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  1. Is there something missing from this story, such as an RC commentary about the response by Schwartz to the criticism by Forster et al?

    Comment by Chuck Booth — 6 Sep 2007 @ 10:41 PM

  2. Forster et al, said…
    A further problem in the analysis of
    Schwartz et al. is that they assume the
    uncertainties associated with forcing and with
    temperature response at year 2000 are linearly
    related (Schwartz et al. Figure 2). Such a
    simple relationship does not exist because
    temperature today is not in equilibrium with
    current forcing, but instead is influenced by
    historical forcing.

    I noted Schwartz’s linear model when I first read his paper. How about this scenario, would it be correct to say that all the possible values of sensitivity that have been published in the literatures so far and this including Schwartz’s calculation do fall in the possible range that physics allows, but perhaps we don’t know about these processes yet? Why does it has to be a single value? This is just a bold assertion, based on what I read on the published work of Rossow/Aires regarding the multivariate and nonlinear sensitivities for the analysis of feedback processes, in which they discussed the inappropriateness of using linear control model. So, if Schwartz’s linearity assumption is wrong, then why not try to adopt the formulation described in Rossow/Aires paper, where climate dynamical processes are treated according to the real world physics, and that is non-linear.

    I found Rossow/Aires work interesting. They treated each climate process as parallel to each other, but I think that their work is just the start in adopting non-linear control theory for climate data analysis. It would be interesting if future work by researchers in this area if they would discover that there are also feed-forward processes which are taking place at the same time as those feed-back processes. Again, this is just a thought, since both feed-back and feed-forward control processes do really occur simultaneously in the real world science.

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 7 Sep 2007 @ 1:14 AM

  3. > perhaps we don’t know about these processes yet?
    I’ve never seen anyone argue otherwise. Very different processes may happen depending on how much, how fast, and when we stop. Nature always stopped boosting CO2 eventually; outcomes varied greatly.

    > Why does it has to be a single value?
    It’s the temperature difference measured once the planet is again at equilibrium — a single value, for those who will be alive at the time to do the measurement.

    > This is just a bold assertion
    Seems a mainstream statement to me, based on a few years’ reading.

    > the real world physics
    After the first century or so, it’s not just physics and chemistry, it will be studies in biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 10:09 AM

  4. Since this is the roundup, here is a general question. I have been asked to evaluate Idso 98 with regard to the issue of climate sensitivity to CO2.

    I found an inline from Gavin in April which states “Idso’s experiments all involve random temperatures divided by random fluxes – all at the surface and none related to global long term feedbacks – they have absolutely no relevance to climate sensitivity as normally defined. There were whole journal issues devoted to pointing out the flaws in Idso’s arguments (Climatic Change for instance).”

    Unfortunately, I cannot seem to track that reference down, even using the site’s search engine.

    Can anybody point me to critical examinations of that paper?

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 7 Sep 2007 @ 10:18 AM

  5. After a little reading, just a few examples:

    “Oceanographers are currently facing a profound challenge to their understanding of one of the ocean’s most important physical processes, turbulent mixing…. A problem currently puzzling the world’s oceanographers is that independent measurements of the ocean’s temperature profile and the amount of turbulent mixing are not consistent. Measurements find approximately one tenth the mixing necessary to agree with the warm temperatures detected in the ocean’s depth.” http://chowder.ucsd.edu/home/
    The Hawaii Ocean-Mixing Experiment (HOME)

    Science. 2004 Jan 9;303 (5655):210-3 14716008
    Widespread intense turbulent mixing in the Southern Ocean.
    Alberto C Naveira Garabato, Kurt L Polzin, Brian A King, Karen J Heywood, Martin Visbeck
    Observations of internal wave velocity fluctuations show that enhanced turbulent mixing over rough topography in the Southern Ocean is remarkably intense and widespread. Mixing rates exceeding background values by a factor of 10 to 1000 are common above complex bathymetry over a distance of 2000 to 3000 kilometers at depths greater than 500 to 1000 meters. This suggests that turbulent mixing in the Southern Ocean may contribute crucially to driving the upward transport of water closing the ocean’s meridional overturning circulation, and thus needs to be represented in numerical simulations of the global ocean circulation and the spreading of biogeochemical tracers.” http://lib.bioinfo.pl/pmid:14716008

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 10:26 AM

  6. Walt, try searching at the journal’s page:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/?k=Idso

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 10:46 AM

  7. Falafulu,

    Remember what Peter Stone Said:

    “In the last five years, we have become aware that climate sensitivity is not a constant, but evolves with time as the climate changes. For example, in a global warming scenario in which sea ice retreats, the ice albedo temperature feedback decreases as the ice retreats, and the temperature sensitivity decreases correspondingly. Thus, the climate sensitivity that one should use in making projections has to be matched to the time scale and scenario for which the projections apply.”

    Comment by steven mosher — 7 Sep 2007 @ 10:48 AM

  8. Today’s news:
    Friday, September 7, 2007 — Arctic ice cap to melt faster than feared, scientists say
    By Sandi Doughton
    Seattle Times science reporter
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/2007

    … a new analysis from Seattle scientists says global warming will accelerate future melting much more than previously expected.

    About 40 percent of the floating ice … during the summer will be gone by 2050, says James Overland, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Earlier studies had predicted it would be nearly a century before that much ice vanished.

    “This is a major change,” Overland said. “This is actually moving the threshold up.”

    The finding, to be published Saturday in Geophysical Research Letters, adds to a growing body of evidence that the ecosystem around the North Pole is rapidly transforming, says Mark Serreze, of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. He goes even further than Overland, predicting the Arctic Ocean will be completely ice-free in summer by 2030….

    —– end excerpt —–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 11:49 AM

  9. I’ve studied Schwartz’s J Geophysical Research paper more thoroughly. He gets a very low sensitivity value of about 0.3 (corresponding to about 1.1 C temperature change from a CO2 doubling). Very crudely this idea can be conveyed by his assertion of a 2.2 watt per sq meter greenhouse forcing in the 20th century and a 0.57 increase in temperature: 0.57 temp change/2.2 forcing = 0.26, even smaller than 0.3.

    He gets the 2.2 watt per sq meter from this figure from IPCC 2001:
    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig6-8.htm

    I see about 2.0 I have detailed CO2, N2O and CH4 data. When I calculate using just CO2 I get only 1.2 watts per sq meter for 20th century forcing increase. But if I add N2O and CH4 using the IPCC 2001 simplified expressions I get 1.6. And if I then tack on CFCs forcings from IPCC 2001 I get 1.9, so the ~2.0 from the figure is materializing when I check it out.

    Schwarz uses a 0.57 temperature increase for the 20th century. I use the HadCRUT3v data from here:
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/hadcrut3vgl.txt

    Now if I simply read the 1900 and 2000 temperature off this sheet I see they are different by 0.53. If you look at the CRUTEMv data the difference is 0.55 so I can see where the 0.57 might have come from.

    But when I pass a trend line (a running 20-year linear regression) through the data and look at the 1900-2000 change I get about 0.77 C. And if I look at the 1905-2005 difference I get about 0.87 C. Since Schwarz finds a 5 year lag, it makes sense of compare 1905-2005 temperature change to a 1900-2000 forcing change. Even with this revised temperature change and the 1.9 forcing (instead of 2.0) the sensitivity value comes out at 0.46 (corresponding to a 1.7 degree increase from a CO2 doubling).

    Now the IPCC 2001 report (same fig as before) suggests -0.2 net forcing from solar + aerosols. With their 2.0 watt/m^2 value for greenhouse gases this gives 1.8 for total forcing. With my 1.9 value it would come to a 1.7 watt/m^2 total forcing. Even with this reduced forcing and the 0.87 temperature change I get, sensitivity of 0.51 is obtained, which corresponds to 1.9 C for a CO2 doubling.

    The consensus sensitivity is about 3 C for a CO2 doubling. To get that we need another 0.46 C temperature increase that is unrealized. This is what is considered “in the pipeline”.

    The source of this delayed heating is the effect of the deep ocean. Using a simple model in which I divide the world into three compartments (1) land + atmosphere above land (2) surface ocean + atmosphere above ocean and (3) deep ocean I can explore the effects of lags on the system.

    Each compartment has an interchange rate with the surface ocean compartment. The land compartment has a small heat capacity and so has little impact on system dynamics over a period of decades (which is the time scale of interest since my trend serves to produce a running 20-year smoothing).

    Assuming a fairly rapid interchange between and land and ocean air masses, the effect of deep ocean interchange in system dynamics in the multi-decade time frame is not very important. What deep ocean *does* impact is the extent of the temperature change due to a forcing change. For example over a period of a few decades, the impact of a step increase in forcing will be about 85-90% of the full effect for a deep ocean exchange rate consistent with a ~2000-year equilibrium period. Increasing the exchange rate to what would produce equilibrium in say ~1000 years would reduce the impact to about 80% or so. That is, the *true* sensitivity would be 18-25% greater than the figures above suggest depending on the importance of deep water heat exchange.

    Application of these correctives to my 0.51 sensitivity value from above and I get 0.6-0.64 for sensitivity, corresponding to 2.3-2.4 degrees for CO2 doubling. It’s still not 3 C, but if I assume larger deep ocean interchange rates I can make it bigger. The issue is this heating “in the pipeline” that reflects deep ocean effects isn’t going to show up quickly. It might take a couple of centuries to manifest so is this relevant? Obviously it will be relevant when looking at paleoclimate forcing versus response behavior, but is it relevant today?

    Comment by Mike Alexander — 7 Sep 2007 @ 12:42 PM

  10. The global climate models failure to predict this summer’s Arctic Sea Ice Melt event would seem to confirm Swartz’s statement that we have “a false sense of (the models’) predictive capability.” The fact that IPCC inserted caveats, weasel words, and disclaimers into the report, does not change the fact that some of those disclaimers (key findings) did not find their way into the Executive Summary. Therefore, journalists, the general public, and executives/decision makers who only read the Executive Summary missed those key findings. The only people that read all of the key findings were the folks that read the full text of the IPCC reports. Even, most Lawyers did not get that deep into the fine print.

    We need to face that fact that the best models failed, and rerunning suites of failed models (Overland) is not going to give use a good answer. It may give us a better answer, but it will not be a projection that can be used confidently for public policy planning. Moreover, the effects of the Arctic Sea Ice Melt event are likely to affect other parts of the Earth’s climate, and increase divergence between the models’ projections and reality. We need better models that produce projections of known quality

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 7 Sep 2007 @ 12:46 PM

  11. I have suggested a climate remediation policy as a comment to the “Climate Management 101 – 3. Changes and Times” post (currently the most recent) at

    http://climatepolicy.org

    Comments about the policy may be left there.

    Here I have some climate change questions. We suppose it is possible to safely and securely sequester about 14 billion tonnes of carbon per year, from biomass sources. About half of that counter-balances the annual addition to the atmosphere from fossil and deforestration sources.

    (1) Is this the correct estimate?

    The other half goes into reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In general terms, I assume that the climate begins responding by moving back toward ‘normal’.

    (2) But in detail, it is not clear to me, either globally or regionally, just what the response would be. What will it be?

    I propose continuing at this rate for 30 years, sequestering 210 billion tonnes of carbon. I believe this is about the correct amount to return the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 315 ppm.

    (3) Is this about right? Is the response immediate or somewhat delayed?

    Suppose that at this level just enough carbon is sequestered to balance the additions from fossil and deforestration sources, no more.

    (4) What is the climatic response for the next 50–150 years?

    I think I sorta know, but I’m interested in having a better grasp of the climate issues involved with this scenario. Thank you for your responses, which I shall read with great interest.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Sep 2007 @ 1:35 PM

  12. Just a note on a way to avoid building lots more dirty coal plants fast — increase short term energy storage to smooth out the current grid’s performance.

    You can’t do this with biodiesel.
    Possible storage forms: batteries, flywheels.

    Here’s a good review and example:

    Energy Policy
    Volume 35, Issue 4, April 2007, Pages 2558-2568

    Abstract

    doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2006.09.005
    Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

    Economics of electric energy storage for energy arbitrage and regulation in New York

    Rahul Walawalkara, Jay Apta, and Rick Mancinib,

    Unlike markets for storable commodities, electricity markets depend on the real-time balance of supply and demand. Although much of the present-day grid operates effectively without storage, cost-effective ways of storing electrical energy can help make the grid more efficient and reliable. We investigate the economics of two emerging electric energy storage (EES) technologies: sodium sulfur batteries and flywheel energy storage systems in New York state’s electricity market. The analysis indicates that there is a strong economic case for EES installations in the New York City region for applications such as energy arbitrage, and that significant opportunities exist throughout New York state for regulation services.

    Benefits from deferral of system upgrades may be important in the decision to deploy EES.

    Market barriers currently make it difficult for energy-limited EES such as flywheels to receive revenue for voltage regulation. Charging efficiency is more important to the economics of EES in a competitive electricity market than has generally been recognized.
    —– end abstract —–

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 1:37 PM

  13. Schwartz et al. assume that: “The challenge of climate change research is to develop confident predictive capability”. It would –presumably- be more helpful to explain the big warming at Spitsbergen in winter 1918/19 first, the most puzzling climate event (L. Bengtsson et al.; JoC, 2004) that happened under the eyes of modern science only 90 years ago, which defiantly was also “one of the ocean’s most important physical processes” (# 5). During the Arctic night only the sea could have started the Arctic warming from 1919 to 1940.

    Comment by Adrianne — 7 Sep 2007 @ 2:16 PM

  14. I’m a lawyer so a lot of this goes over my head. Nevertheless, isn’t it a little odd that the 1940′s observed global ocean temperature anomaly falls so far outside the 5-95% confidence range? Wouldn’t that suggest that current ocean temperature models need some work?

    Thanks,

    Comment by Francis — 7 Sep 2007 @ 2:20 PM

  15. That’s great that you are a lawyer, because one of the most comprehensive papers that are related to climate and oceans is Bernaerts’ guide to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea, writen by a lawyer and an international consultant. I am sure that it would answer your question better than I could.

    Comment by Adrianne — 7 Sep 2007 @ 2:40 PM

  16. I would suggest that
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,2164776,00.html

    and in particular paragraph 10, suggests that we may still have a false sense of the authority of IPCC AR4.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 7 Sep 2007 @ 3:14 PM

  17. Re No. 10: “The global climate models failure to predict this summer’s Arctic Sea Ice Melt event would seem to confirm Swartz’s statement that we have “a false sense of (the models’) predictive capability.”

    I’ve never seen any claim made that GCMs can predict individual annual events,neither in the short nor the long term. The models, to the best of my knowledge, make general predictions of what is likely to happen in the future with given inputs, e.g. a business as usual scenario, and resulting greenhouse gas emissions. Expecting the models to say what the arctic sea ice melting will be in say the summer of 2008, is unrealistic.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 7 Sep 2007 @ 3:38 PM

  18. Re: #6

    Hank,

    I had zero success searching that site, and I struck out using Google to find other critiques. I find that to be highly unusual for any well established paper.

    Is Idso 98 taken seriously in climate circles? Gavin asserted that the paper’s flaws had been well vetted, but I find no such evidence.

    Any help at all would be appreciated.

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 7 Sep 2007 @ 3:46 PM

  19. Jeez, Adrienne, this again?? I answered that one the last two times you posted it, there was a documented weather system involved that pushed warm air into that area. Look it up.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 4:51 PM

  20. Re 13 and 14. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam. Lovely spam…

    Comment by ray ladbury — 7 Sep 2007 @ 5:15 PM

  21. I have only been look at this global warming issue for about eight months and there is a lot I don’t know yet. I find most of the work done is largely incomprehensible to a layman, which should not be the case for a field where the models are as wrong as they are.

    One of the things not addressed too often (at least I haven’t seen it) is a characterization of what the global temperature profiles look like. If you plot the annual data you will see that it jumps around quite a bit. For example, I took the HADCRUT3v series of annual average global temperatures and ran a trend line though it. The trend was just a centered running 21-year linear regression up to 1996, with the post-1996 trend obtained from the 1986-2006 regression.
    Here is what it looks like

    http://my.net-link.net/~malexan/Climate-Model_files/image005.gif

    I drew lines around it that encompass 82% of the data. These lines are spaced plus or minus 0.12 degrees from the trend. Yet I note that two out of nine years the actual temperature falls outside this value, so we can consider 0.12 C as a not atypical variation from year to year.

    Now we know from experience that one any given day, the temperature can be as much as 20 C off from of the average for that day. If we average the daily temperatures of 1600 locations this average might be as much as 0.5 C off from its average value [0.5 C = 20 C/sqrt(1600)]. This statistical truism is called the central mean tendency. And if we then average 365 of these daily values to obtain an annual average, his value will be within 0.03 C [= 0.5 C / sqrt(365)] of its average value. In other words, the sort of “noise” that comes from random weather effects is much smaller than the 0.12 C variation the temperature plot shows.

    These variations reflect real things like (possibly) the solar cycle and ENSO type phenomenon, not just “noise”.

    When we consider that the size of these fluctuations is about one-third of the entire trend change in temperature over the past century, we can see the problem with short-term forecasts. What happens in the near future heavily depends on these fluctuations.

    We can also see why the Markov-type analysis that Schwarz uses isn’t valid. This analysis attempts to identify system lags by measuring autocorrelation. Autocorrelation is the tendency for a system to follow past behavior, what one might all the “bandwagon effect”. Stock markets are a good example. An up day is more likely to be followed by another up day than not. The same is true for down days. The explanation is stock investors act like a herd; when its goes up, investors get on the “bull” bandwagon. When it goes down, it’s the bear’s turn. As a result of this behavior the stock market shows “trendiness”, behavior that is variously characterized as corrections/rallies and bear/bull markets depending on their size.

    Applied to climate the idea is above average temperatures will be followed by more above-average temperatures because these elevated temperatures will be incorporated into the oceanic lag of the climate system and so will persist. The system will show hysteresis or a “memory effect”, like a rubber band, which “remembers” its former length and returns to it after it has been stretched.. Such hysteresis can be picked up by a Markov-type analysis which will provide an estimate of the characteristic lag (or response time) of the system under consideration. Schwartz does such an analysis and comes up with a lag time of 5 years.

    Analysis of the temperature plot above shows that the trend change in temperature over the 1900-2000 period is +0.78 C, but the total change is 8.3 C. If we assume that 0.03 C(times 100 years) or 3 C is weather “noise” this leaves around 4 C of temperature change over the last 100 years to be explained. Only about a fifth of it is due to the trend change that reflects long-term forcings with which climatologist are concerned. The other 80% reflects cyclical and other types of systemic changes like ENSO that might reflect internal system dynamics and not forcings per se.

    Schwarz’s Markov analysis should be valid if the temperature he is studying is mostly due to forcings. But if not then it is meaningless.

    So the question comes to, are things like ENSO, related to forcings or not? We know that the heat capacity of the atmosphere is small compared to the surface ocean. As far as I can tell, the mixing times for both are not that different, so for climatic purposes we can consider them as a single system. If during an ENSO-like event the atmospheric temperature is higher, but the temperature of the combined surface ocean atmosphere is unaffected, then you would see a “spike” in recorded temperature that is unrelated to a forcing. That is, there would be no physical reason for this temperature spike to be “remembered” in future temperatures (i.e. through a system lag). This is because the temperature spike does not reflect a real increase in the energy absorbed by the Earth (which has to show up in future temperatures because of conservation of energy) but rather a rearrangement of the distribution of the current energy between surface ocean and atmosphere with no increase in the total energy inventory of the system (i.e. no associated forcing). Such a rearrangement could then disappear and leave no “memory” at all. The observed lag would then reflect the diluted effect of that temperature change (about 20%) that was due to actual forcings as opposed to “rearrangements” like ENSO.

    Comment by Mike Alexander — 7 Sep 2007 @ 6:05 PM

  22. Walt, I recall Gavin’s on vacation; the Contact info in the “about” link, top of page would be a way to leave email to ask for more.

    This link is the journal, but you’ll have to get it from interlibrary loan if you’re not a subscriber:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/?mode=allwords&k=climatic+change&sortorder=asc&Publication=Climatic+Change

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Sep 2007 @ 6:48 PM

  23. Re #18: Walt, IIRC the Climatic Change article was considered to be so thorough abd definitive that it pretty well ended the discussion (except insofar as Idso continues to try to promote it to this day). I also recall looking for a copy at one point and not being able to find a free one. Springer and Elsevier are noted pains in the butt when it comes to that sort of thing.

    There are three things you can do: One, if there is a large universty near you, likely you can see it there. Two, email Steve Schneider, explain the public service nature of what you’re doing and ask him for a copy. I’m sure he’ll be happy to send you one as long as you promise to not post it on the web. OTOH there’s a chance that given how old it is it might be allowable for him to post it on his site, so ask about that. Three, buy it from Springer at their outrageous price.

    Good luck!

    Comment by Steve Bloom — 7 Sep 2007 @ 8:21 PM

  24. Here is an interesting paper that I’ve just come across. I haven’t read it yet, however I am still awaiting a response from the authors, since requesting a copy of their paper yesterday.

    Modelling greenhouse temperature using system identification by means of neural networks
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V10-4B5C1BD-1&_user=10&_coverDate=01%2F31%2F2004&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=0babfad1f39555419a4b75b990684ce4

    Abstract:
    ——–
    An NNARX system is proposed for modelling the internal greenhouse temperature as a function of outside air temperature and humidity, global solar radiation and sky cloudiness. The models show a good performance over a complete year using only two training periods, 1 week in winter and one in September. Finding the balance between the number of neurons in the hidden layer of the NNARX system and the number of iterations for model training is found to play an important role in obtaining this good performance.

    Author Keywords:
    —————
    Auto-regressive model; Recurrent neural network; Backpropagation

    The algorithm used in the quoted paper above is similar to ones described in Rossow/Aires the non-linear sensitivity analysis paper, where they mentioned NARMAX. NARMAX is similar to NNARX described in the abstract of the above paper.

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 7 Sep 2007 @ 8:42 PM

  25. Re 21 The 1600 stations aren’t independent, because many are in proximity to one another. I don’t know what the characteristic scale of weather systems is, but the station correlation alone could invalidate your analysis. – Tom

    Comment by Tom Fiddaman — 7 Sep 2007 @ 11:35 PM

  26. Re: 10 & 16

    Aaron Lewis’s crisp comments are much appreciated. The problem with 2007 Arctic events, vis-a-vis the models (that is, the ones used in AR4) is not that models are not intended to predict single-year events, but that the biogeochemical and geomicrobiological (as Hank puts it) behavior of the actual physical Earth, in all its formidable complexity, is making the models look ridiculous. Current observations keeps falling so far off the bottom of AR4′s worst cast scenarios that it won’t be long before its obvious to most that this generation of models, for all its usefulness, requires fundamental re-examintation.

    Coming from a software engineering background myself – if this were my piece of code, I’d have a strong suspicion by now that there’s a major bug somewhere that I haven’t tracked down yet.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 8 Sep 2007 @ 1:36 AM

  27. With Roger Pielke Snr’s weblog no longer being added to, what’s another good site that vigorously questions AGW theory purely on the science? Surely his wasn’t the only one. (I don’t think climateaudit makes the cut)

    Comment by barry — 8 Sep 2007 @ 2:59 AM

  28. Re #19: Claiming that an extreme rise of winter temperatures at the edge of the Arctic Ocean during the winter season could have been caused by ‘pushed warm air to that area’ is mere guessing and practically impossible, just read the arctic-warming site.

    Comment by Adrianne — 8 Sep 2007 @ 3:19 AM

  29. RE 17
    I do not expect climate models to predict annual events.

    However, some of the GCM did predict rapid collapses of the Arctic sea ice in 4 or 5 decades as an unlikely event. Human nature assumes that if the GCM can forecast such distant events, it should also be able to predict similar events that are only 1 or 2 decades distant. If the GCM had made a prediction of possible sea ice melt within 10 years of the actual event, I would say that the GCM was a great success. I would say that they were good if they came within 20 years. However, they missed. The GCMs did not forecast significant ice loss within the next couple of decades.

    What is the value of these very expensive GCM, if they can not inform our decisions?

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 8 Sep 2007 @ 3:32 AM

  30. Aaron Lewis, Don’t forget that the dynamics of melting ice–especially sea ice–have greater uncertainties than do climate models. Also, GCM models do a very poor job of looking at fluctuations precisely because they are designed not to do so. The GCM have done a pretty good job of doing what they were designed to do–follow energy flows over large scales. Projecting these flows onto regional scales is a fraught proposition however, as previous posts have discussed. And yes, the Arctic is regional. They are also all we have to guide policy decisions.
    So, the thing to do is look at where they were wrong and improve them. Look at where the melting-ice models were wrong, and improve them. And as we are making these improvements, we use the current models to implement sensible policies to mitigate the effects we are seeing.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 8 Sep 2007 @ 7:15 AM

  31. Adrienne, people have been spamming climate websites for years now with these links to what must be dozens of differently-named web pages, which all lead to Mr. Benaerts’s pages claiming World War I and II naval warfare caused global warming.

    It’s just blogspamming, advertising his book. There’s no science, no math, just correlation, at the multiple websites:

    seaclimate
    arctic-warming
    oceanclimate
    warchangesclimate
    1-ocean-1-climate

    And you drop this stuff everywhere, always pointing back to those websites, sometimes at great length

    http://climatesci.colorado.edu/2007/01/01/a-breath-of-fresh-air-in-the-media-on-climate-an-interview-and-article-by-andy-revkin/#comment-120688

    Sometimes it’s a Mike Kauso posting the same thing, as someone noticed in the above thread

    http://www.inkstain.net/fleck/?p=1866#comment-58527

    Yes, the big year 1918, the year the Spanish Flu blew up across the world, was a warm year.

    Most of the other claims you’re making are quotes from newspapers, and nothing supporting you has been published in the climatology papers. You have no research, no math, no idea how what Bernaerts is claiming could work. It gets really tiresome seeing it flogged.

    Consider why. Just repeating the same thing over and over in many people’s blogs may increase your Google Page Rank in searches and perhaps your book sales. It doesn’t help advance the science.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Sep 2007 @ 9:26 AM

  32. Although I can’t address the technical aspects and deficiencies of the Schwartz et al. commentary, my general gut feeling is that they’re right (perhaps maybe not for the reasons they posit): the IPCC AR4 may be painting too rosy a picture about global warming.

    Even Stefan, here, who was part of IPCC AR4, suggested in an earlier thread that AR4 may not have given the best picture of sea rise because of unquantifiables for ice sheet dynamics.

    And then there seems to be a general trend in studies — “it’s worse than we had earlier thought,” re such things the permafrost (& ice-locked carbon) in the arctic is much deeper than we though, and a lot of the ice-locked methane hydrates or clathrates in the ocean are at more shallow levels (closer to the warming layer of the ocean) than we thought. Or findings about hydrogen sulfide gas being released during past warmings & killing off life lickety split.

    Or that scientists aren’t talking much about the scenarios after 2100, once the warming starts to catch up with the GHGs, I guess more bec that’s just too hard to project with any accuracy at all, esp with all the wild card positive feedback potential, more than bec no one cares about future generations…..

    Compared to what happened 55 and 251 mya — so we do know it could happen again, only this time much faster, due to the demon-like speed and vigor with which we’re pumping GHGs into the atmosphere — the AR4 does seem a bit on the tame side.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 8 Sep 2007 @ 9:27 AM

  33. Climate models are admittedly, have shortcomings and the the scientists and modelers involved will say so. Yet, there have been many successes. See: Hansen’s 1988 projections
    posted by Gavin on 15 May on Realclimate to see verification of this.

    Models are continuously being updated and improved.There is a certain randomness in natural phenomena and compensating for this is difficult,but possible.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 8 Sep 2007 @ 9:46 AM

  34. By now I’ve developed a mental filter process the error-bars of GCMs. I take the worst-case as my best-case, and shorten the interval by (at least) 50%. It’s easy to imagine an heuristic like this consistently outperforming, in terms of predictive accuracy.

    This is nothing rigorous and I don’t mean to recommend such a heuristic to anyone. The steady stream of “much sooner than anyone previously thought possible” climate stories makes an impression on a one’s thinking after awhile, so I’ve acquired this mostly-unconscious rule of thumb.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 8 Sep 2007 @ 11:06 AM

  35. The problem with models that we know they can predict the past but we can’t know if they can predict the future partly because of the complexity that as know and more because of process that hard to model like
    sea ice for example can have albedo from 0.05 to 0.9 the value depend on evolution during the years and last hours weather
    [Sea Ice Albedo classification]
    http://www.gi.alaska.edu/%7Eeicken/he_teach/GEOS615icenom/albedo/albedo%20classification.htm
    that maybe part of the blame why the models don’t predict the observed sea ice decline
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20070430_StroeveGRL.html

    but other process are maybe not in the models at all like Mediterranean drouth the duration of snow cover in Europe
    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20070623_PainterGRL.html

    Or the rate of methane release from hydrates in the Ocean
    Or as appear in the WG SPM
    “Dynamical processes related to ice flow not included in current models but suggested by recent observations could increase the vulnerability of the ice sheets to warming, increasing future sea level rise. Understanding of these processes is limited and there is no consensus on their magnitude.”
    Or the reaction of the tropical rain forest to change in the rain pattern that didn’t occur yet.

    That’s why I’v called my Hebrew blog on climate change “The Black Butterfly Effect”

    Sow all models are no better then Hansen’s claim that we should better stay in the limits of interglacial periods and to learn from history

    Now model can be trusted 2C degree higher than industrial temp

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 8 Sep 2007 @ 12:46 PM

  36. Rather than continue to be off-topic on the Regional Climate Change thread, I am commenting here. Hank Roberts brought up the notion that we (all 6+ billion of my closest friends) are over-consuming the world’s resources. Certainly so. There is only a finite supply of metal ores, for example.

    However, the potential for biomass to create bioenergy is surprisingly high, over twice the current approximately 400–420 exajoules currently consumed from all sources. The following link contains a link to a thesis (mostly in English) which analyzes the situation:

    http://www.biopact.com/africa-latin-america-china-and-biofuel.html

    Somehwat related to this, I was hoping for comments regarding my comment #11, which wonders exactly what happens if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are decreased by sequestering carbon…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Sep 2007 @ 2:15 PM

  37. “If the GCM had made a prediction of possible sea ice melt within 10 years of the actual event, I would say that the GCM was a great success. I would say that they were good if they came within 20 years. However, they missed. The GCMs did not forecast significant ice loss within the next couple of decades.”

    Well apparently this meets your standards.

    http://www.realclimate.org/images/bitz_fig2.jpg

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 8 Sep 2007 @ 2:15 PM

  38. The correct link to the Biopact page is actually a previous post:

    http://biopact.com/2006/07/look-at-africas-biofuels-potential.html

    Apologies.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Sep 2007 @ 3:09 PM

  39. Daniel and Aaron, When you have a model that performs well generally, but which fails to perform for a specific class of phenomena, the problem is usually not a “bug”, but rather physics pertinent to the weak point that is missing. In this case, the missing physics is that of melting ice. This is a known unknown in the latest IPCC assessment. Such pessimism about the general health of the models is unwarranted.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 8 Sep 2007 @ 4:46 PM

  40. Current condition:
    http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=16858
    http://veimages.gsfc.nasa.gov/16858/HANPP_1982-98.jpg

    David, on the page you point to, their link is still broken to the document they cite as their source for these numbers:

    “… the global, sustainable bioenergy production potential in 2050 is between 273 Exajoules (scenario 1) and 1471 EJ (scenario 4).
    Now consider that the world’s total current energy consumption from all sources (nuclear, coal, oil, natural gas and renewables) amounts to 440 EJ of energy per year….”

    But another paper that _is_ currently available at the same website contradict these numbers:
    http://www.bioenergytrade.org/t40reportspapers/otherreportspublications/fairbiotradeproject20012004/00000098ae0d94705.html

    “Existing scenario studies indicated that such increases in productivity may be unrealistically high, although these studies generally excluded the impact of large scale bioenergy crop production. The global potential of bioenergy production from agricultural and forestry residues and wastes was calculated to be 76-96 EJ y-1 in the year 2050. The potential of bioenergy production from surplus forest growth (forest growth not required for the production of industrial roundwood and traditional woodfuel) was calculated to be 74 EJ y-1 in the year 2050.”

    I’m not going to pursue this further — it’s going way off topic — but you were picking the most optimistic scenarios and stating them as facts — that always worries me when I know there’s other information available that people need to evaluate the claims. The argument that it’s possible to exceed nature’s total productivity from photosynthesis without stealing anything from nature is most improbable.

    I’m asking you to be even-handed and give people all the evidence relevant to your claim, not just the references that support what you prefer to believe, not just the most optimistic scenarios.

    This is always the right approach — full, best available information so people can evaluate claims and think about the facts available.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Sep 2007 @ 5:09 PM

  41. Hank Roberts — The link to the Hoogwijk thesis provides the .pdf file. I read enough of it to stand by my statement, which is re-inforced by the Smeets, et al., abstracts that you so kindly provided a link to.

    The discrepancy comes from employing currently degraded or unused, but usable, lands to grow biomass for bioenergy. Jatropha is a good choice and there is lots of land which can be employed for this purpose.

    This is a ‘Friday Report’ thread, whose purpose — as I understand it — is to provide a place for comments which would be off-topic elsewhere.

    And I do try to provide the links to appropriate references. I’ve been following Biopact for some time now and have learned to largely trust their judgement. You are, of course, welcome to disagree. But with regard to the potential for about 840 exajoules of bioenergy, both the Hoogwijk thesis and the Smeets, et al., papers seem to agree that this is possible, albeit with some investment.

    This is, to me, of great importance. It means that if the will is there, it is possible to replace all fossil fuelss by biofuels and still have enough to sequester massive amounts of carbon each year.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Sep 2007 @ 5:55 PM

  42. RE 24. 1600 was an illustrative example. Obviously one would use only the *independent* stations. Say there are only 300 independent stations. In this case the max variation on annual temperature would be 0.06 C, still much less than the 0.12 and my point stands.

    Technically my analysis applies for standard deviations, not maximum variations, which are considerably smaller, probably on the order of 5-10 C. Thus for 0.12 C-sized *regular* global fluctuations to be the result of random 10 C “weather effects” you would need less than *twenty* independent weather stations.

    This is why the modern instrumental record (with >> 20 independent measurements) is so much more reliable than pre-1850 data. For example 17th century temperature changes of ~0.1 C may well be “weather noise” whereas 20th century changes of this magnitude most certainly do not.

    Comment by Mike Alexander — 8 Sep 2007 @ 7:11 PM

  43. James Annan has also commented on Schwartz`s earlier Nature piece concerning the IPCC: http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2007/09/pile-on.html#links

    Comment by TokyoTom — 9 Sep 2007 @ 12:37 AM

  44. ARCTIC ICE LOSS 2007

    Looking at the recent events in this regard in the Arctic it can be currently shown that all 18 models used to predict future sea ice loss are too conservative.

    http://nsidc.org/news/press/20070430_StroeveGRL.html

    Is this just a modelling paramater error, sea ice to thick in the models or ocean circulation is not correct etc or is it something else.

    The recent ice loss seems to be alarming some people and preictions of 2030 for sea ice loss in the Artic are now being projected. I remember a recent article on RC that stipulated that around 2080 to 2100 was the most likely date and even the models earliest dates were 2040 and that was considered unlikely !!

    Is polar amplification a stronger forcing than currently known ?

    Comment by pete best — 9 Sep 2007 @ 7:49 AM

  45. In connection with David Thompson’s comments on biofuel, the New York Times just had an article on this very promising plant:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/09/world/africa/09biofuel.html

    Obviously, this will not stop global warming, but it can help provide non-fossil fuel energy to the developing world, and help poor farmers in those areas.

    Comment by Randy Ross — 9 Sep 2007 @ 12:39 PM

  46. Pete, much of the data collected is still classified; the Navy Postgraduate School thesis collection has consistently had more modeling information on the Arctic than any other site. It’s hard to search, each time I go look for something I know is there and supposedly public, they’ve rearranged the links or home page.

    The articles this search finds are ways to start into that:
    “naval postgraduate school” Arctic sea ice. I’m only guessing that they may be drawing on classified data to feed their models, but allowed to publish some of the model results — not allowed to to tell the enemy submariners where the ice is thick or thin, but perhaps allowed to reveal the overall trends, for example.

    I’ve seen one name, Dr. Maslowski, turn up as thesis advisor on several interesting documents that used to be findable there.

    Here’s a published paper from him on the topic, quite recent:
    http://www.ametsoc.org/atmospolicy/documents/May032006_Dr.WieslawMaslowski.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Sep 2007 @ 12:41 PM

  47. Re #11, #35, #37, #39, #40: Using the figure that burning one kilogram of carbon in the air releases 33 megajoules (I had to ask so I don’t have a reference), 14 billion tonnes of carbon is equivalent to 462 exajoules. This is towards the low end of the four scenarios in the Hoogwijk thesis.

    Actually, I forgot about carbon dioxide concentration in the upper ocean in arriving at the figure of 14 billion tonnes posed in comment #11. I believe this means that it will take the removal of about 270 billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere to restore the carbon dioxide concentration to 315 ppm. At an average of 7 billion tonnes of carbon sequestered per year, this reequires about 40 years.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Sep 2007 @ 1:34 PM

  48. re: #44

    Agreed. jatropha is interesting, as do some others, of which miscanthus looks especially good in place of corn for ethanol, sooner or later. Especially, poor third-world farmers aren’t *ever* going to get much, if any, gasoline or diesel fuel (Peak Oil), so maybe they can skip straight to renewables or PV-solar-powered tractors and pumps.

    Of course, better crops in general would help: although Norman Borlaug is amazing, and still out there at 93, I hope there are younger equivalents to give Africa more help with crop engineering.

    Comment by John Mashey — 9 Sep 2007 @ 6:45 PM

  49. Re 38: I’m glad to hear your optimism regarding the models, Ray. I have no doubt you know vastly more than me whereof you speak.

    Still, the engineer’s “we know we can fix it” is automatically much less credible than the quantum physicist’s “we don’t know anything” to me. The nagging doubts I have about something basically off in the GCMs (if you’ll indulge a piker):

    1) Perhaps the GCMs may be described as equilibrium machines. Is there something fundamentally different about modeling disequilibrium, if that’s what the earth is experiencing?

    2) What about non-linear versus linear effects? Easier math, at least, might prejudice models in the linear direction.

    3) The proliferation of feedbacks from biological sources (which may be a restatement of (2), come to think of it). As this progresses, the prognosis for predictively-successful modeling gets that much worse, again.

    Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 9 Sep 2007 @ 10:02 PM

  50. Re #45, Hank, Thats interesting stuff. looks like ice measurements and assumptions for the models might have been incorrect or that computational power is not sufficient to accurately reflect oceanic heat transport.

    Still as all 18 models are somewhat inaccurate even with varying degrees of parameters is there something missing from the models I wonder ?

    Comment by pete best — 10 Sep 2007 @ 4:04 AM

  51. [[Re #11, #35, #37, #39, #40: Using the figure that burning one kilogram of carbon in the air releases 33 megajoules (I had to ask so I don’t have a reference), 14 billion tonnes of carbon is equivalent to 462 exajoules.]]

    The reaction for burning pure carbon is

    C + O2 => CO2

    The respective heats of formation of the molecules are, respectively, 0, 0, and -393.5 kilojoules per mole. The reaction is exothermic, since (0 + 0) – (-393.5) = 393.5, a positive number. A mole of carbon has a mass of 12 grams. Therefore, burning one kilogram of carbon gives off 32,790,000 Joules, or 33 MJ, just as advertised.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 10 Sep 2007 @ 6:02 AM

  52. Some discussion of this book may be necessary. The author was interviewed on Some discussion of this book may be necessary. The author (Bjorn Lomborg) was interviewed on NPR Morning Edition this morning. 9/9/07

    http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Skeptical-Environmentalists-Global-Warming/dp/0307266923

    Comment by catman306 — 10 Sep 2007 @ 6:12 AM

  53. Re 51. Lomborg is not a scientist. He doesn’t understand science, and from what I’ve seen his economics is pretty shaky, too. Why should we compound NPR’s mistake by publicizing this joker.

    Re 48. Daniel Goodwin: What matters is whether the proper physics is in the models. The task of the models is eased by the fact that they are looking at climate, which by definition is an equilibrium or near-equilibrium state. By near-equilibrium, I mean you start with a equilibrium state and perturb it slightly–that’w what we have done to the climate. That is also what Mt. Pinatubo did–albeit on a shorter timescale–and the models nailed that. The models also did a pretty good job on the post-9/11 decrease in air travel. There are enough independent chacks to suggest that the models have most of the right physics, and that whatever is not there is not that significant. As to linear vs. nonlinear approximations, again, the models are actually highly nonlinear. Where there are linearizations or other approximations, there are also ways to check if the effects are potentially important and over what ranges.

    As to feedbacks–biological systems mainly affect ghg production and/or albedo. There is no reason why we can’t get these right if we know about them, and that is why investigations are ongoing.

    On the other hand, the physics of melting ice is highly nonlinear and largely not well understood. If I were looking for missing physics, that is where I would start.

    Having a model that gives conservative predictions is not necessarily a bad thing. It shows that the label of “alarmist” is a bald-faced lie.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Sep 2007 @ 9:13 AM

  54. After watching Dimming the Sun on PBS’s NOVA last night, I don’t think there’s any question about the recent IPCC report being way too conservative.

    The data presented by Dr. Hansen and others indicates that if we were to eliminate air pollution and aircraft contrails, the Earth’s temperature would increase about 1 degree C. That, combined with the continued increase in CO2 emissions would likely put past the point of no return in as little as another 9 years. Very scary indeed, especially when recognizing the significant denial of AGW on the part of so many of our people, and talk radio hosts. In my opinion, the only thing that will break through that resistance is a very strong law.

    In the meantime, action on an individual level can offer reductions in CO2 emissions by as much as 60%. I did so with an investment of $7500 in my house, and a near vegan diet. The payback on the furnace was 5 yrs. It will be a little longer on the windows and insulation. The vegan diet cut my equivalent CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons/yr. No cholesterol lowering drugs required. My hybrid bicycle gets quite a workout on local trips, and for exercise.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 10 Sep 2007 @ 10:21 AM

  55. Sorry for the mispost.

    Some discussion of this book may be necessary. The author (Bjorn Lomborg) was interviewed on NPR Morning Edition this morning. 9/9/07

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14285997

    http://www.amazon.com/Cool-Skeptical-Environmentalists-Global-Warming/dp/0307266923

    Comment by catman306 — 10 Sep 2007 @ 10:24 AM

  56. RE catman306: Tim Flannery had a book review in yesterday’s Washington Post.

    Link

    Comment by Deech56 — 10 Sep 2007 @ 12:05 PM

  57. Barton Paul Levenson(50) — Thank you for the confirmation.

    My estimates of the anothropogenic carbon load were too low. Using data from

    Wallace S. Broecker
    CO_2 Arithmetic
    Science v. 315:5817, 2007 Mar 09, p. 1371

    and from the extremely well-done FAQ page on the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, web site, we have:

    1850, 288 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide;
    anthropogenic carbon load since that date through 2007: about 482 Gt;
    2007, 383 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    Thus to reduce this to about 315 ppm at a removal rate of 7 Gt per year would require about 48 years.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Sep 2007 @ 1:34 PM

  58. Re 55. Isn’t it amazing how denialists discover the poor and underdeveloped any time they need to drum up an opportunity cost–as if the poor will not be affected by climate change–and then conveniently forget them afterward. I haven’t seen Lomborg lobbying for more development funds for Africa. It is truly sad when rationalization passing for analysis is deemed worthy of publication.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 10 Sep 2007 @ 1:46 PM

  59. Re 51. Lomborg is not a scientist. He doesn’t understand science, and from what I’ve seen his economics is pretty shaky, too. Why should we compound NPR’s mistake by publicizing this joker.” – Ray Ladbury

    I’m not disagreeing with your assessment but I was hoping that someone with credentials could email or perhaps even interview at NPR to help correct some of this spin. Millions of people must have heard Mr. Lomborg and few will know exactly where his point of view differs from that of real climate scientists.

    Comment by catman306 — 10 Sep 2007 @ 2:28 PM

  60. Thanks, Deech56, Tim Flannery certainly has credentials and his review might spare the unititiated reader’s time with Lomborg’s book.

    Comment by catman306 — 10 Sep 2007 @ 2:45 PM

  61. What is his basis for claiming that 1.5 million Europeans die from cold?

    I grew up in South Dakota, which is much colder than most of Europe, and there were a tiny handful of people each year who died from the cold.

    Somehow I think there is a confusion between people who die in the flu season and death caused by cold.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 10 Sep 2007 @ 3:16 PM

  62. Here is a link to a story from The Guardian which mentions 25,000 deaths from the cold in one year in the UK.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/story/0,,1933677,00.html

    I don’t know how much time you have spend in Europe, but much of their housing is not up to US standards.

    Comment by Moptop — 10 Sep 2007 @ 4:19 PM

  63. Moptop,

    I would seriously question the state’s definition of “Excess Cold Death”, especially given that it is the sensationalist british government (and newspaper reporting) this phenomenon.

    Comment by Carl G — 10 Sep 2007 @ 5:22 PM

  64. It’s a long way from 25,000 to 1.5 million. This is smelling like the 7 billion cows fantasy.

    Elderly people die of the flu because they’re elderly. They’ll die of the flu in a warm house. They’ll die of the flu in an insulated house. What are they going to blame then? This is a bogus number. Very few of those deaths were actually caused by the cold.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 10 Sep 2007 @ 5:24 PM

  65. Thanks for mentioning the carbon cycle, David Benson. After reading the Schwartz and Foster letters, it seemed they were ignoring two of the biggest uncertainties: future biosphere-linked carbon cycle changes, and fater-than expected saturation of the oceans with CO2 (or at least not explicitly mentioning them). The effect on future forcings could be considerable.

    Woods Hole has a nice page at http://www.whrc.org/carbon/landuse.htm

    Estimates of global photosynthesis and respiration are on the order of 60-100 gigatons back and forth, compared to the 7 gigatons of fossil fuels added each year by human use of fossil fuels. The net biomass +soil active carbon pool is estimated at 2000 gigatons. It’s worth noting that if photosynthesis alone were to halt, the entire biosphere whould be respired to CO2 within 20 years. (that’s not going to happen – it just helps show that the biosphere is an active carbon pool) Is the global system currently in balance, and how will it respond to future warming? That’s very difficult to measure and predict. For more, see

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v404/n6780/full/404819a0.html

    The scenarios that should cause worry are strongly weakened biosphere and oceanic carbon sinks, and melting permafrost and shallow methane hydrate carbon sources. One can imagine reaching a point where even a 100% reduction in the use of fossil fuels doesn’t stop atmospheric CO2 from increasing to some new higher point.

    Going from burning fossil fuels to sequestering biomass at similar levels is hard to imagine. Essentially, you’re talking about making new fossil fuel deposits from biomass on a very short timescale as a means to draw down atmospheric CO2 – this will take a lot of energy and effort… in an era when agricultural productivity is already suffering due to heat waves, droughts and floods. Forests in midlatitudes are under assault from insects and wildfires and decreased summer water flows.

    For more on the carbon cycle:
    http://www.gcrio.org/CONSEQUENCES/vol4no1/carbcycle.html

    There’s a lot of talk about sequestration, but few viable long term methods have been proposed. Mostly, its just PR for coal interests who want excuses to keep burning coal. The most effective sequestraion of agricultural crops appears to be partial conversion to charcoal and burial in soil (‘black earth’) – which results in about 20% of the crop biomass being locked up in soil for at least a few hundred years.

    So let’s say you take the entire human agricultural output, which I can’t find a numer for, but let’s be generous and estimate 1 billion tons per year, convert it to charcoal and bury it in the soil, leading to 0.2 billion tons per year being sequestered – while everyone starves to death ??? Keep in mind that the real number is probably a lot lower, and that most industrial agriculture relies heavily on fossil fuel inputs, and that agricultural yields are set to drop…

    The problem is pretty well defined at this point, but the only solution is relying on the sun and wind for power, and vastly reducing energy and material consumption, especially in industrialized countries, along with global population stabilization. This doesn’t mean pursuing the terra preta stragegy is a bad idea – it’s very good for soil productivity, apparently.

    Still, the argument remains that ending the use of fossil fuels is ‘economically impossible’ despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. Canada and Russia are racing to find new fossil fuel deposits in the newly de-iced Arctic, as just one truly bizzare example of global short-sightedness. US universities still, by and large have no renewable energy research programs to speak of, political interests in governments have derailed expanison of renewables yet again, and the whole world seems to have geared up for a military struggle over control of the biggest oil reserves, while people and media outlets in the US still argue over whether global warming is real ot not, although the latest mainstream argument seems to be that taking action “will cost too much”. That’s actually an improvement over the past!

    Comment by Ike Solem — 10 Sep 2007 @ 5:30 PM

  66. I wish there were a practical truck-mounted system for dealing with woodchips. I know a range manager dealing with removing eucalyptus, and all they can do is chip it on site, leaving huge piles of flammable wood chips, no budget to haul it and no landfill to take it and nobody seems to want it.

    I suggested they do what we used to do in North Carolina with pine sawdust —get a backhoe, dig a long deep narrow trench, fill it mostly full, and pile all the dirt back on top and tamp it down good so there’s a few feet of dirt atop it.

    Wait through a couple of wet winters and dig out dark, black, well-rotted sawdust mulch, wonderful stuff.

    It ought to work. Lots safer than piling it up, which leads to spontaneous combustion once it gets damp.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Sep 2007 @ 7:31 PM

  67. Ike Solem(64) — You are welcome, although I don’t recall explictly doing so.

    Your gloomy forecasts regarding the production of massive amounts of sequesterable carbon do not agree, fortunately, with the studies cited in

    http://biopact.com

    and explicitly linked in previous comments on this thread. For example, using biocoal,

    http://biopact.com/2007/08/belgian-dutch-partnership-to-develop.html

    one can produce bio-anthracite, esssentially indistinguishable from fossil anthracite. This material will, obviously, last for millions of years in abandoned mines and carbon landfills. (And by the way, sequestering biochar results in almost half of it persisting in soils for at least centuries.)

    So the remaining question is where does the biomass come from? It turns out that there is the potential for a prodigeous supply from non-agricultural lands, using sand willow or jatropha or several other good producers which require neither irrigation nor artifical fertilizers. There is, by studies linked in previous comments, ample to provide bioenergy replacements for all fossil fuels plus other sources of carbon being added to the atmosphere, currently about 8 Gt per year, and also sequester, as biocoal, about 7 Gt per year. Assuming the former pays for itself, the latter has to be paid for. Depending upon transportation and labor costs, this might run from about $36 per tonne in the U.S. to an amazing low $10–15 per tonne in sub-Sahara Africa.

    Either way, the world economy can certainly stand it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 10 Sep 2007 @ 7:41 PM

  68. I finally saw the global dimming program, “Dimming the Sun,” on PBS last week. The fact that it took so long to reach the U.S. is atrocious.

    I know climate scientists have been including the aerosol cooling effect in their models and calculations, but the impression I got from the film (which I know RealClimate critiqued more than a year ago – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/01/global-dimming & http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/04/global-dimming-and-climate-models ) is that the aerosol effect may be underestimated, which implies perhaps a greater climate sensitivity to the GHGs.

    Which fits the paleodata better (like what happened 55 or 251 mya) — the sensitivity centered on 3C (for 2X GHGs), or one centered higher, more in line with what that dimming program implied?

    As usual, I don’t know much about what I’m saying….

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 10 Sep 2007 @ 9:07 PM

  69. re: #64, Ike
    re: universities: just a few examples, which don’t necessarily refute what you said, but are at least modestly encouraging.
    I’ll pick a few nearby:

    Stanford: http://gcep.stanford.edu (since 2002, and I *know* Stanford’s President cares about this a lot)

    UC Berkeley: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/02/01_ebi.shtml
    (with LBL and U of Illinois) in Energy Biosciences Institute)

    UC Davis: is part of the DOE JBEI (along with LBL, Sandia, LLNL, Stanford, UC Berkeley), but has other efforts, including one funded by Chevron. Davis is a very good bioscience/ag place, and has been looking at miscanthus and others for a while. Some of this being Silicon Valley, Venture Capitalists are swarming around bees outside their usual haunts (i.e., EECS & health) looking for companies to nurture.

    Actually, from a brief sample, I’ll bet that many of the land-grant state universities, especially those that have kept strong ag/bioscience programs, are doing biofuels research, and a bunch of others with good physics/ee (like Delaware) and working hard on solar effiency.

    This is not to minimize the problem, which is serious. I just observe that not everybody is being completely idiotic.

    Comment by John Mashey — 10 Sep 2007 @ 10:51 PM

  70. There’s an interesting article in the September issue of Harper’a Magazine,by McKenzie Funk, about an ice free northwest passage and it’s geopolitical consequences.

    There’s also a summary in the article of some of the unusual events around the world that point to global warming. “….a manatee swam past Chelsea Piers in New York’s Hudson River, …..Armidillos reached northwest Arkansas.Wolves ate dogs in Alaska.Fire consumed 50 million acres of Siberia. Greenland lost a hundred gigatons of ice.The inuit got air conditioning units.The polar bear lurched toward the endangered species list……. Alaska’s Shishmaref village decided to be evacuated before being lost to the
    Chuckchi Sea.Canadien scientists reported that the forty square mile Ayles ice shelf had broken off Ellsmere Island….”

    If the Inuit had to get air conditioning you have to believe that strange things are happening.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 11 Sep 2007 @ 9:18 AM

  71. Ray Ladbury said…
    There are enough independent checks to suggest that the models have most of the right physics, and that whatever is not there is not that significant.

    I think that your statement is completely misleading. Take a look at the issues which were raised in the following workshop a few year ago. So, the missing physics if they were to be included would have definitely changed the outcome of the models.

    Note if you click on the following link and when it appears, just refresh it, so that the text doesn’t quashed up to the left side.

    “WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE SYSTEM FEEDBACKS”
    http://grp.giss.nasa.gov/reports/feedback.workshop.report.html

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 11 Sep 2007 @ 10:16 AM

  72. Re: #67, Lynn — I also saw “Dimming the Sun” on PBS/NOVA Sunday. I was left with pretty much the same questions you have. One question is: has NASA included the findings from the 3 days after 9/11 into their computer models? Have they also included the shading effect of aerosols? With regard to the latter, they probably don’t have a no-aerosol scenario to compare with what now exists. So how accurate are their estimates of the aerosol effect?

    In summary, I got the impression that if we eliminated air pollution and aircraft contrails, global temperature increases since the start of the industrial revolution would be about double what they are now. As Dr. Hansen pointed out at the end, if we eliminate pollution, and keep increasing CO2 at the present rate of 2%/yr. we’re in big trouble, quickly.

    I’m hoping solar panel efficiencies will increase soon, but even if they don’t, I think the answer is to use solar and wind wherever possible, and as soon as possible. In the meantime, as I’ve done myself, simple measures should allow most to reduce their CO2 equivalent emissions by 50% or more. That should give us some breathing room. However, one of the things that really troubles me is the number of very large vehicles on the road, usually occupied by only the driver! These mega vehicles last a very long time, so they’ll be emitting tremendous amounts of CO2 for years to come. We’ve really got to do something about that, and soon.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 11 Sep 2007 @ 10:53 AM

  73. Gavin, I have been thinking since this is Friday roundup, here is my off-topic post. It is about your statement a while back about 60 DoF and how 60 stations could measure the NH surface temperature trend. I am assuming that your referring to Estimation of Spatial Degrees of Freedom of a Climate Field by Wang et al (1999). Well, it took me a while to work though the paper, been a few years for me. Now having read it and read the supporting papers, two major points come to light. First, the underlying assumptions made is that the best-fit distribution represents the ‘true’ data well enough, so that the effects of noise in the simulated data and in the real data are the same. A second assumption made is that the error distribution of each data point is Gaussian.

    The impact of these assumptions is that while they say stations in the paper it quickly becomes apparent that they are interchangeably using cells. As a further note, the cell size is quite large (4.5×7.5 degrees) so basically they are saying if you have a station that can represent a cell, only 60 cells are needed to measure a trend. However, their results are only valid if the individual cells error distribution is Gaussian. This would only be true if there were no UHI as Jones and CRU propose but Hansen and GISS say there is. In this case, while I am not a fan of the way Hansen applies his UHI offset and with the GISSTEMP code release I hope to have a better understanding of it, there is an UHI which is a warming bias.

    Additionally, NOAA/CRN indicates that it takes ~12-24 stations to do a cell that size with any accuracy (depending on the location of the cell).

    So my understanding is that using the MCM they proposed only 60-90 cells +/- 5 cells are needed to determine what the temperature trend, they do not say what the precision of the the results will be, nor can they by definition know what cells. This would indicate that every cell has to be measured at a high level of precision, that all errors must be Gaussian, which cannot be claimed right now, and that while they discuss ‘stations’ they are actually talking about cells.

    I therefore say that your claim that 60 ‘optimally’ placed stations could measure the whole NH is not supported by this paper.

    Oh, and I almost forgot, since your using so few observations (cells), then you loose the Law of Large Numbers (LLN) so each cell has to have a higher precision. Current stations are accurate to within 0.3 degree C. The NOAA stations per cell gets the precision to 0.1 degree C per cell. That is not addressed in the DoF argument either.

    So the paper does not say there is 60 DoF, but rather, 90 +/- 5 are needed for annual temperature measurement.

    Comment by Vernon — 11 Sep 2007 @ 11:42 AM

  74. Thanks for the link to the biopact site. They have a lot of good articles, such as http://biopact.com/2007_05_18_archive.html

    However, I don’t think we can avoid the necessary step of completely halting the use of fossil fuels, or of reducing energy demand by a large percentage (at least 50-75% in the US, in particular). This means using smaller more efficient vehicles that get 50-100 mpg, for example, as well as getting rid of energy-intensive air conditioning – and many other similar strategies.

    However, from biopact:
    “Southern Ocean carbon sink weakens
    Scientists have observed the first evidence that the Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, has weakened by about 15 per cent per decade since 1981. The Southern Ocean normally cycles about 15% of the world’s carbon dioxide, but can no longer keep up. Researchers had predicted this weakening would occur somewhere in the second half of this century, not this soon. The Southern Ocean’s efficiency at cycling vast amounts of carbon dioxide is due to its cool waters.”

    Sub-Saharan Africa is also drying out, as is Spain, which will also weaken the biosphere carbon sink.

    However, biofuel and biocharcoal stratgies should be vigorously pursued – but they won’t help at all unless we stop using fossil fuels, period. That means we also need to be doing research into fossil-fuel free agricultural strategies – and that’s not going on anywhere in the US university system at any scale.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Sep 2007 @ 12:11 PM

  75. Falafulu, did you try following that forward from 2002?
    I found no mention of it since 2005 with Google Scholar.
    Searched: “GEWEX Radiation Panel” +feedback

    I think you’re worrying about models that aren’t written yet; right now the modelers are working with the early fast rise of CO2 and the changes over a few decades. The feedbacks that aren’t well understood are those that carried the PETM excursion to its extreme, and those that slowly remove CO2 from the atmosphere.

    Yes, it’s possible one of those will suddenly occur any day now, but there’s no evidence for it, unless you can point to something like the recent change in the South Pacific sink, or the changes in plankton populations — and those are very new findings not yet well documented. I don’t see how you can incorporate feedbacks before they’re known — even though we can say for sure from the geologic record that there’s _something_else_ out there that _will_ happen.

    Right now everyone knows that we don’t know all the feedbacks. Nevertheless the models are working on the short term immediate future level, and looking at the geologic record they are reasonable matches given how much faster atmospheric CO2 is changing this time.

    I’m just reading along; I don’t get what you think is known about these issues that isn’t acknowledged.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Sep 2007 @ 12:38 PM

  76. Falafulu Fisi,
    Maybe I’m missing something, but I see nothing that will qualitatively change the results we get from the models. Indeed, what the participants seem to be saying is that the basic physics is correct, but we need to understand feedbacks better–or indeed what all the feedbacks are. So maybe you get an ice-free Arctic in 2040, rather than 2070. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving the models. However, what I am trying to say is that the uncertainties in the climate models are tiny compared to the uncertainties (including feedbacks) in our understanding of melting-ice dynamics. Thus, I don’t view the failure to predict the current breakup of Arctic ice we are seeing (which may in part be a fluctuation) as a failure of the models.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 11 Sep 2007 @ 12:47 PM

  77. Ike Solem(72) — You are welcome.

    Stopping using fossil fuels means producing enough biofuels to replace the fossil ones. This may take too long, given the time it takes to change. In the meantime, sequester enough carbon in the ground to balance the continued use of fossil fuels.

    However, biocoal appears to be quite promising as a slightly superior fuel, in comparison to fossil coal, and it appears that it could be produced and transported at the same cost, or possibly less.

    DoE’s EERE is exploring some of these bioenergy ideas, both internally and in cooperation with a number of universities. THere is more research going on than you seem to realize.

    I would appreciate your commenting on my comment #11 above.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Sep 2007 @ 12:55 PM

  78. “I wish there were a practical truck-mounted system for dealing with woodchips.” – Hank Roberts

    I do also. How about a woodchip fired, steam turbine driven truck and chipper. These could be sold as green machinery to help clear fire loads in the forests where the threat of forest fires is quite real. A similarly powered backhoe could bury the chips. I hope some mechanical engineer types will pick up on this idea.

    Comment by catman306 — 11 Sep 2007 @ 1:14 PM

  79. And perhaps we need a greater sense of urgency?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSL0586123320070911

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Sep 2007 @ 1:40 PM

  80. re 77

    Odds are 7-10 years from now the debate will shift from whether or not we’ll exceed a 2 degrees increase to whether or not we’ll exceed a 3 degrees increase.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 11 Sep 2007 @ 3:45 PM

  81. #2 Falafulu wrote:

    >that there are also feed-forward processes which are >taking place at the same time as those feed-back >processes. Again, this is just a thought, since both >feed-back and feed-forward control processes do really >occur simultaneously in the real world science…

    Do you mean positive and negative feedbacks?

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 11 Sep 2007 @ 4:00 PM

  82. In #72 we read ““Southern Ocean carbon sink weakens
    Scientists have observed the first evidence that the Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas, has weakened by about 15 per cent per decade since 1981.” CO2 is NOT the major greenhouse gas; water vapor is. There are various estimates; I have seen figures between 75% and 98% of the total greenhouse effect being due to water. Now if the quote had used the euphamism “forcing” instead of “gas”, or added “well mixed”, it would be technically correct.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 11 Sep 2007 @ 4:40 PM

  83. Regarding what sort of fuel we burn; Look folks! We have got into this mess because we think we can create energy by any number of means and generally conduct our affairs as we like and make the emissions and refuse of that activity go to that place called AWAY.

    But AWAY has now become the same place we live in. There is no more AWAY left. We cannot swap to bio fuels, because those emissions also have to go someplace, and AWAY is full.

    If its not closed-loop or solar-renewable (hydro, wind, wave, tide and direct solar) then we should not spend a bean on looking at it or a moment thinking about it. Forgetit!

    Lets accept the consequences, and move on fast, because time is running out! The water is rising and the Sky is Falling, honestly!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 11 Sep 2007 @ 4:58 PM

  84. Re #72: [...getting rid of energy-intensive air conditioning...]

    Regarding which, see the article in today’s Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118947740601523458.html?mod=hpp_us_pageone

    Comment by James — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:19 PM

  85. Re. 82, if you’re not a WSJ subscriber, the full article is here.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:31 PM

  86. Re. 80, in what respect is the scientific technical term “forcing” a euphemism, and what is it a euphemism for?

    Comment by Dave Rado — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:36 PM

  87. Since I have been accepted again, may I reopen a topic I commented on some days ago, which is OT to this subject. I was suggesting that the solar system was the remnants of a super nova which exploded 5 billion years ago, with the sun a neutron star surrounded by debris from the supernova. I now have a couple of references, though I admit the physics is beyond my understanding. I hope others can understand them.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0510001
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/astro-ph/0410569

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:40 PM

  88. re. wind, solar, biofuels, no-one is mentioning geothermal energy. There was a fascinating radio programme a few weeks ago on the BBC World Service about geothermal energy (unfortunately it doesn’t appear to be available online).

    According to the documentary, if it were properly invested in, geothermal could provide around 10% of US energy needs by 2020 and around 20% by 2050; but far from investing properly in it, the US administration recently cut its geothermal research budget to zero.

    Would be interested in knowledgeable people’s opinions about this.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Rado — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:50 PM

  89. I assume there is more and better info to be had about this: http://green.yahoo.com/index.php?q=node/1570

    can anyone point me to it?

    thanks.

    Comment by A.C. — 11 Sep 2007 @ 5:53 PM

  90. Geothermal works for Iceland and according to this reseacher will work here too.
    (I wonder if his funding runs out this year?)

    http://www.loe.org/shows/shows.htm?programID=07-P13-00005#feature4

    “Deep Heat” is the name of the program segment.

    Comment by catman306 — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:10 PM

  91. Nigel Williams(81) — Biofuel is carbon-neutral. Excess biocoal can be produced and sequestered in the ground. That is carbon-negative, but at a price. One which we must learn to pay.

    Dave Rado(85) — Perhaps. There are many uncertainities associated with geothermal energy as well as some certainites which make it less than fully attractive. Nonetheless, producing some electricity that way while moving to a (almost) fully bioenergy economy certainly seems attractive. At least it will appeal to those promoting ‘energy independence’.

    ============

    On another topic, the Broecker paper in Science that I referenced earlier states that we (all of us, all sources) are currently adding about 8 Gt per year of carbon to the atmosphere. Of this, from Energy Information Center sources, I estimate the United Ststes contributes about 2.6 Gt yearly.

    Another source of carbon in the atmosphere is the contribution of running the world’s approximately 91,000 ocean vessels. I estimated about 99,000 billion tonne-km of shipping per year in these vessels. While very efficient, just over 0.1 megajoule per tonne-km, this still appears to represent the expenditure of 9.9 exajoules of energy per year. I assumed that all the vessels are powered by marine diesels, and if I did the conversions correctly, this adds about 2.265 Gt of carbon to the anthropogenic carbon load in the atmosphere. While this figure overlaps the U.S.A. contribution (ships fuel up in the U.S., too), it is so large that:

    (1) I hope others who are better at this sort of thing will independently redo my work.

    (2) Notice that this, if correct, is a much more significant source of carbon than automobiles, etc., and help figure out ways to convert to biodiesel and even sails for wind power to assist.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:14 PM

  92. Dave,

    A lot of geothermal temperature sources are low-temperature

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:20 PM

  93. Ray Ladbury said…
    Do you mean positive and negative feedbacks?

    Nope. Positive & negative summation sign could occur both in feedback & feedforward control loops. Take a look at the block diagram shown here for State Space modeling of control system. The first block diagram under the sub-section State variables contains a single feedforward loop that contains block D, which is positive (the + sign at the summation block). It also contains a single feedback loop that contains block A, which is also positive (the + sign at the summation block). The signs (positive or negative) does depend on the process that is being controlled. When the sign of a loop changes , sometimes it makes the process unstable (uncontrollable) , scroll down to see the sub-section with title, Controllability and observability and see the condition when such uncontrollable system behavior occurs.

    If you scroll further down to the sub-section Feedback, you would note the block diagram (2nd diagram on that page), that it has 2 feedback loops (block A and block K), while it has one single feedforward loop (block D). The 2 feedback loops (block A and block K), you note that inner feedback process block A is nested inside the outer feedback process block D.

    All those processes depicted in the the link for State Space control modeling shown in that link above, only shows a simple linear SISO (single-input-single-output) dynamical system, but real climate processes are MIMO (multiple-input-multiple-output) system and also highly non-linear. Current climate models SISO only. When all necessary processes are included in the climate feedback process system dynamic, then it is a MIMO and it gets complex, even by just looking at its block diagram, where feedback are nested within nested blocks. The whole block diagram looks like a complex circuit board. I have quoted the Rossow/Aires paper in the other on multivariate climate feedback processes where they discuss the concepts (nested coupled nonlinear feedback) I am briefly describing in this message.

    I have only seen about 3 papers on climate modeling using State-Space feedback control, but I have tried to Google using search terms : State Space Climate Model, but to no avail. A climate scientist pointed out to me the links for those papers last year, but I didn’t book mark it. If anyone has come across those papers, would you mind posting the link(s) here, so that I can donwload them please.

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:25 PM

  94. Somehow the message got truncated. Read this published in the Toronto Star of July 21, 2007

    “Nilton Renno, a professor at the department of atmospheric, ocean and spaces sciences at the University of Michigan, has spent his career studying tornados and water spouts. He says there’s no reason why Michaud’s vortex engine wouldn’t work.

    “The concept is solid,” says Renno.

    Top atmospheric scientists from the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have joined AVEtec’s advisory board. The group includes respected MIT meteorology professor Kerry Emanuel, perhaps best known for establishing a strong link between hurricane intensity and global warming.

    Still, Renno isn’t without reservations. He’s particularly concerned about the ability to control such a powerful monster.”

    I’m still waiting for comments from other scientists at this site on the AVE’s potential. Do they agree with Dr. Renno that its potential is so great that it could become a “powerful monster”?What are they waiting for?

    Dave: When combining geothermal with the Atmospheric Vortex Engine, overall efficiencies easily exceeding 30% can be achieved. Any low temperature waste-heat can be used as a feed to supplement the harvesting of the Convective Available Potential Energy in the Atmosphere with this device to make electricity.

    AVE_fan

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:30 PM

  95. I saw a paper today about burning sea water in the presence of an electromagnetic field. Really. Somehow the hydrogen burns. Quite hot.

    Unfortunately, I don’t recall where I saw it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:49 PM

  96. FF — this gets 24 hits (limited to 2006 and later papers in Scholar)
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&scoring=r&q=%22state+space%22+%22climate+model%22&as_ylo=2006

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Sep 2007 @ 6:50 PM

  97. Falafulu Fisi, actually you are responding to Richard Ordway. I think part of the problem is that people are not sure of exactly how you are using “feedforward”. For instance, it is not clear that any of the uses detailed here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed-forward
    would be applicable to climate as there is certainly no active control, no “desired” state, etc. It might be argued that the iris effect might be viewed as a type of feedforward, but that’s been shown not to be significant. Perhaps you could provide an example of a type of feedforward in climate.

    Dave Benson, the rf “burning” of saltwater has been all over today–for instance here:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070910/ap_on_sc/burning_seawater;_ylt=AvOQamqWZfDRZS77hG2oBZUPLBIF
    I suspect that there is less there than meets the eye. The hydrogen in water is already burned. Not sure what’s going on, but I would be willing to bet vast sums of wealth that it will not fix our energy problems.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 11 Sep 2007 @ 8:12 PM

  98. Re 86 88 90 – Geothermal energy

    There is a Geothermal energy race underway in OZ at the moment. Geodynamics seem
    to be leading the pack. They are currently sinking their third bore into a geothermal anomaly in the Cooper Basin in central Australia using a massive drilling rig they recently purchased from the US. The Australian National University estimates that the structure holds enough tappable energy to meet all Australia’s electricity needs for the next thousand years! The rock is 250 degC at 4 kilometres depth, which is enough to power a Kalimna Cycle power station. They appear to be on track to have their first heat exchanging well pair running by early next year and to have a demonstration power plant operating within the next two. Then they plan to scale up to a 300MWe power plant with 37 wells, producing electricity at a cost of 4 to 5 cents/kWh. There are something like a dozen other companies exploring for hot rock around the country. Imagine what could happen if there was significant political commitment to non-coal non-nuclear low emissions power generation!

    If only we could find a way to viably use electricity to convert CO2 into liquid fuel, we could solve the whole greenhouse problem lickety split.

    Comment by Craig Allen — 11 Sep 2007 @ 8:22 PM

  99. RE Models based on Feedback Theory?

    Ray Ladbury (#52) wrote:

    What matters is whether the proper physics is in the models. The task of the models is eased by the fact that they are looking at climate, which by definition is an equilibrium or near-equilibrium state. By near-equilibrium, I mean you start with a equilibrium state and perturb it slightly–that’w what we have done to the climate. That is also what Mt. Pinatubo did–albeit on a shorter timescale–and the models nailed that. The models also did a pretty good job on the post-9/11 decrease in air travel. There are enough independent chacks to suggest that the models have most of the right physics, and that whatever is not there is not that significant. As to linear vs. nonlinear approximations, again, the models are actually highly nonlinear. Where there are linearizations or other approximations, there are also ways to check if the effects are potentially important and over what ranges.

    Falafulu Fisi (#70) responded:

    I think that your statement is completely misleading. Take a look at the issues which were raised in the following workshop a few year ago. So, the missing physics if they were to be included would have definitely changed the outcome of the models.

    Note if you click on the following link and when it appears, just refresh it, so that the text doesn’t quashed up to the left side.

    “WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE SYSTEM FEEDBACKS”
    http://grp.giss.nasa.gov/reports/feedback.workshop.report.html

    Falafulu, I think you are rather selective in your quoting – and that can be rather misleading. Particularly when you leave out all but the conclusion – the one sentence that is now bolded.

    As for the workshop, unless I am mistaken, what it was about is how we conceptualize feedbacks and apply them in understanding how models operate, what, for example, the sensitivity of a climate model is. However, it is not a critique of the models themselves. In essence, the models solve for each variable as a function of the values of the variables from the previous time increment. It is a crique of the mathematics through which we attempt to analyze the behavior of the models, but not of the actual mathematics or physics used in the models – which doesn’t actually presuppose feedbacks except in the loosest sense.

    The feedbacks within the models are emergent phenomena of the models, not what the models are based upon. So refering to the workshop as a means of criticizing the models is misleading as well.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Sep 2007 @ 9:12 PM

  100. Falafulu Fisi (#2) wrote:

    I found Rossow/Aires work interesting. They treated each climate process as parallel to each other, but I think that their work is just the start in adopting non-linear control theory for climate data analysis. It would be interesting if future work by researchers in this area if they would discover that there are also feed-forward processes which are taking place at the same time as those feed-back processes. Again, this is just a thought, since both feed-back and feed-forward control processes do really occur simultaneously in the real world science.

    Regarding the term “feedforward,” Richard Ordway (#79) asked:

    Do you mean positive and negative feedbacks?

    Falafulu Fisi (#91) responded to Richard Ordway by calling him Ray Ladbury:

    Ray Ladbury said…
    Do you mean positive and negative feedbacks?

    Nope. Positive & negative summation sign could occur both in feedback & feedforward control loops….

    Falafulu Fisi, I hope you don’t mind if I don’t quote more of your post – I think the hyperlink will be enough this time.

    Richard Ordway, here is a definition of feedforward from Wikipedia:

    Feed-forward is a term describing a kind of system which reacts to changes in its environment, usually to maintain some desired state of the system. A system which exhibits feed-forward behavior responds to a measured disturbance in a pre-defined way — contrast with a feedback system.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedforward

    He is an example they use of feedback and feedforward:

    A feed-forward system can be illustrated by comparing it with a familiar feedback system — that of cruise control in a car. When in use, the cruise control enables a car to maintain a steady road speed. When an uphill stretch of road is encountered, the car slows down below the set speed; this speed error causes the engine throttle to be opened further, bringing the car back to its original speed (a PI or PID controller would do this. Note that a good PID control will return the car to the original speed, after an initial transient response).

    A feed-forward system on the other hand would in some way ‘predict’ the slowing down of the car. For example it could measure the slope of the road and, upon encountering a hill, would open up the throttle by a certain amount, anticipating the extra load. The car does not have to slow down at all for the correction to come into play.

    Feedforward is a common concept in neural networks – which in essence “learn” to anticipate things and may even be used to model the brain or behavior. Likewise, in terms of behavior, someone who considers hunting food only when they are hungry is an instance of feedback. Someone who hunts for food in anticipation of becoming hungry later is exhibiting feedforward. In essence, it is a teleological concept in which something acts rather than reacting so that it is able to maintain a given state.

    Falafulu, can you give realistic examples of feedforward in the climate system? That is, without appealing to some form of “animism”?

    Oh, but I suppose I should define what I mean by “animism.”

    Here are three definitions:

    1. the obsolete doctrine that the soul is the source of all organic development.
    2. the belief that nonliving objects and phenomena (such as clouds) are inhabited and motivated by a nonphysical agent; it is a characteristic of the thinking of early childhood.
    3. the theory that behavior is controlled by an immaterial mind or soul.

    I am concerned with the second.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 11 Sep 2007 @ 9:57 PM

  101. Re biofuels: OK David B. Benson et al, this is my last shot on this topic here: My feeling re biofuels is that the core concept is truly a carbon neutral one. From nutrients etc capture carbon from the air in organic material, burn it and release the carbon to the air. Repeat as required. OK. We are using the sun to provide the energy for the carbon capture, and extracting that energy by burning the material in air. Primitive but effective.

    What I don’t believe is that all this can be accomplished using plant matter grown without any other energy inputs. For economies of scale biomass will have to be farmed intensively like any other produce. This out-of-loop energy requirement is for:

    The tractors used to plant, cultivate, spray and harvest the crop;
    To carry raw plant materials to the plant to extract the oil;
    To power the extraction system;
    To cart the plant waste back to the field to rejuvenate the soil for the next crop;
    To make the fertiliser and cart the raw materials to the fertiliser plants and the fertiliser to the fields;
    For the pest control sprays, and oils for the chemical base of the spray product;
    To transport the workers to and from the fields;
    To build and run the irrigation systems;

    and finally to cart the fuel (by land and sea)to the end user where is is burned and the cycle (spiral, actually) turns again.

    The comings and goings of fuel-using equipment and vehicles involved in producing a single 100,000tonne oil tanker full of usable fuel staggers the imagination. To supply even a small nation will be – I dunno.

    And this ignores any inefficiencies that may be caused if the production or subsidies displace other essential food crops which then have to be grown elsewhere at higher energy cost, of if the increased demand for low quality irrigation water causes communities to have to run desalination plants for drinking water etc…

    If you produce it in desert (some suggest the ideal crops dont need irrigation – ok if you dont mind it taking 10 years to harvest or a low yield) then the cartage and spoilage distances become huge, and breaking in such areas for sustained agricultural production will entail a huge effort on its own, even before we get a cup of fuel.

    For biofuel to be viable it has to follow best farming practice, and that is a fuel intensive process. Until I see all the sums including those externalities Ill stick with my solar collectors and mini-hydro, thanks.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 11 Sep 2007 @ 10:05 PM

  102. Nigel:
    Biofuels can be made from waste products, for example in New Zealand we are aiming to launch a mandatory 10% ethanol petrol blend which is made from a byproduct of the milk industry. There is also talk about making biodiesel from waste scraps from slaughter houses. I get the feeling that there are many other clever ways of turning waste into energy. This can’t be a 100% substitute for today’s cheap petrol – but it shouldn’t be completely ruled out of the discussion either.

    You’re right to question the total life-cycle costs of biofuels though – we need to get into the habit of asking these types of questions about all aspects of our lives. It’s going to take a while for the world to become footprint-conscious.

    Comment by Greg — 11 Sep 2007 @ 11:07 PM

  103. Yep.
    “… While the past 10 years have seen a large increase in the understanding of the present-day global carbon cycle and its anthropogenic CO2 perturbation (Sabine et al., Chapter 2, this volume), scientists’ understanding of how the carbon cycle will evolve into the 21st century and how it will interact with human actions and the physical climate system is overall still poor. This chapter is intended as one step on a long road to accurately incorporating the full suite of carbon-climate-human feedbacks in numerical models….”

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~gruber/teaching/papers_to_read/gruber_scope_04_crc_corr.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 11 Sep 2007 @ 11:14 PM

  104. I’m not sure if this is the right place for such a post! I searched for the author of this on RC but had no luck.
    Titled: LOCKWOOD AND HANSEN ARE WRONG

    http://biocab.org/Solar_Irradiance_is_Actually_Increasing.html

    Is an article by Nasif Nahle “Biologist”

    Nahle makes a number of claims, which as a lay person, I am ill-equipped to debunk.
    Note the confusion of Lean 2000 data and Lean 2001!

    Quote
    The following information was taken from the next page:

    http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/solar_variability/lean2000_irradiance.txt

    In 2001, Judith Lean plotted a graph on Solar Irradiance Reconstruction from data that she and her colleagues had recolected. Graph and data were published in a paper released by ADSHAB for Public Access. However, for unknown reasons, that graph by Judith Lean disappeared from the Internet; hence I saw necessary to chart again the graph based on the data published by NOAA in 2001. I’ve attached the graph on Solar Irradiance by Lean below these paragraphs.

    The graph clearly shows that the Solar Irradiance is not decreasing from 1985; on the contrary, the Solar Irradiance is increasing up to date. Mike Lockwood has declared to the press (remember that pseudoscience usually is released through Media in the first place) that the Solar Activity has decreased since 1985, while the warming is increasing since the same year, concluding that the Sun has nothing to do with the Earth’s Climate. Examine the data and the graph and figure out who’s wrong and who’s right.

    Nasif Nahle
    Biologist
    End quote

    there is a reconstructed graph – http://biocab.org/Increase_Solar_Irradiance.jpg

    quote
    From the actual data we conclude that the graphs from Lockwood and Frölish were flawed:

    1. The methodology used by Lockwood and Frölish to smooth the lines was applied only to maxima of R (sunspot number), dismissing the TSI. This practice hides the minima, which for the issue are more important than the maxima. For example, if the minimum of TSI in 1975 was 1365.5 W/m^2, it would contrast dramatically with the minimum of TSI of 1998 that was 1366 W/m^2 (0.033% higher). That would make the Sun in 1975 “colder” than in 1998. However, if we compare minimum values with maximum values, then the Sun would be frankly “warmer” in 1998 -when the solar energy output was 1366 W/m^2- than in 1975 -when the energy output was 1366.1111 W/m^2. Today (21/07/07), the global TSI was 1367.6744 W/m^2); hence, we see that we must not smooth maxima values through movable trends because we would be hiding the minima values, which are more important because the baseline of the “cooler” or lower nuclear activity of the Sun are higher everyday. The coolest period of the Sun happened during the Maunder Minimum when the TSI was 1363.5 W/m^2. The coolest period of the Sun from 1985 to date occurred in 1996 when the TSI was 1365.6211 W/m^2. An interesting blotch is that in 1985 the TSI was 1365.6506 W/m^2 and in 2000 was 1366.6744.

    2. The graph of tropospheric temperatures is Hansen’s twisted graph. Many of us for many times have demonstrated that it does not match with reality.

    3. Lockwood and Frölish dismissed entirely the original work of Judith Lean et al published in 2001, which mysteriously disappeared from NOAA site. However, you can review data at NASA and below this paragraph:
    End quote

    Comment by Christopher Sauvarin — 12 Sep 2007 @ 3:58 AM

  105. Timothy Chase said…
    Falafulu, can you give realistic examples of feedforward in the climate system?

    Tim, if you see my message #2 at the very beginning of this thread, I simply stated:

    It would be interesting if future work where by researchers in this area if they would discover that there are also feed-forward processes which are taking place at the same time as those feed-back processes.

    What I stated that whether feedforward mechanism do occur in climate processes and I wouldn’t be surprised if such thing exist but have never been discovered by researchers yet. In Systems Biology, certain feedback processes were known to exist for decades, however there were certain feedforward cellular processes & mechanisms that were there all along, but they were discovered at a later time, way before feedback processes had been known to molecular & cellular biologists.

    Comment by Falafulu Fisi — 12 Sep 2007 @ 4:31 AM

  106. On another point: what is the consensus view on David Bellamy’s and Jack Barrett’s paper in the civil engineering journal which prophesised to show only modest warming from doubling C02? Seems to me that they forgot feedbacks…

    Comment by san quintin — 12 Sep 2007 @ 5:46 AM

  107. [[I was suggesting that the solar system was the remnants of a super nova which exploded 5 billion years ago, with the sun a neutron star surrounded by debris from the supernova.]]

    The sun is not a neutron star. It is a main sequence star. Neutron stars are composed mostly of neutronium. The sun is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium. Neutron stars are very small. The sun is very large. Neutron stars are one end product of completed stellar evolution. The sun is less than halfway through its life cycle.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 12 Sep 2007 @ 6:55 AM

  108. re 86.

    Nuetron stars, superdense remnants of Supernovae, are Pulsars, objects that spin at an incredible rate, creating the observed “lighthouse” effect.

    http://casswww.ucsd.edu/physics/ph7/SN.html

    More detailed:

    http://www.astro.umd.edu/~miller/nstar.html

    A typical neutron star has a mass between 1.35 and about 2.1 solar masses, with a corresponding radius between 20 and 10 km — 30,000 to 70,000 times smaller than the Sun. Thus, neutron stars have densities of 8×1013 to 2×1015 g/cm³, about the density of an atomic nucleus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_star

    http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/xte/learning_center/ASM/ns.html

    Wouldn’t the increased density have a commeasurate effect upon orbital mechanics?

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 12 Sep 2007 @ 10:07 AM

  109. “Nasif Nahle, Biologist” charts a well known estimate (note this level of precision is just a w.a.guess on a time series beginning in 1610 A.D.) — three parts in 1300. Nobody has a mechanism that would allow the slight difference, if real, to change CO2 levels or climate since 1970.

    See satellite data for recent decades. You can look this stuff up.

    Dr. Lean’s work is readily available, not “disappeared.”
    Just one example:
    http://64.233.179.104/scholar?hl=en&lr=&scoring=r&q=cache:xNIOpzpLiRcJ:w3g.gkss.de/G/Mitarbeiter/storch/pdf/CRCES.2006.summary.pdf+Judith+Lean,+Naval+Research+Laboratory

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Sep 2007 @ 10:32 AM

  110. Ref 106. I am not sure if you have read the references I provided. I never said the sun was JUST a neutron star. I said it was a neutron star surrounded by the debris of the supernova. Maybe I should have added “from inside the orbit of Mercury”. I believe this discussion is similar to that which occurred with plate tectonics. The “scientific establishment” fought bitterly against this idea. In the end it was proven to be correct. I believe the same will happen with this idea.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 12 Sep 2007 @ 10:39 AM

  111. Jim Cripwell, These guys are loons. As near as I can tell, the papers are not peer reviewed in any meaningful sense. The Sun looks like a main-sequence, average-sized star. It radiates like one. It’s spectrum looks like one. The vicinity of a neutron star surrounded by that much gas would not be a pleasant neighborhood.

    However, this brings up a really good point–the papers are written by non-astrophysicists, published in non-peer-reviewed journals and espouse a notion that flies in the face of established physics. In that sense, they are like most of the denialists–e.g. Bellamy and Barrett’s work and Nasif Nahle’s self-published screeds. Folks, maybe somebody can explain to me why you would work so hard to find demonstrably-wrong crap like this when the correct science is readily available and so demonstrably correct.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 12 Sep 2007 @ 10:47 AM

  112. I (#99) wrote:

    Falafulu, can you give realistic examples of feedforward in the climate system? That is, without appealing to some form of “animism”?

    Oh, but I suppose I should define what I mean by “animism.”

    Here are three definitions:

    1. the obsolete doctrine that the soul is the source of all organic development.
    2. the belief that nonliving objects and phenomena (such as clouds) are inhabited and motivated by a nonphysical agent; it is a characteristic of the thinking of early childhood.
    3. the theory that behavior is controlled by an immaterial mind or soul.

    I am concerned with the second.

    I can give just such an example of a feed-forward (definition 2) which in fact exists within the climate system and wondered if you might spot it. However, let’s look at your response first…

    Falafulu Fisi (#104) wrote:

    What I stated that whether feedforward mechanism do occur in climate processes and I wouldn’t be surprised if such thing exist but have never been discovered by researchers yet. In Systems Biology, certain feedback processes were known to exist for decades, however there were certain feedforward cellular processes & mechanisms that were there all along, but they were discovered at a later time, way before feedback processes had been known to molecular & cellular biologists.

    You are right about there being feed-forward mechanisms in biology. One of the “more recent” areas in which we have discovered them is in protein networks which rather that waiting for a longer and less responsive feedback to occur, in response to a change, the network is structured in such a way that it responds to this change in a way that maintains stasis in the face of increasing demands such that the less responsive feedback need not occur, or if it does occur there will be resources for it to be more responsive.

    However, there are feed-forward processes in the realm of biology which we have known about well before this. If an animal sees a predator charging in its direction, the animal doesn’t wait to for the attack, but flees. Or the squirrel which doesn’t wait until she is hungry in the winter or spring before looking for nuts but stores them either in its nest or by burying them in the ground.

    In essence, what we are talking about is a form of teleological causation, and even in the case of the inanimate car which is designed with the “intelligence” to recognize the incline of a hill and throttles the engine before the car starts slowing down has a form of teleological causation to it since it was designed to recognize the incline and throttle the engine before car itself slowed down.

    But how do such feed-forward mechanisms come into existence in the first place? Particularly in the realm of biology?

    Evolution.

    Efficient causation leading to a systemic process in which teleological, purposeful causation is an emergent phenomena. The tree which turns its leaves towards the sun so that it will absorb more light is just such a form of teleological causation – which comes into being as natural selection weeds out less successful competitors generation after generation until the organism is well-adapted to the environment and in one sense or another, anticipates future needs. The claws or teeth which are well-adapted to the purpose of attacking future prey – and undergo morphological development before a young predator has to fend for itself.

    *

    Now where can we find a feed-forward process in the climate system?

    Humans.

    Our actions – if we are wise – will constitute just such a feed-forward process.

    We can anticipate the future effects of a Business as Usual Scenario which will result if we continue with business as usual. Whatever happens in the next forty years is essentially already locked in to the climate and largely beyond our control. But what we do now will have effects after that, effects which will be amplified by the climate system in the decades which follow, being of a greater magnitude eighty years from now and even greater by the turn of the century.

    If we are wise, having concern for ourselves, our children and for future generations, we will anticipate the effects of continuing along our current path and adjust our course.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Sep 2007 @ 11:47 AM

  113. Nidel Williams(100) — All those production costs are accounted for. And indeed the biomass used is often wastes which otherwise have to be processed less efficiently. For example, the pilot biocoal facility being built in Denthe Province, The Netherlands, to which I previously posted a link to the Biopact page about it, will use forestry operation wastes to produce 75,000 tonnes of biocoal per year. Forestry operators do not want to leave the wastes just lieing around for fear of fire. So taking these to the biocoal facility encurs essentially no extra costs.

    But the big promise for the future is to produce biofuels in the South: South America, sub-Sahara Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia. There labor costs are low and having a cash crop to sell will make a big improvement in their lives. If you would follow Biopact, you would see that billions of dollars are being invested for this already.

    Wind can be a useful assist for rich countries, but can never be more than about 15% of electricity production (except in Argentina). Solar is expensive and only works when the sun shines. Solar produces electricity, which is not storable. Thus solar is only another supliment.

    Biofuels, on the other hand, are storable: the liquids for some time and biocoal indefinitely. Anyway, I’m sure you will agree these are preferable to fossil fuels…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Sep 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  114. Re 103 Christopher Sauvarin quoting Nasif Nahle, Biologist: “The graph clearly shows that the Solar Irradiance is not decreasing from 1985; on the contrary, the Solar Irradiance is increasing up to date.”

    The graph in the link shows no such thing. The graph clearly shows an increase until solar cycle 20 ~1960, a slight decrease for the solar cycle 21 maxima ~1970 and minima ~1975, then a return to a range roughly equivalent to cycle 20 maxima and minima and there after shows no significant trend up or down for cycles 22, 23 and 24.

    Nothing new to see here folks.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 12 Sep 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  115. Re 112 David B. Benson : “Solar produces electricity, which is not storable.”

    All electricity is storable. Other than batteries, examples include: pump-storage (already in wide-spread large-scale use), hot water storage, flywheels, generating hydrogen.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 12 Sep 2007 @ 2:15 PM

  116. Jim Edgar(114) — Please not that none of the devices you mention actually store electricity, except batteries, depending.

    THe do store useable energy. For example, pump-storage has an efficiency of right around 50%, which means that the solar option becomes even less attractive.

    Flywheels are fine for relatively small amounts of energy.

    As of yet, nobody has good methods of storing and transporting hydrogen, although some research looks promising. Still, using this as a means of generating electricity later will surely be quite a bit less than 100% efficient.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Sep 2007 @ 2:27 PM

  117. re 109

    Ref 106. I am not sure if you have read the references I provided. I never said the sun was JUST a neutron star. I said it was a neutron star surrounded by the debris of the supernova.
    =================

    I understand. Perhaps you might wish to take your own advice. Miller discusses accreating Neutron Stars here:

    http://www.astro.umd.edu/~miller/nstar.html

    What you aren’t answering are the varied problems for the hypothesis the Sun is a Neutron star Miller and other provide, such as the incredible rate of spin, the manner in which accreation actually happens (as opposed to the understood models of accreation re Stellar Evolution), the gravitational mass of a Neutron Star that far exceeds that of what is measured for the sun (thus suggesting our planet should not be orbiting as it does), as well as x-ray and gamma bursts far in excess of what we see emitted from the sun, to the best of my understanding. Also, and I’m speculating here, the blast of a supernovae pretty much expels all matter from around the star.

    The understood model of why and how Neutron Stars exist seem, on their face, to contradict the hypothesis the Sun is a Neutron Star. Before the idea goes any further, perhaps these problems need to be reconciled.

    Can you?

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 12 Sep 2007 @ 2:34 PM

  118. Re 115 David B. Benson

    As of yet, no one has devised a method of generating or storing electricity with anything even approaching 100% efficiency, and to expect that anyone will is preposterous. Same for fuels that will be burned, bio or fossil.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 12 Sep 2007 @ 3:00 PM

  119. Re 116. Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) comes quite close to 100% storage efficiency for electricity. Sorry to be preposterous.

    Comment by Ark — 12 Sep 2007 @ 3:25 PM

  120. I haven’t been following this thread that closely, but where did the “our Sun is a dirty neutron star” come from???

    Comment by Rod B — 12 Sep 2007 @ 3:58 PM

  121. Correcting #90 — The world’s ocean vessel fleet, assuming it produces 99,000 billion tonne-km per year, consums 230 million tonnes of diesel fuel per year which contributes 0.1725 Gt of the yearly anthropogenic carbon load of about 8 Gt.

    This sees far more reasonable, so probably is not too far off. Anyway, that’s about 2584 tonnes of diesel fuel per vessel per year. How many automobiles worth is that?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 12 Sep 2007 @ 5:04 PM

  122. re: #103 Christopher
    I suggest you explore Nasif Nahle’s entire biocab website, and come back with your assessment of his credibility. At that point, if you need some more help, many people here can help you learn more about helping laymen figure things out.

    Comment by John Mashey — 12 Sep 2007 @ 5:13 PM

  123. Since this thread is accumulating loonie items…

    We need a subspecies of Maxwell’s Daemons, called MaCOO’s Demons, but even smarter.

    They stand on diagonal screens. When they see a CO2 molecule, they rip it apart and drop the C into a bin, and let the O2 go on. If enough can be hired, it’s easy retrofits for power plants.

    Comment by John Mashey — 12 Sep 2007 @ 5:20 PM

  124. re 118

    Rhetorical question: Isn’t a biologist disproving AGW much like an engineer disproving Evolution?

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 12 Sep 2007 @ 5:25 PM

  125. 1500-year cycles, yadda yadda yadda:

    http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,176495.shtml

    Comment by J.C.H. — 12 Sep 2007 @ 7:23 PM

  126. You may not want to read that particular biologist’s theory about evolution. Oh, my eyes ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Sep 2007 @ 7:45 PM

  127. Re #118: [Superconducting magnetic energy storage (SMES) comes quite close to 100% storage efficiency for electricity.]

    If one doesn’t consider the amount of energy used to keep the superconductors cooled below the point at which they cease to be superconducting :-)

    I suppose capacitors could be considered to be very efficient energy storage devices. And to be picky, a battery of course doesn’t store energy as electricity: it uses the electricity to cause reversable chemical changes in the battery; reversing the changes creates electricity again.

    Comment by James — 12 Sep 2007 @ 7:57 PM

  128. Here is Dr. Schwartz’ homepage at Brookhaven –
    http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/schwartz.html
    His publications link has copies of the 2 recent articles and associated presentations, for some additional insight into how the final conclusions were obtained.

    In another category, he shows several Popular Presentations on climate change. These show melting glaciers, the effects of sea level rise on Long Island. It isn’t typical skeptic fare. For example -

    http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pop/greensmenW.pdf

    Comment by J. Althauser — 12 Sep 2007 @ 8:43 PM

  129. All transformation from one kind of energy into another kind generates heat. All kinds of transformation from one kind of energy into another are not 100 % efficient (Second Law of Thermodynamics). But, what happens with all the heat generated by the transformation of infrared radiation to kinetic and chemical energy in the atmosphere? A great percentage of that heat is radiated to the cold space (radiation); from there, the heat is transferred to the gravity field.

    -Nasif Nahle, Biologist
    Greenhouse Gases
    biocab [dot] org [slash] Greenhouse_Gases.html

    Makes about as much sense as trying to replace all the physics incorporated into a global climate model with a clean-slate neural network in need of “training.”

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 12 Sep 2007 @ 9:04 PM

  130. Re #126: Of course I accounted for the electricity needed to cool the superconductor in a SMES, and still the storage efficiency is close to 100%.
    And regarding your pickiness: I wasn’t referring to batteries; in a superconductor the electricity is actually being stored as electricity, albeit DC.

    Comment by Ark — 13 Sep 2007 @ 12:19 AM

  131. Jim Edgar: The efficiency of modern pumped storage is around 85% – See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pumped_storage
    Apparently Norway already has enough that it could act as a battery for all of Europe for days – hence the recent talk of a Europe wide HVDC network. The 15% wind penetration is a myth – ask Denmark!

    Comment by Greg — 13 Sep 2007 @ 3:02 AM

  132. Ref 119 “I haven’t been following this thread that closely, but where did the “our Sun is a dirty neutron star” come from???” I raised the issue. There is a fundamental question. Does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW believe the answer is a definite NO. The deniers are not so sure. The answer must depend on what the sun consists of. There is a new hypothesis that the solar system is the remnants of a

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 13 Sep 2007 @ 6:39 AM

  133. Ref 119 “I haven’t been following this thread that closely, but where did the “our Sun is a dirty neutron star” come from???” I raised the issue. There is a fuindamental question viz does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW know the answer is no; the deniers are not so sure. The answer depends on what the sun consists of. There is a new hypothesis that the solar system is the remnants of a supernova that exploded 5 billion years age. Under this idea, the sun is a neutron star surrounded by the debris from the supernova inside the orbit of Mercury. Not a popular idea on RC, but my email address is b f 9 0 6 @ n c f . c a

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 13 Sep 2007 @ 6:45 AM

  134. Re 130, Thanks for the link, Greg. Pumped storage is anything but new technology (as the wiki article says, the first installations went into service over a century ago), but I am continually surprised by how few people even know about it. The Ontario example in the wiki refers to the Niagara installation down river from the Falls, but there is one on the NY side of the river as well, and there are many others in the US (see list at bottom of the wiki). The bugaboo of inconsistent solar and wind output can be easily mitigated, if not completely solved, using pumped storage.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Sep 2007 @ 8:26 AM

  135. [[Wouldn’t the increased density have a commeasurate effect upon orbital mechanics?]]

    Not usually, no. In general you can treat any spherical object as a point source where gravity is concerned, and most celestial mechanics makes that assumption.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Sep 2007 @ 8:37 AM

  136. [[Ref 106. I am not sure if you have read the references I provided. I never said the sun was JUST a neutron star. I said it was a neutron star surrounded by the debris of the supernova. Maybe I should have added “from inside the orbit of Mercury”. I believe this discussion is similar to that which occurred with plate tectonics. The “scientific establishment” fought bitterly against this idea. In the end it was proven to be correct. I believe the same will happen with this idea.]]

    I’m sorry, but I don’t think so. To believe it would require pretty much all of modern stellar evolution theory to be wrong, and there’s just too much evidence backing that theory up.

    We can tell from a discipline called “helioseismology,” which uses radar to explore the depths of the sun, what the density structure of the sun is. It does not have a neutronium core. The core of the sun is dense, but it is orders of magnitude less dense than neutronium.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 13 Sep 2007 @ 8:40 AM

  137. One stillborn pumped storage installation proposed by ConEd in the late 1960s-early 1970s was the Storm King project, which would have used off-peak power, primarily from ConEd’s Indian Point nuke station, to pump water from the Hudson River to a proposed reservoir on the northwest flank of Storm King mountain,~55 miles north of the southern tip of Manhattan. The site for the pump-generator plant was cleared and blasted out of the base of the mountain, and work on the bores was started before the project was halted by public opposition due to potential for the heavily polluted river water to contaminate ground water. The site is also just within the boundry of significant ocean salinity intrusion. Now that the river is very much cleaner, and a fair portion of the work has been done, I wonder if this project could be revived, especially since the summit of Storm King may be a prime site for wind generation.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Sep 2007 @ 9:00 AM

  138. There are also wind and coal power plants that are using excess electricity to store compressed air.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 13 Sep 2007 @ 9:38 AM

  139. > I accounted for the electricity needed to cool the superconductor
    > in a SMES, and still the storage efficiency is close to 100%.

    I’d appreciate a cite to that work, I’m curious about the assumptions (what superconductor material, what temperature, what refrigeration)?

    Everything I find is in reference to superconducting magnetic bearings for flywheel storage so far.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Sep 2007 @ 9:46 AM

  140. From Nahle quote (#128):

    “A great percentage of that heat is radiated to the cold space (radiation); from there, the heat is transferred to the gravity field.”

    Heat radiation converts to gravitational force… I suppose I should be writing this stuff down. Now I know why the freezer levitates when the compressor is running.

    Comment by spilgard — 13 Sep 2007 @ 10:34 AM

  141. J. Althauser (#127) wrote:

    In another category, he shows several Popular Presentations on climate change. These show melting glaciers, the effects of sea level rise on Long Island. It isn’t typical skeptic fare. For example -

    http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pop/greensmenW.pdf

    Schwartz isn’t your typical skeptic – he is worried that things could get much worse than the IPCC projects once the effects of aerosols are removed…

    The century-long lifetime of atmospheric CO2 and the anticipated future decline in atmospheric aerosols mean that greenhouse gases will inevitably emerge as the dominant forcing of climate change, and in the absence of a draconian reduction in emissions, this forcing will be large. Such dominance can be seen, for example, in estimates from the third IPCC report of projected total forcing in 2100 for various emissions scenarios2 as shown at the bottom of Fig. 1. Depending on which future emissions scenario prevails, the projected forcing is 4 to 9 W m-2. Th is is comparable to forcings estimated for major climatic shifts, such as that for the end of the last ice age. Developing eff ective strategies, both to limit emissions of CO2 and to adapt to the inevitable changes in global climate will depend on climate sensitivity. The magnitude of forcing anticipated in 2100 thus highlights the urgency of reducing uncertainty in Earth’s climate sensitivity.

    Quantifying climate change — too rosy a picture?
    Stephen E. Schwartz, et al
    nature reports climate change | VOL 2 | JULY 2007
    http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/knuttir/papers/schwartz07nat.pdf

    What he doesn’t seem to realize is that we have a good handle on the forcing due to greenhouse gases. We are able to arrive at these independently of any estimates regarding the effects of aerosols. And although it is based upon the paleoclimate record rather than first principles, we are also fairly confident regarding the climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling (~3 C).

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Sep 2007 @ 11:38 AM

  142. J.C.H. wrote: “There are also wind and coal power plants that are using excess electricity to store compressed air.”

    There is also a car that has been developed in Europe that uses compressed air drive — “The Air Car”. It can be charged either by directly pumping compressed air into its storage tank from an external compressor at an appropriately equipped filling station (in several minutes) or with an electric internal compressor that runs off of house current (in several hours). The designer claims it has a range of 200-300 Km per charge or about double that of “the most advanced electric car”. Another advantage over battery-powered electric cars is that the toxic materials, relatively short service life, and high replacement cost of batteries are eliminated.

    There are so many promising technologies for clean renewable generation of electricity, and safe, economical and clean storage of electricity that can directly replace the use of fossil fuels. It is just a matter of implementing them.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 13 Sep 2007 @ 12:09 PM

  143. Read about a great break-thru in battery-like device tech. If it pans out, it’s green lights ahead for EVs & the death knell for ICEs:

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/09/07/electric.car.batteries.ap/

    An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised “technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries,” meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.

    If this is a real advance, I do hope this is not bought up by the car-oil industry and shelved.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 13 Sep 2007 @ 12:32 PM

  144. Re 131 Jim Cripwell: “There is a fundamental question. Does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW believe the answer is a definite NO.”

    This is a fundamental untruth.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 13 Sep 2007 @ 1:35 PM

  145. Greg(130) — Thank you for the update and link.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 13 Sep 2007 @ 2:00 PM

  146. In Austin those could be mushroom-powered batteries – harnessing and storing slacker power.

    I don’t know how much air a windmill could compress to 12,000ish PSI for the air car. It seems like that would take a little fossil-fuel umph.

    I want to compress air with draught animals to run air-powered farm machinery. There you would not have to worry that much about range. The big horses have the umph to compress air to just about any imaginable PSI – the hard working kind. It’s simple existent technology. Horses would be converting marginal plants to compressed air, and compressed air would be producing quality food.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 13 Sep 2007 @ 2:07 PM

  147. In comment #19 to “Ozone impacts on climate change” (Jul 26), Tamino says that “global warming has shown statistically significant acceleration”, and quotes figures of .018C p.a. from 1977.0-2007.0 and .020C p.a. from 2000.0-2007.0, using HadCRUT3, compared with .016C from 1970.0-2000.0.

    In my #189 I said that I would study these figures more closely. I felt that 7 years was a bit short, and 30 a bit long, so I chose 20 years, which is roughly one full solar cycle (including polarity). It is the only length period I chose, and only 1987.0-2007.0, so I hope I will not be accused of cherry-picking.

    I used the data:
    .178 .174 .109 .247 .203 .070 .104 .169 .270 .138
    .347 .526 .302 .277 .406 .455 .465 .444 .475 .422

    A linear regression on these gives a slope of .0197+/-.0033 Cpa, which is consistent with #19′s estimate for the last 7 years, yet cannot truly be described as “statistically significant acceleration”. Let us call this hypothesis H0, and note that the sum of error squares is 0.1360.

    To study the possibility of acceleration within these figures I decided to split them into two, and regress separately. I got .00018 +/- .00794 for the first set (1987.0-1997.0) and .00970 +/- .00954 for the second (1997.0-2007.0). This shows that in neither period was there a statistically significant trend in temperature, but that there was a substantial jump between the two periods. Fitting a flat model in each of the two decades gives .168 for the first and .416 for the second, a jump of .248C. The sum of error squares for this hypothesis H1, which has 18 degrees of freedom just like the linear one, is 0.1094, quite a lot less than 0.1360.

    Is this difference so significant that we should prefer the latter model of a temperature jump around 1997? When error sums of squares have different degrees of freedom, an F statistic can be made from them and the difference between them. When the d.o.f are the same, this is not possible; I can think of three approaches to this.

    a. If e0 = .1360 and e1 = .1094, with ratio 1.243, P[E0/E1 > 1.243] = P[E0-1.243*E1>0] is the probability that a derivable quadratic form in normal variates is greater than 0. The Durbin-Watson test is another example where such a probability needs to be calculated. It just so happens that my 1978 thesis was on this subject, and I used methods of Pan Jie-Jian and Imhof to calculate such probabilities. Unfortunately, I no longer have the code available! It would be a lot of work to reproduce this, but possibly someone knows of some package where it is already implemented.

    b. I conjecture that the significance must be at least as much as if e1 actually had 1 fewer degrees of freedom. In that instance, the F_1,17 statistic would be 17(e0-e1)/e1 = 4.13, which is close to (but just outside) 5% significance.

    c. The maximum likelihood ratio, or Bayes factor in favour of H1 over H0, is (e0/e1)^(20/2) = 8.8.

    An unbiassed observer would clearly prefer H1 over H0 as an explanation of the data, apart from concerns about the physical meaning. What could cause a jump of about 0.25C +/- 0.11C over a fairly short space of time?

    Here are 6 possibilities, though some are more serious than others :-). Some I am pretty sure are not true, and others I hope are not true.

    a. Gaia was suddenly angered by the USA not signing the Kyoto Agreement.
    b. A La Nina (cooling) followed by an El Nino (warming) masked a steadier increase from CO2 warming.
    c. The change to solar cycle 23 in 1996.5 was somehow implicated. If so, another bump in temperatures is possible when cycle 24 takes hold, probably around 2009/10. But it may not be as great as a repeat 0.25C since cycle 24′s delayed onset suggests it could be a lot weaker than cycle 23
    d. It is just another of those funny climate things that are hard to explain, like the downturn in global temperatures after the early 1940′s even though solar activity was seen to be increasing up until about 1953 (see Lockwood & Frohlich figure 4).
    e. A large-scale change in the type or placement of thermometers occurred and any attempted corrections failed.
    f. It is a statistical fluke, and a straight line fit is actually correct.

    For most of those possibilities I would expect the rise over the next 10 years to be less than the +0.25C jump observed in the last 10. This contradicts the Hadley Centre’s forecast on meto.gov.uk (press release 10/8/07) of +0.3C by 2014 (and at that rate +0.4C by 2017 unless they have also noticed it will be late cycle 24 by then). With their powerful Japanese computers and intricate models, you may decide to prefer their forecast to my rather simple analysis – but at least you can understand the latter. As a matter of some interest, does anyone know how their +0.3C breaks down in terms of contributions from various effects (presumably the models can be run with various effects turned on and off)?

    To conclude, the straightforward linear model H0 for the last 20 years gives a linear trend of .020+/-.003 Cpa, which could be used for the usual extrapolation, but it does not fit anywhere near as well as the model H1 of two flat lines with a jump. Extrapolating H1 is problematic because one needs to know whether conditions will be suitable for a similar jump in the next few years, if indeed we could identify what those conditions were. The next few years are a critical time for the magnitude of warming implicated by the AGW hypothesis. After the flat figures of 2002-2007 will we see another big jump or some steady increase?

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 13 Sep 2007 @ 3:40 PM

  148. Aw come on Jim 143, give them some credit! AGWrs never say the sun doesnt affect climate, they may even suggest that perhaps the sun is the butterfly flap that started this current climatic excursion, but they do say convincingly that the sun is NOT the major forcing behind the climate state we are now enjoying, we Anthroponuts are. Cheesh!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 13 Sep 2007 @ 4:41 PM

  149. Re 132. Jim Cripwell, on the contrary, your little hypothesis is very popular here. I haven’t laughed so hard since I heard somebody say he was going to vote for Dubya over Kerry because of his war record. Jim, do you know what happens when you have a neutron star surrounded by a plasma? One of 2 things: If the plasma has enough angular momentum, it spirals around the neutron star emitting x-rays, generating hellacious magnetic fields and generally raisin’ hell. Otherwise it smashes into the neutron star and is itself turned into neutrons, generating gamma rays and generally raisin’ hell. So, Jim, where are all those x-rays?
    As to your little straw man, again, thanks for the laugh. The thing is I can’t figure out whether you know your straw man is a straw man or if you really think it’s an accurate appraisal of climate science. Either way, Jim, learn some science. We’ll all be glad you did.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 13 Sep 2007 @ 5:53 PM

  150. Re 142. Lynn, An interesting possibility, but there are a lot of unsolved problems (high-voltage among the most significant). The Wikipedia article below mentions the EEstor technology.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supercapacitor

    Comment by ray ladbury — 13 Sep 2007 @ 6:05 PM

  151. Sorry, my last post should complain about Jim 131! Youre OK, Jim 143!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 13 Sep 2007 @ 6:44 PM

  152. Well he’s back and the Wall Street Journal cheering section is right there sucking up the kool-aid.

    Maybe you guys should take this book apart piece by piece. Should be easy.
    http://www.opinionjournalbookstore.com/cgi-bin/Shopper.exe?preadd=action&key=0307266923

    Comment by Mark A. York — 13 Sep 2007 @ 7:32 PM

  153. #141 SecularAnimist: There is also a car that has been developed in Europe that uses compressed air drive — “The Air Car”. It can be charged either by directly pumping compressed air into its storage tank from an external compressor at an appropriately equipped filling station (in several minutes) or with an electric internal compressor that runs off of house current (in several hours). The designer claims it has a range of 200-300 Km per charge or about double that of “the most advanced electric car”.

    Compressed air is simply a storage mechanism, much like a battery. I take it you didn’t do the math on this.

    Today, the Tesla has about a 56 KWH battery. Let’s assume this air car weighs half as much and thus needs just 23 KWH for 250 mile range. At 10,000 PSI, that’s about 2300 liters of air storage tank that would be required. That’s about half the volume of a Tesla Roadster, in a car that weighs about half as much.

    So, you are effectively pulling your compressed air tank on a trailor behind you and it is as big as you.

    There are so many promising technologies for clean renewable generation of electricity, and safe, economical and clean storage of electricity that can directly replace the use of fossil fuels.

    Actually, storing it isn’t the problem. Generating it and moving on the scale the US needs it is the problem.

    #142 Lynn Vincentnathan If this is a real advance, I do hope this is not bought up by the car-oil industry and shelved

    Can you name a single viable technology that has been bought by the oil companies and shelved? Remember, there is no such thing as an invisible patent. Every patent ever granted can be viewed by anyone. And without a patent, there is nothing to prevent someone else from replicating and selling your invention on the open market UNLESS you manage to keep it a secret. The idea that a few people could keep something worth trillions of dollars a secret when there is zero penalty for them revealing the secret seems a bit of a stretch.

    And please don’t bring up the EV1. Anyone could have built the same car if they wanted to. All the technology was off-the-shelf.

    Comment by Matt — 13 Sep 2007 @ 7:49 PM

  154. Re 131 Jim Cripwell: “There is a fundamental question. Does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW believe the answer is a definite NO.”

    Just to expand on what Jim Eager said in 143, what proponents of AGW believe is that the current warming (which has been over the last ~35 years) cannot be explained by solar forcing. This is in fact very different from believing that the sun does not affect climate. In fact, not only do proponents of AGW believe that the sun can affect climate, but some of them, including two of the contributors to this website (Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt) have even published papers about solar effects on climate. See D.T. Shindell et al., “Solar Forcing of Regional Climate Change During the Maunder Minimum”, Science, Vol. 294, pp. 2149-2152 (2001).

    Comment by Joel Shore — 13 Sep 2007 @ 8:48 PM

  155. Re: #146 (See-owe 2 rich)

    … I hope I will not be accused of cherry-picking.

    I won’t accuse you of cherry-picking because that implies a deliberate intent to deceive. But I will say that you have chosen badly.

    But first: you say you can think of three ways to test the difference between your two competing hypotheses. For “a” you say you don’t still have the code; for “b” you state that the test doesn’t pass 95% confidence; for “c” you don’t quote any statistics. Then you say:

    An unbiassed observer would clearly prefer H1 over H0 as an explanation of the data …

    Sorry — it doesn’t follow. If the only statistical test you apply doesn’t make the cut, then an objective observer would express no “clear” preference for either hypothesis.

    You then offer six alternative explanations for your result. The correct explanation is alternative “b”:

    b. A La Nina (cooling) followed by an El Nino (warming) masked a steadier increase from CO2 warming.

    Apparently you’re not aware that 1997-1998 witnessed an extraordinarily strong el Nino. That’s the reason you got no significant trend for the linear regression from 1997.0 to 2007.0. The fact is, if you try all possible starting years from 1987.0 through 1999.0, and end with 2007.0, the only choices which don’t give a statistically significant warming are to start at 1997.0 or 1998.0. If you start a year later at 1999.0, there is a statistically significant warming. This rejects, with statistical significance, your hypothesis H1.

    That’s why I say you’ve chosen your 2nd time interval badly: it begins with one of the strongest el Ninos ever observed.

    You also missed the chance to use monthly rather than annual data. The greater number of data points gives greater statistical significance. Doing so, linear regression from 1997.0 to 2007.0 actually does give a statistically significant warming trend, even applying the more stringent test assuming that the random fluctuations are not a white-noise process but a red-noise process. Again this rejects, with statistical significance, your hypothesis H1. In fact, you’ll even get a statistically significant result if you start at the “optimal cherry-picking” year 1998.0. Or 1999.0. Or 2000.0.

    Comment by tamino — 13 Sep 2007 @ 11:49 PM

  156. Many thanks for #143 and other comments. I am clearly mistaken, and must have mis-read IPCC AR4 to WG1 Chapter 2.7 Natural Forcings, and misunderstood IPCC 2007 Figure SPM-2. Can someone explain the detailed physics of HOW the sun affects the earth’s climate? Or maybe better still a reference where this physics is explained in complete detail.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Sep 2007 @ 6:22 AM

  157. Re: Jim Cripwell @ 86, 109, 132

    Here’s an example of how a neutron star behaves:

    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/millisecond_pulsar.html

    The things are so dense that they ‘eat’ other stars – the planetary-mass scale body mentioned in the article was originally a dwarf star before it got too close to the neutronium remnant of it’s companion.

    Does not play well with others.

    Regards
    Luke

    Comment by Luke Silburn — 14 Sep 2007 @ 6:59 AM

  158. Matt, actually energy storage is one of the main obstacles for use of renewables, and it is a huge obstacle facing development of transport that does not rely on fossil fuels. For transport especially, it is not just a matter of energy density, but also of power density–how quickly you can use the energy to accelerate, for example. And, no, car and oil companies do not deliberately suppress development of technology. Rather, they suppress R&D. The big 3 auto makers especially are guilty of this–bringing a good idea almost to viability and then canceling the project. The EV-1 is a classic example. When GM phased it out of production, it refused to sell the leased vehicles, preferring to destroy them. There were plenty of willing buyers, and even the start of an infrastructure for charging the vehicles. The Stirling engine and its history with Ford Motor company is another example. The big 3 auto makers own a lot of intellectual capital that they just sit on, and where is an automotive engineer to work if not for a big auto maker? Likewise, Exxon and other oil companies own lots of energy patents they continue to sit on and ignore. The fact of the matter is that these companies have chosen to continue to focus on their core businesses while also buying up patents for competing technologies, and that raises suspicion. I know Napoleon said, “Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” However, the behavior of the automakers and oil companies verges into the territory of malice unless we are willing to attribute it to astoundng stupidity. And astounding stupidity is not usually as remunerative as thes companies have historically been.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 14 Sep 2007 @ 7:29 AM

  159. It makes you wonder why, since solar forcing matches the proxies but not the direct instrumented, that no one considers there may be problems with how we do direct instrumented.

    Comment by Vernon — 14 Sep 2007 @ 8:29 AM

  160. Re 132
    “There is a fuindamental question viz does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW know the answer is no; the deniers are not so sure. The answer depends on what the sun consists of. There is a new hypothesis that the solar system is the remnants of a supernova that exploded 5 billion years age. Under this idea, the sun is a neutron star surrounded by the debris from the supernova inside the orbit of Mercury.”

    Jim, forget this idea of the sun being a neutron star + a bit more – it’s a lot of twaddle. As someone elsewhere pointed out, if that were true then the sun would be several times heavier than it is observed to be: there would be an extra 1.5 – 2.5 solar masses, and we just don’t see that. Furthermore, the neutrino problem has been resolved. Fewer neutrinos were detected than the theory suggested because they change ‘flavour’ en route from the sun. The proponents of the idea may be confused with the early nebula being seeded by heavy elements from a nearby supernova, which isn’t at all controversial.

    Lastly, the proponents of AGW do NOT deny that the sun has a role in global warming – how could it be otherwise? The deniers seem to be confident that global warming is entirely down to the sun. The truth is that about 10-25% of the recent extra global warming is due to human activity.

    Comment by Bill Tarver — 14 Sep 2007 @ 9:22 AM

  161. re 151

    All you really need to know is Michael Crichton wrote a gushingly positive testimonial for Lomborg and his new tome on Amazon a while back….

    Quote: “Bjørn Lomborg is the best-informed and most humane advocate for environmental change in the world today. In contrast to other figures that promote a single issue while ignoring others, Lomborg views the globe as a whole, studies all the problems we face, ranks them, and determines how best, and in what order, we should address them.”

    …of course, they included a snap-shot of the author, and a picture of the cover of “State of Fear” included in his mini-testiminial.

    Science in action, make no mistake…

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 14 Sep 2007 @ 9:39 AM

  162. Matt wrote: “Compressed air is simply a storage mechanism, much like a battery. I take it you didn’t do the math on this [...] Let’s assume [...] So, you are effectively pulling your compressed air tank on a trailor behind you and it is as big as you.”

    I understand that compressed air is a storage mechanism like a battery. Both have the advantage of eliminating the burning of fossil fuels in vehicles. What is interesting about compressed air storage is that it has advantages over batteries, as I noted in my comment — for example, lower cost, no toxic materials, a longer service life, and quicker recharging if charged from a properly equipped filling station (with a high-pressure compressor and high-pressure storage tanks).

    According to the Air Car website, the compressed air tanks are internal, store “90 cubic metres of air compressed to 300 bars” and weigh 35-80 Kg depending on the particular model of the Air Car.

    With all due respect, your comment seems based entirely on assumptions and not on the information available on the “Air Car” (Moteur Developpment International) website. I would be most interested if you would care to review the technical and engineering information on that site and comment on it, rather than commenting on assumptions which may be incorrect.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Sep 2007 @ 9:59 AM

  163. re 109 (again)

    “I believe this discussion is similar to that which occurred with plate tectonics. The “scientific establishment” fought bitterly against this idea.”

    Jim, you should look into the history of why plate techtonics was rejected. You’re really making a bit of an apples and oranges comparison.

    Put simply, the initial rejection of plate techtonics was due to the inability of Wegener to provide scientific evidence to back up his theory. The rejection was, make no mistake, fueled by an unwillingness to accept a radical departure from what was believed to be the extablished understanding of the planet’s geology. Wegener suffered greatly for these innate prejudices in his lifetime. But had Wegener the tools to study the planet that were largely developed after his death, he might have been vindicated in his lifetime.

    Conversely, what you suggest re the dirty neutron star, can be rejected – not by assumption based on available evidence, as the Geological community rejected did Wegener – but because there is solid, compelling scientific evidence that argues to a high degree of certainty against the idea. The onus is on you to address these problems, which several people have commented upon. In response, you have remained silent.

    Odd how you can make this selective plead re plate tectonics, ignoring as you do how your example could more easily – and appropriately – apply to the acceptance of scientific information that you seem to not wish to accept.

    Odd, and no small bit ironic.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 14 Sep 2007 @ 10:04 AM

  164. Isn’t an electric-powered car that you have to plug into your house still, at bottom, a fossil-fuel machine? I mean, doesn’t a significant fraction of that juice still come from a coal plant? I don’t see how switching to electric cars of itself alleviates any problem other than dependance on foreign oil.

    Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_resources_and_consumption) lists “personal and commercial transportation” as consuming about 3 TW. But I have a hard time figuring how much getting better mpg cars makes a difference in lowering that total. If international shipping is included in that 3 TW, can someone point me to a breakdown of what fractions gets used hauling cheap plastic shat from China to LA and what fraction gets used to haul people from place to place?

    Comment by A.C. — 14 Sep 2007 @ 11:07 AM

  165. See – owe to Rich (#146) wrote:

    As a matter of some interest, does anyone know how their +0.3C breaks down in terms of contributions from various effects (presumably the models can be run with various effects turned on and off)?

    Don’t know, but going back as far as 1880, the forcing due to the rise in greenhouse gases would appear to have been the dominant positive forcing in the global climate for each year – although nearly neck-and-neck with solar variability early on. Solar variability has been a negative forcing since approximately 1960, best estimate.

    Anthropogenic aerosols lead to a cooling in the northern hemisphere for ~30 years but a statistically significant global cooling for only five years between 1940-1945. In the southern hemisphere where anthropogenic aerosols had a far less significant effect, there was statistically significant cooling only from 1945-1946 – one year. Globally, methane has been of declining importance since at least 1970, thus one can say that anthropogenic carbon dioxide has been the dominant forcing since then.

    For an analysis of global and hemispheric temperature trends since 1900, I would recommend:

    Open Mind: Hemispheres
    by Tamino, August 17th, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/hemispheres

    Anyway, given natural variability due mostly to the lateral and vertical distribution of heat content in the oceans and the ocean currents, the people at Hadley are expecting next year to remain flat, but temperatures to start rising again after that with about half the years in the following decade to be as high or higher than 1998 or 2005. After that the global average temperature will typically exceed both years and continue to rise in the decades that follow.

    I hope this helps…

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Sep 2007 @ 12:07 PM

  166. Ref #159 “Furthermore, the neutrino problem has been resolved. Fewer neutrinos were detected than the theory suggested because they change ‘flavour’ en route from the sun.” As I read this possibility, it depended on the neutrino having a very slight mass. The mass could be calculated by the fact that only a third of the expected number of neutrinos were detected. My impression was that a majority of physicists who could really understand this were not impressed. But short of believing that the sun’s energy is caused in large measure by something other than hydrogen fusion to helium, it is the only game in town.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Sep 2007 @ 12:49 PM

  167. Again re #159 “Lastly, the proponents of AGW do NOT deny that the sun has a role in global warming – how could it be otherwise? The deniers seem to be confident that global warming is entirely down to the sun. The truth is that about 10-25% of the recent extra global warming is due to human activity.” I think this is a little extreme. We deniers believe that the sun has caused the changes in the earth’s climate prior to the recent warming. What we do not understand is the precise physics of how the sun affects climate. So if the sun caused, for example, the LIA and MWP, by some unknown physical process, how can we be sure that the recent rise was not caused by the same unknown process? Which brings me back to my question, viz, what, in complete detail, is the physics of how the sun affects climate? Or are the proponents of AGW also unclear as to how this happens?

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Sep 2007 @ 1:03 PM

  168. Re #163:

    A.C.:

    Electric cars would make a huge difference for several reasons:

    1) A car with an internal combustion engine is only about 25% efficient (in the best of cases). This means that only 25% of the energy contained in the burning of the fuel is converted into actual kinetic energy (motion) of the car. If you take into account the fuel burned by cars standing in traffic jams, the efficiency drops way below 25%. An electric car would have a much, much higher efficiency when running and won’t consume almost any energy when standing in traffic (my guesstimate is up to 70% accounting for inefficiencies in the battery). And a well-designed large power plant operates pretty close to the theoretical efficiency limit. So the amount of coal burned for a particular amount of energy needed by the car is much lower than the amount of gasoline being currently burned (this translates into much lower CO2 emissions per car). This advantage obviously depends on the efficiency of the electricity distribution grid, which is pretty poor in the US, but much better in Europe. To fully realize all the savings offered by electric cars, the US electricity distribution grid would have to be substantially overhauled to improve its efficiency.

    2) Controlling emissions of all pollutants (CO2 and all the others) is much easier to do from a few big power plants, than from millions of cars. With electric cars we centralize the production of pollution in the power plants and make it easier to sequester or control it.

    3) With electric cars it would be much easier to switch from one source of energy to another as new technologies become available. In the short run we might still have to use coal (with CO2 sequestration), but we could then switch to more nuclear, or wind, or solar, or tidal generation more easily. It’s easier to replace a relatively small number of power plants in a few years, than millions of cars. Once all cars are electric we have huge flexibility on how to generate that electricity without having to change the cars.

    4) There are probably even higher efficiencies once you take into account the energy spent carrying gasoline around in tanker trucks all over the country for distribution to gas stations.

    In summary, I’m convinced that there would be very significant savings in energy consumption and CO2 emissions if all cars were electric.

    Comment by Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg — 14 Sep 2007 @ 1:19 PM

  169. Bill Tarver(159) — Actually, Dr. James Hansen has stated that about 102% of global warming is anthropogenic.

    According to orbital forcing theory, the world should be in a very slight cooling trend now, hence the over 100% figure.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Sep 2007 @ 1:35 PM

  170. Re #163: [Isn’t an electric-powered car that you have to plug into your house still, at bottom, a fossil-fuel machine? I mean, doesn’t a significant fraction of that juice still come from a coal plant?]

    It’s true that a good bit of the electricity still comes from fossil-fueled plants, but a significant fraction doesn’t, so you get some reduction there. Then you presumably get more miles driven per ton CO2 with electric – I’m sure a little research would find numbers, if you’re interested. More important is the fact that non-FF transportation infrastructure allows more options. With a FF-powered car, your only alternatives are ethanol or biodiesel. If it’s electric (or flywheels, compressed air, etc), you can buy some solar panels or a wind turbine, or the grid can replace its coal plants with nuclear & geothermal.

    Comment by James — 14 Sep 2007 @ 1:46 PM

  171. Re #158: “It makes you wonder why, since solar forcing matches the proxies but not the direct instrumented, that no one considers there may be problems with how we do direct instrumented.

    Proxy records extend up to the end of the 20th century and agree well with the direct-measurement record which extends back more than 100 years to the late 19th century. The solar record deviates abruptly from both the proxy and the direct-measurement records in the late 20th century.

    For combined proxy/instrumental records, see:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/paleolast.html

    for comparison of solar with proxy/instrumental, see:
    http://www.mps.mpg.de/en/projekte/sun-climate/

    Comment by spilgard — 14 Sep 2007 @ 1:53 PM

  172. A.C. (#163) wrote:

    Isn’t an electric-powered car that you have to plug into your house still, at bottom, a fossil-fuel machine? I mean, doesn’t a significant fraction of that juice still come from a coal plant? I don’t see how switching to electric cars of itself alleviates any problem other than dependance on foreign oil.

    I had wondered the same thing a while ago. At the time it was the argument I had against hydrogen cars.

    However, if you are able to centralize the burning of fossil fuel then it is that much easier to sequester the resulting CO2. It won’t be as difficult to bottle the stuff if it is being produced from a few hundred centralized locations rather than 100 million cars.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Sep 2007 @ 2:19 PM

  173. A.C. wrote: “Isn’t an electric-powered car that you have to plug into your house still, at bottom, a fossil-fuel machine? I mean, doesn’t a significant fraction of that juice still come from a coal plant?”

    That depends on how electricity is generated in your particular location. Where I live in Maryland, the “standard” mix of the local utility company (PEPCO) is about 85 percent coal-fired generation, with most of the rest a mix of nuclear (from the Calvert Cliffs station) and natural-gas fired generation. However, I have chosen to pay somewhat more than the cost of the standard option for 100 percent wind-generated electricity. So an electric car charged from my house current would be a wind-powered car (whether the power is stored in the car in batteries or as compressed air). If you live in an area where electricity is generated mostly or entirely from hydropower, then you’d have a hydropowered car. If you install photovoltaics on your roof then your electric car would be at least partially solar-powered. If we as a society move towards phasing out fossil fuel electricity generation and replacing it with clean renewables — principally wind turbine “farms” and distributed photovoltaics — then electric cars will become “cleaner” as we do so.

    Even if all of your electricity comes from coal, there are still advantages to an electric car charged from your house current. First, it is at least conceivable to capture and sequester CO2 emissions from a centralized coal-fired power plant, whereas it is difficult to see how this could be done with numerous vehicles all emitting CO2 as they travel all over the place. Second, it is my understanding that electric-drive cars make more efficient use of energy than internal combustion engine cars, so they produce less overall CO2 emissions even if their electricity is entirely generated by coal.

    Third, there is a benefit simply from the fact that electric cars themselves produce NO emissions. While not a significant factor in global warming, there are other emissions from the exhaust of fossil-fuel powered internal combustion engines themselves and from their refueling stations that cause large-scale serious health problems particularly in urban areas, and eliminating these emissions with zero-emission electric drive vehicles is also a positive thing.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Sep 2007 @ 2:40 PM

  174. Ref 162 “The onus is on you to address these problems, which several people have commented upon. In response, you have remained silent.” I agree, except I do not have the physics to understand all the implications of the hypothesis that the sun is a neutron star surrounded by debris. So far as I am concerned, this is an idea which explains some of the things we know; but not all of them. It explains the absence of neutrinos; the presence of elements like iron and nickel in the solar wind; and the presence of a large and variable magnetic field in the sun. If we are to understand how the sun affects climate, we need to know what the sun consists of. I am not sure that the conventional view that the sun is a ball of hydrogen, slowly fusing to helium, is compatible with all the facts we now know.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Sep 2007 @ 2:53 PM

  175. Re: 164
    Timothy, I read the Tamino post. Can you point me to the historical aerosol data and calculations/estimates of the resulting changes in forcings over time that would result in the observed temperature trends?

    Comment by B Buckner — 14 Sep 2007 @ 3:10 PM

  176. Jim Cripwell (#173) wrote:

    Ref 162 “The onus is on you to address these problems, which several people have commented upon. In response, you have remained silent.” I agree, except I do not have the physics to understand all the implications of the hypothesis that the sun is a neutron star surrounded by debris. So far as I am concerned, this is an idea which explains some of the things we know; but not all of them. It explains the absence of neutrinos; the presence of elements like iron and nickel in the solar wind; and the presence of a large and variable magnetic field in the sun. If we are to understand how the sun affects climate, we need to know what the sun consists of. I am not sure that the conventional view that the sun is a ball of hydrogen, slowly fusing to helium, is compatible with all the facts we now know.

    You write, “I do not have the physics to understand all of the implications of the hypothesis that the sun is a neutron star surrounded by debris.”

    Alright then, do you have the physics background to know that neutrons, neutron stars, neutrinos or solar wind exist. Can you really say that you know what a magnetic field is beyond the little push or pull that you may have enjoyed when playing with magnets? What is it exactly that you can claim to know given your lack of physics.

    I believe you are being rather selective as to where your lack of knowledge “applies.” In truth it cuts both ways.

    How much weight should your lack of knowledge be given in terms of public policy? The design of nuclear reactors? Solar energy? Why should it be given any more weight with respect to public policy regarding climate change? Should public policy make use of expert knowledge – or should it be driven only by that which everyone (including the least educated among us) understands? What would happen to a business or the economy if a similar form of “egalitarianism” were applied?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 14 Sep 2007 @ 3:23 PM

  177. Jim Cripwell(166) — I recommend you go to the sidebar, down to the Science Links section. The first is to the AIP Discoervery of Global Warming. There is a page entitled ‘Changing Sun, Changing Climate?’ indexed in the Table of Contents. That page will probably answer most of your questions.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 14 Sep 2007 @ 3:26 PM

  178. Adding a little further to my #173, thoughts that came to me as I did my needlework, you must realize that there are certain “rules” when you are blogging in “enemy territory”. There is only one of me, and lots of you, throwing comments at me from all directions, on subjects I know little or nothing about. To attempt to answer everything would be the height of folly. Please realize I am not complaining about the next comment. I know the “rules”. But if people are very rude to me, and people ARE rude to me, Gavin allows the post to go through. I have to be VERY careful with my words, because if I am rude in return, Gavin censors what I write [Careful, don't blame Gavin--any of us may choose to screen out comments that we feel don't meet the standards spelled out in our comment policy. -moderator]. This can make life quite difficult.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 14 Sep 2007 @ 3:42 PM

  179. Ref 162 “The onus is on you to address these problems, which several people have commented upon. In response, you have remained silent.” I agree, except I do not have the physics to understand all the implications of the hypothesis that the sun is a neutron star surrounded by debris.
    ================

    Jim, the problem is you are not even trying to apply some very basic, fundamental tests to the hypothesis, as the link from Miller, a physicist, illustrates. The excuse “you’re not a physicist” would be valid if we were discussing the nitty-gritty details. We’re not. We’re discussing very basic, very fundamental science that is accessible to everyone that offer up serious problems for even consideration of the hypothesis. YOu have acknowledged none of this, let alone addressed it.

    Which is not really a problem, mind you, except it underscores my real point, the apparent selectivity in which aspects of science you want to accept, and to what degree. You were very open about your feelings/beliefs that this could explain why there is warming:

    131 – “I raised the issue. There is a fuindamental question viz does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW know the answer is no; the deniers are not so sure. The answer depends on what the sun consists of.”

    Yet’ve forward in your position that AGW theory is wrong. In short, you are favoring a hypothesis (a weak one by the evidence) over a theory. Yet a theory is a hypothesis that has been shown to have merit by virtue of factual evidence that supports it! You are appearing to accept differing standards for what you will and will not entwertain in terms of convincing evidence.

    Do you see why this is a problem?

    Have a pleasant weekend.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 14 Sep 2007 @ 4:00 PM

  180. RE #151 & Lomborg’s new book, COOL IT.

    the WSJ writes it’s “based on human needs as well as environmental concerns.”

    This is their logic: while plants and animals might need a sound environment to survive, humans OTOH live off supernatural manna from the sky (and their cars live off long-since dead fossil fuels), so, well, we don’t really need the environment & who really cares about what global warming might do to it :)

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Sep 2007 @ 4:06 PM

  181. RE #152 & “Can you name a single viable technology that has been bought by the oil companies and shelved?”

    Not really — that might just be an urban legend, & I can’t remember where I heard it (I think from an EV club member). But I do know the oil/car industry got LA to get rid of their electric street car system, and I do know some of the earliest cars were electric, and the Benz dealer in my town told me (when I suggested the oil industry seemed to be in cahoots with the auto industry), “You don’t understand, the oil industry owns the auto companies” (again, an urban legend, I’m sure). And I saw the film WHO KILLED THE ELECTIC CAR? which had lots of insights about behind-the-scenes-politics. And I’ve read somewhere that a little blank button space on the Prius dash is for plug-in conversion, which Toyota is allowing in Japan and Europe, but not in the U.S., and will void the warranty on the Prius if anyone in the U.S. does make the conversion on their own.

    So it seems the auto (or is it auto/oil?) industry plays very rough.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 14 Sep 2007 @ 4:17 PM

  182. #161 Secular Animist
    Your air car is essentially a pipe dream. I figured as much since 90 cubic meters of air is one hell of an air tank. Apparently the prototypes have managed 7KM on a full tank and only 3 prototypes exist. See the following: http://www.addict3d.org/news/10003/Car+Fueled+by+Air+Not+as+Cool+as+Inventor+Thought.html. Seems like moe of a Ponzi scheme than a real alternative.

    Comment by bjc — 14 Sep 2007 @ 4:52 PM

  183. Re. #163: The peer reviewed studies that have been done on the subject put the percentage of a car’s lifecycle emissions that are due to the combined manufacturing and disposal processes at around 15%, the other 85% being due to the vehicle’s operation. E.g. see
    MacLean and Lave .

    Comment by Dave Rado — 14 Sep 2007 @ 4:54 PM

  184. Jim Cripwell, your “life” on this site would be a lot easier if you did not throw around utter nonsense like suggestions that the Sun is a neutron star (have you looked at what exactly that is yet?). The reactions you got on that one should have tipped you that something was amiss (your knowledge/comprehension).
    The rest of the rude “attitude” might very well stem from your insistence to comment on subjects on which you have demonstrated, by neutron-star types of ideas, that you are clueless. I am no physicist but I have some basic notions and I have learned not to extend myself beyond what I can understand. A lot of my comments are discarded because, I assume, they are too basic or of little interest. For some of them, I was glad afterward that they were, saved me a little embarassment. I didn’t complain about it.
    This is a site run by scientists, to foster scientific comprehension of an issue. In my opinion, your neutron star comment was ludicrous enough to deserve being dropped, but then you would have complained about that too.
    Perhaps your biggest problem is that you’re not listening when told that your competence or your standards for looking at evidence in these matters needs some serious work. You would benefit more from doing some reading than blogging here, on CA or anywhere else.

    Comment by Philippe Chantreau — 14 Sep 2007 @ 7:06 PM

  185. #161 SecularAnimist: I would be most interested if you would care to review the technical and engineering information on that site and comment on it, rather than commenting on assumptions which may be incorrect.

    We can run the math using their numbers if you want. Boyle’s law says the 90 m3 at 300 bars works out to a tank size of 0.3m3. Using E=P*V with 30MPa and 0.3m3 gives 2.5KWH of stored energy. Note that Tesla is about 55 KWH of batteries, so already you can see that this car, if it weighed the same as a Tesla, would manage about 1/20 the range of a Tesla (12.5 miles). Tesla achieves 0.224 kwh/mi at an overall efficiency of around 88%. This car is half the weight of a Tesla, so let’s scale and give this car 0.108 kwh/mi. Assuming you can use the air with 100% efficiency in the tank (you can’t), that gives this car a range of 23 miles without any occupants. Add a 150 pound rider to this 1200 pound car and you will be lucky to hit 20 miles. Derate by 40% for mixed driving, and you are at 12 miles. All the above assumes 100% of the air in the tank can be used, which is never true becuase the last few % won’t have enough air pressure to turn the engine. So subtract another 5%. That takes you to 11 miles on a charge. And that is with a tank that is 2.4 feet on a side. That is probably why the car is shaped so weird.

    In any case, things usually are quite a bit less than the theoretical calcs, so I’d expect this to do a bit worse (10-20%) in real life. I’d bet the carmaker is struggling. Anytime you have somethign that should be SO simple take SO long, you can bet there are serious engineering problems.

    Comment by Matt — 14 Sep 2007 @ 7:53 PM

  186. Matt:
    The article I cited indicated that the prototype had managed 7KM. Well done, your calculations appear to be right on target. Too bad really, it costs me $50 to fill my tank and I would certainly buy one if it worked.

    Comment by bjc — 14 Sep 2007 @ 8:33 PM

  187. Air Car video of MDI in France (India project) and another in AU. Both companies seem to have targeted viable markets.
    http://www.republicaupdate.com/enviroment/index.html

    Comment by J. Althauser — 14 Sep 2007 @ 8:53 PM

  188. #180 Lynn Vincentnathan Says: So it seems the auto (or is it auto/oil?) industry plays very rough.

    You listed a long list of speculations and heresays and somehow conclude with this?

    Think about this. You are an engineer in GM. You want to do the right thing. You see all the latest technology from vendors always trying to get GM’s attention. You talk to a lot of folks. So you KNOW what is out there. As an engineer at GM, with, say, 10 years of experience, you are probably making $120-160K/year. At this stage of your career, you have amassed amazing analytical skills, and there are probably 10,000 of you spread out between the various car making companies.

    Do you really think ALL of these engineers are content to keep making $160K year while their employer ignores some amazing technology out there?

    If one out of 10,000 of those engineers has the slightest bit of charisma (likely, even for an engineer!) then there is nothing stopping that engineer from going out and raising $10M just on names and experience alone.

    Imagine 10 40 year old directors from GMs power train division approaching San Jose’s elite VC and Jobs and Spielberg and Hanks and saying “Listen, there is so much amazing technology out there that can make a car that runs for 200 miles on a D cell battery…we’d like you to do a first round of financing for $20M.” I can promise you those guys would get funding that afternoon simply based on their names and track record even if the investors didn’t understand how the physics worked out.

    But this hasn’t happened. Why? It’s either because there isn’t some amazing secret technology out there OR because “the man” is keeping thousands of engineers “down” with a “modest” (compared to what they could be makeing) $160K salary (hah!). I think we’ll have to assume the former here.

    Now, we have a very interesting existance proof with Tesla Motors. Those were guys from the computer industry that decided to build a very high end electric. For batteries they opted to use 10 year old cell technology, an existing chassis, and build a little bit of smarts around the battery management. But from an engineering point of view, they went very, very conservative. But they went very high end at $200K/car and aimed at the performance side of the equation. It’s a smart play, because it lets them learn the technology with a limited set of high-demand customers that have paid plenty to be well taken care of. but that world is vastly different from the consumer that wants to spend $20K on something and expects it to work as well as their gas car. And that was the point made in the EV1 movie: GM et al will build whatever the consumer wants if it’s possible. They have zero allegiance to the oil companies. But the consumer isn’t yet ready for a car that costs more than a gas car and does less. The Tesla, at least, brings a “wow” factor along with it that cannot really be matched by an ICE car.

    The best thing in the world about free markets is that someone will always get sick of the status quo and go and build a better mouse trap. If that mouse trap isn’t being built, it’s either impossible given extant technology OR you have stumbled into a market that nobody has thought of yet. Alternate powered cars have been dreamed of forever. I’ve studied them extensively for several years now. it’s close–really close–but the battery is a major sticking point. The cost needs to come down an order of magnitude, and there needs to be enough electrolyte to ensure the world can be adequately supplied. Even building 100,000 Tesla cars would potentially strain the world market for Lithium as that would be about 4X what the world consumes today.

    But once a storage technology is found, look out, because everything else is ready to go. High voltage and high power solid state electronics that can cope with 100KW is there (and cheap). High power brushless motors are there (and cheap). Everything else is the same as a regular car. Solve the storage problem, and Exxon is toast. EEstore is interesting, for sure. But they have been underground with limited info for some time now, which usually means problems. If their claims materialize, it is game changing.

    Please, put this notion that there is awesome technology being quashed by the powers-that-be to rest. The rewards are too great for secrets to remain secrets, and there will always be a disgruntled person someplace that feels they should have gotten a bit more than they did and thus will be willing to spill the secret.

    And again, there’s no such thing as a secret patent. Every patent out there can be looked at by anyone. Heck, a patent is supposed to have enough info in it so that anyone “skilled in the art” can replicate the work. Which means if there is a 200MPG carb patent, then I could build a few in my garage based on the instructions in the patent.

    Comment by matt — 14 Sep 2007 @ 10:11 PM

  189. Jim Cripwell, You really can look this stuff up. Really, you don’t have to remain ignorant and prey to every crackpot theory that comes your way. I am not trying to be rude, but really. Cosmic abundance of elements:
    http://www.orionsarm.com/science/Abundance_of_Elements.html
    Solar abundance of elements:
    http://www.greenspirit.org.uk/Resources/ElementAbundance.htm
    Nothing that can’t be explained by the fact that the Sun is a 2nd or 3rd generation Star.
    As to massive neutrinos–that, too has been established. I speak as a former particle physicist, whose first experiment was on neutrino oscillations.
    Look, Jim, there are good sources of scientific information out there. Why are you going out of your way to find sources of absolute twaddle?
    As to the role of Sun in climate–radiant energy from the Sun is the source of all energy that goes into the climate system. It’s energy output varies, but is easily measured. Solar particle events play little role in climate, and there is no convincing evidence that the solar wind is important either. This is not the 15th Century. We really do understand pretty much how things work. We continue to refine that understanding, but these are mainly tweaks, not paradigm shifts.

    Now ask me about dark matter, and that’s another thing entirely, but I’m pretty darn sure it plays no role in climate.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 14 Sep 2007 @ 10:28 PM

  190. Re #131: [There is a fuindamental question viz does the sun affect climate? The proponents of AGW know the answer is no; the deniers are not so sure. The answer depends on what the sun consists of.]

    To hit a point that seems to have been missed (maybe because sun-as-neutron-star was such a big target): no, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what the sun consists of. For climate purposes, it could just as well be the combined light from the glowing halos of a few billion angels. What matters is the amount of radiation that hits the earth. That’s been known with considerable accuracy since the days of the first satellites.

    Comment by James — 15 Sep 2007 @ 12:02 AM

  191. Dear Realclimate.org,

    Apparently 1/2 of the contributors to this blog are skeptics.

    Hudson finds 500 scientists that are skeptics

    Comment by Sparrow (in the coal mine) — 15 Sep 2007 @ 2:09 AM

  192. [[So if the sun caused, for example, the LIA and MWP, by some unknown physical process, how can we be sure that the recent rise was not caused by the same unknown process?]]

    There’s nothing unknown about it! The Sun affects climate through the value of the total solar irradiance (TSI, the Solar constant), the amount of energy it puts out. The correlation between temperatures and solar output (prior to the recent warming) is why climatologists believe solar variations affect climate. But solar variations can’t be causing the recent warming because the sun hasn’t changed its output in 50 years!

    http://members.aol.com/bpl1960/LeanTSI.html

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 15 Sep 2007 @ 6:26 AM

  193. Again many thanks for the various comments. Fair enough, you all make some very valid points. However, my question has not yet been answered. So far as I can see it has been avoided. Given that we all agree that the sun affects climate, what is the precise physics of this process? How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 15 Sep 2007 @ 6:26 AM

  194. Re: #180: I read in our newspaper, on 9/12/07, about the plug-in hybrids that were on display by Volvo, at the German auto show. They can go 62 miles before the engine comes on. That should cover most commutes. The battery could be recharged at night, at home, with the electricity stored in a battery charged during the day by the owner’s solar cells, or wind turbine. For me, that would mean the engine in my car would come on only once a year, when I travel 590 miles one way, for a family visit.

    Here’s an article I found in google on plug-in hybrids.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20706390/

    If consumers and lawmakers combine, these will be a reality soon.

    Comment by Jack Roesler — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:01 AM

  195. Matt,

    You seem to have an excellent grasp of the engineering. I’m just an X grease monkey. I’ve read that they have a tank for those cars that can store air at 12,000 PSI. Isn’t that more than 300 bar? If so, how would that change the range? Or looked at another way, with the given tank size, what PSI would be required to reliably achieve the same range as the Telsa?

    Is 12,000 PSI a pressure that could be significantly exceeded safely?

    Comment by J.C.H. — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:15 AM

  196. RE #177, Jim, I’ve had a number of my comments blocked, and I’m on the far other side, thinking science by nature is way too conservative and reticent and is understating the problem — esp the big reports, like the IPCC, which require consensus by a lot of conservative, reticent scientists. So it cuts both ways. What I usually do is rewrite my comment in a bit nicer fashion. That usually works.

    RE the sun. All I know is that the scientists say there is no increase in solar radiance that can account for our current warming (& even if there was, then the effect of our GHGs must be all the more masked by the aerosol dimming effect — the laws of physics re GHGs are not going to shut down all of a sudden just for us).

    But I’m also thinking that an increase in solar radiance could occur, as it has in the past (?due to actual increase or orbital shifts), and overall there is a trend toward increased solar radiance. The earth will even go into a Venus-like permanent runaway warming in (I think they said) a billion years.

    Furthermore, we could get lots of volcanism spewing out GHGs, or the permafrost and methane hydrates could start burping up GHGs in response to the warming — in fact they’ve already started. And recent studies suggest there’s lots more frozen methane in the permafrost and it’s at shallower depths in the ocean than previously thought.

    So my thinking is that we all the more have to decrease our GHGs (not only to reverse the GW we have caused, but also just in case the sun starts shining more). We cannot control the sun’s output, but we can reduce our GHGs, and do so cost-effectively way way down (I believe by at least 75% for Americans) before the word “sacrifice” ever comes up. That’ll take many years to implement even with current off-the-shelf solutions (I started in 1990, and it took me about 12 years to reduce that much). Rich people could do it faster, but poorer people would have to start with the lowest hanging, cheapest fruits (conservation, reusing, low-flow showerhead (costs $6, saves $100 per year in reduced hot water), caulking windows, CF bulbs, etc), rake in that saved money for many years in order to afford their SunFrost frig (which costs $2700, but pays for itself in 10 years (incl less spoilage) and goes on to save year after year).

    So we really need to get started yesterday on this….just in case the sun starts acting up funny on top of the already serious threats from our own contributions to GW.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:16 AM

  197. Re 192 – Jim I doubt that anyone is going to try to answer a question like: “How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?” No matter how thorough the answer, you have made clear that there will always be some “detail” whose adequacy you will question. If you want to be taken seriously, then I suggest you stop asking impossibly open ended questions that seem like nothing more than attempts to wear down the volunteers who staff this site.

    If, on the other hand, you are serious, you might start with a textbook on the subject, then ask specific questions about what you find there.

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:29 AM

  198. And I forgot to mention, Jim, that I’ve also felt at times here that some nasty ad hominems about me were allowed (I felt the hurting sting), while my blocked ad hominems tend to be more toward denialists in general, or toward humankind — like how we’ve devolved to Homo stupidus, since we can’t get our act together on GW :) (It’s a joke, guys, I don’t really mean it. :) )

    But that’s okay. I think the moderators are doing a fantastic job, putting in lots of time and effort & (I believe) not getting paid for this. So I’m not complaining at all. They’ve kept this site very above reproach as blogs go. I, for one, wouldn’t participate in any other blog on the net. It’s a jungle out there.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:35 AM

  199. Re #192 The only thing that drives the climate is the sun. (The heat coming from the interior of the earth is insignificant compared withe the heat from solar radiation.) Therefore, to give a full description of how the sun influences the climate would require a book on climatology. I don’t think any one can give you the answer to the question you asked here, although Timothy Chase may try :-)

    OTOH, you may be referring to the idea that the sun’s magnetic field affects climate. That idea has now been scuppered See: Solar activity cleared of global warming blame

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:45 AM

  200. Re: #188 (ray ladbury)

    Now ask me about dark matter, and that’s another thing entirely, but I’m pretty darn sure it plays no role in climate.

    Don’t give ‘em any ideas!

    Re: #814 (Matt)

    Boyle’s law says the 90 m3 at 300 bars works out to a tank size of 0.3m3. Using E=P*V with 30MPa and 0.3m3 gives 2.5KWH of stored energy.

    I don’t think this is right. Using 90 m^3 at 1 bar (i.e., uncompressed) gives the *same* amount of energy.

    The correct formula is dE = P * dV. Under operation, we can expect that the expansion of the air in the tank will be isothermal rather than adiabatic; in fact the website for the car mentions that they have heat exchangers specifically in order to make the expansion as near isothermal as possible.

    Working out the numbers, I get the extractable energy from the system as P*V*ln(expansionratio). With an expansion ratio of 300, this gives 5.7 * 2.5 kWh = 14.25 kWh of extractable energy. That’s not 1/20 the stored energy of the Tesla, it’s 26%. If it’s exactly as efficient as Tesla, it would therefore have a range of 65 miles. And the website for the air car states its range (using only air power and in an urban setting) is 100 km = 62 miles.

    Note that much of the energy used to power the car comes from absorbing heat from the environment.

    Comment by tamino — 15 Sep 2007 @ 10:32 AM

  201. Re:192: Jim says: “Again many thanks for the various comments. Fair enough, you all make some very valid points. However, my question has not yet been answered. So far as I can see it has been avoided. Given that we all agree that the sun affects climate, what is the precise physics of this process? How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?”

    The source of the Sun’s energy as discovered by the late Hans Bethe is nuclear fusion, that is the fusing of hydrogen nucleii into helium in the Sun’s core.The temperature at the core is 15MK but still needs an assist from quantum tunneling to overcome the electrical repulsion of positively charged nucleii. The Sun releases this energy, emitting electromagnetic radiation over all spectrums,from radio waves to gamma rays, including light, and makes life possible on our home planet.
    When the Earth goes through orbital changes in its eccentricity,and the angular change in its rotational axis(from 21.6 to 24.5) and the change in the time when the Earth is closest to the Sun,climate change takes place, that is affected by the Sun.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 15 Sep 2007 @ 10:34 AM

  202. Jim Cripwell writes:

    “How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?”

    Short answer: slightly, over geologic time.
    Long answer: complete details are not yet in. Check back later.

    Even what’s known won’t fit into a blog post, Mr. Cripwell.

    Here are 63 answers from pasting your question into Google (not Scholar). Many are high school physics coursework pages.
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=GYF&q=%22How+does+the+sun+affect+climate%3F%22&btnG=Search

    Some of these might be a good place for you to start. Remember, as Dano reminds us from time to time, there’s no “Wisdom” checkbox for Google searches. Beware the Larouche pages with the “neutron star” ideas, for example.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Sep 2007 @ 11:20 AM

  203. Jim, let me try to make it simple. The energy that drives climate is radiant energy that traverses interplanetary space as photons and is incident on Earth. That’s what the Sun does. Most of the other processes are insignificant–and that includes the supposed influence on GCR by the heliomagnetic field. That’s it, Jim. Radiant energy gets absorbed by gases, water and the land, and that’s what drives climate. This is not very complicated. There is no evasion. If you think there is, then you have not understood my answer.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 15 Sep 2007 @ 11:21 AM

  204. re Jim Cripwell (192, et al) I’ll take the question seriously; it sounds like Sandbox 101 and that’s more my level than some of the other posters here. The Sun puts out radiant energy ala Planck. This radiant energy tools throughout the solar system. Some of it, reduced by 1/d2, runs into the earth. When averaged over the full spherical surface of the earth at any one instant, about 342 watts/m2 enters the earth system, about 107 watts (I’m omitting the m2 for convenience) gets reflected back out and is of no consequence, leaving 235watts entering the earth system, ~67watts absorbed by the atmosphere and 168watts by the terra firma. This absorption heats the absorber up, just like anything left in the Sun’s rays.

    Now the Earth also emits its own Planck type radiation, which is based on the surface temperature of a body. This cools the Earth. The net incoming radiant energy has to balance the net outgoing radiation almost by definition. Otherwise the Earth would continue to heat up or cool down, one, for ever. If the Earth’s outgoing radiation from the surface exactly matched the solar incoming (235watts), Planck’s formula says the temperature of the terra firma would be about 30°C less than it actually is. But, the top of the atmosphere does emit about 235watts so the Earth system balances. But there is some “funny business” going on between the terra firma and the atmosphere. The surface is actually emitting more that the 235 watts — about 390watts, and is also losing heat to the atmosphere through evaporation and other thermals — about 100+watts. But it’s also reabsorbing a pile, about 324watts, of radiation from the atmosphere. All of this latter stuff being the so-called “greenhouse effect” and how all of this radiation effects our temperature and in turn the climate. (BTW, I don’t use “so-called” as a pejorative; there is an on-going debate if that is the proper term given the physics that goes on.)

    That’s my Sandbox101 version. For truth in lending, I’m an AGW skeptic, but of some of the specifics, not the general process.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Sep 2007 @ 11:46 AM

  205. Re. energy efficient transportation

    Why does it have to be a car?

    Trains work. Buses work. Bicycles work. Shoe leather works. And, the last two have the added health benefit of exercise. Sometimes the solution is not technical, it is a change in behavior.

    IPCC models under estimate the rate of climate change due to the nature of the concerns process (CLIMATE CHANGE: The Limits of Consensus, Oppenheimer et al., Science 14 September 2007: 1505-1506, DOI: 10.1126/science.1144831), and therefore, recent economic studies discount the cost of impacts from global warming far too much. We need to consider the cost of impacts occurring sooner, rather than later. We likely do not have the time to develop and mature elaborate new technologies.

    I would bet that per capita bicycle use in the USA increases dramatically over the next 30 years. Other new transportation technologies will have popularity in the next 20 years. However, as the impacts of global warming accrue, the virtues of bicycles will win out.

    Comment by Aaron Lewis — 15 Sep 2007 @ 12:51 PM

  206. JCH — type into Google: 300 bar = psi
    -or- convert bar psi
    ————————

    AGU: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2007/2007GL030426.shtml
    amazing.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Sep 2007 @ 1:01 PM

  207. RE biofuels and global warming: Biofuel development is a good idea, but there are a lot of conditions to be met if you want to make carbon-neutral biofuels – first being that the agricultural energy and fertilizer inputs have to be fossil fuel free. Energy costs vary widely – a fact that all energy budget estimates I’ve seen fail to account for. In fact, energy budget estimates for biofuels are all completely unreliable. For one thing, an honest appraisal of the question would include a very wide range of ‘answers’. In any process A -> B -> C -> D -> E, there are many possible energy budget estimates. The total energy expended is a path-dependent question, not a ‘state function’. There is no ‘right answer’. Do you use coal to power distillation, and diesel to run the tractors? Or do you use solar-powered distillation and oxen? Or some other processes?

    See also World Agriculture Faces Serious Decline from Global Warming. “World agriculture faces a serious decline within this century due to global warming unless emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are substantially reduced from their rising path, and developing countries will suffer much steeper declines than high-income countries…”

    Flooding, drought and heat waves are among the main culprits, and eventually seawater intrusion into groundwater will cause additional problems.

    Thus, it really doesn’t make any sense to promote biofuels as a solution to global warming. Biofuels can indeed replace a percentage of current fossil fuel use, but only if you can figure out how to run agriculture without fossil fuel inputs. This means major changes in industrial agricultural practices, such as: a complete end to export agriculture via ship and plane, no more production of nitrogen fertilizers via natural gas in the Haber process, electric tractors powered with compact efficient batteries (i.e. cell phone/laptop batteries) that are charged with solar and wind, and use of renewable energy to drive distillation in the case of ethanol production, or for a heat source in biodiesel synthesis. Fossil fuel-free agriculture is a big challenge all by itself.

    Regarding energy storage: There are many ways to store solar- and wind-derived energy. The most convenient is to use high-density modern batteries (like the ones found in laptops). You can indeed run cars with such batteries – see Tesla Motors, for example – and the only downside is the time it takes to charge the batteries. Simple solutions include battery swapping stations in place of gas refueling stations. Hydrogen is just silly – convert the electricity to hydrogen (which is difficult to store) and then back to electricity onboard a car? Two stages are always less efficient than one – just use batteries.

    The only solution to global warming, however, is to stop using fossil fuels. That creates a problem – what do we do for energy sources? The solution to that problem includes sunlight (solar PV and solar hot water), wind and photosynthesis (i.e. biofuels). Essentially, these are all ‘solar technologies’ – the only ones that aren’t are geothermal and nuclear, which have very limited long-term prospects as energy sources. Of course, these strategies will only replace part of the current global fossil fuel demand – meaning we need net energy conservation and an emphasis on highly efficient technology, as well as global population stabilization. There you go – problem solved – except for that additional unavoidable warming that is in the pipeline already.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Sep 2007 @ 1:01 PM

  208. Re #187: [Think about this. You are an engineer in GM. You want to do the right thing. You see all the latest technology from vendors always trying to get GM’s attention. You talk to a lot of folks. So you KNOW what is out there.]

    We can look at that from another perspective, though. Consider what can be done – indeed, what companies like Honda & Toyota are doing – with currently available technology. Then we can look at what the US auto industry chooses to build, and spend large amounts of money advertising and selling. And we could also consider the fact that the automakers’ managements are apparently willing to go on record, in court, with claims that they can’t do significantly better than they are now.

    US automakers probably aren’t buying up & concealing all sorts of revolutionary new technology, but neither are they being honest about what could do with what they do have.

    Comment by James — 15 Sep 2007 @ 1:18 PM

  209. Matt Said:
    “Imagine 10 40 year old directors from GMs power train division approaching San Jose’s elite VC and Jobs and Spielberg and Hanks and saying “Listen, there is so much amazing technology out there that can make a car that runs for 200 miles on a D cell battery…we’d like you to do a first round of financing for $20M.” I can promise you those guys would get funding that afternoon simply based on their names and track record even if the investors didn’t understand how the physics worked out.”

    The fallacy here is assuming that you could do much of anything in the automotive sector with $20 million. Capital intensive industries such as this (and petroleum, by the way) have a built-in obstacle to competition. GM, Ford and Chrysler developed this infrastructure at a time when there was virtually no foreign competition and when resources and labor (and especially healthcare) were relatively cheaper. This is why the big 3 persist in a model that cranks out SUVs nobody wants without 0% financing or cash-back rebates. Their loyalty is to their capital investment–to the point where they are willing to make seemingly suicidal business decisions just so they won’t have to retool. This is also why the oppose increased CAFE standards. Henry Ford’s “You can have any color you want as long as it’s black,” has been replaced by “You can have any fuel economy you want as long as it’s under 24 mpg.” So given this, I’m afraid I don’t have much doubt that the big 3 would squash any idea that challenged their hemhorraging business model.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 15 Sep 2007 @ 2:32 PM

  210. Ike Solem(206) — Use biodiesel in tractors and other agricultural equipment. Use biomethane to produce the fertilizer. Biofuels are practical and billions of dollars are being invested in setting up to do so, world-wide.

    However, here is the rub: A current estimate of energy from fossil fuels is 390 exajoules world-wide and presumably growing yearly. An achievable goal for bioenergy, with considerable investment, is 440 exajoules by 2050, when the world’s population will have grown and, on average, become more energy intensive, perhaps growing from the current 400–420 exajoules from all sources to, say, 800 exajoules. So bioenergy can only supply about 55% of the requirement. The rest, and hopefully more than that, has to come from solar, wind, geothermal, waves, etc.

    I say more than that because it would be a very good idea to begin sequestering biocoal back into the ground in abondoned mines and carbon landfills. The schemes for sequestering carbon dioxide appear risky to me.

    But if some form of sequestration is possible, then the anthropogenic carbon load goes down. Hence I would greatly appreciate some responses to my comment #11.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Sep 2007 @ 2:40 PM

  211. Am I the first here to google:

    “Jim Cripwell” ?

    Comment by catman306 — 15 Sep 2007 @ 5:20 PM

  212. re: #206 Ike

    Fossil-free agriculture is challenge: we agree, and especially on the fertilizer. I like the idea of electric tractors, at least for some areas:
    http://www.renewables.com/Permaculture/ElectricTractor.htm,

    and the following is interesting, although the conomics & land use issues of going back to horses in general seem unlikely:
    http://www.livepower.org/About/solar_horse.html

    In particular, tractors are like most local-commuter cars, only better: they don’t go very far away, and they come back to the home/barn every day, and if they’re designed well, you can switch battery packs to get in a full days’ work [that's crucial when you're trying to do a harvest before it rains.]

    However, I don’t think all farm vehicles and relevant trucking infrastructure fit that, even assuming sensible rationalization happens. I haven’t yet seen electric combines or trailer trucks or ships [although I have seen kites for helping ships]. But really, if any necessary medium/long distance trucking /shipping ends up with cellulosic ethanol or biodiesel, that seems OK. Given that farm machines can last a long time, getting them to use biodiesel, flex-fuel, etc is at least going in the right direction. [I think John Deere is doing some of this ... what they build now is a far cry from the one I learned on a kid.]

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Sep 2007 @ 5:50 PM

  213. Interesting article:
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070915/ap_on_re_eu/switzerland_weather_monks;_ylt=ArLpHJ2gw3nFh1a8z6jfOPpvaA8F

    Kind of puts paid to the folks who argue the MWP was warmer than the present.

    Catman306, When I google Jim, I don’t get much other than on needlepoint and confused posts on climate.

    Jim, I think that the reason I find some of your posts frustrating is that while you admit you know little about science, you are completely convinced that scientists are wrong. And because you don’t know about science, you tend to fall prey to any wild idea whether it has any merit or not. Look, those of us who are scientists are happy to help out in assessing the things you come across, and can even help with ideas of how to tell the difference. However, just as you wouldn’t tell an electrician how to do his job, you should realize your limitations.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 15 Sep 2007 @ 6:24 PM

  214. Re 206 – Ike Solem says in part:”….we need net energy conservation and an emphasis on highly efficient technology, as well as global population stabilization.”
    What?! Didn’t you hear our all knowing,super patriot,the vice president call conservation a “personal virtue” and imply that it is otherwise useless?
    Kidding aside, it looks like were going to have to make a “virtue” into a necessity. The conservtion and improved efficiency seem attainable, but as far as population control is concerned,I’d like to hear what kind of proposals are out there that will make people stop “doing it”, other than spaying and neutering.

    Two promising technologies, practical use of nuclear fusion( other than bombs) and an economical way to separate H2 from it’s molecular bonds,especially H2O are too far over the horizon to help with global warming.
    There’s no one magic bullet out there. It’s going to take a combination of non fossil alternatives, to break our fossil fuel addiction.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 15 Sep 2007 @ 6:55 PM

  215. Jim Cripwell — At the top of the page there is a link entitled Start Here. I recommend you do so the find some of the reading resources yoou seem to desire. Then I do encourage you to read all of the AIP Discovery of Global Warming pages.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Sep 2007 @ 7:04 PM

  216. catman306,

    Nope.

    You might want to check two of my earlier posts and the rest of the following thread…

    G8 summit declaration: #136, #149

    At times he prefers to pretend as if he is entirely uninformed with regard to physics, other times he prefers to claim he is a physicist – which is closer to the truth, having graduated from “… Cavendish Laboratories Cambridge during WWII.” Apparently participated to some extent in the military experiments regarding infrared transmission in the atmosphere early on in his career, currently in Ottawa, Canada where oil sands promise to make some companies rich – and where someone with a backrground in spectral analysis might be in some demand. Quilting took on some importance to him with the loss of his wife. At present he is retired, but continues to make the rounds on the skeptic circuit and sometimes participates in the bigger internet debates.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Sep 2007 @ 7:07 PM

  217. >to google …
    Nope. The postings could all be pretend-naive by a pro skeptic. We ordinary readers can’t see the IP address.

    I figure it’s always possible a new youngster with the same name is asking honest questions — or the next reader along will be one and benefit from courtesy even if it’s misplaced at the moment.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Sep 2007 @ 8:09 PM

  218. Re 210 – It would seem that you are. I just did it and, oh lordy, how much time has been wasted on this guy who has no interest whatever in understanding the science. Thanks catman306 for such a simple and obvious reality check. When will we learn about these types??!

    Comment by Ron Taylor — 15 Sep 2007 @ 9:02 PM

  219. #210:
    You didn’t first search within RC? [but you also need to do it with james].

    Comment by John Mashey — 15 Sep 2007 @ 11:04 PM

  220. There is some misinformation here that storing compressed air can be compared to storing electricity in a battery. This is NOT a valid analogy because electricity is stored as chemical energy at a constant voltage (say 14 volts is required to charge a battery in a reasonable period of time). Later it may be delivered to the system at say, 12 V.

    A practical “engine” that uses compressed air may be able to handle the inlet air at say 20 bar (300 psi) which it would expand to 1 bar in the exhaust pipe (let’s ignore the cooling problem for now as the air gives up its internal energy to the piston).

    Yet people are proposing air to be stored at 300 bar which requires (multi-stage) work of compression (let’s ignore removing the heat of compression for now).

    So you’ve worked to compress air to 300 bar, but it can only be used at 20 bar, which implies an irreversible expansion across the tank valve. Poof, the sound you heard is 280 bar’s worth of “work of compression” being lost.

    Natural gas vehicles do compress NG to over 200 bar, but NG contains a lot of chemical energy which air does not. Their range is typically 1/3 less than equivalent gas vehicles.

    Of course, maybe you could build an engine that could handle the higher pressure (say 100 bar), but it would weigh 5 times as much.

    Hardly a bargain.

    Bottom line: air compression is not a viable means of storing energy in a vehicle, except that it possibly could be used for “air braking” in which air could temporarily be stored in a small cylinder at moderate pressure which would be injected later at this pressure into a cylinder at TDC upon acceleration.

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:48 AM

  221. Re #154 Tamino: I am impressed with how quickly you reply! I don’t agree with everything you say, and I feel a bit of a discussion on the nature of statistical inference coming on. However, before I do that I think I should follow your advice and analyze the monthly HadCRUT3 data. But you mention allowing for “red noise” – do you mean assuming that there is some serial correlation and then allowing for it? If so, it would be helpful if you could tell me what procedure you follow for this, as I could then do the same. If I agree with it :-)

    This may take a little while – my wife keeps telling me I shouldn’t get obsessed with following all this climate stuff in my non-copious spare time.

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 16 Sep 2007 @ 2:58 AM

  222. Re #164 Chase: Thanks for the pointer to Tamino’s website – I guess I should look at that before replying to Tamino (#154)!

    You say: Solar variability has been a negative forcing since approximately 1960, best estimate.

    I don’t see how this squares with Lockwood & Frohlich, whose Figures 3 and 4 show two major sunspot peaks (after 11ish year cycle removed) in the 20th century, the last of them at 1986. Smoothed solar activity still has a way to fall before it reaches the levels before the 30s and 40s peak.

    You say: Anyway, given natural variability due mostly to the lateral and vertical distribution of heat content in the oceans and the ocean currents, the people at Hadley are expecting next year to remain flat, but temperatures to start rising again after that with about half the years in the following decade to be as high or higher than 1998 or 2005. After that the global average temperature will typically exceed both years and continue to rise in the decades that follow.

    So, apparently the Hadleyans have a good model for ocean temperatures. My question is, again, would they be so good as to publish results of models with this and that effect removed, so that the general populace can get an idea of the various contributions? I do see that this would be harder than it sounds, because of latency, but I would at least like to see some attempt at this. Specifically, if they expect flat temperatures for a couple of years before another increase, is it because of the solar cycle, or because of La Nina, or something else which might or might not be explicable?

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:29 AM

  223. Re #191 Levenson:

    You say: “There’s nothing unknown about it! The Sun affects climate through the value of the total solar irradiance (TSI, the Solar constant), the amount of energy it puts out.”

    As far as I can tell, the solar brigade believes in physics rather more subtle than that. They believe that the qualities of irradiance are important, such as wavelengths, solar particles, magnetic effects etc. Their point is that these things affect weather, which affects cloudiness, which affects albedo, which affects global temperatures. They don’t have a global circulation model for this, but they do have correlations with sunspot cycles. Alas we don’t have measurements of the TSI for more than about 30 years; if we did we could tell whether TSI is sufficient to explain solar-related climate change of the past millennium – but personally I doubt that it is, and I note that Lockwood & Frohlich were careful not to concentrate on TSI alone. This, I think, is what Cripwell in ##155, 166, 192 is asking about, and not getting any answers.

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 16 Sep 2007 @ 4:19 AM

  224. [[ Given that we all agree that the sun affects climate, what is the precise physics of this process? How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?]]

    Things that don’t reflect or transmit all the light that falls on them absorb the rest, and by absorbing photons they heat up. The sun heats the ground, and to a lesser extent, the atmosphere. That is its major influence on climate.

    The sun radiates about 3.8 x 10^26 watts of illumination altogether. At the Earth’s distance from the sun, that results in a “solar constant” of about 1366 watts per square meter (1367.6 is a frequently-quoted value, though probably too high).

    The Earth is a sphere, and absorbs light over its whole surface area (4 pi R^2, where R is the Earth’s radius). But sunlight only falls on its cross-sectional area (pi R^2). The average sunlight falling on a given square meter of Earth, then, is about 342 watts per square meter.

    Not all of this is absorbed. The Earth has a “bolometric Bond albedo” of 0.306 according to NASA, meaning it reflects away 30.6% of the light that falls on it. The flux actually absorbed, then, is about 237 watts per square meter.

    For the Earth’s temperature to be neither rising nor falling, on average, the amount of energy the Earth radiates away must equal the amount coming in. The Earth, like the sun, radiates as the fourth power of its temperature. It radiates 237 watts per square meter if its temperature is about 254 degrees Kelvin (K). This is the Earth’s “effective temperature” (or equilibrium temperature, or emission temperature).

    This can all be put together in an equation:

    Te = (S (1 – A) / (4 sigma)) ^ 0.25

    where Te is the effective temperature in K, S the solar constant in watts per square meter, and sigma the “Stefan-Boltzmann constant,” which has a value in the SI of 5.6704 x 10^-8 watts per square meter per kelvin to the fourth.

    You’re probably way ahead of me by now in noting that water freezes at 273 K, so if the Earth’s temperature is 254 K, why isn’t the Earth frozen over? The answer is that the temperature at Earth’s surface doesn’t have to be the same as the effective temperature, and for almost any given planet will usually be higher. The Earth’s average temperature is about 288 K. The difference is caused by the atmosphere greenhouse effect — water vapor, carbon dioxide, and some other trace gases absorb infrared radiation from the ground, heat up, and give off infrared light, some of which goes back to the ground. You’ve got both sunshine and “atmosphere shine” warming the ground. An Earth without an atmosphere, and with the same reflectivity (not really very likely), really would be frozen over at 254 K, on average.

    Variations in sunlight do affect the climate. They affect it most directly through the solar constant — less light, cooler Earth, more light, warmer Earth.

    The way sunlight falls on the Earth, its distribution over the Earth’s surface, can be altered by the Earth changing its position or distance or angle of tilt. Long-term cycles exist in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity, axial tilt and precession, and these “Milankovic cycles” appear to be linked to the waxing and waning of Earth’s ice ages. That’s the other major way in which sunlight can be said to affect Earth’s climate.

    For more on the subject, without getting too mathematical, I can highly recommend George S. Philander’s book, “Is the Temperature Rising?” (1998). If you don’t mind the math, John Houghton’s “The Physics of Atmospheres” (3rd ed. 2002) is very helpful.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 7:04 AM

  225. John, again, I don’t find much, unless you are referring to Jim’s touting his experience in IR spectroscopy at Cavendish here and elsewhere. I do note that Jim has never told us what he did at Cavendish–just that he worked there. However, even in his posts on IR absorption spectra we see the same tendency to latch onto one single fact and draw conclusions without understanding the aggregate of the evidence or the work.
    Thus, the fact that water vapor absorbs more IR than CO2 in the lower atmosphere means no other greenhouse gas can be important.
    And the fact that there is a neutrino deficit (now understood in terms of neutrino oscillations, BTW) means the Sun must be a neutron star.
    I do note that Jim does appear to have the “flexibility” of all the other denialists in that now that his pet theories about water vapor are in ashes, he has latched onto “the Sun”.

    Comment by ray ladbury — 16 Sep 2007 @ 7:24 AM

  226. OT, but it looks like McIntyre and Watts have inadvertantly confirmed Hansen:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.com/2007/09/deniers-rediscover-hockey-stick.html#links

    Comment by bigcitylib — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:44 AM

  227. John (211), I can’t get your first URL address to work….

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:38 AM

  228. ps to John (211) (assuming 1st post made it): there’s a comma after HTM that messes up your 1st URL address.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:41 AM

  229. Jerry Toman Says:
    16 September 2007 at 12:48 AM
    There is some misinformation here that storing compressed air can be compared to storing electricity in a battery. This is NOT a valid analogy …

    From what I’ve read, the extraordinarily high PSI talked about in the cars is for volume purposes, not power.

    I’m thinking more in terms of a turbine spun generator for electric motors to run farm machinery.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 16 Sep 2007 @ 11:34 AM

  230. See – owe to Rich (#221) wrote:

    You say: Solar variability has been a negative forcing since approximately 1960, best estimate.

    I don’t see how this squares with Lockwood & Frohlich, whose Figures 3 and 4 show two major sunspot peaks (after 11ish year cycle removed) in the 20th century, the last of them at 1986. Smoothed solar activity still has a way to fall before it reaches the levels before the 30s and 40s peak.

    I said “solar variability” and that this was “best estimate.” If you are looking at sunspots, they have been more or less flat (other than the simple ten-year cyclical behavior) since about 1950 – and in decline since 1980 – when global temperature really began to take off.

    Please see my comment from a while back:

    Friday roundup, #64

    See – owe to Rich (#221) wrote:

    So, apparently the Hadleyans have a good model for ocean temperatures. My question is, again, would they be so good as to publish results of models with this and that effect removed, so that the general populace can get an idea of the various contributions?

    You could always ask.

    Not much point in asking me for that analysis though – I am a philosophy major who currently does programming for a software that tracks the performance of cell phone networks. Might want to contact the people at Hadley MET.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:21 PM

  231. David, regarding post #11:
    “We suppose it is possible to safely and securely sequester about 14 billion tonnes of carbon per year, from biomass sources. About half of that counter-balances the annual addition to the atmosphere from fossil and deforestration sources.
    (1) Is this the correct estimate?”

    Well, that just seems like an incredible amount of carbon! You are talking about twice the total amount of fossil carbon that is consumed each year. I posted this earlier, but here it is again:

    “Planting trees is certainly a good idea, but it won’t even come close to ‘offsetting’ coal emissions, let alone the all fossil fuel emissions, and here is why:

    From eia.gov : “For example, coal with a carbon content of 78 percent and a heating value of 14,000 Btu per pound emits about 204.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu when completely burned.(5) Complete combustion of 1 short ton (2,000 pounds = 909 kg ) of this coal will generate about 5,720 pounds (= 2.86 short tons = 2600 kg) of carbon dioxide”
    To convert CO2 mass to C mass, multiply by 0.25; 1000kg of CO2 = 250 kg of elemental carbon.

    It’s generally assumed that about 1/2 the mass of a tree is elemental carbon. So, how long does it take for a tree to accumulate the equivalent of one ton’s worth of coal? Keep in mind that according to eia.gov, under “business-as-usual” scenarios, “World coal consumption is projected to increase from 5,440 million short tons in 2003 to 7,792 million short tons in 2015, at an average annual rate of 3.0 percent”.

    Trees don’t grow that fast; I can’t seem to find a good number – perhaps one ton every 20 years? So, using this estimate, how many trees per year would you have to plant to absorb all the CO2 created by coal combustion?

    5.4 billion tons coal= 15.4 billion tons of CO2 = 3.8 billion tons of carbon – which is about 1/2 of the 7.2 GtC produced by human beings every year.

    If we divide that 3.8 billion tons of carbon by our ‘tree uptake estimate’ (1/20th ton/year) we get a very crude estimate of 77.2 billion trees per year… about 10 for every human on earth – and these trees will need to be watered, fertilized, and cared for to achieve that estimate of carbon fixation. That’s every year… and since coal use is increasing, that means more trees will have to be planted every year. If you want to account for ALL the fossil fuel emissions, DOUBLE that estimate. (*QUADRUPLE for your case).

    Conclusion? Offsets are not feasible, and carbon trading will have little if any effect on atmospheric CO2 levels. We simply have to stop converting fossil fuels to atmospheric CO2, and use alternative energy sources.”

    There really is no way around the basic fact that we need to stop burning fossil fuels if we want to stabilize or reduce atmospheric CO2. Politicians and the media seem unable to come to grips with this, despite all the talk about ‘fighting climate change’ and ‘promoting sustainability’.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:39 PM

  232. PS to #229

    When I wrote:

    Please see my comment from a while back:

    Friday roundup, #64

    … I linked to the right page but the wrong comment. It should have been:

    #64 on 15 July 2007 at 6:24 PM
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=459#comment-37289

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Sep 2007 @ 12:55 PM

  233. Re #212: [Bottom line: air compression is not a viable means of storing energy in a vehicle, except that it possibly could be used for “air braking”...]

    In fact, UPS & others are working on a similar system for urban delivery vans, which need to make many starts & stops. The hydraulic (as it’s called, though I imagine the energy is stored in compressed gas) system seems to be more efficient than electric: though it doesn’t store as much energy as a hybrid’s batteries, there’s less loss in a cycle, and the system doesn’t degrade over many cycles, as batteries do. See here for more:

    http://www.pressroom.ups.com/mediakits/factsheet/0,2305,1315,00.html

    Comment by James — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:11 PM

  234. What does anyone have to say about this carbon sequestration venture? To me it sounds fancifal and since the oceans are warming more, CO2 is being released already at increased levels.

    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/business2/business2_archive/2007/06/01/100050969/index.htm?postversion=2007060705

    Comment by Mark A. York — 16 Sep 2007 @ 1:39 PM

  235. Question: One of the DOE’s Information papers says, “Radiative forcing is defined as a change in average net radiation at the boundary between troposphere and stratosphere (known as the tropopause).” Does anyone know why (or if) this is how forcing is defined? Is there any significance? I always (simply) thought forcing was just the net change in the energy/time/area entering the earth system — kinda anywhere…

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:40 PM

  236. Ike Solem(230) — I agree that carbon offsets are only a ‘feel good’, not a solution. However, there are at least two routes to permanent carbon sequestration:

    (1) Produce biocoal and sequester it in abondoned mines and carbon landfills. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that enough biomass can be diverted to this endevor to do much good.

    (2) Sequester carbon dioxide in deep saline formations or uneconomic coal seams. This will cost $$.

    As for my question (1) in comment #11, I seem to have subsequently found the answer I was after. From the Broecker paper referenced in an earlier post, we currently add about 8 Gt per year to the active carbon cycle, so the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases about 2 ppm per year.

    But the thrust of my questions in comment #11 have to do with the response of the climate system to decreasing the anthropogenic carbon load in the active carbon cycle. Suppose the 8 Gt per year is sequestered or fossil fuels are not used. Suppose it is possible in addition to sequester, permanently, 7 Gt per year. How does the climate respond?

    Now I certainly presume it begins to cool, but I am sure that you have a better understanding than I of the sequence of events and I’d greatly appreciate you answering the remainder of the questions in comment #11.

    This is not just idle curiosity. We know that during the Eemian, with a climate system in near equilibrium, the sea stand rose about 5 meters above that of today, and with a pulse of carbon dioxide lasting 300–600 years of about 290 ppm, up from about 270 ppm before and after. Unless it is possible to remove enough carbon, quickly, we’ll experience something similar, perhaps higher and faster. A catastrophy for those around to experience it…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 3:44 PM

  237. #219 Jerry Toman

    Good post! The same problem is true of methane as an automotive fuel. It takes almost as much energy to compress the gas into a usable form as is contained in the gas. But stationary engines or fertilizer manufacture (as some wise poster above has written) can use methane at its point of release from landfills. I hope that someday methane will become an important energy source in the north as the tundra melts and releases its potent greenhouse gas.

    Comment by catman306 — 16 Sep 2007 @ 4:32 PM

  238. What you make of this methane irruption?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911092139.htm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 5:06 PM

  239. re 230: Forest Guardians (in the offset business) say the average tree weighs less than a ton at maturity, which they take as 100 years, so has sequestered 1/2ton (300-350kg to use their exact calculus) of carbon over 100 years, though their math seems a bit funny in places.
    [ http://fguardians.org/support_docs/document_carbon-calculation-methodology_2-07.pdf ]

    Makes Ike’s point even more pronounced.

    But something doesn’t seem right. One acre of corn (~10,000 plants) will sequester about 2500kg of carbon in one year, which is ~8 times what the average tree will sequester in 100 years. Seems funny. Any comments or insights?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 5:10 PM

  240. Capturing and using escaping methane is bound to be an important new energy source to be added to the list. Perhaps someone will know how much more effective burning methane is when compared to other fuels toward the potential reduction of greenhouse gases. Do we gain anything by using as much of this naturally occurring greenhouse gas as we can? Methane’s principle drawback is that it must be used where it’s produced or transported by pipeline. But for methane capturing purposes, it is believed that the pipeline could be as economical as a heavy duty 3″ hose laid over the woods and melting tundra. Methane powered pumps would push the gas to some centralized electrical generation plant. On the quick it seems that this is a win for energy production and a win for green house warming reduction.

    Even the large sheets of plastic that will catch the methane bubbles could be white and help reflect some incoming radiation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane

    Maybe this energy source could offset some fossil fuel greenhouse gas and be one of many different steps in the right direction that must be taken to keep our planet livable (for us). There’s no silver bullet, no single new technology that’s going put a stop to greenhouse warming. Greenhouse warming is a statistical entity, a construct. The remedy seems to involve, rather than a few super fixes, instead, billions of tiny fixes: each and everyone moving us some unmeasurable amount toward a more stable climate. That’s what we all want: a stable climate. Every smallest move away from fossil fuel can only help.

    Comment by catman306 — 16 Sep 2007 @ 6:39 PM

  241. Doesn’t the mole of CO2 produced from burning one mole of methane mitigate the benefit ala greenhouse gases?

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:12 PM

  242. Rod B(238) — Different plants respond differently to envoronmental inputs. In particular, I suspect that the corn is putting on biomass in response to the heavy use of fertilizer.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:21 PM

  243. J.C.H,

    I don’t get it–you have to use electricity generated either from fossil fuel (or uranium) burned at a central power plant or from your own gas or diesel generator (much less efficient), to compress the air that later you’re going to use to generate electricity to power farm machinery? If this is mobile machinery, you have the same problem I discussed above with regards to powering cars or trucks on the highway. If it is stationary machinery, why not use the electricity directly, or if you have made it with diesel or gasoline, why not put this fuel directly in the fuel tank of your tractor? The second law says the more steps you use in transforming energy the greater the losses.

    Look folks, these “home-remedies” developed to survive the coming energy shortages are not very likely to be successful, and even if they were, marginally, what would stop a hungry gang from coming in and taking what you had?

    We need solutions in how we get and use energy that work for “most of us” or none of us are going to get through it. At the very least you should be working on solutions that work for whole villages (10,000 or more), not just for individuals.

    For the reasons given above, I’m trying to gain support for the AVE which has that potential. Cheap electricity could even be used to generate road fuel from coal, if it came to that, by separating air cheaply (uses a lot of compression) to get the pure oxygen required and because it can use the heat wasted (50% of coal input energy) to recover 10-15% more of the original coal-energy input as by-product electricity in addition to the synfuel. Also, with cheap electricity available, carbon sequestration would become a much more feasible proposition than it is now.

    With cheap electricity, homes could be heated using already commercial heat pumps instead of burning natural gas, which is also in short supply.

    If you believe algae farming on desert land is the answer, you’re going to need a lot of cooling to prevent water from evaporating or the system from overheating, killing the beneficial algae doing the photosynthesis (5% bio-conversion from incident sunlight, 95% waste heat that must be “managed”). This cooling could be supplied with a propane-based refrigeration system run on electricity from the AVE.

    In short, there are many substitutions that could be made using electricity, that would reduce or lessen the hardships that would be created from fossil fuel shortages.

    My wish is for the people here to take a closer look at this technology and do what you can to assure it is developed to the point where we know for sure if it has potential or not. Please read the overview and business case at http://www.vortexengine.ca

    For those who may be interested, a LOT OF MONEY could be made for those who see the potential and are willing to take the risk by ponying up what is needed for its development, which, by the way is at least a 100 times less than would be required for co2 sequestration technology development program.

    Finally the FAQ section at the website can be very illuminating for those here who might be novices in atmospheric science.

    AVE_fan

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 16 Sep 2007 @ 8:51 PM

  244. This one was estimated to weigh between 72 and 100 tons.

    http://www.pleasantonweekly.com/morgue/2006/2006_01_13.atree13.shtml

    Comment by J.C.H. — 16 Sep 2007 @ 9:02 PM

  245. David (241) says, “Rod B(238) — Different plants respond differently to envoronmental inputs. In particular, I suspect that the corn is putting on biomass in response to the heavy use of fertilizer.”

    O.K., but a factor of 800 to 1 still sounds hard to believe.

    Comment by Rod B — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:05 PM

  246. Re. #235, you’re right that carbon offsetting isn’t the solution but it isn’t solely a feelgood either. A large proportion of offsetting money is used to fund projects such as increasing the energy efficiency of factories in developing countries; and even the offsetting money that is used to fund reforestation projects in tropical and subtropical regions is very helpful, if well managed, although not a solution on its own. Your criticism is valid for offsetting as a substitute for reducing one’s own emissions; but both have a place. A concerned citizen would sensibly try to cut their emissions by as much as they feel they reasonably can and offset the rest. As would a concerned government.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 16 Sep 2007 @ 10:22 PM

  247. One hectare (2.5 acres) of Pinus radiata (Monterey pine) in a fifteen year old stand (in NZ) contains (for the purposes of carbon calcs) 112t of C. The trees are considered mature enough to harvest at 25-30 years, but will continue to grow (and sequester) well beyond that.

    Different trees, different places = different strokes for different folks.

    Comment by Gareth — 17 Sep 2007 @ 5:03 AM

  248. In my post about temperatures above, I should have said that the Earth’s average SURFACE temperature was 288 K. At a distance we would measure its temperature as averaging 254 K, since most of the radiation which gets out is from fairly high in the atmosphere.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Sep 2007 @ 6:37 AM

  249. [[You say: “There’s nothing unknown about it! The Sun affects climate through the value of the total solar irradiance (TSI, the Solar constant), the amount of energy it puts out.”
    As far as I can tell, the solar brigade believes in physics rather more subtle than that.
    ]]

    Sure they do, because they know they can’t explain global warming on the basis of changes in TSI. But the sunspot cycle is highly correlated with TSI, and so are pretty much all the other variations they try to cite (e.g. galactic cosmic ray modulation). They are desperately looking for something other than TSI to explain global warming through solar influence, even though the only known climate correlations are to TSI or to things which correlate with TSI.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Sep 2007 @ 6:40 AM

  250. Since trees add an ever increasing volume of wood to their size each year of their life, why do those sites discuss maturity as some sort of limiting factor?

    A growth ring is sort like a growth cone. A tree is like a stack of ice cream cones – one cone per year and each cone usually contains more wood than the last cone.

    In the 459th year of that oak’s life, I would think it added a volume of wood that would dwarf the volume of wood it added in it’s 25th year.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:24 AM

  251. Dave Rado brings up an important point. We need to consider where growth in energy consumption is most likely to occur and where there is the most low-hanging fruit in terms of conservation measures. On both counts, developing countries provide a rich hunting ground for decreasing future ghg emissions, and for carbon offsets. Perhaps even more important, we are talking places where there is very little energy or transportation infrastructure. A leapfrog strategy that helps them adopt advanced, clean technology faces little of the opposition and cost we see in developed countries to changing infrastructure. Get them to adopt clean technology now and they will likely demand clean technology forever.
    Jerry Toman, neat as the idea of the AVE is, I suspect you would have difficulties in realizing it. I grew up in Denver where I could watch tornados spawn over the great plains–the conditions have to be just right, so much so that if the light was just a certain way, you started to look for funnel clouds. Also keep in mind that much of Earth’s population lives in villages with a population well under 10000 people.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:39 AM

  252. J.C.H. As my wife is an environmental scientist, I will take a stab at this. First, every tree has a “lifespan”. Oaks typically live less that 100 years. Tulip poplar can live up to 300 years. Some trees–redwoods in the western US, kauri in N. Zealand, etc. can live hundreds or even (a few) thousands of years. The thing is that as a tree matures, its rate of growth decreases, so the rate at which it sucks carbon out of the air also decreases. Moreover, as the canopy grows, there is less sunlight on the forest floor for undergrowth. Forests are most effective for sequestration in their rapid growth phase, when they are growing UP as well as OUT.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:51 AM

  253. re 246 (Gareth), if there are 300 trees on the hectare (Forest Guardians say 350-400 or so) that’s about 0.4t or 800-900 lbs of carbon per tree, or 1600-2000 total lbs. per tree. Seems a little more than Forest Guardians estimate (especially over 100 years); plus they say pines sequester less carbon than other hardwood or some softwood. Interesting. They seem to have a low estimate, but you’d think it would be otherwise, being in the business of selling credits and all…

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 10:27 AM

  254. Ref. 247 What we have here in Canada, are what are called “climax forests”; forests where only the same type of tree can ever grow. The true climax tree here is the maple, but in some soil types, the white pine is also a climax tree. When the forest is “mature”, trees are dying and falling at the same rate as new trees are growing. The dead trees release carbon into the atmosphere as fungi cause the trees to decay. The nutrients released permit the growth of new trees. HTH.

    Comment by Jim Cripwell — 17 Sep 2007 @ 11:30 AM

  255. Dave Rado #245

    After a little web surfing I discovered that methane capture is sometimes used as a carbon offset. 17 to 1 makes money for the operation. But one capture site merely burns off the methane from an abandoned mine. I’d like to see that energy put to some worthwhile use: electricity generation or maybe pumping. Any gasoline powered generator could be modified to run on methane and power a home or neighborhood. With the soon forthcoming development of the far northern areas there are sure to be homes and neighborhoods. I’d hate to see naturally occurring methane in the far north burned as carbon offset rather than for energy. If we are trying to stabilize the climate, wasting energy is clearly a step in the wrong direction

    carbonneutral.com

    Comment by catman306 — 17 Sep 2007 @ 12:20 PM

  256. JCH, as I understand it 100 years is about the expected life of the average tree, with a few exceeding that but more than 10% of the planting dying much before 100. That’s what the Forest Guardians say; I don’t have firsthand knowledge.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 12:51 PM

  257. a follow-on: I’m really trying to get an accurate handle on the tree sequestration stuff. If my source is correct it’s even much worse than Ike said. Makes sequestering, at least with trees a spit in the ocean at best. Plus I still can’t reconcile the corn comparison (which is a sniff test of the tree stuff). 10,000 stalks probably weigh a lot more than one would guess, but 800 to one is a very long credibility hill to climb… it seems.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 12:57 PM

  258. Catman (249), but isn’t storing vaporous methane (for running your generating, e.g.) a major hurdle? I’m not sure, but isn’t that why gas producers burn off excess?

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:02 PM

  259. Re. #248, I agree that the carbon offsetting industry is badly regulated (actually almost completely unregulated), and that this leads to many questionable offsetting projects being undertaken. A worldwide attempt to seriously address this lack of regulation and to enforce best practice, should in my opinion be at the top of the agenda of all governments that are concerned about climate change, and I don’t understand why it isn’t. However, there is a voluntary regulation scheme in place called the “gold standard” (see http://www.cdmgoldstandard.org/). One can at least ensure that any offsetting one does personally goes only to “gold standard”-vetted projects.

    Dave

    Comment by Dave Rado — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:04 PM

  260. Growing trees — As deforestation contributes about 20–25% of the antropogenic carbon load in the active carbon cycle, I’m certainly in favor of planting ‘off-setting’ trees. However, this is not and cannot be part of the long range solution which requires removal of about 500 Gt carbon by permanent sequestration in the ground.

    By the way, the Wikipedia page on ice cores has a fine graphic of the Vostok C ice core data:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Vostok-ice-core-petit.png

    Look at the Eemian, about 125,000 years ago to note that the spike in carbon dioxide preceeds the spike in temperature. Use this graphic the next time you read somebody’s mis-information that “temperature always preceeds carbon dioxide in paleoclimate data.”

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:36 PM

  261. Jim Cripwell writes:
    “The dead trees release carbon into the atmosphere as fungi cause the trees to decay.”

    This is a very partial statement and could mislead people into thinking a “climax” forest isn’t continuing the process of accumulating carbon from the air. That omits the way a forest creates soil from fallen trees. A fallen tree soon has far more living material in it than it did when it was a standing living tree — most of the “live” tree is dead wood; most of the “dead” tree is living organisms turing the wood into more living things.
    You can look this stuff up. http://www.forestry.ubc.ca/Default.aspx?tabid=1472

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Sep 2007 @ 1:57 PM

  262. Re #238:
    “But something doesn’t seem right. One acre of corn (~10,000 plants) will sequester about 2500kg of carbon in one year, which is ~8 times what the average tree will sequester in 100 years. Seems funny. Any comments or insights?”

    One acre holds a large number of trees. One acre of natural corn (not irrigated, not fertilized) will not come anywhere close to 2.5 tonnes carbon/acre*year. Compare acres to acres and don’t apply fertilizer or tend the corn in any way. The numbers should be within an order of magnitude close assuming there isn’t so much residual herbicide as to kill off invasive grasses (in that case the quite possibly dying corn plot will be just barren and not taking up CO2).

    Comment by Robert Edele — 17 Sep 2007 @ 2:33 PM

  263. Re 252: Rod B

    Radiata for timber can be planted at as little as 200 stems per hectare, and up to 1,000, depending on the site and thinning regime. Most commercial forests would be at the higher end. Growth rate in some parts of NZ can be as high as 50m^3 timber per hectare per year.

    Trees are very good at extracting carbon from the atmosphere during their growth phase, but a mature forest is more like a self-sustaining carbon store. From an offset point of view, trees (or other organic carbon stores) are regarded as “soft” – often difficult to measure, at risk of burning down/dying etc – whereas tech offsets (credits from windfarms etc) are easier to measure and manage. Tech offsets are therefore more expensive.

    That said, we need to plant trees to replace the forest we’ve lost, and we need to stop cutting down trees (Amazon/Indonesia/Siberia etc). The latter is the quickest (and probably cheapest) way to reduce emissions. The former is an unalloyed environmental good.

    Trees are an important part of the answer: but only a part.

    Comment by Gareth — 17 Sep 2007 @ 4:31 PM

  264. re 253

    “What we have here in Canada, are what are called “climax forests”; forests where only the same type of tree can ever grow.”

    Actually, that is not quite correct, in the sense that “climax forest” is a term that denotes a forest where a specific tree species has won out over other tree species. From that perspective, climax forests are commonplace, particularly in old growth.

    Also, while the species dominates, over the long run it is incorrect to suggest it is the only type of tree that can “ever grow” in that forest.

    “The true climax tree here is the maple, but in some soil types, the white pine is also a climax tree. When the forest is “mature”, trees are dying and falling at the same rate as new trees are growing.”

    Building on my comments above, if you are experiencing warming in your climax forests on the scale Alaska is, particularly in your white pine forests, those forests are becoming increasingly suseptible to bug kill (the infestation of bark beetles). Alaska’s forests are dying out, much like a lot of forests in the American southwest, due to the increased rate of bug kill, brought on by uncharacteristic warmth and the lengthing seasons that have allowed extra generations of bark beetles to be born in the same season.

    The problem with this development is the increased rate of dying trees and a reduction of replacements. And as warming continues, the situation will likely not get any better.

    Side note: one of the problems the U.S. will be facing in the not too distant future is an increase the ranges and amounts of fauna like poison oak and kudzu, as those plants thrive on increased CO2.

    Wonderful world we are creating for ourselves…

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 17 Sep 2007 @ 5:19 PM

  265. re 263.

    Oops. I wrote “fauna” when I meant “flora.”

    Doh.

    Comment by J.S. McIntyre — 17 Sep 2007 @ 6:49 PM

  266. Rod B. #257 Yes, absolutely. So methane must be used at the source or piped somewhere else and used there, but usually not stored because it is inefficient. Instead of burning off unused methane for carbon offsets, I’m suggesting that it be used for small scale electrical power generation and used to power stationary engines that could pump water, for instance. Think small.

    Comment by catman306 — 17 Sep 2007 @ 7:24 PM

  267. I’m not sure whether or not someone has previously posted a link to the pdf file of a recent paper by Hansen, et al. I have just finished reading it and recommend it for the reasoning which goes into the clearly expressed view that the climate is right at the edge of an important tipping point, massive ice sheet melting.

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/2007/Hansen_etal_2.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 17 Sep 2007 @ 8:07 PM

  268. Robert (261): In an old but definitive scientific analysis of corn and its energy [ https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/1811/2294/1/V26N01_001.pdf ] the dry weight of 10,000 plants yielding 100 bushels on an acre contains, in fact, just about 2.6 tonnes of carbon. The corn was fertilized I presume. I don’t know about w/o fertilizer — seems to be an unhelpful distinction. If you don’t fertilize, water, or give it sun maybe you’d get a lucky kilogram or two. A hectare, about 2-1/2 acres is assumed to support 350-400 trees planted at 5 meter spacing.

    Gareth (262): Good is a highly subjective term; trees might be good at absorbing carbon, just terribly slow and limited (if all the previous assertions and conjectures hold). A half-ton of sequestered carbon over 100 years (pick 50 if you wish) is just not a lot — maybe a year or two’s worth of driving one family car?

    I agree we should plant more trees and quit the deforestation. Every little bit helps, and the deforestation is a significant contributor. But as an effective offset program it seems pretty piddly.

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:18 PM

  269. Ref. 247 Jim Cripwell: “What we have here in Canada, are what are called “climax forests”; forests where only the same type of tree can ever grow. The true climax tree here is the maple, but in some soil types, the white pine is also a climax tree.”

    Canada has several different types of climax forest other than the predominantly maple-white pine forests in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest surrounding Ottawa, where I believe Jim lives. There is a region of Carolinian forest in southwest Ontario along the north shore of Lake Erie that harbours a much larger number of species, for instance, and the west coast spruce-cedar-fir temperate rain forest. By far the largest forest type, running clear across Canada is the spruce-jack pine boreal forest, and above that is the belt of stunted taiga forest. Each is a climax forest for its respective climate zone and soil type.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 17 Sep 2007 @ 9:26 PM

  270. Good point, Ray (#250)and thanks for the comment,

    Nature often has trouble creating vortices, except perhaps in tornado alley at certain times of the year. I too, happen to be living near Denver and have observed the convection developing from the morning hours, almost invariably resulting in cumulus cloud formation if there is no rotation, which I have yet to see. The rotation for larger tornado “swarms”, as I’m sure you know, develops from the wind shear arising from cold Candian air, clashing with warm air from the GOM along long frontal boundaries.

    Maybe closer to the front range of the Rockies a jet of air from a mountain range could provide the necessary rotation for smaller, individual tornadoes. Vortices in mountain areas are not unheard of as sometimes polluted air is cleared out of a valley by the process known as “mixed-layer venting” in which a vortex of a size sufficient to break through the inversion layer is created by wind flow in certain directions.

    Contrary to nature, humans have found it rather easy to create predictable vortices by deflecting the flow of air in a preferred direction. Every time we fly in an airplane we depend on the downward deflection of air from the wing (airfoil) rotating it downward from its normal horizontal direction to support the weight of the aircraft.

    Now imagine two flat plates enclosing a cylindrical section in which air is made to flow inward toward the center. Around the periphery, a “picket-fence” of vertically oriented airfoils causes the inflowing air to be deflected in a preferred tangential direction. In the center of the top plate, a hole is made for the inflowing air to escape. Obviously, due to conservation of angular momentum, the outflowing air will be rotating.

    Angular momentum can be further increased if the air flows through a second “picket-fence” which deflects the air a second time in the same tangential direction. The velocity can be further increased if the top and bottom plates are curved, causing the flow area to decrease as it approaches the center.

    The overall increase in velocity must be accompanied by a drop in pressure to satisfy the energy equation. To drive the process, the air must contain positive CAPE or enthalpy must be added at some point inside the cylinder (or both). Ideally, during the day, the CAPE would drive the process, while at night the added waste heat would provide most of the energy which would be enough such that the vortex leaving the center would be more buoyant than the surrounding air. The waste heat could be low-temperature geothermal, the residual from an urban “heat island” or waste heat from a power plant or other industrial process.

    The advantage of a vortex vs. a chimney is that it is a lot cheaper, and could practically be several miles high; the vortex permits a rapid upflow of air and suppresses advection of colder surrounding air if the device is large enough. Breaking through an inversion layer for such a device should not be a problem.

    AVE_fan

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 18 Sep 2007 @ 12:40 AM

  271. Re. 262:

    That said, we need to plant trees to replace the forest we’ve lost, and we need to stop cutting down trees (Amazon/Indonesia/Siberia etc).

    In the case of Siberia, forests are important for biodiversity, but the jury is out regarding their effect on global warming. Conifers in tundra regions have a much lower albedo than the bare tundra does, and thus planting conifer forests in those regions increases the local temperature; and whether this temperature increase is greater than or smaller than the opposite effect on temperature of the CO2 they trap is not yet resolved in the literature, as I understand it.

    Comment by Dave Rado — 18 Sep 2007 @ 1:46 AM

  272. In the case of Siberia, forests are important for biodiversity, but the jury is out regarding their effect on global warming.

    The forests I refer to are just over the border from China, and being felled to feed growth there – often illegally. This is (IIRC) the southern edge of the boreal forest, not the tundra edge.

    Comment by Gareth — 18 Sep 2007 @ 2:51 AM

  273. The Eemian: The paper by Hansen et al. linked in #259 provides an alternative dating for the previous interglacial (Termination II), the Eemian/Sangamon. The paper states it began about 134 kya, with strongest warming at 131 kya, and concluded about 129 kya.

    This is in agreement, at least for me, with Alan Templeton’s generic work indicating that Homo sapiens sapiens most probably migrating from Africa to Southeast Asia about 135 kya, although the error bar certainly allows for the possiblity of dates as late as 95 kya or even later. Nonetheless, I am of the opinion that this event would occur in close conjunction with the Eemian (other disagree), so pleased to see some slight confirmation.

    Perhaps of more interest to most here is that Figure 3a clearly shows the maximum sea stand in the Eemian as occurring well after the maximum temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations. I do’t know whether this is just an artifact or something worrisome regarding future climate for our descendants…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Sep 2007 @ 7:35 PM

  274. > Around the periphery, a “picket-fence” of vertically oriented
    > airfoils causes the inflowing air to be deflected in a preferred
    > tangential direction.

    Now, plan your city layout: each skyscraper an airfoil cross section, each aligned around the perimeter of an open warm-water lake into which excess heat from the buildings is routed, so the air is always rising above the lake and the breeze is always blowing into the city center ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 18 Sep 2007 @ 9:47 PM

  275. #208 Ray Ladbury The fallacy here is assuming that you could do much of anything in the automotive sector with $20 million. Capital intensive industries such as this (and petroleum, by the way) have a built-in obstacle to competition. GM, Ford and Chrysler developed this infrastructure at a time when there was virtually no foreign competition and when resources and labor (and especially healthcare) were relatively cheaper.

    What? Tesla Motors will bring a brand new car to market for a fraction of what you think it will take. They JUST received $45M series D financing. They do it by putting all their secret sauce into an existing car (Lotus). It’s a very sane way to solve a very expensive problem.

    I’m afraid I don’t have much doubt that the big 3 would squash any idea that challenged their hemhorraging business model.

    Existance proof? If what you think in your head is a successful business model, then why don’t big 3 (or any of the worlds car makers) adopt it? Or why don’t you make it a reality? This is kind of like the “secret 200 MPG carburetor” where anyone that denies it exists is “one of them”??? How could the big 3 squash Tesla? They can’t. Tesla will live and die on its merits.

    There’s nothing stopping you from working a license with Kia to put batteries and motors in their crash-tested car and taking it to market for under $100M. The risk, of course, is that you won’t find enough folks that want to buy the car. But that is your problem, not GMs problem. GM tried it, found not enough folks wanted to buy it. They decided to wait a few years till the technology made more sense. Seems reasonable and sane. GM are fast followers, not leaders.

    The upshot, is that if you want to bring ANY product to market today and get folks attention it will cost you $15M. Even if you just find a little electronics “thingy” in China and bring it to the US already working it will cost you $10M to ensure enough folks know about it.

    Launching a product–any product– is expensive. That Tesla is bring a new car to market for $100M is amazing.

    Comment by Matt — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:47 AM

  276. #199 Tamino: The correct formula is dE = P * dV. Under operation, we can expect that the expansion of the air in the tank will be isothermal rather than adiabatic; in fact the website for the car mentions that they have heat exchangers specifically in order to make the expansion as near isothermal as possible.

    Yes, good catch! Here’s a great paper that talks about compressed air cars in great detail: http://www.efcf.com/reports/E14.pdf

    Summary: overall efficiency using multi-state expansion and compression is around 40%, which is quite a bit less than electric cars.

    Comment by Matt — 19 Sep 2007 @ 10:53 AM

  277. My original comment had to do with compressing air using animals, and to use the compressed air to power farm machinery.

    Horses or mules, for instance, could easily compress air to a far greater pressure than 300 bar. Compressed air could be manufactured 24 and 7, and stored for prolonged periods of time using the simplest of technologies. The tractors could run at all times of the year, in all types of weather, and be large enough to handle modern farming requirements – something horse and mules cannot do.

    On a large farm, vehicle range would not be a problem. Horses and mules do not have the methane consequence of ruminants. They actually enjoy work. Gomer Pyle could do this.

    So what would be the problems?

    Comment by J.C.H. — 19 Sep 2007 @ 11:59 AM

  278. Look up “air tools” — lots of people carry tanks of compressed air now to power tools.

    This is not something a horse or mule would enjoy doing all day:
    http://www.old-picture.com/united-states-1930s-1940s/Grinding-Horse-Grain.htm

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 12:23 PM

  279. Re 274. Matt, the proof is that GM, Ford and Chrysler have clung to the model where they produce SUVs and trucks even when oil is selling for $80/barrel rather than $50/barrel. They have done so, because that is what they are tooled to do. They cannot take a plant that makes SUVs and turn around and make hybrids. The problem is that in such a capital intensive industry, there is a lot of inertia, and the larger a company gets, and the more committed to a particular business model/product line a company becomes, the less likely they will be to respond in an agile manner to changing markets, new technology or new imperatives. It’s economics, not conspiracy that fuels the resistance to innovation we see from the big 3.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 19 Sep 2007 @ 12:58 PM

  280. They do enjoy working. And as the get older, they get to take really cool drugs like cocaine. The horses that pull carriages around Central Park are working. Same for the Budwieser Clydesdales, or the horses used by mounted policemen.

    Compressed air is used for tools for many of the same reasons diesel is preferred for tractors. It chugs and lugs.

    Comment by J.C.H. — 19 Sep 2007 @ 1:56 PM

  281. Ray Ladbury (#278) wrote:

    It’s economics, not conspiracy that fuels the resistance to innovation we see from the big 3.

    High rates of taxation on smaller businesses help, too.

    A large company doesn’t need a high rate of profit in order to remain large – and they will typically be in a better position to lobby for tax breaks that smaller businesses can’t get. However, for an innovative small company to grow into something that can compete with larger companies, it needs the profits. Tax those at too high a rate and it can’t grow. But lower taxes will mean a higher, quicker rate of return on investment and attract investors – and this is more likely to encourage the creation of new technology even when there is a considerable lag between development and production.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 19 Sep 2007 @ 3:10 PM

  282. The bogs might just do it to us:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7003668.stm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 4:25 PM

  283. Good find, David. This answers one of the puzzles, because people had been looking for (and not finding) evidence of abrupt release of methane from seafloor clathrates, like the Storegga slide work.

    The BBC reports evidence now of a PETM longterm, many thousand year warming release from bogs.

    Permit me a small quote from the BBC page you linked:

    —— excerpt follows—–

    … Scientists looked for hopanoids, chemicals made by bacteria which survive remarkably well over time.

    At the Palaeocene-Eocene transition, they found the ratio of two carbon isotopes changed in the hopanoids – a change which is very probably down to an increase in methane in the atmosphere.

    But this could not have been the initial burst of methane released by the oceans, if indeed that theory is correct. Methane degrades rapidly in the atmosphere; yet the methane enrichment recorded in the hopanoids endured for tens of thousands of years.

    Instead, the scientists believe, the chemicals are documenting a long-term release of methane from the bog itself which was stimulated by the temperature rise.

    “We think what we were seeing was a response to the warming, a positive feedback mechanism which could amplify climate change,” explained Dr Pancost….
    ——- end excerpt

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 19 Sep 2007 @ 5:10 PM

  284. Hank, with all of the scary news of the day, draught in SE US, Iraq war, housing bubble, economy failure, shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels etc, this is probably the scariest for the long term. We need to start harvesting this natural methane now and use it as an energy source to power the sequestration of carbon from fossil fuels. Making lemonade out of lemons is one way to avoid the approaching catastrophe. But it probably won’t happen unless someone can figure out how to make money from saving the future.

    Comment by catman306 — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:11 PM

  285. Here is an important part of the carbon cycle which is completely new to me, methane consuming Archaebacteria in marine sediments:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v398/n6730/abs/398802a0.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Sep 2007 @ 7:13 PM

  286. It is possible that within a few decades, the open oceans will have enough carbon dioxide to violate current EPA standards:

    http://biopact.com/2007/09/co2-emissions-could-violate-epa-ocean.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Sep 2007 @ 5:02 PM

  287. David (285), does EPA really have jurisdiction of oceanic absorption of CO2 as Biopact claims? News to me, but maybe I’m behind. I know EPA has (had) no explicit authority to regulate CO2 in any fashion until a court decided that that would have been a better law.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Sep 2007 @ 8:09 PM

  288. The recent National Geographic issue contains two articles on climate change, plus a great looking colorful insert with maps and graphs. Unfortunately I found that some the content was not as good as the presentation.

    There is a map of the world showing the change in temperature between 1976 and 2006. To give them credit, these are usually shown with Mercator projection, which greatly exaggerates the polar regions, but they (being professional geographers) use a much better projection. But a chart like this should use a 10 year average for the starting and ending temperatures, while they are using data for a single year. It so happens that 1976 was an unusually cold year, about 0.3 degrees C below normal, so the warming shown is about twice what has really happened.

    The question is was this done to make the map as scary as possible, or did they simply not understand what they were doing? Looking at the rainfall map below, for the same dates, leads me to suspect the latter. It appears that the greatest changes of rainfall occurred around the province of Quebec. I happen to live in the “drought” zone, and I must say I have not noticed any change. Clearly, comparing two single years is only showing us random changes in weather, obscuring any effects of global warming. This map is useless.

    The point is, how could National Geographic publish something so flawed that an amateur like myself can spot in a matter of minutes? This magazine reaches some of the very people who might change their minds on this issue, and a lack of credibility undermines this. I have already seen this happen to people I have shown it to.

    On the other side of the insert is a graph of temperature, carbon dioxide level, and sea level for the past 400,000 years. The first two I recognize from ice core data, but I had no idea that there was so much information on paleo sea level for that period. I understand that ancient sea levels are not that easy to determine. Given what I noted above, I wonder where this data came from. And of course, no references are given. Can someone tell me where I can find this kind of paleo sea level data? If it really exists?

    Comment by Blair Dowden — 21 Sep 2007 @ 10:55 AM

  289. Re post 259: “Look at the Eemian, about 125,000 years ago to note that the spike in carbon dioxide preceeds the spike in temperature. Use this graphic the next time you read somebody’s mis-information that “temperature always preceeds carbon dioxide in paleoclimate data.””

    I believe that you may be misled by the fact that the time axis is ‘thousands of years ago’, however if you look at ~340,000 yrs ago you’ll see a sharp dust spike and CO2 spike which precede the major T rise. There’s a secondary jump in CO2 which I (probably naively) interpret as a response to the rise in T.

    By the way in response to an earlier poster it’s S. George Philander.

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 22 Sep 2007 @ 12:56 PM

  290. Rod B (286) — I dunno. I do know that EPA has the authority to regulate water quality, so maybe that is the source of the regulation.

    Blair Dowden (287) — Start with the paper linked in #259 and consult the references. You will indeed notice considerable variation in the various attempts to measure paleo sea stand…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Sep 2007 @ 2:37 PM

  291. David, Rod, the notion about CO2 and oceans is from some opponents to ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty. It’s blogger opinion, false as far as I can tell. It always seems to come packaged with strong spin against any international treaty.

    Here’s a bit about it:
    __________________excerpt from a blog, cite below_____________

    “Tuesday, August 07, 2007
    Law of the Sea Debate Continues
    The conversation that began with Doug Bandow’s article in the American Spectator on the law of the Sea Treaty, continued in the American Spectator’s letters column and then moved to this blog …”

    “Nothing in the treaty requires parties to adhere to environmental norms to which they have not independently subscribed. (See Article 297.1(c), for instance.)”
    _____________________________________________________
    http://www.nationalcenter.org/2007/08/amy-ridenours-national-center-blog-more.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Sep 2007 @ 3:49 PM

  292. Phil Felton (288) — No, I am certainly not misled by the time axis. However, looking at the actual data from the NOAA Paeloclimatology site, and using the data from the Petit et al. 1999 paper, it appears that the graph is not well drawn. The actual data suggests that the temperature followed the CO_2 by only about 200 years, hard to see in the graphic.

    About 340,000 years ago was Termination IV, where the graph sugggests what you say, but one should check the actual data, since the graph on Wikipedia does not appear to be that accurate.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Sep 2007 @ 4:21 PM

  293. OK Dave fair enough, certainly from the graph cited it looks otherwise, do you have a link to the data at NOAA (my attempt in tracking it ended up with a 404 message!

    Comment by Phil. Felton — 22 Sep 2007 @ 9:28 PM

  294. Re Post 259. Gee David when I checked out that Vostok graphic you mentioned my first reaction was to try to print it to use the next time our neighborhood skeptic raised the issue —but lucky for me my wife pointed out I was reading it left to right (i.e. backwards) thus being saved considerable future embarrassment. So unless the time scale of this “fine graphic”(259) that “…is not well drawn [and]…does not appear to be that accurate”(291) actually turns out to also be labelled backwards the evidence presented here is not going to sway that neighborhood skeptic in his view that temperature really does precede CO2.

    Comment by Ron Durda — 23 Sep 2007 @ 12:38 AM

  295. Ron, David, no chart drawn on a computer screen is going to display a hundred or even thousand year timespan usefully out of a half million year timespan scale.

    You could go to the data sets and quote from the research papers on this issue.

    http://gcmd.nasa.gov/records/GCMD_CDIAC_CO2_VOSTOK_ICECORE.html

    Or to people who have already explained it fairly clearly:

    http://www.logicalscience.com/skeptic_arguments/lags-not-leads.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 9:45 AM

  296. I obtained the data from

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/vostok_data.html

    and I am particularly interested in Termination II, the Eemian. The average peak CO_2 concentrations from three ice cores is 292 ppm. This is in association with a peak temperature about 1.5 degrees Celcius higher than now. This was enough to raise the sea stand about 5 meters. (That is the main point.)

    In looking carefully at the Petit et al. data, it appears that right at the reak of CO_2 and temperature, the CO_2 peak preceeds the temperature peak by about 200 years. However, I should really take the time to look similarly at the other papers and other ice cores before attempting to say anything definitive.

    With regard to leads and lags, Hank Roberts in #294 has provided a useful link.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 1:31 PM

  297. Rising sea stand prediction:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070922/rising-seas/

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:35 PM

  298. 1970s ice age redux:

    http://www.investors.com/editorial/editorialcontent.asp?secid=1501&status=article&id=275267681833290

    Comment by J.C.H. — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:37 PM

  299. A couple more interesting items re timing and tipping:

    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/32/1/53
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VF0-4G3D87B-1&_user=10&_coverDate=10%2F31%2F2005&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=2dcb7e0f1d898b532f7fe5562da30da0#

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 2:43 PM

  300. J.C.H. (297) — In the intervening 36 years a great deal has been learned about climate processes.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 3:24 PM

  301. Hmmm, over 240 Google hits on that editorial, almost entirely cut-and-paste copies of claims from it. Nobody has a Washington Post archive to see who said what in the original story?

    It sounds from the timing like it would be in reference to the Rassool/Schneider Science article about global dimming and dust and albedo controlling climate, which was certainly a big factor up til about 1970 — but faded after the Clean Air Act started controlling sulfate emissions from the world’s then biggest polluters in the USA.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Sep 2007 @ 5:33 PM

  302. Coalfield Fires:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20060802/ai_n16655192

    I’ve been attempting to discover what proportion of the about 8 Gt of carbon added to the active carbon cycle these fires represent. While nothing definite has yet turned up, it appears that 4% is a fair estimate. To put this in perspective, here are some other estimates, given without attribution and with varying accuracies:

    coalfield fires (est. 4%)
    cement production (3%)
    world’s ocean vessel fleet (2.7%)
    U.S. cars and light trucks (ets. 2.5%)
    world’s airlines (2.2%)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Sep 2007 @ 5:47 PM

  303. When will it end?

    David Benson et al; Thanks for the pointers to rising sea level predictions.

    When I speak to people who have a few clues about climate change they seem reasonably accepting of the fact that we will get a few centimetres rise this century, and they become mildly surprised when I mention that the folks in the know (Hansen et al) are now talking about multi-metre rise by then.

    But what makes them look at me like I have just lost all credibility is when I then say that the rise is going to continue for a long time, probably until all the ice is gone and the beach is 70 to 80 metres above where it is today.

    And (I say) we wont be able to afford to shift all our infrastructure, all our homes, our businesses, our farms away from the coast every hundred years as the rising waters chase us, so we might as well shift it all to the ultimate high-tide mark once and for all and figure out how to cope while we still have access to the resources, machinery, industrial plants and energy needed to build what must be built. We will need a complete new model of property ownership, essential food production, housing and international agreements on resource-sharing if internal strife and global conflicts are to be avoided.

    In most cases the raw response to all this will involve shifting everything about 80m up the hill, but in the sad cases like New Orleans, and the Netherlands they need to look for a place up to 100m higher than where they are. They will be gone soon. Places like Bangladesh, and the great river delta populations are gone too – most of them by 2100. All these folk should cease investment in local infrastructure forthwith, and start getting on very friendly terms with their uphill neighbours.

    I say that because we are NOT going to keep CO2 below 450ppm and we ARE going to get the 3 degrees warming that we are advised is a point beyond which return is impossible. There will be nothing mankind can do to reverse the natural processes (in spite of Hansens most earnest and politically-correct wishes we will not start capturing any useful amount of carbon emissions before its too late, let alone all of them tomorrow), and the natural processes will simply apply the maths and do do that voodoo that they do so well.

    With Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets alone holding enough water for about 15m rise between them, if they just melt by a measly 10% over the next few decades we will get 1.5m. They will (They ARE!); we will.

    Now I notice that places like USGS put out fact sheets discussing coastal vulnerability to future sea level rise. PDF version of this fact sheet .

    In these fine reports (and in all other reports Ive seen – even Hansens) the talk is all about the rise estimated until 2100. Nobody that I have found has ever officially pointed out that once we get to 2100 and we have our 30 centimetres (or what ever other insanely optimistically small number they want to hang their hats on) then next century we will get the same again, but probably exponentially more as more of the grounded ice gets warm water around its ankles, and the seas warm and it rains in the Artic and Antarctic. Until its all gone.

    So, please, just how loopy am I in my suggestion that now that it has started it is going to keep on until the end? Until it is all done and we have 70 metres to 80 metres rise in global sea level and the world has changed forever.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Sep 2007 @ 6:56 PM

  304. Link to USGS reports
    http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/cvi/

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Sep 2007 @ 7:02 PM

  305. “So, please, just how loopy am I in my suggestion that now that it has started it is going to keep on until the end? Until it is all done and we have 70 meter to 80 meter rise in global sea level and the world has changed forever.”
    Comment by Nigel Williams

    Not loopy at all, Nigel. When I first got back online 2 1/2 years ago after an almost 15 year hiatus, I immediately told people that they should move above the Fall Line. Sea level will probably never raise above that point, the ONLY question is WHEN it will happen, not WHETHER it will happen. I fear it will be much sooner than anyone with scientific credentials is predicting, because it’s ‘loopy’ to think that people alive today might experience such a rapid sea level rise.

    Have you ever watched the ice on a river breakup in the spring? One morning it’s frozen solid and later that day it’s all moving not to solidify again until next winter. Or snow on a pitched roof suddenly slide off on a warmish winter day? Or have you ever defrosted an old non-frost free refrigerator? Ice melt is a very difficult to predict phenomenon. The ice is melting now and with positive feedback it’s not going to stop. The melting will accelerate. Rates of acceleration are usually determined experimentally, and later the math is worked out. Welcome to the experiment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_Line

    Comment by catman306 — 23 Sep 2007 @ 8:24 PM

  306. The mean annual temperature of the Antarctic interior is about -55 C . McMurdo statation – which is on the coast – has never yet recorded an average monthly temperature above -3 C, and the annual average is about -15 C.
    Think about that -55 C for a bit. Suppose climate sensitivity is 3 C, and CO2 stabilizes at 4x, or 1120 ppm. That’s +6 C. Assume polar amplification is about 2x in Antarctica. That’s +12 C. That still leaves the majority of EAI colder than -40 C . Much warmer, but not melting yet. To put this another way – even if all known fossil fuels are burned, ice-albedo feed backs from GIS and WAIS, and CO2 feedbacks would still need to warm EAIS by a whopping 40 C.
    The ~57 meters of ice (in SLR) in EAIS is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    Comment by llewelly — 23 Sep 2007 @ 11:26 PM

  307. Thanks for that Llewelly. I agree that it will take a bit for EAIS air temperatures to get into the positive, but the internal dynamics of these higher altitude ice sheets seems to hinge more around the effects of the lakes and rivers beneath heating and lubricating them from the bottom up.

    So I dont accept that these areas will be unaffected until the air temperature is forced above zero, instead I think it more likely that the ice will be moved to increasingly susceptible climate zones of the continent (well, actually its a bunch if islands, isnt it) where it will be subjected to the same indignities the WAS is enduring today.

    These residual areas will obviously be among the last to go, but go they will.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Sep 2007 @ 11:49 PM

  308. and fellow readers, please note that I speak from a laymans perspective here. I make what I believe are reasonable assertions that I want to see our resident experts rebut, clarify or confirm. These issues are of vital importance for our world, and I do not see them being discussed or clarified anywhere else from a reasoned scientific basis. So Gavin, Ray, Rasmus, Stefan et al, your input is needed here, please.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 23 Sep 2007 @ 11:55 PM

  309. Antartica Rock Surface image

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:AntarcticaRockSurface.jpg

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 24 Sep 2007 @ 12:01 AM

  310. llewelly writes:

    [[The mean annual temperature of the Antarctic interior is about -55 C . McMurdo statation - which is on the coast - has never yet recorded an average monthly temperature above -3 C, and the annual average is about -15 C.
    Think about that -55 C for a bit. Suppose climate sensitivity is 3 C, and CO2 stabilizes at 4x, or 1120 ppm. That’s +6 C. Assume polar amplification is about 2x in Antarctica. That’s +12 C. That still leaves the majority of EAI colder than -40 C . Much warmer, but not melting yet. To put this another way - even if all known fossil fuels are burned, ice-albedo feed backs from GIS and WAIS, and CO2 feedbacks would still need to warm EAIS by a whopping 40 C.
    The ~57 meters of ice (in SLR) in EAIS is not going anywhere anytime soon.
    ]]

    Is the interior of Antarctica always at exactly -55 C, or does it vary by season?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 24 Sep 2007 @ 6:43 AM

  311. Re: melt in antarctica

    the web page at
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2007/antarctic_snowmelt.html
    has some scaterrometer data on melt in Antarctica.
    I quote: “…found snow melting in unlikely places as far inland as 500 miles away from the Antarctic coast and as high as 1.2 miles above sea level in the Transantarctic Mountains.”

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:20 AM

  312. Thoughts about sudden change:

    Remember water doesn’t melt at the regional average temperature; it melts at the local immediate momentary temperature. Water moves down through ice and refreezes, but transfers heat in the process.

    Remember that at the base of the ice, there’s melted water now where the drills have penetrated — sometimes a lot of it.

    When did the North American continental glaciers collapse?

    Ever visited the Channeled Scablands in Idaho and Washington?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:27 AM

  313. > 290
    More and better info here:

    http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12681-us-set-to-violate-its-standards-on-cosub2sub-emissions-.html

    “… If governments do nothing to limit greenhouse-gas emissions, CO2 levels in the oceans will rise to a point where, by 2050, ocean acidification will reach a level considered to be industrial waste by the US’s own standards, found the study to be published on 25 September.

    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water quality criteria, states that the pH of ocean waters beyond 200 metres deep should not be changed more than 0.2 units outside natural levels. Estimates put natural levels at a range from 8 to 8.25 pH. Anything beyond this is considered industrial waste. However, these standards are not enshrined in US law….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:58 AM

  314. Re #311 [When did the North American continental glaciers collapse?]

    It would be more interesting to know how long the collapse/retreat took. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything explicit on that, but I’ve gotten the impression that it was comparatively fast.

    Comment by James — 24 Sep 2007 @ 1:24 PM

  315. James (313) — From LGM to the so-called Holcene climatic optimum was from 20,000 years ago, approximately, to 10,000 years ago. During that interval all the continental ice sheets melted away, except of course in Antarctica and Patagonia.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Sep 2007 @ 2:02 PM

  316. Just noting two bits of good news according to BBC:

    1) A deal in Montreal on speeding up the elimination of HCFC use to 2030 instead of 2040 – could be faster of course, but this will help on both the ozone layer and AGW.
    2) Apparently there’s a paper in Science reporting that measurements from the 2005 drought suggest the Amazon may be more resilient than expected at least short-term – the trees are thought to have been accessing water deeper down than the models that suggest a shift to savannah allowed for. Doesn’t mean the longer-term response won’t be as the models predict, though.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 24 Sep 2007 @ 2:23 PM

  317. >how long
    Still uncertain, though I recall a recent abstract somewhere suggesting that about 8,000 years ago a sea level rise came from a pulse of meltwater to the North Atlantic matched up with collapse of the last N.Am. continental glacier (rather than a meltwater lake outburst, the older idea).

    Can’t find it right now. Here’s a survey article:
    http://www.clim-past.net/3/15/2007/cp-3-15-2007.pdf

    If you get to p.29, therein, the ice goes away quite fast, compared to its accumulation rate. That matches the icea age info elsewhere.

    If you get to p.32, they begin their Conclusion with:

    “The comparison of our simulated ice sheets with geological
    and sea-level data highlights the importance of some major
    ice-climate feedbacks and raises the question of to which
    extent this kind of approach enables to test the ability of
    GCMs to simulate a climate leading to ice sheets compatible
    with available geological and geomorphological reconstructions.
    The differences between observations and simulations
    may come from i) the method of the climatic index,
    which may induce artifacts because the climatic variations
    during the last glacial-interglacial cycle are unlikely
    to be the same than those recorded at the GRIP site, ii) the
    choice of the vertical lapse rates which may overestimate the
    ice volumes if they are set to too high values, iii) the climate
    models or lacking processes in the ice-sheet models,
    iv) the-ICE-4G reconstruction: this work highlights the importance
    of having an accurate ice-sheet boundary condition
    for paleo-intercomparisons of GCMs. Actually, none of the
    simulations presented in this study is able to reproduce ice
    sheets in full agreement with observations.
    The main points of disagreement…..”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Sep 2007 @ 2:43 PM

  318. Nigel Williams (and others) — Climate scientists hopeful despite climate signs:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070923/ap_on_re_us/optimistic_doomsayers

    which quotes, among others, Michael Mann…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Sep 2007 @ 3:19 PM

  319. Hank Roberts #312 , Glad you mentioned the scab-lands and the Bonneville ice dam collapse. According to the Nova TV program it could have happened many times, each time, quickly without warning. The Greenland Ice Sheet is probably not immune to such a rapid collapse.
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/megaflood/

    National Geographic had an article about global warming in the October 1990 issued (p66) not available online. The science hasn’t changed much since then.
    But what is even more interesting are the Letters to the Editor found in the February 1991 issue about this article. There are what could serve as templates for skeptics and deniers arguments. Here’s one:
    “February 1991
    The idea of global warming has gone from a modeler’s dream to popular environmental wisdom and is about to take the expensive last step: government appropriations to avoid the ” crisis.” Politicians are preparing to save us by introducing legislation to spend plenty of money or pass complicated restrictions on one thing or another. Overreaction to environmental ideas that are not well founded can result in huge economic costs.
    George E. Ribble
    Bakersfield, CA”

    Obviously most of those steps were never taken and little or no cost to was incurred. On the other hand, we have crazy climate change 17 years later.

    Comment by catman306 — 24 Sep 2007 @ 3:29 PM

  320. Ok then:

    *Dangerous human-made interference with climate: a GISS modelE study*
    Hansen et al 7 May 2007

    Our conclusion that global temperature is nearing the level
    of dangerous climate effects implies that little time remains
    to achieve the international cooperation needed to avoid
    widespread undesirable consequences. CO2 emissions are
    the critical issue, because a substantial fraction of these emissions
    remain in the atmosphere “forever”, for practical purposes
    (Fig. 9a). The principal implication is that avoidance
    of dangerous climate change requires the bulk of coal and unconventional
    fossil fuel resources to be exploited only under
    condition that CO2 emissions are captured and sequestered.
    A second inference is that remaining gas and oil resources
    must be husbanded, so that their role in critical functions
    such as mobile fuels can be stretched until acceptable alternatives
    are available, thus avoiding a need to squeeze such fuels
    from unconventional and environmentally damaging sources.
    The task is to achieve a transition to clean carbon-free energy
    sources, which are essential on the long run, without
    pushing the climate system beyond a level where disastrous
    irreversible effects become inevitable.

    Saying in part:
    …little time remains to … avoid widespread undesirable consequences.
    And
    …requires …the bulk of …CO2 emissions are captured and sequestered.

    If I may politely suggest; This is not Pygmalion Likely within the requisite time frames.

    *Climate change and trace gases*
    Hansen et al 18 May 2007
    Our concern that BAU GHG scenarios would cause large sea-level rise this
    century (Hansen 2005) differs from estimates of IPCC (2001, 2007), which foresees
    little or no contribution to twenty-first century sea-level rise from Greenland and
    Antarctica. However, the IPCC analyses and projections do not well account for the
    nonlinear physics of wet ice sheet disintegration, ice streams and eroding ice shelves, nor are they consistent with the palaeoclimate evidence we have presented for the absence of discernable lag between ice sheet forcing and sea-level rise.

    The best chance for averting ice sheet disintegration seems to be intense
    simultaneous efforts to reduce both CO2 emissions and non-CO2 climate forcings.
    As mentioned above, there are multiple benefits from such actions. However,
    even with such actions, it is probable that the dangerous level of atmospheric
    GHGs will be passed, at least temporarily. We have presented evidence (Hansen
    et al. 2006b) that the dangerous level of CO2 can be no more than approximately
    450 ppm. Our present discussion, including the conclusion that slow feedbacks
    (ice, vegetation and GHG) can come into play on century time-scales or sooner,
    makes it probable that the dangerous level is even lower.

    Present knowledge does not permit accurate specification of the dangerous
    level of human-made GHGs. However, it is much lower than has commonly
    been assumed. If we have not already passed the dangerous level, the energy
    infrastructure in place ensures that we will pass it within several decades.
    We conclude that a feasible strategy for planetary rescue almost surely requires a
    means of extracting GHGs from the air. Development of CO2 capture at power
    plants, with below-ground CO2 sequestration,may be a critical element. Injection of
    the CO2 well beneath the ocean floor assures its stability (House et al. 2006) …

    Saying in part:
    If we have not already passed the dangerous level, the energy infrastructure in place ensures that we will pass it within several decades
    and
    The best chance for averting ice sheet disintegration seems to be intense
    simultaneous efforts to reduce both CO2 emissions and non-CO2 climate forcings.
    and
    …planetary rescue almost surely requires a means of extracting GHGs from the air…

    My point (and Ive not heard anything to the contrary) is that these sequestration technologies simply do not exist at commercial scale yet; the energy required to reverse the combining of carbon with oxygen is a large proportion of that required to burn the fossil fuel in the fist place, meaning to achieve sequestration at the scale Hansen says we need to avert ice sheet disintegration we must either massively increase energy use to run the sequestration and disposal plants, or reduce net output to a small fraction of present day levels. Neither is likely using present economic instruments.

    Its my view that Hansen et al are great at climate science but rather weak when it comes to the technical solutions they suggest to address the problems they so accurately identify. I still haven’t seen a convincing full analysis of the all-in carbon cycle for bio-fuels, and until its done its rubbish – a feel-good diversion. The idea of ocean disposal of CO2 is unrealistic, as the depths required to keep CO2 solid (>2000m) are not found close to shore making transport of the CO2 very energy expensive, and in-situ trials have found that for some as yet unknown reason the slush of CO2 on the sea floor is apparently very attractive to fish, but also (for fairly obvious reasons) kills them in droves. The impact on the local ocean’s pH will be predictable and enormous. What the deposition of the worlds CO2 would do to global sea life I shudder to think.

    Of course I respect the friendly and optimistic murmurings of our esteemed climate scientists, and I know they have to keep on friendly terms with the masses and the politicians. Presenting a grumpy face is not conducive to good communications, but I think it is fair to say that unless the impossible becomes a miracle we are not just at the End of the Beginning, we are, instead, and the Beginning of the End. We need to be told this in unambiguous terms so that we can arrange our affairs accordingly.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 24 Sep 2007 @ 4:47 PM

  321. David, thanks for that pointer; a brief excerpt here:
    ——

    ….That optimism is based on science and faith.

    The science, Mann said, is because climate researchers are sure of one thing that the public isn’t: The numbers show that there is still time to avert the worst.

    NASA’s James Hansen, who forecasts some of the bleakest outlooks on global warming, said in an e-mail: “I am always surprised when people get depressed rather than energized to do something. It’s not too late to stabilize climate.”

    “I am not about to give up,” Hansen wrote. He has hope, he says, because he has grandchildren.

    The scientists say the public now understands how bad the problem is. So these researchers have faith that society will rally in time.

    Bob Corell, an American Meteorological Society climate scientist, is hopeful because even industry is pushing for change — and will make money in the deal….
    —————————-

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Sep 2007 @ 5:15 PM

  322. Nigel Williams (319) — Let’s look at some numbers. Properly done, carbon capture and sequestration (say as carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifers) is expected to cost about $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide, so about $37 per tonne of carbon. This assumes we continue to burn fossil coal but use a efficient capturing process. Currently fossil coal used in the U.S. costs about $58 per tonne of carbon so the price of electricy goes to 160% of current prices, if entirely borne by consumers.

    Using just that technology cuts the U.S. contribution in half. The U.S. uses about 600,000 tonnes of carbon per year in the form of fossil coal. (I’m assuming the bituminous coal most widely used is 60% carbon.) Using just this technology costs, then, about $22.2 billion dollars (which if borne by the federal government is a drop in the big bucket.)

    I’m not claiming this alone is enough. I am claiming that where there is a will there is a way, because the economics clearly favor doing this rather than letting coastal cities drown…

    Comment by David B. Benson — 24 Sep 2007 @ 6:41 PM

  323. Thanks for the figures David 321. Try these:-

    It took a couple of hundred years of men running around wearing funny hats to find these carbon fuels and build the infrastructure to make it fit for our use and to move it about and to get it to us.

    The volume of CO2 will be greater than the volume of fuel used (especially with the fuel used to run the sequestration process and transport added) so even if we just want to put it all back where we found it we will have to duplicate 150% of the capacity of the present global fuel production and transportation infrastructure! That will take a bit of time and money to implement.

    It wont be practical to cart or pump CO2 as gas (to volumetrically inefficient) or as a solid (truck-fulls – nah!) so preferably it should be pumped. Thats not nice as at 20C its only liquid at around 30bar pressure, or its triple point of minus 57C and 5.1bar, and it’s a very fine solvent for hydrocarbons, so it will be a dog to handle and seal. Not like good old crude oil that just quietly sits there. So even the transport system of your captured CO2 will require lots of energy for pressure and/or temperature control.
    http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/CO2/CO2.html

    And it looks like very few sites are suitable for storage of as troublesome a material as liquid/solid CO2 – I believe that properly sealed deep saline aquifers are not that common, and of course deep ocean is just silly.

    You make my point well:
    *Properly done, carbon capture and sequestration…* Done how, exactly?
    and
    *Using just that technology…* What technology? Its vapourware!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 24 Sep 2007 @ 8:02 PM

  324. I don’t recall ever seeing anything about the bedrock sink (rain absorbing CO2 and evenyually turning it into carbonaceous rock) which I’m told is by far the largest CO2 sink in the Earth system. What’s the deal with this? Though I can not visualize at all how this could be exploited for designed CO2 sequestration.

    Comment by Rod B — 24 Sep 2007 @ 9:35 PM

  325. Re #311 Hank: Yes, and a point Hansen is making is about the surface meltwater lubricating not only the ice interface with rock below, but also the internal interfaces within the ice mass. Wetted ice blocks show very low friction, compared with colder blocks. Lower friction translated into a higher speed of flow. There was recently on TV a fleeting glimpse which could be interpreted as such a situation. A wide and smooth ice field collapsing at an edge into a chaotic stream of blocks. It also depends on local geography, of course.

    I believe one real key is in the spreading surface melt and its role. A part of this water percolates into the ice as there are some cracks in any glacier. The heat transport is initially very efficient as re-freezing in the ice interior liberates the energy that was tied up to melt the ice and snow on the surface. It heats the cold interior, until the “wet glacier” condition occurs. Warming is much faster than the slow conduction of heat that occurs in a cold glacier case.

    Overall the issue is about capture and storage of heat energy. Surface melting is like sea ice melting in summer heat: A large increase in efficiency of energy capture. The difference is that in the case of ocean, most of this extra energy is stored in seawater and held there as a result of mixing and sea currents. In Greenland and in Antarctica, the surplus is stored in the interior of the glaciers through the percolation process. The end result in both cases is that the energy is trapped for tens of years or centuries and not radiated away during wintertime.

    A difference might be that the glacier depends strongly on atmospheric warming to initiate the process in the spring. The process is reset every year as there is little re-flow of heat from the interior to the surface during the winter. In the ocean mixing brings back a part of the stored energy and a feed-forward resulting in lesser freezing extent and/or depth is stronger.

    In the wintertime, the polar areas have a role as radiators. Energy carried into the region by ocean currents and winds is radiated out and that process remains.

    How fast these feed-forward processes work (quantitatively, and what their impacts are) seem to be still a subject of research. Presently my view is that this is a very high risk, comparable to the one of maybe “accidentally” liberating vast amounts of gases from the permafrost.

    Comment by Pekka J. Kostamo — 24 Sep 2007 @ 10:59 PM

  326. The Business As Usual crowd’s grip on the global economy is weakening.

    “The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a collaboration of over 315 institutional investors with assets under management of more than $41 trillion, releases its 5th annual global report, providing the largest and most comprehensive database of strategies from the world’s largest corporations regarding the impact of climate change on shareholder value.”
    ‘The report concludes that the world’s corporate giants have made “significant progress in understanding and disclosing their positions relative to the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.” ‘

    http://sciencemode.com/2007/09/24/global-climate-change-report-released-315-investors-41-trillion-in-assets/

    Comment by catman306 — 25 Sep 2007 @ 11:15 AM

  327. Nigel Williams (322) — Try

    http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/sequestration/index.html

    to see some of the demonstration projects underway. Australia also has one. The $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide is what U.S. DoE believes is achievable.

    There are plenty of papers which discuss transporting carbon dioxide via ocean vessel and pipeline. Also, there are several papers pointing out that majority of the surface area of land is underlain by deep saline formations. So transportation is not needed for those CCS projects right over a suitable formation.

    So the only question is how rapidly this sequestration gets underway. As, for example, the James Hansen et al. 2007 paper that you quoted indicates, we have some time, but not a lot.

    And yes, it is vaporware in that everybody seems to propose using gaseous carbon dioxide. :-)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Sep 2007 @ 1:41 PM

  328. Here is a company putting $100 million into a biomethane plus carbon capture. The goal is to build these units at sequestration sites:

    http://biopact.com/2007/09/greatpoint-energy-closes-100-million.html

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Sep 2007 @ 2:24 PM

  329. Thanks David et al. There’s a lot going on, but as Hansen and co say, time is of the essence. Watching with interest. N

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 25 Sep 2007 @ 4:29 PM

  330. Well here’s a pleasant prospect to contemplate as our lakes and rivers warm:

    6 die from brain-eating amoeba in lakes
    “This is a heat-loving amoeba. As water temperatures go up, it does better,” Beach said. “In future decades, as temperatures rise, we’d expect to see more cases.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070928/ap_on_he_me/killer_amoeba;_ylt=Al0maALo5VDbKcLkuUfwU0J34T0D

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 28 Sep 2007 @ 7:56 PM

  331. With Sea water just measured more than -1 C by the North shores of Barrow Strait at low tide, more than -1 C because of waves coming back and forth on the exposed shore when its -6 C outside. Measured in darkness right by the Arctic jelly fish flashing blue light. If there is a good near live sst map out there , would like to cross check this measurement with remote sensing…

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Sep 2007 @ 9:54 PM

  332. Rod, you asked about ‘bedrock sink’ above — look up “biogeochemical cycle” or “cycling” and CO2, that covers everything from acid rain and karst formation to the “White Cliffs of Dover” and similar. When you read people claiming that human activity makes only a tiny change to the total amount of CO2 measured somewhere, they’re talking about the amount known to be cycling. What they miss is it’s a slow process, though immense, and that slow massive cycling process was able to handle only about half of the amount from fossil fuel burned; the other half, that natural cycling couldn’t handle, is what’s measured as an increase in atmospheric CO2.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 30 Sep 2007 @ 10:06 AM

  333. Re my #146 (Friday roundup) and Tamino’s #154

    Part 1
    Tamino and I have been having a discussion (as referenced) on whether the last 20 years look like a linear trend, or a sudden jump around 1996. In this Part 1 I shall continue this further, but readers should note that I now believe that neither model is adequate, which I discuss in Part 2 below. Therefore this Part is somewhat moot, but it raises some interesting questions of statistical interpretation. Here is a recap of the bidding, all based on HadCRUT3 data:

    a. I said that the period 1970.0-2000.0 saw a mean annual rise of .013C.
    b. Tamino said that should have been .016 based on linear regression.
    c. T. said that global warming was accelerating, with .020C in the last 7 years.
    d. I said “sorry”, b. was correct (if one accepts linear regression, giving .0161).
    e. I said that to study possible acceleration, it was a good idea to look at the last 20 years (c. 2 solar cycles), and that splitting the last 20 years into two 10-year periods made one think that each period was flat with a big (0.248C) jump between them. This model gave a lower sum of squared errors (.1094 versus .1360), and in addition the Maximum Likelihood Estimates give a Bayes factor of 8.8 in favour of the “jump” hypothesis over the linear trend.
    f. T. reminded me that I had admitted not having the exact calculation available to “prove” that the difference was significant.
    g. T. said my conjectured bound on the result did not break a 5% significance level, so should be discounted.
    h. T. said that with my Bayes factor of 8.8 I didn’t quote any statistics.
    i. T. said I should study the monthly figures, as these would give higher significance levels.
    j. T. said that in studying the period 1987.0-2007.0 I had chosen badly.

    I now respond as follows.

    Re f., it is interesting that Tamino does not know of ways to calculate P[sum a_i X_i^2 there is nothing sancrosanct about 5% (is 4.5% significance worth that much more than 5.5%?).

    Re g. also, T. is claiming the moral statistical high ground (if that is not an oxymoron ;-)) for the linear trend to be the null hypothesis. Occam’s razor demands that a model with fewer degrees of freedom be placed as the null hypothesis over one with more d.o.f. But the “linear hypothesis” has the same number of degrees of freedom (n-2) as the “jump hypothesis” (if there is just one jump as in thepresent case). The linear hypothesis can be argued for in terms of an expected behaviour from increasing CO2. But it is not inconceivable that the oceans (say) absorb some warming for a while and then bubble and say “hey, have some of that heat back!”, which could lead to a jump.

    It is easier if you are a Bayesian (see h.), apart from that danged thing of having to choose your prior. In h. Tamino says I didn’t produce any statistics. I assume that he knows that the Maximum Likelihood Ratio (value 8.8) is a statistic, but that he is living in a frequentist world and wants a significance level from it. But that isn’t how Bayesian statistics works.
    Suppose I can find a Bayesian who from general a priori arguments as above thinks the jump hypothesis is less plausible than the linear hypothesis, but only by a factor of 3 (i.e. 75% to 25%). Then can I say to her, after you apply the Bayes factor of 8.8, your posterior odds should now be 8.8/3 = 2.9 in favour of the jump hypothesis.

    Re i., the monthly statistics are only more useful if there is actually more information in them. But it is not clear that this is the case – with them the Durbin-Watson statistic plunges to an awful 0.55 (from a respectable 1.70), and the high serial correlation means that the extra amount of information available is rather small. It is no doubt possible to attempt to retrieve the situation by estimating an AR(1) underlying process and subtracting the effect, but I note from Tamino’s own critique of Schwartz’s paper (see Climate Insensitivity of September 15) that he does not have any faith in that process for temperature data, and I agree with him there. Without any such correction a disturbing feature beyond DW is that while the purported standard error for the trend goes down (.0034 to .0014), the mean standard error for the data goes up (.0869 to .1228). So, I don’t find the monthly data suitable for regression analysis.

    Part 2
    In order to study further the question of the jump hypothesis versus the linear hypothesis, I followed the standard exhortation in the literature: examine the residuals from the regressions. Both the monthly and the yearly data confirm that there were two intervals of unrepresentative temperatures: around 1992-1994 when temperatures were depressed, generally attributed to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, and 1997-1999, associated with a massive El Nino event.

    1998 was certainly an inconvenient year. It was inconvenient for the solar brigade when it happened, because the CO2 brigade were able to say “look how warm it’s getting, even faster than we predicted”, but now it’s actually inconvenient for the CO2 brigade, because it
    knackers the trend line for the last 10 years (and 10 or 11 years is arguably a good period to use in order to balance out one solar cycle).

    In the yearly data, the 3 most extreme residuals in the linear model are 1998: .250, 1992: -.138, and 1993: -.110. Since these have a believed physical explanation, and since they certainly contribute strongly to my jump hypothesis, I decided to regress the annual data with these 3 years censored (deleted). Compared with the uncensored data the linear trend comes down from .0197 to .0177, the standard error in that comes down from .0034 to .0027, and the standard error in the data comes down from .0869 to .0670. So this is definitely a better fit. But it contradicts Tamino’s claim at c. that global warming is significantly accelerating (since .0177 is only 0.6 times the s.d. .0027 higher than the trend .0161 as per d.).

    To summarize this Part, I now see that the appearance of a temperature jump in the mid-90′s is heavily influenced by the anomalous temperatures in 1992, 1993, and 1998. When these years are removed from the analysis, I am reasonably happy with the linear hypothesis, giving .0177+/-.0027Cp.a. – but it’s not significantly higher than the 1970.0-2000.0 trend, so we cannot on the basis of this comparison say that global warming has accelerated.

    Part 3
    In this part I wish to close with a few remarks, as objective as I can be, on the state of play between the CO2 brigade and the solar brigade regarding the past and future of HadCRUT3. The years 2002-2007 are looking very flat (but I am resisting the temptation of a statistical analysis on that period which would be criticized as both short and cherry-picking). Nevertheless, this period must no doubt give encouragement to the solar brigade, as they can believe that Cycle 24 will be weak and that global warming will soon be a mirage of the past. In contrast, the CO2 brigade might actually be hoping that my jump hypothesis has some merit, since a new jump in a few years’ time would verify again the concept of AGW.

    And in fact the Hadley Centre are forecasting a further flat year or two and then a rise of 0.3C by 2014. I am surmising that they have noticed that the solar minimum is having an effect, but believe that once Cycle 24 gets underway then global warming will continue apace. Or possibly they know stuff about oceanic heat exchange and PDO and NAO etc; I wish in any case they would tell us the basis of their projections.

    May you live in interesting climes…

    Comment by See - owe to Rich — 7 Oct 2007 @ 3:34 PM

  334. See – owe to Rich and Tamino — The sharpest statistical test that I know about is to compute the Bayes factor for the evidence given the two competing hypotheses. The logarithm (base 10) of this are in units called bans by A. Turing. Often tenths of these are used, then decibans. Harold Jeffrey suggested appropriate terms for ranges of decibans indicating the degree with which the weight of the evidence suggests one hypothesis rather than the other.

    With just this much one can go quite far without having to assign explicit priors. Sometimes (probably not this case), the weight of the evidence very strongly suggests a hypothesis to be preferred (at least 22 decibans, according to Sir Harold).

    Comment by David B. Benson — 7 Oct 2007 @ 6:23 PM

  335. Re: #332 (see-owe to rich)

    I get the impression you’re having fun exploring the surface temperature record, and reporting your findings here as you go along. That’s a good thing.

    But bear in mind you’re not the first to do so. In a previous comment you expressed surprise that I had responded so quickly. I suspect you thought that I was overly eager to contradict your model. This is not so, the reason for the quickness of my response is that I had done the analysis already; I’ve been looking at these data for a long time. I had even explored the “jump” model (which I usually call a “step-change” model) myself. And this isn’t even my field of research; there are many others who have been looking at it longer than I have.

    I am not an ideological frequentist, in fact my work (which is unrelated to climate science) requires a lot of Bayesian analysis. In my opinion it’s a mistake to marry oneself to either approach.

    I do indeed know of ways to calculate the likely significance of the difference between two competing models, and my earlier calculations indicated that it was in fact not significant.

    As for my earlier claim of acceleration of global warming recently, that opinion was formed in response to a specific question (a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away) about the time interval 1970 to the present. But I regard 1975 to the present as the “modern global warming era,” and for that time frame I have lately reversed my opinion, as I expressed in this blog post.

    Estimating error ranges based on the red-noise character of data doesn’t depend on assuming an AR(1) model, although that is a common approach. I use a different method, which takes into account the full autocorrelation structure of the available data. That’s what was done in the aforelinked post. It seems to me that the response to Schwartz’s analysis actually proves that the data do not follow an AR(1) model adequately to derive an accurate value for the time constant of the global climate, even if there is one (and it’s overwhelmingly likely that there is more than one applicable time constant).

    I think your assigning the monikers “co2 brigade” and “solar brigade” is misleading (but not an intentional deception). Those who agree that greenhouse gases are the primary cause of modern warming do not deny the solar influence. Those who argue that the primary cause is solar variations have to overcome the difficult fact that solar variations simply don’t fit the bill, and have yet to offer any explanation that I’ve heard, how greenhouse gases can fail to warm the planet significantly.

    I have several objections to the “jump” model. First, it has no basis (that I’m aware of) in physics; given two models which are statistically indistinguishable, it seems logical to prefer the one which has a sound physical interpretation. Second, in order to isolate the long-term signal it helps to remove the known short-term factors as much as possible, i.e., to remove the el Nino and Mt. Pinatubo (and el Chicon, etc.) signal; doing so seriously undercuts the jump model. Third (for me, most persuasive), even without removing the el Nino signal the period 1997-2007 shows a statistically significant (even within stringent red-noise limits) deviation from flatness, rejecting this hypothesis.

    I encourage your continued exploration of the data.

    Comment by tamino — 7 Oct 2007 @ 6:36 PM

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