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  1. I don’t know where to leave this, so I will try here. Climate science is obviously very complicated with many mechanisms to consider. But it seems to me that more heat is being captured than is radiated out into space every year with the exception of some years where aerosols from something like an erupting volcano cause an exception. That heat must either increase global average temperature or be used some other way. The only other way I can think of is in the heat of vaporization or the heat of fusion–evaporating water or melting ice. Thus it seems to me that a measurement of global average humidity and global ice cover along with temperature, combined into a single statistic, should show an increase pretty much every year. If not there must be some other place for the extra heat to go. Where?

    Comment by Michael Doliner — 1 Jun 2011 @ 1:28 PM

  2. I should shout out a congratulations to Barton Paul Levenson for publishing this paper in Advances in Space Research. It’s a pretty interesting read.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 1 Jun 2011 @ 10:11 PM

  3. Can we talk about the implications of the IEA report that carbon dioxide emissions rose to 30.6 Gtons this year? Does this commit us to over two degrees? Three? More?

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/30/us-iea-co-idUSTRE74T4K220110530

    How about all the weird weather that’s been going on recently?

    http://www.newsweek.com/2011/05/29/are-you-ready-for-more.html

    Comment by wili — 2 Jun 2011 @ 12:18 AM

  4. 1 Chris Colose: Paywall! Congratulations Bart Levenson! Still hoping to see the paper on the drought time series in print. The futurology of when the crash happens under BAU is important. I’m hoping others will write confirming papers.

    Reference: “The Great Disruption” by Paul Gilding. Gilding expects there to be a “Pearl Harbor” for GW circa 2018, if I remember correctly. This is also futurology and is important to “P&S” for RC. Planning and Scheduling. What will the Pearl Harbor event be? How should RC react? Per Gilding, develop plans ahead of time so that when they ask, we can pop up with a plan.

    Holy Cow! A Plan is what we need to convince people that GW is real. Most people reason backwards and without any logic whatever. If we have a plan, then we must be right about GW! Our problem is that we are logical and methodical, doing first things first. That makes them think we are Plotting and Scheming. So do everything wrong. Then we will be OK with the others. If we have a plan, we are ordinary capitalists and making money is OK.

    When the system is about to explode and you don’t know what to do, turn any knob. You will at least learn something. We have to be creative.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2011 @ 12:31 AM

  5. In a different vein, I thought the recent comments from planet Earth as reported in The Onion were quite interesting.

    Comment by Anna — 2 Jun 2011 @ 1:08 AM

  6. re #1: Congrats, BPL! I assume you still keep an eye on this site, even if (to my regret) you’ve stopped posting.

    Comment by CM — 2 Jun 2011 @ 4:15 AM

  7. I was checking how NOAA state of the climate reports evolved from January until now and I remembered one post talking about where 2011 would be in the ranking of the warmest years. Because of La Niña, I think the idea at that point would be that 2011 would not be able to reach the top 10. However, La Niña soon was gone (earlier than some models predicted) and 2011 is now steadily reaching higher spots in that infamous ranking… It is now the 14th warmest year in the historical records…

    Comment by Alex Costa — 2 Jun 2011 @ 6:57 AM

  8. Maybe this is the right place to ask a question about climate models? Some of us non-experts were having an interesting discussion on the ‘Can we trust climate models’ thread at SKS, but ran into a dead end because we don’t know enough about climate models. Could someone more knowledgeable help with any of these questions?

    1. To what extent is the behaviour of current AOGCMs, constrained by the underlying physics implemented in the model, and to what extent by training against the 20th century and other data?

    1.1 What physical processes with the model are implemented using empircal parameterisations which must be trained against observed data? How many parameters are required?

    1.2 When establishing these parameters, what kind of information is used from the training data. e.g. just global averages of climate variables such as temperature and precipitation, global and local averages.

    2 Which forcings may be reliably determined from the underlying physics and/or direct observation (e.g. presumably CO2, atmospheric transparency, TSI)?

    2.1 Of those which are not well determined by these means, have any been refined by training using models and 20th century and other data?

    Obviously, the question we are trying to answer it to what extent the ability to hindcast 20th century climate provides an indication of the correctness of the models, and to what extent it is just an indication that the models have been trained against that data.

    The question gets even more murky with forcings. A contrarian might argue that the search for forcings carried on until a good match to climate was found, and stoppped there, thus potentially missing confounding factors.

    The uneasy interaction of these two issues is highlighted by Hansen’s 2011 draft paper on energy balance, which if we have understood it suggests that the models get the period over which the climate responds wrong because of an error in the forcings. This immediately raises the question of whether the mixing of heat into the deep oceans (which affects the response time) is determined by the physics or by fitting 20th century climate.

    Thanks for any help!

    Comment by Kevin C — 2 Jun 2011 @ 7:09 AM

  9. A review of the safety of Nuclear Power is being carried out by Dr Mike Weightman, the Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, following the trouble at the Fukushima plant. Are the following points I have sent to Dr Weightman sensible or just paranoia?

    Dear Dr Weightman,

    Firstly, changing patterns of pressure on the Earth such as that caused by melting ice caps that might cause earthquakes have a parallel with Reservoir Induced Seismicity, which is a well known phenomenon. Secondly, there has been speculation that increasing ocean temperatures may precipitate tsunamis. Here is a quote from Fire in Ice by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration :

    Below 500 m in temperate and subtropical oceans, such as those found off the continental United States, hydrate beds may lie just beneath or above the sea floor over much of the continental slope. Geologists speculate that massive submarine “slumps”, which can be likened to sea-floor avalanches, may occur when hydrates break away from the steep slope. Such massive slumps may drive the tidal waves that could drown miles of coastal shorelines.

    In your interim report you say

    A detailed study was undertaken in 2005 (Ref. 31) to evaluate the risks to the UK. The conclusions were that the maximum tsunami height around the UK would be a 1-2m increase in sea level. Typically, it is argued that this increase is accommodated within the other contributors to sea level. These arguments are broadly accepted; however, they sometimes lack the level of rigour that might be expected.

    This detailed study did not consider possible climate change effects.

    You might like also to note this recent article by Natalie Kopytko in the New Scientist of 24 May 2011. The climate change threat to nuclear power, The climate change threat to nuclear power

    Yours faithfully

    Geoff Beacon

    30th May 2011

    A previous note I wrote can be found here on the Brussels Blog: The cost of energy security

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 2 Jun 2011 @ 7:25 AM

  10. Geoff,

    Thanks for mentioning the hydrate beds, but in the letter you might make clearer how they might be destabilized by GW. I actually don’t know how likely it is that beds 500 m deep would feel much affect from warming of the surface, except perhaps in particular location where currents regularly take surface waters down to that level (common??).

    The basic point to me is that BAU is not going to continue. The report that we are increasing carbon emissions faster than ever suggests that we are on the road now to catastrophic global warming. This will destabilize all societies. Nuclear plants were built on the (wildly optimistic, imho) assumption that stability, prosperity, sanity, higher education…would continue forever. As societies collapse, plants will be neglected, or be objects of war, or be re-purposed for non-peaceful purposes…

    The more of this volatile material we leave lying around the landscape, the more trouble there will be. Given the vicissitudes of history, and the very long periods that they need to be cared for to remain safe, it is likely that every storage pool will eventually go into meltdown either from mismanagement, neglect, ignorance, accident, malfeasance or some combination thereof (and of course I probably neglected many possible causes of future catastrophe).

    Why leave our progeny, already beleaguered with the enormous global and local ecological messes we have so kindly bequeathed to them, with yet another set of horrors to contend with, another set of reasons for them to curse our names to the heavens.

    (OK, maybe I should just go ahead and write my own d’mn letter to the guy! ‘-)

    Best,
    wili/John Harkness

    Comment by wili — 2 Jun 2011 @ 10:00 AM

  11. Wili @ #2

    There is a post today on Skeptical Science which shows the effect of long term CO2 emissions & predicted global temperature rise. It starts by showing where the 2010 rise fits onto long term tends.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/iea-co2-emissions-update-2010.html

    Comment by MARodger — 2 Jun 2011 @ 1:46 PM

  12. Edward Greisch, #3: Interesting point about planning, capitalism, making money… I was thinking, “Well maybe we need a Richard Branson figure to come up with a plan to make a fortune out of global warming, and thereby convince everyone that it’s real”, but then it occurred to me that it’s probably already happening, with oil companies already planning the exploitation of Arctic waters that were inaccessible in earlier years with greater ice cover. We already have a rig off the coast of Greenland. I’m sure people can think of other examples.

    Comment by Icarus — 2 Jun 2011 @ 2:55 PM

  13. 8 Geoff Beacon: “Are the following points I have sent to Dr Weightman sensible or just paranoia?”
    Just paranoia. You are getting far more radiation from the natural background.

    Things wrong with “The climate change threat to nuclear power” in NewScientist
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21028138.200-the-climate-change-threat-to-nuclear-power.html”
    “Fukushima serves as a warning that far from solving the climate problem, nuclear power may be highly vulnerable to it.”
    False. The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water. American containment buildings are even stronger.

    “it needs access to large volumes of water to cool the reactor and a supply of energy to move the water.”
    False. Air cooling works. Water cooling is not necessary for nuclear power. Air cooling works. Water cooling is cheap, convenient, efficient and easy to design. That doesn’t add up to necessary. There are always tradeoffs in any engineering project. Coal fired power plants need cooling one way or another as well. The cooling may be hidden from you by releasing steam to the air. Then they require fresh water input. Solar and wind may not appear to need cooling but they do. It is just that solar and wind are dispersed rather than concentrated so that the cooling is not noticeable to you.

    “New reactors could use dry or hybrid systems with lower water requirements, but the costs of running these systems are likely to be prohibitive. Considering nuclear power plants already have problems with construction cost overruns, any additional costs are likely to meet resistance.”
    False twice. I have answered that before. The price of nuclear is actually LOWER than any other source in spite of the coal industry’s half century of putting monkey wrenches in the gears.

    9 wili: “re-purposed for non-peaceful purposes”
    How? There is no way to make a nuclear bomb out of it without some very sophisticated technology such as another reactor to make plutonium239.

    “the very long periods that they need to be cared for to remain safe, it is likely that every storage pool will eventually go into meltdown either from mismanagement, neglect, ignorance, accident, malfeasance or some combination thereof ”
    Nuclear fuel should be RECYCLED.

    Fukushima has not yet gone beyond natural background radiation except temporarily very close to the reactor. Chernobyl spilled as much radiation as a coal fired power plant does in 7 years and 5 months.
    I would not evacuate the Fukushima area if I lived there.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2011 @ 3:54 PM

  14. Edward Greisch, must you post the same nuclear nonsense on every open thread? All of these points have been rebutted, multiple times in the recent past with the possible exception of:

    False. The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water. American containment buildings are even stronger.

    to which I can only say that we must have very different definitions of “survived”. You appear to accept that 3 reactors with holes in the containment systems and tons of corium most likely dripping slowly out, leaking highly radioactive water until there’s no place left to put it as “survived”. I’m not sure of a context where that definition is useful.

    Can we, just maybe, use this open thread for something besides reposting the same nuclear debate?

    Comment by David Miller — 2 Jun 2011 @ 4:46 PM

  15. My take on nuclear power is that it truly does require the recycling of the fuel. But we don’t recycle the fuel. The recycling technology (eg THORP at Sellafield) is an immature technology. It will not be fully developed without a new generation of nuclear plants. But there is not enough uranium reserves to build much of a new generation. So recycled nuclear fuel ain’t gonna happen coz it’s too immature. Indeed, the whole nuclear industry is immature. A bit like 1940s aviation, it will fly but will it work commercially? Nobody can be sure. Add in the crazy economics, the massive up-front investments which would need 60 years operating 24/7 to pay it back (even with the higher revenues from the electricity generated) plus unspecified decommissioning costs, add it all together and without government loan guarantees the financial numbers simply won’t add up. They won’t even come close to adding up.
    And then there was Fukushima.

    Comment by MARodger — 2 Jun 2011 @ 5:16 PM

  16. Re Solar and wind may not appear to need cooling but they do. It is just that solar and wind are dispersed rather than concentrated so that the cooling is not noticeable to you.

    I read about a design for a solar plant of the mirror / heat engine kind, and I remember that the amount of water use was small even relative to what falls as rain in some relatively arid regions. Granted, that’s because I could divide the amount of water by the area occupied. What buffer zones are around nuclear plants, then?

    Anyway, solar PV efficiency generally declines with increasing cell temperature, and waste heat is produced, but generally I don’t think any active cooling is used except if in a concentrating device or if the plant is to be cogeneration (hybrid systems) as in a solar electricity and water (pre)heating rooftop installation.

    And then water may be used for cleaning mirrors or panels. But I’d think that’s relatively little in comparison.

    Wind is not a heat engine, of course. Granted there will be frictional heating of some parts, and maybe water is used in AA-CAES or CAES – I’m not sure…

    And you need to concentrate the cooling when the power plant is concentrated, I suppose. Might distributed cooling be easier to do?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Jun 2011 @ 5:58 PM

  17. … of course, wind is produced by the heat engine of the Earth’s atmosphere …

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Jun 2011 @ 5:59 PM

  18. New Scientist has just mentioned (http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20484-greenland-ice-in-no-hurry-to-raise-seas.html) a new study of the Greenland ice sheet by Stephen Price which revises downwards Pfeffer’s figures but their item suggests that Pfeffer’s figures were worst-case and Price’s are not. Can anyone here clarify this for us?

    Comment by MalcolmT — 2 Jun 2011 @ 7:04 PM

  19. It occurred to me that many people have no idea that some of the boundaries of what science is able to study or form conclusions about are arbitrary. Things not covered are supposed to not “belong” whereas they may simply be outside the scope of scientific study by choice or circumstance. It appears to me that many scientists appear to treat things they can’t measure and understand as nonexistent. In addition, there are issues of fashion, for example string theory in physics.

    I think climate scientists are praiseworthy and face great difficulty because they have to try to measure things outside the scope of resources or choice. I’m not sure if this is a valid or useful point, but this gap is misunderstood and almost completely unrepresented in the climate “wars”. Things not quantified just that. That does not mean they don’t exist.

    In an environment where any weakness, perceived or real, is exploited, it would be nice if ordinary people could be better informed about the non-omniscience of science without needing to discredit what is available and in particular that which is clear.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 2 Jun 2011 @ 7:44 PM

  20. It might also be useful to note that some of the waste heat – in some cases more than 100 % – from solar energy, would have been produced on site anyway, if the intercepted radiation had just been allowed to reach the ground. Of course, some surfaces do get plenty hot in the sun; if you replace wet surfaces with dry surfaces, tall vegetation with shorter or bare ground, etc, temperatures will tend to get higher.

    And when wind turbines are running, the wind itself might provide ventillation (?).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Jun 2011 @ 7:46 PM

  21. #13, from Ed:

    The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water. American containment buildings are even stronger.

    I don’t suppose we want this to decend into yet another Fukushima thread, but an old AGW hand really should know the hazards of misinformation.

    Premise 1 now apears to be wrong. Critical pipework to the units 1 and 3 reactor pressure vessels may have been ruptured by the earthquake shaking. Refer Ex-SKF’s excellent blog.

    Premise 2 is obviously wrong given that the Fukushima containment design is essentially american. There are many existing US plants of this same basic design (for example, Browns Ferry).

    Comment by GlenFergus — 2 Jun 2011 @ 8:34 PM

  22. This is a query, really. James Hansen visited New Zealand a couple of weeks ago and I was lucky enough to be able to attend a lecture of his one evening, and then next day his contribution to a debate on the future of coal in New Zealand (this is being very strongly promoted by self-interested parties and our present right-wing government). I have also read his book “Storms of my Grandchildren”. I think you can safely say he is alarmist about our future. When I say “alarmist”, I am not using this in a perjorative sense, but merely echoing what he is telling us. Churchill was alarmist about Hitler, too. However, he is just one scientist. Highly regarded, a doyen of climate science, no sane or moderately intellegent person would not take serious note of what he is saying (though there are a lot of obviously insane and unintelligent people here and around the world who don’t). But all the same, when he started taking about the possibility of the “Venus Syndrome” here on Earth as a consequence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions continuing to increase, how accurately does this view reflect the view of other climate scientists? And on a lesser scale, how do other equally well qualified climate scientists agree with his calculations on sea-level rise, species extinction and all the rest? Is he taking an “extreme” position, or is are his views reasonably scientifically tenable? Can anyone here, who knows something about climate science, whereas I know almost nothing, though still probably a great deal more than most of my fellow-citizens, enlighten me? Thanks.

    Comment by John Monro — 2 Jun 2011 @ 8:37 PM

  23. John Monro,

    The “Venus” topic has come up in three or four threads over the last few months, so you might find my comments and a more lengthy discussion (some of which Dr. Ray Pierrehumbert has contributed to as well); as I’ve said before it is not currently possible to sustain a transition to a Venus world. There is a decent-sized literature on the conditions that must set up to trigger a runaway greenhouse, but I’ve not seen one that involves adding a lot of CO2 to the atmosphere, since the planet will rapidly reach radiative equilibrium when compared to the timescale over which moist greenhouse or runaway conditions can set up (such as losing an ocean).

    As far as sea level, climate sensitivity, and other things, Hansen is on much better grounds and the ballpark ranges can be supported by the scientific literature. These things, among others, give a very credible threat that comes attached with emitting CO2. We cannot rule out higher sea level rise estimates or climate sensitivity on the high end, nor can we rule out potentially “catastrophic” long-term feedbacks that might kick in should CO2 remain elevated for several centuries. All of these could be threatening to several species and to us as well…but Venus is not even close.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 2 Jun 2011 @ 9:13 PM

  24. @John Monro: But all the same, when [Hansen] started taking about the possibility of the “Venus Syndrome” here on Earth as a consequence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions continuing to increase, how accurately does this view reflect the view of other climate scientists?

    From what I’ve seen here in RC, not very. Indeed, I have seen persuasive arguments here against the possibility of a Venus Syndrome on Earth.

    I would very much like to see Hansen vs. Schmidt in print on this subject. Surely they must have already debated it privately.

    Comment by Adam R. — 2 Jun 2011 @ 9:39 PM

  25. Re 21 GlenFergus Premise 2 is obviously wrong given that the Fukushima containment design is essentially american. There are many existing US plants of this same basic design (for example, Browns Ferry).

    Yes, but I heard on the news (credible news) that the U.S. government made the corresponding plants here … adjust or add something or do something to make them safer.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Jun 2011 @ 10:20 PM

  26. Re 22 John Monro possibility of the “Venus Syndrome”

    First it must always be emphasized that it is possible to think of scenarios far far far far far beyond what would be sufficient to wreck everything for us. Something less than all-out apocalypse could still be horrible, and a Venusian trajectory is far beyond sufficient for apocalypse.

    A runaway water vapor feedback doesn’t seem likely (in time scales of real concern to us). Chris Colose discusses this – I think it came up recently on the Nobel Laureates thread.

    Short of that, though, we have Greenland, the West Antarctic, and methane from permafrost and hydrates to worry about.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 2 Jun 2011 @ 10:31 PM

  27. The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water.

    This is why, of course, three (at least) of the four online reactors at the complex are total write-offs.

    Sheesh.

    Comment by dhogaza — 2 Jun 2011 @ 11:01 PM

  28. People – can we please not have another month of bickering about nukes??? Everyone knows EG thinks nuclear power can save the day — everyone also knows that in the current economic and political ‘climate’, bringing online enough n-power to make a dent in the CO2 problem in time to be useful is highly unlikely — everyone should also know the problem at Fukishima was NOT the nuclear plant itself or it’s outdated and poor design, but with the backup power unit that got swamped so that cooling ability was lost. Let’s get back to climate science please – and that is not a request for more of #27′s endless and arcane algebraic formulas. ;)

    Comment by flxible — 2 Jun 2011 @ 11:37 PM

  29. 14 David Miller: I only answer other people’s nuclear comments. I don’t start that thread. So if you don’t want me to comment on nuclear, don’t comment on nuclear either.
    “definitions of “survived”” The containment buildings are largely intact and the radiation leakage is below the natural background level averaged over a year. That is very good for being hit with a 46 foot tall wall of water. Why does jumping off a tall bridge kill you? Because water hits you like concrete if you are moving fast. The tsunami was going 500 miles per hour in the open ocean. When you jump off a bridge, your terminal velocity is 200 mph.

    15 MARodger: France recycles nuclear fuel. I think Russia recycles nuclear fuel. The US recycled nuclear fuel in the old days. We stopped because some of the spent fuel found its way to Israel. Israel now has bombs that are remarkably identical to American bombs. The technology is not immature. It works fine. But it has to be done in a “communist” Government Owned Government Operated [GOGO] plant to keep it out of Israel. I almost went to work for Numec in 1968.

    16 Patrick 027: You forgot about resistance heating in the wires in the generator. Generators can get hot, just like motors.
    Concentrated solar: Is just like a nuclear, coal, or geothermal plant. The working fluid has to be cooled and condensed so that it can be reheated.
    Solar cells: Get hot in the sun, but they have a large surface area.

    19 Susan Anderson: It is wise to choose a problem that you can solve. That way you can publish. Scientists ignore problems they can’t solve.

    21& 26 dhogaza GlenFergus: See above. Those plants were 40 years old and should have been replaced already anyway.

    24 Patrick 027: The US has higher standards for containment buildings. Look up “furherbunker.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2011 @ 11:50 PM

  30. Back to “The Great Disruption” by Paul Gilding. I am now on page 209. Gilding talks about economics that does not involve growth. Even Adam Smith of “Wealth of Nations” fame talked about a time when growth would have to end. We are there now. There are 2 NGOs that are planning for non-growth economics. Gilding says GW is the easy part. Getting over growth and inequity is the hard part. Gilding hasn’t mentioned what to do with the 2 Billion extra people.

    Could we have a Gilding discussion please? I don’t agree with Gilding on all points, but this book is a starting place. We have been stalled until now, so we need a new starting place.

    12 Icarus: Drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean is NOT what I had in mind. What I had in mind was getting off of fossil fuels entirely because we have to get back to 350 ppm CO2 equivalent. What I had in mind was more like making a deal as follows: No more growth on the Earth and only 1 child per average woman on Earth. But you can grow all you want in space. We have to finish inventing the space elevator to make it real. See liftport.com. The galaxy is as good as infinite from our present perspective. I already lost $500 on LiftPort stock.

    The “Space” deal makes it so we are not denying the old paradigm entirely. We are only putting a condition on it. It is the spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down. There will still be plenty of resistance.

    Please read “The Great Disruption” so that we can discuss it as a new starting point. Perhaps it will make GW seem like a smaller problem so that it will be easier for more people to face.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jun 2011 @ 12:25 AM

  31. Beginner question: Is it appropriate to use degrees Kelvin for describing global temperature increase, that is, 3 K increase would still only be about a 1% T increase?

    Meanwhile we have increased CO2 concentrations by about 390/280 ~1.4.

    Just to give non-technical audiences a concept.

    Comment by AIC — 3 Jun 2011 @ 12:39 AM

  32. I am taking a look at a long interview on RIA Novosti with Nikolai Yelansky, head of the trace gas laboratory at the A.M. Obukhov Institute of Atmospheric Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20110421/163637473.html

    I can’t really evaluate the science, but the interviewer asks about manipulating climate to damage other countries by coordinating work schedules.

    This is similar to the conspiracy theory that Andrei Areshev floated last year during the fires in Russia. Areshev claimed that U.S. scientists were causing global warming by beaming secret climate weapons at some unidentified countries, but he meant Russia.

    Yelansky didn’t accept the idea that manipulating work schedules in other countries to affect climate in another country could happen very easily unless a lot of countries collaborated.

    Maybe someone could look at the science. Does it make sense?

    RIA Novosti is the official press agency of the Russian government.

    Comment by Snapple — 3 Jun 2011 @ 3:09 AM

  33. This is why, of course, three (at least) of the four online reactors at the complex are total write-offs.

    In the interest of accuracy, only 3 were online at the time of the earthquake. Units 5 & 6 had been in cold shutdown for a considerable period of time, and 4 had no fuel in the reactor. The core had been transferred to SFP 4 a few months earlier (December, iirc). That’s why SFP4 was particularly prone to overheating – fresh fuel rods have far more decay heat than older rods.

    That said, it’s very likely that none of the six will ever produce power again. Which, as you point out, is an odd way to describe “survived the earthquake and tsunami just fine”.

    Comment by David Miller — 3 Jun 2011 @ 7:52 AM

  34. wili — 2 Jun 2011 @ 10:00 AM

    Very important points. Very well said.

    Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2011 @ 3:54 PM

    Fukushima has not yet gone beyond natural background radiation except temporarily very close to the reactor… I would not evacuate the Fukushima area if I lived there.

    A complete and total fabrication previously answered. Why do you persist in it?

    Here’s a good news site. The sources are generally reliable. Though the doomer comments are often extreme due to their open policy.

    http://enenews.com/

    Recycling? No.
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rethinking-nuclear-fuel-recycling

    I too don’t want to see this devolve into another thread where one or two can hold the rest hostage to determined distortions. I’m not talking about nuclear discussions per se, but the repeated disruptive twisting of the facts for nuclear and against clean alternatives by one or two. Maybe RC should be more aggressive about stopping industry propaganda from wasting people’s time, patience and kbs.

    Comment by Ron R. — 3 Jun 2011 @ 10:24 AM

  35. flxible @#20

    Point taken. But surely we need more than getting “back to climate science” this is about the politics too.

    Some say certain influences in UK government departments are not interested in climate change because the UK is too small a part of the problem now. They are more interested in energy security – but will try to keep to the letter of international agreements.

    They see energy security as nuclear power and seem to want to follow this course. I think they should be tested with all reasonable questions. (OK, I don’t really know who the collective “they” are.)

    But are the possible effects of climate induced seismicity (and subsequent tsunamis) part of a reasonable line of questioning?

    What about tsunamis from the dissociation of methane hydrates?

    Aren’t those questions science?

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 3 Jun 2011 @ 11:28 AM

  36. John Munro @ 22, “What do other scientists besides Hansen think about our future under global warming?”

    Hansen considers some of the worst cases, including trying to burn all the reduced carbon the earth holds. Most others don’t want to even think about that. Hansen’s point is that current policies are insane. There is also little discussion of the consequences, not just the possibility, of the global average temperature increasing by more than 2 or 3 degrees C. You generally see scenarios and projections based on burning different amounts of carbon by a certain year. “Business As Usual” (BAU) all the way to 2100 is particularly nasty. If atmospheric CO2 goes to around 900 ppm we will be in a situation the planet has not seen in many millions of years.

    So, what do scientists think about the consequences when they think about it? Try this special issue of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, part A.

    What if we “only” keep on blindly burning carbon through 2030? Romm’s Memorial Day post links some research and concerns on that. Note that the US military is quite concerned about the consequences of climate change by 2030. Why might they be seemingly out in front of scientists (or at least the conservative IPPC) on this? Perhaps because they, unlike scientists, are accustomed to planning for circumstances in which if you wait until you are provably 95% certain that a problem is coming at you, you are already dead. One may relate this to the “scientific reticence” that concerns Hansen a lot but RC not so much.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jun 2011 @ 12:31 PM

  37. AIC @ 31: When talking to people, go ahead and use units they understand. When doing thermodynamics, use kelvins. Note: “kelvin”, not capitalized, is a unit just like meter and kilogram. One does not say “degrees kelvin”.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jun 2011 @ 12:43 PM

  38. Re 32 Snapple – for a related phenomenon: a discussion about wind power affecting climate and/or weather: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/04/unforced-variations-apr-2011/

    4-7 (Seb Tallents – some repeat comments there, It looks like – if later deleted adjust following numbers accordingly),
    10 Didactylos
    14 Seb Tallents
    15,57-58 (me – 57 has link to a paper), 61 Andrew Hobbs,

    *****especially see 72 Dan Kirk-Davidoff, 73 EFS_Junior
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/04/unforced-variations-apr-2011/comment-page-2/#comment-204581

    40 Ken Fabos
    42 adelady
    43 Bern
    44 Tom Keen, 70 Secular Animist (this goes off on a tangent)
    46 Sou
    54 Thomas

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jun 2011 @ 1:26 PM

  39. AIC #31,

    Here’s a long layman’s attempt to answer your beginner’s question. It’s long because I think it’s a good question for beginners to think through. Improvements welcome, as always.

    Yes, the Kelvin scale is appropriate. But so is Celsius or Fahrenheit scale, and as Pete already noted, a non-technical audience will be far better acquainted with one of those.

    But expressing global temperature change as a percentage change is not appropriate, I think. Under no circumstances is it appropriate if you’re using C or F: since those scales don’t have a natural zero, dividing one point on the scale by another is meaningless (10 °C is not “twice as warm” as 5 °C).

    The Kelvin scale does have a natural zero, but talking percentages is largely meaningless for other reasons. First, noone speaks that way or is able to relate to it, and second, it makes huge scary changes in our habitat sound really tiny and insignificant. Any audience will understand what, say a 5 °C or 41 F difference is, and should be able to grasp what a really big deal that can be. But a 1.7% change in absolute temperature?

    To calculate such a percentage change precisely you do need to know the absolute temperature you’re starting from. For example, A 5.0 K rise from 288 K — the approximate global mean temperature — would be 1.7% whereas the same 5.0 K rise from 273 K — the freezing point of water — would be 1.8%. But for good reasons, the temperature records that climate scientists prefer to use show anomalies — differences from the mean temperature of some baseline period — rather than absolute temperatures.

    Expressing the CO2 rise as a fractional or percentage change is fine.

    But the comparison you wanted to make might lead people to think that we expect a given percentage rise in CO2 to lead to a similar fixed percentage rise in temperature. This is not the case; the relationship is logarithmic: We expect a 3 °C warming, give or take a bit, at equilibrium per doubling (100% increase) of CO2.

    Hope this helps.

    Comment by CM — 3 Jun 2011 @ 1:36 PM

  40. update on salt-tolerant plants:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12162964

    Called halophytes, more concise.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 3 Jun 2011 @ 2:01 PM

  41. AIC @ 31: Kelvin is essentially Centigrade starting at absolute zero; .add 273(.15) to degrees C which at location of origin is 0 at freezing and 100 at boiling, so extending it down to absolute zero is just complicating. (Forgive me for referencing teaching grannies to suck eggs.)
    Perhaps one should stick with Centigrade.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 3 Jun 2011 @ 2:14 PM

  42. Pete #37, CM #39, and Susan #41,

    Thank you for your replies.

    I guess I just thought it might be useful to say that we have already increased CO2 concentration by 40%, and point out to semi-technical audiences that a seemingly small 1% rise in temperature (for which we need to use Kelvin) from 288 K is 2.8 K, which is approximately 3 K.

    To me, it seems more scary that a small relative increase in temperature will lead to a big scary change in our world. It is a difference in perception. Does anybody else think that way? It winds up being a matter of communication, and maybe I should try it out on some other audiences, see if it makes a difference to them.

    (Although if I first need to spend time explaining the concept of Absolute Zero and Kelvin, maybe it would not be worth it.)

    Comment by AIC — 3 Jun 2011 @ 2:54 PM

  43. Geoff Beacon @35 – The only way to deal with the politics, and more importantly, the economics, involved in AGW is to get the science to a point that the impending disaster is irrefuteable – returning to some level of sustainablility is going to be economically and psychologically painful for most of humanity, especially the moneyed and powerful elite, and will require a total rejigging of our politics, none of which will even begin to take place until there is very obviously no other alternative. Time to focus on attribution to fuel a revolution.

    I personally believe that climatic events are on a path to do the convincing needed, AGW is on the march and I don’t think there’s any changes in energy supply that can be implemented on a time scale to prevent the forced reduction of human population and overconsumption. “Nature bats last”, we are as vulnerable a part of the whole as other disappearing species, the burning forests and melting ice.

    “Mitigation” and “adaptation” by building out dozens or hundreds of nuclear plants [or giant solar arrays or acres of wind generators] to supply a whole fleet of new electric vehicles and run the latest ‘energy efficient’ appliances in new ‘green buildings’ is trying to solve the problem of overconsumption by accelerated consumption!!

    Comment by flxible — 3 Jun 2011 @ 2:56 PM

  44. 31: I’ve pondered the wisdom of describing CO2 induced warming in terms of per cent changes in the absolute temperature. I concluded that it was probably not helpful. I also concluded that what one might do is subtract off about 250K which is black body temperature the earth would have without greenhouse gases and then discuss the change in temperature above that. THe baseline temperature of, say, 300K is 50K above the black body temperature so you’d call that 50 (meaning 50K or 50C above black body temp). Then a 3K (or 3 degree C) change would be 6%. Scientifically this might make a certain amount of sense but I’m pretty sure you’d lose your average layman.

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jun 2011 @ 3:58 PM

  45. The NAS is now providing PDF’s of their reports for free.

    Browse around here: http://www.nap.edu/

    Here is one that is probably relevant to the ongoing debate about our energy future:

    Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States

    https://download.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12621

    Comment by John E. Pearson — 3 Jun 2011 @ 4:05 PM

  46. I would like to understand the physics why very heavy rainfall events occur in desert regions, and are becoming more common with Global warming.

    In my local area (new years eve 2006 – 2007) on the Monaro in Australia, a rain event was so intense that sheep (not in or even near any defined watercourse) were washed of the hillsides and against fences and into farm dams and drowned by the hundreds. I am not aware anything like this ever occurring before (in this area).

    I know that the absolute humidity can be higher in hot air, but why does it get dumped out so quickly?

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 3 Jun 2011 @ 4:52 PM

  47. 29 Edward Greisch – All conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy via a generator will have resistance heating in the wires. In addition to that, nuclear and fossil fuel power, and CSP (except where used just for heating) and geothermal power, etc, have waste heat (unless used in cogeneration) associated with the conversion of heat to work. Wind doesn’t have that. Solar PV has waste heat from that; cooling would enhance performance and it could be used in cogeneration, but generally active or engineering/building-intensive cooling is not required for plant operation (the large surface area playing a role there) (except in concentrated PV – ‘CPV’), whereas most other heat engines do and nuclear apparently requires some cooling even when not producing power. So it’s not really fair to just say that solar (aside from CSP/CPV) and especially wind need cooling, as if it’s all the same. Yes, you do point out that we don’t notice because it’s distributed, but it’s not just about whether or not we notice it, and if being distributed is helpful than that’s generally a plus for wind and solar power.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jun 2011 @ 4:56 PM

  48. AIC@31 and Susan @41

    An increase in temperature of 3K is the same as an increase of 3C, but a temperature of 3K is very different from a temperature of 3C.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair — 3 Jun 2011 @ 5:11 PM

  49. If we can’t be smart enough to stop emissions of GHGs, we’ll have to learn to adapt to a different world.

    Cal-Adapt going live Tuesday

    http://cal-adapt.org/

    From the website:
    Cal-Adapt is a web-based climate change adaptation information tool that will enable city and county planners, government agencies, and the public to identify potential climate change risks in specific areas throughout California. An overview and demonstration of the Web site will be provided.

    Cal-Adapt synthesizes volumes of climate change research and presents it in an accessible, intuitive and visual format that is intended to benefit local planning efforts as well as inform California citizens of potential climate change impacts. This tool will provide planners with detailed information regarding potential sea-level rise, wildfire dangers, temperature changes, and fluctuations in snowpack, which will help inform how to combat those impacts.

    The success of this effort is due to a common vision and collaborative effort between government agencies, universities, private industry, and non-profit organizations including UC Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility, California Energy Commission, Google, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Santa Clara University, U.S. Geological Survey, UC Merced, and Pacific Institute.

    Comment by AIC — 3 Jun 2011 @ 7:21 PM

  50. Lawrence M @ 46, check out atmosphericrivers and see if that’s what happened.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 3 Jun 2011 @ 10:21 PM

  51. Lawrence @ 46 I’m not familiar with the actual weather situation in your area leading to that particular flood. I do know that in the normally dry regions of the western U.S., extremely heavy rain can be triggered by an unusual incursion of moist tropical air into places where it doesn’t often get. Very moist air is also very unstable air, and can allow strong thunderstorms containing very heavy rain to focus in a small area.

    Comment by John Pollack — 3 Jun 2011 @ 10:52 PM

  52. Re 42 AIC – it can be useful to use the K scale for % changes in temperature in some contexts – maybe not so much the impacts of climate change – but anyway, one of the more visceral ways of communicating the relative importance of a 2 to 4 + K warming is to compare it to the difference between the preindustrial climate and the peak of the last ice age, which I think is something like 6 K, though I could be a little off. One can also consider the geographical distance that such a temperature change occurs over now – for example, find a state to the south that has an annual average T 3 K warmer than another state (but actually, in that case one should consider using the expected climate change for that region, which I think may be significantly larger than the global average depending on where you are).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 3 Jun 2011 @ 11:07 PM

  53. 34 Ron R: “industry propaganda from wasting people’s time”
    That is an insult! Standard Disclaimer: I do not now and never have received any money or anything else of value from the nuclear power industry except electricity which I pay for. I have never worked for the nuclear power industry or any of its advertisers. I do not own stock in any corporation. I have never owned stock in the nuclear power industry and I don’t even know anybody who does to my knowledge. My sole income is from my federal government retirement.
    My sole motive for commenting here is that GW is dangerous, and I want to help RC.

    The nuclear thread was started by 9 Geoff Beacon: “A review of the safety of Nuclear Power is being carried out by Dr Mike Weightman, the Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations, following the trouble at the Fukushima plant. Are the following points I have sent to Dr Weightman sensible or just paranoia?”

    …….

    “You might like also to note this recent article by Natalie Kopytko in the New Scientist of 24 May 2011. The climate change threat to nuclear power, The climate change threat to nuclear power
    Yours faithfully
    Geoff Beacon”

    The next person who mentioned nuclear was 10 wili:

    [edit--more than enough on this discussion. It goes nowhere.]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 3 Jun 2011 @ 11:34 PM

  54. Let me point out a matter very important but usually ignored.

    The popular climatologic Earth’s energy balance diagrams (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_energy_budget) tell us that the incoming solar radiation which reaches the ground is Ig=52%, whereof the 6% is directly reflected to space as SW, the 46% is absorbed, transformed in frequency and re-emitted as LW to space (9%) or yielded to atmosphere as sensible heat (Is=13%) and as latent heat (24%). The increase of the air temperature close the ground is caused by Is013%.

    A solar panel intercept Ig=52% and totally yields it to the atmosphere as sensible heat after the use of the transformed energy. In this case the forcing to warm for the air close the ground increases by Ig/Is=400%.

    It is very appalling for the installation site of the solar plant.

    Comment by Michele — 4 Jun 2011 @ 3:55 AM

  55. John E. Pearson@45: Thank you for that link.

    Interesting to note the overarching finding 2: “The full deployment of cost-effective, energy-efficient technologies in buildings alone could eliminate the need to add to U.S. electricity generation capacity.”

    The rub, of course, consisting of policy/legal/institutional not technical barriers.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 4 Jun 2011 @ 6:36 AM

  56. Thanks, Chris.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2011 @ 10:03 AM

  57. Other points about the matter.

    First.
    The installation of a solar plant cuts of the 15% of the power reflected and re-radiate to the space by the ground and the waste heat modifies from (52-15)% to 52% increasing by 52/37=141%.

    Further.
    If we want obtain the power Pe by a traditional thermo-electric plant having the efficiency Eth, we have to provide it the combustion power Pc=Pe/Eth all of that eventually will become waste heat added to the atmosphere.
    If we use a PV plant having the efficiency Es we have to capture the incoming solar power Ps=Pe/Es and the 15/52=29% of it will result waste heat added to the atmosphere.
    The thermal pollution of the PV plant will be 0.29*Pc*Eth/Es.
    Assuming Eth=65% and Es=10% the thermal pollution of the PV plant would be the 189% of the thermal pollution of the traditional thermo-electric plant.

    Then, where is it the propagandized advantage to use the solar panels if the Earth’s energy balance is penalized so heavily and given that, if the skeptics are right, we don’t obtain any useful effect?

    Comment by Michele — 4 Jun 2011 @ 11:59 AM

  58. If the reduction in albedo caused by solar panels were relevant, I’d be up on my roof painting it white, or better still covering it in aluminium foil. What is critical is the ability of a technology to provide power without pumping loads of CO2 into the air – lifecycle power output v lifecycle emissions.
    (That’s not to say we might all end up with shiny roofs as a way of holding back a portion of future global temperature increases.)

    Comment by MARodger — 4 Jun 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  59. Re Michele – A typical commercially available PV panel has an efficiency of around 10 %, but can be higher (crystalline Si). Some (thin films) are closer to 5 % (but some thin films are closer to 10 % or even surpass it) – as technology matures the numbers tend to go up. …

    (this paragraph from memory): Solar cells may be thought of as solid-state heat engines – the incoming solar radiation has a high brightness temperature (this is true even if the solar radiation is diffuse rather than direct – consider how hot an object would have to be to emit as much blue intensity as seen in the clear sky away from the sun, or as much visible radiation as seen even through the base of a cloud; anyway); in typical cells (there’s an idea of using ‘hot carriers’ but I won’t go into that) the radiation excites electrons into a conduction band from a valence band; the electrons and holes in each band tend to settle into two seperate (quasi-?)Fermi distributions at the cell’s temperature, with the difference between (quasi-)Fermi levels being a potential energy that is available to do work. Waste heat is given off to the cell’s crystal (or amorphous) lattice, as I understand it, and increases in the cell temperature would reduce the efficiency by increasing the temperature of the electrons and holes, which for a given population in each band, tends to bring their quasi-Fermi levels closer together, reducing the available work. But it isn’t generally necessary to actively cool a solar cell unless it is in a concentrating device. There is also required loss as the excited electrons fall back to the valence and and emit photons at a rate such that absorptivity = emissivity (at the effective temperature for a given energy, which won’t be the cell temperature) at each frequency and direction (and polarization), but the effective temperature (the temperature for an effective Fermi distribution that gives the same actual population of electrons and holes at a pair of energy levels) can be small so a solar cell can absorb more energy than it radiates – but as I understand it, if current is not being drawn from a cell, electron-hole populations would stabilize such that emission and absorption of photons (not of energy, I think) balance, with emission being at longer wavelengths (for an idealized cell; real cells have other routes to recombination). (PS For direct solar radiation that isn’t concentrated, the solid angle over which an intensity is being absorbed is less than what can be emitted; utilitizing total internal refraction to absorb radiation in thinner layers helps, as does using concentrated solar radiation). )

    … anyway, the amount of energy extracted from the cell is about the same as would be extracted from some other source and used by people – anyway most isn’t converted to heat on site (some may be via wiring, etc.); so for a zero-albedo solar panel, the local effective albedo is the efficiency of the panel. Many surfaces have albedos of 10 % to 25 %; deserts may get up to around 30 %, I think. So the additional heating on site is only comparable to the amount of energy being extracted (exception: installations used where there the panels replace snow cover – this would typically be a seasonal effect – compare this to the effect of clearing roads of snow); the total additional heating is only 2 or maybe 3 or 4 or (depending on the type of cell, etc.) times the energy used. The average conventional power plants converting fuel to electricity gives off roughly 3 times the total energy that is used (except for cogeneration). And the total energy used by humans is very small; it is between the global tidal dissipation and the global geothermal flux, the later (and bigger) being less than 0.1 W/m2, which is less than a tenth of the the forcing from anthropogenic CO2. Note that rooftop installations may use waste heat for water, improving the overall efficiency.

    Future improvements in efficiency would reduce the global heating effect of using solar power, and possibly in some cases allow a localized cooling effect at the plant (depending on how evapotranspiration is affected). Hypothetically a solar panel could be made to reflect the photons that are below band-gap energy. CSP or CPV power plants using mirrors can and do reflect diffuse solar radiation, and I think they have a higher efficiency of converting direct solar radiation to electrical energy. The reflected radiation would have both a local and global cooling effect.

    The bottom line is that the climatological effects of solar power would not be significant on the global level.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jun 2011 @ 1:04 PM

  60. … and of course, the so-called ‘skeptics’ are N O T right (about climate change, nor about solar energy in so far as the idea of energy payback time being too large).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jun 2011 @ 1:07 PM

  61. EG: The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water.

    BPL: Survived??? Four of the reactors have melted down so far. Obviously this is some strange new definition of “survived” I’ve never run across before.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 4 Jun 2011 @ 2:25 PM

  62. Re my For direct solar radiation that isn’t concentrated, the solid angle over which an intensity is being absorbed is less than what can be emitted; utilitizing total internal refraction to absorb radiation in thinner layers helps, as does using concentrated solar radiation

    Utilizing TIR and concentrating solar radiation do different things:

    Emissivity (at the appropriate effective temperature for the electron-hole pairs) = absorptivity at a given frequency, direction (comparing absorption from and emission toward), and polarization.

    At any particular point on the cell surface, the emissivity (for the effective temperature) and absorptivity (for a particular frequency and polarization) are equal for any particular direction, even if rays going in are scattered at the back surface and reflected between the front and back of the cell with repeated scattering – the distribution over which photons are absorbed from the original ray entering the cell from a direction will match the distribution of emission of photons which eventually reach the same point and exit the cell into the same direction (provided constant effective temperature within the cell – otherwise you have to integrate the product of the corresponding Planck function over and the emission weighting function over the volume to find the emitted intensity, but the emission weighting function is equal to the distribution of absorption).

    For perfect antireflective treatment, 100 % of diffuse radiation on a cell is concentrated into a smaller solid angle of directions going into the material (refraction); within the material, only those rays within this solid angle (cone of acceptance) escape (and 100% do escape with perfect antireflective treatment); the rest are reflected (total internal reflection). The concentration or spreading out of radiation into solid angles of different sizes keeps the intensity (absent emission, absoroption, scattering and reflection) proportional to n^2 (n being the real component of the index of refraction) – the Planck function is also proportional to n^2, thus the Second law of thermodynamics still applies(antirefletive texturizing may break up the cone of acceptance or make it probabilistic(?) but refraction produces the same overall effect of trapping some portion of radiation while stilly obeying the second law of thermodynamics).

    Radiation emitted by the cell may exit the surface in all directions, while direct solar radiation enters from a very small solid angle. For the same intensity of radiation, the population density of (excited) electrons and holes that can be sustained is increased if the absorbed radiation comes from a larger solid angle, so that a greater amount of radiation can be absorbed per unit that must be emitted for a given population density (for constant cell temperature, increasing population density will increase the effective temperatures between different energy levels by pulling the quasi-Fermi levels farther apart – PS all hell breaks loose if the quasi-Fermi levels are seperated by as much as the band-gap energy. I actually don’t know what happens, but the Planck function goes to infinity for photons of the same energy as the difference between quasi-Fermi levels).

    But diffuse solar radiation has a lower brightness temperature to begin with; assuming absorptivity is independent of direction, taking the same flux of solar radiation and making it diffuse rather than direct would do nothing to cell performance (but reduces the brightness temperature of the incoming radiation, which has implications for the efficiency of conversion that can be achieved if concentrated radiation is not used).

    However, concentrating direct solar radiation (or, so far as I know, using luminescent concentration – which can use diffuse solar radiation – but with some additional conversion loss before radiation reaches the cells, and I don’t think the intensity will generally be the same as that for direct solar radiation) increases the solid angle over which radiation of the same intensity and thus brightness temperature (or for luminescent concentrators, so far as I know, any large intensity and brightness temperature) enter the cell (it also increases the flux per unit area). Thus a larger population density of excited electrons and holes can be sustained, other things being equal. The conversion efficiency of the solar cell will also increase. Alternatively, if absorptivity were small in directions outside the solid angle of the direct solar radiation, that would help, but then you’d have to aim the panel at the sun more precisely than otherwise anyway.

    Using a scattering reflector at the back of the cell allows some fraction of photons not absorbed over one round trip through the cell another opportunity, by taking them out of the cone of acceptance. This also increases the emissivity of the cell, but a thinner layer of absorbing material can be used, which has benifits.
    Of course, radiation emitted by the cell tends to be concentrated toward the band gap energy, so having absorptivity decreased toward the band gap energy would also help – but at the cost of reducing the absorption of solar photons with the minimal useable energy (which would be, other things aside, the most efficiently used photons – if only photons at the band gap energy were used, it’s concievable that the electrons and hole would actually absorb heat from the cell, as in a heat pump).

    Anyway, their are other sources of innefficiency that can be addressed, and to approach the thermodynamic limits of conversion efficiency, you need to direct radiaton of different energies to cells of different band-gap energies (either stacked cells or side-by-side or layers of luminescent concentrators…) – or else maybe have some nanostructures that can produce multiple electron-hole pairs from single photons (don’t know what the limits are for that), … etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 4 Jun 2011 @ 4:57 PM

  63. Re Geoff, you might take a look at this 2009 summary as well. Though with “current” emissions in the past, we had 300% increased earthquake activities.

    Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards

    Papers included in this issue are a reflection of new research and critical reviews presented in sessions on: climates of the past and future; climate forcing of volcanism and volcanic activity; and climate as a driver of seismic, mass-movement and tsunami hazards. Two introductory papers set the scene. In the first, McGuire summarizes evidence for periods of exceptional past climate change eliciting a dynamic response from the Earth’s crust, involving enhanced levels of potentially hazardous geological and geomorphological activity. The response, McGuire notes, is expressed through the triggering, adjustment or modulation of a range of crustal and surface processes, which include gas-hydrate destabilization, submarine and subaerial landslides, debris flows and glacial outburst floods, and volcanic and seismic activity.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919/2311.short

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 4 Jun 2011 @ 6:55 PM

  64. Re Wili #10 writes:”Thanks for mentioning the hydrate beds, but in the letter you might make clearer how they might be destabilized by GW. I actually don’t know how likely it is that beds 500 m deep would feel much affect from warming of the surface”

    Some more precise estimates…

    Gas hydrates (clathrates) are a solid, ice like form of
    mostly methane, which occur beneath and possibly within
    [Dallimore and Collett, 1995] onshore permafrost and also
    in subsea permafrost that persists in some high‐latitude
    regions to water depths as great as ∼90 m. Both permafrost‐
    associated gas hydrates and the shallowest part of the
    deepwater marine gas hydrate system are susceptible to
    GB2002
    dissociation (breakdown to methane and water) under con-
    ditions of a warming Arctic climate.
    [20] The most recent review of the numerous published
    estimates of the amount of methane sequestered in global
    gas hydrate deposits converges on a range of 3 to 40 × 1015 m3
    of methane [Boswell and Collett, 2011], which converts to a
    range of ∼1,600 to 21,000 Pg C. This consensus range
    brackets some older estimates (3000 Pg C in the work of
    Buffett and Archer [2004]) and a recent estimate of 1,000 to
    10,000 Pg C by Krey et al. [2009]. Based on the estimates
    by Soloviev et al. [1987], Shakhova et al. [2010a] conclude
    that one quarter of the Arctic ocean shelf contains 540 Pg
    CH4 in gas hydrates. This yields an estimated ∼1,600 Pg C
    within gas hydrates associated with subsea permafrost on the
    Arctic Ocean continental shelves. It is important to note that
    the formerly terrestrial sediments on these very shallow
    shelves contain significant additional carbon in nonhydrate
    form. Like the carbon trapped in terrestrial permafrost, this
    additional carbon is subject to microbial degradation and
    CO2 and CH4 production as the subsea permafrost thaws.
    [21] In the deep geologic past, CH4 releases from gas
    hydrates may have been triggered by, but also possibly
    exacerbated, the extreme warming event at ∼55 Ma before
    present [Dickens et al., 1995, 1997; Lamarque et al., 2006;
    Renssen et al., 2004; Schmidt and Shindell, 2003]. In this
    study we estimate a range of potential future methane
    emissions from the various Arctic gas hydrate populations:
    [22] 1. Subsea Permafrost: There is substantial evidence
    that subsea permafrost is undergoing rapid degradation at
    high northern latitudes [e.g., Rachold et al., 2007; Shakhova
    et al., 2005]. The current rate of subsea permafrost degra-
    dation is unknown, and acceleration in this degradation with
    recent changes in sea ice cover and thus ocean temperatures
    is expected, but not yet fully documented. Still, dissociation
    of methane hydrate that is currently capped by or contained
    within subsea permafrost is very likely occurring now [e.g.,
    Shakhova et al., 2010b] and should increase as warming
    affects the ocean‐atmosphere system. Methane released
    from these hydrates would be emitted into shallow seas
    where relatively little is likely to be oxidized before reaching
    the atmosphere. Shakhova et al. [2008] speculate that 50 Pg
    CH4 could be released abruptly at any time from gas hydrates
    associated with subsea permafrost.

    And

    “Thawing of permafrost at a rate of 0.04–0.10 m yr−1
    has been observed in some terrestrial upland regions
    [Osterkamp, 2005], and it is shown that temperatures have
    increased at depths as great as 25 to 30 m below the surface
    at some locations in the Arctic during the last two decades
    [Isaksen et al., 2007; Osterkamp and Jorgenson, 2006].” http://folk.uio.no/gunnarmy/paper/isaksen_gbc_2011.pdf

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 4 Jun 2011 @ 7:06 PM

  65. Re John Monro ““Venus Syndrome” here on Earth as a consequence of anthropogenic CO2 emissions continuing to increase, how accurately does this view reflect the view of other climate scientists?”

    For example, Stephen Hawking warning about the worst case scenario http://climateprogress.net/blog/climate-science/32-videos/41-hawking-sagan.html

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 4 Jun 2011 @ 7:27 PM

  66. Michele @54, and several others. I can’t believe a discussion of the direct SW effects of solar energy is going on on RC. The total human energy budget is roughly one part in ten thousandth of the planetary heat budget. The forcing due to CO2 and other greenhouse gases is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than that. Panels could not create a significant global impact on climate forcing unless human energy consumption increases by roughly two orders of magnitude.

    About Kelvin versus Centrigarde. I prefer the former, a 3C warming is about a one percent increase in the temperature in absolute units, which reasonably reflects the roughly 1% perturbation in the planets energy balance (forcing) caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

    Comment by Thomas — 4 Jun 2011 @ 9:40 PM

  67. Thanks, pro. Any thoughts about the likelihood of hydrates being destabilized at depths of 500+ m?

    Comment by wili — 4 Jun 2011 @ 10:00 PM

  68. 54, 57 Michele, 59 Patrick 027 “global heating effect of using [X] power”
    There is none of that. Waste heat is irrelevant to Global Warming. If CO2 is low enough, the heat quickly dissipates into the 2.7 degree Kelvin cold of deep space. If CO2 is too high, human waste heat is still irrelevant, it gets too hot on Earth.

    I didn’t realize that that was what you were worried about. CO2 is worth something like 100,000 times as much as waste heat for a coal fired power plant. Check my numbers, I’m not sure how you make the equivalence. Again, I could have relieved you of that problem some time ago if I had understood what you were worried about.

    2.7 degrees Kelvin is 2.7 degrees Centigrade above absolute zero. It is the temperature of the universe. Absolute zero is 273 below centigrade or 459 below Fahrenheit. We have the sun to warm us and a much larger universe to cool us. It is entirely the heat flow through the atmosphere that determines the Earth’s temperature. There is just no way that any human waste heat source could ever matter at all to GW. Waste heat is something for design engineers to consider.

    Another way to look at it: Compare our waste heat to solar input. Our waste heat is so small in comparison it is nonsense to inquire further.

    We are only interested in “greenhouse gasses,” the reference greenhouse gas is CO2. We can control the climate by controlling greenhouse gasses.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2011 @ 11:24 PM

  69. 61 Barton Paul Levenson : As opposed to the containment building and the reactor vessel and the fuel rods disintegrated, dumping 20 tons each of spent fuel over a 20 mile square area.
    For having been hit by a 46 foot wall of water going at X mph at that point, the containment vessels did amazingly well. The tsunami was going 500 miles per hour in the deep ocean. Do you know the wave speed when it hit shore? When the relative speed is high, water hits very hard, almost like a solid. Have you ever designed anything for the Navy? They require enormous strength in the shell of anything that may be hit by a wave. So can you calculate the energy deposited on the containment building by the tsunami?

    So yes, the containment building performance was awesome. And those reactors were 40 years old and ready for replacement anyway. So what did we loose? Radiation: The radiation leaked out of the containment building is still less than the natural background for that spot when averaged over a year. A single spinal CT scan gives you 600 millirem. My wife got 2 spinal CT scans this year. The average American gets 350 millirems/year. In Iran, there is a natural background of 12 rems/year. Not a decimal place error. I would not evacuate Fukushima.

    Background radiation references:
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Background_radiation
    http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/publications/2000_1.html
    [United Nations] UNSCEAR 2000 REPORT

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 4 Jun 2011 @ 11:27 PM

  70. 64 Prokaryotes: Thanks for the URL to the downloadable paper.

    “In order to have sustained anaerobic conditions in thermokarsting soils, meltwater needs to be retained in the yedoma complex.”
    Are they saying that we can slow down the release of CH4 and CO2 by draining these swamps?

    I see the “timescales of centuries to millennia.” Figure 4 shows additional CO2 that is similar to what we are doing.

    So my question is: What do we have to do to keep these arctic CH4 sources from taking over from us? How soon do we have to stop making CO2? It looks to me like the answer is rather soon. What do we have to do to stop the melting of permafrost and methane hydrates?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jun 2011 @ 12:31 AM

  71. Cold Fusion Claims
    Is this the beginning of the end of the CO2 debate ?

    http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com/?p=497&cpage=4#comments
    http://nickelenergy.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/chief-scientist-at-nasa-langley-acknowledges-andrea-rossi-e-cat/

    Comment by Jonas — 5 Jun 2011 @ 4:25 AM

  72. “So my question is: What do we have to do to keep these arctic CH4 sources from taking over from us? How soon do we have to stop making CO2? It looks to me like the answer is rather soon. What do we have to do to stop the melting of permafrost and methane hydrates?”

    The question is rather, what could we do to prevent PETM 2.0.? Though things are melting and maybe so irreversible with all it’s consequences. But we can change the potential, the current emission path(energy budget input), if we act at large we gain time and might be able to avert a major climate shift. Thus, it requires combined worldwide affords to artificially balance the energy budget of the biosphere. Required are revolutionary policies to transition to a carbon low economy/life-style. Which btw is a much more, enjoyable life experience, then living through a polluted environment.

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 5 Jun 2011 @ 6:07 AM

  73. Jonas @ 71, in the unlikely event that it works, all you need is an unlimited supply of hydrogen, which would be a better energy supply if used directly.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 5 Jun 2011 @ 7:49 AM

  74. Arnie Gundersen podcast about the Fukushima nuclear disaster:
    Exclusive Arnie Gundersen Interview: The Dangers of Fukushima Are Worse and Longer-lived Than We Think
    Friday, June 3, 2011, 3:54 pm
    http://www.chrismartenson.com/blog/exclusive-arnie-gundersen-interview-dangers-fukushima-are-worse-and-longer-lived-we-think/58689

    Comment by catman306 — 5 Jun 2011 @ 9:29 AM

  75. Edward Greisch:

    You should do a little studying regarding the nature of traveling waves. The speed of a tsunami may be high, but the actual molecular motion is small and slow, so the rate of travel on the open ocean has little to do with destructive power. What is important is the amount of energy in the wave and the morphology of the ocean bottom near the shore and the shore itself. On land a tsunami is more like a rapid outgoing and incoming tide and is therefore more like a rapid flooding event with the rate of water flow determined mostly by the height the wave achieves as it slows down and trades shortening of wavelength for increasing wave amplitude in shallow water.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 5 Jun 2011 @ 11:04 AM

  76. Re: Runaway greenhouse and Venus syndrome,

    I just came across this wonderfully apposite quote from a 17th-century millenarian treatise:

    The Stoicks tell us, When the Sun and the Stars have drunk up the Sea, the Earth shall be burnt. A very fair prophecy: but how long will they be a-drinking?
    – The Reverend Thomas Burnet, Telluris theoria sacra (The Sacred Theory of the Earth), 1691

    (hat tip: S. J. Gould, Questioning the Millennium)

    Comment by CM — 5 Jun 2011 @ 11:12 AM

  77. Lawrence #46,

    > I know that the absolute humidity can be higher in hot air,
    > but why does it get dumped out so quickly?

    This may not have anything to do with your desert observations, but AFAIU there can be a lot more humidity to dump out for a given temperature drop (say 5 °C) in hot air (say from 30 °C to 25 °C) than in cooler air (say from 25°C to 20°C), since specific humidity at saturation grows quasi-exponentially with temperature (cf. the Clausius-Clapeyron equation).

    Comment by CM — 5 Jun 2011 @ 12:01 PM

  78. EG:

    The tsunami was going 500 miles per hour in the deep ocean. Do you know the wave speed when it hit shore?

    About 50 mph. Any strong, reinforced concrete structure of sufficient size will be able to absorb a blow of that nature.

    Comment by dhogaza — 5 Jun 2011 @ 12:46 PM

  79. I am generally trying to ignore Edward Greisch’s repetitive, ill-informed pro-nuclear silliness, and even sillier and more ill-informed denigration and disparagement of renewable energy technologies.

    But given the realities of the situation at Fukushima, I have to say that I find his comments about it actually offensive. They trivialize and come close to mocking the very real suffering and very grave dangers that the Fukushima disaster is imposing on a great many people in Japan.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/fukushima-radiation-record-levels-2011-6

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 5 Jun 2011 @ 2:34 PM

  80. Prokaryotes. @#63. Thanks fo that very useful reference.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 5 Jun 2011 @ 5:06 PM

  81. Edward Greisch at 11:27 PM

    Some news for you. According to this article, dependent on where rad readers were placed The measured levels range from two to 1000 times normal background radiation. Most of the radiation has concentrated to the northwest of the plant which is why there is such a divergence in readings.
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6032/908.full

    The chart below from the site shows radiation spiking on March 15 and 16 then slowly declining when they started adding sea water to cool the plants (which sea water is now eroding the steel inside and causing suspected leaks of radiation outside the containment buildings). Note that it says “Exposure has dropped but remains 35 times above background.”
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6032/908/F1.expansion.html

    You can compare the above chart to these.
    http://fleep.com/earthquake/

    Then we learn that radiation readings were underestimated.
    http://enenews.com/vast-underestimation-of-radiation-levels-by-japan-govt-blames-caluclation-errors

    Article comparing background and Fukushima radiation levels.
    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/03/comparing-japans-radiation-release-to.html

    One point from this article is that there Are NO natural background levels of radioactive cesium or iodine.
    http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/docs/source-management/csfinallongtakeshi.pdf

    Above legal levels of radiation have been detected in four prefectures around and including south of Tokyo which itself is 135 miles southwest of Fukushima.
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5g9aovzVPAKenPs04KbQUVWRvtECw?docId=CNG.078f707aa6b4c476782f62e5539ecb3e.4e1

    Radiation from Fukushima has been detected across most of the northern hemisphere as anyone who’s been paying attention to the news knows.

    The levels of radiation within the stricken reactors continues to rise. Unit 4 is in danger of collapsing. Workers are desperately trying to contain the situation. I guess it’s a good thing this fiasco didn’t happen in say, Pakistan or Mexico, which also have nuclear reactors. One hopes that the Japanese get a hold on things before things get much worse.

    http://gamutnews.com/20110605/15760/video-record-radiation-levels-at-fukushima.html

    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Jun 2011 @ 5:18 PM

  82. Nuclear power is expensive and uninsurable:

    http://www.grist.org/nuclear/2011-06-04-nuclear-power-is-expensive-and-uninsurable

    Comment by Adam R. — 5 Jun 2011 @ 7:18 PM

  83. Edward Greisch is your pro-nuclear stance not just the whole CO2 story again. We will make the mess cheaply, some body else can pay to clean it up?
    James

    Comment by James — 5 Jun 2011 @ 8:14 PM

  84. Re 68 Edward Greisch – I didn’t realize that that was what you were worried about. – if that was directed at me then my response to Michele must have been too unclear. Perhaps I spent too much time going through the numbers (albeit roughly).

    (I used some rough comparisons in a few spots because I didn’t remember what the numbers were most recently; I said 0.1 W/m2 was less than a tenth of anthropogenic CO2 forcing; I could have said it was about 1/17 that (and also pointed out that CO2 forcing keeps going and tends to keep going upward as emissions occur, except when emissions are sufficiently low, etc.). Anyway, I recall reading the global geothermal heat flux is somewhere around 40 TW (which would be ~0.08 W/m2), I think tidal dissipation is around 4 TW; anyway, U.S. primary energy consumption is about 3 TW; if 2/3 of U.S. per capita consumption were the global average -(it isn’t, this is a projection) with 9 billion people, that would be 60 TW, which would be just over 0.1 W/m2. If the extra heating from solar power were about the same as the waste heat from conventional power plants, then that would be the global forcing – small. I mentioned solar power could in some cases have a cooling effect. However much energy is supplied from hydroelectric or wind or waves or tides, that would not tend to affect the climate energy budget, even by such a small amount as 0.1 W/m2.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jun 2011 @ 10:21 PM

  85. Edward Greisch — 2 Jun 2011 @ 3:54 PM said:

    Fukushima has not yet gone beyond natural background radiation except temporarily very close to the reactor

    Fukushima Debacle Risks Chernobyl ‘Dead Zone’ as Radiation in Soil Soars

    Radiation from the plant has spread over 600 square kilometers (230 square miles), according to the report

    ….

    Soil samples showed one site with radiation from Cesium-137 exceeding 5 million becquerels per square meter about 25 kilometers to the northwest of the Fukushima plant, according to Kawata’s study. Five more sites about 30 kilometers from Dai- Ichi showed radiation exceeding 1.48 million becquerels per square meter. When asked to comment on the report today, Tokyo Electric spokesman Tetsuya Terasawa said the radiation levels are in line with those found after a nuclear bomb test, which disperses plutonium. He declined to comment further.

    ….

    Restoring the land may be more critical in Japan than Belarus, where the population density is about 46 people per square kilometer, according to United Nations data. That’s more than seven times less than the metric for Japan, where 127.6 million people live on about 378,000 square kilometers.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-30/japan-risks-chernobyl-like-dead-zone-as-fukushima-soil-radiation-soars.html

    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Jun 2011 @ 10:59 PM

  86. SecularAnimist — 5 Jun 2011 @ 2:34 PM

    But given the realities of the situation at Fukushima, I have to say that I find his comments about it actually offensive. They trivialize and come close to mocking the very real suffering and very grave dangers that the Fukushima disaster is imposing on a great many people in Japan.

    Curiously I’ve found this intentionally misleading minimization and rationalizing of nuclear’s serious negative impacts true for many if not most nuclear power advocates. It betrays a disgusting sort of ‘who cares’ attitude about human (and non-human) suffering and damage to the environment. Everything seems to takes a backseat to the God of Nuclear Power for them. That’s why I call them a nuclear cult.

    What is it Admiral Rickover called them, a “nuclear priesthood”.

    Comment by Ron R. — 5 Jun 2011 @ 11:21 PM

  87. … of course that assumes that 60 TW would be primary energy equivalent, which could, if it were all converted to electricity, just be ~ 20 TWe + any used ‘waste’ heat. Setting aside cogeneration, if this were all from solar energy, that would be 20 TW average power from solar plants, which, if they averaged 8 % efficiency and had (in the area of the panels/collectors) zero albedo (and very small amounts of emitted radiation associated with recombination) and replaced surfaces with albedos of ~ 24 %, would then have a total warming effect of 60 TW.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 5 Jun 2011 @ 11:42 PM

  88. 81 Ron R.: “1000 times normal background radiation”
    for 1 hour. I read that too. Continuing, “average 1.6 microsieverts per hour. “That’s what [the radiation] has come down to for some time now,” he says.”
    That is why I said: “Averaged over a year.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6032/908/F1.expansion.html
    2 microsieverts/hour = 20 nanorem/hour It takes 1 billion hours to equal 20 rem. There are 8760 hours in a year. 1 billion hours is 1,114,155. years. 20 rem won’t make you sick, especially if you have to wait a million years. Thanks for the reference. You proved my point. Remember Iranians get 12 rems/year every year.

    “One point from this article is that there Are NO natural background levels of radioactive cesium or iodine.
”
    So what? I drank a lot of milk in the 1950s when those bomb tests were going on in the air in Nevada. I still don’t have cancer.

    “Radiation from Fukushima has been detected across most of the northern hemisphere as anyone who’s been paying attention to the news knows.” Yes, I know. We are very very good at detecting these days. That doesn’t mean there is any danger.

    So be afraid of bananas already. You get more radiation from eating one banana than you are getting from your favorite phobias. But you can’t live without potassium and all potassium contains radioactive potassium40.

    I invite you to invest all of YOUR money in wind and solar. You won’t be the first person to loose your shirt by doing so. Yes, please do convert YOUR town, not mine, to run on wind or solar only, and detach from the grid. The news from your town will be amusing.

    83 James: “Cleanup” cost is included in the prices I gave you before.

    82 Adam R.: Do you know “Grist?”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jun 2011 @ 12:41 AM

  89. @ 58 – MARodger

    The matter must be faced with a little more critical analysis.
    You are right. It is possible to perfectly readjust the local thermal budget inserting close to the PV panels other reflecting panels (a mirror would perhaps go rather than better than a white panel but we don’t subtilize); it is done soon rather: with the same data of budget from me adopted it is enough that the surface of mirrors is the 29% of the surface of PV because the exchanges surface – space and surface – atmosphere of power post/ante stay unchanged.
    I want to draw your attention to the fact that the problem of the located sensible forcing would still stay heavy.
    If the mirrors are set in a place distinguished by that of the PVs we can readjust the global thermal budget but the sensible forcing of the site of installation of the PVs would stay unchanged, that is, still equal to four.
    If the mirrors are installed together with the PVs the sensible forcing would pass from four to few less than three, that is so much still.
    Let’s keep in mind that a greater sensitive forcing post/ante means greater daily thermal excursion and less water vapor in the air. Let me to be a little more alarmist: also with the correction due to the mirrors the site of installation would strongly be penalized as it would be pushed toward a microclimate having conditions proper of the desert-like regions.

    @ 59 and others – Patrick 027

    The concentration of the incoming solar power increases the specific power (W/sqm) yielded by the cells but introduce a lot of losses that penalize the specific power of the catching surface of the PV and then of a conventional PV. All that will make worse my forecasts.

    @ 66 – Thomas, 68 – Greisch

    You are right. The order of magnitude of the thermal pollution is very little with respect to total sun–earth–space power exchange.
    Anyway, the solution remains a very irrational technical choice.

    Comment by Michele — 6 Jun 2011 @ 1:39 AM

  90. Some interesting data.

    1) A new report on ‘disaster refugees’ in 2009 and 2010 documents tens of millions displaced by flooding, drought (and of course, earthquake.)

    http://tinyurl.com/internaldisplacementreport2011

    2) Footnote three references a 30-year trend in the numbers displaced WRT to this figure from emdat. Of course, there are confounding variables to sort out, but still, is this significant, statistically speaking?

    http://www.emdat.be/sites/default/files/Trends/natural/world_1900_2010/2c.pdf

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 6 Jun 2011 @ 7:44 AM

  91. 81 Ron R.: “1000 times normal background radiation”
    From the graph on
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/332/6032/908/F1.expansion.html
    For the first 9 days: Add up the readings and multiply by 24. You get 3696 microsieverts total = 3.696 millisieverts. Check my arithmetic. I could have made a mistake in your favor. Converting to rems, you get 369.6 millirem. One spinal CT scan is 600 millirem. For the first 9 days at Fukushima, if you had stood still at that one spot, you would have received a dose of a little over half of a spinal CT scan.
    Yesterday, I was looking at the radiation in the tail, which is the long period.

    So, Ron R, be very afraid of CT scans. You need to have a basis for comparison and you must do the arithmetic. Otherwise, you will be mislead by mere words. Words without the numbers and the comparison mean very little.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jun 2011 @ 9:00 AM

  92. Readers wishing to confirm the science of Climate Change may wish to examine the Admiralty Charts drawn by William Bligh. The same Bligh of Bounty fame.

    200+ years ago Bligh drew some of the most amazingly accurate charts ever made of the remote islands in the Pacific. Many of these areas have never been resurveyed and the charts are unchanged. Except for footnotes for GPS correction factors, they have not been adjusted for lat/long or for sea level change over 200+ years.

    We spent many years sailing the Pacific in a small boat. Our boat drew 6 feet – one fathom – so we were very aware of the 1 fathom mark on Bligh’s charts. It is like the centerline on the highway. Cross over at the wrong time and you risk serious damage or death.

    The amazing thing for us is that these old charts are still accurate today. The soundings do not show any measurable rise in sea level. If the charts say you will run aground in Tonga at low tide 200 years ago, you still run aground in Tonga at low tide today. If the charts say a rock in Fiji draws 4 feet at low tide 200 years ago, the rock still draws 4 feet at low tide today.

    Comment by Greg Elliott — 6 Jun 2011 @ 9:55 AM

  93. Edward Greisch at 12:41 AM

    No. Here’s what you said:

    2 Jun 2011 @ 3:54 PM:

    Fukushima has not yet gone beyond natural background radiation except temporarily very close to the reactor.

    That’s been proved wrong. Will you continue to repeat that falsehood?

    You: “1000 times normal background radiation”
    for 1 hour. I read that too

    No, that exposure was not for just one hour. It stretched over two days. Read again.

    Now you say “averaged over a year”. Do you think it’s perfectly fine to be exposed to all the background radiation you’d get in a year at one time? And do you realize that this situation is ongoing and that radiation in the environment will continue to rise, that people are continuing to be exposed to unnatural levels of radiation? Do you care?

    BTW, your continuing anecdotal stories about your drinking milk during the bomb tests and not getting cancer has NO scientific validity whatsoever. Zip, None, Nada.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jun 2011 @ 10:28 AM

  94. Edward Greisch at 9:00 AM said.

    So, Ron R, be very afraid of CT scans. You need to have a basis for comparison and you must do the arithmetic. Otherwise, you will be mislead by mere words. Words without the numbers and the comparison mean very little

    Thanks but I’ll take medical advice from the NAS before I take it from you.

    “Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation May Cause Harm” “A preponderance of scientific evidence shows that even low doses of ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, are likely to pose some risk of adverse health effects, says a new report from the National Research Council. In living organisms, such radiation can cause DNA damage that could eventually lead to cancers. The report provides a comprehensive assessment of these risks based on a review of the scientific literature from the past 15 years. It is the seventh in a series of assessments from the Research Council called the Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation.”
    http://www.nas.edu/gateway/foundations/jul05.html#2560

    Might I suggest that since you are such a nuclear expert that you use your considerable talents to figure out a way to stop the growing disaster in Japan rather than wasting time here arguing about the glories of nuclear power? If you’re feeling particularly honorable you might even consider joining Japan’s new Skilled Veterans Corps (a.k.a. Suicide Corps). I hear TEPCO is interested.

    http://www.google.com/url?q=http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-31/world/japan.nuclear.suicide_1_nuclear-plant-seniors-group-nuclear-crisis%3F_s%3DPM:WORLD&sa=U&ei=IAjtTaTJGYOWsgOi2LGDDg&ved=0CB4QFjAB&usg=AFQjCNFfHLsTrgx6eyGw-UPDaUqsKT0mOw

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jun 2011 @ 12:11 PM

  95. Re Nuclear and why it’s unreliable (Beside the threat of earthquakes/tsunamis/superstorms etc)

    EDF to Rely on Seaside Reactors as Drought Cuts Water Levels.

    Electricite de France SA will limit planned maintenance at nuclear reactors near the English Channel and Atlantic Ocean as the driest spring in about 50 years reduces river water for cooling inland plants.

    EDF, Europe’s biggest power generator, operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors that provide about three quarters of the country’s power needs. Most require river water for operations, prompting the utility and the country’s nuclear safety watchdog to step up monitoring.

    Measures being taken by the utility include the “limitation of summer outages in seaside nuclear plants,” EDF said in a presentation last week. The dozen French reactors that rely on seawater for cooling include Gravelines, Penly, Paluel, Flamanville and Blayais.

    EDF schedules planned refueling and maintenance sometimes years in advance to coincide with a greater need for base nuclear power during cold winter months and hot summer months. The utility was forced to reduce output at some riverside reactors during a 2003 heat wave that left 14,000 people dead.

    “We have to pay attention to reactor operations. A decline in water flow and increase in temperatures have an impact on cooling,” French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko- Morizet said at a news conference today. “If the water flow becomes too low, a reactor will be halted.”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-16/edf-to-rely-on-seaside-reactors-as-drought-cuts-water-levels-1-.html

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 6 Jun 2011 @ 12:53 PM

  96. Re 88 Michele – first, in your original two posts, it was unclear where you got the 400 % from. If a surface gets hot it will also radiate more…

    (as do the energized electrons and holes, and as would the target of a concentrating device (that can be made smaller if emmissivity is lower at the lower frequencies – you could put a greenhouse around the target of concentrator – actually, solar ponds are greenhouses too) but it’s interesting to point out that this inefficiency wouldn’t necessarily be a source of heating – it depends on how much of that the radiation is absorbed/blocked by the atmosphere)

    … some of which will go up to space (PS if more solar power plants are sited in relatively cloud free areas, then, depending on humidity, a greater fraction of emitted radiation could escape to space than would otherwise. Radiation emitted from (ideal) solar cells (from the PV layer, as opposed to the transparent layer on top, which will emit according to it’s temperature and optical properties in the LW part of the spectrum) will have photon energies equal to or greater than the band gap, which would (likely) be somewhere within the SW (solar-dominated) portion of the band; but water vapor has some absorption there too.) – anyway, if it is absorbed in the air, depending on how high up, it might still be somewhat dispersed from the plant.

    Actually, another way solar power plants could cause warming (or cooling) is by changing the LW emissivity of the overall surface. For glass mirrors and covered-panels, I don’t think there’d be a large effect, but using an alumimum surface as a reflector for CSP could make a difference. Even with 100 % LW albedo, though, the surface would still reflect radiation emitted downward by the atmosphere, and the net effect on the upward flux above the surface will still be greater than that at the top of the atmosphere (LW emissivities – see page 92 Hartmann “Global Physical Climatology” – I think 1994). Also, surfaces aimed at the sun wouldn’t present the same area upward or overall.

    Solar power plants may remove some evapotranspiration but that evapotranspiration could just occur next the plant instead. Possibly advantageous to growing crops or feed in semi-arid land.

    What you say about CSP being worse (setting aside from the LW emissivity of mirrors) doesn’t make sense. Diffuse solar radiation would be reflected back up – some would be reflected/scattered back down by the clouds and air, or absorbed by the atmosphere, but consider the blue sky light would be reflected upward in clear skies while the power plant is capturing direct solar radiation. I don’t know what fraction of solar radiation reaching the surface at favorable CSP sites is typically diffuse; I think globally it might be roughly 2/5 but I could be off. You need more area of collector because you can’t use the diffuse radiation, but you need less if the conversion of direct radiation is more efficient.

    Supposing 1/5 of solar radiation were diffuse, a CSP plant would leave the albedo at 20 %, which is similar to some land surfaces although perhaps lower than some deserts; if it were 30 % efficient at converting direct radiation to electricity, setting aside the emission of radiation from the hot target of concentrators, then the local effective albedo would be (20 + 80*.3) % = 44 %. If there were no diffuse radiation, this goes down to 30 %, which is still relatively high for many land surfaces.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 6 Jun 2011 @ 1:36 PM

  97. Edward Greisch (#13) wrote: “The power plant survived the earthquake and a 46 foot high wall of water.”

    Three of the reactors experienced “full meltdowns”, there were multiple explosions, corrosive sea water was used for emergency cooling, there is NO possibility that any of those reactors will ever operate again, the Japanese are still struggling to “stabilize” the reactors, and authorities are now questioning whether the reactors can in fact be “stabilized” within a year of the tsunami event, and the costs of dealing with even the best case situation that is now imaginable are astronomical. It is likely that TEPCO will be bankrupted and will have to be taken over by the Japanese government, which means that the Japanese taxpayers will have to absorb ALL the costs of this disaster.

    What can you possibly mean by “survived”? Do you mean that burnt-out, corroded, highly radioactive, unstable and dangerous ruins are likely to “survive” at the Fukushima site for years to come?

    From CNN today:

    Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant experienced full meltdowns at three reactors in the wake of an earthquake and tsunami in March, the country’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters said Monday.

    The nuclear group’s new evaluation, released Monday, goes further than previous statements in describing the extent of the damage caused by an earthquake and tsunami on March 11 … Reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced a full meltdown, it said.

    The plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., admitted last month that nuclear fuel rods in reactors 2 and 3 probably melted during the first week of the nuclear crisis.

    It had already said fuel rods at the heart of reactor No. 1 melted almost completely in the first 16 hours after the disaster struck. The remnants of that core are now sitting in the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel at the heart of the unit and that vessel is now believed to be leaking.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 6 Jun 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  98. For Greg Elliott: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818110001013 (more about surface area than depth, but relevant)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 6 Jun 2011 @ 2:26 PM

  99. Why do we correct for UHI?

    If it is really hotter downtown, what do we care if it comes from blacktop?

    Why not adjust be distributing our temperature sensors based on urban as a percent of total land area?

    Just wondering.

    Comment by RickA — 6 Jun 2011 @ 2:54 PM

  100. Seismic activity linked to global warming

    Finally, human civilization is starting to get global warming events that it can FEEL.

    Earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes. Something real, something hard, fast, and impossible to ignore. Increasing evidence and statistical analysis links increased seismic activity to global warming.

    This alarming notion was first discussed in 1998 and is now more widely mentioned in university studies and recent publications – from the Journal of Geodynamics to National Geographic, to blogs reporting opinions of scientists (below).

    Some intuitive calculation may help understanding: A cubic yard of ice weighs nearly a ton. The Antarctic ice sheet is a few miles thick. Earth adjusted to that immense weight over the millennia – now, as ice caps melt, this weight is slowly lifting..

    Today the Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica is quickly melting downward from the surface – dropping in altitude at nearly 16 meters per year. With an area over 5 thousand square kilometers, this glacier holds a lot of cubic meters of ice and means that a lot of weight is now getting shifted into the ocean. Similarly, the melting of glaciers in Greenland and elsewhere will trigger seismically elastic reactions that should be noted for their frequency, intensity and novel locations.

    “…relative to the time period from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s, Earth has been more active over the past 15 years or so.” — geophysicist Stephen S. Gao, Missouri University of Science and Technology.

    This idea is consistent for our age: The Anthropocene Epoch – a geological age where humans make a significant impact. Who knew that human industrial CO2 emissions warming the atmosphere then melting the ice and then the shifting weight would provoke such a rapid and palpable reaction. Such a sudden, fast impact of global warming has so far been missing from this crisis.
    http://www.climatedebatedaily.org/2009/10/seismic-activity-linked-to-global-warming.html

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 6 Jun 2011 @ 4:00 PM

  101. Record atmospheric CO2 concentration measured at Mauna Loa; monthly average May (blue line) above 394 ppm: http://1.usa.gov/MLweek

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 6 Jun 2011 @ 4:22 PM

  102. Greg Eliot. Accumulated sealevel rise since Bligh is less than 30cm – wave height on calm day. Nothing to challenge climate theory here. Its what climate theory projects S/L over next 100 years and beyond that is worrying.

    Comment by Phil Scadden — 6 Jun 2011 @ 5:08 PM

  103. EG:

    So, Ron R, be very afraid of CT scans. You need to have a basis for comparison and you must do the arithmetic. Otherwise, you will be mislead by mere words. Words without the numbers and the comparison mean very little.

    interesting comment, considering …

    [January 2010] While physicians agree that computed tomography (CT) scans are a life-saving diagnostic tool, new research has sparked renewed concern over their safety. One study found disturbing variations in radiation doses among scans, while another estimated that the 72 million CT scans in 2007 could cause 29,000 future cancers.
    James A. Brink, MD, chair of diagnostic radiology at Yale School of Medicine, says the new studies highlight concerns many doctors have had for years.

    “We still don’t know definitely whether medical radiation associated with CT scanning may cause cancer,” says Brink. “However, we must practice in the best interests of our patients and presume that a link exists. As such, we must reduce CT scanning doses to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable, and use CT scanning only when other imaging tests won’t suffice.”

    Comment by dhogaza — 6 Jun 2011 @ 5:14 PM

  104. NISA doubles early fallout estimate
    http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110607a2.html

    Simple rule. Whenever a vested interest gives a figure regarding a disaster involving one of their products always assume it’s worse than they reveal.

    Comment by Ron R. — 6 Jun 2011 @ 5:20 PM

  105. @Prokaryotes

    Half a degree Celcius of warming is bringing on more earthquakes? I don’t even want papers on this, simply your logic.

    Comment by Eric — 6 Jun 2011 @ 6:07 PM

  106. @Greg Eliot
    How much was sea level rise between 1450 and 1600?

    Comment by Eric — 6 Jun 2011 @ 6:10 PM

  107. 96 SecularAnimist: see 69

    99 Prokaryotes: Thanks for the URL Where is the paper on the
    earthquake hockey stick?

    102 dhogaza: If you have cancer, look for benzene.

    85 Ron R.: There is no dead zone at Chernobyl.

    93 Ron R.: That work is normally done by robots, not humans. We have electronics that can survive truly enormous doses of radiation. There is absolutely no reason for humans to enter the containment building.
    “Although radiation may cause cancers at high doses and high dose rates, currently there are no data to unequivocally establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates — below about 10,000 mrem (100 mSv). Those people living in areas having high levels of background radiation — above 1,000 mrem (10 mSv) per year– such as Denver, Colorado have shown no adverse biological effects.”
    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/bio-effects-radiation.html

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Jun 2011 @ 1:50 AM

  108. @ 95 – Patrick 027

    Sensible forcing without PV = 13%
    Sensible forcing with PV = 52% (all the incoming solar power reaching the ground)
    Variation of the sensible forcing caused by PV = 52/13=400%

    If we would be fussy, the produced electric power (10% of incoming power) is used elsewhere and the variation of the sensible forcing for the installation site would be 400*0.9=360%. It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.

    The PV panel acts in the same way of the other devices that transform a high form of energy in another high form: what isn’t transformed is lost as waste heat.

    Allow me a question. If we have two panels having the same surface of capitation, one with conventional cells PV and the other with a concentration device (say 400 suns) which of they will have the higher output power? I think the conventional. That means that the other will have more losses and so more waste heat.

    Comment by Michele — 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:40 AM

  109. I got no response at the end of last month so I’ll post this hoping raypierre will fess up.


    ; This is an idl-type script which will calculate and display the carbon dioxide
    ; emission profile required to hold the atmospheric concentration of
    ; carbon dioxide at a particular target level. The variable t is set to a
    ; target concentration of 450 ppm and can be adjusted to other levels.
    ;
    ; As can be seen when the script is run a substantial period of emissions
    ; at around half of year 2000 level emissions is RREQUIRED to stabilize the
    ; atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at this target level.
    ; The dashed-line in the right-hand plot is half the year 2000 emission level.
    ;
    ; This is contrary to claims made in the popular press by Ray Pierrehumbert and
    ; Andy Revkin that emissions must fall to near zero post peak to stabilize the
    ; atmospheric concentration. Those claims are incorrect. And, the substantial
    ; post peak emissions are extremely policy relevant since they imply that
    ; no further research into alternative energy sources is required to stabilize
    ; the concentration of carbon dioxide. Current technology is entirely adequate.
    ; There is NO EXCUSE to not take all necessary direct action now to cut emissions
    ; using rapid deployment of renewable energy.
    ;
    ; To run this script in the absence of and IDL license, the Fawlty Language can
    ; be used for free. In either case, save this as a file and type '@filename'
    ; at the prompt. You could also cut and past this to the prompt in IDL.
    ;
    ; Reference: Kharecha, P.A., and J.E. Hansen, 2008
    ; Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB3012
    ;

    a=findgen(1000) ;year since 1850

    b=fltarr(1000) ;BAU concentration profile
    b(0)=1
    for i=1,999 do b(i)=b(i-1)*1.02 ;2 percent growth
    ;plot,b(0:150)*4.36+285.,/ynoz ; 370 ppm year 2000
    c=(18.+14.*exp(-a/420.)+18.*exp(-a/70.)+24.*exp(-a/21.)+26.*exp(-a/3.4))/100. ;Kharecha and Hansen eqn 1
    e=fltarr(1000) ;annual emissions
    for i=1,999 do e(i)=b(i)-b(i-1)
    d=fltarr(1000) ; calculated concentration
    t=450.-285. ;target concentration
    f=0 ;flag to end BAU growth

    for i=1,499 do begin & d(i:999)=d(i:999)+e(i)*c(0:999-i)*4.36*2. & if d(i) gt t then begin & e(i+1:999)=e(i)/1.5 & f=1 & endif else if f eq 1 then e(i+1:999)=(t-d(i+1))/4.36/2. & endfor ;factor of two reproduces BAU growth

    !p.multi=[0,2,2]
    plot,a+1850.,d+285.,/ynoz,xtit='Year',ytit='carbon dioxide concentration (ppm)',charsize=1.5 ; atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in ppm showing target achieved
    plot,a(0:499)+1850,e(0:499),xtit='year',ytit='carbon dioxide emissions (AU)',charsize=1.5 ;emission profile to reach target in arbitrary units
    oplot,a(0:499)+1850,fltarr(500)+e(150)/2.,linesty=2 ;half of year 2000 emission level

    ; Chris Dudley, June 7, 2011

    [Response: I'm sorry, Chris I don't have time to debug your code, but I'm letting the comment through so others can have a look at it and try to spot why it apparently yields a different result from any other carbon cycle model I've seen, going right back to Bolin and Eriksson's two box model published in the 1950's. B&E do not do the same problem as Matthews and Caldeira, but their model only has three linear ordinary differential equations in it, and I've programmed it up found that it yields similar results to M&C. The Chapter 8 scripts for Principles of Planetary Climate have some utilities to aid in doing carbonate/bicarbonate equilibrium calculations, but I did not include a Python script for the two-box transient model since I did not discuss transience in the current edition of the book. At some point I'll put the Python script for B&E up, or turn it into a problem, and that will also eventually make its way into the second edition a few years down the road. But remind me, Chris, just what point is your script supposed to make, and what is it I'm supposed to "fess up" to? --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 Jun 2011 @ 7:24 AM

  110. Edward asks “Where is the paper on the
    earthquake hockey stick?”

    Here is a graph, accordingly showing the USGS historical data from here http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/historical.php

    Earthquake Hockey Stick Graph
    http://redhawk500.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/earthquake-graph.jpg

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:45 AM

  111. Michele, please explain your notion of waste heat from a solar panel in relation to that of a tree, a road, a lake, or a roof. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:53 AM

  112. Quote
    Secondly, there also has been a dramatic increase in volcanic activity, both in frequency and numbers of volcanoes coming alive. George Ure over at http://urbansurvival.com/ has compiled this chart: https://redhawk500.wordpress.com/2010/02/15/a-follow-up-on-the-really-heavy-stuff/

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:55 AM

  113. Another page with graphs showing worldwide volcanic activity and earthquake uptake

    http://www.michaelmandeville.com/vortectonics/vortex_correlations2.htm

    So why is it not possible for the USGS to provide these graphs of their own data?

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:59 AM

  114. Michele: The waste heat issue is only of interest for hughly concentrated urban areas. Concentrated Photovoltaics CPV is actually more efficient, because the several hundred to a couple of thousand times concentration the economics favors highly efficient triplejunction cells (circa 40%), versus 15-20% for plane panels. So if you are concerned with the amount of waste heat (or have limited surface area) it is a better solution. I think thin films (12% today) will outcompete CPV however.

    Comment by Thomas — 7 Jun 2011 @ 9:21 AM

  115. Edward Greisch wrote: “96 SecularAnimist: see 69″

    Yes, I read the offensive nonsense you posted there.

    Here is what you are celebrating as the triumphant “survival” of the Fukushima reactors:

    1. Three of the reactors experienced full core meltdowns within hours of the tsunami, as the Japanese authorities have now acknowledged.

    2. There were multiple explosions and fires which destroyed reactor buildings.

    3. Corrosive sea water was used for emergency cooling, which was done out of urgent necessity in spite of the fact it was known at the time this would permanently destroy any prospect of ever operating the reactors again.

    4. The Japanese are still struggling to “stabilize” the reactors, and authorities are now questioning whether the reactors can in fact be “stabilized” within a year of the tsunami event.

    5. The costs of dealing with even the best case situation that is now imaginable are astronomical. TEPCO will likely be bankrupted and will have to be taken over by the Japanese government, which means that the Japanese taxpayers will have to absorb ALL the costs of this disaster.

    And I haven’t even addressed your sophistry about the radiation risk.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:29 AM

  116. EG:

    102 dhogaza: If you have cancer, look for benzene.

    Now there’s some content-free handwaving. Yes, benzene is carcinogenic. This does not mean that exposure to radiation is harmless …

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:48 AM

  117. Edward Greisch at 1:50 AM

    It’s officially called the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and variations thereof.

    The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone, which is sometimes referred to as The Chernobyl Zone, The 30 Kilometer Zone, The Zone of Alienation, or simply The Zone (Ukrainian official designation: Зона відчуження Чорнобильської АЕС, zona vidchuzhennya Chornobyl’s'koyi AES, colloquially: Чорнобильська зона, Chornobyl’s'ka zona оr Четверта зона, Chetverta zona) is the 30 km/19 mi exclusion zone around the site of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster and is administered by a special administration under the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergencies. Geographically, it includes northernmost raions (districts) of the Kiev and Zhytomyr Oblasts (provinces)[dubious – discuss] of Ukraine, and adjoins the country’s border with Belarus. A separately administered Belarusian zone continues across the border.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Nuclear_Power_Plant_Exclusion_Zone

    Here is a photographic account.
    http://blog.thecheaproute.com/exploring-chernobyl-with-google-maps/

    Apparently the Red Forest was hit “the radiation equivalent to 20 times of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki”. “In the post-disaster cleanup operations, the Red Forest was bulldozed and buried in ‘waste graveyards’.[2] The site of the Red Forest remains one of the most contaminated areas in the world today”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Forest

    Doesn’t sound too good to me. They do talk about wildlife returning to the area but personally I think it’s pretty sad that the only place where wildlife feel free to exist is the one place so contaminated by us that we’ve abandoned it.

    You said That work is normally done by robots, not humans. We have electronics that can survive truly enormous doses of radiation. There is absolutely no reason for humans to enter the containment building.

    See, that’s why you should be there so that you can point these things out to them. Seriously though, don’t you think that if they could have they would have by now, especially in a country as technologically modern as Japan?

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong but that quote from the NRC website, first it says that 10,000 mrem (100 mSv) (it doesn’t say how long the exposure) is a “low dose”. Then it calls “above 1,000 mrem (10 mSv) per year” “high levels”. Anyway, as I said, I will accept the judgment of the NAS over that of a group that represents the nuclear industry any day.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/08/business/energy-environment/08nrc.html

    Now, again, you said Fukushima has not yet gone beyond natural background radiation except temporarily very close to the reactor.

    That’s been proved false. Fukushima has gone way beyond background levels in some areas of Japan and above background and legal levels have neither abated nor are they limited to areas only “very close to the reactor”. Will you disavow this statement?

    http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com/2011/03/comparing-japans-radiation-release-to.html

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 11:54 AM

  118. NOAA just came up with their latest ENSO prediction:

    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf

    Most excellent presentation, but the sky contradicts their conclusion http://eh2r.blogspot.com/ , it appears that El-Nino will return sooner.

    IRI graph on the NOAA presentation shows one particular model which trends different than the others Cola CCSM3 have been projecting better in my opinion, giving good predictions lately. Where is this soda pop computer model originating from :)?

    Comment by wayve davidson — 7 Jun 2011 @ 2:18 PM

  119. Speaking of Chernobyl, I want to again refer to wili’s comment earlier in the thread, re: nuclear power.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/06/unforced-variations-june-2011/comment-page-1/#comment-207786

    I happen think these points are extremely important. Look at Chernobyl as an example. They built a steel and concrete “sarcophagus” over it, the exploded Unit 4, but the radiation it contains is so strong that it is barely containing it. So they are, at very high cost and which they are barely able to afford, building a new one, the so-called New Safe Confinement, designed to last 100 years.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/45716.stm

    Note this statement about it:

    “The lifetime of the new confinement would be 100 years. This is enough time to develop new technology for storing radioactive materials and disposing of radioactive waste,’ says Yulia Marusich, a Chernobyl NPP worker.”
    http://rt.com/news/complete-chernobyl-shelter-new/

    That sounds a bit ‘kick the can down the road and hopefully the technology will be there by then to take over’ wishful thinking to me. A big gamble. What if it’s not?

    Just a few years ago, we are told, the entire world economy was on the verge of complete collapse, perhaps back to the stone age, which only a $700 or $800 Billion bailout of the banking and other corrupt industries narrowly averted. So say it did collapse, or say the end of civilization did happen, whether temporary or permanently, for some other reason, let’s say climate change or a third world war or whatever, who would be maintaining all those highly radioactive fuel deposits etc. and for how long? Is there any contingency plan for such an emergency? No. The industry has no plans for such worst case scenarios.
    http://www.propertycasualty360.com/2010/02/01/aig-bailout-saved-economy-from-utter-collapse-geithner-paulson-tell-congress

    According to Wired there is currently around 250,000 tons of radioactive spent fuel in the world. Other places mention up to 300,000 tons. The US has 70,000 tons stored all over the country while Yucca Mountain (at a cost of $100 billion no less) has a capacity for 77,000 tons. So setting aside the fact that a lot of smart people think that YM is unsafe to store the stuff in, what do we do, just keep digging big holes all over the place and chucking it in? Call me silly but it just seems idiotic to be creating hundreds of thousands (and potentially millions) of tons of highly radioactive waste, stuff that has to be stored and babysat safely for many many thousands or even millions of years, far longer than any human civilization has even existed, for a relative moment’s worth of energy! Think of all the variables that could happen to it in the meantime. And remember that old adage about the best-laid plans. Earthquakes, volcanism, erosion, corrosion due to water incursion, political upheaval, direct targeting by enemy nukes, people looking to dig it up for dirty bombs, accidental discovery, all the things that wili thought of etc. etc. What about recycling it? Well that comes with it’s own bag of issues.
    http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2010-09/20/into-eternity-nuclear-waste-finland
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=rethinking-nuclear-fuel-recycling
    http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/07/08/urine-power.html
    http://tinyurl.com/3p535oh

    As I’ve said before, nuclear power is way too volatile an energy source to be left to as unstable a species (and planet) as we currently are (and live upon). Anything with as many serious attendant issues as nuclear does is just best left alone. It’s a waste of the valuable time (and money) we could be using to outfit the world in clean alternatives.

    Again, as I’ve stated in previous threads, does all of this mean that I am forever anti-nuclear. No. Perhaps in the distant future people will, if we survive ourselves, evolve to a more enlightened state and can be in less a rush and more thoughtful about thing’s nuclear. Perhaps mini-nukes buried deep underground, but only if cleaner/safer options aren’t viable for a particular situation (and only if the downside issues have been fixed). Nuclear would definitely come in handy in travel to the stars. But that’s off a ways. Right now though we need to cut our losses and stop beating this dead horse. Let’s leave it in the ground.

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 2:28 PM

  120. #113–Ron R, EG has been furnished with links to studies indicating adverse affects on Chernobyl wildlife, but as you and other commenters have experienced, he’s unable to hear a discouraging word about nukes. Your points are spot-on, but as you say in comment 115 — let’s leave it in the ground.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 7 Jun 2011 @ 3:02 PM

  121. Prokaryotes #106, 108, 109 (earthquake hockeystick)

    I followed your links. They’re silly. Edgar Cayce’s clairvoyant predictions, NASA airbrushing away an approaching planet… Crank city. Enough.

    I don’t know how the historical earthquake list on that USGS web page was put together, but I’ll hazard a guess that it was never meant to be turned into a frequency plot, and that the reason the USGS does not provide these plots is that they know it’s meaningless.

    Generally speaking, you can get a hockey stick out of the frequency of any kind of event if, say, you graft a few years of all-inclusive, real-time monitoring onto a historical record based on god knows what inclusion criteria. For example, plot the number of car crashes in a city based on newspaper clippings for the period 1900-1999 and police statistics for 2000-2010.

    Comment by CM — 7 Jun 2011 @ 3:38 PM

  122. re: 116

    Vitrify the waste and bury it in artificial caverns beneath the water level in the salt deposits of Arizona. As a cavern fills, destroy the access to the cavern and move on. Absent a psychotic amount of effort and absolutely no above-ground security, the waste will just sit there until its harmless. No tectonic activity. No leeching. No terrorists. OTOH, there are more voters in Arizona than Nevada.

    Comment by Jeffrey Davis — 7 Jun 2011 @ 3:58 PM

  123. Re 110 Thomas, 107 Steve Fish – thanks; Re 105 Michele

    - Setting aside the TOA energy balance, the surface energy balance (setting aside storage, and in the ocean, horizontal transport) is
    LW net cooling + sensible cooling + evaporative cooling = solar heating

    As with any other surface in the sun, solar cells will warm up and emit more LW radiation – unless they have high LW albedo, in which case the maximum warming effect would be the loss of net LW cooling (not the loss of LW emission, because the emission from the atmosphere would be reflected upwards in that case) – or unless they don’t warm up as much, in which case they’d have to have a higher conversion efficiency of what they absorb and/or or be reflecting the photons that are below band-gap energy.

    In the case of aluminum mirrors, there may be a loss of net LW cooling (though not as great when the mirrors are aimed away from the zenith, depending on the ground and mirror undersides…). On the other hand, most of the solar waste heat would not be deposited on the mirrors anyway (unless the mirrors double as cooling fins – nice idea! Economic?) – so the waste heat would be coming from the (T)PV cells or more conventional mechanical heat engines, and that could involve radiant cooling (?) or purely air cooling (as can nuclear power, or presumably any other power source) or otherwise evaporative cooling, or liquid water cooling.

    Perhaps waste heat could be circulated in the ground as in hydronic heating systems (with little net water use) and the ground could radiate upward – note this could occur at night with mirrors tilted sideways.

    For desert installations and rooftop installations there wouldn’t be so much evaporative cooling anyway; if you only used the rain water, and all of it, falling on the plant area for cooling (and washing), then you’d come out even, though I think you could get by using less water than that, and runoff could enhance agricultural productivity on some neighboring land if managed well – which would provide evaporative cooling there. If the power plant gets hot because of lack of evaporative and/or net LW cooling, a local updraft may occur which might pull in cooler air from surroundings – this would be problematic if it enhanced local cloud cover; perhaps consideration of local climatological conditions would aid the design of large installations(?). I’ve read that Atlanta has generated it’s own thunderstorm on at least one occasion.

    But anyway, you have to make some farther specifications before you can show that solar power plants would eliminate radiant and evaporative cooling of the surface, because they could be designed not to do that.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Jun 2011 @ 4:24 PM

  124. if you only used the rain water, and all of it, falling on the plant area for cooling (and washing), then you’d come out even,

    Well, actually it might just be the amount falling on the fraction of the area covered by collectors (panels or mirrors), since the evaporation of water from the underlying ground may be proportional to the area open to the air above … (?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Jun 2011 @ 4:28 PM

  125. Edward Greisch 6 Jun 2011 at 12:41 AM said:

    I invite you to invest all of YOUR money in wind and solar. You won’t be the first person to loose your shirt by doing so. Yes, please do convert YOUR town, not mine, to run on wind or solar only, and detach from the grid. The news from your town will be amusing.

    Here are some cities that have or are going solar. Fortunately not everyone is as defeatist as you about clean alternatives.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/11/04/environment-solar-australia-dc-idUSSYD22647720071104
    http://www.renewable-energy-news.info/solar-power-plant-to-provide-entire-texas-town-with-renewable-energy/

    UCLA’s Luskin Center estimates that most or all of LA’s power could be provided by decentralized solar power. That is, solar on every rooftop where viable. That’s what I’ve been saying.

    http://164.67.121.27/files/Downloads/luskincenter/SolarAtlas/LosAngelesSolarAtlas(hi-res).pdf

    “Some of the key findings from this project were as follows:

    - Nearly 1.5 million rooftops throughout Los Angeles County could be used as solar power generators.

    - On the whole, there’s currently enough potential roof space to create 19,000 MW from rooftop solar.

    - The total rooftop solar potential for the city of Los Angeles is over 5,500 MW, which could power the city on most days. (The highest-ever peak in Los Angeles was 6,177.) Of course, the city must have more power capacity than is needed at peak times.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/22/idUS148613522620110322

    As I’ve previously stated I realize that clean alternatives may not at the moment be able to cover everyone all of the time. But demanding that they do, that it be all-or-nothing is unfair, unrealistic and, frankly, stupid. Every watt generated by clean alternatives is one watt of dirty energy (oil, coal and nuclear) that can stay in the ground. If we get, say, 50% of our power from clean through a concerted effort that would take a lot of pressure off big issues like oil depletion, climate change and pollution. It would also buy us some time to develop good clean alternatives for vehicle use. Additionally, the energy left in the ground could be stored for a “rainy day”, you could think of it as money in the bank.

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 4:59 PM

  126. What happened to the original post? The Fukashima situation is degrading over time btw…

    Comment by GLC-SX-MM — 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:14 PM

  127. In this Video James Hansen mentions 4th generation power plants and notice that they burn 99% of the waste fuel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZHGwPzgeqc

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:33 PM

  128. Re CM +117
    The chart uses earthquake magnitude data of strong quakes and the data can be checked at USGS. Though i cannot follow your frequency argument and opinion about other content on this web-page(which is irrelevant).

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 5:40 PM

  129. Oh and to add on to my previous post, it’s not just solar power, there are lots of cool, low profile, rooftop wind turbines too.

    http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/roof-top-wind-turbine.html

    So maybe solar won’t be enough in a particular area, OK, let’s put a wind turbine up there as well. All paid for by diverting the close to trillion dollars annually currently going to the war machine for a couple of years or so (how many times do we need to blow the world up up anyway).

    And of course we need to use any other good source we can. Japan itself, situated as it is on the ring of fire, has a wealth of untapped geothermal and other alternative energies, a of it being wasted at public spas. Whoever convinced the Japanese that a small island like there’s needed 54 nuke plants must have been quite the salesman! Refrigerators/Eskimos? http://www.grist.org/article/2011-04-07-time-to-rethink-japans-energy-future

    We’ll probably still have to use some dirty energy in places, but the point is we need to reverse our priorities, make clean alternatives the energies of first choice and leave the others as a last resort, a bridge to cover everyone, at least until the clean can close the gap. At the very least we save a lot (money, conventional energy and lives in wars for other countries energy).

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:17 PM

  130. Patrick 027, I was addressing my questions to Michele. I don’t understand what point you are making, but if you and Michele agree with the following I am OK:

    The albedo of trees, asphalt roofing, roadways, and solar panels are all in about the same range near 0.15 (or 15% of light is reflected). What is absorbed is converted to latent and sensible heat that both can only be removed from earth by radiation. Calling energy absorption by a tree “waste heat” is silly, and the almost infinitesimally small excess heat generated by PV solar panels that would only be added to the earth’s heat budget if they were placed in a region with a higher albedo than the panels is not worth considering. Furthermore, I want a definition of “waste heat.” Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:24 PM

  131. I think I screwed up the link to the alibaba site. Anyway there are a lot of great wind power models out there.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=rooftop+%22wind+power%22+turbine&tbm=isch&hl=en&gbv=2

    Walter Pearce at 3:02 PM

    I hear you. Apologies. I had some spare time on my hands. Will try to cool it. But you know how it goes sometimes.

    Comment by Ron R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:42 PM

  132. To CM’s criticisms (117) on Prokaryote’s (106) earthquake hockeystick: “you can get a hockey stick out of the frequency of any kind of event if, say, you graft a few years of all-inclusive, real-time monitoring onto a historical record based on god knows what inclusion criteria.”

    I would add that both “deadliness” and “destructiveness” would change in time even if the earthquakes causing them were the same (population and economic growth in the seismic zones).

    And that despite Prokaryote’s assertion that the graph is
    “showing the USGS historical data from here http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/historical.php
    when you actually check this web page, say, for year 1965

    - you find 12 earthquakes magn 6.0-8.0 (10 with listed fatalities)
    - while the Prokaryotes’ graph shows only … 1 or 2^*
    (^* “1 or 2″ because it is unclear which of the two bars corresponds to 1965)

    So, what criteria have been used to get from value of 12 on the USGS page to 1 or 2 in the Prokaryotes’ graph?

    And why his graph talking about the “Deadly@Destructive Earthquakes” excludes the … strongest (i.e. M >8.0) earthquakes ?

    Comment by Piotr — 7 Jun 2011 @ 6:43 PM

  133. Japan to report nuclear ‘melt-throughs’ to UN

    http://technology.inquirer.net/1221/japan-to-report-nuclear-melt-throughs-to-un/

    Comment by Adam R. — 7 Jun 2011 @ 7:34 PM

  134. Here is another graph with earthquake magnitude, which shows a general uptake but includes low magnitude quakes too.

    Deadly earthquakes since 1900. horizontal axis: year, vertical axis: magintude (the exact base unit of each entry varied in the data source). The values are as accurate or complete as the measurement equipment and measurement density was at a given time as given in the data source.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Earthquakes-deadly-1900-magnitude.png

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 7 Jun 2011 @ 8:24 PM

  135. Ron. Urban areas are a terrible place for windturbines. First because of the rough topography urban winds are very turbulent, which is not good for turbines. Secondarily there is a safety issue, blades do occasionally fail, and the public is excluded from the vicinity of windturbines for a multiple of the blade diameter. Scale down a windturbine and its cost effectiveness becomes plumments. There is a reason they keep making them larger and larger, with current research envisaging 5-15MW turbines. Of course there is no need for a city to be totally supplied by renewables generated from within the cities boundary, in fact the larger and more varied the collection area the better the time distribution of power. That is an important issue for time varying power sources.

    Comment by Thomas — 7 Jun 2011 @ 9:44 PM

  136. Prokaryotes:

    Though i cannot follow your frequency argument and opinion about other content on this web-page(which is irrelevant).

    The other content speaks to credibility, of which that website appears to have none …

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:28 PM

  137. (124) Prokaryotes says:
    “Re CM +117
    The chart uses earthquake magnitude data of strong quakes and the data can be checked at USGS.”

    - I checked. For 1965 USGS website lists 12 earthquakes with magn. between 6 and 8, while your graph referring to the very same site and the same year shows only 1 or 2 earthquakes (I am not sure whether 1 or 2 because of the unclear format of the graph).

    ” Though i cannot follow your frequency argument and opinion about other content on this web-page(which is irrelevant).”

    - Really? I thought it was quite straightforward – CM answered your question why USGS didn’t produce their own graph by suggesting that they probably knew it would be misleading – comparing apples and watermelons: many earthquakes recorded today would have been missed in the past. So looking for a temporal pattern in such unequal dataset would mistake changes in observation technology for changes in seismic activity.
    But then again, if you have a puck, everything looks like a hockey stick, eh?

    Comment by Piotr — 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:37 PM

  138. Re 126 Steve Fish –

    The albedo of trees, asphalt roofing, roadways, and solar panels are all in about the same range near 0.15 (or 15% of light is reflected)..

    Yes, if local effective albedo includes the energy carried away as electricity/etc. Some land surfaces get around 0.2 or even above 0.3, though; PV cells with combined albedo and efficiency less than that would have some net local warming effect.

    Calling energy absorption by a tree “waste heat” is silly, – yes, of course; in the context of energy conversion the unused heat production can be called ‘waste’, but it is good to note that solar heating occurs generally.

    and the almost infinitesimally small excess heat

    At least globally, agreed. Presumably also regionally; locally I’d guess any effects would be like urban heat islands (we have such islands distributed regionally and I haven’t heard of a particularly important regional-scale impact by them).

    definition of “waste heat.”

    Of some flux of energy available to a conversion device, that which ends up as heat and is not used (in any intended way).

    - Re Michele – another point – so the solar panels or heat engine exhaust gets warm and for the former if not the later, depending on locality, evapotranspiration may not be as much as for the solar-heated surface that would have otherwise been there. Well, if the panels are hot they lose more heat by radiation and also sensible heat. Lack of evapotranspiration will mean higher temperatures than otherwise, and the air temperature downwind would be elevated a little. But where the runoff evaporates, the temperature may be cooler and if the air mixes between those places (depends on layout), perhaps it comes out even on a somewhat larger scale. What happens to the ground temperature around the panels? Because we’re not worried about the native ecosystem that inhabits the panels themselves. Consider panels tilted to face somewhat equatorward will cast some shadows on land surfaces that can still emit radiation upward somewhat.

    And it seems to me this wouldn’t be much more than the heating effect of using nuclear or coal or geothermal to generate the same amount of power. Wind, hydroelectric, tidal and wave power would be the choices for having zero net direct heating effect.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 7 Jun 2011 @ 10:58 PM

  139. (130) Prokaryotes says:
    “Here is another graph with earthquake magnitude, which shows a general uptake but includes low magnitude quakes too.”

    No, it does not show “general uptake” in the number of earthquakes, but merely “uptake” in the number of earthquakes that caused at least 1 recorded fatality and that’s very different, for the reasons already discussed here: many times more people living in the seismic zones and better reporting of individual deaths.

    And the information on this is already in your graph – the number of larger earthquakes that kill many people does not change much – the “uptake” is only in weaker earthquakes, because the same weak earthquake hitting, say, Indonesia in 1900, would have a much smaller chance to kill at least 1 person and have the information on this death communicated to the rest of the world (the conditions for appearing in the graph) than the same earthquake in the same place in 2010, when the population is 5 times larger and the media coverage and local scientific network – incomparable to that of 1900.

    The same you can see in the very weak (magn. 2-3) earthquakes – they appear ONLY in the last 25 years of the graph, not because they became suddenly more frequent or more lethal, but because there are more people so the chance of a freak fatal accident to _someone_ ,and therefore of getting a data point on the graph, increases.

    Comment by Piotr — 7 Jun 2011 @ 11:37 PM

  140. Prokaryotes at 5:33 PM

    Unfortunately I can’t watch videos on my dinosaur of a computer. I am going (again) to try to get out of this debate however:

    #1. Do we have decades to wait? Meanwhile the NRC in the US is approving 20 yr extensions on old tech plants right and left. That’s a lot more waste build up. Where are we going to put it?

    There are 104 nuclear reactors currently operating in the US, all of which were granted initial licenses for 40 years. The NRC has approved renewals for 63 of those plants, and is currently considering extensions for 12 more. Every plant has gotten the green light, nuclear watchdogs say, because of NRC rule changes in the early 1990s that limited the factors regulators evaluate when considering a relicensing application.
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/japan-nuclear-regulatory-commission

    #2. How much will they cost?

    #3. Are they impervious to Murphy’s Law?

    I’m no expert so I’m going to quote what Sovacool & Cooper have to say about Gen IV plants (There’s more if you want to read the article).
    http://www.spp.nus.edu.sg/Faculty_Benjamin_K_Sovacool.aspx

    Nuclear Nonsense: Why Nuclear Power is No Answer to Climate Change and the World’s Post-Kyoto Energy Challenges
    http://74.125.155.132/scholar?q=cache:3v_JKHhmzoIJ:scholar.google.com/&hl=en&as_sdt=1,5

    While, historically, the costs of nuclear power plants appear to be low, in the near future the cost of building new nuclear plants will be outrageously high, and the promise of Generation IV reactors are entirely theoretical and will require billions of dollars of further R&D before the industry can construct even an experimental reactor” (p. 25)

    Researchers at the Commissariat à l’Energie
    Atomique in France looked at five Generation IV reactors and theoretical
    models of their associated fuel cycles from 2000 to 2150. They found that
    Generation IV reactors entailed much higher reprocessing and disposal costs compared to conventional recycling and fuel disposal and estimated that the Generation IV pathway would cost 30% to 45% more than business as usual.
    ” (pps. 34-35)

    Advanced nuclear R&D is also costly and highly uncertain. The National Research Council of the National Academies issued a highly critical assessment of GNEP and the Generation IV program, arguing that its rapid deployment schedule entailed considerable financial and technical risks and prematurely narrowed the selection of acceptable reactor designs.270 The report also faulted the DOE for not seeking sufficient independent peer reviewers for projects and for failing to adequately address waste management challenges.271 For example, because higher temperature reactors tend to burn up more of their fuel at faster rates, they operate less efficiently than conventional units, and result in more radioactive
    waste per unit of energy generated.272

    A study commissioned by the Office of Science and Innovation in
    the United Kingdom found that R&D on “all of the [Generation IV] systems
    face several key challenges” that will require considerable expense and
    ingenuity to overcome.273 The report identified significant gaps in materials technology, especially in designing materials that can resist irradiation and neutron damage while operating at high temperatures and minimizing stress-corrosion cracking.274 Fast reactor systems will likely use fuels containing significant quantities of trans-uranium elements, necessitating a shift away from uranium assembles to ones based on nitride or carbide fuels.275 The manufacturing processes for these fuels, however, have not yet even been established.276

    Even if it is perfected, future Generation IV technology will not
    solve the problem of radioactive waste. The radiotoxicity for the most haz-
    ardous forms of spent nuclear fuel is at least 100,000 years.341 Partitioning and transmutation are considered theoretical ways of reducing the waste, but even if technically mastered through some sort of breakthrough, their potential is severely limited.342 Nuclear engineers at the CEA in France have warned that radiotoxicity can only be reduced by a factor of ten if all plutonium is recycled, and by a factor of 100 if all minor actinides are burned.343 This means, at a minimum, that spent fuel will remain dangerously radioactive for at least 1000 to 10,000 years. That is ten centuries, presuming a best case scenario. Also, the technologies needed to attain this level of waste reduction, either fast reactors or Accelerator Driven Systems, will require technological breakthroughs in separating actinides, reprocessing advanced fuels, and coupling transmutation technologies to existing reactors.344 As one study concluded, no single country has sucessfully deployed Partitioning and Transmutation technologies, and no attempt has been made to pursue serious regional or international cooperation on these efforts.345

    Sounds a bit like more give us a bunch more money and time to experiment, pie-in-the-sky kind of delaying doing anything about clean energies stuff that we’ve already seen so much of from the nuke industry. I tend to like simpler, safer, lower complexity technologies that are closer to home.

    Comment by Ron R. — 8 Jun 2011 @ 1:23 AM

  141. The Australian Broadcasting Comission (ABC) fair and balanced view

    The ABC’s war on facts
    This opinion piece from Ted Lapkin appeared on the ABC Drum 28 April 2011.
    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/387130.html

    This is the relevant quote from Lapkin

    “In a moment of unguarded candour, a major climate change guru once explained why he and his ideological fellow travellers didn’t hesitate to play fast and loose with the truth. This revelation came during a 1989 interview with Discover Magazine, when Stanford Professor of Global Change Stephen Scheider said: “We are not just scientists, but human beings as well. Like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have”

    The ABC policy for opinion pieces is that the views of others should not be distorted.
    After putting in a complaint that by omission of the full quote Lapkin had distorted the original meaning of Prof Schneider’s plea I have received the following reply from Claire Gorman, AACA

    “Of relevance to your concerns however the principles state “The accuracy standard requires that opinions be conveyed accurately, in the sense that quotes should be accurate and any editing should not distort the meaning of the opinion expressed.”
    On review we note that in editing the quote, Ted Lapkin is highlighting one of the points made by Schneider about the manner in which scientists might act in the face of an issue. We are of the view that he does not misrepresent Schneider on this point. He merely omits the second key point made by Schneider that: “This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.”
    Accordingly, we are of the view that there has been no breach of editorial standards in the use of this quotation.
    Thank you again for taking the time to write and express your views.

    Yours sincerely
    Claire M Gorman Audience and Consumer Affairs

    Comment by john byatt — 8 Jun 2011 @ 2:22 AM

  142. Steve:
    I use the expression “waste heat” referring to the amount of the high quality energy (mechanical, electric, EM …) that degenerates to heat because the losses. We know very well that whereas any high quality energy can be transformed (integrally and spontaneously) to heat, conversely the vice versa doesn’t occur naturally because we need to use some work to do that. In other words, the heat has the poorest quality.

    Thomas:
    Of course, if the global efficiency of the PV plant increases up so that 0.29Eth/Es becomes less than one, then my claim vanishes.

    Patrick:
    A PV panel is used with the aim to capture the incoming solar power as much as possible (theorically the 100%) and, when it has been installed, it shadows some surface of the ground causing the decrease of its radiant and evaporative cooling which is replaced by the sole air cooling of the panel.
    I agree with you about the auto-generated thunderstorms. The PV plants are sources of local gradients of the temperature and a gas which moves adiabatically experiences an acceleration equivalent to Cp*gradT, that’s 1000X the temperature gradient.

    Comment by Michele — 8 Jun 2011 @ 3:44 AM

  143. Prokaryotes #124,

    First off, I see now that the chart you linked to in #106 is presented as an “official USGS graph”. Is it, and if so where does it appear? Or did someone else make it from the USGS list (as I assumed)?

    Anyway, the chart you linked to in #106 shows the number of quakes between magnitude 6 and 8 per year from a USGS list of selected earthquakes of historical interest. I have reproduced it (with some differences, like the 1965 discrepancy noted by Piotr above). From 1900 to 2001, no more than 13 such quakes are listed for any one year. From 2002 to 2009, the range was 23–51 quakes per year. This is an amazing jump. (It is part of a similarly stark jump in the total number of quakes.)

    Looking at these data, one might conclude that in 2002, the Earth suddenly started taking boogie lessons, and that a staggering cover-up has kept us ignorant of the fact. Or one might conclude that far more inclusive or complete records of quakes have been included in the list since 2002, producing a false upward trend when added to a less complete historical record for 1900-2001. Population growth, economic growth and settlement changes could also produce a false trend, as Piotr noted, but I don’t think they account for the sudden discontinuity we see here.

    So the first thing one wants to know, when someone claims an earthquake hockey stick or similar, is whether they have tried to eliminate that kind of bias and get consistently complete records — or representative samples — over the whole period. Pretty hard to do from a list of selected quakes someone has deemed to be of historical interest.

    (You can see at a glance that the Wikipedia graph you point to at #130 paints a quite different picture, with a rise in recorded quakes in the 1970s rather than the 2000s.)

    This Redhawk character doesn’t state his methodology. This is where the other content in his post does become relevant. If he’s a crank, you should assume he has not done any checking that might contradict what he wants to believe. Is he a crank? Well, he claims NASA is covering up an “approaching planetary body.” Your call.

    Follow me now?

    There’s some interesting, if speculative, science being done on possible climate-earthquake links. This is not it. Give it a rest.

    Comment by CM — 8 Jun 2011 @ 4:23 AM

  144. A cartoonist for Australian “New Media” outfit Crikey (one of only a few that a sympathetic to AGW) has declared Friday 10th June to be The Official Hug a Climate Scientist Day.

    Comment by Damien — 8 Jun 2011 @ 6:24 AM

  145. Although radiation may cause cancers at high doses and high dose rates, currently there are no data to unequivocally establish the occurrence of cancer following exposure to low doses and dose rates [...].

    Yep. In related news, the wind is only known to rustle the leaves of trees within earshot.

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 8 Jun 2011 @ 7:59 AM

  146. Cm says 139 “There’s some interesting, if speculative, science being done on possible climate-earthquake links. This is not it.”

    I think you misunderstood my postings, because i did not claim that these images were accurate, nor did i claim that this is tied to climate / earthquake links. The graphs are found with a quick google search and there are similar graphs too. And someone here asked for it, which made me look it up.

    I agree we cannot have the best data for recent historical earthquakes, but that doesn’t mean we can draw conclusion from todays observations. I don’t know how accurate the seismic observations were, but i guess starting in the late 40′s should give a good picture, especially with the observation of big quakes.

    CM says 139 “So the first thing one wants to know, when someone claims an earthquake hockey stick or similar, is whether they have tried to eliminate that kind of bias and get consistently complete records”

    The first thing you want to do to define earthquake record bias, which has become not clear with the argument you provide. And secondly i only provided a graph which shows a hockey stick i did not claim this was accurate. I provided it to see the reaction and if the graph really is robust. It now turns out this was not the case, according to some fact check. Thank you for that!

    And concerning recorded seismic bias, for example if you say, today are more people around which leads to bigger life lose, one could argue we have today building codes which reduces life lose.

    Further i do not agree with your statements in regards to climate and earthquake links, as the science here seems quiet robust. And again this has nothing to do with the special graphs we discuss.

    **** Further, the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make. That high magnitude earthquakes are on the rise(And latest science suggest this could be due to climate change – sea level rise).

    “We are not having more earthquakes than usual,” said Lisa Grant Ludwig of the University of California, Irvine. “What we are having is earthquakes with a bigger impact as the world’s population increases, and is concentrated in places where earthquakes are likely to strike.”

    Geoff Abers of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University had a different take:

    “In general, no, but it is true there have been more M>8 earthquakes [magnitude 8.0 or higher] per year in the last eight years than the two to three decades previous,” Abers said. “There is some debate, currently, as to whether or not that increase is statistically significant, and if it is, why that should occur.” http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/japan-earthquake-record-magnitude-future/story?id=13118435

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 8 Jun 2011 @ 8:34 AM

  147. As a matter of interest, 2GB was originally owned by The Theosophical Society. The “GB” refers to Giordano Bruno.

    Just sayin’.

    Comment by Ezzthetic — 8 Jun 2011 @ 9:38 AM

  148. UAH channel 5 temps are skyrocketing. About to surpass 2010 level. This following a very strong La Nina. 2012 could be very wam.

    Comment by Esop — 8 Jun 2011 @ 9:56 AM

  149. Re 138 Michele

    which is replaced by the sole air cooling of the panel.
    and radiant cooling of the panel.
    And if the ground has moisture than the heated air from the panel may be mixed downward and be evaporatively cooled; if not mixed downward then the ground would stay cool and wet; if the ground is dry then it is either because it would have been dry anyway (no evaporative cooling even without PV panel) or else there was enhanced runoff; if there is runoff it might be used elsewhere, and then the issue is whether or not, given local conditions and the ability to manage runoff, whether it is better to allow runoff or have the plant’s ground hold the water.

    I agree with you about the auto-generated thunderstorms.

    I’m not aware, though, that this has become a problem for Atlanta, Georgia. I’m curious about how a solar power plant could affect local cloud and precipitation patterns, but I’m not sure it would be easy to have a strong effect. With high enough albedo and efficiency a cooling effect might be advantageous for decreasing cloud cover over the plant; however, the effects may be translated downwind from the source and dispersed (consider that lake-effect snow doesn’t stay over the lake all the time; I think there is a distance the air travels over the lake before clouds and precipitation develop). The lack of evaporative cooling would correspond to dryer air; if the runoff from the plant goes upwind and if air from where the runoff went comes in, it could tend to be cooler from enhanced evaporative cooling there; it might perhaps only then get back to ‘normal’ upon sensible heating from the plant, although perhaps not, as evaporative cooling slows with greater humidity, etc. … If you know of any research into this, feel free to share it. I am acknowledging there can be effects but it isn’t clear to me that they would be problematic, to a point that we should largely stay clear of solar power, or that it would be much worse than nuclear, or coal or gas, even setting aside the more pressing issues of greenhouse emissions and perhaps safety. Certainly these arguments have little to do with roof-top solar and perhaps not as much to do with desert solar (relative lack of evapotranspiration), depending on effective albedo.

    The PV plants are sources of local gradients of the temperature and a gas which moves adiabatically experiences an acceleration equivalent to Cp*gradT, that’s 1000X the temperature gradient.

    Acceleration is not in units of K/m. Acceleration = pressure gradient/density. pressure gradient = g * gradient in density * thickness of layer. Etc.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 8 Jun 2011 @ 11:29 AM

  150. Re #77, CM,
    thank you, that answers my question (#46).

    Comment by Lawrence McLean — 8 Jun 2011 @ 12:00 PM

  151. (142) Prokaryotes: ” And concerning recorded seismic bias, for example if you say, today are more people around which leads to bigger life lose, one could argue we have today building codes which reduces life lose.”

    That was actually my point, not SM’s, and no, one could not nullify it by saying that “today’s building codes reduce life loss”, because the vast majority of the population growth has happened in the developing countries, where building codes of slums, shanty towns and favellas are not as helpful as you imagine them to be. See – Haiti.

    And you don’t have to take my word for it – look at your own graph – the second one, with number of earthquakes causing fatalities – and you would see that in the last few decades people are getting killed increasingly by weaker and weaker earthquakes, some of them as weak as 2. That’s 10,000 times weaker than a magnitude 6. Some building codes …

    Comment by Piotr — 8 Jun 2011 @ 12:07 PM

  152. Prokaryotes,

    > I think you misunderstood my postings, because i did not claim that these
    > images were accurate, nor did i claim that this is tied to climate /
    > earthquake links.

    Then why post here?

    > The graphs are found with a quick google search and there are similar
    > graphs too.

    Do you think that establishes their credibility?

    > The first thing you want to do to define earthquake record bias

    Not sure what you mean. Earthquake records are subject to the same kind of bias as other records.

    > some fact check. Thank you for that!

    You’re welcome. But if you let others do your basic fact checking, at least provide a health warning, e.g. “This graph I found on some blog looks scary. Could someone tell me if this is credible science?”

    > one could argue we have today building codes which reduces life los[s]

    Yes, that’s a factor too, pulling in the other direction. Bravo! Now you’re thinking.

    > climate and earthquake links … the science here seems quiet robust

    I see you posted some legit science links a page ago. I won’t argue. I I’m not at all qualified to judge their work. Interesting topic for a (guest) post here, perhaps?

    Comment by CM — 8 Jun 2011 @ 1:14 PM

  153. OT, but of some interest, I think, in terms of what mitigation of a (relatively) small-scale ecological catastrophe costs ($25 million and still rising, for a very partial recovery) and what it takes.

    For context, I was told that when my grandfather passed through the Sudbury region, early in the 20th century, it was typical Northern Ontario boreal forest. By the time I passed through it in the 1960′s, it was a desolate landscape, suitable only for training astronauts–NASA actually did some training for Lunar missions there–and filming LOTR scenes set in Mordor (not done, but trust me, it would have been a natural.)

    Now you see trees once again from the highways–but I’m told the infilling away from the roads is very far from complete.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/story/2011/06/06/environment-sudbury-forest-floor-transplant.html

    (It’d also be a an interesting case study in localized climate effects of land use changes, come to think of it.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 8 Jun 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  154. CM says “This graph I found on some blog looks scary. Could someone tell me if this is credible science?”

    Thanks for the tip, will do that the next time.

    CM says “Interesting topic for a (guest) post here, perhaps?”

    Yes, that is a great idea!

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 8 Jun 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  155. Is it possible for anyone to check and see if models project Arctic Ocean near surface lapse rates varying a lot during summer days? This may be important for ice melting rates, if Arctic GCM models do not vary the lapse rate substantially diurnally I may explain why they may not be accurate in calculating ice melts.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 8 Jun 2011 @ 2:00 PM

  156. 144 Esop

    I concur through other means, sun disk sizes are expanding greater than supper warm 2010. And also I am working on detecting El-Nino trends from afar, as per my website.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 8 Jun 2011 @ 2:03 PM

  157. Anybody up for a spot of outreach/crowdsourcing?

    OK. So WUWT is compiling ‘AGW quotes’. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/06/07/creating-an-agw-quotation-collection/

    I’ve submitted a handful as a counter to the ‘climategate’ email quotes, op-ed nonsense, selective, fabricated and mistranslated soundbites so far received, feel free to pop over there and add a few of your own … this could be fun.

    ——

    “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.”

    Naomi Oreskes surveys the literature

    The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Science 2004
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

    ——

    “The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term
    reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.”

    The National Academies of Science of Japan, Russia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the UK Royal Society and the US NAS.

    http://www.nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

    ——

    “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact .”

    UK House of Commons Science & Technology Committee http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387/387i.pdf

    “We saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit”

    Oxburgh Panel http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/387/387i.pdf

    “On the specific allegations made against the behaviour of CRU scientists, we find that their rigour and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.”

    The Independent Climate Change E-mails Review http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

    “Petitioners say that emails disclosed from CRU provide evidence of a conspiracy to manipulate data. The media coverage after the emails were released was based on email statements quoted out of context and on unsubstantiated theories of conspiracy. The CRU emails do not show either that the science is flawed or that the scientific process has been compromised. EPA carefully reviewed the CRU emails and found no indication of improper data manipulation or misrepresentation of results.”

    US EPA ‘Myths vs Facts.’ http://epa.gov/climatechange/endangerment/myths-facts.html

    ——

    “The existence of a strong and positive water-vapor feedback means that projected business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions over the next century are virtually guaranteed to produce warming of several degrees Celsius. The only way that will not happen is if a strong, negative, and currently unknown feedback is discovered somewhere in our climate system.”

    Dessler et al 2008 http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/229/Dessler_et_al_2008b.pdf

    The water vapour feedback has been observed, measured, is in line with the model predictions, and is dangerous.

    Comment by pjclarke — 8 Jun 2011 @ 4:48 PM

  158. Wayne ‘…if Arctic GCM models do not vary the lapse rate substantially diurnally’

    Do you mean seasonally rather than diurnally? At midsummer there is only day – which is why insolation is so much more powerful at the pole rather than the equator. There’s just more of it.

    Comment by adelady — 8 Jun 2011 @ 5:26 PM

  159. (142) Prokaryotes: “Further, the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make”

    Huh? Are we reading the text? Let me compare your position with that of
    “scientists” you quote

    - YOU claim that number of earthquakes have dramatically increased

    - one scientist, L.G. Ludwig CONTRADICTS you by saying: “We are not having more earthquakes than usual” and, furthermore, uses the very argument about the population growth you have questioned

    - the other scientist, G. Abers, contradicts you too by saying that there have been NO overall increase in earthquakes (“In general, no [increase]“), and the only area where he notes an increase is in quakes you explicitely EXCLUDEDfrom your analysis (your graph plots ONLY quakes “between magnitude 6 and 8″), and ifd it were not enough, Abers, qualifies hios observation further it by stating that there is a debate “as to whether or not that increase is statistically significant”.

    How you managed to construe this as unequivocal support to your claims -
    remains a mystery.

    Comment by Piotr — 8 Jun 2011 @ 6:07 PM

  160. Re #153

    Hi Wayne,

    No the GCMs don’t simulate the lapse rate correctly. See Luers & Bareiss (2010) http://www.springerlink.com/content/37752065540r2047/
    They use paramaterisation. For instance see David Archers’s MODTRAN model at http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.orig.html

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 8 Jun 2011 @ 7:50 PM

  161. I’m surprised no one seems to have mentioned the Oklo natural reactors in this discussion. Given human propensity for stupidity, nuclear power may not be a good idea for other reasons, but it looks like waste may not be that big of an issue. These natural reactors operated for millenia 1.7 billion years ago and had very little migration of waste products (http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/Files/Okloreactor.pdf)

    Comment by Don Gisselbeck — 8 Jun 2011 @ 9:37 PM

  162. The Earth is Full

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/opinion/08friedman.html

    Comment by Ron R. — 8 Jun 2011 @ 10:04 PM

  163. Prokaryotes: Thank you very much.

    112 dhogaza: EVACUATE DENVER!!!!
    If you live in Chernobyl the total radiation dose you get each year is 390 millirem. That’s natural plus residual from the accident and fire. In Denver, Colorado, the natural dose is over 1000 millirem/year. Denver gets more than 2.56 times as much radiation as Chernobyl! But Denver has a low cancer rate. People still live in Chernobyl.

    Denver has a lower cancer rate than the US Gulf Coast because the Gulf Coast has oil refineries. Oil refineries dump millions of gallons of benzene into the air every year, causing cancer. It is a matter of relative risk. You will never get away from risk as long as you are alive. ALL energy is risky, so all energy sources involve risk. If you want to avoid all risk, die.

    If you are against nuclear power, you are working for the coal industry. As long as you keep messing around with wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, the coal industry is safe. There is no way wind, solar, geothermal and wave power can replace coal, and they know it. Hydrogen fusion could, if it worked. Hydrogen fusion has been “hopeful” for half a century so far. I don’t expect that to change any time soon.

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed. Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business. Nuclear power HAS put coal out of business in France. France uses 30 year old American technology. So here is the deal: Keep being afraid of all things nuclear and die either when [not if] civilization collapses or when H2S comes out of the ocean and Homo “Sapiens” goes extinct. OR: Get over your paranoia and kick the coal habit and live. Which do you choose?

    Nuclear power ends global warming and the human race lives.
    No nuclear power causes the coal industry cash flow to continue to be $100 Billion per year in the US and Homo Sap goes extinct. The choice is yours, unfortunately.

    The question isn’t even whether renewables could or could not replace coal. It is whether electric generating companies will willingly replace coal with renewables. They won’t. Why? Simple: They make money with coal, nuclear and hydro. They loose money with renewables. If they loose money, they go out of business. If they go out of business, we go back to the 19th Century. Civilization collapses.

    The NRC is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, not the Atomic Energy Commission.

    All natural rocks contain most natural elements. Coal is a rock. The average concentration of uranium in coal is 1 or 2 parts per million. Illinois coal contains up to 103 parts per million uranium. Coal also contains the radioactive decay products of uranium. A 1000 million watt coal fired power plant burns 4 million tons of coal each year. If you multiply 4 million tons by 1 part per million, you get 4 tons of uranium. Most of that is U238. About .7% is U235. 4 tons = 8000 pounds. 8000 pounds times .7% = 56 pounds of U235. An average 1 billion watt coal fired power plant puts out 56 to 112 pounds of U235 every year. There are only 2 places the uranium can go: Up the stack or into the cinders. Chernobyl put as much radiation into the air as one coal fired power plant does in 7 years and 5 months. Coal fired power plants do it all the time.

    115, 121 Ron R.: As I have told you before: France recycles spent nuclear fuel. Russia recycles spent nuclear fuel. The US used to recycle spent nuclear fuel, until some of it wound up in Israel.

    There was no nuclear explosion at Chernobyl. There was a steam explosion that removed the roof that was not bolted down. Then there was a fire. 136 Soviet built reactors are or were primitive Generation One reactors. None of them have containment buildings. What happened at Chernobyl cannot happen in the US. Three Mile Island had a containment building. Even though the meltdown was just as bad as Chernobyl, there were zero injuries and zero deaths at Three Mile Island. There have been zero deaths from radiation at Fukushima even though Japanese standards are lower than American standards.

    “But demanding that they do, that it be all-or-nothing is unfair, unrealistic and, frankly, stupid. Every watt generated by clean alternatives is one watt of dirty energy (oil, coal and nuclear) that can stay in the ground. If we get, say, 50% of our power from clean through a concerted effort that would take a lot of pressure off big issues like oil depletion, climate change and pollution. ”

    Fine, but not good enough. We are now at 394 ppm CO2 alone and over 450 ppm CO2 equivalent. We need to be at 350 ppm CO2 + equivalents. If this were 1940, fine. It isn’t. We need to shut down coal completely by the end of 2015. Not 30%, completely. The consequences of not doing so are dire. France can build a nuclear power plant in 5 years, so we can too.

    118 Jeffrey Davis: New Mexico has a nuclear “waste” repository for military and government use. But again, nuclear fuel is recyclable. It is very wasteful to throw away valuable spent fuel. The real problem is keeping other countries [Israel, Iran] from stealing it.

    131 Thomas: Thank you.

    PS:
    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/28/np-cc-what-now/

    Standard Disclaimer: I do not now and never have received any money or anything else of value from the nuclear power industry except electricity which I pay for. I have never worked for the nuclear power industry or any of its advertisers. I do not own stock in any corporation. I have never owned stock in the nuclear power industry and I don’t even know anybody who does to my knowledge. My sole income is from my federal government retirement.

    My sole motive for commenting here is that GW is dangerous, and I want to help RC.

    138 Ron R.: “Uranium mining is dangerous and extremely damaging to the environment. Mines are either open pits up to 250 meters deep, or under-ground caverns similar to conventional coal shafts.32 Another extraction “technique involves subjecting natural uranium to in situ leaching where hundreds of tons of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and ammonia are injected into the [uranium-rich rock deep in the earth’s] strata and then pumped up again after three to twenty-five years, yielding uranium that has been leached over time from treated rocks.””
    1. Baking soda can be substituted for sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and ammonia.
    2. 4 million tons of coal equals 1/2 pound of U235 if you recycle. Which mine makes the bigger scar: coal or uranium?
    3. Wind turbines are using rare earth elements from China. Mining those rare earth elements creates a great deal of pollution.

    “significant lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions”
    Reference book: “Power to Save the World; The Truth About Nuclear Energy” by Gwyneth Cravens, 2007 Finally a truthful book about nuclear power. This book is very easy to read and understand. Gwyneth Cravens is a former anti-nuclear activist.

    “Wind turbines produce a total of 58 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Nuclear power plants produce a total of 30 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour, the lowest.

    Coal plants produce the most, between 966 and 1306 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Solar power produces between 100 and 280 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Hydro power produces 240 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Natural gas produces between 439 and 688 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour. ”

    Remember the total is the sum of direct emissions from burning fuel and indirect emissions from the life cycle, which means the industrial processes required to build it. Again, nuclear comes in the lowest. Nuclear would produce even less CO2 per kilowatt hour if the safety were lowered to the same level as other sources of electricity. Switching from coal to nuclear is a 97% reduction in electricity’s 40% of our CO2 output.

    Who are BENJAMIN K. SOVACOOL* & CHRISTOPHER COOPER working for?

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/09/renewables-are-not-sufficient-p1/
    “But I reiterate — this strong support for nuclear does NOT make me ‘anti-renewables’ (or worse, a ‘renewable energy denier‘, a thoroughly unpleasant and wholly inaccurate aspersion). Indeed, under the right circumstances, I think renewables might be able to make an important contribution (e.g., see here). Instead, my reticence to throw my weight confidently behind an ’100% renewable energy solution’ is based on my judgement that such an effort would prove grossly insufficient, as well as being plain risky. And given that the stakes we are talking about are so high (the future of human society, the fates of billions of people, and the integrity of the biosphere), failure is simply not an option.”

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2011/05/12/renewables-are-not-sufficient-p2/
    “Two core limitations of wind, solar and most other renewable systems is that: (i) they are inherently variable and are prone to ‘gambler’s ruin‘ (in the sense that you cannot know, over any planning period, when long stretches of calm or cloudy days will come, which could bring even a heavily over-compensated system to its knees), and (ii) they are not ‘dispatchable’. They’ll provide a lot of power some of the time, when you may or may not need it, and little or none at other times, when you’ll certainly need some, and may need a lot. In short, they can’t send power out on demand, yet, for better or worse, this is what society demands of an electricity system.”
    Gambler’s ruin: Like I said, loose your own shirt.

    http://www.ecolo.org/ EFN – Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy
    book: http://www.comby.org/livres/livresen.htm

    Again, I am not against renewables. But I don’t want to pay for them.

    Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2 National Academies Press page 66, 331, 80, 70
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11340.html
    ” Until the molecular mechanisms responsible for genomic instability and its relationship to carcinogenesis are understood, the extrapolation of dose-response data for genomic instability to radiation-induced cancers in the low-dose range <100 mGy is not warranted." 100mGy= 100 millisieverts = 10 rem.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Jun 2011 @ 12:07 AM

  164. #156 Thank you Adelady,

    “At midsummer there is only day – which is why insolation is so much more powerful at the pole rather than the equator.”

    True, but its not that simple, is rather very complex, hence the error in Arctic sea ice projections.
    Boundary layers (a la Judith Curry, read some of her papers), are key, and vary a lot in a day especially south of the North Pole, say 88 to 65 North. If Arctic GCM’s keep inversions higher in summer, and at more or less a constant height, that is an error. I have already showed some examples of diurnal effects to a few, quite easy to demonstrate, rather the process is very much like theory, however theory applied may be less dynamic than observed in the real Arctic world.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 9 Jun 2011 @ 1:15 AM

  165. @ 147 Patrick

    A surface exposed to the sun has a temperature higher than the air, whereas the shadowed surface has lower temperature and its role in the energy budget is different.

    I disagree with you, Cp∇T is an acceleration.

    Dimensionally:
    [Cp]=J/kgK = Nm/kgK = kg[acceleration]m/kgK = [acceleration](m/K)
    [Cp∇T] = [acceleration](m/K)(K/m) = [acceleration]

    Thermodynamically:
    ∇p/ρ = v∇p = (Cp – Cv)∇T – p∇v = Cp∇T – (Cv∇T + p∇v) and, as (Cv∇T + p∇v) vanishes if the process is adiabatic, we have ∇p/ρ = Cp∇T.

    Comment by Michele — 9 Jun 2011 @ 2:08 AM

  166. Two days in moderation…. Sigh. Well, since I’ve polluted this thread already, and it is about a venue to respond to the published literature, here is what raypierre published:

    Andy’s response to Chris Dudley (#10) is spot on. To halt the increase in CO2 concentrations it is necessary to bring CO2 emissions to nearly zero.

    However, that doesn’t mean that actions which fall short of that goal are useless. Reducing emissions at least slows the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide, puts off the date at which we hit 2XCO2 (or whatever your favorite target) and allows more time for the technology to be developed which could bring emissions to zero — perhaps requiring some contribution from air capture.

    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/18/wishful-wedges-and-the-energy-quest/?permid=15#comment15

    But this is clearly untrue as my post that is being held up in unforced variations demonstrates using eqn. 1 from Kharecha and Hansen (2008).

    raypierre’s statement needs to either be supported with new science that apparently only he is currently privy to, or retracted.

    [Response: I hadn't been monitoring the comment queue, and evidently yours got left there for my attention, presumably because it was phrased in such a hostile way. Note that all of us here at RC have other research and teaching obligations we are trying to fulfill, so things don't always get immediate attention; I only just today was made aware that your comment was in the queue. In any event, this is not a matter of something that "only I am privy to" but something that has been very widely discussed in the literature. The point is most clearly made in Matthews and Caldeira, and is also extensively discussed in the NRC report "Climate Stabilization Targets," of which I was a co-author. This report can be downloaded without charge here . The common fallacy people fall into is thinking that because the oceans today take up 3 gigatonnes per year of carbon (or whatever your favorite current estimate is), reducing emissions to 3Gt/yr would halt concentration growth. The fallacy there is that the ocean uptake is only able to be so large because of the large disequilibrium maintained between atmosphere and ocean. The uptake rate soon goes down when you reduce emissions, and eventually concentrations start to rise again. Now, that's just the ocean story, since for a time increased uptake by terrestrial ecosystems may be able to offset emissions, but the modelling of that is highly uncertain and it is quite possible that as the Earth continues to warm terrestrial econsystems will become a source rather than sink of atmospheric carbon. --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 9 Jun 2011 @ 6:29 AM

  167. EG:

    If you quit being afraid of nuclear, the coal industry is doomed.

    Not only that, but electricity will be too cheap to meter !!!!!

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jun 2011 @ 8:07 AM

  168. EG … also, people can disagree with your disinformation while not being “afraid of nuclear” (a somewhat offensive statement on your part). Pointing out that three core meltdowns is an interesting metric of “survival”, for instance, is being realistic, not “afraid”.

    You claim that your motivation is to “help Real Climate”. I suggest you stop flooding the forum with your misinformation regarding renewables and nuclear if you really have the blog’s well-being at heart. You’ve gone beyond being entertainingly eccentric to being a boor, IMO.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jun 2011 @ 8:14 AM

  169. Please stop importing wholesale large chunks out of bravenewclimate.
    A link is sufficient.

    You are reposting here frequently repeated and uncited claims from blog posts at bravenewclimate.

    Repeating them here won’t help your audience at all.

    Send people to the source.

    That way they can see what the sensible people over there say as well as the rant-and-repeaters.

    There are plenty of fanboy posts, but at least bravenewclimate can keep that stuff all in one place.

    Hauling and dumping large chunks from there into realcimate is boring.

    Boring, boring, boring.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jun 2011 @ 10:26 AM

  170. Edward Greisch wrote: “Every time you argue in favor of wind, solar, geothermal and wave power, or against nuclear, King Coal is happy. ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business.”

    You have repeatedly accused advocates of renewable energy of being shills for the coal industry — indeed, in past comments you have accused other commenters on this site, including myself, of being PAID shills for the coal industry, simply because we don’t accept your contrafactual nuclear boosterism.

    It’s offensive nonsense, and all it does is tell everyone here that you CANNOT back up your absurd claims about nuclear power with evidence or argument, so you resort to making blatantly, laughably false accusations.

    You are WRONG about nuclear. You are WRONG about wind and solar. Wind and solar can replace coal and are already doing so — wind alone accounts for 35 percent of all new generating capacity installed in the USA since 2007, and nuclear accounts for zero percent.

    If you want to argue with that with facts, then have at it, but spare us the nonsense about wind and solar being fronts for the coal industry.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Jun 2011 @ 10:46 AM

  171. Re Edward Greisch – Solar power produces between 100 and 280 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour.

    Old info? I usually see somehwere around 20 or 40 – maybe 50, but it’s going to vary by site and type and also date of info. Considering potential for long-lived modules, which may make up a large share of emissions, perhaps lower numbers could be out there. It varies among types (CdTe vs ribbon Si vs wafer Si vs amorphous Si vs CIGS, etc.; rooftop vs ground). It also varies by location – southern Europe will get a lower value than northern Europe; Arizona should do quite well.

    I did see a 100 or 110 g CO2eq/kWh figure for solar PV in a poster/brochure/pamphlet recently (but the date of it, I don’t know; it was online; will post link in a few days when I get the chance – I was putting together a list, actually) – what’s particularly interesting is that along side it, CSP type solar power (the focus of the source) had a dramatically lower g/kWh – maybe 15 or 12 – lower than nuclear (which I think may also have been given a lower value there then by your info). Wind may be similar to nuclear. I’ve also seen geothermal given higher and lower values. But much of that will be reduced as the whole energy infrastructure changes; right now it is a roughly approximate indicator of EROEI, the more fundamental value. Solar PV systems have energy payback times now around the range of 1 to 2 years, give or take, depending on location.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jun 2011 @ 11:34 AM

  172. Re 164 Michele – will go over the math later; more to the point you have to say 1000 ___ times a temperature gradient, where ___ is in units. Otherwise it’s meaningless. Anyway, even if one thing is 1000 ___ times something else, it’s not necessarily a problem. We would need to go a bit further into the physics to figure out what happens.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jun 2011 @ 11:38 AM

  173. I don’t try to keep up with the cranky nuclear-or-whatever else arguments in frequency and wordiness, as I prefer to spend my waking hours mostly in other ways, but ….

    Mr Greisch and his interlocutors: please explain how to maintain your favored infrastructure while (and after) fossil fuel use drops to essentially zero.

    It’s a fair question. If you are not wrestling with it, wrestling HARD, you are somewhere between dishonest and worse than useless. So why are you avoiding the question, while pursuing so many others that are irrelevant unless that question is answered???????

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 9 Jun 2011 @ 11:50 AM

  174. The annual BP review of energy use is up. Here is a link to the section of coal use.

    http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle800.do?categoryId=9037185&contentId=7068613

    The whole thing is worth reading.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2011 @ 12:34 PM

  175. Here is a brief survey of the BP report from the Economist:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2011/06/energy-statistics

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2011 @ 12:37 PM

  176. And here is a detail about solar, mostly PV:

    http://www.bp.com/sectiongenericarticle800.do?categoryId=9037190&contentId=7068638

    The increase from 2009 to 2010 was 73%; more than 100% from 2008 to 2010. By some projections, PV power will double again in 2011, i.e. a 100% increase from 2010. But we are not yet half way through, so we’ll have to check back next year.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2011 @ 1:05 PM

  177. “The satellite to be launched Friday includes Aquarius, a large, disk-shaped instrument that will measure the salt content of the ocean surface…”, isn’t this much more easily done on location (by floats)? I mean, is there a need and a purpose for this instrument? Anyway, I’m not going to bet on this one.

    Comment by jyyh — 9 Jun 2011 @ 1:26 PM

  178. #171 Ric Merritt. Are you new here? Your question has been asked and answered, numerous times on this and other threads.

    What you need to wrestle with, and wrestle HARD, is how to maintain your favored infrastructure if fossil fuel use continues on its present expansionary course.

    Feel free to start with agriculture, move on to coastlines, thence to storm loss mitigation.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 9 Jun 2011 @ 1:28 PM

  179. 124, Ron R

    Good post.

    Thanks for the link to the Los Angeles Solar Atlas.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  180. The Climate Progress blog has an excellent article on the economics of photovoltaic technology:

    Solar is Ready Now: ‘Ferocious Cost Reductions’ Make Solar PV Competitive
    By Stephen Lacey
    http://www.climateprogress.org
    June 9, 2011

    Highly recommended to anyone interested in the potential of solar power to replace coal, gas and nuclear power.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 9 Jun 2011 @ 2:23 PM

  181. jyyh:

    isn’t this much more easily done on location (by floats)?

    It’s not being done systematically. The competition for satellite dollars is so intense that it’s hard to imagine NASA would be investing in Aquarius if there were a cheaper and equally effective answer that didn’t involve a satellite.

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jun 2011 @ 2:36 PM

  182. pjclarke at 4:48 PM

    Here’s more.

    “Ronald Bailey, author of Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths
    (published by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in 2002), stated in
    2005, “Anyone still holding onto the idea that there is no global
    warming ought to hang it up”. By 2007, he wrote “Details like sea
    level rise will continue to be debated by researchers, but if the
    debate over whether or not humanity is contributing to global warming
    wasn’t over before, it is now…. as the new IPCC Summary makes clear,
    climate change Pollyannaism is no longer looking very tenable’”.
    http://web.archive.org/web/20080409155816/http%3A//www.reason.com/links/links081105.shtml
    http://www.reason.com/news/show/118479.html

    “Gregg Easterbrook characterized himself as having “a long record of
    opposing alarmism”. In 2006, he stated, “based on the data I’m now
    switching sides regarding global warming, from skeptic to convert’”.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/24/opinion/24easterbrook.html

    The above is from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

    Comment by Ron FR — 9 Jun 2011 @ 3:40 PM

  183. 180, SecularAnimist:

    a quote from the link: By the end of this year, GTM Research predicts we’ll have 50 GW of module global production capacity.

    Except for a few of us trying to keep up, I think most people have lost site of the growth in manufacturing capacity. That quote is a projection, so it will have to be checked, but it means that in 2012-2013 the world can install a peak electric generating capacity, in pv cells, equal to the US nuclear power generating capacity.

    If we think of a “tipping region” (where solar spreads from one niche to another as it drops in price) instead of a “tipping point”, I think it’s pretty clear that we are in the “tipping region”.

    That solar is peak power is extra complications and costs compared to nuclear, but they are worth thinking about and addressing, instead of dismissing solar out of hand.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 9 Jun 2011 @ 4:49 PM

  184. Edward Greisch says:
    9 Jun 2011 at 12:07 AM

    *ahem*

    Apologies to RC readers.

    France recycles spent nuclear fuel. Russia recycles spent nuclear fuel

    You might want to look at these.

    http://www.fpif.org/articles/nuclear_recycling_fails_the_test
    http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,654969,00.html

    There was a steam explosion that removed the roof that was not bolted down.

    Hmm, do you think bolting down would have made a difference in an explosion so powerful that it can blow off a 1,000 ton roof?
    http://tinyurl.com/6czvs8n

    Three Mile Island had a containment building. Even though the meltdown was just as bad as Chernobyl, there were zero injuries and zero deaths at Three Mile Island.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469835/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/people-died-at-three-mile_b_179588.html
    As for Fukushima. We’ll see.

    ONLY nuclear power can put coal out of business.

    And yet only last month you said:

    I am not stuck on nuclear … I really don’t care who wins and who looses, but I like low electric bills and clean air and I don’t like GW
    Comment by Edward Greisch — 16 May 2011 @ 1:20 AM

    Which mine makes the bigger scar: coal or uranium?

    Both scar the land. About mining rare earth elements from China for windpower, as I’ve stated before (23 Apr 2011 @ 10:28 AM) there are alternatives.
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=7249

    Nuclear would produce even less CO2 per kilowatt hour if the safety were lowered to the same level as other sources of electricity.

    Yeah, good idea. Let’s lower the safety of nuke reactors!

    Then you whisper sinisterly (hand cupped to the side of your mouth, eyes nervously shifting right and left) Who are BENJAMIN K. SOVACOOL* & CHRISTOPHER COOPER working for?

    Who do you think they are working for? Oh right, that’d probably be coal. Maybe because Sovacool worked for the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research. He also worked for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the famous nuclear outfit. Did either of them make him an advocate of dirty energy. Nope. My guess is that those were learning stints.

    According to an article in Science Daily Sovacool advocates: The wisest energy strategy for the United States, and indeed other countries facing similar challenges, is to move away from their reliance on large-scale centralized coal and nuclear plants, and instead, invest in renewable energy systems and small scale decentralized generation technologies. That is based on his study Coal and nuclear technologies: creating a false dichotomy for American energy policy
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920111359.htm

    About the BNC links on page two Brook, mentions three ways that clean energy proponents believe that clean can work says as the last point “to have fossil fuel or nuclear power stations on standby, to take up the slack when needed.” But then he doesn’t address this point.

    Once again, I believe that all we need to do is to reverse our priorities. Make clean #1 and use dirty as the last resort bridge to cover everyone until clean can take that over as well. The infrastructure for dirty is already there.

    Brook ends by saying: But let’s not play dice with the biosphere and humanity’s future on this planet … It would be a risky gamble indeed.. I say, tell that to the victims of Fukushima, Chernobyl and TMI.

    Regarding the opinion of the NAS, you need to read the conclusion.

    CONCLUSION

    The committee concludes that the current scientific evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that there is a linear, no-threshold dose-response relationship between exposure to ionizing radiation and the development of cancer in humans.
    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11340&page=323

    I also see you are still referencing Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy. The place that has Patrick Moore, the paid shill for all kinds of dirty industries, as their “Honorary Chair of EFN CANADA” even though he doesn’t even accept global warming.
    http://www.ecolo.org/archives/archives-nuc-en/2006-04-23-Moore-Canad-Aus.htm
    http://www.climatedepot.com/a/9508/Greenpeace-CoFounder-Dr-Patrick-Moore-Questions-ManMade-Global-Warming-Calls-it-Obviously-a-Natural-Phenomenon

    I don’t like to point the finger but actually, reading your posts one comes away with the idea that what you are really interested in is the promotion of nuclear power and that GW is just the handy vehicle you use to try to convince people of that.

    This refusal to acknowledge the serious negatives in nuclear power is why I call many nuke advocates cultists. Like Creationists seemingly nothing can make them question their faith.

    Comment by Ron R. — 9 Jun 2011 @ 4:50 PM

  185. pjotr, i agree with this statement,posted in #146,
    “it is true there have been more M>8 earthquakes [magnitude 8.0 or higher] per year in the last eight years than the two to three decades previous”

    “Earthquakes with a magnitude 7.0 or greater have remained fairly constant in numbers throughout the last century.

    However, Dave Santek (CIMSS/SSEC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison points out that there have been stronger earthquakes recently. There were no quakes of 8.5 or stronger in the 1970′s, 80′s or 90′s, but already 4 in the 2000′s. Quakes 8.0 and greater also register more since 2000, with 6 in the 1970s, 4 in the 1980s and 6 in the 1990s, yet already 13 in the 2000s.

    According to the [United State Geological Survey], it may seem there are more earthquakes today because of more and better communication, and better technology.” http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2011/03/are-there-more-major-earthquakes-nowadays/174591/

    What is missing are the tele quakes from glacier movement & melting.
    “…each time a glacier moves, another quake occurs – sending a jolt throughout the Earth – destabilizing numerous fault lines.
    While the debate about the danger of Climate Change has been discussed in gradual changes throughout the next century, it seems that Climate Change is much more direct and destructive resulting in exponentially stronger Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Tsunamis.” http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/03/12/955630/-Earthquakes-and-Climate-Change

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 9 Jun 2011 @ 4:55 PM

  186. Septic Matthew says:
    9 Jun 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Thanks. My pleasure.

    Comment by Ron R. — 9 Jun 2011 @ 5:13 PM

  187. raypierre in #166,

    At least we are in numerical agreement. Your figure 2.2 achieves a stable concentration of 450 ppm by reducing emissions to 20% of the peak value. That corresponds to 50% of year 2000 emissions as shown in my figure. You should not get confused by the title of Matthews and Caldeira. They are talking about stabilizing climate rather than atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. They point out that it takes a while to reach an equilibrium temperature and if you want to stop the temperature rise where it is now, you’d have to cut emissions to zero about now. But, if you’ve decided you’ll go to 2 C and 450 ppm, you’ll get to 2 C sometime after you get to 450 ppm. It is not a myth that the oceans will continue to take up carbon dioxide, and the disequilibrium between the atmosphere and the oceans remains pretty much at the same level if the atmospheric concentration is stabilized owing to the effects of mixing which keeps the ocean from catching up for a while (just as mixing does with heat). You should rethink what you are saying there. What you need to fess up to is that you are confused. An 80% cut from a 2040 peak as described in your fig. 2.2 is not a cut to near zero but a cut down to a still substantial level of emissions, about half of year 2000 emissions. It is fine if you want to make the point that the oceans eventually do catch up and room for further emissions runs out a few hundred year in. But that is only marginally policy relevant just now. It is very very unhelpful to claim that the problem of stabilizing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is much more difficult than it actually is. And that is what you have been claiming in this instance. Confess or it will be the comfy chair for you….

    [Response: No, Chris, you're still confused, because you haven't read or understood the papers. The simple fact of the matter is that the only long term sink of CO2 is silicate weathering, and it would take something like a 20C global mean warming to take care of even a 1Gt/Yr emission by silicate weathering and provide stabilized CO2 concentration. If you were to reduce the emissions to 1Gt per year (which in my book counts as near-zero), the atmospheric CO2 concentrations would stabilize, for a short time, but once the oceans settled down the atmospheric concentration would resume its rise. This is why, in the NRC report, we felt that even in the best of all possible worlds air capture would eventually be needed to deal with the last 1 or 2 Gt per year of recalcitrant emissions. But I'm not sure why you're so hot and bothered about this, since the Matthews and Caldeira result (which is really just a good exposition of something most people basically knew) does not in any way devalue the benefits of emissions reductions. Look at my piece on Methane vs CO2, where I point out how valuable it would be to even reduce the exponential growth rate of CO2 emissions. But for your general edification, also take a look at this graph done using the Hamburg carbon cycle model, which shows the CO2 vs. time you get for various stabilized emissions rates. In the long term, you're going to get a lot of warming even if you stretch out burning 5000 Gt of coal over a thousand years, so really, to keep CO2 concentrations from growing, those emissions to have to go down to essentially zero. --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 9 Jun 2011 @ 5:35 PM

  188. @ pjclarke – re global warming quotes at WUWT
    After this post at WUWT, when I tried to respond to Steven Goddard that one snowy winter in Washington DC doesn’t disprove global warming, I got a “405 error – you do not have permission to access this site”, so I haven’t been back.
    Feel free to post the following quotes there –

    “I’m not one to attribute every man — activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man’s activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet…” Sarah Palin, VP candidate debate. Personally, my activities(sailing, hiking, canoeing) are more likely to be attributable to favorable changes in the weather.

    “…now, get this, because this is crucial — the drop in global temperatures this past year has wiped out one century of warming.” Rush Limbaugh

    “I have insisted all along that the climate change debate should be based on fundamental principles of science, not religion.”
    Global Warming is “the second-largest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state.” Sen James Inhofe

    “Because of the biofuel scam, world food prices have doubled. That it because of the global warming scare, which you won’t look at the science of.(parse that, you econazis) As a result of that, millions are dying in third world countries because food prices have doubled because of the biofuel scam, because of the global warming scare.
    And you people don’t care. And until you start caring I will call you Hitler Youth.” Christopher Monckton

    “We are witnessing the Berlin Wall moment in the global warming regime. The statist cabal that has ruled the climate debate since the UN IPCC’s inception in 1988 is now tumbling down before our eyes. The so-called ‘gold-standard’ of scientific review turns out to be counterfeit.” Marc Morano

    “No matter how much liberals try to dress up their nutty superstitions about global warming as “science,” which only six-fingered lunatics could doubt, scratch a global warming “scientist” and you get a religious fanatic.” Ann Coulter

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 9 Jun 2011 @ 6:47 PM

  189. I’m not afraid of nuclear power, I just don’t want to pay for it. I also don’t want to increase the USA’s dependence on foreign fuels.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 9 Jun 2011 @ 6:49 PM

  190. JiminMpls @188 — Unfortunately nuclear based electric power appears less expensive for base load than any non-fossil fuel alternative.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 9 Jun 2011 @ 7:57 PM

  191. Prokaryotes
    “pjotr, i agree with this statement,posted in #146,
    “it is true there have been more M>8 earthquakes [magnitude 8.0 or higher] per year in the last eight years than the two to three decades previous”

    Thank you, Prokaryotes, for giving an insight into how your mind works.
    You claimed that science supports your claims that earthequakes are on a dramatic increase (“hockeystick”). I have shown that the scientists you quoted in your support said nothing of the kind – one contradicted you in EVERYTHING she said, and the other one contradcited you in MOST of what he said.

    You decided to “agree” only with a portion of ONE sentence of the second author that fitted your thesis, and removed the earlier part of the SAME SENTENCE which claimed NO overall increase in earthquakes, as well as cutting off the later part of the same quote that further weakned that statement you needed for your thesis, by saying that it is even not clear whether even the increase in M>8 is statistically significant.

    That’s “cherrypicking” at its best. Which makes attempts to treat you as if you were a serious partner in discussion – rather pointless.

    Piotr

    Comment by Piotr — 9 Jun 2011 @ 8:43 PM

  192. 177 jyyh: You asked why it is better to measure ocean salt content by satellite rather than from ships. The answer is that the satellite can sample nearly the entire ocean surface every few days, and so the coverage would be unmatched. Ship measurements would be valuable for verification of the calibration, and for extending the measurements to great depth.

    Comment by Thomas — 9 Jun 2011 @ 9:36 PM

  193. Re 180 SecularAnimist – some of the best news I’ve heard in awhile!

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 9 Jun 2011 @ 10:05 PM

  194. Chris Dudley:

    You might try dropping the snark and self-annointed air of superiority when you challenge the results of research. You might get put down more kindly (though raypierre’s response is polite to the extreme, which I doubt you’ll appreciate).

    Comment by dhogaza — 9 Jun 2011 @ 10:59 PM

  195. Republicans slammed for ‘assault’ on environment
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/08/republicans-slammed-for-assault-on-environment/

    Can someone please do a study of why certain people are deliberately self-destructive, ecocidal, cruel and knowingly lie to fulfill the most hateful agendas?

    Comment by Ron R. — 10 Jun 2011 @ 12:04 AM

  196. Prokaryotes quoted from some DailyKos blog.

    > …each time a glacier moves, another quake occurs – sending a jolt
    > throughout the Earth – destabilizing numerous fault lines.

    I’m not read up on the literature connecting glacier melt and earthquakes, but I’ve gathered the posited mechanism has to do with changes in the load on the Earth’s crust. Does anyone seriously argue that “jolts” from “ice quakes” “destabilizing” fault lines are a concern? Or is this just creative writing?

    Comment by CM — 10 Jun 2011 @ 2:48 AM

  197. @ many: Venus Syndrome (many)
    @ 60 Patrick “… and of course, the so-called ‘skeptics’ are N O T right …”

    I have the doubt we are charging the CO2 of guilt that isn’t due.

    If we analyze the profiles of the pressure – temperature of the Earth’s and Venus’ atmospheres
    (e.g. http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm)
    for the same range of the pressures (1000 ÷ 250 mb) we find that the atmospheric temperatures of the two planets are comparable despite the fact that the Venus’ CO2 density is circa 300000 times the Earth’s one. Then, why we have to think that the increase of the CO2 would cause to Earth effects more harmful than to Venus? It seems that we have to charge the cause to the whole mass of the planetary atmosphere and overall to its thickness rather than to the density of the atmospheric CO2.
    I am bewildered.

    Comment by Michele — 10 Jun 2011 @ 3:17 AM

  198. Piotr,i tried to make this more clear to you in my last post. Please go back and read my postings because your are wrong, i did not claim that there is an earthquake hockey stick (even though i posted a graph to see reaction). Everything is said now in those regards, *doh*. And the statements in #146 i do not have the impression that they are contradict them self, the 2nd statements was just more precise. I guess the first scientist would agree to the data layd out from the second scientist. And i really don’t care if you think otherwise. So let’s move on.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 10 Jun 2011 @ 3:40 AM

  199. @pjclarke

    How about adding this corker to the WUWT quotations list:
    “It’s not my job to sit down and read peer-reviewed papers, because I simply do not have the time; I don’t have the expertise….I am an interpreter of interpretations” – James Delingpole

    Comment by Steve Brown — 10 Jun 2011 @ 5:21 AM

  200. CM says “Does anyone seriously argue that “jolts” from “ice quakes” “destabilizing” fault lines are a concern? ”

    …glacier producing earthquakes between magnitude 4.6 and 5.1 in strength. The quakes happened slowly, over a period of 30 minutes to several hours, and were undetectable by people even though they registered on seismometers around the globe. When icebergs break off, or calve, they splash into the fjord and grind against its bottom in a small cataclysm; the biggest chunks can stretch along the entire length of the glacier and be 1,500 feet deep.
    “Picture a box against a wall at a 45-degree angle: As the box rolls, the corner scrapes along the floor,” Amundson said. http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2008/10/16/glacier-earthquakes.html

    THREE FLAVORS OF ‘ICEQUAKES’ FOUND RUMBLING THROUGH GLACIERS http://news.discovery.com/earth/three-flavors-of-icequakes-found-rumbling-through-glaciers.html

    Comment by prokaryotes — 10 Jun 2011 @ 7:33 AM

  201. Global warming since 1995 “now significant” – Phil Jones:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13719510

    Comment by Steve Brown — 10 Jun 2011 @ 8:10 AM

  202. raypierre in #187,

    Here is what you have to say about your fig 2.2 in the NRC report.

    Figure 2.2 shows an example of stabilization for two different Earth Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs), the University of Victoria (UVIC) model and the Bern model (see Methods section for descriptions of these two models; see also Plattner et al., 2008, and references therein for a model intercomparison study). In this example test case, carbon dioxide emissions increase at current growth rates of about 2% per year to a maximum of about 12 GtC per year, followed by a decrease of 3% per year down to a selected total reduction of 50, 80, or 100%….

    Figure 2.2 shows that carbon emission reductions of 50% do not lead to long-term stabilization of carbon dioxide, nor of climate, in either of these models, as has also been shown in previous studies (e.g., Weaver et al., 2007). It is noteworthy that the Bern model has weaker carbon-climate feedbacks than the UVIC model; nevertheless both models show the need for emissions reductions of at least 80% for carbon dioxide stabilization even for a few decades, while longer-term stabilization requires nearly 100% reduction.

    In the actual figure, stabilization is achieved for more than a few decades for an 80% cut from peak. Rather about 15 decades it would seem. This may indicate a confusion in the report between the behavior of carbon dioxide in the upper panel of fig. 2.2 and the behavior of temperature in the lower panel. And, 20% of 12 Gt/y is 2.4 Gt/y, not 1 Gt/yr. By running the code I posted, you can see the shape of the emissions curve needed to get precise stabilization using eqn. 1 from Kharecha and Hansen (2008). I have not extended the calculation beyond 500 years because the longest timescale in the equation is 420 years. It is clear that over the long term emissions must drop towards zero. But there are certainly more than a few decades of rather full-blown industrial society emissions that can continue. 1950′s level fossil fuel use can be allowed for quite some time if the target is stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 ppm.

    This is very important. If you go around saying that emissions have to drop to zero right away, then our only choice is to pray for a technological miracle, essentially the position of the Breakthrough Institute and Andy Revkin. There is no point in taking any action now since it is only the technological miracle that can help, and any efforts taken now towards reducing emissions will be an economic waste and diversion from developing the miracle, say space based solar power or some other wild scheme. But, in fact, the stabilization goal is an easy one to achieve. It can be accomplished with current technology and it can be accomplished most easily by early strong effort. Supporting Andy with false statements about the required cuts (given the 450 ppm target) reduces the chance that we will achieve that target because it encourages a thumb twiddling approach to the problem.

    I, myself, am supportive of a 350 ppm target with less than 100 years of overshoot. That requires somewhat more rapid cuts than the 3% per year in your fig. 2.2; 20% per year down to zero starting now would do the job. At 7% per year, the overshoot is below 360 ppm after 100 years which may be OK. Hansen et al. call for agriculturally based sequestration to allow more room on the emissions side. But, for this target, delay in action cannot be allowed or the target will never be achieved so the thumb twiddlers don’t have any room for delaying tactics. Miracle or not, we have to get started (which might be considered a miracle in itself).

    At the looser target of 450 ppm, if you give the lotus eaters ground, they’ll take it and that only makes the situation worse. You should certainly clarify your statement to Andy.

    Eating lotuses while twiddling your thumbs in the comfy chair is a fate you don’t even want to contemplate ;-)

    [Response: Chris, you're just making yourself look ridiculous. What's worse, you're not even a good candidate for the Borehole, so I don't really know what to do with you. So let's just lose the witless taunting, eh? --raypierre]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 Jun 2011 @ 8:57 AM

  203. 184, Ron R. : This refusal to acknowledge the serious negatives in nuclear power is why I call many nuke advocates cultists. Like Creationists seemingly nothing can make them question their faith.

    There are serious negatives to all methods of producing electricity, and the electricity itself is dangerous. The appeal of nuclear power is due in part to the fact that tabulated deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity generated are lowest for nuclear power.

    The Fukushima disaster appropriately draws attention, but more people died in an explosion at a natural gas terminal after the earthquake, and most of the damage, deaths, and human suffering that resulted from the earthquake and tsunami are unrelated to the power plants. The US lost a little less than 1% of its nuclear powered electricity in the Three Mile Island disaster, but few or no lives were lost, and 104 reactors have operated well since that time. Solar power, which I support, has its share of problems, including that there is not now a plan for sequestering (or harvesting for recycling) the toxic ingredients in all the solar panels, panels which will have to be replaced 30-40 years after installation. If batteries are used to provide night-time and rainy day power, then the pollution of the manufacture and use of the batteries has to be added in. These are not insurmountable problems, but they are costs.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:02 AM

  204. Brian Dodge 9 Jun 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Unfortunately Monckton has a point here, with the exception that it’s the notoriously ethically challenged biotech company Monsanto that is to blame.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto_and_the_World_Food_Crisis

    Comment by Ron R. — 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:02 AM

  205. Ron R. wrote: “Can someone please do a study of why certain people are deliberately self-destructive, ecocidal, cruel and knowingly lie to fulfill the most hateful agendas?”

    That’s been studied to death. The answer is greed.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Jun 2011 @ 9:44 AM

  206. Michele writes “I am bewildered.”

    I can only agree, heartily.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:04 AM

  207. #201–

    And I eagerly await this to be trumpeted to the high heavens by “the best science blog on the web.”

    I said, “Eagerly. . .”

    What, not yet?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:07 AM

  208. Ron R. @ 195

    Can someone please do a study of why certain people are deliberately self-destructive, ecocidal, cruel and knowingly lie to fulfill the most hateful agendas?

    I’d like to see that, but we’ve probably already guessed correctly at some of it.

    In short: “faith-based”.

    God wouldn’t destroy the earth — especially not with special little ol’ me on it,
    Technology will fix it.
    Free markets will fix it.
    God wants me to be fat and rich and to strut around wearing a flag pin, and AGW threatens that (and God).
    Oprah says wishing fixes things.
    Scientists are a bunch of smarty pants that we had fun bullying in high school, and fun is gooder than science.
    Scientists are a bunch of crazy monster makers who defy nature.

    And anyway, it’s OK to go over the cliff, because it would be worse to suffer the pain of parting with the other herd-heads.

    On the other hand, some people just do stupid stuff despite knowing better — what’s up with this Wiener guy?

    Comment by Radge Havers — 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:15 AM

  209. Chris Dudley: I don’t have access to IDL so can’t test your script out, but based on your description of the results, you must be doing something wrong:

    You’ve used equation 1 (the Bern cycle approximation from Kharecha & Hansen). Equation 1 has a constant term of 18%. That means that for emissions in the year 2000, at least 18% of those emissions will remain in the atmosphere for eternity. Ditto for emissions in 2001, 2002, and so on. Given this, it is logically impossible for emissions to remain above zero and concentration not to increase (in the long term).

    In the short term, you can have positive emissions without growing concentrations. Intuitively, this is because the oceans are not in equilibrium with the atmosphere, and are therefore a carbon sink. This is where the “half of emissions stay in the atmosphere” rule of thumb comes from. So if we cut emissions by more than 50%, and the ocean sink stays constant because it depends on the stock of concentrations and not the flow, then concentrations will drop. In terms of your equation, this can be thought of as the contribution of historical emissions is dropping from 100% at t=0 to 18% at t=infinity, so as long as that cumulative drop from the aging of all historical emissions is larger than 100% of the newest emissions, concentrations will drop.

    So, if we cut emissions by 80% today and held them constant at 20% of today’s emissions, then concentrations would drop for a period of a few years (maybe decades)… until eventually the ocean and ecosystems would reach equilibrium with the atmosphere and stop taking up additional carbon, and then concentrations would start growing again and never stop.

    Also, regarding your code, despite my inability to run it without IDL, there are a couple questions:
    First: “do e(i)=b(i)-b(i-1)”
    This is calculating the change in concentration between period i and period i-1. But you’ve labeled “e” as annual emissions. But we know that annual emissions is larger than the change in concentrations, because of the ocean/ecosystem sink due to an imbalance between oceans and atmospheric concentrations.
    Second: “d(i:999)=d(i:999)+e(i)*c(0:999-i)*4.36*2″
    This doesn’t seem right to me. d(i) should equal e(0)*c(i)+e(1)*c(i-1)+… it seems to me that you are assuming here that the calculated concentration at time i is just a function of emissions at time i, and ignores all historical emissions contributions…

    -M

    Comment by M — 10 Jun 2011 @ 12:34 PM

  210. Chris Dudley:
    In your nytimes comment, you claim that Figures 3 + 4 of Kharecha and Hansen support your view. I’d suggest you look at the Figures again. Figure 4 shows 5 scenarios: a BAU scenario and 4 alternative scenarios. The BAU scenario reaches ~570 ppm in 2100. The 4 alternatives all at about 440 ppm in 2100. You will note that emissions in the alternatives have all dropped to below 2 GtC/yr (or about 1/4 of current emissions) by 2100. This particular paper doesn’t show it, but in order to keep concentrations below 440 ppm beyond 2100, emissions would have to keep dropping. So already by 2100 emissions have dropped further than your “one half”, and they have to keep dropping to stay stabilized.

    And, in fact, you should note that Equation 1 is a _fit_ to a real carbon cycle model, not a real carbon cycle model in and of itself. The paper notes that this ignores non-linearities in the carbon cycle and other issues.

    Comment by M — 10 Jun 2011 @ 12:48 PM

  211. Good grief. The Rush Limbaugh show today has been even more inane and insane than usual. Today’s diatribe is how scientific consensus is meaningless. The whole Galileo affair is given as an example. Now Roy Spencer has weighed in.

    Comment by Tom — 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:06 PM

  212. If you want to check out who’s been getting how much from US nonprofit “institutes”, try 990 Finder.

    Comment by J Bowers — 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:12 PM

  213. Re 197Michele says:
    10 Jun 2011 at 3:17 AM
    @ many: Venus Syndrome (many)
    @ 60 Patrick “… and of course, the so-called ‘skeptics’ are N O T right …”

    I have the doubt we are charging the CO2 of guilt that isn’t due.

    I would argue that perhaps the level of reasonable doubt necessary to convict people of crimes should be higher than that which would shape policy regarding such externalities. You really don’t want to put an innocent person in jail, but would you shoot a gun at yourself even if you’re only half sure that it’s loaded? I only brought that up because of the term ‘guilt’. Anyway, this may be a moot point; I think the prosecutors have every reason to be confident – so long as the jury isn’t loaded with pro-crime anti-snow ‘bigots’. (Of course the level of information that rises to ‘actionable intelligence’ depends on the action – we could be justified in enacting a CO2eq tax now, even if we expect we’ll be adjusting the tax rate pending future research.)

    If we analyze the profiles of the pressure – temperature of the Earth’s and Venus’ atmospheres
    (e.g. http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm)
    for the same range of the pressures (1000 ÷ 250 mb) we find that the atmospheric temperatures of the two planets are comparable despite the fact that the Venus’ CO2 density is circa 300000 times the Earth’s one. Then, why we have to think that the increase of the CO2 would cause to Earth effects more harmful than to Venus? It seems that we have to charge the cause to the whole mass of the planetary atmosphere and overall to its thickness rather than to the density of the atmospheric CO2.
    I am bewildered.

    This is the type of problem that can arise when someone attempts to educate one’s self without having the background to know what one needs to find out, or else just picks a little grain of truth that sounds nice out of context.

    Venus is closer to the sun, but has a much higher albedo. The thermodynamics of the atmosphere and of convection in particular are different – there’s a somewhat smaller gravitational acceleration (would reduce the adiabatic lapse rate), the average composition is very different, so the specific heat is different as is the specific volume (whereas on Earth you can double CO2 several times over (and increase H2O a bit more) without changing the air’s cp, cv, and quite R so much) – this will also affect the adiabatic lapse rate; also there’s a relative lack of latent heating so far as I know – that will affect the convective lapse rate. Could be some of these effects cancel-out somewhat, but worth pointing out that you need to take some other differences into account when comparing planetary climates and their forcings.

    Consider this – with all the known physics that can be used, if we’re getting the greenhouse effect on Earth wrong, why would we be getting it right on Venus? For example, where is the prediction that Venus should be much hotter than it is (and if you do find one, note the date and any subsequent research)?

    But specifically regarding the role of pressure: Yes, if you take a bunch of matter and compress it adiabatically, the temperature generally rises, by an amount depending on material properties (there may be phase changes /chemical reactions involved). The bringing together dust and larger bits to form the Earth certainly released much gravitational potential energy as heat (after an intermediate stage of kinetic energy), and more gravitational potential energy was released by compositional stratification (formation of the metallic core in particular), which, by increasing g near the center, increased pressure and caused farther contraction, increasing g etc. until some equilibrium was reached – which is still adjusting as the inner core grows (releasing latent heat as well as sensible heat and producing some compositional density variations that can drive the convection of the outer core) and radioactivity in the mantle and crust declines, etc.

    Likewise if you just take a bunch of gas and pressurize it, such as by gravity (reaching hydrostatic balance), the temperature will increase. And then what? If the gas is in contact with a surface then the heat may be conducted/diffused/mixed (slowly) to the surface, and if that surface can radiate to space, then a cool surface temperature can be maintained, allowing heat to continue to be removed from the atmosphere.

    No, if you want to sustain some equilibrium climate above absolute zero, you need to consider ongoing sources and sinks of energy. Such as the sun and the effective cold of space (going by it’s brightness temperature). With an atmosphere that is optically thick to the radiation emitted by the surface, either the surface has to be warmer and radiate more to get the same amount out to space (necessary for a scattering greenhouse), or the radiation has to be emitted by the atmosphere (a more classic greenhouse effect based mainly on absorbitivity and emissivity of the air or what it contains) – and in the later case, with some portion of the total solar heating occuring at the surface, that heat which cannot be radiated to space must get into the atmosphere, and this can occur itself by a net flux to the atmosphere, but if the conditions are such that pure radiative equilibrium is unstable to available types of convection, then convection will also tend to occur, and in this case, a troposphere may be formed with a lapse rate, to a first order, determined by the thermodynamic properties under the given conditions. Then the troposphere and surface together will tend to warm up or cool off to regain radiative equilibrium at the tropopause (which may itself shift position), while the distribution of changes in temperature below the tropopause is determined to a first order by lapse rate feedback. Some greater complexity arises in considering the effects of horizontal and temporal variations in solar heating and internal variability – in some places and times the air is stable to localized convection, allowing radiation to have greater relative importance to the lapse rate, but still involved in the overall general circulation of the troposphere.

    More generally, any system where energy enters in one form but leaves in another may be subject to a greenhouse effect of sorts, where a mechanism that impedes the flow of one type of energy may change the equilibrium concentration of energy. The whole Earth has a greenhouse effect – the radiative greenhouse effect of the Earth beneath the surface is so strong that essentially all heat is transported by convection and conduction – the finite thermal conductivity is itself like a greenhouse agent that keeps the deeper Earth hotter for longer.

    Aside from other RC posts, see also
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/greenhouse-effect-revisited/
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/goddards-world/
    (and re the last comment there, the height from which radiation reaching space is emitted is not a single level and not necessarily at the very top of the atmosphere – in pressure coordinates in can get clost to TOA but in geometric coordinates it should tend to stay below – there should tend to be definable layer of gas that is so thin in terms of amount of material that is is relatively transparent, yet in geometric coordinates it may extend effectively many km.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:26 PM

  214. I said (currently #173):

    “Mr Greisch and his interlocutors: please explain how to maintain your favored infrastructure while (and after) fossil fuel use drops to essentially zero.”

    Walter Pearce said (currently #178):

    “Are you new here? Your question has been asked and answered, numerous times on this and other threads.

    What you need to wrestle with, and wrestle HARD, is how to maintain your favored infrastructure if fossil fuel use continues on its present expansionary course.”

    No, Walter, I am an old hand here, though I comment only now and then. I don’t think you can support your claim at all. My question has been asked only occasionally, usually by myself, and answered basically not at all.

    One might excuse your baseless implication that I am somehow a fan of our current infrastructure (which will change no matter what) as hasty thoughtlessness. If you really meant it, it was childish and vicious.

    Fossil fuel, which must be curtailed if this blog’s central concerns are to be addressed, will go away in any case, led by oil’s decline. Today, we can’t come close to building a wind turbine or a solar panel factory without fossil fuels. The thought of building a nuclear power plant without them is currently just laughable. If you have a good start on how to do any of those things, I would love to hear about it. My request was neither sarcastic nor rhetorical.

    If nobody responds, I just have to conclude nobody is listening. If you take your time, my time, and everybody else’s to respond, at least have the courtesy to respond to what I said in my comment, not what some ignoramus regurgitated on WUWT, a place I know only by reputation.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 10 Jun 2011 @ 1:45 PM

  215. Rick Merritt (#173 and #214):

    Here’s one idea: the Solar Breeder.

    http://www.ssb-foundation.com/

    There is such a vast — almost unimaginably vast — supply of wind and solar energy available to us, that it is hard for me to see how or why there will be any problem obtaining enough of that energy to power wind turbine and solar panel factories. To the extent necessary, plan on building such factories close to the biggest, best, cheapest sources of renewable energy (as electricity-intensive aluminum manufacturing plants are often located in areas that have abundant, cheap hydropower today).

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Jun 2011 @ 2:42 PM

  216. @Ric Merritt. No Ric, I knew you were an old hand — from the evidence, one who’s been paying sporadic attention.

    Shouldn’t you do a little work yourself before exhorting others to “wrestle HARD” — your words? To channel another old hand here, Google is your friend.

    This took less than 5 minutes. There’s much more out there. Don’t be lazy.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 10 Jun 2011 @ 2:44 PM

  217. #160 Alastair, Thanks for that as well, it would be simpler for me to see 24 hour by hour display of an Arctic Ocean summer GRIB lower atmospheric profile, I am very keen on this, and its always difficult to get things as fast as we wish. But David and Jeremy’s model is surely an oversimplification, a better model would include time of day. Nice to hear from you, only clouds will spare the ice again this year. And there seems to be plenty now.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 10 Jun 2011 @ 3:22 PM

  218. Prokaryotes (#197):
    “the statements in #146 i do not have the impression that they are contradict them self”

    Duh, nobody said they contradicted themselves, the point was that they both contradit _you_:

    Prokaryotes (#63) “we had 300% increased earthquake activities.”
    Scientist 1: “We are not having more earthquakes than usual”
    Scientist 2: “In general, no [increase]”
    Prokaryotes: “the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make”

    Comment by Piotr — 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:15 PM

  219. re michele continued …
    (last paragraph)…(and giving the lapse rate in terms of height like that (cp*DT = -g*Dz) only strictly applies to a layer that is (dry) adiabatic; the more general relationship is between DT and Dp, and applies to any (dry) adiabatic process, at least for an ideal gas of constant composition, regardless of what the environmental lapse rate is. Also, don’t forget latent heating.)

    (second to last paragraph): The whole Earth has a greenhouse effect – the radiative greenhouse effect of the Earth beneath the surface is so strong that essentially all heat is transported by convection and conduction – the finite thermal conductivity is itself like a greenhouse agent that keeps the deeper Earth hotter for longer.

    Not that convection isn’t important in the interior, but if the thermal conductivity were infinite, the temperature everwhere would equal the surface temperature (there wouldn’t be convection). Meanwhile, viscosity allows layers of significant thickness (at the boundaries of convecting layers) to have superadiabatic lapse rates, and thus contributes to a ‘greenhouse effect’.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:16 PM

  220. Re 214 Ric Merritt The thought of building a nuclear power plant without them is currently just laughable. If you have a good start on how to do any of those things, I would love to hear about it.

    Well you really should know this by now, but since long answers haven’t worked, here’s the short one:

    How to build clean energy infrastructure without using fossil fuels:

    Step 1: start from scratch (as in preindustrial), just like we did when we didn’t yet use fossil fuels.

    But I was being literal. Here’s the issue we really need to answer:

    How to build a clean energy infrastructure that can be sustained without using fossil fuels:

    Step 1: Just start building a clean energy infrastructure.
    Step 2: Start using clean energy.
    Rinse and repeat.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:27 PM

  221. 215, SecularAnimist: There is such a vast — almost unimaginably vast — supply of wind and solar energy available to us, that it is hard for me to see how or why there will be any problem obtaining enough of that energy to power wind turbine and solar panel factories.

    Do we know that they don’t already? Iowa has lots of wind power feeding the grid, and a turbine factory powered from the grid. Phoenix has lots of solar power feeding the grid, and it has PV cell factories powered by the grid? This looks like something that we should look into.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 10 Jun 2011 @ 4:44 PM

  222. Tom at 1:06 PM:

    The Rush Limbaugh show today has been even more inane and insane than usual.

    That guy has a lot to answer for.

    Comment by Ron R. — 10 Jun 2011 @ 7:37 PM

  223. Merrit, there was a solar plant that was also run on solar. There is no technical reason more could not be built. They will as the price comes down.

    But it’s really a rather silly thing to insist at this point. No nuke has ever been built only using electricity from other nukes. Why would anyone bother doing such a thing at this point?

    As renewables become more and more the norm and as the economics of renewables improve, obviously more and more of everying will be built, powered and maintained with more and more renewable power.

    Comment by wili — 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:44 PM

  224. Piotr, i see you quote me out of context. If you read my comment #63 again you see i meant the past not presence. Why would you do that? Further you cherry pick too, btw because you ask, here is the basis of my earthquake statement from post #63. Notice that volcanic activity is often linked with earthquake activity. Though in this regards 300% might be underestimating, especially when we look at the short timescales of abrupt climate changes (sea level rise).

    “McGuire conducted a study that was published in the journal Nature in 1997 that looked at the connection between the change in the rate of sea level rise and volcanic activity in the Mediterranean for the past 80,000 years and found that when sea level rose quickly, more volcanic eruptions occurred, increasing by a whopping 300 percent.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20516847/ns/us_news-environment/t/can-warming-trigger-volcanoes-quakes/

    Large Earthquakes Trigger A Surge In Volcanic Eruptions http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090110084653.htm

    Btw, here is another great resource about tectonic and climatic geomorphology http://www.activetectonics.com/

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 10 Jun 2011 @ 10:56 PM

  225. NASA Data Show Earthquakes May Quickly Boost Regional Volcanoes

    Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity. The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia’s Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070410103017.htm

    Was Japan’s volcano eruption linked to its earthquake?
    The eruption of the Shinmoedake volcano hundreds of miles away may be linked to the quake, but it’s difficult to prove, one scientist says. In general, though, one can easily affect the other. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/18/science/la-sci-quake-volcano-20110319

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:09 PM

  226. 214, 173 Ric Merritt: “please explain how to maintain your favored infrastructure while (and after) fossil fuel use drops to essentially zero”
    In other words, you want me to look into a crystal ball and tell you how trucks are powered in the year 2100. Is that right?
    I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. I have only science and math.
    The essential problem is that at the present time we use liquid fuel for transportation and electricity is not a liquid fuel. That is not something that must be addressed right now. What we have to do right now is knock King Coal off of his throne. If we switch electricity production off of fossil fuels, we can then consider the next step.

    There are many possible next steps.

    216 Walter Pearce: That isn’t what Ric Merritt meant. Ric Merritt wants to know whether we are going to run cars on ammonia or hydrazine or batteries or overhead electric wires, as in a third rail system for trollies. That is 4 of the myriad possibilities. There are others, like compressed hydrogen that we make by electrolyzing water, taking CO2 out of the air and using it as a carbon source to make gasoline, etc. Hydrazine is a bad idea because hydrazine is an explosive without air.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Jun 2011 @ 11:59 PM

  227. 168 dhogaza: “I suggest you stop flooding the forum with your misinformation regarding renewables and nuclear”
    I am telling you the truth. So, same to you and 170 SecularAnimist.

    171 Patrick 027: Every wind turbine still needs a concrete foundation.

    184 Ron R. I read page 323 of Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. I didn’t find your quote. So same to you. What is wrong with: http://www.fpif.org/articles/nuclear_recycling_fails_the_test
    Just to pick the obvious: Iodine 129 has a half life of 8 days. LONG LIVED???????

    Why don’t you 4 get Japan to use only high temperature geothermal heat to make electricity from now on? Japan has lots of volcanoes, so it should be ideal. Right now Japan gets over 60% of its electricity from coal. Now would be the ideal time to act.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2011 @ 12:09 AM

  228. To RC Contributors

    Can I just draw your attention to what I feel sure is an error in last month’s GISS station data.

    The data for Concepcion (23.4 deg S, 57.4 deg W) is here

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.308861340004.1.1/station.txt

    It shows a mean temperature for April of 28.6 deg C

    1. The average April temp at Concepcion up to 2010 was 23.5 deg.
    2. The Max April temp up to 2010 was 25.6 deg C (3 deg below 2011).
    3. The April 2011 temp is warmer than Jan, Feb & March. Remember this is a location in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a bit like October being warmer than June, Jul & August in the NH.
    4. Other sources suggest the actual temperature was much lower than the one recorded by GISS.

    I’m not trying to make an issue out of this. I accept it’s probably a simple error but it has been seized upon by certain groups and, although I’m fairly sceptical of “serious” AGW, I’m fed up with irrelevant arguments about the quality of the surface temperature record.

    If you could get it fixed it would make me feel happier. Ta.

    Comment by John Finn — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:38 AM

  229. The new Keeling lecture is online..

    Keeling Lecture:Climate Change:The Evidence and Our Options
    10 jun 2011 UCtelevision

    In this Second Annual Keeling Lecture from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Lonnie G. Thompson, distinguished professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and recipient of both the National Medal of Science and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, provides insight into the convincing evidence of climate change provided by glaciers and polar ice-caps, and the implications that inaction in the face of this rapid change will have on societies on a global scale. Series: “Perspectives on Ocean Science”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgnX6bNaijc

    Comment by Harmen — 11 Jun 2011 @ 7:11 AM

  230. Edward@216. Edward, we can’t have a dialog if neither party listens. In this case, it’s clear you didn’t even visit the responsive link I provided to Ric Merritt.

    If you’re going to rant and rave off topic, please find a street corner.

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 11 Jun 2011 @ 9:02 AM

  231. Edward Greisch at 12:09 AM said:

    I read page 323 of Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. I didn’t find your quote.

    Read the bottom of the page.

    Just to pick the obvious: Iodine 129 has a half life of 8 days. LONG LIVED???????

    Close. Well, cosmicly speaking. Your only off by 15.7 million years. Just a blink of time compared to the age of the universe.

    http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/iodine.html#change

    :-)

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 9:03 AM

  232. Septic Matthew 10 Jun 2011 at 9:02 AM said:

    There are serious negatives to all methods of producing electricity, and the electricity itself is dangerous.

    True, however you won’t find any clean alternative with the very real potential to completely devastate a vast area for many thousands of years and leave a lingering trail of misery and death like you will with nuclear. They are simply not comparable, and it’s just wrong to claim that they are. And unlike most accidents with solar or wind (somebody falling off a roof installing panels or getting hit with a wind blade), victims of nuclear accidents have no say in the matter.

    The appeal of nuclear power is due in part to the fact that tabulated deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity generated are lowest for nuclear power.

    Tabulated. The problem is that, 1) we know that excess radiation causes cancer. 2) most cancers take years to show up so that the true totals are masked. I happen to suspect that many of the millions of lung cancer deaths of the past are in large part (along with smoking) attributable to more than 2,000 nuclear tests the world undertook. The connection to smoking is that smoking destroys the cilia and otherwise weakens lungs that, when healthy, can remove most inhaled contaminants. Asbestosis is also worse in smokers. Radiation’s effects in people is like Co2 in the atmosphere, we know that it has to have an effect, it is an action that demands a reaction.
    http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/risk-factors/smoking.htm

    but more people died in an explosion at a natural gas terminal after the earthquake

    I don’t like to compare one bad with another.

    The US lost a little less than 1% of its nuclear powered electricity in the Three Mile Island disaster, but few or no lives were lost

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469835/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/people-died-at-three-mile_b_179588.html

    and 104 reactors have operated well since that time.

    Personally, I don’t consider 200 “near misses” to meltdowns (and those are just the ones that we know of) as of 2006 that much of a success. But hey that’s me. I’d like to raise the bar. It should be Impossible for any invention of ours to have the potential to accidentally cause the kind of devastation that nuclear can. Nothing’s impossible? Sure it is. No clean alternative can ever do what nukes can.
    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/an-american-chernobyl-nuclear

    I agree 100% with your comments about recycling the toxins in solar panels, and also that they are not insurmountable problems.

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:15 AM

  233. Prokaryotes: “Piotr, i see you quote me out of context. If you read my comment #63 again you see i meant the past not presence.”

    That’s a cop-out, since the ONLY reason why you referred to the “past” was to imply that a similar thing happens in the “presence”. And the best proof of your intention is in your own posts (#110, #112, #113 etc) where you give links to at least 10 GRAPHS refering not to 80,000 years ago, but to today + very RECENT past (the last several years, the last several decades, or the last 135 yrs at most). So to prevent you from squirming out on a technicality, let me rephrase:

    Prokaryotes claims that in the present times we see a significant increase in earthquakes
    Scientist 1: “We are not having more earthquakes than usual”
    Scientist 2: “In general, no [increase]”
    Prokaryotes: “the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make”

    Satisfied ?

    Comment by Piotr — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:19 AM

  234. #227 Ed – Iodine-129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Your lies get more brazen with every post.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-129
    http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/Iodine.pdf

    Comment by JiminMpls — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:47 AM

  235. Piotr, you should use complete “quotes” and even though i post a lot, doesn’t necessarily mean i agree 100% with the content. So to summarize again:

    “In general, no, but it is true there have been more M>8 earthquakes [magnitude 8.0 or higher] per year in the last eight years than the two to three decades previous,” Abers said. “There is some debate, currently, as to whether or not that increase is statistically significant, and if it is, why that should occur.” http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/japan-earthquake-record-magnitude-future/story?id=13118435

    I believe that the recent earthquake and corresponding volcanic activity at present times is very likely considered significant. Further this is in agreement with the theory of climate change in general and tectonic geomorphology in particular.

    For any further discussion about the significance, refer to the science/university studies etc. A collection of related data can be found here
    http://climateprogress.net/blog/climate-science/71-climate-change-drives-earthquake-seismic-activity.html

    Comment by Prokaryotes — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:40 AM

  236. I’m going to qualify something I said before. No clean alternative can ever do what nukes can. Someone will point out hydroelectric dams can break and cause flooding and deaths down river. True. However I don’t consider dams a good clean alternative, same as I don’t consider biofuels clean. Dams are destructive to the local environment. As an energy source they would be my last resort before using oil, coal or nuclear.

    [Response: I agree about dams. Having seen what Vattenfall did to Stora Sjöfallet, the chain of lakes and marshes near Sarek that's now covered by the reservoir Akkajaure and its extension southward, and large tracts of the rest of Swedish Lappland, I feel like trading some of that destruction for a few more nukes might have been a good deal. Not that that was an option when they decided to turn off Europe's biggest waterfall in the 1920's, but the pillage continued well into the 1970's. By the way, despite its name, Vattenfall is a major operator promoter of coal fired power plants throughout Europe. --raypierre]

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:44 AM

  237. EG:

    Why don’t you 4 get Japan to use only high temperature geothermal heat to make electricity from now on?

    Why would I do that? Just because I think you’re full of it much of the time doesn’t mean I don’t accept that nuclear power is going to be part of the mix for the foreseeable future.

    I can point out that three core meltdowns is a strange definition of “survival” without fitting either of your strawman characterizations of those who disagree with your misinformation campaign (the first being that we’re “scared” of nuclear power, and the latest apparently being that we think Japan needs to shut down all of its nuclear power plants).

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jun 2011 @ 12:21 PM

  238. Re 227 Edward Greisch -

    171 Patrick 027: Every wind turbine still needs a concrete foundation.

    In as far as my casual assertion that g CO2eq/kWh is a rough indicator of EROIE, yes, that emphasizes why it’s rough/imperfect indicator. As would the land use and methane emissions contributions to CO2eq.

    But in as far as g CO2eq/kWh is concerned, so what? Are you saying specifically that a number as low as nuclear can’t be achieved for wind including concrete? What about CSP? (And what is the lifetime of a concrete foundation – can it be reused after 30 years? Otherwise it could be used as a CO2 sink ? …)

    By the way, by the time we get to numbers so low overall for wind, apparently at least some if not most solar, and nuclear, the justified externality tax of $x / ton CO2eq makes less of a difference among them even if one emits 2 or 3 times as much as the other. It’s much more important to deciding between those as a group verses coal, petroleum, and natural gas. So other criteria among those low emissions technologies may have greater relative importance.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 12:46 PM

  239. raypierre. Yes. Hetch hetchy, Glen Canyon, Three Gorges are other examples.
    But, again, we need to prioritize clean alternatives first and foremost and save the bad ones as a last resort just to make sure everyone’s covered. The reverse of what we’ve been doing for a very long time now.

    I don’t even know why this needs defending.

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 1:05 PM

  240. 232, Ron R: I don’t like to compare one bad with another.

    But that’s what the electricity power debate is all about, the deaths from “this” versus the deaths from “that” and the “others”. In the end we’ll have more deaths (disease, suffering, damage) or fewer (and we’ll have more total wealth or less).

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 11 Jun 2011 @ 1:11 PM

  241. re: #188 & 199, how about this addition to your silly comments list :-

    Rocket scientist Dr David Evans – (Climate related publications zero & courtesy of Desmogblog).-
    In US academic and industry parlance, “rocket scientist” means anyone who has completed a PhD in one of the hard sciences at one of the top US institutions. The term arose for people who *could* do rocket science, not those who literally build rockets. Thus the term “rocket scientist” means someone with a PhD in physics, electrical engineering, or mathematics (or perhaps a couple of other closely related disciplines), from MIT, Stanford, Caltech, and maybe a few other institutions.

    I did a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford in the 1980s. Electrical engineering is your basic high tech degree, because most high technology spawned from electrical information technology. I specialized in signal processing, maths, and statistics.

    Comment by Clippo (UK) — 11 Jun 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  242. #236 Ray and Ron, A little imagination would make Hydro electricity quite green, suggest the concept of a Chunnel along side the river shore for a Chunnel like distance, it may create an artificial mountain, at best it would capture Spring flooding (like now from the Mississippi) and slow discharge its load until the next spring. THe nuclear option is near death, no one wants to live by one, and in fact in Fukushima and Thchernobyl, no one lives by one.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 11 Jun 2011 @ 2:06 PM

  243. Michele (197)

    I’ve now seen at least half a dozen bloggers trying to argue against a significant greenhouse effect on Venus by claiming the temperature at the 1 bar pressure level is comparable to Earth. One person went so far to say that the albedo and atmosphere were both irrelevant, all that mattered was the distance to the sun. All of this has been supplemented by massive confusion concerning the lapse rate, the ideal gas law, etc. I really don’t see how any of the logic follows or where the physics is. I have a SkepticalScience piece ready to go within a day or so to clarify some of these things, as it’s getting mildly irritating.

    Comment by Chris Colose — 11 Jun 2011 @ 2:20 PM

  244. 230 Walter Pearce: “you didn’t even visit the responsive link I provided to Ric Merritt.”
    Yes I did. A Sciam article on wind power. It is irrelevant to the question.

    231 Ron R.: Safari can’t find the server.
    Safari can’t open the page “http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/iodine.html#change” because Safari can’t find the server “www.epa.gov”.

    232 Ron R. “completely devastate a vast area for many thousands of years and leave a lingering trail of misery and death like you will with nuclear”
    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

    Bombs are completely different from reactors. There is nothing similar about them except that they both need fissile materials. But they need DIFFERENT fissile materials and they use them very differently.
    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium. They are the reduced bright shiny metals, not metal oxide. If it is uranium, it is at least 90% uranium 235 and 10% or less uranium 238. These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress. Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive [high speed explosive] is required to compress them. Pieces of the fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear reactions to take place.
    A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may be 0.7% to 8% uranium oxide 235 mixed with uranium 238 oxide [uranium rust]. A mixture of 0.7% to 8% uranium 235 rust mixed with uranium 238 rust cannot be made to explode no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium oxide mixed in with the uranium oxide can not change this. Reactor fuel still cannot be made to explode like a nuclear bomb no matter how hard you try. There has never been a nuclear explosion in a reactor and there never will be. [Pure reduced metallic uranium and plutonium are flammable, but a fire isn't an explosion.] The fuel is further diluted by being divided and sealed into many small steel capsules. The capsules are usually contained in steel tubes. The fuel is further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. A reactor does not contain any high speed [or any other speed] chemical explosive as a bomb must have. A reactor does not have any explosive materials at all.
    As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and bombs are really not even related to each other.
    Reccomendation: Nuclear power is the safest kind and it just got safer. Convert all coal-fired power plants to nuclear ASAP. See the December 2005 issue of Scientific American article on a new type of nuclear reactor that consumes the nuclear “waste” as fuel.

    “we know that excess radiation causes cancer. ”
    Over 100 rems, yes. Under 10 rems, no.

    See: http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html
    Coal fired power plants give you 100 to 400 times as much radiation as nuclear plants are allowed to.
    Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2
    See the text written by the scientists, not the propaganda front piece that was written by the coal industry.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2011 @ 2:36 PM

  245. There is a must-read article at the ClimateProgress blog today, which looks at trends in high vs. low temperature records, and reviews recent studies that indicate unexpectedly extreme temperature increases are likely during the 21st century:

    Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1
    By Joe Romm
    June 11, 2011 10:34 am
    http://www.ClimateProgress.org

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Jun 2011 @ 3:05 PM

  246. I hesitate to post this comment since I would NEVER, EVER for one moment wish to suggest that responsible advocacy, or even zealous promotion, of nuclear power be censored or suppressed.

    It is vital for people to recognize the urgent need to replace fossil fueled electricity generation ASAP, especially coal, and I categorically welcome advocacy of any and all possible solutions — even those which, as in the case of expanding nuclear power, I believe to be neither necessary nor effective, and which may in fact be counterproductive and expose us to unnecessary dangers and risks. That’s my view, and I have no problem with others making a case for their own, different view.

    Having said that, Edward Greisch’s comments on this thread are beyond the reasonable bounds of even zealous advocacy, and approach trolling or even spam.

    He is unresponsive to criticism, replying with irrelevancies, repetition of established falsehoods, non sequiturs, and even insults. He accuses those who disagree with him of being shills (even paid shills) for the coal industry. He posts long, copied-and-pasted, sometimes irrelevant boilerplate text over and over again, and repeats over and over again the same, many-times-over debunked assertions.

    It’s a bore. It’s as boring as rote regurgitation of AGW denialist talking points. And I reluctantly nominate such comments for consignment to the Bore Hole.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Jun 2011 @ 3:17 PM

  247. raypierre,

    The story of Vattenfalll is quite complex It is mainly owned by the Swedish government which for decades supposedly should aim at closing down nuclear power stations due to the result of the national vote 1980 (referendum) and also support and aims at big CO2 cuts. However, “state companies” should be run like “real companies” so politicians should not try to influence it (to much)… so they still go after nuces and coal. Earlier the argument for coal was CCS which they are doing some good experiments in… but over all they have not handled it well and I think the Politicians have had enough now so something new might be happening. Vattenfall also owned some of the nuclear power stations that Germany might close down… which also will be interesting to follow.

    Comment by Magnus W — 11 Jun 2011 @ 4:15 PM

  248. This article highlights a broad band of psychological impacts originating from climate change – a great overview of current science:

    The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change

    An appreciation of the psychological impacts of global climate change entails recognizing the complexity and multiple meanings associated with climate change; situating impacts within other social, technological, and ecological transitions; and recognizing mediators and moderators of impacts. This article describes three classes of psychological impacts: direct (e.g., acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment); indirect (e.g., threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks); and psychosocial (e.g., chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conflicts, and postdisaster adjustment).

    Three classes of psychological impacts

    Direct (e.g., acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment)
    Indirect (e.g., threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks)
    Psychosocial (e.g., chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conflicts, and postdisaster adjustment). http://climateprogress.net/climate/psychology/76-the-psychological-impacts-of-global-climate-change.html

    Comment by prokaryotes — 11 Jun 2011 @ 5:37 PM

  249. Edward Greisch says:
    11 Jun 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb

    It doesn’t need to explode like a nuclear bomb. As demonstrated by Chernobyl and Fukushima (although those explosions were big), all it needs is some outlet to the outside, then winds can do the simple work of distributing the radiation far and wide. Smaller explosions do quite nicely thank you very much.

    “we know that excess radiation causes cancer. ”
    Over 100 rems, yes. Under 10 rems, no.

    Linear No Threshold.

    Coal fired power plants give you 100 to 400 times as much radiation as nuclear plants are allowed to.

    The key words there being “allowed to”.

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 5:37 PM

  250. Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb

    Another strawman. Anyone with even a casual, passing knowledge of nuclear power plants knows they can’t explode like a nuclear bomb.

    Again, you assign ridiculous, strawman beliefs to others in an effort to make them look ridiculous.

    This is dishonest and further undermines your credibility.

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:21 PM

  251. I whole heartedly 2nd SecularAnimists motion @246, the egregious repetition is beyond old.

    Comment by flxible — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:23 PM

  252. EG:

    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium

    Since you insist on lecturing as though you’re some sort of expert, Little Boy was a U235 gun design, not a far more complex compression design. This is one reason they dropped it on Hiroshima without bothering to test a prototype first (unlike Fat Man).

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:25 PM

  253. @Patrick: “More generally, any system where energy enters in one form but leaves in another may be subject to a greenhouse effect of sorts, where a mechanism that impedes the flow of one type of energy may change the equilibrium concentration of energy.”

    Wow. That’s a beauty, Patrick–a perfect gem.

    Comment by Adam R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:30 PM

  254. Edward Greisch at 2:36 PM

    Wait a minute. First you said at 12:09 AM,

    I read page 323 of Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. I didn’t find your quote. So same to you

    Now you say:

    Safari can’t find the server.
    Safari can’t open the page “http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/iodine.html#change” because Safari can’t find the server “www.epa.gov”

    I thought you said you read it?

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 6:47 PM

  255. EG@244…I’m sorry, either you’re being mendacious or your reading comprehension has atrophied. The article cited is all about energy infrastructure, of which wind is a part.

    You do recall the subject, I hope?

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 11 Jun 2011 @ 7:56 PM

  256. OT. Sometimes when I find myself getting really cynical about human nature I read an article like this and it reassures me that there are still good people out there and that there is hope.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wildflower-20110612,0,3902383,full.story

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 9:45 PM

  257. Re 253 Adam R – thank you !

    Re 252 dhogaza , and EG – as long is this has been brought up, I had been under the impression that nuclear reactors at present depend on a fissile material capable of being made into a density or volume (if the neutron mean free path allows significant escape from the volume than adding volume while keeping density the same would tend to help, right?) sufficient for a chain reaction – given such fissile material, if you can sustain a chain reaction, then you could adjust things to produce more neutrons than necessary to sustain the chain reaction (unless the isotope required is already pure and the volume large, so any increase in density only decreases the mean free path of neutrons proportionally without changing absorption per unit mass…on the other hand, free neutrons decay spontaneously so increasing density wouldn’t reduce the mean free path by quite as much (nit-picking?)) – perhaps leading to exponential growth of the reaction rate (?) – I suppose I must be wrong about that(?), since power plants don’t routinely blow up (but you could have slow exponential growth that can be corrected in time).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:28 PM

  258. … of course I realize there’s something called a nuclear fizzle… (an assemblage could destroy itself before producing enough energy to destroy so much much much more ?? – is that how it works?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:30 PM

  259. … given that this is a climate blog, loosely an energy blog by tangents, just feel free to give me a website and say nothing more about that… (well I should just go look it up, then, shouldn’t I…)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:32 PM

  260. Pinata’s up. Lindzen and Choi II, the zombie returns

    Comment by Eli Rabett — 11 Jun 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  261. Wrapping up something from the last unforced variation (La Nina, was it?)…

    Δμ is the chemical potential between two populations of electrons (or electrons and holes – however you look at at).

    Fermi function f1(E1,μ1,T1) = 1/( exp[(E1-μ1)/(kB*T1)] + 1 ) for energy E1, quasi-fermi level μ1, and temperature T1.

    Rather than doing more equations, this can be done graphically – the spacing between f1 values over energy E1 is proportional to T1. So for a temperature T0 and quasi-fermil level μ0
    for which the smae f1 value would occur at the same E1 value, E1-μ1 / T1 = E1-μ0/T0.

    So plot E1 and E2 on the E line
    (where f2(E2,μ2,T2) = 1/( exp[(E2-μ2)/(kB*T2)] + 1 )

    plot other lines, the μ1 and μ2 lines, some distance from the E line proportional to T1 and T2, respectively. Plut μ1 and μ2 values along those lines (where E is measured along those lines). Now there’s a temperature axis (equal to zero at the E line) perpendicular to those lines and an energy axis parallel to those lines. f1 and f2 are constant along the lines which intersect E1 and μ1, and E2 and μ2, where each point’s location defines T and μ. Where those lines intersect, f1 and f2 have their original values where T = T0 and μ = μ0. If T1 = T2, then, where E = E1-E2 and Δμ = μ1-μ2, E-Δμ/T1 = E/T0. E and T0 can be input into the exponential term in the Planck function for the emission and absorption by electron-hole pairs between bands 1 and 2 with quasi-fermi levels μ1 and μ2. In terms of photons:

    A = 2*n^2 / (h^3 * c^2)

    βE = A*E^2 / ( exp[(E-Δμ)/(kB*T)] – 1 )
    =
    A*E^2 / ( exp[E/(kB*T0)] – 1 )

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:01 PM

  262. [edit - enough is enough. Nuclear is now OT]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:08 PM

  263. Can’t EG be boreholed?

    Or can’t nuke power issues be put back off-limits at RC as it once was?

    (I guess the debut of unforced variations put nukes back on the table, but really, RC was more readable when nuke power crap was off-limits. the unforced variations threads would be better suited for intelligent discussion of things not brought up by the blog owners, rather than being a “bore hole lite”, though on perusing the bore hole a few moments ago, I’m almost convinced the bore hole has become an “unforced variations” lite …)

    [Response: Every so often, the comments turn to nuclear power issues. Very little is ever learned in these exchanges, and they often become repetitive and tedious. So, yes, this particular conversation is now off topic. There are plenty of blogs where this can be discussed. This is not one of them. - gavin]

    Comment by dhogaza — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:10 PM

  264. … Didn’t see inline response to 263 when I posted my last comment.

    (I hope I can still post general CO2eq/kWh values, which will include nuclear, along with coal, oil, gas, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar PV, wind, ? – I was eventually going to put together a list of references for that to back up what I said earlier. I won’t go on-and-on about it, at least not the details of nuclear.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:20 PM

  265. Thank you. I suspect that goes for a lot of other people as well.

    Comment by Ron R. — 11 Jun 2011 @ 11:30 PM

  266. Patrick 027 – Gavin, I know this is off-topic, but Patrick’s asking for clarification, and I’m not speaking to the advisability or not of increasing power generated by fission power plants …

    … of course I realize there’s something called a nuclear fizzle… (an assemblage could destroy itself before producing enough energy to destroy so much much much more ?? – is that how it works?)

    Yes, meltdown or dirty explosion (of very low yield) rather than an atomic bomb, essentially …

    This is why the “gun configuration” doesn’t work for plutonium. The U235 gun configuration of Little Boy depended on a high explosive shooting a U235 bullet at high velocity through a U235 ring and the physics are such that the configuration is stable enough for long enough (microseconds) to cause, well, Hiroshima. Such a design isn’t very efficient, though, even though Hiroshima was horrible. Or beyond horrible … as horrible as it was, though, the energy released blew it apart before anywhere near the full potential energy of complete fission of the U235 could be obtained.

    Do it with plutonium and it deconfigures (low-yield explosion, melt, I’m not quite sure quite what or if it’s even declassified at this point) before it can do the Big Nasty.

    Ironically, purifying U235 is much harder than breeding plutonium, while making a U235 bomb is much easier than making a plutonium bomb (Fat Man).

    Even more ironically, the hydrogen (fission-fusion-fission) bomb’s thermonuclear stage makes U238 a viable bomb explosive … and could be built more or less infinitely large (for at least some values of more or less infinite). The limits here have to do more with tradeoffs between things like how big a launch vehicle can you build vs. how big a boom do you need to destroy NYC or whatever as much or more than physics. Thus Edward Teller’s (and others’) fascination with contrived applications for ever-larger hydrogen bombs.

    Uranium-based power reactors like those in Japan and the US 1) use fuel that isn’t highly purified U235 but rather “enriched U238″ (low fraction of U235, though far above that found in unenriched purified uranium) 2) is a static configuration (not brought to critical mass via a “gun” configuration or via explosive compression with no damping to control it).

    Really, the best it can do is melt at a very high temp, burn, cause secondary explosions due to its high heat, etc.

    Even the movie “The China Syndrome” had this right, that refers to a core melting clear through the earth (also silly, one would assume at the very most science-fiction worst it would stop in the earth’s core). But at least they didn’t have it doing a Hiroshima …

    Anyway, hopefully it’s recognized that this has nothing to do with the “nuclear power” question at all (which I’m so happy has been declared O/T for this thread), and you’ll be able to read it after it’s approved …

    [edit - this is absolutely the last word on this.]

    Comment by dhogaza — 12 Jun 2011 @ 12:07 AM

  267. [edit - OT means OT, take it elsewhere]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 12 Jun 2011 @ 12:29 AM

  268. Re: #256 by Ron R.
    Completely OT but …… In my lovely English Cheshire garden, I have a fine specimen of Carpenteria Californica which is about to burst forth into flower in the next few days. I value it as one of my favourite plants .
    I have tried, not very hard I have to say, to propagate it, but if you think your local population is still at risk, I’ll try harder and send you some cuttings (smile).

    Comment by Clippo (UK) — 12 Jun 2011 @ 3:34 AM

  269. Guardian – Explosion in jellyfish numbers may lead to ecological disaster, warn scientists

    Global warming has long been blamed for the huge rise in the world’s jellyfish population. But new research suggests that they, in turn, may be worsening the problem by producing more carbon than the oceans can cope with.

    Science Daily – Jellyfish Blooms Shunt Food Energy from Fish to Bacteria

    The paper – Jellyfish blooms result in a major microbial respiratory sink of carbon in marine systems. Condon et al (2011) PNAS

    Comment by J Bowers — 12 Jun 2011 @ 3:59 AM

  270. Re: “Safari cannot find http://www.epa.gov
    That sounded fishy, as i know http://www.epa.gpv exists. I happened to be reading this in Atomic Web on iPad, and this alternative browser found http://www.epa.gov just fine. Then that site detected that i was on iPad, so redirected me to their mobile version, http://m.epa.gov
    Ignoring the fact that atomic web promptly quit on opening that page, i looked instead with Safari (iPad) and found the interesting message there that EPA are holding a contest of sorta called “Apps for the Environment” Given the prevalent of programmers and the like here, plus our theme topic, i thought this might be of interest to many readers. Not everyone who programs is set up as an IOS app developer- i believe you basically have to work on a Mac, and need to sign up as an Apple Developer – there could be mobile web-based entries, and many more of us could be consumers and testers of the submitted apps.

    Comment by Jim prall — 12 Jun 2011 @ 6:26 AM

  271. raypierre (#202),

    I appealed to your childish side since you would not respond otherwise, for example at dotearth where you first made your error and I promptly pointed it out. If you will now admit that the oceans do indeed absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and will continue to do so at a substantial rate for many decades as your own published work indicates, and perhaps take the time on dotearth to explain to Andy that stabilizing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 ppm does not require cutting emissions to near zero immediately upon reaching that concentration then we’ll have cleared up both the error, and perhaps a portion of its consequences.

    It is difficult to correctly apply the term ‘witless’ to Monty Python allusions. You might want to consider some other insult.

    [Response: The corollary that anyone who alludes to a Monty Python sketch is therefore witty is somewhat hard to agree with. - gavin]

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 Jun 2011 @ 7:58 AM

  272. More on the dynamics of denial. Claptrap is a shared activity. I’m glad to see this addressed.

    Are Progressives in Denial About Climate Change?

    “…climate change is not just another ‘issue’.”

    Best sound bite I’ve heard all week.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 12 Jun 2011 @ 10:50 AM

  273. Clippo (UK) at 3:34 AM.

    Extremely kind of you. I happen to live within the California Floristic Province and very near an excellent “alternative” nursery (my term; I mean that they go beyond the usual fare that you find at, say, Home Depot) that sells them in one, five and 15 gallon sizes. Much cheaper than trying to send them from the UK. :-)

    http://www.conservation.org/explore/priority_areas/hotspots/north_central_america/California-Floristic-Province/PublishingImages/15california_5f02.gif

    Problem is California exploded in growth and development has taken so many beautiful wild lands. This state (my native state) is by far the most populous in the US. I’ve always loved nature but it was watching the depressing, maddening and relentless onslaught on the lands around me that turned me into more of an activist. I’m not as much anymore as I found the the perpetual bad news too depressing. I do like to spend a lot of my free time hiking the hills around me though, imagining a happier time.

    Here’s some beautiful pictures of a lovely flower.

    http://www.crocus.co.uk/images/products2/PL/00/00/00/06/PL0000000691_card_lg.jpg

    http://www.native-again-landscape.com/images/carpenteria-californica-show-set1.jpg

    Again, thank you for the offer!

    Comment by Ron R. — 12 Jun 2011 @ 10:51 AM

  274. M (#209)

    Thanks for your questions. On the first one, this arose because Andy Revkin wrongly believed that emissions had to go to zero on a technologically difficult timescale. He cited something raypierre posted earlier on dotearth about bathtubs and then raypierre, surprisingly and mistakenly backed Andy up. Regardless of emissions having to go to zero eventually, on a technologically difficult timescale, they don’t have to be cut all that far. There is no technological roadblock for making adequate cuts to emissions to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide at 450 ppm. The required cuts still allow room for aviation and some other difficult fossil fueled sectors to continue. They can keep going like that for sixty plus years with a stable concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sixty plus years means a plethora of technological miracles without even trying. We don’t even call such things miracles actually. Are the CAFE standards a miracle? So, the 18% is unimportant from the standpoint of policy relevance.

    I would say that in a stabilized atmosphere, the stock in the atmosphere remains constant (by definition) rather than dropping. It is the stock in the oceans which is rising to equilibrate.

    On your first code question, b represents the growth in concentration (times 4.36 to pass through 270 ppm in 2000. e is a silly step since it also grows at 2% but with the factor of 4.36 is is within a factor of two of actual emissions (in concentration units). Another factor of 2 and we are at emissions per year.

    On your second code question, I am using arrays and accumulating in d. For each year’s emissions e(i) their contributions to all future years are accounted for in one step by adding the array c.

    You can run the code using the Fawlty Language. http://fl.net23.net/

    (A very indirect Monty Python allusion I see, but then NOBODY expects it.)

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 Jun 2011 @ 2:19 PM

  275. M (#210),

    I used the Kharecha and Hansen figs. 3 and 4 to identify what level of emissions stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. You’ll note that in every case where stabilization is achieved, it is subsequently lost because the concentration begins to decline. Thus, the emissions are too low to maintain stabilization. Their fig. 7 is closer to my calculation though their cuts are latter.

    I agree that their eqn. 1 is a fit but it seems to give results that agree with Solomon et al. and raypierre’s NRC report. In terms of carbon cycle feedbacks, I think a 350 ppm target would be the most prudent at this time. From a moral point of view, 280 ppm would be best.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 12 Jun 2011 @ 2:41 PM

  276. Dudley’s early posts seems to suggest that he thought that we could stabilize emissions at 50% of present in order to stabilize concentrations at 450 ppm, with statements like “no further research into alternative energy sources is required to stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide.” Now, his goalposts have moved, and he is saying instead something about as obvious as 2+2 = 4, namely that “stabilizing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 ppm does not require cutting emissions to near zero immediately upon reaching that concentration”. The first statement: wrong. The second statement: obvious.

    “we’ll have cleared up both the error”
    The only error that requires cleaning up here is Dudley’s own confusion.

    Comment by M — 12 Jun 2011 @ 2:56 PM

  277. My effort during last year or so has produced some interesting results:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/A&P.htm
    Regarding PDO, my data is by no means perfect, but considering large discrepancy in 1950-60 decade, I searched for a reason why PDO may had a half aborted cycle, could not find one. This was time of nuclear tests in Pacific but that appear to be unlikely cause.
    Would appreciate link to any paper that may looked into this ‘anomaly’.

    Comment by vukcevic — 12 Jun 2011 @ 3:38 PM

  278. 262 edit: “Nuclear is now OT” except for 263 dhogaza, 264 Patrick 027, 266 dhogaza
    The editor is not unbiased.

    [Response: The editor is tired of this. - gavin]

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Jun 2011 @ 12:07 AM

  279. Dudley, I am always surprised by people who 1. do not understand risk assessment and 2. do not understand tipping points/non-linear responses.

    Please, read slowly. Risk assessment is not concerned with what is most likely so much as it is concerned with what will cause very great harm. It deals with the unexpected, the long tails, the fat tails, the things we think will only happen to the other people in the world, but not ourselves. Let us take a simple comparison.

    For our homes, be we homeowners, we do not take out old paint insurance, collission with the moon insurance, or neighbor dog peeing on the siding insurance or my fist through the door insurance because the first is just not a big enough risk, is expected, and can be done yourself fora few cans of paint; the second will just never happen; the third is not going to harm your house and the last might happen often, but, really, you can’t insure against whacking your own house – it’s fraud.

    We do tend to insure against fire, flood, earthquake, etc. Why? Because these events will likely never happen to you (well, unless you just didn’t think when buying your home), but if they do, they can destroy the house and/or kill you. The risk is too high *not* to insure.

    You follow?

    Now let’s make a little grid. We have climate change do nothing and climate change do something on one axis and not real and real on the other. Our choices look like this:

    do nothing/not real
    do nothing/real
    do something/not real
    do something/real

    Let’s look at outcomes.

    do nothing/not real: life goes on with the pollution, inefficient use of fossil fuels, which we will still run out of someday, but unprepared for because, hey, we don’t need renewables!

    do nothing/real: We all die. Literally. Eventually. 6 degrees and all that. A few stragglers up in the Canadian Archipelago, I suppose. Eating lichen.

    do something/not real: We get cleaner energy, a cleaner environment, a sustainable economy, better communities. Yay!

    do something/real: We get cleaner energy, a cleaner environment, a sustainable economy, better communities. And, SAVE THE WORLD! Yay!

    See? Three out of four outcomes are GOOD for us. Only “do nothing” has a really nasty ending, so how about let’s not do that?

    When you say we, gosh, have time to hang out at 450 for a while you are ignoring that there is research out there that says Greenland might melt significantly at as low as 400ppm CO2. You ignore that things are moving very, very quickly already. Arctic Sea ice is already melting away. Etc.

    You are playing with fire. Please don’t do that with my son’s life. There is only one sane approach: get to a sustainable state as fast as is humanly possible; heck with the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

    Comment by ccpo — 13 Jun 2011 @ 12:42 AM

  280. @ 213-219 Patrick

    I agree with you the problem is more complex than I am representing it but it is indisputable that:

    1) The lapse rates are quit identical. The mentioned profile tell us that the temperature passes from 310 K to 260 K while the height passes from 52.5 km to 58 km, that’s, the lapse rate is 50/5.5=9.4 K/km. The dry lapse rate for Earth is 9.81/1.005=9.76 K/km and for Venus (g=8.87 m/s², Cp=0.846 kJ/kgK) is 8.87/0.846=10.5 K/km. Assuming a range of ±5%, we could claim that they are equal!

    2) If we take away as much of the Venus’ atmosphere as there is needed because the pressure at the ground becomes one bar (as it is for Earth), that’s, if we cut off all the pressure profile below circa 50 km, the surface temperature would be approximately the same than the Earth’s one, although the immeasurable difference of the C2 densities.

    At a first glance, it seems that we should seek the answers elsewhere.

    @ 243 Chris Colose

    You are right, the matter needs to be treated deeper. I am waiting for.

    Comment by Michele — 13 Jun 2011 @ 5:22 AM

  281. M (#277),

    You have misread what I wrote. I wrote 50% of 2000 emissions. That continues to be the case. We can stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide at 450 ppm using current technology and continue to do so for sixty plus years. No goal posts have been moved except mistakenly by raypierre.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 Jun 2011 @ 8:51 AM

  282. I have been reading about the St. Petersburg Flood Prevention Complex.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Petersburg_Dam

    Here is a sketch:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spb_kronshtadt.svg

    St. Petersburg floods all the time because much of it is very low. Some people think this dam will prevent flooding, but others think it could trigger storm surge.

    Also, does anyone know if climate change will affect the clonic low pressures that are said to cause the flooding.

    Here are some Russian opinions.

    http://legendofpineridge.blogspot.com/2011/01/russian-media-moves-to-calm-junk.html

    Comment by Snapple — 13 Jun 2011 @ 9:03 AM

  283. ccpo #229

    You should really get after raypierre for proposing 560 ppm rather than me if you are going to follow the idea that discussing a stabilization target implies support for that target. However, a 450 ppm stabilization target remains a diplomatically important target since European emissions commitments are aimed towards that target. It is worth discussing how that is achieved. Contraction and convergence is the mechanism envisioned and that implies that developed countries will cut emissions 80% while developing countries will not cut emissions but will neither increase their emissions so much that a 50% cut from some year’s emissions(usually 1997) will be the world target. The idea is to even up per capita emissions and this is tied to millennium development goals. You can see an emissions profile that is a bit optimistic about China’s performance here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraction_and_Convergence

    On moral grounds, I support a 280 ppm target. I think that that target can be justified on scientific grounds as well in an interesting manner. It is too late to discuss the ethics of carrying out an experiment on the composition of the atmosphere for this run, but if we are to consider what we are doing a climate experiment, then the only way to allow for reproducibility is to reset the system to its original state while preserving some fuel to allow the experiment to be run again. Since some fuels are already facing shortage, it is time to put our efforts to shutting down this run and soaking up the excess carbon dioxide so that we may have an ethical discussion about repeating the experiment from the comfortable initial condition of 280 ppm. I would suggest that at that time, the same arguments that would bring a failed drug safety trial to an early end would be applicable to considering a second run of a carbon dioxide experiment. But, we can’t even have that discussion if we don’t design our first run to allow for reproducibility which is something we can still do if we act quickly.

    Climate engineers may take a different view of course.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 Jun 2011 @ 9:29 AM

  284. Chris, glad you are looking to 280, but you and Ray are wasting your time splitting hairs. If what we do does not match the risk assessment, it is a waste of time unless we just get lucky. The worst case is what you insure against, the best is what you hope for. In the case where practical limits to action prevent preparing for the worst case scenario, you still shoot for as close to that as possible. When it is relatively simple to meet the goal, it’s rather insane not to. That is the case here.

    The worst case scenarios are well-represented, imo, by the MIT modelling and Hansen, et al.’s 400 ppm as the lower boundary for significant GIS melt, as well as the simple observation that both Greenland and Antarctica started melting well before we hit 400 ppm, as did the permafrost and clathrates. What, then, is the point of discussing anything over 400 ppm? When we add in how simple it is to reduce carbon emissions, all the more so.

    Hansen’s recent The Case for Young People suggested the rebuilding of forests as a way to get to net zero emissions when combined with controls on emissions. This is a simple thing that can be done all over the planet. If it is limited to rebuilding ecosystems that have been destroyed, then the concerns expressed by, I believe, Gavin or Jim, in earlier threads that adding in billions of trees may do strange things to climate, also, should be reduced. However, the work of Mollison indicates a good understanding of the roles of trees and forests on winds, hydrology and temperatures, so I am fairly certain we can make safe choices wrt location and extents of reconstituted forests, or even new forests. If, for example, the global choice is not to cut emissions so much as mitigate them (not my recommendation because of other ecological services and resource limits issues), then more forests will be needed, but, again, we can make fairly good predictions as to what the effects of new forests will be. if we screw up, they are easy enough to cut down.

    A simpler option with nothing but positive side effects, imo, is to shift all farming and gardening to regenerative practices. Regenerative practices turn gardening and farming into carbon sinks by sequestering large amounts of organic material in the soil.

    http://www.ifoam.org/growing_organic/1_arguments_for_oa/environmental_benefits/pdfs/Rodale_Research_Paper_Regenerative_Agriculture.pdf

    They have the added benefits of healthier, more nutritious food, eliminating the use of fossil fuels in food production, being simple and accessible techniques anyone can apply anywhere, reducing water use, encouraging a greater connection with our natural cycles, enhancing resilience in the food system, etc.

    Simply changing current global cropland to regenerative practices can sequester up to 40% of current emissions. The combination of reforestation (not tree planting), many of which can be food forests, greatly stabilizing food supply while reducing significantly energy inputs, and regenerative agriculture with some reductions in emissions not only will solve the CO2 problem, but actually allow us to return to below 300.

    Why waste time on non-solutions that may mislead some to believe what is unsafe is safe?

    Comment by ccpo — 13 Jun 2011 @ 12:43 PM

  285. ccpo #284,

    As I said, 450 ppm is a common focus of discussion. And, there are some who mistakenly say that it is too difficult to achieve and so we should do nothing. My interest here is to remove inaccurate support for the idea that it is too difficult to achieve. Thus, I feel quite OK about discussing it.

    I think you should be a little careful when looking at the Greenland Ice Sheet. Overshoot may be acceptable in that case if it is sufficiently brief. In Hansen et al.’s paper on targets they accept some overshoot for the 350 ppm target, wanting keep it under 100 years. They also suggest fine tuning based, primarily, on ice sheet behavior. You need to work out what you mean by 400 ppm as a target. Will there be overshoot? Will it be contingent? How do you persuade diplomats to negotiate commitments when you may pull the rug out from under their feet in a decade? 350.org has similar but less pressing problems since it takes a while to get back to 350 ppm. Probably 350.org is in a more practical position.

    One final thought. A 350 ppm target with less than 100 years of overshoot can be accomplished without any assistance from transformed agriculture by the use of military force. A hegemonic power or alliance could blockade oil, gas and coal exports along with energy intensive goods exports while saving its own emission cuts for last. Imposing a 20% annual cut in world emissions down to zero does the job without any intentional sequestration.

    Such an effort was an early response to slavery. England, in particular, attempted to bar by force the transport of slaves by sea. That was to end the trade, but not slavery itself.

    In some ways, I feel that by advocating a target of 280 ppm, I am more like an abolitionist who still does not see the horror of the Civil War beyond the horizon. But, while a 350 ppm target could be imposed unilaterally by force, a 280 ppm target would require a lot of cooperation I think. While the threat of force stands behind most diplomacy including climate negotiations, it may not for a target of 280 ppm.

    Global warming is being seen increasingly as a national security issue in the US with a close look being taken at potential deployments in response to refugee crises, base vulnerabilities and consequences of greater naval activity in the Arctic. The Janus link between diplomacy and force may become more apparent in the fairly near future.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 Jun 2011 @ 12:08 AM

  286. http://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

    “Beginning today, The Conversation will bring much-needed and long-overdue accountability to the climate “sceptics.”

    For the next two weeks, our series of daily analyses will show how they can side-step the scientific literature and how they subvert normal peer review. They invariably ignore clear refutations of their arguments and continue to promote demonstrably false critiques.

    We will show that “sceptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.

    The individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.

    The signatories below jointly authored this article, and some may also contribute to the forthcoming series of analyses.

    Are you a scientist? Do you agree? If you’d like to add your name to the list, send an email to megan.clement@theconversation.edu.au

    Perhaps you gents should sign. I hope you will consider it.

    Comment by ccpo — 14 Jun 2011 @ 4:44 AM

  287. Re 280 Michele – Part I

    1. While the dry adiabatic lapse rates on Venus (at least for some of the atmosphere – I think the gas may be somewhat less than ideal near the surface (?)) and Earth, in terms of -dT/dz through a well-mixed layer, are similar (according to your info; I haven’t checked it recently), I still felt it was important to note that they could easily be different among different planets. Also, the latent heating in Earth’s troposphere brings the environmental lapse rates down to around moist adiabatic, although that itself is temperature dependent; there are weather, regional/latitudinal and seasonal/diurnal variations in convection and solar heating and the lapse rate varies a bit and can be stable; I think something around 6.5 K/km can be considered ‘representative’.

    2. It’s an interesting thought experiment to compare the effects of:
    A. keeping the total optical thickness constant but halving the mass of the atmosphere;
    B. keeping the mass of the atmosphere constant while halving the optical thickness (aside from direction and amount of change, approximately what we’re doing on Earth)
    C. keeping both proportional while halving them.

    - in all cases, maintaining constant (average) molecular mass and specific heat of the air.

    For A, if you keep the optical thickness constant, then I think you could maintain the same radiative-convective equilibrium profile if you double the adiabatic lapse rates to account for having a troposphere half as thick. Since this doesn’t happen, the surface must be cooler because otherwise too much radiation would be emitted from the upper troposphere. Of course the tropopause height may also change … (?)

    (this is, in isolation, the effect of pressure. But note that if you remove all greenhouse effects, the pressure no longer shapes the surface temperature, at least not in any simple global average way independent of diurnal and seasonal cycles and mechanical energy inputs such as from tides (doesn’t really matter much directly for at least either Earth or Venus’s atmosphere, but I mention it to be more complete for these hypothetical scenarios) – because you would then need those things to have anything like a troposphere in that case, and that might not be sufficient(?).

    PS haven’t taken into account the concentration of direct solar heating on a smaller mass of air – the stratosphere should tend to warm – but the concentration of greenhouse gases should balance this effect – at least in the skin layer… need to think through some more… Okay then…(?)

    For C, the surface should tend to cool more than in A because now more radiation is escaping to space from the surface and/or the lower warmer layers of air.

    The change from A to C is the same type of change as in B.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2011 @ 12:35 PM

  288. My comment a few days ago was phrased a little sharply because the question is deep and the discussions here are often quite shallow. Many of the comments sound naive to anyone who has spent some months on, say, The Oil Drum, following some of its wide-ranging links, which have common themes but no single house ideology. (It’s not the only source, but it’s an excellent place to browse.) Commenters here are quite hard on those who seem to type before reading, and many of us are guilty.

    The question I mean is how we might maintain a materially rich (preferred by most) and radically interdependent world civilization while the fossil fuels that built it go away. Simple solutions along the lines of hey, just use less of the bad stuff and more of the good ignore the dominant feedbacks throughout the world economy, not to mention human behavior. You need to be curious enough about that to at least acknowledge that a proposed world running mostly on renewables (or other fuels I won’t mention to avoid annoying the moderators) is so different from the current one that how it might work is very, very hard to imagine.

    Actually, it’s quite easy to imagine an economy limping from oil shocks, a population continuing to increase by 75+ M/yr, investment suffering, political divisions and wars increasing, and the climate not helping at all. If investment in renewables falls behind what is required, we will encounter vicious circles that are more powerful than the virtuous feedbacks we’d like to see. That would cause the economy, as usually defined, to decline for a very long time. Large projects of any kind would become less likely, not more.

    When I see someone gushing about the vast amounts of energy available from the sun (and the wind etc it powers), I feel discouraged. The amount of energy or power, while of some interest, has in general little to do with how easy or hard it is to run advanced civilization on that source. What we know for sure is that fossil fuels are marvelously energy-dense (put in that state for free, without investment by us, with the concomitant increase in entropy somewhere else), and other sources are far more spread out, thus harder to harvest. You have to do all the harvesting work and then see what is left over to do work outside the energy industry itself. I know the readers here are savvy enough to acknowledge that when challenged, but your comments very often sound like it isn’t even an issue important enought to worry about. That’s wrong.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 14 Jun 2011 @ 1:37 PM

  289. Declining solar activity?

    http://www.space.com/11960-fading-sunspots-slower-solar-activity-solar-cycle.html

    If the solar evolution progresses as predicted (or at least anticipated) here, diverse climate models will make very divergent predictions for the next 3 decades. The understanding of the climate system should be much more complete and accurate by then.

    288, Ric Merritt: Many of the comments sound naive to anyone who has spent some months on, say, The Oil Drum, following some of its wide-ranging links, which have common themes but no single house ideology. (It’s not the only source, but it’s an excellent place to browse.)

    That’s the nature of a medium devoted to many short posts. Most readers and writers here have deep and well-informed opinions on most topics, but our information bases do not always overlap completely, or we give different amounts of weight to different facts or hypotheses. To me, the best approach is to address “comments” rather than “persons”.

    Consider solar again. Sure it’s a diffuse resource, but electricity is used in a distributed manner. Solar electricity generation technology is getting better and better, and there are millions of acres of empty rooftops and uncovered parking lots yet to be enlisted. For the next few years the US (and other places) can do very well to invest in solar generation to meet peak capacity, improve the technology, and to improve the manufacturing processes. Only if someone writes, or seems to write, that solar has to do everything all at once does solar look like a foolish idea.

    Something similar can be said about wind: technologies and manufacturing are improving, and the costs 20 years from now will be much reduced (if the history of every other technology is a guide.) Right now, wind generation capacity is mostly not close to where the electricity is to be used, but the obvious solution (again with many historical precedents, such as Rochester, NY) is to move the factories to the energy sources. Wind looks foolish only if someone writes that it is a panacea to be adopted immediately.

    Don’t forget, your short comments will appear naive to some readers.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 14 Jun 2011 @ 2:54 PM

  290. My previous comment got a little long without replying to any specifics, though some have been offered that address the question at least a bit.

    The “solar breeder” (Saharan sun used mostly in Europe) linked by SecularAnimist would certainly be really cool if it happens and works. I gather the planners do aspire to create renewable infrastructure from renewable power. More power to them if they can turn that vaporware into hardware. Even if the technical stuff pans out (a big question), success would imply a regional political arrangement comparable in size, duration, and complexity to the one currently supporting oil from the Middle East. The old arrangement on the way down would be a formidable competitor to the new one on the way up. Impossible, maybe not. Daunting and fragile, for sure. Dependent on large investments to grow quickly, so improbable except in a growing economy. (There does seem to be some kind of claim that the project would grow quickly without significant outside investment, using its own profits, but I don’t think I believe that one.)

    The Scientific American article linked by Walter Pearce will be familiar to many readers. It is very sunny, in every sense, but awfully short of detail, or of any sense of how we are doing so far (too slow for optimism, I would say.)

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 14 Jun 2011 @ 3:14 PM

  291. Ric Merritt wrote: “… a proposed world running mostly on renewables … is so different from the current one that how it might work is very, very hard to imagine.”

    With all due respect, I would suggest that the problem lies in the difficulty that you have imagining something other than the current fossil fuel-based paradigm, rather than any actual material difficulty with running a technologically advanced civilization on renewable energy.

    Ric Merritt wrote: “… other sources are far more spread out, thus harder to harvest …”

    That’s a non sequitur. Wind and solar energy are abundant and ubiquitous, yes. That doesn’t make them “harder to harvest”. On the contrary, they can be harvested readily and easily, in large quantity, almost everywhere in the world, using easily replicated, mass-produced, increasingly cheap technology.

    Ric Merritt wrote: “You have to do all the harvesting work and then see what is left over to do work outside the energy industry itself.”

    I’m not sure what you are saying, but if you are suggesting that it takes as much energy to build and deploy wind farms and solar power plants as they generate over their operating lifetime, that’s very, very wrong.

    Ric Merritt wrote: “… we might maintain a materially rich (preferred by most) and radically interdependent world civilization while the fossil fuels that built it go away …”

    It’s worth mentioning that a tiny fraction — perhaps a few percent — of humanity enjoys a “materially rich” lifestyle.

    For example, there are many, many millions of people who lack any access to electricity at all. For those people, a few solar panels, a lithium-ion battery, some LED lights, a refrigerator and a satellite dish can bring “civilization” to an entire rural village that has never had electricity before and otherwise never would.

    There is, in fact, a revolution in solar-powered off-grid rural electrification now getting underway — in Africa and India, for example. I think that’s more important to the future of humanity than worrying about how to maintain the fossil-fueled “materially rich” lifestyle that we in the West have become accustomed to (e.g. in the USA where more than 60 percent of our primary energy consumption is outright wasted).

    I would add that a “radically interdependent” civilization is, in my view, over-rated, and arguably part of the problem. An interconnected civilization, e.g. with universal access to communications and the exchange of information, is great. But a civilization that depends on moving huge amounts of material resources all over the place makes no sense, is not sustainable, and has no intrinsic value that I can see. I hope and expect that any civilization that manages to survive the effects of AGW that are sure to occur this century, will be based on local (bioregional) self-reliance, where human communities will learn how to live within the carrying capacity of the ecosystems of which they are a part.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Jun 2011 @ 3:47 PM

  292. Ric Merritt — I would respectfully suggest that The Oil Drum is not an especially great resource for keeping informed about what is happening now with the wind and solar industries — both the ongoing, accelerating deployment of today’s powerful and mature technologies, and the new technologies (especially in photovoltaics) that are at various stages of development from laboratory research to commercialization.

    Nothing against The Oil Drum — it is a great resource for monitoring developments in the oil industry, which is certainly important and valuable. But it is not really a site that is focused on renewable energy technologies. And my sense is that because of its focus on oil, and on the problems likely to be associated with (poorly handled) peak and decline of oil extraction, that it tends to be rather gloomy about the overall energy picture.

    There are quite a lot of sites now that cover developments in the wind and solar industries — the trade associations, various manufacturers and vendors, business-oriented sites, science-and-technology oriented sites, etc. I would urge you to seek them out. You may be surprised to find that there is much more going on than you realize, and much more reason to be optimistic about the potential of renewable energy than you think.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 14 Jun 2011 @ 5:57 PM

  293. Any chance of a post some time on this research? Perhaps once the paper’s in print.

    Stanford climate scientists forecast permanently hotter summers beginning in 20 years

    The tropics and much of the Northern Hemisphere are likely to experience an irreversible rise in summer temperatures within the next 20 to 60 years if atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations continue to increase, according to a new climate study by Stanford University scientists. The results will be published later this month in the journal Climatic Change Letters.
    [...]
    “According to our projections, large areas of the globe are likely to warm up so quickly that, by the middle of this century, even the coolest summers will be hotter than the hottest summers of the past 50 years,” said the study’s lead author, Noah Diffenbaugh
    [...]
    Diffenbaugh was surprised to see how quickly the new, potentially destructive heat regimes are likely to emerge, given that the study was based on a relatively moderate forecast of greenhouse gas emissions in the 21st century.

    “The fact that we’re already seeing these changes in historical weather observations, and that they match climate model simulations so closely, increases our confidence that our projections of permanent escalations in seasonal temperatures within the next few decades are well founded,” Diffenbaugh said.

    Comment by J Bowers — 14 Jun 2011 @ 6:58 PM

  294. Curiosities of our times. Rupert Murdoch’s mother, who is 102 and a grand dame of our town, has just signed an open letter supporting a carbon price.

    Comment by Nick Stokes — 14 Jun 2011 @ 7:44 PM

  295. For those few here talking about Venus I just published my SkS piece

    Comment by Chris Colose — 14 Jun 2011 @ 8:28 PM

  296. While on the subject of xy&z check out this bit of serendipity. It has software engineering, kids and everything.

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 14 Jun 2011 @ 11:07 PM

  297. Re 280 Michele – part II – It is also interesting to consider the effect of just lopping off part of the atmosphere and shifting the surface upward. Will the temperature profile of the remaining part be the same? No, unless the removed air was sufficiently opaque at all relevant LW wavelengths. All of the net downward solar flux must still be balanced by convection + net upward LW flux at that point, which is now the surface; keeping it at the same temperature will tend to reduce the net upward LW flux at that point, because it is analogous to giving the lost portion of the atmosphere near-infinite optical thickness over a small distance. So the surface will tend to get warmer to boost the net upward LW flux. However, convection could also respond – but if the temperature remained the same, … (out of time, may get back to later).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2011 @ 11:30 PM

  298. … I meant the level where the surface has been moved to would tend to get warmer; the surface would get cooler, and anyway, that’s only considering radiation so far.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 14 Jun 2011 @ 11:34 PM

  299. Your help is needed at:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/14/an-effort-to-clarify-the-climate-conversation/#preview

    I am having trouble with the RC search engine. It gives too many results. I finally found the “Global Cooling Mole” after remembering the complete title. I still haven’t found the article you did about 97% of working climatologists agreeing on GW. I found maybe the wrong one or not the best one on scientists not getting rich on research grants.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 15 Jun 2011 @ 12:02 AM

  300. Hi Chris Dudley (#109),

    I have reimplemented your program in octave and I think the calculation is basicly correct.

    But I does not understand your conclusion. Either you get other values that my program does or you may misinterpret the result. I does not think that the claim that the emission must fall to near zero is incorrect, but I think you, Chris Dudley and Ray Pierrehumbert, have a very different meaning of ‘near zero’ and the time scale.

    I think additional problems comes from the unrealistic choice of 1.5 in the line
    e(i+1:999)=e(i)/1.5
    This would mean an emission reduction of 33% per year, which would economical very unwise!
    I would suggest e(i)/1.02 instead, as in the increase.

    After extending the time you calculate the emissions from 499 to 999 (*) years you could check which concentration you get in the last year 2849, if the emission does never fall below and remain constant after the decrease at a prescribed level. Try for example 100%, 50%, 20%, 10%, 5% of the year 2000 emissions. Which values you get? For which value the concentration in 2849 is less or equal 450? What is in the case of 50%? It is sufficient to reduce the emission only to 50% of the value in 2000 to stabilize at 450ppm?

    Also I would suggest to see stabilization at 450 not as exactly 450, but als hold the concentration between 430 and 470 or so and only the approx 100year average is 450.

    (*) The formula of Kharecha nd Hansen is a fit for 1000 years.

    Comment by Uli — 15 Jun 2011 @ 2:29 AM

  301. “Even if the technical stuff pans out (a big question), success would imply a regional political arrangement comparable in size, duration, and complexity to the one currently supporting oil from the Middle East. The old arrangement on the way down would be a formidable competitor to the new one on the way up.” – Ric Merritt

    I think this overlooks the fact that oil is an immensely valuable chemical feedstock: burning the limited amounts that exist would be extremely wasteful even if there were no problem with GHG emissions. Moreover there are Saharan and Arabian countries with little or no oil, and most if not all are running short of fresh water. There is at least the possibility of a long-term trade of fresh water from northern Europe – probably embodied in the form of food and other goods – for renewable power from the Arab world: an economically integrated “Eurabia” quite different from the paranoid fantasies of the likes of Mark Steyn. Particularly if democracy does take root in the Arab world, as seems at least possible, we in Europe should be looking into this.

    This is also relevant to SecularAnimist’s opposition to a “radically interdependent” world. Certainly, such a world has its drawbacks, notably the energy cost of moving stuff around he mentions. But it also has big advantages. First, it is simply a fact that particular resources are more readily available in some places than others. For example, while solar power can certainly be harvested anywhere, it can be done most efficiently where the sun shines most strongly and reliably. Conversely, the climate change that is already inevitable is likely to increase the regional differences in usable precipitation. Second, radical interdependence discourages large-scale war and encourages compromise: if China and the USA, or Europe and the Arab world, each depend on the other to function, war between them becomes less likely.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 15 Jun 2011 @ 4:51 AM

  302. Re: # 42; Fractional increase f of absolute temperature.

    I don’t think you were so wide of the mark the first time. f is not meaningless because , when multiplied by 4, it determines the approximate fractional increase of the earthshine, or infra-red, emitted by the ground and oceans.* But this important effect which tends to restore the climate to energy balance at a higher temperature ,is not of course the first effect which worries people about global warming.

    How about mentioning the fractional increase of water vapour instead? Your example of 1 deg.C warming corresponds very roughly to an average 6% rise in water vapour. When you allow for deviations from the average this is bound to have impacts.
    ————–
    * Expanding the Stefan Boltzmann T^4 using the binomial theorem gives T(0)^4 [ 1+4f] where T(0) is the starting value of the mean absolute temperature.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 15 Jun 2011 @ 5:07 AM

  303. I bought myself a cheap $30 IR thermometer recently and was hoping somebody here could offer a possible explanation for some of the measurements I am getting. Over the last two nights I have gone outside just before sunset and measured the ground temperature at between 2C and 5C. At the same time I pointed the thermometer towards the clear sky and received readings between -23C and -27C. It was a few degrees warmer when pointing towards clouds.

    About 3 hours after sunset I took the same readings again. This time the sky was clear but fog was starting to settle in. The ground temperature was a couple of degrees cooler as expected but the measurements pointing up into the fog were about 10C warmer. I am guessing the reason for the increase in temperature is from the latent heat released by the formation of the fog or the reflected radiant heat from the surface or perhaps a combination of both. If anybody can cure my curiosity it would be very much appreciated.

    Comment by DST — 15 Jun 2011 @ 8:02 AM

  304. DST, congratulations! I have been thinking about getting such a gadget. Some quick remarks:

    If you aim it upward to the clear sky, what you are getting is the effective temperature of the atmospheric back radiation, the very phenomenon that mediates the greenhouse effect.

    Look at this web site:

    http://geoflop.uchicago.edu/forecast/docs/Projects/modtran.orig.html

    Set sensor altitude to 0, looking upward. You see that below 800 cm^-1, the radiation is coming from air at the same temperature as you, around 300K. Here, the atmosphere is opaque (CO2 and H2O, I would think; from 600 to 800 is the major CO2 absorption band), so you’re looking at air right above you. Above 800 cm^-1, the air is much more transparent, but you’re getting back something (from H2O) from where the air is colder, 250K or so, some 10 km up on average.

    I don’t know what window your instrument integrates, but if it is above 800 cm^-1, that would explain the readings you’re getting.

    About clouds, of course you’re getting higher temperatures: you’re looking at lower layers of the atmosphere where it is warmer. About the fog being warmer than the ground: after sunset the ground cools rapidly (until fog sets in) by radiative cooling (the cause of night frost). The air does not have that mechanism, being transparent (Kirchhoff-Bunsen), and hangs on longer to its daytime temp. The fog’s latent heat will help a bit too.

    An experiment you could try: at a clear sky, observe the temperature to the zenith, to low above the horizon, and to in between. You should get higher temperatures closer to the horizon. Also there you’re looking at lower, warmer layers. The phenomenon is somewhat the same as Solar limb darkening…

    Comment by Martin Vermeer — 15 Jun 2011 @ 9:28 AM

  305. NASA has a web page about using an IR thermometer to look at the sky and clouds. It’s at
    http://mynasadata.larc.nasa.gov/P18.html

    Comment by Lee — 15 Jun 2011 @ 9:45 AM

  306. Earlier I wrote to Ric Merritt: “There are quite a lot of sites now that cover developments in the wind and solar industries — the trade associations, various manufacturers and vendors, business-oriented sites, science-and-technology oriented sites, etc.”

    If I may I’d like to recommend one such site.

    Over at Joe Romm’s Climate Progress blog (which is invaluable for its coverage of climate issues), a fellow named Stephen Lacey has just started contributing blog posts about energy issues. Lacey is a journalist who was previously with RenewableEnergyWorld.com and he knows the territory. You can find a list of his articles here:

    http://thinkprogress.org/author/stephen/

    He has an article today entitled “Top 5 Coolest Ways Companies are Integrating Renewable Energy into the Grid” which discusses:

    1. Intelligent Demand Response
    2. Microinverters and Maximum Power Point Trackers
    3. Wind Energy Management Tools
    4. The Virtual Power Plant
    5. The Hybrid Solar-Gas Power Plant

    Ask yourself if your views on the potential for a mostly, if not completely, renewable-powered grid is informed by awareness of what is happening right now in those five areas. If not, I commend the article to your attention.

    Other recent articles by Lacey have discussed jobs in the solar industry (which in the USA now employs more people than steel production); rapidly declining costs and resulting increasing competitiveness of photovoltaics; and utility-scale flywheel energy storage.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Jun 2011 @ 10:15 AM

  307. Re my 297 Re 280 Michele – part II
    CORRECTION
    shifting the surface upward within the troposphere would cause **warming**, not cooling if the lost air was not completely opaque to LW radiation, and at least if no completely opaque layers remain above, at least within the troposphere. Assuming surface is a blackbody in LW, which is typically an okay approximation.

    (reduces net upward LW flux at that level (which increases net LW cooling above and that would also increase convection), but ultimately warming is required to restore the net upward LW flux to space and maybe at the tropopause as well)

    More later…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 15 Jun 2011 @ 11:08 AM

  308. This is also relevant to SecularAnimist’s opposition to a “radically interdependent” world. Certainly, such a world has its drawbacks, notably the energy cost of moving stuff around he mentions. But it also has big advantages. First, it is simply a fact that particular resources are more readily available in some places than others… Second, radical interdependence discourages large-scale war and encourages compromise…
    Comment by Nick Gotts — 15 Jun 2011 @ 4:51 AM

    There is an even simpler way to look at this. Sustainable must equal global, or it is not sustainable by definition. The world was already radically interdependent 600 years ago. We may slow things down again, but we won’t end that interdependence, and if we try to, we will fail to achieve sustainability. It’s a global closed system. individual regions will, at some point or other, be impacted by other regions.

    It is either sustainability, or accepting that we and the yeast are largely equal in intelligence.

    Comment by ccpo — 15 Jun 2011 @ 11:36 AM

  309. As I said, 450 ppm is a common focus of discussion.

    So are Paris Hilton, the Kardashian disasters, and the sun and clouds proving global warming is B.S. They are still all irrelevant. So is 450.

    My interest here is to remove inaccurate support for the idea that it is too difficult to achieve. Thus, I feel quite OK about discussing it.

    OK, but it and your efforts are irrelevant. It all comes back to the risk analysis. if we have no choice but to return to 350 or less, anything else is moot. The question is not what is politically possible, it is how to make 350 or less politically possible.

    I think you should be a little careful when looking at the Greenland Ice Sheet. Overshoot may be acceptable in that case if it is sufficiently brief.

    I have said nothing that contradicts this. We are already in overshoot with it, imo, so playing with it at 450 is really unwise.

    In Hansen et al.’s paper on targets they accept some overshoot for the 350 ppm target, wanting keep it under 100 years. They also suggest fine tuning based, primarily, on ice sheet behavior. You need to work out… Probably 350.org is in a more practical position.

    I don’t need to “work out” anything because the limits are not of my choosing; they are what they are. They are not negotiable, though the final error bar on ppm is in need of investigation and is debatable. Anything over 350 is demonstrably not an option, thus moot. A lot of how and what does need to be worked out, but we know all we need to know to set a maximum target of 350.

    One final thought. A 350 ppm target with less than 100 years of overshoot can be accomplished without any assistance from transformed agriculture by the use of military force.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 Jun 2011 @ 12:08 AM

    This is [insert adjective], both in the base concept and the naivete. If you are not solving the issues of resource depletion, climate, energy, population and socio-political organization with an eye toward a sustainable society, you are achieving nothing. In that case, worse than nothing, you are ensuring failure for it does not affect willing reboot of values and beliefs. Forced change will not result in long-term alterations. As soon as the military releases its hold or is overthrown, the problem returns.

    Comment by ccpo — 15 Jun 2011 @ 12:06 PM

  310. http://cleantechnica.com/2011/05/29/ge-solar-power-cheaper-than-fossil-fuels-in-5-years/

    Possibly you saw this press release from GE, with the accompanying graph of cost of solar power vs installed capacity. I regret the comparison of California to Italy and Turkey, but the message is that the costs of solar power are falling dramatically, and will probably continue to do so based on current technologies (e.g. concentrated photovoltaic) that are not yet in high volume production. Also at CleanTechnica you can read that roof-mounted solar systems enhance the resale value of homes in California, evidence of popular demand, the sort of thing that free market supporters like.

    Note, I do not regret that the comparison of CA to Italy and Turkey was made, but that it is true: CA has high electricity prices in consequence of continuous underinvestment in electrical generating capacity over decades. However, now that we are in this fix, solar power is a competitive solution for meeting peak demand.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Jun 2011 @ 12:53 PM

  311. Uli #300,

    Thanks for checking the calculation. I agree that a sharp cut would be an economically poor way to proceed but it does address the mathematical question with less ambiguity which is how much on going emissions are required and for how long for stabilization to occur. And that is all I was attempting to demonstrate: substantial ongoing emissions for an extended period of time. Substantial means similar to historical industrial emissions and an extended period means longer than an innovation-to-implementation timescale. These are the policy relevant issues I think.

    In a world where China and the US start out with same emissions and everyone else cuts at 2% but the US cuts to compensate China’s 10% growth we have the US cutting 20% of current emissions every year for five years to compensate China’s growth. After 5 years, no more cuts can be made. Since the world would have to start 2% cuts in about 5 years to avoid overshoot at 450 ppm and China will be well out ahead of the US by then, it looks like some urgent diplomacy is needed. Too bad the Waxman-Markey Bill failed in the Senate. It had carbon tariffs which might have helped to speed diplomacy along.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Jun 2011 @ 12:57 PM

  312. SecularAnimist said:

    “I hope and expect that any civilization that manages to survive the effects of AGW that are sure to occur this century, will be based on local (bioregional) self-reliance, where human communities will learn how to live within the carrying capacity of the ecosystems of which they are a part.”

    This is unreasonable and undesirable on many levels.

    For starters, current population distributions depend on this interdependence. Populations have grown up around centers of trade in addition to centers of agriculture. They are also not necessarily conveniently located for energy production. Where large populations rely on imports for food, water or energy, losing interdependence means death or migration. Let’s assume most people won’t go for the death option. Migration is no solution. No-one seems to like immigrants.

    What’s more, radical interdependence allows us to survive local perturbations better. Losing it will relegate even more communities in volatile climates to periodic and potentially debilitating shortages.

    I would also add quality of life to the benefits of interdependence. Life is just better with the products of the world available globally.

    With improved efficiency and a more sustainable energy supply, I see no reason why we should not keep the benefits of a globally interdependent world. The costs of losing it are too great.

    Comment by MartinJB — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:04 PM

  313. Another comment on PV prices.

    Home Depot will sell you a system that costs $7348 and produces 1800 watts max output. Here is a link to part of the system:

    http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Alternative-Energy-Solutions-Solar-Power/h_d1/N-5yc1vZbm18/R-202548447/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

    For this calculation I have omitted the installation costs, in case you have the ability to install it yourself (don’t forget to get the permit), omitted the backup battery, and included the connection to the grid. If you get at least 80% peak power, for at least 250 days per year, for at least 8 hours per day (see the graphs at the Joe Romm link provided by Secular Animist) then you get 86,000 kwh at a cost of $0.11 per kwh. I have omitted the cost of the capital (unless your savings have an unusual interest rate, that cost may be negligible); but don’t forget that the cost of electricity off the grid will go up with inflation (almost for sure.) I never use 1800 watts, so the system is not worth its cost to me, but If I ran a restaurant or certain other small businesses, I would probably find the system to be worthwhile.

    Lowe’s also provides a system, but they lease it to you instead of selling it. I asked for a quote for my property, but Google Earth revealed to them that I have good shade trees, so they declined to provide a quote. They said that I should trim the trees. If you have sunny days and don’t have shade trees, you might get a quote from them.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:17 PM

  314. ccpo #309,

    If you did not mean 400 ppm then perhaps you should not have written it. Glad you accept 350 ppm.

    I would say that the military solution to slavery was not impermanent as you would imply and it was at the same economic scale as fossil fuel use. I’ll admit that we do maintain bases in Italy, Germany and Japan but I don’t think that is the reason fascism remains weak. Wars can change things in a big way. Failing to deal with climate will lead to rather a lot of fruitless war though I think. It is good that there are some sequestration options which may give diplomats a little more room to maneuver. Uncoerced cooperation probably yields better outcomes if it can be accomplished.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:24 PM

  315. 291, Secular Animist: But a civilization that depends on moving huge amounts of material resources all over the place makes no sense, is not sustainable, and has no intrinsic value that I can see.

    I was going to make that point in slightly different language. It’s nice that fossil fuels represent concentrated energy sources, but they are concentrated in places that are far from where the energy is to be used, and with stuff like methane clathrates and other natural gas sources, concentrated in ways that are hard to get to. Hence, the prices will almost for sure continue to rise until alternatives are sufficiently plentiful and cheap to replace them.

    For example, there are many, many millions of people who lack any access to electricity at all. For those people, a few solar panels, a lithium-ion battery, some LED lights, a refrigerator and a satellite dish can bring “civilization” to an entire rural village that has never had electricity before and otherwise never would.

    I am glad that you mentioned them.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:44 PM

  316. MartinJB wrote: “This is unreasonable and undesirable on many levels.”

    You know what is “unreasonable and undesirable”?

    Growing broccoli in expensively irrigated deserts in California, and shipping it in refrigerated diesel trucks 3000 miles to Pennsylvania … which has a far better climate for growing broccoli than does California.

    For most Americans today, most of the food they consume is shipped thousands of miles from wherever it is grown to the stores where they buy it.

    Are you happy to rely on a 3000-mile supply line for your basic staple foods? Not during some sort of “emergency” where local food production fails and you have no choice but to import food from a distant source — but as the normal day-to-day source of your food? Do you think that is “reasonable” and “desirable”?

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Jun 2011 @ 3:27 PM

  317. SecularAnimist, the fact is that our current population distribution often does not line up in all cases with where we will be able to produce the needs for those people. You gonna move people or let them starve?

    No-one’s arguing that it’s GOOD to produce goods thousands of miles away from where it’s consumed. But often there’s little choice, and it CAN be better to specialize local production and trade for what one does not produce. And where we can make transportation sustainable, it’s far from the worst thing in the world.

    Producing broccoli in California versus Pennsylvania is a bit of a red herring and frankly argues for NOT being locally self-reliant. If it’s too arid in California to produce Broccoli, then don’t. Produce it in Pennsylvania and ship it to Cali.

    Again, there’s no turning back the clock on an interdependent world. Prices on carbon and ecosystem services are likely to rationalize the linkages, but those linkages are necessary and, I believe, desirable on the whole.

    Comment by MartinJB — 15 Jun 2011 @ 4:19 PM

  318. #317. MartinJB, could you define what makes transportation of agricultural products from Pennsylvania to California sustainable? Especially in a situation where rainfall trends augur rather poorly for large populations in the southwest…

    Comment by Walter Pearce — 15 Jun 2011 @ 8:02 PM

  319. Hi Walter Pearce,

    for starters, I was merely counterpointing SA’s point that it makes little sense to grow broccoli in CA to ship to PA. Perhaps it makes more sense to do the opposite? It’s certainly not an argument for not having, how was it put, a “radically interdependent” world.

    Would it be better to grow the broccoli (broccoli, as a metaphor for globalization!) where it is being consumed? Of course! But what if you live in the southwest, where those same rainfall trends make growing broccoli an inefficient use of limited water supply? You grow your broccoli where the balance of impact and transportation costs is optimal. Might be in PA, might be somewhere else. Don’t know. Doesn’t matter for the argument.

    The point is, people aren’t distributed for maximizing efficient and rational resource utilization. Over the long haul, I suspect people will redistribute themselves to some extent, assuming the constraints imposed by the factors we’re all familiar with are widely recognized. But that’s not going to happen quickly. And to the extent that we are able to make transportation more efficient and sustainable, it becomes less necessary.

    Comment by MartinJB — 15 Jun 2011 @ 8:47 PM

  320. China’s per capita ghg emissions are 1/4 of the USA’s and right about where the global standard should be. HIstorically, the USA is responsible for ~30% of global warming and China less than 5%. Why should China reduce emissions????

    You break it, you pay for it. It’s that simple. If the USA won’t voluntarily reduce ghg emissions by 80%, the rest of the world should enact a total embargo on trade with the USA until we are in compliance.

    Comment by JiminMpls — 15 Jun 2011 @ 9:41 PM

  321. This paper has just been published in JGR (J. M. Siddaway and S. V. Petelina) – about bushfire smoke particles reaching the stratosphere. I’d be interested in any comments on the possible impacts on climate, since we’re likely to be getting a lot more events like the 2009 Victorian bushfire. There is also a media report on the ABC website. (I cannot get to the full article, only the abstract.)

    There was an earlier paper on 2006 bushfire smoke in atmosphere, but no mention of the smoke reaching the stratosphere.

    The 2006 fires were slow and long-lasting (around 12 weeks as I recall) and burnt a vast area – during the drought. The 2009 fires were very fast, fanned by record high temperatures and very high winds and tinder dry everything because the same drought from early 2000s had not yet broken.

    Comment by Sou — 16 Jun 2011 @ 4:18 AM

  322. RE #289, does this lower sunspot activity mean warmer or cooler temps for Earth? Should their be a post on this by our scientists here?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 16 Jun 2011 @ 6:46 AM

  323. As an example of distributed power generation making a difference in the developing world, here’s a story I came across this morning:

    http://www.care2.com/causes/global-warming/blog/solar-powers-one-million-homes-in-bangladesh/

    Notable is the fact that the initial target was met 18 months ahead of schedule. (As SA has pointed out before, that’s been one encouraging facet of renewables in recent years–growth has generally been much more rapid than projected, expected or even thought possible.) And the result was adoption of a new, more aggressive target.

    Yeah, I know–even 2.5 million homes would be a small percentage in Bangladesh. But deployments like this are, shall we say, definitely in the realm of the non-trivial.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Jun 2011 @ 6:55 AM

  324. A little more context in this April piece from CNN:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/04/11/bangladesh.solar.power.kalihati/index.html

    Noteworthy: details about how local productivity and wealth have been drastically augmented–not to mention the opportunities for women to work as technicians. (Yeah, I know, that’s “anecdotal evidence.” But this is news, not science.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Jun 2011 @ 7:06 AM

  325. I’d agree with what ccpo and MartinJB have said about the inevitability of interdependence, and ccpo’s point that it has been a fact for a long time (as it happens, I’ve just finished Janet Abu-Lughod’s “Before European Hegemony: the World System 1250-1350″, which describes the trade networks linking much of the world – although admittedly not the Americas or Australasia – at that time). This does not commit me, or them, to approving of every example of moving stuff from point A to point B: the externalities of transport, including but not only in terms of burning fossil fuels, should be taken into account in a way “actually existing capitalism”* clearly does not do.
    * I’m not, here, taking a position on whether this is possible within what we would recognise as a capitalist system.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 16 Jun 2011 @ 7:29 AM

  326. JiminMlps #320,

    I agree. China in particular should refuse to sell us any products until we show progress in cutting emissions.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 Jun 2011 @ 9:00 AM

  327. The complications and unknowns of climate, no matter which way it is or is not headed, are so bad that Murphy’s Law will come home to roost on any effort/preparation to deal with what climate will change to.
    Climate will change and man will utterly blow it, even if he guesses correctly.
    By what reason do I say we will get it wrong?
    Because climate changes too quickly compared to the time it takes to get out in front of it.
    So, there you have it.
    Murphy’s Law will get the better of us.

    Comment by rbateman — 16 Jun 2011 @ 9:34 AM

  328. JiminMpls wrote: “Why should China reduce emissions?”

    Because the laws of physics don’t care about justice.

    You are correct that the USA bears overwhelming responsibility for cumulative emissions.

    So what?

    I think it’s no more helpful for China’s fossil fuel interests to point a finger at the USA’s historical contribution to AGW as an excuse to keep building more coal-fired power plants, than it is for politicians in the USA to point a finger at China’s still-growing emissions as an excuse to keep burning coal here.

    The fact is that China is both moving more aggressively and creatively than the USA to improve efficiency and to develop renewable energy, and is rapidly increasing its emissions, particularly from coal.

    My concern is focused on the USA for the simple reason that I live in the USA and can (at least in theory) do something about what is going on here, whereas there isn’t much I can do about China’s energy policy.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Jun 2011 @ 10:15 AM

  329. @ 287 Patrick

    Of course, the reducing the surface pressure at 1 bar imbalances the fluxes of heat. Well. We take all the time needed until the surface temperature will stabilize.

    I point out that my primary aim was about the possibility that the CO3 couldn’t have the claimed effect, given that we have analogous temperature within similar ranges of pressure on Earth and Venus.

    I have deeper argued the matter in my comment to the SkS piece of Chris Colose (#295).

    Comment by Michele — 16 Jun 2011 @ 11:01 AM

  330. What’s up, or down, with UAH?
    For channel 4 I get the message “Channel 4 failed in 2008.”

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 16 Jun 2011 @ 1:50 PM

  331. SecularAnimist (#291,292) thinks I’m just not imagining the future well enough. Always a possibility, but the same might be said for any of us. SA refers briefly to the increasing ease and decreasing cost of renewable power. The point I’m trying to get across is that we don’t know very well how that will play out as FF’s decrease. I’m not trying to high-handedly decree anyone else’s optimism quota, but I insist that a discussion of any depth have some respect for the profound ways FF decrease will feed back through every nook and cranny of our economy and way of life.

    (Aside: the need to combat climate denialism tends to encourage boosterism in favor of renewables. I love renewables! They’re all we will have left when the other stuff is unrenewed! I just haven’t been convinced that will leave us with an expanding economy, as usually measured, much less expanding per capita as most of us would like.)

    The bottom line is: the only way to really show we can create renewable infrastructure while, and after, FF’s go away is to do it. There’s no convincing lineup of models that do a good job of capturing the feedbacks. No paleo studies of the last 100M years of advanced civilizations as they rose and fell using various energy resources. Just the one, all on FF.

    The pace of transition to renewables is completely crucial. Too slow, and shocks from oil etc will put us into a tailspin, with immense pressure on all investment, including renewable infrastructure. This will cause both cooperation and conflict, but I wouldn’t assume the mixture of those will be radically different from the last few thousand years.

    To a specific point in SA’s #291: getting out more energy than you put in is too low a bar. The minimum for maintaining our accustomed lifestyle might be EROEI of 5, or 10, opinions vary. Anyway, EROEI is dashed hard to measure. The really right way to do it is to put a price on FF consumption, subsidize promising renewables long enough to see if they help (but not longer!), and see what results. I’m not holding my breath.

    On The Oil Drum, I mostly ignore the minutiae about ups and downs, Libya and UAE, etc. The links I value go deeper and apply to many resources besides oil.

    Thanks for the references in #306. I do follow Joe Romm, and there’s a huge amount of information there, plus plenty of politics and boosterism.

    Barring any truly new topics or angles, I’m not planning on writing much more in the near future, trying to avoid diminishing returns on our time.

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 16 Jun 2011 @ 2:20 PM

  332. Human Activities Emit Way More Carbon Dioxide Than Do Volcanoes

    AGU Release No. 11–22
    14 June 2011

    http://www.agu.org/news/press/pr_archives/2011/2011-22.shtml

    Comment by AIC — 16 Jun 2011 @ 2:54 PM

  333. Fun with numbers. It’s hard to know which current trends to extrapolate and for how long, but based on recent trends the world will be able to manufacture 200,000 MW of solar power power production per year, and the installed cost of the electricity will be about $0.04/kwh.

    Most numbers are not “hard”, but reasonable estimates are provided by posts at the links provided by SecularAnimist.

    My expectation is that both will happen within 5 – 10 years from now. The whole discussion about what’s possible and economically feasible will be different.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Jun 2011 @ 3:52 PM

  334. Re 329 Michele – Re I point out that my primary aim was about the possibility that the CO3 couldn’t have the claimed effect, given that we have analogous temperature within similar ranges of pressure on Earth and Venus.

    1. The physics doesn’t allow that possibility

    2. I’d guess Earth’s surface would get warmer if you just started adding more N2, provided that there is some CO2, etc., but a 90 (or whatever it would be) bar CO2 atmosphere should sustain greater warmth than a 90 bar N2 atmosphere with trace amounts of CO2.

    3. Depending on the spectrum of CO2, pressure broadenning, clouds and other gases, if you find the level on Venus that has T = 288 K, and you raise the surface of Venus up to that level (removing the air below that point), then, barring any changes in albedo (and in particular assuming any solar heating that had occured beneath the tropopause still does), the surface would cool but it would not cool down to 288 K; it would tend to be warmer by some amount.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 16 Jun 2011 @ 3:59 PM

  335. [edit - OT]

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Jun 2011 @ 4:05 PM

  336. 335, Yeh, sorry. It was kind of comic relief.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 16 Jun 2011 @ 6:08 PM

  337. 1. Intelligent Demand Response
    2. Microinverters and Maximum Power Point Trackers
    3. Wind Energy Management Tools
    4. The Virtual Power Plant
    5. The Hybrid Solar-Gas Power Plant

    Ask yourself if your views on the potential for a mostly, if not completely, renewable-powered grid is informed by awareness of what is happening right now in those five areas. If not, I commend the article to your attention.

    Other recent articles by Lacey have discussed jobs in the solar industry (which in the USA now employs more people than steel production); rapidly declining costs and resulting increasing competitiveness of photovoltaics; and utility-scale flywheel energy storage.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Jun 2011 @ 10:15 AM

    When discussing The Perfect Storm, doing so in isolation re any one aspect is a waste of time. That is not to say energy people should not brainstorm and develop energy ideas, but if the end result is not also filtered through all other aspects of the perfect Storm, they are ultimately wasting their time. Gas, e.g., is a finite resource. under what conditions is it useful? Never as a solution, potentially as a bridge, but not even then if it is not within the boundaries outlined by the need to get back down to 350 ppm or lower.

    Intelligent Demand Response? Where can that be deployed successfully? OECD nations? A few large cities?

    Our conversations need to change in fundamental ways.

    Comment by ccpo — 16 Jun 2011 @ 11:42 PM

  338. SecularAnimist said:

    “I hope and expect that any civilization that manages to survive the effects of AGW that are sure to occur this century, will be based on local (bioregional) self-reliance, where human communities will learn how to live within the carrying capacity of the ecosystems of which they are a part.”

    This is unreasonable and undesirable on many levels.

    For starters, current population distributions depend on this interdependence.

    The error is yours: self-reliance does not mean self-sustaining. You are assuming self-reliance means cut off, no trade, etc. This is an incorrect assumption. Self-reliant simply means that the focus is local before bioregional, bioregional before national or continental, etc.

    Self-reliance is not only a good outcome, it is a necessary outcome to ensure adequate food and energy supplies. Trade will need to be limited to those things that are necessary vs. things that are mere desires. At least for a time. Energy usage must fall during the reboot.

    Populations have grown up around centers of trade in addition to centers of agriculture.

    And they need to become self-reliant in food production. There is virtually no area of the planet that cannot grow food. Some population shifts will likely be necessary, however. Deserts will never support as many as a temperate area can,e.g.

    They are also not necessarily conveniently located for energy production.

    There is no reason why they need to be. There are myriad ways to produce energy, but the first step is to greatly reduce consumption where it is high. Where it is already low, try to keep it that way within reason.

    Where large populations rely on imports for food, water or energy, losing interdependence means death or migration.

    It need not. See above.

    I would also add quality of life to the benefits of interdependence. Life is just better with the products of the world available globally.

    Utterly false. But perhaps you mean physical comfort rather than quality of life, which is a much broader concept? I suggest you read this full series of essays: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/200907/play-makes-us-human-v-why-hunter-gatherers-work-is-play

    With improved efficiency and a more sustainable energy supply, I see no reason why we should not keep the benefits of a globally interdependent world.

    Then you do not understand population, diminishing returns, and non-linear systems, perhaps. Are you assuming the current situation is stable and can be maintained?

    The costs of losing it are too great.

    Comment by MartinJB — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:04 PM

    I would argue the opposite, or modify to “…to you.”

    Comment by ccpo — 16 Jun 2011 @ 11:59 PM

  339. ccpo #309,

    If you did not mean 400 ppm then perhaps you should not have written it.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Jun 2011 @ 1:24 PM

    This is a non sequitur. I think you need to re-read what I wrote, because it don’ men wha’ you thing it mens.

    I find your call for military forcing of behavior skni-crawlingly creepy. Not interested.

    Comment by ccpo — 17 Jun 2011 @ 12:10 AM

  340. I’d agree with what ccpo and MartinJB have said about the inevitability of interdependence, and ccpo’s point that it has been a fact for a long time (as it happens, I’ve just finished Janet Abu-Lughod’s “Before European Hegemony: the World System 1250-1350″, which describes the trade networks linking much of the world – although admittedly not the Americas or Australasia – at that time). This does not commit me, or them, to approving of every example of moving stuff from point A to point B: the externalities of transport, including but not only in terms of burning fossil fuels, should be taken into account in a way “actually existing capitalism”* clearly does not do.
    * I’m not, here, taking a position on whether this is possible within what we would recognise as a capitalist system.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 16 Jun 2011 @ 7:29 AM

    Nick, my post was meant to clarify that while we need to radically localize, we will never, and should never completely localize. The internet, e.g., can allow regional/national and international cooperation and coordination of policies such that, for example, bioregions that cross borders can be managed sustainably. Also, some goods, and even some services, can, should and will be shipped around, but this will need to be greatly reduced to fit within a sustainable global response.

    Comment by ccpo — 17 Jun 2011 @ 12:21 AM

  341. #304 Thanks for the reply Martin, I had played with that Modtran simulator a few years back but it never occurred to me to use it here. Your comment about the operating window of the detector led me down the path of detector design. It wasn’t long before I realised I would have difficulty trying to deduce much from my measurements without knowing the spectral response of the detector. It was still a very worthwhile exercise, all I need to do now is get my hands on a better detector.

    Comment by DST — 17 Jun 2011 @ 6:12 AM

  342. SecularAnimist #328,

    Both boycotting Chinese products and urging legislation on carbon tariffs could help to influence Chinese energy policy.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Jun 2011 @ 8:54 AM

  343. ccpo@340,

    1) I’m not convinced that the concept of “bioregions” is a useful one. Regionalizations based on different criteria are relevant for different purposes. For example, catchments are relevant to water supply and quality, flooding, and the spread of species that can travel by water; altitude to natural land cover and to both agriculture and human settlement. These frequently, indeed usually, cut across each other. Latitude, distance from the open ocean or other large bodies of water, temperature, precipitation, presence or absence of particular species… all these can cut across each other in complex ways. Can you give me a defensible definition of the concept, and show that it is important from the point of view of conserving resources?
    2) I’m not convinced that we do need to “radically localize”. We need to localize where that will actually conserve scarce resources while minimising damage to the quality of life, but it can’t simply be assumed that it will generally do so. There are now, and will be for the forseeable future, large areas that cannot feed themselves (actually, this includes all large cities). “Radical localization” means, for those areas, that large numbers of people have to move, or starve.

    Comment by Nick Gotts — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:05 AM

  344. Another good site for following developments in renewable energy, smart grid, energy storage and efficiency technologies is the “Green Tech News” blog at CNet.com:

    http://news.cnet.com/greentech/

    Here’s an important story that was posted there this week, which is relevant to my earlier comments on the potential of solar energy:

    IEEE: Solar could challenge fossil fuel in 10 years
    By Candace Lombardi
    June 15, 2011

    Excerpt:

    Solar photovoltaics have the potential to be the most cost-effective electricity source and could even challenge fossil fuels within 10 years.

    That’s according to an announcement made by leaders of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) today as part of the organization’s launch of photovoltaic research initiatives.

    “Solar PV will be a game changer. No other alternative source has the same potential. As the cost of electricity from solar continues to decrease compared to traditional energy sources, we will see tremendous market adoption, and I suspect it will be a growth limited only by supply,” James Prendergast, IEEE Executive Director and IEEE Senior Member, said in a statement.

    “Solar energy is the earth’s most abundant energy resource. The rate of energy from sunlight hitting the earth is of the order of 100 petawatts. Just a fraction is needed to meet the power needs of the entire globe, as it takes approximately 15 terawatts to power the earth (1 petawatt = 1,000 terawatts),” according to the IEEE.

    The article notes that the IEEE has started a new peer-reviewed journal for photovoltaic research, the Journal of Photovoltaics, and is hosting a photovoltaics conference in Seattle next week, which will “feature over 1,000 photovoltaic research, development, and manufacturing organizations.”

    Given the furious pace of new developments in solar PV technology, there should be some interesting news coming out of that conference.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:13 AM

  345. CCPO, if we had a carbon-neutral, pollution-free method for transport, would you still be calling for us to “radically localize”? If so, why? I’m just trying to get the baseline on your position.

    Comment by MartinJB — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:28 AM

  346. RE: IR thermometers #305 (also #303,304 )

    The account given in NASA’s web page disregards the contribution of CO2 to the temperature readings. How good is this approximation?

    It seems a bit odd to fail to mention CO2 altogether in a topic devoted to teaching the physics of the greenhouse effect. A better account would also have referred to the spectrum shown in Fig 1(b) here:

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/does-greenhouse-effect-exist-intermediate.htm

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:37 AM

  347. @ 334 Patrick
    Sorry, I perfectly feel and think the opposite, but each claim has to be proven. Isn’t it?

    Comment by Michele — 17 Jun 2011 @ 12:24 PM

  348. Arctic sea ice melting rapidly this spring: now at lowest level ever recorded for this date (this season = red line): http://t.co/ASOe6FJ

    Comment by Kees van der Leun — 17 Jun 2011 @ 4:32 PM

  349. Kees van der Leun – that’s how solar minimums work: backbuttwards.

    Comment by JCH — 17 Jun 2011 @ 5:27 PM

  350. Re 347 Michele – I think when a theory is substantiated beyond some point it becomes acceptable to apply it, with some level of confidence, with the assumption that it is true, at least within some bounds.

    Anyway, the understanding of how radiation works (and the thermodynamics and mechanics of convection, etc, and other things) from physics experiments has been applied to understanding climate. Of course, observations of the surface and atmosphere have been made and I’ve never heard of anything failing to match up with radiative physics as it is understood; for example you can find spectra of radiation to space and they fit the predictions from our understanding of radiation.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:35 PM

  351. Re Michele – it might help if you specified what you think would happen if all the greenhouse effect of gases and clouds were removed from either Earth or Venus’s atmosphere while leaving atmospheric pressure, and the equation of state for the air (the R, cp, and cv in terms of mass) constant – (not just removing CO2, to avoid dealing with forcings vs feedbacks issues, and leave solar radiation properties as they are, to keep solar heating and it’s distribution constant – yes, this is an artificial set-up but it’s a set-up that isolates the greenhouse effect).

    In other words, make the atmosphere completely transparent to radiation of wavelengths longer than about 4 microns and leave everything else (besides temperature, and of course allow associated density changes) constant. Remember energy out – energy in = energy loss.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 17 Jun 2011 @ 10:55 PM

  352. SecularAnimist, I didn’t see anything there about storage of the solar power. What do you do when the sun goes down?

    Comment by Greg Simpson — 18 Jun 2011 @ 12:02 AM

  353. @ Patrick
    Of course, the surface and all the atmosphere would have the same temperature that would equal the effective temperature of the planets, i.e. Venus 230K, Earth 255K.

    Comment by Michele — 18 Jun 2011 @ 1:04 AM

  354. ccpo #339,

    I’m not urging war. But, if we are going to use diplomacy it is important to understand what its backstop can accomplish. This is especially true because diplomatic failure means war with or without climate control being a war aim. Already we see ongoing war partly in response to climate change around the Sudan. We can expect resource wars of the most pointless and degrading sort if diplomatic failure merely results in finger pointing.

    If diplomacy fails and nations begin to resort to efforts like carbon tariffs imposed unilaterally, tensions will heighten and war may breakout over those tensions. Once that happens and resolve hardens what war aims are realistic? I was observing that 350 ppm may be accomplished with war alone while 280 ppm may not be. This is owing to the absolute need for for technical sequestration intervention to get to 280 ppm which is not required for 350 ppm since the oceans can absorb the overshoot for that target if emissions end rapidly. It is a qualitative difference between the two targets even if technical sequestration intervention (including agricultural methods) would be needed for either in a slower diplomatically mediated solution.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jun 2011 @ 7:07 AM

  355. Greg Simpson wrote: “I didn’t see anything there about storage of the solar power. What do you do when the sun goes down?”

    What does who do when the sun goes down?

    If you an end-user (e.g. household or business) installing solar photovoltaics today, then most commonly you are grid-connected, so you feed any excess solar-generated electricity into the grid during the day (and with net metering or feed-in-tariffs, you are paid for it by the utility), and you draw whatever electricity you need from the grid at night.

    If you are the utility, then solar power is typically going to be part of your energy portfolio, so at night you will turn to other sources, e.g. wind, hydropower, biomass.

    Options for storing excess solar energy generated during the day include thermal storage (e.g. with concentrating solar thermal power plants or residential solar water & space heating), batteries, flywheels, fuel cells, compressed air and pumped hydro. All of which are being developed for both centralized, utility-scale and distributed, residential/business scale.

    By the way, I think one thing that is going to drive growth in energy storage for distributed, end-user applications in the USA is (ironically) the increasing unreliability of grid-supplied power, as our aging power grid is subjected to the onslaught of AGW-driven weather extremes.

    In the nation’s capital region, for instance, where power is distributed mostly through wires strung between wooden sticks, it has now become “normal” to have several major power outages every year due to storms, that can leave hundreds of thousands of people without power for days at a time.

    I don’t have any numbers handy, but I’ve heard that this sort of thing is stimulating growing demand for backup power, including both fossil-fueled generators and battery backup. If that market grows it could help lower costs and speed adoption of new distributed storage technologies (advanced batteries, flywheels, fuel cells) for residential & business use, making solar-with-storage more affordable.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Jun 2011 @ 1:03 PM

  356. Re 353 Michele – yes, the surface temperature would be Te, assuming perfect blackbody surfaces and setting aside the nonlinear relationship between temperature and blackbody flux (the spatial and temporal temperature variations will make the planet radiate a bit more for a given global annual average, but this is a small effect for the Earth’s temperature variations as they are, and to isolate the effect we’re trying to describe let’s set aside how temperature variability would change when removing the greenhouse effect).

    But the atmosphere will only tend towards being isothermal within itself and with the surface if all solar heating is at (or below) the surface. Otherwise, direct solar heating of the atmosphere must (in equillibrium) be balanced by fluxes of heat downward to the surface where it can be emitted to space. With no greenhouse effect, the only transport mechanisms left are conduction/diffusion and convection. Thermally-direct onvection may occur associated with diurnal and seasonal cycles in solar heating, but – though I’m quite sure how this would work – I suspect it would tend to occur in a shallow layer as the descending branch must be cooled by conduction to the surface, or by forced downward mixing of heat (from kinetic energy supplied by the thermally direct motions, or tides, which in Earthly conditions don’t have much direct effect on the atmosphere). This type of convection wouldn’t generally sustain an adiabatic lapse rate as it involves cold air masses spreading out on larger horizontal scales underneath rising and spreading warm air masses, rather than localized updrafts and downdrafts or localized forced turbulent vertical mixing. Aside from horizontal temperature variations, there would be no thermal driving of convection in such an atmosphere.

    But other than that, you have the basic idea right. So now I’m not sure what your concern was regarding CO2 not doing what it is supposed to do.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 18 Jun 2011 @ 8:10 PM

  357. @SecularAnimist #355 – you gave a good response to a naive question.

    In regard to If you are the utility, then solar power is typically going to be part of your energy portfolio, so at night you will turn to other sources, e.g. wind, hydropower, biomass., it might be worth noting that daytime demand is much higher than night time demand here and in most places I expect. That’s one reason for grid-connected solar pv being so useful even without separate storage, especially on hot sunny days when daytime demand surges from air conditioning.

    Comment by Sou — 19 Jun 2011 @ 1:34 AM

  358. 313 Septic Matthew: “I never use 1800 watts” Do you live in a tent? I don’t believe you ever use less than 1800 watts. Most Americans need more than 10 times that, not counting motor vehicle use, of course. One 15 amp circuit times 115 volts is 1725 watts. Most houses have many 15 amp circuits and several that are 50 amps or more. My house has 2 electric ovens wired for 60 amps each, a 3.5 ton air conditioner, an electric dryer, etc. A 500 amp breaker box is from the good old days. Where do you live?

    So to get 60,000 watts, you need 33.3 of those things and that comes to $244,933.33 for daytime and bright sunlight. But I am only paying 7.5 cents per kilowatt hour. Why should I invest more than a quarter million dollars to get electricity at 11 cents per kilowatt hour?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jun 2011 @ 2:09 AM

  359. #358 Edward Greisch:

    60,000 Watts peak required… wow, our contract is for 6.6KW peak? You just exhibited something persistently disturbing in other parts of the world. Most of the house appliances in our place are in refrigerator terms A++. Garden is lit by LED [at 1.6 Watts a pop], the rest of the house is LED or Saving-Lamps, the heaviest take 15 watts/hour. Anything that is not needed to be on is not in standby mode, no it’s OFF, a requirement now for new items in the UK such as TVs. The amazing thing was that all ”standby” added up in our house to 40 watts/hour… that’s 1kw/day or 35 euro cents day, 120 Euro Annual. Does not bother anyone in the house to flip the group switch when done doing something and kill those little red lights.

    PS The A++ fridge actually saves a bunch of food from perishing too before it’s eaten, particular veg+fruit and that is one more up on ”responsibility” towards planet and others walking the surface.

    Comment by Sekerob — 19 Jun 2011 @ 7:17 AM

  360. Edward Greisch: You use too much electricity. Cut it out.
    Just because ‘some’ is good, that doesn’t necessarily imply that ‘more’ is better.

    Comment by catman306 — 19 Jun 2011 @ 8:05 AM

  361. EG@358 – A 500 amp breaker box is from the “good old days”?? On which planet? In the past a 60 amp panel was the norm for residential, now 100 amp boxes are standard, with some goofy folks thinking they need a 200 amp to support their consumptive lifestyle, but even that big a panel is more often found in commercial buildings.

    Better read Septic Matts figures again, an 1,800 watt PV system should supply about 86,000 kwh per year, you need to include a time factor in your thinking – his statement was incomplete: he doesn’t use as much electricity as an 1,800 watt PV system would supply, if you use 60KW continuously, as your figures imply, no wonder you think you need nukes!. In a commercial building that is both a food processing facility and my home, I don’t use half that in a year.

    Comment by flxible — 19 Jun 2011 @ 9:35 AM

  362. Where is electricity 7.5c a kWh? Hope it’s not coal-powered electricity. If it is, then no wonder the air is being filled with carbon.

    60,000 watts peak? Good grief. That high usage will have to be criminalised for home use soon, surely.

    Comment by Sou — 19 Jun 2011 @ 10:00 AM

  363. Sou asks “Where is electricity 7.5c a kWh?”

    In Manitoba, standard residential charges are $13.70/month (half that if under 200 amps) plus 6.62c/kWh, but go down to 2.69c/kWh for large industrial users (Canadian dollars, currently close to par with US). It is 98% hydro-power.

    Comment by Richard Simons — 19 Jun 2011 @ 11:45 AM

  364. 358, Edward Greisch: I don’t believe you ever use less than 1800 watts.

    My bill for Jun 2011 attests to a consumption of 231 kwh for 30 days. It’s possible that I use at least 1000 watts when baking, broiling, or microwaving, but the last is only for a few minutes per day, and the others a few times per month. Because I have large shade trees, and because I have cool, breezy and dry overnight air, I never use air conditioning, just the occasional ceiling fan. My usage is way below average for my neighbors: why my neighbors sacrifice so much of their income to the power company you’d have to ask them.

    361, flxible: Better read Septic Matts figures again, an 1,800 watt PV system should supply about 86,000 kwh per year, you need to include a time factor in your thinking

    Let me clarify: that’s 86,000 kwh over the 30 year life of the system. That’s an estimated lower bound: at least 30 years, at least 250 days per year, at least 80% of max rating.

    352, Greg Simpson: What do you do when the sun goes down?

    For at least a few years, new solar installations are going to be mostly for peak power, which is mostly in the day time on sunny days. This usage will reduce the load on existing power plants, and extend their lifetimes. There will be plenty of backup power from existing power plants for decades, most likely. It’s hard to see clearly past 5 years or a 30-fold expansion of solar power, but existing technologies for backing up solar power will be available at reduced cost eventually (and maybe new technologies will be invented.) Concentrated solar thermal power does continue to provide electricity at night.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 19 Jun 2011 @ 11:54 AM

  365. 352, Greg Simpson: What do you do when the sun goes down?

    The immortal straw man of the solar power detractors rises again.

    Comment by Adam R. — 19 Jun 2011 @ 1:33 PM

  366. You should add a link for reporting articles that need attention/rebuttal. I’m always skeptical of physicists making climate claims…

    Link to by Naked Capitalism…

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/06/14/ice_age/

    Comment by Joshua Ellinger — 19 Jun 2011 @ 1:55 PM

  367. 365 Adam R.: What if you lived in Olean, N.Y. where the cloud layer is usually 11000 feet thick? They see the sun maybe 3 days per year. I live in Illinois now, near a nuclear power plant, but I grew up in Olean. [Ole-AAAn]
    PS: There is very little wind down in the valleys where the people live. Wind turbines would have to be on mountain tops and the mountain tops are covered by forest. Mountain tops may be oil company land or park land.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 19 Jun 2011 @ 3:39 PM

  368. Sou @362 — My 51% hydro power is less than that.

    Edward Greisch @367 — Some valleys are in effect wind tunnels.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 19 Jun 2011 @ 7:51 PM

  369. @367: Ah, Olean, NY: it ain’t as cloudy as you think. According to PVWatts v2 (http://mapserve3.nrel.gov/PVWatts_Viewer/index.html ), a fixed panel tilted at latitude degrees receives 4.08 kWH/m^2/yr in TSI there. For contrast, the same panel at latitude degrees in Tucson receives 6.13 kWH/m^2/yr.

    Comment by Meow — 19 Jun 2011 @ 8:00 PM

  370. @367: Ah, Olean, NY: it ain’t as cloudy as you think. According to PVWatts v2 (http://mapserve3.nrel.gov/PVWatts_Viewer/index.html ), a fixed panel tilted at latitude degrees receives 4.08 kWH/m^2/yr in TSI there. For contrast, the same panel at latitude degrees in Tucson receives 6.13 kWH/m^2/yr.

    Captcha: ditstion that.

    Comment by Meow — 19 Jun 2011 @ 8:03 PM

  371. EG:

    One 15 amp circuit times 115 volts is 1725 watts.

    EG extrapolates from a max capacity to actual usage, when of course electrical codes are designed such that maximum capacity (leading to a break trip) is never achieved unless one tries very, very hard to pathologically overload the circuit.

    I’m sure that EG knows that a 15 amp circuit is seldom maxed out given modern electrical codes that call for an excess of both outlets and circuits.

    But he’ll never admit it …

    Comment by dhogaza — 19 Jun 2011 @ 11:44 PM

  372. @ 356 Patrick

    The added CO2 renders emitting the perfectly transparent atmosphere and catalyzes the making of the meanly adiabatic lapse rate.

    Really, the CO2 molecules are heat engines which absorb thermal energy from the surrounding molecules, during the collisions with them, and transform it to EM energy. Hence, it has to be continuously fed with a heat flux given by the ground (assumed as the sole heat source). Given the magnitude of the actual fluxes (few tens of W/m²) the heat transfer can’t be solely by diffusion, the convection is needed too and so, the gradient will fluctuate meanly around the adiabatic lapse rate that represents the conditions for the uniform rising of the air particles.

    The temperature of the rising air particles changes continuously according to δT/δz and, above all, their EM energy density varies according to T³δT/δz. Both the gradients are negative because the continuous growth of the geo-gravitational energy that phagocytizes them. The rising CO2 molecules never are in LTE, the thermal energy (needed to excite them) is used for other different purposes (the rising of the entire air particle), there can’t occur any radiative emission. In other words, the gases of the convecting troposphere can emit heat radiation only at least at its top, within an isothermal layer.

    The altitude where the emitting layer starts is set by ”(see here)” a layers heated from above (generally the thermosphere and, for the sole Earth, the stratosphere too).

    Notice: Earth without oxygen would be Venus-like.

    Thus, the temperature profiles of the atmospheric gases are fully explained by the thermo kinetics and by fluid dynamics. The surface temperature is determined by the lapse rate and above all be the altitude where the rising air particles are stopped by the inverted slope due to an external radiative heating of a layer of the atmosphere.

    The surface radiation around 15μm is fully thermalized close the ground and can be partially converted back and emitted to space only at the top of the first convective layer above the ground.

    Comment by Michele — 20 Jun 2011 @ 5:01 AM

  373. More cost-reduction projections for solar PV power:

    http://www.solardaily.com/reports/Historic_One_Dollar_Per_Watt_Solar_Modules_Just_Months_Away_999.html

    These are just projections, but real prices are declining. Information that is a year old is really old.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 20 Jun 2011 @ 11:58 AM

  374. Re 372 Michele –

    No.

    The vast majority of the atmosphere, by mass and by optical thickness, is in, or at least in a good approximation to, LTE. LTE means that if you take a small enough volume to be considered isothermal but large enough for a statistically-sufficient population of molecules, etc, then the distribution of energy among particles and states, except for photons, fits some thermodynamic equilibrium for that temperature.

    It is only photons that make the difference between that and complete thermodynamic equilibrium – the later being a case where, for any type of photon, in any direction, at a given location (and time), is being emitted toward a direction and absorbed from a direction at the same rate, a rate that is proportional to the Planck function times the density of emission cross section, which is equal to the density of absorption cross section (these two cross section values are proportional to emissivity and absorptivity over infinitesimal path lengths). Also, in complete thermodynamic equilibrium, the brightness temperature of the radiation must be the same in all directions, frequencies, and polarizations.

    When non-photon matter is not in thermodynamic equilibrium with photons, if the interactions with photons are sufficiently infrequent relative to the interactions among non-photons, then the energy distribution among non-photons can be maintained near LTE even though photon interactions could perturb the system from LTE. This is the case in the vast majority of the atmosphere by mass and by optical thickness; hence, CO2 molecules – among others which can emit and absorb radiation at various frequencies (with spectra affected by line broadenning mechanisms!), are gaining energy from and losing energy to other molecules at a sufficient rate that even as the molecules in states that can emit photons lose energy to photons, and molecules in states that can absorb photons gain energy from those photons, with the later occuring at rates dependent on the incident photons, the population of molecules in either state for a given type of photon is held near what it would be at LTE, and so emissivity = absorptivity for a given path length, and the molecules emit and absorb photons, both occuring at a rate proportional to absorption or emission cross section (a measure of optical properties), and one at a rate dependent on the local temperature of the air (which is about the same as that of the molecules which are emitting and absorbing photons, because LTE is approximately sustained), and the other at a rate dependent on the brightness temperature of the incident radiation, which depends on temperature at other locations, those locations being determined by optical properties.

    You can have radiative equilibrium where photons carry all the energy through the atmosphere even if the atmosphere absorbs some of them, even if the mean free path of photons (in a given direction, at a given frequency, and polarization if relevant, the mean free path is the distance which has optical thickness of 1; for the greenhouse effect we are actually concerned with the displacement between emission and absorption of a photon, which is the same as a free path only if there is no scattering (or reflection or refraction), but increases in optical thickness from scattering have the same qualitative effect) is significantly shorter than the thickness of the atmosphere – provided that the convective lapse rate is sufficiently large and the net flux needed for equilibrium is sufficiently small that the situation doesn’t become unstable to convection, and provided no other complexities (setting aside horizontal variations in solar heating, etc.).

    In fact, I think this may be the case in the radiative zone within the Sun. Convection occurs above this zone, and the photosphere is the region that emits photons to space – the Sun is most like the version where emission to space occurs at/near the tropopause, but even in the sun, all layers have emission and absorption of photons, with some resulting diffusion of energy via radiation, in addition to convection (where occuring). On Earth the convecting layer is intermediate between very opaque and completely transparent over some frequency intervals (depending on humidity and cloud cover), and at these parts of the spectrum, a significant amount of radiation may be emitted from deep within the troposphere directly to space

    (except for some absorption by the stratosphere, though the stratosphere (and everything above) is generally more transparent then the troposphere, except (at least for the upper troposphere (?)) maybe in the LW band of the ozone layer (?) when the troposphere is dry enough are – so typically when a sizable fraction of emission from the lower troposphere or surface can reach the stratosphere, a sizable fraction of that can reach space)

    and to the surface (though this is less the case for ‘backradiation’ because the optical thickness of water vapor is, along with the vapor itself, concentrated in the lower troposphere nearer the surface – even aside from the effects of line broadenning and line strength variations).

    A radiative equilibrium profile has a warmer surface and ‘superadiabatic lapse rate’ from the surface up to some height. Convection maintains a temperature profile that is cooler at the surface and warmer at some levels. This leads to net radiative cooling within a layer of the atmosphere, which balances the convergence of the the convective heat flux. Convection doesn’t necessarily continue unabated from the surface to the tropopause; on Earth (global annual average) the flux tapers off going upward, gradually to zero at the tropopause. It heats the whole troposphere, balancing net radiative cooling. (You could also have a situation where convection cools some layer of atmosphere and warms the layer of atmosphere above it, with the convective flux increasing with height before decreasing. You can also have a stable layer underneath a troposphere – if conditions allow it.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 1:38 PM

  375. but even in the sun, all layers have emission and absorption of photons, -

    Actually that may be mainly scattering that occurs within the Sun (though I think (?) this may not be the same type of scattering that dominates Earth’s atmopshere’s effect on sunlight – this preserves photon energy; other types of scattering are sort of a combination of absorption/emission and scattering, which is more complex to describe) – but I think that’s a more complex situation in some ways that what happens in a planetary atmosphere.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 1:44 PM

  376. … or maybe the convective zone in the Sun is more opaque (for a given distance) than the radiative zone. Gravity varies with depth, other stuff…

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 1:49 PM

  377. Sorry about the double post on Olean, NY. There is an error both posts. The quantities are in kWH/m^2/*day* as averaged over a year, and not “kWH/m^2/yr”. Big difference!

    Comment by Meow — 20 Jun 2011 @ 2:15 PM

  378. Patrick #375,

    In the deep interior of the Sun, Thompson scattering is quite important, however, free-free opacity becomes dominant followed by bound-free and bound-bound opacity followed by H- opacity out into the photosphere. Some brief notes here: http://www.astro.princeton.edu/~gk/A403/opac.pdf

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Jun 2011 @ 2:57 PM

  379. … also, even when the net LW flux goes to zero, as it tends to do when optical thickness gets larger and larger on smaller scales, this doesn’t mean emission and absorption stop – actually, the emission and absorption rates per unit volume increases.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 3:21 PM

  380. Re 378 Chris Dudley – thanks; I previously knew of Compton scattering and Raman scattering as examples of scattering where net energy is transfered.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 3:26 PM

  381. … without knowing the details of all types of scattering, it can be pointed out that when there is transfer of energy between photons and non-photons, photon energy is being absorbed and ‘emitted’ even though the photons are not, and – at least if this is occuring spontaneously – the direction of net energy transfer for the populations of particles should be from higher to lower temperature – if the photons have higher brightness temperature than the non-photons then the non-photons will be heated by the interaction while the photons will be cooled, and the opposite will occur if the brightness temperature of the photons is lower than the temperature of the non-photons (at least if the non-photons are at LTE). (Also, when photons are scattered without losing or gaining energy, there is an overall tendency for photon intensity to become more isotropic – the directions with higher brightness temperature would lose more photons to directions with lower brightness temperature than they would gain from those directions.) Thus, the brightness temperature of the radiation is still shaped by the temperature of where it last interacted (with gains or losses in energy) with non-photons; as with complete emission and absorption of photons, the net radiant flux will tend to be from higher to lower temperatures, for temperature variations generally on the scale of the mean free path (except for the effect of scattering and reflection that preserve photon energy) or something related to that.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 3:55 PM

  382. 371 dhogaza: “But he’ll never admit it …”
    We hope circuits are not maxed out. But we have circuit breakers, just in case. Average use is generally much less than rated use.

    368 David B. Benson: “Some valleys are in effect wind tunnels.”
    Not my valleys. But that would be nice sometimes.

    370 Meow: http://mapserve3.nrel.gov/PVWatts_Viewer/index.html
    gives you Bradford PA for Olean, NY. Bradford is on the south side of Mount Hermans. Olean is on the north side of Mount Hermans. When you cross Mount Hermans, the weather changes. It gets suddenly colder and cloudier on the north side of the mountain. Olean is too cloudy to give that solar cell output most of the time. I have driven over Mount Hermans many times, back in the 1960s. GW has had a great effect on Olean. In the old days, it snowed 450 inches per year. Now it snows only 96 inches per year, last time I checked. NREL did not actually measure over a whole year in Olean. A one day measurement has a very good chance of not being the average. The snow amount varies greatly over a 20 mile distance in that vicinity. I have not been back there since the 1970s.

    “Domestic (US TMY2) or International Hourly Site Displays the latitude, longitude, state, region, location and/or country of the hourly station located closest to the point queried. Additional information such as a WBAN number or Station ID may be provided. This information is sent to PVWatts for use in the calculator.”
    “Each grid cell displayed in the PVWatts Viewer is a 40km x 40km area of interpolated solar resource data assembled using the Climatological Solar Radiation (CSR) model. Grid cell resolution is driven by the input data base components used to run the model.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 20 Jun 2011 @ 4:34 PM

  383. Re Michele – more (perhaps a little nitpicky, now, I admit – then again, it may help clarify things) –

    Really, the CO2 molecules are heat engines which absorb thermal energy from the surrounding molecules, during the collisions with them, and transform it to EM energy.

    Heat engine: Heat Qh in at Th, heat Qc out at Tc; entropy transfer = heat/temperature; entropy can’t be destroyed in net (it can be removed from a system that isn’t closed or isn’t isolated – it may follow a flow of energy or matter, such as when an object loses heat); conserving entropy would have Qh/Th = Qc/Tc, hence (Qh-Qc)/Qh = (Th-Tc)/Th = 1 – Tc/Th, which is the fraction of Qh available to do work. Reverse and you have a heat pump (the kind that converts work to heat while pumping heat up a temperature gradient – as opposed to a pump that moves fluid around which carries stored heat, a different concept). So you are saying that the photon emitted from a molecule is work? Taken in isolation, anything could be said to do work. A single molecule bumping into another may be doing work on that molecule or getting work done by that molecule. When you have a lot of this going on without a paricular organized pattern (except for those patterns which emerge from the disorder, such as a Boltzmann or Fermi distribution, or the shape of the Planck function), then on the macroscopic scale it is not work. A bunch of molecules moving randomly can do work on each other, but on the large scale they don’t do work on another box of gas or fluid/etc. – unless they are at a different pressure (or different osmotic pressure, or …), in which case there is some level of organization so that the random processes on each side are not doing the same exact thing and one system may push another, … etc. Consider the photons. A single photon is a wave that may do work on something capable of interacting with it in that way. But a lot of photons together, distributed in direction (per steradian), frequency or energy (per hertz, or per Joule – as in measuring an interval of the spectrum), polarization (per – how do you measure that?), phase (per radian), and time (per second), don’t do macroscopic work (PS, as I understand it, the more spread out a given non-overlapped population of photons are in any of these dimensions, the lower it’s brightness temperature) … unless they are providing heat to a heat engine – or something thermodynamically analogous (solar/photovoltaic cell, chemical reaction, etc.). If you have a bunch of monochromatic photons in phase (of some polarization?), then maybe you can recieve them with an antenna and do work on electrons.

    The temperature of the rising air particles changes continuously according to δT/δz and, above all, their EM energy density varies according to T³δT/δz. Both the gradients are negative because the continuous growth of the geo-gravitational energy that phagocytizes them.

    Credit for using a biological term (I’ll assume it’s a correct term – phagocyte sounds right, not sure of the use as a verb) metaphorically, but it’s not like the gravitational potential energy is looking around for other forms of energy to ingest. Well, I suppose it is, in that the APE (available potential energy) in the form of potential density variations, under the force of gravity, will be ‘pulled’ by gravity into kinetic energy. But see, the gravitational potential energy is actually reduced by that process (the total APE may exist in some combination of internal energy and graviational potential energy, depending on whether the potential density variations are from temperature or latent heat variations or compositional variations; for an ideal gas in hydrostatic balance (in the beginning and end if not in the middle of the process), at least in certain circumstances, as I understand it, APE corresponds to enthalpy, which is partly internal energy and partly work, the work itself corresponding to the increase in gravitational potential energy of the overlying air when some parcel of air expands upon heating. It should be noted that only a fraction of internal energy and gravitational potential energy are in APE; setting aside barotropic pressure variations, when potential density surfaces are everywhere horizontal, APE is zero. Particular distributions of diabatic heating or cooling produce (or consume/destroy) APE, and adiabatic motions convert APE to kinetic energy (thermally direct) or vice versa (thermally indirect), and kinetic energy is dissipated (into heat) by viscous processes, and also, kinetic energy can be converted to APE while destroying (at least some(?) of the same) APE in turbulent mixing against stable stratification.

    Anyway, radiation is not appreciably ‘eaten’ by gravity in Earthly circumstances; gravitational red shift (and lensing, for that matter) are not significant enough to be important in affecting climate.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 5:06 PM

  384. Re 382 Edward Greisch says:
    We hope circuits are not maxed out. But we have circuit breakers, just in case. Average use is generally much less than rated use.
    But how often are all the circuit breakers in a house activated at once?

    “Each grid cell displayed in the PVWatts Viewer is a 40km x 40km area of interpolated solar resource data assembled using the Climatological Solar Radiation (CSR) model. Grid cell resolution is driven by the input data base components used to run the model.”

    So you could get power from your neighboring communities using grid-connected PV systems (depending on how transformers would handle a backward flow of energy?). Anyway – maybe this doesn’t do much for Olean if it’s cloud cover is too thick, but generally PV cells can use diffuse solar radiation as well as direct, and diffuse radiation is present even with overcast skies. Maybe you’re aware of that and were pointing to the small amount of total insolation at Olean, but I mention it because it’s a potential misconception that PV cells can only use direct sunlight – when it’s ‘sunny’ ((?)maybe some are only effective in direct sunlight because of fill-factor issues and resistance within the system or(?)…)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 5:18 PM

  385. [edit - OT]

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 20 Jun 2011 @ 6:09 PM

  386. Re Michele – farther clarification –

    First, regarding APE conversion to kinetic energy in hydrostatic conditions – this does result in a decrease in gravitational potential energy for the whole system – of course some parcels experience an increase, others however experience a decrease.

    The temperature of the rising air particles changes continuously according to δT/δz The rising CO2 molecules never are in LTE, the thermal energy (needed to excite them) is used for other different purposes (the rising of the entire air particle),

    Yes, the temperature adiabatically decreases as the air rises (and adiabatically increases when it sinks) but

    1. the mechanism through which this occurs is the change in pressure as one moves vertically. The equation of state requires the gas either expands or cools as pressure decreases; the first law of thermodynamics determines which combination of cooling and expansion result.

    Consider that warmer air rises not because heat drives it upward but because in hydrostatic balance, pressure decreases with height less through a less dense medium; temperature variations cause density variations which cause pressure variations that accelerate circulations where warmer air rises and cooler air sinks.

    2. While air rises, the temperature changes, but it doesn’t go to zero and then come back to some nonzero value when the rising stops. As long as it is nonzero, emission can occur as optical properties allow. Molecular collisions also continue to occur during ascent (and descent).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 20 Jun 2011 @ 9:02 PM

  387. “Progress” on the political front: I have been told that to get into the Democratic primary in the new US 17th district of Illinois, I need $1/4 Million. Or forget it. The new Illinois district maps are out and available at http://www.ilga.gov/CongressionalDistrictMaps/Statewide%20View.pdf
    I still plan to try to get involved somehow. I expect to be very unpopular because GW is an unpopular issue. I have some of the names of candidates. They are wealthy.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 20 Jun 2011 @ 10:49 PM

  388. 384 Patrick 027: The point is that with a cloud layer 11000 feet thick, daylight is dim in Olean compared to most places, not just diffuse. Clouds don’t act like a single surface. They act like optical depth. Light is scattered back spaceward everywhere in the clouds. I don’t know how much is absorbed. Power from neighboring communities defeats your purpose of getting off the grid. New York state isn’t California. I prefer New York state. Your eyes last longer in N.Y.

    Estimating I use 0.01% of my house’s rated electric power on average. 1 part in 10,000.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 21 Jun 2011 @ 12:22 AM

  389. @ Patrick

    As far as I know, the specific energy of the moving air particle is E = CpT + u²/2 + gz + ρλ/ρ, where ρλ is the radiant energy density α(σ/c)T^4 and ρ the air density. The parameter α takes into account the contributing % of the total spectrum. More than the absolute value it is worth the change ΔE = CpΔT + Δ(u²/2) + Δ(gz) + Δ(α(σ/c)T^4/ρ) = CpΔT(1 + A + B + C) where we can be neglected if they are lesser than ε%. Assuming, e.g., ε=5%, Δ(x)=x (all the terms change starting from zero) and T = 300K, u = 100 m/s, z =10000 m, we have
    A = 50/300000 = 1.67e-2 < 5e-2 : negligible
    B = 1e5-3e5 = 33e-2 : NOT AT ALL NEGLIGIBLE
    C = (α/ρ)1.97e-16*300^4/300000 = (α/ρ)5.3e-12: absolutely negligible

    Thus generally ΔE = CpΔT + Δ(gz) with excellent approximation and ΔE = CpΔT if Δz is lesser than 1500 m.

    Only if T = constant (as for liquids) we have ΔE = Δ(u²/2) + Δ(gz)

    I prefer to think in terms of energy because it is function of state and so we never compute the works pδv and vδp along the traveled path.

    Comment by Michele — 21 Jun 2011 @ 11:16 AM

  390. Errata Corrige

    … = CpΔT(1 + A + B + C) where A, B, C can be neglected if they are lesser than ε%.

    Comment by Michele — 21 Jun 2011 @ 11:19 AM

  391. flxible (361), I haven’t read all related posts and might be out of context, and I’m not sure if I’m challenging your basic point, but how does a 1800 watt PV system provide 86,000 kWhr per year?

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Jun 2011 @ 2:32 PM

  392. ps, per 364, never mind!

    Comment by Rod B — 21 Jun 2011 @ 2:36 PM

  393. Re 387 Edward Greisch – I generally welcome candidates who see the importance of the GW issue; you might want to have an explanation prepared regarding (one of?) your last morality comment at the Nobel Laureates thread.

    Re 388 Edward Greisch – The point is that with a cloud layer 11000 feet thick, daylight is dim in Olean compared to most places, not just diffuse. Accepted.

    Clouds don’t act like a single surface. They act like optical depth. Light is scattered back spaceward everywhere in the clouds. I don’t know how much is absorbed. Yes; and forward scattered. From an airplane looking down you can sometimes see some clouds, not in any shade, that look a bit gray compared to brighter thicker clouds. Those thin clouds would appear bright from below. Multiple forward can scatterings produce more backscattering in effect; for stratiform clouds, I think absorption is supposed to increase with the sun closer to overhead.

    Power from neighboring communities defeats your purpose of getting off the grid. New York state isn’t California. I prefer New York state. Your eyes last longer in N.Y.

    And there’s a reduced (though not nonexistant) earthquake risk! And there’s maple trees.

    Maybe I missed something in the thread, but it’s not my purpose to get off the grid. The advantage to getting off the grid is that you’re immune from ‘their’ blackouts and brownouts; the disadvantage is you’re at greater risk of having your own, and/or you’d need batteries or backup power and/or a more severe lifestyle adjustment.

    What I’ve heard is that there is, or was, some concern about grid-connected solar roofs when a power outage occurs, particular due to line damage, as electricity in the grid that needs repairs could be trouble. Presumably you could just have the inverter cut power when it no longer detects the AC signal of the grid power (?) – but that still forces the building to participate in the outage. Unless a device disconnects the power from the grid so that the building’s own sources can power the building. Maybe this can work in nested fashion – if power supply is cut-off to a community, the community could have a device that cut’s their own power off from the grid but sill distributes it within the community. When the power supply from the larger grid is detected again, it could switch back. Or maybe the power company would send out a seperate signal giving the all clear? But I don’t know how feasable or infeasable this type of thing would be.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 5:01 PM

  394. Re 389 Michele

    specific enthalpy h = cp*T
    kinetic energy/mass = |u|^2/2
    gravitational potential energy/mass = gz

    radiation energy for photons in equilibrium at T (and n=1):
    σ*T^4 / pi = full spectrum blackbody intensity (pi = 3.141…)
    = photon energy per steradian per unit area per unit time
    σ*T^4 / (pi*c) = photon energy per steradian per unit area per unit distance = photon energy per steradian per unit volume

    Multiply by 4*pi steradians for isotropic radiation:
    radiation energy density = 4*(σ/c)*T^4 ; divide by ρ to get radiation energy per unit mass.

    Aside from spectral considerations (your α less than 1), why is this four times larger than your expression? Because I included the photons going downward as well as upward, and I accounted for the fact that each of those fluxes has photons going in all direction within each hemisphere. The photons travelling nearly horizontally are moving much more slowly that c in the vertical direction.

    But why bother with this? Once photons are emitted, the energy can be considered to be seperate from the energy of the air. Photons can potentially travel long distances. Only when scattering optical thicknesses are very very very large on the scale of motion, or the ***index of refraction is very very very large (***in such a way that the group velocity is much reduced – because actually the refractive index only directly pertains to phase speed), and/or the motion of the fluid is extremely fast and parcels of fluid are very very large, does it make sense to think of radiation energy being carried along by convection. Alternatively, if you have phosphorescent material, then it can be that radiant energy is in effect being transported by fluid motion, although their is generally a photon energy change. Generally, LW radiation is often not locally in equilibrium with non-photons; it gets close when opacity is larger over nearly isothermal distances.

    You can, at least in Earthlike conditions (or any familiar planetary atmosphere, at least), seperate the radiation energy density from the energy density of the other material. The later changes when radiant energy is absorbed or emitted; the flux of energy matters directly, you don’t need to consider the amount of energy stored in radiation; photons are so fast that relative to distances in familiar planetary atmospheres, it would make no real difference if they were absorbed (or they escaped) the moment they were emitted (or they entered), at any distance within the system.

    g*z:
    10000 m * 9.81 m/s^2 = 98100 J/kg

    cp*T:
    1004 J/(kg*K) * 300 K = 301200 J/kg

    u^2/2:
    (100 m/s)^2/2 = 5000 J/kg

    4*(σ/c)*T^4 / (1 kg/m^3) (at 300 K)
    4*459 W/m^2 / 3 E8 m/s = 6.12 E-6 J/m^3, divide by rounded typical air density, 6.12 E-6 J/kg

    Yes, radiation density is negligible. But radiant fluxes are not.

    Remember, when air rises or sinks adiabatically, the temperature doesn’t go to zero. It changes gradually over some range of nonzero values. So if it has optical thickness, it can emit as well as absorb photons.

    PS maybe there’s confusion because diabatic heating is not adiabatic. Well, atmospheric circulation is not generally adiabatic, but adiabatic processes can be isolated. The process over time can be broken into time steps as in calculus. Air is moving and being diabatically heated or cooled: This is like moving a little adiabatically, possibly changing pressure by a tiny amount, then gaining or losing a tiny amount of heat at constant pressure (hence the more general use of cp as opposed to cv), and then moving again, etc. Integrate over time. This is how one could compute a moist adiabatic lapse rate, where latent heat is being converted to sensible heat or vice versa. But the air is also radiantly cooling or heating. So why should a troposphere even tend toward an adiabatic

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 5:48 PM

  395. “Presumably you could just have the inverter cut power when it no longer detects the AC signal of the grid power (?)” Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 5:01 PM

    It can be done simply – if you are supplying 10kw to the grid (~220v @45 A) and the external power supply goes down, all you need is a 50A circuit breaker, which will trip when the demand from the collapsing grid exceeds its trip point. This may cause problems if your local power source can’t drop its output back from the lost 10kw load and the voltage soars; this is a problem with utilities that have slow responding rotating generators, e.g. steam turbine driven Nuke/coal stations(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Blackout_of_2003), and can be a problem with wind power. The electronic inverters that convert DC from solar PV to AC can be, and usually are, designed to rapidly adjust their outputs so that the voltage doesn’t soar. The High frequency synthesized pure sine wave inverters common now can adjust their voltage & power factor(phase of current to voltage) with subcycle response.

    Systems are rapidly moving towards networking among inverters, PV power preconditioners, grid ties, and other equipment – this could lead to the utility continuing to accept power you are providing to supply some of their customers, for instance the local hospital, police, and emergency services, while shutting down less critical loads to accommodate outages. People have died during blackouts because a few thousand watts of power that traffic lights in a metro area require was lost along with the megawatts that would have run fridges, freezers, stove, and air conditioning.
    Duke U. hospital has special outlets that are connected to automatic UPS’s which have automatic start diesel backup generators, and the power never goes away in an unscheduled outage. They are tested at full load every 6 months (a tractor trailer full of nichrome heaters and big fans – a 6.5MW hot air gun), and reserved for life support and biohazard containment equipment.

    The local utility also has equipment and procedures that make the hospital the last place to lose power and the first to regain it when hurricanes, ice storms, etc damage the grid. How much money would we save, and how much better would life be if this kind of prioritization could be extended community wide?

    Adding “smart grid” features that allow alternative energy sources will also make the grid MORE fault tolerant and reliable.

    “Duke Energy Carolinas’ current demand response programs include load control curtailment programs, interruptible power service, standby generator control, and residential service controlled water heating. The load control curtailment programs include residential air conditioning direct load control with approximately 190,000 customers and residential water heating direct load control with approximately 35,000 customers. The interruptible programs include approximately 150 commercial and industrial customers with interruptible power service and 150 commercial and industrial customers with standby generator control. These interruptible programs reduce summer 2006 capacity needs by an expected 766 megawatts.”

    How much can we save? – That’s worth 3/4 of a 15 billion dollar new 1 GW nuclear power plant, from just a fraction of Duke Energy’s 4 million customers. http://www.duke-energy.com/about-us/cliffside-qa.asp (My utility company)

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 21 Jun 2011 @ 7:09 PM

  396. Brian Dodge @395 — Your cost estimate for a new NPP is too high by more than a factor of two.

    But then all of this (poorly informed) comment on electic power sources ought to be off-topic here on Real Climate. It certainly lowers the value of this site IMO.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 21 Jun 2011 @ 8:51 PM

  397. Re Michele – it also should be noted that 100 m/s is not really typical of most of the atmosphere. I think the rms value is 17 m/s but I’m not sure – maybe that’s the average. The kinetic energy produced in smaller scale vertical motions like updrafts in thunderstorms tends to be dissipated more quickly; the kinetic energy built up in the atmosphere tends to be more in the larger-scale horizontal circulations, which includes jet streams.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 10:16 PM

  398. Re Michele, continued …

    …So why should a troposphere even tend toward an adiabatic lapse rate. Because as long as the lapse rate is superadiabatic, overturning will tend to occur. Net radiant heating at the surface (in the global annual average; at some times and places this isn’t the case) and net radiant cooling of the troposphere in general would, left on their own, not only make a layer of air unstable to moist localized convection but go so far as to make it unstable to dry localized convection.

    With latent heating in updrafts, updrafts tend to follow moist adiabats. One can imagine a large area of slowly rising air that is being radiatively cooled so that the temperature falls faster with height; however, with such a higher lapse rate, the situation is unstable and more rapid overturning will tend to occur.

    Moist convection involves clouds; the interiors of thick clouds would tend to have minimal net radiant heating or cooling but there can be enhancede radiant heating or cooling at the cloud edges.

    Moist convection doesn’t have to occur when the atmosphere is unstable to it, but perturbations can kick it off, and once you have a sufficient updraft, it can power itself. And these perturbations occur. Precipitation removes some water so descent can evaporate clouds at higher levels than the original cloud bases of moist convection, and after that there is dry descent – without net radiant cooling, this would tend to follow a dry adiabat, which would result in descending columns or air warmer than the rising moist updrafts. Yes, you could lower the temperature sufficiently at great height (at the tropopause) such that descent would only warm the air up to the same temperature as is present underneath updrafts, but that’s not generally what happens. Anyway, not all of the air in updrafts reaches the tropopause.

    There is also horizontal variation in net radiant heating and cooling – on the large scale this produces large-scale APE which is converted to kinetic energy by large-scale overturning (such as in baroclinic waves in particular) in which cooler air slides under warmer air – this process can reduce the lapse rate to below convective values (especially in frontal zones, although areas of low stability may be near fronts). At high latitudes, particularly in winter, and at night over land in some conditions, the air in the lower troposphere can be especially stable. But in the global annual average, radiant heating and cooling tend to destabilize the troposphere.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 10:36 PM

  399. Some good news:
    Federal Pollution Laws Drive Chicago-Area Coal Plant Out of Business
    http://solveclimatenews.com/news/20110511/federal-pollution-laws-chicago-state-line-coal-plant
    “An 85-year-old coal plant near Chicago is going out of business after new federal air quality rules ultimately made the facility too costly to be worth operating.”

    396 David B. Benson: I’m getting bored with electric power talk too.

    The good news above shows the value of Obama’s approach to GW. It is far too slow, but the Chamber of Commerce is still insisting on talking about growth. At least 2 farmers here in Illinois recognize that something is wrong with the climate. We have a very difficult idea to sell until the “Pearl Harbor” event happens. Until then, we have to keep talking to remember how. I went to a county board of supervisors meeting today. Just listening showed me how far most people are from climate action. I also heard the following: “The [billionaires] think they are going to escape to another habitable planet when NASA finds one.” As with electric power talk, we have to try to keep fantasy in check.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 21 Jun 2011 @ 10:48 PM

  400. Re 395 Brian Dodge – thanks.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 21 Jun 2011 @ 10:50 PM

  401. This might be a better place to discuss this:
    Reconstruction of the extra-tropical NH mean temperature over
    the last millennium with a method that preserves low-frequency
    http://web.dmi.dk/solar-terrestrial/staff/boc/millennium_reconstr.pdf

    The method it uses have got some shortcomings highlighter earlier:
    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~tingley/Comment_on_Christiansen.pdf

    However the paper is till published so now what? How would you handle this in a IPCC report, how reliable is the reconstruction? The new one has not got any comments yet but is the comments on the method enough to dismiss it?

    (personally I think some of the flaws are pretty severe)

    Comment by Magnus W — 22 Jun 2011 @ 1:58 AM

  402. Patrick 027,
    Reading from the sidelines, I appreciate your patient, civil and substantive explanations to Michele.

    Comment by CM — 22 Jun 2011 @ 2:06 AM

  403. @Edward Greisch:
    We have a very difficult idea to sell until the “Pearl Harbor” event happens.

    Since the startling events of the last 12 months or so and the 5-figure death count of the 2003 European heat wave didn’t, I am having difficulty imagining just what plausible event would qualify as a climate “Pearl Harbor” in the public mind.

    Comment by Adam R. — 22 Jun 2011 @ 11:30 AM

  404. @ Patrick

    “Once photons are emitted, the energy can be considered to be seperate from the energy of the air. Photons can potentially travel long distances.”

    Not at all. The photons behave as the molecules which locally (at microscopic scale) move with a mean speed of several hundreds of m/s, but they move as hornets into a jar. At macroscopic scale, they move with a group speed that can be also much little, even zero.

    Referring to a volume of 1 m³ containing some neutral gas besides M molecules of CO2 in LTE we have that:
    The partial molecular pressure of the CO2 is Pm’=MkT (that’s, it is affected only by the numerical density), which coincide with the elasto-molecular energy density, being N/m² = J/m³. The molecules meanly move with the speed (3kT/m) around the center of mass of the particle containing them (m is the molecular mass) and their vectorial sum is zero. If at distance Δx there is another m³ containing CO2 at the molecular pressure Pm’’, the molecules of CO2 move between the two volumes at the rate Rm=-Dm*(Pm’’-Pm’)/Δx, where Dm is the coefficient of diffusion of the CO2 with respect the other gas. All that without bulk macroscopic flow.
    The CO2 emits/absorbs and so we also have a photonic density F, a pressure Pph’=Fhν (again affected by the numerical density) which coincide with the elasto-EM energy density. The photons move (locally) with the light speed c around the center of mass of the particle which contains them but also their vectorial sum is zero. The second volume has the pressure Pph’’ and, in agreement with the molecules above, the photons move at the rate Rph=-Dph*(Pph’’-Pph’)/Δx, where Dph is the diffusion coefficient of the photons. Again no bulk flow.

    The parallel molecules-photons holds perfectly.

    Comment by Michele — 22 Jun 2011 @ 1:03 PM

  405. 403 Adam R.: “I am having difficulty imagining just what plausible event would qualify as a climate “Pearl Harbor” in the public mind.”

    Me too.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Jun 2011 @ 2:50 PM

  406. Adam R. wrote: “I am having difficulty imagining just what plausible event would qualify as a climate ‘Pearl Harbor’ in the public mind.”

    I have difficulty imagining Rush Limbaugh going on the radio in December 1941 and proclaiming that the very existence of “Japan” was a hoax, while millions of people who called themselves “skeptics” unquestioningly believed his every word.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 22 Jun 2011 @ 3:09 PM

  407. Re 404 Michele -
    A population of molecules within a gas of sufficient density will diffuse more slowly than their speeds because they are so often turned back by collisions (collisions however can transport energy, so heat can be conducted by both collisions and diffusion). This is only true for photons when scattering is occuring. What is the mean free path of a molecule? It’s quite short. From Wallace and Hobbs (complete reference pending), about 1 E-7 m (a tenth of a micron) at the surface, about a micron near 20 km, about 1 mm somewhere around 70 km height. You have to go up to between 110 and 120 km height (this is near the turbopause) before it gets to 1 m. (The turbopause is where molecular diffusion starts to dominate over eddy diffusion; above the turbopause, each constituent (exceptions?) decreases in absolute concentration with it’s own scale height, as if the atmosphere is actually several atmospheres sharing space – except for the effects of sources and sinks (chemical reactions). See also CRC handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

    And photons? Well of course it varies over wavelength; some will have mean free paths on the order of several km or more, except for clouds or high humidity. From memory, the optical thickness near the center of the CO2 band may peak around 10^4 for the whole atmosphere, which would imply a mean fee path on the order of a meter near the surface (setting aside variations over height in optical thickness per unit mass path). That’s only the center of the band. And this is between emission and absorption; the photons are mainly not being scattered around, they are mainly making one-way trips. Not that photons are not scattered but the scattering optical thickness doesn’t dominate for LW frequencies, and that should be especially true near peaks in absorption spectra. So it is mainly the case that photons are not bouncing around as if in a jar, or if and when that is the case, it is a larger jar. Photons carry gross and net fluxes of energy between locations, which may span variations in temperature, or else in the limit of large optical thicknesses including some sufficient contribution from emissivity and absorptivity, photons allow the diffusion of heat down local thermal gradients, but even in this case, photons are still not appreciably carried by convection of non-photons in familiar conditions.

    (Consider also the lifetime of a photon with mean free path of even 10 km between emission and absorption – it would be 1E5 m / 3E8 m/s ~= 3.3 E-4 s. How much does air usually move in that time?)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 4:52 PM

  408. SA @ 406

    “I have difficulty imagining Rush Limbaugh going on the radio in December 1941 and proclaiming that the very existence of “Japan” was a hoax, while millions of people who called themselves “skeptics” unquestioningly believed his every word.”

    Rush Limbaugh is a man of this time and part and parcel with his audience. If he said it today and phrased it in a way that insulted “liberals”, then almost certainly the dittoheads who worship him would be more than happy to accept it into their absurd catechism, arguing the definition of nation so as to exclude some aspect of Japanese culture and generally clogging up discourse with all sorts of infectious glop.

    Transport the lot of them back to 1941 — same deal. After Dec. 7 you would hear all sorts of rhetorical hokus pokus from them justifying their faith in the Cult of Rush. (“It was really Russian pinkos disguised as Japanese…blah, blah, blah.”) They never admit they’re wrong about anything.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 22 Jun 2011 @ 5:05 PM

  409. New subject:
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/climate-of-denial-20110622
    A long article by Al Gore.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 22 Jun 2011 @ 9:17 PM

  410. Re my 374, on LTE – It is only photons that make the difference between that and complete thermodynamic equilibrium … with photons. Generally we don’t have complete, complete thermodynamic equilibrium. Having as much CH4 in the atmosphere as we do when there is also so much O2 – not thermodynamic equilibrium. Really, as I understand it, thermodynamic equilibrium would have most protons and neutrons combined into nuclei of masses at or similar to some isotope(s) of Fe – then again, maybe it would all be electrons and positrons, because of proton decay, over trillions (of trillions of trillions of ….?) years. And photons, of course.

    But when certain processes don’t happen, or happen sufficiently slowly, we can have a incomplete thermodynamic equilibrium with the other aspects of the system, which isn’t much perturbed by slow equilibration of other aspects or the disequilibrium that is frozen-in. And we can have, or approximately have, LTE in the sense that that molecules, atoms, ions and electrons and crystal lattice vibrations have energy distributions are (approximately) in equilibrium for the sensible heat content, for a given temperature.

    You can also have a partial LTE. An interesting case is excited electron-hole populations in semiconductors, such as in a solar cell; after being excited across a band gap, the electrons and remaining holes can settle – as I recall/think, via interactions with the crystal lattice – into distributions within the two seperate energy bands, each one fitting the equilibrium distribution for the temperature (the temperature you would measure if you put a thermometer on the material), but with two seperate distributions not in equilibrium with each other. Because emission via recombination across the band gap involves that disequilibrium, the emission behaves according to a modified Planck function, which can be rewritten as the Planck function for an effective temperature, which will vary as a function of photon energy and the chemical potential of the electron and hole populations as well as the ‘actual’ temperature.

    Convection of an ideal gas to different pressures, as I understand it, would tend to preserve LTE even without ongoing molecular collisions, in the absence of other processes. There are ways, besides via diffusion/mixing and radiation, to disrupt LTE. If, in order to maintain (some level of) thermodynamic equilibrium (within a parcel, among non-photons), physical phase changes or (electro-)chemical (or nuclear) reactions had to occur, kinetic barriers to reactions may delay the achievement of equilibrium. For example, with physical phase changes, some diffusion of constituents may be necessary, requiring compositional gradients, and the down-gradient diffusion increases entropy. The nucleation of new phases can itself be delayed (see Kohler curve, homogeneous nucleation of ice crystals). With latent heating or cooling coming from phase changes or phase growth that is not uniform (in a heterogeneous material), there must also be temperature gradients to support diffusion of heat, and this diffusion increases entropy. If a process is fully adiabatic, (some level of) thermodynamic equilibrium is maintained, so that entropy is also conserved (the process is isentropic, and reversable). If there is thermodynamic disequilibrium in some aspect and a process occurs tending towards equilibrium of that aspect, but it doesn’t happen with infinite speed, then the process is no longer adiabatic, reversable, and isentropic; attempting to reverse the process will involve hysteresis, and some net consumption of work (Gibb’s free energy). Note that removing condensed water from a cloud makes the moist convection irreversable – you can’t trace the same adiabat all the way back to the higher pressure of the original cloud base, because evaporation will be complete before then. In general, removing or adding heat, but also substance, as in mixing or something more selective (like prepitation out of – or into – a parcel), will tend to make the process irreversable – unless things are balanced in some way (ie photons are exchanged but the net radiant heating is zero, or is balanced by conduction – or mixing is between identical air parcels, etc.).

    The deviation from adiabatic processes due to kinetics of reactions is not generally important in Earth’s atmosphere at least so far as causing convection to veer-off from an adiabat; the formation of new cloud droplets (as distinct from haze particles – see Kohler curve) tends to be delayed (maybe it isn’t always but I’m not sure) from the moment the relative humidity (for a flat surface of pure liquid water) reaches 100 % – but it isn’t generally delayed very long, so far as I know)
    -
    except maybe (?) when the formation of ice is involved, but fortunately the latent heating of freezing is an order of magnitude less than that of condensation. However, it is important to the other characteristics of the material – significant delay of ice formation occurs in clouds; it is common to have a population of ‘supercooled’ droplets – liquid water below freezing; supercooled droplets can freeze onto ice crystals they run into (riming if they stick) (if they freeze from the outside in, then freezing of the middle may cause them to break into pieces), and because equilibrium vapor pressure is a function of phase, a small number of ice crystals surrounded by many supercooled droplets will tend to result in a reduction in water particles as evaporation from smaller droplets feeds growth of larger ice crystals, which may then precipitate). In the Earth’s mantle, relatively cold descending slabs have slower reaction rates (relative to warmer material), and resulting delays in phase changes have importance to rheology, but I don’t know of a significant effect on the lapse rate.

    Growing cloud droplets (via condensation – there is also collision/coalescence, which is very important in producing precipitation in the absence of ice crystals) or ice crystals (from freezing or deposition) will release latent heat, and thus these cloud particles will tend to be warmer than the air around them, allowing the diffusion of that latent heat so that the parcel as a whole ultimately warms. If such a parcel is taken as the smallest unit being dealt with, then it would effectively be perturbed from LTE – it would not radiate with a single temperature – the emissivity and absorptivity would appear to be different if the cp-weighted average temperature is used. Given variations in optical properties between the gas and other phases, interaction with radiation could also cause some temperature variation. However you could work around this by dealing with the range of temperatures in the parcel. Alternatively you could approximate the situation as being at LTE if the temperature variations are sufficiently small, which they will tend to be if the diffusion of heat (as with the rate of collisions among molecules)is sufficient ; my understanding is that this is usually if not always the case. Etc. for evaporation and melting of water particles.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 9:35 PM

  411. PS

    Mixing of cloud air with dry air can be important at least in some ways.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 9:41 PM

  412. Re my 407 – the last part, I think, should also help in seeing that even a purely scattering situation would not tend to involve much convection of radiation. For example, consider what if the surface were a blackbody and the atmosphere had only scattering. How many scattering events on average would be required to return a photon to the surface, or else allow it to escape to space (the later is reduced by reducing total optical thickness; I think the former may depend less on that)? It depends on the kind of scattering, of course, but roughly, a large optical thickness of mainly forward scattering may be similar to a smaller optical thickness of Raleigh scattering or isotropic scattering…

    (for either of those, a photon has equal chance of being backscattered or forward-scattered for each scattering; a raleigh scattering distribution has mirror symmetry between the forward and reverse directions; from memory I think isotropic scattering would be achieved by a spherical mirror ball with geometric optics, no diffraction)

    … Well I’m not as familiar with scattering (though I know where to go to find out more) but for now, just to get a sense of things, consider if all photons are scattered at path lengths x and half are forward scattered and half are backscattered, and assume scattered radiation is isotropic or otherwise sufficient so that the same equality exists for scattering relative to the vertical direction (upward and downward). Set aside the variation in directions, so x is always vertical. Then the average total path for return would be x*(2*0.5 + 4*0.5^3 + 6*0.5^5 + 8*0.5^7 + …) = …

    Alternatively, the low energy density of photons suggests that convection of radiation would tend to be rather small.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 11:35 PM

  413. above the turbopause, each constituent (exceptions?) decreases in absolute concentration with it’s own scale height, as if the atmosphere is actually several atmospheres sharing space – except for the effects of sources and sinks (chemical reactions)

    And escape to space, of course. And charged particles are affected by the magnetic field, too – this has greater effect when the radius of gyration is small relative to the mean free path. Magnetic field effects start to become important for electrons at a different height than for ions – hence the E-region dynamo. (PS I’m not sure how the electrons behave above the turbopause regarding particle vs eddy diffusion, though. I anticipate that having electrical charge should reduce the mean free path (stronger interactions over distance), but … well the E-region dynamo exists and I can look up it’s height; that should be a clue…

    Also I think it should be possible for the different constituents to have their own temperatures sufficiently above the turbopause, although even for a given constituent, LTE may be no longer be a good approximation there, if not before (but LTE does approximately hold up through the stratosphere at least).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 11:47 PM

  414. Then the average total path for return would be x*(2*0.5 + 4*0.5^3 + 6*0.5^5 + 8*0.5^7 + …) = … – expression doesn’t account for escape, but it’s late and anyway I don’t see a need to pursue this one for now.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 22 Jun 2011 @ 11:51 PM

  415. @ Patrick

    We can say all that we want only if the fundamentals are saved.

    Assuming that the M molecules of CO2 fill the first two vibrational energetic levels we would have M0 molecules at the level 0 and M1 at the level 1. Missing the constants and being F the photonic density, we know well that the photons are absorbed at the rate F*M0, spontaneously emitted at the rate M1 and emitted by stimulation at the rate F*M1. For the radiative equilibrium it is required F*M0=M1+F*M1 and hence, at equilibrium the photonic density is F=1/(M0/M1-1). Furthermore, if the gas is in thermodynamic equilibrium, in agreement with the Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, setting β=hv/kT, we have for the frequency v the photonic density F=1/(expβ-1) and the energetic density ρ(v)=hv/(expβ-1), that’s, the Planck formula.

    In other words the photons are emitted/absorbed (scattered) locally and, missing sources/sinks, there must be DF/Dt = δF/δt + u∇F = 0, i.e., F constant over the time and the space.

    Comment by Michele — 23 Jun 2011 @ 3:08 AM

  416. Michelle–Unfortunately, Einstein’s derivation–which you are using–presumes equilibrium, which does not hold in the atmosphere. There is an excess flux of 15 micron radiation compared to equilibrium, so you will have relaxation processes other than spontaneous and stimulated emission.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jun 2011 @ 10:25 AM

  417. In general, removing or adding heat, but also substance, as in mixing or something more selective (like prepitation out of – or into – a parcel), will tend to make the process irreversable – unless things are balanced in some way (ie photons are exchanged but the net radiant heating is zero, or is balanced by conduction – or mixing is between identical air parcels, etc.).
    … the later (mixing between identical air parcels) is isentropic while the former (balance between radiant heating/cooling and conduction of heat) will allow the air to be isentropic but there will an increase in entropy somewhere. Another example that maintains the entropy of an air parcel is precipitation of a phase of water with some temperature into the air balances the precipitation out of the parcel of water at the same phase and temperature.

    Precipitation of liquid water out of an updraft both removes heat capacity and the latent heat of freezing – fortunately, in familiar conditions the heat capacity of liquid water content is relatively small compared to the gas, and the latent heat of freezing is an order of magnitude less than that of condensation.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 23 Jun 2011 @ 1:35 PM

  418. “Climatic Pearl Harbor”–

    I’m thinking the first ice-free summer of the Arctic Ocean may come close. It lacks the catastrophic aspect (in its direct manifestation at least) but will, I think, be a rather stubborn fact.

    There may be denialists about that; it could be played rather like the moon landing conspiracy theory. But that will tend to demolish whatever credibility they may have managed to retain for most observers.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 23 Jun 2011 @ 3:27 PM

  419. #418 Kevin, Ice free? not soon but likely to come, the next earth mega event is no ice at the Pole. The Russian NE passage is poised to open quite earliest in history, it is now just a question of cloud coverage. Present Arctic temps are very warm. Now
    I am trying to guess how contrarians will explain the next great melt.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 23 Jun 2011 @ 7:43 PM

  420. “‘Climatic Pearl Harbor’ – I’m thinking the first ice-free summer of the Arctic Ocean may come close.”

    The same denialists who calculated that “a Vesuvius size eruption under the Arctic Ice (area June 22, 2011 : 9,673,281 sq km) would melt an area the size of Massachusetts (21456 sq km), so that must be the cause of record low ice” will be nattering on about how “the Arctic isn’t truly ice free yet – it still has an area of ice equal to the state of Rhode Island (4002 sq km)”.

    Recaptcha – thorough custer

    Comment by Brian Dodge — 23 Jun 2011 @ 7:46 PM

  421. # 409 Ed G mentions the article by Gore in Rolling Stone. The comments there show a lot of GDS (Gore Derangement Syndrome).

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 23 Jun 2011 @ 9:26 PM

  422. It is worth remembering that the big boost in US arms production after the Pearl Harbor attack was only necessary because Japan and Germany had already hit the big time in arms production ahead of the US and under very economically difficult conditions. I’m not sure a climate Pearl Harbor has a lot of meaning. Might as well say a climate assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria for an example of a reactive frenzy.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 23 Jun 2011 @ 11:17 PM

  423. New subject: http://ilovemountains.org/dirty-water-act-2011
    “THE DIRTY WATER ACT OF 2011 (HR 2018)
    The Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act would gut the Clean Water Act by giving the states, rather than the EPA, the ultimate decision-making authority over our nation’s water quality standards. This would spell disaster in states where mountaintop removal coal mining is practiced, as seen by the states’ abysmal record on permitting and enforcement.”

    New subject: resolution HR 1391 would prevent the EPA from regulating coal ash, cinders and slag.

    Find them in http://thomas.loc.gov/home/thomas.php

    Call your congressman ASAP and say “Vote no.” We need the EPA to be able to regulate coal somehow.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 23 Jun 2011 @ 11:31 PM

  424. as always, the largest problem of determining summer sea ice melt is not having cloud extent analysis, aside from our brain looking at polar orbiting HRPT satellite shots , clouds are the predominating factor of a great Arctic Ocean ice melt. Has anyone found a good live site showing cloud extent anomalies? I elaborate further on my website blog, there is a chance that a great melt may be averted despite warmer weather.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 24 Jun 2011 @ 12:58 AM

  425. @ Ray Ladbury

    You are right, I omitted to quote Einstein. Thanks.

    As far as I know, the density F=1/(M0/M1-1) is an instantaneous value that tends to F=1/(expβ-1) when the LTE is reached, i.e., after several times the relaxation time.

    I agree with you, the atmosphere does not hold in the atmosphere then the CO2 molecules don’t emit, or better, emit with very much difficulty and in any case more and more less than that the Planck formula tells us.

    PS. My name is Michele, Italian male give name.

    Comment by Michele — 24 Jun 2011 @ 2:37 AM

  426. Errata Corrige

    I agree with you, the equilibrium does not hold in the atmosphere then the CO2 molecules don’t emit, or better, emit with very much difficulty and in any case more and more less than that the Planck formula tells us.

    PS. My name is Michele, Italian male given name.

    Comment by Michele — 24 Jun 2011 @ 2:41 AM

  427. Re 426, 426 Michele -

    I’ve wondered about stimulated emission’s role in blackbody radiation – it would seem to imply that LTE among non-photons is an insufficient condition for emissivity to equal absorptivity. However, stimulated emission is a rather minor issue at the temperatures we are dealing with, is it not? (How hot does it have to get before about 5 % of photons are emitted by stimulation? Of course when the temperature goes past infinity to negative values, it’s a different story, as I understand it (lasers), but that’s not something I know a lot about.)

    Anyway, CO2, and H2O and clouds, and to some extent CH4 and ozone and some other gases, clearly do emit and absorb photons at least approximately the way one could predict based on emission cross sections (related to absorption coefficients) and the Planck function. The radiation can be measured. There is no problem.

    Why wouldn’t a population of CO2 molecules, colliding with other molecules (including N2 and the rest, not just themselves) at some nonzero temperature, or within air at some nonzero temperature, be emitting radiation?

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Jun 2011 @ 1:14 PM

  428. And re 426/425 Michele, remember that even if photons are being absorbed or scattered within short distances, this doesn’t mean they aren’t being emitted. (Aside from scattering, photons will be absorbed within shorter distances if they are being emitted more often per unit volume – this is the effect of absorptivity = emissivity.)

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 24 Jun 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  429. Another fault of us nice guys understanding AGW, is lamenting the contrarian garbage out there without pouncing on them when they were wrong,. So they the experts of erring, rage at every little detail, spreading confusion they love to brainwash on the lay, despite having been utterly wrong often, they appear again on contrarian prone anti-AGW programs. There should be no relenting against those who are paraded like real climate experts, when they cant predict anything about it, or refuse to do so because they don’t believe anybody else can. I encourage RC to ‘enhance’ any anti-AGW spokesperson on the merit of their ability with climate especially in failing predictions. In mind lately is the famous PDO enhancing an “ice age” gang, some at accuweather and the shows that support them. What is clear, and really above the politics of climate discussions is the ability to predict accurately, why would anyone listen to a contrarian failing projections again and again, we must keep them wallowing in their failures as opposed to disseminate a new delay tactic.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 24 Jun 2011 @ 2:10 PM

  430. GIA – sea-level rise adjustment question.

    If the volume of ocean should be adjusted upward to counteract the sinking basins and rising coast (in some places), shouldn’t the volume of the ocean be adjusted downward to take out the thermal expansion due to the .8C temperature rise?

    Or is thermal expansion already taken out?

    Does anybody know?

    [Response: It depends on what you want to do. Adding in the GIA is necessary if you want to use the satellite data to constrain the ocean volume changes (including stearic and eustatic effects). If you just want to understand the eustatic effects (i.e. how much more water is entering the ocean than is leaving), you would need to correct for density changes (mostly thermal expansion) as well. - gavin]

    Comment by RickA — 24 Jun 2011 @ 2:55 PM

  431. Those pondering what might constitute a “climatic Pearl Harbor” might wish to read this analysis of the extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011, by meteorologist Jeff Masters:

    2010 – 2011: Earth’s most extreme weather since 1816?
    By Dr. Jeff Masters
    June 24, 2011
    Weather Underground
    http://www.wunderground.com

    He discusses “the top twenty most remarkable weather events of 2010″ which include:

    Earth’s hottest year on record
    Most extreme winter Arctic atmospheric circulation on record
    Arctic sea ice: lowest volume on record, 3rd lowest extent
    Record melting in Greenland, and a massive calving event
    Second most extreme shift from El Niño to La Niña
    Second worst coral bleaching year
    Wettest year over land
    Amazon rainforest experiences its 2nd 100-year drought in 5 years
    Global tropical cyclone activity lowest on record
    A hyperactive Atlantic hurricane season: 3rd busiest on record
    A rare tropical storm in the South Atlantic
    Strongest storm in Southwestern U.S. history
    Strongest non-coastal storm in U.S. history
    Weakest and latest-ending East Asian monsoon on record
    No monsoon depressions in India’s Southwest Monsoon for 2nd time in 134 years
    The Pakistani flood: most expensive natural disaster in Pakistan’s history
    The Russian heat wave and drought: deadliest heat wave in human history
    Record rains trigger Australia’s most expensive natural disaster in history
    Heaviest rains on record trigger Colombia’s worst flooding disaster in history
    Tennessee’s 1-in-1000 year flood kills 30, does $2.4 billion in damage

    Sounds like a multitude of “climatic Pearl Harbors” to me.

    Excerpt:

    Any one of the extreme weather events of 2010 or 2011 could have occurred naturally sometime during the past 1,000 years. But it is highly improbable that the remarkable extreme weather events of 2010 and 2011 could have all happened in such a short period of time without some powerful climate-altering force at work. The best science we have right now maintains that human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like CO2 are the most likely cause of such a climate-altering force …

    … the ever-increasing amounts of heat-trapping gases humans are emitting into the air puts tremendous pressure on the climate system to shift to a new, radically different, warmer state, and the extreme weather of 2010 – 2011 suggests that the transition is already well underway. A warmer planet has more energy to power stronger storms, hotter heat waves, more intense droughts, heavier flooding rains, and record glacier melt that will drive accelerating sea level rise. I expect that by 20 – 30 years from now, extreme weather years like we witnessed in 2010 will become the new normal.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 24 Jun 2011 @ 3:29 PM

  432. Gavin in-line comment to RickA #430:

    Thank you Gavin.

    I am interested in sea level as it relates to climate change. For example how much of Florida will be underwater by 2100.

    So based on your answer and Wikipedia – I am guessing I would be interested in both eustatic (change of sea level relative to a fixed point) and isostatic (change of land level relative to a fixed point) measurements. The two together should allow me to describe eustatic sea level relative to isostatic Florida coast at 2100 (assuming I had the proper data)(for example).

    Again – thank you.

    Comment by RickA — 24 Jun 2011 @ 4:49 PM

  433. @ RickA

    Depends on the amount of SLR by 2100. I put together SLR maps (with 1 and 6-meter projected rises) for various places around the world (including Florida) at Skeptical Science here.

    Note: The mapping visualization tools used were developed by by Jeremy Weiss, lead author of Implications of Recent Sea Level Rise Science for Low-elevation Areas in Coastal Cities of the Conterminous U.S.A..

    ReCaptcha: objec tiontype (that one was good)

    Comment by Daniel Bailey — 24 Jun 2011 @ 5:43 PM

  434. OT Summer beach reading: How the Hippies Saved Physics by MIT physicist and science historian David Kaiser

    Comment by Pete Dunkelberg — 24 Jun 2011 @ 9:59 PM

  435. @ 427-428 Patrick

    I was not saying about the BB but about what occurs inside a particle of air containing also an absorbing/emitting gas.
    OK, the relationship above is obtained taking into account only the scattered EM-photons that directly excite the molecule and then are suddenly re-emitted. It seems that we are omitting the thermal-photons which become thermal energy of all the molecules (neutral and active) and are created from the thermal energy by means the collisions among the active molecules with the other (active and neutral) molecules.
    I think it is implicitly contained by the claimed LTE, otherwise the temperature wouldn’t be constant. Of course, if the thermal photons aren’t contained by the density F, we should think that is F = Fem + Fth = constant (really, I have some doubt about it).
    In any case we have always DF/Dt = 0, that means ∇•(uF) = F∇•u = 0 in a steady state, i.e., the photons density obey the continuity law as the mass density Dρ/Dt = 0 or the equivalent ∇•(ρu) = ρ∇•u = 0.

    Comment by Michele — 25 Jun 2011 @ 3:40 AM

  436. Can you help? I went to this page that I like to refer to sometimes about climate change commitments and the article has disappeared. All that’s left is a link to a pdf file in italian.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/climate-change-commitments/

    [Response: Click on the US/UK flag next to the title. (PS. Spanish, not Italian). - gavin]

    Comment by Sou — 25 Jun 2011 @ 8:43 AM

  437. Thanks Gavin, that worked. My mouse skills aren’t bad but my language skills are lacking. :D

    Comment by Sou — 25 Jun 2011 @ 8:55 AM

  438. OT. What a fitting visual epithet. A gas station surrounded by the polluted flood waters it helped to create.

    Man’s Last Stand.

    http://images.ctv.ca/archives/CTVNews/img2/20110625/800_minot_north_dakota_gas_station_flood_ap_110625.jpg

    Comment by Ron R. — 25 Jun 2011 @ 11:26 AM

  439. Re 435 Michele (I had assumed the thermally-emitted photons were included in the F you were describing) –

    DF/Dt = 0. Yes, if nothing is changing. If you add a new source of heat the temperature will rise until emission-absorption adjusts to balances the new heat source. If a parcel of air is rising and cooling adiabatically then the temperature declines and the rate at which photons are emitted decreases. If a change in temperature happens somewhere else than a change in the photon population passing through another location can change; DF/Dt can change.

    Perhaps I’m mistaken about what you’re thinking – are you thinking that the photons which are emitted to space are somehow present in the air during ascent and when the air expands enough the photons are released? Because that’s not what happens. I’m having trouble understanding your point.

    The continuity equation regarding photon density – yes, of course, if photons are redistributed over a larger volume then their density decreases – this is just a form of the conservation of energy, as the continuity equation in fluid mechanics is a form of the conservation of mass. But when photons are absorbed or emitted, energy is leaving one form and entering another – such as between the enthalpy of a population of non-photons and the radiant heat energy of a population of photons.

    Perhaps you should look up – first, ‘Beer’s Law’, then, ‘Schwarzchild’s equation’ (Beer’s Law is a special case of Schwarzchild’s equation).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Jun 2011 @ 12:42 PM

  440. DF/Dt can change.
    - Actually I meant it can be nonzero, but it can change too; and dF/dt can also change (D/Dt is used in fluid dynamics as the derivative while followiing fluid motion (I think this can be refered to as the material derivative or the Lagrangian derivative); in this case I assume we’re following the macroscopic motion of non-photons; partial derivative symbols (the curly-d, looks like a backward 6) is then used instead for the Eulerian derivative, the rate of change at a given location in some frame of reference; which is what I meant by dF/dt, but I didn’t take the time to use the best symbol.

    Of course, once equilibrium climate is achieved, then averaged globally and annually and over internal variation, etc, eulerian derivative dF/dt = 0, but DF/Dt can still be nonzero.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 25 Jun 2011 @ 1:43 PM

  441. More information on solar power costs:

    http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/06/announcement-bank-america-putting-billions-solar/

    I can’t tell for sure whether all costs are included, but there is no mention of subsidies.

    733MW of power at a cost of $2.6 billion gives (assuming at least 80% of rated power for at least 30 years for at least 250 days per year for at least 8 hours per day): 3.52E10 kwh at a cost of $2.6E9, or $0.0739/kwh. That’s less than the cost of the unit from Home Depot because it is a mass purchase and mass installation.

    caveat emptor in all cases.

    As concentrated PV power is mass produced, the cost per kwh should be cut in half in a few years. I can hardly wait to update these calculations in the years ahead.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Jun 2011 @ 5:02 PM

  442. Quick correction to my previous post: there is a federal loan guarantee, but not a direct subsidy to reduce the purchase price. The loan guarantee is worth some amount on the interest.

    Still worth looking at next year to assess price changes, I think.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 25 Jun 2011 @ 5:59 PM

  443. I’ve just come across Fritz Franzen’s site http://hfranzen.org/

    He presents his “pdf file of a power point presentation of the basic science that results from the application of elementary basic physics and chemistry to the published spectroscopic data for vibration-rotation transitions for the asymmetric stretch of carbon dioxide, the known Planck radiation curves for the earth and the sun, and the solution of Beer’s Law modified for broad-band diffuse transmission by carbon dioxide in the air using partial pressures given by the widely accepted Keeling curve”

    May I ask someone here, with more recent physical chemistry education than mine, to look over Franzen’s presentation to see whether there are any obvious wrong turns?

    Comment by Richard Woods — 26 Jun 2011 @ 3:30 AM

  444. Oops. I left out the direct link to Franzen’s PDF

    http://www.hfranzen.org/GWPPT6.pdf

    and a secondary one at

    http://www.hfranzen.org/CB%20with%20buffering.pdf

    Comment by Richard Woods — 26 Jun 2011 @ 3:37 AM

  445. @ 439-440 Patrick

    If we want depict what occurs to a water particle flowing in a river, we don’t remain on a bridge because we would have a partial description (Eulerian point of view over the sole time) but we get into the boat and we go downstream together the water particle (Lagrangian point of view over the time and the space). So ‘Beer’s Law’ and ‘Schwarzchild’s equation’, referring to a fluid at rest, don’t hold in this case.

    The Lagrangian derivative tells us more than the Eulerian one. DF/Dt tell us that the process is uniform, i.e., invariable over the time and the space.

    The photons which contribute to the LTE within a volume V exist because V contains the emitting/absorbing molecules together the neutral ones, but all rest confined within V.

    Comment by Michele — 26 Jun 2011 @ 5:32 AM

  446. Of course, until the volume V don’t become a source if therein are created photons using the thermal energy yielded by the sorroundings. In this case the CO2 molecules behaves as heat engines.

    Comment by Michele — 26 Jun 2011 @ 10:33 AM

  447. Another sort of climate response.

    From NCAR:

    Economic cost of weather may total $485 billion in U.S.

    Everything has its price, even the weather. New research indicates that routine weather events such as rain and cooler-than-average days can add up to an annual economic impact of as much as $485 billion in the United States.

    The study, led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), found that finance, manufacturing, agriculture, and every other sector of the economy is sensitive to changes in the weather. The impacts can be felt in every state.

    UCAR/NCAR Press release

    The article is by Jeffrey Lazo, Megan Lawson, Peter Larsen, and Donald Waldman. It is titled, “U.S. Economic Sensitivity to Weather Variability.” A preprint of the article is up on the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society web site. Article. 36 pages, including charts and graphs.

    Comment by The Raven — 26 Jun 2011 @ 11:15 AM

  448. Re 445 Michele
    If we want depict what occurs to a water particle flowing in a river, we don’t remain on a bridge because we would have a partial description (Eulerian point of view over the sole time) but we get into the boat and we go downstream together the water particle (Lagrangian point of view over the time and the space). So ‘Beer’s Law’ and ‘Schwarzchild’s equation’, referring to a fluid at rest, don’t hold in this case.

    1.
    But sometimes you can use Eulerian point of view with the awareness of motion (eulerian derviative + advection term = lagrangian derivative).

    2.
    Beer’s Law and Scharzchild’s equation don’t have much to do with fluid motion. Whatever optical properties exist at a location at the time a photon passes through, or is emitted or absorbed or scattered there, that’s what applies and should be used in the equation – if conditions are changing rapidly you could at least consider a population of photons moving along a path at one time, a pulse, which is only in one location at one time, and you could use such equations (add scattering terms to Schwarzchild’s) to describe how the intensity of that pulse changes as photons are added or removed from it.

    3.
    But fluid motions are so slow compared to photons that really, who cares? Photon travel from emission (or entrance into system) to absorption (or escape) are approximately instantaneous processes relative to the time it takes for temperature, pressure, or composition/phase to change at various locations (Eulerian) or in various parcels (Lagrangian) – at least in the context of radiation through planetary atmospheres.

    The Lagrangian derivative tells us more than the Eulerian one. DF/Dt tell us that the process is uniform, i.e., invariable over the time and the space.

    Poor application of a conservation law – the system is not closed and isolated, and stuff is happening; it is not generally allowed to reach thermodynamic equilibrium (as distinct from LTE among non-photons in a sufficiently small volume). I can see things changing all the time. When you flip a switch on a – let’s say incandescent light bulb (remember those?) – the temperature goes up and the radiation changes. Turn it off and it changes again. At night the ground cools off (on land, especially in some conditions, not so much others, can be overuled by advection) and emits less upward radiation; the air near the ground in that case also cools off and will emit less. Which brings F down. This would happen if the air was perfectly still (actually that tends to enhance nocturnal surface inversions). It’s got nothing to do with Eulerian vs Lagrangian.

    The photons which contribute to the LTE within a volume V exist because V contains the emitting/absorbing molecules together the neutral ones, but all rest confined within V.

    That (confinement) would tend to favor photons being closer to thermodyanic equilibrium with the non-photons. This tends to happen with sufficiently large optical thickness. The atmosphere is not so opaque at all frequencies.

    Of course, until the volume V don’t become a source if therein are created photons using the thermal energy yielded by the sorroundings. In this case the CO2 molecules behaves as heat engines.

    No, a heat engine takes a flow of heat from higher to lower temperature and diverts some of that flow and converts it to work. See related discussion at Skeptical Science (or did I cover that here?).

    Taking one form of heat and converting to another form of heat, or absorbing heat from one thing by another, or releasing heat from something, is not what a heat engine does.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 26 Jun 2011 @ 9:43 PM

  449. @ 448 Patrick

    Helmholtz’s theorem states that a vectorial field is wholly defined if we know anywhere its divergence and its curl. The divergence brings us to continuity that has to be obeyed always.

    Heat engine.
    The molecules behave as heat engines because they absorb the thermal energy, that represents the lowest energetic form, and transforms part of it to EM wave energy, wasting the rest still as thermal energy. The heat is transferred by EM waves but, mind out there, the EM waves aren’t heat.

    Comment by Michele — 27 Jun 2011 @ 5:37 AM

  450. Re 449Michele Helmholtz’s theorem states that a vectorial field is wholly defined if we know anywhere its divergence and its curl. The divergence brings us to continuity that has to be obeyed always.

    Know anywhere? I know that you can take a vector field and find linearly superimposable components and you can choose to take just 2 to create the whole field with one being irrotational and containing any of the divergence, and one being non-divergent and containing any of the vorticity (curl). I think you can reconstruct in full any non-divergent flow pattern given the distribution of vorticity and add any necessary non-divergent and irrotational component to the result to fit boundary conditions (I know this is true for flow in two-dimensions; I think it should be true in three, … maybe 4 and 5, etc, but that’s not necessary here. … Of course you can reconstruct any non-divergent flow field given the potential vorticity distribution, a balance relationship (such as geostrophic or gradient-wind balance) and sufficient boundary conditions (such as that required by conservation of momentum), but that’s actually going a step beyond what we’ve been concerned with here because it brings both the potential density field and velocity field into play).

    But I don’t think you can reconstruct any specified velocity field just knowing the divergence and vorticity at a couple locations. Also, there is also such a thing as non-divergent and irrotational deformation, which comes in two flavors, actually (in two-dimensional flow; I haven’t thought about that in 3 dimensions.

    PS Synoptic and planetary scale atmospheric dynamics generally has a focus on two-dimensional quasi-horizontal flow patterns; (resolved) vertical motions are much slower on those scales – not that it isn’t important but it can be treated in a distinct way – the behavior of the atmosphere and ocean is very anisotropic in three dimensions. I suspect it should be a bit less so in the mantle, where there isn’t a general tendency (except perhaps for the effects of the ~ 660 km depth phase transition) to stable stratification (even though the troposphere is convective, the existence of moist convection tends to stabilize the atmosphere to dry convection, while the existence of large-scale unsaturated conditions makes this stratification important) and also the depth scale is more similar to the horizontal length scale; also in the outer core, except for the orientation of flow patterns with respect to the axis of rotation).

    Continuity only has to be obeyed when there are not sources and sinks. Or you could include that in your continuity equation; the point is that when you are only looking at one form of energy (radiation), it certainly can be increased or decreased in amount, thus divergent flux can exist even with density being constant, or density can change without divergence of flux – so long as the descrepancy is balanced by a source or sink.

    There are sources and sinks.

    I suppose EM waves are not heat in the same way that molecular collisions and mass diffusion are not heat? Radiant transfer of energy between two objects at LTE involves two photons fluxes with a net flux being from higher to lower temperature, which increases entropy because the entropy flux = heat flux / temperature and so with the same net flux leaving at higher temperature and entering at low temperature there is a gain in entropy, just as there would be for a flux of sensible heat. Latent heat can flow with entropy gains via a flux from higher to lower concentration of a substance, and I don’t know how to calculate the entropy in that case, but there is an entropy gain.

    You can assign a brightness temperature to any particular monochromatic (and if necesary, polarized, etc.) radiant intensity, which indicates the entropy involved.

    You can certainly use higher brightness temperature radiation to run a heat engine if the heat sink is at lower temperature. As when the sun heats the Earth (in this case the heat source temperature is the temperature where the solar radiation is absorbed, so with respect to the sun a heat source there is substantial inefficiency there; but the solar radiation temperature has to be at least as hot as the temperature where it is being absorbed in order for this to work, otherwise there would be more radiation lost than gained and the Earth’s climate system’s heat engine’s heat source would no longer be a source), convection occurs, and radiation emitted at lower temperature (the temperature of space itself is not the Tc for the heat engine).

    But it is just incorrect to say that CO2 molecules are heat engines, at least if they are as a group at LTE, and on the individual molecular scale, molecular collisions involve work, so it is a work-work conversion; the disorder renders both the collisional energy transfer and photons as heat on a macroscopic scale.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 27 Jun 2011 @ 1:30 PM

  451. More puzzling data.

    “During the past 6-years since Hurricane Katrina, global tropical cyclone frequency and energy have decreased dramatically, and are currently at near-historical record lows. According to a new peer-reviewed research paper accepted to be published, only 69 tropical storms were observed globally during 2010, the fewest in almost 40-years of reliable records.”

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    Disappointing since this is from a fellow Florida State guy. Not the data, it is what it is, but the fact he posted this over at WUWT.

    Comment by Tom — 27 Jun 2011 @ 8:39 PM

  452. More puzzling data.

    “During the past 6-years since Hurricane Katrina, global tropical cyclone frequency and energy have decreased dramatically, and are currently at near-historical record lows. According to a new peer-reviewed research paper accepted to be published, only 69 tropical storms were observed globally during 2010, the fewest in almost 40-years of reliable records.”

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

    Disappointing (not the data, it is what it is) but this is from a fellow Florida State guy. And he posted this over at WUWT and is responding to and seems to be in agreement with the nutjobs.

    Comment by Tom — 27 Jun 2011 @ 8:49 PM

  453. Tom, what do you find surprising? That seems consistent with other work, e.g.

    http://www.wmo.int/pages/prog/arep/wwrp/tmr/otherfileformats/documents/3_3.pdf
    “… 3.3.1 Introduction
    This report reviews recent science publications concerning tropical cyclone (TC) activity on climate time scales…. (specifically long-term trends and decadal to multi-decadal variability).
    An assessment of TCs and climate change was published recently by a WMO Expert Team (Knutson et al. 2010b). As a summary review, the main findings of that assessment are reproduced here:
    Detection and Attribution:
    It remains uncertain whether past changes in tropical cyclone activity (frequency, intensity, rainfall, etc.) exceed the variability expected through natural causes, after accounting for changes over time in observing capabilities.
    Tropical Cyclone Projections: (based on the IPCC SRES A1B scenario for the late 21st century) Frequency: It is likely that the global frequency of tropical cyclones will either decrease or remain essentially unchanged due to greenhouse warming. We have very low confidence in projected changes in individual basins. Current models project changes ranging from -6 to -34% globally, and up to ± 50% or more in individual basins by the late 21st century….”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Jun 2011 @ 11:23 PM

  454. @ 450 Patrick

    Divergence
    Il seems we are saying the same thing. Photonically, a volume V is non-divergent when the incoming flux equals the outgoing one, i.e., when no one photon is created and no one photon is destroyed and. In this case the photons simply pass through the molecules filling the volume maintaining unmodified their total energy. The volume above becomes photonically divergent when it includes a photon-source (photons are created from heat) or a photon-sink (photons are destroyed to heat), that’s, when the same volume simultaneously is thermally divergent including a thermal-sink (heat transformed to photons) or a thermal-source (heat obtained destroying photons).
    Within the troposphere, the volume above is convectively rising and in absolute it is exchanging heat with the surroundings by conduction and radiation but nevertheless we assume that the rising is adiabatic because the effects of the conduction/radiation are negligible when we plot the lapse rate.

    Heat engine
    The atmosphere allows the transfer of the radiation emitted by the surface, constraining it to pay duty but assuring that what enter at the bottom exit at the top, in a non-divergent way and at the same time it emits its own photons obtained from the heat. As far as I know, the rise of the energy quality by means of the heat is just what is called “heat engine”.

    Comment by Michele — 28 Jun 2011 @ 2:58 AM

  455. Willie Soon funded $1 million by Big Oil, Big Coal and power utilities.

    Greenpeace CASE STUDY: Dr. Willie Soon, a Career Fueled by Big Oil and Coal

    2003 email:

    “Clearly they [the AR4 chapters] may be too much for any one of us to tackle them all … But, as A-team, we may for once give it our best shot to try to anticipate and counter some of the chapters, especially WG1—judging from our true expertise in the basic climate sciences …

    Even if we can tackle ONE single chapter down the road but forcefully and effectively … we will really accomplish A LOT!

    In all cases, I hope we can start discussing among ourselves to see what we can do to weaken the fourth assessment report or to re-direct attention back to science …””

    Comment by J Bowers — 28 Jun 2011 @ 12:41 PM

  456. Re: 451 & 452. A friend recently sent the abstract of the FL State paper under the title “Global Warming…I think NOT!” After checking here and looking at the papers Tom and Hank referred to, as well as the executive summary of the 7th International Workshop on Tropical Cyclones, it seems the workshop concluded that it is difficult to make any claims regarding TC frequency and/or intensity and climate change. So I simply reminded my friend (and others) to beware of inferring any cause-effect relationship between Maue’s summary and climate change. While there may be a negative correlation, there are too many variables to draw any firm conclusions. Unfortunately, other GW advocates have made some claims as to GW causing an increase in TC frequency/intensity.

    Thanx to this site for helping me (once again, although I’ve not commented before) provide a relevant response to folks who try to dismiss GW as a major hoax upon the world.

    Comment by Phil N. — 28 Jun 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  457. Re Michele 453

    - a heat engine converts heat to work, with a flow of heat from a higher temperature to a lower temperature (this can be done because conserving entropy allows a smaller heat flux to reach the lower temperature heat sink, so some of the heat flux from the higher temperature heat source is available to do/become work). Thermally direct convection (warmer air rising, cooler air sinking) does this because kinetic energy is produced while some amount of enthalpy is extracted (enthalpy of sinking cooler air increases by a smaller amount than the decreases in enthalpy of rising warmer air). Thermally indirect convection does the reverse – it converts work to heat while moving heat from lower to higher temperature.

    _________________________________

    - Yes, the troposphere tends to approach a (moist) adiabatic lapse rate. But not all of the convective heat flux from the surface reaches the tropopause (yes, some is converted to work, but most of that ends up as heat again (with higher entropy – don’t worry, no perpetual motion machine here) within the troposphere (or in the ocean, which then gives heat to the troposphere along with the solar heat it recieves, etc.); a little bit of work energy goes up into the stratosphere and above and drives thermally indirect circulations there; my understanding is that this is a small amount in the global annual average, though I’m not sure of a number).
    As you go up through the troposphere, the convective heat flux from the surface generally diminishes with height on average. This convergence of the convective heat flux is a heating rate, which is balanced (on average)by net radiant cooling.

    This net radiant cooling is necessary to support the convective lapse rate. If convection were constant all the way to the tropopause, then only the tropopause level would be heated by convection – this could lead to an inversion beneath that level, or otherwise a smaller positive lapse rate that is more stable to convection, because, optical properties as they are for Earth, net radiant cooling can occur if a layer is warm enough (and if there is no convective heating or cooling within the troposphere, it would have to be at radiative equilibrium, so the layer would have to have a temperature profile that brings net radiant cooling to zero, and such a profile could easily be different from a convective lapse rate).

    1. convection with large amounts of entrainment:
    But a smaller lapse rate would impede that convection. So the convection from the surface would then stop short of reaching the tropopause level. It will instead heat a lower layer, and it will heat that layer until it destabilizes the temperature profile above, at which point it can penetrate higher. Etc. In pure radiative equilibrium, the lapse rate is superadiabatic near the surface, but is actually stable to convection at some point higher up within what is now the troposphere (I don’t have the graph in front of me so I can’t be more specific); if we artificially hold convection back and allow such a profile to exist, convection from the surface would first heat a lower layer (while cooling the surface) which then destabilizes a higher layer so that convection can procede farther – but convective heating of the lower layer must be sufficient to maintain the temperature there to allow convection above.

    2. Without any entrainment –
    Convection would reach high up to where an adiabat from the surface intersects the temperature profile – actually there would be some overshoot (overshooting tops – example of thermally indirect circulation – although it is thermally direct when the overshot air falls back). Anyway, this heats a layer higher up. But these updrafts are penetrating through a stable layer of air, and in consideration of continuity (conservation of mass), that layer of air must be sinking. Sinking air that is stable both increases the temperature in Lagrangian and Eulerian perspectives (picture each level following it’s own adiabat downward – the temperature at a given location increases. Thus, the convective plumes are indirectly heating the intervening stable air. Of course, once you have produced a (dry) adiabatic lapse rate, sinking no longer produces warming, but see above – this is not in radiative equilibrium, so there is a distribution of net radiant cooling, which fits the convergence of the convective heat flux necesary to maintain the lapse rate (the radiant cooling during descent will have a stabilizing effect, but sufficiently vigorous convection will indirectly heat the descending branches to keep the lapse rate near dry adiabatic. There has to be some temperature variability in order for convective heat fluxes to actually occur – ascending air must be a little warmer than the descending air). Because Earth’s atmosphere recieves much solar heat from the surface in the form of water vapor, rising air will (above resulting cloud bases) follow a moist adiabat (absent entrainment, etc.); precipitation removes water so that descent from whatever height is reached will not follow a moist adiabat as far down. The establishment of a troposphere with a nearly moist adiabatic lapse rate is stable to dry convection, and the dry descent has a warming effect, which, in order to maintain the temperature profile, requires some non-convective cooling (such as the net radiant cooling that will occur because this layer of the air is warmer than it would be if it were in radiative equilibrium with the rest of the temperature profile.

    PS note that convective heating (or cooling – at the surface, for example) generally changes the radiative equilibrium temperature profile – for example, (see Hartmann, “Global Physical Climatology”, 1994, p.69), in pure radiative equilibrium, not just the surface but some air near the surface could be warmer than it is in radiative-convective equilibrium; initially convection cools this lower layer of air; however, it can still be the case that convection warms this layer of air once the radiative convective equilibrium lapse rate has been established (this layer could have net radiant cooling). Meanwhile, heating of the air higher up by convection will increase the LW flux emitted, which can have a warming effect on the air just above the tropopause; it is also possible the the cooling of the surface could, by reducing a source of upward LW flux, have a cooling effect on the upper atmosphere (it would have a cooling effect in general, actually). (The graph from Hartmann shows a small warming of the lower stratosphere and cooling above that going from pure radiative to radiative-convective equilibrium – even though the upper atmosphere is in pure radiative equilibrium, radiative equilibrium is affected by radiation from regions which are convective, and the amount of radiative disequilibrium anywhere within a convective layer depends on the temperature profile, potentially elsewhere both within and outside the convective layer. PS I’m including the surface as being effectively part of the convective layer (conduction and diffusion between the surface and the air just above is often meant to be covered under the concept of convection in climate science).

    PS clarifying something brought up at the Skeptical science thread http://www.skepticalscience.com/Planetary_Greenhouse.html – there are net LW fluxes upward and downward out of the warmer layer around the stratopause to the cooler layers above and below, but this refers specifically to photons emitted from one layer and absorbed by another. The total net LW flux at a given location is a linear superposition of all net fluxes passing through between layers. The net LW flux is generally upward throughout the atmosphere, at least for global annual average conditions. It increases with height following decreases in the upward convective flux and increases in the downward net solar flux, so that the three fluxes add to zero at every level (on average, for an equilibrium climate).

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 28 Jun 2011 @ 2:19 PM

  458. It is not so difficult to imagine an increase in severe TC and tornado intensities. The surface is warmer, either sea or ground, and due to CFC’s and other GW effects (boosted by GW gases), the polar regions can get much colder in the spring especially in the Upper atmosphere. This can create very dangerous and unstable air profiles giving 1 mile wide tornadoes, increase precipitation and in somer regions less hurricanes because it triggers stronger El-Ninos.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 28 Jun 2011 @ 2:45 PM

  459. #451: Maue has bee associated with WUWT for a while now. He seems to bask in the glow of being a “professor” and “one of them”, fawned on by the regular comment generators.

    Comment by Jathanon — 28 Jun 2011 @ 3:42 PM

  460. 458, Jathanon: #451: Maue has bee associated with WUWT for a while now. He seems to bask in the glow of being a “professor” and “one of them”, fawned on by the regular comment generators.

    Maue is respected. Read also Hank Roberts at 452 above. Maue’s work has helped draw attention to the climate models that predict declining total annual tropical cyclone energy.

    Comment by Septic Matthew — 28 Jun 2011 @ 5:09 PM

  461. Hank @452

    I tried to reply this morning but it got flagged as spam and didn’t make it.

    Anyway, no doubt I’m a victim of the propaganda. I knew that Chris Landsea withdrew from the IPCC because of what I thought were differences in their positions over tropical cyclone activity. From what I understand , he doesn’t believe a warmer world equals more hurricanes so I assumed the IPCC did. I’ve only read parts of the actual report and rely mainly on blogs for encapsulated versions. My bad.

    So thanks for the clarification.

    Personally the idea of fewer hurricanes in a warmer and therefore more energetic atmosphere is seriously counter-intuitive. It would seem that shear would be less during hurricane season because the pressure gradient would have basically disappeared. In general, high pressure throughout the atmosphere from the tropics into the mid-latitudes. And the warm water wouldn’t hurt either. But as Wayne suggests, the whole ENSO thing would be influential to say the least and I still have trouble wrapping my brain around that.

    I also agree that the potential for more and stronger supercells and subsequently more tornados in the spring and fall is reasonable given the greater baroclinicity during those seasons. And again because of the lack of shear, tornadic supercells in the summer would become a rare event.

    Jathanon, it seems AGW just keeps becoming a bigger and bigger ideological battle. He (Maue) accused Jeff Masters of being a leftist ideologue.

    Maybe he is. I don’t know.

    Comment by Tom — 28 Jun 2011 @ 7:38 PM

  462. @ 456 Patrick

    Heat engine
    The heat engine converts the heat to another form of energy having a higher level as the mechanical energy (used to work) but also as the radiant energy (used to cool the atmosphere). Both the mechanical and the radiant energies have a quality higher than the heat, then ………..

    Convective heat flux
    Sorry, the vertical convective flux is ρuδT/δz and we have constant both ρu, because the continuity,div(ρu) = 0, and δT/δz because the adiabatic lapse rate, constant too.

    As you go up through the troposphere, the convective heat flux from the surface generally diminishes with height on average. This convergence of the convective heat flux is a heating rate, which is balanced (on average)by net radiant cooling.
    Not at all. The lapse rate δT/δz = -g/Cp simply states than the rising particle maintains constant its total energy and what is lose as enthalpy (-Cp δT, or generally -Σhi) is gained as geo-gravitational potential energy (gδz). The radiative cooling has little or nothing to do.
    I think that we would find more satisfying answers only with a work of synthesis on the cardinal equations of the fluid dynamics properly taking into account the photonic density for the continuity, at least the photonic pressure for the momentum, and for the energy its radiant density, the mechanical power generated by the photonic pressure, the thermal power radiatively gained/lose and whatever other could have weight on the conservation of mass, momentum, energy. Only so doing we could have the weighted contributes produced by conduction, convection, radiation and we could advisedly decide what can be wisely neglected.
    Deciding “a priori” what take into account or not is procedurally and conceptually wrong.

    Comment by Michele — 29 Jun 2011 @ 2:33 AM

  463. EG 163: If you are against nuclear power, you are working for the coal industry.

    BPL: Fallacy of bifurcation.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 5:26 AM

  464. Ron R 195,

    Follow the money. The fossil fuel industry worldwide makes $2 trillion per year. In a world where people are shot to death over a wallet or a pair of shoes.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 6:02 AM

  465. Michele 197,

    Venus’s heat is (mostly) due to the carbon dioxide in its atmosphere, not the pressure. If Venus’s atmosphere were hot due to a compression event, the heat would have radiated away long ago. Static pressure can’t generate new heat; that would be a perpetual motion machine of the first kind.

    Here are some explanations of how the greenhouse effect works, if you’re interested:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/EasyGreenhouse.html

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Greenhouse101.html

    For general information on climatology:

    http://bartonpaullevenson.com/Climatology.html

    A good book to start with would be George S. Philander’s “Is the Temperature Rising?” (1998), or John Houghton’s “Global Warming: The Complete Briefing” (2004).

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 6:34 AM

  466. Jim 234,

    In fairness to Ed, I think he just got 129I confused with 131I, which really does have an eight-day half-life.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 6:46 AM

  467. moderator at 262… Oops. Didn’t see that one in time. Please remove anything I said on the subject.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 6:53 AM

  468. Chris 295,

    Nice article!

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 6:58 AM

  469. Chris 326,

    China needs to stop its headlong expansion of coal power. The atmosphere doesn’t care which country contributed more when. A Chinese molecule of CO2 is indistinguishable from a US molecule of CO2.

    The idea that the west industrialized using fossil fuels, therefore the east has the right to do the same, is insane. In the US we developed a lot of our economy using slave labor. Does that justify the Chinese Gulag?

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 7:55 AM

  470. Chris 326,

    A Chinese CO2 molecule is identical to a US CO2 molecule. Everybody needs to cut back, including China.

    The idea that the west industrialized by polluting the hell out of nature, therefore the east has the same right, is insane.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 7:59 AM

  471. Chris,

    China needs to cut emissions too. A Chinese CO2 molecule is identical in all respects to a US CO2 molecule.

    The idea that the west developed by polluting the hell out of the environment, therefore the east has the right to do the same, is insane.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 8:00 AM

  472. It’s good to see you commenting here again, Barton Paul Levenson.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 29 Jun 2011 @ 9:55 AM

  473. Re 461 Michele

    Re heat engine – The heat engine converts the heat to another form of energy having a higher level as the mechanical energy (used to work) but also as the radiant energy (used to cool the atmosphere).

    That would be true if the atmosphere were radiating at a higher brightness temperature than the heat that supplies the energy. It would be true if the radiation going to space were coming from LED lights or lasers. But the Earth isn’t losing energy to space like a laser. The radiation emitted from the Earth is, or carries, a flux of heat. It has a corresponding entropy of the corresponding amount.

    convection -

    see Skeptical science thread for more (a helpful visualization for you – the idea that you could zoom in on a tropospheric lapse rate and find that it is not an infinitely thin line but a range of adiabats and the air goes up on the warmer ones and comes down on the cooler ones, and can go across from one to the other in between the surface and tropopause; but also DO NOT FORGET the issue of dry descent in a troposphere shaped by moist ascent)

    Sorry, the vertical convective flux is ρuδT/δz and we have constant both ρu, because the continuity,div(ρu) = 0, and δT/δz because the adiabatic lapse rate, constant too.

    So … you think that all of the air in the troposphere is rising? No, at any given vertical level the (global time climatic equilibrium) average u – actually w is the conventional variable for vertical velocty – must be zero. An updraft can slow down and stop in the middle of the troposphere. What do you think happens to updrafts when the stop at the tropopause? The flow spreads out laterally. There is compensatory sinking motion outside the updraft. That satisfies continuity.

    The lapse rate δT/δz = -g/Cp simply states than the rising particle maintains constant its total energy and what is lose as enthalpy (-Cp δT, or generally -Σhi) is gained as geo-gravitational potential energy (gδz). The radiative cooling has little or nothing to do.

    Yes, because an adiabatic process doesn’t have net non-convective cooling. Yet the air picks up heat from the surface via conduction/diffusion (while this is part of convection, it is not adiabatic), and it must lose that heat to radiation somewhere. An adiabatic temperature profile in the Earth’s troposphere is in radiative disequilibrium, and there HAS TO BE net radiant cooling distributed over the troposphere, not just at the top, because of the optical properties of the material.

    I think that we would find more satisfying answers

    I already have satisfying answers.

    only with a work of synthesis on the cardinal equations of the fluid dynamics

    I’ve gotten those answers by studying. Textbooks, clases, reasoning etc. Scientists have figured this all out already.

    properly taking into account the photonic density for the continuity,

    That’s done implicitly by taking radiative fluxes into account (which you don’t seem to want to do sometimes).

    at least the photonic pressure for the momentum,

    In this context that’s not even worth mentioning.

    and for the energy its radiant density, the mechanical power generated by the photonic pressure,

    So you would take into account the impact of a single tiny piece of dust on your windshield when figuring out the time you need to drive to work?

    the thermal power radiatively gained/lose

    Been over that.

    and whatever other could have weight on the conservation of mass, momentum, energy. Only so doing we could have the weighted contributes produced by conduction, convection, radiation and we could advisedly decide what can be wisely neglected.

    Deciding “a priori” what take into account or not is procedurally and conceptually wrong.

    Yes, you figure out what you can omit by doing scale analysis. Which has been done. So don’t bother with radiation pressure. And anyway we’ve been focussed a lot on just the 1-dimensional first approximation to the climate system; that doesn’t begin to cover baroclinic waves/eddies, tropical cyclones, or even the Hadley cell. Yet, all of those accomplish vertical heat fluxes that are the sort which must happen in the 1-dimensional radiative-convective equilibrium approximation, which is not intended to describe all the details of how convection is occuring, just that it occurs with a tendency to prevent much instability from building up and carries the necessary heat fluxes to balance the radiant net heating/cooling that occur as a result of preventing much instability from building up. Understanding how things work often requires, or at least is greatly helped, using a first-approximation, and then building from that.

    Comment by Patrick 027 — 29 Jun 2011 @ 11:32 AM

  474. Septic Matthew@459
    Maue may be respected for something, I don’t know. But currying favor with the anti-science regulars at WUWT, and adding to the “skeptic” AGW-is-bull blogosphere won’t get him serious respect.

    Comment by Jathanon — 29 Jun 2011 @ 12:59 PM

  475. Thanks, Secular. Chris, sorry for the double post. ReCaptcha is a little more usable than the last time I was here, but it still kind of sux.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 2:43 PM

  476. Thanks, Secular. Chris, sorry about the double post. Captcha is better than the last time I was here, but it still kinda bites.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 2:46 PM

  477. Tom, re: mainstream expectations about cyclones,

    Here’s my quick survey of what the IPCC assessment reports have had to say about it:
    http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=5984#comment-198549

    Comment by CM — 29 Jun 2011 @ 3:24 PM

  478. #471 , Maue? I never heard of the guy, perhaps because he doesn’t know the difference between politics and science. In my opinion, Dr Masters is the best online meteorologist I’ve ever read, never once has Masters mentioned a political philosophy. And also never heard of Maue because he doesn’t have a prediction batting average, or a reputation in being correct, first I’ve heard is this dribble about hurricanes not being common… That is quite hilarious since its the contrarian gang which suggested multiple consecutive 2005 like seasons lasting decades shortly after Katrina, they scoffed at AGW instead blaming the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. I am waiting for an explanation from them…. Any time soon, perhaps later than sooner…. Mainstream scientists were much more humble., in fact predicting less hurricanes.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 4:17 PM

  479. I would also thank Barton for being back, I appreciate especially the formulas. Mathematics is the language of physics.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 29 Jun 2011 @ 4:31 PM

  480. @ Patrick
    My comment is rejected because the several links contained.
    Thus I refer to http://skepticalscience.com/Planetary_Greenhouse.html

    Comment by Michele — 30 Jun 2011 @ 4:37 AM

  481. BPL #467

    Chinese trade sanctions against the US would reduce their industrial output and thus their emissions.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 30 Jun 2011 @ 6:53 AM

  482. Chinese trade sanctions against the US would reduce their industrial output and thus their emissions

    A total ban on Chinese imports based on human rights violations would achieve the same . . . is there even the slightest possibility that either of those scenarios will occur?

    Comment by flxible — 30 Jun 2011 @ 9:18 AM

  483. re: wayne davidson @474
    Well, it appears Maue was a student at Florida State from 2002-2010 then they hired him to administer their tropical storm database. So not much of a record to go on. He seems a full-on ideologue on WUWT, doing joint posts with Watts. Of course, the Koch brothers are heavily invested in FSU.

    Comment by Jathanon — 30 Jun 2011 @ 12:05 PM

  484. Climate Scientists Targeted by Unrelenting Harassment Campaignhttp://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/06/29/climate-scientists-targeted-by-unrelenting-harassment-campaign/

    I don’t know all of the details, but really, these tactics (along with those of groups defending other industries of dubious morality dirty energy, agricultural biotechnology, the chemical industry etc, all the destructive mega-corps that inexplicably continue to get a free governmental pass even when everyone else in the world, including the scientific community is against them), seem more and more to me to be right out of the playbook of organized crime. I seriously have to wonder if there might be a connection. I know it sounds conspiracist but sometimes there really IS a conspiracy.

    I also wonder why it seems these people aren’t being seriously investigated. I don’t mean all the little lackys but those behind them. If they are and we know who they are why aren’t they being called on it before congressional committees? Why aren’t they going to jail? Why are these situations allowed to continue? Why does Science have to plead for justice in its pages? It just seems like these issues just go on and on without resolution. I would think that some able investigators could turn up something, find out who’s behind all the harassment. Would be quite a story.

    Just saying.

    Comment by Ron R. — 30 Jun 2011 @ 9:12 PM

  485. Jathanon 478, I am not surprised, what contrarians lack is gravitas, only Lindzen has some, but not again
    with predictions, we are suppose to be in the beginning of a cold period according to his statement of some 5 years ago. Thanks for the info, so doctor Maue’s batting average is 0.000, never been at bat. While most people at RC are faring much better, between .750 and .95., outstanding, from rigorous practicing brought by sound science coaches.

    Comment by wayne davidson — 1 Jul 2011 @ 11:46 AM

  486. Ron R. @ 480

    “…right out of the playbook of organized crime…”

    What’s organized crime? Reflecting on the situation in my dotage, I’m surprised not so much by how many idiotic, ignorant and corrupt people there are, but by the fact that things work as well as they do in spite of them. However, I suppose even that small consolation may come to an end soon enough.

    Growing up you get the idea that there’s a hard line between an overarching rule of law on the one hand and a knot of intractable malefactors on the other. It’s such a powerful trope that it tends to persist, even though in everyday experience law is porous, boundaries are fuzzy, and people make it up as they go along without much recourse to perspective. It comes from the mythology of truth, justice and the American way. Then again there’s the other mythology, the flip side of American exceptionalism, that lionizes Billy the Kid and fostered wars of manifest destiny and exploitation, gave us robber barons, unregulated markets, and a faith-based view of things filled with contempt for “the world” (i.e. reality).

    For a pretty picture, put yourself in the position of an outsider and turn on American TV. More glory to the Sopranos than action on climate change, and that’s just for starters…

    Comment by Radge Havers — 1 Jul 2011 @ 11:47 AM

  487. R. Gates says:
    2 Jul 2011 at 10:26 PM
    Okay, here’s a general question, especially for those who are professional climate scientists:
    What, in your opinion, are the 2 or 3 biggest unknowns currently out there in the study of the climate?

    Once science is prepared to accept non-professional climate scientists the ‘known unknowns’ may become ‘known knowns’ as it is the case here:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/A&P.htm

    [Response:Non-issue. Anyone who shows they actually have something useful to contribute can always do so.--Jim]

    Comment by vukcevic — 3 Jul 2011 @ 6:04 AM

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