Archive for July, 2014

Ferrybridge power station fire

Posted: July 31, 2014 by Andrew in Energy, Uncategorized

imageThe BBC broke the news earlier that the power station near Knottingly, West Yorkshire was on fire. Some fifty firefighters attended the blaze that was centred on one of the flue gas desulphurisation units. The power station is being adapted to generate some electricity from biomass, so was shut down. As of time of publication there are no casualties reported.

When the power station will be able to restart is now in doubt. By winter, now seems doubtful, so will be a test of the generation network

The Bishop Hill blog is running the story HERE

View from the Moon [credit: Wikipedia]

View from the Moon
[credit: Wikipedia]

First there was a report saying:
‘Computer model shows moon’s core surrounded by liquid and it’s caused by Earth’s gravity’

Of course the words ‘Computer model shows’ will ring a few alarm bells with some talkshop readers. Yes, it’s a theory based on a model, and the output of ‘climate models’ has led to many controversies so we may well be suspicious already.


image Originally posted at Breitbart London by James Delingpole




Visit Cartoons by Josh and buy something


The UK risks sweeping electricity blackouts unless it increases the state’s capacity to balance infrequent supply from renewable energy sources, a prominent engineer who carried out government-funded research has warned.

While British authorities are under legal obligation to source almost a third of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020, they require immediately deployable gas-fuelled power stations to cater for inevitable lulls in sun and wind energy output.

Hugh Sharman, a British engineering consultant, was commissioned to work on a government-sanctioned report examining how UK authorities could sustain the nation’s energy demands in an era of mandatory renewable energy use.

Tendered to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) last year, the research went unpublished.


imageThe Met Office has unveiled their latest update:

Even Newer Dynamics for General atmospheric modelling of the environment (ENDGame)

ENDGame is an evolution of the current dynamical core, the New Dynamics, and is based on a semi-implicit semi-lagrangain discretisation of the governing equations.



Mark Serreze goes all “Ummm and Errr” about the timing of the ‘Arctic death spiral’.


Climate scientists specializing in future sea ice predictions made some remarkable statements to polar bear scientists at their last meeting – admissions that may really surprise you.

USFWS_PolarBearNews2013_pg5 labeled

Back on June 26 (reported here), the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) posted a summary of its last meeting. So, I was very surprised to find (while there looking for something else), that on 18 July 2014 they had added minutes from the meeting to that summary.

These minutes are a bonanza because among the juicy nuggets of information is a summary of what the three invited climate scientists from Colorado (Jennifer Kay, Mark Serreze, and Marika Holland) had to say and what questions were asked. While real transparency would have involved posting copies of the sea ice presentations and transcripts of the question and answer sessions, this is certainly better than nothing.

I’ve pulled some quotes from the minutes…

View original post 1,102 more words

Surfacestations news

Posted: July 29, 2014 by tchannon in Surfacestation

This is a brief post pointing at my own low traffic blog where I am asking for assistance with finding a few Met Office sites. Not a pretty post, will bore ordinary readers but if you are tech, maybe.

On the other hand there is a huge list of Bing and Google links to aerial images. (150+)
Example, where is Sheffield CDL not a full site, temperature and humidity, that is the location given. 🙂
[update]  shep has found it, see comments ]


fracking-toonDellers has an article over at Breitbart about the success of the green propaganda around shale gas drilling:

“Fracking” was the second most popular UK search term in the “what is?” category on Google in 2014.
(The top ten were: Love; Fracking; Gluten; FGM; Lupus; Anxiety; Twerking; Instagram; Gout; Bitcoin).
What this tells you is that capitalism in general and the fracking industry in particular is losing the argument.
How does it tell you this?
Because what it instantly suggests is that “fracking” is a controversial process.


From NASA:

Cassini took readings of the day-length indicator regarded as most reliable, the rhythm of natural radio signals from the planet. The results give 10 hours, 45 minutes, 45 seconds (plus or minus 36 seconds) as the length of time it takes Saturn to complete each rotation. Here’s the puzzle: That is about 6 minutes, or one percent, longer than the radio rotational period measured by the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew by Saturn in 1980 and 1981.

[Tallbloke notes that Venus has also slowed by an unexplained six minutes since 1997]

Cassini scientists are not questioning Voyager’s careful measurements. And they definitely do not think the whole planet of Saturn is actually rotating that much slower than it did two decades ago. Instead, they are looking for an explanation based on some variability in how the rotation deep inside Saturn drives the radio pulse.


From 2020 drivers of all but the most efficient diesel cars and older petrol cars will be charged an additional £10 a day to use the London roads they already pay road tax and a ‘congestion charge’ to travel on. Boris Johnson is bringing in the new levy in response to EU pressure to further reduce emissions. The unelected EU commission launched legal proceedings against Britain in February.


Elsewhere, Labour is planning a network of low-emission zones that would force older diesel vehicles out of many cities. Sheffield, Leicester, Bradford, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol and 14 other cities are considering bringing in the zones to cope with poor air quality.


imageThe New Scientist reports the discovery of many more electron eating bacteria.

Geobacter and Shewanella were the first, now a further eight have been identified.

Kenneth Nealson from the University of South California “electrons must flow in order for energy to be gained. This is why, when someone suffocates another person, they are dead within minutes. You have stopped the supply of oxygen, so the electrons can no longer flow”. Nealsons team have grown electric bacteria on battery electrodes. Bacteria can either “eat” electrons from the higher voltage, or “breathe” electrons to the lower voltage electrode


H/T Maxime Duprez:


Prolific solar-planetary scientist and long-time talkshop friend Nicola Scafetta has a new paper published in Physica A entitled ‘Global temperatures and sunspot numbers. Are they related? Yes, but non linearly. A reply to Gil-Alana et al. (2014)’ which comments on Gil-Alana et al 2014; a paper purporting to dismiss any correlation between solar activity and terrestrial surface temperature. Nicola gently points out the limitations of their methods and patiently explains how the astronomical-solar signal can be found in the data. Here is Figure 3 to whet your appetite:



Fig. 3. (A) Annually solved HadCRUT3 global surface temperature record [34] from 1850 to 2013. (B) Power spectrum density functions calculated using the MEM method (using M = N/2 = 82) and the MTM periodogram f (p) [35,36]: the calculations were made with the SSA–MTM Toolkit. Several spectral peaks (e.g.: at about 9.1, 10.4, 20 and 60 yr) are statistically significant above the 95% confidence level, and their solar, lunar and astronomical origin is explained in the literature (e.g.: Scafetta [10,32,33,25]).

Nicola also provides plots of several of the various solar and temperature related indices and techniques for representing them over a wide range of timescales which clearly demonstrate the plain fact of the close coherence between the activity of our host star which supplies all our energy, and the fluctuations of the lovely moderate temperatures we live in on the surface of our planet.


From New Scientist:

As sanctions deepen, just how crucial is Russian gas?
17:00 24 July 2014 by Jon Excell

Russian-bear-cartoonEurope gets around 30 per cent of its gas from Russia, but some countries are more dependent on it than others: the Czech Republic and Finland, for example, import at least 80 per cent of their gas from the country, while Germany, which has been treading particularly carefully in its dealings with Putin, imports around 36 per cent of its natural gas and 39 per cent of its oil from Russian suppliers.

The situation in the UK is less clear. Gas imports account for around 70 per cent of supply, but because of the complex European network of pipelines and interconnectors that we rely on, it’s difficult to say exactly how much of that imported gas is Russian. Some reports claim that Russia supplies around 15 per cent of that total and others put this figure much lower. Russian energy giant Gazprom estimates that it sends 11 to 12 billion cubic metres to the UK each year, out of an overall UK consumption of around 84 billion cubic metres.


Matt Ridley article for the Times, reposted from the GWPF, because as many people as possible need to read it and think. Then act by using your vote sensibly.

Date: 28/07/14 Matt Ridley, The Times

wind-costsIf wood-burning power stations are less eco-friendly than coal, we are getting the search for clean energy all wrong
On Saturday my train was diverted by engineering works near Doncaster. We trundled past some shiny new freight wagons decorated with a slogan: “Drax — powering tomorrow: carrying sustainable biomass for cost-effective renewable power”. Serendipitously, I was at that moment reading a report by the chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change on the burning of wood in Yorkshire power stations such as Drax. And I was feeling vindicated.

A year ago I wrote in these pages that it made no sense for the consumer to subsidise the burning of American wood in place of coal, since wood produces more carbon dioxide for each kilowatt-hour of electricity. The forests being harvested would take four to ten decades to regrow, and this is the precise period over which we are supposed to expect dangerous global warming to emerge. It makes no sense to steal beetles’ lunch, transport it halfway round the world, burning diesel as you do so, and charge hard-pressed consumers double the price for the power it generates.


I found a book by Peter Hubers which uses Length of Day (LOD) variation as a case study in data analysis. It contains information which may be relevant to our ongoing investigation of the effects the spatio-temporal distribution of the planets may have on solar variation and terrestrial rotation and climatic variation.

Hubers cites a 1995 paper by Stephenson and Morrison and his own Hubers 2006 paper which reconstructs the long term variation and decadal in LOD from ancient and modern astronomical records of eclipses in the figure below, which I have annotated in red to show the inexact nature of the periodicity of the ‘cycle’.



The Moon is responsible for the secular +2.3ms/cy in LOD with the post glacial rebound responsible for approximately -0.6ms/cy




H/T to Oldbrew for this story via GWPF from the Sunday Times. I hope this haste doesn’t mean we’ll lose a lot of the benefit of developing a home grown shale gas extraction industry, with the benefits of boosting UK engineering and providing much needed indigenous employment and training in worthwhile skills.

Date: 27/07/14 Tim Shipman, The Sunday Times

Blackpools-Shale-Gas-Dril-007Fracking for shale gas is to be fast-tracked because it will give Britain greater energy security and protect it from Russian aggression, the new Tory energy minister has revealed.
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Matthew Hancock said the government would make it “much quicker” for companies to get approval to drill for shale gas.

At present firms that want to frack have to wait about six months for permission through a 15-stage process. Hancock hopes to slash that in half. Calling shale the “holy grail” of energy policy, he said:

I want to speed up shale. It takes too long at the moment. We have to ensure that instead of an array of complicated permissions we have very firm but very clear rules.



Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)

“CCS is the only way we can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and keep fossil fuels (coal and gas) in the UK’s electricity supply mix” (DECC), and so say many other countries around the globe. Catch the CO2 and push it back underground. Just like waste water from fracking, but on an epic scale, so where are all the protests?


A letter has been sent to the president elect of the EU by Sense about Science, urging him to reject the call of anti-scientific NGO’s such as Greenpeace to abolish the post of Chief Scientific Advisor. You can add your name by clicking on the link at the bottom.

Scientific scrutiny in Europe is essential

We and many organisations across Europe have written to President elect of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker to ask him not to abolish the post of Chief Scientific Advisor. Our letter is in response to a call from environmental NGOs to “scrap this position.” We strongly object to this proposal and to any attempt to undermine the integrity and independence of scientific advice received at the highest level of the European Commission. We wanted to respond quickly so we have sent the letter. If you want to add your name your name you can do that here. If organisations feel strongly about this, please write to Mr Juncker yourselves.

Many other organisations are sending their own letters including nine European medical research organisations and the European Plant Science Organisation representing 227 public research institutions across Europe.


From, a new paper which looks at how dry atmosphere’s of some exoplanets could cast doubt on long cherished notions about planet formation. Current mainstream thinking is that big planets form a long way out and migrate inwards. Perhaps the opposite may be the case, and ‘hot jupiters’ form near the parent star and increase the size of their orbits asthay gain angular moentum. Supporting this possibility, a recent paper by Poppenhaeger on the electromagnetic coupling of proto-planetary discs with the host star posit a slowing the stellar rotation and a shift of its angular momentum to the forming planets.

hd189733Scientists searching for worlds outside of the Solar System say that three such planets — distant gas giants that resemble Jupiter — are surprisingly dry.

The atmospheres of these exoplanets, known as ‘hot Jupiters’, contain between one-tenth and one-thousandth water vapour than predicted, measurements from the Hubble Space Telescope show. The findings, published 24 July in Astrophysical Journal Letters1, are at odds with theories of how planets form.

Madhusudhan thinks that it is possible, but not likely, that clouds are skewing his results. The particles would have to be high in the atmosphere, above the water vapour, for this to be true. That would place the clouds in the thinnest part of each exoplanet’s atmosphere, but they could be too heavy to stay aloft. The clouds would also need to survive in the wide range of temperatures the three planets’ atmospheres span — 900–2,200 ºC — which models can’t yet explain. “There is just no candidate cloud composition or physics that can do it,” he says.