Archive for September, 2017


As a long-time critic of climate alarmism, chemistry graduate Graham Stringer MP is not surprised by the latest cracks appearing in the facade of modern climate science, as the GWPF reports.

Al Gore, the U.S. politician and self-appointed champion of the green cause, famously declared that ‘the science is settled’ on climate change. It was a claim that revealed far more about the intolerance of the environmental movement than the reality of scientific inquiry.

Research should be founded on critical analysis of the evidence, not on wishful thinking or enforcement of a political ideology. Now the hollowness of Gore’s assertion is exposed again by a vital new report that shows how the apocalyptic predictions of the green lobby have been exaggerated.

In a study just published by the respected journal Nature Geoscience, a group of British academics reveals that the immediate threat from global warming is lower than previously thought, because the computer models used by climate change experts are flawed.

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Solar flare [credit: NASA]


Even though the current solar cycle (SC 24) is well-known for its relatively low level of sunspots, it can still produce surprisingly powerful bursts of ‘counter-intuitive’ activity, causing solar scientists to put their thinking caps on.

A series of rapid-fire solar flares is providing the first chance to test a new theory of why the sun releases its biggest outbursts when its activity is ramping down, says Science News.

Migrating bands of magnetism that meet at the sun’s equator may cause the biggest flares, even as the sun is going to sleep. A single complex sunspot called Active Region 2673 emitted seven bright flares — powerful bursts of radiation triggered by magnetic activity — from September 4 to September 10.

Four were X-class solar flares, the most intense kind.

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Mercury [image credit: NASA]


The first photos of ice at Mercury’s poles were released in 2014 but this research goes a step further, as Phys.org reports. It finds that ‘the total area of the three sheets [is] about 3,400 square kilometers—slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island’.

The scorching hot surface of Mercury seems like an unlikely place to find ice, but research over the past three decades has suggested that water is frozen on the first rock from the sun, hidden away on crater floors that are permanently shadowed from the sun’s blistering rays.

Now, a new study led by Brown University researchers suggests that there could be much more ice on Mercury’s surface than previously thought.

The study, published in Geophysical Research Letters, adds three new members to the list of craters near Mercury’s north pole that appear to harbor large surface ice deposits.

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cagwComputer modelling used a decade ago to predict how quickly global average temperatures would rise may have forecast too much warming, a study has found.

Myles Allen, professor of geosystem science at the University of Oxford and one of the study’s authors told The Times: “We haven’t seen that rapid acceleration in warming after 2000 that we see in the models. We haven’t seen that in the observations.”

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Taking a look beyond the over-simplistic climate hysteria that arises as if by a jolt on the electrodes every time a major weather event occurs, especially if it’s in or near the USA.

Fabius Maximus website

Summary: Millions of words were expended reporting about Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but too little about the science connecting them to climate change. Here are the details, contrasted with the propaganda barrage of those seeking to exploit these disasters for political gain. Let’s listen to these scientists so we can better prepare for what is coming. Failure to do so risks eventual disaster.

NASA photo of Hurricane Katrina on 28 August 2005 NASA photo of Hurricane Katrina on 28 August 2005.

(1)  A politically useful catastrophe: the Left speaks

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The record-setting twelve-year long hurricane “drought” (no major hurricane landfalls on the US) was just weather. But the Left immediately boldly and confidently declared Harvey and Irma to be caused (or worsened) by anthropogenic climate change. Some of these screeds are mostly rational, just exaggerated or imbalanced. Such as “Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like” by Eric Holthaus at Politico — “It’s time to open our…

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Where is Planet 9? [credit: NASA]


This may say something about what is not likely to be true about the mysterious, or mythical, Planet 9 but obviously it’s still all in the realms of theory. If it did form around the sun, how did it get to be so much further away from it than the known major planets in the solar system?

Astronomers at the University of Sheffield have shown that ‘Planet 9’ – an unseen planet on the edge of our solar system – probably formed closer to home than previously thought, reports Phys.org.

A team led by Dr Richard Parker from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy has found that Planet 9 is ‘unlikely’ to have been captured from another planetary system, as has previously been suggested, and must have formed around the sun.

The outskirts of the solar system have always been something of an enigma, with astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries searching for a giant planet that wasn’t there, and the subsequent discovery of Pluto in 1930.

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Hurricanes, AMO , And Sahel Droughts

Posted: September 10, 2017 by oldbrew in climate, research, Uncertainty, weather
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What really drives Atlantic hurricanes? Paul Homewood looks at some relevant research.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Reader Dermot Flaherty questioned the relationship of ENSO to the Atlantic hurricane season.

There are indeed many factors which affect hurricane activity. As leading hurricane expert Chris Landsea stated in his 1999 paper “Atlantic Basin Hurricanes: Indices of Climatic Changes”:

Various environmental factors including Caribbean sea level pressures and 200mb zonal winds, the stratospheric Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, African West Sahel rainfall and Atlantic sea surface temperatures, are analyzed for interannual links to the Atlantic hurricane activity. All show significant, concurrent relationships to the frequency, intensity and duration of Atlantic hurricanes.

Landsea goes on:

Finally, much of the multidecadal hurricane activity can be linked to the Atlantic Multidecadal Mode – an empirical orthogonal function pattern derived from a global sea surface temperature record.

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Go-ahead for mini reactors as energy crunch looms

Posted: September 10, 2017 by tallbloke in Energy, Nuclear power
nuke-powerFrom the Sunday Times: By Alan Tovey

MINISTERS are ready to approve the swift development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to help guard against electricity shortages, as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned.

The new technology is expected to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the ongoing Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Industry players including Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs).

A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of £60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants.

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Image credit: NASA


We now know that Saturn’s rings share a process with spiral galaxies, and the unique co-orbital pattern of two of its moons get some attention.

This view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows a wave structure in Saturn’s rings known as the Janus 2:1 spiral density wave, reports Phys.org.

Resulting from the same process that creates spiral galaxies, spiral density waves in Saturn’s rings are much more tightly wound.

In this case, every second wave crest is actually the same spiral arm which has encircled the entire planet multiple times. This is the only major density wave visible in Saturn’s B ring.

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The researchers say ship exhaust can alter thunderstorm intensity. They seem to have ignored the fact that ships on the open seas have always been a natural target for lightning.

Thunderstorms directly above two of the world’s busiest shipping lanes are significantly more powerful than storms in areas of the ocean where ships don’t travel, according to new research reported at Phys.org.

A new study mapping lightning around the globe finds lightning strokes occur nearly twice as often directly above heavily-trafficked shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea than they do in areas of the ocean adjacent to shipping lanes that have similar climates.

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Image credit: BBC News


No evidence for the Prince’s Syrian refugees theory but plenty that he’s a serial climate alarmist.

Scientists have accused the Prince of Wales of exaggerating the link between climate change and the civil war in Syria, says The Times (via the GWPF).

A new study found no evidence for the widely publicised theory that climate change was a factor in causing the war, in which more than 300,000 people have died and 11 million have been forced to leave their homes.

The researchers said making “overblown claims” based on poor evidence fuelled scepticism about the need for action on climate change, undermining the cause the prince was advancing.

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There are robust and reliable electricity supplies, or the other kind.

STOP THESE THINGS

Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

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Lots of coal in Australia


Some say the ‘soaring prices and increased black outs’ mentioned in the report are at least partly due to over-hasty substitution of fuel-powered generation by expensive and intermittent renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. Now the argument is that Australia needs early action to try and prevent the situation getting even more serious.

Alan Finkel, Australia’s chief scientist, believes the country would be better off extending the life of existing coal-fired power plants, rather than investing in clean coal technology, as PEI reports.

Finkel says the move would increase Australia’s energy security in an affordable manner.

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As the Talkshop reaches the milestone of 5 million visits, do we hear echoes of Scotty of Star Trek fame: ‘Ye cannae change the laws of physics’? Does fundamental mean universal – or could some ‘laws’ depend on where you look in the universe? Meanwhile Tallbloke is boldly going…somewhere… 😎

A study that will ‘test our understanding of how the Universe works, particularly outside the relatively narrow confines of our planet’ is being undertaken by an international team of researchers led by the University of Leicester, reports Phys.org.

The research probes whether the fundamental laws of physics are the same everywhere in the universe.

In their new study, the Leicester-led team assesses whether these laws are the same within the hot, dense conditions in the atmosphere of a dying white dwarf star as here on Earth.

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Scotland’s new Queensferry Crossing road bridge [image credit: BBC]


‘New plans from the Scottish Government would allow the sale of hybrid and electric cars but not exclusively petrol or diesel ones’, reports Auto Express. But is it just political bluster, based on Scotland having left the UK?

Scotland has set out plans to phase out the sale of cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032 – eight years ahead of the timescale proposed for the rest of the UK.

As under the plans south of the border, Scotland would allow the sale of petrol and diesel hybrids, however.

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The campaign to demonise diesel cars – above all other causes of city air pollution – rumbles on, as The Local reports. The conundrum being of course that Germany makes vast sums from sales of diesel cars, trucks, buses etc. As usual climate is wrongly conflated with air quality issues.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday pledged a billion euros to help German cities fight air pollution caused by dirty diesel cars, as a scandal strangling the automobile industry threatened to engulf politicians at the height of the election campaign.

Merkel said she was doubling financial aid to cities from a previously announced €500 million, in a bid to stave off the threat of an all-out ban against diesel vehicles.

The public health threat posed by nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions came to the fore after Germany’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to fitting millions of cars worldwide with illegal devices to cheat pollution tests.

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Why Phi? – the rainbow angle

Posted: September 3, 2017 by oldbrew in Maths, Measurement, Phi, weather
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The rainbow angle [credit: Hong Kong Observatory]


The minimum deviation angle for the primary bow [of a rainbow] is 137.5° according to Wikipedia. This is known as the rainbow angle. A circle is 360 degrees, so the ratio of the rainbow angle to the circle is therefore the square of the golden ratio i.e. 137.5:360 = 1:2.61818~.
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Hong Kong Observatory has some useful explanatory text and graphics (rounding 137.5 to 138 degrees) titled:
Why is the region outside the primary rainbow much darker than that inside the primary rainbow?
Written by : SIU Kai-chee (summer intern) and HUNG Fan-yiu

Let’s first look at Figure 1, which shows sun rays entering a water drop and going through refraction and reflection.

The ray (ray no. 1) passing through the centre goes directly backward on reflection, i.e. a change in direction of 180 degrees.

For ray no. 2, this angle becomes smaller, following the rules of refraction and reflection.

For the next (ray no. 3) the angle continues to decrease, so on and so forth. This trend does not continue for long, however.

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The El Niño of 1997-8


Another paper attempting to shed some light on the mysteries of long-term cyclical climate patterns is brought to our attention by the GWPF. The abstract looks fair but there are a few nods in the direction of ‘greenhouse gases’ later in the paper, in particular related to what they identify as millennial signals.

Abstract
The identification of causal effects is a fundamental problem in climate change research. Here, a new perspective on climate change causality is presented using the central England temperature (CET) dataset, the longest instrumental temperature record, and a combination of slow feature analysis and wavelet analysis.

The driving forces of climate change were investigated and the results showed two independent degrees of freedom —a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which seem to be connected to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively.

Moreover, these driving forces were modulated in amplitude by signals with millennial timescales.
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Credit: aboutaustralia.com


What is going on with Australian temperature data? It doesn’t look good, as Jennifer Marohasy explains.

Australia is a large continent in the Southern Hemisphere. The temperatures measured and recorded by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology contribute to the calculation of global averages.

These values, of course, suggest catastrophic human-caused global warming. Two decades ago the Bureau replaced most of the manually-read mercury thermometers in its weather stations with electronic devices that could be read automatically – so since at least 1997 most of the temperature data has been collected by automatic weather stations (AWS).

Before this happened there was extensive testing of the devices – parallel studies at multiple site to ensure that measurements from the new weather stations tallied with measurements from the old liquid-in-glass thermometers.

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This may go some way to counter complaints that it’s mostly the better-off who can afford to buy solar power and benefit from its subsidies. On the other hand even council tenant subsidies have to be paid from utility bills in the end.

Andrew James

Solar panels are to be installed in 800,000 low-income homes across England and Wales over the next five years, as part of a new government scheme.

The Dutch firm, Maas Capital is investing £160m in the project.

The panels are expected to save 100,000 tenants living in social housing hundreds of pounds, according to the UK firm Solarplicity.

The first tenants to benefit from the scheme include residents of a sheltered retirement home in Ealing, west London.

Speaking at the site, International Trade minister Greg Hands said, “This initial £160m capital expenditure programme will deliver massive benefits to some of the UK’s poorest households.

“As well as creating 1,000 jobs and delivering cheaper energy bills for up to 800,000 homes, it shows yet another vote of confidence in the UK as a place to invest and do business.”

The firm providing the panels, Solarplicity, will partner with more than 40…

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