Archive for the ‘research’ Category

Scientists at the University of Michigan, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and University of Colorado Boulder recently used TSIS-1 SSI satellite data in a global climate model for the first time – and got a few surprises. Another dent in the myth of ‘settled’ climate science.
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Have you ever worn a dark T-shirt on a sunny day and felt the fabric warm in the Sun’s rays? asks NASA-GISS.

Most of us know dark colors absorb sunlight and light colors reflect it – but did you know this doesn’t work the same way in the Sun’s non-visible wavelengths?

The Sun is Earth’s power source, and it emits energy as visible sunlight, ultraviolet radiation (shorter wavelengths), and near-infrared radiation, which we feel as heat (longer wavelengths).

Visible light reflects off light-colored surfaces like snow and ice, while darker surfaces like forests or oceans absorb it. This reflectivity, called albedo, is one key way Earth regulates its temperature – if Earth absorbs more energy than it reflects, it gets warmer, and if it reflects more than it absorbs, it gets cooler.

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atlantic1

Credit: NASA – GISS

They refer here to the same AMOC that was recently claimed by Mann et al to be of no significance, or even not to exist at all. But empirical evidence has its uses.
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From 50,000 to 15,000 years ago, during the last ice age, Earth’s climate wobbled between cooler and warmer periods punctuated by occasional, dramatic ice-melting events, says Phys.org.

Previous research has suggested that these oscillations were likely influenced by changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), a pattern of currents that carry warm, tropical water to the North Atlantic, where it cools, sinks, and flows back south. However, the precise role played by the AMOC in ancient climate fluctuations has been unclear.

Now Toucanne et al. have reconstructed the historical flow of a key current in the upper part (the northward flow) of the AMOC, the Glacial Eastern Boundary Current (GEBC), shedding new light on how the AMOC can drive sudden changes in climate.

The GEBC flowed northward along Europe’s continental margin during the last ice age (it persists today as the European Slope Current). To better understand the GEBC’s role in the AMOC, the researchers collected six seafloor sediment cores off the coast of France.

Analysis of grain sizes and isotope levels in the core layers revealed the current’s strength when each layer was deposited, yielding the first high-resolution, 50,000-year historical record of the current.

This new historical record shows that the GEBC flowed faster during warmer intervals of the last ice age but weakened during the coldest periods.

The timing of these changes aligns well with previously established records on AMOC speed and the southward return flow of deep waters to the west.

Comparing the history of the GEBC with other records also shows that major ice-melting events, in which ice age glaciers released huge amounts of freshwater into the Atlantic, correspond with periodic weakening of the current and of the AMOC in general.

Full article here.

Amazon_forest

Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus [image credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT @ Wikipedia]

Which is more likely: nature has got it wrong, or ‘scientists’ (which ones) have got it wrong?
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The Global Warming Policy Forum & AFP reporting:

The Brazilian Amazon released nearly 20 percent more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the last decade than it absorbed, according to a stunning report that shows humanity can no longer depend on the world’s largest tropical forest to help absorb man-made carbon pollution. [Talkshop comment – ‘carbon pollution’ is a man-made fiction].

From 2010 through 2019, Brazil’s Amazon basin gave off 16.6 billion tonnes of CO2, while drawing down only 13.9 billion tonnes, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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speleothems

Six most common speleothems [image credit: Dave Bunnell / Under Earth Images @ Wikipedia]

The MIT research article this report is based on includes the phrase ‘carbon cycle conundrums’ in its title. In the discussion section we find this: ‘However, atmospheric CO2 and CH4 concentrations did not exceed Holocene levels during MIS 11, seemingly indicating that widespread ground thaw did not initiate a permafrost carbon feedback where increased atmospheric greenhouse gases and subsequent warming thaw permafrost that releases more greenhouse gases.’ If no ‘carbon feedback’, what does that say about the theories behind current climate paranoia?
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Nearly one quarter of the land in the Northern Hemisphere, amounting to some 9 million square miles, is layered with permafrost—soil, sediment, and rocks that are frozen solid for years at a time, says Phys.org.

Vast stretches of permafrost can be found in Alaska, Siberia, and the Canadian Arctic, where persistently freezing temperatures have kept carbon, in the form of decayed bits of plants and animals, locked in the ground.

Scientists estimate that more than 1,400 gigatons of carbon is trapped in the Earth’s permafrost.

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VAWT

One of many vertical axis wind turbine designs

Vertical axis wind turbines aren’t new, but early reliability problems are supposed to have been largely ironed out now. The gearbox and generator are close to the ground, and they require less land per unit, but there’s less wind lower down. Given that we’re stuck with the wind power obsession for now, they may be worth a try if the computer simulations are anything to go by.
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The now-familiar sight of traditional propeller wind turbines could be replaced in the future with wind farms containing more compact and efficient vertical turbines, says TechXplore.

New research from Oxford Brookes University has found that the vertical turbine design is far more efficient than traditional turbines in large scale wind farms, and when set in pairs the vertical turbines increase each other’s performance by up to 15%.

A research team from the School of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (ECM) at Oxford Brookes led by Professor Iakovos Tzanakis conducted an in-depth study using more than 11,500 hours of computer simulation to show that wind farms can perform more efficiently by substituting the traditional propeller type Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWTs), for compact Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWTs).

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ocean_co2

The ocean carbon cycle [credit: IAEA]

Quoting from the article: ‘The main reason for this is global warming, which leads to a decrease in the solubility of gases and thus also of oxygen.’ Surely the same applies to carbon dioxide (CO2): warmer water causes release of some of it from the oceans into the atmosphere? Diagrams of the Earth’s natural carbon cycle seem conclusive enough.
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The life of almost all animals in the ocean depends on the availability of oxygen, which is dissolved as a gas in seawater, says Phys.org.

However, the ocean has been continuously losing oxygen for several decades. In the last 50 years, the loss of oxygen accumulates globally to about 2% of the total inventory (regionally sometimes significantly more).

The main reason for this is global warming, which leads to a decrease in the solubility of gases and thus also of oxygen, as well as to a slowdown in the ocean circulation and vertical mixing.

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emp_penguin

Emperor penguins, Antarctica [image credit: USAF / Wikipedia]

Too much alarm coming from climate models, again. This new research finds ‘some regions near Antarctica even cool under climate change’.
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The melting rate of the Antarctic ice sheet is mainly controlled by the increase of ocean temperatures surrounding Antarctica.

Using a new, higher-resolution climate model simulation, scientists from Utrecht University found a much slower ocean temperature increase compared to current simulations with a coarser resolution, reports Phys.org.

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Rinksglacier

Rinks Glacier, West Greenland [image credit: NSIDC]

Interesting, but as we’ve had a temperature rise of about 1.2ºC since 1880, according to one source at least, comparisons with much bigger historical increases in shorter timescales seem somewhat ambitious, to say the least.
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Throughout the last ice age, the climate changed repeatedly and rapidly during so-called Dansgaard-Oeschger events, where Greenland temperatures rose between 5 and 16 degrees Celsius in decades, says Phys.org.

When certain parts of the climate system changed, other parts of the climate system followed like a series of dominos toppling in succession.

This is the conclusion from an analysis of ice-core data by a group of researchers that included postdoc Emilie Capron and associate professor Sune Olander Rasmussen from the Section for the Physics of Ice, Climate and Earth at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, in Denmark.

This discovery, just published in the journal Nature Communications, is concerning because the extent of sea ice in the Arctic played an important part in these dramatic climate shifts of the past.

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solar1

Solar activity [image credit: NASA]

What drives the weather can drive the climate. In this case the chances of non-correlation are said to be extremely low.

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A new study shows a correlation between the end of solar cycles and a switch from El Nino to La Nina conditions in the Pacific Ocean, suggesting that solar variability can drive seasonal weather variability on Earth, Phys.org reports.

If the connection outlined in the journal Earth and Space Science holds up, it could significantly improve the predictability of the largest El Nino and La Nina events, which have a number of seasonal climate effects over land.

For example, the southern United States tends to be warmer and drier during a La Nina, while the northern U.S. tends to be colder and wetter.

“Energy from the Sun is the major driver of our entire Earth system and makes life on Earth possible,” said Scott McIntosh, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and co-author of the paper.

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Anvil_Cloud

Anvil of a thundercloud over Columbia [image credit: Eulenjäger @ Wikipedia]

But that’s not the whole story. It seems from long-term data ‘that these super-cold thunderstorms may be increasing in frequency. There have been as many such events across the globe in the past three years as there were in the 13 years before that.’ Could this be in some way related to the big decline in sunspot activity over the last two solar cycles?
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We’ve all seen those majestic anvil storm clouds that form on a hot summer’s day, but what do you think is the temperature right at the very top? – asks BBC News.

It’s very cold, obviously; at high altitude it is well below freezing.

But would you be surprised to learn it is sometimes below even -100C?

Indeed, scientists have just published research showing the top of one tropical storm cloud system in 2018 reached -111C. This is very likely a record low temperature.

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Credit: concernusa.org


Well, knock me down with a feather. Real world data can expose flaws in ‘greenhouse gas’ infected climate models, which are unable to model El Niño and La Niña events, and mostly predict much more warming than actually occurs.
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New research shows that naturally occurring climate variations help to explain a long-standing difference between climate models and satellite observations of global warming, says Phys.org.

Satellite measurements of global-scale changes in atmospheric temperature began in late 1978 and continue to the present.

Relative to most model simulations, satellite data has consistently shown less warming of Earth’s lower atmosphere.

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Hydrogen pipelines [image credit: US Department of Energy @ Wikipedia]


This is one of several questions to be investigated by a Norwegian research team. The ultimate one may be: what happens to hydrogen’s hoped-for role in the big push for so-called green energy, if the findings are unfavourable to current climate theory?
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Hydrogen is an attractive [Talkshop comment: perhaps, but expensive] alternative to fossil fuels, especially for powering trucks, ships and planes, where using batteries isn’t so easy, says TechXplore.

Hydrogen is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels, especially for powering trucks, ships and planes, where using batteries isn’t so easy.

Batteries quickly become too large and heavy if these large transport vessels and vehicles are going to travel far.

As a result, hydrogen is being discussed like never before. Both Norway and the EU have said they will invest more in hydrogen in the years ahead.

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Image credit: livescience.com

The problem is, the ‘wrong’ side is warmer than the other one. Enter Rodinia.
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We’ve known for a long time that Earth’s fiery interior is destined to burn out in the distant future, although new research indicates that this process may be occurring faster on one side of the planet than the other, says IFL Science..

By analyzing the movement of continents and oceanic plates over the past 400 million years, researchers have determined that parts of the planet have remained more insulated than others, leading to an asymmetrical pattern of heat loss.

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A model for California? [image credit: Hitesh vip @ Wikipedia]


Worth asking what is meant by ‘could be economically feasible’ in this context. Running power stations 24/7 looks a lot simpler than having thousands of miles of solar panels to install and maintain, which sit idle without sunlight.
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UC Santa Cruz researchers published a new study—in collaboration with UC Water and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute at UC Merced—that suggests covering California’s 6,350 km network of public water delivery canals with solar panels could be an economically feasible means of advancing both renewable energy and water conservation.

The concept of “solar canals” has been gaining momentum around the world as climate change increases the risk of drought in many regions, claims TechXplore.

Solar panels can shade canals to help prevent water loss through evaporation, and some types of solar panels also work better over canals, because the cooler environment keeps them from overheating.

Pilot projects in India have demonstrated the technical feasibility of several designs, but none have yet been deployed at scale.

California’s canal network is the world’s largest water conveyance system, and the state faces both a drought-prone future [Talkshop comment: evidence-free assertion] and a rapid timeline for transitioning to renewable energy.

Solar canals could target both challenges, but making the case for their implementation in California requires first quantifying the potential benefits. So that’s exactly what researchers set out to do in their paper published by Nature Sustainability.

“While it makes sense to cover canals with solar panels because renewable energy and water conservation is a win-win, the devil is in the details,” said Brandi McKuin, lead author of the new study and a UC Santa Cruz postdoctoral researcher in environmental studies. “A critical question was whether the infrastructure to span the canals would be cost-prohibitive.”

Canal-spanning solar panels are often supported either by steel trusses or suspension cables, both of which are more expensive to build than traditional support structures for ground-mounted solar panels.

But McKuin led a techno-economic analysis that showed how the benefits of solar canals combine to outweigh the added costs for cable-supported installations. In fact, cable-supported solar canals showed a 20-50 percent higher net present value, indicating greater financial return on investment.

In addition to benefits like increased solar panel performance and evaporation savings, shade from solar panels could help control the growth of aquatic weeds, which are a costly canal maintenance issue. Placing solar panels over existing canal sites could also avoid costs associated with land use.

Now that the new paper has provided a more concrete assessment of these benefits, members of the research team hope this could lead to future field experiments with solar canals in California.

Full article here.

Jakobshavn glacier, West Greenland [image credit: Wikipedia]


This article asserts that climate changes, namely warm periods that it tells us have happened many times before in recent history, can now be attributed to humans if they happen again.
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In 1966, US Army scientists drilled down through nearly a mile of ice in northwestern Greenland—and pulled up a fifteen-foot-long tube of dirt from the bottom, says the University of Vermont.

Then this frozen sediment was lost in a freezer for decades. It was accidentally rediscovered in 2017.

In 2019, University of Vermont scientist Andrew Christ looked at it through his microscope—and couldn’t believe what he was seeing: twigs and leaves instead of just sand and rock.

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Such floods, or lack of them, were ’caused by a range of factors’ so not conducive to any particular brand of alarmism, it would seem.
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Severe river floods are escalating in temperate climates and putting at risk populations, livelihoods and property, according to evidence published today in Geophysical Research Letters by an Oxford-led international team, says Phys.org.

The first global examination of recent changes in the size, frequency, and probability of extreme river floods using historical river records, the paper shows that dangers of extreme river flooding demand close monitoring of rivers for decades to come, to understand and account for the potential impact of such changes.

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Lava fields of the Reykjanes Peninsula [image credit: Vincent van Zeijst @ Wikipedia]


24th February: ‘Southwestern Iceland was rocked by a series of earthquakes’, reported DW.com. ‘Experts say shocks from the quake, which registered 5.7 in magnitude, sparked increased volcanic activity, triggering a number of aftershocks registering over 4.0 for hours after the initial quake hit.

“It’s an intense activity zone, we are all well aware of that but I’ve never experienced or felt so many strong earthquakes in such a short period of time. It’s unusual,” as the Icelandic Meteorological Office’s (IMO) earthquake hazards coordinator Kristin Jonsdottir told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV.’

The article below appeared five days ago.
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“If an eruption occurs, it would likely mark the beginning of such a [volcanic] period – lasting a few centuries, I believe,” states Magnús Á. Sigurgeirsson, geologist at ÍSOR Iceland GeoSurvey – a consulting and research institute in the field of geothermal sciences and utilization.

“That’s at least how it has been the past three times, and even dating further back, but we don’t have as exact data available on that,” he tells Iceland Monitor.

He is referring to the uncertainty regarding whether an eruption can be expected soon on the Reykjanes peninsula, Southwest Iceland.

Magnús assembled data on the past three volcanic periods in the area. These were 3,000-3,500 years ago, 1,900-2,400 years ago, and finally between the years 800 and 1240 AD.

His information is based on geological maps of the Reykjanes peninsula and on a comprehensive book on volcanic eruptions in Iceland called Nátt­úru­vá á Íslandi, eld­gos og jarðskjálft­ar.

Research reveals that during the latter part of Holocene – a term used to describe a period that began about 11,700 years ago – the volcanic systems on the Reykjanes peninsula have erupted every 900 to 1100 years.

Less is known about the first part of Holocene.

Each eruption period appears to have lasted about 500 years, and during that time most of the volcanic systems appear to have been active, albeit generally not simultaneously. The volcanic activity is characterized by eruptions that each last a few decades. Lava flows from volcanic fissures that can be as long as 12 km (7.5 mi).

On the Reykjanes peninsula, there are six volcanic systems, lined up side by side, pointing from southwest to northeast. Farthest west is that of Reykjanes, then those of Svartsengi, Fagradalsfjall mountain, Krýsuvík, Brennisteinsfjöll mountains and, finally, Hengill mountain.

The last volcanic period began around the year 800 in Brennisteinsfjöll mountains and in the Krýsuvík system, creating the lava fields of Hvammahraun and Hrútafellshraun.

Full article here.
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Update: Lava eruption from long-dormant Icelandic volcano (MARCH 20, 2021) — close to Fagradalsfjall mountain

Fine summer weather [image credit: BBC]


H/T msn.com
That was the Daily Mail headline, but the research paper is not about the UK only. An obvious problem is that their data only runs up to 2011 (from 1952). The paper asserts: ‘We find that lengths and start dates of the four seasons have changed, and the changes will be amplified in the future’. Crystal ball-gazing climate alarmism can be so tedious and predictable.
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Unless measures are taken to curb climate change, summers in the UK and the rest of the northern hemisphere could last for six months come 2100, a study warned.

Researchers from China used historical climate data and modelling to determine how the seasons have shifted in the past, and will likely alter in the future, says the Daily Mail.

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Solar power complex in California [USA. Gov – BLM – Bureau of Land Management]


It was already known that PV systems dislike high heat, which is clearly awkward when they depend on the biggest heat source in the *solar* system in order to be of any use. This study tries to quantify the problem in more detail. On the face of it, carpeting desert regions with solar panels looks less than ideal.
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Lowering the operating temperature of solar panels by just a few degrees can dramatically increase the electricity they generate over their lifetime, KAUST researchers have shown.

The hotter a panel gets, the lower its solar power conversion efficiency (PCE) and the faster it will degrade and fail, says TechXplore.

Finding ways to keep solar panels cool could significantly improve the return on investment of solar-power systems.

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Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation 1880 to Nov 2018 based on the ERSSTv3b dataset [image credit: Giorgiogp2, bender235 @ Wikipedia]


No prizes for guessing who is behind this one. Climate models ‘prove’ humans are the problem, not nature – heard it before?
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Volcanic eruptions, not natural variability, were the cause of an apparent “Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation,” a purported cycle of warming thought to have occurred on a timescale of 40 to 60 years during the pre-industrial era, according to a team of climate scientists who looked at a large array of climate modeling experiments. Phys.org reporting.

The result complements the team’s previous finding that what had looked like an “AMO” occurring during the period since industrialization is instead the result of a competition between steady human-caused warming from greenhouse gases and cooling from more time-variable industrial sulphur pollution.

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