Friday, December 30, 2011

Hansen's explanation of why the oceans are not warming

Improving observations of ocean heat content show that Earth is absorbing more energy from the sun than it is radiating to space as heat, even during the recent solar minimum. The inferred planetary energy imbalance, 0.59 ± 0.15 W m−2 during the 6-year period 2005–2010, confirms the dominant role of the human-made greenhouse effect in driving global climate change. Observed surface temperature change and ocean heat gain together constrain the net climate forcing and ocean mixing rates. We conclude that most climate models mix heat too efficiently into the deep ocean and as a result underestimate the negative forcing by human-made aerosols. Aerosol climate forcing today is inferred to be −1.6 ± 0.3 W m−2, implying substantial aerosol indirect climate forcing via cloud changes. Continued failure to quantify the specific origins of this large forcing is untenable, as knowledge of changing aerosol effects is needed to understand future climate change. We conclude that recent slowdown of ocean heat uptake was caused by a delayed rebound effect from Mount Pinatubo aerosols and a deep prolonged solar minimum. Observed sea level rise during the Argo float era is readily accounted for by ice melt and ocean thermal expansion, but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade.


One doesn't need to go into the physics involved to see that this is bad science. It is in fact a particularly egregious example of a post hoc explanation -- being wise after the event in layman's terms. Such explanations get as little respect in science as elsewhere.

Such explanations are given when something predicted by theory fails to occur -- and when there is one clear confounding factor they can have some status. But Hansen's paper has no such status. He has to invoke a whole range of special influences, some of which seem to be entirely imaginary. Without any evidence for it he extends the influence of the Pinatubo eruption to two decades, which is wildly outside the normal expectation of a couple of years at most. The paper is a patent work of desperation.

On the amusing side, he admits an effect of solar variations, something long denied by Warmists, including himself.

Steve Goddard sinks the knife in too.

New Paper Shows Profound Urban Warming Impact

A new paper written by Maeng-Ki Kim, Department of Atmospheric Science, Kongju National University, and Seonae Kim of the Applied Meteorology Research Team, Environmental Prediction Research Inc. of Korea has been published by the Journal of Atmospheric Environment.

The two scientists examined cities in South Korea and the urban heat island effect. According to the abstract:
The quantitative values of the urban warming effect over city stations in the Korean peninsula were estimated by using the warming mode of Empirical Orthogonal Function (EOF) analysis of 55 years of temperature data, from 1954 to 2008. The estimated amount of urban warming was verified by applying the multiple linear regression equation with two independent variables: the rate of population growth and the total population. [...] The cities that show great warming due to urbanization are Daegu, Pohang, Seoul, and Incheon, which show values of about 1.35, 1.17, 1.16, and 1.10°C, respectively. The areas that showed urban warming less than 0.2°C are Chupungnyeong and Mokpo. On average, the total temperature increase over South Korea was about 1.37°C; the amount of increase caused by the greenhouse effect is approximately 0.60°C, and the amount caused by urban warming is approximately 0.77°C.”

According to their results, that means well over a half of the warming is caused by urban warming.

Why aren’t we surprised? Anyone who has read Ed Caryl’s very recent stories here at this blog and is familiar with Anthony Watts’s surface stations audit knows why.


Ludicrous: U.S. Transportation Department and Environmental Protection Agency guess at 2025 car sales

If Congress is seriously interested in finding people to cut perhaps they just need to look at those responsible for producing automobile company sales projections for the year 2025. That’s right, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation spent your tax dollars to make up sales projections for a model year that is thirteen years from now.

Of course, this should not be surprising for the EPA which regularly creates regulations based upon speculative global warming models that project weather patterns fifty to one hundred years in the future. So, automotive industry sales projections for the year 2025 must have seemed like legitimate economic analysis after dealing in the politically driven climate guessing world for the past few years.

Not shockingly, the analysis is based upon the automakers current line-up of vehicles and their dependence upon vehicles which are likely to no longer exist if the Transportation Department’s rule increasing the average gas mileage for a company’s fleet of vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025 becomes the law of the land.

The projections were created as part of the CAFÉ standard rulemaking process, and Automotive News quotes Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive as indicting the guesswork on two fronts noting that the report relied upon 2008 sales data making it, “a bit dated, especially given all the changes in the automotive industry over the last few years.”

Schuster continued calling any forecast that far out, “… a crapshoot,” noting, “They don’t even know what their lineup is going to be in 2025, so it’s difficult for a forecaster to know.”
The official government forecasts were not good for twice bailed out Chrysler Corporation which is projected to have a devastating 54% drop in vehicle sales.

Not surprisingly, the government sees good things for Tesla Corporation, the recipient of $465 million in low interest federal loans. In the third quarter of 2011, Tesla reports that they sold 184 of their $109,000 Roadsters, fewer vehicles than the Chevy Volt.

However, in 2025, the crystal ball gazers in the federal government estimate that Tesla will sell 31,974 vehicles, not 31,000 or 32,000 vehicles, but 31,974 little Tesla electric cars will be buzzing around terrorizing the deaf who can’t hear them coming.

Of course, if private bankers believed that Tesla had this kind of massive upside, they would not have had to rely on taxpayer loans to build their manufacturing facilities, so it is reasonable to assume that like Solyndra, the projections of success may be more driven by the hoped for outcome rather than any real market analysis.

Now, a cynical person would believe that the stunningly unreachable CAFÉ standards set for 2025 are less based upon any real expectation that conventional combustion engines will be able to be tweaked to achieve them and more from a social policy desire to force internal combustion engines off the road all-together.

If this is the case and the standards survive, perhaps Tesla is a good investment bet for the future. After all, they are basing their electric engine on 1885 technology and claim a range between charges of around 300 miles. This is compared to the fire-prone Chevy Volt which suffers from an electric charge limitation of 40 miles.


High Prices Will Limit Sales of Electric Vehicles in 2012, According to Pike Research

Many potential buyers will hold off on purchases of electric vehicles (EVs) during 2012 due to the premium pricing of the vehicles, according to a new white paper from Pike Research. Nissan raised the price of the Leaf for 2012, and while the 2012 Chevrolet Volt will sell for $1,000 less, the car comes without several features that were previously standard but are now options.

According to data from Pike Research’s annual Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey, the optimal price for a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) to engage consumers is $23,750. With the 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV ($32,000), the Honda Fit BEV ($36,625), and the Ford Focus EV ($39,995) all north of $30,000 (before federal incentives), consumers hoping for an affordable EV ride have been left wanting. These relatively high selling prices will constrain the market for PEVs in 2012. The white paper, which includes 10 predictions about the EV market in 2012, is available for free download on Pike Research’s website.

“Vehicles on sale in 2012 will not benefit from recent cost reductions in batteries,” says research director John Gartner. “The batteries in these vehicles were ordered before 2012, so any flexibility in reducing vehicle pricing will not occur until 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. Nevertheless, the global market for plug-in electric vehicles will grow to more than a quarter million vehicles in 2012 – a number sufficient to put an end to the ‘are they for real?’ speculation that has surrounded this market.”

Pike Research’s industry predictions for 2012 include the following:

* Car-sharing services will expand the market for EVs and hybrids.

* Battery production will outstrip vehicle production.

* The Asia-Pacific region will become the early leader in vehicle-to-grid (V2G) systems.

* Third-party EV charging companies will dominate public charging sales.

* Employers will begin to purchase EV chargers in large numbers.

* EVs will begin to function as home appliances.

Pike Research’s white paper, “Electric Vehicles: 10 Predictions for 2012”, analyzes 10 key trends that will influence the development of the electric vehicle market in 2012 and beyond. Conclusions and predictions in this paper are drawn from the firm’s ongoing Smart Transportation research coverage, with forecasts included for key market sectors. A full copy of the white paper is available for free download on the firm’s website.


Greener energy will cost £4,600 each a year in Britain

The Coalition's plans to convert Britain to green energy would cost the country the equivalent of £4,600 per person a year, according to official forecasts. Reducing dependence on fossil fuels and moving to renewable and nuclear energy would cost an additional £60billion every year until 2050, the officials said.

But Professor David MacKay, a government adviser on climate change, said that doing nothing to reduce carbon emissions would prove even more expensive because of rising energy prices.

Although the cost of converting to green energy will initially be paid by energy companies and the Government, they are likely to pass it on to taxpayers through higher energy bills and taxes.

The bulk of the cost will lie in replacing the ageing fossil fuel and nuclear power stations and meeting the Government's commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to hit European Union targets.

Meeting the country's current energy needs costs an estimated £220billion, equivalent to £3,700 per person every year.

The cheapest option for switching to green energy would increase the estimated cost of energy to £4,598 per person per year.

Under this plan, just over 40 per cent of energy would come from wind, solar and renewable power, a third would come from nuclear plants and a quarter from gas stations.

The estimates suggest that failing to replace fossil fuel plants with greener energy would be even more costly.

Continuing to rely on coal and gas would cost about £4,682 a year per person, according to the forecasts.

The most expensive scenario, working out at £5,181 per person a year, would rely on a far higher use of nuclear power than any of the other options.

The "cost of energy calculator" has been designed by Prof MacKay for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The Government estimates that household bills will probably increase by around £200 a year over the next decade, with about half of this rise caused by Britain's climate change policies.

Household energy bills are already at record levels, with the average domestic fuel cost estimated to be about £1,175 for 2011, compared with £1,075 for the same level of energy consumption last year.

Energy companies were criticised for raising their prices this summer. The industry has claimed that gas prices have risen because production has fallen from the Middle East during the Arab Spring, and extra supplies have gone to Japan following the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in Japan last March.

Prof MacKay said: "I was irritated by all the twaddle being talked about energy and the misleading comparisons made. I just wanted the numbers without the hype. I am just the numbers guy, trying to be helpful."



Two current articles below

Solar tariff scheme blows out by $46 million

Now it's Western Australia's turn

WA's solar power tariff feed-in scheme has now blown out from $114 million to $180 million - $46 millon of which will be paid by the state government. Photo: Glenn Hunt

The state government's solar panel rebate scheme has blown out by at least $46 million, after a cap imposed on the program in response to its popularity was breached.

The feed-in tariff scheme was introduced in 2009, and offered new households who fed solar-produced power back into the grid a rebate of 40 cents per kilowatt hour.

More than 76,000 households signed up to the scheme, but its popularity prompted the Barnett Government to impose a cap of 150MW earlier this year and to halve the rate to 20 cents.

The scheme was originally estimated to cost $28.2 million, before being revised to $114 million.

But yesterday's mid-year budget forecasts revealed the estimate had blown out to $180 million, after too many applications were processed and the cap was breached by 15MW. Synergy will pay $20 million of the overrun, while the state government will pay $46 million.

Treasurer Christian Porter has ordered an audit into the scheme, which will analyse all the applications received between May 21, when the cap was announced, and June 30, when it was imposed.

Mr Porter said the audit would find out if any applications were incorrectly approved, which could see the cost blowout reduced.

"The suspicion that we have in Treasury is that there are applications that said they met the requirements, but didn't," he said. "Or alternatively, the Office of Energy or Synergy made an error."

"There's been a cost overrun, there clearly has been... but the money is not wasted, the money has been spent delivering clean electricity and incentivising the product of photovoltaics.

"There weren't appropriate procedures put in place to know which bundle of applications, or which single application, represented the breaching of the cap."

Shadow Energy Minister Kate Doust said the feed-in tariff scheme had been completely mismanaged. "This scheme has been poorly regulated with poor safety records and now there have been huge cost blowouts – it has been one stuff up after another from this minister," she said. "With an extra $46 million needed over the next three years for this scheme, the (Energy Minister Peter Collier's) mismanagement and hands-off approach will ultimately cost our state for a decade."

But Mr Porter said the overrun was closer to $14 million, as the initial forecast from the Office of Energy was inaccurate and the government had always been prepared to pay $165.3 million for the project.


Global cooling hits Sydney

It's been an unusually cool December in Brisbane too

IT'S a good thing December is almost over - it's been the coldest for more than 50 years. With two days to go, it seems certain Sydney will record its coldest December since 1960, with the average daily maximum so far this month 2.2C below the long-term average. Sydney's average top temperature so far this month was a chilly 23C - only 0.2C more than in 1960.

That isn't going to change much over the next two days, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting showers and tops of just 24C.

Not once has the temperature reached 30C in the city this month, the first time since 1999 the mercury has failed to reach that mark in December. Even in 1960, Sydney recorded two days with top temperatures above 30C.

The Weather Channel meteorologist Dick Whitaker said Sydney wasn't the only city to suffer a cold start to summer, with Canberra and Brisbane also experiencing below average temperatures.

"Across eastern Australia we had a lot of cloud cover in December and on top of that we had an above average frequency of southerly winds," Mr Whitaker said.

He said La Nina wasn't solely to blame for Sydney's unseasonably cool weather, despite it being associated with cooler, wetter weather: "Each La Nina is unique, like a fingerprint. La Nina was even stronger last year but Sydney was drier than average, which was a bit unusual. La Nina is just one factor, and this year there are other factors."

One of those is rainfall. So far this month Sydney has received 77.8mm of rain, precisely the long-term average for December. "In 1960 they had 244.9mm of rain, so clearly it was an extremely wet month and that was the biggest issue behind the cooler temperatures then," he said.

Thankfully there will be an extra reason to celebrate when the fireworks go off over the Harbour - the new year will also usher in a new weather pattern, delivering Sydney its first run of blue skies and warm weather this summer.

After a cool start of just 16C, the first day of the year is expected to be sunny with a top of 26C - and the news gets better from there. The sunshine is expected to continue for at least the following two days, with top temperatures of 27C and 28C expected in the city.

"It looks like summer is on its way," Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Michael Logan said. "Longer term, it looks more like what you would expect for summer, with plenty of days in the mid to high 20s."



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