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Unforced variations: May 2011

Filed under: — group @ 5 May 2011

This month’s open thread.

Seed topics: The genealogy of climate models, how to compare different greenhouse gases, whether a 2 deg C temperature target makes sense (Stoat has already weighed in), or reflections on the Nenana Ice classic (which has just concluded for this year). But you decide.

396 Responses to “Unforced variations: May 2011”

  1. 51
    Brian Blagden says:


    Hurricane formation requires low vertical wind shear while Tornado formation requires high wind shear.

    Hurricanes cannot form if the vertical wind shear is too high (above about 8 meters per second).

    During El Niño (Warm) years wind shear in the tropical Atlantic is too high for hurricanes to form whereas in La Nina (cold) years wind shear is low allowing hurricanes to form.

    In conclusion – the chances for the continental U.S. and the Caribbean Islands to experience a hurricane increase substantially during La Niña (Cold), and decrease during El Niño (Warm)years.

    Tornadoes require high wind shear – as results at the interface between cold and warm air. The low latitude intrusion of Arctic air this year is a result of La Nina which caused a variable Polar Jet Stream that extended cold Arctic air down to the Gulf States.And it is this that gave rise to the devastating tornado outbreak.

    The relationship between tornado outbreaks and ENSO is described within the following article entitled:
    “Impacts Of ENSO On United States Tornadic Activity” by Mark C. Bove of the Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies (COAPS) at The Florida State University
    (See: )

    Bove (1999) found most large outbreaks and major tornadoes occur in cold (La Nina) or neutral (La Nada) years. He refers to the analyses by Grazulis in 1991.

    The important figures to be taken from it are:

    Between 1950 and 1988 with regard to F4 – F5 tornados the relationship with ENSO is as follows:

    ENSO Cold Phase = 162 Tornadoes
    ENSO Neutral Phase = 146 Tornadoes
    ENSO Warm Phase = 82 Tornadoes

  2. 52

    98 CM

    Hi Joe, and thanks CM for the introduction.

    Sorry though, no riding is yet possible. However, recently I have managed to get my latest detail design on the website for all to see. (Warning: Be prepared for a shock — real men usually wretch with nausea, women scream, and we take no responsibility for life long scarring of children’s minds.)

    I am focused on helping working people get from their suburban homes to their suburban work places, quickly and safely. So flying cars are not too interesting to me, though it would be great to see how that is going.

    40% of CO2 emitted in the USA is due to motor vehicles, so that is where I think work would start if anybody is really serious about climate. In addition to the car, my present task is making a high efficiency version of the 18 wheeler. Also on my project list is a low resistance hybrid wheel system. These together could cut 80% of the present USA vehicle emissions.

    By the way, the Miastrada car is very much an electric vehicle, though the plan is to be much more judicious about how the electric energy is handled than the obvious plug-in solution.

  3. 53
    John Monro says:

    Broader perspectives for comparing different greenhouse gases

    The reference to this paper only supplies a meagre summary. However this might be the apposite place to put this query. I live in New Zealand, an unusual country in terms of global warming emissions, nearly half of which is calculated to be due to methane, belched by cows in our intensive agricultural economy. Yet dealing with methane from cattle is going to be really difficult, how do you stop cows belching? My question is this, to what extent is concern about methane emissions actually that important?. Isn’t it CO2 emissions from fossil fuels that are far and away more important and more persistent, and thereby more likely to cause global warming than the (relatively) small amount of methane. That’s why I would have liked to have read this paper in its entirety, though whether this matter would have been discussed, I don’t know.

    For New Zealand, inclusion of methane emissions seriously exaggerates our emissions scenario, in my belief. Having said that, our CO2 emissions are still appalling, especially considering that 70% of our electricity generation is by renewables.

    Isn’t there a case for dealing with global warming by considering CO2 emissions completely separately and, for the moment, entirely ignoring atmospheric methane levels which have, I believe, remained relatively static for some years? Wouldn’t this much simplify complicated trade offs and enable a more robust framework for CO2 emissions to be developed?

    I don’t know what the opinions of those contributing to these discussions are, but I have always regarded the Kyoto Protocol as a farce, a con if you like, perpetrated by cynical corporatist players in an economic system that is systematically demolishing the planet. In which case, we need to keep things fundamentally as simple as we can, so as to allow no elbow room for political and business duplicity.

    [Response: Methane isn’t completely unimportant, and the growth rate of methane emissions does need to be brought under control eventually, but to a first approximation, yes nothing really counts but CO2. You can defer control of methane for fifty years without much harm, since it has a short lifetime, but CO2 is forever, and you’ll be stuck with the consequences of the CO2 you emitted during that fifty years essentially forever, or near enough. The overemphasis on methane comes from a misguided attempt to create a “basket of gases” approach based on global warming potentials (computed for an inappropriately short time interval). Of course, any low hanging fruit that reduces methane emissions on the cheap is worth grabbing, but any significant amount of money or attention diverted from CO2 to methane is a bad bargain. It’s an uphill battle getting policymakers to realize this, and the IPCC seems to be very invested in global warming potentials as a way to compare gases. In contrast, the Montreal Protocol explicitly avoided a basket of gases approach, recognizing that gases with very different lifetimes need to be treated separately. I imagine that not everybody writing for RC agrees with the position I’ve taken, but I find it fairly inescapable unless you think the world ends around 2100. See my thoughts on the subject here –raypierre]


  4. 54
    Richard B. Woods says:

    Has any anti-AGW site tackled the Evans 2006 study ( with nontrivial counterargument(s)? I’ve seen comments that show lack of basic science understanding, but I’m looking for stronger stuff.

    As soon as I read the extended abstract (, I could see that it was a clincher, from my background in astronomy and physics.

    I’m composing a series of AGW explanations for relatively non-technical folks. I’m hoping to try explaining the Evans 2006 result, and I’d like to see some relatively-competent objections so I can (try to) refute them as well.

  5. 55

    “As far as I am aware we are currently in La Nina and therefore should expect more tornadoes and hurricanes associated with the current global cold phase.”

    Not quite, especially near the US:

    El-Nino appears to be returning remarkably fast…

  6. 56
    Snapple says:

    There is a climate denialist named James Corbett who spreads the Tim Ball and Piers Corbyn line.

    Corbett is a 9-11 Truther, too. They believe that Bush/US government orchestrated 9-11.

    Now Corbett is appearing on the Kremlin’s Russia Today and spreading conspiracy theories about the death of Bin Laden, whom he claims was a “CIA asset.”

    Here is the video.

  7. 57
    john byatt says:

    #52 ” how do you stop cows belching?”

    A google search “reducing methane in ruminants” will bring up a host of scientific research articles. Less methane = increased production

    Eckard, RJ, Grainger C, and de Klein CAM (2008) Options for the abatement of methane and nitrous oxide from ruminant production – a review.
    J. L. Capper, R. A. Cady and D. E. Bauman (2008) Increased production reduces the dairy industry’s environmental impact – Department of Animal Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

  8. 58
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Jim @ 23 inline – Thanks! Your answer is clear and the papers make it clearer. (actually I only have the Trapp et al. one, the other is not online – but I’ll get it.) The Trapp paper really helps me to grasp what would go into the kind of climate modeling many people wish for. I also get the impression that this is still a few years in the future. Which brings me to

    The Problem. I see the difficulty of attributing any one bit of weather. Even attributing the trend of a class of weather events is a major technical problem with current modeling methods. Paradoxically, attributing all the weather seems intuitively clear.
    1. All current weather is a product of the new warmer climate system.
    2. The real problem: there have been too many extreme events recently, by a wide margin. Colorado Bob lists a couple of them here. Capital Climate steadily records them.

    Can I think probabilistically like this? Suppose that over the 20th century, the number of extremes per year was n, with standard error sigma = e and median m. Now 2010 and the first part of 2011 blow those numbers away. Based on a uniform distribution, the chance of so many records being broken in so short a time is … very small, like 10 sigma. On the other hand, in general we expect these things to happen given our more energized atmosphere. With that and allowing for autocorrelation, breaking a bunch of old records is not so very unlikely.

    All these papers of 2007 with data from before that, and papers striving to attribute something from the year 2000, are out date. The 2010 data change the game, or so many are thinking. The approach of Trapp et al., fine as it is in a certain way, is too slow. Events have passed the approach by. Now that we’re here it’s clear (in 2011) that we have a new climate. There ought to be a way for climatologists to recognize this. Meanwhile society is harmfully under-warned.

    I think this is more or less what mt, and just now Tamino wonderfully, are getting at. What does RC say? Please, let’s talk about this.

  9. 59
    Dan H. says:

    I think you are premature in your reasoning. The current La Nina is weakening towards a ENSO-neutral conditions, which NOAA forecasts will remain throughout 2011.

  10. 60
    Greg Simpson says:

    I see Watts just mentioned the Nenana results, and he has a nice little graph there too. It looks like the breakup is about 4 to 6 days earlier than it was back a century ago, although I can’t tell by eye if the change is statistically significant.

    I’m not sure whether this is more or less that expected for that latitude, but it looks fast enough to be worrisome. What it would take to worry WUWT readers, though, I don’t know.

    [Response: If you had direct evidence that every human on the planet had a big flamethrower that they ran for 12 hours a day, Watts and most of his acolytes would deny that it has a temperature effect.–Jim]

  11. 61
    ccpo says:

    We have a winner!

    SecularAnimist says:
    6 May 2011 at 11:28 AM

    No individual weather event can be attributed to any single cause.

    That’s because weather events do not arise from single causes. Weather events arise from the confluence of a whole host of causes and conditions.

    Anthropogenic global warming is now an inescapable, pervasive condition that influences ALL weather events, extreme or otherwise.

    We live in an anthropogenically warmed world now. There is no such thing on this planet any more as weather that is not in some way affected by global warming.

    Why is Dan H. allowed to post here? Entertainment value or sadism? LOL…

  12. 62

    #58 Dan,

    Of course ENSO turned neutral, but near the Galapagos it isn’t exactly neutral. The larger effects of the warmer East equatorial Pacific sea have a lot to do with North American weather Also a good question
    is the speed of demise from a quite strong La Nina and what appears to becoming El-Nino is quite interesting.
    The usual ENSO prognosticators were off in their projections, a bit slow with the transitions in my opinion. Lets see if El-Nino happens sooner than they say.

  13. 63
    Robert Murphy says:

    DanH (#58):

    “The current La Nina is weakening towards a ENSO-neutral conditions, which NOAA forecasts will remain throughout 2011.”

    Of course, they qualify that by saying they can’t really predict what will happen past the summer,

    “Thereafter, the majority of models and all multi-model forecasts (shown by the thick lines) predict ENSO-neutral conditions to continue through the remainder of 2011. However, the status of ENSO beyond the Northern Hemisphere summer remains uncertain due to lower model forecast skill at longer lead times.

    What we know is that the La Nina is going fast; after that, we can’t really say.

  14. 64

    Jim Bullis, Miastrada Company says:

    8 May 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Jim Eager, CM,and Risto Linturi

    Although the lead article on Denialism, also of this date, suggests skepticism about solutions as well as basic climate science, and even gets into automobiles, I was surprised that some of our discussion was moved to this ‘Unforced Variations’ topic for May. We also were picking up the issue of electric vehicles, which is a crucial issue in how to solve climate.

    I am grateful to the hosts of realclimate in general, and honor their right to keep threads moving in whatever way they choose.

    And though I have no rights in the matter, it would have saved me some consternation had there been a note that the posts had been moved.

    That being said, we can realize the impending clash between those absolutely dedicated to traditional environmental causes, such as protection of ecosystems, fisheries, water, etc. and those who look for compromises that could alleviate the larger environmental cause of global warming.

    On the other side of the road of course are those who have enabled the industrial revolution, and all the pleasures arising therefrom, through the use of machines driven by cheap energy. This includes the benefit of cheap energy as to enabling competitive industry, thus enabling productive employment.

    I suggest that the center of the road has to be made to work.

  15. 65
    Harold Pierce Jr says:

    ccpo says:

    Anthropogenic global warming is now an inescapable, pervasive condition that influences ALL weather events, extreme or otherwise.

    It has been so cold this spring Metro Vancouver (aka Lotus Land) that I have not seen a bee, wasp or hungry mosquito flying about.

    Would you explain to me why is so freakin’ cold here in BC?

  16. 66
    harvey says:

    @16 This graphic shows the educational background of the U.S. and Chinese leadership

  17. 67
    Gneiss says:

    Regarding the Nenana Classic: over the whole time series, 1817-2011, the breakup day advanced an average of .74 days/decade (p<.01).

    Looking just at the "modern" period, 1970-2011, the pace quickened to 1.6 days/decade (p<.05).

  18. 68
    Dan H. says:

    I think you meant 1917. I think the Nenana classis is a very entertaining venture and worth watching scientifically, just as the breakup of sea ice around Iceland prior to satellite monitor is worthwhile.
    I calculated the statistics to be very poor for a correlation. I am curious as to your choice of a “modern period”, because by my calculations the highest rate of changes occurs starting at 1971. Using earlier or more recent years results in lower rates, with 1986-2011 being zero, and every years since showing an increase in the breakup day advance (breakup occurring later in the year). At this point, I would not say that the rate is fast enough to be worrisome (to answer Greg’s concerns).

  19. 69
    Daniel C Goodwin says:

    In their recent paper “The Case for Young People,” Hansen et al characterize the 2C target as “extremely unwise.”

    Global warming of this amount would be putting Earth on a path toward Pliocene-like conditions… It would be a world in which the world’s species and ecosystems will have had no recent evolutionary experience, surely with consequences and disruptions to the ecosystem services that maintain human communities today. There are no credible arguments that such rapid change would not have catastrophic circumstances for human well-being.


  20. 70
    Adam R. says:

    @Jim Bullis: I suggest that the center of the road has to be made to work.

    Appealing on the face of it, but unless the definition of working is “quickly producing a steepening decline in GHG emissions,” then the center of the road leads off a cliff.

    No doubt it is a failure of my imagination, but I do not see how the world’s voraciously extractive economies can continue to provide “all the pleasures arising therefrom” without pushing the environment to catastrophe. They will either change deliberately or have unpleasant changes forced upon them. Compromise with the climate is not an option.

  21. 71
    gneiss says:

    Dan H, you’re right of course, I meant 1917 as the Nenana Classic start, not 1817.

    As for my 1970-2011 comparison, that choice was casual, it’s just a default for me (because so climate series have been behaving differently post-1970).

    Didn’t check these before, but here are slopes from some other round-number starts:
    1950-2011, -1.2 days/decade
    1960-2011, -1.7 days/decade
    1970-2011, -1.6 days/decade
    1980-2011, -1.2 days/decade (ns)
    1990-2011, +0.8 days/decade (ns)
    2000-2011, -2.0 days/decade (ns)

  22. 72
  23. 73
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    Dan H #66 “I calculated…” Hands up anyone here who believes this statement.

  24. 74

    Complete dufus question: If we are running a correlation between violent crime and temperatures (in F), do we have to convert the temps into the Kelvin scale?

    [Response: Only if having negative temperature values creates some kind of problem, such as in raising them to a non-integer power.–Jim]

  25. 75

    The IPCC WG III has a report out today, concluding that it would be possible to see nearly 80% of global energy demand met by renewables by 2050, given vigorous policy initiatives and investment:

    Will we by some chance being seeing a whole post on this?

  26. 76
    ccpo says:

    ccpo says: Anthropogenic global warming is now an inescapable, pervasive condition that influences ALL weather events, extreme or otherwise.

    It has been so cold this spring Metro Vancouver (aka Lotus Land) that I have not seen a bee, wasp or hungry mosquito flying about.

    Would you explain to me why is so freakin’ cold here in BC?

    Comment by Harold Pierce Jr — 8 May 2011 @ 5:25 PM

    I didn’t say it, actually; my highlighting didn’t work so it looks like I did. That said, no, I won’t, because implied is denialist silliness embedded in a weather question. Also, it would be a royal pain in the arse to look up weather for Vancouver for the winter, your typical patterns, the effects of the Arctic Oscillation, La Nina and just typical normal and abnormal weather patterns for your area.

    However, on the off chance Vancouver is affected by the Arctic Oscillation like Michigan is – which I very much doubt – the negative phase of the AO pushes cold air down into lower latitudes than usual. Otherwise, maybe La Nina? Could also just be your imagination… good luck sorting it out.

  27. 77

    69 Adam R.

    Some life style changes are required, if you include the ability to look cute in the present motor vehicle types as a life style issue.

    Other than that, it looks possible to continue with fast, safe, cheap personal transportation yet still begin the steep reduction in CO2 that is needed. My market analysis shows that people would rather demand that somebody else change rather than even change the way of thinking about cars.

    The test of this is the website, where a very different looking car is shown. The reaction has been far short of what is needed for rapid implementation.

  28. 78
    JiminMpls says:


    Sorry, Jim. Your fantasy vehicle is just that – a fantasy with little relation to the real world. What about crash protection? What about production manufacturing? Your fantasy is utterly incompatible with both.

    If you want to look at REAL innovative transportation ideas, look up the RMI Hypercar concept: A practical, 7 passenger minivan that gets the equivalent of 100 mpg using hydrogen fuel cells. The IDEA is a plugin ic/ev hybrid version of the hypercar that will be in production next year by Bright Automotive.

  29. 79
    Susan Anderson says:

    I said I wouldn’t engage further with Jim Bullis Miastrada, but I lied.

    Here’s the problem: it’s not his site. There are a lot of top thinkers and experts here and when they get throwing ideas around and providing new references, it gets really enjoyable and seriously interesting.

    When JBM shows up here, the discussion gets kidnapped. Right or wrong, he is bent on proving something or selling something, and even objects to the format of the comments. He will not let go, and it is very hard to find anything else in the discussion.

    If he won’t join the party I think he should take his toys and go home.

    If anyone is here to use somebody else’s metaphorical nickel, they should consider forming their own discussion. When taking salt at this table, please act like a guest.

  30. 80
    flxible says:

    Harold Pierce Jr – It’s “cold” here in BC [I’m on the Island] because of ElNino keeping the sun away, and because the jet stream has been jumping about, and because there were record snows as a result – I don’t think the 60 feet we got on our ski hill will be gone before fall! OTOH, it’s not actually all that cold, just a bit cooler than “average” at the moment. AGW doesn’t mean seasons quit happening, but it may well be messing with their timing and intensity, wait ’til next weekend, when folks will be saying “it’s never this hot in May”.

  31. 81

    77 Susan Anderson,

    You might check, but the party is about energy. It seems we do not have a common understanding of that. It is surprising that you have asserted your minimal knowledge of physics, yet you would strive to police the dialogue here on the subject.

    And the party about energy can not start until all the guests share some common understanding of basic physics. Trying to point that out turned out to create a shambles, and this is not the first time. Perhaps there really is a problem with the practitioners of science when the predominate view seems to be here that ‘electric engines are more efficient than gasoline engines.’ If such gibberish is the predominate view, then such practitioners of science should be sent home with their toys.

    There are other things that might have been assumed. One such assumption is that solutions to global warming would be worth pursuing, and that prior causes and assumptions should be re-examined. Such assumptions span the gamut from ecology of water and forests to the way we think about transportation.

    Another such assumption is that there would be benefits of finding effective ways to present facts about global warming.

    Miastrada Company has nothing to sell, but is interested in developing products that make sense in a difficult environment. There is no point in building solutions that require adaptation, as long as there are abundant false solutions being sold to happy suckers, these including especially the electric plug-in vehicles being hawked as climate solutions.

    This guest is not wasting time here for the privelege of being in the cheering section. There seems to be need to advance the state of understanding about a number of things, and that does not happen when the cheering section fawns over the presumed ‘top thinkers’.

    Rather than being the cop at the party, maybe some logical discourse could be produced.

  32. 82
    Dan H. says:

    I think too many people are reading too much into the recent weather swings. Natural variability combined with ENSO events will lead to seasons (years) which are warmer or cooler than normal. This is predictable and not based on any changes in the climate. Climate changes will just move these variabilities about a different mean. If the Arctic warms more in the future compared to the midlatitudes, and the tropics continue to remain unchanged, then the swings will likely be less dramatic in the future due to reduced temperature gradients. As flxible says, timing and intensity may change, but the seasons will not go away.

  33. 83

    Question: Is anyone aware of a response, rebuttal, criticism, or educated discussion of Ingram 2010 (“A very simple model for the water vapour feedback on climate change”)?

  34. 84
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #73, thanks, Jim. (I actually did a quick conversion and ran the Kelvin stats & the corr came out the same as with the F stats….)

    Another dufus Q. This is for my student’s criminal justice thesis. While doing the SPSS scatterplot for violent crime and temperatures, she put in the usual straight regression line, then by mistake put in a LOESS (or LOWESS) line (which came out to be a right-tilted S curve for the data), which actually fit some survey of the lit findings — that heat increases violence, but only up to a point, at which it levels off or decreases.

    Her correlation was weak (.29) but highly significant. There are many many variables re human behavior, so we’re happy in the social sciences when we find a moderate signif correlation. Also, she could only get monthly data on the crime (and there isn’t much crime the city under study). And she then used monthly temp averages: Mean Temp ([max+min]/2) and Mean of the daily maximum temps). So the data weren’t as ideal as possible, and it was only for 10 years (120 months).

    Now that LOESS curve really fit what other studies had found, but we didn’t know what kind of math/stat things we could do to show that there was a much greater fit between expectations & observations than the r = .29 correlation was showing… except to show the graph, and explain what LOESS meant (explanations of which we found on Wiki).

    If someone could point me in the right direction (and I hope it isn’t too far above my withering brain power).

  35. 85
    tamino says:

    Re: #83 (Lynn Vincentnathan)

    I’m a bit unclear on your results: was the 0.29 correlation for the linear fit?

    In any case, if you want to claim that the lowess smooth is better than the linear fit you will indeed need to provide some evidence. The lowess smooth will show you the probable shape of the relationship (you say it’s “a right-tilted S curve” but again, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by that) but doesn’t give much statistical significance information.

    Here’s something to try. Fit a curve which has a shape similar to the “right-tilted S curve” you see, but has only a few parameters. Maybe a logistic regression? (Hard to say since I don’t know what you mean by “right-tilted S curve”). Then compare that model to the linear model using an information criterion like AIC or BIC. This will enable you to establish significant preference (or the lack of) for one or the other model, even though they’re not “nested models.”

    One more thing — is there someone in the math/stats dept. who would be willing to assist?

  36. 86
    Chris Colose says:

    Sphaerica (Bob)

    Ingram (2010) seemed like an interesting read, most of it being things you can already find in the literature, but perhaps presented in a way as to make it a “fun read” for an atmospheric radiation class at university. I’m not entirely sure Ingram did a great literature review of the runaway greenhouse effect though in preparing his paper, since there are in fact mechanisms to understand why Earth is not in a runaway state (specifically, we don’t get enough sunlight to sustain it) and papers showing a limiting OLR at sufficient increases in insolation (the effective temperature for an Earth-sized planet should not be more than about 270-275 K, otherwise habitability loss ensues). I’ve not actually read Simpson’s work back in the ’20s but there’s a lot of work on the subject of the water vapor feedback in a planetary science perspective since then (see Ingersoll, Kasting, Nakajima, and others)

  37. 87
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Harold Pierce (Why is is cold in Vancouver?)

    Probably just Mother Nature, trying to make up for a poor showing at the Winter Olympics.

  38. 88

    85, Chris,

    Thanks. Your response confused me, so I had to go back and read the paper in more detail than I’d intended, but doing so showed me that it does not say what some (deniers) think/claim that it says.

  39. 89

    77 JiminMnpls,

    Thanks for looking at a real fantasy car.

    But, ah yes, the RMI ‘Hypercar’. Their efforts at weight reduction are interesting, but the sophisticated carbon fiber methodology is not yet in the cost league for automobile manufacturing.

    Their attempts at aerodynamic improvement are feeble, though this is where far more efficiency could be achieved.

    But when you refer to 100 mpg ‘equivalent’ we know the whole thing is bamboozlement. Here is the worst connivance of human history (after religion of course), where by government decree we have a system that fakes the numerical scale on which we judge efficiency and thereby, sort of, CO2 emissions. The basic flaw is that the formula ignores the existence of the coal fired heat engine altogether, and simply counts the input energy carried by electricity as if it were the heat value of that electricity alone. This government action repeals the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and with mal-intent, that being an intention to misrepresent electric vehicles as being three times better than they are.

    Safety of the Miastrada car form is expected to be far superior to the standard automobile, with the advantage for side impacts of solid side structure, uninterrupted by doors and double guard rail effects from the combination of that side structure and the wheel train barrier. Crumple zone structure is at least as good as in conventional vehicles.

    There no manufacturing hindrances, given simplicity of steel for that purpose. However, the future is open for advanced materials as these become realistic.

    On a real scale of MPGE, where heat engines are appropriately recognized, the Bright 100 MPGE(dishonest) would be around 35 MPGE(honest). The measured air drag force of the basic vehicle form of the Miastrada vehicle is about a fifth that which could be achieved with the hyper car, both having about the same forward projected cross section.

    Neither the ‘Hypercar’ nor the ‘Bright’ van do anything significant to break with ‘bluff’ body automobile tradition as far as aerodynamics goes. For a van that mostly operates on city streets at less than 20 MPH, this would not be all that important. For real road speeds, it would tend to overwhelm all the benefits of light weight so strongly advocated by RMI.

  40. 90

    RE #84, thanks, Tamino. This will give me a headstart when I do talk to the math/stat folks way across campus.

    Yes, the curve is very similiar to the logistic regression curve in that graph, except it curls down negatively a bit at the end. The earlier lit uses the term curvilinear, and inverted U, and their data show a stronger & longer downward (neg) curve at the end — at least for daytime temps. Apparently night temps & violence show a strictly increasing line, and there are seasonal differences, as well. While other studies show a more linear (pos) result, without the curve — so there’s a big debate between the curvilinear and linear heat/violence folks (social psychologists), but they are all saying they expect CC to increase violence.

  41. 91

    “Simpson’s work back in the ’20s”–#85—

    The spectroscopist who collaborated with Guy Callendar?

  42. 92


    If you see this, and can answer the question in 3 sentences or less… in your 2010 Attribution of the Greenhouse Effect paper you said:

    The climatology is derived from a yearlong simulation using ca. 1980 conditions (CO2 concentrations are 339 ppmv, etc., as described by Schmidt et al. [2006]) and each experiment consists of a year’s simulation with a transient but noninteractive climate.

    What do you mean by “transient but noninteractive climate”?

    [My guess is that certain key climate variables, such as CO2 levels, were held constant while others, such as water vapor concentrations, were allowed to fluctuate as dictated by the physics of modelE. But that’s just a blind guess.]

  43. 93
    Thomas says:

    Jim Bullis @80. I don’t get why you are attacking Susan. Electric vehicles do in fact use less primary energy. I happen to agree with you that replacing the current oversized oilpowered vehicles with similar sized electric powered ones is a cure-all, but internal combustion engines aren’t particularly efficient. But the real inefficiency with current ICE powered vehicles is that the engines are grossly oversized, i.e. they are designed for rapid accelleration and climbing hills at full highway speed, during normal cruising mode they still incur substantial internal loses, due to moving so much unused engine mass/volume. Now, I agree, that a one to to one replacement is only a minor improvement CO2wise. In fact I might argue, that since the total emissions from liquid fuels will be limited by the availability of liquid hydrocarbons, that electric vehicles simply allow something resembling business as usual to continue post oil.

  44. 94

    91 Thomas,

    From your statement it is clear you are not among the folks here that believe ‘an electric motor is more efficient than a gasoline engine’. And I think you will be most amazed to realize the situation that has developed, not just here but far and wide.

    Poor Susan is caught in the middle, I think because people she looks to for advice are among those that do think such gibberish is valid. Of course she reacted with anger at me for pushing on the matter.

    This is not a minor problem. The bulk of the industrial world is aligned to believe in a definition of MPGE that effectively repeals the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You should actually check how the EPA is ruling on this.

    Even explaining this is likely to get me declared persona non grata by the moderator. We shall see?

  45. 95
    ccpo says:

    Re: Electric vehicles vs. ICE.

    Irrelevant. 1. Extrapolate personal vehicles with 9 – 12 billion people. In fact, extrapolate ANYTHING with that many people, and it instantly becomes unsustainable, particularly if you assume people of lower economic levels (albeit often with higher life satisfaction and overall quality of life – go figure) seek higher economic levels, e.g. Chindia.

    EX.: 9 billion people at US oil usage would use every drop of “oil”, and this is assuming the fantasy that all 6 trillion potential barrels could be extracted, and done so economically, we’d use it ALL up in 25 years. Current population at US rates of consumption (2007) would use up the 1.2 trillion or so realistically recoverable barrels in… about 7 years.

    2. Fossil Fuels are not the only substances depleting. We have issues with water, fish, arable land, phosphorus, rare earth ores, plutonium and on and on.

    3. Net energy (Energy Returned On Energy Invested – EROEI) is in decline and all “new” energy sources are below the current approximately 11:1 of (light) crude oil, so even if we develop other resources, net energy will still almost certainly decline significantly which you all know is a problem a la thermodynamics.

    4. Decreasing returns on efficiency = can’t solve problems of complexity w/ greater complexity or efficiency. (Tainter)

    and so on and so on….

  46. 96
    ccpo says:

    Seen this? Rapping climate scientists rap denial upside the head:

  47. 97
    ccpo says:

    Harold Pierce Jr says:
    8 May 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Would you explain to me why is so freakin’ cold here in BC?

    Found our answer:

  48. 98

    94 ccpo

    As you put it we should all just meditate and let climate snuff out the excess population.

    But maybe as we go from 6 billion to 8 billion we might try to do as much as we can. Since coal will far outlast oil and natural gas, we should start working on ways to minimize that impact.

    Stuffing electric motors in the energy guzzling vehicles that we know and love could be slightly better for the climate than continuing with the sloppy internal combustion engines that prevail today. A better course of action would be to go to good hybrids such as the Prius. Even that will not carry the day for very long, since oil will dwindle.

    Obviously it could be decreed that personal transportation is illegal, but since democratic processes exist nearly everywhere to some extent, such a decree is not going to happen. Nearly as effective as banning personal transportation would be making personal transportation an energy efficient process; by that I mean a factor of ten improvement over what we now accept for cars. That is what Miastrada is all about.

    With this as a serious objective, coal use would be minimized as the transition from oil to better fuels took place. And the feasibility of renewables starts to look meaningful if only a tenth as much energy is demanded of such renewables.

  49. 99
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 94 ccpo extrapolate ANYTHING with that many people, and it instantly becomes unsustainable, Anything?

    Net energy (Energy Returned On Energy Invested – EROEI) is in decline and all “new” energy sources are below the current approximately 11:1 of (light) crude oil, No, at least some forms of solar power are above that (and not in decline). What about wind?

    Re 93 Jim Bullis The bulk of the industrial world is aligned to believe in a definition of MPGE that effectively repeals the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You should actually check how the EPA is ruling on this.
    Even explaining this is likely to get me declared persona non grata by the moderator. We shall see?

    I recall agreeing with you about the EPA’s fuel efficiency comparison, and except when O.T. (or overly repetative?), it shouldn’t get you censored/kicked out. But we continued to disagree about other things. I don’t think you need to ignore the efficiency of the whole pathway to support (PH)EVs. (And in fact, if you focus only on such a complete measure of efficiency, one could argue that solar power and/or nuclear/geotherml and tides/gravitational potential energy are the only ways to go, as everything else is derived from one of these (a 40 % ICE efficiency * 1 or 3 (?) % photosynthesis efficiency (perhaps unfair; the ‘unused’ light is still sometimes used – if for nothing else, maintaining the scenery) * efficiency of conversion to fossil fuels * etc.) – and then again, outside fusion, nuclear power is quite innefficient considering what tiny fraction of a former star’s output gets stored in radioactive elements. Etc.). My point was/is that thermodynamics and conversion efficiencies are just part of the equation; ultimately it’s economics – which takes into account usefulness of a form of energy, conversion efficiencies and EROEIs, materials, labor, land, etc, and ***if the best policies were in place***, externalities etc. On that point, I don’t know how the cost difference between comparable cars of ICE, EV, HEV, and PHEV affects this or will affect this in the future, but in terms of energy input, EVs and PHEVs may offer a particularly economical way to switch from fossil fuels to clean energy – just not from coal; but what if the savings could (on an aggregate level) offset the costs of getting off of coal?

    PS was it you who said something earlier about adaptation being harder if we have to change how we do things? Well won’t riding single-file in cars that have to be hooked up to buildings to utilize otherwise waste heat require some rather significant changes in how we do things (and it would be changes in how the consumers do things; I would think change at work would be easier).

    Re 92 Thomas – thanks
    but internal combustion engines aren’t particularly efficient. But the real inefficiency with current ICE powered vehicles is that the engines are grossly oversized, i.e. they are designed for rapid accelleration and climbing hills at full highway speed, during normal cruising mode they still incur substantial internal loses, due to moving so much unused engine mass/volume. I’m not familiar with such details of ICEs – so changing gears doesn’t go very far in alleviating that issue? I went over this with Jim Bullis awhile back; best I can recall much of the losses are in idling and the transmission system, aside from breaking; ((P)H)EVs can reduce breaking and idling losses; I’ve heard that an advantage of EVs is that a motor could run each wheel, cutting out the transmission. I had thought that (a good) ICE efficiency might be comparable to (a good?) fuel-burning power plant.

    Now, I agree, that a one to to one replacement is only a minor improvement CO2wise. In fact I might argue, that since the total emissions from liquid fuels will be limited by the availability of liquid hydrocarbons, that electric vehicles simply allow something resembling business as usual to continue post oil. Concievably worse if using electricity from coal (thankfully that’s not the only option), though I haven’t crunched the numbers recently.

    95 ccpo
    – related article:

  50. 100
    dhogaza says:

    Jim Bullis:

    I’ve seen you post here for years now, insisting on some altruistic “my way or the highway” solution to carbon emissions due to personal transportation vehicles, the solution which you hammer us with the notion that you’re the one true company CEO that has a solution.

    I’ve spent much of my relatively long (57 year) long life working with conservation organizations, pushing energy conservation (starting back in the 1970s), etc blah etc blah blah and …

    I’d never think of putting any professional affiliation in my name field, with a link to a corporate or NGO site.

    You are here in an attempt to make money by selling your technology …

    Personally, I think your link that heads each of your posts should be enough to borehole you … post as a person, not your own personal corporate shill for your own corporate person … but apparently the moderators don’t agree.

    But let me make clear I really resent your trying to bend every friggin’ discussion to “my company has the solution to the transportation sector contributions to reducing CO2 emissions”.

    You don’t.