Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

homechargeEven local electricity blackouts could be on the cards for determined hackers, it seems. A far cry from rolling up at the local filling station for a few minutes.
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Security researchers have discovered failings in two home electric car chargers, reports BBC Click.

The researchers were able to make the chargers switch on or off, remove the owner’s access, and show how a hacker could get into a user’s home network.

Most of the faults have now been fixed but owners are being told to update their apps and chargers, to be safe.

It comes as proposed new legislation on cyber-security for appliances – including chargers – is published.

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omegablock

Credit: The Weather Network

Of course they could have been. The question is, were they? Assigning weather events to ‘global warming’ is ambiguous without a full definition of what the assigner means by that term. Jet stream blocking events discussed below are well-known to meteorologists, and constantly claiming them as evidence of a new human-caused problem with the climate is a stretch, to say the least.
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The recent record-shattering heat wave in the Pacific northwest and devastating floods in western Europe have both been ascribed to global warming by many climate scientists, says Science Under Attack.

But an alternative explanation, voiced by some climatologists yet ignored by the mainstream media, is that the disasters were caused by the phenomenon of jet-stream blocking – which may or may not be a result of global warming, and could instead arise from a weakening of the sun’s output.

Blocking refers to the locking in place for several days or weeks of the jet stream, a narrow, high-altitude air current that flows rapidly from west to east in each hemisphere and governs much of our weather.

One of the more common blocking patterns is known as an “omega block,” a buckling of the jet stream named for its resemblance to the upper-case Greek letter omega, that produces alternating, stationary highs and lows in pressure as shown in the figure below. Under normal weather conditions, highs and lows move on quickly.

According to the blocking explanation, the torrential rains that hovered over parts of western Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands came from a low-pressure system trapped between two blocking highs to the west and east – the opposite situation to that shown in the figure.

Precipitation tends to increase in a warmer world because of enhanced evap­oration from tropical oceans, resulting in more water vapor in the atmosphere. So with a blocking low stuck over the Rhine valley and the ground already saturated from previous rainfall, it’s not surprising that swollen rivers overflowed and engulfed whole villages.

A similar argument can be invoked to explain the intense “heat dome” that parked itself over British Columbia, Washington and Oregon for five blisteringly hot days last month. In this case, it was a region of high pressure that was pinned in place by lows on either side, with the sweltering heat intensified by the effects of La Niña on North America.

Several Pacific northwest cities experienced temperatures a full 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) above previous records.

There’s little doubt that both of these calamitous events resulted from jet-stream omega blocks. Blocking can also induce cold extremes, such as the deep freeze endured by Texas earlier this year. But how can blocking be caused by the sun?

Over the 11-year solar cycle, the sun’s heat and visible light fluctuate, as does its production of invisible UV, which varies much more than the tenth of a percent change in total solar output. It’s thought that changes in solar UV irradiance cause wind shifts in the stratosphere (the layer of the atmosphere above the troposphere), which in turn induce blocking in the tropospheric jet stream via a feedback effect.

Blocking can also stem from other mechanisms. In the North Atlantic at least, a 2008 research paper found that during periods of low solar activity, blocking events in more eastward locations are longer and more intense than during higher solar activity.

Right now we’re entering a stretch of diminished solar output, signified by a falloff in the average monthly number of sunspots as depicted in the next figure.

The decline in the maximum number of sunspots over the last few cycles likely heralds the onset of a grand solar minimum, which could usher in a period of global cooling.

Full article here.

AMOC_circ

A portion of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation [image credit: R. Curry, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution @ Wikipedia]

Widely differing climate models are supposed to be a reliable guide to the future? Clearly not. Here the uncertainty gets investigated, and pinned on a phenomenon that was recently claimed by Mann et al not to exist. Of course all these models make the assumption that carbon dioxide at a tiny 0.04% of the atmosphere is a key variable of concern, despite all the other variability in the climate system that they have to wrestle with.
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Thirty state-of-the-art IPCC-climate models predict dramatically different climates for the Northern Hemisphere, especially Europe, says Phys.org.

An analysis of the range of responses now reveals that the differences are mostly down to the individual model’s simulations of changes to the North Atlantic ocean currents and not only—as normally assumed—atmospheric changes.

The work, by Katinka Bellomo, National Research Council of Italy, Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and colleagues is published today in Nature Communications and is part of the European science collaboration, TiPES, coordinated by the University of Copenhagen.

All climate models vary in the details. Variables such as atmospheric pressure, cloud cover, temperature gradients, sea surface temperatures, and many more are tuned to interact slightly differently for every model. This means that the predictions of the many models also vary.

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Electricity1

[credit: green lantern electric]

‘What a surprise’, said no-one. Cue vague waffle about facing the issues, mainly caused by ditching reliable (compared to renewables) on-demand electricity generation from coal and gas.
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Britain faces catastrophic power cuts because of an increasing reliance on electricity to run everything from cars to home boilers, the Committee on Climate Change has warned. The Telegraph reporting.

Decarbonisation plans, which involve switching transport and heating away from petrol and gas, will mean outages in the future have a greater impact, the Government’s independent advisory committee on climate change has said, as it urged the Government to make sure the system could withstand extreme weather.

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windger

German Chancellor Merkel surveys an offshore wind site [image credit: evwind.es]

Wind ‘farms’ are allergic to each other it seems, sometimes leading to sizable drops in output. Awkward when space isn’t unlimited, some of the best sites are already taken, and the plan is to multiply the existing fleets. Weather dependency is even greater than expected.
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The expansion of wind energy in the German Bight and the Baltic Sea has accelerated enormously in recent years, TechXplore.

The first systems went into operation in 2008. Today, wind turbines with an output of around 8,000 megawatts operate in German waters, which corresponds to around eight nuclear power plants.

But space is limited. For this reason, wind farms are sometimes built very close to one another.

A team led by Dr. Naveed Akhtar from Helmholtz Zentrum Hereon has found that wind speeds at the downstream windfarm are significantly slowed down.

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illkirch 1er forage de géothermie

Image credit: Jérôme Dorkel – Eurométropole de Strasbourg

Home owner insurance claims are pouring in. The local ‘net zero’ emissions plan is in serious trouble.
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A series of minor human-induced earthquakes in the area of Strasbourg, eastern France, last December has reminded local inhabitants about the safety of geothermal energy, highlighting the challenges faced by deep drilling technology, says Euractiv.

In December, the area around Strasbourg was shaken by several induced tremors, including one of 3.5 magnitude, after a geothermal company carrying out tests injected high-pressure water into the ground earlier in the autumn.

Induced earthquakes – those caused by human activity – had begun since tests started in the Alsace region in October at the geothermal plant operated by Fonroche, a French energy company.

The tremors were directly linked to the starting-up activities of the plant, said the French association of geothermal professionals, the AFPG.

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clouds17

Credit: airbus.com

Another attention-seeking billionaire with too much time on his hands, dreaming up Hollywood-style schemes? A planned small-scale test is in the offing.
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The Microsoft co-founder, who has donated about $50 billion to various charitable causes, considers climate change one of the most acute problems humanity is facing and has spearheaded several initiatives on research and development of clean energy, says Sputnik News.

A Bill Gates-backed project aims to stop climate change by dropping tonnes of chalk dust into the stratosphere, The Times reported.

According to the newspaper, the initiative funded by several private donors, including the Microsoft co-founder, will be the first serious attempt to deal with the issue of climate change by dimming the Sun.

Essentially, scientists will attempt drop chalk dust in the atmosphere hoping it will create sunshade that will reflect some of the Sun’s rays and heat back into space and dim those that get through, thus preventing our planet from getting warmer.

This summer scientists plan to launch a large balloon carrying 2 kg of chalk above the Swedish town Kiruna and then drop the chalk. Researchers will then monitor how it interacts with the atmosphere.

This information will be used to run simulation tests to see whether increasing the amount of chalk dust will help deal with the issue of climate change.

The scientists behind the project were inspired by the 1991 volcano eruption in the Philippines. Back then, Mount Pinatubo released an enormous ash cloud containing millions of particles of sulphur dioxide, which then formed into droplets of sulphuric acid that floated in the air for more than a year and acted as sunshade.

Scientists say that global temperatures went down 0.5 Celsius as a result of this.

Excuse for Politicians and Potential Impact on Weather System

Despite its popularity, the project has raised concerns among the scientific community.

Full article here.

Germany’s main gas supplier: Russia


Countries like Germany must know that once all their nuclear and coal plants have been closed (by order), their security of electricity supply would be heading towards zero without gas and imports. Saying it’s just a question of peak demand is nonsense, and they know that as well, but still pursue their delusional energy policies. What happens after 2050 when the gas is turned off is a mystery.
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The European Commission is reconsidering the position of gas in its sustainable finance taxonomy by recognising the fossil fuel’s role in keeping the lights on during peak electricity demand, according to a leaked document seen by EURACTIV.

The EU executive is currently drafting a rulebook for sustainable finance, drawing up a complete set of criteria defining what can be considered as a “green” investment in the European Union.

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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

Cloud formation [image credit:NASA]


‘Challenges’ is a polite way of putting it. Is the alleged human-caused climate problem really more of a human-caused climate models problem?
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Increased reflection of incoming sunlight by clouds led one current-generation climate model to predict unrealistically cold temperatures during the last ice age [Source: Geophysical Research Letters].

Key to the usefulness of climate models as tools for both scientists and policymakers is the models’ ability to connect changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels to corresponding shifts in temperature, says Eos.

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Arctic currents [image credit: Brn-Bld @ Wikipedia]


In climate terms any potential Beaufort Gyre effect – due to its ability to reverse its flow direction under certain conditions – is a known unknown, so an interesting one to speculate on.
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Freshwater is accumulating in the Arctic Ocean, says Phys.org.

The Beaufort Sea, which is the largest Arctic Ocean freshwater reservoir, has increased its freshwater content by 40% over the past two decades.

How and where this water will flow into the Atlantic Ocean is important for local and global ocean conditions.

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Not the latest model


Reluctance to having to waste time looking for and/or using public charging stations might be a factor, plus the old favourite of range anxiety. An EV may also be the second car in a household, in the US at least.
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New data indicates that electric vehicles may not be an easy future substitute for the gasoline-powered fleet, as EVs are currently being used half as much as conventional cars, says TechXplore.

That is according to a paper published from the University of Chicago, University of California, Davis, and UC Berkeley.

As the Biden administration voices its commitment to moving the country toward electric vehicles, or EVs, and states like California work to ban the sale of new fully gas-powered cars in the next 15 years, the pledge for an EV-powered fleet leaves a question unanswered: Are consumers actually driving them?

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Antarctic sea ice [image credit: BBC]


Warming, but not global – is the polar see-saw hypothesis in play here? In any case, it seems climate models are falling short again.
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Sea ice in the Southern Ocean defies predictions.

Observations show that ice extent in the Antarctic has been growing slightly, reports The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF).

Paul Holland, a climate modeler with the British Antarctic Survey, has spent the last ten years studying Antarctica’s sea ice and the Southern Ocean.

Lately, he has been scrutinizing the seasons of Antarctica and how fast the ice comes and goes.

Holland thinks these seasons may be a key to a conundrum: If Earth’s temperatures are getting warmer and sea ice in the Arctic has been shrinking fast, why then is sea ice in the Antarctic slowly increasing?

Opposite poles

Sea ice is simply frozen seawater. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool.

When temperatures warm over time and more sea ice melts, fewer bright surfaces reflect sunlight back into space. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming.

Scientists have been watching this feedback loop of warming and melting in the Arctic. To them, Arctic sea ice is a reliable indicator of a changing global climate. They pay the most attention in September when Arctic sea ice shrinks to its smallest extent each year. Measured by satellites since 1979, this minimum extent has been decreasing by as much as 13.7 percent per decade.

Antarctic sea ice, on the other hand, has not been considered a climate change indicator. Whereas Arctic sea ice mostly sits in the middle of land-locked ocean—which is more sensitive to sunlight and warming air—Antarctic sea ice surrounds land and is constantly exposed to high winds and waves.

According to climate models, rising global temperatures should cause sea ice in both regions to shrink. But observations show that ice extent in the Arctic has shrunk faster than models predicted, and in the Antarctic it has been growing slightly.

Researchers are looking much closer at Antarctica, saying, “Wait, what is going on down there?” Holland is one of those intrigued.

“The Antarctic case is as interesting as the Arctic case,” Holland said. “You can’t understand one without understanding the other.”

Minding the models

To Holland, the discrepancy calls parts of the climate models into question.

Continued here.

NASA pdf: https://cdn.earthdata.nasa.gov/conduit/upload/756/NASA_SOP_2014_unexpected_ice.pdf


Unforeseen? They must be joking. It has been painfully foreseeable for years to many of us, except maybe some of the more blinkered climate obsessives. The trouble is, as the article notes, ‘there is no silver bullet solution’ (except ones they don’t want to hear about).
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As the share of renewables in the EU energy mix increase, so do problems with grid overloads and blackouts, says OilPrice.com.

Earlier this month, something happened in Europe. It didn’t get as much media attention as the EU’s massive funding plans for its energy transition, but it was arguably as important, if not more.

A fault occurred at a substation in Croatia and caused an overload in parts of the grid, which spread beyond the country’s borders. This created a domino effect that caused a blackout and prompted electricity supply reductions as far as France and Italy.

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Another pillar of ‘settled’ climate science trembles. It’s described as ‘one of the largest uncertainties faced by climate scientists.’ Is there a list of these uncertainties somewhere?
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The impact of atmospheric aerosols on clouds and climate may be different than previously thought, reports Phys.org.

That is the conclusion of cloud researcher Franziska Glassmeier from TU Delft. The results of her study will be published in Science on Friday, January 29th.

Cloud decks cover vast stretches of the subtropical oceans. They cool the planet because they reflect incoming sunlight back to space.

Air pollution in the form of aerosols—particles suspended in the atmosphere—can increase this cooling effect because it makes clouds brighter.

The cooling effect of pollution offsets part of the warming effect of greenhouse gases. How much exactly, is one of the largest uncertainties faced by climate scientists.

Ship tracks

A striking illustration of clouds becoming brighter as a result of aerosols, is provided by shipping emissions in the form of “ship tracks.” These are visible as bright lines within a cloud deck that reveal the paths of polluting ships that travel beneath the clouds.

“Such ship tracks are a good example of how aerosol effects on clouds are traditionally thought of, and of how they are still represented in most climate models,” says Glassmeier.

But according to the cloud researcher, ship tracks do not tell the whole story.

Continued here.

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The NLCs are playing a game of hide-and-seek this season, bemusing regular observers.

Spaceweather.com

Jan. 8, 2021:

They’re back. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), recently missing, are once again circling the South Pole. And, in an unexpected twist, they’ve just appeared over Argentina as well.

“This is a very rare event,” reports Gerd Baumgarten of Germany’s Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, whose automated cameras caught the meteoritic clouds rippling over Rio Grande, Argentina (53.8S) on Jan. 3rd:

A second camera recorded the clouds at even higher latitude: Rio Gallegos (51.6S). At this time of year, noctilucent clouds are supposed to be confined to the Antarctic–not Argentina. In the whole history of atmospheric research, NLCs have been sighted at mid-southern latitudes only a handful of times.

“Personally, I am thrilled to see NLCs in Argentina, as I had not expected them to occur so far north,” says Natalie Kaifler of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), who operates a lidar (laser radar) alongside one of Baumgarten’s…

View original post 171 more words

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Is it a coincidence that we’re just past the end of the lowest sunspot cycle for over a century?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 28, 2020: Something strange is happening 50 miles above Antarctica. Or rather, not happening. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which normally blanket the frozen continent in December, are almost completely missing. These images from NASA’s AIM spacecraft compare Christmas Eve 2019 with Christmas Eve 2020:

“The comparison really is astounding,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics. “Noctilucent cloud frequencies are close to zero this year.”

NLCs are Earth’s highest clouds. They form when summertime wisps of water vapor rise up from the poles to the edge of space. Water crystallizing around specks of meteor dust 83 km (~50 miles) above Earth’s surface creates beautiful electric-blue structures, typically visible from November to February in the south, and May to August in the north.

A crucial point: Noctilucent clouds form during summer. And that’s the problem. Although summer officially started in Antarctica one week…

View original post 237 more words

Typical electric car set-up


Researchers cite lithium and cobalt production as the most likely to fall short of expected demand levels in the next few years, if EV take-up grows as desired or mandated by many political leaders. In short, new discoveries of supplies will be required if present battery technology is to be maintained. Failing that, ‘net zero’ may need a plan B.
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As the world shifts to electric vehicles to reduce climate change, it is important to quantify future demands for key battery materials, says TechXplore.

In a new report, Chengjian Xu, Bernhard Steubing and a research team at the Leiden University, Netherlands and the Argonne National Laboratory in the U.S. showed how the demands of a lithium, nickel, cobalt and manganese oxide dominated battery will increase by many factors between 2020 to 2050.

As a result, supply chains for lithium, cobalt and nickel will require significant expansion and likely additional resource discovery.

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‘this is data covering just 800 days, and here we have 265 occasions where the power loss exceeds 500MW.’ = almost one day in every three, on average. [Links to parts 2 and 3 at the end of the post].

PA Pundits - International

By Anton Lang ~

Introduction

We have all heard that wind power generation is intermittent, that it goes up and down on a daily basis. However, is that really all that much of a problem, and if so, how big a problem is it? We have also heard that constructing more wind plants will go towards alleviating this problem. Is that correct? Or will that only make the problem worse?

Well, it is in fact quite a large problem, and constructing more of those wind plants is making the problem worse.

Macarthur Wind Plant In Victoria Australia

For many years now, I have been looking at wind power generation here in Australia, and in fact recording and keeping wind generation data on a daily basis now for more than four years. After looking at this data on a daily basis for so long, I could see that it went up…

View original post 1,763 more words

Antarctica


If they were hoping to see a steady rate of change that matched carbon dioxide emission levels, they were disappointed. Natural variations inconveniently got in the way, two in particular: ‘When two extreme snowfall events in 2009 and 2011 dropped around 600 gigatons of snow and ice, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet thickened so much that it temporarily halted the entire continent’s ice losses, said Wang—a pattern that had previously escaped notice.’
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A new analysis of long-term satellite records shows the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is unexpectedly dependent on fluctuations in weather.

This study may improve models of how much sea levels will rise, says Eos News.

As more coastal communities face the looming threat [Talkshop note: unsupported assertion] of rising sea levels, it’s more important than ever to accurately predict changes in one of the greatest potential sources of sea level rise—the melting of Antarctica’s massive ice sheet.

Recently, scientists analyzed nearly 2 decades’ worth of data from sensitive NASA satellites documenting mass changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet.

They found the ice inventory ebbed and flowed across the continent in unexpectedly variable patterns.

Traditionally, some groups of Antarctic researchers have assumed the rate of change across the ice sheet is constant, but they drew their conclusions from data sets that spanned only a few years, said Lei Wang, a geodesist at The Ohio State University who will present this research at AGU’s virtual Fall Meeting 2020.

“These long data records give us the capability to characterize the ice sheet’s variation over a range of timescales,” rather than just modeling seasonal variations and short-term trends, Wang said.

Understanding Long-Term Trends

The Antarctic Ice Sheet, the largest mass of ice on Earth, is divided into two unequal portions, with the East Antarctic Ice Sheet covering about two thirds of the continent. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet, although smaller, has historically been more closely studied because it’s melting faster. (The East Antarctic Ice Sheet sits on bedrock above sea level, said Wang, so it is less susceptible to the effects of the warming ocean.) NASA estimates Antarctica has lost 149 billion metric tons of ice per year since 2002.

When so much ice is involved, projections of how sea levels will respond are uncertain—especially when trends already are so difficult to gauge.

Indeed, the field still argues about sea level changes in the past century, said Jim Davis, the study coauthor and a geodesist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. “We’ve got to get to the point where we can talk about what’s happening this year in sea level change,” he said.

To do that, researchers need a more sophisticated model of how Antarctica’s shield of ice is evolving.

Full article here.