Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Even Warmist datasets show that U.S. regional temperature trends are DOWNWARDS

Since U.S. temperature data is by far the most extensive such databody that there is, a Swedish blogger has been laboriously tabulating the temperature trends for various U.S. regions over recent years. She uses the 9-month average (Jan-Sept) so that she can include data from the current year. All her figuring is set out in a multitude of graphs so I reproduce below just her introduction and conclusions:

Remember, these are the official figures. With the poor placement of stations (91 % of the stations are CRN 3 to 5 = bad to very poor); where they have purposely taken away the urban heat island effect, use huge smoothing radius, the historical “adjustment and tweaking” to cool the past etc.

Not to mention the great slaughter of GHCN stations 1990-1993 – roughly 63 % of all stations were “dropped”. Oddly enough many of them in cold places – Hmmm? Now the number of GHCN stations is back at the same numbers as in 1890.

Also remember that the US stations are now nearly a third of the all GHCN world stations.......

So the “warming trend” 2000-2011 is exactly - 1.84 F, - 0.19 F and - 1.05 F degrees COOLER a decade for these 3 regions. That is a whopping - 18.4 F, - 1.9 F and- 10.5 F COOLER in 100 years. The freezer next!

And this is also the decade that the Global Warming Hysterics have been screaming at the top of their lungs, trying to scare us to death, about the catastrophic treat that the “extreme increase” in temperature is to mankind and earth.

According to the computer models that the Global Warming Hysterics love so much, worship and blindly follows (especially our intelligent politicians), it should be EXACTLY the opposite.

And we are supposed to be very worried about a predicted rise of 3-4 F in 100 years? But not this ACTUAL trend?

And for this predicted trend the politicians want to take our societies back to the Stone Age. But, as usual, they DO NOTHING about the actual trend.

So to summarize this evidence of this “accelerated warming” trend:

The Southwest recent 9 months trend 2000 -2011 is exactly - 1.84 F degrees a decade.

The South recent 9 months trend 2000 -2011 is exactly - 0.19 F degrees a decade.

The East North Central recent 9 months trend 2000-2011 is exactly – 1.05 F degrees a decade.

So the “warming” trend is really accelerating wouldn’t you say. Some more “rapid warming” like this and the freezer looks really comfortable and warm.

Another brilliant and glorious example of RAPID WARMING and an eminent threat to humankind!


Fracking-hatred again

Greenies hate anything that benefits humanity

I am bemused to see that there is a moderate earthquake in Oklahoma making the news.

Such things are not unknown, of course, but the “Green” oriented blogs are all blaming the earthquake on “fracking”.

This is a “hot” item, since the oil shales of North Dakota and Pennsylvania are potential “black gold” that will rewrite the balance of oil from the Middle East (although most US oil is actually from either the US or other western hemisphere areas, mainly Canada).

I wasn’t aware that “fracking” was being done in Oklahoma, but they do “inject” wells, and it is well known that you can cause earthquakes by taking out oil if you don’t pump water back into the hole.

So if the Oklahoma earthquakes were caused by bad oil pumping, there is an argument to clarify the problem and fix it.

Yes, I said “Fix it”.

The environmentalists might want to stop pumping all oil, but my Oklahoma neighbors were delighted when the price of oil went up and they restarted pumping in our area. Many were working in low wage jobs, or were working on oil rigs or in countries such as Venezuela and Nigeria that had started becoming a bit dangerous. More local jobs were both needed and welcome. The attitude was: environmental problems? You can’t eat the environment.

Even health problems thought to be due to the wells were shrugged off as the price of having a job. True, most folks do want a cleanup of environmental damage from the past, but they also want and need jobs.

But the real question is: can the earthquakes be blamed on something simple, like improper oil extraction, (which could be “fixed” with another techological fix) or is there a fault line or other cause that scientists can’t find?

Missing a fault line that could blow at any time would actually be more of a worry. Most homes and buildings in much of the central US are not “earthquake proof” even though the New Madrid fault near St. Louis was the largest earthquake in US recorded history.

Heck, most of them are not even “tornado proof”, even though folks live in “Tornado alley”.

For those who are not familiar with the landscape, Here is a list of earthquakes in Oklahoma since Dec 1897.

Due to oil?

The first oil well in Oklahoma was in April 1897…but the Oklahoma Geological survey states:

The earliest documented earthquake in Oklahoma occurred on October 22, 1882, and while it cannot be precisely located, the strongest shaking, Modified Mercalli Intensity of VIII, was reported at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory. On April 9, 1952 the largest instrumentally recorded earthquake in Oklahoma occurred near El Reno in Canadian County. This earthquake had a magnitude of 5.5 and caused damage to the State Capitol Office Building in Oklahoma City. Its effects were felt as far away as Austin, Texas and Des Moines, Iowa.

So earthquakes were there before the oil wells.

And most of the earthquakes are in central Oklahoma, where they do pump oil, but a bit west of the Tulsa oil fields which have suffered few reported earthquakes.

map: http://geo.ou.edu/MapsFrame.htm

So what does the Oklahoma Geological survey say about the earthquake cause?

Generally away from plate boundary settings, such as Oklahoma, earthquakes will be smaller with magnitudes generally less than 6.5. Small earthquakes (magnitudes 5 or less) occur nearly everywhere in the world. These types of earthquakes can cause damage and loss of life, but damage is usually moderate and closely concentrated around the epicenter, where the earthquake occurred. Oklahoma earthquakes generally occur at shallow depths ranging from about 5 to 15 kilometers (3-10 miles) depth.

In other words, except for a faultline in SW Oklahoma that last slipped 1200 years ago, things should stay about the same.

But one does wish for a good geological explanation, and if the opening of the oil wells correlates with the recent earthquakes.

E&E News examines the problem and finds no easy answer.

A previously unreported study out of the Oklahoma Geological Survey has found that hydraulic fracturing may have triggered a swarm of small earthquakes earlier this year in Oklahoma. The quakes, which struck on Jan. 18 in a rural area near Elmore City, peaked at magnitude 2.8 and caused no deaths or property damage…The majority of the microquakes struck within 3.5 kilometers of the fracturing well, Picket Unit B 4-18. The quakes were shallow and fit well in time and space with the start of fracturing in the nearby well. The geophysical model fit, too…

The fracturing continued at the Picket well after the earthquakes, and the survey detected no additional seismic activity during that time, Holland said. The well was located in a geologically complex region riven by thrust rocks, he added, and a quake would likely have occurred at some point with or without the drilling — the rocks were primed for it.

“These earthquakes were likely to happen,” he said.

So the answer is: yes, no, and maybe. Or maybe “all of the above”.
Jumping to conclusions based on one’s ideological background (it was the fracking or from hydrolic injection of water, or that it was ordinary earthquakes and that the green lobby is again lying about the risk) without good geological knowledge only clouds the issue.


Debunking the EROEI "Golden rule"

(The latest Greenie anti-fracking argument. Tim Worstall points out that it all depends on where the energy comes from)

I wrote recently about how peak oil is a rather nonsensical concept: technology is advancing at such a rate that we’re discovering entire new planets to explore for the stuff.

The latest comment to come back to me on that argues that because of ERoEI (Energy Return on Energy Invested) peak oil really is a serious problem and, essentially, that I’m all wet for disagreeing. The problem with this is that while the math and physics of ERoEI is just fine, indisputable even, it’s just not a very useful conceit except in certain very limited situations.

Basically, what is being said is that as oil gets deeper, more difficult to pump up, perhaps with tar sands we’ve got to use more energy to purify the stuff, then at some point we hit a boundary, a system boundary. We’ll be using more energy to get the oil out than we’ll get energy from the oil we get out. Which, self-evidently, is nonsense, that’s like the internet companies losing money on every transaction and they’ll make it up in volume.

That is, as far as I understand it, the argument. And it does work in certain special situations. It would indeed be self-evidently absurd to use 10 barrels of oil at one site to pump up one barrel of oil. Better, obviously, to use one of the 10 you have and have 9 left over.

However, this doesn’t work as an assumption about the wider world in general. For energy comes in a number of different forms, dispersed, concentrated, at various different times, some of it is directly usuable, other of it has to be transformed to become so and so on.

We have, for example, no problem at all in using tonnes of one form of oil, shipping diesel, to get an aircraft carrier and it’s aviation gasoline close to the Libyan shore so that a few gallons of that avgas can be used to bomb Ghadaffi (OK,so should be past tense there). We’re just fine with using fuel to get fuel to places.

But let’s really go wild here and think about something very different indeed.

Take, for example, the humble loaf of bread, the staff of life. We use vastly more energy to create that loaf of bread than we get out of having produced it.

Leave aside the oil use, the fertiliser, the transport, all of that. Consider instead just water. It takes 1,000 tonnes of water to grow a tonne of wheat. That water must be fresh water. Producing fresh water requires huge amounts of energy. The Sun does this very nicely for us, evaporating it from the oceans and sending it back down as rain again.

Now, think of the energy that is required to evaporate 1,000 tonnes of water…..that’s 1 million kilos at 419 kJ per kilo. 419 million kJ.

There’s around 3,000 calories in a kg of wheat. So our tonne of wheat provides us with 3 million calories. 3 million kcal (nutritional calories that is) is 12560400 kJ. A little over 12 million kJ.

So, in producing that staff of life, those grains which keep the entire world turning, we use 35 times as much energy as an input as we get as an output.

And we’re quite happy with this. We don’t think it odd at all. And we most certainly don’t say that it’s unsustainable because it doesn’t pass the ERoEI calculation.

The reason we’re not worried about it is because we’ve got vast amounts of energy coming to us as sunlight. Huge, massive, great big gobs of it. And we’re entirely happy to use it copiously, waste huge amounts of it, because there is so much. We want that energy in a form that can be used by our bodies and we’re just delighted to waste 97% of the energy in order to get a bit in the form we can use.

ERoEI just isn’t a binding constraint on our system, not at any human scale.

Sure, the entire world cannot use more energy than there is available to the entire world, that’s true. And it is pretty silly to use more of one form of energy to produce less of that same form of energy. But outside those two special cases, ERoEI just doesn’t mean very much.

And the reason that ERoEI doesn’t mean very much is that we’re not, an any kind of human scale, limited by the availbility of energy. The Sun simply pumps in so much energy that total energy availability simply isn’t a binding constraint upon us. What we’re interested in is usable energy and we’re quite happy to waste total energy in order to get usable. As in the growing wheat example, there’s 35 times more energy going into the system than energy we get out of it and yet we’re all just entirely delighted with said system.

So no, I’m sorry, ERoEI does not in fact mean that peak oil is inevitable or even a problem even if it is. For the math and the physics of the idea only apply in certain very specific circumstances, not as a general rule across life or the planet.


Peak Stuff has been and gone

Prices are fixing "waste"

One of the amusements I delight in about the environmental movement is that they're generals, always fighting the last war. We've still got doomongers warning about population when we already know the answer to that. Indeed, are implementing the answer to it. Population, birth rates, fall when places get rich (not least because rich places have more for women to do than endlessly pump out more babies) and as the world is getting rich we've solved that problem. We've similarly got doomongers telling us all that minerals are about to run out: without noting that we're recycling ever more of them and in many places co0nsumption of virgin material is falling as we replace it with recycled (the iron industry being an obvious example).

One that is similarly popular is that we're just simply using too much stuff, that on a limited planet we can't all just keep having more. But it appears that peak stuff has already been and gone:

In 2001, Goodall says, the UK's consumption of paper and cardboard finally started to decline. This was followed, in 2002, by a fall in our use of primary energy: the raw heat and power generated by all fossil fuels and other energy sources. The following year, 2003, saw the start of a decline in the amount of household waste (including recycling) generated by each person in the country – a downward trend that before long could also be observed in the commercial and construction waste sectors.

In 2004, our purchases of new cars started to fall – as did our consumption of water. The next year, 2005, saw our household energy consumption starting to slump (notwithstanding an uptick last year due to the cold winter). And in 2006 we seem to have got bored with roads and railways, with a decline in the average distance traveled on private and public transport. All of this while GDP – and population – went up.

The secret to this is that GDP is the "value of all goods and services produced". And we can, as we have been, increase GDP by increasing the value added rather than the quantity of goods and services. There's actually no great secret here at all: it's exactly what we would expect to happen in fact, if raw materials get more expensive (as those who insist they are running out would say they are) then we'll use less of them.

And note, no one planned this, insisted upon it, regulated for it or imposed it. Just happened quite naturally as the market response to higher raw material prices. As we've seen the quite natural market response to greater wealth being fewer children, prices encouraging recycling of metals and all the rest.

Great things markets, aren't they? If only more environmentalists would realize that they are the method of getting what we all desire, that cleaner, greener, richer, world.


Scrapping wind farms in favour of nuclear and gas would save each Briton £550

Shelving expensive wind farms in favour of cheaper nuclear and gas-fired power stations would save every Briton almost £550, it is claimed. Government plans to cut pollution by a third by 2020 rely heavily on wind power and will cost £108billion to implement, an accountancy firm has calculated.

But shifting the emphasis away from turbines and towards nuclear and gas-fired power stations would slash the bill by £34billion, according to KPMG. This equates to around £550 for every person in the country.

The preliminary conclusions of the Thinking About the Affordable report come as spiralling gas and electricity bills have left millions worrying about how they will keep warm this winter.

The average annual dual fuel bill stands at £1,345, almost double the £740 of five years ago.

Bills are predicted to rise another 25 per cent over the next four years, taking one in four households – 7.25million – into fuel poverty.

Wind turbines produce around 5 per cent of the country’s electricity, or enough to power 3.2million homes. This will increase around five-fold by 2020 under plans to raise the amount of green energy produced, while cutting carbon emissions.

But wind power is one of the most expensive forms of electricity generation to build. For instance, an offshore wind farm capable of powering 800,000 homes would cost £2.4billion. The bill for an equivalent power station fired by gas, a cleaner alternative to coal, would come in at £400million, or one sixth of the amount.
Power station: Nuclear power could prove to be more economical than wind

Wind farms and nuclear power stations cost similar amounts, but turbines are seen as more expensive as depending on nature means they often operate at a fraction of full capacity.

KPMG, which advises the Government on energy pricing, says wind power is too expensive. Mark Powell, the report’s author, said: ‘Taking a clinical economist’s view of hitting our carbon-reduction targets for the least cost shows we can reach our goal for a lot less. ‘However, to do this, the most expensive forms of renewable energies, particularly offshore wind, need to be scaled back.

‘Trying to meet carbon targets with a heavy reliance on renewable energy was a laudable vision but ... it’s time to face facts on how the huge level of investment may translate into fuel poverty.’

He said focusing on gas-fired and nuclear power plants would help Britain reach its target of a 34 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide by 2020 and increase the level of energy from renewable resources to 15 per cent. The bill, which will be footed by the consumer, would fall from £108billion to £74billion.

But the wind industry said the figures do not factor in points such as the farms being cheaper to run or benefits of not being reliant on imported gas.

The Energy Department echoed the criticism, saying KPMG ‘ignored long-term benefits to customers of energy sources that involve no on-going fuel costs’. [But DO involve huge maintenance costs]


Australia: NSW Auditor-General reveals $4 billion blow-out in NSW Solar Bonus Scheme

The controversial Solar Bonus Scheme would have blown out to almost $4 billion - more than 10 times its original estimated cost to taxpayers - had it been left to continue running as it was, a scathing assessment by the NSW Auditor-General has found.

The report by Peter Achterstraat, released this morning, says the scheme "lacked the most elementary operational controls, had no overall plan and risks were poorly managed."

It also found that the previous government and its agencies "grossly underestimated" the cost of the scheme and the number of people who would be encouraged to install solar systems.
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The findings will be embarrassing for the current Labor leader, John Robertson, who was energy minister when the scheme was designed under the former government.

Mr Achterstraat said the likely cost of the scheme to taxpayers is up to $1.75 billion, following the decision by the O'Farrell government to close it to new entrants this year. This was still "significantly more than the original $362 million estimate," he said.

Households who signed up to the original scheme were paid 60 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity their solar panels fed back into the grid.

The Keneally government belatedly slashed the rate paid to customers in the scheme from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 20 cents last year after the cost blowout was uncovered.

"The New South Wales Scheme was far more generous than other states and contributed to many more people joining the scheme than were expected," Mr Achterstraat said.

In May the Premier, Barry O'Farrell, tried to rein in the blowout by retrospectively cutting the tariff paid to participants from 60 cents a kilowatt hour to 40 cents a kilowatt hour.

The plan caused widespread outrage from existing customers and the solar energy industry and sparked a backbench revolt which forced him to back down and commit to covering the cost in the state budget.

Mr Achterstraat said the Labor government failed to carry out a cost/benefit analysis for the scheme before it was implemented and there was no contingency planning.

"There was no budget for dollars or the number of connections and consequently very little control over the cost of the Solar Bonus Scheme," he said.



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1 comment:

John A said...

"Peak" [fossil] fuel: some time ago I stumbled across an advertisement in Popular Mechanics claiming that US coal was running out so fast it might be gone in ten years. That was in 1922...