Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

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…

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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…

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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…

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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.

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Is La Niña having an effect on Antarctica already?

Spaceweather.com

Dec. 2, 2020: Consider it the tip of the iceberg. Noctilucent clouds (NLCs) over the south pole are AWOL.

“Normally we see the first NLCs of the southern season around Nov. 21st,” says Cora Randall of the University of Colorado’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). “But this year, it’s already December and we’re still waiting.”

Above: What a different one year makes. NASA’s AIM spacecraft took these pictures of NLCs over Antarctica on Nov. 29, 2019 (left) and Nov. 29, 2020 (right)

Missing NLCs is just one of the curious weather patterns currently underway at the southern end of our planet.

Making a list: (1) Earth’s southern ozone hole is not only open, but also the biggest it’s ever been in December. (2) The air above Antarctica is currently at record cold levels for this time of year–the result of an icy polar vortex that refuses to break…

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Photosynthesis: nature requires carbon dioxide


This seems open to interpretation. Does it lead to the possibility that most CO2 rise is natural, and therefore all attempted reductions are an even bigger waste of time, money and resources than they were anyway? Here the BBC serves up another dollop of warmist assertions it can’t or won’t try to justify, presumably in an attempt to prevent any inconvenient notions about greenhouse gas theory from entering its audience’s heads.
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The global response to the Covid-19 crisis has had little impact on the continued rise in atmospheric concentrations of CO2, says the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

This year carbon [dioxide] emissions have fallen dramatically due to lockdowns that have cut transport and industry severely, says BBC News.

But this has only marginally slowed the overall rise in concentrations, the scientists say.

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Domestic gas central heating boiler


Now you see it — now you don’t. The claimed ‘climate emergency’ will just have to wait, until 2025 at least. A reprieve for new home buyers.
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The prime minister’s pledge to ban gas boilers from new homes by 2023 has been withdrawn, says BBC News.

The promise first appeared on the Downing Street website this week attached to Mr Johnson’s climate plan.

But the date was later amended, with the PM’s office claiming a “mix-up”.

The original statement from Number 10 announced this goal; “2023 – Implement a Future Homes Standard for new homes, with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency.”

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Cumulus clouds over the Atlantic Ocean [image credit: Tiago Fioreze @ Wikipedia]


Clouds again: “For 50 years, people have been making climate projections, but all of them have had a false representation of clouds”, says a top atmospheric science professor who served as a lead-author of Chapter 7, “Cloud and Aerosols” for the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Despite this glaring deficiency in climate models, governments insist on framing energy policies on the assertion that human ’emissions’ will be the main cause of any observed or future global climate change.

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Above the Atlantic Ocean, puffy white clouds scud across the sky buffeted by invisible trade winds.

They are not ‘particularly big, impressive or extended,” says Dr. Sandrine Bony, a climatologist and research director at the French National Centre for Scientific Research. “But they are the most ubiquitous clouds on Earth.”

Clouds are one of the biggest question marks in global climate models, and a wild card in predicting what will happen to the climate as temperatures rise, says Phys.org.

They play a vital role in how much of the sun’s radiation makes it into and gets trapped in our atmosphere.

The more clouds there are, the more radiation bounces off their tops and is reflected back into space; it also means that if there are more clouds, the radiation reflected by Earth gets trapped.

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Cumuliform cloudscape over Swifts Creek, Australia
[image credit: Wikipedia]


Do we see a chicken and egg conundrum when reading that there’s ‘a project to study how low clouds respond to climate change’? Accurate data on clouds in general is sparse, making any assertions about future climate questionable.
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One of the biggest weaknesses in computer climate models – the very models whose predictions underlie proposed political action on human CO2 emissions – is the representation of clouds and their response to global warming.

The deficiencies in computer simulations of clouds are acknowledged even by climate modelers, says Science under attack (via The GWPF).

Yet cloud behavior is key to whether future warming is a serious problem or not.

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