Thursday, August 30, 2012

Must not report climate findings without mentioning global warming

In the newspaper report below you will see various mentions of the global warming faith interspersed with some actual research findings. If you look up the actual findings however (Abstract below) you will see that they actually had no data on global warming at all. All they had was inferred data on rainfall derived from Antarctic ice cores covering the last 1000 years.

And what they found was that the climate 1000 years ago was much the same as today, with a slightly rainier period in between. That proves global warming? I would have thought the opposite. One thing it does prove is that you have to bow down before the great Moloch of global warming if you want to do research into climate

NEW research by Antarctic scientists has found the century-long decline in rainfall in eastern Australia is far from a usual event.

Researchers used ice cores drilled from Antarctica to analyse rainfall during the past 1000 years.

They found we are living in drier than average times, in all likelihood because of climate change caused by human activity.

Significantly, though, they also found a similar dry spell in the years 1000-1260 AD.

"There's a bit of research in eastern Australia going on that suggests that rainfall in eastern Australia is declining, probably since the 50s," says glaciologist Dr Tessa Vance, part of a team whose findings have been published in the Journal of Climate.

"But it's a bit hard to tell with short records.

"So this record now says we've got this decline, but it's not only unusual in the last few decades, it's unusual in the last thousand years."

The ice cores contain traces of sea salts deposited by winds in eastern Antarctica that provide the longest rainfall record yet for eastern Australia.

The team, from the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and the Australian Antarctic Division, attributes both dry spells to stronger or more frequent El Nino events, the cyclic dry that affects eastern Australia every few years.

But that doesn't mean the decline in rainfall over the past century is purely a natural phenomenon.

"There's other research going on that suggests that not only do El Ninos bring hotter years - so possibly there's a temperature link in one direction - but maybe hotter temperatures give you more El Ninos as well," Dr Vance said.

"We know this current period is being warmed by humans.

"So if that's having an effect on the frequency of El Ninos or the strength of them, then it's definitely leading to a drier eastern Australia."

The team plans to extend the research back at least another thousand years to provide a historical model for climate scientists.

Journal of Climate 2012
A millennial proxy record of ENSO and eastern Australian rainfall from the Law Dome ice core, East Antarctica

By Tessa R. Vance et al.


ENSO causes climate extremes across and beyond the Pacific Basin, however evidence of ENSO at high southern latitudes is generally restricted to the South Pacific and West Antarctica. Here we report a statistically significant link between ENSO and sea salt deposition during summer from the Law Dome (LD) ice core in East Antarctica. ENSO-related atmospheric anomalies from the central-western Equatorial Pacific (CWEP) propagate to the South Pacific and the circumpolar high latitudes. These anomalies modulate high latitude zonal winds, with El Niño (La Niña) conditions causing reduced (enhanced) zonal wind speeds and subsequently, reduced (enhanced) summer sea salt deposition at LD. Over the last 1010 years, the LD summer sea salt (LDSSS) record has exhibited two below average (El Niño-like) epochs, 1000-1260 AD and 1920-2009 AD, and a longer above average (La Niña-like) epoch from 1260-1860 AD. Spectral analysis shows the below average epochs are associated with enhanced ENSO-like variability around 2-5 years, while the above average epoch is associated more with variability around 6-7 years. The LDSSS record is also significantly correlated with annual rainfall in eastern mainland Australia. While the correlation displays decadal-scale variability similar to changes in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), the LDSSS record suggests rainfall in the modern instrumental era (1910-2009 AD) is below the long-term average. In addition, recent rainfall declines in some regions of eastern and south-eastern Australia appear to be mirrored by a downward trend in the LDSSS record, suggesting current rainfall regimes are unusual though not unknown over the last millennium.


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It's good. View it here

Israel not taken in by solar fantasies

Israel has developed some of the world's most advanced solar energy equipment and enjoys a nearly endless supply of sunshine, but when it comes to deploying large-scale solar technology at home, the country remains in the dark ages.

Solar power provides just a tiny percentage of Israel's energy needs, leaving it far behind colder, cloudier counterparts in Europe. Israeli solar companies, frustrated by government bureaucracy, have taken their expertise abroad. Industry leaders such as Germany and Italy have outpaced Israel in solar development, despite having fewer sunny days and less powerful sunrays. The Germans, for instance, generate nearly 12 times as much solar power per capita as their Israeli counterparts, according to official statistics from both countries.

One of the biggest complaints by Israeli solar companies is the bureaucracy. Smadar Bat-Adam, chief of staff for Israel's Energy and Water Resources Ministry, acknowledged that red tape has been an issue. But she targets set years ago to ramp up solar power were overly ambitious. Israel is on track to reach its 2020 benchmark of generating 10 percent of its electricity needs from renewable sources, she said.


Solyndra backers could reap big tax breaks

Two investment firms could walk away from the bankruptcy of solar panel maker Solyndra LLC with hundreds of millions of dollars in future tax breaks, the U.S. government said in court papers seeking more information on the arrangement.

Units of Argonaut Ventures and Madrone Partners could end up with "significantly more" than $500 million in tax benefits as part of Solyndra's bankruptcy, the Department of Energy and the Internal Revenue Service said in a bankruptcy court filing on Friday.
Under the bankruptcy plan, the U.S. government is unlikely to recoup much of its $528 million loan to Solyndra.

The government agencies asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware, to reject Solyndra's "disclosure statement," which describes its plan to repay creditors, unless the company provides more details on the tax benefits.

Under the proposed plan, tax benefits such as "net operating losses" would be preserved for Argonaut, which is controlled by a foundation linked to billionaire George Kaiser, and Madrone. Under a 2011 restructuring, the two firms committed to investing $75 million to keep Solyndra afloat with the condition they would be repaid before the U.S. government.


Dark clouds gather over China's once-booming solar industry

China's push into solar energy was supposed to be a proud example of how the country was advancing into hi-tech manufacturing. But now the whole sector is on the brink of bankruptcy.

Two years ago, LDK Solar, one of China's largest solar panel makers, built a new, state-of-the-art factory in the central city of Hefei.

It sits in one of the city's industrial parks, a big LDK Solar logo on its wall, with the New York-listed company's slogan underneath: "Lighting the Future".

"It cost 2.5 billion yuan (£250m) to build, the majority of the equipment was imported from Germany, and it hired 5,000 staff," said Jie Xiaoming, a 30-year-old who works at the plant's quality control and packaging department.

Last month, however, 4,500 of the staff were put on gardening leave. They receive 700 yuan a month to stay at home. The factory has shut down 24 of its 32 production lines.

"There do not seem to be any orders. People are still turning up for work, but mostly just sleeping. The management has not said much, just that the United States has a new policy that is stopping our exports," said Mr Jie.

Since it was set up in 2005, LDK Solar, along with several other Chinese solar panel makers, has enjoyed heady growth. Solar power, along with biotechnology and aerospace, was declared a "strategic emerging industry" and was given grants and low-cost loans.

It funnelled the cheap credit into an aggressive expansion, hoping to provide an entire industry chain of products and services.

Meanwhile, in Europe and the US, governments provided subsidies to buy Chinese-made panels as part of commitments to boost renewable energy.

But the incentives created a glut of suppliers, and since 2010, the price of polysilicon wafers has fallen by nearly three-quarters. The price is now below the production cost - in the latest quarter, LDK Solar's gross margin was -65.5pc.

Meanwhile, the debt crisis in Europe has cut government subsidies to the sector and the US imposed a 31pc tariff in May on Chinese wafers, complaining that manufacturers were being underwritten by the government.

In July a group of 25 European solar companies followed suit, filing an anti-dumping complaint with the European Union.

At the same time, the quality of the solar equipment being made by Chinese companies, even by the biggest companies, is often not export-grade.

While the Chinese government has promised to hugely increase its purchases of solar panels, there is a significant excess capacity in the domestic market that has kept prices low.

China's big five firms are all reporting disastrous trading and heavily indebted balance sheets. At the end of the first quarter, JA Solar listed debt and liabilities of $1.5 billion, Trina Solar had debts of $1.08 billion, and Yingli had debts of $3.44 billion.

Suntech, once held up as a model company, could have to pay $690m in collateral related to a possible fraud, and it also has a $541m convertible bond payment in early 2013. Its total debts are $3.58 billion.

In the first quarter, LDK lost $185.2m as sales dropped by nearly 75pc. "When they came to remove staff, they simply chose a percentage who would remain," said another worker outside the Hefei plant, who declined to be named. "The whole industry is doing badly, and LDK also had a strategy problem. There is no point in worrying now. It is simply a matter of time before the factory closes. I give it a maximum of six months," he said.

For the time being, the Chinese government is determined to keep LDK alive. The authorities in Xinyu, where it is headquartered, have announced they will roll 500 million yuan of the company's debts into their annual budget.

A bank official told Caixin, a Chinese magazine, that Xinyu government had set aside a total of 2 billion yuan to bail out the firm. Government officials, who boasted that they wanted to turn Xinyu into a "silicon town", are desperate not to lose face. But so far LDK is rumoured to have laid off 10,000 workers and defaulted on payments of around 600 million yuan to 20 suppliers, according to Caixin.

"I don’t think we will close though. I think the worst situation we will be sold," said Mr Jie. "Apparently Sharp is interested."

Sharp's interest is unclear, and so far there has been no queue of buyers. Jiangxi Copper Corporation was rumoured to be a possible bidder, on the orders of the local government, but Pan Qifang, secretary of its board of directors, summed up the general wariness of the market: "Our company is not familiar with the solar industry, so we cannot rush into it," he said.


While Europe Dithers, Shale Boom Spreads To Russia

The use of horizontal drilling will grow faster in Russia than in the United States, where it is helping to drive a boom in shale oil and gas, the chief executive of Eurasia Drilling said.

“Growth in the U.S. will not be so huge as the growth of horizontal drilling in Russia,” Alexander Djaparidze, who helped found the company in a buyout of LUKoil’s drilling assets, said in an interview.

In the space of last year, Eurasia Drilling, which acquired Schlumberger’s Russian drilling assets in April 2011, reported that horizontal drilling doubled from 2010 to nearly 900,000 meters.

This year it has told investors it will increase, in line with overall drilling volumes, at about a rate of 15 percent.

Horizontal drilling is technically more challenging and more expensive than conventional vertical drilling but taps hydrocarbon reservoirs more effectively and yields better flows.
Russian oil companies, faced with annual decline rates of 2 percent in their West Siberian home base, where Soviet-era fields generate 85 percent of the country’s 10.3 million barrel per day output, have stepped up the use of unconventional technologies to secure Russia’s position as the world’s top producer.

Beyond the conventional plays of Western Siberia lies the Bazhenov Formation, potentially the world’s richest oil shale, which the government hopes to unlock using tax breaks that it announced earlier this year to coax companies to invest in cutting edge drilling technologies.

The Bazhenov was touted as “80 times bigger than the Bakken” and could yield 1 million barrels per day by 2020, research firm Bernstein has said — referring to the prolific Bakken shale deposit in the northern United States.

Further out are the Arctic seas, where Rosneft will start exploring in 2015 under a partnership deal with ExxonMobil. It has similar deals with Norway’s Statoil and Italy’s Eni.
New awareness of the potential to boost production on the part of the government, concerned to sustain hydrocarbon output that yields more than 50 percent of budget revenues, has made analysts bullish on drillers operating in Russia.

“We see the oil service companies as the major beneficiaries of the upcoming exploration drive into offshore and hard-to-access deposits,” Merrill Lynch said in a report.

“Meanwhile, Russia’s conventional drilling should become deeper and heavier, supporting current domestic providers. We see Eurasia Drilling and [competitor] CAT Oil as the main long-term beneficiaries of the upcoming drilling spree.”

Enthusiasm for shale is controversial in oil circles, where some argue that the country has a long way to go to before it exhausts conventional resources, both in Western Siberia and at greenfields in the east. These can be unlocked with increased horizontal drilling and by the hydraulic fracturing techniques that have come to be associated with the shale boom.
“Right now, we have the feeling that conventional sources are enough to keep us going for the next five years. We will be happy if there is room for tight oil and gas,” Djaparidze said.

“Well flows achieved at new fields can be several times higher with the implementation of horizontal drilling, which is booming right now.”

Eurasia positions itself as Russia’s only domestic driller with offshore experience, with two jack-up rigs — essentially mobile drilling platforms — operating in the Caspian Sea and a third under construction, as well as a contract for platform services at LUKoil’s Korchagin field.

As such, it intends to compete for Arctic drilling contracts, but Djaparidze said it might need to seek partnerships.

“We will try that, but there will be a lot of big players with a lot of economic and political interests. I think having participation with other companies is the likely route to the Arctic for [Eurasia Drilling],” Djaparidze said.

“A big pie will be divided up and there will be a lot of interested parties in the division of this pie. But given our experience in offering technological and financial expertise we will bite off a piece of this pie.”

Eurasia made its first acquisition outside the former Soviet Union in July, buying two rigs in Iraq’s semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan with a commitment to purchase a third, a move he said was not necessarily designed to follow Russian clients.

“This is a footprint in the region,” Djaparidze said. “There is going to be huge drilling. It is our priority to maintain Russian production together with our clients.”

In Europe, Eurasia Drilling is watching potential shale plays, in particular in Poland, where it was undeterred by reserve downgrades and a decision by ExxonMobil to abandon a shale gas project there after disappointing drilling results.

“I was very disappointed France decided not to do shale gas,” he added. “We would have sent some people from Western Siberia to the south of France to drill.



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