Archive for April, 2018

The edge of the Thwaites glacier [credit: NASA photograph by Jim Yungel]


This BBC report seems unaware that a study in 2014 found that parts of the Thwaites Glacier are subject to melting due to subglacial volcanoes and other geothermal “hotspots”. The existence of this group of volcanoes has long been known.

British and American scientists will assess the stability of one of Antarctica’s biggest ice streams, reports BBC News.

It is going to be one of the biggest projects ever undertaken in Antarctica.

UK and US scientists will lead a five-year effort to examine the stability of the mighty Thwaites Glacier.

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The VW emissions scandal sent the reputation and sales of the diesel car generally into a nosedive, but one German firm has new ideas that aim to reverse its fading fortunes.

Robert Bosch GmbH said its engineers have developed a new diesel-exhaust system that cuts emissions significantly below legal limits taking effect in 2020, reports TechXplore.

Bosch is positioning the diesel technology as a solution to the NOx problem.

In turn, anyone who says there is no future in diesel will find no solace in the words of Bosch Chief Executive Volkmar Denner: “There’s a future for diesel. Soon, emissions will no longer be an issue.”

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Irsching 4 gas power plant, Bavaria [image credit: E.ON]


Billed as ‘the world’s most eco-friendly fossil fuelled power plant’ when it opened in 2011, the owners say Irsching is not commercially viable due to the built-in advantages handed to part-time subsidised renewables. Meanwhile Germany continues building cheaper-to-run coal-fired power stations to help replace its nuclear fleet. A strange situation to be in.

German utility Uniper announced on Thursday that it had applied to extend the closure of its loss-making Irsching 4 and 5 gas-fired power generation plants with a capacity of 1400 MW for a third year beyond April 2019, reports PEI.

Uniper and the other owners of unit 5, N-Ergie, Mainova MNVG.DE and HSE, see no way to ensure the Bavarian plant’s commercial viability, it said in a statement.

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Who needs secrecy when public bodies are making important decisions that directly affect people – except for things like personal data, national security etc.? Censorship arouses suspicion, so showing evidence does matter.

This week EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt banned the use of “secret science” in EPA regulatory decision making. The Washington Post immediately cried foul, of course, by arguing that this would mean that important evidence would be ignored.

I argue, on the contrary, that it is very important that only evidence that is confirmed by the scientific method should ever be used.

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Cornish tin mine [image credit: IB Times]


Back to the future?
H/T Yahoo News

Britain is banking on a series of ancient mines on its southwestern tip to secure a slice of the global electric car revolution, reports Reuters.

Now however a rise in demand for tin, along with other metals that can be used in electric vehicles, electronics and renewable energy, has helped create a global deficit and quadruple prices.

British officials are supporting reopening of the mines and seeking investment, leading to a mini-rush of mining companies into the area.

Adding to the potential, new research shows the extent to which mines also contain deposits of lithium, the so-called metal of the future.

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Factory in China [image credit: Wikipedia]


As the Senator says of the Paris climate agreement: ‘It has no teeth’. But if it did have teeth there would surely be far more resistance to signing it.

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy noted one obvious problem Thursday with French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent clarion call for the U.S. to stay connected to the Paris Climate agreement, reports The Daily Caller.

Exempting China and India from abiding to the non-binding deal is one of the main reasons why greenhouse gas emission are pitching upward, Cassidy said in an interview with Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade.

Environmental rules in the U.S. are causing companies to shift production to countries not tethered to the accord’s strict provisions.

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Twisters missing from Tornado Alley

Posted: April 26, 2018 by oldbrew in Natural Variation, weather

Location of tornado alley and related weather systems [credit: Dan Craggs @ Wikipedia]


‘Extreme weather’ doomsayers must be scratching their heads over this. Nothing to see here – move along.

In a twist that would ruin the storyline to the Wizard of Oz, the USA’s ‘Tornado Alley’ has been strangely quiet this year, says BBC Weather.

In fact, if there are none reported in Oklahoma or Kansas on Thursday, 2018 will officially be the quietest start to the tornado season in both states …on record!

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Biomass on the move [image credit: Drax]


Converting tree matter to wood pellets and transporting it thousands of miles are also energy-intensive processes. But non-solutions like part-time unpredictable wind turbines can never be an adequate alternative either.

Protestors claim biomass can be as bad as or worse for the environment than coal and say it shouldn’t be classed as renewable energy, reports Energy Live News.

Drax has been hit by a double environmental protest today at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in York and at Peel Port in Liverpool, where it receives its wooden biomass fuel pellets.

The owner of the formerly coal-fired Drax Power Station in Yorkshire, which now runs 70% on imported biomass, was targeted by environmentalists that believe its new fuel source can be as as bad as or worse for the environment than coal and say it shouldn’t be classed as renewable energy.

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So it’s the usual smoke-and-mirrors nonsense from the climate-obsessive crowd. Is anyone surprised?

Trust, yet verify

Solar PV and wind are getting so cheap and more abundant that they are on track to entirely displace fossil fuels worldwide by 2032. This remarkable claim is made in The Conversation article titled Solar PV and wind are on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades.

It is a remarkable claim because the last figures that I found show that solar PV plus wind generated only a tiny fraction of total energy compared to fossil fuels. So I would doubt that solar PV and wind suddenly could replace all coal, oil and gas in just a couple decades. Two decades seems like an awfully short time to go from (almost) zero to hero.

That made me really curious about the principle behind this claim. To clarify their case, the authors showed two graphs. This is the first one:

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Leaving aside whether ‘climate sensitivity’ (to carbon dioxide) is a valid concept in the first place, it’s been obvious for a while that climate modellers have seriously overestimated the actual level of any warming that has occurred in recent years. If that doesn’t suggest to them that something is wrong, what would?
H/T The GWPF

London, 24 April — A paper just published by the Journal of Climate concludes that high estimates of future global warming from most computer climate simulations are inconsistent with observed warming since 1850. The implication is that future warming will be 30 to 45% lower than suggested by the simulations.

The study estimates climate sensitivity — how much the world will warm when carbon dioxide levels increase* — from changes in observed temperatures and estimates of the warming effect of greenhouse gases and other drivers of climate change, from the mid/late 19th century until 2016.

The paper also addresses previous criticisms of the methodology used, finding that these are unfounded.

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Hydro power lines in Ontario


Once again the high cost of so-called ‘green’ policies turns out to be politically embarrassing, and attempts to hide the true facts seem to have made things much worse.

As Ontarians head to the polls in June, voters have to make sense of two competing versions of their province’s bottom line: The Auditor-General’s and the Kathleen Wynne government’s, reports Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Matthew McClearn investigates how creative accounting in hydro revenue made their math so different.

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We’re informed that ‘these findings definitely challenge the widespread view of trees as static, passive organisms’.

A high-precision, three-dimensional survey of 21 different species of trees has revealed an as-yet unknown cycle of subtle canopy movement during the night, reports Phys.org.

Such ‘sleep cycles’ differed from one species to another. Detection of anomalies in overnight movement could become a future diagnostic tool to reveal stress or disease in crops.

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The planet Mercury, as imaged by the MESSENGER spacecraft [Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington]


More theoretical speculations about Mercury’s origins, arising from what is now believed to be evidence of historical volcanic activity.

Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, but far from being a dull cinder of a world, it has instead turned out to be a real eye opener for geologists, says Phys.org.

Among the revelations by NASA’s MESSENGER probe, which first flew past Mercury in 2008 and orbited it between 2011 and 2015, is the discovery of a hundred or so bright red spots scattered across the globe. Now they are at last being named.

Although they appear more yellow-orange than red on the accompanying colour-enhanced images, they are the reddest features on Mercury, a planet that looks dull and grey on unenhanced images.

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Keeping an open mind on climate matters is considered a thought crime in some quarters. Others think it’s just the rational approach.

CO2 is Life

NyeandBridenstine-2017-AP-640x480.jpgNASA’s new Administrator Jim Bridenstine is a climate change skeptic – and naturally the usual suspects are furious.

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The incorrect demonising of carbon dioxide has poisoned the minds of many political leaders. Painful reality is bound to catch up with them and their misguided energy polices sooner or later.

STOP THESE THINGS

It takes a special brand of ignorance to still believe that the world can run on sunshine and breezes. Whether you blame a breakdown in the education system or a Trotskyite takeover of the mainstream media, the results are the same: there’s a stubborn rump who continue to turn fantasy into ‘fact’; who are incapable of distinguishing the former from the latter; and who are by far the most rabid and shrill when it comes to the topic of the generation of electricity.

Our good friends logic and reason were sacrificed on the altar of ideology, a generation ago.

Defending those critical attributes of an ordered and civil society is what STT is all about. Of course, the wind and sun cult hate us for that.

You can’t blame them; when you have a child-like belief in something you deeply love (think Father Christmas, the Easter Bunny, talking unicorns) and…

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California is investigating Tesla for workplace safety

Posted: April 20, 2018 by oldbrew in News

Tesla plant [image credit: Steve Jurvetson @ Wikipedia]


More negative publicity for the electric car maker. The report includes a response from Tesla, in which it says: ‘The injury rate at our Fremont factory is half what it was in the final years of the UAW plant operated by GM/Toyota immediately before us, and we care deeply about the safety and well-being of our people and strive to do better every day.’ Are electric car plants more dangerous than non-electric ones?

Days after reports of possible dangerous working conditions, Tesla is now under investigation by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, as Futurism reports.

Well, people, it’s happening: California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is officially investigating Tesla, according to a statement.

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ANTARCTICA : It’s Time We Had That Talk

Posted: April 17, 2018 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

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Surprise: Antarctic climate change is of opposite sign to model expectations.

Climatism

Ross Ice Shelf - ANTARCTICA (popular mechanics)The Ross Ice Shelf is Freezing, Not Melting. Which Is Weird | Popular Mechanics

IT’S time for “the talk.” You know, the one we’ve been putting off because it’s “inconvenient”. That end-of-life conversation…

YEP! Antarctica, the ‘inconvenient’ pole, the naughty child, has been gaining ice mass and cooling for decades, despite a 20 percent increase in atmospheric CO2, and model predictions to the contrary.

2015 NASA Study

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 6.43.58 am.pngNASA Study: Mass Gains of Antarctic Ice Sheet Greater than Losses | NASA

Guardian Report 2015

Screen Shot 2018-04-16 at 7.12.50 am.pngWhy is Antarctic sea ice at record levels despite global warming? | Environment | The Guardian

2017 Study

Antartica 2017 Ice mass gain study.png

From the abstract:

Mass changes of the Antarctic ice sheet impact sea-level rise as climate changes, but recent rates have been uncertain. Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) data (2003–08) show mass gains from snow accumulation exceeded discharge losses by 82 ± 25 Gt a−1, reducing global sea-level…

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Credit: Coal India Limited


A big vote of no confidence in the Paris climate agreement, by the world’s second most populous country. Political reality comes first: coal is much cheaper than nuclear.

India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds, says The GWPF. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation.

The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set an ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two-thirds.

The decision has enormous implications for expanding use of coal for electrical power generation and for release of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and for adding to India’s dire air pollution problems in its major cities.

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We’ve been having a good knockabout on twitter with Patrick Moore concerning Ned and Karl’s Pressure-Insolation theory; their discovery that a simple formula using surface pressure and solar distance will accurately give you the surface temperature on vastly different planets and moons throughout the solar system.

N-KFig_4

Figure 4: The relative atmospheric thermal enhancement, observed surface T/No -atmosphere T (Ts/Tna ratio) as a function of the average surface air pressure according to Eq. (10a) derived from data representing a broad range of planetary environments in the solar system.

Patrick is a great guy, and a good sport, and has been mostly putting up with Ned’s jibes and arguing his corner. I thought it might help others to understand Ned and Karl’s ideas if we look at a few of the objections Patrick raises and our answers to them.

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The original technology was demonstrated in an Atlantic crossing that took place in 1926, but Norsepower says it has created various new improvements for which several patents have been granted.

Last year (reports New Atlas) we detailed how Norsepower had rediscovered an engineering innovation, which sees large cylinders installed atop big ships to harness wind for propulsion.

Now a passenger ship has been treated to the Rotor Sail Solution and has set sail on wind-assisted trips between Finland and Sweden.

The M/S Viking Grace – which has 880 cabins and can accommodate 2,800 passengers and around 500 cars – went into service in 2013, when it was reported to be the first ship of its size to be fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

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