An old British saying used to be: “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” We may not be able to do much about the weather, but at least we can try to save the world from the “Climate Crisis”. The term used to be Climate Change, but with the new administration the term has been upgraded.
When I grew up a long time ago in Sweden the old folks used to say “If you make it through February, you will make it another year.” This was of course before electricity and central heating”.
There is a saying in Norway: “There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.” Here is an example, the souwester” It works well in freezing rain.
The long term weather forecast for February, issued January 21 by the weather channel looked like this:
Great, no need to buy that extra sweater, and Texans can go another season with thin t-shirts and designer pre-torn jeans.
But the weather forecast three weeks later looked like this:
But the windmills don’t work in freezing rain, so the electric grid was challenged when over half of the windmills froze just as the demand spiked. Normally coal and natural gas electrical plants would have kicked in, but many of the coal plants had been shut down due to environmental regulations, and the emergency request to restart them were denied due to environmental concerns. The natural gas plants ran full bore until the natural gas pressure in the pipelines started dropping below safe levels. This lead to rotating power-outs to preserve gas line pressure. But in the wisdom of the authorities the gas line pressure compressors had been switched from natural gas to electricity (environmental concerns), so if the compressors were in an area of electric blackout, there went the gas pressure, causing a chain reaction, and the whole power grid came within hours of a total collapse. Only nuclear power hummed along as if nothing had happened, but nuclear power is a base load and cannot increase the power above a certain level. Back in 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry proposed paying Coal and Nuclear Power Stations to keep at least 90 days worth of coal onsite, for disaster resilience. At the time the resilience proposal was widely criticized as being a thinly disguised Trump scheme to pump government money into the coal and nuclear industries. So the plan was rejected by the bureaucracy. But in hindsight, a bit more resilience might have saved Texas from days of painful electricity blackouts, and even deaths.
The bill for these monumental miscalculations is yet to be paid. The cost of electricity for these 2 weeks off horror is yet to be paid. The Texans who were fortunate enough to have power have to pay the bill for intermittent electricity at a cost of two dollars per kilowatt-hour. A retired veteran on social security got a bill for over 16,000 dollars for part of February.
Since weather is so hard to predict, do we have any hope of being able to predict future climate? People keep trying. And they keep developing climate models. Here is a chart of most of them:
Not much has changed since this chart was first published. While the IPCC confidence in their climate models keep increasing, so does the difference between model prediction and actual temperature.
Climate finance continues to be the central issue in how the global community proposes to follow through with implementation of the Paris Agreement, which Joe Biden has decided to rejoin by executive fiat. This is in the opinion of his advisors, such as John Kerry appropriate in the context of the last IPCC report showing a USD 1.6-3.8 trillion energy system investment requirement to keep warming within a 1.5 degree Celsius scenario to avoid the most harmful effects of climate change (IPCC, 2018).
This is a very good summary of the origin and development of the Global Warming hypothesis and its origin in the Global Governance movement. After all, the first Earth day was set to be the 100 year anniversary of Lenin.
It is over one hour long, but well worth the time. Listen carefully.
Brr, it is cold in Texas, over 3.5 million people are out of power, freezing rain is knocking out power lines and half of the wind turbines are out of commission until they thaw out. The wind chill is way below zero F, and in Galveston they had a snow thunderstorm on the beach!
Maybe wind power is not the best way to go.There are better ways.
That is not all. Efficient wind turbine generators use a lot of rare earth metals to achieve maximum efficiency on the magnets among other things. China still controls over 80% of all rare earth metals mining and refining. This is a national security risk.
How stupid can you get? Here is an example. To de-ice a 747 aircraft costs about 40,000 dollars. Add to this the cost of flying the helicopter, and the fuel it consumes while transporting the glycol from its base to the wind farm.
The rest of the quote: “And I am not sure about the universe.”
Quote from Alexandria Occasio-Cortez in January 2019: “Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we’re like, ‘The world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?’ ” she said.
I beg to differ.
We live in only one world. As a concerned citizen I realize we have immense environmental challenges before us, with water pollution; from plastics in the ocean, excess fertilizer in the rivers, poison from all kinds of chemicals, including antibiotics, birth control and other medicines flushed down the toilet after going through our bodies, animals fed antibiotics, pest control, weed control and so on. Increasing CO2 is not one of the problems, it will in fact help with erosion control, and allow us to feed more people on less agricultural land with proper management, and require less fertilizer and water to do so. In fact, proper water management is a larger problem, with some rivers no longer even reaching the ocean. All water is already spoken for, especially in the 10 to 40 degrees latitude, where most people live.
Allow me to be somewhat technical and give the background to why I know we will never experience the thermal runaway they are so afraid of.
Many years ago I worked at Hewlett Packard on an Atomic Absorption Detector. It was a huge technical success but a commercial failure, as it was too expensive to use for routine applications. However it found a niche and became the detector of choice when dismantling the huge nerve gas stockpiles remaining from the cold war. I was charged with doing the spectrum analysis and produce the final data from the elements. One day two salesmen came and tried to sell us a patented device that could identify up to 21 different elements with one analysis. They had a detector that divided the visual band into 21 parts, and bingo, with proper, not yet “fully developed” software you could now analyze up to 21 elements with one gas chromath analysis. What could be better? We could only analyze correctly four or five elements simultaneously. It turns out the elements are absorbing in the same wavelength bands, scientifically speaking they are not orthogonal, so software massaging can only go so far. It turned out that the promised new detector was inferior to what we already had and could only quantify three or 4 elements at the most.
In the atmosphere the two most important greenhouse gases are water vapor and CO2 with methane a distant third. Water vapor is much more of a greenhouse gas everywhere except near the tropopause high above the high clouds and near the poles when the temperature is below 0 F, way below freezing. A chart shows the relationship between CO2 and water vapor:
Even in Barrow, Alaska water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas. Only at the South Pole (And North Pole) does CO2 dominate (but only in the winter).
All Climate models take this into account, and that is why they all predict that the major temperature increase will occur in the polar regions with melting icecaps and other dire consequences. But they also predict a uniform temperature rise from the increased forcing from CO2 and the additional water vapor resulting from the increased temperature.
This is wrong on two accounts. First, CO2 and H2O gas are nor orthogonal, that means they both absorb in the same frequency bands. There are three bands where CO2 absorbs more than H2O in the far infrared band, but other than that H2O is the main absorber. If H2O is 80 times as common as CO2 as it is around the equator, water vapor is still the dominant absorber, and the amount of CO2 is irrelevant.
Secondly gases cannot absorb more than 100% of the energy available in any given energy wavelength! So if H2O did absorb 80% of the energy and CO2 absorbed 50%, the sum is not 130%, only 90%. (0.8 + 0.5×0,2 or 0.5 + 0.8×0.5). In this example CO2 only adds one quarter of what the models predict.
How do I know this is true? Lucky for us we can measure what increasing CO2 in the atmosphere has already accomplished. For a model to have credibility it must be tested with measurements, and pass the test. There is important evidence suggesting the basic story is wrong. All greenhouse gases work by affecting the lapse rate in the tropics. They thus create a “hot spot” in the tropical troposphere. The theorized “hot spot” is shown in the early IPCC publications. (Fig A)
Fig. B shows observations. The hotspot is not there. If the hotspot is not there, the models must be wrong. So what is wrong with the models? This was reported in 2008 and the models still assume the additive nature of greenhouse gases, even to the point when more than 100% of the energy in a given band is absorbed.
How about Methane? Do not worry, it absorbs nearly exclusively in the same bands as water vapor and has no measurable influence on the climate.
But it will get warmer at the poles. That will cause melting of the ice-caps? Not so fast. When temperature rises the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, so it will snow more at higher latitudes. While winter temperatures will be higher with more snowfall, this will lower the summer temperatures until the extra snow has melted. And that is what is happening in the Arctics
As we can see from this picture, the winters were about 5 degrees warmer, but starting from late May through early August temperatures were lower. It takes time to melt all the extra snow that fell because of the less cold air, able to contain more water vapor.
These are my suggestions
Do not worry about increasing CO2 levels. The major temperature stabilizer is clouds, and they will keep the earth from overheating by reflecting back into space a large amount of incoming solar radiation. Always did, and always will, even when the CO2 concentration was more than 10000 ppm millions of years ago. Ice ages will still come, and this is the next major climate change, maybe 10000 years from now, probably less.
Clean up rivers, lakes and oceans from pollution. This is a priority.
Limit Wind turbine electric energy to areas not populated by large birds to save the birds. Already over 1.3 million birds a year are killed by wind turbines, including the bald and Golden Eagles that like to build their aeries on top of wind turbines.
Do not build large solar concentration farms. They too kill birds.
Solar panels are o.k. not in large farms, but distributed on roofs to provide backup power.
Exploit geothermal energy in geologically stable areas.
Where ever possible add peak power generation and storage capacity to existing hydroelectric power plants by pumping back water into the dams during excess capacity.
Add peak power storage dams, even in wildlife preserves. The birds and animals don’t mind.
Develop Thorium based Nuclear Power. Russia, China, Australia and India are ahead of us in this. Streamline permit processes. Prioritize research. This should be our priority, for when the next ice age starts we will need all the CO2 possible.
Put fusion power as important for the future but do not rush it, let the research and development be scientifically determined. However, hybrid Fusion -Thorium power generation should be developed.
When Thorium power is built up and has replaced coal and gas fired power plants, then is the time to switch to electric cars, not before.
Standard Nuclear Power plants should be replaced by Thorium powered nuclear plants, since they have only 0,01% of the really bad long term nuclear waste.
Start thinking about recovering CO2 directly from the air and produce aviation fuel. This should be done as Thorium power has replaced coal and gas fired power plants.
This is but a start, but the future is not as bleak as all fearmongers state.
Yes, John Kerry must have been the only choice for environmental Czar. After all, he already has six houses, twelve cars, a yacht and his own private jet.
He will promote off-shore wind power, except outside one of his homes, solar power, but no new power lines anywhere near one of his homes, anddo away with coal.
I too want to limit coal consumption, but for an entirely different reason. I want to save some for future generations, and especially when we enter the next ice-age, which may be nearer than most people think.
According to alarmists’ climate change models, staying out of the Paris accord will increase global temperatures by 0.05 to 0.17 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, a catastrophe too big to fathom. See the official chart!
These predictions are according to an average of climate change models, all sponsored by various governments in one way or another.
Here is a chart of 73 climate models, and the results of 6 observations.
And how is the current global temperature trend performing right now? There was A “pause” for over 19 years even though CO2 was increasing at 3 ppm (nearly one percent) per year! Then came a temperature rise. Here is a chart of the worldwide UAHv6 for the last 24 years.
With the discrepancy of more than half a degree C between the average of the climate models and observations, it pays to be skeptical of even the 0.17 degrees.
This chart shows the growth of China. Not only are they consuming 47% of the world’s coal production, they are also making 30 times more cement than U.S. Cement production releases CO2, by replacing carbonate with sulfate.
And with the Paris accord, China was free to grow emissions until 2030, up to 6 times U.S. output, and get paid for it! And we were to pay them!
What is China doing with all its cement? Building artificial islands? Bunkers? Ghost cities?
Well, it takes a lot of cement to build artificial islands in the South China Sea!
Newly elected Joe Biden has decided to stop building the Keystone XL pipeline, thus satisfying the environmentalists that want to wean us off our dependency on carbon based products, such as fuel, food and fertilizer. The arguments for denying the decision are nearly exclusively political, while the arguments to build the pipeline are concerns for our national security, economy and the environment.
Here is the deal:
Canada has the tar-sands and is extracting the oil. This was not our decision. If we don’t buy the oil, China will.
We export refined products to the Caribbean islands, which by the way have a larger carbon footprint per person than the U.S. This is good business, since the islands are too small to have a refinery of their own.
It takes more energy to run a refinery up north in a cold climate than in hot, humid Baytown, Texas.
The last time a major oil refinery was built in the U.S was 1976. A small refinery was built in 1993, in Valdez, Alaska. The US. regulatory climate is hostile to refineries. Warren Buffett bought Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad in February 2010 and paid 44 Billion dollars for it. The railroad paid Berkshire Hathaway 2.25 Billion in dividends during the first 13 months. Warren Buffet bought the railroad after President Obama took office, since he nixed the pipeline the first time.
Right now the crude oil is transported from the Athabasca tar sands to Houston mostly by Warren Buffet’s Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC railroad. It is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that did stand to benefit from the decision to reject TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit. With modest expansion, railroads can handle all new oil produced in western Canada through 2030, according to an analysis of the Keystone proposal by the U.S. State Department. https://lenbilen.com/2012/01/25/warren-buffet-profiting-from-working-on-the-railroad/ The cost of transporting the oil is about #14 dollars per barrel, much of it the cost of burning diesel fuel, generating CO2. The pipe-line can do the job for about seven dollars per barrel, much of it capital costs, some of it already spent. We can see what happens when transporting crude oil: https://lenbilen.com/2013/07/07/ttain-derailment-in-quebec-and-keystone-xl-pipeline-a-limerick/
Warren Buffet is a major Democratic political player; he will again have frequent access to the White House. Last year the Warren Buffet organizations donated 58 million dollars to the Biden presidential campaign.
Sarah Palin once succinctly coined the phrase: “This is Crony Capitalism.”
By not importing oil from Canada the total carbon footprint will increase. We lose, and Canada loses. (I am not concerned that the CO2 is increasing, but that a valuable natural resource is unnecessary depleted.) Now it turns out that Canada has left the Kyoto Protocol but has joined the Paris accord, so they have to export the crude oil to countries that still can expand their fossil fuel burning, such as China, but they would rather export to the U.S.
So why is Joe Biden against the Keystone XL pipeline? Here are seven possibilities:
1. Like Obama, Joe Biden is a true believer that ”this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”.
2. Joe wants to deliberately wreck our economy to create a more fair society of shared sacrifices, refuses to have an energy policy that will create jobs, but will support protest movements and foment unrest.
3. Joe is acting on orders from Global Governance people that do want U.S. to be totally dependent on international law and U.N. mandates.
4. Joe wants to show leadership in implementing the Paris Climate Conference 2015, and its associated treaty.
5. Joe Biden wants to show leadership on something, like touting the “breakthrough” agreement with China, where China is allowed to emit six times as much CO2 as the U.S. by the year 2030.
I am a climate realist, that means I look at the totality of what is happening to the climate with increasing CO2 levels, and what it means for our future.
Climate alarmists and IPCC believe that the thermal response to increasing CO2 is a feedback gain from increasing water vapor that results from higher temperatures, leading to much higher temperatures. Current climate model averages indicate a temperature rise of 4.7 C by 2100 if nothing is done, 4.65 C if U.S keeps all its Paris commitments and 4.53 C if all countries keep their part of the agreement. In all cases, with or without Paris agreement we are headed for a disaster of biblical proportions.
As the chart indicates, implementing all of the Paris agreement will delay the end of mankind as we know it by at most 4 years.
The cost is staggering. The developing countries want at least 100 billion dollars a year to implement the Paris accord, all paid for by the developed countries. The most infuriating thing about that is that China is considered a developing country, and being a developed country The U.S., while reducing their CO2 footprint will be paying China until the year 2030 to further develop their coal burning electric plants until the China CO2 output is six times our output. They had plans to add 65 GW (+6.5%) of coal-burning power plants this year alone to their grid. The china-virus delayed that by a few months, but their intent is still to dominate the world by 2025. They already consume 48% of the world’s output of coal, produce over half of the world’s steel and cement (it takes a lot of reinforced concrete to create multiple islands in the South China Sea).
Myself and quite a few scientists, meteorologists, but mostly engineers believe the feedback loop in nature is far more complicated than what the climate models suggest, in fact, there is a large negative feedback in the system, preventing a temperature runaway, and we have the observations to prove it. The negative feedback manifests itself in 2 ways:
Inorganic feedback, represented by clouds. If there were no clouds, the tropics would average a temperature of 140 F thanks to the greenhouse effect. The clouds reflect back up to 300 W/m2 into space rather than the same energy being absorbed into water or soil. Clouds are highly temperature dependent, especially cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds. The figure below shows temperature at the equator in the Pacific Ocean.
Cumulus clouds are formed in the morning, earlier the warmer it is, and not at all if it is cold, thunderstorms appear when it is warm enough. The figure shows how temperature in the equatorial Pacific rises until about 8:30 a.m, then actually declines between 9 and 12 a.m. even as the sun continues to rise. The feedback, which was positive at low temperatures becomes negative at warmer temperatures, and in the equatorial doldrums, surface temperature has found its equilibrium. No amount of CO2 will change that. Equatorial temperature follows the temperature of the ocean, warmer when there is an el niño, cooler when there is a la niña. Here is a chart of temperature increases since satellite measurements began as a function of latitude.
The tropics follow the ocean temperature closely, no long term rising trend, the extra-tropics are also stable.
Not so at the poles. the temperature record indicate a noticeable warming with large spikes up and down, up to 3 degree Celsius difference from year to year, especially the Arctic. So, how much has the Arctic melted? Here is a chart of Arctic ice cover for 31 May for the last 39 years.
If this trend continues, all ice may melt in 300 to 400 years, faster if there is further warming and nothing else is changing. Let’s take a look at the Arctic above the 80th latitude, an area of about 3,85 million square kilometers, less than 1% of the earth’s surface, but it is there where global warming is most pronounced. Here are two charts from 2016 and 2017.
Starting at summer 2016, the Arctic was melting quite normally, but something else happened that is not shown in the chart. Every 5 years or so, the Arctic suffer a large storm with full hurricane strength during the summer. In 2016 there was no one, but two such storms, and as they happened late in the season when the ice is rotten they result in a large ice loss, making the ice minimum the lowest on record, and the ice volume nearly 4,000 Gigatons (Gt) less than the 30 year normal. Then the temperature from October thru April did run 7 degree Celsius warmer than normal with a spike as high as 20 degrees warmer. Yet today the deficit is down to 2,500 Gt. What happened? It snowed more than normal. In the Arctic, it gets warmer under clouds, warmer still when it snows. Take a look at Greenland and what happened during the freezing season. It snowed and snowed and Greenland accumulated 150 Gt more ice than normal. So, at that point in the season we were a total of 1650 Gt ahead of previous year, and this was with Arctic temperatures being seven degrees warmer than normal during the cold season. The counter-intuitive conclusion is that it may very well be that warmer temperatures produces accumulation of snow and ice, colder temperatures with less snow accumulates less. What happens during the short Arctic summer? With more snow accumulated it takes longer to melt prevous year’s snow, so the temperature stays colder longer. In 2017 the Arctic temperature was running colder than normal every day since May 1. If this melting period ended without melting all snow, multi year ice will accumulate, and if it continued unabated, a new ice age would start.
The second feedback loop is organic. More CO2 means more plant growth. According to NASA there has been a significant greening of the earth, more than 10% since satellite measurements begun. This results in a cooling effect everywhere, except in areas that used to be treeless where they have a warming effect. The net effect is that we can now feed 2 billion more people than before without using more fertilizer. Check this picture from NASA, (now they can publish real science again) showing the increased leaf area extends nearly everywhere.
In addition, more leafs changes the water cycle, increases evapotranspiration, and more trees and vegetation reduces erosion and unwanted runoff. Good news all around.
In short, taking into account the negative feedback occurring the earth will warm up less than 0.5 degrees from now, not at all in the tropics, and less than 3 degrees at the poles. Without the Paris agreement there will be no increase in the death rates in the cities, except from the slight increase of city temperatures due to the urban heat effect. With the Paris agreement we will have to make draconian cuts in our use of electricity, meaning using much less air conditioning and even less heating, and life expectancy will decline.
We need energy. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the planet. Developing nations should be encouraged to use electricity rather than cooking by dried cow-dung. Coal is limited, and we should leave some for our great great grandchildren. Oil and gas should be preserved for aviation, since there is no realistic alternative with a high enough energy density. Therefore I am an advocate for Thorium based nuclear energy, being safer than Uranium based nuclear energy, and, properly implemented will produce about 0.01% of the long term radioactive waste compared to conventional nuclear power plants. And there is a million year supply of Thorium available. Once the electricity power plants have fully switched away from coal and gas, then and only then is it time to switch to electric cars. The case for Thorium generated electric energy can be found here.
One of the sacred tenets of climate change is that extreme weather is increasing. Is that really so?
Let us look at tornadoes. They occur when cold and hot air masses collide and in the fringes of hurricanes. Sometimes they can also be triggered by frontal thunderstorms. So if extreme weather increases by time, so should tornadoes, both in severity and numbers. Let us see if that is so.
So far this year, the number of tornadoes are slightly below normal:
If we look at “tornado alley”, the state of Oklahoma we see that there has been about the same number of tornadoes for the last 65 years
but but the number of strong tornadoes , F2, F3, F4 and f5 have been trending down for the same 65 years. How is this statistics holding up for U.S. as a whole?
Severe tornado trend is down:
And most significant of all, the worst tornadoes of all are declining. The last F5 tornado occurred in 2013!
Thanks to increased CO2, the poles are slightly less cold in the winter, while the temperatures at the equator are not changing with increased CO2, water vapor is the all dominant greenhouse gas, there is less temperature gradient between equator and poles, leading to less violent weather. While the number of tornadoes stay about constant, the number of strong tornadoes decrease. This is good news.