right they are. As Jerome Ravetz said to me recently: “The difference between a crank and a rebel may become clear only in retrospect.  Which was Galileo?  He spent a huge part of his working life on a theory that anyone could have told him would never succeed.

Copernicus’ major theory was published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), in the year of his death, 1543, though he had formulated the theory several decades earlier.

CopernicSystemCopernicus’ “Commentariolus” summarized his heliocentric theory. It listed the “assumptions” upon which the theory was based as follows:

“1. There is no one center of all the celestial circles or spheres.
2. The center of the earth is not the center of the universe, but only of gravity and of the lunar sphere.
3. All the spheres revolve about the sun as their mid-point, and therefore the sun is the center of the universe.
4. The ratio of the earth’s distance from the sun to the height of the firmament (outermost celestial sphere containing the stars) is so much smaller than the ratio of the earth’s radius to its distance from the sun that the distance from the earth to the sun is imperceptible in comparison with the height of the firmament.
5. Whatever motion appears in the firmament arises not from any motion of the firmament, but from the earth’s motion. The earth together with its circumjacent elements performs a complete rotation on its fixed poles in a daily motion, while the firmament and highest heaven abide unchanged.
6. What appear to us as motions of the sun arise not from its motion but from the motion of the earth and our sphere, with which we revolve about the sun like any other planet. The earth has, then, more than one motion.
7. The apparent retrograde and direct motion of the planets arises not from their motion but from the earth’s. The motion of the earth alone, therefore, suffices to explain so many apparent inequalities in the heavens.”[83]


met office logo£750-950 per day. Not bad!

Salary: £20,000 per annum + reasonable expenses
Contract for services. Typically 2/3 days a month, board meetings at Met Office, Exeter or in London

Closing date for applications: 26 February 2013
The role of a Non Executive Director
The Met Office Board, through which the Met Office Executive reports, is vital in monitoring, scrutinising and constructively challenging the organisation. It ensures that we are delivering our commercial and operational goals while effectively managing risk and demonstrating the highest levels of integrity.

As a Non-Executive Director, you will play a key role in shaping how we operate, today and in the future. Your professional expertise, commercial and political awareness will help to successfully manage and further improve our organisational performance.
Your background and expertise
Your achievements should reflect significant Board-level experience, ideally within science or technology. We are looking for three Non-Executive Directors, each with a specific specialism and area of expertise.

Firstly, we’re looking for someone who knows how government works, with proven experience and a strong current understanding of service delivery within Whitehall. Ideally, you’ll have senior level connections in a range of government departments or other public sector bodies.



My Thanks to David Cosserat for this second guest post, which builds on the material covered in the strongly debated part I. Although it doesn’t cover every aspect of the elevation of the surface temperature above that of an airless planet, it neatly covers the essential issues at stake between proponents on opposing sides of the ‘greenhouse effect’ debate.

Atmospheric Thermal Enhancement

Part II – So what kind of heat flow throttling do you favour?

Our goal in these articles is really quite simple. It is to determine, exactly, the mechanism that causes the Earth’s surface (land + ocean)  to have a significantly higher temperature than if it had no atmosphere at all. Is it due to the so-called radiative gases in the atmosphere such as water vapour and carbon dioxide? Or does it have some non-radiative physical cause? On this issue hangs the future of the Anthropogenic Global Warming theory.

In Part I, I discussed two possible mechanisms that might cause the temperature enhancement. One I called Throughput Throttling and the other Output Throttling. Throughput Throttling is not sensitive to radiative gas concentrations (provided those concentrations are above certain minimum levels). In contrast, Output Throttling would appear to be very sensitive to them.



On checking what the pyrgeometer at Chilbolton Observatory was showing for yesterday I found something unusual.

It looks like dense low level mist formed just after midnight, the red line above and eventually dissipated.


Hat tip to contributor ‘Bob FJ’ who has alerted me to this transcript of Royal Society President Sir Paul Nurse speaking on Australian public radio station ABC Radio National last Saturday. This is just the ‘climate bit’, but the whole thing is worth reading as an insight into Sir Paul’s thinking on matters of science policy and research direction. Apparently, he thinks the sceptics and ‘deniers’ are politically motivated cherry pickers. “Mr Pot, there’s a Mr Kettle on line two for you”.

nursing_the_statistics_jdSir Paul Nurse:

The consensus view of the majority of expert climate scientists is very clear, that the globe has increased in temperature by around 0.8°C in the last 100 years, that this is largely due to increased greenhouse gas emissions, and these are a consequence, at least in part or a significant way, of human activity, and that a further rise of around 2° or maybe up to 4° can be expected in the next century. That would be the approximate consensus view.

Within this mainstream consensus view there is quite a lot of debate about aspects of the science, and that is a legitimate debate, you know, is it 1.5° or is it 3°, et cetera, and it particularly applies to predicting the future. And it’s made difficult because of the complexities of feedbacks within the global climate system. That makes it difficult to come to decisions.


Strange winter weather looks set to continue

Posted: February 17, 2013 by tchannon in weather


I hope Wetterzentrale will accept a link in return for showing a chart here. Click image for access to the whole series.

500 hPa level for 23rd Feb 2013

Wejkoff bridge as mention by Michele Casati recently in a Talkshop comment here, where this winter these conditions repeatedly threaten, so maybe it is a matter of when.

The UK has been under cool conditions for some time, with a brief warming at the end of the past week, at the weekend it is settling into little wind under high pressure.



Probable dew forming on instruments at Chilbolton Observatory