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  1. Isn’t the normal sequence of events begin with publication of the paper in question? How are we supposed to evaluate it if we can’t look at what they did? More interestingly, how did this story get legs before publication?

    For a more comprehensive global treatment of wind-related issues, see:

    Archer & Caldiera 2008, Historical trends in the jet streams, GRL

    This is the first study to analyze historical trends of jet stream properties based on the ERA-40 and the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis datasets for the period 1979 to 2001. We defined jet stream properties based on mass and mass-flux weighted averages. We found that, in general, the jet streams have risen in altitude and moved poleward in both hemispheres. In the northern hemisphere, the jet stream weakened…

    A poleward shift of the jet streams is consistent with numerous other signals of global warming found in previous studies, such as the expansion of the Hadley cell, the poleward shift of the storm tracks, the widening of the tropical belt, and the cooling of the stratosphere. However, this is the first study to examine jet stream latitude trends in the reanalyses.

    Here is the general overview of the poleward expansion of the Hadley Cell:

    The HC extent in the present-day climate may be interpreted as being limited by the latitude at which the thermally driven wind becomes baroclinically unstable, rather than by the energetic closure of the thermally driven cell.

    Baroclinic tends to refer to the mid-latitide zone, with cyclone and front-dominated weather patterns, characterized by the mixing of distinct air masses, which is quite unlike the tropics.

    We find that extratropical tropopause height, which is a good proxy of the gross static stability, varies in concert with the width of the HC on both the interannual and longer time scales. Under global warming conditions, rising tropospheric static stability, which is an established consequence of moist thermodynamics, stabilizes the subtropical jet streams at the poleward flank of the Hadley Cell to baroclinic instability, as a result the edges of the HC expand poleward.

    Now, the thing to worry about here is that this can result in the development of permanent winter high-pressure zones over the American Southwest, and if you watch the daily pressure maps, you saw that happen this winter at least twice, locking out most early winter storms. Those interior high pressure zones are also the driving force behind Santa Ana winds, which look set to increase (they spill out of high-pressure zones in the Great Basin).

    In any case, the notion of a ‘reduced pole-to-equator thermal gradient’ reducing storminess seems specious. It seems more likely to have increased baroclinic instability further north as warm wet air masses will drive farther north earlier in the spring (later in the fall?) and will tend to dump precipitation as water rather than slow. Recall the recent near-flooding of Fargo? Furthermore, recall that it is the gradient in the latent heat of water vapor that provides the central driving force for storms, not temperature gradients. A cold dry air mass mixing with a warm dry air mass produces a little wind, not much else. Add moisture to the warm air mass, you get an explosion.

    One other thing about temperatures: For those who haven’t lived in cold weather, cold dry snow at ten degrees below freezing is far, far preferable to wet freezing slush. The dry powder also sticks and generates a nice snowpack for your late summer runoff – the wet slush doesn’t stick around. Freezing rain, on the other hand, destroys orchards, powerlines, etc. That’s an example of how a reduced temperature gradient can wildly change local weather patterns, with devastating results.

    Such climatic instability, plus spreading drought, probably represents a much greater threat to agriculture (and thus, to wealthy human civilization) than the temperature change itself.

    For more on the runoff issue:
    Lundquist, Variability and Trends in Spring Runoff in the Western United States

    Comment by Ike Solem — 11 Jun 2009 @ 2:16 PM

  2. I saw the earlier article and appreciate the more detailed discussion. I’m certainly not an expert in this area. However, average wind speed probably is not the only thing to crank into the equation on viability of wind power. Some wind sites with lower average speeds are viable because the wind is constant. The turbines can cut in at 9-12 MPH and out at 55 MPH so they can accommodate a variety of conditions. If the speed does decrease it just means the payback period is slightly longer. That may cause a developer a problem if the financing is on a tight payback schedule. However the payback would still only vary between 7-16 years depending on the installation cost. That is quite a bit less than the payback for a nuke or coal plant. Since there is no fuel, pollution control or waste disposal cost associated with wind generated power, the power tends to be cheaper than fossil fuel power very quickly.

    For example at Montana’s Judith Gap wind project, the all in costs started out being about 4.9 cents/kWh. That cost includes a number for integrating the wind into the system that is higher than most other places in the world. The utility numbers are likely less than that now because some up front costs have been paid off; integration costs will stablize soon, and renewable energy credits have provided revenue not included in the cost numbers. Including those should reduce the price. The default supply of power for Northwestern Energy, the utility buying wind power from Judith Gap averaged around 6 cents/kwh in 2008. That included the wind and hydro generated power cost to lower the average. I have requested a breakout from the utility and been told they wouldn’t provide it. So bottom line as fossil fuel costs continue to rise, wind will become cheaper than fossil fuel generation even with the 1.5-2.1 cent/kWh production tax credit it enjoys for the first 10 years a project is operational. Also, wind on a system generally creates a reduction in natural gas costs that equates to half cent/kwh. And there are of course the other benefits of no CO2–which would cost 2 to 5 cents/kWh to sequester assuming that sequestration would work.

    Comment by Russ Doty — 11 Jun 2009 @ 2:20 PM

  3. I figured out how to change our climate with “Underwater Suspension Tunnels”. They can regulate SSTs in deep Western boundry currents such as the Gulfstream current,the Loop current in the GOMEX and the Kuroshio current.By regulating SSTs you then have the ability to regulate climate such as severe weather,tornados,drought and landfalling hurricanes. They also have the ability to produce an enormous amount of electrical energy from the Ke in the deep Western boundry currents at the same time they are busy regulating climate. 13 trillion joules every 7 seconds at each location. They have two phases to them cooling and non-cooling and either phase will produce this electrical energy as well as regulate SSTs and therefore climate. What are your thoughts on this type of climate control.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 11 Jun 2009 @ 2:29 PM

  4. I completely understand that a newspaper story is an oversimplification. And that you would want to eliminate a false appearance of disagreement between the two of you. however, I would LOVE to see a genuine disagreement. In public. Without pre-vetting.

    Comment by ApolytonGP — 11 Jun 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  5. I like to see this type of analysis of current news items. It helps to keep me current when my High School Chemistry Class mentions something they read on line or in the newspaper.

    It is interesting to see your long answer as compared to the one line quote in the original article.

    I would like to see articles comparing what climate models predicted 5, 10 and 20 years ago with what is being observed today. Were the predictions low, on target or high? Of course it depends which model run you use.

    thank for all the time you guys put in on this blog to inform the rest of us.

    Comment by Michael Sweet — 11 Jun 2009 @ 2:55 PM

  6. Cristina L. Archer says that there is plenty of wind power. NASA says wind is a 15% solution at best. See:

    Who slipped several decimal points?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2009 @ 3:50 PM

  7. I would encourage you to suspect the data because there are places in east Tennessee where the wind never stops blowing. The mountains in the area cause something much like a vacuum to occur, so the wind is always blowing as it is being pushed over the mountain. Since the mountains stretch along the east coast, some areas near them could be tapped for wind power generation.

    Comment by EL — 11 Jun 2009 @ 4:23 PM

  8. The wind power potential map shows very little in the region where I live in the Pacific Northwest, and also in the Columbia basin. And yet not only has it been growing fast, the potential in the eastern parts of these two states is normally said to be very high if only adequate transmission infrastructure can be put in. Where is the disconnect?

    Comment by Dean — 11 Jun 2009 @ 4:26 PM

  9. Gavin,

    The effect of reduced wind speed on generation would really depend on which data set is correct. If the NCDC in situ data is the most accurate (i and j in figures 4 and 5), there would seem to be a significant impact on Midwest wind generation and offshore generation on the East Coast. If NARR data is the most accurate, neither area seems like it would change much. If the NCEP-1 reanalysis is the most accurate, wind speed has been increasing both in the Midwest and the U.S. as a whole!

    The paper will certainly be an interesting look at the tricky issue of reconciling conflicting wind data sets, but it seems a tad premature to conclude that there will be any implications for either wind generation or regional climate models.

    Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 11 Jun 2009 @ 4:29 PM

  10. What might be missing here, especially WRT wind power, is a distinction between global and local winds. If you look at some of the older US (and I presume other) wind projects, you find they’re located where the wind is mostly created by local conditions, as for instance Altamont Pass or the Columbia Gorge, where a pass funnels air between a cool coastal area and a hotter inland one. I don’t think you’d expect much change there?

    On the other hand, it seems like winds on the Great Plains & Texas (where a lot of the newer generation is going up) might be driven mainly by global processes, and so would change?

    Comment by James — 11 Jun 2009 @ 6:33 PM

  11. Re 1 –

    (PS see my comments 272 to 513 +(in progress, recent hiatus) here: , and 76 – 77 here: )

    Near the surface, in the Northern Hemisphere, the general trend with global warming is for the pole to equator temperature gradient to decrease, but of course, not evenly everywhere (by latitude and longitude), and more in winter than summer (it might even be the opposite in summer, I think – specifically I think I’ve seen maps with greater summertime warming of Canada relative to the Arctic ocean).

    But aloft, the trend is reversed. Above the tropopause, I think the latitude of greatest warming / least cooling splits into two branches that work there way into the midlatitudes with height – something like that.

    (PS in terms of meridional thermal gradients, some similarities between stratospheric ozone loss, volcanic aersol forcing (surface cooling), solar forcing (warming), and greenhouse forcing (tropospheric warming))

    The arctic sea ice loss causes winter warming as open water takes longer to freeze in winter due to storage of solar heating in summer, without much actual temperature increase in summer. I would guess this would have the biggest impact on temperature gradients where the summer ice edge is (or was), but of course that’s not accounting for temperature advection patterns. Loss of winter snow cover would have an effect too, though…

    But anyway, … I’m still not sure but:

    surface temperature trends would tend to reduce storm track activity

    upper tropospheric temperature trends would tend to do the reverse

    greater water vapor could increase the energy and rate of development of storms that do form (where there is not regional drying…)

    high latitude temperature trends plus increased water vapor results in reduced vertical static stability, especially to moist convection

    Would that last point help explain the poleward shift?

    Higher tropopause allows deeper thermal anomalies to form (?) – would that increase anomaly pressure gradients?

    But the poleward shift would presumably partly (?) counteract the rising tropopause since the tropopause slopes downward toward the poles.

    Increased role of latent heating may increase cyclone-anticyclone assymetry (I would guess) – in particular, latent heating of moist convection reduces the effect of static stability, tending to allow shorter-horizontal wavelength development (When the greatest baroclinic instability is at shorter wavelengths, the wavelengths of greatest instability tend to strengthen faster), while the anticyclones would tend to grow larger horizontally (or not shrink as much as the cyclones) because they have mainly dry convection.

    But the latent heating would tend to put energy directly into the mesoscale features…

    IF the storm tracks shift poleward, they would experience a greater coriolis effect. That, plus a lower tropopause at higher latitudes, minus the increasing tropopause height, would decrease the wavelengths of greatest instability.

    Greater coriolis effect could reduce the relative importance of the cyclone-anticyclone assymetry due to the centrifugal acceleration.

    If the total wind shear through the troposphere increases (increased wind shear aloft, decreased near the surface… with variations from that pattern), that would increase the wavelength of greatest instability.

    But the overall potential vorticity gradient is generally northward except at the surface because of beta (the variation of the coriolis effect over latitudes), so from an IPV perspective, the temperature gradient at the surface (which acts like a topographically-caused IPV gradient) is critical (?).

    … So would the baroclinic instability decrease in most places, with those systems that do develop tending to strengthen faster and behave differently…?

    The thermal anomalies cause the cyclones and anticylones to tend to seperate into two pressure bands. But radiation of Rossby waves could do the same thing… (?) Actually IPV rossby waves include temperature effects, I think, so is that really one and the same thing (?)…

    (PS storm track activity actually transports westerly momentum downward to the surface from the jet stream, not so much by direct mass transport but by dynamic interaction across vertical distances – the upper air and the lower air push and pull each other – basically, because, if one imagines a situation where the winds are in geostrophic balance, the winds at one level actually depend on the mass over some vertical distance, and when there is some vertical wind shear, this can disrupt the geostrophic balances that had been established before…)

    If the anticyclones are bigger, will that cause frontal zones of the same intensity (mesoscale temperature gradients) to occur by concentrating a reduced temperature gradient into a smaller area (?) – by the production of air masses that cover larger areas…(?)

    Of course, all this could change the aligments of the winds with the major topographic variations of the Northern Hemisphere, thus tending to change the dominant quasi-stationary wave pattern. And if the jet stream shifts poleward, the wavelengths would have to shrink to fit the same zonal wavenumber.

    Aside from static stability changes, the changing temperature gradient would cause isentropic surfaces to slope downward to low latitudes in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere; without changes in the IPV distribution in pressure coordinates, this would increase the isentropic IPV gradient, which, depending on…. could increase the westerly phase speed of Rossby waves, and … if that happened less at higher latitudes, then would that tilt the waves so as to increase an equatorward group velocity that would pull wave energy out of the high latitudes, thus increasing the strength of the circumpolar vortex, which in winter would couple with the tropospheric circulation (I’m still learning about that – I took a couple months break from it but I’ll get back to it)…??????

    Changing wind patterns could change horizontal wind shear. Horizontal wind shear can be self-reinforcing throuh wave-mean interactions (Rossby waves tilted by wind shear tend to transport momentum up-gradient. Rossby Waves tilted against the shear can grow by barotropic instability (analogous to Kelvin-Helmholtz instability in vertical shear, and eddy growth in the boundary layer, except that those small eddies can then lose kinetic energy to smaller eddies, “and so on to viscosity”)

    I think I’ve read that the North Pacific storm track might have activity suppression because of too much vertical wind shear … Well, that wouldn’t be favorable to the smaller wavelength systems, I guess (but I have more to read on that).

    I would imagine that too much condition variability along storm stracks would suppress strong storms (in the absence of explosive development) because the different conditions would favor different wavelengths (???)

    A reduced temperature gradient would not favor the wind shear for severe thunderstorms (depending…), but apparently the summer wind shear is sufficient for severe weather. Would the ‘magnitude’ of the dryline increase with greater overall water vapor – dry air aloft impinging on the side of a thunderstorm being a cause of strong downdrafts and momentum transport favorable to tornadic development… but that’s getting O.T. now, sort of – but what does happen to MCCs in global warming, anyway?

    PS I’m guessing that if the overall pole to equator temperature gradient decreases enough, the westerlies would still dominate the highest latitudes, with maybe a midlatitude high pressure belt. Even without actual storm track activity.

    That’s because – with two hemispheric Hadley cells and nothing else, easterly winds everywhere at the surface would cause a built up of westerly momentum overall in the atmosphere. This would occur until a balance is reached; the westerly momentum would pull air out of high latitudes, creating a polar low pressure system that would weaken downward, but this would have to continue until the low reached the surface; the sinking air would, by momentum transport, keep the westerly winds near the surface supergeostrophic, so that they would have enough kinetic energy to get through the pressure maximum, before turning easterly and heading toward the equatorial low. Maybe…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  12. “Actually IPV rossby waves include temperature effects, I think, so is that really one and the same thing (?)…”

    Sorry, no. The advection of temperature anomalies is linked to the tendency of the low pressure system to build into the cold air, which is a distinct nonlinear effect (relative to linear baroclinic waves), whereas the radiation of Rossby waves from an isolated vortex involves weakening and drift of a nonlinear feature with the production of linear waves…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2009 @ 7:08 PM

  13. “Of course, all this could change the aligments of the winds with the major topographic variations of the Northern Hemisphere, thus tending to change the dominant quasi-stationary wave pattern. And if the jet stream shifts poleward, the wavelengths would have to shrink to fit the same zonal wavenumber.”

    But beta (the meridional gradient of the coriolis parameter f) would also be reduced with a shift to higher latitudes.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2009 @ 7:54 PM

  14. What do you brains think about post #3?

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 11 Jun 2009 @ 9:43 PM

  15. I would think that somewhere in the weather prediction files, they have records of 700mb and 850mb pressures. So it should be possible to construct
    700mb and 850mb (horizontal) pressure gradients, and look for long term trends in the data.

    [Response: that is what the reanalyses do – and they don’t show much change, though they have their own problems. -gavin]

    Of course how much the midlevel winds are advected downwards might not be a constant, that is clearly affected by the vertical temperature gradient. Also the near ground level friction could be affected by low level topographic changes (for example building heights, and or tree heights). Is it possible that this study is seeing a reforestation signal?

    A bit off topic, but I sometimes get asked about the potential effect of using wind energy on the weather. A not insignificant number of people are concerned that we might mess up the weather by harvesting the winds. I suspect a feild of wind turbines would have an effect similar to increasing the topographic roughness. Does anyone have any qualitative studies the debunk (or not) these concerns? Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Thomas — 11 Jun 2009 @ 10:46 PM

  16. Patrick McNulty #3, #14: no reason why it shouldn’t work… alternatively, the same has been considered with OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) plants, which convert the temperature difference between surface and deep tropical ocean to useful energy. The problem with all these ideas is getting the engineering and operating economy right — operating on the high seas is challenging. OTEC could be closer to realization on these, as there are a number of small installations already in operation.

    That too should reduce the surface temperature of the ocean (around 27C) and thus rob tropical cyclones of the energy they feed on. But obviously only for very large deployments. I seem to remember somebody has even a patent in for this :-)

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Jun 2009 @ 12:01 AM

  17. Thomas #15:

    A bit off topic, but I sometimes get asked about the potential effect of using wind energy on the weather. A not insignificant number of people are concerned that we might mess up the weather by harvesting the winds

    It’s all a matter of proportions. You are redirecting a natural energy stream within the climate system for gainful use by consumers. Eventually this energy is dissipated as heat.

    You can calculate the amount of energy that can be harvested in this way, in watts over the globe (like you could also for solar, another energy form for which this worry sometimes comes up); and then, you can compare these watts with the watts that anomalous greenhouse gas concentrations are already redirecting all over the globe. If you do this exercise on the back of an envelope — or using bc, the Unix bench calculator, my favorite — you will see that even very large deployments are still falling a few orders of magnitude short.

    The current greenhouse forcing is already causing observable climatic changes. These give an upper bound of sorts on the global changes expected from large-scale wind or solar deployments. Of course local changes could be larger.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 12 Jun 2009 @ 12:14 AM

  18. Re: # 16. Martin,
    You are correct and they can also be combined with OTEC technology where as OTEC has go down to the cool waters at depth and use it to condense its coolant back to liquid form to be pumped again or pump the cool water to the surface. The tunnels can do this already with no pumps and the amount of cool water that can be used with OTEC is ENORMOUSLY HUGE!So OTEC can evolve to a dual cycle system of generating electrical power one by tapping the Ke of the gulfstream and the other by tapping its heat.

    Comment by Patrik AKA Cyclonebuster — 12 Jun 2009 @ 8:34 AM

  19. “Whether the wind of change is truly blowing through this continent remains to be seen…”

    Exactly what does your hypothesis predict will happen?

    Comment by dreamin2222 — 12 Jun 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  20. “# dreamin2222 Says:
    12 June 2009 at 10:02 AM

    “Whether the wind of change is truly blowing through this continent remains to be seen…”

    Exactly what does your hypothesis predict will happen?”

    I think this is just fluffery that is meant to make the speaker look as though they are thinking on a higher plane.

    I.e. I don’t think it means anything, therefore there’s no hypothesis.

    Comment by Mark — 12 Jun 2009 @ 10:36 AM

  21. > no reason why
    I would bet the Gulf Stream would regard a large slanted tube with fish screens and turbines as an obstruction and route around it, rather than push water uphill through it.

    Google finds many mentions of this idea in many blogs over several years; I’d suggest answering the questions in at least one, like:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jun 2009 @ 10:54 AM

  22. Here is a 1/600 scale model of a tunnel I threw together rather quickly from PVC pipe bought at home dept. Any questions welcome?KEYHOLES $34

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:10 AM

  23. reference 21
    It can’t because it is flowing towards a lower pressure some of it will but not all of it.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:15 AM

  24. Thomas, we just discussed this a bit on Tamino’s site, Open Mind. See:

    Martin’s response is germane, I think, but I’ll just add that I found one study which attempted to measure directly the velocity reduction in the “wake” of an offshore wind turbine. They measured a 37% reduction in velocity 3.5 rotor diameters directly downwind from the hub, decreasing to a 12% reduction 7.1 diameters out. (This accords pretty well with the numbers suggested by the Betz limit and turbine efficiency estimates.)

    Back of the envelope calculations show that it’s a very tiny proportion of global wind KE that could possibly be affected–and forests and buildings already produce similar effects on much larger scales, though, as Martin says, without energy production.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:36 AM

  25. Can we rule out whether the mischief makers at HAARP triggered these events?

    Comment by David — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  26. 3 interesting links where I talk about them often and what thay can do to regulate climate just by regulating SSTs if interested.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  27. Re 21,23

    For wind turbines, the theoretical maximum efficiency (As I understand it, of conversion of the kinetic energy in the ambi-ent flow through an area normal to the wind equal to that which the blades sweep through) is, as I recall, 16/27. I don’t know exactly how this is derived but would guess the compressibility of the air is not a factor (??) and so should apply to all such ambi-ent fluid flow.

    The reason is of course that if the efficiency were 100 %, the fluid would come to a complete stop just behind the turbine, which would be an obstacle to further inflow of kinetic energy.

    So what happens is that a difference in pressure builds up with higher pressure on the windward side, which will continue to drive air through the turbine, but also causes air to slow as it approaches the the turbine and causes some air to flow around the turbine.

    The air that does flow through the turbine has to contract in the direction of the wind and expand sideways in order to slow down (lose energy) while maintaining the same mass flow rate; even more so if the fluid is compressible.

    That last issue would also pertain to turbines that run off a manufactured flow – the inflow area has to be narrower than the outflow area, and the ratio (factoring in density changes) puts an upper limit on conversion efficiency, because the outflow has to have some kinetic energy in order to exit through an area of finite size. But for manufactured conditions, we can use a design with a very narrow inflow (nozzle) and wide outflow. Of course, the total efficiency will be higher than just the fractional decrease in kinetic energy between inflow and outflow because the pressure drop in between supplies additional energy (and that would apply to turbines placed in ambi-ent flow, too, but in that case, the source of the pressure difference is the ambi-ent kinetic energy)…

    Ocean currents can also be approximately geostrophic, so slowing them would cause drift to lower pressure (at the surface, generally toward lower sea level, except for the effect of air pressure variations) (A lens of warm (or fresh) water will spread laterally on the surface until the coriolis acceleration balances the pressure gradient, at which point (aside from radiation of inertio-gravity waves), the surface of the lens will act as a high pressure center and the base of the lens will act as a low pressure center.) Water level/pressure variations can also result from pi-ling up by wind stress…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Jun 2009 @ 12:25 PM

  28. “so slowing them would cause drift to lower pressure ”

    Now, maybe a significant removal of energy for human consumption would have little effect relative to the scales of the currents themselves, but in an extreme case, removal of energy from the Gulf Stream would, I would guess, cause warmer surface water to drift toward the northeastern coast of the U.S. (and Nova Scotia, etc.), which would also raise sea level along the coast. Sounds like double trouble, but maybe (?) the effects of using currents for energy would be dwarfed by global warming itself.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Jun 2009 @ 12:34 PM

  29. ” the surface of the lens will act as a high pressure center and the base of the lens will act as a low pressure center.”

    Actually, the low pressure would extend below the lens to arbitrary depth if the potential density is constant below the lens, but the reduction of pressure below the lens as it spreads would cause adiabatic cooling of the water below, which, if potential density increases with depth, would restrict the vertical penetration of the resulting pressure and current anomalies.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 12 Jun 2009 @ 12:40 PM

  30. “Sounds like double trouble, but maybe (?) the effects of using currents for energy would be dwarfed by global warming itself.”

    Yep! Your talking tens of trillions of dollars caused by global warming maybe even hundreds of trillions!

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 12 Jun 2009 @ 1:14 PM

  31. Patrick, you are correct–the Betz limit derivation is for an ideal case, independent of fluid characteristics or device geometry.

    Derivation available in Wikipedia, under “Betz limit.”

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 12 Jun 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  32. Patrick 027, The real issue here is going to be drought and the poleward expansion of the Hadley Cell. The AP covered the story, i.e the Archer & Caldeira 2008 paper: Jet stream moving north, study finds

    WASHINGTON (AP) – The jet stream – America’s stormy weather maker – is creeping northward and weakening, new research shows…

    From 1979 to 2001, the Northern Hemisphere’s jet stream moved northward on average at a rate of about 1.25 miles a year, according to the paper published Friday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The authors suspect global warming is the cause, but have yet to prove it.

    The relationship between the high-altitude jet stream and surface winds is complex, but it must be related to the locations of high pressure and low pressure rotating systems, which create surface winds and which are also influenced by the position of the jet stream. This phenomenon is not regional, but global, so GCMs are needed to analyze it, probably not regional models:

    Two other jet streams in the Southern Hemisphere are also shifting poleward, the study found.

    You can see it beginning, I think, if this last winter is any indication, as there were several periods when rain was blocked out by high pressure systems over Southern California – and note the Santa Ana enhancement as well, and the relation to the new wildfire regime. It should also be pointed out that those are minimal estimates:

    Dian Seidel, a research meteorologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who wrote a study about the widening tropical belt last year, said she was surprised that Caldeira found such a small shift. Her study documented that the tropical belt was bulging at a much faster rate. Caldeira said his figures represent the minimum amount of movement.

    This might point to shifting wind zones – but recall, most continental wind site locations are linked to geographical features more than anything else – i.e. mountain passes, etc:

    “The wind power estimates apply to areas free of local obstructions to the wind and to terrain features that are well exposed to the wind, such as open plains, tablelands, and hilltops. Within the mountainous areas identified, wind resource estimates apply to exposed ridge crests and mountain summits.”


    That’s a great source for overall information on wind, wind power tables, etc.

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Jun 2009 @ 1:26 PM

  33. Actually to set the record straight. Neither Michael nor Gavin gave “long interviews.” If you check your own emails, both of you responded only by e-mail. Short ones at that. Here they are:
    First from Gavin:
    Hi Seth, a few comments. The authors are clearly very careful about noting the fragility of the trends over the different data sets and I think that is very sensible.

    One thing that might be useful is the figure I attach which is what our model suggests should have been the wind speed trends over roughly this period (you can play around with different times etc. here: ).

    What it shows is that the models don’t anticipate any large changes in wind over land. The places with relatively large expected trends are in the southern ocean (related, in our model at least, to the polar ozone hole), and a little in the tropics, probably related to changes in the Haldey circulation (though it’s a little difficult to say more without some real analysis). Over the US there is nothing expected.

    Now that doesn’t imply that there is nothing in the data of course, but it does underline that this isn’t likely to be a metric that is useful for distinguishing model skill.

    As for the implications for wind energy – this is all in the noise. [irrelevant text omitted]

    Overall, this study to me is mostly suggestive and might promote further research – for instance, are different kinds of weather regimes are associated with the changes, or are any trends associated with
    differences in the frequency of the different regimes themselves?


    Now from Mike:
    [irrelevant text omitted] It’s an interesting paper. It demonstrates, rather conclusively in my mind, that average and peak wind speeds have decreased over the u.s. in recent decades.
    If this trend is due to human-caused climate change (something the authors don’t discuss–this would require additional work using climate model- based fingerprint detection methods), this would spell out a rather ominous and unanticipated ‘surprise’ feedback in the climate change problem; namely, that the continued burning of fossil fuels is actually impairing our ability to meet our energy needs with available alternative sources of energy. Clearly, further work will need to be done to confirm whether or not the observed trends can be connected with human- caused climate changes, and to investigate the scale of the problem, e.g. what about Asia, Europe, South America, etc. Mike

    That’s it. No phone interviews. Nothing extensive. This is the sum total of our conversation.
    Seth Borenstein, Science Writer, The Associated Press

    [Response: Seth–I agree that the wording “long interviews” was poor. We meant absolutely no slight against you whatsoever, and we took no issue with your article. We just wanted to point out that there was far more context and nuance behind the issue than can be communicated in a short article–hardly your fault. Again, apologies for any misinterpretation that might have resulted, as least from my perspective. -mike]

    Comment by Seth Borenstein — 12 Jun 2009 @ 1:40 PM

  34. Additional maps on wind availability and developable resources in the U.S.:

    The average annual map shows widespread areas of developable availability in central Colorado and western Wyoming,Idaho, and western Montana,among other regions.

    Comment by Lawrence Brown — 12 Jun 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  35. Reading through that, rredc link, there are some eye-opening paragraphs that put a lot of the historical data in question:

    Issue #1: Data analysis, processing and extrapolation:

    “The wind resource analysis is based on data (where available) collected at heights of 20 to 60 m (65 to 200 ft) above ground at exposed sites. However, in most areas only near-surface data, 3 to 15 m (10 to 50 ft) above ground, were available for the assessment. Vertical extrapolation to 10 and 50 m (33 and 164 ft) is based primarily on the 1/7 power law using data from exposed sites.”

    “Data available from many locations with measurements from more than one level indicate that, in spite of anomalies caused by terrain complexities and nocturnal jets at some locations, the 1/7 power law is generally appropriate (Appendix D). The 1/7 power law conveniently provides wind power densities at 50 m (164 ft) that are twice those at 10 m (33 ft).”

    Issue #2: historical data coverage

    “The twelve regional wind energy resource atlases were based on data collected before 1979. Most of the data used in the assessments were collected at anemometer heights and locations that were not chosen for wind energy assessment purposes. In many areas estimated to have a high wind resource, the certainty rating of this estimate is low because few or no data were available for exposed locations. However, since the later 1970s, hundreds of new sites have been instrumented specifically for wind energy assessment purposes, and many of these have been located in areas thought to have high wind resource but where data were previously not available or were very limited.”

    Question: were sites without long records excluded from the study?

    Comment by Ike Solem — 12 Jun 2009 @ 2:21 PM

  36. Anyway on the global scale winds maybe stronger

    Earth vibrations indicate increased storminess
    Seismic signals produced by oceanic waves reveal greater cyclone activity

    And for something completely different

    Alfred Nobel wrote in his will “to those who conferred the greatest benefit on mankind.”

    Climate research and modeling is physics & Geophysics is part of physics as astronomy.

    Climate Change is the most pressing problem of mankind.

    The conclusion
    Next Physics Nobel Prize should go to climate Physics!

    And from Copenhagen and PR view I hope it will be James Hansen

    It’s not against the research in basic physics and astronomy nor for reducing the funding for CERN or any Overwhelming Huge Any Thing nor for more Nobel prizes in those fields.

    Comment by Eyal Morag — 12 Jun 2009 @ 2:29 PM

  37. Seth, maybe your next article could cover the fact that atmospheric methane levels are now spiking upward, suggesting that we have crossed a point of no return, where methane from melting tundra and perhaps now seabed clathrates are being released at ever-increasing quantities, sending the whole system into a vicious feedback loop or death spiral.

    Other cheery news it that we have just surpassed ’07 for the lowest ever ice coverage in the Arctic for this date.

    Things are looking very bleak indeed.

    Comment by Wili — 12 Jun 2009 @ 11:05 PM

  38. Re #37 Wili Says
    Looks to me like we’re around 2004 levels here.
    Since no increase in deep ocean temperatures have been seen (As verified by ARGO network), why would ocean floor Methane Clathrate deposits be outgassing as greater rates?
    Where are you taking your Methane levels from?
    This data suggests to me that the bulk of the rise in atmospheric Methane took place leading up to the super-El-Nino of 1998. Interestingly, the Northern & Southern Hemisphere levels show large differences, not a well-mixed gas?
    Things are looking like business as usual.

    Comment by Adam Gallon — 13 Jun 2009 @ 3:10 AM

  39. Since 1,020 “Underwater Suspension Tunnels” can generate 13 trillion joules of pure clean hydroelectrical power from the Ke in gulfstream every six seconds this should be more then plenty to reduce fossil fuel Co2 emissions for the whole United States. By reducing Co2 in this manner and leaving the tunnels in cooling phase the Arctic ice will recover to levels before the industrial revolution. This will prevent the calthrate gun hypothisis referenced in post 37. Computer modeling will verify this. Any universities here? I would like a university to model the tunnels. Any takers? I would be glad to assist.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 13 Jun 2009 @ 7:16 AM

  40. > “Since 1,020 “Underwater Suspension Tunnels” can generate 13 trillion joules of pure clean hydroelectrical power from the Ke in gulfstream every six seconds this should be more then plenty to reduce fossil fuel Co2 emissions for the whole United States. By reducing Co2 in this manner and leaving the tunnels in cooling phase the Arctic ice will recover to levels before the industrial revolution. This will prevent the calthrate gun hypothisis referenced in post 37. Computer modeling will verify this.”

    I don’t think computer modeling could “verfify” this rather drastic sort of geo engineering at all. Only a 1-to-1 scale, long term experiment could and nobody would want to take responsibility for the potential consequences, let alone pay the bill. Anyway – just don’t forget the “off” switch and a fallback plan. In general, replacing one energy source that has a significant climate impact with another one doesn’t strike me as being a good idea.

    Comment by bobberger — 13 Jun 2009 @ 8:32 AM

  41. A semi-serious Q on the suspension tunnels: Wouldn’t turbine maintenance and grid interconnect be a massive concern/problem?

    Comment by Rod B — 13 Jun 2009 @ 9:57 AM

  42. Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster wrote in 39:

    Since 1,020 “Underwater Suspension Tunnels” can generate 13 trillion joules of pure clean hydroelectrical power from the Ke in gulfstream every six seconds this should be more then plenty to reduce fossil fuel Co2 emissions for the whole United States. By reducing Co2 in this manner and leaving the tunnels in cooling phase the Arctic ice will recover to levels before the industrial revolution. This will prevent the calthrate gun hypothisis referenced in post 37. Computer modeling will verify this. Any universities here? I would like a university to model the tunnels. Any takers? I would be glad to assist.

    bobberger wrote in 40:

    I don’t think computer modeling could “verfify” this rather drastic sort of geo engineering at all. Only a 1-to-1 scale, long term experiment could and nobody would want to take responsibility for the potential consequences, let alone pay the bill. Anyway – just don’t forget the “off” switch and a fallback plan. In general, replacing one energy source that has a significant climate impact with another one doesn’t strike me as being a good idea.

    Mr. Cyclonebuster first showed up here proposing his solution to our climate problems back on 11 June 2009, two days ago.

    You can see it here:

    Winds of change, Comment 3
    11 June 2009 at 2:29 PM

    A the time he hadn’t shared with us the fact that he could prevent the calthrate gun. He has considerable ambition. I have yet to see that he has any credentials than I do — zip. Or scientific papers. But he has guaranteed that we can prevent the calthrate gun if we use his approach, so perhaps we shouldn’t be so picky. Particularly with his offer to model the tunnels — and maybe the climate system, too? I hope so since I am a little busy at the moment.

    Comment by Timothy Chase — 13 Jun 2009 @ 10:23 AM

  43. Re: 40
    The tunnels can produce electrical power while in either phase of operation cooling or non-cooling.During non-cooling phase the gulfstream is diverted ( SHUNTED ) back through the tunnel opening at the surface via the closed shunt valve while flow is still established across the turbine. The much warmer surface waters now flow through the tunnels. Cooling phase is re-established by throttleing the shunt valve back open allowing the deeper cooler waters at depth at near 50 degrees flow back up the tunnel. A thermocouple located down stream of the tunnel exit will sends its signal to a temperature indicating transmitter (TIT). This will allow a set point to be established and will control how much the shunt valve is open to achieve a certain temperature setpoint determined by computer modeling.So as you can see the have the ability to regulate SSTs which in turn will regualte climate something we are doing now with greenhouse gasses but it is not controlable.What we have now is runaway global warming. What we need is regulated cooling. You decide which is worse.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 13 Jun 2009 @ 11:07 AM

  44. Re Ike Solem –

    Yes, so far as I know, water resource issues may be the single biggest concern (too much, too little, too fast, too irregular…).

    But at least from a purely scientific perspective it is interesting to consider all the mechanisms potentially involved.

    And changes in the quasi-stationary wave patterns would affect the longitudinal distributions of storm tracks.

    Some other effects – maybe these would be subtle – but if cyclones moved more slowly (would that happen??), or if they are fewer in number or smaller in horizontal size, but stronger, with larger anticyclones in between, that could increase day-to-day, week-to-week water resource fluctuations…

    And if the pattern of global warming projects partly onto NAM/SAM, might NAM/SAM internal variability patterns also change?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Jun 2009 @ 12:30 PM

  45. Re 43 –

    One point of concern –

    Redistribution of conditions over space and time across the globe could conceivably change the equilibrium global multi-annual average surface temperature without changing the global multi-annual average tropopause level radiative forcing. For example, if the warmest places and times could somehow be more positively correlated with clear skies and low humidity, if cloud area were somehow shifted from winter, high latitudes and nightime to summer low latitude mid-days by a change in atmospheric circulation patterns… etc. (How would this be accomplished intentionally, and would the regional climate changes that result be less severe than the reduced regional changes from reduced global average warming?)(OF course, such redistribution can be a feedback to global average changes – global warming may shift midlatitude cloud cover poleward, where the albedo has less radiative effect; greater solar heating of water vapor during the day might conceivably shift some convective activity to the night time(?)).

    (PS I did some rough calculations on a spreadsheet and, with the approximation of the surface as a perfect blackbody, the variations in temperature raise the global annual average surface radiant emission so that it is the same as the emission from a uniform temperature blackbody that is roughly 1 deg C warmer than the actual global average.)

    (But there could be some correlation between surface LW emissivity and surface temperature, but that’s probably not a big issue.)

    BUT in general, if you move heat from the surface to depths to cool SSTs, the negative feedbacks that tend to pull climate toward equilibrium (PS positive feedbacks increase the shift of equilibrium in response to a given forcing, but unless climate sensitivity is infinite, negative feedbacks will dominate in the response to an unforced change – see
    (and the comment immediately following that),

    In other words, if you pump cold water to the surface, you will pull the climate away from radiative equilibrium; the net radiative heating rate of the surface+troposphere will increase. In net, this temporary surface cooling will speed up the heating of the deep ocean more than it would slow the heat gain of the upper ocean.

    Maybe this could be justified (setting aside other concerns) as a way to buy time until clean energy and carbonate mineral production techniques are so affordable that we can start removing CO2 from the atmsophere, and/or to slow the initial rate of change to reduce adaptation costs and losses.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 13 Jun 2009 @ 1:03 PM

  46. One big problem with marine power generating systems, is growth of marine organisms.
    Any tunnel based system ould quickly have its performance degraded and also require either labour-intensive (Divers scrapping growth off) or potentially highly toxic (eg TBT) coatings.

    Comment by Adam Gallon — 13 Jun 2009 @ 3:31 PM

  47. In other words, if you pump cold water to the surface, you will pull the climate away from radiative equilibrium; the net radiative heating rate of the surface+troposphere will increase.
    RE: 45 AND 46

    45 “In net, this temporary surface cooling will speed up the heating of the deep ocean more than it would slow the heat gain of the upper ocean.”

    Since the tunnels draw cooler water from the 1,000 foot depth you can not warm the waters below that since warm water rises and also because the sun can not penetrate the water that deep to warm it up!

    46 “One big problem with marine power generating systems, is growth of marine organisms.
    Any tunnel based system ould quickly have its performance degraded and also require either labour-intensive (Divers scrapping growth off) or potentially highly toxic (eg TBT) coatings.”

    A small charge of voltage prevents this. Cathodic protection works fantastic in modern day power plant condenser systems. They will work fine out there in the gulfstream also.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 13 Jun 2009 @ 4:33 PM

  48. Cathodic protection works in clean heat exchangers, but fouling of heat exchangers immersed in open water is a big problem today.

    Might it work on living organisms in open water? Well, to my surprise, maybe, though this isn’t proven yet:,M1

    (which is cautionary about aspects of climate change involving biofilm formation, and worth a look for that)

    The deep ocean water can warm, and has warmed:

    Self-driving deep water fountains may require added salt.
    Perhaps you’re thinking of this, an idea that goes back to the 1930s:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 13 Jun 2009 @ 5:52 PM

  49. Wili Says:
    12 June 2009 at 11:05 PM

    Other cheery news it that we have just surpassed ‘07 for the lowest ever ice coverage in the Arctic for this date.

    Things are looking very bleak indeed.

    – Wili, there have been issues with the NSISDC data and the readings on this site are suspect. If you look at the IJIS site
    – it shows sea ice data as about the same extent as 2004 and higher than 2007. I think we really need to wait for the September minimum to make a real assessment.

    Interesting, the SH sea ice extent is well above the average. Total cryosphere today is actually looking rather healthy. Cherry picked – of course !

    Comment by Bob Lear — 13 Jun 2009 @ 7:02 PM

  50. #47 – I think I’ve seen you before.

    Ahh yes, here we are, on Sciforums 2 years ago. Nice to see you’ve learnt some longer words.

    Please read the link I have given before engaging with this person “Cyclonbuster”.

    Comment by guthrie — 13 Jun 2009 @ 7:03 PM

  51. Checking that thread (On which you will note myself asking a question or two that cyclonebuster never answered) makes me reccomend banning for Cyclonebuster on the grounds that they will only screw this thread up with their offtopic proposition.

    Comment by guthrie — 13 Jun 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  52. (Off-topic, aplogies in advance)

    Interesting op-ed in the Washington Post today titled “Can We Engineer a Cooler Planet”. The piece takes climate change as a given (“Warming seems inevitable; the only questions are its timing, distribution and severity”) and talks about some geoengineering ideas, but what’s interesting to me is the author: Samuel Thernstrom of the American Enterprise Institute. Yes, that American Enterprise Institute.

    Did I miss something? When did they stop offering cash prizes to scientists for dismantling IPCC reports and start publishing statements like “Warming seems inevitable”? What’s going on here?

    Comment by Chris Dunford — 13 Jun 2009 @ 10:18 PM

  53. Thanks for the feedback, Adam and Bob.

    The most recent readings from the Alaska stations show clear spikes in atmospheric methane levels. These look to be a continuation or acceleration of increases of about .6% in methane levels for each of the past two years. Taken together with evidence of widespread thawing of the tundra and increased methane in Arctic Ocean waters, this looks pretty darn troubling to me. I was under the impression that most of this was pretty well understood. I can look around for the supporting links, if they’re needed. Methane Clathrates, as I understand it, occur under shallow as well as deep waters.

    I was also under the impression that the satellite problem had been cleared up by now, but I’ll check again.

    In any case, given the well documented loss of most of the thick multi-year ice, even ice coverage above 07 levels probably represents total ice mass levels that are at historic lows for this time of year.

    Comment by Wili — 14 Jun 2009 @ 2:15 AM

  54. Cyclonbusters idea i think is not scaleable.

    Wouldnt there be a substance which helps seal/prevent thawing permafrost?
    Maybe white tiny stones dropped by airplanes on the permafrost could contribute.

    Here is an image of venus atmosphere the poles have much larger windspeeds, so maybe the poleward shift is the start somekind of an self regulating system

    To me the weather seem to start fluctuating …

    Comment by Save Gaia — 14 Jun 2009 @ 3:49 AM

  55. Geologists to find if drilling causes earthquakes in Texas

    Comment by Save Gaia — 14 Jun 2009 @ 6:28 AM

  56. I’m not sure if the wind-map published in the above figure is accurate.

    For the American central plains and South-East however you end up with a low-altitude nocturnal jet that dramatically boosts low-altitude (e.g., 80-120 m elevation) winds.

    See for example this from one of my own data sets.

    Comment by Carrick — 14 Jun 2009 @ 6:40 AM

  57. Sorry I meant to include this comment which as a follow up on Ike Solem’s comment (#35). If they are using the widely available 10-m data and extrapolating up to 80-m, they are likely to not get the correct wind speed at 80-m for much of the central plains and the US south east, due to the presence of this low-level nocturnal jet.

    Anyway, Here’s a comprehensive study which gives a pretty reasonable discussion of the phenomenon.

    Comment by Carrick — 14 Jun 2009 @ 6:46 AM

  58. Go to NANSEN

    looks like this year we are within 1 STD of the normal Arctic 1979-2007 average.

    Comment by J. Bob — 14 Jun 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  59. Why not ask Jane.

    New head of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco says climate models are “robust” enough to know “what wind patterns will be for the next hundred years”.

    She’s pushing for the creation of a National Climate Service to “provide services to the country.”
    “NOAA is the best agency in the government to synthesize the scientific data on climate change and create products and services that can be used by the public to guide important decisions such as where to build a road or wind turbines,” she said then. “This idea has been studied by the agency, the National Academy of Sciences, and by members of this committee. It is an idea whose time has come, and I would like to make it happen.”

    Please imagine the absurdity in this idea.

    Wind farms are not going to be built any where but where wind is strong today. Certainly not where some reckless theory projects it will be.

    Honestly the climate arena has simply run crazy with baseless presumtions.

    Comment by John H. — 14 Jun 2009 @ 10:20 AM

  60. Wili, there have been issues with the NSISDC data and the readings on this site are suspect.

    It’s been fixed, and the NSIDC are only suspect among the usual suspects.

    It shows sea ice data as about the same extent as 2004 and higher than 2007. I think we really need to wait for the September minimum to make a real assessment.

    As does NSIDC at the moment. And, yes, it’s really the summer minimum that’s of interest, not the meandering path that leads there.

    Interesting, the SH sea ice extent is well above the average. Total cryosphere today is actually looking rather healthy. Cherry picked – of course !

    Given the different predictions made by climate scientists for the NH and SH, you’re not only cherry-picking, you’re suggesting that successful predictions prove the science underlying the predictions suspect.

    Sort of like citing the Wright Brothers’ first flight as support for a claim that man-made flight’s impossible.

    In any case, given the well documented loss of most of the thick multi-year ice, even ice coverage above 07 levels probably represents total ice mass levels that are at historic lows for this time of year.

    The denialsphere is strangely silent on this point.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Jun 2009 @ 10:50 AM

  61. 59 John H says, “Wind farms are not going to be built any where but where wind is strong today. Certainly not where some reckless theory projects it will be.”

    Please explain why you used “reckless” where no hint of recklessness has been seen. Taking your first statement and ADDING the theory, and we get the UNRECKLESS statement that, ” Wind farms are going to be built in places where wind is strong today and predicted to remain strong for the forseeable future.”

    Comment by RichardC — 14 Jun 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  62. looks like this year we are within 1 STD of the normal Arctic 1979-2007 average.

    The big melt years of 2007 and 2008 didn’t separate from the pack until later in summer, so it’s meaningless one way or the other now. As NSIDC said about May the spring extent is a poor predictor of the summer minimum.

    Of course, you WUWT people like the 1979-2007 average better than the 1979-2000 average used by NSIDC because it includes the recent low-extent years, thus lowering the average, thus making it “harder” for a current year to drop significantly below that average. I’m surprised you guys haven’t made up your plots using 2007-2008 (oh darn, shouldn’t give these people ideas).

    Whatever, J Bob, it is clear that there’s a long-term downward trend in the summer minimum extent.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Jun 2009 @ 12:13 PM

  63. Please imagine the absurdity in this idea.

    Yes, recommendations by NOAA, the NAS, and a blue-ribbon committee appointed to study the problem are absurd, because John H says so.

    Comment by dhogaza — 14 Jun 2009 @ 12:15 PM

  64. dhogaza #60
    > “And, yes, it’s really the summer minimum that’s of interest, not the meandering path that leads there.”

    Could you elaborate on that? I’d have thought, that any phase of melt and freeze in the arctic is of interest. If I recall corretly, in 2007 the September rate of sea-ice loss was rather normal and the really strange thing was the rate leading up to it in June and July. I’d also think, that the earlier phase (summer) is more important in terms of albedo.

    Comment by bobberger — 14 Jun 2009 @ 12:20 PM

  65. Re 52 – wow, I thought that was the Competitive Enterprise Institute. So I guess AEI ~= CEI.

    Re 54 – just to be clear, the risk of turning the Earth into Venus, climate-wise, is essentially zero for at least the next many millions of years. Eventually warming from a brightening sun (over geologic time, 100s of millions of years) will make photosynthesis problematic by requiring very low CO2 to maintain habitability, and will also cause specific humiditity to go so high that, for geologic time, H2O vapor abundance in the upper atmosphere (above the tropopause) will be high enough to allow significant H escape to space. Then over many millions of years (how many, I’m not sure), the oceans will evaporate. If the temperature gets high enough before this is completed, there could be a runaway water vapor feedback and the oceans would boil into the atmosphere. Anyway, the CO2 sink of carbonate mineral formation would essentially stop and geologic emissions of CO2 would then accumulate in the atmosphere (geologic death occurs later – unless the sun vaporizes the Earth first – as the inner core grows, the magnetic field will at some point weaken and die (except for a tiny remnant) – except for modern technology, I think the immediate effects of that would be more minor than some think (?) (organisms that use magnetic fields for directions would have plenty of time to adapt) – Venus still has a hefty atmosphere, after all – although cosmic rays are not stopped by the ozone layer – well, this is all a long time out. I hope civilization will have advanced by that point that we have a sunshade (or collection of mass-produced mirrors) near one of the Lagrange points, perhaps or putting giant white (TiO2 ?) tarps over portions of the Earth, and maybe we can keep the outer core going by burying some long-lived radioactive dense siderophile isotopes (from fusion/fission/antimatter energy plants) in subduction zones or beaming microwaves into the Earth (if any frequencies penetrate that far) or heating the interior with solar-powered seismic wave generators ?? (a constant weak vibration undetectable by human descendants) or just dispersing a network of permanent magnets around the surface or in a system of satellites, etc…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2009 @ 2:10 PM

  66. Actually, though, as the oceans would evaporate, its possible that this would disrupt physical-chemical balances in such a way as to cause greater net H2O loss from the mantle (article by James F. Kasting on processes at mid-ocean ridges, forgot the title), so it might a couple or a few or several times longer to evaporate the oceans than otherwise…

    But getting halfway back to the original topic:

    What does the expanding Hadley cell mean for the ITCZ? Does the ITCZ expand (in a time-average sense for any given month or season) (which might be considered ‘good’ for some purposes)? Does the ITCZ migrate over a larger range over the annual cycle? Does the internal variability in the position of the ITCZ increase (potentially a bad thing), or would the ITCZ get more easily stuck in some anomalous position for extended periods of time (also potentially bad)? If tropical cumulus convection were less concentrated near the equator, would that slow the QBO?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2009 @ 2:19 PM

  67. “although cosmic rays are not stopped by the ozone layer”

    – well, maybe never mind that…

    lower energy UV is absorbed by ozone; higher energy UV is absorbed by molecular oxygen (which then produces ozone); the highest energy photons are absorbed higher in the atmosphere. Charged particles are deflected by the magnetic field (and trapped by it), but I would think that without a magnetic field, most charged particles would be intercepted above the stratosphere.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2009 @ 6:36 PM

  68. #64, Sea ice extent is largely shrunk by direct sun exposure, weighed plainly by recent satellite data, its a bad year for direct sun ice exposure so far, a good thing for avoiding a greater melt. Yet extent competes well with 2008, simply put, the ice is thinner and wont stand a chance to any prolongued period of high in the sky sunshine. Historically, ice data extent was mapped for years by the US Navy prior to 1979, I have their 1954 atlas complete with tides, ice extent per season, all around the circumpolar North all the way to the Pole, In those days people were reporting Ice extent, even in the USSR. There is ample solid evidence prior to 1979, I’d say that data gets sparse before WW II, However, as usual, many forget the people of the Arctic who have been there for 5000 years. Archeology dictates no special period when sod houses where at other locations than where the open water is now a days., no coastal habitation locations where the ice dominates today, Arctic Archeologists dig mainly always near present day open summer time sea water. I have never heard of a sod house by the Arctic Ocean NW Arctic archipelago icy coast. If it was much warmer, there would have been settlements, many times during past thousands of years of human Arctic settlements, Especially if these locations had open water favoring a new migration paths of whales and other marine life for a significantly long time to establish a new migratory route. In brief, there was lots and lots of ice for the longest time during Arctic Archeological history, so this idea that there
    was periods similar to now, is simply a speculation not backed by solid facts. Its up to those who speculate to come up with data to prove their idea.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 15 Jun 2009 @ 12:52 AM

  69. Dhogaza says:

    ” Please imagine the absurdity in this idea.

    Yes, recommendations by NOAA, the NAS, and a blue-ribbon committee appointed to study the problem are absurd, because John H says so.”

    They are plainly absurd. Predicting weather more than seven days ahead is risky at best. Given that, how do you expect climate models to be able to predict wind patterns (weather, not climate) for the next 100 years? The models can predict temperature anomalies with some skill but are very poor at predicting actual temperature, so predicting wind patterns would be completely out of their capabilities at this stage.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Jun 2009 @ 3:37 AM

  70. @Patrick
    I didn’t mean its becoming this extend in a short period of time. I wanted to show the mechanism of the faster pole windspeeds.

    What i belive is, that we will get very mean weather from global climate changes. And in particular odd wind behavior, fueld by more energy in the climate system.

    You can already experience odd weather behaviours.
    And the uptake in seismic activity is also noteable. Either from digging in the ground and/or from natural forces. And than read about the russian venus project:”For example, after analyzing the radar images returned from Venera 15 and 16, it was concluded that the ridges and grooves on the surface of Venus were the result of tectonic deformations.”

    And why its becoming severe so quick is from thawing permafrost and the methane release.

    “Lawrence’s newest global climate simulations predict that warming associated with spells of particularly rapid loss of sea ice could lead directly to faster permafrost thaw. During such episodes, which would last five or 10 years, autumn temperatures might increase by as much as nine degrees Fahrenheit along Arctic shorelines, and the heat penetrating inland would more than triple the average warming rates previously assumed.”

    Comment by Save Gaia — 15 Jun 2009 @ 3:40 AM

  71. Of course I am talking of local and regional scale wind patterns. It is these that would be provided as a service to the country (as Dr. Lubchenco put it).

    [Response: Lubchenco is actually talking about the everything the NCS is supposed to do, the idea that an NCS would only produce regional climate projections for winds is completely wrong. It is not quite clear what the previous poster thought was absurc – bringing together federal agencies to produce a NCS or the production of regional forecasts – the former is very sensible, the latter still a research goal (but not, a priori, absurd). – gavin]

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Jun 2009 @ 3:49 AM

  72. The more things change, the more they stay the same:

    “Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Friday plans to restart the country’s first clean coal power project, scrapped by the previous Bush administration as too expensive.”

    Too expensive or technically non-feasible?

    Under an agreement with the non-profit FutureGen Alliance, the Energy Department will take the first steps toward developing the first U.S. commercial scale-carbon capture and storage project, to be located in Mattoon, Illinois.

    Yes, Battelle Memorial Institute bills itself as a non-profit corporation, even though the FutureGen Alliance is made up of coal and mining corporations – BMI owns the secret proprietary technology involved, or at least pretends to – not too many patents linked to FutureGen, are there?

    [Response: You can’t have it both ways. Either there is a secret technology that works or there isn’t. – gavin]

    “Not only does this research have the potential to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., but it also could eventually result in lower emissions around the world,” Chu said.

    That’s either gross ignorance or deliberate deception, as there are no scientific assessments that back that statement, whatsoever. You are looking at a political decision to pursue a project that has no chance of succeeding.

    [Response: BS. Chu’s statement is a discussion of the potential and it is completely mainstream. And of course it is a political decision. – gavin]

    Anyone who calls this a science-based climate and energy policy is deluding themselves. It is a slightly better policy than the previous administration’s, but not very different overall. Mountaintop removal coal mining is still on the agenda, and FutureGen is a bad joke.

    Obviously, the federal government is quite firmly in the grip of fossil fuel interests and will continue to act as a major impediment to the development of renewable energy (and to action on climate change) by states and other nations, primarily by giving large subsidies to fossil fuel efforts like FutureGen but not to any programs designed to reduced U.S. dependence on coal or imported oil.

    [Response: W/M contains multiple programs to improve the development of renewables, as did the Energy Bill last year. FutureGen is not the only thing on the drawing board – gavin]

    [edit – please stop ranting]

    Getting back to real science, see this on monsoons:

    Seasonal monsoons could shift southwards, (June 2009) (oxygen isotope records and vegetation growth)

    Weakened Monsoon Season Predicted For South Asia, Due To Rising Temperatures (Mar 2009) (climate modeling)

    “Our findings show it is not just a question of whether monsoon circulation is stronger or weaker. Even with a strong monsoon system, if circulation changes enough to change where and when rain is delivered, then that could have an impact that has not been captured in the large-scale evaluations.”

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Jun 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  73. Wind power is good but there is alot of Ke energy in the Gulfstream too. I think water is over 600 times more dense than air. It is a no brainer that we should tap that energy source. The Tunnels can actually speed the 6 mph Gulfstream up through the venturi section of the tunnel thus extracting more Ke energy from it when the turbine blade is centered within this more narrow section. All we need to do is install a archimedes screw like impeller in that narrow section.

    This would allow more torque to be placed on the generator.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 15 Jun 2009 @ 7:14 AM

  74. Changes In Winds Could Have Been Cause Of Abrupt Glacial Climatic Change
    This study, carried out by researchers Marisa Montoya and Anders Levermann, concluded that there is a precise point from which a small variation in the speed of sea winds corresponds to a dramatic change in the Atlantic circulation intensity. According to Marisa Montoya, “If the glacial climate had been in the vicinity of that point, small wind changes could have caused sudden and significant climatic changes during that period”

    The study was based on climatic simulations called Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) (the period of maximum extension of the perpetual ice sheets that took place over 21.000 years ago). These simulations have demonstrated the existence of a threshold after which a small change in wind speed causes disproportionately large changes in the sea current speed. The results indicate that these changes in wind speed could have had a particularly important role in the abrupt climatic change of the last ice age.

    Comment by Save Gaia — 15 Jun 2009 @ 7:44 AM

  75. Hey All,

    My apologies for rehashing this idea; however, it appears to relate to the subject at hand. For a given observation I can look at the Northern Hemisphere Analysis at 250mb Isotach Station for a given time frame and can suggest if there are the opportunity for either increased global warmth or the general pattern of the Northern Jet Stream. Taken from:

    Over the past 10 years it has been very apparent that the Northern Jet Stream has had significant deviations with broad scale deviations dropping as low as 20 Deg. South and 75 Deg. North during warming periods. Associated with these deviations are large regional areas of near stagnant surface winds which combine with cut of high pressure or anti-cyclonic ridges resulting in increased surface insolation.

    In that sense it is likely that the regional data may support the basis of the article related to the paper. However, globally in order for the greater deviation of the Jet Stream the rate seems to demonstrate a slight increase no decrease. If we go a little further to look at the Walker circulation it is quite evident that when there are higher surface temperatures whether it be Land based or Sea Surface Temperatures the general East to West Walker circulation appears to move northward and southward in association with the Jet Stream. So for a given region the Walker circulation is actually going faster; however, it is having to cover more ground area. The problem with this is if you attempt to read the data via remote sensing the greater latitude deviations may not be apparent under cloud cover. If we look at individual TAO/Triton Ocean Buoy Time Series Plots and the average Wind Rose along with the average wind speeds for regions between 10 Deg. N/S and 120 to 180 Deg, W we see clearly deviations when the Jet swings to extremes in latitude, nearly 30 percent of the time.

    Taken From:

    The point being, is that with many things it may be possible to look at data in a constrained (subset) manner which may not reflect a larger bounded pattern. This appears to be possible with many scientific observations and are partial building blocks. If the questionable work were to incorporate measures elsewhere it should demonstrate regions of much greater then normal winds associated with the Global Warming time-frame, as to cause and effect, the science does not seem to have advanced far enough yet to establish this as a conclusion. However, there appears enough circumstantial large scale measures to relate the observations to the AGW theory. The question remains for some as to whether the driver of the Jet deviations are the difference in atmospheric energy content distributed via latitude or that the Jet deviations are driving the entrapment of atmospheric energy content. To further our knowledge we might want to look to the Jovian planet for insights.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 15 Jun 2009 @ 8:19 AM

  76. It is a double whammy for renewable energy if both wind speeds slow and dimming reduces solar energy. I was surprised some oceanographers on TV said that extra wave motion in the Southern Ocean was releasing CO2. Around here at Lat 43-45 S the oceans have seemed calmer than usual. This last summer my solar panels didn’t get the electrical output I wanted due to relentless cloud cover. I hope overcast and still is not the new normal.

    Comment by Johnno — 15 Jun 2009 @ 8:23 AM

  77. They are plainly absurd. Predicting weather more than seven days ahead is risky at best. Given that, how do you expect climate models to be able to predict wind patterns (weather, not climate) for the next 100 years?

    Regional wind patterns aren’t weather, you don’t need to know how strong the winds will be on july 4th 2010 in order to decide whether or not it’s reasonable to site a wind farm at a location. You need to know the average wind characteristics over time.

    Sailors couldn’t predict exactly where or when they’d pick up the trade winds back in the Age of Sail. But they knew that the prevailing pattern of winds at those latitudes in the Atlantic were such that it made sense to plan to exploit them. Their observation-based “model” of these patterns at various times of the year was primitive yet had sufficient “skill” to guide their decisions with a great deal of success.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Jun 2009 @ 8:41 AM

  78. “[Response: You can’t have it both ways. Either there is a secret technology that works or there isn’t. – gavin]”

    How am I having it “both ways”? All I am saying is that the prototypes (i.e. the performance data from such prototypes) should be made available for public discussion – just as with cold fusion.

    Imagine if the DOE had got behind cold fusion, said it was a possible solution to global warming, and had invested several billion dollars in it over a ten year period – all while refusing to allow any independent scientists to verify whether or not it worked, because it was ‘proprietary’ and we didn’t want to give secrets away, because that would destroy the competitive edge we’d developed in cold fusion?

    What I AM saying is that if the proprietary shields were dropped, there wouldn’t be anything there – just a propaganda effort – and the secrecy and proprietary restrictions are simply there in order to allow the DOE and the coal lobby to say that they do have a technological solution “waiting in the wings” that will allow coal combustion to continue as usual.

    There is no substitute for an independent review of “coal carbon capture” prospects by an outside agency that does not suffer from massive conflicts-of-interest. I’d think you (gavin) would support this, as you agree that the FutureGen decision was a political decision unsupported by any scientific studies, right?

    It’s worse than that, of course, because the private entity, Battelle, who has been behind this project from the beginning, is itself providing the “science” to the DOE for them to base their contracts on – this isn’t peer review [edit]

    All I’m asking for is a simple public scientific and technical review, including existing perfomance figures – isn’t that a good step to take before committing billions of dollars up front

    [edit – enough! Your crusade against Battelle/DOE/Chu is off-topic and not welcome on these threads. Your contributions on science and understanding have been great, and I would wish them to continue, but these kinds of unsupported accusations are not what we want. Please stick to demonstrable facts related to the science. – gavin]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Jun 2009 @ 10:03 AM

  79. Another advantage the Gulfstream has over wind is it flows 24/7/365 the wind doesn’t.

    Comment by Patrick AKA Cyclonebuster — 15 Jun 2009 @ 10:16 AM

  80. “Please stick to demonstrable facts related to the science” – yes, that’s what I’m asking realclimate to do on the coal carbon capture issue. Considering the kind of comments that do get through, I’m pretty astonished that several of my posts on Chu’s decisions have been blocked – far worse language is typically let through, such as RodB’s “anal itchiness” comments.

    Quite frankly, the scientific support for coal carbon capture is non-existent – so why on Earth is realclimate defending it? That’s what I can’t figure out.

    Personally, I don’t like being called a “crusader” – do you like being referred to as a “climate crusader”? The only thing I’m after is accurate scientific information from media and government institutions, period – you can be insulting and call it a “crusade” if you like, but facts are facts, and there is such a thing as “independent scientific review” – and “conflict of interest”.

    It really is no different than cold fusion, or the “iron will allow algae to capture carbon” notions – scientifically unsupported gibberish.

    [Response: Accusations of fraud, misconduct and corruption are not acceptable here when discussing the science, nor is it acceptable in discussing CCS. I have no particular opinion on FutureGen or other CCS efforts (of which there are many on the table), but to dismiss Chu’s mention of the potential as being dishonest is out of order. Stick to the science – with cites and discussions of the technology – but this is not the place to discuss your opinions about the integrity of anyone involved. – gavin]

    Comment by Ike Solem — 15 Jun 2009 @ 11:38 AM

  81. Ike, accusing one of having an itch is not as bad as fraud, misconduct or corruption.

    Comment by Rod B — 15 Jun 2009 @ 12:44 PM

  82. further to RodB in #81, you also need proof for that sort of accusation, since it can be criminal.

    Being itchy isn’t a criminal matter no matter WHERE you itch.

    And STILL accusation of malpractice or even bias isn’t proof that the proposition is false. That really IS a non-sequitor: X is corrupt therefore Y must be wrong.

    Unless you can join the dots between the two halves, part 2 does not follow from part 1.

    And that non-sequitor is WHY the ad hominem attack is wrong. There’s no connection between the accusation against the person and the assertion you’re making from it.

    So your rant, Ike is bad for (among other reasons):

    a) It is insulting
    b) It doesn’t prove anything
    c) It’s a possibly criminal accusation and not for this site but the authorities

    Oh, and

    d) Wrong

    though the last is in my opinion. Then again, someone is innocent unless proven guilty, so should be the default position, yes?

    Comment by Mark — 15 Jun 2009 @ 1:04 PM

  83. From the GISS projection for BAU, I see that there is little change in the South Asian monsoon region. Is there some intuitive argument as to why that is the case ?

    I do wish that comments would retain some relevancy to the topic under discussion, namely future changes in wind patterns.

    Comment by sidd — 15 Jun 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  84. Here is one way to do CCS:
    I recommend reading Bocco’s comments.

    {I think rerCAPTCHA agrees: “difference clerk”.]

    Comment by David B. Benson — 15 Jun 2009 @ 3:11 PM

  85. Why not consider clean coal technology?

    During the America’s Power Factuality Tour, we’ve been traveling around the country talking to the people who are behind the production of cleaner electricity from coal.

    That’s why we stopped by Mattoon, Ill., the proposed site of FutureGen, a public-private partnership to build the world’s first near-zero emissions coal-based power plant. Citizens and legislators are continuing to work towards the original plan – and town residents are excited, too. They understand what a great boost the plant will be to the local economy – and how much the technology will mean to the rest of the world.

    Comment by Monica from ACCCE — 15 Jun 2009 @ 4:16 PM

  86. OT, Sorry, but a choice view of the Arctic today…

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 15 Jun 2009 @ 5:16 PM

  87. RE: 84

    Hey David,

    Actually, I kind of liked the intent for CCS expressed by former GreenFuel. Sadly to say the current economic downturn and the Oil Industry downward price spike, crushed potential competitors forcing potential future resources out of business ( )

    Funny though even Universities were getting interested in this technology. Here is a reference for Ohio University getting involved with it’s bio-reactor technology:

    The benefit of these technologies, if coupled with Fluidized Bed Coal or Bio-Mass gasification plants, the output from both could be fed into a bio-reactor. The resultant algae could then be flushed from the bio-reactor, dried in a biomass gasification anoxic chamber, with the balance of the carbon contained in the cellulose being captured for pumping into former oil wells via pipelines.

    As most of the oil pipelines remain, it would be a simple matter to reverse the flow and use them to feed a slurry of concentrated algae refuse to be pumped under ground via large solar PV powered pumps (and temporary storage tanks to handle the lack of constant reliable energy). The return of carbon to the underground storage would both pressurized and heat the algae, which in the presence of chromium cupric alloys would breakdown into simple hydrocarbon chains hence returning to the ground carbon pumped from the ground, making fossil fuel oil a renewable resource…

    Add this capability to Coal Fired plants, you could compress the dried algae into pellets and you could return the excess atmospheric carbon to the former fossil fuel mines. Hence, the opportunity to undo the damage would be a possibility, to a point. If later the fossil fuel power plant were mothballed or converted to a peaking only electricity resource the bio-reactors could continue to remove atmospheric CO2.

    Yes, likely pie in the sky ideas; however the possibility for an economical resource exists, if we were willing to apply a portion of the economic stimulus resources. The issue is justifying the returning of these carbon resources to the ground rather then recycling it yet again. There in lies the the issue of determining the most beneficial amount of desired atmospheric Carbon content and the economic break even point.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 15 Jun 2009 @ 7:17 PM

  88. Gavin Says:

    “Response: Lubchenco is actually talking about the everything the NCS is supposed to do, the idea that an NCS would only produce regional climate projections for winds is completely wrong. It is not quite clear what the previous poster thought was absurd – bringing together federal agencies to produce a NCS or the production of regional forecasts – the former is very sensible, the latter still a research goal (but not, a priori, absurd). – gavin”

    I agree that regional forecasting of wind products is a needed research goal. However I am not so sure that a National Climate Service is needed. It seems to me just another layer of Bureaucracy whose role could be fully provided by the current NOAA structure. In Australia (where I live) the role of both Meteorology and Climate is done by our Bureau of Meteorology with some input from CSIRO and Universities.

    I do not see the point in providing wind products that are global and not regional in scale. If a utility has five potential wind farm sites they will want to know the likely wind patterns at each of those sites so that they can choose the most appropriate site for the life of the farm. That is a regional product. A global product is of no use to them.

    To answer Dhogaza. Wind is weather not climate. Perhaps the trade winds and the other global scale wind patterns are of longer term stability but they are of little use to the farmer in Nebraska or the wind farm operator in Colorado. Weather is not just daily, it is also annual and multi-annual.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 15 Jun 2009 @ 9:11 PM

  89. RE: 86

    Hey Nigel,

    Just real quick. Look to this image of the Arctic Ocean currents and compare them to the image you referenced. Notice that the warming appears to have little to do with warm ocean currents.

    Looking for possible reasons for the thinning crescent at best, in May we had a High pressure over the top of the pole; however, that should have created a con-cave arc and not a convex arc passing through the Pole. Looking at the ocean currents the arc of thinning ice runs perpendicular to the predominate Arctic Ocean currents. So if the thinning of the ice is not due to ocean currents or warm winds from the south what could be the cause of the polar melt arc?

    Dave Cooke

    You would almost suspect that polar ice melt has more to do with Russian Ice Breakers…

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 15 Jun 2009 @ 9:39 PM

  90. Okay, what about my wind comments (midlatitudes, ITCZ)?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2009 @ 10:35 PM

  91. China is moving, apparently.

    Hope this is real. It might be, keeping in mind the Chinese way of government.

    Despite major (and sincere) efforts to introduce “government by law” over the past 20 years, much practical action is still driven by the ages old process of “government by Emperor’s slogans”.

    In some ways that model is efficient and makes possible quick turn-arounds that take ages in our “government by bureaucratic democracy” model.

    Seems to me that business is business and market shares are being won and lost. They may accept more IOU’s in payment for a while.

    Comment by Pekka Kostamo — 15 Jun 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  92. To answer Dhogaza. Wind is weather not climate. Perhaps the trade winds and the other global scale wind patterns are of longer term stability but they are of little use to the farmer in Nebraska or the wind farm operator in Colorado. Weather is not just daily, it is also annual and multi-annual.

    I tried to answer this in an intelligent manner, but the spam eater ate it.

    Rather than try to recast my words in a way acceptable to it, I’ll just say:

    “ha ha ha ha”

    The smart people here will understand.

    reCPTCHA tells me that Steckis is “in beta”. Weird. I’d sworn he’s not even reached alpha denialbot criteria.

    Comment by dhogaza — 15 Jun 2009 @ 11:27 PM

  93. With so many variables, it doesn’t look like this report is a good indicator.

    Comment by Renewable Energy — 16 Jun 2009 @ 1:42 AM

  94. 89 David. Thanks. When you run the animation what stands out is the incredibly dynamic state of the entire Arctic ice pack. There is none of the cohesiveness of past years.

    This year, this early in the season, it is amazing how often patches of 80% emerge and close again practically anywhere from the Pole south.

    I suspect that this is due to the thinness of the ice, mostly first year. And so it doesn’t take much to reveal open sea between the thin flows. But the configuration of the Polar Arc is I suspect a random but fascinating event.

    Based on a story we have unwittingly written, Climate has developed the plot and set the stage for the season. For the next few months the weather will be the actor, and we the audience. Bought the ticket, take the ride.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 16 Jun 2009 @ 2:14 AM

  95. Richard Steckis says, “Weather is not just daily, it is also annual and multi-annual.”

    Very good, Steckis. Maybe your learning curve does have a positive slope. We’ll find out if you quit arguing for the cessation of climate change based on 8 years of data.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 16 Jun 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  96. Thanks for that image, Nigel. Intriguing melt pattern.

    On that topic, someone asked me a question on another site that I had not heard before:

    Do greenhouse gases in water and ice have the same or similar warming effects as they do in the atmosphere?

    My guess was that the very different chemistry of these mediums would significantly alter their behavior, but that’s just my very amateur guess.

    [Response: You are correct. In practice, the transmission of light in water is very different from that in air. The trace elements that make most impact are things like chlorophyll or particulates, rather than any carbon species. Most IR is absorbed very close to the surface, and as you know, blue light penetrates much further in depth than reds or yellows. – gavin]

    Comment by Wili — 16 Jun 2009 @ 7:30 AM

  97. @85
    “Why not consider clean coal technology?”

    Because creating charcoal and putting this in the land is so much more efficient, for thousand of years.
    If the coal power plant is considering this process it would be much better, for all of us.

    Wiki on the process
    An ancient technology

    James Lovelock on Biochar: let the Earth remove CO2 for us

    Comment by Save Gaia — 16 Jun 2009 @ 8:48 AM

  98. Will efficiency of the wind turbines not make a huge difference in output? They take a bit more wind to start up due to weight than a smaller turbine might. Will this not be a key factor as we improve the product?

    Comment by bird — 16 Jun 2009 @ 5:01 PM

  99. “Is The Sky The Limit For Wind Power? High-flying Kites Could Light Up New York”:

    Generate from the jet stream.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 16 Jun 2009 @ 7:05 PM

  100. Re: 98

    Hey Bird,

    Generally doubling the size of a Wind Turbine results in a square of it’s power. Larger masses would have a higher starting inertia; however, the energy extraction area increase usually overcomes this issue. At worst they may have a requirement for a higher starting wind speed; however, most of these larger units are being sited where there are higher average wind speeds. The squares rule appears to apply for both vertical axis (VAWT) and horizontal axis (HAWT).

    (Just as a note, because some VAWT units, such as gyromills, have a varying impact lift blade angle to the wind, they do not seem to suffer much from startup wind speed issues. (Except for the Darrieus models: ( )).)

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 16 Jun 2009 @ 7:18 PM

  101. 99 David. You have to find it, then chase it!

    and moving the power lead and string could be a bit involved! Next!

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 16 Jun 2009 @ 7:38 PM

  102. Re #16 Martin Vermeer,

    You sum up correctly the OTEC result, though I am surprised that you say there are “a number of small installations in operation.”

    Many years ago I talked to a person involved in the Lockheed OTEC project in Hawaii about that Lockheed system. As I recall, it got quite complicated, even involving a working fluid other than sea water. If memory serves me, the person reported that the system worked only to the point that it could keep itself going, but produced no meaningful energy for external use. Lockheed put quite a lot of R and D money into it, but the economics of that system at that scale did not seem to work.

    But then you went on to speak of the effect that such systems on a large scale could “rob tropical cyclones of the energy they feed on.” Of course the “large scale” is not defined here, but it seems hard to imagine this sort of man made equipment ever beginning to compete with the energy of cyclones, or even just wind, as a vertical mixing driver in the oceans. This brings us around to a question of several months ago about whether the vertical mixing action due higher winds caused by warmer ocean surfaces would tend to moderate those same winds since the vertical mixing would bring up some of the deep cold ocean water.

    As far as I could take this, it seemed that the climate modeling did not adequately consider this kind of effect.

    As I reason it through, it seems that the predicted catastrophic weather effects will be slower in coming than other problems such as sea level rise. Further, it seems possible that the near surface ocean temperatures might not increase all that much, first because polar ice melting will delay this effect and then the vertical mixing will further delay it. The thermohaline circulation would couple with the vertical mixing to make the problem hard to model, but as a general trend, it seems there could be such a sequence.

    I tend to think this sequence better explains why the ocean temperature data (discussed some time back) did not seem to make sense than the explanation that the Navy bathythermograph instruments were miscalibrated. (They were not even designed to be that accurate for absolute temperature measurement. Recalibrating them on a hunch does not lead to a solid validation that oceans are warming as some people seem to think.)

    Of course, sea level will rise regardless of surface temperature. Warming of the deep ocean will have the same thermal expansion effect.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 16 Jun 2009 @ 10:50 PM

  103. Ray Ladbury:

    “Very good, Steckis. Maybe your learning curve does have a positive slope. We’ll find out if you quit arguing for the cessation of climate change based on 8 years of data.”

    Thank you Ray. However, you are wrong on a couple of points. Firstly I never argued that climate change has ceased. It never ceases. The only constant about climate is that it changes. Secondly, as to 8 years of data being evidence of such, you will have to prove to me that I said it because I can’t recall saying it.

    Given that, I am not a strong believer in the 30 year time scale for climate signal to emerge from noise. I do recall that I asked you to provide a peer-reviewed reference that provided statistical evidence that that time scale is appropriate. You have yet to do so.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Jun 2009 @ 1:54 AM

  104. In #33 Seth Borenstein actually refutes two of the major claims made by the authors of this post. There were no “long interviews”, and the views presented by the post authors were actually opposite. Borensteins report is accurate.

    In #33, Michael Mann even admits this and says that his and Gavin Schmidts wording in this article is poor.

    [Response: Please do not twist our words. In no conceivable honest reading of what I wrote did I in any way contradict the point that Gavin and I did not give opposite views. One of us was talking about the reality of the observed trends, the other was talking about whether the trends are tied to anthropogenic forcing. Do you really not understand this? Take your nonsense elsewhere, it won’t be tolerated on this site. -mike]

    Even so, the poor wording is still there. I would think that removing that poor wording and conceding that you actually gave opposing views would be the better thing to do. As it now stands you give the impression of making a complaint in the headline, and then deep in the story admitting that you have no complaint.

    When will the post be changed?

    [Response: I think you may be a little confused. This post was not a complaint about the AP story, nor was it a criticism of Seth Borenstein’s reporting. Our point was to give more context to the story than appeared in the mainstream press, but not to imply that they were not doing their job properly. There are very real constraints on what can get into a newspaper piece (length, assumptions of prior knowledge etc.). The point is not that Seth should have quoted us more fully – that would be unreasonable. But it is valid to point out that we gave longer interviews that rounded out our comments as paraphrased by Seth. For instance, some people read my comment as implying I thought the study flawed *because* climate models did not suggest a large change in US winds. This is not what I believe and this was explicitly stated in my email to Seth and in the post above. Extra context therefore allows people to amend their initial misreading to something closer to the actual intent. The only ‘poorly worded’ issue is whether our interviews with Seth were ‘long’ – that is of course relative, and for clarity I have amended it to ‘longer’ which should not be as confusing. – gavin]

    Comment by Anders Valland — 17 Jun 2009 @ 2:16 AM

  105. “It never ceases. The only constant about climate is that it changes. ”

    But surely then that must change…

    “Given that, I am not a strong believer in the 30 year time scale for climate signal to emerge from noise.”

    Well, what you could do is take a best fit polynomial to the temperature line and calculate what the single-reading variation from that line is. Then, using statistics, define how many readings you need to get the temperature readings noise below the signal level of AGW.

    If you find that turns out to be ~30 readings (thereby reducing the error from the actual mean from the partial sampling by sqrt(30) or about 2/11ths) then you now will believe the figure.

    Go on, educate yourself.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jun 2009 @ 5:51 AM

  106. Steckis, there are de jure standards and de facto standards. The 30 year standard is of the latter type and so doesn’t require justification so much as validation. You can validate it yourself:
    Go look at climate data and see how long it takes for a trend to emerge with what confidence. Looking at the past 120 years of climate data, how many times would you have been fooled looking at 8 year trends? Now how many times would you have been fooled looking at 30 year trends?
    The only 30 year period where you might not have seen rising temperatures was the period 1944-74, and as we’ve seen that was a period dominated by aerosols. That was in fact a trend we needed to know about, so even there the 30 year trend is telling us something.

    As far as I know, there is no peer-reviewed study establishing Celsius as the standard for temperature, either. It just works.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 17 Jun 2009 @ 7:05 AM

  107. RE: 101

    Hey Nigel,

    As of the time frame the NCDC data has been published it would be reasonable to say that Jet Stream drift can be strongly related to ENSO, PDO and NAO effects. The movement as related to your link describing long wave and short wave Jet Stream deviation phenomena does not seem to hold up in light of the most recent La Nino event.

    Classically the multimodal range of short period and long period phenomena would best describe the balance of your link. When we now go back and review the data in relation to the ENSO things begin to change. For one there is nothing in the classic observation that supports the definition of the variations in the period of positive or negative ENSO variation. Hence, the observations provided are more of secondary observations of what appears to be primary drivers. This gets us back to the actual subject of this thread.

    What drives the ENSO and other large scale atmospheric patterns? Is it the surface temperatures in the ITCZ moving to escape at the poles? Is it instead the build up or trapping of energy in the ITCZ by zonal events? I can suggest to you that from my layman’s observations it appears that the Jet Stream deviations may be related to the energy content in cross zonal flow patterns. Meaning it depends on the energy content in the North to South flow within the Hadley bordered regional cell. Hence, if the cross zonal flow drives the Jet Stream deviations, then they also drive most of the observed deviations in Rossby waves. ( 6/17/09)

    The end result is that is is more likely that the energy contained in a cross latitude region may be trapped by the convection/radiation limitations due to either a mid-altitude temperature inversion (in the case of convection) or increased atmospheric CO2 content (in the case of radiation) in the 300-500mb region. Given this the current paper leaves the pursuit of the primary driver of Jet Stream deviations from it’s elliptical path between 40 and 60 Degrees unanswered and hence it only addresses a part of the picture.

    Then again I am not an expert, so we will let the experts define the science. I can say that based on my observations; convection and not radiation has the greatest energy transport potential. Given this we need to be trying to define the participants of the mid-altitude Tropospheric Temperature Inversion a little better. Now, I will quit here rather then swallow both feet whole.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Jun 2009 @ 8:06 AM

  108. RE: 102

    Hey Jim and Martin,

    Actually Jim you have the OTEC conclusion correct; but, the issue of abandonment may suggest further research. ( )
    The attempt off Hawaii to extract the differences in temperature between the surface and up to 1700 meters below just could not insulate the water traveling through the pipes sufficiently the get the necessary temperature differential to be effective.

    Plus it seems even if you ran the pumps on Solar power the amount of energy potential extracted was much less then the energy input to the system. (Funny though, the Sunlight was not very expensive and could still be used to pump nearly 33,000 gallons of water/day (roughly 145,000 liters for our metric cousins).)

    Did you also read about the use of the giant sea going turbine being tested near the same time? There were several discussion in Popular Science about both of these projects in the late 70’s.

    Even the sea turbine had it’s issues. One of the biggest drivers for using the giant sea going ocean current energy extraction type devices was that the current is not bounded. Hence, if there is too much impediment, the current simply diverts around the object. This leads to reducing the greatest extraction potential downward from the near 62% potential to around a humble 23%. Meaning it was not going to be cost effective, either. As they had to pitch the blades to less then 45 degrees to get sufficient flow of the working fluid (The optimum angle is generally between 12 and 22 degrees, similar to a close reaching sail boat sail).

    I am afraid that the folks in the UK, specifically Scotland, may be jousting at Tidal Stream Windmills at this time. I am concerned that similar experiments being done in relation to open stream tidal flow experiments, being attempted in Europe and China, will eventually fail. It was due to the energy extraction efficiency that drove the application of the Tidal Barrage designs. If you were to install a large turbine in the Florida Straights there is a greater potential to raise the energy extraction; however, now you have two issues, first the ocean depth in this region and secondarily tropical storms.

    Hence, for this reason I have favored Vertical Axis devices along coastlines near estuaries in the higher latitudes. First, they seem more conducive to energy extraction without providing a point source impediment. The effect is that though slowed the current continues to move through the sweep area without bypassing the device. Secondarily, since they employ impact lift/drag they do not suffer tip speed deterioration as do most Horizontal Axis devices. Yes, the efficiency per device is lower; however, they are generally much better suited for the application. What it comes down to is using the right tool for the job. Sometimes efficiency is not the best indicator of Return of Investment.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Jun 2009 @ 8:52 AM

  109. RE: 104

    Hey Nigle,

    So sorry wrong David. The kite idea and the idea in a 1980 copy of Science and Mechanics of a atmospheric ionic charge extracting 100 meter fence were both discarded as impractical; however, in theory they were possible.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Jun 2009 @ 8:59 AM

  110. re 106: Ray, you point out that the failure to observe increasing STs between 1944 and 1974, despite rising CO2, can be explained by aerosols. I think we, in the developed world, then removed many of the aerosols, unmasking the warming trend. I would be interested in what’s happening to aerosols now. Wouldn’t one expect them to be as high as they were earlier as a result of increased industrial activity and deforestation, primarily in Asia? I appreciate that 1998 temperatures were especially high due to el Nino and that some doubters, not allowing for this, have been unimpressed with subsequent warming despite the trend still being up. What I would be interested to know is how much the trend has been squashed by developing country aerosols – a quantitative rather than qualitative answer would be particularly useful. For example, are cooling atmospheric aerosols now lower, similar to or higher than they were in the late 1960s?

    Comment by Douglas Wise — 17 Jun 2009 @ 11:42 AM

  111. re 110, why would you expect them to be higher?

    Burning wet leaves creates LOTS of smoke. Burning charcoal produces more heat and less smoke.

    So to get more useful stuff out doesn’t lead to more useless stuff, does it.

    Maybe if you tell us why you would expect aerosols to be higher after more of the world has a clean-air act, we could discuss it.

    Comment by Mark — 17 Jun 2009 @ 12:17 PM

  112. ApolytonGP:

    It’s true most disagreements aren’t public and those that are aren’t free-for-alls. Part of the reason for that is the belated recognition by the scientific communities that they’re being watched by anti-science people with agendas, frankly.

    Actual science is a fairly rude and confrontational process, in my experience.

    Comment by Marion Delgado — 17 Jun 2009 @ 1:46 PM

  113. Re #108 L. David Cooke,

    Hi Dave,

    Your favored scheme would have a large volume flow rate to work with but the pressure side of the equation would not leave you with much to work with.

    “Low head” power generation can be made to work, but the machinery cost is hard to justify for what you get out of it. Doing this in rivers and streams seems at least conceivable. The Gulf Stream represents plenty of energy, but it is also a fairly big thing to harness. Better to leave the mixing to hurricanes?

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jun 2009 @ 2:36 PM

  114. If I have it right, we have something like 800 GW (800e9 watts) installed electric capacity. The proposal is to replace that with low or non carbon energy. Just how do you propose to do this? Our (US) current production of green energy is 40 GW or 5% of the total.

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 17 Jun 2009 @ 3:10 PM

  115. RE: 110

    Hey Douglas,

    Here are a few references. Though the data set is short, the combination of the wiki published MODIS and the Mauna Loa observations offer some insights as to trends over the past couple of decades.

    (I left out the NOAA reference, as the Optical Depth data was not formated in an appropriate public reference. If you are looking for additional aerosol data you may need to keep in mind that prior to around 2005 they were generally called atmospheric particulates.)

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Jun 2009 @ 3:25 PM

  116. RE: 113

    Hey Jim,

    If you look to this site:
    and click on the Enermar image it will take you to a cyclo-turbine that was being experimented with in Italy. There are even a few videos on the site that talk about the operation of the device though most of them are in Italian. Another option would be the Blue Energy site here:

    Kind of amazing that these have been operational for several years and are only being considered for developing countries…

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 17 Jun 2009 @ 3:43 PM

  117. Re # 116 L. David Cooke,

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for the links.

    For the Italian project, we can only guess at what they mean with, “22,000 Kilowatts per hour of useful energy can be extracted each year” but it sounds like 22,000 Kilowatt hours per year. My usage is about 5000 Kilowatt hours per year. Myself and three or four neighbors would probably not be good for the cost of their system.

    Of course this is an experimental project and it could well scale into something more meaningful. But for now, it seems like a little skepticism is ok.

    The Blue Energy device would be good for the “remote domestic consumer,” if he lived near a big enough river. I will be happy to be convinced that this will amount to a significant alternative.

    Cheers, Jim

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 17 Jun 2009 @ 8:58 PM

  118. Ray Ladbury:

    “Go look at climate data and see how long it takes for a trend to emerge with what confidence.”

    Well Ray. The RSS figures show that there has been a statistically significant (linear model p=0.1). So, the satellites say a significant decline and the surface record shows a change from a significant increase (linear model p

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 17 Jun 2009 @ 10:02 PM

  119. 116 LDavid. Both of these turbines are of the modified Salvonius type. These are characterised by higher torque, but quite poor efficiency compared with the ‘conventional’ wind mill type.

    While in crude installations they have the advantage of being able extract useful power for small pumping or grinding tasks using rag sails, with any bigger installation there has to be a major site, structural or environmental constraint for them to come out ahead of a normal rotating airfoil.

    The efficiency of a normal airfoil wind turbine is at its best using a single counter-weighted blade with the tip rotating at seven times the wind speed. In terms of designing a good system for extracting energy from a passing fluid stream all you have to remember is: One Blade and Seven to One. Every blade you add after that merely increases the drag, hence reduces the achievable tip speed and hence pulls the turbine design further away from optimum.

    Quite why such sub-optimum designs as you mention get foisted onto ‘developing countries’ is a mystery, or a crime.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 17 Jun 2009 @ 11:34 PM

  120. Jim 114, we do it by making 800GW of renewable energy available. By building power stations, like you did to get the 800GW in the first place.

    Comment by Mark — 18 Jun 2009 @ 2:41 AM

  121. “The RSS figures show that there has been a statistically significant (linear model p=0.1” – Richard Stekis

    Well Richard, p=0.1 would not be considered statistically significant by any scientific journal I know of.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 18 Jun 2009 @ 5:20 AM

  122. Douglas Wise #110, Mark #111:
    Science 13 March 2009:
    Vol. 323. no. 5920, pp. 1468 – 1470
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1167549

    Clear Sky Visibility Has Decreased over Land Globally from 1973 to 2007
    Kaicun Wang* Robert E. Dickinson Shunlin Liang

    Visibility in the clear sky is reduced by the presence of aerosols, whose types and concentrations have a large impact on the amount of solar radiation that reaches Earth’s surface. Here we establish a global climatology of inverse visibilities over land from 1973 to 2007 and interpret it in terms of changes in aerosol optical depth and the consequent impacts on incident solar radiation. The aerosol contribution to “global dimming,” first reported in terms of strong decreases in measured incident solar radiation up to the mid-1980s, has monotonically increased over the period analyzed. Since that time, visibility has increased over Europe, consistent with reported European “brightening,” but has decreased substantially over south and east Asia, South America, Australia, and Africa, resulting in net global dimming over land.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 18 Jun 2009 @ 5:43 AM

  123. Steckis, a significance presumes a model. Yours was? Now go back and apply said model to past data. How many times would you have been fooled? I count about 3 “cooling trends” in the past 35 years that would have looked as significant at the time.
    It astounds me how you guys want to draw conclusions based on 8 years data, but utterly ignore the past 35 years. Mighty selective.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 18 Jun 2009 @ 7:12 AM

  124. RE:119

    Hey Nigel,

    Actually, these designs do not abide by the basic premise of the Savonius design, drag. The Savonius or 55 gallon drum version promoted by Michael Hackleman in the late 1970’s had a rough efficiency in the range of 13-18%. The primary benefit for poorer countries was through the use of waste oil drums and belt-pulley or bike chain-sprocket it was possible to harness wind energy where high level funding was not available.

    The Darrieus design; however, employs lift similar to the horizontal axis device with efficiencies ranging in the 28 to 42% region. The Modified Darrieus or gyromill or cyclo-turbine employed straight airfoils with some using articulating blades that required extensive mechanical control. (The blade articulation controls are really not much different then the use of the tail and cutout function in horizontal designs.) The efficiency limitation of Darrieus was that for roughly 18-20% of it’s rotation that a blade could not provide energy meaning the theoretical limit of 63.5% was reduced to approximately 50%.

    This leads to the other implied issues of structure and complexity. First structure, a properly balanced cyclo-turbine can be erected on a single pylon similar to a horizontal axis. Secondly, the complexity for blade articulation has been vastly over stated by opponents. The simple arrangement of centripetal weights as suggested in the wiki link were an example. Another, and one I have been experimenting with for over 30 years, is rather then use a blade hinge I use a set of perpendicular mounted eye bolts.

    By interlocking the two eyes and mounting the support arm bolt at a 45% angle with the top towards the axis, it is possible to limit the rotation of the blade to 45 Deg. (To be effective it actually does not have to close anymore then 23 Deg. to perpendicular to the support arm to be effective. Secondly, by tipping the blade mounted eyebolt outer side downward by 12 Deg. you prevent the blade from opening anymore then 12 Deg. there by reducing the idle rotation drag induced by the flat spinning blade.

    Finally, design for the task is what is important. With a cyclo-turbine unit as designed above you can extract up to 42% of the energy in the wind employing a simple box frame with a couple of flat panels bolted on the end. (As a general rule of thumb you size the blades and blade count according to the load and wind.) Where as a horizontal axis can rotate with one blade a vertical axis works best with two. (However, you could employ a fly wheel to rotate through the dead zone.) By the same token with a little air foil and springs it is possible to reduce the dead zone to less then 25 Deg. of rotation allowing you to realize a extraction efficiency of nearly 48%.

    The main advantage is the startup or operating wind speed of vertical axis devices. Since they are not dependent on lift they can start up and operate in winds as low as 5 mph or roughly 1.7-2.5 mps. As to building components, the Chinese used these for irrigation as far back as 2000 years ago constructing them from bamboo and reed mats. With modern materials the costs can be comparable to horizontal axis with the benefit of increasing the sites that can potentially be used, due to lower average windspeeds.

    As to blade count, though the Germans in 1978 proposed a one bladed horizontal axis unit you will notice that most systems now employ 3 blades. And where a vertical axis can run with as few as two blades the slip stream and down wind lift optimize their operation with a three blade configuration, (though a five blade version runs a little smoother). By mounting the cantilever support via a central hub disk the ability to experiment what best suits your installation is available.

    As to a final design consideration is the blade size, this depends primarily on the startup energy required, if you stair step your energy extraction a narrow blade can be used; however, as these are primarily designed for low wind conditions, a blade to support arm ratio of 1:3 is recommended.

    Sorry for getting so detailed, though you are correct that efficiency is not as high, the effectiveness and expansion of installation siting is greater with vertical axis devices in my humble opinion.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 18 Jun 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  125. re #110 and 122. Dave Cooke amnd Nick Gotts.

    Many thanks for the aerosol links. From the information I gleaned from reading them, I have learned that:

    1) Only 10% of aerosols have an anthropogenic origin.
    2) The apparent pause in the global warming trend noted between 1944 and 1974 is ascribed to global dimming caused by fossil fuel combustion in the absence of emissions controls.
    3) There has been a net global increase in dimming (over land) from 1973-2007 but this hasn’t apparently resulted in a masking of the warming trend (if one discounts the claims of sceptics).

    Could anyone explain? I appreciate that some aerosols (eg sulphates) cause negative forcings while others (eg black carbon) act in the opposite direction. I also realise that ghg positive forcing is getting progressively larger over time. Throw in the odd Pinatubo- type volcano, El Nino, La Nina and Uncle Tom Cobley and things get complicated.

    I suppose that I would really like to know where global surface temperatures would be now if the developing world had imposed the same emission controls at the same time as the developed world. I would also like to know whether the climate modellers have already factored in the increase in aerosol negative forcing reported in the 2009 paper cited by Nick Gotts.

    Comment by Douglas Wise — 18 Jun 2009 @ 9:53 AM

  126. Ray Ladbury Says:

    “Steckis, a significance presumes a model. Yours was? Now go back and apply said model to past data. How many times would you have been fooled? I count about 3 “cooling trends” in the past 35 years that would have looked as significant at the time.
    It astounds me how you guys want to draw conclusions based on 8 years data, but utterly ignore the past 35 years. Mighty selective.”

    Ray. My apologies. Unfortunately, for some reason, the whole of my comment did not get posted. Internet glitch I would say. In that I said that the 8 year measurement is preliminary (amongst other things). I am not being selective as I did mention the significant increase in temperatures between 1975 and 2000 (again, in the mangled part of the comment). I also stated that more time is needed for observation. The model was a linear model.

    As for celcius beig selected as the standard temperature, the celsius scale was accepted primarily because Anders Celsius conducted exhaustive experiments on the essential fixed points (melting point of ice and the boiling point) as well as the need to account for atmospheric pressure in the determination of the melting point. His published paper on the subject was titled “Observations of two persistent degrees on a thermometer” in 1742. The moral is that Celcius was selected because of extensive emprical published research and not on a de facto “that seems about right” expert opinion.

    Nuff said.

    Comment by Richard Steckis — 18 Jun 2009 @ 9:59 AM

  127. 118 – Richard Steckis

    Get to the East Anglia data from 1659

    And the Skockholm GML (STOCKH-GML) data from

    Select Sweden – Stockh-GML. This gives continous temp recordings from 1755 tp 2005.

    This will give you two very long term temp trends. Doing a simple linear least sq. fit, both graphs seem to stay in a band with no major explosions at the end. Rimfrost has a lot of long term temp data available to look at.

    Comment by J. Bob — 18 Jun 2009 @ 10:31 AM

  128. #124 L. David Cooke

    Hi Dave,

    Please do not apologize for a note that actually explains some things. Yes, it has to be a bit longer than a ‘— twitter’ (expletive deleted).

    Perhaps you would clarify how efficiency is defined for these wind devices? Is the reference energy the kinetic energy of the flow through the full area swept out by the blades? Or is it just the blade projected area?

    Cheers, Jim

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jun 2009 @ 1:51 PM

  129. Stable ancient atmosphere underscores current greenhouse spike
    “Despite vast changes in climate since the early Pleistocene, 2.1 million years ago, carbon dioxide levels have stayed pretty stable until lately, according to a study published online today in Science.

    All of that consistency, in which CO2 levels averaged 280 parts per million, makes today’s concentration—385 parts per millions, which is 38 percent higher—all the more stunning, the authors report. Previous work showed stable CO2 levels going back about 650,000 years.

    For the new estimate, the researchers analyzed ancient plankton shells beneath the Atlantic Ocean floor, rather than relying on data from polar ice cores, which can only give readings for the past 800,000 years. The tiny shells provided info on CO2 levels as well as temperature and ocean acidity.

    The findings suggest that previous ice ages may have had more to do with other forces, such as changes in the Earth’s orbit, than with plummeting levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But, spikes in CO2 levels did match up with periods of warming.

    “Our data continues to suggest that greenhouse gases and global climate are intimately linked,” lead study author Bärbel Hönisch, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a statement. ”

    Comment by Save Gaia — 18 Jun 2009 @ 2:23 PM

  130. According to this analysis from Munich Re, wind damage is increasing:

    Graph of the Day: Losses from Floods, Windstorms, and Earthquakes, 1980-2005

    Comment by Jim Galasyn — 18 Jun 2009 @ 5:35 PM

  131. RE: 128

    Hey Jim,

    The measure is related to sweep area taken in profile. Betz Law limits maximum energy extraction to approximately 59.3%. Subsequent work demonstrates a dual actuator cross flow turbine system seems to point to a 64% limit.

    (Newman, B.G. Actuator-disk theory for vertical-axis wind turbines. J. Wind Eng. And
    Industrial Aerodynamics, 15/3, 1983, p.347-355.)

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 18 Jun 2009 @ 8:11 PM

  132. #131 L. David Cooke,

    Sounds like you know about this stuff.

    You must also know the significance of a drag coefficient of .05 for the basic airship form compared to the drag coefficient of our best production cars.

    For wind and waterflow systems, there seems to be something real to work with, but the cost of these things seems to be the main question. Up to now, it looks like the wind folks are coming up short on being able to do it in an economically “sustainable” way.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 18 Jun 2009 @ 9:51 PM

  133. Re: # 125 Douglas Wise

    Perhaps this has some relevance to your questions:

    Published Online June 18, 2009
    Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1174461

    Consistency Between Satellite-Derived and Modeled Estimates of the Direct Aerosol Effect

    The direct aerosol effect has a radiative forcing estimate of –0.5 Wm–2 in the IPCC AR4, offsetting the warming from CO2 by almost one-third. The uncertainty range, however, ranges from –0.9 to –0.1 Wm–2, largely due to differences between estimates from global aerosol models and observation-based estimates, with the latter tending to have stronger (more negative) radiative forcing. This study demonstrates consistency between a global aerosol model and adjustment to an observational-based method, giving a global and annual mean radiative forcing weaker than –0.5 Wm–2 with a best estimate of –0.3 Wm–2. The physical explanation for the earlier discrepancy is that the relative increase in anthropogenic black carbon (absorbing aerosols) is much larger than the overall increase in the anthropogenic abundance of aerosols.

    Comment by Rick Brown — 18 Jun 2009 @ 11:26 PM

  134. RE: 132

    Hey Jim,

    As to knowledge, no more then the average bear in the industry…

    As to economic systems, that is open for debate. The issue comes to establishing the break-even points for a single versus separate systems. Overall the main cost drivers are the foundation and engineered stress-strength for the weather that might occur over the lifetime of a system. As to the primary limitation, tip speed is likely going to be the main issue for horizontal systems. Once the tip speed reaches near the 500mph limit the potential for blade stresses to form stress fractures in the blade.

    (Another reason I like vertical axis devices is the blade tip speed ratio rarely exceeds 4, meaning it would require 125 mph winds before stress fractures would be a question. Whereas axial devices usually have a TSR of around 7 limiting maximum peak wind subjection to less then 70mph.)

    In relation to your reference regarding drag coefficients, there were extensive experiments carried out by GM and Ford in the early 1980’s. The primary findings were; one, the undercarriage and flow through of the engine compartment had a large detrimental effect. Secondly, the laminar air flow separation was the greatest issue of all. When you look at most vehicles the “chord” of the air flow versus the breadth of the airflow are the primary cause of the problem.

    The idea of the lifting body such as the X-24/X-33/M2, or the Space Shuttle and Dynalifter airship designs talk to this issue a lot. Even though they suffer a similar chord to width ratio as a motor vehicle, the designs take all surfaces into account. (BTW, if you notice not many air ships employ chopped off ends.) The point being if you wish to maintain laminar air flow you have to create drag to reduce de-lamination at the posterior of the object. At the same time you need to not create so much drag that you increase the turbulence. Of question is at what speed do aerodynamic forces start to become critical? (I can share that the point that they become an issue is as soon as the impact lift has a positive buoyancy effect on the object.)

    As to blade coefficients, my preference is a flat blade as I do not like the symmetrical foil design, it adds too much drag. When you employ an asymmetrical foil you are introducing another potential stress factor. To me a flat blade with just a slight curvature to it, is preferred. (Slight defined as less then 3% deviation from flat over the chord of the blade.) With the apex of the curvature to occur forward of the CG by roughly 33%. (In essence, on a 36 inch/1 meter blade a curvature not to exceed 1 inch/2.54 cm, positioned about 12 inches/30 cm back from the leading edge.) Placing the curvature towards the axis of rotation allows for strengthening stress to be placed in the rolled metal or graphite/epoxy shell reducing the tendency of the surface to “oil can”. (“Oil canning” is similar to the sound of the hull of a Jon boat or Airboat on a plane.)

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 19 Jun 2009 @ 8:11 AM

  135. Re #134

    Thanks Dave,

    Yes, the chord to breadth ratio is the main problem with automobile drag. Generally, the auto industry accepts that they are stuck with “bluff” bodies. This made sense for most of automobile history, where energy supplies were not so limited as we now know they need to be.

    A fairly complete representation of the entire automobile industry efforts is in Huchco, SAE, from the “torpedo” of Jenatsy, 1899, the Alpha Romeo “air ship” of Count Ricotti, 1914, “tear drop” of Rumpler, 1922 and so on.

    The “boxfish” work by Daimler recently revisited the subject, and showed that even for fairly short bodies the drag coefficient could be .07. However, the conditions were that it had to be in free flow conditions. When that body was brought close to the road the number increased to .11 (if I remember right). Then they adapted it with wheel wells, wheels, and what they considered absolute requirements for people, and the number went to about .20. Details were a bit sketchy but the final result looked like it would be headed for the .26 range ( the Prius Cd ).

    In a paper of 1982, Morelli showed that a specially formed variation of the teardrop shape could be brought close to the ground without causing Cd to degrade. (The Aptera looks very much like this shape.) Morelli claimed Cd of .047 in ground proximity, which is the same as the ideal teardrop in free flow that he started with. Aptera started off claiming .07, then .11, and lately it is .15. That is very good.

    However, the teardrop is not really optimum since its volume is reduced by that shape, compared with the ideal airship shape.

    In 1906 Fuhrman, student of Prandtl, developed the ideal airship. It set the standard of nearly perfect laminar flow while maximizing volume (important for airships and anything else that needs to carry stuff). German, British, and Americans polished that shape until 1933 when the USS Akron was emerging, and a scale model was measured in the NACA (now NASA) wind tunnels. An extremely thorough set of measurements were made in several sets, but the most useful was the set published by Freeman, 1933 (see NASA reports server, or quicker, see the main one at You might appreciate the old papers that are now available at the NASA reports server.

    While Freeman used a different Cd formulation, it converts to slightly less than .05 in the modern formulation. The scale used for this USS Akron, ZRS-4 model turns out to be close to actual size for an automobile application, so we do not have to worry about Reynolds number to scale the answer.

    The only thing left was to adapt the car to this form. The main thing was to enable free flow aerodynamics and to keep the same body of revolution form, including the shape that maintains laminar flow. It can be done while preserving the important functions of the automobile.

    This could turn out to be a better way to make cars. If that became the standard, USA emissions of CO2 would be cut by 30% to 40% from this action alone. And, the cost would be less than the normal replacement cost of the automobile.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 19 Jun 2009 @ 1:32 PM

  136. Jim, #135, one way to solve it is to travel less quickly.

    Or not individually.

    Comment by Mark — 19 Jun 2009 @ 3:18 PM

  137. Re #136

    Right you are Mark.

    We only differ in the value we put on personal time.

    Even traveling in groups might seem to be a way to get around quickly, but it seems to end up making travel time substantially longer.

    Sure, we can all move to high rises over train stations.

    The problem with transportation is that the ideal forms that are trains are linear and if people choose to live in the two dimensional arrangements, linear fails in distribution.

    I try to solve the problem in a way that lets people live as they have chosen. Uh, well, they need to at least adapt to a new kind of car.

    Comment by Jim Bullis, Miastrada Co. — 19 Jun 2009 @ 3:47 PM

  138. re#133: Rick Brown

    Many thanks for the information. It is interesting that dimming appears to be less than one might have expected because of the relative preponderance of black carbon in anthropogenic emissions.

    David Benson (#570 on Groundhog thread) refers to a report in which Schellnhuber claims that we would already be 2.5 deg C warmer were all SO2 to be filtered out of the atmosphere

    Comment by Douglas Wise — 20 Jun 2009 @ 3:38 AM

  139. “I try to solve the problem in a way that lets people live as they have chosen. Uh, well, they need to at least adapt to a new kind of car.”

    Well, not really. They have to use your car for a start.

    And I’m sure you won’t let them walk into your home if they feel like it.


    Heck, we have speed limits. That people break them shows that people don’t want to live that way.

    The difference in approach we take on “letting people live their lives the way they want” is nowhere near as big as you make out.

    Comment by Mark — 20 Jun 2009 @ 1:33 PM

  140. Slightly off topic but is anybody working on a GCM from first principles? Form a first look there seems to be only 3 variables: pressure, temperature and humidity. As an old ME who chased heat transfer problems in various industries over the years, it is just another large radiation, natural circulation model. Admittedly there is a lot of the physics that is not well defined. Like cloud physics or the dynamics of the natural circulation flow. Other than that and the fact that you need several million grid cells, it should be easily solvable.

    Comment by Jim Norvell — 20 Jun 2009 @ 5:50 PM

  141. Will global warming cause changes in the balance of latent versus sensible heat transport in the atmosphere, and thus cause changes in wind and weather patterns?

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 21 Jun 2009 @ 2:10 AM

  142. Your beliefs in climate change are likely for the sake of the safety of humanity. And I highly respect your committment and dedication to the subject matter involved. You belief deftly in your ideas and are unwavering in your studies. That I applaud. Bravo Realclimate and all the climatologists and scientists who study our earth sciences.

    But I still disagree that our climate changing will be all negative. You fail to list or research any positive effects of climate change. Why all the negative stories? Why all the negative human welfare aspects? Why not include some positives? Warmer or colder? More or less GHGs? Why does it all have to be bad? Is it truely only motivated by fear? Why cant it be motivated and funded moreso by the principle of science instead….aka curiosity? Why can’t there be a distinct seperation between science and government? There is between religion and state! Actually, you know already know the answer to these questions. It is because you are afraid or unwilling to accept the fact that your view point may have an element of flaw…or rather…flaw by association. Association with the belief that all that man does to exist is by default – bad.

    Comment by KW — 21 Jun 2009 @ 5:03 AM

  143. “Slightly off topic but is anybody working on a GCM from first principles?”

    Uh, all physical models do.

    There was a thread on this a few months ago about it.

    Looks like it didn’t stick, Gavin.

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jun 2009 @ 5:21 AM

  144. “But I still disagree that our climate changing will be all negative”

    Who has said this?

    I’m pretty sure that cockroaches will love the loss of most competing lifeforms.

    I’m pretty sure our Lizard Alien Overlords will love the hot dry temperatures too.

    Heck, having dengue isn’t all negative. If you survive you will have antibodies against similar diseases. Which is a bonus, is it not?

    And where is your diatribe against those who say that mitigation will be expensive? Or do you think that is right? If so, why? And why do you think that changing the climate and flooding the earth will be only a good thing?

    Comment by Mark — 21 Jun 2009 @ 9:23 AM

  145. Jim Norvell @140 asks “is anybody working on a GCM from first principles,” thereby demonstrating that he has no clue what GCMs are or how they are constructed.

    Not at all surprising, really.

    He then goes on to arrogantly state “it is just another large radiation, natural circulation model… it should be easily solvable,” when in fact it has already largely been solved, but he simply does not accept the solution derived from said first principles.

    Comment by Jim Eager — 21 Jun 2009 @ 10:01 AM

  146. KW @ 142:

    But I still disagree that our climate changing will be all negative. You fail to list or research any positive effects of climate change. Why all the negative stories? Why all the negative human welfare aspects? Why not include some positives? Warmer or colder? More or less GHGs?

    Because in order to have all those greenhouse gases, we have to burn a lot of natural resources that are not renewable.

    Even if you think that global warming isn’t going to be a bad thing, how are you going to feel when your car is costing you as much to operate as your mort-gage?

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 21 Jun 2009 @ 9:22 PM

  147. KW, if you look at the Summary report from Copenhagen, on p.16 you will note in the columns labeled “Distribution of Impacts” and “Aggregate Impacts” the words, “Positive impacts.” You will also note that positive impacts disappear as temperature increases past +2 C.

    So some positive impacts are acknowledged (and have been since at least the 3rd IPCC report.) However, the “goods” aren’t going to continue with temperature increases beyond the relevant limits; and the “bads” keep getting worse. I trust the reasons are fairly clear if you reflect a bit.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jun 2009 @ 11:24 PM

  148. KW writes:

    But I still disagree that our climate changing will be all negative. You fail to list or research any positive effects of climate change. Why all the negative stories? Why all the negative human welfare aspects? Why not include some positives?

    Because both positives and negatives have been analyzed and the negatives dominate overwhelmingly.

    Global warming will mean more droughts in continental interiors. The Australians have lost a third of their agricultural production to drought in the last few years, and that kind of thing is going to spread. If we do nothing, I fully expect human agriculture to crash in the next 50 years or so, and our civilization with it.

    Global warming will also remove the main source of fresh water — rivers fed by glacier melt — for a billion people in Asia in Latin America.

    Those two effects, plus more violent weather along coastlines, and eventually, sea-level rise, will create hundreds of millions of “climate refugees.” Continuing how much Americans welcome the few million Mexican immigrants we get, how do you suppose the rest of the world will handle that? In a world where a dozen nations now have nukes, one of them Kim Jong Il’s North Korea?

    Global warming is going to be a disaster. More so because people like you still control public opinion, and that means nothing helpful will be done in time.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 22 Jun 2009 @ 4:56 AM

  149. “The Australians have lost a third of their agricultural production to drought in the last few years”

    That’s unpossible, BPL!!! CO2 is a ***plant food***.

    Ergo, the plants MUST be growing!!!

    I heards it on the internets!!!

    (I would use the sarcasm tags, but this is partly desperation, so sarcasm doesn’t really cut it…)

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jun 2009 @ 9:28 AM

  150. As far as I can figure, whenever observational data is studied, evidence indicates warming moderates severe weather.

    Comment by G. Karst — 22 Jun 2009 @ 12:53 PM

  151. “As far as I can figure, whenever observational data is studied, evidence indicates warming moderates severe weather.”


    As far as I can remember, evidence indicates worse weather.

    Comment by Mark — 22 Jun 2009 @ 1:54 PM

  152. Brian Dodge (141) — Their certainly will be such changes.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Jun 2009 @ 2:47 PM

  153. Mark: Sources in addition to the above study which found decreasing wind speed.

    Easterling, et al (2000), who said, “the number of intense and landfalling Atlantic hurricanes has declined.” In the Gulf of Mexico there is “no sign of an increase in hurricane frequency or intensity,” according to Bove, et al (1998). For the North Atlantic as a whole, according to the United Nations Environment Programme of the World Meteorological Organization, “Reliable data … since the 1940s indicate that the peak strength of the strongest hurricanes has not changed, and the mean maximum intensity of all hurricanes has decreased.”

    Zhang, et al (2000) Using a variety of indices, including storm surge water levels, the authors found “no significant trend in storm activity during this century along the East Coast.” The real problem along the coastline, they say, is not changing climate but changing land use, as more and more development occurs along the shorelines, creating greater susceptibility to storm damage.

    Gulev, et al (2000) employed NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data since 1958 to study the occurrence of winter storms over the northern hemisphere. They found a statistically significant (at the 95% level) decline of 1.2 cyclones per year for the period, during which temperatures reportedly rose in much of the hemisphere.

    Kunkel et al. (1999) concluded, they saw “no apparent trend in climatic drought frequency” and “no evidence of changes in the frequency of intense heat or cold.” Climate change is not a major factor because “trends in most related weather and climate extremes do not show comparable increases with time.”

    Ryan Maue of Florida State University recently measured the frequency, intensity and duration of all hurricanes and cyclones to compile an Accumulated Cyclone Energy Index.
    His findings? The energy index is at its lowest level for more than 30 years.

    Atlantic hurricanes were much more numerous from 1950 to 1975 than from 1975 to present.

    Tornado(s) seem to decline×393.jpg

    I would not say any of the above is definitive but indicative instead.

    Comment by G. Karst — 23 Jun 2009 @ 12:53 AM

  154. More on abrupt climate change:

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:27 AM

  155. Brief excerpt from the above Chapman Conference link, for those who don’t click:
    …. At the AGU Chapman conference today… The artifacts date from about 2190 B.C., when cities and towns of the Akkadian empire in Mesapotamia were being abandoned en masse as the region suffered crushing drought.

    “This site is the Pompeii of ancient Mesapotamia,” says Weiss. “They walked away.”

    Weiss reviewed evidence that a rapid change in storm tracks in the North Atlantic – yet to be satisfactorily explained – dried out the Tigris and Euphrates valley 4,200 years ago. And that valley wasn’t alone. Around the same time, deflection of the Indian Monsoon hit the Nile with a drought, and Egypt’s Old Kingdom went down. The extreme events are also mirrored in North America from New Jersey to the Yukon. In a separate talk today, glaciologist Lonnie Thompson showed new ice core data from Huascarán in Peru, the highest tropical mountain, with a huge spike in dust deposition around this time. The dust probably blew off an aridifying West Africa ….

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:31 AM

  156. “G. Karst Says:
    23 June 2009 at 12:53 AM

    Mark: Sources in addition to the above study which found decreasing wind speed.”

    And they say this is due to what physical process?

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

    Winds are cause by a pressure difference.

    A pressure difference is powered by differential heating.

    The higher the base temperature, the more the same fractional difference in temperature is.

    Therefore from a basic first-guess you’d expect higher windspeed.

    Proofs against that are needed and you’ve just said “there are papers…”.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:44 AM

  157. Looking through your sources, they all seem to be talking about hurricanes.

    This is not the only wind on the planet.

    If you want to expand what you mean when you say “windspeed” maybe we can avoid talking at cross-purposes.

    (PS we still need a causation)

    Comment by Mark — 23 Jun 2009 @ 11:46 AM

  158. Mark,

    It’s established from the GCMs that equatorial and tropical temperatures will rise less than summer hemisphere polar regions. That alone implies a decline in the temperature gradient from equator to pole, which gives you your lower temperature differential and reduced winds. There are other claims that overnight low temperatures will increase. How much that will contribute, I haven’t a clue, but a first guess is that it would potentially reduce temperature gradients if the overnight low rises more than the daytime high.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 23 Jun 2009 @ 1:20 PM

  159. re 158, FCH, OK, so when he was talking about “reduced winds” he really WAS only considering hurricanes.

    Not being in hurricane country (as is most of the world, really), these are not what I consider “winds”.

    They are also not the winds that are considered winds for the use of widnfarm energy extraction.

    So quite why they are being brought up in the context of the utility of windfarms remains opaque.

    PS His quotes and papers are all talking about the ***number*** of hurricanes. Not much on the windspeed. Adding quite a few more questions begging from his post.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Jun 2009 @ 1:31 PM

  160. Mark:

    Increasing temps causes an increase in H2O vapor. Due to the large heat capacity of water, there is an increase in the transport of heat energy from the equatorial zones to the poles. As the poles warm, delta T(s) decrease and consequently delta P(s) decrease. Therefore, ergo, winds and severe weather should moderate as per observed data.

    This is pretty basic stuff, I am sure you are capable of sourcing it.

    Comment by G. Karst — 23 Jun 2009 @ 2:33 PM

  161. While global warming may reduce a global wind driver, there should be an increased temperature gradient between ocean and land, which could increase regional winds. A transient effect, I suppose, but a very long lasting one.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 23 Jun 2009 @ 2:35 PM

  162. Greg Simpson:

    Possibly, however that delta T exists during the day now, and results in a sea breeze. It reverses every night. I am not sure if that effect is modeled or not. Doubt it.

    Comment by G. Karst — 23 Jun 2009 @ 3:24 PM

  163. G, that’s the sort of thing I’m looking for.

    Now the release of that energy when the rains fall. Are we going to see massively heavier downpours and very deep convection cloud from it?

    And is this effect going to effect windfarms (which relates to the discussion)?

    Your links were all hurricane related.

    Not too important at 50N.

    Rain, however…

    Comment by Mark — 23 Jun 2009 @ 3:39 PM

  164. Mark:

    Like most things, influences are double edged swords, that cut in two directions. While less severe weather safeguards the capital investments in wind machines (severe weather can wreck them), decreasing prevailing winds could demand relocation or re-engineering to appropriate capacity.

    Beyond that, I cannot speculate further and remain on scientific grounds. I am sure there are others here who wouldn’t mind speculating with you, on future weather patterns and effects.

    Comment by G. Karst — 23 Jun 2009 @ 6:22 PM

  165. One technology for the conversion of renewable energy (CAPE from the troposphere) to electricity doesn’t depend on surface wind speed:

    This technology still looking for support from atmospheric scientists as it attempts to lifts itself up into prominence by its own “bootstraps”.

    Are there no Contributors to Realclimate who would consider adding their names to the current Endorsement List, which include, beside myself, Don Cooper, CPEng., of Australia or M. Francios Maugis, a Consulting Engineer from France, or to the list of notable atmospheric scientists such as Nilton Renno (who says there is no reason why it shouldn’t work), or Kerry Emanuel who say that the idea is worth further developmental investment?

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

    Comment by Jerry Toman — 24 Jun 2009 @ 1:48 AM

  166. I prefer B5’s “Truth is a three-edged sword: Your side, their side and the truth.” And all of them will cut.

    Comment by Mark — 24 Jun 2009 @ 7:40 AM

  167. Re: 158/159

    Hey All,

    Here are a few thoughts we may need to consider in relation to atmospheric heat transport.

    Tropical slowdown of the Walker circulation is a likely effect.

    Along with that is a temperate inversion in the Arctic winter (primarily near the pole) and associated dust capping the severity of tropical events as observed with the Namma Expedition, Which is attributed to contributing to the loss of polar warmth.

    The problem with the value of the thermal inversion value is the empirical data that seemed to be collected in Greenland.

    (However, the use of the polypropylene fabric versus a conductive foil cover may point to a partially failed experiment, if the intent was to identify the cause and effect. This is where the creation of the experiment by a professional is important. The use of a “canvas” does not remove the possibility that air temperature or CO2 radiant re-radiation could be involved.)

    As to night time temperatures being higher, again it generally depends on the processes for which the documentation are still being researched. The main issue is though it is possible that tropical circulation may slow the polar circulation is demonstrating regional changes in wind speed; but, overall Arctic winds seem balanced and follow the ENSO/PDO/NAO oscillations.

    Here is a paper derived from remote sensing data and the indications suggest there may have been regional changes; but, the overall wind speeds do not show a significant increase.

    Here is an article suggesting that changes in the Ozone in the polar region may be affecting polar wind speeds which appears to be different from the idea of decreasing wind speeds.

    In conclusion, it is entirely likely that the Walker Circulation may decrease in the tropical zones which could be contributing to the increasing energy content in the ITCZ region. If we consider that the slower tropical winds it may increase surface temperatures which would then translate to a greater convective volume moving northward rather then westward, in essence reducing apparent westward rate while the winds are redirected northward.

    The change in atmospheric heat content would seem to lead us to the issue of differences in the zonal regions. If as has been analyzed, the ITCZ and lower temperate zone demonstrate reduced wind speeds it should suggest that there may be a greater difference between inter-zonal surface temperatures. The issue in most of these measures is we seem to forget that circulation of heat content in the atmosphere is not a closed system, there are also radiant components. If the radiant rate has been reduced it is entirely likely that would provide additional fuel for temperature differences re-enforcing increased Hadley Cell poleward wind speed movement.

    If the actual measures and derivations are suggesting a reduction in temperate wind speeds there should also be a reduction in the trend of Air Pressure max/min or center proximity. If as we have seen in the last 20 years, that there have been significant increasing air pressure differential measures in the ITCZ zone, it would seem to suggest the average wind speeds should have increased.

    The lack of a reduction in average air pressure would seem to suggest the issue must be the proximity of air pressure cells. Proximity of Air Pressure Cells may point to the root cause of the observations. As of yet, I have not found supporting data in relation to decreasing proximity for air pressure centers, this suggests there may be more work to be done before the new IPCC Climate Model is developed. Then again the work may already be “in the can” and I am simply ignorant of it.

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 24 Jun 2009 @ 10:47 AM

  168. RE: 167

    Hey All,

    I need to make a small correction:
    “Along with that is a temperate inversion in the Arctic winter (primarily near the pole) and associated dust capping the severity of tropical events as observed with the Namma Expedition, Which is attributed to contributing to the loss of polar warmth.”

    It should have read:
    Along with that is a temperate inversion in the Arctic winter (primarily near the pole) and dust events capping the severity of tropical events as observed during the Namma Expedition. (Where the former contributes to the slowing of the loss of polar warmth and the later likely reduces the inter-zonal heat content transport.)

    Sorry for the delay, I figured someone would question the thought and I would correct it then. Else where there was an “it” that needed to be dropped; however the context would have been correct…

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 25 Jun 2009 @ 9:30 PM

  169. Re: 169

    Hey Nicolas,

    I guess if it were proven that the data used or the methods applied were in error that questioning the validity or discrediting of scientific studies would be justified. However, if the works have been found to be sound and the principles supported by experimental and or observational fact then the basis of science should be in lock step for the limited scope of the dataset.

    It is when we try to apply theories derived from laws and principles to new or under studied phenomena that there is a room for differences. If we were to focus on the science and attempt to create universal datasets, by combining valid datasets together, that seem to be in conflict, that we begin to see understand the new/under studied phenomena.

    Being a layman forms a tendency for me to assume that peer reviewed long standing theories, principles and laws must likely be accurate, for that time and place. If the underlying physics is correct, then it is likely the data set and philosophies derived from that study must be enduring. Hence, though there may appear to be conflict, in essence, it is simply a blind man documenting “his portion of the elephant”… After all how can one man eat an elephant…?, Answer, One byte at a time…

    Dave Cooke

    Comment by L. David Cooke — 26 Jun 2009 @ 8:47 AM

  170. I’d think it should be possible to measure this by looking at past low elevation cloud formations in the satellite data along with sand transport.

    Comment by Phillip Huggan — 28 Jun 2009 @ 12:01 PM

  171. You have a great blog here and it is Nice to read some well written posts that have some relevancy…keep up the good work

    Comment by Iscar — 2 Jul 2009 @ 2:41 AM

  172. wouldn’t be surprised if this is already noted somewhere around here, but it was new to me! A good interview with Gavin regarding the skill and constraints of climate models (and much more – with extensive video excerpt) was posted yesterday at


    Comment by tidal — 3 Jul 2009 @ 2:36 PM

  173. Re 172

    I tried to suggest the following earlier, but ran into CAPTCHA.

    Gavin – speaking of interviews, I saw the one you gave to Edge, where you explained how GCMs work. You might want to consider adding it to your Start Here section, for those who might be daunted by the idea of reading a book on the subject.

    Comment by Abi — 3 Jul 2009 @ 2:55 PM

  174. 172 and 173 link to Gavin’s explanation of models and reality

    Sounds like a meta-model is in order. Lots of assumptions, lots of variables. Take the average of each assumption/variable and build a new model. More importantly, what nationality are you Gavin? You sound half bloke and half yank.

    [Response: Mostly bloke. – gavin]

    Comment by RichardC — 3 Jul 2009 @ 3:36 PM

  175. Jerry @ 165:

    There is absolutely no reason it shouldn’t work. I suspect the real concerns are going to be energy density and environmental impact.

    Build a 40M model and see what happens to its appetite for air and land.

    Comment by FurryCatHerder — 3 Jul 2009 @ 3:54 PM

  176. tidal (172) — Thank you. New to me as well.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Jul 2009 @ 4:27 PM

  177. “New Type Of El Nino Could Mean More Hurricanes Make Landfall”:

    Comment by David B. Benson — 3 Jul 2009 @ 6:04 PM

  178. WRT climate modeling generally

    As a non-scientist, I came across this statement on another website:

    “you appear to be trying to describe phenomena of energy centers of varying scales of time and space. There is an incipient field trying to describe patterns of relationships among them…commonly described as teleconnections. One example is the phenomena commonly labeled in the public as “El Nino-La Nina”. There are other, stronger relationships or teleconnections we are discovering. Again, we are just scratching the surface of understanding and all are poorly understood w/r/t causality…as *** correctly referenced above.

    Atmospheric variables are limited to the Navier Stokes Primitve Equations. These are not in the hundreds or thousands.

    Since *** brought this up, the interested reader should ask how many of these natural variability phenomena are replicated in the climate models?


    I really don’t understand the science, but am curious about your take. The author claims to be an atmospheric physicist.


    [Response: It makes very little sense. Is the commenter suggesting that the diurnal cycle, the seasons, variations in jet stream, tropical Pacific variability, multi-decadal changes in the N. Atlantic are not in the models? In that case, he/she is simply wrong. If they are saying that the exact variability – the weather – is not perfectly synced up with the real world, then that is correct (due to chaos), but almost completely irrelevant to climate change. – gavin]

    Comment by Doug — 4 Jul 2009 @ 7:35 AM

  179. re:173 and Gavin’s recorded comments

    The clip was great, but I was struck by the “irreducible complexity” of the problem. Part of the effectiveness of Gavin’s comments came from their thoroughness. If you truncated the information, you’d degrade their impact. I don’t know why but I keep hearing the Eddie Izzard skit where the teenage Izzard is talking to his high school career advisor. No matter what ambition Izzard had the guidance counselor countered with, “Well, just remember you’re English so scale it back a bit.” But once you scale it back a bit in AGW, you come close to the sound-bite level, and you’re stuck playing the game with denialists.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 4 Jul 2009 @ 8:47 AM

  180. The edge video of Gavin was well done. The video, at least as played by my computer, only covered about the first half of the transcript. It was worth reading the rest.

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 4 Jul 2009 @ 12:07 PM

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