By Geologist David Archibald
Jan Janssens of the Belgian Solar Section has kindly updated his graphs on the progression of the current minimum.
Jan Janssens' Comments: According to the spotless-day-method, the current cycle transit mimics much better the transit of the old cycles 10-15 than that of the more recent cycles 16-23. Thus, a minimum could be expected in July 2009 +/- 6 months. According to the old-new-groups-method, SC23 seems to change tracks as expected. It is heading for a better tracking of the old cycles rather than that of the more recent ones. SC24 continues to follow the very slow rise of the old cycles. Both evolutions indicate a break-even of the old/new groups at year's turn, with a minimum in November 2008 +/- 6 months. No change from my initial prediction on 19 April 2008.
This is a Jan Janssens graph that I have annotated. Solar Cycle 23-24 minimum is tracking along with Solar Cycles 11 to 14 from the 19th Century. A 13.6 year length for Solar Cycle 23, equivalent to Solar Cycle 4, is within the realms of possibility. The reason why we are interested in the month of solar minimum is because it is the first physical sign of the potential amplitude of Solar Cycle 24, which in turn has climate consequences. It is apparent that Solar Cycle 23 is a long one. I agree with Jan Janssens' spotless day-derived result of month of minimum being July 2009. If Solar Cycle 24 is as weak as I think it will be, then it will have a slow ramp up - much slower than the late 19th century cycles used for comparison.
This leads to another point. Solar cycles generally have four years of rise and seven years of decline. Solar Cycle 5 (the first half of the Dalton Minimum) had 6.9 years of rise and 5.4 years of decline. If Solar Cycle 24 mimics Solar Cycle 4 in this way, then year of maximum will be 2016, four years after the latest estimate from NASA's solar prediction panel. There is another interesting parallel with the late 18th century. Solar Cycle 3 was an ultra short one at 9.2 years, much the same as Solar Cycle 22 at 9.6 years.
Climatic Impact: Each day's passing of anemic Solar Cycle 24 sunspot activity reinforces the imminent cooling.
Some frank talk from a major German windfarmer
E.on is Germany's largest utility company. Here is their 2005 Wind Report in pdf. I would recommend to everyone to read it. Sometimes they can use the wind power and sometimes they can't, and because their effective usage is so low, they have to keep building traditional power plants. In 2004 the average feed-in to the grid varied between about one third and zero percent of the load. Obviously that sort of performance places upper limits on usage. I quote:
As wind power capacity rises, the lower availability of the wind farms determines the reliability of the system as a whole to an ever increasing extent. Consequently the greater reliability of traditional power stations becomes increasingly eclipsed.
As a result, the relative contribution of wind power to the guaranteed capacity of our supply system up to the year 2020 will fall continuously to around 4% (FIGURE 7). In concrete terms, this means that in 2020, with a forecast wind power capacity of over 48,000MW (Source: dena grid study), 2,000MW of traditional power production can be replaced by these wind farms.
The rest of the report comments on the grid problems and the need for specialized control of wind turbines, plus upgrade of the transmission lines and grid to deal with the pulsing of wind power. They have invested in programs to predict and control it, but they haven't produced much effect. Now they are looking to replace the older turbines with newer, taller ones and to move offshore for more reliable winds. At the end of the report they discuss the potential for grid instability, and cheerfully note that if they are not careful, they may blow up pieces of the Polish, Netherlands and Czech power supply.
Hey kids! Be a "Climate Cop" - rat on your family, friends, and classmates
Note: I don't normally allow the discussion of things related to Nazi Germany here, including discouraging the use of the word "denier" due to it's "Holocaust Denier" connotations. But this full page ad in the Sunday papers in Britain, touting "climate crime" and "climate cops" is just a bit over the top, and deserves some attention. It is particularly relevant since the sponsoring website climatecops.com has a teachers section, and we've just seen some sensibility from Schwarzenegger in Sacramento on this very issue.
I find this method of indoctrinating school children to normal everyday living being harmful to the earth with the "climate crime" connotation as distasteful and wrong-headed. I have no problems with energy conservation, in fact I encourage it. But combining such advice with a "climate cop" idea is the wrong way to get the message across. Can you imagine what sort of reaction the neighbors will have to the kids hanging this door hanger on their front door? Will the result of this now be hiding your electric dryer behind false walls so the kids and neighbors don't see it?
Reposted from the website EU referendum:
Can I be the only one more than a little disturbed by the latest campaign to be fronted by energy company npower? Launched today with large colour ads in the Sundays, it appeals directly to children, urging them to enlist as "climate cops", to root out "climate crimes", and thus "save the planet".
In a luridly-designed website, mimicking the style of "yoof" cartoons, it offers a bundle of downloads, including a pack of "climate crime cards", urging its recruits to spy on families, friends and relatives, inviting each of them to build up a "climate crime case file" in order to help them ensure their putative criminals do not "commit those crimes again (or else)!"
Quite what the "or else!" should be is not specified, but since the "climate cops" are being encouraged to keep detailed written records (for those who can read and write), there is nothing to stop these being submitted to the "Climate Cops HQ" for further sanctions, the repeat offenders being sent to re-education camps. And for those "climate cops" that successfully perform the "missions" set (or turn in their own parents), there is the reward of "training" in the "Climate Cop Academy".
In a system which has echoes of Hitler's Deutsches Jungvolk movement, and the Communist regime Pioneers, perhaps successful graduates can work up to becoming block wardens, then street and district "climate crime Fhrers", building a network of spies and informers. How nicely this ties in with James Hansen's call to put the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming.
No doubt, with a willing band of "climate cops", the prosecutors can spread their nets wider, reaching into the homes of all climate change deniers, until the insidious virus of doubt is exterminated (final solution, anyone?). Then we can all march on the sunlit uplands of a "carbon-free" planet - to the tune of Ode to Joy no doubt.
Governator vetoes climate change curriculum
California public students will stick to reading, writing and arithmetic, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger decided as he vetoed a bill late Friday that would have required climate change be added to schools' curriculum. The measure, sponsored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, also would have required future science textbooks to include climate change as a subject.In January, the state Senate approved the bill, SB 908, by a 26-13 vote. Only two Republicans supported the proposal.
In his veto statement, Schwarzenegger said he supported education that spotlights the dangers of climate change. However, the Republican governor said he was opposed to educational mandates from Sacramento. "I continue to believe that the state should refrain from being overly prescriptive in specific school curriculum, beyond establishing rigorous academic standards," he said.
Schwarzenegger added that the state's Integrated Waste Management Board's Office of Education and Environment, along with California's Environmental Protection Agency, are creating an environmental curriculum for K-12 students that includes climate change issues.
Simitian had said his bill wouldn't dictate what to teach; rather, it would require the state Board of Education and state Department of Education to decide how the topic would be covered and which grades would study it. While global warming is included in high school classes as it pertains to weather, the subject is not required to be covered in all textbooks, according to the California Science Teachers Association.
Global warming more harmful to low-income minorities?
What bunk! ANY climate change, whether warming or cooling, whether natural or manmade, hurts low income groups (NOT minorities!). The reason is that it takes resources to adjust and adapt -- esp to a cooling.
This recalls the appallingly gloating European Parliament draft resolution post-Katrina noting that, now, long-anticipated impacts of global warming have been seen in that severe weather hit the poor in low-lying coastal areas the most. You see, before MMGW, storms used to proceed inland to hit rich white communities.
Blacks are more likely to be hurt by global warming than other Americans, according to a report issued Thursday. The report was authored by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, a climate justice advocacy group, and Redefining Progress, a nonprofit policy institute. It detailed various aspects of climate change, such as air pollution and rising temperatures, which it said disproportionately affect blacks, minorities and low-income communities in terms of poor health and economic loss.
Right now we have an opportunity to see climate change in a different light; to see it for what it is, a human rights issue on a dangerous collision course of race and class, said Nia Robinson, director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative. While it's an issue that affects all of us, like many other social justice issues, it is disproportionately affecting African-Americans, other people of color, low-income people and indigenous communities.
Heat-related deaths among blacks occur at a 150 to 200 percent greater rate than for non-Hispanic whites, the report said. It also reported that asthma, which has a strong correlation to air pollution, affects blacks at a 36 percent higher rate of incidence than whites.
Existing disparities between low-income communities and wealthier ones, such as high unemployment rates, are exacerbated by such negative effects of climate change as storms and floods, the report said.
Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina and Alabama are in the Atlantic hurricane zone and are expected to be hit with more intense storms, similar to the caliber of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Those states also have the largest populations of black residents.
Better climate policy is needed to ensure environmental health and economic security for all U.S. citizens, said the report, which was released at a congressional briefing hosted by the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Task Force on Health and the Environment.
The report recommended imposing a fee, tax or allowance auction on polluters that would finance efforts to reduce global warming and would eliminate the financial burden on low-income and moderate-income households. It also proposed investing in energy efficiency and using polluter fees to invest in public utilities, such as schools.
It's my hope that climate change will serve as a starting point for engaging communities for bearing the brunt of this problem, said Robinson, who co-authored the report. Climate change not only brings harms to light, but also stresses the need for just equitable climate policy.
The report argues that a more just climate policy would benefit more than African-Americans and persons with low incomes.
The policies that are best for African-Americans are also best for all Americans and for the economy as a whole, said J. Andrew Hoerner, director of the sustainable economics program at Redefining Progress and co-author of report.
Honest scientist alert! Bad luck, not global warming to blame for brutal weather
How refreshing. Emanuel is proving to be an honest broker when it comes to the climate debate. He recently recanted his former views on warming and hurricanes
It's been odd, destructive and deadly, but climate experts say you can't blame the brutal weather that has slammed New England on your neighbor's SUV. "We can't link it with global warming," said Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "One of the robust predictions of global warming is that rainfall comes in heavier, but less frequent events. This hasn't been less frequent. I don't think you can blame the stuff we've seen this summer on global warming. It looks like were locked into a weather pattern."
Beth Hall, the former climatologist for the state of New Hampshire, who just took a teaching job at Towson University in Maryland, agreed with her MIT colleague."You can actually go back to the pre-global warming frenzy," she said. "There were just as bad floods back in the '30s. We're finding there are cases of this equally bad weather in the last 100 years. It kind of happens intermittently. We just went through a drought in the late '90s and everyone wanted to say it was global warming, but the droughts in the '30s and the '60s were more extreme than what we saw. Climatologists are seeing these much larger cyclical patterns to these events than just the increase in carbon dioxide is able to explain."
Emanuel said the weather sometimes gets locked in a certain pattern over a certain region. He said climatologists call these blocks. He said they can last anywhere from six weeks to three months. It appears the block of frequent, heavy rain we're experiencing started near the beginning of June, but if the block theory is correct, there's an end in sight. "The one we got locked into, it's been very rainy in the east and dry in the west," he said. "I don't know how much longer it can go on . . . They can stay locked for a few months. Three months is on the long end, more typically it's six weeks."
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