Thursday, December 18, 2008


An email from Steve Short [] of Ecoengineers Pty Ltd, He points out that even a doubling of CO2 could lead to a temperture rise of only one degree

Garth Paltridge, then a senior Australian CSIRO researcher, published in 1974 one of the very earliest papers (following Ralph Lorenz in 1960) on what is the burgeoning technical field of Maximum Entropy Production (MEP). The science of MEP, which now generates a substantial amount of mainstream literature every year, is resulting in a thorough review of the science of Earth's climate and of Global Circulation Models (GCMs).

It is already becoming clear this spells the death knell for a high temperature sensitivity to a CO2 doubling. For example: Kleidon et al. (2006) Maximum entropy production and the strength of boundary layer exchange in an atmospheric general circulation model. GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L06706 show that the climate sensitivity to a 10x increase in atmospheric CO2 is about 3.3 K. Noting the usual log-linear relationship this is equivalent to a climate sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 of only about 1.0 K.

In this setup, entropy was produced by radiative transfer (absorption of solar and terrestrial radiation at the surface and in the atmosphere), the turbulent transport of sensible heat in the vertical, and horizontal heat transport by large-scale atmospheric circulation. Due to the exclusion of the water cycle (evapotranspiration, latent heat transport), entropy production associated with the hydrologic cycle [Paulius and Held, 2002a, 2002b] was not considered. Inclusion of the water cycle would mean the sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is very likely to be even significantly less than 1 deg. C. I don't think I have to spell out to you what this implied for even the lower limit to CO2 sensitivity vis-a-vis IPCC AR4 2007.

Yet nowhere in IPCC AR4 2007 will you find a single reference to the now 38 year long MEP-based literature record! This despite a steady groundswell of papers and the publication of an excellent review text edited by Axel Kleidon and Ralph Lorenz in 2005 (Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics and the production of Entropy. Life, Earth and Beyond. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg).

As CO2 goes up and tends to increase troposphere temperature, MEP requires that meridional, latitudinal and convective movement must increase. This in turn increases cloudiness (both convective and orographic) and hence rainfall thereby increasing the net amount by which clouds reduce the radiative heating of the planet i.e. presently the -13 - -21 W/m^2 which we know acts against the ~4 W/m^2 predicted for a doubling of CO2.

I would also note that biotic processes are also subject to MEP. Rising CO2 increases continental plant biomass (already observed) and oceanic cyanobacterial primary productivity (earlier this year I posted the clear evidence for that for the Southern Ocean from NOAA's own data on Jennifer Marohasy's blog) simply due to CO2 fertilization which increases biogenic aerosol production rate which in turn increases both cloud nucleation rate and cloud-based opacity/albedo. This aspect is the as-yet almost forgotten biotic sibling of abiotic MEP.

Thanks to both abiotic and (soon) biotic MEP we can expect a cloudier, rainier planet rather than a hotter one.

Atmospheric CO2 may go where it will but I suspect in due course its rate of increase will eventually slow. The same thing will happen to any oceanic pH decline as increased raininess increases continental weathering rates which increases the export of total alkalinity, Fe and Si into the ocean (which in turn tends to CO2-absorbing primary productivity, neutralize CO2-induced acidity and so on).


* the lack of the IPCC-predicted stratospheric heating;

* the observed reduction in tropical-polar temperature gradients (underestimated by GCMs);

* the known 30 year trends in continental potential evaporation (down), cloudiness, rainfall (both up), oceanic wind speeds (up) etc; and

* the confounding 20 year surface temperature record just before and since the 1998 El Nino (up then down),

I think we can reasonably expect to see a majority of top level climate researchers in the next few years cautiously promulgating a more moderate view of global climate CO2 sensitivity and a more optimistic view on climate homeostasis and so-called ocean acidification. It is already happening at various reputable overseas universities (e.g. MIT, several Max Planck Institutes, Uni. Hamburg etc) and even now is slowly creeping into other institutions, including here in Australia.

Of course the monstrous egos, the chronically dogmatic, the hopelessly compromised, the committed members of the AGW herd won't like it but, hey, that's entropy for you.

Scientists Call AP Report on Global Warming 'Hysteria'

Scientists skeptical of the assertion that climate change is the result of man's activites are criticizing a recent Associated Press report on global warming, calling it "irrational hysteria," "horrifically bad" and "incredibly biased." They say the report, which was published on Monday, contained sweeping scientific errors and was a one-sided portrayal of a complicated issue. "If the issues weren't so serious and the ramifications so profound, I would have to laugh at it," said David Deming, a geology professor at the University of Oklahoma who has been critical of media reporting on the climate change issue.

In the article, Obama Left with Little Time to Curb Global Warming, AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein wrote that global warming is "a ticking time bomb that President-elect Barack Obama can't avoid," and that "global warming is accelerating."

Deming, in an interview, took issue with Borenstein's characterization of a problem he says doesn't exist. "He says global warming is accelerating. Not only is it continuing, it's accelerating, and whether it's continuing that was completely beyond the evidence," Deming told "The mean global temperature, at least as measured by satellite, is now the same as it was in the year 1980. In the last couple of years sea level has stopped rising. Hurricane and cyclone activity in the northern hemisphere is at a 24-year low and sea ice globally is also the same as it was in 1980."

Deming said the article is further evidence of the media's decision to talk about global warming as fact, despite what he says is a lack of evidence. "Reporters, as I understand reporters, are supposed to report facts,"Deming said. "What he's doing here is he's writing a polemic and reporting it as fact, and that's not right. It's not reporting. It's propaganda. "This reads like a press release for an environmental advocacy group like Greenpeace. It's not fair and balanced."

A spokesman for the Associated Press said that the news agency stands by its story. "It's a news story, based on fact and the clearly expressed views of President-elect Barack Obama and others," spokesman Paul Colford told in an e-mail.

Michael R. Fox, a retired nuclear scientist and chemistry professor from the University of Idaho, is another academic who found serious flaws with the AP story's approach to the issue. "There's very little that's right about it," Fox said. "And it's really harmful to the United States because people like this Borenstein working for AP have an enormous impact on everyone, because AP sells their news service to a thousand news outlets. "One guy like him can be very destructive and alarming. Yeah it's freedom of speech, but its dishonest."

Like Deming, Fox said global warming is not accelerating. "These kinds of temperatures cycle up and down and have been doing so for millions of years," he said. He said there is little evidence to believe that man-made carbon dioxide is causing temperature fluctuation. "It's silly to lay it all on man-made carbon dioxide," Fox said. "It was El Nino in 1998 that caused the big spike in global warming and little to do with carbon dioxide." Other factors, including sun spots, solar winds, variations in the solar magnetic field and solar irradiation, could all be affecting temperature changes, he said.

James O'Brien, an emeritus professor at Florida State University who studies climate variability and the oceans, said that global climate change is very important for the country and that Americans need to make sure they have the right answers for policy decisions. But he said he worries that scientists and policymakers are rushing to make changes based on bad science. "Global climate change is occurring in many places in the world," O'Brien said. "But everything that's attributed to global warming, almost none of it is global warming."

He took issue with the AP article's assertion that melting Arctic ice will cause global sea levels to rise. "When the Arctic Ocean ice melts, it never raises sea level because floating ice is floating ice, because it's displacing water," O'Brien said. "When the ice melts, sea level actually goes down. "I call it a fourth grade science experiment. Take a glass, put some ice in it. Put water in it. Mark level where water is. Let it met. After the ice melts, the sea level didn't go up in your glass of water. It's called the Archimedes Principle." He called sea level changes a "major scare tactic used by the global warming people."

O'Brien said he doesn't discount the potential effects man is having on the environment, but he cautioned that government should not make hasty decisions. "There is no question that the Obama administration is green and I'm green, and there's no question that they're going to really take a careful look at what we need to do and attack problems, and I applaud that," O'Brien said. "But I'm really concerned that they're going to spend all the money on implementation of mitigation, rather than supporting the science."



Those interested in the full details of the European climate agreement reached last week in Brussels can examine it in all of its gory details here (in PDF). It is, to put it mildly, complicated. So in the interests of those just wanting the bottom line, here I offer a simplified version of the policy.

The emissions reduction goal is 20% below 1990 emissions levels. As the graph below shows (from the EEA), Europe has a head start on this goal as emissions have decreased since 1990, especially because of the enlargement of the EU to include eastern European countries. The relevant line for the goal of a 20% reduction from 1990s levels is shown in green. So to achieve the goal Europe actually needs a further reduction of about 12% from 1990 levels.

The plan allows European countries to offset 3% or 4% of their emissions reductions via paying for emissions reductions in developing countries (a dodgy proposition, but I digress). This means that the emissions reductions will not occur in Europe. So this reduces to the goal to about 9%.

The agreement allows countries to exceed their annual emissions targets by 5% annually. So this extra headroom reduces the total emissions reduction goal to about a 4% reduction (very similar to what WWF calculates). A 4% reduction is not so far from business as usual (under some projections), which of course is why the package passed.

And this does not get into any of the other loopholes, like for Lithuanian nuclear plants, the Polish, German, Italian, etc. economies, or unusually cold or warm weather. Oh yeah, the entire agreement is subject to review and is contingent upon what happens in Copenhagen. The Obama administration should be paying attention.


Nuke interest widespread but not in the USA

The PowerGen Conference is a gathering of power generators from around the world sponsored by PennWell, the Oklahoma publishing empire. Its gathering in Orlando in early December was the largest ever, attended by 18,000 people. Energy is a hot topic these days. Windmill companies abounded. Vesta, the Danish supplier, had several scale models on the exhibition floor and did a wraparound cover over free copies of the Wall Street Journal. "Denmark's pretty filled up with windmills but we're moving offshore," explained a Vesta salesman, standing beneath a 25-foot replica of the 450-foot structures. "The wind over the ocean is stronger with less variation."

But for all the contemporary appeal of wind, however, the underlying theme of the conference was how fast the revival of nuclear power is taking shape. "The nuclear renaissance isn't something in the far-off future," said J.M. Bernhard, Jr., CEO of the Shaw Group, in giving the keynote address. "It's already happening today. With greenhouse gases in the mix, we believe nuclear is where we need to go."

Nuclear is coming along so fast that PennWell split out a separate "Nuclear Power International" section with an eye to creating a stand-alone conference in the future. (Oil and renewables already have their own events.) The American nuclear industry -- such as it is -- was well represented in the exhibition booths. GE, the last man standing from the earlier nuclear era, now does most of its business in partnership with Hitachi. Newcomers such as Hyperion are blazing a trail by building miniature reactors (60 megawatt as opposed to the standard 1,000). But the horrible truth remains that, if there is a nuclear renaissance going on in the world, it is happening mostly outside our borders, pioneered by companies that never were or are no longer American.

The most entertaining keynote speaker, for example, was Jacques Besnainou, the puckish American director of Areva, the French nuclear giant. ("When I first came to this country, I spent two years living in New Jersey," began Besnainou in his heavy French accent. "Therefore as you see I have a very strong New Jersey accent.") Besnainou and Areva are on a roll of late, having announced the construction of a uranium enrichment plant in Idaho last May -- the first built here in twenty years -- and then announcing in October that it will build a manufacturing plant for nuclear components in partnership with Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding in Newport News.

The French embrace of nuclear has left the Gauls paying the cheapest electrical rates in Europe, importing only half as much natural gas from Russia and Britain and Germany, and making money hand-over-fist by exporting kilowatts to Germany and Italy. When asked how Areva planned to finance the Newport News facility in the face of a worldwide credit crunch, Besnainou answered with one word: "Cash."

The lag in America's nuclear effort was reflected by a comment heard over and over from vendors of nuclear accessories. "We're doing a great business," said one after another. "But most of it is abroad." HERE'S THE SCORECARD on what's going on the in the rest of the world:

Europe. Finland is building the first new reactor in Europe in twenty years, a 1,200-MW unit at Olkiluoto. The project has fallen two years behind schedule -- largely because Finnish environmental officials are taking three times as long as planned to approve blueprints -- but it undoubtedly opens the door for other projects. The French are now building an identical plant at Flammanville. Sweden, which is 50 percent nuclear and 40 percent hydro, has even lower carbon emissions than France and has all but abandoned a 1980 vow to shut down its reactors by 2010.

Germany agreed to shutter its nuclear component when Social Democrats were admitted to the ruling coalition in 2001. Two small reactors have been mothballed, but four more generating 4000 MW are scheduled for shutdown in 2009 and Germans are now awakening to the possibility of losing 30 percent of their generating capacity by 2020. Chancellor Angela Merkel has asked for reconsideration. Italy shut its four reactors after a referendum held shortly after Chernobyl but recently started suffering blackouts because of electrical shortages. In May Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced plans to revive reactor construction by 2013.

More here

U.N.: Oblivious to science

"Yes, we can!" former Vice President Al Gore bellowed as the crowd went wild during his closing day speech at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Poznan, Poland, Friday. But it was not Barack Obama's meaningless campaign motto they were excited about; instead, it was the prospect of using the U.N.'s global warming propaganda to spread American wealth. In reality, the hit on the U.S. economy by the U.N.'s legally binding 1997 Kyoto Protocol and the planned 2009 Copenhagen treaty would drastically reduce America's ability to make wealth, much less to increase its foreign aid and technology transfers, the essence of both treaties.

Most astonishing is that the global warming treaty is not based on sound science. The U.N. created its own political entity, the International Panel on Climate Change, to produce its own global warming conclusions. The U.N.'s IPCC conveniently ignores data and has made significant alterations to scientific documents after scientists approved them in order to convey human influence on climate. It was because of politics, not science, that the IPCC and Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the U.N.-supported International Year of the Planet puts it this way: "The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds. I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists."

The U.N. ignores the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine's petition signed by more than 31,000 scientists that states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." And the U.N. ignores the new U.S. Senate report in which more than 650 international scientists dispute manmade global warming.

Even so, three groups brought science to the forefront in Poland. Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, Greener Horizon Films, Ltd. and Eagle Forum showed a sneak preview of a new documentary film entitled, "Not Evil, Just Wrong." The responses were edifying:

One attendee said that climate change is real, he was "making money" from it, and he could not believe that anyone would dare speak against it, especially at a U.N. meeting.

Another complained that the film was not relevant because it addressed the impact of increased energy prices and limited energy availability for Americans. He said that climate change was a matter of "survival" for the rest of the world and that the developed world must "take the lead," a U.N. euphemism for "spread their wealth."

Others defended renewable energy, regardless of the excessive cost and acute unreliability.

A devout believer in global warming, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, called for a "Green New Deal" and told delegates, "We all know the science judging from the evidence presented over the past few years and days; we know the problem is growing worse."

But such "evidence" does not exist in peer-reviewed science. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change was created to counter the IPCC's propaganda with peer-reviewed science. The NIPCC's new book, "Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change," was published by the Heartland Institute and edited by Fred Singer, atmospheric physicist and former director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service. The book presents three central problems for policymakers and offers peer-reviewed scientific answers:

Is the reported warming trend rea,l and how significant is it? The only truly global observations come from weather satellites, and they have shown no warming trend over the past decade. Computer climate models are unreliable, as they are unable to accurately factor sun activity, ocean currents and winds.

How much of the warming trend is due to natural causes, and how much is due to human-generated greenhouse gases? The 20th century is in no way unusual, and warming periods of greater magnitude have occurred in the historic past - without any catastrophic consequences. Human greenhouse gas contributions to current warming are insignificant; rather, it is primarily of natural origin. Would the effects of continued warming be harmful or beneficial to plant and wildlife and to human civilization? Science refutes the threat of rising sea levels and reasons that rising carbon dioxide levels are likely to be benign, promoting not only the growth of crops and forests but also benefiting human health.

The report concludes, "Any control efforts currently contemplated would give only feeble results. . The Kyoto Protocol would decrease calculated future temperatures by only 0.02 degrees C by 2050, an undetectable amount." Science does not warrant the U.N.'s call for a "Green New Deal" to supposedly produce a utopian "more equitable and prosperous future." The U.N. has failed miserably to live up to its promises for world peace - is anyone so na‹ve to think that it can produce global prosperity?


Global cooling hits the Australian State of Victoria

Where have Victoria's days of summer gone? Cool and cloudy days have forced beach lovers indoors, and bikini and ice cream sales have slumped. One ray of sunshine is a bright outlook for Christmas - long range forecaster John Moore says Christmas Eve will be fine and 26 [Celsius], and Christmas Day fine and 25. But he says showers will return on Boxing Day. Melbourne has seen an average of just seven hours' sunshine a day this month, well down on the December average of 8.3 hours.

The silver lining is that parts of Victoria had more than their December average of rain in just one day - last Friday - and Melbourne's December fall is already well above average.

While no one needs an expert to work it out, Dr Harvey Stern, at the Bureau of Meteorology, confirmed it was unusual to have so few hot days in December. "There's no sign of really hot weather in the next week," he said. "Mostly we are looking at temperatures in the 20s."

Summer swimwear retailers have been particularly hit by the cold weather, many brands reporting a drop in bikini and board short sales. Rip Curl marketing manager Nick Russell is really looking forward to a break in the weather. The surf brand's bikini sales are well down on previous years, especially in coastal holiday spots. "We would be significantly better off if it had have been 35C and beautiful for the past fortnight or so," he said. Mark Mariotti, who owns St Kilda ice cream store Seven Apples, said his business was losing thousands of dollars a week. "My business is all about summer and sales and it's not happening . . . we want some sun," he said.

Dr Stern said Melbourne's rainfall of 67mm this month was 10mm above average. Melbourne Water's supply manager John Woodland said an average of 65mm of rain fell over Melbourne's major catchments, boosting the city's water storages by 11 billion litres. The rain topped up catchments by 0.6 per cent, taking the nine reservoirs to 34.6 per cent of capacity, compared with 39.1 per cent at the same time last year. Smaller gains are expected for the rest of the week as more water flows from streams across the 160,000ha catchment area. Mr Woodland said despite the downpours the city's storages still faced an 80 billion litre shortfall.

Dr Harry Hemley, vice-president of the Australian Medical Association Victoria, said GPs had been flooded with patients complaining of common colds during the cold snap. "There has been an influx since we've had the cold spell of weather and people have been indoors coughing over each other," Dr Hemley said. "Prior to this little cold spell we had more hay fever coming in and that seems to have declined and now we've got more upper respiratory infections."



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