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  1. Thanks Bart for a nice summary ;)

    So I wonder, if up to 20% of the particles grew from nucleation size,
    where do the other 80-97% of the number of climate relevant particles come from? Or did I misunderstand something?

    What would the preindustrial aerosol load thus look like? To compare with current anthropogenic aerosol related climate effects?

    Cheers, Staffan, exPSI

    Comment by Staffan Sjogren — 15 Apr 2009 @ 9:21 AM

  2. The take-home message is still the same: “It is the CO2 that is causing the climate change.” Denialists: There are no straws for you to grab here. A little uncertainty at the edge is not an excuse for nonsense.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Apr 2009 @ 9:56 AM

  3. Bart, Excellent summary on a subject near and dear to my heart (terrestrial effects of cosmic rays). I believe it puts paid to the assertions from the denialosphere that scientists are emphasizing CO2 exclusively. Clearly there’s much still to learn here, but it is gratifying to see the progress that is being made.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Apr 2009 @ 10:49 AM

  4. There is also a black carbon effect, which is additive to CO2. Soot particles in the atmosphere may be too small to have a shading effect. Such tiny particles absorb energy, acting as little heaters for air molecules around them. Soot might also deposit on the polar ice, reducing its albedo. Perhaps Bart will post a Part III refuting the recent denialist talking point that scrubbing aerosols is reducing the global cooling effect (by shading) of aerosols, which might offset the global warming effect of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

    Comment by Wilmot McCutchen — 15 Apr 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  5. Very informative! Looking forward to next article in series.

    Comment by Richard J Jordan — 15 Apr 2009 @ 10:56 AM

  6. So why the strong correlation between climate and sunspot count over the last 400 years?

    [Response: What strong correlation between climate and sunspot count over the last 400 years? - gavin]

    Comment by R Keene — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  7. This guy is much more eloquent than most….and he is from auz, where they know about what it is like on the curve of climate change…

    Poor prognosis for our planet
    http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/poor-prognosis-for-our-planet-20090411-a3jx.html?page=1

    Every patient with an incurable illness will ask how long they have to live. The answer goes something like this: “No one can say how long you may live, because every individual is different, but focus on the changes you observe and be guided by those. When things start changing for the worse, expect these changes to accelerate. So the changes that have occurred over a year may advance by the same degree in a few months, then in weeks. And that is how you can judge when the end is coming.”

    Apply that thinking to climate change. When An Inconvenient Truth opened in 2006 it was generally supposed we had a window of two or three decades to deal with climate change. Last year that shrank to a decade. Last month Australia’s chief scientist, Penny Sackett, told a Canberra gathering that we have six years to radically lower emissions, or face calamitous, unstoppable global warming.

    Six years. Given that this problem is usually described as a process unfolding over centuries, how can it be that things have spun out of control in such a short time?

    Climate change is often described as linear decline followed by some kind of distant “tipping point”. But consider these statistics: in 1979 Arctic sea ice cover remained above 7 million square kilometres all summer; from 1989 it was consistently above 6 million; in 2002 above 5 million; since 2007 above 4 million. I read recently we may have reached a tipping point and the ice will be gone in 20 years. But there is no tipping point – a curve is always tipping, and each new finding redraws the curve.

    If this year’s figure comes in under 4 million square kilometres the patient could be dead inside five years, and ships will be crossing the North Pole in September 2014.

    I do believe the evidence. Which leads me, personally, to the bleak conclusion that the human race is stuffed. The current financial crisis is merely the curtain raiser to a grand opera of social and ecological collapse. Our children – forget our grandchildren, I’m talking about my own kids, aged 14, 11 and 9 – are going to live in a world in which major cities are flooded, fertile plains become deserts, populations run out of food and water, rivers run dry, fishing grounds become dead zones, our rainforests and living coral reefs become curiosities of history.
    ….
    Of course, there is a great problem with declaring that point of view because one immediately becomes labelled as a mad Cassandra spouting visions of the apocalypse.

    The parlous state of our planet’s health could not be more evident, and still nothing has happened, except that eminent scientists like Jim Hansen have been driven to join the barricades. Demonstrating last month in Britain for a complete moratorium on new coal-fired power stations he said with typical understatement: “The democratic process doesn’t quite seem to be working.”

    We would rather watch TV shows glorifying some brainless criminal underclass than engage in meaningful civil disobedience. Since Greenpeace went corporate there has been a global shortage of eco-warriors, and most scientists lack the mongrel element to start a revolution.

    The rest of us are less evolved; my suspicion is that most of us still don’t get it. Because here’s the paradox: wherever you look in the natural world the message of exponential change is reinforced, yet humans have a weird predisposition to see change as linear. I’m guessing this is a throwback to the caveman days when, if someone threw a rock or a spear at you, it was sensible to assume that the missile would keep coming at a constant speed. Strangely, we unconsciously apply the same neanderthal logic to our understanding of ageing, birth and climate change.

    Comment by paulm — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 AM

  8. Edward,

    Your advice,
    “Denialists: There are no straws for you to grab here. A little uncertainty at the edge is not an excuse for nonsense.”

    ,neglects to place in context this latest “uncertainty”.

    Like many others this latest “uncertainty” should not be considered in a stand alone observation.
    The proper context is this new “uncertainty” bolsters the totality of many critical uncertainties and indeed fatally flawed components to AGW.

    At some point the current level of confidence in AGW should not be sustained if intellectual honesty and science are to remain connected.

    If I may be so bold as to ask, under what scenario does the ultimate unfolding of AGW ever occur having been so adamantly championed as a certainty by so many?

    Do we actually have to wait for decades of additional measurement and observation?

    How are AGWers ever to back out of something they are so comitted to?

    Comment by John H. — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:39 AM

  9. “At some point the current level of confidence in AGW should not be sustained if intellectual honesty and science are to remain connected.”

    Why? This isn’t an error in the theory of AGW, it’s an uncertainty in the detail of the effects of climate change.

    This is like saying just because I can’t weigh myself to the gram, the theory of gravity will have to be rethought.

    And uncertainty means “you don’t know the effects”. Which could be

    a) it makes it better (what you seem to say)
    b) it makes it worse (which you seem to be unable to accept)

    Now, what do you know about uncertainties and these uncertainties in particular that lets you know it will be only a mitigation against problems of climate change?

    I shall not be holding my breath, however.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:52 AM

  10. [Response: What strong correlation between climate and sunspot count over the last 400 years? - gavin]

    The strong correlation that he’s been told is there.

    He hasn’t looked for it, because that would be, like, skeptical of those claims…

    Comment by Mark — 15 Apr 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  11. Hi Staffan, nice to hear from you!

    Good question you’re asking (sharp as ever). Bear in mind that some studies looked at the effect of nucleation on cloud droplets (not CCN) and some looked at boundary nucleation only, so the effect of nucleation over the whole troposphere (and lower stratosphere) on CCN may be larger than the numbers stated. The outcome also seems dependent on the way the question is addressed, since there are many dependencies at work, e.g. how many nucleated particles act as CCN is dependent on how many primary emitted particles there are, and vice versa. It’s a competition out there.
    Perhaps some of the global aerosol modelers can also weigh in on this question.

    Admittedly, the relatively small contribution of nucleation to the CCN budget surprised me as well. I remember a presentation a few years back about how little impact nucleation had on the number of CCN based on a regional model simulation. I didn’t believe any of it at first. Because in some way it meant that I waisted my entire PhD studying something that in the end didn’t matter much. Now that’s put a little strong, but in hindsight such professional deformation may explain why some geologists aren’t convinced of the seriousness of current climate changes (just look at the Cretaceous), or why some meteorologists just don’t believe climate models (just look at the weather forecast).

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  12. John H. wrote: “If I may be so bold as to ask, under what scenario does the ultimate unfolding of AGW ever occur having been so adamantly championed as a certainty by so many?”

    If I may be so bold as to reply, with all due respect, what you really need to understand is that you don’t have a clue what you are talking about, and that you are not going to interest, let alone impress, anyone with arrogant comments based on ignorance.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  13. So, John H., have you ever even met any scientists… because it’s kind of hard to credit you with any knowledge of science when you think knowing uncertainties is a bad thing.

    Did you ever wonder that maybe your utter ignorance of science might not be shared by those who devote, oh, say 20-40 years of their lives to its study?

    Here’s how the game is played. We have a theory of Earth’s climate that really does a very good job describing trends we see in the paleoclimate and the modern climate. We don’t understand absolutely every aspect, but we do understand enough to realize that the UNCERTAINTIES are not going to negate what we do understand. The humans are behind recent warming is an inescapable consequence of that theory. Don’t like that conclusion and want to do something about it? Simple, all you have to do is come up with a better theory. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

    [So, anybody know any good jokes. We could be here awhile.]

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:36 PM

  14. Re#1, The record of tropical dust is due to work carried out on tropical glaciers, see:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/269/5220/46

    Late Glacial Stage and Holocene Tropical Ice Core Records from Huascarán, Peru
    L. G. Thompson 1, E. Mosley-Thompson 2, M. E. Davis 3, P. -N. Lin 3, K. A. Henderson 1, J. Cole-Dai 3, J. F. Bolzan 1, and K. -b. Liu 4

    Two ice cores from the col of Huascarán in the north-central Andes of Peru contain a paleoclimatic history extending well into the Wisconsinan (Würm) Glacial Stage and include evidence of the Younger Dryas cool phase. Glacial stage conditions at high elevations in the tropics appear to have been as much as 8° to 12°C cooler than today, the atmosphere contained about 200 times as much dust, and the Amazon Basin forest cover may have been much less extensive.

    See also:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1999/1999JD900084.shtml

    Ice and marine sediment cores indicate that dust deposition from the atmosphere was at some locations 2–20 times greater during glacial periods, raising the possibility that mineral aerosols might have contributed to climate change on glacial-interglacial time scales.

    Records of large volcanic eruptions are also present in ice cores:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/2000JD900254.shtml

    Someone ought to tell the folks over at Stanford’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to incorporate the more recent studies into their “Visitor Center” information packets:

    http://www2.slac.stanford.edu/vvc/cosmicrays/cratmos.html

    There is also evidence that there is a correlation between cosmic ray flux and low-altitude cloud formation. Now, correlation does not always imply causation, and it is also known that the sun is slightly brighter if it is more active, which may also affect cloud formation on earth. But it is at least possible that cosmic rays could have something to do with it. There is a possible mechanism for this: elevated levels of ionization seem to facilitate the coagulation of such molecules as sulfuric acid (H2SO4) in the atmosphere into tiny droplets, which then form condensation nuclei for water vapor. The condensed droplets of water then form clouds. For further information, see for example: [Link to Svensmark home page]

    “SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is operated by Stanford University for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.”

    Stanford and DOE – they are also big backers of carbon capture and sequestration. They say that 90% of carbon emissions from coal plants can be captured this way – not that they have any working prototypes to support such claims.

    Is there a connection between the SLAC view of cosmic rays and climate, the DOE’s support for coal, and Stanford’s Exxon-funded Global Climate and Energy Program? Interesting question, isn’t it?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  15. “What strong correlation between climate and sunspot count over the last 400 years?” So Gavin, I take it you’ve never seen “The Great Global Warming Swindle”?

    Maybe this link will clear things up: http://folk.uio.no/nathan/web/statement.html

    the results..used by the documentary do not exclude the impact of other climate forcing agents on the climate at any period in the last 400 years, including anthropogenic greenhouse gases. To suggest as much is incorrect. Indeed, the lack of correlation demonstrated by Lassen and Friis-Christensen beyond 1985 (omitted in the program) highlights that there must be other climate forcing agents at work.

    Comment by Al Z — 15 Apr 2009 @ 12:57 PM

  16. Don’t let replying to trolls take over the topic folks.
    Focus. Dr. Verheggen is here teaching. Let’s learn.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2009 @ 1:45 PM

  17. In response to Bart Verheggen’s comment (#11). Nucleation research is still very important for climate, so don’t be too bummed out. A 20% uncertainty in CCN in the boundary layer due to uncertainty in nucleation still leads to an indirect effect uncertainty on the order of 1 W m-2, a very big deal!

    [Response: I take it that this is for the anthropogenic indirect effect over the 20th C? - gavin]

    Comment by Jeff Pierce — 15 Apr 2009 @ 1:52 PM

  18. Sorry, I was not precise. If you were to change CCN by 20% in the boundary layer, the global cloud shortwave forcing would change on the order of 1 W m-2 (either during pre-industrial times or present day). See Seinfeld and Pandis, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, page 1176 in the first edition and 1083 in the second edition. These ~10-20% uncertainties in CCN are what was described in the “How important is nucleation for climate?” section, not the smaller CCN uncertainties associated with changes in cosmic rays described in the “How important are cosmic rays for climate?” section.

    My main point is that nucleation research in general is still necessary to increase our understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions.

    Comment by Jeff Pierce — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:14 PM

  19. Hank Roberts wrote in 16:

    Don’t let replying to trolls take over the topic folks.
    Focus. Dr. Verheggen is here teaching. Let’s learn.

    Thank you for the reminder, Hank.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  20. Wilmot McCutchen (4): You’re right about some particles (soot) causing warming and some (most others) causing cooling. The net global effect is thought to be cooling. There are some recent papers pointing out that the aerosol burden over Europe has decreased over the past few decades, probably having contributed to the observed (strong, local) warming. (Over Asia the aerosol burden is still increasing, and over the US I think no strong trends were detected – I don’t have the reference by hand though). The fact that some folks try to put a spin on such patterns to suit a predetermined notion doesn’t make the observed patterns untrue.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:31 PM

  21. Hi Jeff (17, 18)
    I agree with you that “that nucleation research in general is still necessary to increase our understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions.” Perhaps I expressed myself too strongly in my previous comment (#11). I meant to convey the natural tendency to want your own area of work to matter for the big picture.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:39 PM

  22. Ike Solem (#14),
    I don’t take great issue with what Stanford writes about their accelerator. It’s quite carefully worded (e.g. “But it is at least possible that cosmic rays could have something to do with it.”) without outlandish claims in the part you cite; though indeed, in total it gives a somewhat uncritical view of the topic. Remember that they too would like their area of work to matter for the big picture (but I start repeating myself).

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 15 Apr 2009 @ 2:50 PM

  23. #13 Ray Ladbury

    ” We have a theory of Earth’s climate that really does a very good job describing trends we see in the paleoclimate and the modern climate. ”

    But the models relating to this hypothesis are completely wrong for the period 1940 – 1970.

    The integrity of the hypothesis and the models are maintained only by stitching another hypothesis onto the models ie that aerosols caused the cooling effect.

    However, this hypothesis remains completely unproven as far as I am aware. Without proof of this hypothesis then the CO2 hypothesis must also remain unproven based on data from the start of the 20th century to date. Unless you can close the disconnec,t between observed data and the models, with a largely proven hypothesis then no way can you declare the science or hypothesis as settled.

    I would have thought that if it was aerosols causing the cooling then there should be a clear sign that areas that were high producers of aerosols during the period 1940 – 1970 should display a larger cooling trend than other areas given the known localised cooling effect of certain aerosols.

    Is there any evidence for this? Without this correlation I would have thought the aerosol hypothesis would fall at the first fence.

    Perhaps Dr Verheggen can answer this.

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 15 Apr 2009 @ 3:31 PM

  24. Bart Verheggen — Very clear and quite helpful!
    But I found “over the open ocean nucleation rates are generally lower due to lower vapor concentrations.” counter-intuitive. I would have thought that over oceans water vapor concentrations would be higher. Would you explain this subtle point?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Apr 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  25. “But the models relating to this hypothesis are completely wrong for the period 1940 – 1970. ”

    They are? How?

    Dirty smoke and acid rain would have made a bigger contribution to climate than CO2 since we’d hardly started using oil (the UK navy only started usin oil instead of coal around 1910, IIRC) and coal had always at that time been quite hard to remove (try working a steam engine on the coal face…).

    So how were the models completely wrong for that period?

    Comment by Mark — 15 Apr 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  26. “So Gavin, I take it you’ve never seen “The Great Global Warming Swindle”?”

    Ah, you mean the unscientific biased piece that had to apologise because it edited and put out of context so many of the people who spoke on it just to make it look like there was a controversy.

    It was about as scientific as the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

    Comment by Mark — 15 Apr 2009 @ 4:45 PM

  27. OT, sorry.

    C02 has just gone up to 389 from 386 a few days ago.

    http://climate.jpl.nasa.gov/index.cfm

    Comment by Abi — 15 Apr 2009 @ 4:57 PM

  28. Abi, it hasn’t “just gone up” — that’s just a new data point there. Click the link for the source; you’ll see:
    ” The last year of data are still preliminary, pending recalibrations of reference gases and other quality control checks.”

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

    Too bad. I thought for a moment this proved we could attribute the change to the Easter Bunny ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2009 @ 5:31 PM

  29. Dr. Verheggen, I haven’t yet read most of the articles you link at the top, apology if this is covered; I will try to catch up. I recall mention a while back that bacteria and viruses over the ocean are involved (and it was only recently we learned that there is some astonishing number of viruses in any sample of sea water). This is one link grabbed quickly that might lead into that area.
    HAL :: [hal-00297700, version 1] High-resolution ice nucleation …
    Even though studies of Arctic ice forming particles suggest that a bacterial … Our experiments revealed that all sea-ice isolates and the virus nucleated ice at temperatures very close to … Sciences of the Universe/Ocean, Atmosphere …
    hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00297700/en/

    Curious if any of the people looking at biological changes in the ocean have had time to address changes in this population as a possible change in feedback.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  30. Ray Ladbury wrote: “So, anybody know any good jokes. We could be here awhile.”

    A skeleton walks into a bar and orders a beer and a mop …

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Apr 2009 @ 6:16 PM

  31. By the way, hydrocarbon aerosol formation is highly dependent on combustion conditions – you can do a simple experiment to see this for yourself. Take a butane lighter and hold a glass a good distance above the flame, and slowly lower the glass until it is touching the top of the flame. At some point you will see a sudden deposition of soot, which otherwise does not form. This may be because the glass forms a condensation surface, or because it interferes with oxygen delivery. (That’s also why a poorly adjusted gas furnace can produce toxic levels of carbon monoxide and other pollutants).

    Historically, this is what “clean combustion” has meant – adjusting combustion processes in order to minimize the emission of anything other than water and CO2. Modern internal combustion engines and IGCC-type coal turbines do a good job of this, with some drawbacks, like cost. However, if fossil CO2 itself is the problem, than “clean” combustion does you no good.

    This is where photosynthetically produced biofuels come into play – but they will still produce black carbon aerosols during combustion if burned in older turbines or engines. Soot from wood and biofuels is less toxic than fossil fuel soot (biofuels lack sulfur, mercury, arsenic, selenium, etc.) but is still best avoided. As with fossil fuels, the bigger the molecule, the dirtier the combustion products. Wood smoke is more toxic than biodiesel exhaust, which is dirtier than ethanol exhaust, with biomethane and biohydrogen being the equivalents of natural gas, only cleaner (natural gas often occurs with highly toxic hydrogen sulfide).

    Of course, nuclear provides heat without combustion, but suffers from the need for vast amounts of cold water to cool the reactor and transfer energy to the steam turbine that generates electricity.

    Solar and wind provide clean electricity with no need for water for cooling, but are intermittent power sources and require storage technologies, batteries or fuel cells.

    While each of these technologies has it’s disadvantages, it is easy to envisage an energy system that relies on a mixture of existing nuclear, solar, wind and advanced biofuels – with no fossil fuel use at all.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Apr 2009 @ 7:14 PM

  32. Dr. Verheggen,

    I am curious if you have any insights regarding a relationship between the GCR presence in the upper troposphere and barometric high pressure (anti-cyclonic) systems? I have reviewed the earlier RC posts and note that there seems to be a casual relationship between CRs and low altitude cloud (Marine layer) formation.

    If I understand your position above, it appears you are relating that the increase of presence of CGRs could act as seed CCN, eventually… To restate my question, given your explanation is it possible that these “seed particles” could contribute to a falling air mass in the 250mb and above range that could spark the formation of a anti-cyclonic event.

    Please understand, I am NOT relating this to the GW issue. I am more curious if this could be a possible explanation for the recent optical depth variations getting play in the “global dimming” observations.

    Thanx!
    Dave Cooke

    Comment by ldavidcooke — 15 Apr 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  33. I’m starting to read Carslaw et al. “a nice overview of potential relations between cosmic rays, clouds and climate.” Trying to learn.
    ________________
    “dunno reformer” says ReCaptcha

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 15 Apr 2009 @ 8:50 PM

  34. Dr. Verheggen, thank you for a very good article.

    A major first effort of a propagandist is always to “set the right frame” for a discussion. Even today, in nearly all the “it-is-the-sun” based discussions the frame is still set by reference to the old and infamous Svensmark press release discussed by Gavin in “Taking Cosmic Rays for a spin”. Unfortunately so.

    Another paper of relevance might be:
    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/8/13265/2008/acpd-8-13265-2008.pdf
    Cosmic rays, CCN and clouds – a reassessment using MODIS data
    J. E. Kristjansson, C. W. Stjern, F. Stordal, A. M. Fjæraa, G. Myhre, and K. Jonasson.

    They try to find immediate impacts of specific short term fluctuations found on the cosmic radiation records upon cloud observations, MODIS providing additional interesting parameters. There seems to be nothing, but maybe they did not allow enough time for the coagulation process to run its full course. They explored over a few days, you indicate a week or two.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 15 Apr 2009 @ 9:53 PM

  35. There’s probably a simple reason why this is a stupid question, but why wouldn’t increased production of positive and negative charged particles by GCRs cause cloud particles to coalesce and rain out, sorta like an ionic air filter? I realize that charged aerosols sticking to a wall, floor, or plates in a purifier is different from them sticking to each other and growing big enough for gravity to start having an influence, but it still seems like that would tend to occur. Wouldn’t neutral aerosols be attracted to charged particles because of surface charge redistribution, become charged, be attracted to oppositely charged particles and aerosols (neutral or oppositely charged), growing and coalescing more rapidly with higher rates of GCR charge particle production?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:00 AM

  36. Alan Millar wrote in 23:

    #13 Ray Ladbury

    “We have a theory of Earth’s climate that really does a very good job describing trends we see in the paleoclimate and the modern climate.”

    But the models relating to this hypothesis are completely wrong for the period 1940 – 1970.

    The integrity of the hypothesis and the models are maintained only by stitching another hypothesis onto the models ie that aerosols caused the cooling effect.

    However, this hypothesis remains completely unproven as far as I am aware.

    There are climate models that didn’t include reflective aerosols?

    Which ones?
    *
    Wouldn’t you agree that if a surface is absorbing fewer watts of radiation per square meter it will be cooler than an otherwise identical surface absorbing more watts of radiation per square meter? And wouldn’t you agree that putting reflective aerosols such as sulfates into the air will reduce the amount of light that reaches the surface of the earth? I mean, would you regard either of these two propositions as “ad hoc hypotheses” pulled out of “thin air” to save the “hypothesis” that all other things being equal, more carbon dioxide raises the temperature of the earth?

    However, we don’t assume any of these things. We can measure the spectral properties of sulfates, nitrates and carbon dioxide, spectral properties which imply that sulfates and nitrates are reflective and therefore imply that they reduce the amount of radiation that reaches and therefore warms the surface. We can measure the absorption spectra of carbon dioxide, which implies that it does not impede visible light from reaching the surface, but that it does impede long-wave thermal radiation from making it to space while simultaneously resulting in backradiation which further warms the surface. Moreover, the spectral properties of carbon dioxide basically fall right out of the first principles of quantum mechanics.
    *
    Alan Millar wrote in 23:

    I would have thought that if it was aerosols causing the cooling then there should be a clear sign that areas that were high producers of aerosols during the period 1940 – 1970 should display a larger cooling trend than other areas given the known localised cooling effect of certain aerosols.

    Won’t be quite that localized since the half-life of tropospheric aerosols is typically 1-2 weeks. Aerosols can do a lot of moving around in that amount of time. Places that act as sources for aerosols will be downwind of those which don’t and visa versa. However, for the most part they tend to remain in the hemisphere that they originate in rather than being equally distributed in both.

    As such, you might want to look at this:

    The “smooth” versions show that while the northern hemisphere did indeed cool for several decades mid-century, the southern hemisphere did not — exactly what we would expect from sulfate-aerosol forcing. In fact, the smoothed version tends to smooth the very brief southern-hemisphere cooling a little too much; the annual numbers show that the southern hemisphere mid-century cooling is pretty much confined to a single year, from 1945 to 1946.

    Hemispheres
    August 17, 2007
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2007/08/17/hemispheres/

    Think about it: if the effects of carbon dioxide are weak but cummulative and the effects of aerosols are strong but ephemeral, which do you think is going to win out in the short-run? In the long-run?

    But what if the sulfates are injected into the stratosphere — where they won’t be rained out until they drift into the troposphere a couple of years or so later?

    Check this out:

    A detailed test of climate models will be possible for the Pinatubo eruption, because of global satellite measurements of the volcanic aerosols and the climate change. A primitive climate model used to predict the effect of Pinatubo immediately after the eruption did a fairly good job, as shown in Figure 2, although observed cooling was somewhat less than predicted. The GISS Pinatubo team is now using a more sophisticated climate model for a comprehensive investigation.

    Science Briefs: Pinatubo Climate Investigation
    January 1997
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/hansen_02

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:45 AM

  37. Hank Roberts wrote in 29:

    I recall mention a while back that bacteria and viruses over the ocean are involved (and it was only recently we learned that there is some astonishing number of viruses in any sample of sea water). This is one link grabbed quickly that might lead into that area.
    HAL :: [hal-00297700, version 1] High-resolution ice nucleation …
    Even though studies of Arctic ice forming particles suggest that a bacterial … Our experiments revealed that all sea-ice isolates and the virus nucleated ice at temperatures very close to … Sciences of the Universe/Ocean, Atmosphere …
    hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00297700/en/

    Also along these lines, people might check out…

    The activity of most known biological IN is mediated by proteins or proteinaceous compounds (4). Therefore, we reasoned that IN of biological origin would be inactivated by heat, whereas IN of mineral origin would not. Heat treatment inactivated 69% to 100% of the IN active at temperatures ≥ –7°C and ≤ –4°C (Fig. 1B).

    Christner et al, Ubiquity of Biological Ice Nucleators in Snowfall, Science 29 February 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5867, p. 1214, DOI: 10.1126/science.1149757
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/319/5867/1214

    or for something non-technical:

    Evidence Of ‘Rain-making’ Bacteria Discovered In Atmosphere And Snow
    ScienceDaily (Feb. 29, 2008)
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080228174801.htm
    *
    Hank Roberts wrote in 29:

    Curious if any of the people looking at biological changes in the ocean have had time to address changes in this population as a possible change in feedback.

    The following would appear to be a step in that direction:

    Christner, B.C., R. Cai, C.E. Morris, K.S. McCarter, C.M. Foreman, M.L. Skidmore, S.N. Montross, and D.C. Sands. 2008. Geographic, seasonal, and precipitation chemistry influence on the abundance and activity of biological ice nucleators in rain and snow. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105:18854-18859.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/48/18854.short

    … but if Dr. Verheggen knows more, I am sure a number of us would appreciate it.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:49 AM

  38. re: #14 Ike
    Sorry, this is mostly OT (so skip it if you want aerosols), but I offer some some experience and pointers as context for Ike’s comment:

    ‘Is there a connection between the SLAC view of cosmic rays and climate, the DOE’s support for coal, and Stanford’s Exxon-funded Global Climate and Energy Program? Interesting question, isn’t it?”

    Actually, not very interesting, and if there’s a connection, it’s not obvious, especially as I know some of the relevant people.

    1) SLAC does particle physics, and their full discussion didn’t seem unreasonable. There might be a few there who don’t accept fossil-fuel-forced AGW (there’s one who writes letters to innocent local newspapers), but their general worldview can be assessed via: Searcyh SLAC website for global warming. If SLAC does much with coal, it’s not obvious. DOE is big.

    2) Ex-Director of SLAC and Stanford professor is Burton Richter, whose views on both climate & energy were fairly clear in that. He also led the recent APS report on energy efficiency, and quite often shows up for the fine public Stanford Energy Seminar Series, Wed’s at 4:15PM, sponsored by the Woods Institute. Schedule for next few months is here. The seminars are sponsored by Chevron. Among the recent speakers was Michale Klare, whose most recent book: “Rising Powers: Shrinking Planet – The New Geopolitics of Energy” is highly recommended … but probably wouldn’t gladden any oil person very much.

    3) Stanford GCEP has a 3-day symposium each Fall, free & open to public, although you have to sign up a month or two in advance. A very interesting audience comes out for these.
    GCEP is sponsored by: ExxonMobil, General Electric, Schlumberger, and Toyota.

    Last Fall’s talks are mostly posted here, and it was a nice event, with many poster sessions as well as the talks. As one can see from Sally Benson’s talk, 29% of their effort goes to carbon-based energy systems (10% CO2 storage, 7% CO2 capture, 3% advanced coal, 9% advanced combustion), 40% goes to renewables, 11% to hydrogen, 11% to electrochemical transformations. One of the most interesting talks was that of Caltech’s Nate Lewis.

    One can look at the presentations to assess what people are doing. My opinion is that some fairly rational people think someone has to do some actual research to figure out if, when, where, and how expensive CCS is. If they thought it was ready to ship, they wouldn’t be interested.

    4) Energy Efficiency is the focus of PEEC – Precourt Energy Efficiency Center, which got a big boost in January.

    5) Many climate, energy, and efficiency folks are housed together in the recently-completed Y2E2 building, worth a visit.

    (Note: I have no association with Stanford, although I’ve done a few lectures there. I just live nearby, so it is easy to attend the numerous good climate & energy events and talk to faculty.)

    Comment by John Mashey — 16 Apr 2009 @ 2:48 AM

  39. Alan Millar (23),

    You seem to confuse uncertainty with knowing nothing.

    You are referring to two different hypotheses (GHG and aerosol forcing), but a better description is that there are multiple climate forcings at work (not just CO2 and aerosols), and that only by taking them all into account to the best of our ability do we get a very decent match between models and observations. That, together with the paleorecord and current observations, counts for something.

    The reflective nature of aerosols can readily be observed on a hazy day. It can be measured as well. The fact that aerosols are needed for clouds to form can also readily be shown. Without any aerosols the RH would have to rise to about 400% for water droplets to form.

    Try this little experiment: take a PET bottle and wash it out with water. Close it. Compress it with both your hands and then let suddenly go (decompress). What do you see? (likely nothing).
    Now light a match and let part of the smoke enter the PET bottle. Compress and decompress again. What do you see? (likely a thin, though short lived, cloud-in-a-bottle) Voila the evidence that more aerosols aid in cloud formation. Takes one minute.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 16 Apr 2009 @ 3:54 AM

  40. Hi Bart, nice articles. The plot from Pacific 2001 in the first one brings back memories. ;-)

    Interesting that you touch on the elusive phenomenon of marine boundary layer nucleation. Based on all the observations I know of, it’s not been measured in situ anywhere near the sea surface (except for coastal areas and in ship plumes), but then again, all the Aitken-mode non sea salt particles in the remote MBL have to be coming from somewhere. A lot of people have their pet theories on this one, but I was just wondering if you had any you were willing to stick your neck out over?

    Comment by James Allan — 16 Apr 2009 @ 4:48 AM

  41. Alan Miller writes:

    But the models relating to this hypothesis are completely wrong for the period 1940 – 1970.

    No, they aren’t. Where did you get that idea?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 16 Apr 2009 @ 4:59 AM

  42. Sorry, that last question is maybe a little cryptic. To clarify, do you think it is just that we don’t have enough observations or do you think that there is a process at work that we haven’t properly characterised yet?

    Comment by James Allan — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  43. Alan Millar #23:

    But the models relating to this hypothesis are completely wrong for the
    period 1940 – 1970.

    See Figure 9.5.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:07 AM

  44. Alan Millar @23, Actually, Alan, you and I have something in common:

    Neither of us has a clue what the hell YOU are talking about. Where on Earth (or off, for that matter) do you get your information.

    The effects of aerosols are PART OF the models. Put in a source of aerosols (be it dirty fossil fuel production or Mt. Pinatubo) and you get cooling. Actually, this was known even before the GCMs had much skill. Even in the ’70s, the concern some scientists had over “global cooling” (you know, the one you guys try to attribute to ALL climate scientists) was driven by pollution from fossil fuels. It turns out that the reason things didn’t cool significantly was that CO2 sensitivity was higher than the level favored by scientists who expressed concern about cooling. Oops. Another own goal. Anybody keeping score anymore?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:08 AM

  45. “Alan Millar (23),

    You seem to confuse uncertainty with knowing nothing.”

    Yup, that’s what they do.

    No need to have an explanation, just tear down the one you don’t want.

    The scientific analogue of “negative voting”.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:15 AM

  46. “There’s probably a simple reason why this is a stupid question, but why wouldn’t increased production of positive and negative charged particles by GCRs cause cloud particles to coalesce and rain out, sorta like an ionic air filter?”

    A counter to that effect is that such small water droplets have a large surface area. And if they are in a dry atmosphere (significantly less than 100% RH) then these droplets will evapourate quickly and you no longer have droplets.

    There’s a reason why condensing trail instruments use high RH closed tubes for recording ion tracks.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:18 AM

  47. PS it isn’t a stupid question, it’s only half a question.

    You don’t consider what happens AFTER such creation.

    If such creation were so simple, there would have been no problems in cloud seeding in the 70′s-date.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:20 AM

  48. GCR seem to be a hot topic of late. I suppose there is not enough evidence to completely rule out a more significant role since we have not had the chance to research a deep solar minimum, until now,…. maybe ?

    Hypothetically, if high GCR does play a more significant role in global temperature this does not necessarily detract from the positive effect of CO2 in causing warming. It simply adds another piece to the total climate equation. Not sure why we need to be too defensive on this ?

    For those interested in GCR here is a link to Oulu in Greenland,
    http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/

    The count is now at ~6850 and still rising – if this is really important ?

    Comment by Jonas — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:27 AM

  49. OT – Carbon capture. A lot of govt money has gone into CSS, $AU2.5 billion here in Oz alone. I think this is a small step in the right direction to a definitive answer in the near future.

    IMHO virtually all governments have dropped the “it’s not us” claims and the coal fired countries are at least starting to go through the motions of asking; where’s the ROI from our CCS grants?

    Comment by Alan of Oz — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:44 AM

  50. “GCR seem to be a hot topic of late. I suppose there is not enough evidence to completely rule out a more significant role since we have not had the chance to research a deep solar minimum, until now,…. maybe ?”

    Depends on what you mean by “significant”.

    The simulations of what we KNOW about CO2 and the feedbacks are sufficient to explain what is seen without GCRs having a significantly bigger role than they are currently given (they ARE given a role, note).

    And you forget to say there’s not enough evidence to completely rule out a less significant role for GCR effects either.

    Why is uncertainty a one-way street for some?

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 6:45 AM

  51. David Benson (24),
    The limiting factor for nucleation to occur over the open ocean is the concentration of suitable precursor gases (such as SO2 and DMS, to form H2SO4). That is probably why nucleation rates are lower there (even though there is also less aerosol surface area for the H2SO4 to condense on).

    Hank Roberts (29) and Timothy Chase (37),
    Ice Nuclei are generally insoluble particles, such as certain types of mineral dusts, soot or black carbon, metallic particles, as well as some biological materials (bacteria, pollen). I’m not aware of any trends in biological aerosol though.
    If BC can indeed serve as an ice nuclei (there’s evidence for that, see eg http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2008/2007JD009266.shtml, though other material such as dust is though to be much more effective) than its increase since preindustrial times could have caused a glaciation indirect effect (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2002/2001GL014357.shtml), whereby more IN caused an increase in precipitation (ie opposite to the “warm” second indirect effect).

    David Cooke (32),
    “I am curious if you have any insights regarding a relationship between the GCR presence in the upper troposphere and barometric high pressure (anti-cyclonic) systems?” No, I don’t. But the explanation you give in your second paragraph sounds very implausible to me. A few more aerosols don’t make the air sink down. (If anything, the aerosols fall out if they are big enough, leaving most of the air where it is.)

    Pekka Kostamo (34)
    The final, revised paper is here: http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/8/7373/2008/acp-8-7373-2008.html. I’ve heard a presentation of the lead author at the EGU last year; he’s been ‘auditing’ (pun intended) the cosmic ray hypothesis for a while now. They look whether introducing several time delays would make the correlation better, but it didn’t. The time that matters here is the time needed from nucleation to cloud droplet activation; this can be shorter than the average aerosol lifetime.

    Hi James (40, 42),
    Was fun out west indeed.
    I don’t have a pet theory regarding marine boundary layer nucleation, but I’ve understood that a likely scenario is that particles were formed in the free troposphere and than mixed downward. That could explain the non sea salt particles observed. I think the extent to which eg oxidation products from DMS, emitted from phytoplankton, contributes to nucleation is still largely unknown. That would be an example of a process that we haven’t properly characterized yet. But to get a more accurate picture, more in-situ observations are needed as well. (hope I didn’t avoid the question too much here…)

    Jonas (48), you wrote:
    “Hypothetically, if high GCR does play a more significant role in global temperature this does not necessarily detract from the positive effect of CO2 in causing warming.”
    Exactly. It could only add to the picture; it could not replace it (unless all we know about radiative forcing of GHG is disproved at the same time, but that is extremely unlikely)

    If you put it the way you did, I indeed don’t see a reason to be defensive at all. The problem is when people claim that a hypothetical effect from GCR would mean we can throw out of the window everything else we know. The comparison I like to draw for that line of argument is that observing a bird in the sky doesn’t disprove gravity.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 16 Apr 2009 @ 7:52 AM

  52. Off topic 48: Oulu is in Finland, not in Greenland

    Comment by Oulu — 16 Apr 2009 @ 8:13 AM

  53. Re: 25, 41

    Dirty smoke and acid rain would have made a bigger contribution to climate than CO2 since we’d hardly started using oil (the UK navy only started usin oil instead of coal around 1910, IIRC) and coal had always at that time been quite hard to remove (try working a steam engine on the coal face…).

    So how were the models completely wrong for that period?

    One reason (of many) is that major aerosol producers were located in the mid-latitude regions of the NH, but the region which experienced the greatest cooling (by far) was the Arctic. According to the GISS zonal record the Arctic (64N-90N) cooled by just under 1 deg C between 1940 and 1970 which was about 4 times as much as any other latitude band.

    Another reason concerns the uncertainty (or certainty) of the effect of aerosols in the Arctic. The effect is reckoned to be one of warming rather than cooling. This is from the wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arctic_haze)

    “The aerosols contain about 90% sulfur and the rest is carbon, which makes the haze reddish in color. This pollution is helping the Arctic warm up faster than any other region on Earth, although increases in greenhouse gases are the main driver of this climatic change.”

    Which is interesting because it also cooled faster between 1940 and 1970.

    A third reason is that there is no evidence of any increase in aerosol production in the late 1930s or early 1940s. And remember we are looking for something which not only caused cooling, but also reversed a strong warming trend. According to GISS, the Arctic warmed almost 2 deg between 1910 and 1940. What was it that suddenly caused arctic temperatures to nose-dive? Not aerosols, that’s for sure.

    None of this contradicts the possibility of enhanced CO2 warming, but it does mean that the IPCC statement about “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.” is totally groundless

    [Response: Your logical faculties seem to fail you in the last line. That is discussing global mean temperatures, not the Arctic.- gavin]

    Comment by John Finn — 16 Apr 2009 @ 8:49 AM

  54. re: carbon capture technology

    I’m all for the guy who wants to genetically engineer trees to poop diamonds. Imagine having to go outside periodically to shovel diamonds off your lawn. Gigatons of diamonds. DeBeers would have a fit, but that’s a small price to pay.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 16 Apr 2009 @ 8:58 AM

  55. John, #53. As gavin said, you seem to be taking the IPCC statement and thinking they’re talking about something they aren’t (artic temps!=global temps) and then saying that because this thing they aren’t saying isn’t true (artic temps not following global temps), then the IPCC got it wrong.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 9:33 AM

  56. > no evidence of any increase in aerosol production
    > in the late 1930s or early 1940s
    John Finn loves the attention he gets posting easily refuted stuff.
    http://www.nzetc.org/etexts/WH2Cret/WH2CretP015a(h280).jpg
    http://www.life.com/image/3271767 Duh. Google him for much more.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  57. very interesting articles Bart

    But I’m interested, also, by the recent evolution of different aerosols concentrations and as a result, the evolution of the estimation of different radiative forcings (direct and indirect)
    I already asked Gavin why there was not an update of the related NASA files.
    For example, Gavin, in this file( http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.txt) there is no update since 2003 and, for example, the BC effect is the same since 1990.
    Is it real?
    I suppose that we can get an updated file but where?
    Or is it impossible to get the recent evolution and in this case how can we follow the influence on climate?

    [Response: The files will be updated as we finalise the AR5 models and forcings. They will include aerosol changes to 2005, but the emissions inventories that are needed for that are only now being finalised. This does imply that the models aren't yet in a position to say what the post 1990s impact of aerosols on climate has been. - gavin]

    Comment by pascal — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:09 AM

  58. John Finn, Uh, where do you think that much of the energy that warms the high latitudes comes from? Here’s a hint: it’s not just sunlight. Warm ocean currents play a major role in warming the polar regions. What is more, during their relatively short airborne lifetimes, aerosols put on a lot of miles. That is how tropical volcanoes in the Indian Ocean affect climate in Northern Europe, say.

    As to the change in aerosol emissions. Hmmm. What historical event started in the late 30s and increased industrial output? What could it be? Oh yeah! WWII!! You remember. And then there was the rebuilding of Europe…

    Why are you so resistant to learning the actual science (or history, for that matter)? Are you afraid it would inhibit your creativity?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  59. Gavin said: [...This does imply that the models aren’t yet in a position to say what the post 1990s impact of aerosols on climate has been. - gavin]

    Interesting, and thank you. That is the sort of information that is hard to come by for those not in the field.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  60. Look, I am not trying to be a troll here. This is a serious issue.
    The link between sunspot count and climate is shown in graphs like this one http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/28/Sunspot_Numbers.png/800px-Sunspot_Numbers.png

    [Response: No it doesn't. It just shows the sunspot number and it's smoothed variations. - gavin]

    One theorized causal link between sunspots and climate has been aerosols stimulated by GCRs. The topic here is a direct study of aerosols and their formation. The statements in the main post are to the effect that cosmic rays do not stimulate enough aerosol formation to cause a climate shift. There seems to be a lot of uncertainty in the results. Such a link is a key idea brought out by AGW skeptics.

    One alternative is to be a ‘Maunder minimum denier’ and say there is no such correlation and there was no Medieval Warm Period, no Maunder Minimum, and no Dalton Minimum. Is that what the editors of this site believe, and if so where is the counter evidence?

    If it is true that GCRs can not cause sufficient aerosols in the upper atmosphere to cause a global cooling, then we need to look for a different causal link.

    It seems to me that science should proceed from obvious correlations to theories, and then they details of the theory gets verified or disproved. The correlation between climate and sunspot count seems so direct that it should be an intense area of study.

    The underlying danger in all of this is that public policy is being railroaded through based on undecided science.

    R. Keene

    [Response: No, the danger here is deciding that well-understood physics should be trumped by politically expedient hand-waving based on very poor and usually highly-manipulated correlations. - gavin]

    Comment by R Keene — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:27 AM

  61. Hi John Mashey,

    This is my last comment on this off-topic issue. The problems with Stanford’s GCEP program can be seen in the project approval process that GCEP uses, as well as in language on intellectual property rights contained in the agreement, which gives the sponsors exclusive access to any GCEP inventions.

    1) The major program funding came from Exxon, Schlumberger, General Electric, and Toyota. Note that these companies are all in the fossil fuel sector in a big way. They are all given executive positions on the GCEP “sponsor management committee”, which holds final approval over funding decisions.

    From the agreement: “The Sponsors and the University will maintain a “Management Committee” whose members will be one designated representative of the University and each Sponsor.”

    Translation: the four sponsors get one vote each, as does the university. Academic peer review of grants doesn’t normally work this way – it’s a far more democratic process. There was an article at Stanford’s local paper on this, but it was pulled from the web site – that’s okay, Google cached it.

    In a report released Monday, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) characterized Stanford as one among several American universities that “are accepting extensive industry controls over the research process — controls that violate hallowed traditions of academic independence.”

    2) GCEP has never carried out any real climate research, despite the name. Almost all resources are devoted to “clean coal technology” – and this has gone on with the quiet acceptance of Stanford’s “environmental activist community”, as seen in this interview:

    PAUL EHRLICH: Well, let me say, first of all, I had nothing whatever to do with that program, so I can say something sort of neutral about it. I think that universities like Stanford simply have to take money from corporations if they’re going to get their research done. I also am absolutely certain—I know the people who run the GCEP program very well at Stanford—that there is no shaping of the research by the corporation. It wouldn’t be—people would just throw whoever did it out at Stanford. The faculty wouldn’t stand for it.

    That’s a touchingly naive perspective, but the fact of the matter is that exclusive technology licensing agreements between universities and large corporations are seriously damaging the academic system in the U.S. Furthermore, just being a faculty member at Stanford means you are involved with it – attempting to deny all personal responsibility for your institution’s actions earns you the “fellow traveler” tag.

    What is needed is a new law that forbids exclusive technology licensing by taxpayer-funded academic institutions in the United States – meaning that patents will be available to all interested parties. This will not halt “technology transfer” – human growth hormone would be in use if it had not been exclusively licensed to Genentech, no fear. However, an honest scientific examination of the use of UC Davis-Monsanto rGBH in cows might lead to a ban on that practice – but that would eliminate the U California system’s $100 million patent royalties from rGBH. Do you think UC researchers realize that investigating rGBH in detail might be a career-terminating decision? Of course they do. The same goes for physicists who insist on working on silicon photovoltaics rather than fiber optic cables, and so on. Academic freedom? Hardly.

    Now, let’s get back to aerosols. Keep in mind that galactic cosmic rays (energy level: 100 MeV to 10GeV) are a steady background feature. Cosmic rays are electrically charged, and as the zip across the galaxy they interact with many EM fields, randomizing their direction and making it impossible to determine their origins. They are affected by the sun’s magnetic field and by the earth’s magnetic field. Thus, it seems that any local changes in GCR intensity must be due to changes in the EM fields of the sun and earth. The biggest factor is the solar wind, consisting of ions and electrons from the solar corona moving at about 400 km/sec (1/750th the speed of light), which keeps GCRs out of the inner solar system.

    Also, the Sun itself can sporadically emit cosmic rays of energy 10-100 MeV due to coronal shock waves and solar flares. This tends to correlate with the 11-year solar cycle – which doesn’t show any trend over the past fifty years, according to the neutron flux data. Thus, there is no way cosmic rays could ever account for even a small percentage of our warming trend. It’s obvious, but SLAC doesn’t discuss it in any detail – they just link to Svensmark’s site. That’s the politically safe thing to do if you rely on DOE funding for your survival – recall what happened to the USGS and the National Biological Survey in the 1990s?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:47 AM

  62. Mark,

    I understand “uncertainties”, in general and as this thread represents.

    My point was there are many similar uncertainties with many aspects of the AGW theory. And obviously with climate in general.

    Few are acknowledged especially in terms of the weight of uncertainty the totality of the many uncertainties represent.

    Well beyond uncertainties there are serious flaws in the AGW structure.

    This should not be misinterpreted as my suggesting any uncertainty is a disqualifier. Or that uncertainties are not an acceptable reality in general.

    My point was, and remains, how many “uncertainties” does it take to cause a rethinking and withdrawal by those so committed to AGW?

    Side stepping into defining uncertainty is not helpful.

    SecularAnimist Says:

    My questions up thread were pretty simple. Casting them as ignorant and arrogant seems to me to be evasive.

    So with all due respect, you really need to understand that you haven’t the slightest idea what I know or don’t know.

    Ray Ladbury Says:
    Your convenient assumptions wander away from reason. I have met, know and visit with scientists. Your presumption that I have not appears to be some sort of protest. Your presumptuous idea that I “think knowing uncertainties is a bad thing” is also off base.
    I never came even close to suggesting such an asinine thing.
    Your effort appears to be one that allows you to create a basis for your then ad hominem conclusion I am therefore “utterly ignorant”.

    I am quite certain there are plenty of scientists who devote, oh, say 20-40 years of their lives to climate related study who disagree with your opinions about current climate theories.
    Of course, in a big way, we don’t understand absolutely every aspect. However the degree which we can be confident that what we don’t understand does not outweigh what we do understand remains unsettled.
    There is much concern that some very grave misunderstandings are being sugar coated and left without adequate consideration.
    These grave misunderstanding are leading many experts and informed people to conclude the case for humans behind recent warming is inescapable fatal flaw. The cross section of people studying climate trends are developing clearer observations and measurements almost daily. Many of which fall into contradicting prior AGW assumptions.
    What are you waiting for? “Good jokes”?

    Comment by John H. — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:55 AM

  63. R Keene: “minimum denier” appears to come from on blogers responding angrily to this very new paper:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;324/5923/78
    Science 3 April 2009, Vol. 324. no. 5923, pp. 78 – 80
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1166349
    Reports — Persistent Positive North Atlantic Oscillation Mode Dominated the Medieval Climate Anomaly

    Hat tip to:
    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20090406/scientists-debunk-favorite-denier-claim-about-climate-change

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:29 PM

  64. R Keene 60.

    A quick comparison (not necessarily scientific), the graphs have been scaled for easier comparison.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/scale:200/plot/sidc-ssn

    Hope this helps clarify things.

    Comment by jaydee — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:39 PM

  65. R. Keene, Given that GCR fluxes are not changing significantly and have not done so for over 50 years, that would suggest that if they ever were a major driver of climate, their contribution is not significant at present.

    Again, don’t like the inescapable conclusion that we’re warming the planet? Then come up with a model that explains Earth’s climate better than the current model. It’s called science.

    The oracle of ReCAPTCHA: zapping accepted

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:51 PM

  66. John H wrote: “I am quite certain there are plenty of scientists who devote, oh, say 20-40 years of their lives to climate related study who disagree with your opinions about current climate theories.”

    Certain you may well be. But you are still wrong.

    John H wrote: “These grave misunderstanding are leading many experts and informed people to conclude the case for humans behind recent warming is inescapable fatal flaw.”

    Wrong again.

    Would you care to list the “scientists who devote 20-40 years of their lives to climate related study”, and the “experts”, who believe that “the case for humans behind recent warming is inescapable fatal flaw”?

    What are their qualifications? What is there experience in the field? What is the “fatal flaw” that they have found, which has somehow escaped the attention of hundreds upon hundreds of climate scientists who have diligently studied the issue for decades? And has also escaped every major scientific body in the world that has addressed the question, including the national scientific academies of every developed country on Earth?

    Or are you just saying that such people exist because that’s what you’ve been told by denialists?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:54 PM

  67. Actually, John H., you were doing just fine giving the impression of utter ignorance without any help.

    Care to actually suggest what some of these “grave misunderstandings” might be, or are you more content to leave things vague. Just one. Pretty, please. Last count, the proportion of climate scientists who actively publish in the field who agree with the consensus account was more than 95%. Not one professional or honorific scientific organization that has looked at the issue has dissented from the consensus. So if there are all these “grave misunderstandings” just where are they being published?

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Apr 2009 @ 12:59 PM

  68. Thanks, gavin, for your helpful statement that aerosol forcings are not yet settled science. As Bart pointed out, black carbon is definitely warming (additive to CO2), but other aerosols are thought to be cooling. The world and I will have to wait for more clarification, but finding out what needs to be worked on is a good step forward. Cautious equivocation may be good science etiquette, but strong fact-based advocacy by climate scientists also has its place in the current public discussion of global climate change.

    Comment by Wilmot McCutchen — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  69. What are you waiting for? “Good jokes”?

    I am. Your post is a bad joke. Surely you can do better?

    I think you’ll feel more comfortable at this blog, whose author seems to share your beliefs.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:10 PM

  70. Dr. Verheggen, the paper you gave us above (the “recent follow up study”) is open for comment; the one commenter points out that many more simulations could have been run picking different numbers from within the range of uncertainty, but says “I understand how expensive these simulations are, so I don’t recommend running any new simulations.”

    Can you say something about the cost of doing these simulations?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:44 PM

  71. That’s kind of amusing, Hank, and here is why, a quote from the web site:

    “NAO was in a persistent, centuries-long positive mode. Nowadays, NAO is nowhere near that persistent. Over the last 100 years, NAO has been up and down. We didn’t know it was possible that NAO could be in the same state for such a long period of time.”

    What kind of oscillation is that? They are only called oscillations because that is an underlying assumption of the time series analysis tools (which was originally developed for use in astronomical observations – and with planetary orbits being highly periodic, it was a safe assumption).

    There are many phenomenon which appear periodic, but which are actually random – I’m sure you could come up with a “periodicity” of volcanic eruptions using time series analysis as well.

    Now, about that web site you linked to – solveclimate.com

    According to the Wayback Machine, it appeared around Oct 29 2007, with a list of standard industry PR topics – “replace dirty coal with clean coal”, etc. – and tellingly, no mention of solar or wind or biofuels. It also included a “we are running out of oil” theme – we are not running out of oil, and the Fossil Fuel age will not come to an end due to lack of fossil fuels – same as for the Stone Age. Finally, it attempts to portray the climate issue as a “left vs. right” issue, as in “Evagelicals “turn left” on climate.” Those are all industry PR themes.

    Let’s restate those PR themes for clarity:

    1) “Clean energy means clean coal”.

    2) “Fossil fuels are precious resources we cannot live without.”

    3) “Left-wing radicals push climate issues for political advantage.”

    Don’t forget that the fossil fuel PR industry has a very specific defintion of “victory” when it comes to climate issues, as seen in the leaked AIP report, 1998:

    http://www.euronet.nl/users/e_wesker/ew@shell/API-prop.html

    Quote:

    “Victory Will Be Achieved When:

    * Average citizens “understand” (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the “conventional wisdom”
    * Media “understands” (recognizes) uncertainties in climate science
    * Media coverage reflects balance on climate science and recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the current “conventional wisdom”
    * Industry senior leadership understands uncertainties in climate science, making them stronger ambassadors to those who shape climate policy
    * Those promoting the Kyoto treaty on the basis of extent science appears to be out of touch with reality.”

    Now, take a look at solveclimate.com on Kyoto:

    http://solveclimate.com/blog/20071031/kyoto-compliance-cost-japan-10-5-billion-only

    Okay, how many Americans would be willing to spend 21 bucks a ton for carbon from their households to allow the US of A to uphold Kyoto, raise your hands.

    [edit - be nice]

    Of course, the last thing the fossil fuel industry wants is a lot of vocal scientists pointing out the facts to the general public.

    The fossil fuel industry PR goal hasn’t changed – they’ve just replaced “Kyoto” with “Copenhagen.” The goal is still to prevent government regulation of fossil consumption, maintain government subsidies for fossil fuels, and prevent the rise of renewable competitors via political machinations.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Apr 2009 @ 1:53 PM

  72. Re: #60,

    R. Keene,

    Some things to note regarding various causes of global temperature change over the last millenium, and in recent times.

    1. The swings in global temperature haven’t been that great, a few tenths of a degree on average between MWP and LIA (land + ocean), although with more regional variation.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/294/5549/2149?hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&FIRSTINDEX=0&maxtoshow=&HITS=10&fulltext=%28solar+AND+forcing%29&searchid=1&resourcetype=HWCIT

    So even if one attributed the gradual trend in global temperature changes over those centuries to solar activity, the amount of change is relatively small and gradual compared with present warming.

    2. Solar activity seems likely to have played a role, as well as volcanic activity. The gradual cooling trend from MWP to LIA also saw an increase in volcanic activity. See section 6.6.3.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter6.pdf

    Also see Hank’s citation (#63) of a recent study on NAO and the MWP.

    Some other possible contributors on the LIA.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4755328.stm

    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2009/january7/manvleaf-010709.html

    I’d like to see an RC post on these at some point – how scientifically robust they are. I’m personally skeptical of a significant human impact on global climate change in mainly pre-industrial centuries.

    3. There are likely some noticeable short-term affects from the 11-year solar cycle, but this is reasonably constrained as well.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2008/

    4. Your graph also notes a slight decline in sunspot activity in the 2nd half of the century (a bit more so with the recent lull), yet temperatures have risen rapidly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Temp-sunspot-co2.svg

    Consequently, although I’ve seen a few claims to the contrary, solar activity can’t explain any significant amount of recent warming.

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/10/3713.full.pdf

    and has possibly been a cooling influence in recent decades:

    http://publishing.royalsociety.org/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf

    Comment by MarkB — 16 Apr 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  73. “I understand “uncertainties”, in general and as this thread represents.

    My point was there are many similar uncertainties with many aspects of the AGW theory. And obviously with climate in general.”

    There is little evidence of you understanding uncertainties.

    For you only posit that they can make a difference in reducing the problem of AGW. You’re oddly *certain* about that.

    And what effect do the uncertainties have?

    There are uncertainties about stellar physics. Does this mean that the sun is not warming the earth?

    Again, you seem unusually *certain* that these uncertainties mean we cannot say anything significant about the climate.

    Why are you so certain about these uncertainties? Especially when you say you understand what it means scientifically…

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 2:30 PM

  74. @ jaydee Says:
    16 April 2009 at 12:39 PM

    “R Keene 60.

    A quick comparison (not necessarily scientific), the graphs have been scaled for easier comparison.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/scale:200/plot/sidc-ssn

    Hope this helps clarify things.”

    I think that http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/scale:0.01/mean:200/from:1850/offset:-.8/plot/hadcrut3vnh/from/mean:40
    makes it even clearer.

    It’s obvious that the rise in temperature starting around 1920 reflects magnetospheric/GCR coupling from tachyon monopoles emitted concurrent with (Though the term ‘concurrent’ is a rather slippery concept in the context of the physics of tachyons) the rise in sunspots between ~1940 and 1960. My apologies for the timing; I posted this April 1st, based on my reading of GCR dependent cloud patterns, but it’s only showing up now because of some strange twist in causality…

    On another subject – my own previous post re GCR-charged CCN-rainfall – some googling led me to Mauas et al,APS » Phys. Rev. Lett. » Volume 101 » Issue 16
    Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 168501 (2008) [4 pages]
    Solar Forcing of the Stream Flow of a Continental Scale South American River

    “Here, we analyze the stream flow of one of the largest rivers in the world, the Paraná in southeastern South America. For the last century, we find a strong correlation with the sunspot number, in multidecadal time scales, and with larger solar activity corresponding to larger stream flow. The correlation coefficient is r=0.78, significant to a 99% level. In shorter time scales we find a strong correlation with El Niño.”

    I would think that more GCR = more clouds = more rain, even leaving out any charged aerosol attraction effects. Apparently not, at least in the Paraná watershed. Maybe it’s something to do with those damn slippery tachyons….

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 16 Apr 2009 @ 3:03 PM

  75. Ike,

    Regarding solveclimate.com and Kyoto:
    :”Within two months of taking power, Bush rejected US participation in the Kyoto Protocol. It was — and continues to be — one of the most stunning political betrayals in environmental history.”
    http://solveclimate.com/solutions/sign-global-treaty

    On “replace dirty coal with clean coal”:
    “The phrase “clean coal” defies common sense, but hear it often enough, and it starts to sound real. It isn’t. When you hear “clean coal” think of a unicorn, and you’ll be closest to the truth. ”
    [...]
    “The best thing going is a thing called IGCC — Integrated Combined Cycle Gasification — which is a power plant that produces less emissions that a traditional plant that burns pulverized coal. It has yet to be proven reliable — there are only 2 of them in operation in the US as of 2007. They also cost much more to build, so the electricity they would generate would cost 30% more. So there’s not much point in building these things because the same investment in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy alternatives would produce the electricity needed at similar cost without a wisp of CO2.”

    http://solveclimate.com/solutions/no-more-dirty-coal

    On clean energy:
    http://solveclimate.com/solutions/clean-energy

    Comment by manu — 16 Apr 2009 @ 3:12 PM

  76. Ike, you need to spend more time reading solveclimate.com, you’ve really misrepresented it. Took me about two minutes wandering around to see that.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 4:19 PM

  77. “…tachyon monopoles…”

    ?!!

    o moderators, where art thou ?

    [Response: I think it was supposed to be satire (tachyons being faster than light particles which therefore allow one to reverse causality) - gavin]

    Comment by sidd — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:03 PM

  78. “I would think that more GCR = more clouds = more rain, even leaving out any charged aerosol attraction effects. ”

    Yes, you could think that.

    Now, if the clouds were low down, they would keep things warm. If high up, they keep things cool.

    And there’s only rain when there’s ENOUGH moisture to make a volume of water condense into one element too large for updrafts to keep there.

    Ever wonder why you don’t get drizzle from altostratus or cirrostratus clouds? They DO fall. But they fall through dryer air (if it were moist, there’d be lower clouds beneath them) and dry out before hitting the ground.

    So you could, ironically enough, get LESS rain by promoting nucleation. The effect you WOULD get is a deepening of the moist layer. And remember what low cloud does to temperatures..?

    I do NOT know enough to work out which is the bigger effect or how well it balances out.

    But I *do* know enough to know that I don’t know. And enough to know when someone’s ideas are only half thought through.

    Come on, this is O level Physical Geography. Or was in my day.

    Comment by Mark — 16 Apr 2009 @ 5:48 PM

  79. Note to anonymous commentators: it’s clear that solveclimate.com ignores solar, wind and biofuel energy, which really are the only plausible large-scale replacements for fossil fuels.

    This is something of the new approach by the fossil fuel PR industry – lacking any valid scientific results that challenge the IPCC conclusions and those of more recent research, they have resorted to deceptive tactics which appear to be aimed at “solving climate” but in reality simply provide cover for business-as-usual – the technical term is “greenwashing”.

    In other news, we have another Science paper out on the role of the Atlantic Ocean – seems to be a “banging of the AMO drum” paper, which has has already received coverage at numerous sites. The actual gist of the paper can be seen in this quote:

    The cause of the anomalously long periods of drought?

    Their research suggests that changes in sea surface temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean play a key role in sustaining drought over this region for decades to centuries, supporting other recent research using climate models. On 30- to 60-year intervals, sustained periods of wet and dry conditions appear to be directly linked to a hypothesized mode of climate variability termed the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Because long, high resolution records of ancient climate from the Atlantic are sparse, the existence of such a mode has been questioned by scientists.

    “This paper provides a long-term context suggesting that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation does actually exist,” said Shanahan. “Our rainfall records are strongly related to these really distant sea surface temperature reconstructions, at least on this multidecadal time scale. It suggests that the rainfall patterns are being generated by the sea surface temperature patterns and not by some other influence.”

    Going to a single site, taking a core, and deriving the entire climate history for the past three thousand years from it is a bit questionable… and another press release says this:

    “Support for our geochemical interpretations also came from evidence for past lake stands during drought periods, including a partially submerged forest, which grew during a century-long drought only a few hundred years ago when the lake was much lower,” added Shanahan.”

    Not quite sure how that correlates with the “30 to 60 year oscillation” of the AMO. For a different interpretation, see Tropical Atlantic Cooling And African Deforestation Correlate To Drought, Report Scientists

    Weldeab says that man’s reduction of inland vegetation cover through deforestation and overgrazing in equatorial Africa and increases in global temperatures through the emission of greenhouse gases will likely strongly affect the African monsoon system in the future.

    “The weakening of the monsoon has a huge effect,” says Weldeab, “resulting in shortages of harvests and hunger.”

    As vegetation is cleared, the land loses its capacity to retain heat and becomes cooler. As the land cools relative to the ocean, there is a larger gradient between the ocean temperature and the land causing less moisture to be pulled from the ocean air toward the land.

    This has something to do with aerosols (not the GCR variety) in that dry periods in Africa are expected to increase mineral dust loading over the Atlantic, which should cool the ocean, not warm it – which makes you wonder even more about the “AMO”. Notice also that the current drought is not a regional phenomenon brought on by natural variability, but a consequence of a warming atmosphere and expanding Hadley cells across all subtropical belts.

    In any case, this particular topic certainly shows that climate science is not a settled issue – the part about CO2 and other greenhouse gases warming the climate is well understood, but there is a great deal of very active research into the regional effects.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 16 Apr 2009 @ 9:17 PM

  80. Ike Solem

    “Stanford and DOE – they are also big backers of carbon capture and sequestration. They say that 90% of carbon emissions from coal plants can be captured this way – not that they have any working prototypes to support such claims.”

    From the information I’ve seen, CCS will not be cheap. Estimates for power from coal with CCS are about 16 cents/kWh. How will that compete with wind at 6-8 cents or so now, solar thermal at under 10cents /kWh in probably 4 years and 4-8 cents/kWh in ten years or less? Or PV solar for that matter? And they are far cleaner than coal even with CCS. The NREL estimates that California deserts have the potential for at least 640 GW of solar thermal w/ heat storage, just on land with 1% slope or less, and avoiding environmentally sensitive areas. Land up to 3% slope is considered good. California’s total generating capacity is now 58 GW, from all sources.

    “Solar and wind provide clean electricity with no need for water for cooling, but are intermittent power sources and require storage technologies, batteries or fuel cells.”

    Well, solar thermal has it’s own heat storage, which happens to be much cheaper than storing electricity in batteries.

    By the way, concentrated PV solar does need cooling, one Israili company is turning this into an asset, by producing electricity and hot water from CPV. Solar thermal can be air or water cooled.

    Also, I believe the intermittency issue is far overblown. Denmark has managed with 20% wind energy. They trade it to Germany for base load power. There is a good argument that base load is also overhyped; and that the dispatchable power from solar thermal has more value, particularly when trying to balance and intergrate the new energy sources into the grid.

    “Why CSP should not try to be Coal”

    http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/2009/04/why_csp_should_not_try_to_be_coal.html

    He argues that Joe Romm shouldn’t call it solar base load, but because he agrees with him, that it’s better than base load.

    http://climateprogress.org/2008/07/28/solar-baseload-update/
    Solar baseload update

    The Base Load Fallacy
    Author: Mark Diesendorf energyscience.org.au

    http://www.energyscience.org.au/BP16%20BaseLoad.pdf

    Comment by Richard Mercer — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:01 PM

  81. Here’s the mission statement from CivicActions, who owns “solveclimate.com”.

    Ike Solem claims it’s an industry shill site.

    Doesn’t sound like it to me:

    CivicActions provides strategic Internet consulting, technology planning, visual and information design, web content creative and management, constituent relationship management, e-advocacy, e-canvass and online fundraising tools. Our services empower distributed networks to protect the environment, advance peace, improve public health, promote education, champion social and economic justice and increase human potential.

    Here are the deep-cover industry shills Ike Solem warns us against.

    I’m sure they’ll be as surprised as you are to realize they’re just programmed robots working against their own values.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 10:57 PM

  82. This is something of the new approach by the fossil fuel PR industry – lacking any valid scientific results that challenge the IPCC conclusions and those of more recent research, they have resorted to deceptive tactics which appear to be aimed at “solving climate” but in reality simply provide cover for business-as-usual – the technical term is “greenwashing”.

    I’d say at this point it’s up to Ike Solem to prove that CivicActions is funded by the fossil fuel industry, which in order to provide deep cover is funding, among things like world peace and the like, endorsement of Union of Concerned Scientists recommendations that fossil fuel consumption be deeply cut.

    Show us your source that proves that this is actually industry-funded, Solem. Otherwise, quit slandering.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:00 PM

  83. Here is Ike Solem’s definition of “business as usual”, from solveclimate.com (which adopts the Union of Concerned Scientists recommendations).

    Does this sound like a fossil fuel industry recommendation to you?

    Renewable portfolio standard requiring electricity suppliers to gradually increase renewable energy (except for hydropower)from about 2% today to 20% by 2020

    Energy security trust fund (or public benefi trust fund) created by a 2/10ths of a cent/kWh charge on electricity (about $1 per month for a typical household).

    Production tax credits of 1.7¢/kWh for renewable energy extended and expanded to cover all clean, non-hydropower renewable resources

    Net metering. It allows consumers who generate their own electricity with renewable energy systems to sell their surplus power by spinning their meters backward

    Research and development spending on renewable energy and efficiency increased 60% over three years

    Combined heat and power plants supported by incentives for efficient plants that produce both electricity and useful heat

    National efficiency standards that include minimum standards for a dozen energy-consuming products

    State building codes upgraded to model codes established in 1999 and 2000 and to more advanced codes by 2010

    Tax incentives to encourage improving the energy efficiency of buildings and equipment beyond minimum standards

    Industrial efficiency measures to improve industry’s efficiency by 1% to 2% each year

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  84. Of course, that’s all targetting coal-fired electrical plants, not automobiles, but don’t I keep hearing that coal’s the #1 problem?

    And isn’t coal a fossil fuel?

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:11 PM

  85. Here, solveclimate.com endorses Big Oil’s position that CAFE standards should be abandoned:

    The first and easiest thing to remedy: the average fuel efficiency of America’s vehicles — among the worst in the world, behind the standards prevailing in China, Canada, South Korea, Australia, Japan and the European Union.

    Oh, wait, they *don’t* take the industry position.

    Comment by dhogaza — 16 Apr 2009 @ 11:14 PM

  86. 31:
    It is possible to build air cooled Nuclear plants. They would be more costly and less efficient than water cooled ones, but it can be done. Note water would still be used as a heat transfer mechanism, but it is in a closed loop.

    Comment by Thomas — 17 Apr 2009 @ 12:19 AM

  87. Brian Dodge (74),
    You wrote: “more GCR = more clouds = more rain”
    The last part is incorrect. The causality would be more CCN = more but smaller droplets = less rain (since rain formation requires the droplets to grow large enough to fall down).

    Mark (78),
    You wrote: “if the clouds were low down, they would keep things warm. If high up, they keep things cool.”
    It’s opposite in general. See e.g. here and here. The colder (=higher) the cloud, the less energy (re-radiated from absorbed IR) they radiate into space, so the more the atmosphere will warm.

    (Captcha: Barth sculptures ?!)

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 17 Apr 2009 @ 2:19 AM

  88. CivicActions only built and host the solveclimate.com site. They built it for a New York PR Consulting company called ScienceFirst Inc – http://civicactions.com/projects/solveclimate . ScienceFirst does not seem to have its own website and there is no indication within solveclimate.com on who funded ScienceFirst to build the site in the first place.

    Captcha – game rookies

    Comment by AD — 17 Apr 2009 @ 2:37 AM

  89. “It’s opposite in general.”

    I thought otherwise. Hey, it’s been about 24 years since I did physical geography at school.

    But then you have the same issues, just they start the other way round and progress oppositely.

    And you still don’t get drizzle from high cloud.

    Thanks for correcting me on the way round, though.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Apr 2009 @ 4:40 AM

  90. “Here’s the mission statement from CivicActions, who owns “solveclimate.com”.

    Ike Solem claims it’s an industry shill site.”

    Maybe rather than attacking Ike, ask where he got the impression they were a shill site?

    For every action, there is an opposite and equal action that act on different bodies.

    Yell him down, he’ll yell you down.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Apr 2009 @ 4:42 AM

  91. John Finn writes:

    there is no evidence of any increase in aerosol production in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

    World War II ring a bell? Massive ramp-up of industry? The US coming out of the Depression like an express train and turning out thousands of liberty ships and flying fortresses?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 17 Apr 2009 @ 4:53 AM

  92. Bart Verheggen, thanks very much for the interesting post and the discussion that followed.

    Having watched RC for some time, it is realy performing a great service. Thanks to Gavin and all the others who give their time.

    Plimer is loading us up again with a new book.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/beware-the-climate-of-conformity-20090412-a3ya.html?page=-1

    Can you guys do a ripost to this rundown of the content?

    Comment by Ricki (Australia) — 17 Apr 2009 @ 6:48 AM

  93. Re: 53

    [Response: Your logical faculties seem to fail you in the last line. That is discussing global mean temperatures, not the Arctic.- gavin]

    Gavin,

    With respect to the mid-20th century cooling (and to a lesser extent the 2 warming periods), the arctic dominates the cooling. Cooling in the arctic was 4 times as much as any other region. Your response imples that cooling between 24N and 64N was due to aerosols, but above 64N it was due to something else entirely.

    This has to be true because of the number of studies which find that the effect of aerosols in the arctic is warming. So the increased cooling effect of aerosols in the NH mid-latitudes (which I don’t accept) must have resulted in an increased warming effect in the arctic. Despite this GISS suggests the arctic cooled by ~1 deg C.

    I focused on the arctic because it provides a much clearer indication of the shifts that have taken place. My bet is that the arctic just amplifies what’s happening in the lower NH latitudes (or the NH gets a reduced effect of the arctic – take your pick)

    Re: 58

    John Finn, Uh, where do you think that much of the energy that warms the high latitudes comes from? Here’s a hint: it’s not just sunlight. Warm ocean currents play a major role in warming the polar regions.

    Yes, Ray, thanks. So why bother invoking aerosols to explain the long term climate shifts (as the IPCChas done). We’ve seen 3 strong shifts in arctic temperatures in the past century – all of which are almost certainly due to ocean current shifts.

    As to the change in aerosol emissions. Hmmm. What historical event started in the late 30s and increased industrial output? What could it be? Oh yeah! WWII!! You remember. And then there was the rebuilding of Europe

    Any Data by any chance? I think you need to gain some perspective on the “increased industrial output”. The early 1940s were nothing as compared to what happened in the post-1950 period and the huge invcrease in mass produced cars and domestic goods.

    A decent proxy for industrial production would be …. CO2 emissions. See here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png.

    Note between ~1920 and 1950 there is very little change. Yet you’re claiming that an increase in industrial production in the early 1940s was sufficient to a) stop a strong global warming trend of ~0.13 deg per decade (since ~1915) and b) actually reverse it to produce a cooling trend.

    Let’s just say I’m moderately sceptical on the issue.

    Comment by John Finn — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:01 AM

  94. Re: 91

    World War II ring a bell? Massive ramp-up of industry? The US coming out of the Depression like an express train and turning out thousands of liberty ships and flying fortresses?

    Yes it does but the “ramp up” in production was nothing compared to the 1950s (see my other post) and doesn’t even measure a blip in the output of CO2 emissions (see graph – used as a proxy for aerosols). I also note the US is used to represent “global” again.

    Comment by John Finn — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:07 AM

  95. Re #80, We are going to beam it down from space now.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/16/solar-energy-farms-space

    This is simply another idea just because of the constant supply argument.The USA has vast wind corridors and some very good CSP abilities but some people just long for sci fi solutions and it is getting tiresome.

    Comment by pete best — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:50 AM

  96. “Beware the climate of conformity”

    Well, there’s a problem to begin with.

    Is gravity a false theory just because people conform to the idea that “things fall down”?

    “The most important point to remember about Plimer is that he is Australia’s most eminent geologist.”

    And when your surgeon is operating, do you want to know if he’s got a medical degree or is a certified chartered accountant?

    “but he fundamentally disputes most of the assumptions and projections being made about the current causes, mostly led by atmospheric scientists, who have a different perspective on time.”

    This does not mean that different perspective makes HIM right and the atmospheric scientists wrong.

    “If we look at the last 6 million years, the Earth was warmer than it is now for 3 million years.”

    And there have been fewer humans in the last 100,000 years than the last 100. Do we cull the human population. What does this have to do with current changes?

    “Is the temperature range observed in the 20th century outside the range of normal variability? No.”

    And? If I’m up on a murder charge, how much mileage do you think I will get explaining to the judge that I can’t be guilty because the observed mortality rate observed when I went on my putative killing spree was within the range of normal variability?

    “To reduce modern climate change to one variable, CO2, or a small proportion of one variable ”

    Strawman.

    Read the IPCC report on attribution.

    Is there more than one line there?

    Yes. So that statement isn’t applicable.

    “To try to predict the future based on just one variable (CO2) in extraordinarily complex natural systems is folly. ”

    And GCM’s don’t use just one variable.

    “Over time, the history of CO2 content in the atmosphere has been far higher than at present for most of time.”

    And, Milord Judge, there have been many more people killed before I was born so I cannot have killed all those people.

    “The hypothesis that human activity can create global warming is extraordinary because it is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archaeology and geology.”

    Nope, it’s within all of them.

    Solar physics: the sunspots are darker because the optical depth at which you “see” a surface is higher.

    Astronomy: the absorbtion spectra are because the optical depth at which you “see” a surface is higher when there is an absorbtion line in the gasses.

    Archaeology has litte to say on HUMAN caused CO2 production because we haven’t drilled oil for that long.

    Geology doesn’t concern itself with anything other than ***finding*** oil, not burning it and it proves that CO2 has a large effect on temperature ranges over the planet’s history.

    “Observations in nature differ markedly from the results generated by nearly two dozen computer-generated climate models.”

    Not markedly different.

    “Natural systems are far more complex than computer models.”

    But so complex that no computer model can simulate the broad-picture? If this were true, modern aircraft would be falling out of the sky because they are designed by computer model.

    “The setting up by the UN of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1988 gave an opportunity to make global warming the main theme of environmental groups.”

    This is no proof that the science is wrong, just proof that the writer has a problem with environmental groups.

    “He is a prize-winning scientist and professor.”

    And what about the other (more numerous) prize winning scientists and professors who say AGW is real and correct? If your metric for believing someone is how they have won prizes, you would be for AGW.

    The whole piece is hand-waving that would put Magnus Pike to shame.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:57 AM

  97. This is off topic — sorry. A survey just announced shows that only 47% of the US thinks that AGW is real.

    See the depressing story at

    http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=238

    Burgy

    Comment by John Burgeson — 17 Apr 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  98. Hank Roberts (70):

    Bart Verheggen asked me to reply to your comment.

    “Dr. Verheggen, the paper you gave us above (the “recent follow up study”) is open for comment; the one commenter points out that many more simulations could have been run picking different numbers from within the range of uncertainty, but says “I understand how expensive these simulations are, so I don’t recommend running any new simulations.”

    Can you say something about the cost of doing these simulations?”

    I can really only speak from personal experience with the models that Peter Adams and I have used, but the GLOMAP/TOMCAT model that Ken Carslaw’s group uses (used in the paper you mention) has a similar aerosol microphysics scheme to ours, so the “costs” are likely also similar. By “costs” I am referring to computational time, not a monetary value (though there probably is some conversion).

    For these models with online aerosol microphysics, simulating one year takes on the order of one month of real time if it is ran on a single processor. Therefore, if you have 8 processors to work with, you could simulate one year in a few days by parallelizing the code with 100% efficiency (though efficiencies are generally much lower, so the computation time would be longer), or you could run 8 simulations at the same time and have each simulation take about 1 month.

    With most journals, you only have about a month to revise your paper (though they may honor extensions), so I tend to be conscientious of the time it takes to simulate new runs. Obviously, if I feel that there are major issues with a paper that require new runs, I’ll ask for these runs to be done. However, my opinion is that the referenced paper above is solid and contributes new information to the field, so it is better to address the uncertainties verbally and publish the paper quickly. There are currently about 5 groups publishing papers on how cloud condensation nuclei and cloud droplet number have changed between pre-industrial times and today and the uncertainties associated with this calculation, so it is highly likely that future papers will explicitly explore these uncertainties in more detail.

    Comment by Jeff Pierce — 17 Apr 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  99. Burgie,
    And about the same percentage believe in evolution (within errors as a matter of fact). It merely shows us that we’ve got our work cut out for us. As George Carlin says, “The average person is an idiot, and 50% are stupider than that.”

    Polls like this provide pretty strong support for that assertion.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Apr 2009 @ 10:33 AM

  100. There are no shovel-ready solutions for CO2 from coal plants. Coal power is the largest source of CO2 emissions in the US and worldwide. China is going to build 800,000 MW of new coal-fired generation in the next decade, an amount 2.5 times the current installed base of US coal-fired power plants. Renewables (with the possible exception of concentrating solar) are not suitable replacements for coal as baseload power because renewables are intermittent and storage is an unsolved problem. The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%.

    There will be no money in the US for any new CO2 technology to be developed. Future research money at DOE has already been allocated ($80 billion to 16 contractors, awarded at the close of the Bush administration). http://www1.eere.energy.gov/ femp/ news/ news_detail.html?news_id=12150

    Because of that allocation, the US is already committed to drill further into the dry hole of chemical carbon capture (amine and chilled ammonia scrubbing of flue gas) and underground storage (sequestration). Chemical capture is not scalable, particularly not for huge volumes of hot and dirty flue gas from existing pulverized coal plants, and sequestration is not practical. http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d081080.pdf

    Comment by Wilmot McCutchen — 17 Apr 2009 @ 11:29 AM

  101. Re: #95,

    John Burgeson,

    The good news is that 47% is also up from 41% in June 2006. Although the press release is new, it references a survey from about a year ago:

    http://people-press.org/report/417/a-deeper-partisan-divide-over-global-warming

    This study compares public opinion with scientific opinion on the issue:

    http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

    Comment by MarkB — 17 Apr 2009 @ 12:01 PM

  102. “Note to anonymous commentators: it’s clear that solveclimate.com ignores solar, wind and biofuel energy, which really are the only plausible large-scale replacements for fossil fuels.[...] they have resorted to deceptive tactics which appear to be aimed at “solving climate” but in reality simply provide cover for business-as-usual[...]”.Ike,

    No Ike, what “is clear” is that you have no argument to sustain your prejudiced opinion based on 2 min googling of internet archives (or Wayback Machining). Your blatantly misleading quote prove only that you did not understand what you’ve read (or did not want to). Their position on the need for the US to ratify international agreements and do their part is clear, their position concerning the “deception” of the “clean coal” is clear, their position for a need to mandate increases in energy efficiency is clear, their position for an increase in the share of renewable energies is clear, their endorsement of IPCC and Union of Concerned Scientists conclusions is clear.

    What is not clear is why you think they support business as usual to follow a secret fossil energy industry agenda.

    As for them ignoring solar: http://solveclimate.com/search/node/solar
    or wind: http://solveclimate.com/search/node/wind

    Comment by manu — 17 Apr 2009 @ 12:24 PM

  103. Re 60. R. Keene.

    Hi R.,

    I have read your recent edition of the book Skywatch West and listened to one of your lectures to CU college students.

    I suggest that you submit your interesting figures on climate change that I saw to peer review so we can get a feeling of where everyone is.

    Comment by Richard Ordway — 17 Apr 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  104. Wilmot McCutchen wrote: “… storage is an unsolved problem.”

    Storage is not an unsolved problem. We have plenty of technologies for storing energy, including compressed air, pumped water, flywheels, batteries and hydrogen. It’s true that these technologies have not been widely implemented yet. That doesn’t mean that they don’t exist or cannot be deployed at least as rapidly as CCS for coal-fired power plants.

    Moreover, the need for storage in a renewables-based grid is exaggerated. Multiple studies have found that a diversified, regional portfolio of renewable electricity generation including wind, solar, geothermal and biomass can produce baseload power that is at least as reliable as coal.

    Wilmot McCutchen wrote: “The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%.”

    That is one of many problems with the existing grid. Which is why every serious proposal for dealing with our energy needs, whether with renewables or nuclear or even just to keep doing what we are doing now, recognizes that we need a major upgrade of the grid.

    And the proposals for a “smart grid” that are integral to every proposal for a completely or mostly renewables-based system all focus on making the grid able to handle diverse, centralized and decentralized, large and small, baseload and intermittent, electricity producers.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 17 Apr 2009 @ 2:55 PM

  105. #79 Ike
    James Hansen would not agree with your assumption that solar, wind and biofuel energy are the only plausible large-scale replacements for fossil fuels.
    Mr. Hansen suggests 3rd Generation Nuclear plants (IFR+LFTR) are the realistic answer to replace coal.
    I would agree with him and suggest we get on board to support a crash building program of these modern nuke technologies or sit back and watch the Chinese do it while our powergrids brown-out on cloudy or windless days.
    Thanks
    William

    Comment by william — 17 Apr 2009 @ 3:02 PM

  106. a minor secondry question. Do most CRs hitting Earth come from our Sun? near all??

    Comment by Rod B — 17 Apr 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  107. “Time will tell, of course.”

    Agreed!

    Comment by bsneath — 17 Apr 2009 @ 4:34 PM

  108. Mark 17 April 2009 at 7:57 AM
    said,
    “But so complex that no computer model can simulate the broad-picture? If this were true, modern aircraft would be falling out of the sky because they are designed by computer model.”

    Wow what a giant leap.

    But thanks for inadvertently making one of the skeptic’s most germane points.
    Unlike computer modeling for modern aircraft which gets proven with built aircraft being tested and perfected, AGW computer models have no such testing or validation available. Yet AGW modeling is treated by Mark, et al, as if it is as reliable as test computer modeling?

    Mark’s suggestion that AGW computer modeling is as reliable as modern aircraft computer modeling speaks volumes.
    Read my mind for more.

    Comment by John H. — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:12 PM

  109. For those who claim that renewables do not have storage solutions, please see Germany’s prototype approaches using wind, biogas and solar:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR8gEMpzos4

    Likewise, how do you think all the off-the-grid locations store power for use at night? Do satellites go off-line when they traverse the night side of the Earth?

    A real list of “solutions for climate” would include:

    1) A clearly stated goal: elimination of fossil fuel combustion and replacement with renewable energy sources.

    2) A scientific description of the renewable energy sources, distribution systems and energy storage facilities that would be needed – solar, biofuels, wind, and tidal.

    3) A plan for setting up a technologically advanced fossil fuel-free agricultural system that also involves good water conservation – solar electric tractors, biohydrogen-based fertilizers, etc.

    4) A plan for providing industrial-strength renewable energy solutions for major critical industries, especially steel and cement production, but also for other manufactured goods.

    5) A plan for replacing global fossil-fueled transportation systems with renewable energy-powered transportation.

    6) Plans for dealing with inevitable climate change – at the top of the list are water conservation and management for drought, sea wall engineering for low-lying areas.

    By the way, no one is ever going to beam solar to Earth – the costs would be ridiculously high, for one thing, and what if the “energy beam” (what is this, Buck Rogers?) drifted off-target? We already know how to build 1 GW solar thermal plants, after all.

    Getting back to aerosols: see the DotEarth discussion on the recent paper on Atlantic forcing of African droughts:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/debate-over-climate-risks-natural-or-not/

    Is there still an ongoing debate over whether global warming is natural or anthropogenic? That title sure seems to indicate that there is still a “valid controversy”.

    Let’s review one possible mechanism for locking African droughts into megadroughts: as the Sahel dries up, more dust is produced. The dust goes out over the Atlantic, cooling SSTs. Cool SSTs force more drought… or do they? Perhaps SSTs only indirectly exert effects via influencing shifts in atmospheric circulation… which is also sensitive to land-atmosphere feedbacks. Does this indicate a complicated feedback loop between dry conditions, expansion of the Sahara, and Atlantic SSTs (at least in West Africa)?

    Brian Fagan says this in his recent book, “The Great Warming”

    “Today, climate in the Sahel leaps abruptly and without warning from one mode to another in a completely unpredictable manner.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 17 Apr 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  110. Rod, When we are talking about cosmic rays energetic enough to interact with Earth’s atmosphere, we are talking almost exclusively about Galactic Cosmic Rays(GCR). GCR are accelerated by shock waves of supernovae and have a median energy of about 1 GeV (equivalent to a proton mass) per nucleon–thus, they have about as much kinetic energy as mass-energy. GCR fluxes are on the order of 5 particles per square cm per second. The highest fluxes occur when the solar wind is weakest (solar minimum) and the lowest at solar max.
    Most solar particles get trapped by geomagnetic field lines and for the Van Allen Belts of trapped particles. Eventually they spiral toward Earth’s poles and interact with oxygen and nitrogen in the far reaches of the upper atmosphere, producing aurorae. Only the biggest solar particle events produce particles energetic enough to penetrate even into the upper atmosphere. The Carrington event (1854) produced aurorae visible as far south as Havana! Hope that helps.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Apr 2009 @ 8:34 PM

  111. Do most CRs hitting Earth come from our Sun? near all??

    Near none if not absolutely none. Nothing the Sun is known to do can produce particles with 1 GeV or more of kinetic energy.

    (How fire can be domesticated)

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan until ~1996 — 17 Apr 2009 @ 9:01 PM

  112. “The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%.”

    Argh.

    No, the grid becomes very EXPENSIVE if renewables are more than 20%. However, that is very old news and there have been enough solutions over the past few years (including a few patents I’ve filed myself) to make that limitation go away.

    On topic …

    The current GCR count is at an all-time high since 1964 according to the Oulu website that’s been mentioned, so I’m unclear where the “hasn’t changed much” claim comes from.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 17 Apr 2009 @ 10:24 PM

  113. Mark’s suggestion that AGW computer modeling is as reliable as modern aircraft computer modeling speaks volumes.
    Read my mind for more.

    Reading … reading … your mind is empty.

    Aircraft modeling is more akin to weather modeling than climate modeling, and we know which is more accurate.

    Yet … modern airplanes fly.

    Comment by dhogaza — 17 Apr 2009 @ 11:23 PM

  114. “AGW computer models have no such testing or validation available.”

    Yes, they do.

    You see, what happens is that there are AT LEAST two ways of validating the model:

    1) Run for a different period in the past. Start up with a known profile from the past. Let the model run. Does the subsequent change in the model reflect the historic record of what happened next?

    Yes?

    Then it’s physically realistic. Tested.

    2) Run for the future. Start off with today’s weather. Wait. Did the model match what really happened? If yes, then it’s physically realistic.

    Tested.

    Now, why do you think that the models aren’t tested?

    Merely because you BELIEVE with all your heart and soul that AGW is a myth. Anything that could back that assertion up is accepted as gospel.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Apr 2009 @ 5:36 AM

  115. Wilmot McCutcheon writes:

    Renewables (with the possible exception of concentrating solar) are not suitable replacements for coal as baseload power because renewables are intermittent and storage is an unsolved problem. The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%.

    Do you have a source for these assertions?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 18 Apr 2009 @ 6:06 AM

  116. Of course Wilmot doesn’t. If he had one, it would be a solid statement that can be tested for truth of falsity. So it’s better not to have a source and just assert away.

    He isn’t trying to convince you, he’s just trying to put stuff up that will give people who believe the same way a talking point. A talking point where they won’t have to (or be expected to) produce any proof.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Apr 2009 @ 6:42 AM

  117. In re #115:

    Barton,

    This had been studied and it was found that at a 20% penetration for renewables, the cost of base power was matched by the costs for the reserves that make the grid function. Since regulatory power reserves are more expensive than base power, minor increases in renewable energy result in significant increases in regulatory power and cost.

    What’s changed is how grid loads are being managed today in a number of regions. The work I was doing before my former employer decided I needed to become self-employed will greatly reduce the amount of regulation the grid needs without all the fancy “Smart Grid” foolishness I often read about.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 18 Apr 2009 @ 7:30 AM

  118. “Since regulatory power reserves are more expensive than base power, minor increases in renewable energy result in significant increases in regulatory power and cost.”

    There’s no such thing as “base power” – that’s just a trick the utilities use to jack up electrical bills. You get so many kWH of “base power”, then you get additional charges for “above baseload” – but all you are doing is buying power. Imagine if you were buying some other product, and you were not given a discount for buying in bulk – you were instead charged more.

    The last thing the utility wants you to do is to generate your own power, because then you don’t pay them anything. In reality, if renewable generation exceeds 20% than an investor-owned private utility becomes unprofitable – except for the owners of the generation systems – and why not? If you are generating power, why shouldn’t you be able to sell it for the same rate that a coal-fired power station does? Just to protect the bottom line of utility-coal-railroad holding companies?

    As far as smart grids, those are better referred to as load-balancing grids – see the youtube video on Germany’s experiment. See any problems there?

    Of course, renewables would also eliminate the problem of black carbon aerosols.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 18 Apr 2009 @ 9:37 AM

  119. FurryCatHerder (112) — We are currently experiencing a deep, protracted solar minimum the likes of which has not been seen since 1913 CE. So one expects a bit more GCR flux.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 Apr 2009 @ 2:27 PM

  120. Ike,

    I think you’ve demonstrated what you completely don’t know about electric power generation.

    “Base load” is based on day-ahead predictions and is met by large plants that operate most efficiently at either a large and fixed value of output, or at very slowly varying values of output. It’s not some scam to keep you from doing a load of wash on in the afternoon instead of the evening.

    The expensive stuff comes from fast reacting generators that can’t just churn out 100′s of megawatts all day long. They aren’t some ploy to rip you off. They really are more expensive to operate, to some extent because they are less efficient, and to some extent because there are missed-opportunity costs with the unused capacity waiting for someone to turn on their toaster oven, microwave, blow dryer, and vacuum cleaner all at once. That’s why there is a discount for being CONSISTENT. Because if you are CONSISTENT, then the utility can better predict how much power to produce with the cheap generators. It’s when you are INCONSISTENT that you cause the utility to bring more expensive, regulatory generation on-line.

    The problem is also not with self-generation (and I’ve been off-grid 14 out of 18 days so far this month) that they aren’t making money — my neighbors pay about $0.13 / KWH and I paid $0.16 / KWH last month. They make even more money, per KWH generated, off someone like me, than off someone who is grid-connected all the time. My “base” bill is about $9 a month, no matter how little I use. At $0.16 / KWH, that’s the same as 56 KWH I don’t even use, and this time of year I might only use 100 KWH from them — they get to charge me 33% more than my neighbors, per KWH used, and I get to turn them off and have a 100 KWH bill (plus the $9 for being connected) for the month. They charge me for being connected, I get the security of having the grid around when a storm system passes through for a few days, we’re both happy.

    So, the reality of renewable energy generation is far from the conspiratorial gloom-and-doom that shows up on boards like this. It works great, I’ve been doing it at home for nearly two years, I have tiny little electric bills, and I don’t have power outages like my neighbors. Life is truly great in renewable energy land.

    Some of the technologies I worked on, when I was with the Three Letter Company I used to work for, will not only make the grid work better (which is goodness for the utilities), but they will also create partnership opportunities between generators, transmission line owners, retail and wholesale providers, and distributed generation producers. Entire new kinds of businesses are going to emerge, and the different players will be able to create profit centers by doing so. There are many creative ideas going on out there, including some that are fairly sadistic (the IP law team that reviewed one of mine went “Oh, that is MEAN!” when I described one to them) that will shift the burden onto people who insist on being hostile towards the electric grid, while rewarding consumers who cooperate. And why shouldn’t the grid work that way?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 18 Apr 2009 @ 4:07 PM

  121. FurryCatHerder, you are being a bit coy about the “many creative ideas going on out there” that the rest of evidently need to know about. Is there some place the rest of us can read about them?

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 18 Apr 2009 @ 7:35 PM

  122. John H. says, “Unlike computer modeling for modern aircraft which gets proven with built aircraft being tested and perfected, AGW computer models have no such testing or validation available. ”

    Buuuzzzzz!

    Ohhh! Too bad, but thank you for playing!!

    Climate models reproduce the trends of both paleoclimate and the modern climate. They have nailed the effects of perturbations like volcanic eruptions.

    But, hey, if you don’t like the climate models, produce your own. Just try and construct a model tha produces an even vaguely Earthlike climate without a significant CO2 forcing. Go ahead… we’ll wait.

    {…}

    Sure is quiet.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Apr 2009 @ 7:43 PM

  123. #31 said:

    “Of course, nuclear provides heat without combustion, but suffers from the need for vast amounts of cold water to cool the reactor and transfer energy to the steam turbine that generates electricity.”

    This cold water (or cold something) is, of course, required for any thermal power source, and is by no means unique to nuclear power. Read it, learn it, love it, because there is no escaping it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnot_heat_engine.

    Comment by Douglas McClean — 18 Apr 2009 @ 8:01 PM

  124. (Of course, you can use an evaporation tower to turn warmish water into coldish waster, as long as the surrounding air is dry enough. The same tricks here, and the same sizing requirements for the evaporation tower, apply to all of the “first, make something hot” schemes of power generation, which is basically all of them except for hydro dams and solar photovoltaics.

    Comment by Douglas McClean — 18 Apr 2009 @ 8:05 PM

  125. Um, I’m guessing that the 20% figure relates to the US, and reflects the way that the US Grid has been built. There is no reason that it should not be higher, *if* the grid was designed to cope with it.

    Here in New Zealand, renewable energy (hydro, wind and geothermal) averages about 65% of generation; in December 2008 it reached 74%. Of course, our grid is designed with this in mind, even though there are considerable distribution problems. Most of the hydro power is in the South Island, while most of the people live in the North Island, so the grid has to be pretty efficient at long-distance distribution. If NZ can manage this, I don’t see any reason why the US can’t.

    Comment by CTG — 18 Apr 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  126. Hi, this is OT again, but this is a really interesting article (based on an interview with Obama’s GW chief scientist).
    Andrew Glikson | Toward Climate Geoengineering?
    http://www.truthout.org/041809C
    Andrew Glickson, Truthout: “That global climate change has reached an impasse whereby the ‘powers-to-be’ are entertaining climate geoengineering mitigation, instead of the urgent deep reduction of carbon emissions required by science, represents the ultimate moral bankruptcy of institutions and a failure of democracy.”
    Best, Will

    Comment by Will Denayer — 18 Apr 2009 @ 10:28 PM

  127. 31 Ike Solem: Nuclear power plants do not necessarily require water for cooling. Nor is water used up in plants that do use water. Air works just as well. It is a matter of choice for the engineers. Waste heat must be dissipated from any heat engine, whether it be nuclear, coal, diesel or gasoline. Your car has a radiator too, unless it has an air cooled engine.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Apr 2009 @ 1:03 AM

  128. I would like to point out that Sunspot Number (or sunspot count) is not a very good measure of solar magnetic activity. Sunspots represent between 0 to 20% of the magnetic filed on the Sun at any given time. Most of the field is too weak to form sunspots.

    A second point is that it is not the sunspots that define the large-scale field of the Sun (the heliosphere) that would be the weaker polar (dipole) field of the Sun coupled with the outflowing solar wind.

    While some claim there is a relation between the polar fields and the size of the upcoming sunspot cycle (e.g., Ken Schatten) that is still highly contriversial in solar cycle studies.

    Thus any correlation between sunspot variability and climate variability (which could at best be termed tenuous) is likely fortutitious or must be ascribed to an alternative mechanism such as variations in total solar irradiance (TSI) rather than cosmic rays.

    TSI variability is linked directly to sunspots and their companion faculae (brighter patches on the visible solar surface). The problem with TSI changes are that they are far too small in terms of energy to explain increased global temperatures (as well as not fitting the global warming finger print very well). We would need some as yet unknown amplification mechanism to make the grade.

    Of course these two could be playing together: Increased solar activity with CR decrease and TSI increases. The only problem with that is that solar activity has been decreasing over the last 30 years.

    Solar Cycle 21 peaked 1978/9 at sunspot number of 165 (annual average)

    Solar Cycle 22 peaked 1989/1990 at a sunspot number of 160

    Solar Cycle 23 peaked 2000 at a sunspot number of 120

    The sunspot number of the solar minima between these peaks is also decreasing.

    Comment by Keith Strong — 19 Apr 2009 @ 1:57 AM

  129. To those people who think we have good storage solutions for intermittent sources of electricity: Did you check out the efficiency? or the cost? Or whether we have enough of whatever on the whole planet to make that much or many? Surprise! Your efficiencies may be about 5%, the cost could add $10,000/year to your electric bill, and it is doubtful that we could find that much of whatever on this planet.
    If those intermittent sources really were so good, don’t you think the electric companies would have saved themselves the $100 Billion/year purchase price of the coal they burn in the US alone? Of course they would. It hasn’t happened because the cost of energy storage for intermittent sources is FAR higher than $100 Billion per year. And the intermittent sources are more expensive than coal and nuclear to begin with.
    Nuclear power is 30% cheaper than coal and FOURTH generation nuclear is the safest energy source there is. Did you know that coal contains uranium?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Apr 2009 @ 2:35 AM

  130. “To those people who think we have good storage solutions for intermittent sources of electricity: Did you check out the efficiency? or the cost? Or whether we have enough of whatever on the whole planet to make that much or many?”

    Yup.

    Lead is indefinitely recyclable. Acid for it is indefinitely renewable.

    “the cost could add $10,000/year to your electric bill”

    And just as likely, it could add $0/year to your electric bill. With the source for the energy not having to be bought from another state, you keep your money in YOUR system, meaning that the country has a better trade deficit and so your taxes (to pay off the trade deficit) will reduce, leaving you more money to spend on anything you want. Including more electricity.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Apr 2009 @ 8:27 AM

  131. CTG,

    The “renewables” you are including aren’t the ones discussed in the reports that speak about 20+ percent penetration being a problem (except for wind — wind can be a problem, unless the wind power is consistent, as it is in parts of the States). Hydro and geothermal are both very manageable and reliable sources, if one has them. It’s wind and solar that have issues.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 19 Apr 2009 @ 9:13 AM

  132. Wind and solar don’t have technical issues, just political ones related to the existence of fossil fuels in the electricity supply business. Yes, the utilities could convert to solar and wind – but where does that leave the coal mines and the railroads? Those sectors are usually coordinated at another level, something Samuel Insull came up with in the 1920s or so.

    On a more topic-related note, solar and wind also eliminate the warming problem of black carbon aerosols, as the only energy conversion process involved is from photon to electron – no atoms or molecules are involved, so no aerosols are going to be formed.

    Not only that, solar and wind do not need large supplies of cooling water, which is one of the three main drawbacks of nuclear (the others being weapon proliferation and uranium scarcity). Solar is a relatively low-energy power source compared to nuclear – but solar panels don’t shut down when temperatures soar, as do France’s river-cooled nuclear reactors during summer heat waves. Coal-fired power plants also require similar volumes of cooling water.

    In order to develop large-scale renewable generation, a good deal of international cooperation and government support will be needed – the same was true for the international oil business – and government backing for the oil industry has always been portrayed as a critical matter of national security, as compared to government support for renewable energy, which is “proto-communism”, certainly not a national security issue like oil is…

    To do that will require something like the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA – The U.S. press just won’t cover the International Renewable Energy Agency, or the refusal of any member of the federal government to back it. It makes one wonder if U.S. states can send individual delegations?

    http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/world-news/abu-dhabi-a-strong-candidate-for-headquarters-of-renewable-energy-agency_100176856.html

    April 8th, 2009 -

    Dubai, Apr 8 (ANI): The emirate of Abu Dhabi in the UAE, although an oil producer, is considered to be one of the strong candidates for hosting the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which was officially established in Bonn earlier this year.

    The United Arab Emirates have been actively promoting renewable energy, and Abu Dhabi in particular has launched the innovative Masdar initiative – a pioneering project which will be the world’s first carbon – neutral, zero waste city.

    The statutes of IRENA, the aim of which is to promote dynamically the sustainable use of renewable energy on a global scale, have been signed so far by more than 70 countries. The Agency is expected to play a key role in the world-wide effort to prevent further climate warming.

    There is a similar effort by a private developer in Florida to set up a zero-carbon development – kind of strange, isn’t it, that an oil producing nation like UAE would put government support behind such a project, while the U.S. government steadfastly refuses to even mention the existence of such an approach – look anywhere in the DOE for “zero-carbon city”, for example.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 19 Apr 2009 @ 10:48 AM

  133. Tonight (Sunday April 19) CBS 60 Minutes will do a segment on Cold Fusion. I’m fairly convinced that this safe, clean technology will replace oil, gas and coal. I’m an engineer and a long time researcher in this field.

    Jeff

    Comment by Jeff Driscoll — 19 Apr 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  134. Jeff Driscoll, (#133) please stop mocking engineers.

    Comment by llewelly — 19 Apr 2009 @ 4:42 PM

  135. Hydro power does have reliability problems, particularly during periods of extended of low flow.For example at Niagara Falls:
    http://www.iugls.org/en/TWG/Hydropower%20TWG%20TOR%20Final.pdf

    “Several hydropower plants are located at Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario. These plants divert water from the Chippawa-Grass Island Pool above Niagara Falls, and return the water to the Niagara River below Niagara Falls. The amount of water available for hydropower purposes at these plants depends on the Niagara River flow which, in turn, depends on the water level of Lake Erie. The initial work efforts of the study would be focused more on the hydropower generation on the St. Marys River, where changes to Lake Superior regulation would have the greatest impact on hydropower operations. …………………………….
    The amount of hydropower generation on the St. Marys River depends on several factors, the key ones being head, flow, efficiency, tailwater level, river ice and aquatic growth, and meteorological disturbances. Apart from these physical factors, there are other elements that affect hydropower operations……… When the flows are too low, the electricity generated may not meet the demands of the customers and the utilities may have to purchase power from other sources at relatively higher prices. The purchased power may be generated by coal, oil, or nuclear. “

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 19 Apr 2009 @ 5:34 PM

  136. And during the oil crisis, there was a reliability problem with oil powered electricity stations.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Apr 2009 @ 12:26 AM

  137. CTG Says (18 April 2009 at 9:11 PM):

    “Um, I’m guessing that the 20% figure relates to the US, and reflects the way that the US Grid has been built.”

    Not really. It’s down to the way the power system works. Fundamentally, the amount of energy used has to be matched, on a pretty much instantaneous basis, by the amount of energy generated. There’s room for a little slippage – energy gets stored in e.g. the inertia of rotating generators or the electromagnetic equivalents – but everything has to be working close to the system frequency & voltage. This is a lot easier when you have throttles on your generators, and don’t have to accept whatever those wind turbines are producing from however hard the wind’s blowing today.

    “Here in New Zealand, renewable energy (hydro, wind and geothermal) averages about 65% of generation; in December 2008 it reached 74%. Of course, our grid is designed with this in mind…”

    Again, no. The problem isn’t “renewable”, it’s “intermittent”. Hydroelectric generators can be throttled – just let more or less water run through the turbines. Geothermal plants produce a pretty much constant output. Neither presents any problem to the grid – there’s a geothermal plant up the road from me that’s been cranking out 100 MWatts or so for decades.

    Wind’s the problem child here. The amount of energy produced by those wind turbines depends – obviously! – on how hard the wind’s blowing. If you need 100 MWatts, but the wind’s only blowing hard enough to make 50, your system falls apart. What your New Zealand system control operators probably do is to open the spigot on the hydro dams. Having enough hydro (or other throttable generation) to take up the slack when the wind’s not blowing is what lets wind generation work in your system.

    “If NZ can manage this, I don’t see any reason why the US can’t.”

    Because you’ve got a lot more hydro & geothermal potential per capita than the US does. Off the top of my head, it’s about 10% of the total, so we could add in a similar amount of wind/solar without running into grid problems. (Though there’s not a single US grid, but half a dozen regional grids, some of which extend into Canada & Mexico: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_Electric_Reliability_Corporation )

    This is also how the “Denmark gets 20% of its electricity from wind” factoid works. There’s no independent Danish electric grid: it’s all part of a single European grid, so the Danish windmills are supported by French nuclear plants, Swiss hydro, and German coal.

    Comment by James — 20 Apr 2009 @ 2:34 AM

  138. Re: 55 Mark Says:

    John, #53. As gavin said, you seem to be taking the IPCC statement and thinking they’re talking about something they aren’t (artic temps!=global temps) and then saying that because this thing they aren’t saying isn’t true (artic temps not following global temps), then the IPCC got it wrong.

    Sorry, but I must come back on this. Are you saying that the arctic cooling and NH cooling, in general. are unconnected. Without the arctic cooling – there would have been no NH cooling. The arctic cooled by at least 4 times as much as the NH in general.

    Comment by John Finn — 20 Apr 2009 @ 3:36 AM

  139. “Fundamentally, the amount of energy used has to be matched, on a pretty much instantaneous basis, by the amount of energy generated.”

    Read up on brown-outs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_outage#Effects_of_a_brownout

    And so energy can be lost anyway.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Apr 2009 @ 6:50 AM

  140. Thank you Bart for the nice review on new particle formation and growth. As you pointed out in previous comments, it’s nice to see that our own research matters and you point out nicely how nucleation in general and ion-induced nucleation in particular matter for the big picture. Your post will be useful to explain to people outside the field what aerosols –and their nucleation- are about and why it is important to understand the processes involved.

    P.S. The link to the work by Laakso et al. directs to the wrong article, the correct link is http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/1333/2007/acp-7-1333-2007.html

    Comment by Stephanie Gagne — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:19 AM

  141. “Are you saying that the arctic cooling and NH cooling, in general. are unconnected.”

    I’m saying that they are only connected on a climatic scale.

    Think about it. The only way to get warmth to the ice in the south pole (without changing the axial tilt or the solar constant) is to get warm air there.

    The North pole, you can get warm air there or warm water.

    And getting warm air to the south pole isn’t easy: there’s a generally higher pressure and there isn’t a lot of intraining of air into the interior.

    Why do you find that the continental climate of Antartica being poorly correlated to the maritime Artic so difficult? What is the difference between London and Moscow, except one is continental and one is maritime?

    Their climate is severely different.

    Why not here?

    Comment by Mark — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:49 AM

  142. #129:

    If those intermittent sources really were so good, don’t you think the electric companies would have saved themselves the $100 Billion/year purchase price of the coal they burn in the US alone? Of course they would.

    [...]

    Nuclear power is 30% cheaper than coal

    “If nuclear really was so good …”

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:57 AM

  143. #137

    I guess it comes down to how you define “renewable” then :-)

    If you define hydro and geothermal as “non-renewable”, then of course the percentage goes down. It seems pretty arbitrary to me to define a power source as “non-renewable” just because it is predictable!

    The point is, most renewable power has lower GHG emissions than non-renewable (I recognise that geothermal is not emission-free). If you can design a grid that gets 75% of its power from renewable sources (however reliable or predictable those sources are), then you are going to have a lot less emissions than grid that can only get 20% from emission-free sources.

    In NZ, thermal generation is mainly used to take up the slack from when hydro can’t meet the whole demand. It does still consume fuel to keep a thermal plant spinning when it is not generating, but a hell of a lot less than when it is going full bore producing power. This is reflected in the spot market for power, where any power above the predicted load is sold for a much higher price.

    All I’m saying is that there is a market where renewable energy sources provide the majority of the power, so people shouldn’t go away thinking that 20% is some “magic” figure for the maximum amount of renewable energy you can put into an electricity grid.

    Comment by CTG — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:59 AM

  144. Well, you can have 100% renewable – so why don’t we have any plans to build solar cities? Why is the emphasis on band-aid solutions?

    Simple. We pull 500 million tons of coal out of the Powder River Basin each year, ship it by rail to the southern and central U.S., and convert it to 1.5 billion tons of CO2 and many gigawatts of electrical power. If you build zer-carbon renewable cities instead, there is no need for fuel – meaning no need for the coal mines or the railroads.

    Now, you would think think that utilities would be happy about this, because they would no longer need to buy fuel – but they would need to own the power generating system in order to generate profits. At the very least, they would need to control the power distribution system in order to remain financially profitable.

    This creates an interesting situation – who has the right to sell power across the grid? In a true free market, anyone would have access – that would create a competitive situation that would maximize efficiency and minimize costs – unless you think cartels do a better job of that.

    The only reason a number like 20% is offered is because it comes before 40%, which comes before 60%, etc. That’s the same idea behind Kyoto and Copenhagen accords – stepwise reductions in fossil fuel use, to be made up with stepwise increases in renewable energy generation.

    We ought to hurry up, though. Ocean dead zones are looking more likely to expand:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090417161506.htm

    …”ocean acidification” is not the only way that carbon dioxide can harm marine animals. In a “Perspective” published in the journal Science, Peter Brewer and Edward Peltzer combine published data on rising levels of carbon dioxide and declining levels of oxygen in the ocean in a set of new and thermodynamically rigorous calculations. They show that increases in carbon dioxide can make marine animals more susceptible to low concentrations of oxygen, and thus exacerbate the effects of low-oxygen “dead zones” in the ocean.

    There’s also the synergistic effect of human nitrogen fixation to consider – and this is an area where data collection is very limited.

    The world’s political leaders have too many ties to fossil fuel interests to ever promote real change. Even a political figure like Al Gore can’t bring himself to say that the only way to slow global warming is to eliminate the combustion of fossil fuels. Political leaders instead claim they can build coal carbon sequestration systems, despite fundamental problems – and that applies to places like Stanford University, as well – they claim, with a straight face, that they can capture and bury 90% of the CO2 emissions from coal combustion – on a global basis, no less.

    The simplest thermodynamic and mass-energy balance arguments show this to be false. For example:

    1) One ton of coal leads to about three tons of CO2. That would be the mass component. Second, coal is a solid, and CO2 is a gas – going from CO2 (gas) to CO2 (liquid) to solid carbon requires energy.

    2) That energy will come from the heat produced by the burning coal – but what % of that energy will be required to capture all that CO2? A big coal plant might burn 5 million tons of coal a year, resulting in 15 million tons of CO2 from that facility alone. To capture the all emissions from one ton of coal would require most of the energy provided by that coal – probably close to 90%.

    3) That means your new, high-tech FutureGen coal plant will only generate 1/10th the usable power of a dirty old pulverized coal plant, per ton of coal. It’s a bad joke, a technological farce, a white elephant – and a means for electrical cartels to claim they’re making changes while doing nothing at all.

    This doesn’t keep the liberal green Australian government from making ridiculous claims, even as the country suffers under global-warming induced drought:

    Australia’s Kevin Rudd, professed greenie, has launched a carbon capture institute. This is a government-funded initiative to coordinate and accelerate carbon capture and storage projects worldwide. “Our vision is to build an institute that will galvanize global efforts to demonstrate and deploy CCS technology,” Rudd told the initial meeting of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute (GCCSI) in Canberra, reports NatureNews. “This recognizes the cold hard reality that coal will be the major source of power generation for many years to come.”

    The current U.S. administration’s dedication to coal can be seen in this story on one of their main economic advisers:
    “Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Buys Constellation Energy Group Inc., Nalco Holding Company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. Feb 17 2009″

    That’s a classic energy deal – a coal-fired utility and a railroad to service it. No one is planning on eliminating coal any time soon, as that shows.

    It’s not too surprising, really. Obama’s biggest backer in the Senate was the midwestern utility Exelon, a coal based concern. You’re looking at a situation where midwestern coal cartels and tar sand developers are in the driver’s seat on energy policy, as compared to the previous administration, which had a more Mideastern oil flavor.

    Or, try Barak Obama on the campaign trail:

    “Clean coal technology is something that can make America energy independent!…We put a man on the moon in 10 years. You can’t tell me we can’t figure out a way to burn coal that we mine right here in the United States of America and make it work!”

    Why can’t we find a foolproof cure for cancer? Why can’t we make ourselves live for 200 years? Why can’t we make cold fusion work, and solve all our energy problems forever? Why can’t we engage in telepathic conversations, like in science fiction movies? Why can’t we ride on magic carpets and so solve the transportation issue? After all, we put a man on the moon – now we just need fires that don’t create smoke or carbon dioxide… not possible.

    Is there a real solution? Yes. It’s called the sun. Photon to electron conversion. No carbon or hydrogen or oxygen atoms involved. What is wind? sunlight converted to mechanical motion – no chemical combustion and transformation, no aerosols – just clean electricity. In the future, we’ll run everything off solar and wind, and the fossil fuels will stay in the ground.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 20 Apr 2009 @ 11:05 AM

  145. CTG Says (20 April 2009 at 8:59 AM):

    “I guess it comes down to how you define “renewable” then

    If you define hydro and geothermal as “non-renewable”, then of course the percentage goes down. It seems pretty arbitrary to me to define a power source as “non-renewable” just because it is predictable!”

    Seems as though you missed the point I was trying to make, which is that in the context of grid stability, renewable vs non-renewable simply doesn’t matter at all. What matters is the degree of controllability, because generation needs to be matched to load.

    Hydroelectric is an example of a renewable that doesn’t present a problem to the grid: the operator just varies the amount of water going through the turbines so the needed amount of power is generated. You could likewise imagine some form of non-renewable that’s not controllable (though I can’t think of one offhand), and that would present the same grid stability problem that wind does.

    Comment by James — 20 Apr 2009 @ 12:37 PM

  146. Although over a country as widely spread as the US, the rather fuzzy law of large numbers will ensure that there’s plenty of wind SOMEWHERE.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Apr 2009 @ 2:51 PM

  147. Here is the basic notion behind coal and nuclear power plants and “baseload” and “load following” concepts, from a French nuclear power site:

    “Normally base-load generating plants, with high capital cost and low operating cost, are run continuously, since this is the most economic mode. But also it is technically the simplest way, since nuclear and coal-fired plants cannot readily alter power output, compared with gas or hydro plants. The high reliance on nuclear power in France thus poses some technical challenges, since the reactors collectively need to be used in load-following mode.

    (Since electricity cannot be stored, generation output must exactly equal to consumption at all times. Any change in demand or generation of electricity at a given point on the transmission network has an instant impact on the entire system. This means the system must constantly adapt to satisfy the balance between supply and demand.)

    It turns out that electricity can be stored – but batteries have limits on energy storage density. Still, they can be used. A more ideal storage medium might by hydrogen. A technological possibility is to mimic photosynthesis – usually, that just refers to mimicing the light reactions, the photon-to-electron / water-splitting reactions. However, it might just be easier to grow algae (roughly 50% oil by weight) – but in the long run, we are talking about doing with carbon what Haber and other German chemists did with nitrogen – simply take it out of the air and convert it to whatever carbon-based molecule you need.

    Notice also that coal, nuclear and hydropower all have the same common need: water. No need for water is another main advantage of wind and solar, especially in arid regions like Spain.

    There is no technical reason that wind and solar production in the U.S. could each be quickly increased to the same level as nuclear, leading to an electricity mix of 20-20-20 nuclear, wind and solar. Energy efficiency, geothermal and hydropower (including tidal or wave generation) and more advanced electricity storage technology could then make up the gap without any fossil fuel input.

    Interestingly, the two countries that seem best poised to take advantage of solar are Israel and the UAE, due to a combination of ideal location plus a record of technological and financial investment in solar. Solar desalination in particular is looking like less of a luxury and more of a survival strategy.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 20 Apr 2009 @ 3:38 PM

  148. And the UAE can sell their oil for profit, rather than burn it in their internal market for no profit.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Apr 2009 @ 4:39 PM

  149. CCS and Obama, Part I of II

    Ike Solem wrote in 144:

    To capture the all emissions from one ton of coal would require most of the energy provided by that coal – probably close to 90%.

    Personally, I believe that CCS is snake oil, the industrial equivilent of vaporware. However, looking at:

    IPCC Special Report
    Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
    Summary for Policymakers
    A report of Working Group III of the IPCC and Technical Summary
    A report accepted by Working Group III of the IPCC but not approved in detail
    http://web.arc hive.org/web/*/http://www.mnp.nl/ipcc/pages_media/SRCCS-final/ccsspm.pdf

    … in the table “TS.10. Range of total costs for CO2 capture, transport and geological storage based on current technology for new power plants using bituminous coal or natural gas” on page 40 in the section “Power plant with capture and geological storage: % increase in cost of electricity,” I find the figures of 43-91, 37-85 and 21-78 for “pulverized coal power plant, natural gas combined cycle power plant” and “integrated coal gasification combined cycle power plant,” respectively.

    However, these would appear to be just estimates since at least as of 2007 there has not been so much as a pilot program performed on a large scale.

    Please see:

    It should be noted, however, that CCS has not yet been applied at a large (e.g., 500 MW) fossil-fuel power plant, and that the overall system may not be as mature as some of its components.

    ibid., page 16

    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 144:

    1) One ton of coal leads to about three tons of CO2. That would be the mass component. Second, coal is a solid, and CO2 is a gas – going from CO2 (gas) to CO2 (liquid) to solid carbon requires energy.

    That sounds about right.

    I found:

    According to the EIA, emissions per ton of coal range from 1.40 tons of CO2 to 2.84 tons of CO2, depending on the type of coal (1.40 for lignite, 1.86 for subbituminous, 2.47 for bituminous, and 2.84 for anthracite, to be precise),[19] so a tax of $100 per ton of CO2 translates to a tax of between $140 and $284 per ton of coal, depending on the type ($140 for lignite, $186 for subbituminous, $247 for bituminous, and $284 for anthracite).

    Carbon tax
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_tax

    … which refers to:

    Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program (Fuel and Energy Source Codes and Emission Coefficients)
    Energy Information Administration
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/coefficients.html

    Additionally, even when you capture carbon dioxide there is the issue of sequestration:

    The mineral carbonation process would require 1.6 to 3.7 tonnes of silicates per tonne of CO2 to be mined, and produce 2.6 to 4.7 tonnes of materials to be disposed per tonne of CO2 stored as carbonates. This would therefore be a large operation, with an environmental impact similar to that of current large-scale surface mining operations.

    IPCC Special Report (see above), pg 37

    You might also look at:

    Carbon Capture and Storage
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Carbon_Capture_and_Storage

    … but this time be sure to check the primary texts, that is, the sources.

    In any case, it is worthwhile pointing out that while the costs of renewable energies should come down with economies of scale and R&D, in the long-run the costs of limited fossil fuels can only increase with time, particularly as we go from the most accessible, high grade deposits to less accessible, low grade deposits. And to the extent that we invest in the fossil fuel infrastructure needed to replace conventional oil, we will be locking ourselves into the use of fossil fuel rather than investing in the future. Furthermore, currently all we have from industry is little more than a promise that they will use CCS as it becomes economically feasible to do so.
    *
    Captcha fortune cookie: 20 diapers

    Not much carbon capture there, I’m afraid.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  150. Ike Solem (147) — France has a modest amount of pumped hydro, usueful for load balancing.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 20 Apr 2009 @ 4:56 PM

  151. CCS and Obama, Part II of II

    Ike Solem wrote in 144:

    Obama’s biggest backer in the Senate was the midwestern utility Exelon, a coal based concern. You’re looking at a situation where midwestern coal cartels and tar sand developers are in the driver’s seat on energy policy, as compared to the previous administration, which had a more Mideastern oil flavor.

    Obama voted against the Clear Skies Bill:

    [0:25] I’ve already — I’ve already done it. You know — I voted against the Clear Skies bill. In fact I was the deciding vote, despite the fact that the fact that I’m a coal state and that half my state thought that I had thoroughly betrayed them because I think clean air is critical and global warming is critical.

    … my transcription in comment 397
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=657#comment-116158

    … which would have weakened the legal requirements imposed upon industry to retrofit existing plants to deal with their emissions.

    … or as Inhofe puts it:

    This bill has been killed by the environmental extremists, who care more about continuing the litigation-friendly status quo and making a political statement about carbon dioxide than they do about reducing air pollution.

    Senate Impasse Stops ‘Clear Skies’ Measure
    Pollution Bill’s Failure a Setback for Bush
    By Shankar Vedantam
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page A04
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A20314-2005Mar9.html

    … and James M. Jeffords responded:

    This legislation denies plain scientific evidence of human health damage from toxic air pollution and of global warming from greenhouse gas emissions.

    ibid.

    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 144:

    The current U.S. administration’s dedication to coal can be seen in this story on one of their main economic advisers: …

    Or, try Barak Obama on the campaign trail:

    … and he quotes Barack Obama saying:

    Clean coal technology is something that can make America energy independent!…We put a man on the moon in 10 years. You can’t tell me we can’t figure out a way to burn coal that we mine right here in the United States of America and make it work!

    Obama also states:

    [1:29] Let me sort of describe my overall policy. I mean what I have said is that we will put in place a cap and trade in place that is more that is as aggressive if not more aggressive than anybody’s out there. That is the first call for a 100% option on the cap and trade system. Which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases that is emitted would be charged to the polluter.

    [1:56] That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented whatever power plants are being built that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are placed that are imposed every year.

    … my transcription in comment 397
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=657#comment-116158

    If we take him at his word, he is more than willing to impose increasing costs upon the fossil fuel industry until they either impliment CCS or go out of business.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 20 Apr 2009 @ 5:01 PM

  152. Mark Says (20 April 2009 at 2:51 PM):

    “Although over a country as widely spread as the US, the rather fuzzy law of large numbers will ensure that there’s plenty of wind SOMEWHERE.”

    Not so. You need to read up on meteorology. Winds aren’t random events: they’re driven by large scale processes such as weather fronts & storm systems, and by local conditions that vary by time of day & season. At Altamont Pass, for instance, the wind turbines are usually idle before noon, but turning busily in the evening, because the winds are driven by temperature differences beween the ocean/SF bay and the hot San Joaquin/Sacramento valley.

    Comment by James — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:01 PM

  153. Ray (110), thanks. But I’m still a bit confused (admittedly over a minor clarification). If there is a broad distribution of GCRs from throughout the galaxy, why would our Sun’s variations have any relevance?

    [Response: modulation of the magnetic field by the sun which affects the shielding. - gavin]

    Or is it the while GCRs come from throughout the galaxy, nearly all that have enough energy to impact Earth come from the Sun? [If the latter why not call them SCRs?]

    [Response: SCRs are too feeble, except possibly at the very high latitudes and very high altitudes. - gavin]

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:20 PM

  154. G.R.L. ……… (111), Gee, I pulled the trigger too quickly. So GCRs are truly GalaticCRs and it’s the Sun that does not produce enough CRs with sufficient energy to have an impact on what this thread is about. In which case the Sun’s activities do have no relevance; if there is a correlation between the Sun’s activity and GCRs, it is purely coincidental with zero cause and effect? Correct?

    Just curious, to get sufficiently energetic, do most (all??) GCRs emanate from the center of the Galaxy?

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:29 PM

  155. FurryCatHerder, but isn’t grid reliability inherently worsened (and geometrically – at least in a vacuum) the more geographically dispersed the sources become and the more those sources have considerable variation? I suspect it is manageable (with some of your costs – and maybe patents J ) but without some revision and mitigation, if you multiply (by a large number) the sources which are not linear and unpredictable – well it would be the first complex system in history that didn’t have its reliability (stability, really) affected. What might I be missing here?

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Apr 2009 @ 8:51 PM

  156. Mark (136), what oil-powered electric power stations?? What are there? Two???

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Apr 2009 @ 9:07 PM

  157. Gavin, Bingo! Thanks! (re GCRs and SCRs) As I see it the CRs come from high energy sources in the Galaxy but are “herded” by our Sun’s magnetic “pointer”.

    Comment by Rod B — 20 Apr 2009 @ 9:23 PM

  158. RodB, #157, they aren’t herded. The energy of these particles is HUGE.

    The magnetosphere for the higher energy particles are “suggested” to go in a particular way.

    GCR’s are not shielded by the sun, the number you get goes down when the matgnetophsere is strong, but they still generally get where they were going to be anyway.

    To get the energy you need a HUGE field both in strength and in size (synchrotron radiation) and the best location for that is the galactic magnetic field, where there are lots and lots of stars all adding their fields. Magnetars are magnetic white dwarfs and can have a massive magnetic field too, so they could be a source outside the centre.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 2:54 AM

  159. “Not so. You need to read up on meteorology. Winds aren’t random events: they’re driven by large scale processes such as weather fronts”

    And if there’s a high pressure system blocking the winds somewhere else there is a low pressure system where the winds are plentiful.

    Know of any high pressure systems that are bigger than the US???

    No?

    Then somewhere there will be a storm and low pressure systems.

    (note fronts to NOT make wind. They are where the wind changes direction. There’s no need for the wind speed to change maybe you could do with a meteorology course too).

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 AM

  160. “Mark (136), what oil-powered electric power stations?? What are there? Two???”

    Plenty more.

    Big ones, for the national grid in the UK, probably only one or two. They start up quickly.

    For power backup on a large business (especially one with a server farm), any backup will be a diesel engined power station on site.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 2:58 AM

  161. Rod,

    No, the larger and more diverse the sources are, the MORE predictable the average is, not the LESS predictable.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 21 Apr 2009 @ 5:38 AM

  162. #145

    Right, so we are both saying the same thing – that Wilmot’s original statement: “The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%” is inaccurate, because hydro does not pose this problem. It is nonsensical to pretend hydro is not a renewable just because it is more “controllable” than wind or solar.

    Hydro is still variable though. In NZ, the amount of power from renewables varies from 50% to 75% each month, and most of the variability comes not from wind, but hydro. When the inflows to the hydro lakes are low, the dams are usually shut to preserve lake levels, and so thermal generation has to go up to compensate.

    Interestingly, something that is not really used in NZ is pump storage – where off-peak electricity is used to pump water back into hydro lakes. This seems to me to be a particularly good use of wind power – if the wind blows at night, when general demand is low, then the excess power could be used to refill the hydro lakes.

    Comment by CTG — 21 Apr 2009 @ 8:44 AM

  163. Timothy Chase:
    “If we take him at his word, he is more than willing to impose increasing costs upon the fossil fuel industry until they either impliment CCS or go out of business.”

    1) It is not possible to “implement CCS”, technically speaking. Can you yourself describe a process that would make it possible? One that doesn’t suck up 90% of the power generated by burning a ton of coal? No – and neither can anyone else.

    2) Notice that the charges in cap-and-trade go to the emitter of CO2, not to the producer of fossil fuels or to the distributor of fossil fuels – so those two entities have zero reason to slow production.

    3) There are no real offsets in cap-and-trade. The only way to remove a ton of CO2 from the air is via a biochar process – and that’s perhaps 25% effective, meaning that for every 4 tons of biochar added to soil, 1 ton stays in the soil. None of the other proposed offsets do anything to remove CO2 from the atmosphere – building a big solar PV system does nothing to atmospheric CO2.

    4) What is needed is direct support for renewable energy on a large scale – the same kind of multibillion dollar l-o-a-n guarantees and tax subsidies that are given to fossil fuels need to be eliminated and given to renewable energy, especially solar and wind.

    It’s increasingly clear that the federal governments in the U.S., Canada, Britain and Australia are all opposed to seeing an increase in renewable energy production. That can be seen in their refusal to discuss or mention the International Renewable Energy Agency, as well as in the lack of any budget for renewable energy research in the U.S.

    What’s remarkable is that even though cap-and-trade is unlikely to do anything positive for renewable energy generation, Obama advisor and fossil fuel magnate Warren Buffet opposes it:

    During his three-hour appearance on CNBC today, Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor, described the cap-and-trade plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions which President Barack Obama included in its recent budget proposal as a “pretty regressive” tax…

    …Buffett has said, not in so many words, that Obama would hurt the low and middle income Americans the president sees himself championing since a larger share of their incomes would go towards paying higher utility bills than would be true for the more affluent.

    This is funny stuff. Here we have an investor who backed Sarah Palin’s governor run, apparently so that his energy company, Mid-American, could get the natural gas pipeline to the tar sands contract, a deal that fell through over corruption concerns (the pipeline deal went to Transcanada, along with $18 billion in U.S. federal support).

    This same investor then put $4 billion into ConocoPhillips – but let’s be clear, this was a structured deal: Alaskan natural gas was to go to Alberta tar sands, where it would be used to convert tar to syncrude, polluting billions of tons of water in the process. From there, the oil was to be shipped to Midwestern refineries, or to West Coast refineries (Chevron and other companies have already prepared their refineries to deal with the heavier oil).

    Now, none of this will be profitable if oil remains at the present $45 level – so Warren Buffet is desperate to drive up the price of oil to the levels that existed when he bought into ConocoP. So are a whole lot of other investors, but Buffet makes for the most illustrative examples. Will this hurt the “poor consumers” that Buffet is concerned about? Of course it will. Never mind that Transcanada also got their steel for their pipeline from India, outraging local laid-off steelworkers in the U.S. Truly amazing.

    Nevertheless, cap-and-trade is a smoke-and-mirrors game. The best way to reduce emissions is to directly support the development of the renewable energy industry, and to eliminate tax subsidies and government handouts to the fossil fuel industry – which really doesn’t need it, considering the grotesquely large profits involved (or maybe that’s the reason for the grotesquely large profits).

    That’s the last thing Warren Buffet and cohort wish to see. The reason is that the rapid development of electric cars and solar and wind (or of hybrid cars and ethanol and biodiesel) will obviously push the price of oil even lower due to shrinking demand – and then, there will be zero incentive to develop Alberta’s tar sands, and you’ll see the fossil fuel sector start to shrink, dividends reduced, etc.

    So, that’s the J.D. Rockefeller end of the fossil fuel business – but Buffet makes a great example, because he is also deeply into the Samuel Insull end of the fossil fuel business, also know as the coal mine – railroad – coal-fired utility business, usually organized under the umbrella of larger holding companies (like Berkshire-Hathaway). This also means that Buffet probably has more control over the two companies that ship coal out of Montana (Burlington and Union Pacific, I think) than any other person – and likely earns more from that than anyone else.

    So, one of Obama’s top advisers is more deeply involved in tar sand oil and coal-to-electric businesses than anyone else in the world, just about, and has many billions invested in projects that will only be profitable if they do not face competition from renewables.

    That’s why I say it appears that Midwestern energy cartels are in the driver’s seat when it comes to federal energy policy. The fact that BP’s chief scientist was appointed to the #2 position at the DOE only serves to reinforce this notion (BP being one of the main developers of Alberta’s tar sand oil fields, as well as being a major owner of Alaskan North Slope gas fields). This is indeed different from the previous administration, which had more of a focus on Middle Eastern, Central Asian and African oil fields, not Alberta tar sands.

    Thus, it appears that progress on renewable development will continue to come from state-level initiatives, with technological innovation coming from foreign researchers and private firms – all against a steady drumbeat of opposition from the federal government and existing energy cartels, who will continue to promote CCS as a do-nothing greenwashing approach to the problem.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:01 AM

  164. I often read about the topics you gentlemen and ladies are discussing trying to keep up with the topic. This particular topic has led me to reading on pan evaporation rates and has confused something I have considered a given: that all watts are created equal. If photons from the sun are primarily the cause of evaporation wouldn’t that lead to a higher climate sensitivity for solar then for an equal amount of other forcing? I’m sure there is a reason why this isn’t true but have yet to be able to identify it. Thanks in advance.

    Comment by steve — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:10 AM

  165. Makes sense, CTG–one of the pump storage issues, I suppose, is reservoirs–where do you put ‘em, how do you fill ‘em, and how do you finance them. None of which is a factor in the scenario you propose.

    More generally, I think that there needs to be institutional support of some kind for all kinds of hybrid energy schemes in order to create consistency & efficiency in energy supply. Wind/solar and solar/biofuel are a couple of pairings I’ve heard proposed.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:11 AM

  166. steve, the sunlight is turned into thermal equilibrium. Temperature.

    That temperature increases the moisture capacity.

    This is already included.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:47 AM

  167. Mark, my only point was that in the US less than 2% of primary power generation comes from oil-fired units, and the price of imported oil would have minimal effect.

    It would be important even if small, however, as you point out, for back-up generators which are predominately diesel powered.

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:21 AM

  168. BPL (161), if you think the average over the entire grid is what determines reliability and stability in a a distributed system, then you know little of distributed systems. I would find that hard to believe, so I’ll just write it off as a temporary lapse. ;-)

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:29 AM

  169. #166 Mark perhaps I am misreading what you are saying. Are you saying that pan evaporation rates are regulated by temperature? Because pan evaporation rates have been going down despite rising temperatures and the answer that I have been able to find to this paradox is that the evaporation rate is directly related to photons from the sun. The answer I haven’t been able to find is why this would not affect the climate sensitivity of solar in ways different to other forcings. Thanks.

    Comment by steve — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:53 AM

  170. “in the US less than 2% of primary power generation comes from oil-fired units”

    And that is how much money? 2% of a huge number is still pretty darn big.

    Then add in petrol.

    You can move over to using local products to produce the electricity instead of buying petrol to put in a billion cars.

    re: 168. Please inform us of what it really is then, please. AFAIK, the voltage differential travels at the speed of light in the copper. 300 000 kps means you cover a lot of the US in one second.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 11:02 AM

  171. Richard Ordway,
    Are you confusing me with some other R. Keene? I haven’t published anything called Skywatch West or lectured to any students.

    Comment by R Keene — 21 Apr 2009 @ 11:18 AM

  172. Re: integration of wind and solar into the grid, here’s some recommended reading (“CSP” as most of you know is Concentrating Solar Power, a.k.a. Solar Thermal):

    Why CSP Should Not Try to be Coal
    By Tom Konrad, Ph.D.
    04/08/2009
    AltEnergyStocks.com

    Excerpt:

    The coal industry says that we need baseload power because our refrigerators still come on in the middle of the night. This is like saying we should have the water running constantly in the kitchen sink because we may get thirsty at any time and want a drink. Put in these terms, the assertion that we need baseload power is clearly nuts: what we need is controllable power that’s there when we need it, but is not wasted when the lights are off and the fridge is not running.

    … dispatchable generation is a truly premium power source. Dispatchable generation, like energy storage, long distance transmission, and demand response, all allow the grid to accommodate more variation in both power supplies and in demand. In a carbon-constrained world, where we want to use as much variable generation such as wind and PV as possible, zero carbon, dispatchable power from CSP can do far more to help us decarbonize the grid than CSP baseload.

    Baseload power is part of the problem; it’s not the solution. We should not denigrate CSP by pretending it is only a substitute for coal or nuclear.

    I would also note that multiple studies in Europe and the USA have shown that a diversified, regional portfolio of renewable electricity generation (wind, solar PV, CSP, geothermal, biomass) can produce 24×7 baseload power that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear. I have linked to some of these studies in previous comments. They are also recommended reading for folks who like to discuss the potential contribution from renewable energy to our electricity supply.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 21 Apr 2009 @ 11:33 AM

  173. Rod B #168, I think it it more a matter of talking about different things.

    You appear to be referring to the stability problem that arises in an AC grid, when you start connecting power sources like wind turbines to it, the output of which can fluctuate on a time scale of seconds, and which are not centrally controlled. The existing grids, which are synchronized over large areas, are indeed not well suited for handling this kind of situation and may crash spectacularly. As you say, solutions for this can and must be worked out.

    BPL and FCH seem to be talking about the availability of power, when you need it where you need it, which is a quite different issue. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind always blow at the same place. One approach to solving this is interconnecting AC networks using long range high voltage DC interconnects. Long range being 1000 km or so, larger than your typical weather system.

    And this issue is helped by having heterogeneous generating systems, i.e., a mix of solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and whatever.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 21 Apr 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  174. Ike Solem (163) — Over on Rabitt Run, several threads ago, there is a description of a CCS coal “burner” which appears to be about 50% as efficient as supercritical burners, as best as I can tell from cost estimates.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Apr 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  175. “Are you saying that pan evaporation rates are regulated by temperature?”

    What do you mean by pan evaporation rates?

    What I’m saying is that the effect of sunlight on the water content of the atmosphere and the warming thereby is already in the GCMs.

    Unless the sun increases its power substantially and quickly (i.e. over a timescale where water is resident and as a large percentage increase in power) then maybe (and only maybe) you could make a case for direct solar evaporation.

    Go take a look at the water cycle:

    http://cd7.e2bn.net/e2bn/leas/c99/schools/cd7/website/images/bp-watercycle2.jpg

    What is that yellow thing at the top, there, making all that evaporation?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Apr 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  176. CTG Says (21 April 2009 at 8:44 AM):

    “Right, so we are both saying the same thing – that Wilmot’s original statement: “The grid becomes unreliable if renewables are more than 20%” is inaccurate, because hydro does not pose this problem. It is nonsensical to pretend hydro is not a renewable…”

    Yes, though I’m fairly sure that the original statement was shorthand for “if intermittent, uncontrollable renewable sources such as wind & solar are more than 20%”, because wind & solar are what come to mind when people start discussing renewable energy. There’s probably more than a little bit of American parochialism in there, since as a practical matter US hydro resources are fully used, but provide something under 10% of generation IIRC. Unlike New Zealand, the parts of the US that have plentiful water tend to be flat, while the mountainous parts are dry.

    Martin Vermeer Says (21 April 2009 at 12:14 PM):

    “The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind always blow at the same place. One approach to solving this is interconnecting AC networks using long range high voltage DC interconnects. Long range being 1000 km or so, larger than your typical weather system.”

    While that helps, the problem is that the sun doesn’t always shine, and the wind doesn’t always blow, period. Day & night are obvious for solar, but in many places the winds will be calm before dawn through the morning. and blow in the afternoons & evenings, so that if you graphed daily wind energy over the US, or one of the regional power interconnects, you’d find a pronounced daily variation that’s not in sync with demand.

    Then of course you have seasonal variation on top of that, plus the fact that long distance HVDC interconnects cost money to build & operate, and have losses & environmental impacts. It’s not that such systems can’t be designed & built; it’s that costs escalate non-linearly the larger the fraction of such intermittent generation you try to put on the system. It’s a much larger reflection of the cost difference between putting grid-connected PV solar on your roof, and building a complete off-the-grid house.

    Comment by James — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:09 PM

  177. @ steve 21 April 2009 at 9:10 AM

    The important measurement is Watt-seconds, or Joules (or, for larger scales, kiloWatt-hours), and it doesn’t matter where they come from. What does matter is where the joules go; it takes about 4 joules to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree C, but it takes about 2300 joules to evaporate one gram of water at a constant temperature. If the air above a pan of water is dry, some of the water will evaporate and give cooler, more humid air; the energy from cooling the air goes into evaporating the water(google “swamp cooler”). If its windy, some of the heat of evaporation can come from the kinetic energy of the air. If the pan is in sunshine, some of the energy required will come from photons. If it’s nightime, but there is more CO2 in the air (limiting thermal radiation) and the air is dry /windy, more heat will go into evaporating water than radiating into space. Water vapor is more complicated because of opposing effects, but going from 50% RH to 100% RH will reduce evaporation. The amount of pan evaporation is a measure of all these factors summed together over a period of time. If it’s cloudier where your pan is (because of GCRs?), or more humid because more joules are evaporating water somewhere upwind(like over the ocean), your pan evaporation rates might go down even if the temperature has gone up.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  178. See the following:

    Modelling grid losses and the geographic distribution of electricity generation

    Poul Alberg Østergaard
    Department of Development and Planning, Aalborg University, Denmark
    19 November 2004.

    Abstract

    “In Denmark more than 40% of the electricity consumption is covered by geographically scattered electricity sources namely wind power and local CHP (cogeneration of heat and power) plants. This causes problems in regard to load balancing and possible grid overloads. (A)

    The potential grid problems and methods for solving these are analysed in this article on the basis of energy systems analyses, geographic distribution of consumption and production and grid load-flow analyses. (B)

    It is concluded that by introducing scattered load balancing using local CHP plants actively and using interruptible loads such as heat pumps, requirements of the transmission grid are lowered thereby reducing or eliminating needs of grid reinforcement. (C)

    It is important that load balance is kept at local level and not just at an aggregate level.” (D)

    Now, most energy storage systems would work with solar and wind as ‘interruptible loads’ – if excess electricity was being generated, as on a clear summer day at noon, the storage system would kick in, and when demand exceeded production (evenings), the storage system would become the power source. The ideal technology for doing that might be a water hydrolyzer/ hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell: solar energy converted to electrical energy, stored in hydrogen-hydrogen bonds, and converted back to electrical energy as needed.

    Economically, this would be called arbitrage, I think. A private business would buy power from solar panel owners at noon when prices were low, and sell it to consumers in the evening at higher prices. Some would say that would create the most efficient system – but in that case, the overall grid would have to be owned, managed and repaired by the government, much as the national road system is. Imagine if all the roads in the U.S. were owned by private interests that only allowed preferred customers access – that’s how the electrical grid works today. Incidentally, that’s also how the Hostmen of Newcastle operated their coal cartel in medieval Britain… control of access to rivers & roads.

    Changing this is no easy task – we are talking about the biggest revision of the U.S. electrical grid since the 1920s and 1930s, a task somewhat bigger than the construction of the internet and its fiber-optic backbones. It will probably be accomplished via government contracting programs with private manufacturers, as is standard in the U.S. – but the government must remain the owner.

    Arguments that this represents some kind of anti-capitalist agenda are ludicrous – it will actually open up the power market to more competition, which increases efficiency, productivity and quality, right? The other option is as in France, where the government is completely responsible for the operation of the electrical system, and private firms are only involved in manufacturing reactors and fuel rods. In the U.S., the free-market model is more likely to win wide support – especially from small-scale renewable power producers.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:32 PM

  179. Dear Alan (#23),
    While I can understand the irritation of those who have answered or read your argument so many times, I wish Real Climate did not become as so many blogs, i.e. a place of witch hunt rather than real dialogue. The question that you raised is not devoid of interest and I would like to complement Bart’s reply (#39) by highlighting the fact that even multi-decadal (not only year-to-year) climate variability is probably not only explained by external forcings (either anthropogenic or natural like volcanic eruptions or solar activity) but also by the internal variability of the global climate system (ocean+land+atmosphere to tell it as simple as possible). This point is sometimes underestimated by climate scientists themselves (a reason why I appreciated very much Bart’s comment #11 about professional deformation) and is a key stone for understanding climate change. In particular, it can contribute to apparent discrepancies between the ensemble mean 20th century climate simulations and the instrumental record. What matters is not the detail of the simulated 20th century warming, but the long-term perspective, the fact that greenhouse gases are long-lived species in the atmosphere (while aerosols are short-lived), and their anthropogenic emissions keep on increasing while there is growing evidence that it will lead to irreversible impacts on climate, ecosystems and human societies worldwide.
    Yes, many impacts are still uncertain, but imagine you drive in the night and your headlights break down: will you increase your speed ?
    Looking forward to reading you again on Real Climate.

    Comment by Hervé — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:35 PM

  180. Steve is correct when he states that solar intensity at the surface is a determining factor in pan evaporation. This was a central conclusion of the NOVA documentary “Dimming The Sun”:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sun/


    GERALD STANHILL: The scientific community was obviously not ready to deal with the fact that there was a global dimming phenomenon.

    NARRATOR: Gerry claimed that, on average, the solar energy reaching Earth had fallen by two percent to four percent. That should be making the world significantly cooler, yet scientists knew the Earth was getting hotter.

    As we burn coal, oil and gas, we increase the concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Like a thermal blanket, they prevent the Sun’s heat from radiating back into space, causing global warming.

    BEATE LIEPERT: My friends’ reaction, actually, to Gerry’s and to my work—at the same time, too—was, “Oh my god, this is really extreme. You are contradicting global warming. Do you know how many billions of dollars was spent on global warming research? And you and this old guy are contradicting us?”

    NARRATOR: So Liepert and Stanhill’s work was widely dismissed. But global dimming was not the only phenomenon that didn’t seem to fit with global warming. In Australia, two other biologists, Michael Roderick and Graham Farquhar, were intrigued by another paradoxical result, the worldwide decline in something called the “pan evaporation rate.”

    PROFESSOR GRAHAM FARQUHAR (Australian National University): It’s called pan evaporation rate because it’s evaporation rate from a pan. Every day, all over the world, people come out in the morning and see how much water they’ve got to add to a pan to bring it back to the level it was the same time the morning before. It’s that simple.

    NARRATOR: In some places, agricultural scientists have been performing this routine daily task for more than a hundred years.

    GRAHAM FARQUHAR: The long-term measurements of pan evaporation are what gives it its real value.

    DOCTOR MICHAEL RODERICK (Australian National University): And the fact that they’re doing the same thing, day in, day out, with the same instrument.

    GRAHAM FARQUHAR: Yeah, they deserve a medal, each of them.

    MICHAEL RODERICK: Yeah.

    NARRATOR: Nobody outside of agriculture took much notice of the pan evaporation measurements, but, in the 1990s, scientists spotted something very strange, the rate of evaporation was falling.

    GRAHAM FARQUHAR: There is a paradox here about the fact that the pan evaporation rate’s going down, an apparent paradox, but the global temperature’s going up.

    NARRATOR: This was a puzzle. Most scientists reasoned that like a pan on the stove, turning up the global temperature should increase the rate at which water evaporated. But Roderick and Farquhar did some calculations and worked out that temperature was not the most important factor in pan evaporation.

    MICHAEL RODERICK: Well, it turns out, in fact, that the key things for pan evaporation are the sunlight, the humidity and the wind. But really, the sunlight is a really dominant term there.

    NARRATOR: They found that it was the energy of the photons hitting the surface—the actual sunlight—that kicks the water molecules out of the pan and into the atmosphere. And so they, too, reached an extraordinary conclusion.

    MICHAEL RODERICK: You know, if the pan is going down, then maybe that’s the sunlight going down.

    NARRATOR: Was the falling pan evaporation, in fact, evidence of global dimming? Somewhere in the journals, they felt, must be the hard numbers that could tie the two things together.

    MICHAEL RODERICK: And then one day, just by accident, I had to go to the library to get an article out of Nature. And, as you do, I couldn’t find it, and I just glanced at a…through the thing, and there was an article called “Evaporation Losing Its Strength,” which reported a decline in pan evaporation over Russia, the United States and Eastern Europe.

    And there, in the measurements, they said that the pans had, on average, evaporated about a hundred millimeters less of water in the last 30 years.

    NARRATOR: Mike knew how much sunlight was needed to evaporate a millimeter of water, so he put the two sets of figures together, the drop in evaporation with the drop in sunlight.

    MICHAEL RODERICK: So you just do the sum in your head: a hundred millimeters of water, less a pan evaporation, two and a half mega joules, so two and a half times a hundred is two hundred and fifty mega joules. And that was, in fact, what the Russians had measured with the decline in sunlight in the last 30 years. It was quite amazing.

    NARRATOR: It was the same in Europe and the U.S.A. The drop in evaporation rate matched the decline in sunlight reported by Beate Liepert and Gerry Stanhill. Two independent sets of observations led to the same conclusion. Here, at last, was compelling evidence that global dimming was real.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3310_sun.html

    Comment by Walt Bennett — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  181. Further info on pan evaporation. If you want to get an idea of how much irrigation water your crop uses, you can measure the temperature, humidity, windspeed, sunlight(direct and scattered), IR temperature of the atmosphere, etc, etc, at regular intervals over the day, plug these data points into a calibrated computer model and let it crank out the answer. Or you could stick a pan of water in the field and see how much evaporates. (As long as the field isn’t saturated or the plants wilting, so you’re away from highly nonlinear extremes)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:51 PM

  182. Mark (170) — The transmission lines are not impedance free, so the voltage differential is slower than the speed of light; still very fast.

    Moderators — Why is my previous comment, #174, still stuck in moderation?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Apr 2009 @ 3:57 PM

  183. #174 Mark, pan evaporation rates are pretty much what they sound like, a pan of water where the amount that evaporates is measured. A typical use for such a device would be determining irrigation requirements. It was the decrease in the pan evaporation rates over the last few decades which led to the discovery of global dimming from aerosols or so goes my understanding. The reason why this decrease in evaporation occurred has been pinned, at least by some, on less solar irradiation directly hitting the water’s surface. To allow the scientist who determined this to say it in his own words:

    Surely, higher temperatures should evaporate water faster, like turning up the heat on a stove? Not so, says Roderick: “It turns out that the dominant force in evaporation is the energy of sunlight itself – photons hitting the surface of the water and tearing away water molecules, not the air temperature.”

    The paper supporting his position is : The Cause of Decreased Pan Evaporation Over the Past 50 Years published in 15 Nov 2002 in Science vol 298

    My question is: if water vapor is the most significant feedback mechanism then shouldn’t the forcing that causes the most water evaporation have the highest climate sensitivity.

    Thank you

    Comment by steve — 21 Apr 2009 @ 4:31 PM

  184. Steve, all watts are equal in terms of driving the Earth’s surface temperature. That doesn’t mean they have to affect anything else the same, such as pan evaporation or the temperature of the stratosphere. In general, they don’t. In particular, the solar sensitivity of pan evaporation rates isn’t a good measure of climate sensitivity.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 21 Apr 2009 @ 4:58 PM

  185. Paulm:
    I think it’s pretty safe to say that if John Collee had been a dissenter from the AGW ‘consensus’, you would be treating his panic with absolute disdain—you would no doubt be ridiculing him and asking what a medical doctor and movie scriptwriter would know about climate change.
    Do you believe Penny Sackett knew nothing of the facts of the Shindell paper on black carbon and its very large part in the warming of the Arctic?

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/warming_aerosols.html
    ‘Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.’
    And:
    “We will have very little leverage over climate in the next couple of decades if we’re just looking at carbon dioxide,” Shindell said. “If we want to try to stop the Arctic summer sea ice from melting completely over the next few decades, we’re much better off looking at aerosols and ozone.”
    All the rest of us in Australia remember vividly the heavy black pall of smoke that has hung over Indonesia and parts of Malaysia for months on end, year after year—-the locals in those countries being forced to wear masks to protect themselves.
    The whole world knows about the dense fog of particulates and other aerosols that have been a signature of Beijing in recent years.
    Do you think our Chief Scientist, Penny Sackett knew nothing of this, when she made her speech in Canberra?—and if not, why not?
    Would you not think that if she really believed we had only six years to do something, she would be putting much effort into doing the mitigation that scientists believe will have a much more immediate effect than CO2 mitigation?
    From the NASA comments on the research by Shindell:
    ‘Atmospheric chemists theorize that the climate system may be more responsive to changes in aerosol levels over the next few decades than to changes in greenhouse gas levels, which will have the more powerful effect in coming centuries.’
    Instead of highlighting this important factor, Professor Sackett waxed lyrical about Denmark’s windpower, but it’s not exactly as cut and dried as she claims, as described here, and in other reports:
    http://www.aweo.org/ProblemWithWind.html
    And yet she appears to have been silent too, while the Australian Opposition leader was derided by the AGW lobby , for his policies for reforestation initiatives and research into biochar.
    On the weekend Nicholas Stern triumphantly cited Australia as an example of a country where the AGW issue had brought a government down—that government being one that was prescient on the reforestation to restore the carbon sinks, and had funded [ with $200million], a Global Forest Initiative——even while some of the European countries cited as shining AGW true believers, had policies that encouraged the destruction of forests in Asia.
    You seem to be so admiring of the questionable and sometimes downright untrue claims made by John Collee.
    James Hansen’s actions and statements indicate that he wants to make coal-fired power a lame duck right now.
    Do you happen to know what technology he thinks would pick up the slack in the delivery of base load power—because no renewables are ready to do that.
    As Nathan Lewis of Caltech said:
    ‘No amount of saving energy ever
    turned on a light bulb or put food on someone’s
    table. We need to both save as much
    energy as we now make, and make as
    much clean energy as all the energy we
    now use, to meet a doubling or more of
    demand and drastically cut emissions of
    CO2 as well. In considering solutions to our
    energy supply problems, three “big cards”
    remain to be played: (1) technically prove
    that carbon sequestration works at scale; (2)
    create an enormous amount of nuclear
    power from plutonium; and/or (3) find a
    way to cheaply capture, convert, and store
    the energy from the sun, so that it can be
    used wherever it is supplied, and whenever
    it is demanded.’
    John Collee attributes the Murray Darling problems in Australia , and the drought of SE Australia to AGW, but that’s not exactly so either.
    The Murray-Darling has suffered from land-use changes and faulty irrigation practices, as well as El Nino—and recent research by the CSIRO and others attributes the droughts of Southern Australia , not to AGW, but to the Indian Ocean Dipole.
    The dramatic loss of rainforest was encouraged in Indonesia , by the appetite for palm oil in German and other European industry.
    And maybe the ‘defrosting of Siberia’ that he speaks of, has something to do with the black carbon that increases the Arctic warming.

    Comment by truth — 21 Apr 2009 @ 7:12 PM

  186. #179 Herve

    “While I can understand the irritation of those who have answered or read your argument so many times, I wish Real Climate did not become as so many blogs, i.e. a place of witch hunt rather than real dialogue. The question that you raised is not devoid of interest”

    “Looking forward to reading you again on Real Climate.

    Herve”

    Hi Herve

    I would post more but a lot of my posts never seem to make it past moderation.

    I did reply to Ray Ladbury on this thread.

    #44 Ray Ladbury

    “Alan Millar @23,

    Actually, Alan, you and I have something in common:

    Neither of us has a clue what the hell YOU are talking about. Where on Earth (or off, for that matter) do you get your information.”

    In reply I said something like :-

    “Ray

    James Hanson said :- ” Hansen said, “but the aerosol effect is complicated because aerosols are distributed inhomogeneously [unevenly] while greenhouse gases are almost uniformly spaced. So you can measure greenhouse gas abundance at one place, but aerosols require measurements at many places to understand their abundance.” and :- “Hansen suspects the relatively sudden, massive output of aerosols from industries and power plants contributed to the global cooling trend from 1940-1970. That’s my suggestion, though it’s still not proven,”

    The global temperature record in the 20th century is only in accord with the GCMs and AGW hypothesis for 25% of the time (1975 – 2000) it is in discord for 65% of the time (1910 -1975).

    The 21st century is also not looking good for the hypothesis and the models so far.

    To close the disconnect between the hypothesis and models from 1940 – 1970 a hypothesis based on aerosol production is put forward to stitch it together.

    However, nobody has been able to show a direct and consistent connection between aerosols and global temperatures. For instance areas with a high production of aerosols show a lower cooling trend in the period 1940 -1970 than other areas.

    Greenland ice cores show much higher levels of sulphur aerosols present in 1940 than in 1900, a period of significant warming.

    If the aerosol suggestion had been proven I am sure we would have heard about it by now. I am sure, Ray, that you realise that you, logically, cannot prove one unproven thing by using another unproven thing. It just doesn’t compute. So Ray if you can stitch these two hypothesis together with some level of proof then you should publish and make a name for yourself.

    Until the obvious discord between the models and observed data in the 20th and 21st century can be closed by proven hypothesis then clearly noone can say that the science is anyway settled.

    Alan

    Comment by Alan Millar — 21 Apr 2009 @ 7:37 PM

  187. #184 Greg thank you for the response. I must admit the lack of substance leaves me hanging on what you base the response on. Perhaps this is too simple to warrant an explanation and if I were in the field it would be obvious? Or perhaps the answer is too complicated to explain within the confines of this format?

    Comment by steve — 21 Apr 2009 @ 9:04 PM

  188. I’m getting confused and perplexed with the evaporating pan discussion. What happened to the ole’ trade-off between vapor pressure, surface tension, and the Boltzmann distribution of thermal energy among the water molecules to determine evaporation? I can see a big effect from the Sun (I think…) by virtue of radiation absorption, and the resulting increase in temperature, leading to a shift in the B-distribution, yada, yada. But a photon knocking a molecule loose (presumably?) like a billiard ball??? What is the physics process of that? Back-of-the-envelope calc seems to indicate the momentum of a photon might be large enough, though the vector directions look screwy. Is this what happens?

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Apr 2009 @ 10:01 PM

  189. re Rod B 21 April 2009 at 10:01 PM photoevaporation?
    I too agree that it sounds improbable, especially since water is pretty transparent at the wavelengths where most of the solar energy arrives. About 5% (more at shallower incident angles) will get reflected at the surface, most of the rest will transmit to the bottom of the pan. Are the pans black, white paint, shiny metal? Are they insulated? I think that some googling may be in order.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 22 Apr 2009 @ 12:33 AM

  190. Aye, RodB, I’m wondering why steve is saying what he’s talking about, too.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Apr 2009 @ 2:41 AM

  191. “However, nobody has been able to show a direct and consistent connection between aerosols and global temperatures. ”

    Pinatubo?

    Bog bada-boom.

    Loadsa soot.

    Global temps down for some months (?).

    Comment by Mark — 22 Apr 2009 @ 2:43 AM

  192. “#174 Mark, pan evaporation rates are pretty much what they sound like, a pan of water where the amount that evaporates is measured. A typical use for such a device would be determining irrigation requirements.”

    And evaporation from that pan depends on the temperature of the water and the dryness of the air.

    And if the air is already saturated, no water will stay out of the pan until the air is warmed and can hold more moisture.

    This is already in the water cycle. So why do you think this is not taken care of in even the most basic GCMs?

    And during the night, when there is no sun, the pan will cool, and night can get a lot colder because the night sky is at ~4Kelvin. If it weren’t for blanketing by greenhouse gasses.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Apr 2009 @ 2:47 AM

  193. Alan writes:

    The global temperature record in the 20th century is only in accord with the GCMs and AGW hypothesis for 25% of the time (1975 – 2000) it is in discord for 65% of the time (1910 -1975).

    Really? When I regress temperature anomaly on ln CO2 for 1880-2008 I get 76% of variance accounted for. Looks like a pretty close match to me.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Apr 2009 @ 5:48 AM

  194. #192 Mark you could very well be right. But a peer reviewed paper in a reputable journal has said what you and I learned in school is inaccurate. I don’t have the expertise to determine if the paper has merit and am patiently waiting to see what those who do have the expertise have to say about it.

    Comment by steve — 22 Apr 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  195. “But a peer reviewed paper in a reputable journal has said what you and I learned in school is inaccurate.”

    Which paper did we learn in school that was innaccurate? And why are current GCM’s using that paper to design its physical simulation?

    I merely guard against making a mountain out of a molehill merely because “we don’t know for certain”.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Apr 2009 @ 1:18 PM

  196. Nir Shaviv is at it again with the cosmic rays: this time he’s saying there’s too much heat flux in the oceans over 11-year solar cycles to be just from the solar index and positive feedbacks, thus cosmic rays are to blame. This time it’s in the form of an article in GRL.

    His blog comment:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/calorimeter

    The paper:

    http://www.sciencebits.com/files/articles/CalorimeterFinal.pdf

    Anybody care to dissect it to tell me what he’s done right or wrong? Or where I can be pointed to in case it’s already been done?

    Comment by Miguelito — 22 Apr 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  197. Re Ike Solem, others…

    CCS – well, that alone doesn’t solve the mercury pollution, the removal of potential wind power sites in West Virginia, other stuff in West Virginia, etc…

    BUT

    It is possible. Coal might be processed differently to remove other pollutants – or maybe CO2 itelf, before combustion – COME AGAIN? – well, with significant variation, coal may have 0.8 atoms of H for each atom of C, so if there were someway to seperate the H from the C (and try it with oil and gas too)… Maybe even within the coal mine so that mines could be pumped like wells instead of dug up – but I suppose that may be very dangerous?

    OR

    1. Accelerate the natural chemical weathering process. Someone mentioned that this may be quite economical in the “Climate Change Methadone” post comments from some time ago.
    (see

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/climate-change-methadone/langswitch_lang/in#comment-96506

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/climate-change-methadone/langswitch_lang/in#comment-96543

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/climate-change-methadone/langswitch_lang/in#comment-96379
    …”proper rock pulverizers. For hard rock they typically take 25 kWh(e) per tonne if 80 percent of the mass is to be in sub-100-micron particles, 50 kWh(e) per tonne for 80 percent below 25 microns.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/climate-change-methadone/langswitch_lang/in#comment-96374
    …”In that previous discussion, Dr. R.D.Schuiling asserted the cost per tonne CO2 would be US$10-15. (Some discussion here has referred to the olivine dispersal idea as mine; it is not.)”
    )

    I cannot verify those numbers for myself, but assuming they are true:

    Composition of rocks (from Encyclopedia Britannica: “Chemical Elements”):

    granite, basalt, shales, sandstones, carbonates**, metamorphic rocks
    % by mass:
    Ca: 1.00 , 7.8 , 2.2 , 3.9 , 30.2** , 2.9
    Mg: 0.23 , 4.0 , 1.5 , 0.70 , 4.7** , 1.4
    Fe: 1.36 , 7.7 , 4.7 , 0.98 , 0.38** , 3.1

    If 80% of those amounts were changed into CaCO3, MgCO3, FeCO3, kg C / metric ton rock, (it should be obvious why I put asterisks for the carbonate mineral values):
    _________ gran, basa, shal, sand, carb**, meta
    Ca only : 2.4 , 18.7 , 5.3 , 9.4 , 72.4** , 7.0
    Ca + Mg : 3.3 , 34.5 , 11.2 , 12.1 , 91.0** , 12.5
    Ca,Fe,Mg: 5.6 , 47.8 , 19.3 , 13.8 , 91.6** , 17.8

    (Molar masses, g: C 12.011, Ca 40.078, Mg 24.305, Fe 55.847)

    If 50 kWh(e) per metric ton of rock (most tons are similar to a metric ton), energy per kg C in MJ(e) (3.6 MJ = 1 kWh):

    _________ gran, basa, shal, sand, carb**, meta
    Ca only : 75.1 , 9.6 , 34.1 , 19.3 , 2.5** , 25.9
    Ca + Mg : 54.4 , 5.2 , 16.1 , 14.9 , 2.0** , 14.4
    Ca,Fe,Mg: 31.9 , 3.8 , 9.3 , 13.0 , 2.0** , 10.1

    If coal is ~ 80% C by mass with energy density of ~ 20 MJ/kg, oil is ~ 12/14 C by mass, 43 MJ/kg, and natural gas is 12/16 C by mass, 55.6 MJ/kg (PS I will have to verify the C content of coal – I’m thinking the 20 MJ/kg includes impurities that are not C,H,O,N (that it includes the ash))

    (PS that’s MJ/kg C,
    coal ~ 25 MJ/kg C (I think it can be higher than that)**,
    oil ~ 50 MJ/kg C
    natural gas ~ 74 MJ/kg C)

    and electricity production and delivery is ~ 30 % efficient, then, the energy (electric) for sequestering CO2 as a fraction of energy (electric) produced when emitting CO2 is:

    For coal (~ 7.5 MJe/kg C ?)
    _________ gran, basa, shal, sand, carb**, meta
    Ca only : 10.0 , 1.3 , 4.6 , 2.6 , 0.33** , 3.5
    Ca + Mg : 7.3 , 0.7 , 2.1 , 2.0 , 0.26** , 1.9
    Ca,Fe,Mg: 4.3 , 0.5 , 1.2 , 1.7 , 0.26** , 1.3

    For oil: (~ 15 MJe/kg C ?)
    _________ gran, basa, shal, sand, carb**, meta
    Ca only : 5.0 , 0.6 , 2.3 , 1.3 , 0.17** , 1.7
    Ca + Mg : 3.6 , 0.3 , 1.1 , 1.0 , 0.13** , 1.0
    Ca,Fe,Mg: 2.1 , 0.3 , 0.6 , 0.9 , 0.13** , 0.7

    For natural gas: (~ 22 MJe/kg C)
    _________ gran, basa, shal, sand, carb**, meta
    Ca only : 3.4 , 0.4 , 1.5 , 0.9 , 0.11** , 1.2
    Ca + Mg : 2.4 , 0.2 , 0.7 , 0.7 , 0.09** , 0.6
    Ca,Fe,Mg: 1.4 , 0.2 , 0.4 , 0.6 , 0.09** , 0.5

    The most economical in all cases would be to use carbonates**; basalt is the only other possibility with coal and it is not a great one.

    (Where energy used in sequestering is ~ 30% of energy produced with emission, if electricity costs ~ 8 cents/kWh(e) coal, and if ~ 2 kWh(e)/kg C for coal, then 16 cents/kg C for coal electricity generation, so sequestering C with 30% of the energy costs AT LEAST ~~ 4.8 cents/kg C = ~ $48/metric ton C; obviously more than the 10 to 15 $/ton mentioned above.)

    But the referenced comments above referred specifically to olivine, which is (Mg,Fe)SiO4, which could sequester a mass of C per unit mass rock similar to that for carbonates** as calculated above if the Fe can be used.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Apr 2009 @ 7:27 PM

  198. In reply to “The reason is that high aloft, the limiting factor for particle formation is the availability of sulfuric acid rather than ions. Above a certain GCR intensity, increasing ionization further could even lead to a decrease in ion induced nucleation, because the lifetime of ion clusters is reduced (due to increased recombination of positive and negative ions). In contrast, at low altitude particle formation may be limited by the ionization rate (under certain circumstances), and an increase in ionization leads to an increase in nucleation.”

    I agree with this statement. I do not understand logic of the conclusion that the solar magnetic cycle does not modulate planetary cloud cover.

    Svensmark and Palle have cloud data that shows correlation of planetary cloud cover at both low (increases in low level clouds) and high altitudes (decrease in clouds at high latitudes) at the specific latitudes as predicted by Yu for increases in GCR levels and visa versa for decreases in GCR.

    Palle in addition found evidence of Yu’s electroscavenging effect which is caused by solar wind bursts which remove cloud forming ions and hence masks correlation of cloud cover with GCR changes, for the period.

    If there are multiple observations current as well as in the paleodata that support a mechanism, how can a theoretical strawman disprove the mechanism?

    The sun appears to be entering a deep magnetic minimum. What is the predicted affect of that change on planetary temperature? I would be interested in your thoughts and others in the forum.

    Comment by William — 22 Apr 2009 @ 8:25 PM

  199. From Fig 1 of

    “Initiation of clement surface conditions on the earliest Earth”
    Sleep, Zahnle, Neuhoff
    http://www.pnas.org/content/98/7/3666.full

    it appears that production of carbonate minerals from silicates is most favorable for (among those relatively abundant cations from silicates) Ca, followed by Mg, then Fe, then Na. As the temperature is lowered and the partial pressure of CO2 raised, CaCO3 (calcite) forms first, then CaMg(CO3)2 (dolomite), then MgCO3 (magnesite), then FeCO3 (siderite). (CaCO3 can also form as aragonite).

    I don’t know why but my impression is that dolomite has not formed much in recent geologic times. From the graph, it seems that dolomite and calcite are thermodynamically favored (with quartz, kaolinite, etc.) at 300 ppm CO2 at sea level at temperatures colder than 50 deg C (will the reactions occur fast enough at that temperature – if the rock has been ground up fine enough?). I would think that the partial pressure of CO2 increases down into the ocean for the same concentration of CO2, … so if CO2 and mineral dust were injected at depth, more Mg and Fe could be utilized – but that defeats the economics of sequestration from the air. I have read that injection of CO2 into deep aquifers would produce carbonate minerals – I think a variety of them (even Na carbonate, I think). Of course, mineral dust could just be fed into the smokestack… for that matter, there might be energy available from the reaction (Ca,Mg,Fe)x(?,Si)y(O,etc)z + CO2 = carbonates + some other silicates… (and CO2 and other pollutants can also be used to feed algae farms…)

    And what about using carbonate minerals? Well, for example, dissolved CaCO3 can react with dissolved H2CO3 to produce dissolved Ca(HCO3)2, and buffer the pH of the ocean while giving the ocean greater capacity to take up CO2 (at least that’s my understanding). Presumably this could apply to other partly soluble carbonate minerals – so the supply of Ca and Mg cations from silicates could actually sequester (from the atmosphere, anyway) twice what was stated above, while cations from carbonates would take up just what was stated above. The energetics and economics still do not great, though, but maybe a bit better. Would this work for the cations that do not form stable carbonate minerals under given conditions? I think the Fe might not do much for the pH problem but Ca,Mg,Na,K should.

    OR

    Use CO2 to make polycarbonate plastics. (won’t bother analyzing that one – but there was an article in Scientific American a while back called something like “Turning pollution into DVDs” – or something like that.)

    OR

    pump into old salt mines, oil wells, etc… forget about chemical stability, as long as it’s physically sound for the necessary time frame (is it?)

    OR

    Make the actual electrical generation more efficient. Whatever happened to MHD generators? Something already being used to some degree is making use of the waste heat (PS could also be used with solar cells to heat water (and cool the cells)). Here’s an idea: Make H2 and CO from coal – my understanding is both can be used in fuel cells.

    ——————-

    I’m okay with trying it, putting some public funding into R&D for it, so long as at least similar amounts are available for anything at least as promising or more so (which I would suggest will include solar, geothermal, new biofuels).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Apr 2009 @ 8:37 PM

  200. “at 300 ppm CO2 at sea level at temperatures colder than 50 deg C” … actually, maybe 400 ppm (or reduce the temperature) – I just eyeballed it from the graph.

    ——————————

    Re Ike Solem –

    Either Cap and Trade (with 100% auction) or emissions taxes would work to increase use of clean energy and/or energy efficiency and reduce emissions by forcing the market to react to a price signal (representing the externalities).

    When someone has to pay to emit, they will either pass the cost on to consumers or reduce their profits. If they pass it on to consumers, there will be increased demand for cleaner energy, energy efficiency, valuables that do not require energy, etc, and so on with other climate emissions (deforestation, cement production, rice paddies, cows, landfills, dark aerosols – especially high-latitude black carbon (depending on season), etc…. if the emissions were priced evenly according to CO2-equivalent values (global warming potentials for some agreed time-horizon***). This increased demand will attract investment (including R&D) to increase the affordable supply of those options, and the decreased demand for the emitting options will repel investment, reducing the affordable supply. On the other hand, if the emitter absorbs the cost, the investors will be repeled and want to go to other options, etc. (for non-corporate entities, the investors would be the emitters in that case – they would pursue other business options, trying to improve efficiency or going some other route).

    A similar logic applies whether the price signal is forced at point of emission or at point of fuel sale, or at point of fuel production. I favor (this works with energy-related emissions) taxes, and favor putting them at either point of fuel sale (to power plants and natural gas/oil distributors, so there is a smaller number of larger transactions, and thus less paperwork, etc.) or at point of fuel production. I favor these options because I think they will be easier and less costly to enforce and regulate, and they present a clear price signal to the market (that can be adjusted over time in response to market reaction and scientific progress). It might be a more understandable system, and perhaps less prone to corruption or fraud (?). But a cap-and-trade system would work.

    What I would specifically not prefer is a cap-and-trade system that specifies caps for distinct sectors of the economy. The starting point should be that CO2 from cement production, CO2 for energy, CO2 from deforestation, CH4 (in CO2 equivalent terms) from cows, etc., should be treated as equal; they should not be walled off from each other. The market can decide whether it is better to reduce emissions from cement and still eat beef and cheese or the reverse or somewhere in between, etc.

    If real economic and political** conditions require some adjustments to such an idealized system, so be it, but my opinion is that such adjustments should be in the form of additional policies, so as not to muddy the clarity of the original price signals. For example, these policies may be regressive. For some period of time (allowing lifestyle/cultural adjustment), it may make sense to specifically help the poor. This shouldn’t take the form of a reduction on what they pay for emissions; it should be as aid that is not tied to individual emission quantities.

    See also references here:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Arctic-sea-ice-melt-natural-or-man-made.html#2799

    *** It is important to to cover as many significant emissions sources as possible so that the market reaction does not simply shift the mix of emissions (deforestation to grow biofuels would not be prefered) – on the other hand, there are some greater costs (overhead, bureaucracy, limited accuracy) for regulating some pollutants/emissions than for some others (aerosols because of regionality and different regional/seasonal/etc. climate effects; other emissions due to difficulty of monitoring, accounting, tracking, measuring, etc.) – and those costs have to be weighed against the benifits; differently designed policies might be better for some different types and sources of emissions).

    Found this today:
    “Will the U.S. Ever Need to Build Another Coal or Nuclear Power Plant?
    The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission doesn’t think so”
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=will-the-us-need-new-coal

    Happy Earth Day!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Apr 2009 @ 9:50 PM

  201. “so the supply of Ca and Mg cations from silicates could actually sequester (from the atmosphere, anyway) twice what was stated above, while cations from carbonates would take up just what was stated above.”

    Well, depending on actual chemical equilibria, of course, which I haven’t analyzed…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Apr 2009 @ 9:53 PM

  202. other realities – it may be good to have some targeted incentives for efficiency and clean energy regarding durable goods and infrastructure (appliances, houses, cars).

    political realities: obviously the idea has to be adapted to working on the international level. With respect to that… well I posted some things in comments referenced in the first website referenced in my last comment:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/Arctic-sea-ice-melt-natural-or-man-made.html#2799

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Apr 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  203. correction/clarification – obviously the chemical equilibria from http://www.pnas.org/content/98/7/3666.full would be for an anoxic environment. I presume most dissolved FeO in the ocean today would oxidize and precipitate as hematite (Fe2O3) or magnetite (Fe3O4) and thus not be available to react with CO2. But in some other environments, a different story, perhaps.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Apr 2009 @ 1:15 PM

  204. William (198),

    I didn’t conclude or disprove anything of the sort you mention, nor did I create a theoretical strawman.

    Other groups looked at related quantities as Svensmark et al and found no correlations. I think the jury is still out on the significance of all those correlations, but the overall picture is not pointing clearly in one direction or the other, as you seem to imply.

    The study I referred to concluded that even with the highest possible sensitivity of nucleation to ions, a change in GCR intensity (similar in magnitude as observed over the 20th century) has only a marginal effect on the number of CCN. By itself, that doesn’t prove or disprove anything, but with this knowledge, the probability of that particular mechanism being responsible for the favorable correlations found has gotten smaller. Unless or until somebody convincingly shows why these model calculations were off by more than an order of magnitude.

    I don’t know much about predictions of the state of the sun, or of how reliable such predictions are. During solar minima the global average temperature is on average 0.1 degree C lower than during solar maxima (according to most studies; some found values closer to 0.2). I have seen no reason why it should be different this time (apart from natural variability which is always present).

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 23 Apr 2009 @ 1:27 PM

  205. Miguelito (196) — Shaviv assumes that the oceans are isothermal to a depth of 400 meters. Just some fairly casual web searching shows this is false; 10+ meters is more reasonable for the 10.448 year (average) solar cycle. Since his choice of isothermal depth was so large, he obtained a very small climate sensitivity, hence “needed” GCRs.

    In the opposite direction, Tang et al. (2008), building on Tang & Cabin (2008), obtain a climate sensitivity which is too large by failing to inclusde any isothermal layer at all; suitably corrected (by me), their analysis shows good agreement with their measured 0.17 K from solar minimum to solar maximum without the need for any exotics such as GCMs.

    There is a thread about this on globalchange, linked on the sidebar.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Apr 2009 @ 4:48 PM

  206. Patrick 027, do you know where the term ‘cap and trade’ originated?

    http://tvnz.co.nz/view/tvnz_smartphone_story_skin/81777

    Feb 15, 2002

    US President George W Bush on Thursday proposed cutting US power plant emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and mercury in a bid to reduce acid rain, smog and general pollution, the White House said.

    The Republican president would cut emissions of three of the worst air pollutants — but not a fourth, carbon dioxide — by setting emission target limits, assigning permits for each ton of pollution, and allowing firms to trade them in what one Bush administration official called a “cap and trade system.”

    Such a system encourages businesses to begin cutting their emissions well before the target dates are imposed and allowing them to use the resulting reductions themselves in later years or to trade them to other businesses, the official said.

    Some critics prefer traditional anti-pollution measures that set specific limits that businesses must meet or face sanctions if they fail to do so.

    How about the specific reduction targets?

    Under Bush’s plan, emissions of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, would be cut to 4.5 million tons in 2010…

    Nitrogen oxides emissions, which contribute to urban smog, would be reduced to 2.1 million tons in 2008…

    Mercury emissions, which are not currently regulated, would be reduced to 26 tons in 2010…

    The reductions form part of Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” which the president is to formally unveil, along with a voluntary system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, in a speech at 2:05 p.m. (1905 GMT) on Thursday.

    So, how did that work out? Not to well, did it? Unless, of course, it was just an effort to appear to be doing something while keeping the status quo – in which case, it worked out fine.

    The only reason you see low-sulfur fuel today is because of state regulations, specifically the 1992-1993 California mandates for low-sulfur diesel. That forced refiners to improve their systems, and it spread to other states – no cap-and-trade was involved at all.

    For a historical record of U.S. sulfur emissions, see:
    Stern & Kaufmann 1996 (pdf) Global Anthropogenic Sulfate Emissions 1860-1993

    See particularly figures 1 and 4 – and remember that most sulfur comes from coal, not from diesel fuel. Also remember that the sulfur was just moved to the shipping fuel pool, not eliminated:

    http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/people/faculty/prasad/research/globalchem/shipsox.nature99.pdf

    Comment by Ike Solem — 23 Apr 2009 @ 9:55 PM

  207. Gavin, the pan evaporation issue was discussed at RC years ago when it came out in the Australian studies; is there anything new to add?
    _______________
    “Ayers decline” says ReCaptcha.

    [Response: Not really. There was a bit of a shift of emphasis from it being associated with dimming to being associated with wind speed changes in the last talk I saw. - gavin]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 11:54 AM

  208. I had thought that there was an earlier cap-and-trade program (pre-’W') for sulfate emissions that did work – though this is not an area I’ve fully explored.

    It might then (depending on timing, etc.) be argued that California mandates could have been motivated by anticipated costs from a cap-and-trade program (?)

    The idea of cap-and-trade, as with a tax, is to impose a cost for pollution/externality that motivates people and businesses to create more value with less pollution. Obviously that leaves open the possibility of still creating the same amount of pollution, but greater specification of policy would solve that.

    PS I didn’t explicitly mention this before, but public support of clean energy and energy efficiency is one obvious use for revenue from a tax or a cap-and-trade with 100% auction. Even if the cap-and-trade/tax were not expected itself to result in the change we need, it makes perfect sense to me to derive funds for climate-mitigation and climate-adaptation measures from the activity that makes these things necessary. But both the carrot and stick should contribute to the whole effect (it could then be argued that public spending for mitigation reduces the necessary tax to accomplish the same effect; the subsidy,etc. + the tax rate = the total incentive (except where lifestyle changes that are hard to subsidize come into play) – so one could start with a low tax rate for a large emissions volume to heavily subsidize a small clean energy and efficiency market; as the market shares shift, the subsidy rate would be reduced while the tax rate would increase to maintain balance between revenue and spending).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Apr 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  209. Patrick, here:
    http://epa.gov/airmarkets/resource/docs/US%20Acid%20Rain%20Program_Elec%20Journal%20Aug%202007.pdf

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 1:21 PM

  210. #207 Hank I had searched for posts on the topic here but kept coming up empty handed. Do you recall where you found the discussion? Thanks.

    Comment by steve — 24 Apr 2009 @ 4:41 PM

  211. In reply to Bart Verheggen (204)

    “The study I referred to concluded that even with the highest possible sensitivity of nucleation to ions, a change in GCR intensity (similar in magnitude as observed over the 20th century) has only a marginal effect on the number of CCN. By itself, that doesn’t prove or disprove anything, but with this knowledge, the probability of that particular mechanism being responsible for the favorable correlations found has gotten smaller. Unless or until somebody convincingly shows why these model calculations were off by more than an order of magnitude.”

    Svensmark’s Sky experimental results showed that the same ion is re-used which multiplies the GCR effect by roughly an order of magnitude. The paper you quote assumes a one to one ion ratio for ion mediated.

    I do not know what your source of the 0.1C is for the modulation of planetary temperature high/low solar cycle. That is not correct. As I said, however, during the last two solar cycles there were solar wind bursts at the end of the cycles which remove cloud forming ions which mask the cycle to cycle GCR cloud modulation.

    Based on Palle’s data and analysis, the current increase in GCR (highest since measurements have been taken) there should an increase in low level clouds (over ocean regions which are ion poor) and a reduction in high level clouds. The reduction in high level clouds would result in record cold temperatures at high latitudes.

    Solar cycle 23 is currently 13.8 years from its start and there is no evidence as of yet for a minimum. This solar change is anomalous in the rapidity of the change from high solar magnetic cycle activity to almost no solar magnetic activity. The magnetic field strength of the sunspots that are produced have being decaying linearly. The 2008/2009 weak sunspots are torn apart as they move up through the convection zone.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/

    Comment by William — 24 Apr 2009 @ 6:43 PM

  212. William, what’s your source on “almost no solar magnetic activity”?
    Which measurement is your source talking about?

    Looking in Scholar, I find this:

    “… A variety of questions arise in using the surface magnetic fields
    to study the solar cycle – which fields are most important, the weak general field or the strong field and associated sunspots, how do the field strengths change over various time scales from instabilities with changes in seconds or less to trends lasting many decades. The connection between photospheric magnetic fields and magnetic fields near earth or at interplanetary spacecraft requires knowledge of the field strength at the solar surface. Is the overall strength of the magnetic field stationary or does it have any multi-decade trends (cf: Arge et al. (2002))?…”

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0812.2294
    arXiv:0812.2294v1 [astro-ph] 12 Dec 2008
    Interpretation of Solar Magnetic Field Strength
    Observations

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 7:45 PM

  213. Uh, William, just how do you re-use an ion? The 0.1 degree value for solar cycle temperature modulation (based on TSI)is pretty well accepted. See:
    solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/presentations/20080227_UAH.ppt

    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/4/1/014006/erl9_1_014006.html

    Don’t know if you’ve looked recently, but the correlation between warming and GCR change is lousy.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 24 Apr 2009 @ 7:56 PM

  214. Steve, type “pan evaporation” into the RC search box, top of page (without the quotation marks); page through the result or go to the found topics and search again using the same string with your ordinary HTML search tool in the comments page.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 8:20 PM

  215. William writes above:
    > there were solar wind bursts

    Any cite to the source for that statement? I tried Google and the closest thing I found was a William at “Bad Astronomy” who wrote there:

    > solar wind bursts are hypothesized to increase
    > currents in the ionosphere which remove cloud forming ions.
    http://www.bautforum.com/astronomy/68781-solar-cycle-24-a.html

    But I couldn’t find where that hypothesis has been tested or published.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 10:08 PM

  216. http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1748-9326/4/1/014006/erl9_1_014006.html
    Environ. Res. Lett. 4 (January-March 2009) 014006
    doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/1/014006
    Solar activity and the mean global temperature

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Apr 2009 @ 10:19 PM

  217. Re reuse of ions
    The graph at http://www.sciencebits.com/SkyResults shows it requires about 3 ions to generate a single condensation nucleus over the experimental range of ~1000 to ~6000 ions/cm3 (~500 to 1500 CN/cm3).

    It appears to my eyeball that the best fit line should have a non zero CN number for zero lab generated ions, rather than going through the origin, but there is enough scatter in the ~15 measured points & error bars to make that moot.

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 24 Apr 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  218. Since the discussion continues…

    Physics and Technology, Part I of II

    Ike Solem quotes the very last sentence of my two-part post (149 and 151):

    If we take him at his word, he is more than willing to impose increasing costs upon the fossil fuel industry until they either impliment CCS or go out of business.

    … then states in 163:

    1) It is not possible to “implement CCS”, technically speaking. Can you yourself describe a process that would make it possible? One that doesn’t suck up 90% of the power generated by burning a ton of coal? No – and neither can anyone else.

    Ike, I stated at the very beginning of my first post (149):

    Personally, I believe that CCS is snake oil, the industrial equivilent of vaporware.

    … so in terms of my own personal opinion — for what very little it is worth — I tend to agree with you in this area — and wouldn’t mind seeing the whole fossil fuel industry disappear (for lack of a better metaphor) “in a puff of smoke.” However, all of that may very well be simply a prejudice on my part.

    Patrick 027 — who has actually spent some time digging the issue and the chemistry involved — would appear to be of a different opinion — or at the very least, not of the opinion that the whole matter can be settled by “arm-chair theorizing.”
    *
    Now how much is your opinion worth in this area?

    You stated in 144:

    1) One ton of coal leads to about three tons of CO2. That would be the mass component. Second, coal is a solid, and CO2 is a gas – going from CO2 (gas) to CO2 (liquid) to solid carbon requires energy.

    … as if it were obvious that the only way of getting rid of carbon dioxide would be to convert it to liquid carbon dioxide then to coal — as if the conversion of carbon dioxide to mineral could only be an endothermic process.

    From this you conclude:

    That energy will come from the heat produced by the burning coal – but what % of that energy will be required to capture all that CO2? A big coal plant might burn 5 million tons of coal a year, resulting in 15 million tons of CO2 from that facility alone. To capture the all emissions from one ton of coal would require most of the energy provided by that coal – probably close to 90%.

    The 90% would appear to one of your “educated guesses,” but I believe the emphasis in this case belongs with the word “guess” and not the word “educated” since your education appears to have taken a vacation while you were busy writing these posts.
    *
    You prefaced the above logic with the statement:

    The simplest thermodynamic and mass-energy balance arguments show this to be false.

    If your argument were as simple as grounded in basic physics as you would have us believe, then clearly the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can never come down — it can only go up. But we know that it has gone down in the past — from about 3000 ppm to roughly 300 ppm that we live with today. Largely as the result of mineralization — such as the formation of calcium carbonate — which is not an endothermic process.
    *
    In any case, I will let Patrick 027 speak for himself — and on matters of relevant chemistry — as he is clearly quite capable of doing so and would appear to have a more detailed knowledge in this area than either of us or even both of us combined.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:32 AM

  219. Re Ike Solem (continued from above)

    Physics and Technology, Part II of II

    However, skipping all of both my posts but for the very last sentence of my second post, you entirely ignored my reference to:

    IPCC Special Report
    Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage
    Summary for Policymakers
    A report of Working Group III of the IPCC and Technical Summary
    A report accepted by Working Group III of the IPCC but not approved in detail
    http://web.arc hive.org/web/*/http://www.mnp.nl/ipcc/pages_media/SRCCS-final/ccsspm.pdf

    … where I summarized some of its findings with:

    …in the table “TS.10. Range of total costs for CO2 capture, transport and geological storage based on current technology for new power plants using bituminous coal or natural gas” on page 40 in the section “Power plant with capture and geological storage: % increase in cost of electricity,” I find the figures of 43-91, 37-85 and 21-78 for “pulverized coal power plant, natural gas combined cycle power plant” and “integrated coal gasification combined cycle power plant,” respectively.

    … and as such, you state in 163:

    The only way to remove a ton of CO2 from the air is via a biochar process – and that’s perhaps 25% effective, meaning that for every 4 tons of biochar added to soil, 1 ton stays in the soil.

    …. as if the only point at which carbon dioxide can be removed is once it has become evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere.

    However, looking at the IPCC Special Report (see above), I find below two pictures of power plants the following words:

    Figure TS.4. (a) CO2 post-combustion capture at a plant in Malaysia. This plant employs a chemical absorption process to separate 0.2 MtCO2 per year from the flue gas stream of a gas-fired power plant for urea production (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). (b) CO2 precombustion capture at a coal gasifi cation plant in North Dakota, USA. This plant employs a physical solvent process to separate 3.3 MtCO2 per year from a gas stream to produce synthetic natural gas. Part of the captured CO2 is used for an EOR project in Canada.

    Carbon capture is taking place at the source of the emissions — and the report analyzes the problem strictly in those terms.
    *
    Entirely ignoring the IPCC Special Report, you state in 163:

    It is not possible to “implement CCS”, technically speaking. Can you yourself describe a process that would make it possible? One that doesn’t suck up 90% of the power generated by burning a ton of coal? No – and neither can anyone else.

    But this is exactly what the IPCC Special Report purports to do — in terms of existing technology, as it states in the original quote from page 40:

    Range of total costs for CO2 capture, transport and geological storage based on current technology…

    *
    Now I disagree with Obama. He believes in Cap-and-Trade while I believe in Jim Hansen’s revenue neutral Tax-and-Rebate:

    Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, is one of the leading voices for a carbon tax to address climate change, rather than backing the more widely used cap-and-trade approach. In his plan, Hansen recommends levying a rising tax on fossil fuels and redistributing 100 percent of the proceeds to taxpayers – a “tax and dividend” approach [PDF].

    Hansen to Obama: Support a Carbon Tax
    Ben Block
    December 15, 2008 3:39 PM
    http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/009194.html

    Yet I believe that people of good will can disagree in this area. Obama and Ray Ladbury believe in cap-and-trade and I don’t see any reason to impune either of their motives.
    *
    However, you would appear to be arguing guilt by association when you state:

    What’s remarkable is that even though cap-and-trade is unlikely to do anything positive for renewable energy generation, Obama advisor and fossil fuel magnate Warren Buffet opposes it:

    … then quote:

    During his three-hour appearance on CNBC today, Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor, described the cap-and-trade plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions which President Barack Obama included in its recent budget proposal as a “pretty regressive” tax…

    … Buffett has said, not in so many words, that Obama would hurt the low and middle income Americans the president sees himself championing since a larger share of their incomes would go towards paying higher utility bills than would be true for the more affluent.

    Well, it would seem that Buffett and his oil-soaked loyalties can’t be that great an influence on Obama’s views regarding Cap-and-Trade if Obama is for Cap-and-Trade while Buffett opposes it. Likewise, I pointed out at the very beginning of “CCS and Obama, Part II of II” (151), Obama has voted against home-state fossil fuel interests before. Moreover, it would appear that Al Gore — who might also be considered one of Obama’s “advisors” — supports Cap and Trade — given his recent testimony before the Senate. Is he tainted by oil interests as well?

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:52 AM

  220. William (211)
    You wrote:
    “Svensmark’s Sky experimental results showed that the same ion is re-used which multiplies the GCR effect by roughly an order of magnitude. The paper you quote assumes a one to one ion ratio for ion mediated.”

    In the Proc R Soc (2006) paper, where Svensmark first reported on their smog chamber results, I didn’t see any evidence of such a multiplication. To which paper are you referring? Note that what Pierce and Adams call the “ion-limit” is already orders of magnitude more efficient in producing particles than the well regarded ion induced nucleation model by Modgil et al. If what you claim is true, there is still some explaining to do.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 25 Apr 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  221. In to Ray Ladbury (213,) Hank Roberts (215) and (216)

    Ray: How does one re-use an ion? Ions do not wear out. The same ion moves from molecular cluster to molecular cluster.

    “The charged molecular clusters, condensing around ions, are much more stable and can grow significantly
    faster than corresponding neutral clusters, and thus can preferentially achieve stable, observable sizes. The
    proposed ion-mediated nucleation (IMN) theory can physically explain the enhanced growth rate (a factor of ~ 10) of sub-nanometer clusters as observed by Weber et al. [1997],”

    Hank: In reply to paper that does not show correlation between GCR levels in planetary temperature.

    There is a second mechanism by which solar activity changes modulates planetary cloud cover. Solar wind bursts caused by coronal holes create a space charge difference in the ionosphere which removes cloud forming ions. The next paper provides data the shows there is close correlation with geomagnetic field changes (ak) which are caused by the solar wind burst and planetary temperature. The next review paper by Tinsley and Yu summaries the data that supports the assertion that solar activity changes modulates planetary cloud cover and shows how that mechanism is hypothesized to work.

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    Once again about global warming and solar activity K. Georgieva, C. Bianchi, and B. Kirov

    We show that the index commonly used for quantifying long-term changes in solar activity, the sunspot number, accounts for only one part of solar activity and using this index leads to the underestimation of the role of solar activity in the global warming in the recent decades. A more suitable index is the geomagnetic activity which reflects all solar activity, and it is highly correlated to global temperature variations in the whole period for which we have data.

    In Figure 6 the long-term variations in global temperature are compared to the long-term variations in geomagnetic activity as expressed by the ak-index (Nevanlinna and Kataja 2003). The correlation between the two quantities is 0.85 with p

    Comment by William — 25 Apr 2009 @ 9:05 AM

  222. This is further to above comment with a link to Tinsley and Yu’s review paper.

    See section 5a) Modulation of the global circuit in this review paper, by solar wind burst and the process electroscavenging where by increases in the global electric circuit remove cloud forming ions.

    The same review paper summarizes the data that does show correlation between low level clouds and GCR.

    http://www.utdallas.edu/physics/pdf/Atmos_060302.pdf

    Comment by William — 25 Apr 2009 @ 9:08 AM

  223. William, where’s Tinsley and Yu (“Atmos_060302.pdf” above) published?
    (Atmospheric Ionization and Clouds as Links Between Solar Activity
    and Climate).

    The paper you post cites the Yu paper discussed in the initial post above, which is from JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 107, NO. A7, 10.1029/2001JA000248, 2002, and seems to be roughly contemporaneous with it — does it cite anything after 2002 there?

    But the Tinsley and Yu review you link to says at the end “Considered together, the two proposed mechanisms have the following strengths and weaknesses….” and describes both. Nothing is sure about it.

    You seem to be sure their proposed mechanism is correct.
    That was published seven years ago.

    Where is the publication showing confirmation of their proposal?

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  224. Timothy Chase says:

    “Well, it would seem that Buffett and his oil-soaked loyalties can’t be that great an influence on Obama’s views regarding Cap-and-Trade if Obama is for Cap-and-Trade while Buffett opposes it. Likewise, I pointed out at the very beginning of “CCS and Obama, Part II of II” (151), Obama has voted against home-state fossil fuel interests before. Moreover, it would appear that Al Gore — who might also be considered one of Obama’s “advisors” — supports Cap and Trade — given his recent testimony before the Senate. Is he tainted by oil interests as well?”

    This is not about individual people, really – Warren Buffet was just a useful example. If he took his entire $50 billion fortune and invested it all in renewable energy overnight, it would mean very little against the global fossil fuel system, constructed at a cost of some $10 trillion.

    This is a very important point – going after some individual or corporation is almost useless. If Exxon withdrew from fossil fuels, Chevron or ConocoP would take over – and if not them, some Chinese or Russian or French oil firm would move in. It was Bush who coined the phrase, “cap and trade”, wasn’t it? This is why we need coordinated action, international agreements, and clear government support for a switch from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewables.

    This is why Kyoto and Copenhagen are such critical agreements – and that’s also why we need to get a federal commitment to 20% renewable energy generation within a decade, something that China has already agreed to. If we don’t, it will sink the Copenhagen negotiations, because China will demand that we do at least as much as they are.

    Of course, the fossil fuel lobby plan is to sink the Copenhagen agreements, and they seem to have settled on ‘voluntary carbon trading’ as a replacement for binding emission cuts and renewable energy mandates. After all, “you have to be for something”, don’t you?

    Technically, replacing fossil fuels with solar and wind is very possible – but carbon capture and sequestration is not possible. There are many demonstration projects based on solar and wind – but not a single one based on carbon sequestration.

    It just doesn’t work – simple thermodynamic arguments prove that any coal plant that sequestered all CO2 from combustion would suck up most of the power produced at the plant – it would just be a big coal-to-liquid CO2 facility, nothing more.

    But wait – if we surround coal plants with acres of solar panels, they can use that solar energy to run the carbon capture program, and the coal energy can then be fed out over the electrical lines!

    Instead, why not just get rid of the coal plant and use the solar itself?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:30 AM

  225. P.S. How are those cap and trade-based emission reduction goals working out so far?

    recall,

    Under Bush’s plan, emissions of sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain, would be cut to 4.5 million tons in 2010…

    Nitrogen oxides emissions, which contribute to urban smog, would be reduced to 2.1 million tons in 2008…

    Mercury emissions, which are not currently regulated, would be reduced to 26 tons in 2010…

    The second point from Timothy Chase was:

    The 90% would appear to one of your “educated guesses,” but I believe the emphasis in this case belongs with the word “guess” and not the word “educated” since your education appears to have taken a vacation while you were busy writing these posts…

    If your argument were as simple as grounded in basic physics as you would have us believe, then clearly the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can never come down — it can only go up.

    I believe I have pointed out repeatedly that there is only one CCS method that has been shown to work, which is biochar – burying photosynthetically fixed carbon in soil. It’s impossible with coal – you can’t burn it and bury it at the same time and expect atmospheric CO2 to go down. Try capturing the CO2 coming out of your car’s tailpipe sometime – see if you can get it to work. A big balloon, perhaps?

    By the way, the current claim by Daniel Schrag is that “30% of the coal combustion energy is required” to capture CO2 emissions (about 12% by mass of the hot gas exhaust stream) – except that no performance figures from FutureGen prototypes have ever been published – the numbers are probably far higher, and it’s likely that the filtration/separation system is easily clogged or poisoned by sulfur, etc… and if it works so well, why is it all kept secret behind Battelle’s private proprietary walls? No patents, no perfomance reports, nothing but PR from the coal lobby. Thus, I think the real number under life-cycle analysis is far closer to 90% than 30%.

    For more, see previous posts:

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/24/britain-advances-carbon-capture-plans/#comment-55223

    “Consider coal: Southern Co, the Union Pacific and BNSF railroads, and the operators of Montana’s Powder Basin strip mines are the largest coal operation in the U.S. The two railroads move over 500 million tons of coal out of the Powder Basin each year, resulting in 1.5 billion tons of fossil CO2 emissions from that region alone, per year (~1:3 ratio between coal and CO2, mass-wise).

    Now, consider the petroleum refining complex, for comparison: The U.S. consumes around 7.5 billion barrels of conventional oil per year, and that works out to a little more than one billion tons of oil (7 barrels per ton). To move the 1.5 billion tons of CO2 around would thus require and infrastructure just as large and complicated as the ENTIRE U.S. oil refining and distribution system – with the added complication that CO2 is a gas.”

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/breaking-the-silence-about-spring/#comment-119608

    “Mitigation would involve the elimination of fossil fuel combustion and also of deforestation. While that would (hopefully) halt the growth of atmospheric CO2, we can’t be sure, because of feedback effects involving soil carbon, permafrost carbon, shallow methane hydrates and the basic fact that a warmer ocean holds less dissolved gas. To actually reduce atmospheric CO2 is very difficult; over periods of geological time the main factor is the burial of photosynthetic carbon. We can also do this using biochar – but all of the so-called “clean coal carbon sequestration” programs are fraudulent propaganda operations aimed at maintaining business-as-usual while projecting the image of change.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:53 AM

  226. > ions wearing out:

    This paper on is one of several on proposals for geoengineering the atmosphere — this one using with ground-based ionization weather control stations.

    This one says the ions do wear out, and lists three mechanisms; see their fn.4. They cite Carslaw (2002) which was mentioned earlier:

    ARTIFICIAL ATMOSPHERIC IONIZATION:
    A Potential Window for Weather Modification

    Abstract:

    The assumption is made that artificially generated, corona effect ionization should act in much the same way as cosmic ray ionization, with some differences that might make unipolar corona effect ionization a more powerful catalyzer of cloud microphysical processes and, consequently, climate….
    Figure 2- Fluctuations in Cosmic Ray Flux [from Carslaw, Harrison, Kirby (2002)]
    As can be observed, in the above graph, decadal, centennial and perhaps even millennial changes in GCR flux translates into long term weather changes. The correlation is not well established here and is, clearly, an open issue that warrants further modeling.

    Ions produced by galactic cosmic rays are lost by one of three processes (4):
    1. Ions are quickly lost due to a mechanism called ion-ion recombination.
    2. Many of the remaining ions after ion-ion recombination will attach to aerosol, charging the aerosol.
    3. When ion attachment occurs in a cloud, ions attach directly to water droplets, charging the droplet

    Their program is already in operation.

    “In the 1990’s, collaborative efforts between Mexican and Russian space programs eventually led to … their collaboration in an atmospheric electrification weather modification endeavor in Mexico ….
    ELAT technology has been put to work in Mexico since 1996 and the results have been such that the state governments in Mexico have expanded the original network of 3 stations (in 1999) to 21 in 2004. …
    … the Mexican Council on Science and Technology, will fund the continued expansion of the operational network up to 36 stations by 2006. Additionally this federal agency will also fund a research program where ionization stations will be set up with the sole objective of performing further research on ELAT ionization technology and not for operational results …..”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  227. William, the GCR mechanisms are
    1)still speculative
    2)do not invalidate the known physics of greenhouse warming
    3)are moot, since GCR fluxes are not changing significantly

    I know the last because if they were, I’d have a bunch of very irate customers telling me their satellites are experiencing more single-event upsets. The models used for GCR fluxes haven’t really changed that much in 20 years. They work. If there were a systematic shift, they wouldn’t. That, coupled with the fact that neutron fluxes have stayed within the same bounds for 50 years tends to make me a bit doubtful that GCR mediated mechanisms will demand much change to our basic picture of climate.

    There is, however a much bigger problem with the denialist talking point that GCR are being ignored. The mechanism simply doesn’t work for the paleoclimate or to explain responses to perturbations like volcanic eruptions. That is why I say that while there could be an effect (and the physics is interesting, to be sure), it doesn’t invalidate what we already know.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Apr 2009 @ 12:09 PM

  228. Cross-reference, Rasmus is asked and answers a question relevant here, over at the Friday Roundup thread:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/friday-round-up-2/langswitch_lang/fr#comment-120828

    Excerpt below, see his full comment there (Gavin, feel free to omit this if it’s not appropriate or unfairly shortened this; it seemed to me worth trying to cross-reference to this thread):

    [Response: The CLIMAX measurements are the data that Svensmark used to back up his hypothesis. .... as far as I know, nobody has demonstrated any link between low-energy GCR and clouds. If there is such a link, the situation gets interesting. ....]

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 12:19 PM

  229. Hank Roberts – Thanks, great source!
    ( http://epa.gov/airmarkets/resource/docs/US%20Acid%20Rain%20Program_Elec%20Journal%20Aug%202007.pdf )

    Timothy Chase – “would appear to have a more detailed knowledge in this area” – thanks for the vote of confidence! – now I’m motivated to dust off the chemistry textbook and look up what the chemical equilibria actually are. But that will have to wait for a little while.

    Ike Solem – “This is a very important point – going after some individual or corporation is almost useless. If Exxon withdrew from fossil fuels, Chevron or ConocoP would take over – and if not them, some Chinese or Russian or French oil firm would move in.” –

    True, although, except at the international level, or for programs that only apply to large emitters (which might cause a number of ‘ma and pa’ polluting industries to spring up, where mass market advantage doesn’t prevent it) – I don’t think it would be an issue for proposed policies in general – depending on how cap-and-trade is formulated. (Concievably, a renewable energy portfolio mandate might also be rendered partly inneffective if loopholes for small energy producers were allowed. Any great idea could be mangled up by the political process if people let it happen.)

    “This is why we need coordinated action, international agreements, and clear government support for a switch from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewables.”

    YES!

    “This is why Kyoto and Copenhagen are such critical agreements – and that’s also why we need to get a federal commitment to 20% renewable energy generation within a decade, something that China has already agreed to. If we don’t, it will sink the Copenhagen negotiations, because China will demand that we do at least as much as they are.”

    Having a renewable energy portfolio mandate (and efficiency mandates, energy-related updates on housing and building codes (e.g. All new buildings of this size and category should have at least this area of solar power rooftop devices (as a function of local climate, latitude, planned usage) – wherein landscaping causes shadowing or bird excrement issues, lower-tech options (skylights with good insulation, water heaters) can substitute for solar PV, etc… solar PV should be combined with solar heating when the cost for ____ is less than ____ … and roofs should be sloped and oriented to maximize benifites; in warm climates, light-colored interiors (including carpets) should be encouraged (tax rebate?) to reduce the interior heating caused by interior lighting, and windows and skylights should reflect (or have controllable exterior shades to reflect)solar IR and solar UV unless they are luminescent concentrating devices that use such wavelengths – and/or poleward facing vertical and sloped windows/skylights used to allow diffuse solar radiation in which is depleted in solar IR… And heat exchangers should be used to preheat and precool water and air, etc…, geothermal or other themal storage devices, etc, where ground material allows it…, waste heat from fuel cells fed by natural gas pipelines should be utilized… refrigerator heat output should face exterior-connected duct for winter advantages…(?)) should be entirely compatable with forced price signals – one merely plans out what the other is designed to encourage. Because of the higher up-front costs and difficulty in changing habits, and legacy issues of making poor choices now (it costs more, including psychologically, to remodel a home), I would be especially supportive of such mandates/planning of durable goods and infrastructure (but one should be careful not to inadvertantly make something that would be a good idea harder to do – as has been or is an issue with the recycling of some hazardous waste (?)).

    Regarding international issues…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:28 PM

  230. “solar UV” – no, maybe let some of that in? (a natural disinfectant, vitamin D source, but not too much (cancer, fading of colors) – bearing in mind wavelength-dependent properties)…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:39 PM

  231. P.P.S.

    For some positive news:
    http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Exelon_And_Sunpower_To_Develop_Large_Urban_Solar_Power_Plant_999.html

    Exelon was one of Obama’s largest backers, historically speaking, so any move towards solar on their part is definitely a good sign. The question is, will bailout/stimulus money dedicated to any such projects also be matched by real changes in institutions like the DOE?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  232. This is in response to Ike Solem’s 224

    Politics and Economics, Part I of II

    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    This is not about individual people, really – Warren Buffet was just a useful example.

    I appreciate hearing you say this, and I would extend this principle to those who I admire, including Hansen, Gore and Obama.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    This is a very important point – going after some individual or corporation is almost useless. If Exxon withdrew from fossil fuels, Chevron or ConocoP would take over – and if not them, some Chinese or Russian or French oil firm would move in.

    I agree. This is why I would recommend tariffs on the products of those countries which do not effectively limit their emissions by means of either cap-and-trade or (preferably) tax-and-rebate.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    It was Bush who coined the phrase, “cap and trade”, wasn’t it?

    Apparently not unless he coined it back in 1991. But it wouldn’t matter, would it, since this is not about individual people. Hitler could have coined the phrase — and this would be entirely irrelevant to whether “cap and trade” was a valid approach.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    This is why we need coordinated action, international agreements, …

    I agree. And yet we don’t need everyone to come on board at the beginning – if most of the developed world is willing to apply tariffs to those countries that do not come on board at that point.

    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    … and clear government support for a switch from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewables.

    At this point I have to agree with Hansen, Gore and Obama. Like Hansen and Gore, I am at least skeptical of CCS — skeptical of the view that it can be implimented within the next few years rather than in decades. Like all three, I believe that we should throw our support behind renewables. But like all three, I also believe that we do not need to eliminate the fossil fuel industry so much as penalize it for its carbon emissions, either in the form of cap and trade, or as Hansen and I would prefer, impliment a revenue neutral tax-and-rebate approach. Either they are able to ultimately able to impliment CCS or they will cease to exist — as either cap-and-trade or tax-and-rebate are ratcheted up each year to…

    [1:56] … create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented whatever power plants are being built that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps [or taxes] that are placed that are imposed every year.

    … my transcription of Obama’s words in comment 397
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=657#comment-116158

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:50 PM

  233. James, 21 April 2009 at 3:09 PM:

    But in many places the winds will be calm before dawn through the morning. and blow in the afternoons & evenings

    This is only close to the surface, due to resistance from surface features (trees, hills, buildings). Higher up in the air (where the large wind turbines are), the wind blows much more constantly and is only determined by high and low pressure systems, not by the sun.

    Comment by Anne van der Bom — 25 Apr 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  234. Re Ike Solem (continued from above)

    Politics and Economics, Part II of II

    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    Of course, the fossil fuel lobby plan is to sink the Copenhagen agreements, and they seem to have settled on ‘voluntary carbon trading’ as a replacement for binding emission cuts and renewable energy mandates. After all, “you have to be for something”, don’t you?

    John McCain to the contrary not withstanding, there is no such thing as voluntary “cap and trade” since under “cap and trade” the “right to pollute” in a certain quantity is treated as as a “property right” recognized and enforced by government action. Under a strictly voluntary system, given the incentives of the free market and the externalities that are implied, if someone were to “voluntarily” limit their emissions in a way that was inconsistent with the profit motive, they would be handicapping themselves in the marketplace. As a matter of the efficiency of the free market at discovering and applying the most “efficient” means possible of achieving the ends chosen by consumers, those who chose not to tie their hands in this fashion would win out in the long-run.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    Technically, replacing fossil fuels with solar and wind is very possible…

    I wouldn’t disagree, particularly once you start penalizing the fossil fuel industry for its emissions.

    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    … – but carbon capture and sequestration is not possible.

    As I pointed out in 151 and 219, the IPCC has a report which strongly suggests otherwise.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    There are many demonstration projects based on solar and wind – but not a single one based on carbon sequestration.

    What were the two plants that the IPCC Special Report had pictures of followed by the text:

    Figure TS.4. (a) CO2 post-combustion capture at a plant in Malaysia. This plant employs a chemical absorption process to separate 0.2 MtCO2 per year from the flue gas stream of a gas-fired power plant for urea production (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries). (b) CO2 precombustion capture at a coal gasifi cation plant in North Dakota, USA. This plant employs a physical solvent process to separate 3.3 MtCO2 per year from a gas stream to produce synthetic natural gas. Part of the captured CO2 is used for an EOR project in Canada.

    … that I pointed to in 219?
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    It just doesn’t work – simple thermodynamic arguments prove that any coal plant that sequestered all CO2 from combustion would suck up most of the power produced at the plant – it would just be a big coal-to-liquid CO2 facility, nothing more.

    As I pointed out in 219, your “simple thermodynamic argument” would prohibit the prehistoric mineralization of atmospheric carbon dioxide which quite clearly took place after the ~3000 ppm of the Permian-Triassic Extinction.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    But wait – if we surround coal plants with acres of solar panels, they can use that solar energy to run the carbon capture program, and the coal energy can then be fed out over the electrical lines!

    I didn’t see any solar panels in the pictures that were included in the IPCC Special Report. Perhaps you could look at it (I provided a link) and tell me whether you see any.
    *
    Ike Solem wrote in 224:

    Instead, why not just get rid of the coal plant and use the solar itself?

    As suggested above, personally I agree. I don’t think that CCS will work on a large scale, but if the fossil fuel industry wishes to commit the resources to prove me wrong and faces increasingly stiff penalties until either they succeed or go out of business, I will be satisfied.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 25 Apr 2009 @ 2:01 PM

  235. Does anyone studying the topic here (that is, aerosols, not policy)
    have a “citation map” of the aerosol-and-cosmic-ray papers?

    It’s hard to follow any individual claim through the chain of references and cites — seems some of them are preliminary or hypothetical in the research, but being claimed as fact by enthusiasts.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  236. Aha, some are — Sage offers citation maps now.
    http://online.sagepub.com/
    Registration is free.
    Example (not sure this will show up for others, try it)

    http://hol.sagepub.com/citemap/images/sphol_14_1_45,10.gif

    What is it?
    Citation Map is a graphical representation of the articles citing or cited by your selected article. The map is based on the references found in the full text articles of the HighWire-hosted journals. … What it does:
    Given a starting reference, Citation Map finds all articles related by citations either citing the article, or cited by the article. The result set is expanded outward from the starting article to make a collection of all the articles related by citation to the starting article. By noting the number of times each article in the collection is cited, the related papers with the greatest impact are graphed, along with the citing/cited-by relations among the articles in the collection. …

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 2:38 PM

  237. Let’s explain why biochar can reduce atmospheric CO2 via carbon sequestration, but coal cannot.

    http://community.nytimes.com/blogs/comments/dotearth/2009/04/17/co2-pollution-now-what.html?permid=2#comment2

    Consider CO2 and CH4 produced by cows – that CO2 came from grass cellulose, which was removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis the year before. That is a closed loop that does not alter atmospheric CO2.

    Now, consider CO2 and CH4 from coal or oil production. This is new carbon that has not seen the actively recirculating carbon pool for millions of years – and adding it to the atmosphere and oceans thus tends to raises the levels of all the carbon pools – soil, biomass, water and atmosphere, which are continually mixing with one another. CO2 is a gas, so whatever cannot be absorbed by oceans and biomass is left in the atmosphere.

    Thus, if you capture and bury 10-20% of the carbon from photosynthetically produced biofuels using a biochar process, you are actually removing CO2 from the atmosphere – quite slowly, though (think of a corn plant as a barrel of oil; 80% becomes fuel, and 20% becomes asphalt). Plenty of jobs for the hydrocarbon engineers, I think… (petroleum and biofuel chemists and engineers are really doing the same thing, but with different raw materials :) )

    Now, if you do this with coal, you are starting with a rock that has sat in the ground for well over 100 million years, in most cases. If you capture 50% of your CO2 emissions, you are still dumping fossil CO2 into the atmosphere.

    So, for cap and trade, the only real carbon credits should come from biochar projects, as that is the only current way to remove fossil CO2 from the atmosphere. The ratio of credits to fossil fuels would be something like 1:1000, I suppose, meaning everyone would have to shut off their energy systems and die of cold, heat, thirst, etc. That’s why renewable energy replacements for coal-fired power are the only plausible strategy – but a solar panel doesn’t bury any CO2, does it? How is it that solar has been called an ‘offset’ for new fossil fuel plants?

    Now, let’s consider the second sticking point: energy costs for carbon capture from coal. After much searching, I’ve only found one document that describes technical details involved in FutureGen:

    Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulation of the FutureGen Power and Hydrogen Production Plant

    Stephen E. Zitney
    National Energy Technology Laboratory
    Morgantown, West Virginia
    http://www.netl.doe.gov

    http://www.nt.ntnu.no/users/skoge/prost/proceedings/aiche-2005/topical/pdffiles/TE/papers/378c.pdf

    Please download the pdf and take a look at Figure 2, “FutureGen” – follow from the left, and look at all the energy input required:

    1) Air separation – carried out to produce a stream of pure O2 to burn the coal powder in. Modern coal plants easily go through 100 tons of coal per hour – that’s a lot of air to separate, isn’t it? Did you know that coal ash is marketable, by the way? That TVA ash spill must be a real gold mine.

    2) Coal gasifier – mixes water, O2 and coal dust to create a stream of gas products – the so-called ‘syngas’ or ‘coal-steam gas’ of Victorian eras, loaded up with hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide – but also H2, molecular hydrogen. Of course, you have to burn some of the coal to do this.

    3) Gas Cleaning – this separates all the sulfur, selenium, mercury, and arsenic from the gas stream, which creates another ‘marketable by-product’… only in West Virginia.

    4) CO2 separation – now, this is the ‘top secret technology’ – ideally, they’d have a mixture of H2 and CO2 in gaseous form, but it probably still be pretty dirty. Again, this is supposed to take place at a rate of 100 tons of coal per hour.

    5) Finally, we generate energy – the H2 stream is burned in a cogeneration-type system involving an H2 turbine linked to a steam turbine.

    6) We’re not done there – the CO2 needs to be either shipped off to a suitable location for “burial” – and we’re going to inject how may million tons per year into the ground? Tons, that is – every year, for the next 100 years, right? Yes, that counts as a farce.

    Each one of those steps, except the fifth one, involves significant energy inputs. Now, they’ve been working on this for over a decade, and have never released any performance data – or even displayed a working prototype, regardless of what was promised in the FAR IPCC. Thus, an estimate of 90% energy loss over the life cycle relative to a old-style pulverized coal seems like a pretty good guess (including clogged filters, etc.)

    They say they have performance data – they could prove me wrong by releasing it, couldn’t they? It’s also odd that a government-funded program like FutureGen would be able to hide their data from the public behind intellectual property laws. Imagine the outcry if climate scientists refused to release their data, citing IPR…

    For more, here you go:

    http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/coal-industry-expects-goodies-from-congress-too/#comment-22841

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Apr 2009 @ 3:03 PM

  238. “over periods of geological time the main factor is the burial of photosynthetic carbon”

    Actually, I think organic carbon burial to rock is about 20% of the total geologic sequestration of C – typically, with large excursions in the paleoproterozoic and neoproterozoic (in between, it is thought that as the surface and atmospheric environments became oxic, the deep ocean remained anoxic and became sulfidic, due to changes in the sulfur cycle caused by changes in the oxygen cycle due to the increasing atmospheric oxygen levels).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 3:45 PM

  239. … the rest of geologic sequestration is chemical weathering of Ca,Mg bearing silicate rocks to produce carbonate minerals (with some back and forth as carbonate minerals can be dissolved and precipitated).

    Geologic outgassing involves oxydation of organic carbon in rocks, and the reaction:

    carbonate minerals + some silicate minerals (such as quartz) -> CO2 + other silicate minerals (such as olivine, pyroxenes)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 3:48 PM

  240. Another factor to add to the mix:

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ngeo499.html
    Lead-bearing particles and ice formation
    Letter by Cziczo et al.

    “… Field-based measurements of ice-crystal residues, together with controlled environment experiments on artifical clouds, suggest that anthropogenic lead-containing particles are among the most efficient ice-forming substances in the atmosphere.”

    Hat tip to Terradaily, which has a news story:
    http://www.terradaily.com/reports/Clouds_Lighter_Than_Air_But_Laden_With_Lead_999.html

    “…. the team turned to a lab in Germany that houses a cloud chamber three stories tall, as well as a smaller chamber in Switzerland. They created dust particles that were either lead-free or contained one percent lead by weight, which is about what scientists find in the atmosphere.

    … lead changed the conditions under which clouds appeared. The air didn’t have to be as cold or as heavy with water vapor if lead was present. “Most of what nucleates clouds are dust particles,” said Cziczo. “Half of the ones we looked at had lead supercharging them.”

    … the researchers simulated the global climate with either lead-free dust particles floating around, or with either 10 percent or all of them containing lead.

    The computer simulation showed that the clouds they looked at – typically high, thin clouds – formed at lower altitudes and different locations in the northern hemisphere when lead was present in dust particles. … ”

    —-end excerpts, click the links for the full articles

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 Apr 2009 @ 5:24 PM

  241. Carbon capture ideas include

    In situ peridotite weathering:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4292181.html
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21629/?a=f
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/45/17295

    Ex situ olivine weathering:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/air-capture/#comment-87160
    ftp://ftp.geog.uu.nl/pub/posters/2008/Let_the_earth_help_us_to_save_the_earth-Schuiling_June2008.pdf
    http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2003/c03016.pdf

    Biochar

    but also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxy-fuel_combustion_process

    Comment by David B. Benson — 25 Apr 2009 @ 5:41 PM

  242. In both organic carbon burial and inorganic geological sequestration (although the later may be biologically mediated – chalk, etc. (PS diatoms, foraminifera, radiolarians, coccolithophores – 2 have silica skeletions, 2 have carbonate skeletons; don’t know which is which except that the last one is in chalk)); there can obviously be various degrees of burial from the upper ocean and atmosphere that do not make it all the way to actual storage in rock, and the geological sequestration rate will be a net flow through the stages:

    photosynthesis, (some respiration/other loss) plants/phytoplankton (some respiration/other loss) animals, zooplankton, soil and sinking into the deep ocean (some oxydation, methanogens… oxidation in deep ocean leaves CO2 in deep ocean until upwelling) … sedimentation (some losses) … burial (some losses if porous, etc…)… rock.

    CO2 + silicate minerals with Ca, Mg, etc. cations … sand, etc, + ions in water, some back and forth between ions and precipitated carbonate minerals … carbonate minerals buried.

    As the organic carbon cycle is mainly driven by sun (there’s also the hydrothermal ecosystem metabolic pathways), geochemical cycles involve shifts in chemical equilibria that are temperature (and maybe pressure) dependent, so that CO2 release is favored at higher temperatures and carbonate mineral formation is favored at lower temperatures; ultimately it is driven by geothermal energy.

    —————
    About sulfidic oceans:

    “Proterozoic Ocean Chemistry and Evolution: A Bioinorganic Bridge?”
    Anbar, Knoll
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/297/5584/1137

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 6:00 PM

  243. In reply to Ray Ladbury (227)

    “William, the GCR mechanisms are
    1) still speculative
    2) do not invalidate the known physics of greenhouse warming
    3) are moot, since GCR fluxes are not changing significantly”

    Ray you need to get out more. Have you being following the recent solar changes? We are going to have some real world data to answer your scientific questions.

    Neutron counts are the highest ever measured.

    http://cr0.izmiran.rssi.ru/oulu/main.htm

    Solar wind speed and density is the lowest since space based measurements began in 1960’s. Cycle 23 sunspots are still being observed and cycle 24 is appears to be stalling.

    And, not surprisingly there are observed changes. The earth’s ionosphere has shrunk by 35% in the night time and 16% in the day time. I would assume this change has something to do with the recent changes in the sun.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081215121601.htm

    Quote:
    CINDI’s first discovery was, however, that the ionosphere was not where it had been expected to be. During the first months of CINDI operations the transition between the ionosphere and space was found to be at about 260 miles (420 km) altitude during the nighttime, barely rising above 500 miles (800 km) during the day. These altitudes were extraordinarily low compared with the more typical values of 400 miles (640 km) during the nighttime and 600 miles (960 km) during the day.

    http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum.htm?list196994

    “2008 was a bear (My comment. Number of sunspots. Analogy to stock market.). There were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year’s 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days: plot. Prompted by these numbers, some observers suggested that the solar cycle had hit bottom in 2008.

    Maybe not. Sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year’s 90 days (87%). It adds up to one inescapable conclusion: “We’re experiencing a very deep solar minimum,” says solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center.”

    “This is the quietest sun we’ve seen in almost a century,” agrees sunspot expert David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.”

    Comment by William — 25 Apr 2009 @ 7:48 PM

  244. Ike Solem – I am certainly not pinning all my hopes on carbon sequestration; however, it might be a contributor to the total effort.

    We need energy. Provided that energy conservation and efficiency are also pursued, any decrease in emission per unit net energy generation is good.

    Suppose 50 % of energy from coal is used in carbon sequestration for emissions from the same coal. Then it would take twice the coal to produce the same energy, but that would still be a zero C energy resource. Whether it should be pursued depends on the cost – is it more or less expensive to relace that energy generation with solar, or wind, or biofuels, or waves, currents, tides, hydroelectric, geothermal, energy efficiency, nuclear, or natural gas with C sequestration, or just emitting the CO2 from the coal combustion but using the 1/2 the energy to sequester C from another source, etc… (PS coal itself is rather inexpensive (as of now), but if all electric power costs scale with coal usage, the above scenario would double the cost of coal electricity, which bring solar electricty closer to being competitive if not actually cross that threshold. On the other hand, the price of coal could increase with other regulations – to further decrease other air pollutants, including mercury, to increase miner safety, to increase pollution directly from mining, and to limit landscape degredation (James Hansen has pointed out that mountaintop-removal mining actually degrades the wind energy resource of West Virginia).

    Costs and benifits for a given general process will not be the same for all non-identical applications. For example, a coal plant that just happens to sit on an ideal site for CO2 burial (perhaps close to an olivine mine or old salt mine, etc.) might find it economical to sequester it’s own emissions before many other coal power plants would be able to do so. Such coal power plants (or those that are also in cold, cloudy climates) might be the surviving coal power plants after all others have been replaced by solar, wind, etc. On the other hand, if a solar power plant owner makes a bid for the abandoned salt mine (to use for energy storage by compressed air?), and is able to out-compete the coal power plant’s bid, then the coal power plant might be forced out of business. Or, a technology might arise where the coal power plant is able to pay it’s taxes by outsourcing C sequestration to a biochar operation or olivine dust ocean dispersal operation (which would also earn money for C sequestration at the same tax rate), etc…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 8:30 PM

  245. _____________________________

    So what I would support:

    Either cap-and-trade with nearly 100% auction, or tax, applied to emissions type A (direct industrial emissions, point sources, etc. – CO2 from fossil fuel combustion and cement production, methane emissions from fossil fuel industry, methane from landfills?, black carbon aerosols, etc.)

    Either the above or some other approach to regulate type B emissions (PS I just made up the type A and B designations): deforestation and land use changes, including rice paddies, also cows, etc.).

    The idea being that type A emissions are easier to track.

    Example: Emissions from production of energy used in farming would be realized by the farmer via the price signal of goods and services used, whereas emissions from fertilizer use, deforestation, etc, would have to be charged to the farmer.

    For fossil C emissions (fuel combustion and cement made from carbonates), it is a simpler matter to regulate the fossil C at some point in the flow before emission, and to do so at points with fewer larger transactions to minimize effort of regulation, perhaps reducing opportunities for corruption and fraud. For example, at point of mining or at point of sale to distributors (for consumer end use) and power plants (where end use is electricity or heat and electricity). When the potential-fuel flow is taxed, points further in the flow where fossil C appears in a product (plastics, asphalt), a rebate could or should be applied; however, if those products are later incinerated (or otherwise oxydized within a relevant time frame), the tax would then reapply.

    Activities to sequester C should be subsided at the same tax rate used for C in CO2 emissions – however, this should not *generally* include abiotic sequestration into the ocean without accompanying ocean pH buffering (if it could even be down with such buffering), or biotic sequestration without accompanying adjustment for ecological costs. Adjustments to the subsidy rate should be made according to best estimates and uncertainty about effectives, reliability.

    If any technology were developed to enhance the oxidation rate of CH4 in the atmosphere (or near sources), then that could also be subsidized as a function of it’s climatic effect. Obviously, the use of CH4 from landfills as an energy source would qualify for such a subsidy and would also profit as an energy source (presumably most such C is not fossil C); of course, the subsidy should only apply if the landfill that produces the CH4 is still being charged for it; put together the total operation is simply emission neutral. Unfortunately, it may be impractical to produce energy from cow and rice paddy emissions.

    Reforestation could be subsidized. Aforestation might be subsidized, although there may be an adjustment for albedo changes (albedo changes could be taxed/subsidized in general, but in general it may be too small a factor to justify the policy effort – unless someone finds an affordable and environmentally friendly way to cover the arctic with a white tarp (or a sheet of TiO2 that catalyzes oxydation of CH4).

    Reduction in methane emissions by degrading natural wetlands, etc, must not be eligible for such subsidy and/or otherwise discouraged.

    On that note, some funding for ecosystem and biodiversity protection from climate-change could also be funded from tax/cap-and-trade revenue. This might involve some transplantation efforts (spreading seeds). This would fall under B. below. It is related to geoengineering, which falls under A. below. There may be overlaps between sequestration (A. below), geoengineering (A. below), ecology and biodiversity protection (B. below), and more direct human economy adaptation (B. below).

    ———

    As the climate changes, some ecosystems may become net emitters of greenhouse gases. It is important that the relevant caretakers of the land not be penalized for climate-induced emissions, and not be charged for doing nothing to stop it (consider what a different policy could mean for wilderness areas). However, they should be encouraged to make the best of it, to take steps to minimize such emissions, and be discouraged from taking actions that increase the risk of greater climate-induced emissions.

    Increasing demand for biofuels must not be allowed to cause much habitat destruction (deforestation, etc). However, a type of biofuel that can grown by destroying or degrading rainforest, etc, should not be blanketly discouraged if it can also be grown in more environmentally friendly ways.

    Other costs of coal are cause for additional regulation, to reduce other air pollutants (mercury pollution), to reduce water pollution, to reduce landscape degradation, including the degradation of the wind resource in West Virginia by mountaintop removal mining. Areas already mined might be used to sequester CO2 (deep mines) or covered by solar power plants, etc. (strip mining).

    ———

    Besides sequestration, Revenue spending can go to

    A. other climate-change (and ocean-acidification) mitigation R&D and subsidies
    B. climate-change (and ocean-acidification) adaptation and R&D and cost reparation (e.g. propery value losses)
    C. economic adaptation cost cushion (with sunset clauses)(this would include aid to poor people to the extent that the tax/cap-and-trade is a regressive tax)
    D. equal per capita rebate (“cap-and-dividend” – James Hansen)
    E. pay for cuts in other taxes (indirect rebate).

    B. and C. – it is important to formulate these policies to reward benificial adaptation and not encourage costs.

    (FEMA could be restructured in the same way – some funding would come from taxes for any uninsured risks (or those risks that are above some background level) (discourages risk-taking except where the benifit outweighs the expected cost).)

    For example, if a farmer’s property value decreases due to climate change, a one-time payment for each one-time change due to climate change could be made (as opposed to a continual subsidy to continue operations, which could have a moral hazard/perverse incentive). This would amount to the entire initial value of the farmland if it had to be abandoned with no sale. However, the change in property value must be determined by actual value – which is determined by the options the farmer has to adapt – shift crop types and breeds, planting times, rotations, etc, change irrigation practices, etc.

    (As it is, farmers (those who work for large-scale industrial agriculture, anyway) are not encouraged to adapt to interannual and other weather variations as much as they could (see p.132, “Against the Grain” by Richard Manning, North Point Press, New York, 2004 (paperpack)). A point should be made of having backup options for crop rotations and for crop marketability (for damaged and diseased crops – for example, biofuels).

    A. – besides geoengineering and sequestration (R&D and subsidy), includes: energy and energy efficiency R&D and subsidies and land-use emissions reduction R&D and subsidies.
    ———
    (An argument could be raised that if the tax rate by itself is at the level justified given the cost of climate change (including ecosystem services
    —(including aesthetic and scientific values, including biome and landscape diversity) and biodiversity resources (medicine, materials, and new crop breeds (and pollinators, natural pest control options) to adapt to climate, pests and disease…))—,
    then public funding for energy and efficiency may be going too far. However, there is also the matter that we have to now make up for lost time. Anyway, some adjustment to lower emissions taxes could be justified by this spending, just to the point where there is sufficient revenue for the subsidies and public R&D funding along with other revenue purposes, given the market shares of both emitting activities and their non-emitting or reduced-emitting competitors; so that as the reduced/non-emitting competitors gain in relative market share, the public funding rate per unit market share would be reduced while the emissions tax rate would increase to maintain a balance in revenue and spending. One must be careful with reducing the emission price signal, however, because subsidies may not be able to practically cover all the possible emissions-reducing adaptations that the emission price signal would encourage.)
    ———
    For energy-related emissions, this would including R&D and subsidies for clean-energy-producing, clean-energy-compatable, and energy-efficient durable goods and infrastructure (appliances, cars, homes (solar roofs (combined water heating and PV, skylights), luminescent concentrator skylights and windows, (seasonal) solar UV and solar IR reflectors on windows, heat exchangers, etc.), electric grid updates, etc.), as well as solar energy (CSP and PV, including at least some focus on PV materials with greater availability, such as transition metal oxides and sulfides, etc.), wind energy, geothermal energy, hydroelectric advancements (storage, osmotic power where fresh water reaches oceans, thermal storage, waves, tides, currents, OTEC, MHD generators, combined electricity and heat plants, fuel cells, biofuels (algae, perennial native crops (grasses, perhaps), wild flowers, crop residues, damaged and diseased crops, sawdust, lawn clippings and leaves (with possible fertilizer returned to land owners who supply the biofuel resources), waste paper, food waste – expired milk, banana peels, crumbs stuck to paper, used coffee grounds, … sewage, etc.),

    and coal gasification for fuel cells with reduced C emission, and nuclear (fusion?)… but only to the extent that it’s promising.
    ———————
    This can also include R&D and subsidies for changes in land-use practices and technologies (to reduce CH4 from cows (“Beano” for cows?) and rice paddies, to increase soil carbon storage (perhaps by developing perennial breeds) and decrease fertilizer and pesticide use, to decrease the ecological footprint of animal protein production. The later involves corrections to our current policies that favor corn too much (too much government support of grains (when we should be encouraging consumption of healthy fruits, vegetables, beans (lets count coffee and chocolate as beans :) ) and nuts** (Hey, I love bread and pasta as much as the next guy, but…)) tariffs on sugar imports, and related to biofuels: ethanol import tariffs) and awareness that aquaculture operations that depend on feed harvested from the oceans do not increase the total fish/seafood availability and can contribute (from pollution) to the degradation of oceanic resources, as can land-based farming practices. (See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/advice-for-a-young-climate-blogger/langswitch_lang/cz#comment-118223 .) We should pursue strategies to harvest the waters in environmentally friendly and sustainable ways. Fertilizing the water can result in destructive algae blooms that use up oxygen – however, prompt removal of algae should (?) leave waters oxygenated and also supply a source of fuel or feed for aquaculture, or management of algae might help a fishery (?)… Not wanting to destroy natural mangrove habitat, could mangroves be farmed for anything (the idea being to make use of saltwater for near shore irrigation)?
    ————
    ** – a cure for nut allergies (allergies in general, actually) would be helpful to allergy sufferers as well as the planet – as would greater awareness that not roasting our nuts may reduce (at least for peanuts?) their allergenic propensities, and in some cases, makes them tastes and feel much better (raw almonds good, roasted almonds bad (for my tastes, anyway) – unless used to make nut butter (very good on a blueberry bagel)). And “Beano” for beans.

    B. The adaptation cost compensation was mentioned above with a focus on farming; buildings and infrastructure (retrofitting, remodelling costs to adjust for changing climate), and moving costs would also be included. There is also adaptation on the large scale which may involve some public planning and investments in (possibly solar-powered) desalination, water pumping, and irrigation projects – a potential use for peak solar power output. There is also a role for R&D for farming, including crops – perhaps breeding perennial crops that are heat, drought, and pest resistant
    (Pertaining to A. and B.:
    Scientific American, August 2007
    “Future Farming: A Return to Roots?
    Large-scale agriculture would become more sustainable if major crop plants lived for years and built deep root systems
    By Jerry D. Glover, Cindy M. Cox and John P. Reganold”
    http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=future-farming-a-return-to-roots
    or
    http://www.landinstitute.org/pages/Glover-et-al-2007-Sci-Am.pdf )

    and

    A. and B.: Population growth reduction – social security (to mitigate competitive fertility), family planning resources, education – especially for girls/women. Some cultural conditions will present difficulties in this task.

    _____________________

    The choice of whether to have tax-and-dividend or tax-and-fund does not have to be all-or-nothing.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 10:32 PM

  246. Chemical weathering is a very slow process. On very long timescales (much longer than glacial cycles), volcanic degassing and chemical weathering of deep ocean sediments control global CO2 levels – but trying to increase that artificially would again require a huge amount of infrastructure.

    The real benefit of biochar is more in rehabilitating soils than in slowing global warming, by the way. Elimination of fossil fuels is still a necessary first step.

    The problem is not the individual chemistry of photosynthesis and weathering, but rather the scale involved – consider the conversion of 1 billion tons of solid coal to 3 billion tons of CO2 gas – well, the world only makes 100 million tons of steel in one year, as an example. Global fossil fuel emissions are around 30 billion tons of CO2 per year. (7.2 gigatons of carbon per year over 2000-2005).

    The conclusions you get are then a little different from the normal ‘environmentalist’ boilerplate. For example, looking at plastic bags from a carbon-cycle based perspective, converting natural gas to plastic then burying the plastic in a stable landfill is not so bad – at least you are not pumping the fossil carbon into the atmosphere, excluding any possible plastic bag-to-methane conversion within the landfill. If you buy a paper bag and bury it in a landfill, that’s also removing carbon from the atmosphere, in that case photosynthetic carbon. The paper bag might be converted back to methane more easily than the plastic bag, however – so, I guess what we really need are photosynthetically sourced non-biodegradable plastics – the equivalent of lignin – produced without fossil fuel energy.

    That would lead to guilt-free shopping that aids carbon burial – that’s a different conclusion, I think. Just don’t throw the plastic in the ocean, where it all accumulates in the North Pacific gyre.

    That still leaves us with the need for non-fossil energy sources. Nuclear has many issues, but at least it would work (until uranium became scarce), as would solar and wind, which have different issues, but no resource exhaustion problems, give a billion years. Photosynthetically produced biofuels are another limited-scale option, but one that works well with existing petroleum infrastructure.

    In the future, we should be able to make natural gas from sunlight, water and air (or, preferable to air, an enriched CO2 stream). This is still a pipe dream, but the working analogy is the Haber process, which uses N2 from air and H2 from a fossil fuel source to form NH3, ammonia. Instead, we want to make CH4 from CO2 and H2O, by first using solar power to generate hydrogen or something hydrogen-like, consider NADPH, again, followed by carbon capture, i.e. the photosynthetic dark reaction approach – yes, energy costs might be high, but all the parts are there, I think. The benefit is that natural gas is easier to store and transport than solar electricity (the same is true for ethanol, biodiesel, etc.).

    Comment by Ike Solem — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:13 PM

  247. From 243 above:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/aerosol-effects-and-climate-part-ii-the-role-of-nucleation-and-cosmic-rays/langswitch_lang/cz#comment-120874

    “to increase pollution directly from mining”

    Obviously I meant decrease.

    —–

    For A. and B.: genetic modification: of livestock, of fish, of crops, of trees (to increase production of the organic carbon compounds that do not decay so much (lignins??)) – I don’t want to sound luddite on the matter; if technological progress can truly help then let it. But can it TRULY help? Breeding is one thing; actual injection of genetic material from one organism into another is different (sure, viruses may do it, but I don’t think it happens all that frequently across species, and a different mechanism may have a different result. Genetic information in the regular chromosome may be handled differently by cellular machinery than loose extra dna… ?)). I just think we need to be very careful about this kind of alteration of nature because once it gets out of the box, it can be very hard to contain if it needs to be (consider taking you-know-what out of a pool). I prefer other options. But I’m not an expert on this.

    PS irreversability is also a cost of climate change – setting aside the time required for evolution and the costs of adaptation (PS adaptation can include discomfort and death), once you’ve entered a new geologic time division – as interesting as it may be – you can’t get back to the geologic time division you’ve left. So don’t be so quick to leave the Holocene/early anthropocene.

    ——–

    Not a fundable cost per se, but we will also need political adaptation – the political will to handle migrations and economic shifts with peace and an honest admission of what is actually fair (the later will be as hard as a diamond formed in a black hole – many many people complain reflexively about anything bad for themselves as being unfair, as if in a fair world they would be King Midas).

    ——–

    On that note: international level:

    Okay, so most people do not want the U.N. to levy a worldwide tax. So how do we do this?

    1. Cap and trade – allows international trade of emissions permits, but initially, the allowances have to be alloted to various nations. How should that be done? In Kyoto, the approach as I understand it was to set a cap based on emissions in a reference year for each nation. This does not make much sense for the entire world, given the diversity of economic and demagraphic conditions. Internationalizing the above approach, the allowances would have to be auctioned at an international level. Would that (I’m not actually sure just now) be equivalent to assigning permits to countries based on GNP or GDP? The later sounds grossly unfair ** -but maybe not if they had to pay for them.

    Who do they pay?

    Is this so different from an international tax?

    Whether it is cap-and-trade or tax, the revenue could go to a global fund that would be spent as suggested above, but at an international level. There would be a net flow of wealth from some wealthy industrialized countries to some poor countries, but it could be justified against accusations of ‘redistribution’ by the fact that it is to pay for climate-change damages inflicted by one country on another.

    PS emissions offsets: in the above structure, offsets are just the outsourcing of C sequestration by an emitting party. However, given the diverse economic conditions of the world, offsets in the form of CDM projects (as in Kyoto) make sense. However, the Kyoto version has deep flaws (perverse incentives). Eliminating payments to emitters, the other problem is that it is hard to say whether a clean development project truly replaces a less emissions-efficient alternative or amounts to a gift. But I’m not sure this is so problematic. 1. It is analogous to the subsidies for durable goods and infrastructure in the domestic version of A. and 2. There are cheritable efforts anyway and except when mismanaged or handled by evil tyrants, they are generally good things; furthermore, such CDM spending might fall under C. above.

    Also falling under C. above would be a grace period offered to poorer countries in which they could recieve some benifits but pay a reduced cost (reduced more than for others during an initial ramp up. Of course, in general, policies with big changes should be phased in and out to avoid too much shock).

    Which brings up another point – incentive to pay into the system could come from witholding revenue from countries that do not participate.

    Rather than having individual parties posess and trade emitting permits and buy offsets, it may make more sense (for efficiency and clarity) to have, in the place of an actual global tax, a 100% auction for allowances as well as trading and buying of offsets on the national level. Nations would then have the incentive to implement domestic policies such as outlined above to pay for their emissions. They could (except in some cases – evil tyrants and such) design their own spending of money they get back for A – E above. They would also have incentives to fund R&D to develop technology to win revenue (provided they share the technology – alternatively they have the incentive to fund R&D just to boost their exports given the demand for technology from the rest of the world.

    An alternative is to have tariffs on imports (preferably proportional to emissions intensity of each item) from countries that are less stringent with their emissions policies. An international agreement could be reached to allow the WTO and ___ to allow this based on some formulation to discourage trade wars (it would be understood that this is the way it is, that this country is allowed to raise a tariff, etc.)

    What about subsidizing exports to such countries? This could be done, too, but in keeping with the retention of incentives, this perhaps should be done at a flat rate and not proportional to emissions intensity.

    If one nation charges fossil carbon at point of mine/well and another at point of sale to power plant/distributor, then things could get confusing; corrective measures would be needed for exports and imports of fuels.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:35 PM

  248. Oh duh!

    More difficult with deforestation (especially since some countries have already deforested plenty without paying) and other land use/agricultural issues, but in so far as energy and cement go (aside from CH4 emissions from fossil fuels):

    Just have each nation owe to the fund an amount proportional to the fossil C they’ve dug up to use or sell (with corrections for asphalt, plastics, etc. as mentioned before).

    —-

    An alternative to grace period for poor countries: a GDP/GNP per capita based adjustment: For all nations with GDP/GNP per capata (let’s call that GPPC) less than $7,000/year per capita, payments would be required at 1-((1 – GPPC/($7,000/year))^1.7) of the standard rate. Or something like that (I pulled that formula out of the air – just thought having something a bit nonlinear would make it interesting, but obviously the desired formula just needs to make sense. Maybe a hyperbola or exponential decay toward 1 would be better (standard rate as asymptote).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:48 PM

  249. With the wealth distribution as it is, C. and D. might be wildly unpopular by themselves. A mix of C., D., and E., could be used, where CDM would partly fall effectively under C. and D., and E. would be some rebate proportional to GDP or GNP (kind of like the 2 senators per state/ proportional representation in the house compromise).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Apr 2009 @ 11:52 PM

  250. Some discussion of policy here:
    http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/516/Fighting-Climate-Change.html

    I also found this:
    http://www.pbs.org/now/obama-watch.php

    Under “Take Action”, you can send a message to the White House:
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/opl/

    So anybody want to start a letter-writing campaign about this?

    Anyway, that’s it for my really big O.T. policy comments here.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Apr 2009 @ 12:03 AM

  251. Going back to the evaporation pan question for a minute. I have found a paper by Hobbins and Ramirez in Geophysical Research Letters Vol 31 2004 which shows the location of the greatest loss in pan evaporation in the U.S. and it occurs to me that the places showing the greatest loss increase are also the places most likely to have had increases in irrigation for farming and residential areas which of course would increase water vapor and decrease pan evaporation. Does this seem logical?

    Comment by steve — 26 Apr 2009 @ 9:31 AM

  252. William @ 25 avril 2009 at 9:05 AM, quoting another source, says
    “The proposed ion-mediated nucleation (IMN) theory can physically explain the enhanced growth rate (a factor of ~ 10) of sub-nanometer clusters as observed by Weber et al. [1997],”

    in support of his earlier statement (24 avril 2009 at 6:43 PM)

    “Svensmark’s Sky experimental results showed that the same ion is re-used which multiplies the GCR effect by roughly an order of magnitude. The paper you quote assumes a one to one ion ratio for ion mediated.”

    William, you are confusing growth in size of each individual ion mediated condensation nucleus(which is enhanced by the charge) with growth in numbers of GCR CCN (which would be required to “multiply the GCR effect”).

    You also state “How does one re-use an ion? Ions do not wear out. The same ion moves from molecular cluster to molecular cluster.”

    But according to Tinsley and Yu*
    “The growth rate of the ion clusters is controlled by [H2SO4], while nt determines the

    -lifetime of charged clusters-

    as well as the availability of ions. The neutralization by ion-ion recombination will make the growing charged clusters lose their growth advantage and the resulting neutral clusters may dissociate if smaller than the critical size. At typical [H2SO4] where significant nucleation has been observed, for very low Q most of the ion clusters have sufficient time to reach the larger stable sizes prior to recombination and the nucleation rate is limited by Q. As Q (or altitude) increases, ion concentration increases but the

    -lifetime of ions decreases-

    and hence the fraction of ions having sufficient time to grow to the stable sizes decreases. As a result, the total number of particles nucleated first increases rapidly but later on decreases as Q (or altitude) increases.” (emphases mine – BD) Oppositely charged ions do ‘wear each other out’.

    *Geophysical monograph ISSN 0065-8448 2004, vol. 141, pp. 321-339 American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, ETATS-UNIS

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Apr 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  253. _________

    “an honest admission of what is actually fair (the later will be as hard as a diamond formed in a black hole – many many people complain reflexively about anything bad for themselves as being unfair, as if in a fair world they would be King Midas).”

    To clarify: though there is some use for stoicism, I don’t meant to suggest that everybody must constantly keep a stiff upper lip (I certainly don’t). But complaint of misfortune need not be based on arguments of fairness.

    A distinction should be made between what is fair and what is deserved. Presumably they are or tend to be proportional, but a fair distribution is limited by physical reality. I have advantages in life beyond what is fair as I was born in a first-world, peaceful country. But I do not necessarily think that I have gotten more than I deserve; rather, I wish everybody could have what I have. (Others with a fire and brimstone attitude may think that what is deserved is far less than what is fair…)

    _________

    Trade:

    So overall,take the sum of export subsidies

    (preferably not linked to emissions intensity, or if so, only in broad categories within which individual products/services with differing emissions intensities compete with each other on that basis via the emissions price signal (Remember, more generally, all emissions from all sectors should be treated equally and not walled-off from each other, and the market reaction should decide which sectors change the most, etc.))

    and import tariffs (preferably linked closely to emissions intensity of individual units of products/services). This sum should be proportional to the difference between the emissions price signals of the two countries, allowing for an adjustment and/or grace period for poorer nations.

    Speaking of that adjustment, my formula:
    1-((1 – GPPC/($7,000/year))^1.7)
    was quite ad hoc, though the number I chose ($7000 per capita annual GDP or GNP) is loosely based on a vague memory of what I read (Fareed Zakaria: “The Future of Freedom”) of the wealth per capita threshold that might allow a stable healthy democracy.

    _________

    Deforestation and other land use emissions:

    A solution:

    Have all countries as of a starting year pay ‘backtaxes’ on net deforestation/etc. (and soil losses, etc.) emissions (this might include lifetime-methane emissions associated with hydroelectric reservoirs). From that point on, it will be nearly fair if a nation’s net deforestation/etc. emissions are charged and net reforestion/aforestion/etc. sequestrations are credited/subsidized.

    But to be fair to the present, the ‘backtaxes’ should be discounted as a function of time since the changes occured. This is because present day people live where they live, do what they do, etc, as a result of historical events that cannot be changed – civilizations, etc. have been established and they are where they are. Also to be fair to the present, some recognition is needed that – especially in Europe, some of the benificiaries of past habitat changes may currently be elsewhere, so some of the ‘backtaxes’ might be apportioned by total property value of nations.

    ***
    A similar procedure could be used with emissions in general to get developing countries to participate more fully without the full need of the grace period, and it would make the spending category E. in the form of GDP/GNP rebates less unfair; the grace period and poor nation adjustments could be removed and replaced with the spending in C. and D., which includes the CDM spending. In that case the trade issues might be mitigated.

    If each nation contributes to the ‘global climate fund’ as per emissions, as with individual businesses within nations with such domestic policies, the price signals will tend to spread naturally to the benificiaries of emitting activities.

    Spending on A. and B. could apportioned to each country as per R&D and subsidy and adaptation compensation efforts (R&D successes would win prizes) of each country.

    But many people are uncomfortable with the U.N. or ____ handling such large sums of money. So:

    The actual payments made by nations could just be the net owed – the total a nation owes minus the funds owed them.

    _________

    A fundable solution to migration issues: Of the total payment for adaptation costs of migration of climate refugees, some portion could be payed to the refugees, and some portion could be payed to recieving nations, to get them to accept refugees with open arms (PS I would have implemented such a policy to get neighbors of Iraq to accept Iraqi refugees). Recieving nations could use funds to boost carrying capacity – e.g. desalination and irrigation investments.

    _________

    Earlier I mentioned using osmosis to get energy from where rivers meet the sea.

    1. We would not want to do this to the extent that it damages estuary environments, etc. (It might be a way to make the best of meltwater flowing off Greenland and Antarctica?)

    2. Given the present inefficiencies of osmosis and reverse osmosis, it would not make sense to have both osmotic hydroelectric power and water desalination projects in the same region. The market should prevent this from happening. (One possible exception might be a flow of water from the Red Sea into the Dead Sea to replace water from the Jordan river that has been diverted for irrigation; the combination of the Dead sea’s high salinity and low elevation may make desalination + osmotic power a net energy producer, depending on the technology (the initial desalination is to preserve the Dead Sea’s composition in the process). On the other hand, it might make more sense to let the Jordan river flow and use desalinated water. Etc.)

    _________

    Wind turbines:

    There are places for them (especially offshore – could we make use of hurricanes (osmotic raincatcher power plants, too)?). However, there is some concern about scenery, bats, and birds – though I have read the later is not such a big problem compared to other anthropogenic bird issues (?). If wind turbines were replaced with arrays of small turbines, then each turbine might not have enough inertia or force to hurt a bird, and from a distance, the motion would not be so obvious (or it might appear as a sparkling, like a distant flock of gulls in the morning light). Motion is a big scenery issue; immobile objects are much easier to ignore.

    Small turbines don’t have to withstand large centrifugal forces and can make use of turbulence. Using many small turbines that can be connected in a modular fashion might reduce costs (by increasing potential for mass production).

    Conceivably one could design a ‘wind tree’, where generators (or pneumatic pumps that lead to generators) are at the base of flapping leaves. Maybe just for niche markets: edges of skyscrapers, etc.

    _________

    Temperature dependent color-changing materials for building exteriors and maybe interiors too!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Apr 2009 @ 1:29 PM

  254. “(It might be a way to make the best of meltwater flowing off Greenland and Antarctica?)”

    Bearing in mind effects on sea ice and thermohaline currents

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Apr 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  255. Dr Verheggen,

    My statement@74 “I would think that more GCR = more clouds = more rain” was oversimplified, not to mention wrong, as you kindly pointed out. That’s a frequent side effect when i’m thinking out loud.

    Would a step change in GCRs, (absent secondary effect chains like increasing albedo = less surface sunlight = cooler ocean surface = less evaporation = less water available for precipitation) only cause a transient change in rainfall? I can see how smaller GCR mediated cloud droplets might take longer to grow large and fall as rain, but shouldn’t that only delay rainfall, rather than reduce it? Would this delay cause distances between source(net evaporation) and sink(net precipitation) areas to increase, and have any changes like this in patterns of rainfall or concurrent latent heat transport been observed?

    According to “Precipitation Trends in the 20th Century”
    Anthony Del Genio, Aiguo Dai, and Inez Fung http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/delgenio_02/
    “We find that in much of the middle and high latitudes, precipitation has systematically increased over the 20th Century.”
    and “We find that the precipitation changes recorded over the 20th Century are well-matched to trends in cloud cover measured over the past few decades.” Are these trends continuing, and can any GCR influence be shown?

    Recaptcha says “mar genevese”
    Googling “rainfall trend genoa italy” returns (first hit)
    ” Trends in High Frequency Precipitation Variability in Some Northern Italy Secular Stations” by Michele Brunetti, Letizia Buffoni, Maurizio Maugeri and Teresa Nanni, which “gives evidence that in Northern Italy there is a positive trend in the proportion of total precipitation contributed by heavy precipitation events…”

    Could this be an effect of “fluffier” GCR ion mediated clouds lasting longer, growing larger because of more moisture available due to AGW, and when the threshold in cloud droplet size crosses the precipitation tipping point, larger rain events are occurring?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 26 Apr 2009 @ 2:27 PM

  256. This, steve?
    Can’t help you with the logic, but I think you need to consider all the variables, not just two, to figure out what’s going on. These papers seem to. I think this is the one you’re talking about:

    http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2005_brown_t002.pdf
    GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L15401, doi:10.1029/2005GL023549, 2005

    “Figure 2 contains 192 data pairs from 25 basins across the U.S. [Hobbins et al., 2004] … Figures 2 and 3 correspond to a composite of 192 pans in 25 different basins over the continental U.S.,
    spanning the full climatic range from arid to humid….”

    Look at the “Related Articles” links here, for more review articles:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2007.04.014

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 26 Apr 2009 @ 4:09 PM

  257. Re Ike Solem:

    “Carbon Dioxide Levels Controlled By Degassing and Chemical Weathering Over Time”
    http://www.scitizen.com/screens/blogPage/viewBlog/sw_viewBlog.php?idTheme=13&idContribution=286

    Thank you. That was quite interesting. Though I should point out I was already aware of the generally slow nature of the geologic branches of the carbon cycle (as I explained here very briefly: http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm#2944 ), and had some awareness of the possibility that repetitive glaciations may enhance the longer-term average chemical weathering rate, though I’m not sure I had considered the role of continental shelf erosion (however, that might have two sides – exhumed sediments may contain organic carbon that may be oxydized upon erosion).

    What I had brought up was the possibility that we could artificially increase the chemical weathering rate by grinding up certain kinds of (relatively abundant) rocks – and if the trade off between lost efficiency in cation use at lower CO2 concentrations and the smaller chemical reaction rate at lower temperatures could be made up by the lack of need for CO2 pipelines or … etc, then this could be done by scattering mineral dust into the ocean (from quarries near coasts) – conceivably there might also be a local aerosol cooling effect if the dust is allowed to blow some distance out to sea. I’m not sure of the ecological consequences, but would guess there is less risk of ecological disruption using this sequestration method than with using ocean fertilization which necessarily requires biotic activity (and may be less predictable and less effective) – and it would actually buffer ocean pH; along those lines, even carbonate minerals could help, though not as thoroughly, in increasing the water’s capacity to hold CO2 and buffer the pH.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Apr 2009 @ 8:00 PM

  258. Patrick 027 (257) — That is an interesting variation on ex situ ultra-mafic mineral weathering. I am concerned that the rate might be quite low but in trade for that the costs are not high, on the order $10 per tonne of CO2 removed.

    Pau-pua New Gui-nea and New Cale-don-ia both offer excellent prospective locations.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 26 Apr 2009 @ 8:24 PM

  259. #256 Yes Hank I had seen the 2005 study but there is a actually a 2004 study with a map of where the greatest decrease in pan evaporation rates were taking place. The study also included maps of vapor pressure and TSI and the location of the decreases and the variation on these pressure and TSI maps weren’t overly convincing for either case. But what I noticed was decreased evaporation around the areas of Phoenix, El Paso, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas-Ft Worth, San Francisco, Salt Lake City. All rapidly growing metropolitan areas which would have seen significant urban sprawl.

    Comment by steve — 26 Apr 2009 @ 8:35 PM

  260. > not overly convincing

    That’s a statistical determination I don’t know how to do.
    Maybe photographing the sites would help.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Apr 2009 @ 12:39 AM

  261. steve #251, if you have to ask “is this logical?” then either it isn’t or you aren’t logical.

    And if it were, what conclusions would you draw from it? If it weren’t what would you change about what you know?

    Comment by Mark — 27 Apr 2009 @ 2:49 AM

  262. #26o Hank, yes probably photographing the sites would help. Until such time as I can get to that I have to rely on my base knowledge, the resources available to me and some basic logic. For instance I know it is illogical that if water vapor pressure were the primary reason for the decrease in pan evaporation that one would see multiple sites showing slight increases in evaporation and then once reaching metropolitan areas in the same area of water vapor pressure a dramatic decrease such as is seen in the Dallas Ft Worth area. Because my interests lead me to read on many problems I can immediately see a connection between the increased use of irrigation in the Rio Grande Aquifer system and the water problems that is likely to create in the future and how the numerous sites which show pan evaporation decreases within the basin of this system could be related to this increased irrigation. Because I am familiar with geography I understand that urban sprawl in places like Charlston SC, Houston TX, and central FL would involve draining wetlands and thus would have the opposite affect. And because I am familiar with both geography and human nature I would find it very suprising if the cluster of decreasing pan evaporation rates between San Francisco and Reno did not match a cluster of developement. Do I know that the answer lies within land use, certainly not. But I at least know enough to know I don’t know.

    Comment by steve — 27 Apr 2009 @ 8:53 AM

  263. #261 Mark, the reason I asked if it was logical is because I’m not sure that the amount of water involved, particularily that used in residential areas, is sufficient to change the local water pressure enough to have the type of affect I believe may be possible. This I am less then well informed enough to make a sound judgement on. If not then it is a rather worthless road to travel and I would seek a new route.

    Comment by steve — 27 Apr 2009 @ 12:06 PM

  264. > probably photographing the sites would help.
    > Until such time as I can get to that I have
    > to rely on my base knowledge

    Steve, it sounds like you’re going down the “surfacestations” road without benefit of statistics.
    If you don’t recognize why that’s a problem, see Tamino’s blog. Don’t waste your time, the questions you raise can be answered scientifically, but not by taking pictures and being logical based on a few facts.

    Sorry for the digression. I’m done on that issue.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Apr 2009 @ 12:56 PM

  265. Re 241, 258 (David B. Benson) – thank you for those links; I haven’t gotten a chance to look at them but look forward to it.

    ” New Cale-don-ia “

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Apr 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  266. As I recall, a great place to get Ni.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Apr 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  267. (ult-ra-?)mafic rock composition (?). (I have also heard that exposed peridotite (intrusive ult-rama-fic igneous rock; corresponding extrusive rock is komatiite, which rarely if ever forms in recent geologic times because of the higher temperature required to result in complete melting of upwelling mantle; mafic gabbro/basalt is a result of partial melting and resulting fractionation) tends to form a relatively lifeless surface – true?)

    Which reminds me:

    Obviously highly toxic elements have some relatively low abundances in most common rocks (ores can be a different matter), and the usual rate of erosion is not generally a problem (except ore-forming processes?). However, would anthropogenically-forced erosion rates (for CO2 sequestration/ocean pH buffering) cause a problem with As, Hg, Pd, Cd, etc.?

    On the other hand, what if, after grinding up, physical seperation of grains and further physical, chemical seperation (aided by concentrated CO2, H2O, heat from coal or biofuel power plants/fuel cells?) were done so that the non Ca, Mg silicate portion were used to mine for Si, Al, Fe, Na and K (mainly for glass), Ti, P, Mn – and the residue of that operation were mined for S, Cu, Zn, Ni, Cr, V, Sn, V, Zr, Mo, Nb, Ce, La, Nd, Y, Co, etc., and the residue from that operation were mined for Cd, Ag, Ga, Ge, In, Se, Te, Au, Pt, etc… – perhaps a pipedream, but no harm in putting the idea out there (a number of these elements could be used in solar cells).

    —–

    OR:

    Imagine geothermal storage of solar thermal energy. Concentrated solar radiation might be beamed through a hole in the ground (details yet to be worked out) to heat a 500 m x 500 m x 500 m cube of rock (surrounded by refractory bricks). In an initialization period, there is net storage over cycles of storage and retrieval, until the rock is just partly molten (?) – and/or water and CO2 are provided to percolate through it very very very slowly. After some decades (or millenia?), perhaps the rock will have seperated into ore bodies, which can then be mined, and some of the products used in solar cells (not to say there aren’t enough reserves for solar cells in general, though maybe just Te reserves for a significant but small role for CdTe (but perhaps a role that can be realized sooner – it would only be a small percentage ultimately of all solar energy (although there is potential for future reserve gains (as Cu, Zn ?, etc, demand increases), and their is room for improvement in cell efficiency) – and then there’s CIGS, with an In, Ga and maybe Se availability issues, but anyway, there’s amorphous Si, thin film Si with light-trapping, and possibilities of oxides and/or sulfides and/or phosphides, nitrides, antimonides, iodides, etc, or combinations of those, etc, of combinations of Ti,V,Cr,Mn,Fe,Co,Ni,Cu,Zn,Y,Zr,Nb,Mo,La,Ce,Nd(?),…,Hf(?),W,Si,Sn,Al,etc, with rarer elements (and/or others of the above) as dopants and photosensitizers, very thin electrode interfaces, etc,…. not to mention use of the deluxe solar cells in geometric and/or luminescent concentrators – and then there’s organic solar cells, nanoparticle-polymer mixtures…

    (We should have greater funding for solar cell research so that a larger variety of potential photovoltaic materials, optical layers, electrical contact layers, structures (nanostructures, microstructures), manufacturing techniques, combinations, etc, can be researched and developed at the same time.)

    —–

    There a a couple interesting solar thermal concepts involving mimicry of weather: Solar towers, with hot air rising (there is a version (forgot who came up with it) without an actual solid tower – instead, the inflow is made to rotate so that the buoyant column’s tendency to detach from its source is limited by the centrifugal force that resists vortex stretching; I’m not sure how well it would work, but that is the mechanism that allows mesocyclones power-up tornados), and an indirect solar tower wherein salt water is injected and evaporated to produce a cold airmass.

    Along those lines, what about having seawater flow into a coastal canal to an osmotic power plant, interfacing with a high salinity brine that evaporates. Salinity will inevitably build up in the seawater inflow, but a deep canal would allow some outflow of enhanced salinity at the bottom; some of that saline water could be taken to replenish the salts in the brine on the other side as salt is removed and sold. Perhaps this would also use saline outflow from seawater-irrigated mangrove plantations.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Apr 2009 @ 1:12 PM

  268. Sorry for the broken up posting – I was trying to figure out what was tripping the spa-m detector.

    Clarification of ‘backtaxes’ for deforestation, past fossil C emissions, etc.:

    Obviously it would be impractical to pay this out at once. The idea is that once there is agreement that it will be payed, it should be easier to get the developing countries to participate (as in all fairness it should be) in a truly level playing field. The next question – as the ‘backtaxes’ are discounted as a function of time elapsed, would the payments have some additional interest rate from time since the policy is enacted? Perhaps, but I suggest only at the inflation rate, since it is not a high risk ‘lo-an’ (?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Apr 2009 @ 1:36 PM

  269. Unfortunately then, steve (#263) you’re going to have a lot of problems, because I don’t understand your post there.

    You don’t understand what your question is aiming for and nobody else can answer you because we can’t understand you.

    Try the post again and fill in the blanks.

    “I’m not sure that the amount of water involved”

    Involved in what. State clearly.

    “particularily that used in residential areas”

    You then need to say in what residential areas. Willacoochie, Georgia is a residential area. Then again, so is Tokyo. I would figure a different amount of water involved in the two places, though.

    “is sufficient to change the local water pressure enough”

    Again, this would change based on what you call residential

    “to have the type of affect I believe may be possible.”

    What effect do you think is possible. You must know SOMETHING else you wouldn’t have an idea over what may be possible. Being clear and concrete means that someone may be able to figure out what you DO know and what answer you will be able to understand (or, indeed if you already know more than the person trying to answer, making their effort redundant).

    Why do you think what change you think may be possible doesn’t work with the changes of pressure from water use in residential areas? You haven’t even defined your scenario completely. Therefore there’s no way to rule out any possibility and no way to answer your question.

    Think about your question FIRST.

    Think about what you DO know. See if that makes your question redundant.

    Then, when you’re done writing the question if it is still relevant, read it again. Did you have to refer to your memory rather than what was on the message? If so, put that in.

    Ask an intelligent and intelligible question and maybe people won’t think you’re wasting their time.

    Deal?

    Comment by Mark — 27 Apr 2009 @ 2:46 PM

  270. Patrick 027 — Another link which may interest you, mine tailings:
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2005AGUFM.B33A1014W

    Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Apr 2009 @ 3:27 PM

  271. #269 Mark, I think Hank understood what I was saying and mearly disagreed with my method of thinking the problem through.

    #264 Hank, I assumed you brought up pictures as an indirect hint that I was copying the work of Watts and didn’t actually take you seriously. I appreciate your emphysis on statistics. I would comment that in my view statistics don’t replace logic they mearly supplement it. If all it took was statistics then what is the probability that some guy off the street such as myself could look at a map of 33 sites on a map which represent the pan evaporation rate to be lowering at a greater then 90% chance and identify without research 24 sites that are connected either with increased irrigation or increased urban developement over the last 50 years. I have found a possible reason why my logic and Hobbins’ statistics may not be matching up but my limited ability to judge the importance of the amount of water involved again hampers me. The paper by Hobbins takes the HCDN stream-flow gauge numbers and compares to the PRISM precipitation numbers to estimate
    the environmental evaporation rate. This would for all appearances ignore the depletion of ground water being experienced in many heavily irrigated and many urban areas. Dr Marcia Schulmeister states the amount of the ground water loss of the Rio Grande Aquifer System at 55,000 to 70,000 acre-feet. I understand if you are tired of the subject and since I have taken this as far as I reasonably can I am pretty much done. thanks

    Comment by steve — 27 Apr 2009 @ 9:14 PM

  272. “#269 Mark, I think Hank understood what I was saying and mearly disagreed with my method of thinking the problem through.”

    Well whoopie.

    How do you know he disagreed because he misunderstood your question? What if you want to hear from someone else?

    Comment by Mark — 28 Apr 2009 @ 6:22 AM

  273. Since we’re all here to try and spread the word on bettering our environment, you guys should consider checking out the Tomorrows World site.

    http://www.tomorrowsworldcompetition.com/

    Some students won a video contest and it’s been posted for our viewing pleasure. One of them is about climate change and flooding, the other about water efficiency. Both are pretty undeniably important subjects. It’s important we encourage people to keep trying to get the word out on slowing climate changes and reducing carbon footprints. Check out the vids and send them to your friends!

    Comment by Mark — 28 Apr 2009 @ 10:59 AM

  274. Re 241, 258, 270

    In between 266 and 267 above:

    …”As I recall, a great place to get Ni.”
    _____________________
    “(ult-ra-?)mafic rock composition (?).”…

    INSERT:

    Also where the backgrounds for “Walking With Dinosaurs” were filmed, because of a lack of flowering plants – something to do with the

    ———-

    on that point: just after this comment (from 241 above):
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/air-capture/#comment-87160
    (which I believe gives a chemical weathering rate that is a factor of 3 too high – unless maybe it includes some bicarbonate production that later releases CO2 before actual mineral formation? (but in the short term could be of help in mitigating ocean acidity, atmospheric CO2))

    ———————
    A related comment:
    “G.R.L. Cowan, hydrogen-to-boron convert”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/air-capture/#comment-87216

    Which provides a quote about olivine massifs:
    “no vegetation grows on them, but they are not “toxic” as often reported, merely deficient in essential elements.”
    (contrary to what I had speculated/remembered/wondered earlier)

    and provides links:
    http://www.alpinenz.com/Red-Hills.html
    http://www.geokem.com/global-element-dist1.html

    the last of which has a rather interesting quote about Ga, off-topic but worth posting anyway:

    “Ga has at times driven me to near despair. It seemed an obvious metal to determine by XRF only there was no gallium standard, so I bought some Ga metal to make artificial standards. Unfortunately it melts at about body heat, so these lumps of what appeared to be aluminum melted whenever touched and ran about like mercury. The obvious solution was to reduce it to some salt that did not melt to we put it in various strengths of HCL (to form GaCl3). It did not dissolve as Al would have done. When boiled it glowed like mercury and slowly diminished in size. After prolonged boiling it vanished. When the acid cooled it reappeared as an immiscible liquid globule quite unchanged. It seemed to be quite indestructible. I finally hurled it out a window and luckily some Ga values appeared for the standard W-1.”

    ———-

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Apr 2009 @ 9:53 PM

  275. Links from 241:

    Very interesting. It sounds like the actual grinding to dust and oceanic dispersal idea may not be quite competitive (except where the purpose is specifically acidity mitigation)(? – depends on energy and rock type, location – My initial calculation was for 80% mass in grains smaller than 25 microns, according to link in 197), as allowing CO2 to react with rocks in place does it’s own mechanical breaking. And it is exothermic so it can boost the reaction rate and be self-sustaining under some conditions. Nice.

    (That reminds me of … I think they’re called the Lost City hydrothermal vents (?) … where oxydation of ferrous Fe to ferric Fe produces heat and – I think methane – from H2O and CO2 – during serpentinization of the rocks. This particular phenomenon is of interest in the study of the origin of life – abiotic methane production with some mineral catalyst(s), as I recall, produces a similar isotopic signature to biotic methane production – something like that – and biological metabolism could have evolved from such geochemical reactions.)

    (The focus on one country (Oman) is interesting – not that this is the case, but an interesting futuristic movie plot could be based on one country’s rise to power via a near monopoly on CO2 sequestration.)

    (Perhaps it is not enough heat (and it doesn’t work if the temperature gets too high), but I wonder if a geothermal power plant could be run off of carbonate formation? (Water pumped downward to get heat could be first preheated by carrying CO2 to feed carbonate mineral production; it could then come back up with the same heat and temperature as otherwise while extracting somewhat less heat from the hottest rocks.))

    (Would there be earthquake risks if done on a large scale using bedrock in place – or would a few well-placed fractures surrounding selected blocks (shaped like inverted pyramids?) mitigate that issue?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Apr 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  276. A few links stated olivine was Mg2SiO4, but olivine is actually (Mg,Fe)2SiO4, varying between forsterite (Mg2SiO4) and fayalite (Fe2SiO4). This link:

    http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2003/c03016.pdf

    did make the distinction. And I suppose for olivine in ul-tramafic rocks, Mg might dominate if the mineral’s Mg/Fe ratio follows the Mg/Fe ratio of the whole rock.

    (PS I haven’t finished that link but it did give the enthalpy of reactions. Since Gibbs free energy of reaction (G)= enthalpy of reaction (H)- temperature (T)* change in entropy (S), though the enthalpy and entropy of reaction can vary with temperature, for a first guesslinear assumption::

    G = H – T*S

    where Tmax is the temperature where the reaction shifts from being product favored to reactant favored:

    0 = H – Tmax * S
    S = H/Tmax
    G = H*(1-T/Tmax)

    So using H and Tmax (adjusted formulas so that only 1 CO2 molecule is sequestered; CO2 is gas, H2O is liquid, all others are solids, reaction at 1 bar CO2):

    1/2 forsterite + CO2 —- MgCO3 + 1/2 SiO2
    H= -45 kJ/mol, Tmax= 515 K,
    G=
    -20.5 kJ/mol (280 K),
    -18.8 kJ/mol (300 K)
    -14.4 kJ/mol (350 K)
    -10.0 kJ/mol (400 K)

    1/3 serpentinite + CO2 —- MgCO3 + 2/3 SiO2 + 2/3 H2O
    H= -32 kJ/mol, Tmax= 680 K,
    G=
    -18.8 kJ/mol (280 K),
    -17.9 kJ/mol (300 K)
    -15.5 kJ/mol (350 K)
    -13.2 kJ/mol (400 K)

    (That is not much energy compared to the energy produced when CO2 is emitted from fuel combustion.)

    ——

    I haven’t finished going through that last link.

    ____________________

    On osmotic power: 2 versions:

    1 fresh water flowing into seawater or brine, or seawater flowing into brine (brine connected to evaporation pond):

    If the water levels are the same, a tube carrying the less saline water goes down into the more saline water – perhaps ~ 200+ m for fresh water/sea water osmotic pressure (could be 2+ km for a saturated brine?); reaching high pressure near the bottom end of the tube, it passes through a turbine (Tesla turbine?) to reach a near sea level pressure, which is sustained by osmosis; it then flows out of the tube through an osmotic membrane.

    Available energy: ~ close to 2500 J/kg for fresh water/seawater; maybe (?) 25 kJ/kg for fresh water/saturated brine (?)

    2. less saline water flows at sea level through an osmotic membrane into a pressurized chamber; it then flows out through a turbine into an evaporation pond. This has the advantage of not needing a long tube and great water depth (which may require a deep saline aquifer or some outer tube to bring brine back to the surface if drilled into rock, or else it could be done in the open ocean using rainwater, etc.). However, the pressurized chamber is not freely ventilated and will freshen with time, so it will require some energy input – salt (from the evaporation pond) injected at high pressure. This shouldn’t prevent the device from working and being a net energy producer, as the volume of outflow should be greater than the volume of salt input.
    ____

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Apr 2009 @ 10:01 PM

  277. A last note about ‘backtaxes’:

    Maybe:

    For each year in the past, approximate a CO2 emission quantity, and CH4, etc, in CO2 equivalent for a time horizont extending … (even for those emissions not with us to day and not forcing a new equilibrium towards which the actual state is drawn towards, nonetheless they did add some extra heat energy, so…)

    Apply a discount rate for that year (discount increasing back in time).

    Assign it proportional to nations’ estimated emissions at that time.

    Apply a second time-dependent factor that increases from zero to 1 going back in time.

    Redistribute that portion of the responsibility of each nation’s emissions among nations in proportion to the product of current total wealth and emissions at that time.

    Just a suggestion.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Apr 2009 @ 10:45 PM

  278. Re # 274: Patrick 027 Says:

    “Which provides a quote about olivine massifs: ‘no vegetation grows on them, but they are not “toxic” as often reported, merely deficient in essential elements.’”

    The website you referenced says that “They are mainly formed of a peridotite or dunite named after “Dun Mountain” a member of the same group found in Nelson three hundred miles to the north.”

    Life on earth has managed to fill many amazing places, including ul tramafic rocks. Check out:

    http://infao5501.ag5.mpi-sb.mpg.de:8080/topx/archive?link=Wikipedia-Lip6-2/285246.xml&style

    “Dun Mountain was given its name because of the dun color of its vegetation which is itself a reflection of underlying ul tramafic rocks.” (dreaded spam filter)

    So while these areas may appear to be without plant life at first glance, further investigation will show that the vegetation that has managed to colonize these areas.

    Comment by Jim Eaton — 29 Apr 2009 @ 12:24 AM

  279. Miguelito (205) – As far as I could understand Shaviv’s paper, he doesn’t assume that the ocean is Isothermal down to 400 meters. He uses ocean data to see what is the globally average mixed layer depth, and below that assumes there is diffusion. So, if there is something wrong in his paper, it is something else.

    Comment by Joe K. — 29 Apr 2009 @ 2:56 AM

  280. Re 276 – I forgot to actually convert the Tmax values to K from deg C, and thus my G values were also incorrect. The correct values (with linear assumption) are: …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2009 @ 1:49 PM

  281. Miguelito (196),

    Leif Svalgaard engaged in a discussion of Shaviv’s calorimeter paper over at WUWT last week or so, and voiced quite strong criticism.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 29 Apr 2009 @ 3:04 PM

  282. Joe K. (279) — Shaviv assumes (incorrectly) nearly instaneous mixing. That makes the ocean isothermal down to MLD, yes?

    The correct depth to use is the mixing depth appropriate to the time scale, about 5 years.

    My decidedly amateur take on it.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Apr 2009 @ 4:08 PM

  283. Re 280 (Re 276) never mind, that was a memory lapse. The Tmax and G values were (assuming constant H and S, which is at best an approximation) correct.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2009 @ 5:30 PM

  284. Re 278 – thanks for that info.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2009 @ 6:19 PM

  285. Re 277:

    “Redistribute that portion of the responsibility of each nation’s emissions among nations in proportion to the product of current total wealth and emissions at that time.”

    Actually, no. Just redistribute that portion in proportion to the wealth.

    After assigning a debt to each nation, take the global sum, find the global average per capita, subtract that from each nation’s per capita, and let that be the actual amount owed, so that it is a smaller amount of money that is payed by some and to others. Payments can be over 30+ years, with an interest rate that only just keeps up with inflation (global average inflation?), so that the debt, adjusted for inflation, is a constant amount when payed up.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2009 @ 6:25 PM

  286. I forgot to include sugar-eating bacteria-powered fuel cells in the list of biofuel technology in comment 245.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Apr 2009 @ 9:45 PM

  287. Patrick, are you stating that you can make up for carbon emissions with financial payments? Fiduciary offsets for pollution – it’s cheaper to pay the fine and keep on polluting than to rebuild your factory from the ground up using good designs, isn’t that what you are trying to say?

    Take a look at this instead:

    http://features.csmonitor.com/environment/2009/04/28/in-israel-solar-power-that-wont-need-subsidies/

    Comment by Ike Solem — 29 Apr 2009 @ 9:59 PM

  288. Re 287 – Before I take a look at the link, let me just say:

    “Patrick, are you stating that you can make up for carbon emissions with financial payments? Fiduciary offsets for pollution – it’s cheaper to pay the fine and keep on polluting than to rebuild your factory from the ground up using good designs, isn’t that what you are trying to say?”

    Absolutely not. The point is that if you have to pay more for something, you’re more likely to use some alternative or increase the efficiency of your use of that thing… (hence, demand shifts to cleaner/more efficient options, investment pulls away from the dirtier/less efficient options, and the demand pulls the investment toward the cleaner/more efficient options, thus ultimately increasing the supply of cleaner/more efficient options and reducing the supply of dirtier options).

    That’s the stick.

    Any carrots also need funding (Even though there may be room for improvement that is already affordable, just not yet habitual) and it makes perfect sense that the costs of climate change mitigation – as well as the costs of climate change adaptation (there will be some and it is only fair to compensate those who suffer for other’s emissions) – should be payed by the benificiaries of emissions.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Apr 2009 @ 1:47 PM

  289. Re 287 –

    That is very good news. Solar power in general has been coming closer and closer to being competitive on the existing grid (one matter that may ‘artificially’ inflate solar cost is the time-horizon and the financing structure. Even with climate change, there is some certainty over years that, after accounting for some hail/tornado/etc losses, solar cells are quite reliable – performance will degrade over time but not quickly (from rated power – there is some initial rapid decline in amorphous Si cells but that is factored into the rated power). It may be that over 70 or 80 years, a solar cell will provide the equivalent of 60 years at rated power (divided by a factor depending on solar resource; rated power is at 1000 W/m2 insolation; a more typical value may be 200 W/m2 (although some places and panel orientations (seasonal tracking) might get 300+ W/m2 panel insolation annual averages, etc.).

    Using an equivalent of 60 years at rated efficiency, assuming 200 W/m2 average solar insolation, (and – this is actually covered by “60 years at rated efficiency”, but – assuming a high enough fill factor (maximum power output at a reference insolation divided by the product of open-circuit voltage and short-circuit current) and given that much solar energy will be concentrated in time and perhaps be closer to 1000 W/m2 than 200 W/m2 (so that the conversion efficiency in the first years stays near the rated efficiency at 1000 W/m2)):

    the levelized cost in cents/kWh for energy provided over an equivalent of 60 years at rated efficiency is a little less than the same as the cost per peak W in dollars.

    Examples:

    For calculations based on a sampling of commercially available solar modules (2005 info): median values: module mass per area: 12.7 kg/m2, energy density of modules 3.5 GJ/kg (267* times coal (*using a high end value for coal), 202 times oil, 156 times methane, for 40% efficient power plants (actual efficiencies closer to 33%)), Energy density (GJ/kg) for just the photovoltaic layer is around 12 times that for conventional crystalline Si; could be 100 or more times the module value for thin crystalline Si, amorphous Si, other thin films, etc.)
    (median price: $5.26/peak W, 5.0 cents/kWh levelized cost).

    For The Sharp 185 W module (single crystal Si) and Sharp 165 W module (polycrystalline Si):

    module masses are both 13.1 kg/m2, costs per area nad mass were $712/m2 ($54.3/kg) and $634/m2 ($48.4/kg), respectively, efficiencies were 14.2 % and 12.7 %, respectively (PS this could be lower than cell efficiency simply due to cell and module borders in module design),

    and the prices per peak W were both $5.00, translating into a levelized electricity price of 4.75 cents/kWh.

    (Module energy densities are 4.11 GJ/kg and 3.67 GJ/kg, 316 and 282 times coal for electricity (using 32.5 MJ/kg coal, a high-end value) , 239 and 213 times oil for electricity, and 185 and 165 times methane for electricity – each assuming a 40% efficient fossil fuel to electricity conversion, which is actually higher than the actual (which is closer to 33%).)

    Average module price in 2006 was $3.50/peak W. (p.295 of the Energy Information Administration’s “Annual Energy Review 2007″ http://www.eia.doe.gov) and the solar cell/module shipments have been skyrocketing.

    See also:

    229:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/fa#comment-115477

    source of module information:
    338:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/fa#comment-116403

    254: optics:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/fa#comment-115643

    more:

    236:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/fa#comment-115508
    339,…:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/03/olympian-efforts-to-control-pollution/langswitch_lang/fa#comment-116822

    ——-

    While the 4.75 and implied

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Apr 2009 @ 6:56 PM

  290. While the 4.75 and implied less than 3.5 cents/kWh do not include balance of system costs, it would seem that solar power is close to cost-competitive with fossil fuel and nuclear electricity – especially oil and gas (fuel costs along may be around 5 cents/kWh electricity, give or take, as I recall, depending on year). And solar pv is headed into the 1 to 2 $/peak W range (CdTe is already there, I think).

    But an interest rate greater than inflation generally must be payed on lo-ans. (On the other hand, maybe solar cells would make a great retirement package.)

    But even with all this success, it still makes sense to have a cost imposed on emissions. Otherwise, fossil fuel power production will not plateau and decline as fast as is logically justified by climate-change costs. (As fossil fuels are increasingly displaced by other power sources and efficiency improvements, they will decline in price (except maybe oil?), thus holding on longer to remaining market share.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 30 Apr 2009 @ 7:06 PM

  291. In reply to Brian Dodge 252:

    Ion lifetime. The ion lifetime is proportional to the number of ions. When I stated ions do not wear out, that means the same ion can participate in a number of ion mediate nucleation events in regions that are ion poor.

    It necessary to understand the basic mechanisms to sensibly discuss the GCR modulation of low level cloud cover.

    The GCR modulation of clouds is stronger over the oceans as compared to the atmosphere above the continents. The atmosphere over the oceans is ion poor as compared to the atmosphere over the continents, as the continental crust is slightly radioactive which increase the number of ions over the continents as compared to the oceans.

    As I noted, solar wind bursts remove ions via the process electroscavening. As solar wind bursts increased at the end of the 20th century, GCR vs Cloud cover studies at that time will show there is no correlation low level cloud cover with GCR strength which is not correct.

    The papers quoted above that purport to disprove low level cloud modulation by GCR are flawed as they did not take into account the solar wind bursts caused by an abnormal high number of solar coronal holes that appeared at the end of the solar cycles, at a time when the solar heliosphere was weak and hence high.

    http://sait.oat.ts.astro.it/MSAIt760405/PDF/2005MmSAI..76..969G.pdf

    In addition to solar wind changes, changes in the geomagnetic strength also modulate GCR. For some unknown reason the geomagnetic field increases in strength by a factor of about 4 to 5 during the interglacial period as compared to the glacial period. As geomagnetic field intensity changes are long term, GCR modulation of cloud cover has the potential for long term modulation of the planet’s climate.

    When the planet’s geomagnetic field strength is weaker the GCR intensity changes modulate cloud cover at lower latitudes which increase the mechanisms ability to affect planetary temperature.

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL026389.shtml

    Geomagnetic modulation of clouds effects in the Southern Hemisphere Magnetic Anomaly through lower atmosphere cosmic ray effects

    “The study of the physical processes that drive the variability of the Earth’s climate system is one of the most fascinating and challenging topics of research today. Perhaps the largest uncertainties in our ability to predict climate change are the cloud formation process and the interaction of clouds with radiation. Here we show that in the southern Pacific Ocean cloud effects on the net radiative flux in the atmosphere are related to the intensity of the Earth’s magnetic field through lower atmosphere cosmic ray effects. In the inner region of the Southern Hemisphere Magnetic Anomaly (SHMA) it is observed a cooling effect of approximately 18 W/m2 while in the outer region it is observed a heating effect of approximately 20 W/m2. The variability in the inner region of the SHMA of the net radiative flux is correlated to galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) flux observed in Huancayo, Peru (r = 0.73). It is also observed in the correlation map that the correlation increases in the inner region of the SHMA. The geomagnetic modulation of cloud effects in the net radiative flux in the atmosphere in the SHMA is, therefore, unambiguously due to GCRs and/or highly energetic solar proton particles effects.”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/295/5564/2435

    “A continuous record of the inclination and intensity of Earth’s magnetic field, during the past 2.25 million years, was obtained from a marine sediment core of 42 meters in length. This record reveals the presence of 100,000-year periodicity in inclination and intensity, which suggests that the magnetic field is modulated by orbital eccentricity. The correlation between inclination and intensity shifted from antiphase to in-phase, corresponding to a magnetic polarity change from reversed to normal. To explain the observation, we propose a model in which the strength of the geocentric axial dipole field varies with 100,000-year periodicity, whereas persistent nondipole components do not.”

    Comment by William — 2 May 2009 @ 9:36 AM

  292. “Energy density (GJ/kg) for just the photovoltaic layer is around 12 times that for conventional crystalline Si; could be 100 or more times the module value for thin crystalline Si, amorphous Si, other thin films, etc.)”

    Example: (PS is there an instruction manual for formatting one’s comments – indented quotes, bold, etc.?)

    ————

    $500 per kg of CdTe adds $0.107 per peak W, and 0.102 cents/kWh over the equivalent of 60 years at rated [efficiency, with 200 W/m2 insolation.]

    An increase in the cost of Te of $10,000 / kg would add $1.14/peak W, and 1.08 cents/kWh.

    20,000 metric tons of Te is enough for 37,619 metric tons of CdTe and about 176 GW rated power, or at 200 W/m2 average incident solar power on the panels, about 35.1 GW average power output.

    The effective energy density (for 60 years at rated [efficiency]equivalent [at 200 W/m2 insolation]) relative to the CdTe layer is about 1,770,000 MJ/kg, which is about 136,000 times coal electricity [!!] (coal at 32.5 MJ/kg, [a high end value] it can vary – conversion to electricity assumed 40% efficient [actual efficiency closer to 33%]).

    (Of course, given the energy density of a single component based on total energy production may seem a bit meaningless. The numbers can be used this way – the energy per unit mass used to produce that layer can be divided by the above energy density to give a contribution of energy payback time as a fraction of effective life of 60 years at rated power (a bit fuzzy given a gradual decay – could actually be more like 70 or 80 years to produce that amount of energy).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 May 2009 @ 1:07 PM

  293. Richard Kerr wrote a nice review in Science about Pierce and Adam’s cosmic ray modeling study (see http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/324/5927/576-b, subsc. required).

    Excerpt:
    “The reason cosmic-ray variations don’t make themselves felt up the chain, at least in the model, seems to be the daunting matter of millionfold growth. Once a tiny amount of, say, sulfuric acid vapor condenses onto a cosmic-ray–induced ion to form a 1-nanometer particle, a million times more vapor must condense on it within its lifetime of less
    than a week before it grows large enough to trigger cloud drop formation. All the while, other growing particles are competing for the scarce vapor and gobbling up smaller particles that they collide with. Make only a few ion-nucleated particles, and they are not enough to matter; make a lot, and there’s too little vapor to go around, so few particles grow large enough. Other modelers have just started to run global simulations of atmospheric particle formation, provoking a range of reactions. “We see a very similar thing” in our model, says Jan Kazil of the University of Colorado, Boulder. “Cosmic-ray variations have only a small effect on the clouds in our model.” But Fangqun Yu of the University at Albany in New York says he disagrees with the Carnegie Mellon researchers “because of problems in their simulations.” Among other problems, Yu suspects that in simulating only two rates of new particle formation via ionization—very high and much lower—Pierce and Adams may have missed a “sweet spot” production rate in between, at which just enough but not too many particles are produced. Testing the Goldilocks hypothesis will take more modeling and observations.”

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 5 May 2009 @ 6:05 AM

  294. I decided to go through my policy posts above and edit it to repost with a more clear organization of thoughts. This is taking awhile… Since it will be long, I won’t post it under one of the more active threads – if this one is closed to comments by the time I’m done, then I might post it under

    “1 May 2009
    Welcome to the fray”

    or, depending on activity level:

    “29 April 2009
    Hit the brakes hard”

    or

    “7 May 2009
    The tragedy of climate commons”

    IN THE MEAN TIME, I worked on some financial formulas for solar panels …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 May 2009 @ 11:46 PM

  295. IN THE MEAN TIME, I worked on some financial formulas for solar panels – finding the price per unit energy produced that pays for debt on a lo-an that payed for panels, or for paying for new panels. This analysis does not include additional costs that will make the price a little higher.

    Fundamentals:

    For a fractional change x per unit time t:

    exp[t/U] = exp[t*V] = 1 + x

    t/U = t*V = ln(1+x)

    1/U = V = ln(1+x) / t

    U = 1/V = t / ln(1+x)

    ——————-

    Let a = 1 year

    r = annual interest
    f = annual inflation (of energy price and solar collector price; they are assumed to follow the same inflation rate for simplicity (obviously this analysis does not apply to the present situation with its rate of progress and potential future rate of progress.)

    h = annual fractional gain of solar collector performance, including those modules that are damaged or fail too severely to continue producing energy.

    hs = annual fractional loss of solar collector performance only due to those modules that are damaged or fail to the point that they are removed from operation.

    h and hs are both negative numbers.

    ——————-
    PS: approximation:

    h1 = – annual cell efficiency decay from gradual processes
    h2 = – fractional collector losses (storm damage beyond repair, etc.)
    1+h ~= (1+h1)(1+h2)
    ——————-

    U = age of retirement: Solar collectors that last this long are removed from service because their performance no longer justifies the area they use and the area/collector-proportional maintenance costs, etc. (this analysis uses a simplifying assumption that such retired collectors are not sold to different owners with different conditions, etc, but that they are recycled; obviously different uses in different conditions may allow for solar collectors to retire to different operational life stages, in which case, U is an ultimate retirement age.)

    inverse time constants:

    R = ln(1+r)/a
    F = ln(1+f)/a
    H = ln(1+h)/a

    Hs = ln(1+hs)/a

    G = F + H

    ——————————–

    m = price of energy

    m0 = inflation adjusted price of energy, treated as constant unless specified otherwise.

    L0 = inflation adjusted price of collectors per unit installed average power (installed average power will tend to be near the rated power * average solar insolation on the collector per unit collector area / (1000 W/m2)).

    P0 = installed average power (the total amount of solar collectors in terms of their installed average power)

    P = average power

    p = P/P0 in the context of a single installation time.

    ——————————–

    SOLUTIONS for m0/L0 (units: [$/(W*yr)] / [$/installed average W] ;

    multiply the number of $/(W*yr) by 100/8.766 to find cents/kWh (averaged over leap years).

    __________________________________________________________________

    PART I: ONE TIME INSTALLMENT ANALYSIS

    A single batch of collectors is bought with a lo-an. U = infinity.

    m0/L0 required to pay off debt at time t:

    m0/L0 = (R-G) / [ 1 - exp[-t*(R-G)] ]

    or

    m0/L0 = ln[A]/a / [ 1 - A^(-t/a) ]

    where A = (1+r)/[(1+f)(1+h)]

    —-
    For t = infinity:

    m0/L0 = (R-G) = ln[A]/a

    ————————

    ALSO:

    P/P0 = p = exp(t*H)

    CUMMULATIVE ENERGY per unit installed P0 produced by time t:

    E = 1/H * [exp(t*H) - 1]

    from integrating:

    dE = p dt = exp(t*H) dt

    __________________________________________________________________

    PART II: INSTALLING NEW P0 AT CONSTANT RATE N

    At constant rate N = d(P0)/dt, starting at t = 0.

    Date at which remaining solar collectors age out (retirment age of surviving devices): t – t_installed = U

    Start accumulating debt at time t = 0:

    —————–
    SOLVE FOR m0/L0 where debt = 0 at time t:

    If t is before U:

    m0/L0

    =

    - H /

    (
    (R-F)/(R-G) * [ exp[t*G] – exp[t*R] ] / [ exp[t*R] – exp[t*F] ]
    +
    1
    )

    ———-
    if t is after U

    m0/L0

    =

    H * ( exp[t*(F-R)] – 1 )

    /

    (
    [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[t*(F-R)]
    +
    [ 1 - (R-F)/(R-G) ] * [ exp[U*(G-R)] – 1 ]
    )

    —————————-

    ALSO:

    AVERAGE POWER:

    P = N * (-1/H) * [ 1 - exp[t*H] ]

    replace t with U in this formula once t exceeds U.

    It will be of interest to know the average efficiency of all collectors in use relative to installed efficiency values:

    installed power in operation (proportional to area of solar collectors in operation):

    P0 = N * (-1/Hs) * [ 1 - exp[t*Hs] ]

    replace t with U in this formula once t exceeds U.


    *******
    AVERAGE EFFICIENCY AS FRACTION OF INSTALLED EFFICIENCY OF ALL COLLECTORS IN USE:

    = P/P0

    = -Hs/H * (1-exp[t*H])/(1-exp[t*Hs])

    replace t with U in this formula once t exceeds U.

    THE AREA NEEDED FOR POWER P PER UNIT AREA NEEDED FOR THE SAME P WHEN P = P0 is:

    P0/P

    etc.

    *******
    SOME MAINTENANCE COSTS, etc, will be proportional to P, while some will be proportional to P0 (as would any costs related to occupying space).

    —————————–

    AFTER DEBT HAS BEEN FULLY PAID:

    SOLVE FOR m0/L0 sufficient to maintain constant N:

    In the case where t is after U, so that P has reached a constant value; constant N will maintain constant P:

    rate of buying new collectors = L0*exp(t*F) * N
    rate of selling energy: = m0*exp(t*F) * P

    income = expenditures

    THIS IS THE COST PER UNIT ENERGY SUFFICIENT TO MAINTAIN AN ESTABLISHED P (NOT INCLUDING MAINTENANCE, BALANCE OF SYSTEM, PROFIT):

    m0/L0 = -H / [ 1 - exp[U*H] ]

    H = ln(1+h)/a

    m0/L0 = -ln(1+h)/a / [ 1 - (1+h)^(U/a) ]

    ————

    If debt is paid off before time t=U, the m0/L0 needed to pay for constant N will start out larger because P will not have reached its steady value; m0/L0 will decline and reach the value given above when t=U.

    Before t=U, m0/L0 is inversely proportional to P:

    m0/L0 =

    -H / [ 1 - exp[U*H] ]
    *
    [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] / [ 1 - exp[t*H] ]

    therefore:

    m0/L0 = -H / [ 1 - exp[t*H] ]

    until t=U.

    ______________________________________________________________

    PART III: SELF SUSTAINING (EXPONENTIAL) GROWTH AFTER DEBTS ARE PAID:

    income = m0 * exp(t*F) * P * dt

    expenditure = L0 * exp(t*F) * N * dt

    LET income = expenditure (to find the m0 before profit, maintenance costs, etc.)

    m0 * P = L0 * N

    N = P * m0/L0

    P at time t from power P0 installed at time t2:

    dP = exp[(t-t2)*H] * N(t2) * d(t2) – [ 1 - exp[(t+U-t2)*H] ] * N(t2-U) * d(t2)

    The second term accounts for retirement of collectors when they reach an age t-t2 = U.

    Replacement of H with Hs will give a formula for P0 instead of P.

    ——————————————————–
    SIMPLE SCENARIO: continual exponential growth (inverse time scale S) with infinite past:

    N = exp(t*S) * N1

    therefore, from income = expenditure:

    P = exp(t*S) * N1 / (m0/L0)

    where N1 = N(t=0)

    —–

    After finding P(t),

    SOLVE FOR m0/L0

    m0/L0 = 1/ [ ( 1 + exp[U*(H-S)] ) * 1/(S-H) – exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    —————————————–

    AND:

    P = N * [ ( 1 + exp[U*(H-S)] ) * 1/(S-H) – exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    (note that to find P0, replace H with Hs in the above equation)

    P/P0 =

    [ ( 1 + exp[U*(H-S)] ) * 1/(S-H) – exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    /

    [ ( 1 + exp[U*(Hs-S)] ) * 1/(S-Hs) – exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    ——————————————

    Of course, there will not be an infinite past. That was a simplification so that the issue of a transition from all collectors younger than U to some collectors aging out of the system could be set aside and a constant m0/L0 value could be found. However the initial buildup of N and P is shaped, the trajectory of growth will settle toward an exponential growth (with P and N proportional to exp[t*S] ) with constant m0/L0, provided that m0/L0 is greater than that required to maintain constant P or N.

    If the initial buildup is faster than exponential – for example, if dN/dt is constant up to time t=B and then increases exponentially without a discontinuous jump in either dN/dt or N, then there will not be a spike in collector retirements when retirements begin. Thus, after time t=B, m0/L0 can be lower than the solution found above, and will not ever have to go above that value because the retirement rate will only increase from 0 and eventually reach a steady proportion with N, and not exceed it (alternatively, S could initially be higher with a constant m0/L0).

    ________________________________________________________________________

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 May 2009 @ 12:52 PM

  296. Hold off on using equations from PART III – I think I goofed something up.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 May 2009 @ 6:01 PM

  297. CORRECTION TO PART III:

    SIMPLE SCENARIO: continual exponential growth (inverse time scale S) with indefinite past:

    N = exp(t*S) * N1

    P = exp(t*S) * N1 / (m0/L0)

    THIS EQUATION FOR dP WAS WRONG:

    dP = exp[(t-t2)*H] * N(t2) * d(t2) – [ 1 - exp[(t+U-t2)*H] ] * N(t2-U) * d(t2)

    CORRECTION:

    P at time t from power P0 installed at time t2:
    without retirement:

    dP1 = exp[(t-t2)*H] * N(t2) * d(t2)

    P at time t from power P0 retired at time t2 (which was installed at time t2-U):

    dP2 = – [ 1 - exp[(t2-(U-t2))*H] ] * N(t2-U) * d(t2)

    dP2 = – [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * N(t2-U) * d(t2)

    —————–
    INTEGRATE dP1:

    P1
    =
    integral(b to t)[ exp[(t-t2)*H] * N(t2) * d(t2) ]

    =
    exp[t*H] * N1 *
    integral(b to t)[ exp[-t2*H] * exp[t2*S] * d(t2) ]

    =
    exp[t*H] * N1 * integral(b to t)[ exp[t2*(S-H)] * d(t2) ]

    = exp[t*H] * 1/(S-H) * N1 * [ exp[t*(S-H)] – exp[b*(S-H)] ]

    = exp[t*H] * 1/(S-H) * N * [ exp[-t*H] – exp[b*(S-H)-t*S] ]

    = 1/(S-H) * N * [ 1 - exp[(b-t)*(S-H)] ]

    ——–
    when b goes to negative infinity,

    P1 = 1/(S-H) * N

    —————–

    INTEGRATE dP2:

    dP2 = – [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * N(t2-U) * d(t2)

    P2
    =
    - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * integral(b to t)[ N(t2-U) * d(t2) ]

    =
    - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * N1 * integral(b to t)[ exp[(t2-U)*S] * d(t2) ]

    =

    - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * N1 * integral(b to t)[ exp[t2*S] * d(t2) ]

    =

    - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * N1 * 1/S * [ exp[t*S] – exp[b*S] ]

    =

    - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S * N * [ 1 - exp[(b-t)*S] ]

    ——–

    when b goes to negative infinity,

    P2 = – [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S * N

    ——-

    P = P1 + P2

    m0 * P = L0 * N

    SOLVE FOR m0/L0

    m0/L0 = N/P

    m0/L0 = 1 / [ 1/(S-H) - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    AND:

    P = N * [ 1/(S-H) - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    P/P0 =

    [ 1/(S-H) - [ 1 - exp[U*H] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]
    /
    [ 1/(S-Hs) - [ 1 - exp[U*Hs] ] * exp[-U*S] * 1/S ]

    IN THE CASE THAT THERE IS NO RETIREMENT OF COLLECTORS (U goes to infinity):

    m0/L0 = S-H

    AND:

    P = N /(S-H)

    P/P0 =

    (S-Hs)/(S-H)

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 May 2009 @ 7:07 PM

  298. Here’s another estimate of the potential upper limit to the effect of GCR: Kazil et al calculate the effect of GCR based on predicted aerosol concentrations from ion induced nucleation over the oceans. Even neglecting the fact that many of these tiny particles don’t make it to large enough sizes to influence cloud properties, and neglecting the competition with particles from other sources, they find that changes in aerosol concentration due to changes in GCR with the solar cycle can not explain the apparent correlations with cloud cover. The radiative forcing due to the GCR-aerosol-cloud link is at most still smaller than that from the change in total solar irradiance by itself.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 17 May 2009 @ 9:29 AM

  299. “Biological Particles Trigger Ice Formation In High-altitude Clouds”:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090517143334.htm

    Comment by David B. Benson — 18 May 2009 @ 7:46 PM

  300. will post some m0 values tomorrow

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 May 2009 @ 11:30 PM

  301. sample:

    r = interest rate on a lo-an: 7%
    f = inflation rate on all prices considered: 2%
    h = decay rate of solar panel performance (including loss of panel area): 1.5 %

    for a cost of $10/average W for a device at one time, paid with a lo-an:

    m0 (cents/kWh) (inflation adjusted constant price) required to pay off lo-an in time t (years):

    t(years), m0 (cents/kWh)

    15, 11.8
    20, 10
    25, 9.06
    30, 8.46
    40, 7.81
    50, 7.51
    60, 7.35
    70, 7.27
    80, 7.23
    100, 7.20
    infinite, 7.18

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 May 2009 @ 11:14 PM

  302. CORRECTION TO: comment 297 CORRECTION TO PART III:

    d/dt[exp(S*t)] = S*exp(S*t)

    d/dt[exp(H*t)] = H*exp(H*t)

    ——

    m*P*dt=L*N*dt

    m = L*(N/P)

    N in order to keep P increasing at rate S*P:

    N*dt = P*(S-H)*dt + N*dt*exp(-S*U)*exp(H*U)

    N*dt is necessary to increase P by P*S*dt while replacing the loss -P*H*dt and the retirement loss N*exp(-S*U)*dt * exp(H*U)

    N in order to keep P0 increasing at rate S*P0:

    N*dt = P0*(S-Hs)*dt + N*dt*exp(-S*U)*exp(Hs*U)

    ——

    N = P*(S-H) + N*exp[(H-S)*U]

    N * ( 1 – exp[(H-S)*U] ) = P*(S-H)

    —————

    m0/L0 = N/P = (S-H)/( 1 – exp[(H-S)*U] )

    P/N = ( 1 – exp[(H-S)*U] )/(S-H)

    P/P0
    =
    ( 1 – exp[(H-S)*U] )/(S-H)
    *
    (S-Hs)/( 1 – exp[(Hs-S)*U] )

    =
    (S-Hs)/(S-H) * ( 1 – exp[(H-S)*U] )/( 1 – exp[(Hs-S)*U] )

    ————–
    WHEN U GOES TO INFINITY:

    m0/L0 = N/P = (S-H)

    P/N = 1/(S-H)

    P/P0 = (S-Hs)/(S-H)

    ————–
    WHEN S GOES TO ZERO:

    m0/L0 = N/P = -H / ( 1 – exp[H*U] )

    P/N = – ( 1 – exp[H*U] ) / H

    P/P0
    =
    Hs/H * ( 1 – exp[H*U] )/( 1 – exp[Hs*U] )

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 May 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  303. And from a different part of the sensitivity-to-nucleation spectrum: “Simulation of particle size distribution with a global aerosol model: contribution of nucleation to aerosol and CCN number concentrations” by F. Yu and G. Luo (http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/10597/2009/acpd-9-10597-2009.html)

    Upon first glance, they find a much bigger contribution from nucleation to the CCN budget than others have reported. I haven’t read it in detail yet.

    Another interesting aerosol-climate paper is the following review about possible feedbacks of natural aerosol sources to a changing climate: Atmospheric aerosols in the earth system: a review of interactions and feedbacks (http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/9/11087/2009/acpd-9-11087-2009.html)

    Both these papers are currently under (open) review.

    Comment by Bart Verheggen — 25 May 2009 @ 7:37 AM

  304. Here, I think, is the abstract for the Pierce paper that was presented at the AGU (mentioned in the original post):

    Pierce, J. R.; Adams, P. J.
    Can cosmic rays affect cloud condensation nuclei by altering new particle formation rates?
    Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 36, No. 9, L09820
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2009GL037946
    13 May 2009

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 25 May 2009 @ 12:04 PM

  305. CALCULATIONS FOR SOME SOLAR ELECTRICITY COSTS AND SOLAR COLLECTOR PERFORMANCE:

    EXPLANATIONS:

    ——————————————————–

    m0 is the price of electricity necessary to either:

    1.
    pay off debt by time t (with payments made over time as electricity sales revenue allows), where collectors are bought entirely with debt – with
    annual interest r = 7 %
    annual inflation f = 2 %
    and the same inflation rate applies to both electricity price m and collector price L

    2.
    pay for a rate of purchasing new collectors without any debt.

    ————-

    L0,the price per unit of collector, is $10 / average W

    Some combinations that result in $10 / average W

    (assuming high fill factors or concentration of sunlight into time intervals – more generally, that the average efficiency of conversion is not much lower than the rated efficiency of conversion ):

    $1.50 / peak W with average insolation of about 150 W/m2
    $1.70 / peak W with average insolation of about 170 W/m2
    $2.00 / peak W with average insolation of about 200 W/m2
    $2.50 / peak W with average insolation of about 250 W/m2
    $3.00 / peak W with average insolation of about 300 W/m2

    where the average insolation is the average solar power per unit area of collector; for geometric concentration, this only includes direct solar radiation (as opposed to diffuse radiation).

    ————-

    L0 and m0 are given in constant inflation-adjusted (real) values.

    m0 is linearly proportional to L0 – except in the case that L0 is changing while a debt is being paid for purchases based on previous L0 values. In the following, L0 is assumed constant.

    ——————————————————–

    P0 is a quantity of solar collectors measured by average power produced at installation (when new). When not otherwise specified, P0 refers to the quantity of collectors currently in operation at a time t, and can be used as a relative measure of the area of collectors and (with adjustment for collector orientations and spacing) a relative measure of the area occupied by collectors.

    P is the average power produced by collectors in operation at a time t.

    Thus,

    P/P0 is the average efficiency of operational collectors relative to efficiency of new collectors,

    and

    P0/P is the area required per unit average power supply relative to the area per unit average power supply for new collectors.

    Some maintenance and other costs could be proportional to the area of the collectors and the area they occupy, so it is of interest to know P0/P and P/P0.

    —————-

    -h, -he, and -hs are annual fractional losses.

    (h, he, and hs are defined as gains, they have negative values.)

    -h is the annual fractional loss in average power P produced by a set of collectors since and includes the effects of decreases in performance of collectors in operation and the loss of collectors from operation (such as from severe storm damage or fire), but not including retirement of collectors at a set age.

    -hs is the annual fractional loss in operational P0 (the loss of operational collectors from collectors in operation) that is not due to retirement at a set age.

    -he is the annual fractional loss in P from operational P0 that remains operational.

    For small h, he, and hs values, h is approximately equal to the sum of he and hs.

    The same set of h, he, and hs values are used for each table where applicable; those used in the calculations for a table are restated for that table for convenience.

    —————

    Where applicable, the retirement age U of operational collectors was chosen as the time when performance (P per unit operational P0) will have dropped by a factor of e from the initial value (P/P0 = 1 for newly installed collectors).
    ——————————————————–

    CASES CONSIDERED:

    I. ONE TIME INSTALLMENT at time t = 0

    A set of collectors (of quantity “installed P0″) is bought and installed at time t = 0.

    Cummulative Energy since installation / installed P0, [(W*yr) / W] = years
    - this is the time in years it would take for a set of collectors with constant P (h = 0) to produce the same energy that a set of actual collectors (with nonzero h) would produce from installation at time 0 to time t.

    Average ( P/ installed P0 ) from installation to time t since installation
    - this is the Cummulative Energy at time t per unit P0 divided by the time t.

    —————————

    II. Continual purchasing and installation of new collectors at a rate N = new P0 per unit time, measured in (W/year).

    A. CONSTANT N

    N = 1 installed W per year.

    Starting at time t = 0, where P and P0 at time t=0 are both 0.

    Operational collectors installed at time t = ti are retired at time ti + U, where U is the retirement age.

    ————-

    B. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH with Retirement at U

    P, operational P0, and N all increase exponentially,

    where s is the annual fractional increase.

    There is a retirement age of U as in the case “CONSTANT N”.

    It is assumed that exponential growth has been ongoing for some time so that retirements are already occuring at time t = 0.

    ————-

    C. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH, no retirement at a set age

    As above, but without a retirement age – the only loss of operational P0 is from nonzero hs.

    ————-

    For both EXPONENTIAL cases:

    For any starting situation, the ratio of P to N and P0 to N will tend to approach constant values over time if N is increasing exponentially, so that P and P0 will eventually increase at the same rate s.

    IF P and P0 = 0 at time t and N starts at some nonzero number and increases exponentially, P/N and P0/N will start at 0 and increase over time.

    To create a situation where the calcuations for the cases above would apply immediately, one could initially buy and install some P0 at time t = 0, and then increase P and N exponentially from then on; in that case, the calculation of m0 would not include the initial purchase, and there would be a discontinuity at time t = U if there are retirements.

    ——————————————————–
    Formulas used are found at:

    295
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/aerosol-effects-and-climate-part-ii-the-role-of-nucleation-and-cosmic-rays/langswitch_lang/it#comment-123843

    Note corrections to PART III in:

    302
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/04/aerosol-effects-and-climate-part-ii-the-role-of-nucleation-and-cosmic-rays/langswitch_lang/it#comment-125193

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    PRICE OF ELECTRICITY FOR PAYING OFF DEBT BY TIME t, WHERE COLLECTORS ARE BOUGHT or FIRST BOUGHT AT t = 0:

    ___________________________________________

    ONE TIME INSTALLMENT

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ m0 , (cents/kWh)
    _ _ _ _ _|___ to pay off debt at time t
    _____ 15 |_ 11.02 ,_ 11.16 ,_ 11.38 ,_ 11.53 ,_ 11.75 ,_ 12.14
    _____ 20 |__ 9.24 ,__ 9.40 ,__ 9.63 ,__ 9.79 ,_ 10.03 ,_ 10.44
    _____ 25 |__ 8.22 ,__ 8.39 ,__ 8.64 ,__ 8.80 ,__ 9.06 ,__ 9.50
    _____ 30 |__ 7.58 ,__ 7.76 ,__ 8.02 ,__ 8.19 ,__ 8.46 ,__ 8.92
    _____ 40 |__ 6.86 ,__ 7.04 ,__ 7.33 ,__ 7.52 ,__ 7.81 ,__ 8.31
    _____ 50 |__ 6.49 ,__ 6.69 ,__ 6.99 ,__ 7.20 ,__ 7.51 ,__ 8.03
    _____ 60 |__ 6.29 ,__ 6.50 ,__ 6.82 ,__ 7.03 ,__ 7.35 ,__ 7.90
    _____ 70 |__ 6.18 ,__ 6.40 ,__ 6.72 ,__ 6.94 ,__ 7.27 ,__ 7.83
    _____ 80 |__ 6.12 ,__ 6.34 ,__ 6.67 ,__ 6.89 ,__ 7.23 ,__ 7.80
    _____ 90 |__ 6.08 ,__ 6.31 ,__ 6.64 ,__ 6.87 ,__ 7.21 ,__ 7.78
    ____ 100 |__ 6.06 ,__ 6.29 ,__ 6.63 ,__ 6.85 ,__ 7.20 ,__ 7.77
    ____ 120 |__ 6.04 ,__ 6.27 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.19 ,__ 7.77
    ____ 150 |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.18 ,__ 7.76
    ____ 200 |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.18 ,__ 7.76
    ____ 250 |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.18 ,__ 7.76
    ____ INF |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.18 ,__ 7.76

    ___________________________________________

    CONSTANT N

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ m0 , (cents/kWh)
    _ _ _ _ _|___ to pay off debt at time t
    _____ 15 |_ 17.67 ,_ 17.83 ,_ 18.08 ,_ 18.25 ,_ 18.50 ,_ 18.93
    _____ 20 |_ 13.95 ,_ 14.12 ,_ 14.38 ,_ 14.55 ,_ 14.81 ,_ 15.25
    _____ 25 |_ 11.76 ,_ 11.93 ,_ 12.20 ,_ 12.37 ,_ 12.64 ,_ 13.09
    _____ 30 |_ 10.33 ,_ 10.51 ,_ 10.78 ,_ 10.96 ,_ 11.23 ,_ 11.70
    _____ 40 |__ 8.62 ,__ 8.80 ,__ 9.08 ,__ 9.27 ,__ 9.56 ,_ 10.05
    _____ 50 |__ 7.66 ,__ 7.85 ,__ 8.15 ,__ 8.34 ,__ 8.64 ,__ 9.15
    _____ 60 |__ 7.09 ,__ 7.29 ,__ 7.59 ,__ 7.79 ,__ 8.10 ,__ 8.63
    _____ 70 |__ 6.72 ,__ 6.93 ,__ 7.24 ,__ 7.45 ,__ 7.77 ,__ 8.31
    _____ 80 |__ 6.49 ,__ 6.70 ,__ 7.02 ,__ 7.23 ,__ 7.56 ,__ 8.11
    _____ 90 |__ 6.33 ,__ 6.55 ,__ 6.87 ,__ 7.09 ,__ 7.42 ,__ 7.98
    ____ 100 |__ 6.23 ,__ 6.45 ,__ 6.78 ,__ 7.00 ,__ 7.34 ,__ 7.90
    ____ 120 |__ 6.12 ,__ 6.34 ,__ 6.68 ,__ 6.90 ,__ 7.25 ,__ 7.82
    ____ 150 |__ 6.05 ,__ 6.28 ,__ 6.62 ,__ 6.85 ,__ 7.20 ,__ 7.78
    ____ 200 |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.19 ,__ 7.77
    ____ 250 |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.19 ,__ 7.77
    ____ INF |__ 6.03 ,__ 6.26 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.84 ,__ 7.18 ,__ 7.76

    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    PRICE OF ELECTRICITY FOR PAYING FOR NEW COLLECTORS, NO DEBT:

    ___________________________________________

    CONSTANT N

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ m0 , (cents/kWh)
    _ _ _ _ _|___ to pay for new collectors, no debt
    _____ 15 |__ 7.89 ,__ 8.01 ,__ 8.19 ,__ 8.31 ,__ 8.50 ,__ 8.82
    _____ 20 |__ 5.99 ,__ 6.11 ,__ 6.30 ,__ 6.42 ,__ 6.61 ,__ 6.93
    _____ 25 |__ 4.85 ,__ 4.98 ,__ 5.16 ,__ 5.29 ,__ 5.48 ,__ 5.81
    _____ 30 |__ 4.10 ,__ 4.22 ,__ 4.40 ,__ 4.53 ,__ 4.73 ,__ 5.07
    _____ 40 |__ 3.15 ,__ 3.27 ,__ 3.46 ,__ 3.60 ,__ 3.80 ,__ 4.16
    _____ 50 |__ 2.58 ,__ 2.71 ,__ 2.90 ,__ 3.04 ,__ 3.25 ,__ 3.62
    _____ 60 |__ 2.20 ,__ 2.33 ,__ 2.53 ,__ 2.67 ,__ 2.89 ,__ 3.28
    _____ 70 |__ 1.93 ,__ 2.06 ,__ 2.27 ,__ 2.41 ,__ 2.64 ,__ 3.04
    _____ 80 |__ 1.73 ,__ 1.86 ,__ 2.08 ,__ 2.22 ,__ 2.46 ,__ 2.88
    _____ 90 |__ 1.57 ,__ 1.71 ,__ 1.93 ,__ 2.08 ,__ 2.32 ,__ 2.75
    ____ 100 |__ 1.45 ,__ 1.59 ,__ 1.81 ,__ 1.96 ,__ 2.21 ,__ 2.67
    ____ 120 |__ 1.27 ,__ 1.41 ,__ 1.64 ,__ 1.80 ,__ 2.06 ,__ 2.67
    ____ 150 |__ 1.08 ,__ 1.23 ,__ 1.47 ,__ 1.65 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.67
    ____ 200 |__ 0.90 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.59 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.67
    ____ 250 |__ 0.85 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.59 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.67
    ____ INF |__ 0.85 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.59 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.67

    ___________________________________________

    EXPONENTIAL GROWTH with Retirement at U

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | m0 , (cents/kWh) _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ to pay for new collectors, no debt______ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 |__ 0.85 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.59 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.67 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 |__ 0.93 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.42 ,__ 1.69 ,__ 2.09 ,__ 2.76 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 |__ 1.01 ,__ 1.23 ,__ 1.51 ,__ 1.78 ,__ 2.18 ,__ 2.85 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 |__ 1.28 ,__ 1.51 ,__ 1.81 ,__ 2.07 ,__ 2.47 ,__ 3.14 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |__ 1.77 ,__ 2.00 ,__ 2.33 ,__ 2.58 ,__ 2.97 ,__ 3.63 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |__ 2.30 ,__ 2.53 ,__ 2.87 ,__ 3.11 ,__ 3.49 ,__ 4.13 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |__ 2.84 ,__ 3.08 ,__ 3.41 ,__ 3.66 ,__ 4.02 ,__ 4.65 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |__ 3.95 ,__ 4.18 ,__ 4.52 ,__ 4.75 ,__ 5.11 ,__ 5.72 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |__ 5.05 ,__ 5.28 ,__ 5.62 ,__ 5.85 ,__ 6.20 ,__ 6.80 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |__ 6.14 ,__ 6.37 ,__ 6.71 ,__ 6.94 ,__ 7.29 ,__ 7.88 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |__ 7.22 ,__ 7.45 ,__ 7.79 ,__ 8.02 ,__ 8.37 ,__ 8.96 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |__ 8.29 ,__ 8.52 ,__ 8.86 ,__ 9.10 ,__ 9.44 ,_ 10.02 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |__ 9.35 ,__ 9.58 ,__ 9.93 ,_ 10.16 ,_ 10.50 ,_ 11.08 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |_ 10.40 ,_ 10.63 ,_ 10.98 ,_ 11.21 ,_ 11.56 ,_ 12.14 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |_ 11.44 ,_ 11.67 ,_ 12.02 ,_ 12.25 ,_ 12.60 ,_ 13.18 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |_ 16.52 ,_ 16.74 ,_ 17.09 ,_ 17.32 ,_ 17.67 ,_ 18.25 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |_ 21.37 ,_ 21.60 ,_ 21.95 ,_ 22.18 ,_ 22.52 ,_ 23.10 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |_ 30.50 ,_ 30.73 ,_ 31.08 ,_ 31.31 ,_ 31.65 ,_ 32.23 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    ___________________________________________

    EXPONENTIAL GROWTH, no retirement at a set age

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | m0 , (cents/kWh) _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ to pay for new collectors, no debt______ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 |__ 0.57 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.38 ,__ 1.72 ,__ 2.30 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 |__ 0.69 ,__ 0.92 ,__ 1.26 ,__ 1.49 ,__ 1.84 ,__ 2.42 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 |__ 0.80 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.37 ,__ 1.61 ,__ 1.95 ,__ 2.53 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 |__ 1.14 ,__ 1.37 ,__ 1.72 ,__ 1.95 ,__ 2.29 ,__ 2.87 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |__ 1.71 ,__ 1.94 ,__ 2.28 ,__ 2.51 ,__ 2.86 ,__ 3.44 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |__ 2.27 ,__ 2.50 ,__ 2.84 ,__ 3.08 ,__ 3.42 ,__ 4.00 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |__ 2.83 ,__ 3.06 ,__ 3.41 ,__ 3.64 ,__ 3.98 ,__ 4.56 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |__ 3.94 ,__ 4.17 ,__ 4.52 ,__ 4.75 ,__ 5.10 ,__ 5.68 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |__ 5.05 ,__ 5.28 ,__ 5.62 ,__ 5.85 ,__ 6.20 ,__ 6.78 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |__ 6.14 ,__ 6.37 ,__ 6.71 ,__ 6.94 ,__ 7.29 ,__ 7.87 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |__ 7.22 ,__ 7.45 ,__ 7.79 ,__ 8.02 ,__ 8.37 ,__ 8.95 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |__ 8.29 ,__ 8.52 ,__ 8.86 ,__ 9.10 ,__ 9.44 ,_ 10.02 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |__ 9.35 ,__ 9.58 ,__ 9.93 ,_ 10.16 ,_ 10.50 ,_ 11.08 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |_ 10.40 ,_ 10.63 ,_ 10.98 ,_ 11.21 ,_ 11.56 ,_ 12.14 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |_ 11.44 ,_ 11.67 ,_ 12.02 ,_ 12.25 ,_ 12.60 ,_ 13.18 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |_ 16.52 ,_ 16.74 ,_ 17.09 ,_ 17.32 ,_ 17.67 ,_ 18.25 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |_ 21.37 ,_ 21.60 ,_ 21.95 ,_ 22.18 ,_ 22.52 ,_ 23.10 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |_ 30.50 ,_ 30.73 ,_ 31.08 ,_ 31.31 ,_ 31.65 ,_ 32.23 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    OTHER CALCULATIONS:

    ___________________________________________

    ONE TIME INSTALLMENT

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ P / installed P0
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 0.93 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 0.74
    _____ 20 |__ 0.90 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.67
    _____ 25 |__ 0.88 ,__ 0.84 ,__ 0.78 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.69 ,__ 0.60
    _____ 30 |__ 0.86 ,__ 0.81 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.55
    _____ 40 |__ 0.82 ,__ 0.76 ,__ 0.67 ,__ 0.62 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.45
    _____ 50 |__ 0.78 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.36
    _____ 60 |__ 0.74 ,__ 0.66 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.48 ,__ 0.40 ,__ 0.30
    _____ 70 |__ 0.70 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.49 ,__ 0.43 ,__ 0.35 ,__ 0.24
    _____ 80 |__ 0.67 ,__ 0.57 ,__ 0.45 ,__ 0.38 ,__ 0.30 ,__ 0.20
    _____ 90 |__ 0.64 ,__ 0.53 ,__ 0.40 ,__ 0.34 ,__ 0.26 ,__ 0.16
    ____ 100 |__ 0.61 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.37 ,__ 0.30 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.13
    ____ 120 |__ 0.55 ,__ 0.43 ,__ 0.30 ,__ 0.23 ,__ 0.16 ,__ 0.09
    ____ 150 |__ 0.47 ,__ 0.35 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.16 ,__ 0.10 ,__ 0.05
    ____ 200 |__ 0.37 ,__ 0.25 ,__ 0.13 ,__ 0.09 ,__ 0.05 ,__ 0.02
    ____ 250 |__ 0.29 ,__ 0.17 ,__ 0.08 ,__ 0.05 ,__ 0.02 ,__ 0.01
    ___ 1000 |__ 0.01 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00

    _ -he (%):__ 0.45 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.76 ,__ 1.01
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ P / operational P0
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 0.93 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86
    _____ 20 |__ 0.91 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.82
    _____ 25 |__ 0.89 ,__ 0.88 ,__ 0.88 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.78
    _____ 30 |__ 0.87 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 0.74
    _____ 40 |__ 0.83 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.78 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.67
    _____ 50 |__ 0.80 ,__ 0.78 ,__ 0.78 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.60
    _____ 60 |__ 0.76 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.63 ,__ 0.54
    _____ 70 |__ 0.73 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.65 ,__ 0.59 ,__ 0.49
    _____ 80 |__ 0.70 ,__ 0.67 ,__ 0.67 ,__ 0.62 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.44
    _____ 90 |__ 0.67 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.58 ,__ 0.51 ,__ 0.40
    ____ 100 |__ 0.64 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.36
    ____ 120 |__ 0.58 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.48 ,__ 0.40 ,__ 0.30
    ____ 150 |__ 0.51 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.40 ,__ 0.32 ,__ 0.22
    ____ 200 |__ 0.41 ,__ 0.37 ,__ 0.37 ,__ 0.30 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.13
    ____ 250 |__ 0.32 ,__ 0.28 ,__ 0.28 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.15 ,__ 0.08
    ___ 1000 |__ 0.01 ,__ 0.01 ,__ 0.01 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00

    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ operational P0 / installed P0
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 0.99 ,__ 0.97 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86
    _____ 20 |__ 0.99 ,__ 0.96 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.82
    _____ 25 |__ 0.99 ,__ 0.95 ,__ 0.88 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.78
    _____ 30 |__ 0.99 ,__ 0.94 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 0.74
    _____ 40 |__ 0.98 ,__ 0.92 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.67
    _____ 50 |__ 0.98 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.78 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.69 ,__ 0.61
    _____ 60 |__ 0.97 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.55
    _____ 70 |__ 0.97 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.66 ,__ 0.59 ,__ 0.49
    _____ 80 |__ 0.96 ,__ 0.85 ,__ 0.67 ,__ 0.62 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.45
    _____ 90 |__ 0.96 ,__ 0.84 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.58 ,__ 0.51 ,__ 0.40
    ____ 100 |__ 0.95 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.37
    ____ 120 |__ 0.94 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.49 ,__ 0.41 ,__ 0.30
    ____ 150 |__ 0.93 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.41 ,__ 0.32 ,__ 0.22
    ____ 200 |__ 0.90 ,__ 0.67 ,__ 0.37 ,__ 0.30 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.13
    ____ 250 |__ 0.88 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.29 ,__ 0.22 ,__ 0.15 ,__ 0.08
    ___ 1000 |__ 0.61 ,__ 0.14 ,__ 0.01 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ Cummulative Energy since installation / installed P0, [(W*yr) / W] = years
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |_ 14.45 ,_ 14.24 ,_ 13.92 ,_ 13.72 ,_ 13.42 ,_ 12.94
    _____ 20 |_ 19.03 ,_ 18.66 ,_ 18.12 ,_ 17.77 ,_ 17.26 ,_ 16.45
    _____ 25 |_ 23.50 ,_ 22.93 ,_ 22.11 ,_ 21.58 ,_ 20.82 ,_ 19.63
    _____ 30 |_ 27.85 ,_ 27.05 ,_ 25.90 ,_ 25.17 ,_ 24.12 ,_ 22.50
    _____ 40 |_ 36.25 ,_ 34.87 ,_ 32.94 ,_ 31.73 ,_ 30.02 ,_ 27.44
    _____ 50 |_ 44.23 ,_ 42.16 ,_ 39.30 ,_ 37.54 ,_ 35.09 ,_ 31.47
    _____ 60 |_ 51.82 ,_ 48.96 ,_ 45.06 ,_ 42.69 ,_ 39.45 ,_ 34.77
    _____ 70 |_ 59.04 ,_ 55.30 ,_ 50.26 ,_ 47.25 ,_ 43.20 ,_ 37.46
    _____ 80 |_ 65.91 ,_ 61.20 ,_ 54.97 ,_ 51.30 ,_ 46.42 ,_ 39.67
    _____ 90 |_ 72.44 ,_ 66.71 ,_ 59.23 ,_ 54.89 ,_ 49.19 ,_ 41.46
    ____ 100 |_ 78.65 ,_ 71.84 ,_ 63.08 ,_ 58.06 ,_ 51.57 ,_ 42.93
    ____ 120 |_ 90.18 ,_ 81.08 ,_ 69.71 ,_ 63.38 ,_ 55.38 ,_ 45.12
    ____ 150 | 105.44 ,_ 92.72 ,_ 77.46 ,_ 69.29 ,_ 59.31 ,_ 47.11
    ____ 200 | 126.29 , 107.42 ,_ 86.17 ,_ 75.43 ,_ 62.95 ,_ 48.63
    ____ 250 | 142.52 , 117.77 ,_ 91.43 ,_ 78.78 ,_ 64.65 ,_ 49.18
    ____ INF | 199.50 , 142.36 ,_ 99.50 ,_ 82.83 ,_ 66.17 ,_ 49.50

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ Average ( P/ installed P0 ) from installation to time t since installation
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 0.96 ,__ 0.95 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86
    _____ 20 |__ 0.95 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.82
    _____ 25 |__ 0.94 ,__ 0.92 ,__ 0.88 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.79
    _____ 30 |__ 0.93 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.86 ,__ 0.84 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 0.75
    _____ 40 |__ 0.91 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 0.69
    _____ 50 |__ 0.88 ,__ 0.84 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.63
    _____ 60 |__ 0.86 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 0.71 ,__ 0.66 ,__ 0.58
    _____ 70 |__ 0.84 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.72 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.62 ,__ 0.54
    _____ 80 |__ 0.82 ,__ 0.77 ,__ 0.69 ,__ 0.64 ,__ 0.58 ,__ 0.50
    _____ 90 |__ 0.80 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.66 ,__ 0.61 ,__ 0.55 ,__ 0.46
    ____ 100 |__ 0.79 ,__ 0.72 ,__ 0.63 ,__ 0.58 ,__ 0.52 ,__ 0.43
    ____ 120 |__ 0.75 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.58 ,__ 0.53 ,__ 0.46 ,__ 0.38
    ____ 150 |__ 0.70 ,__ 0.62 ,__ 0.52 ,__ 0.46 ,__ 0.40 ,__ 0.31
    ____ 200 |__ 0.63 ,__ 0.54 ,__ 0.43 ,__ 0.38 ,__ 0.31 ,__ 0.24
    ____ 250 |__ 0.57 ,__ 0.47 ,__ 0.37 ,__ 0.32 ,__ 0.26 ,__ 0.20
    ___ 1000 |__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00 ,__ 0.00

    ___________________________________________

    CONSTANT N

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ P/N , [W / (W/yr)] = years
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |_ 14.45 ,_ 14.24 ,_ 13.92 ,_ 13.72 ,_ 13.42 ,_ 12.94
    _____ 20 |_ 19.03 ,_ 18.66 ,_ 18.12 ,_ 17.77 ,_ 17.26 ,_ 16.45
    _____ 25 |_ 23.50 ,_ 22.93 ,_ 22.11 ,_ 21.58 ,_ 20.82 ,_ 19.63
    _____ 30 |_ 27.85 ,_ 27.05 ,_ 25.90 ,_ 25.17 ,_ 24.12 ,_ 22.50
    _____ 40 |_ 36.25 ,_ 34.87 ,_ 32.94 ,_ 31.73 ,_ 30.02 ,_ 27.44
    _____ 50 |_ 44.23 ,_ 42.16 ,_ 39.30 ,_ 37.54 ,_ 35.09 ,_ 31.47
    _____ 60 |_ 51.82 ,_ 48.96 ,_ 45.06 ,_ 42.69 ,_ 39.45 ,_ 34.77
    _____ 70 |_ 59.04 ,_ 55.30 ,_ 50.26 ,_ 47.25 ,_ 43.20 ,_ 37.46
    _____ 80 |_ 65.91 ,_ 61.20 ,_ 54.97 ,_ 51.30 ,_ 46.42 ,_ 39.67
    _____ 90 |_ 72.44 ,_ 66.71 ,_ 59.23 ,_ 54.89 ,_ 49.19 ,_ 41.46
    ____ 100 |_ 78.65 ,_ 71.84 ,_ 63.08 ,_ 58.06 ,_ 51.57 ,_ 42.73
    ____ 120 |_ 90.18 ,_ 81.08 ,_ 69.71 ,_ 63.38 ,_ 55.38 ,_ 42.73
    ____ 150 | 105.44 ,_ 92.72 ,_ 77.46 ,_ 69.29 ,_ 57.14 ,_ 42.73
    ____ 200 | 126.29 , 107.20 ,_ 85.97 ,_ 71.55 ,_ 57.14 ,_ 42.73
    ____ 250 | 133.81 , 107.20 ,_ 85.97 ,_ 71.55 ,_ 57.14 ,_ 42.73
    ___ 1000 | 133.81 , 107.20 ,_ 85.97 ,_ 71.55 ,_ 57.14 ,_ 42.73

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ operational P0 / N , [W / (W/yr)] = years
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |_ 14.94 ,_ 14.78 ,_ 14.45 ,_ 14.34 ,_ 14.18 ,_ 13.92
    _____ 20 |_ 19.90 ,_ 19.60 ,_ 19.03 ,_ 18.84 ,_ 18.57 ,_ 18.12
    _____ 25 |_ 24.84 ,_ 24.38 ,_ 23.50 ,_ 23.21 ,_ 22.79 ,_ 22.11
    _____ 30 |_ 29.78 ,_ 29.12 ,_ 27.85 ,_ 27.45 ,_ 26.85 ,_ 25.90
    _____ 40 |_ 39.60 ,_ 38.44 ,_ 36.25 ,_ 35.55 ,_ 34.54 ,_ 32.94
    _____ 50 |_ 49.38 ,_ 47.58 ,_ 44.23 ,_ 43.18 ,_ 41.67 ,_ 39.30
    _____ 60 |_ 59.11 ,_ 56.54 ,_ 51.82 ,_ 50.36 ,_ 48.28 ,_ 45.06
    _____ 70 |_ 68.79 ,_ 65.32 ,_ 59.04 ,_ 57.13 ,_ 54.41 ,_ 50.26
    _____ 80 |_ 78.42 ,_ 73.92 ,_ 65.91 ,_ 63.49 ,_ 60.10 ,_ 54.97
    _____ 90 |_ 88.00 ,_ 82.36 ,_ 72.44 ,_ 69.49 ,_ 65.37 ,_ 59.23
    ____ 100 |_ 97.54 ,_ 90.63 ,_ 78.65 ,_ 75.14 ,_ 70.26 ,_ 62.53
    ____ 120 | 116.47 , 106.67 ,_ 90.18 ,_ 85.46 ,_ 79.01 ,_ 62.53
    ____ 150 | 144.51 , 129.57 , 105.44 ,_ 98.79 ,_ 83.60 ,_ 62.53
    ____ 200 | 190.32 , 164.21 , 125.74 , 104.67 ,_ 83.60 ,_ 62.53
    ____ 250 | 209.77 , 164.21 , 125.74 , 104.67 ,_ 83.60 ,_ 62.53
    ___ 1000 | 209.77 , 164.21 , 125.74 , 104.67 ,_ 83.60 ,_ 62.53

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ P / operational P0
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 0.97 ,__ 0.96 ,__ 0.96 ,__ 0.96 ,__ 0.95 ,__ 0.93
    _____ 20 |__ 0.96 ,__ 0.95 ,__ 0.95 ,__ 0.94 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91
    _____ 25 |__ 0.95 ,__ 0.94 ,__ 0.94 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89
    _____ 30 |__ 0.94 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.93 ,__ 0.92 ,__ 0.90 ,__ 0.87
    _____ 40 |__ 0.92 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.91 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.83
    _____ 50 |__ 0.90 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.89 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.84 ,__ 0.80
    _____ 60 |__ 0.88 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.87 ,__ 0.85 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.77
    _____ 70 |__ 0.86 ,__ 0.85 ,__ 0.85 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.75
    _____ 80 |__ 0.84 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.83 ,__ 0.81 ,__ 0.77 ,__ 0.72
    _____ 90 |__ 0.82 ,__ 0.81 ,__ 0.82 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 0.70
    ____ 100 |__ 0.81 ,__ 0.79 ,__ 0.80 ,__ 0.77 ,__ 0.73 ,__ 0.68
    ____ 120 |__ 0.77 ,__ 0.76 ,__ 0.77 ,__ 0.74 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.68
    ____ 150 |__ 0.73 ,__ 0.72 ,__ 0.73 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68
    ____ 200 |__ 0.66 ,__ 0.65 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68
    ____ 250 |__ 0.64 ,__ 0.65 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68
    ___ 1000 |__ 0.64 ,__ 0.65 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68 ,__ 0.68

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ operational P0 / P
    _ _ _ _ _|___
    _____ 15 |__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.08
    _____ 20 |__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.10
    _____ 25 |__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.13
    _____ 30 |__ 1.07 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.11 ,__ 1.15
    _____ 40 |__ 1.09 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.12 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.20
    _____ 50 |__ 1.12 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.19 ,__ 1.25
    _____ 60 |__ 1.14 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.18 ,__ 1.22 ,__ 1.30
    _____ 70 |__ 1.17 ,__ 1.18 ,__ 1.17 ,__ 1.21 ,__ 1.26 ,__ 1.34
    _____ 80 |__ 1.19 ,__ 1.21 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.24 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.39
    _____ 90 |__ 1.21 ,__ 1.23 ,__ 1.22 ,__ 1.27 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.43
    ____ 100 |__ 1.24 ,__ 1.26 ,__ 1.25 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.36 ,__ 1.46
    ____ 120 |__ 1.29 ,__ 1.32 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.35 ,__ 1.43 ,__ 1.46
    ____ 150 |__ 1.37 ,__ 1.40 ,__ 1.36 ,__ 1.43 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46
    ____ 200 |__ 1.51 ,__ 1.53 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46
    ____ 250 |__ 1.57 ,__ 1.53 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46
    ___ 1000 |__ 1.57 ,__ 1.53 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46

    ___________________________________________

    EXPONENTIAL GROWTH with Retirement at U

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | P/N , [W / (W/yr)] = years _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ ______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 | 133.81 , 107.20 ,_ 85.97 ,_ 71.55 ,_ 57.14 ,_ 42.73 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 | 122.44 ,_ 99.40 ,_ 80.40 ,_ 67.67 ,_ 54.64 ,_ 41.32 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 | 112.48 ,_ 92.45 ,_ 75.41 ,_ 64.11 ,_ 52.32 ,_ 39.99 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 |_ 89.10 ,_ 75.63 ,_ 63.14 ,_ 55.11 ,_ 46.23 ,_ 36.38 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |_ 64.41 ,_ 56.90 ,_ 49.05 ,_ 44.21 ,_ 38.43 ,_ 31.46 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |_ 49.64 ,_ 45.05 ,_ 39.81 ,_ 36.66 ,_ 32.69 ,_ 27.60 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |_ 40.13 ,_ 37.10 ,_ 33.41 ,_ 31.21 ,_ 28.35 ,_ 24.51 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |_ 28.91 ,_ 27.32 ,_ 25.24 ,_ 24.00 ,_ 22.32 ,_ 19.95 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |_ 22.61 ,_ 21.62 ,_ 20.29 ,_ 19.49 ,_ 18.39 ,_ 16.78 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |_ 18.59 ,_ 17.92 ,_ 16.99 ,_ 16.43 ,_ 15.65 ,_ 14.48 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |_ 15.80 ,_ 15.32 ,_ 14.64 ,_ 14.22 ,_ 13.63 ,_ 12.74 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |_ 13.76 ,_ 13.39 ,_ 12.87 ,_ 12.54 ,_ 12.08 ,_ 11.38 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |_ 12.20 ,_ 11.91 ,_ 11.49 ,_ 11.23 ,_ 10.86 ,_ 10.29 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |_ 10.97 ,_ 10.73 ,_ 10.39 ,_ 10.18 ,__ 9.87 ,__ 9.40 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |__ 9.97 ,__ 9.77 ,__ 9.49 ,__ 9.31 ,__ 9.06 ,__ 8.66 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |__ 6.91 ,__ 6.81 ,__ 6.68 ,__ 6.59 ,__ 6.46 ,__ 6.25 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |__ 5.34 ,__ 5.28 ,__ 5.20 ,__ 5.14 ,__ 5.06 ,__ 4.94 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |__ 3.74 ,__ 3.71 ,__ 3.67 ,__ 3.64 ,__ 3.60 ,__ 3.54 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    U, years : 221.61 , 199.10 , 198.50 , 165.17 , 131.83 ,_ 98.50
    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | operational P0 / P _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ ______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 |__ 1.57 ,__ 1.53 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 ,__ 1.46 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 |__ 1.54 ,__ 1.51 ,__ 1.44 ,__ 1.45 ,__ 1.45 ,__ 1.45 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 |__ 1.51 ,__ 1.48 ,__ 1.42 ,__ 1.43 ,__ 1.43 ,__ 1.44 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 |__ 1.44 ,__ 1.42 ,__ 1.37 ,__ 1.38 ,__ 1.40 ,__ 1.41 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |__ 1.34 ,__ 1.33 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.32 ,__ 1.34 ,__ 1.37 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |__ 1.27 ,__ 1.27 ,__ 1.24 ,__ 1.26 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.33 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |__ 1.21 ,__ 1.22 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.22 ,__ 1.26 ,__ 1.29 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |__ 1.15 ,__ 1.16 ,__ 1.14 ,__ 1.17 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.24 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |__ 1.11 ,__ 1.12 ,__ 1.11 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.16 ,__ 1.20 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |__ 1.09 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.11 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.17 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |__ 1.08 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.12 ,__ 1.15 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |__ 1.07 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.13 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.12 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.11 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.10 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.07 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |__ 1.02 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.05 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    ___________________________________________

    EXPONENTIAL GROWTH, no retirement at a set age

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | P/N , [W / (W/yr)] = years _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ ______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 | 199.50 , 142.36 ,_ 99.50 ,_ 82.83 ,_ 66.17 ,_ 49.50 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 | 166.33 , 124.62 ,_ 90.50 ,_ 76.50 ,_ 62.06 ,_ 47.16 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 | 142.64 , 110.83 ,_ 83.00 ,_ 71.07 ,_ 58.44 ,_ 45.04 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 | 100.00 ,_ 83.25 ,_ 66.50 ,_ 58.62 ,_ 49.75 ,_ 39.70 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |_ 66.83 ,_ 58.91 ,_ 50.00 ,_ 45.41 ,_ 39.90 ,_ 33.16 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |_ 50.25 ,_ 45.63 ,_ 40.10 ,_ 37.09 ,_ 33.33 ,_ 28.50 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |_ 40.30 ,_ 37.28 ,_ 33.50 ,_ 31.37 ,_ 28.64 ,_ 25.00 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |_ 28.93 ,_ 27.33 ,_ 25.25 ,_ 24.02 ,_ 22.39 ,_ 20.10 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |_ 22.61 ,_ 21.62 ,_ 20.30 ,_ 19.50 ,_ 18.40 ,_ 16.83 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |_ 18.59 ,_ 17.92 ,_ 17.00 ,_ 16.43 ,_ 15.65 ,_ 14.49 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |_ 15.80 ,_ 15.32 ,_ 14.64 ,_ 14.22 ,_ 13.63 ,_ 12.74 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |_ 13.76 ,_ 13.39 ,_ 12.87 ,_ 12.54 ,_ 12.08 ,_ 11.38 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |_ 12.20 ,_ 11.91 ,_ 11.49 ,_ 11.23 ,_ 10.86 ,_ 10.29 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |_ 10.97 ,_ 10.73 ,_ 10.39 ,_ 10.18 ,__ 9.87 ,__ 9.40 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |__ 9.97 ,__ 9.77 ,__ 9.49 ,__ 9.31 ,__ 9.06 ,__ 8.66 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |__ 6.91 ,__ 6.81 ,__ 6.68 ,__ 6.59 ,__ 6.46 ,__ 6.25 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |__ 5.34 ,__ 5.28 ,__ 5.20 ,__ 5.14 ,__ 5.06 ,__ 4.94 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |__ 3.74 ,__ 3.71 ,__ 3.67 ,__ 3.64 ,__ 3.60 ,__ 3.54 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    _ -hs (%):__ 0.05 ,__ 0.20 ,__ 0.50 ,__ 0.60 ,__ 0.75 ,__ 1.00
    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    __ s (%) | operational P0 / P _____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _| s (%)| time (yrs) to grow
    _ _ _ _ _|___ ______ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __| ____ |_ by factor of 10
    ____ 0.0 |_ 10.02 ,__ 3.51 ,__ 2.01 ,__ 2.01 ,__ 2.01 ,__ 2.01 |_ 0.0 |
    ____ 0.1 |__ 4.01 ,__ 2.67 ,__ 1.84 ,__ 1.86 ,__ 1.89 ,__ 1.92 |_ 0.1 | 2303.7
    ____ 0.2 |__ 2.81 ,__ 2.26 ,__ 1.72 ,__ 1.76 ,__ 1.80 ,__ 1.84 |_ 0.2 | 1152.4
    ____ 0.5 |__ 1.82 ,__ 1.72 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 1.55 ,__ 1.61 ,__ 1.68 |_ 0.5 |_ 461.7
    ____ 1.0 |__ 1.43 ,__ 1.42 ,__ 1.34 ,__ 1.38 ,__ 1.43 ,__ 1.51 |_ 1.0 |_ 231.4
    ____ 1.5 |__ 1.29 ,__ 1.30 ,__ 1.25 ,__ 1.29 ,__ 1.34 ,__ 1.41 |_ 1.5 |_ 154.7
    ____ 2.0 |__ 1.22 ,__ 1.23 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.23 ,__ 1.28 ,__ 1.34 |_ 2.0 |_ 116.3
    ____ 3.0 |__ 1.15 ,__ 1.16 ,__ 1.15 ,__ 1.17 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.26 |_ 3.0 |__ 77.9
    ____ 4.0 |__ 1.11 ,__ 1.12 ,__ 1.11 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.16 ,__ 1.21 |_ 4.0 |__ 58.7
    ____ 5.0 |__ 1.09 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.11 ,__ 1.13 ,__ 1.17 |_ 5.0 |__ 47.2
    ____ 6.0 |__ 1.08 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.12 ,__ 1.15 |_ 6.0 |__ 39.5
    ____ 7.0 |__ 1.07 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.10 ,__ 1.13 |_ 7.0 |__ 34.0
    ____ 8.0 |__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.09 ,__ 1.12 |_ 8.0 |__ 29.9
    ____ 9.0 |__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.08 ,__ 1.11 |_ 9.0 |__ 26.7
    ___ 10.0 |__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.06 ,__ 1.07 ,__ 1.10 | 10.0 |__ 24.2
    ___ 15.0 |__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.05 ,__ 1.07 | 15.0 |__ 16.5
    ___ 20.0 |__ 1.02 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 ,__ 1.05 | 20.0 |__ 12.6
    ___ 30.0 |__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.02 ,__ 1.03 ,__ 1.04 | 30.0 |___ 8.8

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 May 2009 @ 12:10 PM

  306. “Some combinations that result in $10 / average W

    (assuming high fill factors or concentration of sunlight into time intervals – more generally, that the average efficiency of conversion is not much lower than the rated efficiency of conversion ):”…

    To clarify: Those combinations assume the average efficiency is close to the rated efficiency at 1000 W/m2 insolation (a standard full sun, presumably mostly direct solar radiation) AT THE TIME of purchase or installation – when the collector is new.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 May 2009 @ 12:31 PM

  307. The last row of one of the tables was erroneously zero: Correction:

    ONE TIME INSTALLMENT

    __ -h (%):__ 0.50 ,__ 0.70 ,__ 1.00 ,__ 1.20 ,__ 1.50 ,__ 2.00
    _ _ _ _ _|____________________________________________________
    t, years |_ Average ( P/ installed P0 ) from installation to time t since installation
    _ _ _ _ _|___

    ___ 1000 |__ 0.20 ,__ 0.14 ,__ 0.10 ,__ 0.08 ,__ 0.07 ,__ 0.05

    __________________________________________________

    I also included hs in some tables when the table values did not directly depend on it, and only depended on it indirectly through U (U was determined from he, which was determined from the combination of h and hs values).

    This applies to these tables:

    m0 for:

    1. CONSTANT N (with and without debt) (note that U only affects the calculation for t larger than U)

    2. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH with Retirement at U

    and

    P/N for:

    1. CONSTANT N (note that U only affects the calculation for t larger than U)

    2. EXPONENTIAL GROWTH with Retirement at U

    In general, m0 only depends on hs through U, and when it depends on U. The same is true of P/N. P0/N depends on hs, so P0/P depends on h and hs.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 May 2009 @ 10:41 PM

  308. re #1242 John Reisman

    You suggest that James, who is concerned for species other than his own and who believes that we have a severe problem of human overpopulation, should contribute to its solution by topping himself.

    I fear that such a single selfless act would do little good unless it served as encouragement for a further 2 to 4 billion others to volunteer in like manner. The rest of us might then thrive. However, we’ll probably get the same or a worse outcome with BAU without the painful necessity of having to make the choice of becoming volunteers, not that this will eliminate pain in any way.

    Before setting the high moral tone for the rest of us, I would invite you to contemplate the following thought experiments and then apply your exemplary moral standards to them.

    1) You are on a lifeboat with 9 others. You have no means of feeding yourself. You know that it is 99.9% probable that you won’t reach landfall unless you eat one or more of your fellow passengers. What do you do?
    a) All agree to starve.
    b) Volunteer yourself as the first meal.
    c) Gang up with a few others to kill the remainder as soon as possible before they come up with the same idea.
    d) Democratically (or otherwise) work out a pecking order to establish the rank in which you become the consumed rather than the consumer, eating, may it be said, in a fruglal but sustainable manner on humane grounds and thus minimising the death toll.

    2) Same lifeboat and personnel. This time you know that the only landfall is sterile and won’t sustain you. However, you have with you some seed corn and a few chickens which could potentially save you when you reach land. From your comments about James, I gather that you think he’d eat people and leave the non human food resource to ensure the survival of a few. You seem to deem this immoral and so I gather you’d head straight for the wheat and chickens so dooming everyone by failing to take difficult choices because of moral squeamishness. On reflection, I probably misjudge you. You’d take the easy option and eat the chickens only and argue for a vegetarian future, despite problems of future pernicious anaemia.

    I hope things don’t come to this but it seems likely that they will unless we get our act together very quickly indeed.

    Comment by Douglas Wise — 6 Jun 2009 @ 6:19 AM

  309. Douglas, 308, no, I’m concerned that James is making up anything he can to keep the conclusion that he wants to see maintained: Nuclear Power is teh bomb! Uh, sorry, The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread.

    Oracle seems to agree: troller woosnam

    Comment by Mark — 6 Jun 2009 @ 2:02 PM

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