Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Study: The Ozone Layer Is Repairing Itself, Affecting Wind Flows

This is a curious study.  Changes in the ozone layer may indeed be affecting wind flows but are those changes traceable to the Montreal protocol? The protocol entered into force on 1st January 1989.

The fact that the hole was at its largest extent in 2015 would indicate that the protocol had done nothing even by that stage. A quarter of a century is a long time to have an effect

I add the journal abstract to the article below.  Note that they attribute the ozone change to the year 2000.  So by even their reckoning that Montreal agreement is pretty laggard in having any effect

While most people’s focus remains directed at the coronavirus pandemic, some good news has emerged: a hole in our ozone layer is now in recovery.

The hole—located above Antarctica—is continuing to recover and bringing changes in atmospheric circulation as a result, according to New Scientist.

Many dangerous changes are being brought to a halt in the atmosphere of the Southern Hemisphere due to the ongoing recovery.

Ozone depletion began to bring air currents in the Southern Hemisphere further south in the 1980s. This caused a change in ocean currents and rainfall patterns.

Global News reported that the new changes suggest that a ban on producing ozone-depleting substances, called the 1987 Montreal Protocol, is now having a positive effect on the world.

On Wednesday, a research paper released in Science Daily showed that the ozone layer has started recovery due to changing wind patterns.

Antara Banerjee and her colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder did the research and noted that the ozone layer in the Northern Hemisphere is on track to fully recover to its 1980s levels sometime in the 2030s.

They added that in the Southern Hemisphere should return to that state by the 2050s. The Antarctic hole is expected to take longer and is estimated to recover by the 2060s.


A pause in Southern Hemisphere circulation trends due to the Montreal Protocol

Antara Banerjee et al.


Observations show robust near-surface trends in Southern Hemisphere tropospheric circulation towards the end of the twentieth century, including a poleward shift in the mid-latitude jet1,2, a positive trend in the Southern Annular Mode1,3–6 and an expansion of the Hadley cell7,8. It has been established that these trends were driven by ozone depletion in the Antarctic stratosphere due to emissions of ozone-depleting substances9–11.

Here we show that these widely reported circulation trends paused, or slightly reversed, around the year 2000. Using a pattern-based detection and attribution analysis of atmospheric zonal wind, we show that the pause in circulation trends is forced by human activities, and has not occurred owing only to internal or natural variability of the climate system.

Furthermore, we demonstrate that stratospheric ozone recovery, resulting from the Montreal Protocol, is the key driver of the pause. Because pre-2000 circulation trends have affected precipitation, and potentially ocean circulation and salinity, we anticipate that a pause in these trends will have wider impacts on the Earth system. Signatures of the effects of the Montreal Protocol and the associated stratospheric ozone recovery might therefore manifest, or have already manifested, in other aspects of the Earth system


Trudeau’s Green Crusaders Can’t See The Forest For The Trees

Canada’s boreal forest comprises about a third of the huge forest that circles the northern hemisphere, mostly north of the 50th parallel.

The boreal forest originated with the end of the last ice age and covers a tenth of the Earth’s land surface. Canada has retained 91 percent of the forest that existed since Europeans first settled.

There are 318 billion trees (more than 8,000 for every one of the 37 million population), mostly conifers, and it is home to 85 species of mammals including grizzly, brown and black bears, 130 species of fish and 300 of birds.

Many other countries have scarcely any of their boreal forest remaining, such as Sweden with only 5 percent left.

The lack of boreal forest in other countries is quite tragic because in Canada the boreal forest is effectively a carbon sponge, capturing and storing carbon in the trees and the peatland.

In Canada’s north, the temperature can easily fall to -65 C. The cold acts to hinder the release of carbon dioxide from dying and decomposing trees.

Furthermore, in areas where there is permafrost, the carbon remains trapped under the soil.

A quick google search would reveal a plethora of articles saying that Canada’s forest emits more carbon than it absorbs.

When these articles claim Canada’s managed forests aren’t a carbon sink anymore, they are misleading as the data typically does not include Canada’s unmanaged forest, accounting for approximately 35 percent of its total forest area.

So how is it that the Canadian boreal forest has changed from functioning as a carbon sink of 115 million tonnes of CO2 in 1992 to being a source of 221 million tonnes of CO2 in 2015?

The Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minority government cronies on environmental policies (the Green Party and New Democratic Party) say it is clearly a result of, you guessed it, man-made climate change

It is to suggest flooding, forest fires, and natural disasters did not exist at all prior to the green agenda.

In Canada, we have a Prime Minister who emphatically joined a climate strike in September in Montreal, Quebec, and met with Greta Thunberg. She promptly told him he was not doing well enough and he agreed.

As the fourth-largest supplier of oil in the world, never has a nation or a prime minister done so much to torpedo their own nation’s major industry.

Countless canceled projects and scandals – Northern Gateway, Energy East, Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, Line 3 and now Coastal Gaslink pipeline. Canada cannot get anything built.

Despite the self-sabotage, Canada is still projected to fail its ambitious Paris Agreement pledge to reduce emissions by 232 megatonnes in 2030.

The data indicate that Canada emits 722.29 (excluding land-use) megatonnes of CO2 per year and 585 megatonnes result from the energy sector alone (2017).

In total, Canada is responsible for 1.6 percent of the global carbon emissions and is the tenth-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

Interestingly enough, Canada has elected not to include the forests when tabulating its emissions.

Given the option, Canada elected to attempt some clever accounting, since negating forest fires could help Canada meet its Paris Agreement pledge.

Surprising that a country can just elect not to include whole sectors (such as forestry) and yet Canada is looking into selling carbon credits to other countries in what the Paris Agreement refers to as ITMOs (internationally transferred mitigation outcomes) by using the forest to make the claim.

Thus, Canada is hoping the accounting will include wetlands, farmland, and forestry but please exclude the forest fires and pests.

Back in reality, the boreal forest has been suffering from an increase in a variety of factors including forest fires as a result of humans (setting fires or carelessness) and lightning, pests (such as the pine beetle), environmental policies against active forest management and to an extent, the modest warming from climate change.

First and foremost, among the culprits, fires are particularly damaging and result in 170 tonnes of CO2 released per hectare burned.

Next, pests are subsiding in recent years but still serve as the second leading concern hurting the boreal forest.

Then, of course, the forestry industry is heavily regulated, less than 0.5 percent is available to harvest annually; and thus, the effects on emissions are negligible.

Furthermore, the data actually infers that where there is forestry activity, there is a negative carbon count.

Lastly, the bureaucracy behind the current forest management is laughable and extremely mismanaged.

The climate change alarmists and environmentalists have wormed their way with their degrees in environmental studies into jobs managing the forests, no doubt created by Justin Trudeau in the ‘green’ and ‘clean’ sectors.

Now they are running the show and crafting policies in the logging and forestry industry that sadly misses the mark.

What we are seeing are ineffective policies from the new wave of clean sustainable management so-called experts when what we need are methods such as strategically planned burns, varying the species regenerated, thinning and proper harvesting of timber.

If Canada were to improve its management of fires, continue to see a decline in pests and increase forestry, the negative drawbacks of the boreal forest could be negated and the reality is that Canada could be charging other countries for its carbon credits.

Think of the billions Canada could be receiving to compensate for the loss of all those oil and gas projects Trudeau has canceled. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

The current government believes everything can be solved with more taxation and the Prime Minister believes the budget will ‘balance itself’, while he travels using not one but two private jets (though not at the same time).

Meanwhile, left alone, the boreal forest will continue to be mismanaged despite being one of Canada’s strengths and biggest assets in the carbon wars. Instead, we’re banning plastic bags…


Dutch Govt Says COVID-19 More Important Than Climate Plans

The Dutch cabinet will not come up with new measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions before April 1 as planned, economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes said after Friday’s cabinet meeting.

‘A lot of people, we included, have other things to do at the moment,’ Wiebes said. ‘The Urgenda court ruling still stands, but there are other priorities.’

Last December the Dutch Supreme Court ruled the state is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to protect the health of its people, under the European treaty of human rights, ending a seven-year legal process.

The ruling means that the government must now reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 25% by the end of this year when compared with 1990. The plans should have been published next week.

Various researchers suggest the Netherlands is on course to reduce CO2 emissions by only 19% to 23% of 1990 levels by the end of this year.

Potential solutions include closing the remaining coal-fired power stations sooner than planned. The speed limit on motorways has already been reduced because of another court case.


Sweden Glacier Melt Far More Rapid In Mid-20th Century; Arctic Ice Stable

A recent paper published in the Swedish journal Geografiska Annaler: Series A, Physical Geography, authored by Holmlund and Holmlund, found that the strongest melts of the Storglaciären in Sweden occurred between the 1930s and 1960s.

The glacier mass even increased from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s.

According to the authors, geodetic volume estimates of Storglaciären in Sweden suggest a 28% loss in total ice mass between 1910 and 2015, but the greatest part of the melt occurred in the mid 20th century – a time when CO2 levels were deemed to be at a safe level.

The authors used terrestrial photographs of Tarfala valley, where Storglaciären is situated, from 1910 to allow an accurate reconstruction of the glacier’s surface, past volume, and mass.

They found say that the likely start of a melting trend is supported by imagery from 1922, which shows almost no snow was present on top of Storglaciären, and other glaciers showed tendencies of retreat.

76% of the mass loss seen from 1910 to 2015 occurred between 1920 and 1970, i.e. in less than half of that 105 year period, they estimate.

The mass change of Storglaciären stabilized and even contained periods of increases in mass after 1970, their analysis shows.

Arctic sea ice stable over the past 10 years

It appears Arctic ice melt has slowed down over the recent decades and has not accelerated like global warming alarmists like to claim.

Over  the past 10 years, Arctic sea ice minimum has not fallen in over a decade:


“Fraccidents” Study Yet Another Case of Junk Science

For years anti-fossil fuel zealots have used and abused the word “fracking” and its derivatives to describe horizontal hydraulic fracturing, and more generically to describe the entire shale oil and gas industry (drilling, pipelines, etc.). Antis love to slip in phrases like “fracked gas” and refer to those who work in the industry as “frackers.” They call themselves “fracktivists.” It all sounds so naughty. We happen to love the word and we embrace it, to shove it right back in their faces (others in our industry do not like the word and sometimes chide us for using it). A couple of so-called researchers have coined a new fracking-related term: “fraccidents.”

A “fraccident” is what happens when a truck hauling shale wastewater gets into an accident. The term was not coined by the likes of the nutty Sierra Club or odious Food & Water Watch. No. It has been used in the title of published research appearing in a so-called peer-reviewed journal!

The study is titled “Fraccidents: The Impact of Fracking on Road Traffic Deaths” and appears in Elsevier’s Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. The research study attempts to correlate an increase in traffic deaths to the presence of fracking in given regions. The fact the authors use a cutesy phrase like “fraccidents” is the tip-off this isn’t real research–it’s bought-and-paid-for propaganda.

When there are more wells, there’s more brine or produced water (wastewater that comes out of the borehole for years after it’s drilled), and that means more truck traffic to haul the produced water to an injection well or recycling plant. With more truck traffic comes, inevitably, more accidents and (yes) deaths due to those accidents.

So what do the “researchers” propose as a solution to cut down on traffic accidents/deaths from wastewater trucks? Why, a new tax, of course! Yes, taxing something somehow makes it safer and happen less often, dontcha know. (Yes, we’re being sarcastic. A next tax doesn’t do a darned thing to fix any given “problem.”)

Facts are facts. An increase in any kind of traffic leads to more accidents and, statistically, more deaths from accidents. If a Fluffernutter factory opens up resulting in an increase of truck trips, we could conduct a survey that shows a corresponding increase in accidents and deaths due to that factory. Should we tax Fluffernutter? Shut down the factory? Ban it? That’s the kind of inane logic baked into this so-called “study.”

Shamefully this “research” comes from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The researchers admit to using “back-of-the-envelope” calculations in their published results! Perhaps a little more academic rigor is needed at Urbana-Champaign?

Environmental concerns about hydraulic fracturing – aka “fracking,” the process by which oil and gas are extracted from rock by injecting high-pressure mixtures of water and chemicals – are well documented, but according to a paper co-written by a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign environmental economics expert, the technique also poses a serious safety risk to local traffic.

New research from Yilan Xu (“E-Lan SHE”), a professor of agricultural and consumer economics at Illinois, shows that the growing traffic burden in fracking boomtowns from trucks hauling wastewater to disposal sites resulted in a surge of road fatalities and severe accidents.

“Fracking requires large amounts of water, and it subsequently generates a lot of wastewater,” she said. “When trucks need to transport all that water within a narrow window of time to a disposal site, that poses a safety threat to other drivers on the road – especially since fracking occurs mostly in these boomtowns where the roadway infrastructure isn’t built up enough to handle heavy truck traffic.”

The study examined how fracking-related trucking affected the number of fatal crashes in the Bakken Formation in North Dakota from 2006-14, using the timing of fracking operations near certain road segments.

The researchers identified a causal link between fracking-related trucking and fatal traffic crashes, finding that an additional post-fracking well within six miles of the road segments led to 8% more fatal crashes and 7.1% higher per-capita costs in accidents.

“Our back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that an additional 17 fatal crashes took place per year across the sampled road segments, representing a 49% increase relative to the annual crash counts of the drilling counties in North Dakota in 2006,” Xu said. “That’s a significant number when you’re talking about a sparsely populated area like North Dakota.

“And besides the fatality and injury costs in fatal crashes quantified in our study, other costs may occur as well, including injury costs in nonfatal crashes and indirect expenditures on emergency services, insurance administrative costs, and infrastructure maintenance and replacement.”

To lessen the negative impact on traffic fatalities as well as the severity of traffic accidents, the study proposes a tax that can be charged per well to internalize the costs of fracking-related trucking activities, similar to the impact fees implemented in energy-rich towns in Pennsylvania that yield hundreds of millions of dollars per year for the state.

“The tax could serve as an economic instrument that affects operators’ drilling and fracking decisions and thus alleviate the hazard of the associated truck traffic indirectly,” Xu said. “Likewise, a toll fee by miles driven by trucks could be collected on highways to absorb the negative impacts of fracking-related trucking.”

The study also sheds light on more practical measures that local governments can undertake to curb the traffic risks associated with fracking.

“Since many fracking-induced fatal crashes take place in the daytime rush hours, local governments could adopt policies such as making a high occupancy vehicle lane for trucks carrying wastewater. An active traffic alert and warning system with live well-operations updates could also help drivers monitor traffic and avoid exposure to road hazards,” she said.

Moreover, the paper calls for the active involvement of the oil and gas industry to seek ways to improve their workplace safety and mitigate the traffic hazard of fracking to road users.

“Our findings suggest that oil and gas operators could redistribute the traffic loads over time to avoid concentrated water hauling during peak hours,” Xu said. “In the long run, since a well may need to be fracked multiple times over its productive life, operators may improve the water supply system by constructing water wells serving multiple well pads via a piping system. They could also develop the onsite wastewater treatment and disposal facilities as opposed to trucking wastewater over long distances. Such measures would reduce the long-term transport costs and the associated traffic effects.”

The findings should give local and federal policymakers information when conducting due diligence and evaluating the regional costs and benefits of shale energy development, Xu said.

“Our study provides an estimate based on the North Dakota experience where population density and traffic volume is relatively low, but our findings have implications for other regions planning future shale development.”

The paper, which was co-written by Minhong Xu of Nanjing Audit University, was published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.



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