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Unforced variations: Jun 2020

Filed under: — group @ 2 June 2020

This month’s open thread on climate science issues.

93 Responses to “Unforced variations: Jun 2020”

  1. 1
    MA Rodger says:

    UAH has posted for May 2020 with a TLT anomaly of +0.54ºC, pretty-much average for the year-to-date (which recorded +0.56ºC, +0.76ºC, +0.48ºC & +0.38ºC through its first 4 months). May 2020 is =2nd warmest May in the UAH TLT record, behind 1998 (+0.64ºC), equalling 2016 and ahead of May 2017 (+0.45ºC), 2010 (+0.41ºC), 2019 (+0.32ºC), 2010 (+0.32ºC), 2017 (+0.31ºC), 2015 (+0.27ºC) & 2002 (+0.25ºC).
    May 2020 sits =16th in the UAH TLT all-month anomaly record.

    After five months, the ‘warmest start-of-year table’ in UAH TLT runs as follows (also showing the calender year averages & rankings). 2020 sits in an impressive 3rd place for a non-El Niño-boosted start-of-year:-
    … … … … … Jan-May average … … . Annual Ave & ranking
    2016 …. …. …. …. +0.69ºC … … … …+0.53ºC … … … 1st
    1998 …. …. …. …. +0.60ºC … … … …+0.48ºC … … … 2nd
    2020 …. …. …. …. +0.54ºC
    2010 …. …. …. …. +0.44ºC … … … …+0.33ºC … … … 5th
    2017 …. …. …. …. +0.39ºC … … … …+0.40ºC … … … 4th
    2019 …. …. …. …. +0.37ºC … … … …+0.44ºC … … … 3rd
    2002 …. …. …. …. +0.25ºC … … … …+0.22ºC … … … 8th
    2018 …. …. …. …. +0.24ºC … … … …+0.23ºC … … … 7th
    2007 …. …. …. …. +0.23ºC … … … …+0.16ºC … … … 12th
    2002 …. …. …. …. +0.22ºC … … … …+0.20ºC … … … 9th
    2003 …. …. …. …. +0.22ºC … … … …+0.19ºC … … … 10th

  2. 2
    Piotr says:

    MA Rodger, May (188) “I’ve said my piece. I would suggest you re-read what is said @185 but I know it can be so very difficult struggling through a couple of hundred words”
    Piotr: Spare me your paternalizing tone – I have read you arguments and I have answered them_ in detail_, using the data from _your own source_ ((Williams et al (2017)), and even provided you with the way to falsify my arguments: all you needed to do was to:

    a) show that your own source was wrong in characterizing the Moon’s regolith as highly insulating AND
    b) disprove Fig. 9a from your source in which the max. temperature peak is at the noon. Because if the max. temp are at noon, then this implies that thermal inertia is very small -> Moons temp reflect INSTANTANEOUS balance between solar heat in and IR Radiation out -> and if so, the length of the day does not matter for the max. temp – it is the same each time there is a noon, whether this noon happens to be every 30 days, every 24 hrs or every 3 hrs

    You have done neither. Instead you:
    1. replaced my arguments with your concoctions – e.g. claiming that I didn’t talk about the SPECIFIC situation of the highly insulated by regolith Moon, but generally about any … “solid rocky object”

    2. not able to explain the lack of massive temp asymmetry (see point b above) in your OWN data source, you … dismissed my argument by saying that I “relied on a visual inspection”, instead of doing, like you, “scaling”

    3. I asked what “scaling” are you talking about, how is this scaling supposed to prove your point, and WHY would you scaling be needed to notice such a MASSIVE effect (“surely primary” reason for temperature departure of 103K!) on the graph which entire Y-axis range is … 350 K.

    4. to which you … changed subject from the Moon’s temp. MAXIMA to the …temp. mimima – i.e. to nighttime data near the poles, because anywhere else the effect you were after was … “too small to register”. If this is not cherry-picking the data to fit your claims, I don’t know what is.

    5. even though you referred to your Stefan-Boltzmann calculations – you either have no idea, or pretended to have no idea, that the radiative heat loss at 400K would be orders of magnitude (>250x) larger than the heat loss at 100K.

    But don’t let all these to stop you from lecturing me how, unlike you, I am not open to arguments, which I “clearly don’t want to hear”.

    [Details of the arguments and links to the data at the end of May 2020 thread]

  3. 3
    Mr. Know It All says:

    1 – MA Rodger
    Thanks for the data, but with the clear global atmosphere due to a big decrease in burning of FFs, May should have been even warmer due to more heat making it thru the smog, no? We’re having a nice spring here in the PNW USA, a few warm days, but many days with highs 10 F below “average”. The big blue pond is helping us. ;)

    108 – MA Rodger (UV May 2020)
    “So what are we to conclude? US weather is crazier than Trump?”
    Here ya go:
    https://ifunny.co/meme/calm-down-little-trump-hater-1-found-your-binky-haha-hSy9A70H7

    Don’t put me in the denier electric chair! Killian wants that job!

    At least 5 of the “high temps since 1970” in the Wikipedia list had asterisks indicating they were tied with previous dates. ;)

    109 – CCHolley
    “The use of the high temperatures of the 1930s in North America to cast doubt on AGW is quite lame.”

    Perhaps, but using collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet in less than 100 years to cast doubt on AGW is not lame – in fact it seems to be similar to what we are told (by scientists) we are witnessing at this time in history, and the evil oil burning SUVs didn’t even exist yet:

    https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/21/world/science-health-world/eurasian-ice-sheet-collapse-14000-years-ago-raised-seas-8-meters-study-says/#.XtdTipXn99B

    114 – Gavin
    “[Response: The contrast should be with what happens if we continue to emit. Then you are talking about +2, +3ºC or higher levels of warming. – gavin]”

    If we get to 0 emissions by 2050, what does the CO2 decay graph look like after that assuming no manmade removal of CO2?

    Heard about any promising CO2 removal plans that might actually be affordable and large enough to make a difference?

    163 – MA Rodger
    “The moon with its 708-hour day has a noon-day equitorial temperature of 120ºC. Higher or lower with an atmosphere? Frankly I wouldn’t know what such a slow rotation would do to an earth-like atmosphere.”

    HOLY COW! Thanks, I never considered the effect of rotation rate! Do earth climate science models not take into account the 24 hour rotation? They’d have to if they are based on physics first principles, right? Maybe they aren’t, I don’t know – but I’m still not changing my name! ;)

    However in later posts, CC scientists are arguing about how planet rotational speed affects temperature. Everyone – back to the physics books! :)

    177 – Adam L.
    “…UK authorities need to seriously start looking at building resiliance in the infrastructure and agriculture to sustained periods of drought…”

    Reverse osmosis to desalinate sea water perhaps?

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-dont-we-get-our-drinking-water-from-the-ocean/

  4. 4

    DBB 669: Indeed wind turbines do kill bats. The rules should state that wind farms do not operate during bat flying hours, dusk until whenever.

    Raptors quickly learn, the survivors that is, not to attempt to fly in wind farms and a long way down wind. So the field mice are unchecked, ruining the underlying land. I think that the rules ought to require the wind farms in raptor areas not to operate during daylight hours.

    BPL: I knew you were pro-nuclear, but I didn’t know you’d adopted E-P’s attitude toward renewables.

    Wind turbine fatalities of bats and birds are tiny compared to those inflicted by cats, cars, and buildings. Even so, they have been greatly reduced by 1) siting turbines away from bird migratory paths, 2) painting stalks lavender instead of white, 3) attaching whistles to the blades which scare away birds and bats, and 4) painting silhouettes of raptors on the stalks. So this is a false issue.

  5. 5
    Russell says:

    This month, Presidiential Science News Channel anchorman Tucker Carlson will report from Maine on the deliberate distortion of so-called ocean heat content data by thermal pollution from wet markets controlled by the Chinese government.

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/05/carlson-to-be-new-presidential-science.html

  6. 6

    KIA 3: Do earth climate science models not take into account the 24 hour rotation?

    BPL: You could look it up, but you won’t, so I’ll answer your question: Of course they do. They use the Navier-Stokes equations for fluid motion, and a big part of that is the Earth’s rotation, and more importantly, its differential rotation with latitude (e.g. Coriolis force).

  7. 7
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @4 — Oh dear, you don’t actually look at the data! Cats, etc. kill neither bats nor raptors. Where do you suppose the bat colony at Carlsbad Cavern goes to hunt? West Texas maybe? Where there are ever more wind turbines?

    Why do you suppose that DoI gives raptor kill allowances to wind farms?

    I follow all this moderately well and have yet to see anything at all about bird migration in wind farm siting. How about citing references for your assertions?

    Lavender? Ha, ha, ha!

  8. 8
    Piotr says:

    Mr. Know It All Wrong (3): “HOLY COW! Thanks, I never considered the effect of rotation rate! Do earth climate science models not take into account the 24 hour rotation? [CC scientists] Everyone – back to the physics books!”

    Hmm, “My faith! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose while knowing nothing of it, and I am the most obliged person in the world to you for telling me so.” ? ;-)

    If you don’t get the reference – a hint: the Earth’s rotation rate has increased by 3 hrs in last 600 Myr, hence cannot explain local temp. records in the last 10 years.

    Mr KIAW: “using collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet in less than 100 years to cast doubt on AGW is not lame […] and the evil oil burning SUVs didn’t even exist yet”

    – Your Honour, my client is innocent, even though was stopped with two empty gas cans next to the forest fire. He could not possibly have started the fire, because forest fires were happening long before the KIAs. Back to your books, Judge, ha ha ha! And my client is NOT lame – he has said it himself so!

  9. 9

    #3, KIA–

    Do earth climate science models not take into account the 24 hour rotation?

    Uh, dude, if you go to Google Scholar and search ‘climate+model+diurnal+cycle’ you get ~237k hits.

    So what do you think?

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C41&q=diurnal+cycle+climate+models&btnG=

  10. 10

    In addition to what Barton said at #4, fossil fuels kill an awful lot of birds–multiples of wind power. And that’s not accounting for climate change.

    Here’s one modality:

    When oil and gas gets pumped from the earth, saltwater comes with it. In this wastewater, residual oil creates a sheen resembling the surface of a sunlit pond. Often there’s no natural water for miles. Insects, reptiles, amphibians, and waterfowl are drawn in and get fouled if the wastewater isn’t covered. Their struggles attract raptors, which also get fouled. Songbirds and bats swoop down to snatch thrashing insects, then die. Any bird able to extricate itself ingests toxins when it preens, thereby destroying its kidneys and liver. And, if it’s incubating, oil on its feathers poisons the eggs.

    My guide, Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agent Rob Lee, used a perforated serving spoon to extricate rib cages, legs, feathers, beaks, bones, and unidentified body parts from uncovered pits and tanks. Everything was cooked in sun-blasted brine.

    https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-a-trump-administration-rule-could-kill-millions-of-birds

    Here’s another:

    In central Colorado, Fish and Wildlife Special Agents Roger Gephart and Leo Suazo once showed me what happens to raptors when they perch or nest on uninsulated power poles. “See that pole,” said Gephart. “It’s new.” A great horned owl had incinerated the old pole along with itself when it had touched two live wires. We found copious raptor bones and feathers under other poles.

    Piled in the back of Gephart’s truck were electrocuted birds he’d recently picked up, including a golden eagle with its feathers burned off, a bald eagle with a melted beak, and a red-tailed hawk still clutching a coachwhip snake. Near the snake’s head was a charcoal-ringed hole where the current had entered.

    But enforcement has been stopped by a new rule from the maladministration:

    But if a rule proposed on January 30 by the Trump administration is finalized, violators like BP won’t have to pay a cent.

    The proposal came in the form of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) release. But according to all the wildlife professionals I interviewed, the agency’s staff had nothing to do with it. The release included no word from any wildlife advocate, only gushing approbation from people and organizations given a heads-up in advance of the proposal and speaking for energy, mining, utilities, agribusiness, land development, and other interests that find the MBTA inconvenient.

    Spoiler alert: the rule change was indeed duly approved, to the delight of, among others, the Heartland Institute. That body will be familiar to many here from its work in support of climate change denialism.

    Yeah, I’m pulling a “whatabout” here. But honestly, what does it say when those allegedly concerned about bird mortality fail to oppose the neutering of an environmental protection rule that’s had a huge effect on curbing unintentional bird mortality, and that goes all the way back to 1918? And what does it say that they ignore the *beneficial* effect of clean energy on bird mortality via the reduction of fossil fuel use?

  11. 11
    Ken Fabian says:

    BPL – I think there is an underlying assumption that it is Political Environmentalism that is in the climate action driver’s seat and “they” ought to be uncompromising towards real and potential environmental downsides of renewable energy, as they are towards fossil fuels. As if it is terribly hypocritical of them to show any willingness to compromise.

    If it is somehow up to Environmentalists to come up with acceptable solutions, that is only because mainstream politics – those holding positions of high trust and fiduciary responsibility in the very Offices where relevant policy is developed and enacted – have abrogated their own responsibilities. Handing the podium to Environmentalists and political extremists looks to me like a way to have an excuse to oppose not only the measures such people propose, but oppose the more measured and reasonable measures from reasonable mainstream sources. And to divert attention form not having solution of their own.

    That impression of people who want strong climate action are all uncompromising fanatics has been widely promoted, but it is false. Failure of climate action advocacy to present as the ugly and unreasonable stereotyped fanatics does not suit the anti-environmentalist narrative, thus the criticism for not being fanatical enough with respect to wind and solar.

  12. 12
    CCHolley says:

    RE. Mr. Know Nothing @3

    Perhaps, but using collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet in less than 100 years to cast doubt on AGW is not lame – in fact it seems to be similar to what we are told (by scientists) we are witnessing at this time in history, and the evil oil burning SUVs didn’t even exist yet.

    More humor from the RealClimate troll clown.

    Collapse of the Eurasian ice sheet in less than 100 years? Quote from his linked article:
    But rapid regional warming saw the ice sheet collapse over a period of just 500 years, according to authors of the study published in Nature Geoscience.

    Regardless, using past climate changes as an attempt to cast doubt on AGW is actually quite lame. Just because climate has changed in the past without the benefit the of actions by humankind doesn’t mean humankind cannot influence temperatures by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Logic apparently isn’t a strength of Mr. No Nothing.

  13. 13
    Dan says:

    re: 3. ” Everyone – back to the physics books! ”

    Says the clueless denier who still has yet to learn the scientific method. You do a great job of embarrassing yourself with your scientific ignorance. (Still waiting for you to explain why the stratosphere is cooling when it should be warming if global warming was a natural occurrence due to the sun.)

  14. 14
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @4 — As of a year ago, bat and bird kills were still an issue:
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/thread/676/foibles-renewables?page=2#post-6841
    Also insects, by the trillions.

  15. 15
    MA Rodger says:

    As reported in the media, the Copernicus ERA5 reanalysis is reporting last month as globally the warmest May on record. The global anomaly was +0.63ºC, the 15th highest monthly anomaly on the ERA5 all-month record and actually the lowest anomaly of 2020-to-date (Jan to Apr anomalies running +0.77ºC, +0.80ºC, +0.68ºC & +0.70ºC).
    A year-on-year graph of the ERA5 data is set out here (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’) showing the development of what may well become the hottest year on record, and that without the benefit of a boost from El Niño.
    And a “scorchyissimo” alert.
    The 12-months to May 2020 in ERA5 averages +0.66ºC, the warmest 12-month-period-to-May on record, ahead of the El-Niño-boosted period to May 2016 (+0.61ºC), and 3rd placed to May 2017 (+0.57ºC), to May 2019 (+0.50ºC), May 2018 (+0.47ºC), to Mays 2015 & 2010 both (+0.34ºC). (And if June 2020 sets an anomaly above what would be presently a rather chilly +0.55ºC, we will have the warmest 12-moonth period on the ERA5 record with any end-month.)
    “Scorchyissimo!!!”

  16. 16
    Steven Emmerson says:

    BPL@4, Another potential solution would be to automatically monitor for birds and shut down the relevant wind turbines. See .

  17. 17
    Steven Emmerson says:

    I enclosed the link in angle brackets — apparently making is disappear. Here it is
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320717319407

  18. 18
    David B. Benson says:

    Kevin McKinney @10 — The increase in so-called renewables has done nothing to decrease consumption of petroleum products and natural gas. If anything the weather dependence of wind and solar has led to an increase in the use of such fuels as ‘backup’.

    The power poles that you refer to almost surely fail to meet recognized standards. Around here the conductors are strung far enough apart that birds cannot electrocute.

  19. 19
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Mr. KIA thinks that being folksy and “friendly” make his ignorance and stupidity acceptable. It just makes him a chuckelhead.

  20. 20
    jgnfld says:

    re. birds (not raptors)

    Oil kills birds as well. For example, oil sands tailings ponds kill any waterfowl that lands on them and it happens.

    Easily googled.

  21. 21

    #7, DBB–

    You’ve never seen anything about wind turbine siting and bird migration? Really?

    How about this, for starters:

    Siting of wind energy facilities at both the landscape-level and project-level scales is deemed a critical element in reducing bird/turbine collision risk. Available data indicate that some regions are higher risk than others. Bird/turbine collisions in California are estimated to be an average 7.85 birds/turbine/year, higher than in the East (6.86 birds/turbines/year), the West (4.72 birds/turbine/year), and the Great Plains (2.92 birds/turbine/year).

    At the landscape scale, mortality risk may increase near migratory routes, in areas with high concentrations of birds, along rivers and ridgelines, or near coastlines.

    https://www.fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/threats-to-birds/collisions/wind-turbines.php

    Or maybe this, from a “best practices in wind siting” paper:

    Operating wind turbines in particular locations can harm ecosystems. Of special concern has been the killing of birds and bats. Thus, siting and zoning standards typically include provisions designed to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat. The role in siting and zoning is to require the appropriate reviews before approval is granted and before construction begins. Specific wildlife and habitat concerns will require some locations to be excluded from development. Examples include habitats known to be used by threatened or endangered species or migratory birds, and wetlands.

    https://pubs.naruc.org/pub/FA8663AC-A840-E8B3-FC1D-C7AFEC3ED9D6

    And I shouldn’t neglect this:

    https://awwi.org/about-us/our-work/

    AWWI is a partnership between environmental NGOs–including the Audubon Society and the Sierra Club–and wind energy companies. It’s been around for a decade now, and exists precisely to minimize wind energy impacts on wildlife. Note this bit, under the “Mitigation” header:

    Collaborative research informs siting and best practices for avoiding and minimizing impacts.

    Now, I’m not claiming that any of this means that there is no problem and everything is AOK.

    But clearly, there is widespread awareness in the wind industries and among regulators and stakeholders that siting is a big deal, both including the avoidance of migration routes.

  22. 22
  23. 23

    Let’s do some math.

    Collisions with buildings kill about 6.8 million birds per year. Collisions with wind turbines kill about 210,000 birds per year. So if 3.1% of the collisions with buildings were raptors, that would equal ALL the birds killed by wind turbines.

  24. 24
    MA Rodger says:

    RSS has also posted for May 2020 with a TLT anomaly of +0.81ºC, somewhat below the average for the year-to-date (which recorded +0.89ºC, +1.02ºC, +0.84ºC & +0.76ºC through its first 4 months). May 2020 is the warmest May in the RSS TLT record (2nd in UAH), ahead of May for three El Niño-boosted years 2016 (+0.73ºC), 1998 (+0.69ºC), 2010 (+0.67ºC), followed by May 2017 (+0.66ºC), 2010 (+0.32ºC), 2019 (+0.63ºC), 2015 (+0.52ºC) & 2014 (+0.48ºC).
    May 2020 sits 14th in the UAH TLT all-month anomaly record (=16th in UAH).

    After five months, the ‘warmest start-of-year table’ in RSS TLT runs as follows (also showing the calender year averages & rankings). 2020 sits in an impressive 2nd place for a non-El Niño-boosted start-of-year. (Even in the trend-sapping UAH TLT it still managed 3rd.)
    …….. Jan-May Ave … Annual Ave ..Annual ranking
    2016 .. +0.99ºC … … … +0.80ºC … … … 1st
    2020 .. +0.86ºC
    1998 .. +0.71ºC … … … +0.58ºC … … … 6th
    2019 .. +0.70ºC … … … +0.74ºC … … … 2nd
    2010 .. +0.70ºC … … … +0.62ºC … … … 4th
    2017 .. +0.65ºC … … … +0.67ºC … … … 3rd
    2015 .. +0.52ºC … … … +0.60ºC … … … 5th
    2018 .. +0.52ºC … … … +0.53ºC … … … 7th
    2007 .. +0.49ºC … … … +0.42ºC … … … 11th
    2005 .. +0.49ºC … … … +0.47ºC … … … 9th
    2014 .. +0.45ºC … … … +0.48ºC … … … 8th

  25. 25
    Mal Adapted says:

    Ken Fabian:

    That impression of people who want strong climate action are all uncompromising fanatics has been widely promoted, but it is false. Failure of climate action advocacy to present as the ugly and unreasonable stereotyped fanatics does not suit the anti-environmentalist narrative, thus the criticism for not being fanatical enough with respect to wind and solar.

    Another excellent comment, Ken. Hippie and/or greenie bashing by right-wing politicians, media and stink tanks is purely deceitful, but its eager acceptance and propagation by the governing plurality of US voters is mostly projection onto imaginary cultural enemies. Cultural identity is thus revealed as a stronger motivator than any desire to be forewarned about genuine existential threats, even (or especially) if they can be mitigated by national collective action. I don’t know what it will take to assemble a climate-realist plurality in America, but I’m aware of encouraging news about that, mixed in with the profoundly discouraging news of a lethal pandemic disease, endemic racist police brutality and the Trump Administration’s all-out assault on our long-standing environmental protections.

    My fellow Americans, please vote Blue. If you can’t bring yourself to do so, please don’t vote! A government that acknowledges the climate science consensus will still be mediocre, but a step in the right direction. Acknowledging the deeply rooted racism in our culture would be another. Willingness to re-internalize market externalities would be yet another. Those may not all be found in the same candidate. Even in a perfect democracy, we’d have to choose on the margins. Please remember that any victories are incremental, and potentially reversible as we are now seeing. That’s why we must reject demands for purity and vote for pragmatism this fall, and in every election after that!

  26. 26
    Russell says:

    Congratulations to Raypierre on his election as a Fellow of the Royal Society

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/06/blog-post.html

  27. 27

    (Since we don’t have a new Forced Responses thread yet, I’m going to drop this here for the time being.)

    Someone is doing what I’ve been talking about for a while:  wind turbine towers made of wood.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/The-Future-Of-Wind-Energy.html

  28. 28
    David B. Benson says:

    Barton Paul Levenson @22 & 23 — Reminds me of “How to Lie with Statistics”, which I reviewed in high school and which may still be in print. In particular, the category error of lumping all as merely birds, in this case failing to understand that raptors don’t live around buildings and also failing to take into account reproduction rates, generally much lower for raptors than passerines.

  29. 29
    Piotr says:

    DBB (18): “The increase in so-called renewables has done nothing to decrease consumption of petroleum products and natural gas.”

    Piotr: That’s like saying: “the increase in the use of the so-called reusable-bags has done nothing to decrease the use of single-use plastics bags”. You see the fallacy of such a statement, right?

    DBB: “If anything the weather dependence of wind and solar has led to an increase in the use of such fuels as ‘backup’.”

    Piotr: Let’s say that you need to use your fossil ‘backup’ for 30% of the time. WITHOUT renewables you’d be using it 100% of the time.
    So in your head: 30% is “an increase” over 100% ?

  30. 30

    Over at BNC discussion forums, David B. Benson uncovered this little development:

    https://phys.org/news/2020-06-australian-carbon-dioxide-capture.html

    “regeneration energy calculated for M-74 CPT was 1.29 and 1.44 MJ kg CO2-1.”

    This compares favorably to my estimate of 2.5 MJ/kg for air capture using the electrolytic scheme.

  31. 31

    #18, DBB–

    The increase in so-called renewables has done nothing to decrease consumption of petroleum products and natural gas.

    Correct, or largely so, I think, but only because coal is the ‘weak man’ in the triad. And coal ash ponds kill birds, too.

    I’d add that petroleum’s time for ‘diminishment’ is coming: that’s mostly a matter of the electrification of transport. It’s coming, visibly, but still relatively early in the process. (There’s also a building trend for replacing gas peaker plants with solar plus storage plants, as I’ve documented previously.)

    If anything the weather dependence of wind and solar has led to an increase in the use of such fuels as ‘backup’.

    And until you provide some evidentiary support for that assertion, I’m going to assume it isn’t ‘anything.’

    The power poles that you refer to almost surely fail to meet recognized standards. Around here the conductors are strung far enough apart that birds cannot electrocute.

    Correct. The whole point was that they didn’t meet spec, and remediation occurred (eventually!) because Fish & Wildlife was able to use the Migratory Bird Act as a ‘stick’. The Trump maladministration is in the process of gutting that via creative ‘interpretation’, which will mean that *no* legal stick will exist with which to enforce mitigation of the ‘accidental’ killing of birds. And that is a much bigger problem than just the wind-turbine mortality. Yet, mysteriously, none of these oh-so-concerned-about-birds-and-wind-turbines folks says boo about it.

    To me it says that most of these folks don’t really give a damn about bird mortality; they are just looking for a stick with which to beat wind energy.

  32. 32

    #28, DBB–

    Actually, raptors *do* live around buildings:

    https://books.google.com/books/about/Urban_Raptors.html?id=P4tSDwAAQBAJ&source=kp_book_description

    As a famous example, “Pale Male” seems to have pioneered the use of tall buildings for Red-Tailed Hawk nesting sites:

    https://www.audubon.org/news/pale-male-legend-he-still-alive

  33. 33

    #27, E-P–

    Yes, engineered-wood towers for wind turbines is a promising idea:

    …in 2022, the first wooden towers will be built on a commercial scale. Modvion has signed declarations of intent with Varberg Energi for a 110 meter high tower and with Rabbalshede Kraft for 10 towers, at least 150 meters high…

    The lower weight of the wood and the modular concept make it possible to build taller towers, the sections of which can be transported on public roads…

    The wind towers in wood can be built at a significantly lower cost than steel, which lowers the production cost of the wind power-generated electricity.

    https://www.renewableenergymagazine.com/wind/first-wooden-wind-power-tower-erected-in-20200429

    (They also say that the tower is “carbon neutral from the beginning”, but that just means the *material* is carbon neutral; clearly there must be a footprint associated with fabrication, transportation and installation at present.)

    However, it’s not actually the first example of this; there was a 100-meter German example built back in 2012, in Hannover:

    https://www.powerelectronics.com/technologies/alternative-energy/article/21852149/do-wooden-wind-turbine-towers-make-sense

    Seems still to be there, operating happily.

    However, I don’t know what happened to the company that built it, TimberTower GMBH; there’s nothing much on them post-2015 that I could find, so something probably went wrong business-wise. Better luck to the Swedes!

  34. 34

    Piotr wrote @29:

    Piotr: Let’s say that you need to use your fossil ‘backup’ for 30% of the time. WITHOUT renewables you’d be using it 100% of the time.

    Except the two cases require different generating technologies.  You can generally follow the normal load curve using a CCGT plant, which can be up to 64% efficient (LHV).  Following the bumpiness of “renewables” mostly requires simple-cycle gas turbines (the CCGT steam systems don’t like rapid power variations); the best aeroderivative GT I’ve read about gets only 44% efficiency, and I recall that the single-shaft industrial models often get something like 38%.  IOW, you’re burning 60% or more fuel for the same electric output.  This puts you way behind emissions-wise.

    So in your head: 30% is “an increase” over 100% ?

    Typical capacity factors for wind are 30-40%; PV is much lower.  If you’re only getting 30% of your juice from “renewables”, and you’re burning 60% more fuel per kWh to get the rest, you’re at 112% of the CCGT emissions figure.  You’ve actually gone backwards from what you could do with all-fossil.

    Now, don’t let it be said that there aren’t ways around this.  With enough excess RE capacity you can just brute-force the issue by dumping excess power to resistance heaters in a CCGT’s gas turbines, substituting electricity for fossil fuel and managing the rapid power swings on the demand side.  But this is going to hit the economics, and nobody even seems to be thinking that far out of the box.

  35. 35
    Piotr says:

    DBB(28): “Reminds me of “How to Lie with Statistics”, which I reviewed in high school and”

    … not an touch of ethical discomfort after you yourself have just lied with statistics in your post (18)?

    “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;: and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. “, eh?

    P.S. The proof of the beam – in my (29).

  36. 36
    nigelj says:

    BPL (@last months FR) yes the Koch Brothers are shameless hypocrites. And I’m no fan of them, or libertarianism, and authoritarianism. Just wanted to clear that up, as the FR comment thread is closed right now.

  37. 37
    nigelj says:

    Mal Adapted @25

    “Hippie and/or greenie bashing by right-wing politicians, media and stink tanks is purely deceitful, but its eager acceptance and propagation by the governing plurality of US voters is mostly projection onto imaginary cultural enemies. ”

    So true. Just an hour ago I was reading a perfect example of this as below. It annoyed me so much I wrote an email letter of complaint on the basis that the statements in the article were nothing more than thinly disguised ad hominem attacks on the protesters. If nobody complains it will just continue.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/121727293/time-for-protesters-to-contribute-more-than-slogans

  38. 38
    Russell says:

    PBL& DBB :
    A 2013 Fish and Wildlife Service study credits each of America’s ~145,000,000 cats with killing more than ten birds a year ( range 1.7-3.9 billion birds)

    Since the average American cat kills more birds in a year than one of the ” bat-slicing, bird chomping eco-crucifixes,” the GWPF loves to hate, and felines outnumber them about 2500 to 1 , wijd power is hardly an avian Grim Reaper.

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2020/06/but-why-are-bat-chomping-ecocrucifixes.html

  39. 39
    Ken Fabian says:

    Kevin McK @21 – good points. I think the bird kill issue is real but not being ignored. Not so much overblown as paling in significance compared to global warming and what it will do to wildlife habitat if unchecked.

    I think that for the most part the criticisms are promoted as part of political efforts to discredit Environmentalism – not for the sake of wildlife, but to undermine the loudest voices promoting the climate issue and supporting the RE led Transition to low emissions that is taking place. I think there is some kind of presumption that if Greenies stopped promoting RE then better solutions would come to the fore – but I beg to doubt that; without Environmentalists and RE we would have weaker climate policy and there would be no Transition. Which is why discrediting Environmentalism is such a big deal for opponents of climate action.

    Mal @25 – making climate concerns critical to our voting choices may be the most significant personal actions any of us can take.

    Piotr @29 – Using wind and solar with gas for backup in place of coal looks like a step forward to me. It is an interim step, not the endgame. Not knowing what the endgame will look like – and no-one does, let alone with reliable costings – should not be reason to refrain from taking such interim steps. Not knowing – and an absence of leadership with foresight and planning – is MORE reason for doing the things we CAN do, not less.

    No serious investments in backup to renewables are going to happen before there is enough renewables to require them; existing fossil fuel plant will accommodate it at lower levels, whether intentional or not. No-one should expect the storage to be in place before the wind and solar, like the objectors appear to insist, especially not at scales to accommodate 100% RE when still such a long way from that end goal. And not without market rules that accommodate low emissions options preferentially over high emissions gas, by including (preferably by pricing) emissions as a crucial consideration.

    In places like Australia, with fast growing solar and wind capacity and the uses for storage becoming more explicit, it IS beginning to attract investment. Many new wind and solar farms are being built with storage. Not for future 100% supply but at the levels that deliver value during the time of the investment. As an aside, I suspect those failed early solar thermal plants added significant costs for storage but had no way to extract the (much higher than average electricity costs) value from that investment.

    Enough storage to store enough solar during the day to run overnight is a significant next interim step we should be aiming for, that reduces the use of that gas backup. That the gas plant spends more time offline reduces it’s profitability; even without an explicit carbon price, that can work a lot like one. I note that batteries are beginning to be taken up now in place of new gas peaker plants.

    I think we are headed in the right direction by pushing ahead with RE and think opposing high levels of W&S on the basis of Needs Storage is the wrong direction; high levels of W&S come first – and induce – investment in Storage.

    On the other hand I think CCS is a dead end. 2.8 tons of CO2 for each ton of coal burned. More than 3 tons per ton of gas burned. 30-40 billion tons a year – more than all other waste combined several times over and more than any commodities we produce other than benign things like crushed rocks. But it is a lot more expensive to handle, process and securely store than crushed rocks, all costs that can only add to fossil fuel costs.

  40. 40
    David B. Benson says:

    piotr @29 — Unfortunately, the electrical power generation system is not so nicely linear. I drastically simplify to make the point: suppose that coal burners have to run flat out all the time, whether the steam is used to generate electricity or is just wasted. So when the ‘must take’ wind turbines are generating, the steam is just wasted but the expense is still there. When the wind stops blowing the coal burners pick up the load.

    Following
    https://bravenewclimate.proboards.com/board/4/energy
    one can learn more, with greater sophistication than in the simplified argument of the prior paragraph.

  41. 41

    DBB 28: raptors don’t live around buildings

    BPL: Where did you get that nonsense? I live in Pittsburgh, where we have 24-hour cameras on the nests eagles and hawks have built in upper-story niches in our skyscrapers.

  42. 42
    jgnfld says:

    “How to Lie With Statistics” is a very elementary book which really doesn’t get all that much beyond simple descriptive stats. Great book. I’ve read it many times. It’s just more at the journalistic/high school level than the professional researcher level.

    It’s available here on line: https://archive.org/details/HowToLieWithStatistics/mode/2up

    Few professionals would be caught by the “lies” the book addresses. Unfortunately, many nonpro’s would be and often are. Climate denialists use almost every technique he lists to “debunk” real, actual science.

  43. 43
    Ilya S says:

    Hi all, I’m in the process of building a competitive forecasting platform called Unitarity (https://www.unitiarity.com). I’ve added a challenge to forecast the annual mean value of the Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index for a given year:

    https://unitarity.com/app/challenges/global-temperature-index/events/2020

    If anyone here is (or knows anyone that would be) interested in participating that would be great. If not, I’m looking to find a dataset that has forecasts for such data. I’ve checked a few sites, but the data seems to be in a hard-to-parse format. I’m looking for CSV/XLS files.

    Thanks,
    Ilya S.

  44. 44
    MartinJB says:

    DBB (@28): I’m not contesting the gist of your point, but raptors DO in fact live around buildings. Hawks and falcons are quite common in American cities, and I’ve seen the aftermath of a falcon slamming into a glass building.

  45. 45
    MA Rodger says:

    The skyrocketeers may be pleased to hear that global CO2 levels as measued by NOAA ESRL is no longer accelerating but is now decelerating (& this not due to any drop in emissions resulting from Covid-19).

    ESRL provide a much smoothed daily record of a global CO2 average (what they call the ‘Estimated Global Daily Trend’ on their Global CO2 data page) and looking at the annual rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations (so the annual cycle is magiced away) this is presently showing a deceleration having reached a peak rate of 2.89ppm/yr (although that is said with a couple of caviats).

    The record shows the averaged global rise in CO2 wobbling up and down at roughly one cycle per 3½-years, with the cycle last passing from deceleration to acceleration back at the beginning of 2018.
    For the first time since then that acceleration is shown dropped below zero, becoming deceleration (see black trace on this graphic (usually 2 clicks to ‘download your attachment’. And of course the rate of CO2 increase also runs through these ~3½-year wobbles (blue trace on graph):-
    .. peaking at 2.55ppm/yr in Dec 2010
    .. dipping to 1.66ppm/yr in Jan 2012
    .. peaking at 2.87ppm/yr in July 2013
    .. dipping to 1.84ppm/yr in Dec 2014
    .. peaking at 3.43ppm/yr in Aug 2016 with the El Niño
    .. dipping to 2.01ppm/yr at the end of 2017
    .. and now peaking at 2.89ppm/yr in June 2020.

    That said, firstly there is the caviat that the wobble isn’t entirely dependable (as the dip in acceleration a year ago which bottomed-out without the acceleration going negative) so while the present peak could prove to be a proper hilltop, it could also prove to be less the top of a hill, more a pause in the upward progess to the actual hilltop.

    And a second cavait is that these global data are subject to revisions that can significantly impact the acceleration, only properly settling down after 3 or 4 months.
    Thus, as an example, the monthly figure for Feb 2020 was first published a month ago yeilding an annual increase of 3.13ppm/yr which was revised to 2.92ppm/yr when the monthly data was re-published this month and could still be subject to some further ammendment when monthly data is posted next month. The impact of such revisions on the acceleration can be very large.
    Saying that, the deceleration has been present in the daily values consistently for a week now.

    So that said, welcome to a new period with the CO2 level decelerating.

  46. 46

    Wrote Ken Fabian @11:

    That impression of people who want strong climate action are all uncompromising fanatics has been widely promoted, but it is false.

    The problem is that the uncompromising fanatics have the megaphone, and millions of supporters who stand by them regardless.  Meanwhile, advocates of policies which don’t follow the fanatic Green orthodoxy get ignored.

    Failure of climate action advocacy to present as the ugly and unreasonable stereotyped fanatics does not suit the anti-environmentalist narrative, thus the criticism for not being fanatical enough with respect to wind and solar.

    You persist in believing that the “environmentalists” (Greens—watermelons, actually) give a damn about the climate.  They verifiably do not, proven when they sabotaged Germany’s decarbonization by boosting coal over nuclear.  Germany missed its 2020 decarbonization goals by a mile, even given the head-start they had by setting pre-reunification emissions from obsolete E. German industry as the baseline.  When they consider the current situation to be a success, it proves that they do not care about the environment; the sad truth is that they ONLY care about political power.

  47. 47

    Wrote Kevin McKinney @31:

    To me it says that most of these folks don’t really give a damn about bird mortality; they are just looking for a stick with which to beat wind energy.

    If complaints about escalating costs for minimal gains aren’t heeded, people are going to look for another stick.  Actual environmental issues like wind farms killing 1200 tons of flying insects per year in Germany while there is a large and yet-unexplained insect dieoff going on (which affects all kinds of other species up the food chain, many of them birds) have nothing to do with transmission lines and everything to do with the nature of wind power itself.

    Given how much total biomass is in the form of insects, a mere 1200 tons per year may be insignificant.  However, this is something which must be acknowledged as a negative environmental impact, quantified and considered as a factor in siting and licensing.  Given the further effects such as turbulence increasing night-time surface temperatures and evaporation rates, it’s likely that land-based wind power cannot be expanded to GND-scale without unacceptable environmental damage.

    If the Greens didn’t have their nuclear taboo, this would not be a problem.

  48. 48

    Wrote Kevin McKinney @33:

    (They also say that the tower is “carbon neutral from the beginning”, but that just means the *material* is carbon neutral; clearly there must be a footprint associated with fabrication, transportation and installation at present.)

    The raw material is carbon-negative, though the emissions associated with the balance of tower including the concrete foundation may outweigh that.

    Wrote Russell @38:

    Since the average American cat kills more birds in a year than one of the ” bat-slicing, bird chomping eco-crucifixes,” the GWPF loves to hate, and felines outnumber them about 2500 to 1

    You’re comparing apples and watermelons there.  Domestic cats kill songbirds, which can raise up to 2 substantial broods per year and we’re still lousy with.  Wind turbines kill endangered raptors and bats; “Researchers in India found almost four times fewer buzzards, hawks, and kites in areas with wind farms—a loss of about 75 percent. They found that wind turbines are akin to adding a top predator to the ecosystem, killing off birds, but allowing small animals to increase their populations resulting in a trickle effect throughout the ecosystem.”

    Wrote Ken Fabian @39:

    Piotr @29 – Using wind and solar with gas for backup in place of coal looks like a step forward to me. It is an interim step, not the endgame. Not knowing what the endgame will look like – and no-one does, let alone with reliable costings – should not be reason to refrain from taking such interim steps.

    In other words, hopium dreaming.  I shouldn’t have to say this, but hope isn’t a plan and if you don’t even have a plan you can’t adopt policy to carry it out.  Everyone should realize that this plays straight into the hands of the fossil-fuel interests.

    I think there is some kind of presumption that if Greenies stopped promoting RE then better solutions would come to the fore

    It’s already here.  It’s called nuclear energy, and almost every Green in the world is trying to kill it.  That’s how you know that they are not able or even trying to save anything, they are just after political power.

  49. 49

    After seeing hints for years, I finally have some specifics on Form Energy’s sulfur-based flow battery:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2542435117300326

    For those of you who need raw meat to chew on:

    Here, we demonstrate an ambient-temperature aqueous rechargeable flow battery that uses low-cost polysulfide anolytes in conjunction with lithium or sodium counter-ions, and an air- or oxygen-breathing cathode. The solution energy density, at 30–145 Wh/L depending on concentration and sulfur speciation range, exceeds current solution-based flow batteries, and the cost of active materials per stored energy is exceptionally low, ∼US$1/kWh when using sodium polysulfide.

    This looks like a game-changer, especially for nuclear power.  A battery for a nuclear plant will need smaller and cheaper systems due to the lower peak-to-average ratio relative to wind and PV.  Figuring what’s required to store the output of an AP1000 over a weekend (59 hours, 8 PM Friday to 7 AM Monday) and grabbing a convenient envelope:

    1,115,000 kW * 59 hrs / 0.03 kWh/liter = 2192833333 l = 2,192,833 m³
    1,115,000 kW * 59 hrs * $1/kWh = $65,785,000

    $66 million isn’t much, but 2.2 million m³ is a LOT.  It’s a tank a tenth of a square kilometer in area and 22 meters high.  I’d bet such a tank costs more than the contents.  Thinking for a moment on how you’d actually build such a monster, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wouldn’t be done by excavating a huge pit, piling up the soil to make berms and filling it with flexible bladders.  (See, this isn’t hopium; this is the beginnings of a plan.)

    One thing’s for certain, though; it’s going to cost MUCH less to have guaranteed power delivery with nuclear and 59 hours of storage than with “renewables” and 150 hours of storage.

  50. 50
    Piotr says:

    David B. Benson” (40): ” suppose that coal burners have to run flat out all the time, whether the steam is used to generate electricity or is just wasted.”

    WHY???

    Why would you “suppose” that anybody would choose THE WORST possible, the least flexible and the most polluting (both in toxic and GHGs emissions) source for the backup energy??? Ever heard about “natural gas”, not mentioning matching different renewable sources (solar, wind and hydro “filling in” for each one one is in short supply), energy storage, and smart grid adjusting the demand to the renewables supply etc.

    Did your book on Lying with Statistics contained a section where the protagonist lies by trying to discredit the opponent’s argument by assigning it thestupidest possible assumptions – here “suppose that [we use the worst possible source back-up energy]?