Monday, September 03, 2012

Yummy CO2 being gobbled up by plant life

The subject of human carbon dioxide emissions and their build up in Earth's atmosphere is at the center of the anthropogenic global warming controversy. It cannot be denied that humans produce CO2 in large amounts, both from burning fossil fuels and from land use changes. This has led to much gnashing of teeth and renting [rending? JR] of garments by excitable ecological doomsayers, but there is something they do not mention: at the same time humanity is spewing forth carbon, nature is busily sucking up that carbon and storing it away. A new analysis of the carbon cycle has produced an unexpected result—not only is the absorption of carbon continuing unabated it has actually expanded. The latest scientific tally indicates that since 1959, approximately 350 billion tons of carbon have been emitted by humans to the atmosphere, of which about 55% has been reabsorbed by the land and oceans.

That Earth's ecology absorbs CO2 has long been known; it is, after all, plant food. Living organisms in ocean waters and on the land absorb carbon from carbon dioxide and sequester it for periods of time ranging from decades to millions of years. The various pathways of this absorption are called sinks. If all the sources of carbon into the environment are matched by the carbon sinks removing carbon then the carbon cycle would be perfectly balanced. But contrary to statements by unscientific simpletons, nature is never in a static balance—it is always in a constant state of tension, of flux, as various processes contend.

Knowing that the sinks are not static has caused many climate change alarmists to issue dire warnings that the sinks would somehow fill up and stop absorbing mankind's carbon effluent. This prediction is interesting, since science does not even know all the mechanisms behind carbon absorption. In fact, for years researchers have been working to identify what has been labeled the “missing sink.” Quoting from chapter 7 of The Resilient Earth:
"For more than three decades, the attention of biologists and ecologists studying the global carbon cycle has focused on an apparent imbalance in the carbon budget. The so-called “missing sink” is a result of the following equation:

Atmospheric CO2 Increase = Human Emissions + Land Use – Ocean Uptake

This equation is simple enough: the amount of carbon produced by humans plus the carbon produced by other living things, less the amount absorbed by the oceans, must end up as atmospheric CO2. But, if actual numbers are used, the equation does not balance.

The average annual emissions of 8.5 Gt during the 1990s, 6.3 Gt from fossil fuels and 2.2 Gt from land use, are greater than the sum of the annual buildup of carbon in the atmosphere (3.2 Gt) and the annual uptake by the oceans (2.4 Gt). Here, land use includes carbon from decaying dead vegetation, soil organic matter, and wood products less the uptake by regrowing ecosystems. An additional sink of 2.9 Gt is required to balance the carbon budget. Though this is a small amount, over time, it adds up, 115 Gt of missing carbon over the period 1850-2000."

As we reported in TRE, despite the best efforts of scientists to account for the “missing” carbon, no good answer has been found. There has been a lot of work in this area yet no one knowledgeable in the field would say that every sink has been identified.

This, of course, has not stopped the argument over continued absorption, with most of the climate catastrophists arguing that the rate must decline or, at best, struggle to remain steady. A recent study in Nature by A. P. Ballantyne and colleagues has shed new light on the short term carbon cycle with a painstaking survey of carbon sources and atmospheric CO2 levels over the past 50 years. The main result of the study can be gleaned from the letter's title, “Increase in observed net carbon dioxide uptake by land and oceans during the past 50 years.” More detail is available from the paper abstract:
One of the greatest sources of uncertainty for future climate predictions is the response of the global carbon cycle to climate change. Although approximately one-half of total CO2 emissions is at present taken up by combined land and ocean carbon reservoirs, models predict a decline in future carbon uptake by these reservoirs, resulting in a positive carbon–climate feedback. Several recent studies suggest that rates of carbon uptake by the land and ocean have remained constant or declined in recent decades. Other work, however, has called into question the reported decline. Here we use global-scale atmospheric CO2 measurements, CO2 emission inventories and their full range of uncertainties to calculate changes in global CO2 sources and sinks during the past 50 years. Our mass balance analysis shows that net global carbon uptake has increased significantly by about 0.05 billion tonnes of carbon per year and that global carbon uptake doubled, from 2.4 ± 0.8 to 5.0 ± 0.9 billion tonnes per year, between 1960 and 2010. Therefore, it is very unlikely that both land and ocean carbon sinks have decreased on a global scale. Since 1959, approximately 350 billion tonnes of carbon have been emitted by humans to the atmosphere, of which about 55 per cent has moved into the land and oceans. Thus, identifying the mechanisms and locations responsible for increasing global carbon uptake remains a critical challenge in constraining the modern global carbon budget and predicting future carbon–climate interactions.

Bottom line—carbon uptake is not diminishing; in fact, it has actually doubled over the last five decades. Without that doubling humanity would have added more than twice the amount of CO2 to the atmosphere as we did. While the abstract nicely captures the overall message of the paper, there are more interesting details contained in the report's body.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

2012 Arctic Ice Melt Claims Distorted And Inaccurate. It’s the Wind Stupid

by Dr. Tim Ball

Recently I identified a counterattack trying to defend the failed anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis. Claims about Arctic ice melt this summer (2012) are another example. Data and analysis are wrong, but they need to scare a disinterested public.

I know about arctic sea ice from flying ice and anti-submarine patrols on Canada’s east coat for four years then five years search and rescue in the Arctic. I later worked with members of the Canadian Polar Shelf Project and researchers producing Hudson Bay ice reconstructions.

Claims of declining ice conditions use satellite records that produced results after 1980. Mark Serreze, Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) publicly attacked “anti-science misinformers” and used this data to claim sea ice is at a record low of 4.1 million sq. km. Anthony Watts shows this was belied by another NSIDC “new and improved” measure of 4.7 million sq. km.

Apparently to deflect criticisms of conclusions from a short 32 year record, Kinnard (2008), and Walsh and Chapman produced reconstruction of past conditions. They say,

“In order to extend diagnoses of recent sea-ice variations beyond the past few decades, a century-scale digital dataset of Arctic sea-ice coverage has been compiled. For recent decades, the compilation utilizes satellite-derived hemispheric datasets. Regional datasets based primarily on ship reports and aerial reconnaissance are the primary inputs for the earlier part of the 20th century.”

These reconstructions have no value. As the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) said,

“The observational database for the Arctic is quite limited, with few long-term stations and a paucity of observations in general.”

If you can’t measure accurately with satellites, it’s impossible from the historic record.

NSIDC’s different results between models illustrate the problem. Other agencies get different estimates again. NOAA says the ice level is 5.1 million while NATICE interactive maps show over 6.1 million (diagram).

The NATICE map illustrates the problem of determining ice extent. Notice there are no 100% ice areas. Prevailing Polar Easterlies drive the pack ice in a constant movement around the Pole creating wind driven open areas. Other large open areas include polynas. Satellites are fooled by meltwater on top of the ice and vast areas of broken and slush ice (yellow). How would you define ice and its limits in this Bering Straits satellite image?

For Arctic information the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007 used the ACIA report. It said,

“Over the course of millions of years, the Arctic has experienced climatic conditions that have ranged from one extreme to another.”

Within the last 10,000 years several periods were warmer than today. Longest was the Holocene Optimum between 8000 and 5000 years ago (ya); the Minoan Warm Period 3400 ya; the Roman Warm Period 2400 ya; the Medieval Warm Period 1000 ya and most recently the 1930s warm period.

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Science or PR?

Why do ‘official’ climate scientists need spin doctors? Because they practice politics not science. Climategate like Watergate was completely undone by the cover up of disgraceful behavior disclosed in emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in November 2009.

The first 1000 emails included some selected to expose behavior unacceptable even without knowledge of climatology. Others show how the anthropogneic global warming (AGW) science was conjured. Exposure of CRU members was important because they dominated and controlled the major portions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports. The leaks achieved their objective of derailing the political program of the Conference of the Parties (COP) 15 in Copenhagen. The COP was in a bind because they’re starting point is IPCC science.

The University of East Anglia (UEA) hired Neil Wallis of Outside Organization to handle the fall out. Wallis, a former News of The World editor was later arrested in connection with the egregious phone hacking scandals. The emails exposed politicized climate science so political spin-doctors were required. University spokesperson Trevor Davies said it was a “reputation management” problem, which he said they don’t handle well. Apparently telling the truth was rejected.

George Monbiot of the Guardian who championed IPCC work and attacked ‘skeptics’, asked, “why was CRU’s response to this issue such a total car crash.” Simple, because they were deceiving you, the politicians and the public.

Spin-doctors organized two investigation panels that separated out the science and limited their investigation. The cover-up was transparent. Clive Crook, The Atlantic Senior editor wrote:

“I had hoped, not very confidently, that the various Climategate inquiries would be severe. This would have been a first step towards restoring confidence in the scientific consensus. But no, the reports make things worse. At best they are mealy-mouthed apologies; at worst they are patently incompetent and even wilfully wrong. The climate-science establishment, of which these inquiries have chosen to make themselves a part, seems entirely incapable of understanding, let alone repairing, the harm it has done to its own cause.”

Investigations concluded behavior was within normal interchanges and activities among scientists. It’s difficult to reach that conclusion reading the emails.

Emboldened by the apparent success of these defensive strategies those involved in the corrupted science believe, if you’ll pardon the pun, they’ve weathered the storm. As a result they’ve launched a PR orchestrated counterattack, evidenced by uniform phrases used by many people. One of these was return of the consensus argument. A recent survey by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) said, “98% of all scientists believe in global warming”. It was a contrived result that wasn’t a consensus in the real meaning of the term.

They can’t make new scientific claims because the hypothesis that human CO2 is causing global warming was destroyed when temperatures declined starting in 2000 and CO2 levels continued to rise. So they’re claiming the evidence they produced was correct.

Major evidence produced in the 2001 IPCC Report was the “hockey stick”. It rewrote history by eliminating the warmer than today Medieval Warm Period (MWP). Two problems, the MWP did occur and the data selection and statistical analysis used was shown to be seriously flawed. Michael Mann, one of the authors of the hockey stick and lead author of the IPCC chapter in which it was used, produced a book in February 2012 titled The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars. Two other independent committees reached the same conclusion that

“the original hockey stick was created by a biased methodology.”

Mann claims the findings are still valid and he and his colleagues are victims of orchestrated personal attacks. Unfortunately, the findings and methods are still invalid. More important the MWP does exist as hundreds of papers affirm

More HERE (See the original for links, graphics etc.)

Tweet shows journalist as an unquestioning mental midget

The Tweet:
Garrett Haake @GarrettNBCNews

Romney has dismissed man-made climate change & joked about rising oceans. Today he'll see effects of both in flooded south Louisiana

Who are these people? Who are these so-called reporters and journalists who not only believe this utter nonsense (remember when there were no hurricanes pre-industrialization?) but who are so arrogant and bubbled they just tweet this propaganda as though it doesn’t matter

Garrett Haake obviously think it's okay to tweet this unthinking, unscientific, historically ignorant nonsense because he sees it -- as OBJECTIVE TRUTH. You know, like water is wet and up is higher than down.

And this is what happens when you live in a bubble -- you actually start to believe that if we increase fuel standards hurricanes will go away.

Moreover, now we have yet another look at how impossible it is for Romney to get anything close to objective coverage from those covering the campaign. Look at what Romney's up against in just the few words of that tweet -- a roaring moron who believes that if we cut carbon emissions… hurricanes will go away.

Haake epitomizes the anti-scientific, theocratic thinking of the Our Gaia Of the Global Warming Church.

Biased, arrogant, and hopelessly ignorant -- the corrupt media in a nutshell.


Australia: Hopes of slashing greenhouse emissions just blowing in the wind

The early signs are that a $23 carbon tax has displaced some marginal high-cost generation in South Australia and Queensland, but it is too soon to say whether this is a trend or coincidence.

But any gains are swamped by the findings of a two-year analysis of Victoria's wind-farm developments by mechanical engineer Hamish Cumming.

His analysis shows that despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from green energy schemes driven by the renewable energy target, Victoria's wind-farm developments have saved virtually zero carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

A forensic examination of publicly available power-supply data shows Victoria's carbon-intensive brown-coal power stations do not reduce the amount of coal they burn when wind power is available to the grid.

independent energy analysts who say it is more efficient to keep a brown-coal power-station running than turn it down and then back up.

Without gas or some other form of peaking power supply the Victorian electricity system is not equipped for the vagaries of wind power.

Even in SA, which uses gas, not coal, for base-load power and makes much greater use of wind, Cumming estimates the cost of greenhouse gas abatement at $1484 a tonne.

Cumming used data published by the Australian Energy Market Operator, which tracks power sector generation every five minutes.

The results showed fossil fuel generators, in the same periods when wind turbines had been operating, fluctuated their output to match demand but did not reduce their rate of coal consumption.

In an email to Cumming, electricity generator IPR-GDF SUEZ Australia confirmed his findings.

"Given that the power stations mentioned are all 'baseload', their generation output is relatively constant 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, other than due to minor fluctuations depending on market demand and/or shutdown of generation units for maintenance or repairs," a company spokesman said.

Cumming says his investigation demonstrates how green energy theories do not always match the facts.

A two-year email exchange between Cumming and energy companies and government regulators shows how the industry would prefer to rely on models than real-world data.

In response to questions from Inquirer, the AEMO admits that wind power presents some "challenges" but says it does displace greenhouse gas emissions from coal and gas.

"When wind is blowing and generating electricity it displaces coal and gas-fire plant in the dispatch merit order," AEMO principal media adviser Melissa Baldwin says. "As a result, fossil fuel fired plant burns less coal (or gas)."

In theory, maybe.

Cumming references an AEMO presentation to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission where the AEMO showed that for the wind farms in SA in 2009 the greenhouse gas abatement was only 3 per cent of the total capacity of the wind farms installed.

This equated to a 0.6 per cent reduction of greenhouse gases for the entire state's electrical generation from fossil fuels.

Since then Cumming says he has established that even with the continued expansion of wind farms in South Australia, the AEMO figures show the abatement has risen to only about 4 per cent of the installed capacity, or just more than 1 per cent greenhouse gas abatement.

This is the same figure that was established in the past three months in The Netherlands and presented to the Dutch parliament. The Netherlands report suggests the greenhouse gas used to build and maintain a wind farm will not be abated even across the total life of the wind farm.

Cumming says this is exactly what he has been telling the state and federal government for the past three years.

He says the greenhouse gas savings in Victoria are even less.

In a letter to Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark, Cumming said the owners of Yallourn, Hazelwood and Loy Yang power stations had confirmed in writing that the power stations combined consume about 7762 tonnes of coal an hour.

"They have confirmed that the power stations do not change the coal feed intake 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. The coal consumed by these three power stations alone makes base-load power available at a rate of 6650 megawatts," Cumming wrote. "Victoria also burns coal powering an additional emergency standby of 630 megawatts, according to Sustainable Victoria documents that were presented in your Mortlake Planning Panel. Victoria's demand only exceeds 6650MW generally for less than 10 hours every 72, and rarely exceeds 7200MW.

"AEMO five-minute data shows that peaks are picked up (ones that exceed base load) by Hydro or fossil fuel generators."

Cumming has called for Victoria's wind developments to be stripped of public subsidies.

"I have now confirmed that Acciona is not abating any GHG at all, nor has it ever nor will it during the life of the project," Cumming wrote to Clark. "Can you please arrange for a full forensic carbon audit to be performed on Acciona Waubra, and when you also conclude that it is not abating GHG, make it repay the RECs (renewable energy certificates) and other subsidies it is claiming, and ensure Acciona is charged a carbon tax of approximately $15m that it owes."

Hugh Saddler, managing director of Sustainability Advice Team Pty Ltd, says brown-coal power stations in particular are designed and built to operate on a continuous load basis. "You can see that in the longer term, in term of emissions policy, you would get a better outcome from closing down one of the brown-coal power stations altogether and using some more gas for the load following," he says.

In response to Cumming's findings, David Clarke, senior manager, community relations for Acciona Energy, which operates the Waubra wind farm, said a SKM report commissioned by the Clean Energy Council found "a 100MW wind farm operating at 35 per cent capacity factor would each year on average reduce emissions by 26,700 tonnes in the National Electricity Market." And a Sustainability Victoria commissioned report in 2006 found "abatement of between 0.25 and 0.31 million tonnes per annum for the 100MW".

However, Cumming said the reports on greenhouse gas abatement did not take into account the continuation of burning coal during the time the wind farms were operational.

"The reports you refer to are theoretical abatements, not real facts. Coal was still burnt and therefore little if any GHG was really abated," he told Clarke.

"Rather than trying to convince me with reports done by or for the wind industry, or the government departments promoting the industry, I challenge you to give me actual coal consumption data in comparison to wind generation times data that supports your argument.

"The AEMO data for this clearly shows Waubra is not abating any GHG, nor has it since the first day it began operation."


When Figures Lie: Chevy Volt Puts the Government in Government Motors

If there was any doubt from skeptics about the complicity of the Obama administration in creating and directing the “new” General Motors –a.k.a Government Motors- the latest ballyhoo regarding sales figures and the Chevy Volt should convince even the doubters.
GM: Aug. Volt sales best yet says the Detroit News.

GM Expects Volt Sales to Set Monthly Record says the normally sane Wall Street Journal.

Chevy Volt broke monthly sales record in August reports the Associated Press.

But like a lot of claims coming from Obama or one his corporate surrogates, the Volt sales numbers surely aren’t signs of success, but rather just the opposite. And if the doublespeak doesn’t point to government involvement in the development, sale and ultimate failure of the Volt, it certainly betrays a government mentality that believes that perception matters more than results.

And the difference between Obama’s perception and the actual results in our economy is the chasm where all of our jobs have gone.

Because General Motors has sold only half the number of Volts that they said they would this year, and the company is idling the Volt production line to retool it for a car that’s actually selling: the Chevy Impala.

Investors aren’t fooled, even if some journalists and a few metroed, urban hipsters are.

From MarketWatch:
GM has suspended production of the all-electric car for a month so they can retool the plant to make more Chevy Impalas. Read more about the Volt’s production issues.

But not many are buying the company’s explanation or the car, for that matter. So far this year, GM has sold about 11,000 Volts — far less than hoped and planned for by the auto maker. The market has spoken: Most Americans simply are not ready for an electric car from Detroit.

They’re not ready, because unlike the president and his one percent crowd, Americans make decision on car purchases based on economics.

The website ExtremeTech calculates that the car costs about 6.3 cents per mile when running on electricity at 13 cents per kilowatt hour. But that rate ignores depreciating the cost of a replacement battery ($8,000) over the life of the battery warranty.

When you add in the cost of the battery depreciation, you get a calculation of about 14.3 cents per mile for the Volt. As the tech site notes: “A compact car getting 35 mpg would cost 10 cents per mile using $3.50-a-gallon gasoline.” So in other words, the Volt, in addition to the high cost to purchase, costs 43% more to operate than a conventional car.

That’s why the Volt is the perfect car for the Occupy Wall Street crowd: It makes no economic sense no matter how convoluted its supporters make the economic argument or how much taxpayer support it’s given.

The Volt initially relied heavily on $7,500 federal government subsidies- and even then couldn’t make a go of it.

This marks the second time that GM has idled Volt production, while claiming “All is well.”

More HERE (See the original for links)


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