Archive for March, 2018

Image credit: yournewswire.com


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 Phys.org.

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.

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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 Phys.org.

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.”

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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 Phys.org.

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.

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Battery builders get the cobalt blues

Posted: March 12, 2018 by oldbrew in Travel
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Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


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.

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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.

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The Changing Arctic–Nov 1922

Posted: March 11, 2018 by oldbrew in climate, Natural Variation
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Arctic warming up – 1922 edition. Has climate science got anything to say about it?

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

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:

image

image

https://journals.ametsoc.org/toc/mwre/50/11

They must have had proper scientists in those days.

View original post

Is this how it works? [image credit: politics.ie]


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
H/T The GWPF

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.

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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 Phys.org. 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).

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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 Phys.org.

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.

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NASA image of the day: Sun’s quiet corona [credit: NASA/SDO]


‘Magnetic’ seems to mean ‘electromagnetic’ in this report. There’s a definition of an Alfvén wave here.

Scientists at Queen’s University Belfast have led an international team to the ground-breaking discovery that magnetic waves crashing through the sun may be key to heating its atmosphere and propelling the solar wind, as Phys.org reports.

The sun is the source of energy that sustains all life on Earth but much remains unknown about it. However, a group of researchers at Queen’s have now unlocked some mysteries in a research paper, which has been published in Nature Physics.

In 1942, Swedish physicist and engineer Hannes Alfvén predicted the existence of a new type of wave due to magnetism acting on a plasma, which led him to obtain the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1970.

Since his prediction, Alfvén waves have been associated with a variety of sources, including nuclear reactors, the gas cloud that envelops comets, laboratory experiments, medical MRI imaging and in the atmosphere of our nearest star – the sun.

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


Researchers have discovered what common sense thinking has led many people to believe anyway, namely that sales pitches and reality can be quite far apart when it comes to renewable technologies and reliable electricity supplies.

A variety of models predict the role renewables will play in 2050, but some may be over-optimistic, and should be used with caution, say researchers.

The proportion of UK energy supplied by renewable energies is increasing every year; in 2017 wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectricity produced as much energy as was needed to power the whole of Britain in 1958, says EurekAlert.

However, how much the proportion will rise by 2050 is an area of great debate. Now, researchers at Imperial College London have urged caution when basing future energy decisions on over-optimistic models that predict that the entire system could be run on renewables by the middle of this century.

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Tavan Bogd Mountains in Mongolia [imagecredit: Altaihunters @ Wikipedia]


Why glaciers are not always climate thermometers.

High in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert, the climate is so dry and cold that glaciers shrank during the last ice age. Dating of rock deposits shows how glaciers in this less-studied region behave very differently as the climate shifts.

The simple story says that during the last ice age, temperatures were colder and ice sheets expanded around the planet, says EurekAlert.

That may hold true for most of Europe and North America, but new research from the University of Washington tells a different story in the high-altitude, desert climates of Mongolia.

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Credit: Fenbeagle


H/T The GWPF

Former Trade and Industry Minister, Peter Lilley warns that vested interests in the renewables industry, politicians of all parties, the bureaucracy and academia have together largely suppressed debate about their reckless waste of public money exposed by the government’s own Review of the Cost of Energy by Dieter Helm.

In a paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, Peter Lilley highlights Professor Dieter Helm’s devastating critique, outlined in the Cost of Energy Review which was commissioned by the government.

“Helm shows that the Climate Change Act objective of cutting emissions of carbon dioxide could have been met for a fraction of the £100 billion so far committed, which has already raised the cost of energy by 20%.”

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Hambach surface mine, Germany [image credit: Wikipedia]


Looks like a case of protest gone mad over Europe’s largest surface coal mining operation.

The finance chief of an RWE renewable energy subsidiary was struck by unknown assailants as he crossed a park near Düsseldorf, reports DW.com. Police said they were investigating “in every direction”.
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A German energy executive has been badly injured in an acid attack, his company confirmed early Monday. Bernhard Günther, the CFO of energy giant RWE’s green subsidiary, Innogy, was struck as he crossed a park in Haan, a well-to-do suburb of Düsseldorf on Sunday.

“We are deeply shocked,” said Innogy chairman Uwe Tiggs. “Our thoughts are with Bernhard and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Two unknown perpetrators poured acid over the 51-year-old’s face before fleeing the scene on foot, according to a statement Günter made to police.

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Weather station [image credit: UK Met. Office]


Making so-called ‘adjustments’ to existing temperature data, followed in some cases by adjustments to the adjustments, was never going to be a credible scientific method.
H/T The GWPF

A group of prominent scientists are calling for a global network of advanced weather stations that don’t need to go through controversial data adjustments, and it’s vindication for global warming skeptics, writes Michael Bastasch.

Seventeen climate scientists co-authored a research article published in the International Journal of Climatology calling for a global climate station network modeled after the United States Climate Reference Network (USCRN) to use as a baseline for data quality.

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Giant berg mission thwarted by sea-ice

Posted: March 3, 2018 by oldbrew in News, sea ice, Travel
Tags:

Credit: coolantarctica.com


Not the first time something like this has happened, and probably not the last.

The UK-led expedition to the waters around the world’s biggest iceberg is forced to turn around, reports BBC News.
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Scientists have had to abandon their plan to investigate the waters around the world’s biggest iceberg.

The team, led by the British Antarctic Survey, was thwarted in its attempts to reach the massive block known as A-68 by thick sea-ice in the Weddell Sea.

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Carrington gas power station, Greater Manchester


Britain badly needs new power stations but current national policy is working against that, argues an industry insider. Instead we have a ‘sticking plaster’ strategy.

Great Britain’s energy market, once the envy of free-marketeers after Margaret Thatcher ended decades of nationalisation in the 1980s, is once again under the spotlight – for all the wrong reasons, says businessman Peter Hughes at PEI.

The current Prime Minister Theresa May is fond of referring to the UK’s “broken energy market”. While she may use the phrase to justify a cap on consumer energy bills, she could just as easily apply it to the failure of successive governments to encourage the building of new power plants.

As old coal and aged gas and nuclear power plants head towards decommissioning, the UK faces the possibility of a shortfall in its future electricity supply that cannot be plugged by intermittent renewables alone.

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Cobalt boom turns life upside down in DR Congo

Posted: March 2, 2018 by oldbrew in Geology
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Cobalt mining in DR Congo [image credit: BBC]


If two thirds of the world’s cobalt comes from this one country, then given the projected numbers of electric vehicles – and other electronic devices – needing it in the years ahead, the question must be: is this sustainable? Recent rapid price rises suggest scarcity of supply in relation to demand. China moved in there in a big way about ten years ago.

In early 2014, according to local folklore, a man digging a septic tank or a well in his garden in Kasulo came across rocks with a distinctive grey-green sheen: cobalt.

From then on—rather like the find at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 that sparked the California Gold Rush—life for local people was never quite the same again, says Phys.org.

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Credit: mygridgb.co.uk


No doubt the UK gas drilling companies will point out they have a way of tackling this kind of problem. As it’s cold almost everywhere in Europe at the moment, with high gas demand, nobody wants to bail Britain out. Some industrial users will get paid to cut their demand instead.

The UK’s gas system operator National Grid has issued a gas deficit warning for Thursday’s Gas Day starting at 0600 GMT as demand is set to significantly outstrip supply due to a number of outages, reports Platts.

UK gas demand is forecast at 396 million cu m on Thursday, while supply is now forecast at just 361 million cu m, leaving a deficit of 35 million cu m.

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