Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Even the Antarctic peninsula is cooling

The Antarctic peninsula is the most Northerly part of Antarctica so by reason of that alone is the warmest part of Antarctica. Additionally, it is known to have a degree of subsurface vulcanism, which warms bits of it even more, so it is the part of Antarctica that Greenies normally talk about.  A glacier breaking off or splitting there gives them erections.  But glacial ice is always splitting off somewhere so what they see proves nothing.  I put up something about peninsula glaciers yesterday.

Implicitly, they tend to generalize a slightly warmer area of the peninsula to Antarctica as a whole and regard what they observe as proof of global warming.  It has long been known however that Antarctica as a whole is cooling so that claim is just the usual Warmist dishonesty.

The article below, however, rubs salt into the wound.  Not only are a few bits of the Antarctic peninsula not typical of the Antarctic, they are not even typical of the Antarctic peninsula.  The peninsula overall is cooling too!

Recent regional climate cooling on the Antarctic Peninsula and associated impacts on the cryosphere

M. Oliva et al.


The Antarctic Peninsula (AP) is often described as a region with one of the largest warming trends on Earth since the 1950s, based on the temperature trend of 0.54 °C/decade during 1951–2011 recorded at Faraday/Vernadsky station. Accordingly, most works describing the evolution of the natural systems in the AP region cite this extreme trend as the underlying cause of their observed changes. However, a recent analysis (Turner et al., 2016) has shown that the regionally stacked temperature record for the last three decades has shifted from a warming trend of 0.32 °C/decade during 1979–1997 to a cooling trend of − 0.47 °C/decade during 1999–2014. While that study focuses on the period 1979–2014, averaging the data over the entire AP region, we here update and re-assess the spatially-distributed temperature trends and inter-decadal variability from 1950 to 2015, using data from ten stations distributed across the AP region. We show that Faraday/Vernadsky warming trend is an extreme case, circa twice those of the long-term records from other parts of the northern AP. Our results also indicate that the cooling initiated in 1998/1999 has been most significant in the N and NE of the AP and the South Shetland Islands (> 0.5 °C between the two last decades), modest in the Orkney Islands, and absent in the SW of the AP. This recent cooling has already impacted the cryosphere in the northern AP, including slow-down of glacier recession, a shift to surface mass gains of the peripheral glacier and a thinning of the active layer of permafrost in northern AP islands.

Science of The Total Environment. Volume 580, 15 February 2017, Pages 210–223

Temperature hasn't risen in 20 years: latest data

Recently published data from independent meteorologists Dr Ryan Maue of WeatherBELL Analytics and Dr Roy Spencer show that global temperatures have fallen back to about the levels of 20 years ago.

The two scientists use different data sources – one terrestrial, the other from satellites – so the convergence of their findings is particularly significant.

WeatherBELL is a commercial forecaster using land-based climate data, and specialises in providing long and short-term forecasts for the agriculture, energy, hydrology, retail and aviation industries. It has its own computer models, but also accesses information from both the American NOAA and Britain’s Met Office.

According to Dr Maue, global temperatures dropped 0.5 degrees Celsius in April. In the northern hemisphere they plunged a massive one degree. The Global Warming Policy Foundation commented: “As the record 2015–16 El Niño levels off, the global-warming hiatus is back with a vengeance.”

Dr Maue said the fall in temperatures (in degrees Celsius) over the past year are seen in the following variations from the 1981–2010 average:

March 2016     +0.673
April 2016       +0.557
March 2017     +0.558
April 2017       +0.375

The explanation of the temperature pause since 1998 – which contradicts the computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – has been the subject of widespread discussion in academic journals, including the American Geophysical Union journal, Geophysical Research Letters, as well as Climate Dynamics, and the Scientific Report of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. All agree that temperature rises have stalled, but there is no consensus on the cause.

Dr Roy Spencer publishes every month the average global temperature derived from satellite observations. Since 1979, satellites have been sending back to earth data on the temperature of the lower atmosphere, and this data is published by the University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) and on Dr Spencer’s website.

The satellite data indicates that average temperatures in April 2017 were 0.27 degrees above the 30-year average from 1981–2010. In the previous month, the data showed that the temperature was just 0.19 degrees above the 30-year average. The IPCC had forecast temperature variations five to 10 times as large.

The UAH chart for the entire period shows that in the 1990s, temperatures remained relatively steady until the large El Niño of 1997–98, and then oscillated around a new higher level until the El Niño of 2015–06, when it rose again, before falling back towards the 30-year average.

Another recent source of climate alarm has been the appearance of a large crack on the Larsen C ice-shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula, which stretches up towards the tip of South America (News Weekly, March 11, 2017).

The ice-shelf is fed by several glaciers, which flow into the sea.

The splitting off of ice-shelves is an entirely natural phenomenon, and is the cause of icebergs, which are common around Antarctica and, historically, have been observed as far north as New Zealand’s South Island. The most recent media report of icebergs being seen off the coast of New Zealand was in 2016. Previously, they had been reported in 2009 and 2006.

Calving of the Larsen C ice-shelf would be the largest recent iceberg to break off from Antarctica, prompting claims that it is caused by global warming or “climate change”.

However, the overall area of sea ice around Antarctica is close to normal for this time of year, and recent research indicates that temperatures on the Antarctic Peninsula have fallen slightly in recent decades.

Dr Marc Oliva from the Centre for Geographical Studies at the University of Lisbon, with others wrote a recent paper, “Recent regional climate cooling on the Antarctic Peninsula and associated impacts on the cryosphere”, which was published in last February’s issue of Science of the Total Environment.

They looked at the temperature record on the Antarctic Peninsula from 1951 to 2011, using data from 10 weather stations dotted around the peninsula.

Earlier conclusions of warming of Antarctica had been based on the recorded weather at just one station, the Faraday/Vernadsky station, where temperatures had risen by 0.54 degrees per decade, one of the largest warming trends on earth since the 1950s.

“Accordingly, most works describing the evolution of the natural systems in the [Antarctic Peninsula] region cite this extreme trend as the underlying cause of their observed changes.”

However, when data from all 10 stations is considered, a very different picture emerges.

It shows that a more moderate warming trend of 0.32 degrees per decade from 1979–97 was succeeded by a cooling trend of -0.47 degrees per decade in the period 1999–2014.

The figures also show that the most pronounced cooling occurred in the north and northeast of the peninsula, where it lies adjacent to Cape Horn and South America.

The new data contradicts the repeated claims of the IPCC that global warming is causing irrevocable damage to the Antarctic continent.


This green and poisoned land: British river is devastated by toxic tsunami of sludge from a 'green' energy plant receiving thousands in subsidies from the taxpayer

You would struggle to find a lovelier view anywhere than that from Pencefn, a hilltop farm near Tregaron in mid-Wales.

Lush meadows with sheep grazing peacefully roll down towards the valley of the Teifi, renowned for its salmon and sea trout. Close by are the Cambrian Mountains, where the river begins its journey at the limpid Teifi Pools.

But dwarfing the main farm are the towers and tanks of an anaerobic digester. The Government-subsidised 'green guzzler' turns animal excrement, human food waste and specially grown rye into methane gas, which is burnt in a generator to make supposedly environmentally friendly electricity for the National Grid.

Last December, just a few months after it was built, the digester triggered an ecological catastrophe. Unnoticed by the farm's owners, brothers Jim and William Lloyd, a pipe from a storage vat sprang a leak.

Thousands of gallons of black, toxic slime began sliding slowly downhill across those verdant meadows to a nearby stream – a tributary of the Teifi. The result was a poisonous 'tsunami', a flood of putrid sludge that flowed down the stream and into the river for hours. The consequences were devastating, and are likely to last many years.

This week, an investigation by this newspaper has revealed:

I According to local experts, the effects of the spill are so deadly, the river may take years to recover, so ruining the local economy;

l At least 1,000 mature trout and salmon were found dead immediately, but the full toll will be many times higher;

l Poison levels in an eight-mile stretch of the Teifi were so high almost no living things survived;

l The fly-fishing season should be in full swing this month but long stretches of the river are devoid of anglers;

l Lavish Government 'green' levies on fuel bills mean Pencefn's owners – despite being the source of the deadly leak – will continue to reap tens of thousands of pounds in subsidies, while also paying nothing for their own electricity;

l Despite this generous Government support, no official agency checked the plant's design or safety systems before it was built, or monitored its operation;

l The ultimate cause of the leak was shoddily installed plastic pipework – and both firms responsible have now gone into liquidation;

l Although the Pencefn leak is at least the 20th 'serious pollution incident' caused by an anaerobic digester since the beginning of 2015, scores of new ones are being planned across the country – some of the biggest by 'green' tycoon and former 'new age traveller' Dale Vince of Ecotricity, who advises Labour on its energy policy.

The impact of the Teifi spill soon became apparent. Late on Saturday, December 17, locals noticed the river was covered with a foul-smelling, bubbly slick below the town of Tregaron.

Because it was dark, it was not until the following morning that the source was located at the stream flowing down from Pencefn. Local fishing guide Steffan Jones walked the riverbank shortly after. Dead fish were everywhere.

At the confluence with the Pencefn stream he said he could 'clearly see the stain of the effluent about five feet above the river level. The stain had discoloured the bank all the way down to the water. I walked the whole stretch of the contamination – seven or eight miles – and the scale of this disaster was horrifying. It wiped out every living thing in the river for eight miles'.

The slick moved downstream at 5mph, contaminating everything in its path. Residents say that at Llandysul, the most popular angling centre on the Teifi, 30 miles below Tregaron, the river still stank.

Dr Ian Thomas, president of the Llandysul Angling Association, said the timing made matters worse. Mid-December is the peak of the winter spawning season, when salmon and sea trout swim from the ocean to lay eggs in the same pools and eddies where they were spawned. Both the fish and eggs they had laid were poisoned.

'The whole river has been affected, from the estuary to the headwaters,' said Dr Thomas.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which deals with pollution, said after the spill it had counted 1,000 mature dead fish. But Dr Thomas said there were many more.

Freshwater biologist Frank Jones said: 'There is still no final estimate from NRW of the total number of fish killed, but it will be a very big figure. Many of the sea trout had not yet spawned, and because they spawn several times in their lifespan this will have a big impact on future generations.

It could be years before they recover.' He said the fish population, especially salmon, had already been declining because of earlier slurry spills into the river. 'Slurry is stored in vast artificial lagoons, many of them well beyond their sell-by date. Sometimes they overflow and the slurry goes into the river.'

Other anaerobic digester leaks have been almost as damaging. In December, the MoS revealed the case of Crouchland Biogas in West Sussex, which has received millions in subsidy yet has operated without planning permission since 2013. It sprang two huge leaks within a year, wrecking the neighbouring farmer's rare-breed sheep and cattle business.

Yet Mr Vince and Ecotricity – who are not connected to Crouchland Biogas – are pressing ahead with the first of many huge anaerobic digesters it wants to build at Sparsholt Agricultural College in Hampshire.

NRW said that it could not comment because its investigation is continuing.


China Claims Methane Hydrates Breakthrough May Lead To Global Energy Revolution

China is talking up its achievement of mining flammable ice for the first time from underneath the South China Sea.

Estimates of the South China Sea’s methane hydrate potential now range as high as 150 billion cubic meters of natural gas equivalent. That’s sufficient to satisfy China’s entire equivalent oil consumption for 50 years.

The fuel-hungry country has been pursuing the energy source, located at the bottom of oceans and in polar regions, for nearly two decades. China’s minister of land and resources, Jiang Daming, said Thursday that the successful collection of the frozen fuel was “a major breakthrough that may lead to a global energy revolution,” according to state media.

Experts agree that flammable ice could be a game changer for the energy industry, similar to the U.S. shale boom. But they caution that big barriers — both technological and environmental — need to be cleared to build an industry around the frozen fuel, which is also known as gas hydrate.

China, the world’s largest energy consumer, isn’t the first country to make headway with flammable ice. Japan drilled into it in the Pacific and extracted gas in 2013 — and then did so again earlier this month. The U.S. government has its own long-running research program into the fuel.

The world’s resources of flammable ice — in which gas is stored in cages of water molecules — are vast. Gas hydrates are estimated to hold more carbon than all the world’s other fossil fuels combined, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

And it’s densely packed: one cubic foot of flammable ice holds 164 cubic feet of regular natural gas, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua says that makes the fuel a strong contender to replace regular oil and natural gas. But like any fossil fuel, flammable ice raises significant environmental concerns.

Experts worry about the release of methane, a superpotent greenhouse gas with 25 times as much global warming potential as carbon dioxide. And although burning natural gas is cleaner than coal, it still creates carbon emissions.
The fuel source has a lot of potential in China, analysts at Morgan Stanley said Thursday, citing the country’s successful trial and government support to develop the industry.

But commercial production is unlikely in the next three years due to high costs, potential environmental concerns and technological barriers, the analysts said in a research note.

“If there is a real breakthrough,” they wrote, “it could be as significant as the shale revolution in the United States. Under such a bull case scenario, we’d expect a significant increase in offshore exploration and production activities.”


Wind turbines are neither clean nor green and they provide zero global energy

We urgently need to stop the ecological posturing and invest in gas and nuclear

Viscount Ridley

The Global Wind Energy Council recently released its latest report, excitedly boasting that ‘the proliferation of wind energy into the global power market continues at a furious pace, after it was revealed that more than 54 gigawatts of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market last year’.

You may have got the impression from announcements like that, and from the obligatory pictures of wind turbines in any BBC story or airport advert about energy, that wind power is making a big contribution to world energy today. You would be wrong. Its contribution is still, after decades — nay centuries — of development, trivial to the point of irrelevance.

Here’s a quiz; no conferring. To the nearest whole number, what percentage of the world’s energy consumption was supplied by wind power in 2014, the last year for which there are reliable figures? Was it 20 per cent, 10 per cent or 5 per cent? None of the above: it was 0 per cent. That is to say, to the nearest whole number, there is still no wind power on Earth.

Even put together, wind and photovoltaic solar are supplying less than 1 per cent of global energy demand. From the International Energy Agency’s 2016 Key Renewables Trends, we can see that wind provided 0.46 per cent of global energy consumption in 2014, and solar and tide combined provided 0.35 per cent. Remember this is total energy, not just electricity, which is less than a fifth of all final energy, the rest being the solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels that do the heavy lifting for heat, transport and industry.

Such numbers are not hard to find, but they don’t figure prominently in reports on energy derived from the unreliables lobby (solar and wind). Their trick is to hide behind the statement that close to 14 per cent of the world’s energy is renewable, with the implication that this is wind and solar. In fact the vast majority — three quarters — is biomass (mainly wood), and a very large part of that is ‘traditional biomass’; sticks and logs and dung burned by the poor in their homes to cook with. Those people need that energy, but they pay a big price in health problems caused by smoke inhalation.

Even in rich countries playing with subsidised wind and solar, a huge slug of their renewable energy comes from wood and hydro, the reliable renewables. Meanwhile, world energy demand has been growing at about 2 per cent a year for nearly 40 years. Between 2013 and 2014, again using International Energy Agency data, it grew by just under 2,000 terawatt-hours.

If wind turbines were to supply all of that growth but no more, how many would need to be built each year? The answer is nearly 350,000, since a two-megawatt turbine can produce about 0.005 terawatt-hours per annum. That’s one-and-a-half times as many as have been built in the world since governments started pouring consumer funds into this so-called industry in the early 2000s.

At a density of, very roughly, 50 acres per megawatt, typical for wind farms, that many turbines would require a land area greater than the British Isles, including Ireland. Every year. If we kept this up for 50 years, we would have covered every square mile of a land area the size of Russia with wind farms. Remember, this would be just to fulfil the new demand for energy, not to displace the vast existing supply of energy from fossil fuels, which currently supply 80 per cent of global energy needs.

Do not take refuge in the idea that wind turbines could become more efficient. There is a limit to how much energy you can extract from a moving fluid, the Betz limit, and wind turbines are already close to it. Their effectiveness (the load factor, to use the engineering term) is determined by the wind that is available, and that varies at its own sweet will from second to second, day to day, year to year.

As machines, wind turbines are pretty good already; the problem is the wind resource itself, and we cannot change that. It’s a fluctuating stream of low–density energy. Mankind stopped using it for mission-critical transport and mechanical power long ago, for sound reasons. It’s just not very good.

As for resource consumption and environmental impacts, the direct effects of wind turbines — killing birds and bats, sinking concrete foundations deep into wild lands — is bad enough. But out of sight and out of mind is the dirty pollution generated in Inner Mongolia by the mining of rare-earth metals for the magnets in the turbines. This generates toxic and radioactive waste on an epic scale, which is why the phrase ‘clean energy’ is such a sick joke and ministers should be ashamed every time it passes their lips.

It gets worse. Wind turbines, apart from the fibreglass blades, are made mostly of steel, with concrete bases. They need about 200 times as much material per unit of capacity as a modern combined cycle gas turbine. Steel is made with coal, not just to provide the heat for smelting ore, but to supply the carbon in the alloy. Cement is also often made using coal. The machinery of ‘clean’ renewables is the output of the fossil fuel economy, and largely the coal economy.

A two-megawatt wind turbine weighs about 250 tonnes, including the tower, nacelle, rotor and blades. Globally, it takes about half a tonne of coal to make a tonne of steel. Add another 25 tonnes of coal for making the cement and you’re talking 150 tonnes of coal per turbine. Now if we are to build 350,000 wind turbines a year (or a smaller number of bigger ones), just to keep up with increasing energy demand, that will require 50 million tonnes of coal a year. That’s about half the EU’s hard coal–mining output.

Forgive me if you have heard this before, but I have a commercial interest in coal. Now it appears that the black stuff also gives me a commercial interest in ‘clean’, green wind power.

The point of running through these numbers is to demonstrate that it is utterly futile, on a priori grounds, even to think that wind power can make any significant contribution to world energy supply, let alone to emissions reductions, without ruining the planet. As the late David MacKay pointed out years back, the arithmetic is against such unreliable renewables.

The truth is, if you want to power civilisation with fewer greenhouse gas emissions, then you should focus on shifting power generation, heat and transport to natural gas, the economically recoverable reserves of which — thanks to horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing — are much more abundant than we dreamed they ever could be. It is also the lowest-emitting of the fossil fuels, so the emissions intensity of our wealth creation can actually fall while our wealth continues to increase. Good.

And let’s put some of that burgeoning wealth in nuclear, fission and fusion, so that it can take over from gas in the second half of this century. That is an engineerable, clean future. Everything else is a political displacement activity, one that is actually counterproductive as a climate policy and, worst of all, shamefully robs the poor to make the rich even richer



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