RealClimate logo


Unforced Variations: June 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2011

A new open thread…


487 Responses to “Unforced Variations: June 2011”

  1. 201
    Steve Brown says:

    Global warming since 1995 “now significant” – Phil Jones:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13719510

  2. 202
    Chris Dudley says:

    raypierre in #187,

    Here is what you have to say about your fig 2.2 in the NRC report.

    Figure 2.2 shows an example of stabilization for two different Earth Models of Intermediate Complexity (EMICs), the University of Victoria (UVIC) model and the Bern model (see Methods section for descriptions of these two models; see also Plattner et al., 2008, and references therein for a model intercomparison study). In this example test case, carbon dioxide emissions increase at current growth rates of about 2% per year to a maximum of about 12 GtC per year, followed by a decrease of 3% per year down to a selected total reduction of 50, 80, or 100%….

    Figure 2.2 shows that carbon emission reductions of 50% do not lead to long-term stabilization of carbon dioxide, nor of climate, in either of these models, as has also been shown in previous studies (e.g., Weaver et al., 2007). It is noteworthy that the Bern model has weaker carbon-climate feedbacks than the UVIC model; nevertheless both models show the need for emissions reductions of at least 80% for carbon dioxide stabilization even for a few decades, while longer-term stabilization requires nearly 100% reduction.

    In the actual figure, stabilization is achieved for more than a few decades for an 80% cut from peak. Rather about 15 decades it would seem. This may indicate a confusion in the report between the behavior of carbon dioxide in the upper panel of fig. 2.2 and the behavior of temperature in the lower panel. And, 20% of 12 Gt/y is 2.4 Gt/y, not 1 Gt/yr. By running the code I posted, you can see the shape of the emissions curve needed to get precise stabilization using eqn. 1 from Kharecha and Hansen (2008). I have not extended the calculation beyond 500 years because the longest timescale in the equation is 420 years. It is clear that over the long term emissions must drop towards zero. But there are certainly more than a few decades of rather full-blown industrial society emissions that can continue. 1950’s level fossil fuel use can be allowed for quite some time if the target is stabilization of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 450 ppm.

    This is very important. If you go around saying that emissions have to drop to zero right away, then our only choice is to pray for a technological miracle, essentially the position of the Breakthrough Institute and Andy Revkin. There is no point in taking any action now since it is only the technological miracle that can help, and any efforts taken now towards reducing emissions will be an economic waste and diversion from developing the miracle, say space based solar power or some other wild scheme. But, in fact, the stabilization goal is an easy one to achieve. It can be accomplished with current technology and it can be accomplished most easily by early strong effort. Supporting Andy with false statements about the required cuts (given the 450 ppm target) reduces the chance that we will achieve that target because it encourages a thumb twiddling approach to the problem.

    I, myself, am supportive of a 350 ppm target with less than 100 years of overshoot. That requires somewhat more rapid cuts than the 3% per year in your fig. 2.2; 20% per year down to zero starting now would do the job. At 7% per year, the overshoot is below 360 ppm after 100 years which may be OK. Hansen et al. call for agriculturally based sequestration to allow more room on the emissions side. But, for this target, delay in action cannot be allowed or the target will never be achieved so the thumb twiddlers don’t have any room for delaying tactics. Miracle or not, we have to get started (which might be considered a miracle in itself).

    At the looser target of 450 ppm, if you give the lotus eaters ground, they’ll take it and that only makes the situation worse. You should certainly clarify your statement to Andy.

    Eating lotuses while twiddling your thumbs in the comfy chair is a fate you don’t even want to contemplate ;-)

    [Response: Chris, you’re just making yourself look ridiculous. What’s worse, you’re not even a good candidate for the Borehole, so I don’t really know what to do with you. So let’s just lose the witless taunting, eh? –raypierre]

  3. 203
    Septic Matthew says:

    184, Ron R. : This refusal to acknowledge the serious negatives in nuclear power is why I call many nuke advocates cultists. Like Creationists seemingly nothing can make them question their faith.

    There are serious negatives to all methods of producing electricity, and the electricity itself is dangerous. The appeal of nuclear power is due in part to the fact that tabulated deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity generated are lowest for nuclear power.

    The Fukushima disaster appropriately draws attention, but more people died in an explosion at a natural gas terminal after the earthquake, and most of the damage, deaths, and human suffering that resulted from the earthquake and tsunami are unrelated to the power plants. The US lost a little less than 1% of its nuclear powered electricity in the Three Mile Island disaster, but few or no lives were lost, and 104 reactors have operated well since that time. Solar power, which I support, has its share of problems, including that there is not now a plan for sequestering (or harvesting for recycling) the toxic ingredients in all the solar panels, panels which will have to be replaced 30-40 years after installation. If batteries are used to provide night-time and rainy day power, then the pollution of the manufacture and use of the batteries has to be added in. These are not insurmountable problems, but they are costs.

  4. 204
    Ron R. says:

    Brian Dodge 9 Jun 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Unfortunately Monckton has a point here, with the exception that it’s the notoriously ethically challenged biotech company Monsanto that is to blame.

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Monsanto_and_the_World_Food_Crisis

  5. 205
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ron R. wrote: “Can someone please do a study of why certain people are deliberately self-destructive, ecocidal, cruel and knowingly lie to fulfill the most hateful agendas?”

    That’s been studied to death. The answer is greed.

  6. 206

    Michele writes “I am bewildered.”

    I can only agree, heartily.

  7. 207

    #201–

    And I eagerly await this to be trumpeted to the high heavens by “the best science blog on the web.”

    I said, “Eagerly. . .”

    What, not yet?

  8. 208
    Radge Havers says:

    Ron R. @ 195

    Can someone please do a study of why certain people are deliberately self-destructive, ecocidal, cruel and knowingly lie to fulfill the most hateful agendas?

    I’d like to see that, but we’ve probably already guessed correctly at some of it.

    In short: “faith-based”.

    God wouldn’t destroy the earth — especially not with special little ol’ me on it,
    Technology will fix it.
    Free markets will fix it.
    God wants me to be fat and rich and to strut around wearing a flag pin, and AGW threatens that (and God).
    Oprah says wishing fixes things.
    Scientists are a bunch of smarty pants that we had fun bullying in high school, and fun is gooder than science.
    Scientists are a bunch of crazy monster makers who defy nature.

    And anyway, it’s OK to go over the cliff, because it would be worse to suffer the pain of parting with the other herd-heads.

    On the other hand, some people just do stupid stuff despite knowing better — what’s up with this Wiener guy?

  9. 209
    M says:

    Chris Dudley: I don’t have access to IDL so can’t test your script out, but based on your description of the results, you must be doing something wrong:

    You’ve used equation 1 (the Bern cycle approximation from Kharecha & Hansen). Equation 1 has a constant term of 18%. That means that for emissions in the year 2000, at least 18% of those emissions will remain in the atmosphere for eternity. Ditto for emissions in 2001, 2002, and so on. Given this, it is logically impossible for emissions to remain above zero and concentration not to increase (in the long term).

    In the short term, you can have positive emissions without growing concentrations. Intuitively, this is because the oceans are not in equilibrium with the atmosphere, and are therefore a carbon sink. This is where the “half of emissions stay in the atmosphere” rule of thumb comes from. So if we cut emissions by more than 50%, and the ocean sink stays constant because it depends on the stock of concentrations and not the flow, then concentrations will drop. In terms of your equation, this can be thought of as the contribution of historical emissions is dropping from 100% at t=0 to 18% at t=infinity, so as long as that cumulative drop from the aging of all historical emissions is larger than 100% of the newest emissions, concentrations will drop.

    So, if we cut emissions by 80% today and held them constant at 20% of today’s emissions, then concentrations would drop for a period of a few years (maybe decades)… until eventually the ocean and ecosystems would reach equilibrium with the atmosphere and stop taking up additional carbon, and then concentrations would start growing again and never stop.

    Also, regarding your code, despite my inability to run it without IDL, there are a couple questions:
    First: “do e(i)=b(i)-b(i-1)”
    This is calculating the change in concentration between period i and period i-1. But you’ve labeled “e” as annual emissions. But we know that annual emissions is larger than the change in concentrations, because of the ocean/ecosystem sink due to an imbalance between oceans and atmospheric concentrations.
    Second: “d(i:999)=d(i:999)+e(i)*c(0:999-i)*4.36*2″
    This doesn’t seem right to me. d(i) should equal e(0)*c(i)+e(1)*c(i-1)+… it seems to me that you are assuming here that the calculated concentration at time i is just a function of emissions at time i, and ignores all historical emissions contributions…

    -M

  10. 210
    M says:

    Chris Dudley:
    In your nytimes comment, you claim that Figures 3 + 4 of Kharecha and Hansen support your view. I’d suggest you look at the Figures again. Figure 4 shows 5 scenarios: a BAU scenario and 4 alternative scenarios. The BAU scenario reaches ~570 ppm in 2100. The 4 alternatives all at about 440 ppm in 2100. You will note that emissions in the alternatives have all dropped to below 2 GtC/yr (or about 1/4 of current emissions) by 2100. This particular paper doesn’t show it, but in order to keep concentrations below 440 ppm beyond 2100, emissions would have to keep dropping. So already by 2100 emissions have dropped further than your “one half”, and they have to keep dropping to stay stabilized.

    And, in fact, you should note that Equation 1 is a _fit_ to a real carbon cycle model, not a real carbon cycle model in and of itself. The paper notes that this ignores non-linearities in the carbon cycle and other issues.

  11. 211
    Tom says:

    Good grief. The Rush Limbaugh show today has been even more inane and insane than usual. Today’s diatribe is how scientific consensus is meaningless. The whole Galileo affair is given as an example. Now Roy Spencer has weighed in.

  12. 212
    J Bowers says:

    If you want to check out who’s been getting how much from US nonprofit “institutes”, try 990 Finder.

  13. 213
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 197Michele says:
    10 Jun 2011 at 3:17 AM
    @ many: Venus Syndrome (many)
    @ 60 Patrick “… and of course, the so-called ‘skeptics’ are N O T right …”

    I have the doubt we are charging the CO2 of guilt that isn’t due.

    I would argue that perhaps the level of reasonable doubt necessary to convict people of crimes should be higher than that which would shape policy regarding such externalities. You really don’t want to put an innocent person in jail, but would you shoot a gun at yourself even if you’re only half sure that it’s loaded? I only brought that up because of the term ‘guilt’. Anyway, this may be a moot point; I think the prosecutors have every reason to be confident – so long as the jury isn’t loaded with pro-crime anti-snow ‘bigots’. (Of course the level of information that rises to ‘actionable intelligence’ depends on the action – we could be justified in enacting a CO2eq tax now, even if we expect we’ll be adjusting the tax rate pending future research.)

    If we analyze the profiles of the pressure – temperature of the Earth’s and Venus’ atmospheres
    (e.g. http://www.datasync.com/~rsf1/vel/1918vpt.htm)
    for the same range of the pressures (1000 ÷ 250 mb) we find that the atmospheric temperatures of the two planets are comparable despite the fact that the Venus’ CO2 density is circa 300000 times the Earth’s one. Then, why we have to think that the increase of the CO2 would cause to Earth effects more harmful than to Venus? It seems that we have to charge the cause to the whole mass of the planetary atmosphere and overall to its thickness rather than to the density of the atmospheric CO2.
    I am bewildered.

    This is the type of problem that can arise when someone attempts to educate one’s self without having the background to know what one needs to find out, or else just picks a little grain of truth that sounds nice out of context.

    Venus is closer to the sun, but has a much higher albedo. The thermodynamics of the atmosphere and of convection in particular are different – there’s a somewhat smaller gravitational acceleration (would reduce the adiabatic lapse rate), the average composition is very different, so the specific heat is different as is the specific volume (whereas on Earth you can double CO2 several times over (and increase H2O a bit more) without changing the air’s cp, cv, and quite R so much) – this will also affect the adiabatic lapse rate; also there’s a relative lack of latent heating so far as I know – that will affect the convective lapse rate. Could be some of these effects cancel-out somewhat, but worth pointing out that you need to take some other differences into account when comparing planetary climates and their forcings.

    Consider this – with all the known physics that can be used, if we’re getting the greenhouse effect on Earth wrong, why would we be getting it right on Venus? For example, where is the prediction that Venus should be much hotter than it is (and if you do find one, note the date and any subsequent research)?

    But specifically regarding the role of pressure: Yes, if you take a bunch of matter and compress it adiabatically, the temperature generally rises, by an amount depending on material properties (there may be phase changes /chemical reactions involved). The bringing together dust and larger bits to form the Earth certainly released much gravitational potential energy as heat (after an intermediate stage of kinetic energy), and more gravitational potential energy was released by compositional stratification (formation of the metallic core in particular), which, by increasing g near the center, increased pressure and caused farther contraction, increasing g etc. until some equilibrium was reached – which is still adjusting as the inner core grows (releasing latent heat as well as sensible heat and producing some compositional density variations that can drive the convection of the outer core) and radioactivity in the mantle and crust declines, etc.

    Likewise if you just take a bunch of gas and pressurize it, such as by gravity (reaching hydrostatic balance), the temperature will increase. And then what? If the gas is in contact with a surface then the heat may be conducted/diffused/mixed (slowly) to the surface, and if that surface can radiate to space, then a cool surface temperature can be maintained, allowing heat to continue to be removed from the atmosphere.

    No, if you want to sustain some equilibrium climate above absolute zero, you need to consider ongoing sources and sinks of energy. Such as the sun and the effective cold of space (going by it’s brightness temperature). With an atmosphere that is optically thick to the radiation emitted by the surface, either the surface has to be warmer and radiate more to get the same amount out to space (necessary for a scattering greenhouse), or the radiation has to be emitted by the atmosphere (a more classic greenhouse effect based mainly on absorbitivity and emissivity of the air or what it contains) – and in the later case, with some portion of the total solar heating occuring at the surface, that heat which cannot be radiated to space must get into the atmosphere, and this can occur itself by a net flux to the atmosphere, but if the conditions are such that pure radiative equilibrium is unstable to available types of convection, then convection will also tend to occur, and in this case, a troposphere may be formed with a lapse rate, to a first order, determined by the thermodynamic properties under the given conditions. Then the troposphere and surface together will tend to warm up or cool off to regain radiative equilibrium at the tropopause (which may itself shift position), while the distribution of changes in temperature below the tropopause is determined to a first order by lapse rate feedback. Some greater complexity arises in considering the effects of horizontal and temporal variations in solar heating and internal variability – in some places and times the air is stable to localized convection, allowing radiation to have greater relative importance to the lapse rate, but still involved in the overall general circulation of the troposphere.

    More generally, any system where energy enters in one form but leaves in another may be subject to a greenhouse effect of sorts, where a mechanism that impedes the flow of one type of energy may change the equilibrium concentration of energy. The whole Earth has a greenhouse effect – the radiative greenhouse effect of the Earth beneath the surface is so strong that essentially all heat is transported by convection and conduction – the finite thermal conductivity is itself like a greenhouse agent that keeps the deeper Earth hotter for longer.

    Aside from other RC posts, see also
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/02/18/greenhouse-effect-revisited/
    http://chriscolose.wordpress.com/2010/05/12/goddards-world/
    (and re the last comment there, the height from which radiation reaching space is emitted is not a single level and not necessarily at the very top of the atmosphere – in pressure coordinates in can get clost to TOA but in geometric coordinates it should tend to stay below – there should tend to be definable layer of gas that is so thin in terms of amount of material that is is relatively transparent, yet in geometric coordinates it may extend effectively many km.)

  14. 214
    Ric Merritt says:

    I said (currently #173):

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

    Walter Pearce said (currently #178):

    “Are you new here? Your question has been asked and answered, numerous times on this and other threads.

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

    No, Walter, I am an old hand here, though I comment only now and then. I don’t think you can support your claim at all. My question has been asked only occasionally, usually by myself, and answered basically not at all.

    One might excuse your baseless implication that I am somehow a fan of our current infrastructure (which will change no matter what) as hasty thoughtlessness. If you really meant it, it was childish and vicious.

    Fossil fuel, which must be curtailed if this blog’s central concerns are to be addressed, will go away in any case, led by oil’s decline. Today, we can’t come close to building a wind turbine or a solar panel factory without fossil fuels. The thought of building a nuclear power plant without them is currently just laughable. If you have a good start on how to do any of those things, I would love to hear about it. My request was neither sarcastic nor rhetorical.

    If nobody responds, I just have to conclude nobody is listening. If you take your time, my time, and everybody else’s to respond, at least have the courtesy to respond to what I said in my comment, not what some ignoramus regurgitated on WUWT, a place I know only by reputation.

  15. 215
    SecularAnimist says:

    Rick Merritt (#173 and #214):

    Here’s one idea: the Solar Breeder.

    http://www.ssb-foundation.com/

    There is such a vast — almost unimaginably vast — supply of wind and solar energy available to us, that it is hard for me to see how or why there will be any problem obtaining enough of that energy to power wind turbine and solar panel factories. To the extent necessary, plan on building such factories close to the biggest, best, cheapest sources of renewable energy (as electricity-intensive aluminum manufacturing plants are often located in areas that have abundant, cheap hydropower today).

  16. 216
    Walter Pearce says:

    @Ric Merritt. No Ric, I knew you were an old hand — from the evidence, one who’s been paying sporadic attention.

    Shouldn’t you do a little work yourself before exhorting others to “wrestle HARD” — your words? To channel another old hand here, Google is your friend.

    This took less than 5 minutes. There’s much more out there. Don’t be lazy.

  17. 217

    #160 Alastair, Thanks for that as well, it would be simpler for me to see 24 hour by hour display of an Arctic Ocean summer GRIB lower atmospheric profile, I am very keen on this, and its always difficult to get things as fast as we wish. But David and Jeremy’s model is surely an oversimplification, a better model would include time of day. Nice to hear from you, only clouds will spare the ice again this year. And there seems to be plenty now.

  18. 218
    Piotr says:

    Prokaryotes (#197):
    “the statements in #146 i do not have the impression that they are contradict them self”

    Duh, nobody said they contradicted themselves, the point was that they both contradit _you_:

    Prokaryotes (#63) “we had 300% increased earthquake activities.”
    Scientist 1: “We are not having more earthquakes than usual”
    Scientist 2: “In general, no [increase]”
    Prokaryotes: “the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make”

  19. 219
    Patrick 027 says:

    re michele continued …
    (last paragraph)…(and giving the lapse rate in terms of height like that (cp*DT = -g*Dz) only strictly applies to a layer that is (dry) adiabatic; the more general relationship is between DT and Dp, and applies to any (dry) adiabatic process, at least for an ideal gas of constant composition, regardless of what the environmental lapse rate is. Also, don’t forget latent heating.)

    (second to last paragraph): The whole Earth has a greenhouse effect – the radiative greenhouse effect of the Earth beneath the surface is so strong that essentially all heat is transported by convection and conduction – the finite thermal conductivity is itself like a greenhouse agent that keeps the deeper Earth hotter for longer.

    Not that convection isn’t important in the interior, but if the thermal conductivity were infinite, the temperature everwhere would equal the surface temperature (there wouldn’t be convection). Meanwhile, viscosity allows layers of significant thickness (at the boundaries of convecting layers) to have superadiabatic lapse rates, and thus contributes to a ‘greenhouse effect’.

  20. 220
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 214 Ric Merritt The thought of building a nuclear power plant without them is currently just laughable. If you have a good start on how to do any of those things, I would love to hear about it.

    Well you really should know this by now, but since long answers haven’t worked, here’s the short one:

    How to build clean energy infrastructure without using fossil fuels:

    Step 1: start from scratch (as in preindustrial), just like we did when we didn’t yet use fossil fuels.

    But I was being literal. Here’s the issue we really need to answer:

    How to build a clean energy infrastructure that can be sustained without using fossil fuels:

    Step 1: Just start building a clean energy infrastructure.
    Step 2: Start using clean energy.
    Rinse and repeat.

  21. 221
    Septic Matthew says:

    215, SecularAnimist: There is such a vast — almost unimaginably vast — supply of wind and solar energy available to us, that it is hard for me to see how or why there will be any problem obtaining enough of that energy to power wind turbine and solar panel factories.

    Do we know that they don’t already? Iowa has lots of wind power feeding the grid, and a turbine factory powered from the grid. Phoenix has lots of solar power feeding the grid, and it has PV cell factories powered by the grid? This looks like something that we should look into.

  22. 222
    Ron R. says:

    Tom at 1:06 PM:

    The Rush Limbaugh show today has been even more inane and insane than usual.

    That guy has a lot to answer for.

  23. 223
    wili says:

    Merrit, there was a solar plant that was also run on solar. There is no technical reason more could not be built. They will as the price comes down.

    But it’s really a rather silly thing to insist at this point. No nuke has ever been built only using electricity from other nukes. Why would anyone bother doing such a thing at this point?

    As renewables become more and more the norm and as the economics of renewables improve, obviously more and more of everying will be built, powered and maintained with more and more renewable power.

  24. 224
    Prokaryotes says:

    Piotr, i see you quote me out of context. If you read my comment #63 again you see i meant the past not presence. Why would you do that? Further you cherry pick too, btw because you ask, here is the basis of my earthquake statement from post #63. Notice that volcanic activity is often linked with earthquake activity. Though in this regards 300% might be underestimating, especially when we look at the short timescales of abrupt climate changes (sea level rise).

    “McGuire conducted a study that was published in the journal Nature in 1997 that looked at the connection between the change in the rate of sea level rise and volcanic activity in the Mediterranean for the past 80,000 years and found that when sea level rose quickly, more volcanic eruptions occurred, increasing by a whopping 300 percent.” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20516847/ns/us_news-environment/t/can-warming-trigger-volcanoes-quakes/

    Large Earthquakes Trigger A Surge In Volcanic Eruptions http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090110084653.htm

    Btw, here is another great resource about tectonic and climatic geomorphology http://www.activetectonics.com/

  25. 225
    Prokaryotes says:

    NASA Data Show Earthquakes May Quickly Boost Regional Volcanoes

    Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity. The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia’s Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070410103017.htm

    Was Japan’s volcano eruption linked to its earthquake?
    The eruption of the Shinmoedake volcano hundreds of miles away may be linked to the quake, but it’s difficult to prove, one scientist says. In general, though, one can easily affect the other. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/18/science/la-sci-quake-volcano-20110319

  26. 226
    Edward Greisch says:

    214, 173 Ric Merritt: “please explain how to maintain your favored infrastructure while (and after) fossil fuel use drops to essentially zero”
    In other words, you want me to look into a crystal ball and tell you how trucks are powered in the year 2100. Is that right?
    I don’t know. I don’t have a crystal ball. I have only science and math.
    The essential problem is that at the present time we use liquid fuel for transportation and electricity is not a liquid fuel. That is not something that must be addressed right now. What we have to do right now is knock King Coal off of his throne. If we switch electricity production off of fossil fuels, we can then consider the next step.

    There are many possible next steps.

    216 Walter Pearce: That isn’t what Ric Merritt meant. Ric Merritt wants to know whether we are going to run cars on ammonia or hydrazine or batteries or overhead electric wires, as in a third rail system for trollies. That is 4 of the myriad possibilities. There are others, like compressed hydrogen that we make by electrolyzing water, taking CO2 out of the air and using it as a carbon source to make gasoline, etc. Hydrazine is a bad idea because hydrazine is an explosive without air.

  27. 227
    Edward Greisch says:

    168 dhogaza: “I suggest you stop flooding the forum with your misinformation regarding renewables and nuclear”
    I am telling you the truth. So, same to you and 170 SecularAnimist.

    171 Patrick 027: Every wind turbine still needs a concrete foundation.

    184 Ron R. I read page 323 of Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. I didn’t find your quote. So same to you. What is wrong with: http://www.fpif.org/articles/nuclear_recycling_fails_the_test
    Just to pick the obvious: Iodine 129 has a half life of 8 days. LONG LIVED???????

    Why don’t you 4 get Japan to use only high temperature geothermal heat to make electricity from now on? Japan has lots of volcanoes, so it should be ideal. Right now Japan gets over 60% of its electricity from coal. Now would be the ideal time to act.

  28. 228
    John Finn says:

    To RC Contributors

    Can I just draw your attention to what I feel sure is an error in last month’s GISS station data.

    The data for Concepcion (23.4 deg S, 57.4 deg W) is here

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.308861340004.1.1/station.txt

    It shows a mean temperature for April of 28.6 deg C

    1. The average April temp at Concepcion up to 2010 was 23.5 deg.
    2. The Max April temp up to 2010 was 25.6 deg C (3 deg below 2011).
    3. The April 2011 temp is warmer than Jan, Feb & March. Remember this is a location in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s a bit like October being warmer than June, Jul & August in the NH.
    4. Other sources suggest the actual temperature was much lower than the one recorded by GISS.

    I’m not trying to make an issue out of this. I accept it’s probably a simple error but it has been seized upon by certain groups and, although I’m fairly sceptical of “serious” AGW, I’m fed up with irrelevant arguments about the quality of the surface temperature record.

    If you could get it fixed it would make me feel happier. Ta.

  29. 229
    Harmen says:

    The new Keeling lecture is online..

    Keeling Lecture:Climate Change:The Evidence and Our Options
    10 jun 2011 UCtelevision

    In this Second Annual Keeling Lecture from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Lonnie G. Thompson, distinguished professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University and recipient of both the National Medal of Science and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, provides insight into the convincing evidence of climate change provided by glaciers and polar ice-caps, and the implications that inaction in the face of this rapid change will have on societies on a global scale. Series: “Perspectives on Ocean Science”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgnX6bNaijc

  30. 230
    Walter Pearce says:

    Edward@216. Edward, we can’t have a dialog if neither party listens. In this case, it’s clear you didn’t even visit the responsive link I provided to Ric Merritt.

    If you’re going to rant and rave off topic, please find a street corner.

  31. 231
    Ron R. says:

    Edward Greisch at 12:09 AM said:

    I read page 323 of Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2. I didn’t find your quote.

    Read the bottom of the page.

    Just to pick the obvious: Iodine 129 has a half life of 8 days. LONG LIVED???????

    Close. Well, cosmicly speaking. Your only off by 15.7 million years. Just a blink of time compared to the age of the universe.

    http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/iodine.html#change

    :-)

  32. 232
    Ron R. says:

    Septic Matthew 10 Jun 2011 at 9:02 AM said:

    There are serious negatives to all methods of producing electricity, and the electricity itself is dangerous.

    True, however you won’t find any clean alternative with the very real potential to completely devastate a vast area for many thousands of years and leave a lingering trail of misery and death like you will with nuclear. They are simply not comparable, and it’s just wrong to claim that they are. And unlike most accidents with solar or wind (somebody falling off a roof installing panels or getting hit with a wind blade), victims of nuclear accidents have no say in the matter.

    The appeal of nuclear power is due in part to the fact that tabulated deaths per terawatt-hour of electricity generated are lowest for nuclear power.

    Tabulated. The problem is that, 1) we know that excess radiation causes cancer. 2) most cancers take years to show up so that the true totals are masked. I happen to suspect that many of the millions of lung cancer deaths of the past are in large part (along with smoking) attributable to more than 2,000 nuclear tests the world undertook. The connection to smoking is that smoking destroys the cilia and otherwise weakens lungs that, when healthy, can remove most inhaled contaminants. Asbestosis is also worse in smokers. Radiation’s effects in people is like Co2 in the atmosphere, we know that it has to have an effect, it is an action that demands a reaction.
    http://www.mesothelioma.com/mesothelioma/risk-factors/smoking.htm

    but more people died in an explosion at a natural gas terminal after the earthquake

    I don’t like to compare one bad with another.

    The US lost a little less than 1% of its nuclear powered electricity in the Three Mile Island disaster, but few or no lives were lost

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1469835/
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harvey-wasserman/people-died-at-three-mile_b_179588.html

    and 104 reactors have operated well since that time.

    Personally, I don’t consider 200 “near misses” to meltdowns (and those are just the ones that we know of) as of 2006 that much of a success. But hey that’s me. I’d like to raise the bar. It should be Impossible for any invention of ours to have the potential to accidentally cause the kind of devastation that nuclear can. Nothing’s impossible? Sure it is. No clean alternative can ever do what nukes can.
    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/an-american-chernobyl-nuclear

    I agree 100% with your comments about recycling the toxins in solar panels, and also that they are not insurmountable problems.

  33. 233
    Piotr says:

    Prokaryotes: “Piotr, i see you quote me out of context. If you read my comment #63 again you see i meant the past not presence.”

    That’s a cop-out, since the ONLY reason why you referred to the “past” was to imply that a similar thing happens in the “presence”. And the best proof of your intention is in your own posts (#110, #112, #113 etc) where you give links to at least 10 GRAPHS refering not to 80,000 years ago, but to today + very RECENT past (the last several years, the last several decades, or the last 135 yrs at most). So to prevent you from squirming out on a technicality, let me rephrase:

    Prokaryotes claims that in the present times we see a significant increase in earthquakes
    Scientist 1: “We are not having more earthquakes than usual”
    Scientist 2: “In general, no [increase]”
    Prokaryotes: “the scientist which observe earthquake, make a rather good case here, same point i tried to make”

    Satisfied ?

  34. 234
    JiminMpls says:

    #227 Ed – Iodine-129 has a half-life of 15.7 million years. Your lies get more brazen with every post.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iodine-129
    http://www.ead.anl.gov/pub/doc/Iodine.pdf

  35. 235
    Prokaryotes says:

    Piotr, you should use complete “quotes” and even though i post a lot, doesn’t necessarily mean i agree 100% with the content. So to summarize again:

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

    I believe that the recent earthquake and corresponding volcanic activity at present times is very likely considered significant. Further this is in agreement with the theory of climate change in general and tectonic geomorphology in particular.

    For any further discussion about the significance, refer to the science/university studies etc. A collection of related data can be found here
    http://climateprogress.net/blog/climate-science/71-climate-change-drives-earthquake-seismic-activity.html

  36. 236
    Ron R. says:

    I’m going to qualify something I said before. No clean alternative can ever do what nukes can. Someone will point out hydroelectric dams can break and cause flooding and deaths down river. True. However I don’t consider dams a good clean alternative, same as I don’t consider biofuels clean. Dams are destructive to the local environment. As an energy source they would be my last resort before using oil, coal or nuclear.

    [Response: I agree about dams. Having seen what Vattenfall did to Stora Sjöfallet, the chain of lakes and marshes near Sarek that’s now covered by the reservoir Akkajaure and its extension southward, and large tracts of the rest of Swedish Lappland, I feel like trading some of that destruction for a few more nukes might have been a good deal. Not that that was an option when they decided to turn off Europe’s biggest waterfall in the 1920’s, but the pillage continued well into the 1970’s. By the way, despite its name, Vattenfall is a major operator promoter of coal fired power plants throughout Europe. –raypierre]

  37. 237
    dhogaza says:

    EG:

    Why don’t you 4 get Japan to use only high temperature geothermal heat to make electricity from now on?

    Why would I do that? Just because I think you’re full of it much of the time doesn’t mean I don’t accept that nuclear power is going to be part of the mix for the foreseeable future.

    I can point out that three core meltdowns is a strange definition of “survival” without fitting either of your strawman characterizations of those who disagree with your misinformation campaign (the first being that we’re “scared” of nuclear power, and the latest apparently being that we think Japan needs to shut down all of its nuclear power plants).

  38. 238
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 227 Edward Greisch –

    171 Patrick 027: Every wind turbine still needs a concrete foundation.

    In as far as my casual assertion that g CO2eq/kWh is a rough indicator of EROIE, yes, that emphasizes why it’s rough/imperfect indicator. As would the land use and methane emissions contributions to CO2eq.

    But in as far as g CO2eq/kWh is concerned, so what? Are you saying specifically that a number as low as nuclear can’t be achieved for wind including concrete? What about CSP? (And what is the lifetime of a concrete foundation – can it be reused after 30 years? Otherwise it could be used as a CO2 sink ? …)

    By the way, by the time we get to numbers so low overall for wind, apparently at least some if not most solar, and nuclear, the justified externality tax of $x / ton CO2eq makes less of a difference among them even if one emits 2 or 3 times as much as the other. It’s much more important to deciding between those as a group verses coal, petroleum, and natural gas. So other criteria among those low emissions technologies may have greater relative importance.

  39. 239
    Ron R. says:

    raypierre. Yes. Hetch hetchy, Glen Canyon, Three Gorges are other examples.
    But, again, we need to prioritize clean alternatives first and foremost and save the bad ones as a last resort just to make sure everyone’s covered. The reverse of what we’ve been doing for a very long time now.

    I don’t even know why this needs defending.

  40. 240
    Septic Matthew says:

    232, Ron R: I don’t like to compare one bad with another.

    But that’s what the electricity power debate is all about, the deaths from “this” versus the deaths from “that” and the “others”. In the end we’ll have more deaths (disease, suffering, damage) or fewer (and we’ll have more total wealth or less).

  41. 241
    Clippo (UK) says:

    re: #188 & 199, how about this addition to your silly comments list :-

    Rocket scientist Dr David Evans – (Climate related publications zero & courtesy of Desmogblog).-
    In US academic and industry parlance, “rocket scientist” means anyone who has completed a PhD in one of the hard sciences at one of the top US institutions. The term arose for people who *could* do rocket science, not those who literally build rockets. Thus the term “rocket scientist” means someone with a PhD in physics, electrical engineering, or mathematics (or perhaps a couple of other closely related disciplines), from MIT, Stanford, Caltech, and maybe a few other institutions.

    I did a PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford in the 1980s. Electrical engineering is your basic high tech degree, because most high technology spawned from electrical information technology. I specialized in signal processing, maths, and statistics.

  42. 242

    #236 Ray and Ron, A little imagination would make Hydro electricity quite green, suggest the concept of a Chunnel along side the river shore for a Chunnel like distance, it may create an artificial mountain, at best it would capture Spring flooding (like now from the Mississippi) and slow discharge its load until the next spring. THe nuclear option is near death, no one wants to live by one, and in fact in Fukushima and Thchernobyl, no one lives by one.

  43. 243
    Chris Colose says:

    Michele (197)

    I’ve now seen at least half a dozen bloggers trying to argue against a significant greenhouse effect on Venus by claiming the temperature at the 1 bar pressure level is comparable to Earth. One person went so far to say that the albedo and atmosphere were both irrelevant, all that mattered was the distance to the sun. All of this has been supplemented by massive confusion concerning the lapse rate, the ideal gas law, etc. I really don’t see how any of the logic follows or where the physics is. I have a SkepticalScience piece ready to go within a day or so to clarify some of these things, as it’s getting mildly irritating.

  44. 244
    Edward Greisch says:

    230 Walter Pearce: “you didn’t even visit the responsive link I provided to Ric Merritt.”
    Yes I did. A Sciam article on wind power. It is irrelevant to the question.

    231 Ron R.: Safari can’t find the server.
    Safari can’t open the page “http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/radionuclides/iodine.html#change” because Safari can’t find the server “www.epa.gov”.

    232 Ron R. “completely devastate a vast area for many thousands of years and leave a lingering trail of misery and death like you will with nuclear”
    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb:

    Bombs are completely different from reactors. There is nothing similar about them except that they both need fissile materials. But they need DIFFERENT fissile materials and they use them very differently.
    A nuclear bomb “compresses” pure or nearly pure fissile material into a small space. The fissile material is either the uranium isotope 235 or plutonium. They are the reduced bright shiny metals, not metal oxide. If it is uranium, it is at least 90% uranium 235 and 10% or less uranium 238. These fissile materials are metals and very difficult to compress. Because they are difficult to compress, a high explosive [high speed explosive] is required to compress them. Pieces of the fissile material have to slam into each other hard for the nuclear reactions to take place.
    A nuclear reactor, such as the ones used for power generation, does not have any pure fissile material. The fuel may be 0.7% to 8% uranium oxide 235 mixed with uranium 238 oxide [uranium rust]. A mixture of 0.7% to 8% uranium 235 rust mixed with uranium 238 rust cannot be made to explode no matter how hard you try. A small amount of plutonium oxide mixed in with the uranium oxide can not change this. Reactor fuel still cannot be made to explode like a nuclear bomb no matter how hard you try. There has never been a nuclear explosion in a reactor and there never will be. [Pure reduced metallic uranium and plutonium are flammable, but a fire isn’t an explosion.] The fuel is further diluted by being divided and sealed into many small steel capsules. The capsules are usually contained in steel tubes. The fuel is further diluted by the need for coolant to flow around the capsules and through the core so that heat can be transported to a place where heat energy can be converted to electrical energy. A reactor does not contain any high speed [or any other speed] chemical explosive as a bomb must have. A reactor does not have any explosive materials at all.
    As is obvious from the above descriptions, there is no possible way that a reactor could ever explode like a nuclear bomb. Reactors and bombs are very different. Reactors and bombs are really not even related to each other.
    Reccomendation: Nuclear power is the safest kind and it just got safer. Convert all coal-fired power plants to nuclear ASAP. See the December 2005 issue of Scientific American article on a new type of nuclear reactor that consumes the nuclear “waste” as fuel.

    “we know that excess radiation causes cancer. ”
    Over 100 rems, yes. Under 10 rems, no.

    See: http://www.ornl.gov/ORNLReview/rev26-34/text/coalmain.html
    Coal fired power plants give you 100 to 400 times as much radiation as nuclear plants are allowed to.
    Health Risks from Exposure to Low Levels of Ionizing Radiation: BEIR VII – Phase 2
    See the text written by the scientists, not the propaganda front piece that was written by the coal industry.

  45. 245
    SecularAnimist says:

    There is a must-read article at the ClimateProgress blog today, which looks at trends in high vs. low temperature records, and reviews recent studies that indicate unexpectedly extreme temperature increases are likely during the 21st century:

    Mother Nature is Just Getting Warmed Up: June 2011 Heat Records Crushing Cold Records by 13 to 1
    By Joe Romm
    June 11, 2011 10:34 am
    http://www.ClimateProgress.org

  46. 246
    SecularAnimist says:

    I hesitate to post this comment since I would NEVER, EVER for one moment wish to suggest that responsible advocacy, or even zealous promotion, of nuclear power be censored or suppressed.

    It is vital for people to recognize the urgent need to replace fossil fueled electricity generation ASAP, especially coal, and I categorically welcome advocacy of any and all possible solutions — even those which, as in the case of expanding nuclear power, I believe to be neither necessary nor effective, and which may in fact be counterproductive and expose us to unnecessary dangers and risks. That’s my view, and I have no problem with others making a case for their own, different view.

    Having said that, Edward Greisch’s comments on this thread are beyond the reasonable bounds of even zealous advocacy, and approach trolling or even spam.

    He is unresponsive to criticism, replying with irrelevancies, repetition of established falsehoods, non sequiturs, and even insults. He accuses those who disagree with him of being shills (even paid shills) for the coal industry. He posts long, copied-and-pasted, sometimes irrelevant boilerplate text over and over again, and repeats over and over again the same, many-times-over debunked assertions.

    It’s a bore. It’s as boring as rote regurgitation of AGW denialist talking points. And I reluctantly nominate such comments for consignment to the Bore Hole.

  47. 247
    Magnus W says:

    raypierre,

    The story of Vattenfalll is quite complex It is mainly owned by the Swedish government which for decades supposedly should aim at closing down nuclear power stations due to the result of the national vote 1980 (referendum) and also support and aims at big CO2 cuts. However, “state companies” should be run like “real companies” so politicians should not try to influence it (to much)… so they still go after nuces and coal. Earlier the argument for coal was CCS which they are doing some good experiments in… but over all they have not handled it well and I think the Politicians have had enough now so something new might be happening. Vattenfall also owned some of the nuclear power stations that Germany might close down… which also will be interesting to follow.

  48. 248
    prokaryotes says:

    This article highlights a broad band of psychological impacts originating from climate change – a great overview of current science:

    The Psychological Impacts of Global Climate Change

    An appreciation of the psychological impacts of global climate change entails recognizing the complexity and multiple meanings associated with climate change; situating impacts within other social, technological, and ecological transitions; and recognizing mediators and moderators of impacts. This article describes three classes of psychological impacts: direct (e.g., acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment); indirect (e.g., threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks); and psychosocial (e.g., chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conflicts, and postdisaster adjustment).

    Three classes of psychological impacts

    Direct (e.g., acute or traumatic effects of extreme weather events and a changed environment)
    Indirect (e.g., threats to emotional well-being based on observation of impacts and concern or uncertainty about future risks)
    Psychosocial (e.g., chronic social and community effects of heat, drought, migrations, and climate-related conflicts, and postdisaster adjustment). http://climateprogress.net/climate/psychology/76-the-psychological-impacts-of-global-climate-change.html

  49. 249
    Ron R. says:

    Edward Greisch says:
    11 Jun 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb

    It doesn’t need to explode like a nuclear bomb. As demonstrated by Chernobyl and Fukushima (although those explosions were big), all it needs is some outlet to the outside, then winds can do the simple work of distributing the radiation far and wide. Smaller explosions do quite nicely thank you very much.

    “we know that excess radiation causes cancer. ”
    Over 100 rems, yes. Under 10 rems, no.

    Linear No Threshold.

    Coal fired power plants give you 100 to 400 times as much radiation as nuclear plants are allowed to.

    The key words there being “allowed to”.

  50. 250
    dhogaza says:

    Why a Nuclear Powerplant CAN NOT Explode like a Nuclear Bomb

    Another strawman. Anyone with even a casual, passing knowledge of nuclear power plants knows they can’t explode like a nuclear bomb.

    Again, you assign ridiculous, strawman beliefs to others in an effort to make them look ridiculous.

    This is dishonest and further undermines your credibility.


Switch to our mobile site