Archive for April, 2020


Another rose-tinted glasses prediction from the climate alarm club. Wind and solar power are used to declining to zero output on a regular – or irregular – basis, unlike fuel sources of energy.

“Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use” – quotes news website Common Dreams.

A new report Thursday from the International Energy Agency projects a bleak year for fossil fuels but a banner 2020 for renewables as the coronavirus pandemic triggers “the biggest shock to the global energy system in more than seven decades.”

“This is a historic shock to the entire energy world,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement. “Amid today’s unparalleled health and economic crises, the plunge in demand for nearly all major fuels is staggering, especially for coal, oil, and gas. Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use.”

“It is still too early to determine the longer-term impacts,” he said, “but the energy industry that emerges from this crisis will be significantly different from the one that came before.”

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Loch Vaa, Scotland


Despite an unusually dry April in the notoriously rainy Scottish Highlands, an unpredictable local loch is now way above normal levels, baffling experts and locals.
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The level at a loch that mysteriously lost millions of gallons of water a year ago has risen to one of its highest in years, reports BBC News.

Loch Vaa, near Aviemore in the Cairngorms, is fed by a spring.

In May last year, its lease-holders reported the water level had dropped by 1.4m (4.5ft) for unexplained reasons.

However, after returning to normal levels later in 2019, it has now risen by an extra 2.5m (8ft), the highest level in decades.

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The Germans like to ‘talk green’, but reportedly plan to bail out their national airline Lufthansa to the tune of 10 billion euros. Some other countries plan similar rescues. But for the Brits, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has added his soundbite of climate waffle to the recovery policy discussion.
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António Guterres calls for coronavirus aid to be directed at firms with green credentials – from the GWPF.

Governments should not use taxpayer cash to rescue fossil fuel companies and carbon-intensive industries, but should devote economic rescue packages for the coronavirus crisis to businesses that cut greenhouse gas emissions and create green jobs, the UN secretary general has urged.

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Two Solar Cycles Active at Once

Posted: April 28, 2020 by oldbrew in Cycles, solar system dynamics
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Cycle 25 preparing to topple Cycle 24.

Spaceweather.com

April 27, 2020: Today, there are two sunspots in the sun’s southern hemisphere. Their magnetic polarity reveals something interesting: They come from different solar cycles. Take a look at this magnetic map of the sun’s surface (with sunspots inset) from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

latest_4096_HMIBC_labelled_crop

One sunspot (AR2760) belongs to old Solar Cycle 24, while the other (AR2761) belongs to new Solar Cycle 25. We know this because of Hale’s polarity law. AR2760 is +/- while AR2761 is -/+, reversed signs that mark them as belonging to different cycles.

This is actually normal. Solar cycles always overlap at their boundaries, sprinkling Solar Minimum with a mixture of old- and new-cycle sunspots. Sometimes, like today, they pop up simultaneously. We might see more such combinations in the months ahead as we slowly grind our way through one of the deepest Solar Minima in a century.

The simultaneous appearance of two solar…

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Tale Of Two Panics – Covid And Climate

Posted: April 28, 2020 by oldbrew in alarmism, Critique, modelling

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Over-reliance on computer models isn’t working out too well.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

While they are occurring on vastly different time scales, the Covid-19 panic and the climate change panic are remarkably similar. Perhaps there are certain basic social panic mechanisms that always occur, which are yet to be discovered. Yet in any case the striking similarities between these two are worth exploring a bit.

To begin with, each panic began with runaway computer models. In the Covid case the U.S. death count was projected to be around 2,000,000, clearly calling for draconian government action, which soon followed. That number now stands at about 60,000, about the same as a bad flu year, but the damage is well underway.

Claims that the ruinous actions brought the numbers down are belied by the countries that fared just as well without them. Nor do we know what made the model so “hot” as it has not been analyzed, or even…

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They keep trotting out their ‘little time left’ alarm call, pretending to have the power to micromanage the Earth’s climates. But others take a rather different view: Costly Climate Policies Must Be Abandoned To Save Economy. Sucking the life out of ailing economies to try and control the weather isn’t everyone’s idea of a recovery.
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Germany and Britain said Monday that efforts to revive the global economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic must ensure a ‘green recovery’ that helps the world tackle climate change, reports Phys.org.

Speaking ahead of a virtual meeting of officials from some 30 countries, Germany’s environment minister said it was important for economic recovery programs to invest in future-proof jobs that would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in coming years, rather than aim for a return to business as usual.

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Hydrogen-powered London bus


Fare-paying travellers can rejoice in subsidising the buses and the means of producing the fuel for them, i.e. the wind turbines, under this plan. Maybe do the same for trains too.

The owner of manufacturer Wrightbus has said he hopes to bring another 1,500 jobs to Ballymena as he pushes for a Government subsidy to fund the building of more than 3,000 buses in the town, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Jo Bamford, executive chairman of the historic bus-builder, said the use of hydrogen could usher in a new era of environmentally-friendly transport.

It’s seeking subsidy funding of £500m from the UK Government, with the aim of building over 3,000 hydrogen-fuelled buses in Ballymena by 2024.

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A case of the blind leading the blind?

MSPs, business leaders and newly enrolled university students may be asked to take mandatory climate change studies if plans currently under consideration are adopted, reports The Herald.

The studies would help arm them with facts and knowledge to make urgent changes to society as it emerges from COVID-19 lockdown.

The Scottish Government has already committed to enrolling at least 100 senior officials to the Climate Solutions course.

The news comes just days before Tuesday’s one-year anniversary of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declaring a climate emergency.

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Synthesizing ammonia using less energy

Posted: April 25, 2020 by oldbrew in Emissions, Energy, research
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This is mainly about fertilizers. A caption in the quoted report points out: ‘Ammonia is currently obtained by reacting nitrogen (N2) from air with hydrogen (H2). This reaction requires high energy and is, therefore [sic], powered by fossil fuels, contributing to over 3% of the global CO2 emissions.’ But the report notes that ammonia is critical for fertilizers that help feed 70% of the world’s population, so restricting ammonia use to satisfy climate obsessives would not be a smart option — at least as far as the 70% are concerned. But using wind power to produce ammonia has proved ineffective, so new ideas are sought by fuel-averse researchers.
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Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) have developed an improved catalyst by taking the common dehydrating agent calcium hydride and adding fluoride to it, reports Phys.org.

The catalyst facilitates the synthesis of ammonia at merely 50 °C, by using only half the energy that existing techniques require. This opens doors to ammonia production with low energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emission.

Ammonia is critical for making plant fertilizer, which in turn feeds approximately 70% of the world’s population.

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In other words, they want to siphon off some of the money allocated for economic recovery into their pet climate projects, which are a known burden on any economy. For ‘climate ambition’ read ‘wishful thinking’.
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Tackling climate change must be woven into the solution to the Covid-19 economic crisis, the UK will tell governments next week.

Environment ministers from 30 countries are meeting in a two-day online conference in a bid to make progress on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reports BBC News.

The gathering is called the “Petersberg Climate Dialogue”.

It will focus on how to organise a “green” economic recovery after the acute phase of the pandemic is over.

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Possible link between cosmic rays and ‘sprites’ as Earth experiences the solar minimum.

Spaceweather.com

April 23, 2020: A series of unusually severe spring storms parading across the southeastern USA has residents taking shelter from golf-ball sized hail and dangerous tornadoes. High above the maelstrom, sprites are dancing. Paul M. Smith of Edmond, Oklahoma, captured these specimens on April 22nd.

“There were tornado warnings and very large hail throughout the night,” says Smith. “I photographed the sprites through a clearing around midnight.”

Sprites are a form of electricity in powerful storm clouds. While regular lightning lances down, sprites leap up. They can reach all the way to the edge of space 90 km or more above Earth’s surface. Spring thunderstorms often produce the year’s first big sprites, and the sightings continue through late summer.

“My camera was pointed toward Oklahoma City,” says Smith, “and the sprites were about 150 miles away.” This radar weather map shows shows the observing geometry:

When observing sprites, this kind…

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Credit: infobarrel.com


Super-rotation of its thick atmosphere, that is. The researchers believe their findings could also be a model for tidally-locked exoplanets with atmospheres.

An international research team led by Takeshi Horinouchi of Hokkaido University has revealed that this ‘super-rotation’ is maintained near the equator by atmospheric tidal waves formed from solar heating on the planet’s dayside and cooling on its nightside.

Closer to the poles, however, atmospheric turbulence and other kinds of waves have a more pronounced effect. The study was published online in Science on April 23.

Venus rotates very slowly, taking 243 Earth days to rotate once around its axis. Despite this very slow rotation, Venus’ atmosphere rotates westward 60 times faster than its planetary rotation.

This super-rotation increases with altitude, taking only four Earth days to circulate around the entire planet towards the top of the cloud cover. The fast-moving atmosphere transports heat from the planet’s dayside to nightside, reducing the temperature differences between the two hemispheres.

“Since the super-rotation was discovered in the 1960s, however, the mechanism behind its forming and maintenance has been a long-standing mystery,” says Horinouchi.

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The non-solution to the non-problem gets another going-over. Anything that gives the lie to ‘clean green’ mythology and gets a few headlines has to be welcomed.
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A newly-released documentary from contrarian filmmaker Michael Moore calls green energy a fraud that is destroying the Earth, says Lorrie Goldstein @ The Toronto Sun.

Planet of the Humans also accuses the environmental movement of selling out to corporate and Wall St. interests, by shilling for these so-called renewable technologies.

The film premiered at the Traverse City Film Festival in July, but Moore released it on YouTube for free for 30 days on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday.

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The atmosphere of Venus has surprised and puzzled scientists before.

Philosopher Nicholas Rescher once wrote, “Scientific discoveries are often made not on the basis of some well-contrived plan of investigation, but through some stroke of sheer luck,” quotes Phys.org.

For a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, that statement couldn’t be more true.

What started as a dry run to ensure instruments on NASA’s Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft worked properly later turned into a 10-year saga that resulted in a chance discovery unrelated to the mission’s target planet, Mercury. It’s about Venus and its atmosphere.

The team reports April 20 in Nature Astronomy that data fortuitously collected by MESSENGER reveals a sudden rise in nitrogen concentrations at about 30 miles above Venus’ surface, demonstrating the planet’s atmosphere isn’t uniformly mixed, as expected. That finding upends an understanding about Venus’ atmosphere that has prevailed for decades.

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Correlation is not necessarily causation of course. People in cities are likely to come into close contact with higher numbers of other potentially-infected people, by the very nature of things. There’s also an attempt to link coronavirus problems to fuel burning in this article: ‘Long-term exposure to air pollutants from car exhaust fumes or burning fossil fuels can put people at risk of these health conditions, and can also increase the risk of infection by viruses that affect people’s airways.’
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Higher air pollution has been linked to coronavirus as a study by Cambridge University says cities with the worst air have bigger outbreaks of cases, says the Daily Telegraph.

An analysis by the Medical Research Council Toxicology Unit compared regional data on total Covid-19 cases and deaths, against levels of three major air pollutants.

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A climate classic from the University of Boulder. Has ‘excess’ CO2 already got to them? Prepare to enter the twilight zone… 🤪
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As the 21st century progresses, rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations will cause urban and indoor levels of the gas to increase, and that may significantly reduce our basic decision-making ability and complex strategic thinking, according to a new CU Boulder-led study.

By the end of the century, people could be exposed to indoor CO2 levels up to 1400 parts per million—more than three times today’s outdoor levels, and well beyond what humans have ever experienced, reports Phys.org.

“It’s amazing how high CO2 levels get in enclosed spaces,” said Kris Karnauskas, CIRES Fellow, associate professor at CU Boulder and lead author of the new study published today in the AGU journal GeoHealth. “It affects everybody—from little kids packed into classrooms to scientists, business people and decision makers to regular folks in their houses and apartments.”

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The would-be planet savers imagine their mythical problem demands something more drastic than current efforts. Based on faulty climate assumptions their so-called solutions sound unpleasant, or worse. They propose ‘widespread deployment of both behavioural and technological responses’. You-must-obey type of thing.
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Overreliance on promises of new technology to solve climate change is enabling delay, say researchers from Lancaster University.

Their research published in Nature Climate Change calls for an end to a longstanding cycle of technological promises and reframed climate change targets, says Phys.org.

Contemporary technological proposals for responding to climate change include nuclear fusion power, giant carbon sucking machines, ice-restoration using millions of wind-powered pumps, and spraying particulates in the stratosphere.

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Image credit: MIT


At least they don’t need any help predicting hours of darkness.
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The output of solar energy systems is highly dependent on cloud cover, says Science Daily.

While weather forecasting can be used to predict the amount of sunlight reaching ground-based solar collectors, cloud cover is often characterized in simple terms, such as cloudy, partly cloudy or clear.

This does not provide accurate information for estimating the amount of sunlight available for solar power plants.

In this week’s Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, from AIP Publishing, a new method is reported for estimating cloud optical properties using data from recently launched satellites.

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Natural gas flare [credit: Wikipedia]


It’s now thought that methane, aka natural gas, existed even before planet formation, which looks like the final nail in the coffin for the idea that it should be regarded exclusively as a ‘fossil’ fuel.
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An international team of astronomers has shown in a laboratory at Leiden University (the Netherlands) that methane can form on icy dust particles in space, reports Phys.org.

The possibility had existed for quite some time, but because the conditions in space were difficult to simulate, it was not possible to prove this under relevant space conditions.

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Renewables have many issues. Time to stop ‘jerking around’ with them and with batteries, as Bill Gates colourfully stated, and get real instead.

PA Pundits - International

By Duggan Flanakin ~

Electricity has become a human right.” – Robert Bryce

In chapter 16 of his seminal book, A Question of Power: Electricity and the Wealth of Nations, Austin-based futurist Robert Bryce speaks of “the Terawatt Challenge” – a term coined by the late Nobel laureate Richard Smalley.

Smalley posited that if we can provide sufficient electricity to all the peoples of the world, we can eliminate the massive problems of food security, water quality, poverty, and a clean environment. And Bryce solemnly points out that as a world, we are far from that goal.

But we can get there.

Bryce, whose first book, Pipe Dreams: Greed, Ego, and the Death of Enron, was named one of the best nonfiction books of 2002, traces the history of harnessed electricity from Benjamin Franklin through Tesla, Edison, and Westinghouse – and the much less well known but equally…

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