Global Warming Archives

What Happened to Global Warming?

So asks the BBC:

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

The article continues on, referring to to Sun output and ocean cycles, and how the climate models didn’t predict this, even though the guys who program the models say they took all this into consideration.

My point is not to debate what is or isn’t heating or cooling the planet, but rather to point out that there is so much that governments around the world want to legislate based on these climate models, while these models are failing in their near-term predictions.  But that doesn’t stop Al Gore from his itinerant preaching, nor the climate scientists from insisting that, never mind the past decade, now it’s going to get warmer, nor governments from trying to save us with new taxes based on models that aren’t predicting properly.

No, instead we’re pushing all our chips in based on buggy climate software. 

Exploring Nuclear Power Again … The Waste Question

No country with nuclear power today has solved the waste disposal problem. The preferred solution being sought today is to disperse the waste in repositories hundreds of meters below the earth’s surface. The (perceived) absence of success in this area is a dominant obstacles that the nuclear industry faces. Last Friday, I after a discussion of nuclear energy started, with a lot of half-remembered data on my side and in order to stop that feature of the conversation, I dug up on the net an authoritative report on the “future of nuclear energy.” These papers are in pdf form:

  1. The full document is here. This is a study by a group of MIT professors on the status of Nuclear power in the US and the world.
  2. The summary is here. This is a summary of the findings in the prior document.
  3. Finally, in 2009 (the original documents were written in 2003) an update of the current situation given the economic and political conditions is given here.

In the discussion last night (on this post) waste seemed the dominant topic. As noted, that post last night was a summary (of a summary). So I’m going to delve in to the report’s waste chapter for more grist. Read the rest of this entry

Nuclear Energy: Some Data for Discussions

Last Friday, I after a discussion of nuclear energy started, with a lot of half-remembered data on my side and in order to stop that feature of the conversation, I dug up on the net an authoritative report on the “future of nuclear energy.” These papers are in pdf form:

  1. The full document is here. This is a study by a group of MIT professors on the status of Nuclear power in the US and the world.
  2. The summary is here. This is a summary of the findings in the prior document.
  3. Finally, in 2009 (the original documents were written in 2003) an update of the current situation given the economic and political conditions is given here.

Anyhow, I’m going to attempt summarize the summary. Please bring up any points on which further elaboration would be useful. Read the rest of this entry

For the Weekend

This weekend I’m going to read these documents prior to a post on nuclear power. Any and all are invited to read them to so that our discussion might be more informed.

  1. The full document is here. This is a study by a group of MIT professors on the status of Nuclear power in the US and the world.
  2. The summary is here. This is a summary of the findings in the prior document.
  3. Finally, in 2009 (the original documents were written in 2003) an update of the current situation given the economic and political conditions is given here.

The summary begins:

At least for the next few decades, there are only a few realistic options for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation:

  • increase efficiency in electricity generation and use;
  • expand use of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal;
  • capture carbon dioxide emissions at fossil-fueled (especially coal) electric generating plants and permanently sequester the carbon; and
  • increase use of nuclear power.

The goal of this interdisciplinary MIT study is not to predict which of these options will prevail or to argue for their comparative advantages. In our view, it is likely that we shall need all of these options and accordingly it would be a mistake at this time to exclude any of these four options from an overall carbon emissions management strategy. Rather we seek to explore and evaluate actions that could be taken to maintain nuclear power as one of the significant options for meeting future world energy needs at low cost and in an environmentally acceptable manner.

Taking Nuclear Seriously as a Carbon Fix

Argonne has a short paper out outlining a “green” energy solution that looks more plausible than any I’ve seen for a while. If you take “carbon” seriously (I don’t but I’m in something of a minority on that) you should read this. If you don’t, however, and do take peak oil or oil independence seriously then you should still read it.

For Green Freedom the basic idea is that you take a nuclear power plant for its supply of electricity and steam. With that you use a potassium/carbon compound CO2 + water + hydrogen via electrolysis to combine in a process that produces methanol which is then in turn further processed to a synthetic gasoline. Basically the nuclear reaction/energy drives a reaction reclaming carbon and O2 from the air to form that gas, which is then burned in cars re-releasing that carbon back to the atmosphere in a completely carbon neutral process. It is not of course energy/lite, but that isn’t the point here.

The paper suggests some economics, but basically a price point for gasoline right about where it is now, makes installation of new plants feasible.

Of course the anti-nuclear stance of the left is a religious position, data on Gen III and Gen IV nuclear power generation will be of no interest or use in discussions.

Liberal Climate Logic

Mr DeLong points to a plot that the anthropogenic global warming proponents are pushing. He’s also pointed to a big “inflection point” of industrialization and its economic effects in his pdf on “slouching toward utopia”. One wonders if he can put two and two together and get four … and connect the two. It seems if you believe anthropogenic global warming began at the same time as industrialization … the obvious conclusion is that to “restore” the climate the industrial revolution has to be renounced. All the factories, power plants, cars and all have to be forgone. A return to the pre-industrial age is a necessity. One wonder if he really wants to do that. My guess is … no. But if you believe the first and the second is clearly in that chain of logic causally connected then the conclusion seems inescapable. To paraphrase Mr DeLong, “How can any person who believes in anthropogenic global warming participate in a non-agrarian non-carbon neutral non-self-sustaining lifestyle?” It seems clear if you are blogging about global warming you are a hypocrite and a willing contributor to the problem. Since the conclusion that pre-industrial population levels is inescapable for the true anthropogenic global warming believer for us to have a reasonable chance of returning to pre-1850/1870 carbon output. Killing off 6 billion or so people, now that will truly take a real far thinking progressive mentality.

Of course this leads to the same problem as the one facing Mr Obama and his nuclear weapon-free world pipe dream. How do you disarm if there are bad men in the world. The same is true for industrial capacity. How can you disarm your factories and your multi-trillion dollar economy if the other guy doesn’t do it as well? Oh, wait … you can’t.

And because you cannot, there is of course only one way out of this problem … and it is that we need an alternative source of power, of which right now there is only one. Nuclear (fission) power is the only viable alternative to coal and oil based power generation with our current levels of power consumption. And … oddly enough nobody on the left is talking about that. Oddly enough as well, Gen-IV reactor designs are almost have nothing in common with those of the Rickover water cooled variety.

Climate Doing Its Own Changing

A new peer-reviewed study claims that "[v]irtually all changes in global atmospheric temperatures in the late 20th century were the result of nature rather than human activity". 

Yeah, that "settled" science continues to get unsettled.

“It goes against the orthodoxy,” said climate scientist Chris de Freitas of New Zealand’s Auckland University. The new findings called into question the politically-correct, politically-motivated assumptions driving the climate change debate, he said.

De Freitas and Australian scientists John McLean and Bob Carter reported that at least 80 percent of climate variability tracked over the past half a century could be attributed to internal climate-system factors including the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Pacific warming phenomenon and its cooling twin, La Nina.

This left little room for human-caused factors like emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other so-called greenhouse gases. Intermittent volcanic activity, producing significant cooling, was found to have been a factor.

The paper was published Thursday, following a six-month peer review process, in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research.

All of our efforts trying to stem this may be for naught.

Global Warming Update

The White House has become as hypocritical on the matter of global warming as Al Gore’s house. 

The capital flew into a bit of a tizzy when, on his first full day in the White House, President Obama was photographed in the Oval Office without his suit jacket. There was, however, a logical explanation: Mr. Obama, who hates the cold, had cranked up the thermostat.

“He’s from Hawaii, O.K.?” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod, who occupies the small but strategically located office next door to his boss. “He likes it warm. You could grow orchids in there.”

Oh, well, that explains it.  Cranking up the thermostat is OK for native Hawaiians. 

Where’s Jimmy Carter when you need him?  I’m sure he has some spare sweaters.

Global Warming Update

With a hat tip to NewsBusters, a report on polar ice from this past June:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

"From the viewpoint of science, the North Pole is just another point on the globe, but symbolically it is hugely important. There is supposed to be ice at the North Pole, not open water," said Mark Serreze of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado.

That was then.  This is now.

Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago, when the year 1979 also drew to a close.

Ice levels had been tracking lower throughout much of 2008, but rapidly recovered in the last quarter. In fact, the rate of increase from September onward is the fastest rate of change on record, either upwards or downwards.

(That rapid recovery in the last quarter is what we in the northern hemisphere call "winter".)

So all the experts and nifty computer models were absolutely wrong.  We’re not sailing ships through Santa’s workshop; instead we’re seeing ice levels we haven’t seen for 30 years.  Why were predictions so wrong?  The article explains:

Researchers had expected the newer sea ice, which is thinner, to be less resilient and melt easier. Instead, the thinner ice had less snow cover to insulate it from the bitterly cold air, and therefore grew much faster than expected, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Maybe, just maybe, the earth has cycles and this icing is just one of them.  Cycles like this are one of the reasons that the Huffington Post — no member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy they — are now preemptively accepting Al Gore’s apology for the lies he’s been telling us.

Read the rest of this entry

Political Cartoon: What Would We Do Without Experts?

From Chuck Asay.  Click for full-size version.

On major things like global warming and the economy, expert opinions are good to have, but if we jump to conclusions too soon we may not have the whole story.  And predicting the future has been notoriously difficult, even for the experts.

On Climate … Two Questions

On global warming.

  1. If quarterly or monthly global mean tropospheric temperature averages (which isn’t “weather” by the way) aren’t meaningful than what is? What weather data is meaningful when talking about climate “change?”
  2. Those temperatures have been trending sharply down for about 30 months or so now. How much longer before the downward trend becomes meaningful?

Climate and 1979

One thing that people forget as they get older, is that more and more people (often called “those who are younger than you”) get to be more and more common and that those people don’t remember things that happened that you do in quite the same way.

On the climate change and global warming front, we are told today in a oft reposted graphic that this last year is looking to be as cold (or if the trend continues) colder than 1979. 1979 was cold in Chicago as were 1980 and 81. For the last 20 years or so December ice and snow didn’t stick around, but would normally melt in a week or so. But in the 70s and 80s snow frequently lasted though until sometime in March, although there was sometimes one week in which temperatures rose above freezing. Sometimes weeks (more than one) passed with continuous sub-zero temperatures, wind chills hit -100 in Chicago, not Minnesota or Alaska. It did in the early 80s and although 1980 was my first year in Chicago, it was at University and there were at that time students who had weathered winters of 77 through 79, who could recount 6 foot and higher snow drifts.

So, if the trend continues this winter, expect the whole global warming kerfuffle to end this winter. Should we place bets on how long the “global cooling” warnings will start to be heard?

I might add that as a first year undergrad, I went ice skating once at midnight on a clear cold night with the mercury at -28 and the wind chill below -80 … just to say I’d done it. Perhaps I’ll be able to do that again with the kids. 😉

Global warming, the complexity explained

From NASA warming scientist: ‘This is the last chance’ to Hot Climate could Shut Down Plate Tectonics, what is one to think about our impending doom from Global Warming?

In the web-radio interview Toward a Sensible Approach to Global Warming, the scholars at Reasons to Believe interviewed environmental scientist Kevin Birdwell.

The interview was well done, with no rash statements made on either side of the issue. Birdwell presented the current state of knowledge, on environmental science, noting that global warming does occur. He also noted that, due to the incredibly complex nature of the topic, we are not yet able to determine to what extent human induced warming affects the environment. Birdwell also stated that simply reducing carbon emissions will not necessarily impact global warming since all particulants emitted, natural and man-made, play a role in “global warming.”

It was good to see Reasons to Believe finally address this issue, which has polarized many within the evangelical community.

Eco-Vandalism Now Legally Acceptable

Greenpeace vandals have been cleared in the UK of damaging a coal station.  It’s not that they didn’t do it, it’s that the jury thought they were justified.

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 [US$ 62,594] worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

This act of vandalism was just graffiti…this time.  And Greenpeace has now been given license to cost power companies (and the people they service) $62,000 at a shot as many times as they want without repercussions.  That is incredibly foolish.

Solar Cooling

An event occurred last August that hasn’t happened since 1913, almost 100 years ago.

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots — is an influencing factor for climate on earth.

And how would this lack of sunspots influence Earth’s climate?

In the past 1000 years, three previous such events — the Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums, have all led to rapid cooling. One was large enough to be called a “mini ice age”. For a society dependent on agriculture, cold is more damaging than heat. The growing season shortens, yields drop, and the occurrence of crop-destroying frosts increases.

The only thing worse for mankind than global warming is global cooling, if you want to look at it that way.  And it looks like we could be in for quite the cold snap.

The rest of the article is worth a read.  It includes charts showing sunspot activity since the year 1600 that seem to correlate with global temperatures (including a dip during the 1970s when global cooling was the cry of the scientists).

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