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Friday roundup

Filed under: — group @ 6 September 2007

Schwartz in the news again:
Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Laboratory makes our weekly roundup again this week. This time, its for a comment/reply in the latest issue of Nature concerning a previously published Nature piece “Quantifying climate change — too rosy a picture?” by Schwartz et al. In the original piece, Schwartz and co-authors argue that the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) presents an overly confident assessment of climate sensitivity and potential future climate change. In the response by Forster et al, a number of IPCC lead authors point out that the Schwartz et al critique ignores or misinterprets several key IPCC findings.

update: if you don’t have a subscription, the original Schwartz et al Nature article is available here and the recent comment/reply is available here

update #2: It has been pointed out to us that the commentary by Stephen Schwartz and co-authors was published on the Nature Reports Climate Change website, rather than in the print journal Nature.


334 Responses to “Friday roundup”

  1. 151
    Nigel Williams says:

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

  2. 152
    Mark A. York says:

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

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

  3. 153
    Matt says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  4. 154
    Joel Shore says:

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

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

  5. 155
    tamino says:

    Re: #146 (See-owe 2 rich)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  6. 156
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  7. 157
    Luke Silburn says:

    Re: Jim Cripwell @ 86, 109, 132

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

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

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

    Does not play well with others.

    Regards
    Luke

  8. 158
    Ray Ladbury says:

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

  9. 159
    Vernon says:

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

  10. 160
    Bill Tarver says:

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

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

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

  11. 161
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 151

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

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

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

    Science in action, make no mistake…

  12. 162
    SecularAnimist says:

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

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

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

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

  13. 163
    J.S. McIntyre says:

    re 109 (again)

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

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

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

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

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

    Odd, and no small bit ironic.

  14. 164
    A.C. says:

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

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

  15. 165
    Timothy Chase says:

    See – owe to Rich (#146) wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I hope this helps…

  16. 166
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  17. 167
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  18. 168
    Rafael Gomez-Sjoberg says:

    Re #163:

    A.C.:

    Electric cars would make a huge difference for several reasons:

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

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

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

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

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

  19. 169
    David B. Benson says:

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

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

  20. 170
    James says:

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

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

  21. 171
    spilgard says:

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

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

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

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

  22. 172
    Timothy Chase says:

    A.C. (#163) wrote:

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

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

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

  23. 173
    SecularAnimist says:

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

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

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

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

  24. 174
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  25. 175
    B Buckner says:

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

  26. 176
    Timothy Chase says:

    Jim Cripwell (#173) wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

  27. 177
    David B. Benson says:

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

  28. 178
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  29. 179
    J.S. McIntyre says:

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

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

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

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

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

    Do you see why this is a problem?

    Have a pleasant weekend.

  30. 180
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

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

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

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

  31. 181
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

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

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

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

  32. 182
    bjc says:

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

  33. 183
    Dave Rado says:

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

  34. 184
    Philippe Chantreau says:

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

  35. 185
    Matt says:

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

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

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

  36. 186
    bjc says:

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

  37. 187
    J. Althauser says:

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

  38. 188
    matt says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  39. 189
    ray ladbury says:

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

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

  40. 190
    James says:

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

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

  41. 191

    Dear Realclimate.org,

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

    Hudson finds 500 scientists that are skeptics

  42. 192

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

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

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

  43. 193
    Jim Cripwell says:

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

  44. 194
    Jack Roesler says:

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

    Here’s an article I found in google on plug-in hybrids.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20706390/

    If consumers and lawmakers combine, these will be a reality soon.

  45. 195
    J.C.H. says:

    Matt,

    You seem to have an excellent grasp of the engineering. I’m just an X grease monkey. I’ve read that they have a tank for those cars that can store air at 12,000 PSI. Isn’t that more than 300 bar? If so, how would that change the range? Or looked at another way, with the given tank size, what PSI would be required to reliably achieve the same range as the Telsa?

    Is 12,000 PSI a pressure that could be significantly exceeded safely?

  46. 196
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #177, Jim, I’ve had a number of my comments blocked, and I’m on the far other side, thinking science by nature is way too conservative and reticent and is understating the problem — esp the big reports, like the IPCC, which require consensus by a lot of conservative, reticent scientists. So it cuts both ways. What I usually do is rewrite my comment in a bit nicer fashion. That usually works.

    RE the sun. All I know is that the scientists say there is no increase in solar radiance that can account for our current warming (& even if there was, then the effect of our GHGs must be all the more masked by the aerosol dimming effect — the laws of physics re GHGs are not going to shut down all of a sudden just for us).

    But I’m also thinking that an increase in solar radiance could occur, as it has in the past (?due to actual increase or orbital shifts), and overall there is a trend toward increased solar radiance. The earth will even go into a Venus-like permanent runaway warming in (I think they said) a billion years.

    Furthermore, we could get lots of volcanism spewing out GHGs, or the permafrost and methane hydrates could start burping up GHGs in response to the warming — in fact they’ve already started. And recent studies suggest there’s lots more frozen methane in the permafrost and it’s at shallower depths in the ocean than previously thought.

    So my thinking is that we all the more have to decrease our GHGs (not only to reverse the GW we have caused, but also just in case the sun starts shining more). We cannot control the sun’s output, but we can reduce our GHGs, and do so cost-effectively way way down (I believe by at least 75% for Americans) before the word “sacrifice” ever comes up. That’ll take many years to implement even with current off-the-shelf solutions (I started in 1990, and it took me about 12 years to reduce that much). Rich people could do it faster, but poorer people would have to start with the lowest hanging, cheapest fruits (conservation, reusing, low-flow showerhead (costs $6, saves $100 per year in reduced hot water), caulking windows, CF bulbs, etc), rake in that saved money for many years in order to afford their SunFrost frig (which costs $2700, but pays for itself in 10 years (incl less spoilage) and goes on to save year after year).

    So we really need to get started yesterday on this….just in case the sun starts acting up funny on top of the already serious threats from our own contributions to GW.

  47. 197
    Ron Taylor says:

    Re 192 – Jim I doubt that anyone is going to try to answer a question like: “How, in complete detail, does the sun affect climate?” No matter how thorough the answer, you have made clear that there will always be some “detail” whose adequacy you will question. If you want to be taken seriously, then I suggest you stop asking impossibly open ended questions that seem like nothing more than attempts to wear down the volunteers who staff this site.

    If, on the other hand, you are serious, you might start with a textbook on the subject, then ask specific questions about what you find there.

  48. 198
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    And I forgot to mention, Jim, that I’ve also felt at times here that some nasty ad hominems about me were allowed (I felt the hurting sting), while my blocked ad hominems tend to be more toward denialists in general, or toward humankind — like how we’ve devolved to Homo stupidus, since we can’t get our act together on GW :) (It’s a joke, guys, I don’t really mean it. :) )

    But that’s okay. I think the moderators are doing a fantastic job, putting in lots of time and effort & (I believe) not getting paid for this. So I’m not complaining at all. They’ve kept this site very above reproach as blogs go. I, for one, wouldn’t participate in any other blog on the net. It’s a jungle out there.

  49. 199

    Re #192 The only thing that drives the climate is the sun. (The heat coming from the interior of the earth is insignificant compared withe the heat from solar radiation.) Therefore, to give a full description of how the sun influences the climate would require a book on climatology. I don’t think any one can give you the answer to the question you asked here, although Timothy Chase may try :-)

    OTOH, you may be referring to the idea that the sun’s magnetic field affects climate. That idea has now been scuppered See: Solar activity cleared of global warming blame

  50. 200
    tamino says:

    Re: #188 (ray ladbury)

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

    Don’t give ‘em any ideas!

    Re: #814 (Matt)

    Boyle’s law says the 90 m3 at 300 bars works out to a tank size of 0.3m3. Using E=P*V with 30MPa and 0.3m3 gives 2.5KWH of stored energy.

    I don’t think this is right. Using 90 m^3 at 1 bar (i.e., uncompressed) gives the *same* amount of energy.

    The correct formula is dE = P * dV. Under operation, we can expect that the expansion of the air in the tank will be isothermal rather than adiabatic; in fact the website for the car mentions that they have heat exchangers specifically in order to make the expansion as near isothermal as possible.

    Working out the numbers, I get the extractable energy from the system as P*V*ln(expansionratio). With an expansion ratio of 300, this gives 5.7 * 2.5 kWh = 14.25 kWh of extractable energy. That’s not 1/20 the stored energy of the Tesla, it’s 26%. If it’s exactly as efficient as Tesla, it would therefore have a range of 65 miles. And the website for the air car states its range (using only air power and in an urban setting) is 100 km = 62 miles.

    Note that much of the energy used to power the car comes from absorbing heat from the environment.


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