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Unforced variations: Apr 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2011

This months open thread. There are some Items of potential interest::

or whatever you like.

525 Responses to “Unforced variations: Apr 2011”

  1. 201
    Karen Street says:

    Re #198, we have more immediate problems. NASA predicts 16″ sea level rise by mid-century where I live (SF Bay Area). According to my area is likely to see 30% lower precipitation in DJF (that’s when it rains here) and warmer temperatures, decreasing runoff more.

    There is more information here:

    I did a blog on a Met Office report when it came out (
    From the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre comes a new world map showing the effects of 4°C/7°F increase in temperature, expected some time this century, perhaps as early as 2060.

    Where I live,
    • Temperature would rise 6 – 7°C (increase is greater on land). Forest fires would increase.
    • Some crop yields decrease 40%, perhaps more because estimates about decreases in crop yield don’t include more weather extremes.

    • Assuming a population of 7.5 billion (OK, where did the others go?), 3 billion would be living with water shortage, less than 1000 cubic meters/year.
    • Now, 600 million are living within 10 meters of sea level, so any rise would increase flooding and reduce freshwater availability.
    • In eastern North America, the hottest day of the year could be 10-12°C, 18-22°F, warmer.
    • Water runoff could decrease 70% around the Mediterranean, southern African, and large areas of South America.

  2. 202
    William Jackson says:

    Looks like Steve McIntyre…
    [edit: …has mesmerized you with a dose of his potion composed of invective, arrogance and inability to comprehend the larger picture.]

  3. 203
    Karen Street says:

    Fascinating discussion of things nuclear. Robert DuPont, an expert in anxiety and phobias, writes about nuclear “what-ifs”

    What if a situation arises which is worse than human errors compounded by a M9.0 earthquake and a 14+ meter tsunami? Yes, perhaps there will be 0 to hundreds of cancers in Japan from this event, but what if? (The health effects from loss of electricity, heat, and fuel after the earthquakes and tsunamis are arguably larger.)

    Meanwhile World Health Organization says that 150,000 died from climate change in 2000. I may be going out on a limb here, but the numbers may be larger in 2010 and have a high probability of being larger in 2020.

    So those who are more concerned about nuclear than climate change, those who have sources of information that assure us we will be just fine without nuclear—well, it’s clear from media obsession with things nuclear that there are plenty of sites where this argument works really well. Do you really want to take so much space on a climate change blog?

  4. 204
    Deconvoluter says:

    Re: Sub-Thread on Hazards of Ionizing radiation i.e. #193,194,#196

    It may be even more complicated than that.[ But my knowledge of this topic is sub-amateur, I went to a lecture some decades ago and a read a paper or two.]

    That form of epidemiology is very hard*. The signal to noise ratio for low level radiation is very low and the number of variables in the noise is significant. For example, the whole idea of a measurable dose vs response relationship becomes dodgy when the population is not homogeneous. Age and prior health are obvious candidates to add to the noise.

    Bertelle claimed to have shown that a given low level of radiation tends to be worse in its effects for an older person (at least before the younger person starts to age). Just one reason is that everyone accumulates a dose from the background. The trouble is that her work was criticised , perhaps with some justification(?), but never repeated. Instead it was stopped perhaps (?) because she had two sets of powerful enemies i.e the nuclear industry and the medics who had been criticised by her for their excessive use of X-rays etc.

    If you are interested search or scroll down to

    Learning about Low-Level Radiation: The Tri-State Leukemia Survey.

    If this work is true, or partly true,19 the total damage being done by low level ionising radiation may have been under-estimated and would not be restricted to cancer.

    * e.g. compared to tree ring analysis!. The fact that it is so hard, is only a partial excuse for its not being done.

    [Response: Tree ring based signal extraction ain’t so easy either.–Jim]

  5. 205
    Septic Matthew says:

    197, Joe Cushley: Far worse could happen. Terrorists could commandeer a jet and crash it into a nuclear installation, or military planes could bomb one, or two…or…. Or believe it or not, there could have been a complete meltdown of several nuclear reactors in an earthquake and tsunami-hit region…

    Your thoughts about what might happen ought to be constrained by evidence about what has happened. 27,000 people have died and $300B of property damage have occurred in the earthquake and tsunami. Few of the deaths are attributable to radiation (far fewer than the number of deaths from riding in trains and walking on the streets), and most of the nuclear powerplant damage has occurred in plants already scheduled to be decommissioned soon, and will (probably)come to less than 2% of total property damage. Ionizing radiation is everywhere and nuclear power adds a very tiny amount to the background that people are exposed to. People die producing electricity all the time — e.g. from transformer explosions inside hydropower plants.

    There isn’t any safe way to make electricity, and the electricity itself is dangerous.

    If actual experience does not matter, if you ignore the tallied deaths per gigawatt-hour and ignore all other dangers, is there anything that could possibly change your mind?

  6. 206
    Didactylos says:

    Deconvoluter: I don’t think that’s a very good source. It reads like paranoid conspiracy-mongering, and the fact that they try to imply that powerful interests are stopping their research is contradicted by the significant continuing research in this area. You say it was never repeated, but that’s simply not true. There are bucket-loads of studies into low-level radiation effects (see my earlier link to orac for more than a few examples).

    The specific example you focus on is just ludicrous. The radiation from an x-ray is very low – many times smaller than the radiation dose from a mid-range aeroplane flight. It’s more comparable to the background radiation dose in a single day. Linking doses this low with cancers is just ridiculous. How can you possibly control for all the far greater radiation sources in the patients’ environment? Linking it to a specific cancer is so ridiculous that I don’t understand why you are giving this web page any credibility at all. It’s fiction. And did you miss the reference to weapons research? No guilty conscience there…..

  7. 207

    Cornell University report: natural gas produced by “hydraulic fracturing” contributes to global warming as much as coal, or more:

  8. 208
    Deconvoluter says:

    Re #203 and #204

    The point of her work was to detect the effects of very low level doses, which is why she looked at X-rays. To detect anything at all, a very large data-base was needed as well as a new method. As I understood it, the Tri-State survey provided just such an opportunity.

    When I get some time I hope to look at your references. Did any of them deal with the Tri-State collection? Perhaps you could read her paper if you can get hold of it? But meanwhile here are some comments about the history:

    The question of doses of medical X-rays ought to be trivial physics, but
    your comments about them do not provide dates. The only units we have in common are background radiation. Your one day’s dose has to be compared with Bertelle’s one year for the same procedure! No she was certainly not mad. The discrepancy has to do with the fortunate fact that the typical dose from medical X-rays have been reduced greatly since the Tri-State Survey.

    But you have disregarded the spread. When I last enquired, there had been an ‘official’ survey in the UK (mentioned on the BBC) which found that the doses from the same procedure varied by two orders of magnitude between one hospital and another. [For any readers who live in the UK, that will not help you, because the identities of the hospitals were kept secret as part of the agreement to participate in the survey.] That survey is already rather out of date, although it was more recent than Bertelle’s work, so I hope that the bad hospitals have caught up by now.

    Now going back earlier, the entire history of the recommended ‘safe dose’ used to consist of a downward trend. One application is that pregnant women are no longer given medical X-rays. This was at least partly due to Alice Stewart, whose conclusions were originally rejected by by some good epidemiologists such as Sir Richard Doll.
    [The draft display appears to have an unpredictable habit of bolding random sections]

  9. 209

    #207–the money statement being:

    “Compared to coal, the footprint of shale gas is at least 20% greater and perhaps more than twice as great on the 20-year horizon and is comparable when compared over 100 years.”

  10. 210
    Deconvoluter says:


    #208 (mine). The disagreement between Stewart and Doll, in which the latter was probably wrong, was about another aspect of her work concerned with the nuclear workers at Hanford, it was not about X-rays.

    #206 (Didactylos). The comment starts with a failure to distinguish between a real battle between real adversaries and an imaginary one conjured up in the minds of conspiracy theorists. It would have been instructive to read about the battles which had to be fought by Bertelle’s more senior colleague Alice Stewart. Both women suffered real cuts imposed by people with whom they disagreed. They shared some of the same adversaries, but at the technical level Bertelle’s investigation was harder and less complete, with less certain conclusions.

    The same comment ends with a failure to distinguish between a piece of work and the report about it. The report does convey some of the ideas involved.

  11. 211
    Didactylos says:

    Deconvoluter: the page states “nuclear workers are allowed to receive up to five rems–which is the bone marrow equivalent of one thousand chest X-rays per year!”. This is consistent with my other sources, the US radiation worker maximum annual dose is 50 mSv (5 rems). One thousandth of that is 50 µSv, which is only slightly higher than a chest x-ray now: 20 µSv. X-rays range from 1 µSv to 20 µSv. A mammogram is 3 mSv and a chest CT scan 5.8 mSv. As you note, there is some considerable variation hidden by these average figures – but clearly, there isn’t a vast difference between current doses and what the web page discusses. Equally clearly, there are orders of magnitude between these different technologies.

    If all these many studies show that the risk from medical imaging with CT scans and similar high radiation technologies is real but acceptable, what are the chances that the risk from a few x-rays is massive and unacceptable and worthy of a rant-filled, conspiracy-filled book and web page?

    Remember that at doses this low, the hormesis people are claiming health benefits. They can’t both be right…. but they can both be wrong. Doses that low just don’t really have measurable effects. Smoking and CTs have much higher total doses, and it was hard enough to demonstrate the very real link there. Basically, there aren’t enough people in the world to prove what you want to prove, and even if you did prove it we’d say “Eh. I’ll still have my x-ray please, I think my ribs are broken”.

  12. 212
    Dan H. says:

    I do not often agree with Didactylos, but I do here. Historically, the nuclear industry has a much better health record than other energy sources. Attributing health ailments to low levels of radiation is simply impossible. The estimates are so low that the study group would have to be astronomically high in order to determine an effect with any reasonable certainty. Individually, the benefits of the medical procedures, far outweigh the possible consequences (at least until we can develope a less intrusive method of diagnosis).

  13. 213
    Hank Roberts says:

    The nuclear no-effects-level/hormesis hesaid-shesaid exchange is invited over at Bravenewclimate, here:

    (and only in that thread, by the moderator’s rule; citations are nevertheless expected for assertions of belief.)

  14. 214
    David B. Benson says:

    To consider the effects of low level of damaging radiation it is good to have a model, even if wrong. Recall what George Box said of models.

    This is the Double Whammy model, surely not orginal with me.

    Tissue is normal until hit by damaging radiation. It is then in a state of repair for a time T which for convenience we set to one; T=1. If during that time of repair no further hits are received it returns to normal; otherwise it becomes morbid, a state from which no recovery is possible. The probability of morbidity depends upon the dose rate r as

    P[r] ~ r[1-exp(-r)]

    which is asymptotic to a linear increase at large r. For small r, where exp(-r) is close to 1-r, the approxiamtion becomes

    P[r] ~ r^2.

    This is a form of a quadratic-linear model which is discussed in some detail in BEIR VII from NRC.

  15. 215
    Susan Anderson says:

    Tend to agree the nuclear argument is sucking all the oxygen from the room, and in the meanwhile we have some other problems. Not that the issues are not useful and relevant, mind.

    Meanwhile, of interest is the new PBS series Earth Observatory which is on now where I live.

    Hope it’s good, but not hopeful it will get much beyond the choir.

  16. 216
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “I’m not a “nuclear advocate”. I’m just a realist. – 200

    Then as a “realist” you must accept that a nuclear powered world with a population of 15 billion people, each consuming energy at U.S. levels of consumptive waste, will require the construction of approximately 200,000 new 1 gigawatt nuclear reactors.

    Given the track record for Nuclear Energy, we can extrapolate that the global result will be 1 core melt per week and several core breaches per year.

    These numbers are low of course, because non-technical countries do not have a track record for rational, competent, management.

    Good luck with that.

  17. 217
    angelle torrejas says:

    Perhaps…. Dan did you think that A nuclear industry has a great health records with the other energy source? Can you please give me a particular detail about what you have written in your comments? Suppose to be the approximation of learning is very significant in order to know the effect and affect of this case.

  18. 218
    David B. Benson says:

    Vendicar Decarian & angelle torrejas — There are other places on the internet with particualr knowledge of such matters. One which recommended was given just previously by Hank Roberts in comment #213.

  19. 219
    Didactylos says:

    Vendicar Decarian: Please find where I suggested using nuclear energy as the sole power source for the human race. You can’t? Well, that would be because it’s not even on the same planet as what I have said.

    If you want to communicate, you have to go to the effort of understanding what people have to say.

    It’s funny, really – almost hilarious – every time nuclear energy comes up, people start trying to “convert” me. Is it so hard to pay attention to what I’m actually saying instead of dropping me in the “evil” box?

    But this sort of nonsense is why our hosts don’t like it when the conversation touches on nuclear power.

  20. 220
    Didactylos says:

    angelle torrejas at #217 is markov chain spam.

    That, or she just failed the Turing test.

  21. 221
    John Pollack says:

    Re #201 (Karen Street) I am rather disturbed by the temperature forecasts indicated for a 4C warmer world. Granted, climate change is full of nasty surprises. However, these numbers don’t make good meteorological sense.

    Having the S.F. Bay area warm 6-7C would not seem likely for a 4C rise in global temps. The temperature of the area is stabilized by coastal upwelling. Unless that shuts off, or more summer airflow comes from inland (unlikely if the ocean/land temperature contrast is increasing) you should be one of the slower areas to warm up. The coastal upwelling is a rather stable feature of large scale ocean dynamics. Will it really break down, or is the climate model fuzzy about the details?

    The assertion that the annual hottest day in the eastern U.S. could warm by 10-12C for a 4C rise in global temps is very extreme. Let’s look at the implications. Currently, annual extremes in most of the area, including the large population centers, are in the 35-38C (95-100F) range. This would result in annual highs of 45-50C (113-122F). Currently, the only areas in the U.S. with those types of annual highs are in the lowland deserts of the Southwest. In the worst of the Dust Bowl years, some of the southern Great Plains had those highs for a few years. While this was going on, these regions had no more than 1/3 the current precipitation in the eastern U.S. Even droughts in the East don’t produce anything close to these temperatures, because the area is forested and there is plenty of evaporation. To sustain annual highs of 45-50C, the area would first have to dry out to the extent that the forests die and burn up, an extreme disaster. Crop yields would go down by a lot more than 40% in that scenario, too.

    Does the model these temperatures are based on have a good handle on vegetation cover? Does it handle regional precipitation well? If the answer to either question is no, I would not expect anything this extreme, unless the global rise is greater than 4C. Alas, that could happen, if we stick to “business as usual.” Also, I am not saying that a lesser rise would not be a disaster, merely that these particular temperature results seem out of line for a 4C global rise.

  22. 222
    adelady says:

    John. We’re not talking about an instantaneous rise of 4C. Several years of 2+C would be enough to increase evaporation and dry out many of the forests you’re thinking of as well as any grasslands surrounding them. Once they dry, they’re more susceptible to fire. 2 or 3 large fires in 10-12 years could make a big difference to some of these areas.

    Any such changes will be incremental and cumulative. The fact that in some such areas there may also be flooding from extreme precipitation events is no cause for comfort. Flooding damages roots of trees as well as suffocating microbial and other vital soil components. This makes the whole ecosystem just that little bit more fragile in the following couple of years, unlike areas accustomed to flooding which might flourish in those years.

    It’s entirely possible that some of the areas you have in mind might avoid these adverse consequences. That avoidance could just as likely be a delay rather than an escape.

    We know that modelling is working towards finer detail for regional level projections. It would be far, far better if that work simply told us how lucky we were to avoid such consequences because we took suitable action in time to do so.

  23. 223
    Septic Matthew says:

    216, Vendicar Decarian: Given the track record for Nuclear Energy, we can extrapolate that the global result will be 1 core melt per week and several core breaches per year.

    Would you care to make the same extrapolation for all forms of electrical generation, based on evidence to date? deaths, property damage, cancer, etc?

    So far, nothing has been safer than nuclear energy. A writer above wrote of “sweeping under the rug”. Let’s get all costs, deaths, subsidies etc out from under the rug, shall we?

  24. 224
    wili says:

    JP, these extremes are already happening in the Arctic and happened in Northern Europe in ’03.

  25. 225
    Nick Gotts says:

    “The force of the magnitude 8.9 earthquake followed by a tsunami is far worse than would be inflicted even by a direct-hit airline crash or bombing raid. What is more, the consequences at Fukushima are attributable far more to the stupidity of the utility operators than to the failures of the design.” – Ray Ladbury

    I’m doubtful whether comparisons of sheer force – amount of energy involved, I guess you mean – are meaningful. The fact (if it is one) that the consequences at Fukushima are more due to operator stupidity than faulty design, strengthens the anti-nuclear case: poor design we can perhaps avoid, operator stupidity we can’t.

    “But the old links between warhead manufacture and nuclear power are irrelevant.” – Didactylos

    Tosh: the overlaps of materials, technologies and skills between civil nuclear power and nuclear weapons are unavoidable.

    Nuclear advocates like Didactylos overlook the real lesson of Fukushima, and one that will not be lost on governments. Even if not a single person dies as a direct result of pollution from Fukushima, it will almost certainly have cost many lives – although we will never know: at a time of utmost national crisis, the Japanese government has been obliged to divert much of its attention and huge resources away from search and rescue to dealing with Fukushima. It has had to evacuate perhaps 200,000 people – and has just announced an extension of the exclusion zone – and to route both planes and ground transport away from the area around Fukushima – which is on the direct route from Tokyo to the area of maximum destruction. The economic effects – on those evacuated, on farming, on fishing, on every human and economic activity near Fukushima – will continue for decades. The true message of Fukushima is this: whatever your disaster, nuclear power plants can make it worse.

  26. 226
    Septic Matthew says:

    225, Nick gotts: Even if not a single person dies as a direct result of pollution from Fukushima, it will almost certainly have cost many lives –

    You still are not getting it: all electricity production costs lives. Had the Fukushima nuclear power plants been coal-fired, the loss of human life over the full lifetimes of the power plants would have been greater.

    “The” lesson of Fukushima is that the backup diesel generators should not be put in the path of a tsunami. That’s if anybody even builds a boiling water reactor again.

  27. 227
    Hank Roberts says:

    Watch out: trolling ‘nuclear’ stuff is astonishingly easy.
    Look up the names; don’t take the bait, don’t feed the trolls.

  28. 228
    Andrew Piccirillo says:

    I recently developed a statistical model for removing natural ENSO, solar, and volcanic variation from the temperature trend in an effort to reveal the underlying CO2 temperature trend. I thought this would be of interest to the folks at RealClimate. The result is a surprisingly monotonically increasing underlying temperature trend. The method and results are as follows:

    ENSO: I conducted a correlation between the ONI and temperature from 1950 to present and found that for each 1C of ONI, temperatures rise .105C, and that the peak correlation occurs with a 3 month lag to surface temperatures. Thus, I adjusted the annual temperature series by subtracting .105*(3-month lagged ONI).

    Solar: I used the correlation found by Camp and Tung 2007 of .18C peak to trough in the solar cycle. I converted this to .18C/W/m2 since the fluctuation across the solar cycle is usually about 1W/m2. I then adjusted my ENSO-adjusted annual temperature series by .18*(annual TSI anomaly).

    Pinatubo: I added +.05, +.35, +.22, and +.1 to the years 1991, 1992, 1993, and 1994, respectively. These numbers were based on the theorized cooling effect Pinatubo had.

    The result of performing these adjustments is a fairly monotonically increasing temperature. This indicates by removing the 3 primary sources of short-term variation, the underlying temperature trend is nearly consistently upwards, which may come as a surprise to some. The trend has not slowed in recent years as some have proposed.


    The temperature series used is a customized series I developed based upon an average of HadCRUT and GISS LOTI between 60S and 60N but with UAH satellite data used from 90S-60S and 60N to 90N. I believe this gives an accurate estimate of surface temperature trends which most closely resembles the normal GISS LOTI. This essentially corroborates the GISS polar extrapolations.

  29. 229
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Septic Matthew #

    “The” lesson of Fukushima is that the backup diesel generators should not be put in the path of a tsunami.

    Yep. This time. Last time it was building a reactor with a positive temperature coefficient, using combustible moderator — now that won’t happen again, count on it. Next time it will be something surprisingly, originally different again.

    Like generals, the builders of nuclear plants are best at arming themselves for the last war. That, and operator stupidity.

  30. 230
    tamino says:

    Re: #228 (Andrew Piccirillo)

    I did something very similar a while back (here).

  31. 231
    B.Willam says:

    Yes, nuclear power is dangerous. Here in Germany all the older reactors are now being checked for safety in a potential flood situation. What strikes me as funny is this: There are no tsunamis hundreds of miles from the coast, obviously, so the government constructs test situations in which a hydro power station further upstream fails fatally and the resulting wave then floods the reactor. The logical result would be getting rid of hydro power, since a wave large enough to flood a reactor would certainly cause tens of thousands immediate deaths in its wake. However nobody seems to fear that at all.

  32. 232
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    I can understand why N-power is OT here :) I think the main issue with it is that other facilities don’t require 50km exclusion zones when they break down. Real estate prices in Japan were high enough already.

  33. 233
    Jeff L. says:

    There is an interesting article on the thinning of Arctic sea ice in the April 2011 issue of Physics Today. (Authors: Kwok and Untersteiner)

  34. 234
    Andrew Piccirillo says:

    Re 230

    Very interesting Tamino! Performing the analysis for the individual sources was my next step but it seems you have already done that. The greater response of UAH and RSS to these exogenous factors had occurred to me before and your method demonstrates that nicely (my method could only do that for ENSO, but not TSI since I used a fixed .18C/W/m2 response). So your method is better in a number of ways. A couple questions:

    1) It is somewhat troubling that the adjustment in long-term trend is larger for RSS than for UAH. Given they both measure the same thing physically, the adjustment should be the same. This probably speaks more to artifacts contained in RSS and UAH and the fact that the temporal pattern of warming is quite different between RSS and UAH with RSS warming faster in the 1980s and slower in the 2000s (coinciding with the declining solar activity and -MEI tendency).

    Do you know the reason for this difference between UAH and RSS?

    2) The shortness of the period analyzed seems to be somewhat problematic to me. For example, the fact that UAH/RSS slower warming in the 2000s has coincided with a solar minimum means that a regression is going to attribute the former to the latter, even though it might not be causal (although it probably is).

    Do you have standard deviations for the coefficients used to relate each variable to temperature?

    3) Do you think the results would change much if you used TSI instead of sunspots?

    4) Why not use CO2 concentration instead of a linear time trend? The result probably would change slightly, but would be more physically realistic given the slightly accelerating CO2 concentration (and theorized temperature response).

    Nice to see we came up with very similar results independently.

  35. 235

    Speaking, as some were, of impacts, Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” does a nice job of considering possible political/military impacts and feedbacks on GW.

    Not so coincidentally, my summary/review just hit 600 page views today–another modest but pleasant milestone. (It’s still trailing my piece on “The Long Thaw” by a couple of hundred, though.)

  36. 236
    Daniel Bailey says:

    @ Andrew Piccirillo

    Glenn Tamblyn authored a nice piece on the various satellite temperature records over at Skeptical Science.


    The Yooper

  37. 237
    Andrew Piccirillo says:

    That’s an excellent summary of the various different satellite analyses. I was familiar with most of the studies and methods but that piece puts it all together well.

    I don’t think it really answers my question of why RSS warmed faster in the 80s and slower in the 2000s than UAH, although it obviously relates to one or more of the methodological differences described. It suggests that the initial divergence is due to the different handling of NOAA 9 and 10. It then suggests that the reason for the convergence recently is because of the diminishing impact of their different handling of NOAA 9 and 10. However, I don’t think that explains the fact that over the last 10-15 years UAH has warmed MORE than RSS. It’s not simply that they are now warming the same and earlier divergences are getting washed out. UAH is actively converging to RSS. RSS has been extremely slow to warm the past 10-15 years.

    Anyways, this doesn’t really have anything to do with Tamino’s work and is just an example of the methodological differences between UAH and RSS yielding different results, and even different ENSO and solar responses.

  38. 238
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “Would you care to make the same extrapolation for all forms of electrical generation, based on evidence to date? deaths, property damage, cancer, etc?” – 223

    There is no need. I will simply not tolerate 1 core melt per week.

    No rational, thinking person will.

  39. 239
    Fred Magyar says:

    Septic Matthew
    You moniker if deliberate is quite apt..

    So far, nothing has been safer than nuclear energy. A writer above wrote of “sweeping under the rug”. Let’s get all costs, deaths, subsidies etc out from under the rug, shall we?

    OK take a peek under the rug then and while you’re at may I suggest you go to Japan and volunteer your time to help clean up this mess.

  40. 240
    Joe Cushley says:

    I’ve tried to keep schtum as I know it’s OT, but I can’t let Didactylos and Ray L go unchallenged on their responses (tho’ Nick Gotts mounted a far more eloquent rebuttal than I can manage).

    On the supposed ‘nuclear installation wall vs jet aircraft test’ film, try this…

    Please also consider the effect that massive fires caused by jet impact or conventional bombing would have on any emergency containment operations.

    Didactylos, you call yourself a realist in this debate, isn’t that what denialists call themselves in the climate debate…?

  41. 241
    Edward Greisch says:

    239 Fred Magyar: “go to Japan and volunteer your time to help clean up this mess.”
    Sure. They are paying very well for reactor cleanup. I need hip surgery first. I can’t walk without a cane right now. And I can’t speak Japanese. Otherwise, I would be there.

    Chernobyl: There are people living there now. They are operating the remaining 3 first generation reactors. The annual dose of radiation is 390 rems in Chernobyl. Compare to 1000 rems/year in Denver, Colorado and 12000 rems/year somewhere in Iran. Except for Chernobyl, those are natural background rates. Why hasn’t Iran been evacuated?

    238 Vendicar Decarian: “No rational, thinking person will.” Speak for yourself.

    ““Would you care to make the same extrapolation for all forms of electrical generation, based on evidence to date? deaths, property damage, cancer, etc?” – 223”
    Yes. It isn’t an extrapolation. Coal contains uranium, thorium, their decay products, arsenic, …… Cancer::Benzene. Benzene comes from petroleum and coal.

    9 billion people? Isn’t going to happen. See “Ecological Footprints and Bio-Capacity: Essential Elements in Sustainability Assessment” by William E. Rees: “humanity had already ‘overshot’ the long-term human carrying capacity of the Earth by about 20% in 1999—the whole planet is in deficit. (A population can live in overshoot—i.e., beyond its ecological means—for a considerable period by depleting vital ecosystems and non-renewable resource stocks.)”
    RC: Please get a guest article by a population biologist.

  42. 242
    veritas36 says:

    I would like an explanation/discussion of the changes in the sky. A few days ago, the sky was actually true blue and cloudless, like it used to be frequently. Since 5 or 6 years ago, the sky is streaked across with the jet contrails that used to vanish behind the silvery plane. There are thin whitish clouds all over the sky, and the overall color is pale blue. I suspect it’s due to increased moisture.
    I’m in NH but I’ve noticed skies criss-crossed with contrails in picture from Korea and Scotland.
    What is the cause? What is the effect?

  43. 243
    Septic Matthew says:

    239, Fred Magyar: OK take a peek under the rug then and while you’re at may I suggest you go to Japan and volunteer your time to help clean up this mess.

    I’m 64 and I don’t speak Japanese. They won’t take me, but other than that I think it’s a good idea. I thought of it.

    It’s irrelevant to the question of whether, in actual operation, nuclear power plants kill fewer people than coal and gas power plants. Would you have thought to invite me to a coal mining disaster? Or to work on the other appx. $300B in property damage that resulted from the earthquake and tsunami? Or to dig the dead out from the train wrecks?

    Is it your contention that other methods of producing electricity are safe?

  44. 244
    Septic Matthew says:

    More about Fukushima here:

    I’ll let others have the last words.

  45. 245
    apeescape says:

    Richard Alley recently did a PBS special on renewable energy. I didn’t know Alley was a registered Republican, and that influence shows in its presentation. This is generally much more engaging and palatable for a skeptic / business-type. I love how farmers in Texas lease out their lands for wind generation to stabilize their income.

  46. 246
    Fred Magyar says:

    Septic Matthew @243,

    Is it your contention that other methods of producing electricity are safe?

    Yes, that is partly my contention. See Bill Gross’s talk at Stanford, recently, on Entrepreneurship, and the application of Moore’s law to concentrating solar power generating plants. But much more important is the fact that our entire energy usage paradigm is fundamentally flawed and we need to reassess it. What we really need to do is power down and learn to do more with much less energy.

  47. 247

    Fred Magyar,

    It’s all about risk and consequence. Sure, there have not been huge numbers of accidents at nuclear power stations, but the consequences of such accidents are catastrophic and the true death toll will nOt be known for many years. Accidents at coal mines etc occur more often and have more immediate consequences – but then they are over. Nuclear accidents poison land and water for generations and have ongoing impacts.

    Therefore coal and other power generation accidents = higher risk of occurring and immediate impacts / loss of life

    nuclear = less rick of occurring but catastrophic consequencesto the environment and people’s health that last for generations.

    I don’t think on that basis that you could consider nuclear any safer. The consequences OF accidents outweigh the low risk of ccurrence.

  48. 248

    Correction, my last comment was in response to Spetic Matthew, not Fred Magyar

  49. 249
    Hunt Janin says:

    Assuming (for the purposes of discussion) a sea level rise of, say, 3 meters at some point in the distant future, which parts of the world would be impacted the most severely?

  50. 250
    Edward Greisch says:

    247 George Fripley: It is pointless to argue with you. You are just wrong.

    Reference: “Google and the myth of universal knowledge” by Jean-Noel Jeanneney 2007 The original is in French.

    When you do a Google search, you get “sponsored” links on the right side and “non-sponsored” links on the left. The “NON-SPONSORED” links on Google ARE LISTED IN THE ORDER OF THE HIGHEST BIDDER to lowest bidder. Companies pay dollars to Google to get web sites other than their own that lie in favor of the paying company to be at the top of the “non-sponsored” list. Google search results in your getting nothing but corporate propaganda. Since the coal industry has a $100 Billion per year income at stake, they can and must share a lot of money with Google.

    Page 32: 62% of internet users questioned make no distinction whatever between advertising and other information, and only 18% proved capable of telling which data were paid for by companies for their promotion and which were not.”
    “92% of users of search engines have full confidence in the results of their search, and 71% (users for less than five years) consider that information from this source [Google] is never biased in any way.”

    Suggestion: Use only Google Advanced or Google Scholar. On Google Advanced, specify either the .gov domain or the .edu domain. Otherwise, use only web sites that uses or the IPCC.

    There should be a law requiring Google to disclose the above and the donors and the dollars for each “non-sponsored” link.