Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

cardellini_scrTalkshop readers with good memories may remember the article I wrote back in 2012 on findings by Cardellini et al that volcanic soils emitted far more CO2 than previously thought (and are not included in IPCC carbon cycle inventories). The implication is that longer sunshine hours during the 1980s-90s may well have released a lot of sequestered CO2 from these soils, thus raising atmospheric levels. Which would mean humans are not responsible for all of the increase, as has long been assumed.

Now another article from Robert Wylie on Livescience.com raises the issue again:

Robin Wylie, is a doctoral candidate in volcanology, atUniversity College London. He contributed this article to LiveScience’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

The exploding hills really give the game away: We’ve always known the Earth is a smoker. The true extent of its habit, though, is only just beginning to surface.

Before the human species found its talent for pyromania, atmospheric levels of the Earth’s greenhouse superstar, carbon dioxide (CO2), were controlled, for the most part, by volcanoes.

Since our planet emerged from the debris which formed the solarsystem, some four and a half billion years ago, a lifetime supply of primordial carbon has been locked away in the mantle — against its will. Partnering with oxygen and smuggled as a dissolved gas in liquid rock, it breaches the surface at our planet’s volcanic airways: CO2, then, has been seeping into the planet’s atmosphere for as long as there has been one.

Until the end of the 20th century, the academic consensus was that this volcanic output was tiny — a fiery speck against the colossal anthropogenic footprint. Recently, though, volcanologists have begun to reveal a hidden side to our leaking planet.

Exactly how much CO2 passes through the magmatic vents in our crust might be one of the most important questions that Earth science can answer. Volcanoes may have been overtaken in the carbon stakes, but in order to properly assess the consequences of human pollution, we need the reference point of the natural background. And we’re getting there; the last twenty years have seen huge steps in our understanding of how, and how much CO2 leaves the deep Earth. But at the same time, a disturbing pattern has been emerging.

In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of CO2 each year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.

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Credit: NASA climatekids

Credit: NASA climatekids


Another round of claims and counter-claims about climate is underway as natural variation takes its course. Talk of records often relates only to the satellite era.
H/T GWPF

Global average temperatures over land have plummeted by more than 1C since the middle of this year – their biggest and steepest fall on record, reports David Rose in The Mail on Sunday. 

According to satellite data, the late 2016 temperatures are returning to the levels they were at after the 1998 El Niño. The news comes amid mounting evidence that the recent run of world record high temperatures is about to end.

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US President-elect Trump [image credit: politico.com]

US President-elect Trump [image credit: politico.com]


The winds of change following the US election are about to blow through the well-funded – up to now at least – world of climate-related bureaucracy, as CCN mournfully reports.

US Republicans are expected to axe billions of dollars in climate finance when they take the White House and Congress in January.

Funds to help poor countries adapt to the impacts of global warming and develop sustainably will be redirected to domestic priorities.

“We are going to cancel billions in payments to the UN climate change programmes and use the money to fix America’s water and environmental infrastructure,” said President-elect Donald Trump in his 22 October Gettysburg address. With a Republican majority in the Senate and House of Representatives, there appears to be little standing in his way.

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A solar cycle 24 prediction chart [credit:NASA]

A solar cycle 24 prediction chart [credit:NASA]


What follows are extracts, omitting a few of the more technical aspects which can be viewed in the GWPF’s full article here. Possible ‘colder climates’ get a mention.

Sten Odenwald of NASA Heliophysics Education Consortium writes:
Forecasters are already starting to make predictions for what might be in store as our sun winds down its current sunspot cycle in a few years. Are we in for a very intense cycle of solar activity, or the beginning of a century-long absence of sunspots and a rise in colder climates?

Ever since Samuel Schwabe discovered the 11-year ebb and flow of sunspots on the sun in 1843, predicting when the next sunspot cycle will appear, and how strong it will be, has been a cottage industry among scientists and non-scientists alike.

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Hinkley Point, Somerset [image credit: conservativehome.com]

Hinkley Point, Somerset
[image credit: conservativehome.com]


Seconds out, round 10 – or so it might seem in the Hinkley nuclear struggle. Who kept who in the dark [pun intended]? PEI’s Diarmaid Williams takes a ringside seat.

Five of the 17 board members who voted to approve a decision by EDF to press ahead with the development of Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant in England are now seeking a court annulment of that decision.

The board members, all union representatives, say they were not provided with information that was crucial to their decision on the day.

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A polar bear inspects a US submarine near the North Pole [credit: Wikipedia]

A polar bear inspects a US submarine near the North Pole [credit: Wikipedia]


‘How predictable’ assumes some predictability of a future ‘ice-free’ Arctic in summer – debatable at least.
H/T US CLIVAR – Climate Variability and Predictability Program

The strong decline in the summer sea ice cover of the Arctic over the last decades has led many to ask when the Arctic will be ice-free for the first time.

Rather than providing yet another answer to this question, in a recent Geophysical Research Letters article by Jahn et al., they focused on determining how well the occurrence of an ice-free Arctic can be predicted, due to the inherent internal climate variability of the system.

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nuke-powerIn a surprise move, the UK govt has put the brakes on the Hinkley Point nuclear power contract. Yesterday, there was anticipation in the media that the directorate of EDF would approve the scheme. In the event, the vote was 10 to 7 in favour, though one director resigned beforehand.

Maybe the depth of the split on the EDF board has given the new UK government the jitters. In a brief two line statement this morning, the business secretary, Greg Clark, said the government would now examine all components of the deal and decide in the Autumn whether to go ahead, or not.

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Chinese wind power [image credit: clearwinds.co.uk]

Chinese wind power [image credit: clearwinds.co.uk]


Even if the turbines themselves are in working order, unreliable intermittent wind power remote from the areas of densest population can cause havoc to China’s power grid system, as Andrew Follett reports in the Daily Caller.

The government stopped approving new wind power projects in the country’s windiest regions in early March, according to China’s National Energy Administration statement. These regions previously installed nearly 71 gigawatts of wind turbines, more than the rest of China combined.

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credit: IB Times

credit: IB Times


This non-project (so far) must hold some sort of record for delays, doubts, cost increases and basic feasibility. PEI reports on the latest negative news.

The beleaguered Hinkley Point C project in western England is set to suffer another setback, with the unions involved in EDF reinforcing their opposition to the nuclear power plant project going ahead.

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Therein lies the problem – or one of them. How’s that cloud modelling going for instance?

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

image

http://www.cato.org/blog/climate-modeling-dominates-climate-science

An interesting study from Pat Michaels and David Wojick:

Computer modeling plays an important role in all of the sciences, but there can be too much of a good thing. A simple semantic analysis indicates that climate science has become dominated by modeling. This is a bad thing.

What we did

We found two pairs of surprising statistics. To do this we first searched the entire literature of science for the last ten years, using Google Scholar, looking for modeling. There are roughly 900,000 peer reviewed journal articles that use at least one of the words model, modeled or modeling. This shows that there is indeed a widespread use of models in science. No surprise in this.

However, when we filter these results to only include items that also use the term climate change, something strange happens. The number of articles is only reduced to roughly…

View original post 545 more words

Bumpy road ahead?[image credit: RWE]

Bumpy road ahead?[image credit: RWE]


Pursuit of short-sighted energy policies is leading Germany on a dangerous path, as DW.COM reports from the AGM of major company RWE (aka ‘npower’ in the UK). Turning a blind eye to the possibility of future reliance on renewables won’t end well, says the CEO. Will any top politicians listen to the advice?

German power group RWE endures a bruising shareholders’ meeting. Still heavily involved with coal, the energy company has caught the brunt of activists and market changes. But its CEO has fought back, making the case for non-renewable energy sources.

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Empty supermarket shelves before Hurricane Sandy [credit: Wikipedia]

Empty supermarket shelves before Hurricane Sandy [credit: Wikipedia]


Running out of…sanity? Probably not, but the media has to get its ‘news’ stories from somewhere, as this GWPF report implies.

What explains our insatiable appetite for stories about shortages? Ever since Thomas Malthus warned of imminent food shortages and mass starvation in 1779, the spectre of a Malthusian resource catastrophe has resurfaced among each new generation of pessimists.

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Tim writes,

Image

Figure 1, Met Office Hadley monthly rainfall series for England and Wales start date 1766. Winter 2015/16 was wet but ordinary. (data processing by the author, see previous articles)
Plots for all data series as PDF (2MB).

Some other parts / regions of the country do show an extreme but this adds weight to the flicker noise (or 1/f) hypothosis for weather noise.

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False alarm

False alarm


It may only be the conclusion of one expert, but it makes a change from the usual tidal wave of evidence-light negative assertions about the potential future of our Earth. He said it was ‘extremely difficult’ to find a correlation between carbon dioxide levels and temperature trends.

The global average temperature is likely to remain unchanged by the end of the century, contrary to predictions by climate scientists that it could rise by more than 4C, according to a leading statistician.
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Warming up for climate negotiations ? [image credit: businessnewsdaily.com]

Warming up for climate negotiations ?
[image credit: businessnewsdaily.com]


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.”

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Mothballed Plants On Standby To Avoid Blackouts

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

darkness
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%.

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Gas power station [credit: gov.uk]

Gas power station [credit: gov.uk]


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.

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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.

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[credit: softpedia.com]

[credit: softpedia.com]


Phys.org 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.

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[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.’

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