Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

Warming up for climate negotiations ? [image credit:]

Warming up for climate negotiations ?
[image credit:]

That’s the headline of this Yahoo News report. Looks like another marathon arm-wrestle when the Paris climate crowd jet in for their annual jamboree in a few weeks’ time.

Frustration ran high Wednesday at the snail’s pace of talks for a climate rescue pact, with three days left for diplomats to craft a blueprint for a year-end UN summit. With an eye firmly on the clock, diplomats in Bonn despaired at the mountain of work they face after an acrimonious start on Monday cost them more than a day of negotiating time.

“I am, to be honest, very concerned,” said climate envoy Laurence Tubiana of France, which will host a November 30-December 11 UN summit tasked with inking a 195-nation pact to rein in global warming. “I don’t think this way of working is going to bring us where we need to be by the end of the week and to stand a chance of success in Paris.”


Mothballed Plants On Standby To Avoid Blackouts

Posted: October 15, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, Uncertainty

It’s time for the annual ‘will they or won’t they?’ – lights stay on – as the UK National Grid limbers up for the stresses and strains of the coming winter’s electricity demands, as Sky News reports. Nobody wants to end up praying for wind….

The National Grid has insisted it has the “right tools” in place to cope with this winter’s energy demands. The company’s Winter Outlook report said that without the measures it had put in place, spare capacity – the gap between generating capacity and peak demand – would plunge to just 1.2%.


Gas power station [credit:]

Gas power station [credit:]

UK energy policy is in danger of crumbling, with delays and doubts over its nuclear plans and now a financial crisis facing its gas power plans, as the Daily Telegraph reports.

The UK Government’s plans to keep the lights on have suffered a fresh setback after it emerged the only new large gas power station due to be built in coming years is now in doubt.

Energy firm Carlton Power was awarded a subsidy contract by the Department of Energy and Climate Change last year to build a new 1.9 gigawatt plant at Trafford in Greater Manchester – big enough to supply power to 2.2 million homes.The £800 million plant was due to start generating in October 2018, but Carlton Power told the Telegraph it could no longer meet that date – and had so far failed to secure financial backers for the project to go ahead at all.


isoprene1This may sound like a joke but it seems not – it’s all over the usual blogs and sceptic media. Does it put a spanner in the works? This from The Register’s report:

As world leaders get ready to head to Paris for the latest pact on cutting CO2 emissions, it has emerged that there isn’t as much urgency about the matter as had been thought.

A team of top-level atmospheric chemistry boffins from France and Germany say they have identified a new process by which vast amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted into the atmosphere from the sea – a process which was unknown until now, meaning that existing climate models do not take account of it.



[credit:] is running an article headed: On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage. This is no great surprise apart possibly from the fact that it’s being openly discussed by academics.

Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a research source most U.S. students rely on. But, according to a paper published today in the journal PLOS ONE, Wikipedia entries on politically controversial scientific topics can be unreliable due to information sabotage.


[credit: Wikipedia]

[credit: Wikipedia]

More pseudo-religious climate nonsense in Thursday’s Guardian:

Quote: ‘James Inhofe, infamous for tossing a snowball across the Senate floor to demonstrate ‘the greatest hoax ever perpetrated against the American people’, says Pope Francis should ‘stay with his job’ during a pitch to fellow unbelievers

The Guardian report later says: ‘In the world outside, anticipation was building for the pope to deliver his much-awaited encyclical next week, when he is expected to cast climate change as a moral issue.’


NASA 'global warming satellite' (their description)  [credit: NASA]

NASA ‘global warming satellite’ (their description)
[credit: NASA]

Two choices: whether to laugh or cry at the latest fortune-telling exercise from NASA’s warming-obsessed spin-doctors. Climate models are famed for their predictive inadequacy – incompetence even – so this looks exactly like an exercise in futility.

NASA has released a dataset setting out how rainfall and temperature patterns are likely to change in the coming decades, Gizmag reports. The data covers 21 climate models, mapping how our environment could change due to growing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.


UK internet usage per hour (2012) [image credit: ISPreview]

UK internet usage per hour (2012)
[image credit: ISPreview]

The UK Daily Telegraph says the internet is already consuming at least 8 per cent of Britain’s power output and this figure is bound to rise. The Press Association (via Yahoo! News) reports:

Britain’s internet demand is expanding at such a rate that it could consume the nation’s entire power supply by 2035, an expert has warned.

Andrew Ellis, professor of optical communications at Aston University, said the success of video-streaming websites such as YouTube and Netflix along with new innovations meant optical fibres could reach their limit within eight years.

Prof Ellis said rationing internet use or charging more so that more cables can be installed may need to be considered, as experts prepare to meet at London’s Royal Society later this month to discuss what can be done to avert a web crisis.


21st century seascape

21st century seascape

The New York Times reports the difficulties likely to face US power generation companies due to the pace of change demanded by the latest government rules and the ever-increasing reliance on part-time power sources scattered all over the place. Does this sound familiar at all?

WASHINGTON — As President Obama prepares to unveil his climate change regulations on coal-fired power plants, the nation’s electric utilities are preparing to transform the system that keeps the lights on in America. But some companies fear that in the process, the lights may go out.



By the time people realise the climate ‘experts’ got it all wrong – again – most of the culprits will have retired, most probably with nice pensions.

Originally posted on Real Science:

Scientists warn that we are about to pass a global warming tipping point.

ScreenHunter_8651 Apr. 17 05.58

While we may not yet have reached the “point of no return”—when no amount of cutbacks on greenhouse gas emissions will save us from potentially catastrophic global warming—climate scientists warn we may be getting awfully close.

Have We Passed the Point of No Return on Climate Change? – Scientific American

This sounds bad, but is actually excellent news. In 1989 they only gave us until the year 2000 to stop global warming, so this is actually quite a nice reprieve.

ScreenHunter_8659 Apr. 17 06.37

Mercury News: Search Results

But it is even better than it seems! Forty years ago this month climatologists told us that unless we let them melt the polar ice caps, global cooling would kill us all.

ScreenHunter_8656 Apr. 17 06.15

So far, we have a total of 40 years of passing the global cooling/warming tipping point. But the news gets even better. Seventy…

View original 92 more words

NCAR Research Data Archive Blog

1938 atmospheric river that caused the Los Angeles flood of 1938
At least one person asked why I used a reanalysis that does not assimilate satellite water vapor data to study an atmospheric river (AR) event.

That’s a good question because the NOAA/CIRES Twentieth Century Global Reanalysis Version 2c (20thCR V2c) only ingests three things: surface pressure, sea ice coverage and sea surface temperature. The rest of the analysis is generated by the physical models of NOAA’s Global Forecast System (GFS).


Maps of sea surface temperature anomaly [credit: NOAA]

Maps of sea surface temperature anomaly [credit: NOAA]

What follows are extracts from the US NOAA’s own blog. They report: ‘After twelve months of El Niño Watches, we are issuing an El Niño Advisory.’ But the conditions are ‘extremely weak’ at this time [note: the maps shown are NOT current conditions]:

Over the last several months, we’ve seen warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the tropical Pacific, including the Niño3.4 region, which we track as one indicator of El Niño. The seasonal Niño3.4 Index has been at or above 0.5°C since September, and the most recent weekly Niño3.4 index was +0.6°C.

The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a coupled phenomenon, though, so we also monitor the atmosphere for signs that it is responding to those positive SST anomalies. For the last few months, we’ve been seeing some suggestions of borderline atmospheric El Niño conditions, but until this month [March] we were below that borderline. This month, we’ve finally crept above it, and thus NOAA is declaring the onset of El Niño conditions.

But what does it mean for North American and global weather?

Residential solar panels in Germany.  Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Sideka Solartechnik

Residential solar panels in Germany.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Sideka Solartechnik

Could countries heavily committed to solar power like Germany run into problems during next week’s solar eclipse? reports:
The first eclipse of 2015 is coming right up on Friday, March 20th, and may provide a unique challenge for solar energy production across Europe.

Sure, we’ve been skeptical about many of the websites touting a ‘blackout’ and Y2K-like doom pertaining to the March 20th total solar eclipse as of late. And while it’s true that comets and eclipses really do bring out the ‘End of the World of the Week’ -types across ye ole web, there’s actually a fascinating story of science at the core of next week’s eclipse and the challenge it poses to energy production.

But first, a brief recap of the eclipse itself. Dubbed the “Equinox Eclipse,” totality only occurs over a swath of the North Atlantic and passes over distant Faroe and Svalbard Islands. Germany and central Europe can expect an approximately 80% partially obscured Sun at the eclipse’s maximum.

But is there a cause for concern when it comes to energy production?

Read the full report here.

A wild card here could be the weather next Friday – cloudy or not.

Sorry folks [image credit: wikia]

Sorry folks [image credit: wikia]

The Guardian newspaper finally facing up to climate reality? Well, after a fashion. Their global warming can may have been kicked down the road for a while, that’s all.

The idea that natural variation could make temperatures go up as well as down is still not for discussion in their biased climate world.

H/T Lord Beaverbrook.

Guardian report: Manmade global warming over the past decade has probably been partly offset by the cooling effect of natural variability in the Earth’s climate system, a team of climate researchers have concluded.

The finding could help explain the slowdown in temperature rises this century that climate sceptics have seized on as evidence climate change has stopped, even though 14 of the 15 hottest years on record have happened since 2000.

The authors of the new paper describe the slowdown, sometimes called a global warming hiatus or pause, as a “false pause”. They warn that the natural cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic that they found are currently having an overall cooling effect on temperatures will reverse in the coming decades – at which point warming will accelerate again.


Tackling Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC / BAS]

Tackling Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC / BAS]

There seems no end in sight to the long-term growth of seasonal Antarctic sea ice, reports RTCC (link below). This continues to ‘baffle scientists’, to quote the usual expression.

‘Conventional’ climate theories can’t account for this phenomenon except by stretching the existing logic to the limit and beyond.

Sea ice coverage in the Antarctic continues to increase, according to data released on Thursday by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The ocean’s sea ice levels were 44.6% higher than the 1981-2010 average, breaking a previous record set in 2008 by 220,000 square miles.


Bye-bye Longannet? [image credit: BBC]

Bye-bye Longannet? [image credit: BBC]

Does the UK Business Secretary know something the rest of us don’t? Despite fears of the UK as a whole being unable to meet peak electricity demand in some circumstances, he appears confident there’s capacity to spare if Scotland’s windmill culture (not his words) can’t do the business.

The UK government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable has said there is no threat to the security of Scotland’s electricity supply, reports the BBC.

His comments came after BBC Scotland’s disclosure that the huge coal-fired power station at Longannet in Fife was facing a renewed threat to its future.

Mr Cable said energy could be imported from England.

Celestial light and earthshine

Posted: January 17, 2015 by tchannon in Astronomy, climate, Clouds, Measurement, moon, Uncertainty

This paper is about adding a further layer of correction to earthshine measurements and therefore albedo determination by terrestrial based observations.

Influence of celestial light on lunar surface brightness determinations: Application to earthshine studies
P. Thejll, H. Gleisner, C. Flynn
A&A 573 A131 (2015)
(open access with registration)


Aims. We consider the influence of celestial-sphere brightness on determinations of terrestrial albedo from earthshine intensity
measurements. In particular, the contributions from zodiacal light and starlight are considered.

Results. We find that celestial-sphere surface brightness can be so large that a considerable and unacceptable error level would have
an impact on half of typical earthshine-based albedo-determinations if left unaccounted for. Considering the empirical uncertainty on
ZL, we show that almost all our earthshine data can be used if a sky correction is made. In real observations we find up to a 1% effect
on albedo results of correcting for the celestial brightness.


Solar system cartoon [NASA]

Solar system cartoon [NASA]

This is not a new idea but it seems to be gaining a bit more traction. Planetary bodies like Pluto-sized Sedna don’t seem to fit the accepted ‘rules’ of solar system dynamics. reports: There could be at least two unknown planets hidden well beyond Pluto, whose gravitational influence determines the orbits and strange distribution of objects observed beyond Neptune. This has been revealed by numerical calculations made by researchers at the Complutense University of Madrid and the University of Cambridge. If confirmed, this hypothesis would revolutionise solar system models.

Astronomers have spent decades debating whether some dark trans-Plutonian planet remains to be discovered within the solar system. According to the calculations of scientists at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM, Spain) and the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) not only one, but at least two planets must exist to explain the orbital behaviour of extreme trans-Neptunian objects (ETNO).

Earth's Axial Tilt, or Obliquity [Credit: Wikipedia]

Earth’s Axial Tilt, or Obliquity [Credit: Wikipedia]

This Atlantipedia report (reproduced below) from 2010 concerns research by English-born George Dodwell, who held the post of Government Astronomer for South Australia for 43 years (1909 – 1952) until his retirement. He came across a study by a Professor Drayson who cited ancient astronomical observations and put forward a revision to standard Earth precession theory which Dodwell found ‘untenable’, but he became interested in the data.

Dodwell: ‘it seemed to me worthwhile to trace out more clearly just how much, and why, the ancient and mediaeval observations of the obliquity of the ecliptic, on which Professor Drayson based his conclusions, differed from Newcomb’s internationally accepted formula for the secular, or age-long, variation of the obliquity. These observations went back to values given by Strabo, Proclus, Ptolemy, and Pappus in the early centuries of the Christian era. They indicated a consistent and increasing divergence in past ages from the values calculated by means of Newcomb’s formula.’ [bold added]


Anyone for dates?



Photo left credit Smudge 9000. Photo right, can’t read it [1].

Ofgem approves power link with Belgium

LONDON Tue Dec 2, 2014 11:14am GMT

(Reuters) – Ofgem has approved plans for a 1 gigawatt electricity interconnector link with Belgium, it said on Tuesday.

The Nemo interconnector would run from Zeebrugge, Belgium, to Kent in southern England, facilitating the flow of enough electricity to power up to 3 million homes, Britain’s Energy Secretary Ed Davey said in the Ofgem statement.

It is due to open in 2019, Ofgem said.

Hmm… Aug. 21, 2014

Nuclear Shutdowns Leave Belgium Looking for Power Closure of Three Nuclear Power Plants Leaves Government Fearing Winter Energy Crunch