Sunday, June 21, 2020

Natural Variability Behind West Antarctic Warming—Media Silent


Ten days ago the journal Science issued an embargoed press release about a forthcoming paper that suggested the warming observed in West Antarctica was due to natural climatic variability.

West Antarctica has always been looked on by alarmists as being the southern example of polar temperature amplification – a phenomenon predicted by most climate change models.

The Arctic temperature amplification is very apparent so there must be an Antarctic equivalent, and there it is.

But while scientists have been well aware that Antarctica is warming asymmetrically, with West Antarctica experiencing more than East Antarctica and frequently attributed to climate change, the underlying causes of this phenomenon have been poorly understood, and the suggestion that West Antarctica may be experiencing natural warming has been suggested before though not taken up very enthusiastically, if at all.

This new paper, “The internal origin of the west-east asymmetry of Antarctic climate change”, expresses the dilemma well.

In explaining the asymmetry, it suggests factors such as atmosphere-ocean feedbacks along the coast of West Antarctica and the shape of the Antarctic terrain combine to create a pattern of upper troposphere circulation over the West Antarctic subcontinent that flows opposite to the Earth’s rotation.

Fig. 2: Two leading modes of the annual-mean Antarctic surface temperature and their characteristics from 1958 to 2012 in the CMIP5 historical simulations. Source: Sang-Yoon Jun et al., 2020

The researchers conclude,

The current west-east asymmetry of Antarctic surface climate change is undoubtedly of natural origin because no external factors (e.g., orbital or anthropogenic factors) contribute to the asymmetric mode.”

They add that the consistent pattern of warmer sea surface temperatures over the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Antarctic seas suggests that regional sea surface temperature anomalies around Antarctica are a driving factor behind the continent’s asymmetrical warming.

Paleoclimate datasets revealed variability in surface air temperatures spanning multiple decades, suggesting climate fluctuations in the tropics, such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation, may also contribute to the discrepancies in warming rates between both subcontinents.

Overall, it’s a fascinating paper especially given the concern about the region’s ice decline leading to present and future sea-level change. But unless you look at two or three specialized outlets you won’t have heard about it.

The embargoed information from the Science journal is normally released four days before the embargo is lifted on Thursday evening UK time.

Thousands of journalists around the world see it as Science along with Nature are the world’s leading science journals. So why is it that no mainstream news media covered this important story? It’s not as though there were any other pressing environment stories to eclipse it.

What it demonstrates is the asymmetry in environment and science reporting. If the story confirms the dire news that anthropogenic climate change affects everything and is visible anywhere it’s much more likely to be trumpeted by the mainstream media than if it explains some of the climatic changes we see is due to mother nature.

Not every change we see is attributable to human influence. We still have to deal with the consequences.

Accurate knowledge is the first step because if we don’t understand the cause of particular climatic changes we will waste a lot of time and effort combatting things we never caused and have no power to influence.


Virginia’s latest folly — offshore wind power

As reported in an earlier article, Virginia’s green electric power plan calls for 5,000 MW of offshore wind generating capacity to be built in the next decade or so. This is a huge amount given that the worldwide total is just around 15,000 MW. We are talking about something like 800 giant windmills, embedded in the ocean floor and sticking hundreds of feet into the air above the water. They will be on the order of one and a half times taller than the Washington Monument, which is really tall.

Two features make this offshore wind plan a folly — too little wind and too much wind. Let’s look at too little wind first.

The proposed site is around 30 miles offshore of the giant Norfolk naval complex. Sites are usually much closer in than this, but maybe the Navy told them to keep their distance. Or perhaps they are out beyond the very busy shipping lanes. Every ship from Central and South America, or the southeast U.S., headed for ports from Baltimore north to Canada, passes through this area. This in itself is a concern but not one we are looking at now.

The problem is that this area frequently gets periods of a week or more when the wind is too low to generate any power. These are winds of 10 mph or less. Normal wind turbines require sustained wind of 33 mph or more to generate full power. Some new models with giant blades can do full power at just 23 mph. But neither generates much of anything at 10 mph. It is not a matter of no wind; low wind is enough.

Weather records for Norfolk show just such an event last year, with the low wind period being August 17-23. The wind never measured over 10 mph for the entire 7 days.

To make matters worse, when these low wind periods occur in summer they often include very high temperatures. In the event cited above the high temperatures were in the upper 80’s and low 90’s. Away from the ocean, temperatures were even higher. Both Richmond and Washington DC saw high temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s for most of this week long period.

These high temperatures create the greatest need for electricity, called peak demand. Combining peak demand with no wind power means this huge, expensive wind facility does nothing when electricity is most needed. Some other form of power generation will have to be standing by to do what the 5,000 MW of useless offshore wind power cannot do.

There is no provision for this duplication of generating capacity in the Virginia plan. If it is not there when needed, then a prolonged blackout is the only option.

Week long periods of no generation low wind occur fairly often in the Norfolk area, perhaps once every few years. In a hot summer they may occur more than once. But there are also many shorter periods of low wind, with a high need for electricity, that occur more frequently. Then too there are no doubt longer periods of low wind that occur less frequently. At the one in fifty year frequency we might get a month or more of low wind. I see no evidence that these possibilities have been addressed in the Virginia plan.

On the high wind side we have hurricanes.

This area could be called hurricane alley because many storms turn north in the Caribbean and run up the American coast. Southern Virginia and northern North Carolina actually stick out into this flow. That is where these tall towers will be.

Category five hurricanes have sustained winds over 156 mph with gusts that can exceed 200 mph. To date no offshore wind towers have been designed to withstand these sorts of winds. Most have been built in Europe where hurricanes do not occur. The force of the wind is a function of the square of the wind speed, so a 160 mph wind is four times as destructive as an 80 mph wind.

In fact the US Energy Department recently announced a new research program to look into whether a hurricane proof design is even possible. Here’s how DOE puts it:

“Although hurricanes and the damage they can cause remain difficult to predict, with current R&D, the Energy Department is taking steps to alleviate potential risks to offshore wind systems that will eventually be deployed in the southeastern and mid-Atlantic regions.“

DOE puts a positive spin on it but it seems clear that we are in no position to build massive hurricane proof offshore wind facilities today. DOE says “eventually” and even that may be wishful thinking.

One thing certain is that if Virginia goes ahead, in effect playing chicken with cat 5 storms, these hundreds of towers will have to be far stronger than standard European designs. Stronger means more expensive. The standard cost is around $1.5 million per MW, which would be $7.5 billion in Virginia’s case. If hurricane proofing doubles the cost that puts a monstrous $15 billion at risk of destruction.

Conclusion: The Virginia plan is calling for a massive and incredibly expensive offshore wind generating facility, at high risk of failure, that will produce no power whatever when it is needed most.

Surely this is folly.


Scottish Government’s failure to meet carbon emission target blamed on Cold Weather

I’m not making it up, this is a genuine headline run by the on June 16, 2020…

THE FAILURE of the Scottish Government to meet its own climate emissions target –net zero by 2045– has been blamed on the “beast from the east” bringing cold weather to the nation in 2018, reads the opening lines of the article.

According to statistics published yesterday, emissions in the power sector from fossil fuels actually increased by 51 per cent to 2.6 gigawatts from 2017-2018, with overall source emissions rising 1.5 per cent over the same period.

Scotland’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the annual increase is “certainly disappointing” and stressed that the bar has been “intentionally been set to provide an extremely stretching pathway to net zero”.

Cunningham put the increase in emissions from 2017 to 2018 down to “changes to the national energy mix and freezing temperatures from the beast from the east during the early months of 2018” which led to “a rise in emissions from energy supply and heating use for buildings.”

She added: “While emissions reductions were seen in all other sectors including transport, industry and agriculture, during 2018 the overall effect was a 1.5 per cent increase and we expect a substantial part of that was driven by the cold weather.”

Oh what a twisted, illogical mess these poor environmentalists have gone and made for themselves. Rising carbon dioxide levels are delivering catastrophic heating, goes their rhetoric — yet CO2 emissions are rising because folks need to heat their homes in order to stave off the record cold.

If this warped ideology wasn’t restricting our ability to prepare for what’s really coming then I’d surely piss myself laughing.

In addition, it appears that 2019 and 2020 aren’t looking too hot for these delusional carbon-(the backbone of all life)-hating hippies either. Chilly conditions in 2019 have tossed another spanner into the works, and now, thanks to the COVID-19 debacle, the low emission plans for the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee have all been put on hold.

Despite all of these major setbacks, the Scottish Government “remains absolutely committed to ending Scotland’s emissions contribution by 2045” with a 75 per cent reduction target by 2030.

Cunningham concluded: “Covid-19 means that our starting position has most definitely changed, but our ambitions have not. We are committed to delivering a green recovery from this pandemic.”

In other words, the BS goes on.

And will continue to go on.

Until the returning COLD TIMES render large parts of the mid-latitudes uninhabitable and people begin burning whatever the hell they can find to keep themselves warm (I recommend Greta Thunberg’s book, “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference”).


See the Slideshow AOC Tried, and Failed, to Censor

By Caleb Rossiter

This is my slide show and 20-minute talk that Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Chellie Pingree tried to censor at the LibertyCon 2020 conference in Washington, D.C. 

They wrote to sponsors of the event, including Google and Facebook, and asked them not to fund any event with an appearance by "climate deniers" from the CO2 Coalition. 

LibertyCon indeed lost some sponsorship, but because of its commitment to the free exchange of ideas still invited me back to speak in 2020. This is the talk I had prepared, before the coronavirus crisis forced the cancellation of the conference.

As background to this topic, I suggest that you watch the CO2 Coalition's "CO2-Minute" video, "Carbon Dioxide: Part of a Greener Future." 

Now, on to the talk! Click the link to watch the slideshow Climate Statistics 101.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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