Archive for March, 2018

Antarctic sea ice is still expanding [image credit: BBC]

The conclusion offered here is that ‘something must be fundamentally wrong with the climate models, for their predictions to be so far off from the observed sea ice trends’. No wonder climate alarmists focus on the Arctic.

Over the past several years, many researchers have examined the spatial extent of sea ice around Antarctica, says CO2 Science, consistently reporting an increasing trend (see, for example, our reviews on the previously published works of Yuan and Martinson, 2000, Watkins and Simmonds, 2000, Hanna, 2001, Zwally et al., 2002, Vyas et al., 2003, Cavalieri et al., 2003, Liu et al., 2004, Parkinson, 2004, Comiso and Nishio, 2008, Cavalieri and Parkinson, 2008, Turner et al., 2009, Pezza et al., 2012, Reid et al., 2013, Reid et al., 2015, Simmonds, 2015, He et al., 2016 and Comiso et al., 2017).

The latest study to confirm this ongoing expanse comes from the South American research team of De Santis et al. (2017).


The notoriety of the next IPCC climate conference (COP24 in November) is already infecting the host country, which is a heavy user of its own coal for electricity generation. Maybe COP should read COPS? They clearly suspect trouble is likely.

Poland recently passed a bill that bans spontaneous protests and allows police surveillance at this year’s world climate summit, reports

Civil society groups say Poland wants to silence environmental defenders.

There are still eight months to go until the international community meets for the UN climate talks in Poland’s Katowice, but the host is already causing controversy.


Image credit: BBC

They say ‘the next step is to work on scaling up the system and boosting its efficiency’.

MIT-developed system could provide drinking water even in extremely arid locations, says MIT’s News Office.

It seems like getting something for nothing, but you really can get drinkable water right out of the driest of desert air.

Even in the most arid places on Earth, there is some moisture in the air, and a practical way to extract that moisture could be a key to survival in such bone-dry locations. Now, researchers at MIT have proved that such an extraction system can work.


Astronomer announces he has discovered … Mars

Posted: March 22, 2018 by oldbrew in Astronomy, humour

Mars [image credit: NASA]

As banana skins go, this is a good one. Bad luck, professor!

In an online publication, this astronomer reports the detection of a very bright object in the night sky that wasn’t there before. Turns out, he’s thousands of years late for this discovery, says LiveScience.

Astronomer Peter Dunsby just made a groundbreaking discovery, after noticing a very bright “star” pop up in his field of view at an observatory at the University of Cape Town that was not present two weeks prior.

Too bad Dunsby was perhaps thousands of years late … the bright object was the planet Mars.


VVT engine [image credit:]

This type of technology may not be quite as new as suggested in the report. Various manufacturers have tried it in one form or another.

Technology developed at the University of Waterloo reliably and affordably increases the efficiency of internal combustion engines by more than 10 per cent, says TechXplore.

The product of a decade of research, this patented system for opening and closing valves could significantly reduce fuel consumption in everything from ocean-going ships to compact cars.

“This method has the potential to bring the well-established benefits of a fully variable valve system out of the lab and into production engines because cost and complexity aren’t issues,” said Amir Khajepour, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering at Waterloo.


UK winter weather forecast [image credit: BBC]

So says a new study, which also has the benefit of being topical. The current weak solar cycle is highlighted.

Periods of extreme cold winter weather and perilous snowfall, similar to those that gripped the UK in a deep freeze with the arrival of the ‘Beast from the East’, could be linked to the solar cycle, pioneering new research has shown.

A new study, led by Dr Indrani Roy from the University of Exeter, has revealed when the solar cycle is in its ‘weaker’ phase, there are warm spells across the Arctic in winter, as well as heavy snowfall across the Eurasian sector, reports


Surely a step in the right direction. The public is entitled to something better than smoke and mirrors when it comes to the use of science – or alleged science – to determine national policy. But the aim of objectivity is a tough one.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt will soon end his agency’s use of “secret science” to craft regulations, reports Michael Bastasch.

“We need to make sure their data and methodology are published as part of the record,” Pruitt said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Otherwise, it’s not transparent. It’s not objectively measured, and that’s important.”


There may be consequences for electrical activity on Earth, as well as space radiation changes.

The Next Grand Minimum

Meteorologist Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc.

All indications are that the upcoming solar minimum which is expected to begin in 2019 may be even quieter than the last one which was the deepest in nearly a century. One of the natural impacts of decreasing solar activity is the weakening of the ambient solar wind and its magnetic field which, in turn, allows more and more cosmic rays to penetrate the solar system. The intensification of cosmic rays can have important consequences on such things as Earth’s cloud cover and climate, the safety of our astronauts exploring in space, and lightning.

SIDC+DailySunspotNumberSince1900Daily observations of the number of sunspots since 1 January 1900 according to Solar Influences Data Analysis Center (SIDC). The thin blue line indicates the daily sunspot number, while the dark blue line indicates the running annual average. The recent low sunspot activity is clearly reflected in the recent low values…

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Credit: Wikipedia

This only confirms in greater detail what has been fairly well-known for quite a long time anyway.

For months, House Committees and a Special Counsel have been investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, reports Inside Sources.

Even as these investigations continue to make headlines, interference in American energy markets, which was likely even more successful, has received relatively little attention.

According to new findings from the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology, Russian agents worked to manipulate specific groups inside the U.S. in order to “disrupt domestic energy markets, suppress research and development of fossil fuels, and stymie efforts to expand the use of natural gas.”


There’s data, and then there’s interpretation of the data. But what the Northern Hemisphere weather has delivered is not what many CO2-fearing climate experts were expecting, despite some claims to the contrary.

Science Matters

Over land the northern hemisphere Globsnow snow-water-equivalent SWE product and over sea the OSI-SAF sea-ice concentration product. Credit: Image courtesy of Finnish Meteorological Institute

This just in from  Science Daily thanks to the Finnish Meteorological Institute: Exceptionally large amount of winter snow in Northern Hemisphere this year  March 14, 2018.

Excerpts below include both factual and speculative content (with my bolds.)

The new Arctic Now product shows with one picture the extent of the area in the Northern Hemisphere currently covered by ice and snow. This kind of information, which shows the accurate state of the Arctic, becomes increasingly important due to climate change.

In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum seasonal snow cover occurs in March. “This year has been a year with an exceptionally large amount of snow, when examining the entire Northern Hemisphere. The variation from one year to another has been somewhat great, and especially…

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Jupiter’s ‘Great Red Spot’ [image credit: NASA]

It seems to be turning into the not-so-great orange spot. Could this be a feature of climate change Jupiter-style?

Though once big enough to swallow three Earths with room to spare, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been shrinking for a century and a half, says Astronomy Now. Nobody is sure how long the storm will continue to contract or whether it will disappear altogether.

A new study suggests that it hasn’t all been downhill, though. The storm seems to have increased in area at least once along the way, and it’s growing taller as it gets smaller.


Image credit:

One of a number of ways the police can or could use drones.

Crimes that involve chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) materials pose a deadly threat not just to the target of the attack but to innocent bystanders and police investigators, says

Often, these crimes may involve unusual circumstances or they are terrorist-related incidents, such as an assassination attempt or the sending of poisons through the mail.

In the recent notorious case of poisoning in the UK city of Salisbury in March 2018, a number of first responders and innocent bystanders were treated in hospital after two victims of chemical poisoning were found unconscious on a park bench.


Spiral galaxy [image credit: BBC]

Researchers refer here to ‘regularity in galaxies’.

Astronomers have discovered that all galaxies rotate once every billion years, no matter how big they are, reports

The Earth spinning around on its axis once gives us the length of a day, and a complete orbit of the Earth around the Sun gives us a year.

“It’s not Swiss watch precision,” said Professor Gerhardt Meurer from the UWA node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).

“But regardless of whether a galaxy is very big or very small, if you could sit on the extreme edge of its disk as it spins, it would take you about a billion years to go all the way round.”


Image credit: ScienceDaily

It seems there was ‘a distinct increase in sea ice extent’ at some point in time that led to a switch to longer ice age intervals, but the reason(s) for it are not known.

Researchers from Cardiff University have revealed how sea ice has been contributing to the waxing and waning of ice sheets over the last million years, says

In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, the team have shown for the first time that ice ages, occurring every 100,000 years, are accompanied by a rapid build-up of sea ice in the Earth’s oceans.


Battery builders get the cobalt blues

Posted: March 12, 2018 by oldbrew in Travel

Chinese electric car [image credit:]

One battery expert said: ‘I’ve had multiple Chinese carmakers in my office really worried [about cobalt supply]. They wish they’d thought about this two years ago.’ They find themselves bidding against the likes of wealthy companies like Apple and Samsung for supplies.

Demand for battery metals surges on the back of a global appetite for electric vehicles, reports ChemistryWorld.

At the beginning of 2017, $32,500 (£26,300) would buy you one tonne of cobalt. Today you’d have to fork out $81,000. Since 2016, cobalt’s price has spiked enormously, and it’s all because of batteries.

Cobalt is an essential component of the lithium ion batteries that power our phones and laptops, and which are expected to be a key part of the world’s energy mix. ‘In 2017, we saw demand from the battery sector at 102 GWh, but we expect that to increase to 709 gigawatt hours by 2026,’ says Caspar Rawles, market analyst at Benchmark Minerals Intelligence.


Ken Rice, an Edinburgh University academic who selectively censors dissenting comments at his pro-AGW “and Then There’s Physics” propaganda blog, has another of mine in moderation:
tallbloke says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

OK, I’ll drop that subject and deal directly with the subject of your blog post.
You state that:

“If the Earth’s atmospheric pressure is to contribute to the enhanced surface temperature, then that would mean that the atmosphere would need to continually provide energy to the surface. It could only do this through the conversion of gravitational potential energy to thermal energy. This would then require the continual contraction of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

This quote demonstrates that you’ve fundamentally misunderstood Ned Nikolov’s hypothesis. He’s not positing a raised surface T due to an ongoing gravitational collapse producing a compression, generating heat which is then lost to space.

Atmospheric pressure produces a density gradient; i.e. it forces there to be more air molecules per unit volume at lower altitude than at higher altitude. Denser air intercepts and absorbs more of the sunlight passing through it than less dense air, producing more molecular collisions and excitation. It therefore holds more kinetic energy.The more kinetic energy it holds the higher its temperature will be.


The Changing Arctic–Nov 1922

Posted: March 11, 2018 by oldbrew in climate, Natural Variation
Tags: ,

Arctic warming up – 1922 edition. Has climate science got anything to say about it?


By Paul Homewood

In 1922, NOAA knew that the Arctic was undergoing a “radical change of climate”, and was “not recognizable” from the climate of 1868 to 1917.

In November that year, NOAA published this chapter in their Monthly Weather Review:



They must have had proper scientists in those days.

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Is this how it works? [image credit:]

An obvious problem with studies like this is that as soon as natural climate variation is invoked – to explain the lack of expected warming from so-called greenhouse gases – the argument that such gases could be a dominant factor in climate processes is then severely weakened to say the least. It is in effect an admission that such variations could cause warming as well as cooling. How long can a ‘hiatus’ last before it becomes the status quo?

Reinforcement of Climate Hiatus by Decadal Modulation of Daily Cloud Cycle
– By Jun Yin and Amilcare Porporato, Princeton University

Based on observations and climate model results, it has been suggested that the recent slowdown of global warming trends (climate hiatus), which took place in the early 2000s, might be due to enhanced ocean heat uptake.

Here we suggest an alternative hypothesis which, at least in part, would relate such slowdown to unaccounted energy reflected or re-emitted by clouds.


Image credit: NOAA

Another attempt to shed light on this recurring but tricky to predict climate phenomenon.

For decades, scientists have observed the phenomena known as El Niño and La Niña, says Both significantly impact the global climate and both pose a puzzle to scientists since they’re not completely understood.

Now, a new study clarifies some of the obscurity surrounding El Niño and La Niña, which together are called the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).


Cyclones in Jupiter’s atmosphere [image credit: NASA]

Octagon and pentagon (8:5) shapes at the poles, with groups of cyclones in a 9:6 (= 3:2) polar ratio. Fascinating.

Jupiter’s poles are blanketed by geometric clusters of cyclones and its atmosphere is deeper than scientists suspected, says

These are just some of the discoveries reported by four international research teams Wednesday, based on observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft circling Jupiter.

One group uncovered a constellation of nine cyclones over Jupiter’s north pole and six over the south pole. The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 220 mph (350 kph).

The massive storms haven’t changed position much—or merged—since observations began.