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Unforced variations: Mar 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 March 2011

This month’s open thread for climate science discussions.

206 Responses to “Unforced variations: Mar 2011”

  1. 201

    #199–Houston and Dean *don’t* take tectonic activity into account. Their justification for that is that, since they are attempting to measure acceleration, not velocity, isostatic changes should be pretty much linear over the timespan under consideration, and hence can be ignored.

    Makes me feel a little uneasy, but at first blush the logic seems OK.

  2. 202
    Hank Roberts says:

    10-day expiring hat tip for availability of their story about that paper to:

    which says in part:

    “… Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, says that efforts to satisfy a large proportion of our energy needs from the wind and waves will sap a significant proportion of the usable energy available from the sun. In effect, he says, we will be depleting green energy sources. His logic rests on the laws of thermodynamics, which point inescapably to the fact that only a fraction of the solar energy reaching Earth can be exploited to generate energy we can use….

    … Humans currently use energy at the rate of 47 terawatts (TW) or trillions of watts, mostly by burning fossil fuels and harvesting farmed plants, Kleidon calculates in a paper to be published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. This corresponds to roughly 5 to 10 per cent of the free energy generated by the global system.

    “It’s hard to put a precise number on the fraction,” he says, “but we certainly use more of the free energy than [is used by] all geological processes.” In other words, we have a greater effect on Earth’s energy balance than all the earthquakes, volcanoes and tectonic plate movements put together.

    Radical as his thesis sounds, it is being taken seriously. “Kleidon is at the forefront of a new wave of research, and the potential prize is huge,” says Peter Cox, who studies climate system dynamics at the University of Exeter, UK. “A theory of the thermodynamics of the Earth system could help us understand the constraints on humankind’s sustainable use of resources.” Indeed, Kleidon’s calculations have profound implications for attempts to transform our energy supply….”

  3. 203
    Didactylos says:

    Hank: is he advocating biofuels, then? After all, “surface life generates orders of magnitude more chemical free energy than any abiotic surface process”.

    I’m not sure that he adequately addressed direct sunlight. After all, that’s the energy input, and using it “at source” is obviously a sensible route.

    And exactly how radical is it? I’m not sure it’s new at all, because we already know about the limitations of renewable energy. The laws of thermodynamics simply place practical limitations. Developing the theory further is nice, but it really doesn’t change anything.

    I confess, I only skimmed it. It’s not exactly short.

  4. 204
    flxible says:

    Kevin@201 – Is sea level and the acceleration/deceleration of sea level rise not affected by the rate that various tetonic plates are diving under others? The recent quake near Japan shifted the whole country, as well as the position of the planet, it seems that would have had an effect on apparent sea level changes for the month and this year, not to mention the effect the tsunami would have had on tide gauges everywhere. One would think there are a number of things at play with sea level beyond temperature expansion and ice melt.

  5. 205
    Snapple says:

    Re:Climate Stations

    The very day that the EPA made its finding about CO2, the Kremlin-friendly business daily Kommersant published allegations that British sientists fudged the data from Russian weather stations. Their “scientist” was the economist Andrei Illarionov, a former adviser to Putin and Chernomyrdin (Soviet Gas Ministry/Gazprom)). Later Andrei Illarionov worked for the CATO.

    Kommersant is owned by Alisher Usmanov, a billionaire Gazprom political operative.

    The Kommersant article was abridged, translated into English, and published by the Russian government’s official press agency, RIA Novosti.

    The Novisti article was subsequently cited (actually mischaracterized) by Virginia’s Attorney General Cuccinelli in his suit against the EPA.

    AG Cuccinelli cites an agency of the Kremlin when he attacks US scientific agencies.

    I know Cucinelli’s dad is a career gas lobbyist who gives the son campaign money.

    The father reportedly has business interests in Europe and Latin America.

    I would like to know if these European clients are entities with connections to Russian gas companies. Gazprom is part of the Russian government. I think most of them are.

    The father’s company is in public relations. I wonder if foreign money goes to this company for “professional services,” but really helps fund attacks on climate science. Maybe something like money-laundering really is happening.

    I often email Cuccinelli’s deputy W. Russell and ask about this, but they don’t respond.

    I think we need to know who is giving money to our elected law enforcement officers. Maybe they are getting money from foreign governments that is laundered by paying for professional services.

    Cuccinelli cites an article published in Alisher Usmanov’s Kommersant, so I think we need transparency about how the Cucinelli family earn their money and pay for their political campaigns.

  6. 206
    Snapple says:

    Who will investigate Virginia’s Attorney General since he won’t be transparent?

    I know that the FBI investigated Congressman Weldon because he was a shill for the Russian gas company ITERA, and Weldon’s daughter got 500,000 dollars from ITERA for “consulting fees.”

    Can the FBI investigate how Cuccinelli’s family profits from the gas industry?

    I know Cuccinelli is a state official, so maybe the FBI can’t do anything. Isn’t there any law that protects us from Cuccinelli’s persecutions?

    I think Attorney General Cuccinelli is the greedy “moneybags,” not the college professor Dr. Mann and the other climate scientists who work in government and academia.

    Cuccinelli seems to have hijacked the AG office and is using it for his family’s financial benefit. He is using my tax money to persecute the great climate scientist Dr. Mann on trumped-up fraud charges. It is disgusting, immoral, and perhaps illegal, but we can’t see what is going on with the money.

    Attorney General Cuccinelli is Catholic, and the Vatican has asked the U.N. to fight global warming. Students in Catholic educational institutions read about global warming in their science textbooks because it is good science and because Christians are supposed to be stewards of the earth and protect God’s creation. Are science teachers in Catholic educational institutions teaching lies about global warming? Is the Pope also a greedy liar who is perpetrating a hoax?

    Perhaps Cuccinelli would like to use his power to force Virginia’s public schools to teach the fossil fuel-inspired junk science about the “hoax” of global warming; but Catholic educational institutions will continue to teach the science of global warming, not the propaganda spread by Kremlin moneybags and the fossil fuel industry’s political operatives.

    The Pontifical Academy of Sciences is even having a workshop in the Vatican about the melting glaciers that starts tomorrow (April 2-4).

    This organization has many very famous scientists. I read that Dr. Michael Mann has participated in a previous workshop of the Pontifical Academy.