Archive for the ‘Uncertainty’ Category

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?

Phys.org 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.
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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.

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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.

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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.
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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)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201424824
(open access with registration)

ABSTRACT

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.

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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.

Phys.org 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).
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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]

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Anyone for dates?

Image

Image

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.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/12/02/uk-britain-electricity-links-idUKKCN0JG0ZS20141202

Hmm… Aug. 21, 2014

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

http://online.wsj.com/articles/nuclear-shutdowns-leave-belgium-looking-for-power-1408632643

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My thanks to Patrick Moore, co-founder and ex Greenpeace leader, and since 1986 ‘the sensible environmentalist’, for his permission to repost this article printed in the Australian recently. The name of Patrick’s own venture - Ecosense reflects his logical and humanist approach to the climate debate.

Patrick Moore: We Need More Carbon Dioxide, Not Less

patrickmoore6

Australian politics has been more influenced by the climate debate than any other country. Yet Australia is responsible for only 1.5 per cent of global CO2 emissions. Perhaps this speaks of Australia’s extraordinary commitment to the international community. Yet Australia has threatened to hobble its own economy while much larger ­nations take a pass while making pious pronouncements.

I am sceptical that humans are the main cause of climate change, and that it will be catastrophic in the near future. There is no scientific proof of this hypothesis, yet we are told “the debate is over”, the “science is settled”.

My scepticism begins with the warmists’ certainty they can predict the global climate with a computer model. The entire basis for the doomsday climate change scenario is the hypothesis that increased CO2 due to fossil fuel emissions will heat the Earth to unliveable temperatures.
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I hope this does not come true.

A cliff hanger descended over the Rosetta space mission as fate casts a shadow when an attempt at landing went fatally awry.

It turns out that fragile and complex technology was used instead of robust tried and tested nuclear plant. Fault intolerance.

The solar cells in Rosetta’s solar panels are based on a completely new technology, so-called Low-intensity Low Temperature Cells. Thanks to them, Rosetta is the first space mission to journey beyond the main asteroid belt relying solely on solar cells for power generation. Previous deep-space missions used nuclear RTGs (Radio isotope thermal generators). The new solar cells allow Rosetta to operate over 800 million kilometres from the Sun, where levels of sunlight are only 4% those on Earth.
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Frequently_asked_questions

But they forgot the possibility of or ignored an unknown environment might have cliffhangers waiting. It has landed in shadow.

Philae is receiving about 1.5 hours of illumination during every 12-hour rotation of the comet. [so? not designed for this then?]

This will be insufficient to top up its battery system once the primary charge it had on leaving Rosetta runs out. That was some 60-plus hours.

It means Philae is unlikely to be operating in its present state beyond Saturday. [go into low power mode, what the EU insist the prolls do]

BBC

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Warm year brings more sea ice

Posted: November 13, 2014 by oldbrew in sea ice, Uncertainty

Ice melt [credit: BBC]

Ice melt [credit: BBC]


The US NOAA offers its ‘Global Summary Information – September 2014′ here.

Three quotes from their ‘state of the climate’ summary [bold added]:

‘The globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for September 2014 was the highest for September since record keeping began in 1880.’

‘Between the annual maximum extent that occurred in March and the minimum extent, the Arctic lost 3.82 million square miles of ice during the 2014 melt season, the ninth most on record but the least since 2006.’

‘The average September Antarctic sea ice extent was 7.73 million square miles, 480,000 square miles (6.60 percent) above the 1981–2010 average. This was the largest September average Antarctic sea ice extent on record and the largest average Antarctic sea ice extent for any month. This bested the previous September Antarctic sea ice extent record set last year by approximately 80,000 square miles. Much-above-average sea ice was observed in the western Pacific and Indian Ocean areas.’
—–
In the same year there’s said to be a record-equalling high for global average temperature, the least Arctic sea ice melt since 2006 and record Antarctic sea ice extent.

Interesting. What price the much-touted ice-free Arctic any time soon?

After the Ferrybridge fire and Hunstanton nuclear power station, more bad news for the hard pressed National Grid.

didcotgeorginemilesZainab Mirmalek, who lives opposite the power station, said: “There’s lots of water gushing down on it, lots of smoke and steam but the fire is definitely under control now.”

Fellow Didcot resident Leila Qureshi said: “We got quite near before the road was shut.

“The fire was ferocious. You could feel the heat and smell it.”

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Ex-Environment minister Owen Paterson is tonight delivering the annual GWPF lecture. In it he will say the climate change act should be scrapped. UKIP has been saying this for years and has had a detailed energy policy document out for years detailing better alternatives for a viable mixed energy policy. The full text of his speech has been published at the Spectator. Here’s an except:

The vital importance of affordable energy

owen-patersonBut first, let us consider what is at stake. We now live in an almost totally computer-dependent world. Without secure power the whole of our modern civilisation collapses: banking, air traffic control, smart phones, refrigerated food, life-saving surgery, entertainment, education, industry and transport.

We are lucky to live in a country where energy has been affordable and reliable.

Yet we cannot take this for granted.

While most public discussion is driven by the immediacy of the looming 2020 EU renewables target; policy is actually dominated by the EU’s long-term 2050 target.

The 2050 target is for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent relative to 1990 levels. The target has been outlined by the European Commission. But it is only the UK that has made it legally binding through the Climate Change Act – a piece of legislation that I and virtually every other MP voted for.

The 2050 target of cutting emissions by 80 percent, requires the almost complete decarbonisation of the electricity supply in 36 years.

In the short and medium term, costs to consumers will rise dramatically, and the lights would eventually go out. Not because of a temporary shortfall, but because of structural failures, from which we will find it extremely difficult and expensive to recover.

We must act now.

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

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

We’ll highlight some points from the official reaction later but first the opening details from a press report. Note the eagerness to talk down the relevance of Antarctic sea ice.

‘Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year, covering more of the southern oceans than it has since scientists began a long-term satellite record to map sea ice extent in the late 1970s. The upward trend in the Antarctic, however, is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.’

‘The new Antarctic sea ice record reflects the diversity and complexity of Earth’s environments, said NASA researchers. Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has referred to changes in sea ice coverage as a microcosm of global climate change.’

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Hot off the press release press, NASA tells us what I’ve been telling everyone who will listen for the last four years – large amounts of heat cannot magically descend through a marginally warming (or cooling) upper ocean to lurk in the abyss… The second law of thermodynamics doesn’t like that sort of thing.

image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean as imaged by the NASA’s Clouds and the Earth's Radiant Energy System

While the upper part of the world’s oceans continue to absorb heat from global warming, ocean depths have not warmed measurably in the last decade. This image shows heat radiating from the Pacific Ocean as imaged by the NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System instrument on the Terra satellite. (Blue regions indicate thick cloud cover.) Image Credit:  NASA

The cold waters of Earth’s deep ocean have not warmed measurably since 2005, according to a new NASA study, leaving unsolved the mystery of why global warming appears to have slowed in recent years.

Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, analyzed satellite and direct ocean temperature data from 2005 to 2013 and found the ocean abyss below 1.24 miles (1,995 meters) has not warmed measurably. Study coauthor Josh Willis of JPL said these findings do not throw suspicion on climate change itself.

“The sea level is still rising,” Willis noted. “We’re just trying to understand the nitty-gritty details.”

In the 21st century, greenhouse gases have continued to accumulate in the atmosphere, just as they did in the 20th century, but global average surface air temperatures have stopped rising in tandem with the gases. The temperature of the top half of the world’s oceans — above the 1.24-mile mark — is still climbing, but not fast enough to account for the stalled air temperatures.

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The plot below needs little explanation. The globally average surface temperature hasn’t warmed in over 18 years according to the RSS satellite dataset.

18yrs1mth

 

Now, Some say the surface hasn’t warmed because the ‘missing heat’ has gone into the oceans instead of warming the surface.However, if we look at ARGO; the best data we have for ocean heat content (OHC) (before it got reworked in 2010 by dropping buoys showing cooling from the dataset) – we see that Ocean Heat Content actually fell from 2003 to 2008:

Loehle-OHC-800

Where else could the heat have ‘hidden’? Well, the warmists claim it went deeper than the bulk of the ARGO system measures – below 700m, where uncertainty rises dramatically. However, they offer no plausible explanation of how energy is transferred through a 700m deep COOLING layer, in defiance of the second law of thermodynamics.

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The UK Met Office forecast for things they choose, such as Arctic sea ice extent but seem completely silent on Antarctica or even handedly dealing with both of pairs of extremes.

Ah well, wait a month or two… forecasting is better after the event IYSWIM

Image

Annotated extract from Met Office Arctic sea ice forecast page
http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/climate/seasonal-to-decadal/long-range/arctic-sea-ice

It is possible the file dates do not reflect change in the documents.

NSIDC announcement for 2014 page here (where NSIDC also acknowledge the Antarctica extreme)

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Georgia Institute of Technology professor Judith Curry [image credit: Wikipedia]

Georgia Institute of Technology professor Judith Curry [image credit: Wikipedia]


Someone the current US President might do well to listen to before voicing opinions on climate matters is profiled here.

E & E News reports: Judith Curry thinks climate scientists view her as their “biggest threat.”

“I do not pay obeisance to the consensus and I think for myself, and they don’t like that,” said Curry, a professor at the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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The size of the sun is of critical importance to solar studies yet this is poorly known, let alone if and how the size varies over time. Paper published this week in Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Image

Fig.1. Left: solar radius measurements (red symbols) made since the seventeenth century (Rozelot & Damiani 2012). The mean value of all these measurements is close to 960 arcsec. Right: focus on solar radius measurements made since 1970. …

Fig.2. Evolution of the solar radius variations over time for ground instruments (Solar Astrolabe, DORAYSOL and SODISMII monthly mean at 782.2 nm), balloon experiment (SDS), and space instrument (MDI) vs. daily sunspot number time-series. For each series, the mean has been taken as reference value.

Fig.2. Evolution of the solar radius variations over time for ground instruments (Solar Astrolabe, DORAYSOL and SODISMII monthly mean at 782.2 nm), balloon experiment (SDS), and space instrument (MDI) vs. daily sunspot number time-series. For each series, the mean has been
taken as reference value.

 

Ground-based measurements of the solar diameter during the rising phase of solar cycle 24
M. Meftah, T. Corbard, A. Irbah, R. Ikhlef, F. Morand, C. Renaud, A. Hauchecorne, P. Assus, J. Borgnino, B. Chauvineau, M. Crepel, F. Dalaudier, L. Damé, D. Djafer, M. Fodil, P. Lesueur, G. Poiet, M. Rouzé, A. Sarkissian, A.Ziad, and F. Laclare

Paper access is available with registration.

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German power grid at risk of widespread blackouts

Posted: September 25, 2014 by oldbrew in Energy, Uncertainty, wind

[image credit: Wikipedia]

[image credit: Wikipedia]


Pierre Gosselin at Notrickszone reports:

‘There was a time when Germany’s power was mostly generated by the traditional sources of coal, nuclear, oil, natural gas and hydro. These sources were reliable and keeping the power grid under control was a routine matter. Germany’s power grid was among the most stable worldwide. But then came Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act, and with it the very volatile sources of sun and wind.’

‘As a result, today’s German power grid has become a precarious balancing act, and keeping it from collapsing under the load of wild fluctuations has become a real challenge.’

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