Thursday, September 08, 2011

New methane discovery: They didn't predict it and don't understand it but are sure it's due to global warming!

Since there has been NO global warming over the period concerned, global warming is in fact the one cause we can rule out!

Scientists who have just completed several years of pole-to-pole flights have uncovered data that confirms some of the deep worries about human-generated global warming that had been predicted by computer-based mathematical models.

The flights offered the most comprehensive look to date at greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere, warming the planet and setting off chains of effects on climate.

The data mined by the National Center for Atmospheric Research team will take years to analyze. Asked about his first overall impression, however, the project's chief investigator, Steven Wofsy, a professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Science at Harvard University, said, "It certainly doesn’t make me feel more relaxed" about human-induced climate change.

Unlike satellite or ground-based data, the information gleaned on flights that dipped from as high as 40,000 feet to below 500 feet recorded and demonstrated some of the mechanisms that put additional greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding a level of precision that mathematical models and satellite observation often lack.

"It's like looking at an X-ray from the '60s versus a CAT scan today," Wofsy said of the difference in the data.

Scientists were surprised to find strong evidence that ocean surfaces laid bare by melting ice are emitting methane at a "significant" rate likely to have "global impact," Wofsy said.

"It confirms a concern that’s been raised about the removal of ice from the arctic." Wofsy said. "It does look to be significant, and that’s a new result there."

The process by which the open ocean surface is emitting methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, is uncertain, Wofsy said, adding that it likely is not from frozen masses of methane known to be in deep oceans, nor from methane being exhaled from newly thawed tundra.

The discovery of this net addition to the atmosphere confirms a "feedback" mechanism by which one phenomenon has a multiplier effect on the contents of Earth's atmosphere, where greenhouse gases have been accumulating at a rapid rate in modern industrial crimes.

Here, not only does the white ice stop reflecting the sun's energy into the atmosphere (the albedo effect), but its absence also adds more blanketing gases that trap reflected heat.

"It had not been forecast that we would see evidence of methane coming from the deep ocean regions," Wofsy said. "Maybe we should’ve known, but that was a surprise."

In the tropics, the flight teams were able to see and measure how nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide accumulate in the upper atmosphere. In addition, the flights more closely observed the interchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the ocean, a product of photosynthesis by algae and die-offs of that algae, among other processes.

The flights not only allowed researchers to chronicle the distribution of CO2 but count the molecules and use the data to test mathematical models' predictions.

The research was conducted jointly by the atmospheric center and the National Science Foundation, which along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provided funding.

Known by its acronym, HIPPO, the effort used an advanced aircraft that would dip down to 500 feet or lower at every two degrees of latitude, collecting data throughout the air column in an effort to determine where and when planet-warming particles enter the atmosphere.

At a time when partisan politicians and climate skeptics have whittled away at uncertainties in models and studies, the data have the potential to be a trove of factual rebuttal. Two peer-reviewed papers already have been produced from the data, and more are expected.


Neither paper NOR plastic? California keeps its lead in nuttiness

An effort to allow only reusable bags at Los Angeles grocery stores may sound like a political long-shot, but one city councilman thinks the public will eventually warm up to the initiative.

KNX 1070′s Pete Demetriou reports just the suggestion of such a ban raised the eyebrows of several Southland shoppers.

The measure introduced by City Councilman Paul Koretz would prohibit all single-use plastic and paper bags in L.A. supermarkets and would require stores to sell or provide complimentary reusable or fiber bags only or risk a fine.

Koretz said that while banning plastic bags helps reduce land and ocean pollution, the single-use paper bag still contributes significantly to the local waste stream.

Some local shoppers, however, were less than enthused about the proposal. “I think they can find a different way to make improvements to the city,” one man said. “It’d probably be good for the planet in the long run, but short-term I could see it being a nightmare,” another shopper said.

The measure still has to clear the Energy and Environment Committee, but proponents believe the waste reduction aspect of the bill will be a strong selling point that would leapfrog L.A. ahead of cities like San Francisco and Santa Monica in the battle against bag pollution.


Low-lying islands endangered by sea-level rise?

Whether or not an overall sea level for the whole earth can be meaningfully calculated, the sea level in some contentious particular places can be clearly documented from tide-gauge records

Nils Axel Mörner

Ban Ki Moon and the Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum have recently claimed that serious sea level rise problems occur both in Tuvalu and Kiribati.

This is what two misguided politicians may say. But what is the reality, we must ask. The answer is clear and straight forward: There the is no sea level rise going on – at least for the last 18 years – either in Tuvalu or in Kiribati.

Over and over again, have I tried to demonstrate (Mörner, 2007; 2010, 2011) that sea is not at all in a rising mode in Tuvalu judging from the only information there is; i.e. the tide gauge records. The same has been done by others, especially Gray (2010).

Since 1985 there are no signs of any sea level rise. Three major ENSO events with significant drops in sea level are recorded in 1983, 1992 and 1998. with no sign of any ongoing sea level rise

So, if our observational facts say: no rise in sea level, why are people continuing to drive the sea level rise illusion. It doesn’t become better (rather the opposite) if you are the Secretary- General for the United Nation or Pacific Island Forum. It is simply wrong. But what it is worth: It steals the limelight from real problems in the real world.

The same is true for Kiribati. It lies in an area of the SW Pacific where satellite altimetry proposes a sea level rise in the order of 5 mm/year. Gray (2010) showed that this does indeed not concur with the last SEAFRAME tide gauge record from Kiribati. The record spans 17 years. Still, it does not record any long-term sea level rise; just a stability.

The SEAFRAME tide-gauge record from Kiribati (redrawn from Grav, 2010) provides no documentation of any long-tern sea level rise; just a stability of the past 17 years.

Vanuatu is another famous site in the sea level debate. Here, too, there is a total absence of indications of any sea level rise over the past 17-18 years (Mörner, 2007, 2011; Gray, 2010).

The list can be enlarged over wider (the Indian Ocean with places like the Maldives and Bangladesh) and wider (spots all over the globe; not least northwestern Europe where it all can be put at a test; even so in Venice).

Obviously, there is a major clash between scenario based computer simulations and reality in the form of observational based facts and observations in nature itself. Therefore, there are all logical reasons to turn away from the propaganda information and concentrate all attention and interest on observational facts.

In this case, those facts give a very clear and irrefutable message; there is no alarming sea level rise either in Tuvalu or Kiribati. Ban Ki Moon and his friend from the Pacific Islands Forum should both feel ashamed of their claims and statements with respect to Tuvalu and Kiribati.

More HERE (See the original for graphics)

New Santer et al. Paper Totally Discredited - Santer Ignores Prior, Pivotal Peer Reviewed Research

The violence-prone and globally discredited Ben Santer has Climategate friends (Kevin Trenberth and Andy Dessler) who recently claimed that the Spencer and Braswell 2011 study is invalid because it did not include prior research to their liking.

Now we have Ben Santer, Carl A. Mears, C. Doutriaux, Peter Martin Caldwell, Peter J. Gleckler, Tom M.L. Wigley, Susan Solomon, Nathan Gillett, Detelina P. Ivanova, Thomas R. Karl, John R. Lanzante, Gerald A. Meehl, Peter A. Stott, Karl E Taylor, Peter Thorne, Michael F. Wehner, Frank J. Wentz publishing a study that totally ignores the challenge of previous, pivotal research by Christy, J.R., B. Herman, R. Pielke, Sr., P. Klotzbach, R.T. McNider, J.J. Hnilo, R.W. Spencer, T. Chase and D. Douglass, 2010.

Hmmmm.....pot meet kettle, eh?
"Santer et al ignored an important paper...Trends are computed for different time periods (e.g. see figure 2 in Christy et al 2010), and should have been compared with the model predictions... The failure of Santer et al to include a very relevant paper with respect to their analysis is one of the justifications for Wolfgang Wagner to resign from Remote Sensing in response to claims that Spencer and Braswell (S&B) ignored relevant papers that disagreed with S&B."

Fair is fair.....Santer et al. is simply discredited due to this lack of respect for the new era of Climategate-style research. Santer needs to apologize to the previous research authors for this gross lack of scientific research rigor, and he could also finally apologize for threatening another climate scientist with violent harm while off his meds.

SOURCE (See the original for links)

Renewable Energy Credits Called Out as “The Ultimate Greenwash”

The Corporate Renewable Energy Index (CREX), a product of Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Vestas Wind Systems, provides some insight. For the moment, News Corp. appears to be outpacing Starbucks in its commitment to renewables, according to the index. News Corp. purchases 67 percent of its electricity from renewable in comparison to 58 percent by Starbucks.

Researchers with the Cascade Policy Institute, based in Oregon, surmise that public relations schemes are at work. News Corp. is not exactly a media darling, while Starbucks has been winning points in recent years for its environmental posturing. In any event, neither company sits at top of the index. Whole Foods, Intel Corp. and Kohl’s are the leading purchasers, the latest survey shows.

But a significant percentage of the companies listed on CREX did not actually make purchases of renewable energy, the Cascade Policy Institute has revealed. In reality, they are purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs), which Cascade describes as a “fabricated commodity.”

“A REC represents the alleged ‘environmental amenities’ associated with certain forms of electrical power production such as wind or solar,” Cascade reports. “For those in the trade, one REC is created every time one megawatt-hour (MWh) or renewable energy is generated. Two distinct commodities are associated with renewable energy, Cascade explains. First, there is the actual electric output, and second, there is the illusive environmental benefit.

In the aftermath of the climategate scandal involving “scientists” at University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Great Britain, there is ample room to raise serious questions about the premise of man-made global warming theories that the United Nations continues to peddle. But even if companies do accept this premise they should know that purchasing RECs do little if anything to reduce total carbon dioxide emissions.

A company that buys green power can make the claim that it is alleviating its carbon footprint, but it cannot argue that it is curtailing its total emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Even so, Bloomberg touts the index as a meaningful environmental exercise.

For years, we at Bloomberg New Energy Finance have focused so much of our attention on the generators of clean energy”, said Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “For this report, we shift the lens just a bit to look at who is buying this electricity. The CREX brings transparency to the renewable energy use of major global corporations, and will be a useful tool for energy investors.”

But where Bloomberg sees transparency, Cascade sees duplicity.

For starters, the price for RECs is too low to spur any meaningful investment into clean energy, the institute points out. The average price is less than $1 per REC. Furthermore, it is very clear that corporate America is using REC as a “marketing gimmick” to bolster its environmental credentials.

“RECs are little more than a waste of other people’s money,” Cascade argues. “As a fabricated commodity, RECs are little more than the ultimate greenwash.”


Our least sustainable energy option

By Paul Driessen — President Obama and a chorus of environmentalists, politicians, corporate executives and bureaucrats are perennially bullish on wind power as the bellwether of our “clean energy economy of the future.”

In reality, wind energy may well be the least sustainable and least eco-friendly of all electricity options. Its shortcomings are legion, but the biggest ones can be grouped into eight categories.

Land. As American humorist and philosopher Will Rogers observed, “They ain’t making any more of it.” Wind turbine installations impact vast amounts of land, far more than traditional power plants.

Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear plant generates 3,750 megwatts of electricity from a 4,000-acre site. The 600-MW John Turk ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plant in Arkansas covers part of 2,900 acres; two 600-MW coal-fired units in India use just 600 acres. Gas-fired units like Calpine’s 560-MW Fox Energy Center in Wisconsin require several hundred acres. All generate reliable power 90-95 percent of the year.

By contrast, the 600-MW Fowler Ridge wind installation (355 turbines) spans 50,000 acres of farm country along Indiana’s I-65 corridor. The 782-MW Roscoe project in Texas (627 turbines) sprawls across 100,000 acres. Oregon’s Shepherds Flat project (338 gigantic 2.5 MW turbines) covers nearly 80,000 wildlife and scenic acres along the Columbia River Gorge, for a “rated capacity” of 845 MW.

The Chokecherry-Sierra Madre project will blanket some 320,000 acres of sage grouse habitat and BLM land in Wyoming with 1,000 monstrous 3-MW turbines, to generate zero to 3,000 MW of intermittent power. That’s eight times the size of Washington, DC, to get an average annual output one-fourth of what Palo Verde generates 90 percent of the time. But C-SM has already received preliminary approval from BLM.

To replace just 20 percent of the United States’ 995,000 MW of total installed generating capacity, we would need to blanket an area the size of Kansas with wind turbines, and then add nearly a thousand 600-MW gas-fired backup generators … and thousands of miles of new high voltage transmission lines.

Raw materials. Wind turbine installations require vast amounts of steel, copper, rare earth metals, fiberglass, concrete, rebar and other materials for the turbines, towers and bases.

A single 1.7 MW wind turbine, like 315 of the Fowler Ridge units, involves some 365 tons of materials for the turbine assembly and tower, plus nearly 1100 tons of concrete and rebar for the foundation. Bigger units require substantially more materials. Grand total for the entire Fowler wind installation: some 515,000 tons; for Roscoe, 752,000 tons; for Shepherds Flat, 575,000 tons; for Chokecherry, perhaps 2,000,000 tons. Offshore installations need far more raw materials.

To all that must be added millions of tons of steel, copper, concrete and rebar for thousands of miles of transmission lines — and still more for mostly gas-fired generators to back up every megawatt of wind power and generate electricity the 17 hours of each average day that the wind doesn’t blow.

Money. Taxpayers and consumers must provide perpetual subsidies to prop up wind projects, which cannot survive without steady infusions of cash via feed-in tariffs, tax breaks and direct payments.

Transmission lines cost $1.0 million to $2.5 million per mile. Landowners get $5,000+ per turbine, plus royalties on all energy produced from the turbine, plus payments for every foot of access road and transmission lines. However, taxpayers pay more, while the landowners’ neighbors suffer property devaluation, scenic disruption, noise, health problems and interference with crop spraying, but no monetary compensation. Direct federal wind energy subsidies to help cover this totaled $5 billion in FY 2010; state support added billions more; still more billions were added to consumers’ electric bills.

The Other People’s Money well is running dry. The “manmade catastrophic climate change” thesis behind the wind energy campaign is in shambles. Voters and consumers are understandably fed up.

Energy. Mining, quarrying, drilling, milling, refining, smelting and manufacturing operations make the production of metals, concrete, fiberglass and resins, turbines, and heavy equipment to do all of the above very energy-intensive. Ditto for transporting and installing turbines, towers, backups and transmission lines. That takes real energy: abundant, reliable, affordable — not what comes from wind turbines.

In fact, it probably requires more energy to manufacture, haul and install these monstrous Cuisinarts of the air and their transmission systems than they will generate in their lifetimes. However, no cradle-to-grave analysis has ever been conducted, for the energy inputs or pollution outputs. We need one now.

Health. Whereas environmentalists garner scary headlines over wildly speculative claims about health dangers from hydraulic fracturing (to extract abundant natural gas for wind turbine backup generators), they ignore and dismiss a growing body of evidence that wind turbines cause significant health problems.

Principal health issues are associated with noise — not just annoying audible noise, but inaudible, low-frequency “infrasound” that causes headache, dizziness, “deep nervous fatigue” and symptoms akin to seasickness. “Wind turbine syndrome” also includes irritability, depression, and concentration and sleep problems. Others include “shadow flicker” or “strobe effect” from whirling blades, which can trigger seizures in epileptics, “vibroacoustic” effects on the heart and lungs, and non-lethal harm to animals. Serious lung, heart, cancer and other problems have been documented from rare earth mining, smelting and manufacturing in China, under its less rigorous health, workplace and environmental regulations.

To date, however, very few health assessments have been required or conducted prior to permit approval, even for major wind turbine installations. Perhaps the trial lawyers’ guild could redress that oversight.

Environment. Raptors, bats and other beautiful flying creatures continue to be sliced and diced by wind turbines. Thankfully, the Bureau of Land Management has included an “avian radar system” to track the slaughter within its 500-square-mile Chokecherry region — and banned mining among the turbines.

Wind turbines are supposed to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. But because backup generators must repeatedly surge to full power and back to standby, as wind speed rises and falls, they operate inefficiently, use more fuel and emit more — much like cars forced to stop repeatedly on freeways.

Jobs. The myth of “green jobs” is hitting the brick wall of reality. While the turbines are installed in the USA and EU, far more numerous mining and manufacturing jobs are in China, where they are hardly “green.” As Spanish and Scottish analysts have documented, the “green” installer and maintenance jobs cost up to $750,000 apiece — and kill 2.2 to 3.7 traditional jobs for every “eco-friendly” job created.

Electricity costs and reliability. Even huge subsidies cannot cure wind power’s biggest defects: its electricity costs far more than coal, gas or nuclear alternatives — and its intermittent nature wreaks havoc on power grids and consumers. The problem is worst on hot summer afternoons, when demand is highest and breezes are minimal. Unable to compete against cheap Chinese and Indian electricity and labor, energy-intensive industries increasingly face the prospect of sending operations and jobs overseas. Bayer Chemical’s warning that it may have to close its German facilities is just the tip of the iceberg.

When it comes to wind, Nat King Cole might have sung: “Unsustainable that’s what you are, unsustainable though near or far. Unsustainable in every way, and forever more that’s how you’ll stay.” Maybe not forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future, especially compared to increasingly abundant natural gas.

So take a hint from Spoon’s lively tune and “cut out the middleman.” Forge a direct relationship with energy you can afford, energy that works nearly 24/7/365, energy that causes the least ecological damage and is far more sustainable than wind power: the hydrocarbon, hydroelectric and nuclear power that have sustained our society and brought unprecedented health, prosperity and living standards to billions.

Then help the planet’s least fortunate people to do likewise.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


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