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Unforced Variations: July 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 July 2013

This month’s open thread…

We have just updated the blog software, and are taking a little time to assess how up-to-date some the content is (including the theme, mobile theme, blogroll, about pages and the RC wiki etc.). So this might be a good time to chime in with your suggestions as well as discussing the latest climate science issues.

350 Responses to “Unforced Variations: July 2013”

  1. 1
    Tristen says:

    Hi there. I have been using Real Climate for a good many years as a way of surveying some of the latest science on climate change. As an environmental activist, engaged in public and policy discussions, Real Climate has been really useful. Good job. What would be really, really useful is a summary discussion once a year on the status of climate change, the latest science, and how the science fits in with projections; for example, what the latest status on sea level rise is, what are the current best projections, etc. Sooner or later, some politician is going to ask someone like me, okay, how much will sea level rise by? A ‘simple’ ‘straight-forward’ answer at that point helps; yes, I do know that a simple answer may be difficult to give, but policy very rarely reflects that kind of scientific complexity and policy-makers really want a headline message. Another example is permafrost, what impact does/will melting permafrost have? What do we know this year that we didn’t last year? There is often a back and forth on the finer points of climate science that can be confusing for people outside of academia, and a yearly summary from a trusted resource like RC would help a great deal. My 2c.

  2. 2
    Hank Roberts says:

    Tristen, climatologists do that summary you want, every five years. Do you use that now as a resource?

  3. 3
    SecularAnimist says:

    Carrying on from June:

    Hank Roberts wrote: “I imagine a nation full of separate little microgrids will be like a nation full of little local militias — each trying to maximize its local situation as it locally sees things. That’s exactly wrong with electricity — all the operators have to quickly contribute to load balancing, within minutes, to keep the whole thing working.”

    It’s only “wrong” if you assume that a large centrally-controlled grid, designed to broadcast power from a small number of giant generators to a large number of dumb consumers, is “right” and that all future grid developments must continue to support that model, or they are “wrong”.

    Whereas I would argue that that grid model is “wrong” for the new, highly distributed renewable energy and storage technologies that are growing so explosively today.

    Intelligent microgrids (which may be as small as a single building with solar panels, batteries and a smart meter, or as large as a small city) are enabled to participate in load balancing on the larger grid within seconds — or to completely disconnect from the larger grid if needed. These capabilities contribute to resiliency, not chaos.

    And remember, as with individual deployments of rooftop PV, what the larger grid mostly “sees” from microgrids is demand reduction — particularly during times of peak demand, when grid power is most costly, and maintaining stability of the grid is most difficult.

    Drastically reduced peak demand makes the work of the grid operators easier, not more difficult, and the challenges of integrating utility-scale solar and wind energy producers do not apply.

    For more on microgrids:

    (By the way, we already have “a nation full of little local militias”. They’re called “police departments”.)

  4. 4
    Hank Roberts says:

    > intelligent microgrid … load balancing on the larger grid within seconds

    That would be nice. Anyone building this thing?

  5. 5
    Dave123 says:

    I know that no one is obligated to respond, but this might have been buried at the end of the month so I thought I would try again:

    This is question for the satellite and modeling communities both. I understand that we can’t get a energy balance from satellite data alone. But I also understand we do get crude estimates. But for a moment let’s pretend that we don’t have the deep sea data and we’re seeing the relatively flat surface temperature and 0-700 meter ocean temperature as claimed. Are the satellite data good enough to say “wait, you’ve got to be missing something…. the outgoing radiation is too little to account for a gap that big” or is it ” the level of error in the satellite data is big enough that we could have that much more outgoing long wave to account for the temperature trends and not see it”? any takers? Citations to primary literature appreciated.

    [Response: I think the data are more along the lines of the latter. This paper: Hobbs and Willis. 2013 is perhaps getting at reconciling these disparate sources of information.–eric]

  6. 6
    Rich Tenney says:

    Aspen groves in the Western U.S. are suffering from the impacts of climate change, says BYU Professor Sam St. Clair, lead researcher on a multi-year study of aspen in Utah:

  7. 7
    Russell says:

    The climate music season is at its height , witness the debut of two new American voices in Peking Opera, S. Fred Singer & Joseph Bast.

  8. 8
    Rattus Norvegicus says:


    “Counter-factual tenor”, heh…

  9. 9
    Edward Greisch says:

    3 SecularAnimist: Have you taken the courses in “grid” at your local electrical engineering department? They offer degrees in that. Go take a degree or 3 in that subject.

    5 Dave123: Check with NASA.

  10. 10
    patrick says:

    @7 It seems to me that you are doing something that dogs do to trees bushes and other things, but you are under the impression that you are thinking.

    The issue under guise of which you were tricking clicks last month was fully covered by Skeptical Science on June 14:

    The Skeptical Science post is comprehensive and nuanced. It provides factual details and good links–including help on essential terminology, as usual. In this particular case it irons out some details on the Russian and Polish Academies of Science.

    Anyone who wants information on the matter can get it from SkS without wasting time.

    Borrowing from Cook et al. the SkS post contextualizes the entire matter under “Level of Endorsement of Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming.”

    The cartoons on SkS aren’t bad, either. The one on “Competing Models of Climate Change” at the Science Fair pretty well covers the site for which you are tricking clicks. (2013 SkS Weekly Digest #24 17 June)

  11. 11
    Dave123 says:

    @Ed @9- I did correspond with one NASA scientist back on the 25th of June. My question was a bit more sophisticated than I asked here. (Note I’m redacting anything that hints at the exact person who I corresponded with)

    Referring to this article: On the Surface Temperature Sensitivity of the Reflected Shortwave, Outgoing Longwave, and Net Incident Radiation. J. Climate, 25, 6585–6593 (2012) I asked:
    <blockquote cite="
    If you could spare a moment, is there any place where one can find interannual tracking of what is called NET in the abstract to this paper? My understanding is that NET measurements are not sufficiently precise to calculate the earth's energy budget in the form shown in this graphic- Energy Budget . Since the ISR has remained relatively unchanged for the last 50 years, what can we say about changes in OLR and RSW? I’ve noted this paper, Kato 2009 on Interannual Variability of the Global Radiation Budget and Susskind et. al. (2012) GSFC.JA.01291.2012 , and my first reading suggests that if anything NET should have increased due to the decrease OLR noted in Susskind. This assumes I’ve read Kato correctly to mean that RSW hasn’t experienced any significant trends over the past two decades, even though I’d expect a decrease in RSW due to loss of Albedo. Of course this is ultimately about Trenberth and heat going into the deep ocean, but I simply haven’t seen or been able to find an interannual NET document that covers the last two decades. It seems to me that if we can rule out decrease in NET (or even show a qualitative increase), this necessarily limits the discussion to where the energy is hiding on earth, and removes the relevance of short term variations in trend of Global Mean Surface Temperatures.”

    Let me add at this point that increases in CO2 since 1990 would lead to the expectation that we should see decreases in outgoing LWR, as suggested in Susskind and I find it a bit surprising that we only have this as evidence (quoted from the reply:

    Susskind (2012) claims that he sees a decrease in the OLR derived from AIRS (in the 1:30PN orbit), which agrees with CERES Terra in the 10:30 AM orbit. CERES uses the Goddard GCM for some corrections to the OLR.

    My hope was that even if the absolute value of NET was not very accurate the trend in NET would provide a boundary for the discussion. I haven’t quoted the full answer I received but in sum it suggested that we don’t have the data and/or no one is looking and/or not published yet and/or can’t be obtained from the satellites.

    I do not aggressive follow up, the fellow doesn’t know me from Adam, and followups for clarification could be perceived as harassment. i don’t want to wear out my welcome. Answering my questions isn’t in their work objectives, and I regard getting anything back as a great favor.

  12. 12
    Hank Roberts says:

    Dave123, that’s an old familiar question. All the satellites in use are in low earth orbit, ‘seeing’ only a narrow strip of the planet and a different strip on each pass, and each satellite has somewhat different instruments, of different ages and aging differently.

    If you point an instrument at Venus or Mars or Jupiter, you’re getting half the planet at a time. Point that same instrument at Earth from a low satellite, you get a tiny sample of the planet.

    Trying to get a global measurement this way is like taking portraits with a microscope — your subject will have changed so much by the time you’re finished that you won’t have a complete picture.

    That’s my off the cuff summary of stuff but I asked the same question when I started reading about climate long ago, have asked it repeatedly, and finally realized it’s politics and budget that keep us from having the tools needed. There’s been a serious and prolonged attempt to keep climate science from being able to do exactly what you’re asking for.

    One of the climate scientists can likely point to plans for making the kind of measurements needed and how the instruments would be arranged.

    One notion I recall was two satellites at the Lagrange points, so one is seeing the fully illuminated Earth from “noon” and the other seeing the nightside from “midnight” — if that were done in the appropriate wavelengths (not visible light, or not only visible), and done for a few decades, that’d be the sort of data set you’d be wanting.

    It could have been done a few decades ago. It hasn’t been.
    It’s not a new idea, though it’s rediscovered by each new generation.

  13. 13
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Dave123: these may help, just as suggestions where to find terms useful for
    poking at Scholar — done using a few terms I know from prior reading.
    Look up “Francisco Valero”

    from p. 608 of 6 MAY 2005 VOL 308 SCIENCE
    In Search of Balance
    “… The scientific community has recognized this essential need for years, but major impediments have developed. For example, the broadband data collected by the ERBS (Earth Radiation Budget Satellite) between 2000 and 2004 are not being analyzed for budgetary reasons. The DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) satellite has been built but has since fallen victim to the delayed space shuttle program and is now in storage awaiting a launch opportunity. The CALIPSO (Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation) and CloudSat satellites have been built and have scheduled launches, but recent budget cuts imposed on the Earth sciences in
    NASA will severely constrain the analysis and interpretation of the data….”

    A shorter summary, also from 2005: “The good Earth — we could have saved it, but we were too damn cheap and lazy” — Kurt Vonnegut, “A Man Without a Country”

  14. 14
    Dave Peters says:

    I wish to comment on wildfire. For over three decades, the most influential of all of the minimalists, the discussant with the strongest scientific credentials, has always struck me as MIT’s Lindzen. Borrowing from Hannibal Lector’s invocation of Marcus Aurelius: “Simplicity. Ask of each particular thing–what is its nature? What does it do?” In the case of Dr. Lindzen, when you listen to him argue over long stretches of time, his fundamental message is that combustion-driven temperature change will be slight (of low consequence), and that our capacity to reduce such change is even smaller.

    Witnessing events from conservative Colorado Springs, there is an interesting mixture of culture which while embracing science and the newest technology on the one hand, remains anchored to fundamentalism. Two years ago, the editorial stance of the newspaper in the town where the *AIR* Force teaches its young, was distinctly minimalist. Sunday’s tragedy in Arizona also now highlights this chink in the armor of the Lindzen position. Perhaps one in ten-thousand of the common folks have a grasp of the Clapeyron schedule for water vapor. While too soon to jump to definitive assertions about Arizona, it seems to me likely that very highly trained fire-fighters with their lives riding on their judgement, were encountering conditions with no human precedent. Fire. Fire amplified by dryness that is non-linear. Herein Dr. Lindzen can be directly and effectively contradicted by phenomena which everyone can readily grasp.

  15. 15
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside: from that piece about Vonnegut, a couple of quotes:

    “… when he acknowledged, in response to a question from an acquaintance, that he was writing an antiwar book [Slaughterhouse Five, 1969], he was asked why he wasn’t writing an anti-glacier book instead. “What he meant, of course,” Vonnegut wrote, “was that there would always be wars, that they were as easy to stop as glaciers. I believe that, too.”


    “… in his 1991 essay collection “Fates Worse Than Death,” he described humanity as “an unstoppable glacier made of hot meat, which ate up everything in sight and then made love, and then doubled in size again”

    The man clearly didn’t understand how
    fragile and stoppable glaciers are.
    Of course, none of us did, back then.

  16. 16
    sidd says:

    McMillan et al. document collapse of ice surface above a subglacial lake during a 6 cubic Km. drainage event in E. Antarctica. Hole is 280sq. Km. in area and 70 m deep. This is approx. 1/10th of total Antarctica annual mass loss


  17. 17

    The man clearly didn’t understand how
    fragile and stoppable glaciers are.
    Of course, none of us did, back then.

    Yes, the appropriate techniques had been invented and deployed, but were not yet widely publicized.

  18. 18
    Hank Roberts says:

    > collapse

    The BBC caption says the vertical scale is exaggerated in the image — for sure that’s true. Look at the horizontal and vertical scales.

    It’s a depression in the ice — not a collapse, a sag, and it’s rising again.

    Fascinating stuff that needs better explanation.

  19. 19
    SecularAnimist says:

    I wrote: “Intelligent microgrids … enabled to participate in load balancing on the larger grid within seconds”

    Hank Roberts replied: “That would be nice. Anyone building this thing?”

    Yes, lots of people — notably the US military. Microgrids are already big business, and growing rapidly. I posted a link:

    Microgrids have traditionally been a mainstay of campus-sized institutions like industrial parks or colleges, but that paradigm is shifting as the US military works to reduce climate risks and improve fuel security while local governments plan for resiliency in the face of climate change-fueled severe weather.

    Navigant broadly cites the US Department of Energy’s definition of microgrids as interconnected demand and generation with defined boundaries that can either connect or disconnect from the grid to keep the lights on at any time. This definition is expanded in their research to include remote microgrids, or those operating in “island mode” for a majority of the time.

    Using these guidelines, the Microgrid Deployment Tracker 4Q12 identifies at least 405 projects currently planned, proposed, under development, or fully operating. These projects represent 3.2 gigawatts (GW) total capacity, up from 2.6GW in 2Q 2012. 67 new project entries representing 571 megawatts (MW) of new capacity are noted across that time frame, a 22% jump in just six months.

  20. 20
    Mal Adapted says:

    Hank Roberts:

    There’s been a serious and prolonged attempt to keep climate science from being able to do exactly what you’re asking for.

    The attack continues unabated by Republicans in the U.S House:

    The authorization levels for NASA’s Earth Science program – a proposed reduction of more than 30 percent from the current budget – attracted much attention at the hearing. A brief prepared by Republican committee staff explained this proposed level approximates that of FY 2008, and ties reduced funding for the Earth Science program to the need for a better balance with increased funding for the Planetary Sciences program. In his opening remarks, [House Subcommittee on Space Chairman Steven] Palazzo [(R-MS)] stated:

    “Over the last five years the Earth Science program has grown by more than 40% at the expense of other critical missions within the Science Mission Directorate and elsewhere in NASA. There are 13 agencies throughout the federal government that currently fund over $2.5 billion in climate science research, but only one agency does space exploration and space science. This bill ensures a balanced portfolio of science mission programs by simply moderating the increases that Earth Science has received over the last 5 years.” Balancing Act: House Science Committee Draft of New NASA Bill

    And which of the other 12 agencies is going to build and launch the satellite needed to measure global energy budget? The Republican war on climate science claims another casualty.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Doug Bostrom says:

    A few years from now when our weather forecasting ability is thrown back to 1980 capabilities we’ll be able to thank the GOP Coneheads.

    These guys don’t have the chops to understand the collateral damage they’ll cause with their “moderation” of Earth observation.

    When, oh when are we going to finally exit the Great Cloud of Stupid?

  23. 23
    sidd says:

    Re: McMillan et al. 2013

    Perhaps I was not clear enough. I wrote:
    “280sq. Km. in area and 70 m deep”

    This is a shape of roughly 10 Km=10,000 m in largest dimension. The depth is 70 m, the fraction is 7 parts in a thousand for the slope as you ski down. Here is a nice picture with scales, fig 2a from the paper, purists may carp that vertical is exaggerated, but it has many pretty colors

    For the bits I am really interested in:

    “Our observations show that a single subglacial lake discharged ~ 6 Gt of water during a period of ~ 20 months. To provide context, this is equivalent to ~ 10 % of annual subglacial melting beneath the AIS [Pattyn, 2010] or alternatively, ~ 8 % of the yearly AIS mass imbalance [Shepherd et al., 2012]. Our observations provide evidence that a significant fraction of the AIS subglacial meltwater budget can be moved in discrete, episodic events.”

    Now, can a large “episodic” event, or set of events in WAIS, do sumpn like MWP1A ? That was an exciting episode, apparently, lasting 500 yr or thereabout.


  24. 24
    sidd says:

    And I note that Prof. Box has quietly updated GIS 0-3200m albedo thru june 2013 at

    That particular graf is a favorite of mine, but i shall not include the direct link to it, since he has much else that is new and edifying. You may, of course, page down rapidly to the albedo graf, but it will be your loss.


  25. 25
    Thomas says:

    Since, microgrids are coming up, I wrote a small essay about them:
    I think this whole cheerleading for self-sufficient microgrids is
    misplaced. It arises from unrealistic social desires -independence from
    the rest of society mostly, but in all but a few cases it would be
    grossly inoptimal. If we are to use all (or even half) renewables we will
    have to trade different sources based upon variable flows, against other
    constant sources, and stores based systems (to some extent hydro and
    geothermal can be stores based dispatchable sources). Also the distribution
    of flexible demand will be uneven. This means that the broader the
    geographic range of a grid you have, the less storage will be required.
    And storage won’t come cheap, power that is stored then used later will
    be at a considerable premium.

    We need to be thinking in terms of smarter and broader power grids, microgrids
    are an attempt to swim against this tide. Also some power -probably including
    solar, but certainly the case for wind and most hydro and geothermal has considerable
    efficiences that accrue from the scale of the facilities. I believe this will
    the case with storage as well. Large facilities which require high tech
    management are likley to provide the cheapest bulk storage. Also grid connected
    storage is likely to be able to find more customers per Kwhour of capacity
    if it is connected to broad based grid. Lets not let our desires for better
    social organization trump our engineering and economic judgement. We already
    have a society and political system, that balks at the potential cost of
    the needed energy transition. Lets do our level headed best to cut the size
    of the needed investment to the minimin. Only in this way can we minimize
    the net carbon emissions during the transition.

  26. 26
    Edward Greisch says:

    So now we know why we can’t get the information out of NASA on the energy flux in and out of Earth. That explains why NASA employees are shy about it as well. As an appointed official, you bow 3 times every time an elected official walks by.

    We have to do politics, however we can. So I suggested the topic to Andy Revkin at We need to use the information provided by 20 Mal Adapted and others in replies to comments by denialists on popular web sites.

    Is it possible for universities to analyze the data that has already come down?

  27. 27
    owl905 says:

    Rust. Generations of pollution and the ubiquitous visible sign is rust.

    It the lead-in to a SCIAM article about closing down coal-power plants in Georgia. The retreat has become a route: a perfect convergence of a cheaper plug-in replacement (natural gas); federal regulations from the EPA; and a cross-roads in power-plant lifecycles where 40% of the fleet is vulnerable to reappraisal.

    There’s an interesting breadcrumb trail that leads to a Canadian report about the hidden health-costs of Alberta’s coal-powered plants:

    “A Costly Diagnosis- Subsidizing coal power with Albertans’ health”

    It actually take a cut at costing out some of the collateral damage from coal power. The report’s conclusion basically triples the real cost of coal-power. It’s worth the read.

    And at the end of the smoke-signal is an opportunity – to see what the ‘after’ picture is like when all the coal goes cold – Ontario, Canada will exit the coal-powered business at the end of this year.

  28. 28
    Radge Havers says:

    For Ed @~26
    Environmental action

    You might find this interesting:

    The foxes have organized to drug the farmers, co-opt the guard-dogs, and take over the henhouses. Not surprisingly, the ducks are baffled by the situation.

  29. 29
    Shelama says:

    Jason-1 has died.

    Given the continued accumulation of heat in the ocean during the last 15 years, and in spite of the slowed increase of surfcae atmospheric warming during that period, what accounts for the decline of MSL between 2011 and 2012?

    [Response: that’s actually quite interesting. The La Niña over that period lead to a very unusual amount of rainfall in Australia. Much of this rainfall accumulated in the interior basins – which do not drain to the sea. Thus the anomalous 5-7mm sea level drop is almost all due to water being stored in the Australian ‘bowl’. – gavin]

  30. 30
  31. 31
  32. 32
    patrick says:

    @30 Very good. Now could we please the have a similar table, updated hourly, showing water usage and water cycled per hour?

    Next: “There is absolutely nothing unnatural about CO2.”

    In this sentence I’ve substituted “CO2” for your use of the word, “radioactivity.” (…Iceland Points Way… June 28, your site link)

    This is just one of several places where it substitutes nicely, without too much trouble–to make the point that the lipstick you’re putting on nuclear radiation is like similar promotional make-up that is often applied to CO2.

    A time chart of tons and grades of waste would also be helpful.

  33. 33
    noelfuller says:

    With respect to the discussion on microgrids how does this fit?
    In Auckland, NZ, a major lines company, Vector, is initiating a hybrid solar install program on residences. A user pays $1999 installation charge and thereafter NZ$70 per month for 12 1/2 years for a 3 kw grid tie system with a lithium battery. At peak times the household draws from the battery rather than the grid and during the day Vector can raid the battery to deal with demand spikes. The householder is paid for any power drawn from the battery. If there is a power outage and the battery is fully charged an average household could draw on it for about 4 hours. This peakshaving deal, when there is a sufficient installed capacity, is obviously going to serve the lines company well in terms of rapid response and keeping down the otherwise very high costs of peak supply probably supplied by a big deisel generator somewhere in town. The user can sell power back to the power supply company too.

    I have read that US utilities have been viewing electric car batteries for peak shaving too.

  34. 34
    noelfuller says:

    In his book ‘The long Thaw’ David Archer at the end included an estimation for the heat trapped by the CO2 released by burning one US gallon of gasoline, over its atmospheric lifetime. The energy generated by burning that gallon came to 2500 kilocalories. That trapped by the resulting CO2 came to 100 billion kilocalories.

    Since Skeptical Science came up with 4 Hiroshima nuclear bombs per second as the rate of energy added to the system by the human added CO2 in the atmosphere I’ve been itching to grab a Hiroshima bomb which I have been told had an energy output of 67 terajoules. From an internet converter I learned that that amounted to 16 billion kilocalories so dividing 16 into 100 results in an estimated 6.25 Hiroshima bombs per US gallon of gasoline, or 1.65 bombs per litre.

    I would like to know how that calculation was derived and the shape of the CO2 curve over the time period used?

  35. 35
    Richard Stamper says:

    For GRL Cowan at 3 Jul 2013 at 5:46 PM:

    For interest, there’s a great site for the UK National Grid updating every 5 minutes at The UK is still heavily dependent on coal; the intermittency of wind is obvious, as is the small size of pumped hydro storage; nothing is shown on this site for the highly distributed feed-in solar but whether that is because it isn’t in the data feed because it cannot be easily measured, I don’t know.

  36. 36
    Hank Roberts says:

    For Noel Fuller: You asked, I ‘oogled — this from the first page of those results may answer your question:
    if not look through some of the other results of that kind of search, or try for example Scholar.

    It’s always interesting to try an image search (but be very wary, the PR and “advocacy/adversary science” folks on all sides of the issue are overwhelmingly the source of most image results — they take pictures, attach misleading text, and fool people enough of the time. That’s done by people who care about results not facts, and know the results they want to get regardless of what the facts may be.

    Gotta be careful out there. Your question doesn’t have a single simple answer, but Archer’s publications go a ways toward answering it.

  37. 37
    Edward Greisch says:

    32 patrick: That is off topic.

  38. 38
    Mal Adapted says:

    Doug Bostrom:

    A few years from now when our weather forecasting ability is thrown back to 1980 capabilities we’ll be able to thank the GOP Coneheads.

    These guys don’t have the chops to understand the collateral damage they’ll cause with their “moderation” of Earth observation.

    Some of them don’t appear to understand the difference between weather and climate: Rep. Jim Bridenstine [R-OK] says U.S. spends 30 times as much on climate change research as on weather forecasting.

  39. 39
    Doug Bostrom says:

    Mal Adapted says: 4 Jul 2013 at 10:45 AM
    Some of them don’t appear to understand the difference between weather and climate…

    Yes, and consequently they’re not really making “decisions” about funding, any more than the bodies of decapitated chickens are goal-seeking.

  40. 40
    flxible says:

    Rep. Jim Bridenstine [R-OK] says U.S. spends 30 times as much on climate change research as on weather forecasting.
    Obviously thinks forecasters use the entrails of Dougs chickens to decide when the next storms will hit and how high the surge will be along the Atlantic coast. ;)

  41. 41
    Thomas says:


    There are cases where a microgrid with local strage makes sense. The most
    obvious is for sites that are remote enough that a grid connection is unaffordable.
    There are also eneterprises with grid access, who pay connection charges based upon
    maximum demand. The later determines the thickness of wires, sizing of
    distribution transformers etc., so this is a common and reasonable utility
    charging practice. Now if his demand profile includes a few high peaks,
    then including peakshaving storage to reduce his peak demand can be worth the cost.

    I’m very skeptical about residential storage. I have a plugin car, it cautions
    against leaving it charged for long periods, as this affects battery lifetime.
    It also cautions against leaving it in the sun on a hot day fully charged, for
    the same reason. This past week, we’ve been having an epic heatwave. I’ve been
    careful to not fully charge my car, and in fact to be sure that any charge I
    do put in will be consumed by my next planned trip. I’d rather err on the side of
    consuming more fuel, than have charge left over after the drive. Battery
    management for the long haul is a tricky subject, and current chemistries
    constrain economic usage patterns.

    This past week provides another example of the power/convienience of a grid
    connection. I have PV on my roof. On a typical sunny day, it roughly matches my
    twentyfour hour usage. However, this past week we’ve been having a major heatwave
    (above 40C everyday), my consumption per day is now four times my PV production!
    And I am only cooling to 79F, have extra attic insulation etc. Clearly an
    offgrid system that could handle such occasional weather events would be very
    pricey, and most of the time would be spilling much of the produced energy.

  42. 42
    noelfuller says:

    Thanks for the detailed comment. One would conclude the house battery is better suited than the more exposed car battery. Of course having grid tie as well is the best bet. After your comment I have to say it is nicer to be in Auckland where our highest ever temperature was 34°C and only for a few hours. Heavy rain and strong winds plus the rare tornado and the errant driver are more usual reasons for problems here.

  43. 43
    noelfuller says:

    Thanks for the link. I’ve gone right through it. I had to laugh at this line, being well aware of its truth 15+ years later:
    “Gafn (1997, p. 494) wrote that the door to misinterpretation had been left open. Others have
    and continue to walk through it.”

  44. 44
    Bob Loblaw says:

    flxible says “Obviously thinks forecasters use the entrails of Dougs chickens

    Nope. You can’t beat pig spleens. Mr. Woodward even admits he used to work for Environment Canada (although not as a weather forecaster. He was in the Water Survey group).

  45. 45
    MikeH says:

    The following is a link to last night’s excellent Australian ABC science program on extreme weather.

    It includes interviews with the following climate scientists.
    Dr Erich Fischer, Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH
    Dr Karl Braganza, Australian Bureau of Meteorology
    Dr Lisa Alexander, Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW
    Dr Susan Wijffels, Marine and Atmospheric Research, CSIRO
    Professor Jennifer Francis, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University

  46. 46
    patrick says:

    @37 Which point is off topic:

    1) Water usage and cooling system vulnerabilities?

    2) The dedicated spin in the 100% question-begging (classical sense, please) tinny decoy that “…there is nothing…unnatural about radioactivity” and “There is absolutely nothing unnatural about nuclear radiation”? (A dead echo of CO2-is-our-friend rhetoric serving an equally-empty rhetorical role.)

    3) Waste?

    The linked site has a number of articles by one person, a publicist who’s info tab provides no real bio but does contain a statement which addresses and links “Energy as a political issue” in the second paragraph. (The first paragraph is a disclaimer.) This link is to a page the first paragraph of which says in its entirety: “All energy is political.” (sic)

    The “table” linked @30, to which I responded, appears as a sidebar on nearly every page of the site.

    So, who changed what [topic]? And who is changing what [topic]?

    The publicist signing these articles identifies himself as Vice President of Energy and Environment for an Ottawa management consultancy. The subtitle of the site is: “Where energy converges with environment in Canada.”

    Further, if you post a comment which links a big consultancy sales job and your name is a text link which links something even more fallacious and more preposterous, then: same question.

    On the particulars of that, I reserve a separate comment.

    Several comments have noted a trend against climate science and basic science in Canada (with some similar things in the US). Mine was one of them, last month.

    A meme associated with this push is the just-the-apps-please-skip-the-theory thing. This brass tacks front, however, only complicates the matter and adds to public confusion.

    I’ll reserve a separate comment on that too.

    The agnatology post on the next thread is just in time (rasmus @28 June 2013). This could as well be there. No matter: mechanisms of ignorance are never off topic.

    It’s Independence Day. Sharpen your nose.

  47. 47
    Earl Killian says:

    A 4th of July post from Think Progress:
    Was Paul Revere an Alarmist?
    “The weight of evidence suggests that it is ‘very likely’ (probability greater than 90%) that the British are coming. I am not advocating any specific mitigation or adaptation response.” (Paul Revere, if he had been a climate scientist)

  48. 48
    Hank Roberts says:

    Relevant elsewhere:

    The Climate Change Issue
    Meeting the world’s energy needs entirely with wind, water, and solar power
    Mark A. DelucchiMark Z. Jacobson
    Dragons, mules, and honeybees: Barriers, carriers, and unwitting enablers of climate change action
    Robert Gifford
    Getting serious about the new realities of global climate change
    Jennifer A. BurneyCharles F. KennelDavid G. Victor

  49. 49
    patrick says:

    @30 If your name didn’t link an argument that is completely, um, ad mobilem–and were it not a shell game–I wouldn’t mention that the little blue chariot you have stigmatized for clicks on the “Donate” button is out of production at this time.

    But innovations that started with the iconic object of your disdain have advanced and expanded.

    Lacking entrenched opposition to Tesla and its follow-on innovations–and were it not on Independence Day–I wouldn’t link this petition–which already has already made it’s minimum:

    It strikes me that it’s a vote for freedom. The maximum donation is a signature.

    It’s all about “where energy converges with environment”–as per the subtitle of the website you link in your comment.

    Tesla can take care of itself on thermodynamics, physics, and engineering.

    But the spin against it is something else entirely.

  50. 50
    Chuck Hughes says:

    So, is this something that could happen soon or is it not very likely to happen? I’ve seen it mentioned here and have found several Google pages about it in various studies but it would be nice to hear a few opinions from Realclimate about this scenario and it’s likelihood. Thanks.

    Clathrate Gun Hypothesis

    “Current methane release has previously been estimated at 0.5 Mt per year. Shakhova et al. (2008) estimate that not less than 1,400 Gt of carbon is presently locked up as methane and methane hydrates under the Arctic submarine permafrost, and 5–10% of that area is subject to puncturing by open taliks. They conclude that “release of up to 50 Gt of predicted amount of hydrate storage [is] highly possible for abrupt release at any time”. That would increase the methane content of the planet’s atmosphere by a factor of twelve, equivalent in greenhouse effect to a doubling in the current level of CO2.

    In 2008 the United States Department of Energy National Laboratory system[20] and the United States Geological Survey’s Climate Change Science Program both identified potential clathrate destabilization in the Arctic as one of four most serious scenarios for abrupt climate change, which have been singled out for priority research. The USCCSP released a report in late December 2008 estimating the gravity of this risk.

    According to data released by the EPA atmospheric methane (CH4) concentrations (ppb) remained between 400–800ppb (between years 600,000 BC to 1900) and since 1900 have risen to levels between 1600–1800ppb.”