Tuesday, July 04, 2017

A crude straight line pushed through the data may have its uses but it can also mask important changes

Below is such a graph

But the graph below shows that a straight line misses a lot of detail

The second graph, for instance shows rather clearly the big global warming hiatus of 1945 to 1975.

Warmists however usually ignore all those "bumps" in the second graph and speak as if the straight line was all that happened.

But even in the period covered by the first graph there is something that makes that graph largely invalid as a representation of recent temperature changes.

There are two researchers (Lindzen and McKitrick) who at different times used radiosonde (balloon) temperature data, which goes back to 1965, well before the satellite data that Carl Mears has just "adjusted".  Note that the UAH version of the satellite temperature rise closely parallels the radiosonde data.  The Mears adjusted satellite record does not.  So the UAH satellite data and the radiosonde data validate one another. (John 8:17)  The radiosonde data is therefore strong data that must be accounted for.

And the researchers concerned (Lindzen and McKitrick) initially found that the radiosonde data gave a graph akin to the first one above, a steadily rising line.  But when they looked more closely at their data they found something interesting.

There was not a smooth temperature rise at all. The data divided into two essentially horizontal lines separated from one another by a step change in 1976/1977.  Temperatures rose abruptly in 1976 by about .25C for no obvious reason -- and then flattened out again.  That is of course totally inconsistent from the pattern of steady temperature rise that should have happened according to global warming theory.  Carl Mears would no doubt be able to "adjust" that out of existence but the unadjusted data is surely what interests us.

The first such paper was from Richard Lindzen in 2002.  Abstract below:

Reconciling observations of global temperature change

Richard S. Lindzen and Constantine Giannitsis


It is suggested that the much publicized discrepancy between observed surface global mean temperature and global mean atmospheric temperature from 1979 to the present may be due to the fact that the atmosphere underwent a jump in temperature in 1976 (before the satellite temperature series began), and that the surface response was delayed for about a decade due to the ocean heat capacity. The ocean delay depends on both climate sensitivity and vertical heat transport within the ocean. It is shown that the observed delay is best simulated when sensitivity to doubling of CO2 is less than about 1C.


The second paper is from 2014 and is from Ross McKitrick.

HAC robust trend comparisons among climate series with possible level shifts

Ross R. McKitrick & Timothy J. Vogelsang


Comparisons of trends across climatic data sets are complicated by the presence of serial correlation and possible step-changes in the mean. We build on heteroskedasticity and autocorrelation robust methods, specifically the Vogelsang–Franses (VF) nonparametric testing approach, to allow for a step-change in the mean (level shift) at a known or unknown date. The VF method provides a powerful multivariate trend estimator robust to unknown serial correlation up to but not including unit roots. We show that the critical values change when the level shift occurs at a known or unknown date. We derive an asymptotic approximation that can be used to simulate critical values, and we outline a simple bootstrap procedure that generates valid critical values and p-values. Our application builds on the literature comparing simulated and observed trends in the tropical lower troposphere and mid-troposphere since 1958. The method identifies a shift in observations around 1977, coinciding with the Pacific Climate Shift. Allowing for a level shift causes apparently significant observed trends to become statistically insignificant. Model overestimation of warming is significant whether or not we account for a level shift, although null rejections are much stronger when the level shift is included


So the steady rise beloved of the Warmists is just a poorly informed first approximation that vanishes on closer inspection.

The Ministry Of Climate Truth - Erasing The Satellite Data

Tony Heller

Two years ago I predicted that the climate mafia would force Carl Mears at RSS to corrupt his satellite data. It has happened exactly as I predicted.

Solar Panels Generate 300 Times More Toxic Waste Than Nuclear Reactors

Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of electricity generated than nuclear power plants, according to a Thursday report from the pro-nuclear group Environmental Progress (EP).

The report found that solar panels use heavy metals, including lead, chromium and cadmium, which can harm the environment. The hazards of nuclear waste are well known and can be planned for, but very little has been done to mitigate solar waste issues.

“The problem with waste from solar is that it isn’t handled as well as nuclear waste,” Dr. Jeff Terry, a professor of nuclear physics involved in energy research at the Illinois Institute of Technology, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There are two types of waste from solar. Waste from the manufacturing scene and waste from the solar panel after it has gone through its useful life. There are materials in those that if they leached out, it wouldn’t be good.”

Terry said that waste from solar panels will quickly become a far bigger problem than nuclear waste, because power grids need dramatically more solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as a nuclear reactor.

“The magnitude of the waste problem from solar is a lot larger than nuclear just because of energy density,” Terry said. “Per pound of waste generated, you get so much more power from nuclear. You need a lot more material to generate from solar and wind than you do from nuclear.”

Another expert worries that scientists and engineers have considerably more experience dealing with radioactive waste from nuclear reactors, but very little experience dealing with solar waste.

“All forms of energy create byproduct waste materials from their initial construction, operation, and eventual disposal,” Lake Barrett, former deputy director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, told TheDCNF. “Society has over 50 years of exhaustive scientific experience with safely managing and technical disposal of nuclear waste, but very little knowledge of renewable energy waste management and disposal.”

Terry said that solar panels use hazardous materials like sulfuric acid and toxic phosphine gas in their manufacturing. Recycling these materials is extremely difficult and the panels have relatively short operational lifespans.

“The chemical processing involved in manufacturing solar panels is significant,” Terry said. “Right now, we’re just offshoring it and placing the waste problem onto other people.”

Solar panels can’t be stored in a landfill easily without potentially contaminating the area and breaking the panels down for recycling is an extremely labor-intensive and unprofitable process.

“If you just throw a solar panel in a landfill, it’ll break down and cause issues,” Terry said. “People just aren’t dealing with solar waste yet and nobody has a real plan on what to do with these panels after they start coming off of houses. With nuclear, they entirely plan out how to use the waste and it is factored in.”

Solar panels are enormously difficult to dispose of or recycle. Japan is already scrambling for ways to reuse its mounting inventory of solar panel waste, which is expected to exceed 10,000 tons by 2020 and eventually grow to 800,000 tons per year by 2040. Additionally, most governments that heavily support solar power don’t require manufacturers to collect and dispose of solar waste.

Barrett also pointed out that nuclear waste with the greatest radiation hazard decays fairly quickly, while solar panel waste can remain in the environment for a much longer period of time.

“Nuclear wastes are radioactive and radioactivity is often scary to those who do not understand it,” Barrett said. “With time, nuclear wastes naturally decay away to benign levels in a few hundred or few thousand years. Heavy metal wastes, as often found in renewable energy wastes, never decay away and can remain toxic in the environment forever.”

In comparison, nuclear waste can often be reused, either as fuel for nuclear reactors or in medicine.

“Most of nuclear waste isn’t real waste as it can be reprocessed into reactor fuel,” Terry said. “The U.S. has actually demonstrated that before with the EBR-2 reactor. You’re never going to recover 100 percent of the uranium or plutonium, but you can get back a tremendous amount. Fission products are also useful for other things like radio-pharmaceuticals.”

There are currently 1.4 million solar energy installations in the U.S., many of which are nearing the end of their 25-year-long lifespans. Governments haven’t done nearly as much to handle solar waste as nuclear waste.

“Nuclear waste is the most regulated waste in the history of mankind,” Barrett said. “Very detailed USNRC [U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission] and USEPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] regulations and standards have been developed requiring very stringent limits to protect public health and safety and the environment out to one million years in the future. No other waste form has such protective requirements.”

Some research indicates that solar panels aren’t even an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which is the entire justification to promote the technology.

The net impact of solar panels actually temporarily increased carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, due to how much energy is used in their construction, a study published in December 2016 concluded. The solar industry has been “a temporary net emitter of greenhouse gas emissions,” and more modern solar panels have a smaller adverse environmental impact than older models. Scientists estimated that by 2018 at the latest, the solar industry as a whole could have a net positive environmental impact.

Federal data suggests that building solar panels significantly increases emissions of the potent greenhouse gas nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), which is 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period. NF3 emissions have increased by 1,057 percent over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.


When I ride the T, I miss my auto-nomy

by Jeff Jacoby

AS INDEPENDENCE DAY approaches this year, there is less independence in my days.

With the Boston Globe's move to new offices downtown, I no longer have the option of driving to work and parking on-site. Since the fee for downtown parking garages is too steep for my budget, I now do something every day that I haven't done since I was a Boston University graduate student: I commute by public transit.

As commutes go, mine (so far) isn't bad: Most days I spend between 20 and 30 minutes on the MBTA Green Line, and both home and office are only five minutes' walk from a convenient subway stop.

But the relative convenience of even a short public-transit commute is no compensation for the loss of autonomy it entails. When I would drive myself to work (or anywhere else), there were certainly costs involved: traffic jams, bad roads, jaywalking pedestrians, occasional highway tolls or hunts for a parking space. Those are undeniable disadvantages, part of the price of driving a car.

But they pale next to the benefits. When you drive, you have auto-mobility. You travel where you choose, by the route you choose, with the company you choose, and at the time you choose. You can take your time and meander, or put pedal to the metal. You can surround yourself with silence, or listen to talk radio, or blast "Born to Run" from your car speakers. You can go shopping in the rain and come home with 12 bags of groceries. You can be a designated driver in the wee hours of the night. You can get your kicks on Route 66.

Reflections on independence and individualism aren't usually on our minds when we get in the cars and drive. But that doesn't change the fact that car-ownership and freedom go hand-in-hand. The values we most esteem as Americans are embodied in our car culture. It isn't by chance that so many American songs exult in the delights of owning, cruising, or fooling around in cars. How many anthems have been penned about the happy experience of traveling with other straphangers in a government-operated conveyance over which no passengers have any control? True, the Kingston Trio recorded "Charlie on the MTA." But look what happened to Charlie. Did he ever return? No, he never returned.

"Because we have cars to drive we can, more than any other people in history, choose where we will live [and] where we will work, and separate these two choices from each other," wrote the American philosopher Loren Lomasky in a notable 1997 essay. "We are more able to avail ourselves of near and distant pleasures and to do so at a schedule tailored to individual preference. We are less constrained . . . by accidents of geography. . . . The automobile is, arguably, rivaled only by the printing press (and perhaps within a few more years by the microchip) as an autonomy-enhancing contrivance of technology."

Nothing is more wearying than a lecture from a disdainful environmentalist or self-righteous collectivist about the shameful waste of cars and solo driving. Al Gore long ago proclaimed that our "hundreds of millions of automobiles" pose "a mortal threat . . . more deadly than that of any military enemy." Americans have for the most part ignored such chiding. Even now, 91 percent of all US households have a car. A solid majority, 57 percent, have two or more cars.

Those numbers would doubtless be even higher if public transportation weren't so heavily subsidized. Contrary to the popular misimpression that drivers benefit from rampant government underwriting, nearly all public spending on roads and highways is paid for, directly or indirectly, by drivers themselves. (When "American driver" is practically a synonym for "American taxpayer," it could hardly be otherwise.) The Cato Institute's Randal O'Toole, citing data from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, points out that — taking into account both user costs and subsidies — "public transportation costs nearly four times as much per passenger-mile as driving, while Amtrak costs well over twice as much."

The festival of American independence is a good moment to give thanks for the immense changes wrought in our society by mass car ownership. Starting with cleanliness: At the turn of the 20th century, when people mostly relied on horses to get around, American cities were vast equine cesspools. "In New York City alone," the historian David Kyvig wrote in his history of the years between the world wars, "15,000 horses dropped dead on the streets, while those that lived deposited 2.5 million pounds of manure and 60,000 gallons of urine on the streets every day."

Automobiles made Americans far freer and wealthier than they would have been without them. They brought knowledge, experience, and natural beauty within reach of innumerable men and women of modest means. They ended the desperate isolation and loneliness of rural life, gave rise to the consumer paradise of modern retailing, and made it possible for upward strivers to escape tenement life and own a home of their own in the suburbs.

One last word before this Fourth of July, courtesy of a splendid 2010 Dodge Challenger commercial: "There's a couple of things America got right: cars and freedom."


Australia: "Clean-coal" cheaper option than renewables

It's a reasonable point that burning the coal more efficiently will reduce emissions of all sorts but that small gain in efficiency comes at a considerable cost

The construction of a new high-efficiency, low emissions (HELE) coal-fired power station, being considered by the Turnbull government, would cost $2.2 billion — considerably less than the $3bn of subsidies handed out to renewable projects each year, a new technical study shows.

With Australians facing further hikes in their electricity and gas bills following moves by ­energy companies over the weekend to increase bills by up to 20 per cent, Malcolm Turnbull is under pressure to deliver relief for households, small businesses and manufacturers.

New analysis, compiled by power and energy sector specialists GHD and Solstice Development Services, reveals it would cost $2.2bn to build a 1000MW ultra-supercritical (USC) coal-power plant and that it would ­deliver the cheapest electricity on the market.

The HELE coal plant, which the Turnbull government has not ruled out funding, would produce electricity at $40-$78 per megawatt hour, compared with gas at $69-$115/MWh and solar at $90-$171.

The 550-page technical study, commissioned by the Minerals Council of Australia and the COAL21 Fund, reveals that clean-coal plants would drive down energy­ prices, and offers the Prime Minister an economic blueprint on the viability of new coal-fired ­stations.

It comes just four months after it was revealed taxpayer subsidies to meet state and federal renewable energy ­targets reached $3bn in the 2015-16 financial year, with about 75 per cent of the cost being collected from consumers paying extra in their electricity bills.

The overall cost of subsidising ­renewable energy generation has nearly doubled since 2011, and the RET continues to be a political headache for the Turnbull government.

It is sticking to the 23.5 per cent target by 2020, despite calls by former prime minister Tony Abbott­, who was ­involved in ­establishing the RET, to freeze it at the current rate of 15 per cent — a move he says would dramatically lower power bills.

COAL21 chief executive Greg Evans, who is also an executive ­director of the Minerals Council, said the report showed that HELE coal plants, which would have “operating lives of several decades­”, were viable and affordable options to replace the ­nation’s ageing coal-fired power stations. “The report confirms that USC coal generation can deliver­ on the priorities of affordability, reliability and low emissions,” he said, adding that coal-fired generation remained the “cheapest and most reliable energy­ source in Australia, available 24 hours a day, every day”.

Mr Evans, whose COAL21 Fund has invested $300 million in low-emission coal technologies since 2006, said the report estim­ated the current construction cost of a modern HELE plant, or USC black-coal station, at $2.2m/MW, or $2.2bn for 1000MW capacity. “It (the report) notes electricity prices paid by manufacturers have doubled in the past decade and that USC coal is able to lower the cost of generation across the Nationa­l Electricity Market, given current wholesale electricity ­prices.”

The report stipulates that cost comparisons assume that the power plant’s revenue be “underwritten” in the form of a long-term government agreement covering the purchase of the output or ­capacity of the plant.

Industry chiefs and Coalition MPs concerned about the retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria have identified opportunities for new investment in coal plants, using low-emissions technology including viable carbon capture and storage options.

With up to 1200 HELE plants being planned or built in Asia, and similar technology anchoring electricity production in Japan and Germany, senior government MPs, including Mr Abbott, have backed investment in coal-fired energy. Mr Turnbull said last month his government remained open to using cleaner-coal technol­ogy to replace existing generators, in what he said would be a “long-term commitment”.

The Turnbull government has asked the Australian Energy Market Operator for advice on how to best ensure “new continuous dispatchable power is provided”.

Resources and Northern Australia Minister Matt Canavan has said cleaner coal-fired power station­s could potentially save up to 30 per cent in carbon emissions, as well as additional savings on ­operational costs. He has predicted the construction of a new coal-fired power plant would take “about three years”.

“They do cost a little bit more to build, but overall they come out at the same cost or cheaper than the older coal-fired power stations that we have right now,” he said.

He said investors in Asia and Australia were interested in selling cleaner-coal technology and some were open to the idea of “owning a station here”.

The government has adopted 49 of the 50 recommendations made in a review led by Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, aimed at deliveri­ng a blueprint for the future­ of the electricity market.

The Finkel report, which did not rule out new coal-fired power plants as being part of the nation’s energy mix, analysed how the government could work to secure energy supply, drive down prices and cut emissions. Dr Finkel’s final recommendation for a Clean Energy Target is expected to return to cabinet over the winter break, and to the partyroom, where conservative MPs have argued­ against new emissions regimes­.

In its analysis, GHD and Solstice Development Services provides details of how construction costs for a new HELE plant could be driven down by building it at “an existing power plant location”.

Mr Evans said the report showed such coal plants should “figure prominently in our electricity system, complementing and supporting other technol­ogies including renewables”.

“The report authors reviewed and costed different technology options that are capable of replacing retiring capacity. These were considered on their merit using a range of sources cross checked against published studies and their respective assumptions.”

The Minerals Council of Australia says the nation faces an energ­y shortfall, with 8GW of coal plants to retire by 2030, and a total of 25GW by 2040, and that if all existing plants in Australia were upgraded to modern HELE technology, it would reduce emissions by 45 million tonnes a year.

“It (the report) concludes that the imminent retirement of coal plants in NSW and Victoria provides opportunities for constructing and replacing them with USC plants by the early 2020s. Addit­ional capacity may also be required in Queensland,” he said.



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