Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Greenland hokum

The finding that the Greenland ice sheet is melting from the bottom up is totally unsurprising given what we know about subsurface vulcanisn in Greenland Having a volcano underneath you can give you a pretty warm bottom. But it totally undermines the Warmist gospel that atmospheric warming is at work. Warmists frequently point to global warming as the cause of melting in the Arctic.

Widespread awareness of subsurface vulcanism would however take away from Warmists one of their favorite claims. It would confiscate one of their toys. So they had to come up with an explanstion for the anomalous warming that did not refer to vulcanism.

And what they have come up with is a lulu. They say that meltwater from the top of the glacier has trickled down through cracks in the glacier and delivered its higher temperature to the bottom of the glacier

But that is pretty mad. Surely water trickling down through cracks would rapidly refreeze long before it got to the botton of the glacier. Do they think that the meltwater wears little furry coats as it trickled down?

Greenland's Ice Sheet is melting from the bottom up and is now the largest single contributor to global sea level rise, a new study has warned.

Researchers have observed 'unprecedented' rates of melting at the bottom of the ice sheet, caused by huge quantities of meltwater falling from the surface to the base.

As the meltwater falls, energy is converted into heat in a similar way to how hydroelectric power is generated by large dams.

This effect is by far the largest heat source beneath the world's second-largest ice sheet, an international team of scientists led by the University of Cambridge found, leading to phenomenally high rates of melting at its base.

The lubricating effect of meltwater has a strong effect on the movement of glaciers and the quantity of ice discharged into the ocean, but directly measuring conditions beneath more than half a mile (1 km) of ice to the bottom is a challenge, especially in Greenland where glaciers are among the world's fastest moving.

Experts say this makes it difficult to understand the dynamic behaviour of the Greenland Ice Sheet and predict future changes

Each summer, thousands of meltwater lakes and streams form on the surface of the ice sheet as temperatures rise and daily sunlight increases.

But many of these lakes quickly drain to the bottom, falling through cracks and large fractures which form in the ice.

With a continued supply of water from streams and rivers, connections between surface and bed often remain open.

Professor Poul Christoffersen from Cambridge's Scott Polar Research Institute has been studying these meltwater lakes, how and why they drain so quickly, and the effect that they have on the overall behaviour of the ice sheet as global temperatures continue to rise.

The current work, which includes researchers from Aberystwyth University, is the culmination of a seven-year study focused on Store Glacier, one of the largest outlets from the Greenland Ice Sheet.

'When studying basal melting of ice sheets and glaciers, we look at sources of heat like friction, geothermal energy, latent heat released where water freezes and heat losses into the ice above,' said Christoffersen.

'But what we hadn't really looked at was the heat generated by the draining meltwater itself.

'There's a lot of gravitational energy stored in the water that forms on the surface and when it falls, the energy has to go somewhere.'

To measure melt rates at the base of the ice sheet, the researchers used radio-echo sounding, a technique developed at the British Antarctic Survey and used previously on floating ice sheets in Antarctica.

'We weren't sure that the technique would also work on a fast-flowing glacier in Greenland,' said fellow author Dr Tun Jan Young, who installed the radar system on Store Glacier as part of his PhD at Cambridge.

'Compared to Antarctica, the ice deforms really fast and there is a lot of meltwater in summer, which complicates the work.'

The melt rates at the base were found to be as high as those measured on the surface with a weather station.

This is despite the fact that the surface receives heat from the sun while the base does not.

To explain the results, the Cambridge researchers teamed up with scientists at the University of California Santa Cruz and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

The researchers calculated that as much as 82 million cubic metres of meltwater was transferred to the bed of Store Glacier every day during the summer of 2014.

They estimated that the power produced by the falling water during peak melt periods was comparable to the power produced by the Three Gorges Dam in China, the world's largest hydroelectric power station.

With a melt area that expands to nearly a million square kilometres at the height of summer, the Greenland Ice Sheet produces more hydropower than the world's ten largest hydroelectric power stations combined, the researchers found.

'Given what we are witnessing at the high latitudes in terms of climate change, this form of hydropower could easily double or triple, and we're still not even including these numbers when we estimate the ice sheet's contribution to sea level rise,' said Christoffersen.

The researchers compared temperature measurements from sensors installed in a nearby borehole to verify the melt rates recorded by the radar.

At the base, they found the temperature of water to be as high as 33°F (0.88°C), which is unexpectedly warm for an ice sheet base with a melting point of 31°F (-0.40°C).

'The borehole observations confirmed that the meltwater heats up when it hits the bed,' said Christoffersen.

'The reason is that the basal drainage system is a lot less efficient than the fractures and conduits that bring the water through the ice. The reduced drainage efficiency causes frictional heating within the water itself.

'When we took this heat source out of our calculations, the theoretical melt rate estimates were a full two orders of magnitude out.

'The heat generated by the falling water is melting the ice from the bottom up, and the melt rate we are reporting is completely unprecedented.'

Researchers said their study provides the first concrete evidence of an ice-sheet mass-loss mechanism, which is not yet included in projections of global sea level rise.

While the high melt rates are specific to heat produced in subglacial drainage paths carrying surface water, the volume of surface water produced in Greenland is huge and growing, and nearly all of it drains to the bed.

The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Frackers push into once-dead shale patches as oil nears $US100 a barrel

Spurred by the highest oil prices in years, shale companies are moving drilling rigs back into oil fields that were all but abandoned a few years ago.

Private oil producers are leading an industry return to places like the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma and the DJ Basin in Colorado, where drilling had almost completely stopped in mid-2020 when those areas became unprofitable because of lower oil prices.

Oil production in these marginal regions isn’t expected to move the needle in the global market, which is facing tight supplies, but it could help some oil producers who have lost money in past years. Output in the contiguous US by year-end is expected to increase almost solely from the Permian Basin of West Texas and New Mexico, offset by declines elsewhere, according to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie.

Some of the largest shale companies told investors this past week they plan to remain disciplined on capital spending and limit production growth. But with oil climbing above $US90 a barrel, near the highest levels in more than seven years, some peripheral drilling, particularly by smaller companies, is now becoming more feasible even in places like Kansas and Utah, where wells produce far less oil than prolific fields in Texas and New Mexico. The regional revivals show the economic ripple effects when prices surge and mark a turnaround for companies hard-hit by the pandemic.

Brent, the global oil benchmark, rose to $US95.39 a barrel monday, up almost 2 per cent. Charter Oak Production is planning to bring one drilling rig back to the Anadarko Basin this month and contract a larger rig to work there until late 2022, in hopes of doubling or tripling its output from about 1,000 barrels a day. Though oil-field costs have climbed sharply amid new activity and inflation, Charter founder Joe Brevetti said the clock is ticking for his drilling plans because, at some point, high commodity prices will dent demand and lead to lower prices.

“We have a limited window of opportunity,” Mr Brevetti said. “Our costs are obviously up right now, but I’d rather have the higher costs and sell the product at $US90.” Mr Brevetti’s company waited out the oil-demand destruction wrought by the pandemic, slashing drilling activity and storing as many as 60,000 barrels of oil in empty tanks that typically hold other materials used in fracking, instead of selling the oil at low prices. Those moves were key to helping the company survive the downturn, he said.

Putting drilling rigs back to work in the Anadarko Basin wouldn’t have made sense when oil prices were around $US45 a barrel or lower in 2020, with some companies needing at least $US60-per-barrel oil, or even $US80 a barrel, to increase investments, executives said.

The average number of active drilling rigs in the Anadarko Basin has surged from the pandemic low of seven to 46, according to energy data analytics firm Enverus. The latest number is several more than the region had before oil prices collapsed because of economic shutdowns in the spring of 2020, and almost double the average of mid-2021.

In the DJ Basin in Colorado, the average number of active rigs has risen to 15, up from four in 2020, Enverus data show. In the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and the Uinta Basin in Utah, which both saw rigs fall to zero in mid-2020, the rig count has increased to almost a dozen. All three areas need higher oil prices to make wells profitable.

This past week, oil producer Crescent Energy said it would buy assets in the Uinta Basin for $US815m in cash and plans to operate two rigs there this year. Utah is pumping the most oil since late 2014, though it makes up less than 1 per cent of the nation’s output.

Companies have started pumping more oil from regions that yield tiny wells by industry standards. Private oil producer Palomino Petroleum is now running as many as six drilling rigs this year in western Kansas, the largest fleet it has had there in about seven years. The wells it drills there typically start producing about 50 to 100 barrels a day. That oil is moved by truck to a refinery in central Kansas.

Klee Watchous, Palomino’s president, said oil prices climbing back to $US90 a barrel has marked a sharp turnaround in the fortunes of both the company and the small towns near its operations. Mr Watchous said his company is also planning to drill wells in Illinois this year, a state where rigs have rarely ventured recently.

“After many years of fighting this low oil-price situation, it feels great,” Mr Watchous said. “The cycles of boom and bust have been part of the oil-and-gas industry for decades, and no one knows how long it will last.” Still, the renewed investment in many of the regions is nowhere near the levels they saw during shale’s peak years. Most of the largest, publicly traded companies are still focusing instead on top-tier fields like the Permian.

Activity in the Anadarko basin is well below its 2018 levels. Investor interest in the region faded around 2019 following disappointing oil-well performance. Oil companies and their service providers cut hundreds of jobs in the region as activity waned. Some industry observers are hopeful that the region could see the number of drilling rigs there climb above 100 again and bring back jobs, but said that would take years of high oil prices.

Even though the region is on the upswing, some larger private companies are taking a conservative approach. Citizen Energy, a private producer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is reinvesting around 50 per cent of the money it generates from operations back into capital expenditures on developing its assets, said finance chief Tim Helms. In shale’s heyday, companies almost always spent more money on drilling and fracking than they made selling the oil and gas.

Mr Helms said Citizen is now running four rigs in the Anadarko Basin, up from two that targeted natural gas in 2020. While the company may consider adding rigs if prices stay high for a long time, it is still focused on generating cash flow while increasing output around 10 per cent this year, he said.

“The financial model would tell you to put eight rigs at work,” Mr. Helms said. “We, like the rest of the industry, have learned our lessons about growing at all costs.”


The group that brought down Keystone XL faces agonies of its own

The group that revived a slumbering environmental movement by focusing on big targets was flying high. It was no longer just a plucky collection of friends from a Vermont college and their luminary founder, Bill McKibben. It was a global force. The $800,000 retreat at a five-star luxury resort in Killarney, Ireland in March 2019 proved it.

The rise for had been meteoric. The crash would be, too.

In the early 2010s, was the environmental movement’s driving force. Led by McKibben, a famed environmentalist and best-selling author, its spectacle-worthy, guerrilla-style protests over causes, including blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, captured the public’s imagination. It brought younger, more diverse activists into the green tent. Starting out with eight founding members in 2008, it had grown to 165 full-time employees — not including its many contractors — when staff traveled to Ireland that March.

It was at the Killarney retreat that May Boeve, the executive director and one of’s founders, announced that she’d hiked the organization’s annual budget to $25 million. She told staff to dream big. She revealed plans for nearly 130 new hires to make a splash at global climate strikes that September — part of an envisioned revamp to improve the organization’s diversity and equity. Everyone there was elated.

But had never eclipsed $20 million in revenue in a single year. When it quickly became clear it wouldn’t that year, Boeve said she initially kept the information largely to herself, according to an October 2019 internal email to the staff.

“[W]e decided to go very big this year in anticipation that there would, in fact, be a movement surge. We were right about that. My big mistake was not giving us enough time to bring in the resources prior to expanding our spending,” Boeve wrote in the all-staff memo. “Money certainly has come in, but not at the scale we needed it to. … My other regret is not to have sounded the alarm sooner.”

The fallout would lead to mass layoffs, departures, exhaustion, distrust and a protracted labor battle that exists to this day, according to internal documents, third-party audits and communications obtained by POLITICO — which made an attempt to contact all parties referenced in this story — in addition to interviews with 18 current and former staff members, most of whom were granted anonymity to speak candidly. The organization saw its U.S. program office fall from nearly 50 people in 2019 to nine entering this year.

The hiring spree intended to make look more the part of the global organization it wanted to become by adding staff from more diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. Its struggles mirror those of many leading environmental organizations, including the National Audubon Society and the Sierra Club, which are wrestling with internal dissension at a crucial juncture in the fight against climate change — problems shadowed by the movement’s historical lack of diversity and its urgent need to bring activists of different backgrounds into the fold.

“This exclusion has resulted in failed attempts to pass durable climate policy because policymakers have ignored the very people who have an organized community behind them,” Keya Chatterjee, executive director of the U.S. Climate Action Network, told the House Natural Resources Committee during a Feb. 8 hearing on movement diversity and justice. “My own experience working at a large, white-led NGO was that while there was a focus on diversity in the workforce, there was a lack of retention because of a lack of commitment to justice.”

In detailed responses to POLITICO,’s leaders acknowledged their financial missteps and said that, like many organizations, it must do more to create a more inclusive workplace. It described new financial processes and governance measures, efforts to eliminate pay disparities and initiatives to improve equity in hiring.

“Of course it’s impacted staff,” Boeve said in an interview, referring to the layoffs and financial crisis. “Change processes are very hard. The team leading our U.S. staff have really intentionally focused on rebuilding culture through a justice and equity lens. So that’s been a big focus.”

As a result of the restructuring, said, its finances have stabilized. Revenues for fiscal year 2020 hit $25 million against $19 million in expenses, while preliminary 2021 estimates show $23 million of revenue versus $20 million in expenses, according to Across those fiscal years it received $2.6 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, part of the coronavirus economic relief package that then-President Donald Trump signed into law.

Meanwhile, she said, the group’s strategic focus has shifted from focusing on mass demonstrations to more targeted campaigns, such as getting the Federal Reserve to take climate risks more seriously or prodding China to stop financing overseas coal projects.

“350’s original purpose as an organization was very much about building this strong, people-powered movement to fight climate change,” Boeve said. “I feel like the ways we’ve transformed the organization has made it fundamentally different from where we started, but remaining really true to our core DNA — and in fact, in some ways, making us even better suited to fulfill that original purpose.”


Concrete: The big CO2 source Greenies have forgotten

In vowing not to close coal fired power stations until equivalent replacement generation is in place, the bidders for AGL – Atlassian’s Mike Cannon-Brookes and Brookfield’s Stewart Upson – have added realism to the “shut down coal frenzy” sweeping Australia.

For that, the nation can be grateful because, until now, the frenzy was not being moderated by that vital qualification. The frenzy has also obscured sources of carbon pollution which rival coal that few want to discuss, because they go to the heart of the current Australian and world economic stimulation. That is the use of concrete and steel in construction.

Twiggy Forrest’s Fortescue has highlighted the carbon content of steel production, but concrete is rarely talked about probably because, as a community, in most of our houses we are replacing stored carbon in the form of timber with concrete slabs and their associated carbon emissions.

If we are serious about carbon emissions, then we must not leave all the heavy lifting to coal – concrete must be part of the action. And just like coal, we can’t simply abandon concrete unless we develop techniques and materials to either replace it or make it differently. Late last week Frank Cerra, head of Perth based project engineers BG&E, sent me a note highlighting the size of carbon emissions from concrete.

– The global construction sector accounts for 25 per cent of the world’s emissions. And as the world increases its investment in infrastructure and new buildings, emissions are rising rapidly. It’s predicted the equivalent of one New York City will be built every month globally until 2060.

– The global cement industry produces 7 to 8 per cent of the world’s man-made carbon dioxide. Concrete is consumed at a rate of 33 billion tonnes per annum and is the most consumed material in the world after water.

– Currently, over 20 per cent of Australia’s GDP is attributed to infrastructure sectors, with 33 per cent of planned infrastructure project activity occurring in NSW and Victoria. Approximately 25 million cubic metres of concrete are used annually in construction.

Cerra says engineers understand the critical interdependence of structural efficiency and materials and are working with key players to reduce embodied carbon in their projects, but a lot more needs to be done.

Meanwhile NSW has launched a program to reduce carbon in infrastructure by developing “collaborative solutions which are practical yet ambitious while also ensuring our infrastructure is fit-for-purpose and built to last”.

Now to the “Bacchus Marsh” cement-making technology story. Soon after the turn of the century, scientist Mark Sceats concluded that for many furnace applications, including cement, it would be far better to use a cylinder heated to very high temperatures and to conduct the treatment process inside that cylinder. That method of operation would also allow electrification of the furnace.

Washington H. Soul Pattinson saw Sceats process as a potential way of making better bricks. A test plant was commissioned at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria, but Soul Pattinson pulled out with the plant not completed. The employees raised the money to complete the plant and managed to keep it operational. Sceats is now the chief scientist at Calix, the listed-Australian company that owns the technology.

Australian cement makers were not interested, but in Europe there was a crisis. Back in 2005, the enormous emissions from its cement makers were neutralised by huge carbon credit certificates which would have lasted many decades.

But the cement makers were greedy and didn’t take carbon seriously, so they sold their abundant carbon credits for a profit of some $8bn.

Now the European Union is being tougher on carbon but most of the credits have gone. So far the cement makers have not been able to find a satisfactory substitute for lime in cement so they are pursuing a strategy of developing technology to separate and collect the carbon emissions from the cement process. They will either use the separated carbon in industry or store it in old oil wells.

The Bacchus Marsh plant was able to separate carbon so the European cement makers trialled the Australian technology (officially called LEILAC-1) in a massive Belgium pilot plant. Other technologies were also tested before the Europeans declared last October that the Australian technology offers the cheapest way yet to decarbonise the cement industry.

Calix will receive royalties, but it is now pursuing non-cement uses for its technology.




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