Open thread

by Judith Curry

It’s your turn to introduce topics for discussion.

I’m in China, it feels like a near complete internet blackout.  So I pretty much have no idea what is going on.  Not to mention a perfect 12 hour time difference, so I am pretty much brain dead.

So please post links to anything interesting that you’ve spotted.  I’m able to get onto the blog, but access to the admin page is sporadic and slow, so please be patient if your comment gets caught in moderation.

Other than that, I’m having a nice time in China (more soon).

734 responses to “Open thread

  1. • What is the compliance cost of GHG emissions monitoring?

    • What would the compliance cost become in the future as participation increases (As Part 1 explained, near full participation is essential for carbon pricing to succeed and be sustainable; full participation means all human caused sources of GHG emissions in all countries are measured and priced)?

    • What would be the ultimate compliance cost of near full participation?

    • What would be the real cost to society of emissions monitoring?

    • “Considering that satellite measurements show that global mean temperatures have been flat over at least the past 18 years,” says Larry Bell (Newsmax), “perhaps leaders of energy-starved African and other Third World populations might… address more urgent pollution and energy issues… 2.8 billion people worldwide must heat and cook with smoky open fires fueled by animal dung, wood, charcoal or coal.”

      • Only *one* satellite data model shows this. The other (UAH) does not. Without a valid reason to prefer one over the other, choosing RSS only is biased and unscientific.

      • In a recent article, Matt Ridley says: the pause has now lasted for 16, 19 or 26 years—depending on whether you choose the surface temperature record or one of two satellite records of the lower atmosphere (Refering to the 2014 Ross McKitrick study in Open Journal of Statistics: …Duration of a Trendless Subsample in a Global Climate Time Series). As the pause continues, climate-researchers would rather spend more time paying obeisance to a new deep ocean heat sequestration theory than try to explain why the Left’s mathematical climate models are unreliable. In the end, their “explanations,” says Ridley, “have made their predicament worse by implying that man-made climate change is so slow and tentative that it can be easily overwhelmed by natural variation in temperature—a possibility that they had previously all but ruled out.” (See–e.g., ‘Whatever Happened to Global Warming?’ WSJ)

      • One would think that the fact the warming can be lost in the measurement error between our two best systems would stand out more in the discussion.

      • …there is now a trendless interval of 19
        years duration at the end of the HadCRUT4 surface temperature series, and of 16 – 26 years in the
        lower troposphere. ~Ross R. McKitrick (HAC-Robust Measurement of the Duration of a Trendless Subsample in a Global Climate Time Series)

      • “In the surface data we compute a hiatus length of 19 years, and in the lower tropospheric data we compute a hiatus length of 16 years in the UAH series and 26 years in the RSS series.” (Ibid.)

      • Looking back at what Larry Bell said and the response to it by David Appell, given the more detailed analysis provided by Ross McKitrick, who is being biased and unscientific? You be the judge.

      • David Appell (@davidappell) | October 8,
        “Only *one* satellite data model shows this. The other (UAH) does not. Without a valid reason to prefer one over the other, choosing RSS only is biased and unscientific.”
        Similarly only one pole shows warming the other [Antarctic ] does not
        Without a valid reason to prefer one over the other, choosing AGW only is biased and unscientific.
        ouch , David.

      • “One would think that the fact the warming can be lost in the measurement error between our two best systems would stand out more in the discussion.”

        That’s not what’s happening.

      • David Appell (@davidappell) | October 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm |
        “That’s not what’s happening.”
        Well then, David, How would you describe it.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:1996.7/plot/uah/from:1996.7/plot/rss/from:1996.7/trend/plot/uah/from:1996.7/trend

        There’s the data, both supposedly measuring the same thing. Obviously they can’t both be right, but we have no way of knowing which (if ether) is correct. This sums up the limit of our data gathering accuracy.

        And please note, for the last decade the two series have been much closer in step with each other, and BOTH have shown that global mean temperatures have been flat. It was only the difference between the measurements pre 2004 that cause the different trend lines for the 18 year plot.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2004.7/plot/uah/from:2004.7/plot/rss/from:2004.7/trend/plot/uah/from:2004.7/trend

        So which is right? We don’t know. We CAN’T know. We are past the limit on the accuracy of our instruments. IE measurement error.

      • Warmest September ever recorded has just occured and yet some people still speak of pauses. The pause talking point has become outdated.

      • Warmest September ever so let’s trash our economy, export all of our jobs to China, India, Brazil, Russia and blame evil Republicans for the coming cold winter.

      • Eric, please. Did you look at the temp graphs I just posted. “Warmest September ever” isn’t going to make the pause “outdated” unless it somehow make the trend stop being flat. that’s how trends work.

        Personally I really hope the warmists announce 2014 was the warmest year ever. After how cold it’s been in so many places this year, hearing about how warm it supposedly was will convince more people then ever that CAGW is a sham, especially if they look into it and realize most of this warming is happening in places we can’t measure it.

      • ” “Warmest September ever” isn’t going to make the pause “outdated” unless it somehow make the trend stop being flat. that’s how trends work.”

        Can you explain to me why the 1996-2014 trend is significant, yet the 1992-2014 trend is not?

        http://woodfortrees.org/graph/rss/from:1975/to:2014.75/mean:12/plot/rss/from:1996.75/to:2014.75/trend/plot/rss/from:1995/to:2014.75/trend/plot/rss/from:1994/to:2014.75/trend/plot/rss/from:1993/to:2014.75/trend/plot/rss/from:1992/to:2014.75/trend/plot/rss/trend

        How significant is a ‘pause’ in the troposphere while the cryosphere diminishes and the hydrosphere continues to warm and expand?

        Hanzo

      • Congratulations, katatetorihanzo. You have successfully shown that the decades before the 1998 climate shift were cooler then the ones after it, a point nearly everyone (including myself) already knows. And if RSS went back further then the 70’s it would also show it’s climate shift down from the warmer years of the 30’s,40’s and 50′. And the trend would go back up again.

    • The real cost to society of global warming alarmism is finally beginning to hit home, hard. Fear of global warming makes people do stupid things and not do the smart thing. Poor planning on the parts of a few – based on politically motivated, unsound science – may make for emergencies for millions.” ~Bob Tisdale

      • This has been my main concern and I am unable to express it, outside of Judith Curry’s peerless blog, without being shouted down and called a denier. Scientists are free to say whatever they want, but as soon as the issue becomes one of policy, then every citizen of a constitutionally defined democratic republic has a say.

      • True… and, we need smarter citizens who realize that it’s not smart to turn our backs on the laws of nature –e.g., if something has happened before it probably will happen again. “Is California,” asks Bob Tisdale, “prepared for a drought that lasts multiple decades or even centuries?” It has happened before, Pacific coast ENSO-inspired (El Nino and La Nina) periods of drought.

        The only logical and the principled thing is to take note of it and plan for it. Engage in preparedness. But instead, The Left’s monomaniacal obsession with CO2 of human origin is blinding us to real dangers that we can and should do something about. Using the logic of global warming alarmists we all must hold our breath because each breath we take brings us closer to our last. The Left is turning the precautionary principle on its head.

        Now I hate to make you think about bad news. But if it’s happened in the past… Why weren’t west-coast [California] residents warned 10 or 15 years ago that a severe drought is just a weather anomaly away? Why aren’t there enough desalinization plants in place to supplement rainfall deficits? Why are the people of the west coast protesting for, and why are state governments funding, more wind farms and solar arrays when they need something more basic to maintain life there, water? ~Bob Tisdale

        

    • This RealClimate post was discussed on a previous thread.

    • In McKitrick’s manuscript, do you have any idea why he writes (pg 6):

      “Lower troposphere data are also available from the
      University of Alabama-Huntsville using the method of Spencer and Christy
      (1990). A similar analysis suggests a hiatus of 16 years (McKitrick, 2014).”

      When I download the UAH LT data, I find the trend over the last 16 years to be +0.13 C/decade, which does not suggest a hiatus.

      • Correct. In UAH there are two “pauses” or no warming periods — 1978-1997 and 2001-today. The only warming occurs in a step up coincident with the big 1998-2000 El Nino-La Nina cycle. There is nothing to suggest GHG warming in the entire UAH record.

      • You’re cherry picking short intervals.

        Two can play at that game — the 15yr trend in 2007 reached +0.32 C/decade. Let’s call that the “antipause.” Let’s then average all the pauses & antipauses together. Result: a 36-yr trend of +0.14 C/decade.

      • I am not cherry picking anything. I am describing the structure of the entire UAH record, from 1978 to today. There is no evidence of GHG warming in the entire record.

      • Your interval 2001-today is a huge cherry pick. 13-year trends are rarely statistically significant (at the 95% confidence level). You cannot derive conclusions about it, except at lower statistical significances.

        For example, the UAH LT trend for 2001-present is +0.06 C/decade, statistically significant at the 97% confidence level. But that’s only if you do not consider autocorrelation. If you do, the C.L. will be significantly smaller. It still shows warming, but with a much lower C.L.

      • “There is no evidence of GHG warming in the entire record.”

        Wrong. UAH LT shows +0.5 C of warming in the 36 years it’s been in existence.

      • Steven Mosher

        “I am not cherry picking anything. I am describing the structure of the entire UAH record, from 1978 to today. There is no evidence of GHG warming in the entire record.”

        Roy Spencer

        “Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade September temperatures ”

        C02 increased. The temperature increased. That is evidence FOR not evidence AGAINST.

        Next question: How strong is the evidence? here the question gets complicated.

        AGW tells us this.
        If you increase C02 and hold everything else constant then the temperature of the planet will increase. Problem? From 1979 to present everything else has not been held constant. So the question is how much of the warming can be attributed to C02 and how much to other causes?
        Has the warming potential been offset by cooling factors? is half of the warming been caused by C02? more? less?

        You can’t get the answer to that question by merely looking at the data.You cant run an experiment to get the answer.

        One thing we do know. There is no explanation of the warming, no physics explanation, that does not include C02

      • @Steve Mosher – Not trying to troll here – what is the argument AGAINST the sun playing a major role in the 20th century warming? Do we know in fine detail how quickly the oceans will take up heat due to increased activity? Do we know how often they will release this captured heat back to the atmosphere? When you say there is no explanation other than CO2, on what do you base this claim?

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/60/Solar_Activity_Proxies.png/300px-Solar_Activity_Proxies.png

      • Steven Mosher

        “@Steve Mosher – Not trying to troll here – what is the argument AGAINST the sun playing a major role in the 20th century warming?”

        When you look at changes in TSI they dont correlate with changes in temp.

        Hint, the solar series you post is wrong.

      • Mosher
        If you increase C02 and hold everything else constant then the temperature of the planet will increase.”
        IF you are in a test tube and you can replicate the experiment and hold all other variables constant, then true. But as you say all else is not constant. Thus it is self evident the most you can say is temperatures should increase not will increase.

        You dont have a physics explanation for the warming? I assume you dont have a physics explanation for the warming from 1910-40 either. If you do I would like to hear it. I would also like a physics explanation for the sea level rise for about the same period which is similar to the current one. Why can’t the reason for the warming and the similar sea level rise 1910-40 be the same as now?

      • David Wojick

        Appell & Mosher, please explain the mechanism whereby a slow, continuous increase in CO2 can produce the single step 36 year warming pattern that I describe? I see no way and that is why I say there is no evidence. Warming is not evidence of AGW when the pattern of warming is physically inconsistent with the pattern of CO2 increase.

        Science is about specifics, not vague claims like “well hey the CO2 went up and it warmed some.” It all depends on how the warming occurs. GH theory says there should be some sort of gradual warming trend but there is none, just a single step coincident with a big ENSO cycle.

      • The 1998/2001 climate shift changed everything. Unless you clearly understand the implications of this you are just pissing in the wind. Implications include the likelihood of a cooling influence from 2002.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/temperature.png

        Satellite tropospheric temperature gives a better idea of total atmospheric energy content. It is free of the effects of variable latent heat transport at the surface that makes the surface records obsolete for purposes of climate monitoring.

        And the solar trend – just btw – relies on more than ‘tentative’ recalibration of dubious sunspots numbers prior to 1880.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/open-flux.png

      • A 20 to 40 year cooling influence that is.

      • There is no explanation of the warming, no physics explanation, that does not include C02

        Uhmmm… sure there is.

        The hole of uncertainty for estimates of incoming shortwave radiation is big enough to drive a truck through, much less CO2 forcing.

        And such a variation appears to have been much more likely an explanation for the 1910-1945 warming which was about the same as the 1975-present warming.

        Now, that doesn’t mean CO2 forcing isn’t the cause, just that it could easily be variation of albedo.

        CO2 likely cause? Yes.

        CO2 ONLY physical explanation? No.

      • Mike Lewis,

        As Mosher points out, the TSI variation is too small to account for instantaneous temperature changes ( though stored surplus in the oceans that is irregularly released is possible ).

        A much larger possibility is not the TSI, but the amount of TSI absorbed due to variation in reflectivity due to changes in constiuency, location, or elevation of clouds.

        When one examines the energy budget diagrams, one gets the impression that albedo ( and the other components ) are precisely known.

        That is not the case. Albedo, anyway, is coarsely estimated because reflections take place in varying angles around a rotating earth. As well, it appears that variations in incoming solar account for ENSO signatures and perhaps longer term variations.

      • When you look at changes in TSI they dont correlate with changes in temp.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4sh/from:1980/isolate:60/mean:12/normalise/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1980/isolate:60/mean:12/normalise

        They anti correlate quite well actually ie Temperature leads when solar forcing decreases which is consistent with SSI. and is consistent with Chapman chemistry.

      • Thanks everyone for the replies – I sincerely appreciate it. Found another chart showing TSI since the 17th century. Is this one valid? How well does sunspot count correlate to TSI? Obviously there was an increase in TSI (if the chart is correct) in the 20th century. How much warming is possible by this increase? I know there are many variables affecting actual warming (ENSO, aerosols, clouds, ice/snow cover, etc) but wondering about the actual increase in energy reaching the TOA.

        “The average increase in solar radiative forcing since 1750 is much smaller (~ 0.12 W m-2) than the increase in RF due to heat-trapping gases (~2.6 W m-2) over that same time period. [3]”

        I question whether that statement is true. I’ve become jaded by the perceived bias in what is released as “science”.

        http://chartsgraphs.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/tsi_1611_2009_11yr_ma.png

      • Mike Lewis, I don’t think there is a “correct” solar reconstruction. TSI (Total Solar Irradiance) should be measured at the top of the atmosphere, and that value doesn’t change much. SSI or Surface Solar Irradiance is what changes a lot and would have a major impact on climate. Since Sun Spot Numbers were based on surface observation, variations in Atmospheric Optical Depth (AOD) would have had a greater impact on SSN count in the past when instruments were less accurate. Because of that, there appears to be a switch to combined Solar/Volcanic reconstructions which are more SSI than TSI, but the TSI terminology seems to be used inappropriately a lot of the time, when Ground Level TSI or SSI is actually being discussed.

        http://www.clim-past.net/10/921/2014/cp-10-921-2014.html

        That is a pretty recent attempt to figure out solar/volcanic impacts on surface temperature. They use “Ground Level” TSI since they also use Spectral Solar Irradiance to avoid confusion.

        Solar is a field with too many variables and not enough acronyms.

      • @Steve Mosher , @David Appell, the CO2 centric AGW hypothesis clearly stated by the models shows an accelerated warming. This accelerated warming is not to be seen in the measurement data for any time period. Therefore the AGW/CO2 hi climate sensitivity hypothesis is in error!

      • Steven Mosher

        “the CO2 centric AGW hypothesis clearly stated by the models shows an accelerated warming. This accelerated warming is not to be seen in the measurement data for any time period. Therefore the AGW/CO2 hi climate sensitivity hypothesis is in error!”

        Well wrong. The models have an average sensitivity ( ECS) of around 3.2
        with a range of something like 2-4.

        so the AVERAGE of all models is high.

        Here is a clue. If you think as many do that its silly to average models,
        Then its even sillier to reject all the models because the average of them is too high.

        Finally, all models are wrong and all hypothesis are in error when compared to data. The question is how wrong, and does the size of the error matter, and finally what is the cause of the error. bad data, bad model, or a combination of the two

      • “please explain the mechanism whereby a slow, continuous increase in CO2 can produce the single step 36 year warming pattern that I describe?”

        1) It’s not a “single step.” From Jan 2000 to today, the UAH LT trend is +0.11 C/decade.
        2) AGW is happening on top of natural variability, not instead of it.

    • So the take away from all this should be a sigh or relief on both sides of the debate. I believe most people would agree that man’s activities have produced some warming but it’s not going to lead to a catastrophic event. It’s always a good idea to mitigate pollution and pursue alternative energy sources but not at the expense of human lives. Or am I just being a Pollyanna?

  2. Judy, do you have VPN on you computer/tablet/phone?

    That would allow you to go to sites that China may block.

    All my Chinese friends use this

    • I tried to do the VPN thing but couldn’t get it to work. I don’t have VPN, downloaded something and tried to install but it wouldn’t install. Any more specific advice would be greatly appreciated (I use a Mac computer)

      • I use all mac as well. I use the Onavo protect VPN app on my iPhone and iPad.
        I think the Mac App store has it for Mac as well

      • Ok, just did a search on the Mac app store. There are many VPN clients listed. I would just try the free ones till I found one that works.
        Hope this helps.

      • Thx, but unfortunately a PhD does not seem sufficient to figure this out. I have never used app store before, cannot figure out how download an app (or even find the right app in the store); this could be worse from china. I’ve tried purchasing VPN stuff, but everything is blocked.

        Further, i can no longer login to the blog as administrator, perhaps this will come back. Hence I won’t be able to approve comments or add new posts.

        frustrated in china

      • Just saw your last post. Go to the apple symbol in the upper left corner of your mac. Click on software update. That will put you in the Mac app store.
        Click on the search window in the upper right corner of the Mac app store then type in VPN then tap return on your keyboard. That should bring up many VPN apps. It could be that China blocks the app store or at least some of it’s apps. I’ll check with some of my Chinese friends.

        As a professor of classical guitar I fully sympathize with computer difficulty. I had a steep learning curve:-)

      • thx, but unfortunately when i click on software update, it searches for updates to my current software. When i search on bing for mac app store vpn, this also doesn’t turn up anything useful, just some pay sites (a few of which i tried but didn’t work)

      • managed to get into the app store and find some VPN. however i don’t have an apple id, and you can’t sign up for one from china (blocked); i tried my iPhone also. I never bothered with apps; my needs are simple – google and twitter.

      • Don’t know if you’ve already tried it or if you can get it to work in China, but I used “Strong VPN” from Europe and it worked extremely well.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Try this free trial one, Professsor Curry. They also emaill you to see if you need any help with it.
        unlocator
        http://unlocator.com/

      • I would be very careful about downloading and installing software while in China. It might be worth trying a proxy server, but many of these are blocked:

        From http://www.wikihow.com/Successfully-Access-Facebook-in-China

        A proxy is a website, often based in a different location than you, that will let you access other sites through it. So if your proxy is in the USA, and you access Facebook through it, it should be like accessing Facebook in the USA. Here’s a list of free proxies: http://hidemyass.com/proxy-list. You should for sure try them first, because why pay – but you may find they’re not a great solution to access Facebook in China because :
        China keeps finding and blocking them too.
        They often don’t have good enough programming to handle the technology of social media

    • tomjtx – “…professor of classical guitar…”

      Awesome! And providing software technical support too!

      I love this blog!

  3. D o u g   C o t t o n  

     

    Two difficult questions …

    (1) What is the sensitivity to a 1% increase in the percentage of water vapour in a given region?

    (2) Suppose a region has complete cloud cover for several days. Why does the (solid) surface still warm each morning and cool each night even though no Solar radiation reaches the surface through the clouds? (I will not accept an “explanation” which claims that radiation from the cooler atmosphere or clouds causes the surface temperature to rise.)

    Answers in three days or so.

     

    • Answers: 1. It depends. 2, Solar radiation does make it through the clouds, unless you are referring to the titanium dioxide clouds found circling Beta Pictoris a2, which reflect 100 % of incoming Beta Pictoris light.

      • mosher, “wrong. It depends on the optical properties of the atmosphere above it.”

        BS, spell it out. It is an interactive effect in a real atmosphere. If the Earth were a billiard ball floating in space with a dry gas atmosphere, then the Idealize radiant model would apply. Since Earth has a more complex “surface” a large portion of the energy available to the dry gas portion depends on the not a dry gas portion. Clouds are a response primarily to the not a dry gas portion. All else remaining equal, the 2xCO2 increase in the dry atmosphere “forcing” would produce a 0.8 C +/-0.2 C impact on the not a dry gas portion.

        Since the question was about water vapor response on a real world not a billiard ball idealization, read harder :)

      • D o u g  C o t t o n  

         

        Fernando:

        Q.1. The IPCC doesn’t think “it depends.” They think there is at least 10 degrees of warming for each 1%.

        Q. 2. You have not supplied Stefan-Boltzmann calculations to support your contention that your small percentage of the solar radiation getting through the clouds could raise the temperature of the surface.

        Steven and others:

        You will see the local effects of water vapour over a period. I have published* a study (using 30 years of temperature data from three continents) showing with statistical significance that more moist regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than dry regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. In contrast, the IPCC assumes that the greenhouse gas water vapour causes mean surface temperatures to be about 30 degrees higher than those found mid-troposphere. Well the temperatures are higher, but it is the gravito thermal effect which makes them higher, not water vapour which cools them back a bit as it reduces the magnitude of the temperature gradient.

        The gravito-thermal effect enables thermal energy transfer by convection (which includes diffusion and advection) up the temperature gradient as it restores thermodynamic equilibrium. This energy transfer can pass through clouds, transferring solar energy absorbed in and above the clouds down to the surface.

        * I have published the above study and correctly explained the thermodynamics involved in “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All” based on standard physics.
         

    • nottawa rafter

      For anyone. I would like a concise summary of our knowledge about trends in water vapor levels along with levels of confidence in the data and the areas of disagreement. It seems the discussion has been only tangential to other debates. When graphs are shown they seem to come under a withering attack.

      • I second this request.

      • Similarly, is there simple experimental evidence of the amount of solar radiation absorbed (and corresponding temperature change) for varying concentrations of CO2 between say 300 and 600 ppm ?

      • here is a start, http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4517

        and http://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/blog/isaac-held/2014/07/01/48-increasing-vertically-integrated-water-vapor-over-the-oceans/
        not much of a trend in water vapor beyond increase with SST which would be expected. So when BEST or C&W use very high latitude smearing. er interpolation, for “global” surface temperature, remember that water vapor doesn’t “favorite” their posts, it tends to stick with the stodgy old fashion Hadsst and Ersst data that is more focused on actual energy than “ANOMALY”.

      • Nottawa rafter. There is an extensive discussion of humidity trends and water vapor feedback in the climate chapter of my previous book The Arts of Truth. There is a separate chapter on it in the forthcoming book, in essay Humidity is still Wet.
        In a nutshell without the references, AR4 was very explicit that UTrH (upper troposphere relative humidity) remains constant with warming. To support that conclusion, they rejected all radiosonde evidence to the contrary, dismissed some satellite studies to the contrary, and ignored others. Since 2007, additional satellite studies, additional corrected radiosonde data (Glenn Paltridge’ 2009 paper being an example), and a new UT humidity sensing method using oblique GPS signals all suggest that there is a negative lapse rate feedback. UTsH probably does increase with warming, but not nearly as much as constant UTrH requires. So the models all overstate the water vapor feedback where it matters most, the UT.
        This explains the modeled equatorial troposphere hotspot that does not exist in reality. The observed negative lapse rate feedback itself is physically most likely a version of Lindzen’s adaptive iris hypothesis (2000), which the GCMs cannot model because the underlying convection cell processes are on scales an order of magnitude smaller than the smallest feasible model grid cells owing to computational constraints. That is explained and illustrated in the new book essay Models All the way Down. Blowing Smoke: Essays on energy and climate will beavailable end of this month.
        The ‘adaptive iris’ phenomenon also explains why equatorial precipitation is underestimated by about half in both CMIP3 and CMIP5. In observational reality, humidity washes out in tropical Tstorms, and the latent heat of condensation is free to escape from the upper troposphere.
        The ebooks contain extensive supporting references, explanations, and illustrations.

      • Steven Mosher

        captain doesnt get it.

        you wont see the local effects of different concentrations of GHGs.
        The GHG effect works by raising the ERL on average over the whole planet. The warming effect at the SURFACE is not dependent on the
        exact ERL level above it. To give you an idea the ERL on average shifts up a few tens of feet.

        Suggesting such a study shows you dont get it.

        In other words. backradiation is the effect, but the cause of warming is raising the ERL.

      • mosher, “captain doesnt get it.”

        The changes to the ERL depend on both the GHG concentration and the energy available. Changes to the SST is more dependent on cloud cover and direct insolation than small changes in the ERL. Energy available is the major component, since GHG don’t create energy, just reduce the rate of cooling, smearing Arctic winter warming to “enhansen” Global temperature anomaly doesn’t serve any purpose other than ego stroking.

        If the smearing mattered, then water vapor would correlate with the smearing better than the SST. It is an energy balance problem not an “ANOMALY” balance problem.

      • Steven Mosher

        “and the energy available.”

        wrong. It depends on the optical properties of the atmosphere above it.

      • Rud, to calculate sea level by satellite altimetry they need to know the amount of water in the atmosphere; if they underestimate the level then they get lower sea level estimates, but if they overestimate water levels, then they higher sea levels. Their estimates are independent, so you can check the people who are searching for more water vs. those that want less.

      • Here ya go Mosher, on the energy available thing.

        https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-XkwuJgg2hxs/VDcUMA_qHdI/AAAAAAAALlw/BSJi7g2AtRA/w691-h491-no/cmip%2Btropics%2Bw%2Blag.png

        Using climate explorer that chart has CMIP5 and ERSSTv3b for the tropics. The orange CMIP curve is lagged by 240 months.

        There isn’t much of a tropical troposphere hot spot because there isn’t enough ocean energy available to create one. CMIP5 is about as wrong as any of the models, but in the tropics you can see that the oceans don’t dance to the atmospheric forcing tune. Some lag, probably not a very consistent lag, has to be considered because the oceans being the good energy reservoir they are, can release energy to the atmosphere faster than they can regain that energy. Since that tropical ocean band from 30s-30n represents about half of the ocean surface, not getting that part right is likely to have an impact of model performance. See Clouds respond mainly to surface temperature and CO2 forcing responds to the energy available which is effected by clouds.

        That creates another little issue in the models, which “surface” to use for the energy being impacted by CO2 Forcing? Since the oceans and the clouds are coupled, and clouds with supersaturated WV or supercooled water tend to have more of a water/ice radiant spectrum, it looks like the top of the atmospheric boundary layer, ~2500 meters high, would be the radiant “surface” for somewhere around 65 to 70% of the “Globe”.

    • Clouds reflect solar energy (short wave radiation) during the day but not 100%.

    • The bottom of clouds is far warmer than the clear sky above them.
      Now I’m not sure if that’s because the water it self is that warm, or whether they reflect IR from the surface.
      These all start with sidewalk temp, then front yard grass, sidewalk again, then sky straight up, then back to sidewalk.
      11:15pm clear, and then 7:15am the next morning cloudy
      http://www.science20.com/sites/all/modules/author_gallery/uploads/814555976-14-10-09_08.39.34.png
      10:01pm cloudy, 8:44am next morning clear
      http://www.science20.com/sites/all/modules/author_gallery/uploads/1789296515-14-10-06_09.34.09.png
      8:43am clear, 12:29 pm cloudy, 6:26pm clear
      http://www.science20.com/sites/all/modules/author_gallery/uploads/1978217247-14-10-05_18.54.22.png

  4. It looks to me like any thought of an El Nino is gone. In June there was some heat in the western pacific with a very weak band to the east along the equator. In August in max NH heat the eastwardly band was completely broken up. Now in October the heat has disapated and the eastwardly cold band is still dominating.
    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomnight.6.5.2014.gif
    http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomnight.8.7.2014.gif
    http//:www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2014/anomnight.10.6.2014.gif

      • ONI has been hovering around the zero line. 2014 is likely to be one of the warmest years in the record, and it could end up the warmest, which is what J N-G speculated could happen despite the absence of an El Nino.

      • J N-J and I do have a bet on 2014. I am betting 2014 will not be the warmest year.

      • http://polar.ncep.noaa.gov/sst/ophi/color_newdisp_sst_global_lat_lon_ophi0.png

        The center of the arctic blue spot and the center of the arctic red spot are 300 miles from each other and have a 2°C difference in temperature.

        Why is there a 7+°C anomaly difference shown?

        The actual current temperatures are pretty homogeneous and seem reasonable. Were past temperatures really that different? If so why?

      • PA,
        I did wonder about how they get the anomaly as well. I was mainly thinking it was too short a period of time to establish the norms.

      • If you are referring to the “hotspot” north of Norway it should simply be disregarded. The “normal” temperature is way off for that area. According to NOAA it is always much warmer than normal north of Nordkapp.

    • http://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/details-september-enso-diagnostic-discussion—late-or-never

      This seems typical of where the ENSO researchers are at the moment. A recent Kelvin wave is transporting warm water eastwards, giving a possibility of a late developing El Nino

      • HR –

        ==> “As a continuing flattish trend?”

        I would suggest something more like:

        “As a relatively flattish short-term trend within the context of a longer trend of significantly rising surface temps, which of course doesn’t speak to other metrics of “global warming” even though that flattish trend is often mistakenly referred to as a “pause in global warming,” even by scientists such as Judith Curry.”

        How’d I do?

      • Steven Mosher
        [“it” hasn’t warmed”
        “it” has warmed.
        neither of these is worthy of discussion.]

        “it” hasn’t warmed” – nearly as much as predicted by the climate models
        “it” has warmed. – far less than predicted by the climate models

        There fixed ;)

    • And yet, even without an El Nino, 2014 may well be the warmest year on record.

      How to understand this?

      • As a continuing flattish trend?

      • No, as part of the upward trend in surface temperature.

      • http://www.climate4you.com/images/MSU%20UAH%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif
        http://www.climate4you.com/images/MSU%20RSS%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

        Well, if you tilt the satellite temperatures 5-10° like they are tilting the land temperatures and squint at the satellite record you could make the argument that it is the warmest year on record.

        I guess it really depends on how much you tilt the data.

      • Satellites don’t measure surface temperature. Try this instead:

        http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/cwall.jpg

      • Well we could do without the rising temperature but I was hoping to at least get a little rain here in SoCal. I see Oregon is getting less rain as well. When I lived in Portland the joke was, ‘In Portland what do you call two miserable days of rain followed by a beautiful day of sunshine? … Monday’. I did grow fond of the rain once I learned to dress for it and I miss the green.

      • Katherine thinks the IPCC and Nature are lying! Strong words.

      • “And yet, even without an El Nino, 2014 may well be the warmest year on record. How to understand this?”

        I think you must be in boring yourself to death, David. Don’t you ever get sick of the same tediously disingenuous “arguments.”

        Bottom line is the models have failed badly. That’s the salient point here, and since you’re not a stupid person, I’m sure you realize that. Why do you continue to waste your time and your substance and your reputation on such trash?

      • pokerguy: So you can’t explain why this year could be the warmest on record, despite the lack of an El Nino (at least so far)….

      • I’m fairly agnostic on the term pause. Even on the UAH the running mean is generally above the baseline since the turn of the century whereas the running mean in the ninties was below the baseline. Unless the temperatures actually start to go down, it seems to me an academic argument not worth spending much time on. The main point right now is why the IPCC models were running hot and have they considered adjusting the sensitivity.

      • “Bottom line is the models have failed badly.”

        That is simply not a warranted conclusion, because climate models aren’t capable of calculating short-term temperature changes, because they don’t know the immediate future.

        A climate model in 1994 would have had to know what ENSOs occur (and when), volcanic eruptions, changes in emissions (including methane and aerosols), and more in order to project the temperature for 2014. That is, they’d have to read the future.

        They can’t.

        Over the long-term, all variations average to about zero (due to conservation of energy). But not in a decade or two. Over such lesser periods, natural variations can cancel AGW, as lately, or augment it, as they did in the 1980s-90s. Manmade warming now is about 0.2 C/decade, and ENSOs can easily cause that naturally. But over a longer period, natural variability averages to much less of a factor, and manmade warming will be much more obvious.

        This is why climatologists say you need at least 30-years of data to determine changes in the climate (as opposed to detecting large weather events, especially weather in the ocean like ENSOs).

      • Steven Mosher

        “it” hasn’t warmed”
        “it” has warmed.

        neither of these is worthy of discussion.

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Appell (@davidappell):How to understand this?

        If the distribution is stationary, it will from time to time have peak higher than its previous peak.

      • Don’t you need at least 60 years or even 90, maybe 3 cycles to get a comparison?

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Appell: (@davidappell): That is simply not a warranted conclusion, because climate models aren’t capable of calculating short-term temperature changes, because they don’t know the immediate future.

        That is no evidence that they know the intermediate or distant future either. But as the disparity between predicted mean global temp and measured mean global temp increases, the conclusion that the models are in error becomes more and more “warranted”. This is especially important because model-based predictions for the early decades of the 21st century were regularly cited by global warming alarmists before it was known as conclusively as we now know that the models do not in fact “know the immediate future”. It is certainly warranted to conclude that the scientists citing those model results were wrong.

      • “This is why climatologists say you need at least 30-years of data to determine changes in the climate….”

        Let’s see, the last “pause” ended in about 1970 (after starting in about 1940). Hansen gave his doomsday testimony in 1988, after 18 years of warming (tsk, tsk). The next “pause” started in 1997.

        So since 1940, we have had about 47 years of cooling or static temperatures, and about 26 years of warming.

        73 years of data, is that more than 30? I only ask in the context of “climate science” because you never know what their models will do.

      • “so you can’t explain why this year might be the warmest…”

        No, I can’t. And neither can you But if you want to argue Co2 you’re going to have to do a much better job of making that case. Talking point wise, you can probably forget the no el nino. It’s likely on the way. Weak to perhaps moderate Modoki.

        But of course all this is another distraction. You just don’t want to talk about those models, do you?

      • Matthew, it’s always been known that climate models can’t project the short-term future.

        Granted, the warming of the 1980s and 1990s made it easy to see AGW, so many people did not pay enough attention to natural variability. Now they are. It was 20 years ago…. This is exactly how science progresses — when the observations don’t match your model, investigate to see if there’s something wrong with (1) your data model, and (2) your theoretical model, and modify your understanding as is necessary.

        “But as the disparity between predicted mean global temp and measured mean global temp increases,”

        Again, climate models don’t “predict” temperatures. They project them, based on a set of assumptions that will never, in actuality, exactly represent the future. So you have to take a larger view and see what else is going on that you didn’t, or couldn’t, anticipate.

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Appell: Matthew, it’s always been known that climate models can’t project the short-term future.

        Again, climate models don’t “predict” temperatures.

        That was only made clear after the predictions for the 21st century turned out wrong. And to repeat my other point, there is no reason for according any credit, or credence, to the “projected” values for the distant future either. Whether they be called “model outputs”, “predicted values”, “projected values”, “expected values” (recall quotes from IPCC documents posted here in the past), “warnings” or what have you, they have been wrong.

        The models are wonderful constructions entailing lots of fundamentally sound science, but their outputs have been too inaccurate to be used for any public policy purpose.

      • Appell

        Per Hayhoe tweet…………..The IPCC had a chance to drive a stake thru the pause (hiatus) and they didnt. Take up the issue with them.

      • “And yet, even without an El Nino, 2014 may well be the warmest year on record. How to understand this?”

        I guess first off you might have to understand why the surface temperature has stallled for the past 15 years and then maybe apply some consistent logic to 2014 being the warmest. But that would require some sort of acknowledgement of a pause

        1) If you think forcing plays the dominant role and negative forcing from aerosols (human or volcanic) has held back temps then presumably you would need to show ghg.forcing is now outpacing these negative forcings

        2) Or you might favour oceans absorbing extra heat for 15+ years and this year they are burping it out.

        3) or we could look at the multitude of explanations for the pause and look for a reversal

        4) of course in such a complex system there doesn,t have to be simple relationship between the cause of the pause or 2014 being warmest years.Anything could be driving each of them individually.

        Alternatively we could do what you seem to be suggesting and think of this as all just an uninterrupted run of rising temperatures with no need for an explanation other than ghgs. I think many climate scientists seem to think there is something to do learned from the pause in SAT.

      • And yet without an El Niño it has been really warm….I need to write a paper about this topic. As you know lately I’ve become a qualitative psychologist. It will include a statistical study of the number of times there are claims about temperature records being reached in the 21st century, but thereafter the paper will dwell on the nearly religious zeal some people have for looking at thermometers.

      • David, what did katharine say when you asked her for her error bars and other sources of data?

      • David Appell (@davidappell) | October 8,
        And yet, even without an El Nino, 2014 may well be the warmest year on record.How to understand this?

        Using Appell logic if it had been an El Nino year it would have been a reason for being the hottest, yes?
        It was nearly an El Nino year with high pacific temps so this would still be the reason, yes?
        Why it was hot in the pacific is simple, not as many clouds, so less albedo so hotter year.

        Steven Mosher | October 8,

        C02 increased. The temperature increased. That is evidence FOR not evidence AGAINST. true

        Next question: How strong is the evidence? here the question gets complicated. true

        AGW tells us this.
        If you increase C02 and hold everything else constant then the temperature of the planet will increase. Problem? From 1979 to present everything else has not been held constant. very true

        One thing we do know. There is no explanation of the warming, no physics explanation, that does not include C02

        try Mosherite
        not as many clouds, so less albedo, so hotter year.
        Clouds is just one of a number of explanations

      • Steven Mosher

        “try Mosherite
        not as many clouds, so less albedo, so hotter year.
        Clouds is just one of a number of explanations”

        wrong. to count as an explanation you actually need good data.
        none of your explanations have that.
        Second, you need to be able to QUANTIFY not just arm wave

      • Yes, you need good data.
        Except, where do we find good data for cloud cover?
        Is anyone actually bothering to gather such data?
        And, if not, why not?
        Have we already found the culprit?

      • ‘Climate forcing results in an imbalance in the TOA radiation budget that has direct implications for global climate, but the large natural variability in the Earth’s radiation budget due to fluctuations in atmospheric and ocean dynamics complicates this picture.’ Loeb et al 2012

        The physics is quite simple mad, naked Emperor Moshpit. Earth sciences is hard.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_modis-1.gif

        I can do to June 2014 at the CERES data products page..

        Emitted IR steady enough between 2013 and 2014.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/ceres_modis-1.gif

        Reflected shortwave decreased.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/toa-shortwave.png

        Short term temperature changes are dominated by large cloud changes associated with large scale changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation.

      • Too many charts. Longwave flux.

        ttps://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/toa-longwave.png

      • “Well, if you tilt the satellite temperatures 5-10° like they are tilting the land temperatures…”

        Are you accusing the UAH group of fraud?

      • We’re at the peak of a cycle?

        As for the pause, if you look at actual surface records, looks pretty flat to me.
        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/clip_image008_thumb5.jpg?w=827&h=560

    • ordvic | October 8, 2014 at 6:07 am | Reply
      “It looks to me like any thought of an El Nino is gone.”

      1, NOAA has been 70%-100% wrong on El Nino predictions this year depending on how you view the data and whether it is “raw” or “adjusted” data.

      2. The bottom of the map is almost all light blue or dark blue. That means it is cold. The Antarctic is supposed to be blistering hot and melting due to CO2. The top of the map is painted in the correct colors… Did they forget to red up the bottom of the map?

      3. When will the La Nina start and will it be a major La Nina?

      http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/plots/meanTarchive/meanT_2014.png
      4. Why is DMI showing near normal arctic temperatures and the NOAA arctic map is so red?

    • TTY:

      The “normal” temperature for the middle of the Norway red spot is -4°C (the current 1°C – 5°C anomaly).

      This is an odd ocean temperature for October.

      If NOAA is going to publish anomaly maps… you would expect that they would publish accurate anomaly maps.

      I’m not sure what the point of publishing inaccurate anomaly maps is…

    • PA there is a simple answer to your question; if they stated that in April 1940 the sea surface temperature at point A was 15 degrees and at point B was 14 degrees and in April 2014 the respective temperatures are 15.3 and 14.3, they could not do a straight face when they point to a huge rise in temperature.

  5. Geoff Sherrington

    Buy a Wang computer?

  6. O i love Open Thread, shades of the Greek Open Society’s
    bold Heraclitean conjectures, the Enlightenment’s questions
    regarding how the light gets in, and own the track, Judith’s
    Uncertainty Monster.

    Tonite Down Under, an Eclipse of the Moon. Now who was
    the first proto scientist ter make such a bold, and falsifiable,
    prediction?

    • Falsifiable?:
      “Do not be angry with me for speaking the truth; no man will survive who genuinely opposes you or any other crowd and prevents the occurrence of many unjust and illegal acts in the city. A man who fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time.”
      Plato (Apology 31e-32a)

      • Well, ordvic, Plato had lost faith in the open society, advocated
        the ‘noble lie’ of the metals in men and a rigid distopian society
        ruled by a philosopher king. Heh, serfs have had it up ter here
        with the great leader tellin’ us what we need ter know, Like the
        UN and the IPCC.(

      • Indeed!

      • “….telling us what we need to know.”

        Whenever I hear a politician tell me the debate is over, I’m certain he’s lying. If the debate were over, he wouldn’t have to say so. I’d know the debate was over because no would be you know, debating any longer. The “debate is over” is one of the great lies, like “the checks in the mail,” or “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

      • Beththeserf – “Well, ordvic, Plato had lost faith in the open society, advocated the ‘noble lie’ of the metals in men and a rigid distopian society
        ruled by a philosopher king. Heh, serfs have had it up ter here
        with the great leader tellin’ us what we need ter know, Like the
        UN and the IPCC.”

        +1000

        Less eloquently, and reflecting my humble begining as the grandson of Irish and Sicilian peasant immigrants, I tell the UN and the IPCC to kiss my fracking gas. If anyone really wants to get a clue about how most citizens of a super power of 310 million people think, they should start with the Declaration of Independance – the mission statement of the USA and an expression of the ethos of it’s people.

        If the elites, politicians, and their rent-seeking financial backers get their way and wreck the lives of tens of millions of US citizens and their actions turn out to be fraudulent, or even ordinary incompetence, they will pay a steep price.

      • Matthew R Marler

        ordvic: A man who fights for justice must lead a private, not a public, life if he is to survive for even a short time.”

        How does one “fight” for justice without a “public” life?

        Does Plato mean “in addition to a public life”?

      • Well I guess we can’t ask him :-)

      • Justin Wonder,
        Hey, thx fer the 100o points. I will use them ter help buy
        me freedom.
        bts

    • Can’t see blood moon in Dondingalong for cloud…and it’s a travesty we can’t see it.

      • Can’t see the blood moon in Melbourne fer cloud either, and
        likewise a travesty, mosomoso. Those clouds, prone ter confuse,
        compluhcate and veil, as in cli-sci.

      • Seems cloud has an effect on climate. Or climate affect cloud. Or both. It was something revelatory like that. I read it on the internet thingy.

      • Mosomoso

        You are clearly looking in the wrong place. I suspect that if you went scuba diving you would find it in the ocean, probably beneath a large rock.

        tonyb

      • I went to bed to a clear sky and full bright moon. My bedroom was alight due to moonshine through the roof skylight.

        I set my alarm for 6:30 AM to see the blood moon eclipse.

        I awakened at 6 AM to a darkened room. Through the skylight I could see stars bright and twinkling.

        The sunroom faces the South South West. There I found the partial eclipse, a quarter brightness still visible. Through binoculars, the redness of the darkening left side of the moon became distinct. Over the next hour the earth’s shadow crowded out the bright crescent until a sliver of brightness was eventually gone.

        The blood moon slowly moved behind some backyard trees, and I went back to bed.

      • Dondingalong? Is the name from a Chuck Berry song?

      • Some years ago I was trying some Dongding oolong at a tea shop in Sydney. The lady serving asked me for my address. “You’re not going to believe this…”

      • Google doesn’t support Australian to English conversion but there are some Android apps that do.

  7. China has benefited enormously from the foolishness of Western governments on climate. So. I would be astounded if they hadn’t thought to “give it a little push” from time to time.

    • Scottish Sceptic – “China has benefited enormously from the foolishness of Western governments on climate”

      How so? Elaborate, por favor …

      • Their competitors have increased their overheads (e.g. energy unit costs) while providing new markets for cheap Chinese products (e.g. solar panels).

      • Jonathan Abbott – “Their competitors increased their overhead…”

        To clarify, the competitors of China, such as North America, Western Europe, etc. is that correct. Any other ways?

      • Justin:

        Yes, we are economically shooting ourselves in the foot. Slowly but steadily. And to do so we are also massively inflating our government debt. Future generations will wonder how we became so crazy.

  8. Stephen Segrest

    I see a lot of misleading and just wrong statements/perceptions on renewable energy here at CE. As an educational blog, it would be very beneficial to have an unbiased, highly credible engineer discuss how electric utility planners approach System Planning (a diversified energy resource portfolio [including DSM] to meet very diversified loads in a least cost and risk optimization way). Also, making distinctions between the U.S., EU, and developing countries would be important.

    Someone like Robert Rapier (he’s been featured in the Wall St. Journal and 60 minutes) would be a great choice.

    • Stephen Segrest

      At a minimum, folks show follow Robert Rapier on Facebook (where you are notified when he writes an article): https://www.facebook.com/robert.rapier.1?fref=ts

    • Syephen

      I am a great believer in renewable energy horses for courses. For example,here in the UK solar power can only ever be a minor component of our energy due to our latitude climate. However nowhere is further than 70 miles from the sea and that could be a large provider of our energy needs via tidal and waves.

      However that might not be suitable for other countries and therefore we need to look at appropriate solutions for each country, not a one size fits all solution.

      However, we all need inexpensive BASE power which renewables are unlikely to provide for some decades

      tonyb

      • Tony, I sometimes say that I was born in the heart of England – Radford, Coventry, near Meriden: “For centuries Meriden to the west of Coventry held the claim to be the geographical centre of England, and there has been a stone cross there commemorating the claim for at least 500 years. The justification is that the point farthest from the sea is in the vicinity of Meriden. A rival claim for the true location of the centre of England is made by the site of a tree, the Midland Oak, situated on the boundary between Lillington and Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Morton, Derbyshire also claims to be the centre of England as it is not only midway along England’s longest north – south axis but also midway between the East Coast and the Welsh border.”

        That was an accident of war – my father had been moved from Geordieland to undertake war work (e.g. flight testing of aircraft electrics and electronics). My mother and I moved back to Tyneside after the war, when I was three. Coincidentally, her growing up from Tyneside from the age of three was also an accident of war, in 1915 Sinn Fein were after her RUC father in Ulster. He was offered a transfer to Liverpool (hotbed of Irish separatist activism and close to Dublin) or Newcastle upon Tyne (far from the centre of England). Sensibly, he chose the latter.

      • Causation
        Sunderland or Newcastle? Go black cats.

    • Planning Engineer

      As a long term planner, I would first point out a couple things: 1) We are generally pretty low key people and 2) We work with the constraints that our imposed on us. If our task is to find the best available resource portfolio that contains X% we renewables we tend to focus on that – instead of debating or documenting how much better the plan would be with a lower level of renewables. That said most all planners I know are highly skeptical of the projected benefits of intermittent/renewable resources. Utilities are very PR oriented and “Planners” are not generally welcome to seek spotlights that might lead to their employers being perceived as anti-environment.

      Studies of renewables often have overly optimistic projections for the new technology and pessimistic for conventional. Even so it’s “acceptable” to adopt inferior renewable technology because of other goals and hopes for future potential. All kinds of dis-benefits of alternative technology are ignored. For example the impact on the power grid: Conventional synchronous generators support the power grid in ways that wind and solar do not. When these resources make up on a small percentage of a systems generation they can safely integrated. As their penetration levels increase hey are a threat and huge costs will be required to stop the degradation in system reliability. More attention is being paid to these dis-benefits to the grid. Past comparisons have ignored the cost implications. Furthermore resources that are intermittently available (can’t be counted on) require a much more costly system to manage less predictable flows.

      In short the “hype” does not live up to the reality. As the EPA is considering the clean air plan – more is being written from the utility perspective.

      • The Case for Baseload” by Robert E. Bayless.
        “An engineers perspective on why not just any generation source will do when it comes to the systems’ capacity, stability and control”
        http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/?i=47255
        Click on the title to get to the full text

      • Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan – Critique’ (by Martin Nicholson and Peter Lang)

        7. CONCLUSIONS
        We have reviewed the “Zero Carbon Australia – Stationary Energy Plan” by Beyond Zero Emissions. We have evaluated and revised the assumptions and cost estimates. We conclude:

        – The ZCA2020 Stationary Energy Plan has significantly underestimated the cost and timescale required to implement such a plan.

        – Our revised cost estimate is nearly five times higher than the estimate in the Plan: $1,709 billion compared to $370 billion. The cost estimates are highly uncertain with a range of $855 billion to $4,191 billion for our estimate. [For context, Australia’s GDP was about $1 trillion]

        – The wholesale electricity costs would increase nearly 10 times above current costs to $500/MWh, not the $120/MWh claimed in the Plan.

        – The total electricity demand in 2020 is expected to be 44% higher than proposed: 449 TWh compared to the 325 TWh presented in the Plan.

        – The Plan has inadequate reserve capacity margin to ensure network reliability remains at current levels. The total installed capacity needs to be increased by 65% above the proposed capacity in the Plan to 160 GW compared to the 97 GW used in the Plan.

        – The Plan’s implementation timeline is unrealistic. We doubt any solar thermal plants, of the size and availability proposed in the plan, will be on line before 2020. We expect only demonstration plants will be built until there is confidence that they can be economically viable.

        – The Plan relies on many unsupported assumptions, which we believe are invalid; two of the most important are:
        1. A quote in the Executive Summary “The Plan relies only on existing, proven, commercially available and costed technologies.”
        2. Solar thermal power stations with the performance characteristics and availability of baseload power stations exist now or will in the near future.”

      • This is typical of what I have seen. The renewables proponents remind me of Business Developers graduated with Harvard MBA´s. They are really good drafting the bullets on powerpoint slides.

      • The Australian Labor Party made an alliance with the Australian Greens in 2010 to form government. It was the worst government Australia has had in the past 60 years or more and it was kicked out of office in 2013. One of the items in the agreement between Labor and Greens was that the government would direct the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to conduct a study to determine if eastern Australia’s electricity could be generated by 100% renewable energy.

        AEMO’s report is here: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/reducing-carbon/aemo-report-100-renewable-electricity-scenarios

        The terms of reference were written basically by the Greens and for their political agenda. The AEMO concluded that, yes, it would be conceptually possible and they gave an estimated a cost (as they were required to do). They also said the cost would be higher than the reports states. That’s the get out. Conceptually feasible at enormous cost. As soon as the Labor and Greens were kicked out of government, AEMO went very quiet about this report.

      • Planning Engineer

        Thank you Peter Lang. “The Case for Baseload” is an excellent article. One reason planners don’t speak up is because their employers are regulated by Public Service Commissioners who determine their utilities rate of return. Appearing negative about these Commissioners hopes and dreams as regards alternative resources can have costly ramifications when those Commissioners judge the prudency of past investments. Opposite to all intentions, from where I sit it appears that the utilities have the interest of the public more at heart than the commissioners.

      • Planning Engineer

        What an interesting perspective you have! I hope you post more of these gems. As my friend Mr. Segrest accurately pointed out, I am ignorant of this subject, and I have company, and your post is enlightening!

      • Planning Engineer

        Thanks Justin. I’ll offer the prediction that you will hear more of the industry (my) position in the future. While it’s one thing for a utility to take on token renewable projects and appear optimistic to generate good will with regulators and other key players, it’s entirely another to give over 10% of your system over to unproven and over-hyped technology. EPA is forcing utilities to speak up.

        Here’s a perspective of how it has been. I believe there is one large investor owned utility that is adding a bit of solar, just to please the Public Service Commission so that they can get their Nuclear Plant built and earn a decent return on that. Pushing back on solar would cost them far more than the solar program they are adopting. While I think IOUs generally do the right thing, their first goal is return on investment and the second is serving their consumers. If the Commission is going to approve both your solar and your nuclear and you will get a good return on both, it’s hard for a business to insist on consumer good against the wishes of the Public Service commission who is supposedly looking out for those same consumers. Of course any time a utility takes on a project they will try to speak of it in as glowing a terms as they can. But it often doesn’t take much to read between the lines.

      • Stephen Segrest

        Justin Wonder — Justin, again the problem I have with you (and others) are the “blanket” statements made on all renewables under any circumstances. Under certain circumstances, renewables can make total sense.

        For example, as Planners we don’t compare just the capital cost of a pulverized coal unit (base load) versus that of a combustion turbine (used for peaking) in making our decisions.

      • Stephen: “Justin Wonder — Justin, again the problem I have with you..”

        Thanks for the humor. Fairly good impersonation of Wile E.; jumped out to grab Justin and got thin air.

      • David Appel: you asked what’s the cost not to implement renewables. The answer seems to be “we don’t know for sure”. I am also an engineer, and I have had extensive experience (and very painful lessons) in the areas planning engineer discussed.

        I worry about global warming, but I’m also extremely worried about the nonsense being proposed by climatologists and underfed scientists who don’t understand we do have to have realistic and executable plans. If we follow the paths suggested by the Al Gores and the Christiana Figuereses we will probably kill half of humanity. Maybe a lot more.

        And this is the big problem we face. On the one side we have people who like to ignore the problem, on the other side we have people who exaggerate and lie about the problem and suggest truly horrific numbskull solutions.

        Me? I think we are in a tight spot. But we are also running out of oil and phosphates and the population is unsustainable. Global warming isn’t really that bad compared to what else is rolling down the hill. I don’t think I want to be around in 100 years, and I’m not thinking about the temperature.

      • Fernado, neither you nor I can envision the technological marvels that will exist in 100 years. I think every age has come with a set of fears. Civilization survived anyway. I think the Earth will be fine and it will support the (stabilized) population after all countries are developed.

      • Planning Engineer,

        I’d add to the voices that have welcomed your comment. I also hope you will post more comments explaining the real world realities to those who are less familiar with them.

        Here’s a perspective of how it has been. I believe there is one large investor owned utility that is adding a bit of solar, just to please the Public Service Commission so that they can get their Nuclear Plant built and earn a decent return on that.

        That comment reminded me of the token wind turbine in the Pickering nuclear power station (appeasement to the greenies, or a fan to blow the evilness away?)

        Also notice how Pickering, running since 1971, is nestled calmly in the suburbs of Toronto, Canada’s largest city.
        http://www.world-nuclear.org/Gallery/?galleryId=676%20&ImageId=10584

        And notice how the locals make use of the warm water exiting the plant for swimming, right up to the cooling water outlet. No barriers, no problems, no risk!
        https://www.google.com.au/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Pickering+power+station+photo
        Expand the photo of the girl on the beach and see the swimmers in the distance; they are swimming in the in the warmed cooling water where it exits the plant. This is what the locals think of the nuclear scaremongering!

      • Planning Engineer, if you have an interest in doing a guest post on this general topic, email me, it would be most welcome.

      • Planning Engineer,

        Opposite to all intentions, from where I sit it appears that the utilities have the interest of the public more at heart than the commissioners.

        I agree 100%. That’s my experience too.

        I think it also applies to the nuclear industry v the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. I think the nuclear industry understands, much better than the NRC, how damaging to human-well-being are the NRC’s requirements. The NRC’s requirements are greatly increasing the cost of nuclear power, making it uncompetitive, preventing SMR’s from even getting started and causxing nuclear to be not a viable option for most of the world’s electricity grids.

        I realise that NRC’s requirements are largely defined by laws prescribed to them. But there is also an excessively risk-averse corporate culture in the NRC. IAEA also. I suggest a US president that had the mind to do so, could lead the world to much cheaper, better fit-for purpose electricity supply. If the impediments at IAEA and NRC that are not justified on the basis of objective facts (like allowable radiation limits) were appropriately revised, the costs of nuclear generated electricity could decrease at about 10% per capacity doubling. Electricity from SMR’s could, optimistically, be half the cost of fossil fuel fired generation by 2050.

      • PE, your comment that “Opposite to all intentions, from where I sit it appears that the utilities have the interest of the public more at heart than the commissioners” accords with my experience. In Queensland, utilities have tended to be run by (Labor) political appointees whose interests lie in brown-nosing their political mates. A classic example was that blackouts and brownouts became common over several years because the government ignored their own rules on GOE dividends and drained the finances of the electricity utilities to the point where they could not maintain the system. At the time, the GOE CEO was an first rate, public-spirited man recruited from interstate, where he had an excellent reputation. He had argued the maintenance case for years to no avail. When it came to the crunch, he was crucified, vilified, his reputation shredded as the government disclaimed any responsibility. He threw himself under a train at the State Premier’s local station.

      • Stephen Segrest – “… the biggest real-time experiment is Germany…The German government is quite adamant that they have maintained system reliability.”

        Another famous quote come to mind, “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?”

        All joking aside, consider the unintended consequences of Germany’s energy “strategy”, such as it is.

        1. Germany is now a big customer for USA coal:

        http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303417104579543814192542586

        2. Germany is now, with Italy, the largest importer of Russian natural gas in the European Union. As a consequence, Germany has been reluctant to support tough sanctions on Russia for an unprecedented annexation of a sovereign nation, Crimea.

        In summary, Germany has some of the highest energy costs within the EU, which already has high energy costs, Germany continues to IMPORT and burn coal and natural gas, and Germany is unable to sustain a credible deterrent to counter the global political ambitions of powerful autocratic of a near-super power.

        I call those some very severe unintended consequences for a sustainable energy policy. They would have to put up some really good numbers to convince me that the payoff is worthwhile.

        Justin

    • Planning Engineer

      Here’s a study showing huge transmission cost increases for integrating high levels of renewables. The overall capital costs swamp the over-inflated benefits of “low cost” renewable energy.

      http://eipconline.com/uploads/20130103_Phase2Report_Part1_Final.pdf

      A key point is that this study just covers the bulk infrastructure and generation costs bud does not include costs for underlying transmission improvements. The costs included alone make large scale adoption of renewables infeasible unless policy directives are adopted that basically ignore economic impacts. When studies such as this show more realistic costs – they are largely ignored and do not get any press coverage.

      More complete study information is here: http://eipconline.com/Phase_II_Documents.html

      • The cos(Latitude) will have some effect.

      • What is the cost of not implementing renewable energy?

      • David Appell, “What is the cost of not implementing renewable energy?”

        Have you stopped beating your wife yet? Considering the global ripple effect of “Sustainable” energy initiatives on transportation and food costs which seems to have led to considerable political unrest in some countries, the total cost seems to be a bit difficult to determine.

      • Nothing.

      • Where have sustainable energy initiatives led to political unrest about transportation and food costs?

        “the total cost seems to be a bit difficult to determine.”

        Which doesn’t mean the cost is zero, or even less than the cost of not implementing renewables.

      • “What is the cost of not implementing renewable energy?”

        Less than nothing, unless you count nuclear as renewable.

      • PE

        How much of the projected half a trillion smart grid cost is transmission lines to remote renewable locations and adapting the grid to intermittent power sources? Any insight would be welcome.

      • David Appell:

        What is the cost of not implementing renewable energy?

        The result is a severe shortage of crony capitalism. We must not allow a crony capitalism gap!

      • The Russians now have more crony capitalism than us! This is getting serious!

      • “The result is a severe shortage of crony capitalism.”

        Right. Do you mean like the lack of crony capitalism that didn’t bail out Wall Street in 2008 for who really knows how many trillions?

      • Careful David, you’re letting your politics show.
        You seem to think that because we’re a bunch of den**rs we’re also right-wing Wall Street stooges who cheer whatever our capitalist masters direct.
        Me? The global bail out of failed financiers using electronic printing presses horrifies me almost as much as CAGW alarmism.

      • Planning Engineer

        PA – Building cross country lines to bring wind or solar from the areas that they occupy to the population/load centers is a huge costs. The power grid uses real and reactive power. Reactive power does not travel well over transmission lines so you need reactive resources (var providers) to maintain voltage and keep the system working. The numbers you are seeing are mostly these costs and the substations needed to tie the paths together.

        Since the electric grid is not a pipeline or a highway, there are significant other costs that can equal and exceed those. The system must survive the loss of any single line without going unstable or overloading the underlying systems. You can’t have just one line shipping large amounts of power from west to east as the sudden loss of that path would result in a terrible imbalance of power and the system(s) would go unstable. You can spend as much building additional lines and strengthening the underlying systems.

        As mentioned in an article cited earlier traditional base plants have inertia which is an important characteristics and they also provide vars. Intermittent technologies do no have inertia (pseudo-inertia is being studied but is not the same) and only provide vars to the extent additional costs are incurred for their provision.

        Generation leaves a power plant and goes in every possible direction over all available paths to loads (inverse to the impedance of the paths). Thus depending where generation is located it will cause some amount of increased loading or unloading’s on every interconnected networked transmission line. Knowing where you generation is coming from and being able to count on it for peak demand allows you to build the system to meet peak. With intermittent resources (wind/solar) you don’t know if it will be available on peak so you must build for both it’s availability and non-availability further increasing costs. (Yes-all generation plants are subject to outages and we study and plan for those contingencies. But the uncertainty associated with intermittents is in a whole other class.)

      • These issues have been explained in public over and over again but the solar and wind pushers keep pretending that they haven’t. A few years ago the head of the California Independent System Operator gave a speech where he pleaded for a halt to the destructive imposition of renewables requirements on the grid for which he was responsible. Nobody will listen until the brownouts and blackouts come, and maybe not even then, unless these issues are raised loudly and publicly now.

        The ongoing fiasco of solar and wind industrial policy, promoted by special interests like Segrest and green ideologues will end badly unless confronted aggressively. The emperor has no clothes but it’s the rest of us that are going to end up shivering in the dark.

      • Thank you PE.

        What troubles me is that “renewable” energy made to look artificially competitive by subsidies and hiding infrastructure support costs. This makes true evaluations of renewable cost per MW-h vs conventional sources more difficult, but makes false analyses easy.

      • Stephen Segrest

        Planning Engineer — I read the DOE sponsored paper. I’m reacting to your statement: Here’s a study showing huge transmission cost increases for integrating high levels of renewables.

        Yes, it does . . . but,

        In this Study, the overwhelming bulk of national costs was in the Mid-west — where the study assumed retiring almost every coal plant in the Region and heavily implementing wind energy.

        Question 1: Does the report have a breakout of the national level costs (shown in the Report) by Regions?

        Question 2: Is this a realistic scenario (of retiring every coal unit in the Mid-West) requiring basically starting from scratch in building a new T&D System to far away wind sources?

        I agree with you that this issue is extremely important and look forward to objective dialogue of both positives and negatives. I wonder though if this study is a good smoking gun illustration of high costs (based on assumptions).

        Of course, the biggest real time experiment on this is Germany. The German government is quite adamant that they have maintained system reliability.

        Question 3: Do you (or others) have any links to reports out of Germany on this issue of T&D costs when incorporating high levels of renewables?

        I absolutely know nothing about Germany, but I have read that the Germans are addressing this problem by creating a vast system of urban micro-grids and smart grids.

        Thanks

      • Stephen Segrest

        Stevepostrel dislikes CAGW types (and so do I) but saying catastrophic T&D failure will absolutely occur from renewables is perfectly OK.

        Of course the biggest experiment going on in real time is Germany — where the German government is saying they are maintaining high reliability. I know very little of Germany, but reports are saying this high reliability is being largely being achieved by implementing urban micro-grids and smart grids.

        Anybody have links to the cost of Germany maintaining System reliability?

      • Segrest has surely seen report after report on the baleful effects of sticking windmills and solar PV onto the U.S. grid–harms that are already occurring even at the relatively modest levels of wind and solar to date. You can keep piling these things on but one of two things must then happen: 1) Huge, costly investments in backup fossil power capacity or 2) Big decreases in grid reliability.

        There is a search on for someplace in the world where a wind and solar power subsidy program hasn’t been a fiasco. But Germany isn’t going to be a good refuge of the imagination because it turns out that the basic principles of electricity generation and distribution work just the same way there as everywhere else–points 1) and 2) above can’t be escaped. The Germans have chosen 1) and are clobbering their consumers with the highest rates in Europe; they are burning MORE coal than they used to and have not reduced their CO2 emissions in the last couple of years even with sluggish economic growth. Here are three readable sources in increasing order of sympathy with renewables:

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9559656/Germanys-wind-power-chaos-should-be-a-warning-to-the-UK.html

        http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21587782-europes-electricity-providers-face-existential-threat-how-lose-half-trillion-euros

        http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/335806/germany-shows-renewable-energy-has-failed-and-other-strange-ideas

      • In terms of policy analysis based on understanding, evidence and good sense, I’d put Steve Postrel at the top of the tree at CE. If we give him a score of 100, I’d struggle to give Stephen Segrest minus 30.

      • None so blind as those who wear the blinkered spectacles
        of deep green certainty.

        ‘Even Germany, formerly a strong “Green’ power proponent
        is now finally experiencing a great deal of buyer’s remorse.’

        vhttp://papundits.wordpress.com/2013/12/17/green-power-gridlock-why-renewable-energy-is-no-alternative/

      • Planning Engineer

        Stephen Segrest – good points and good questions.

        Question 1: Does the report have a breakout of the national level costs (shown in the Report) by Regions?

        Question 2: Is this a realistic scenario (of retiring every coal unit in the Mid-West) requiring basically starting from scratch in building a new T&D System to far away wind sources?

        I agree with you that this issue is extremely important and look forward to objective dialogue of both positives and negatives. I wonder though if this study is a good smoking gun illustration of high costs (based on assumptions).

        Of course, the biggest real time experiment on this is Germany. The German government is quite adamant that they have maintained system reliability.

        Question 3: Do you (or others) have any links to reports out of Germany on this issue of T&D costs when incorporating high levels of renewables?

        I absolutely know nothing about Germany, but I have read that the Germans are addressing this problem by creating a vast system of urban micro-grids and smart grids.

      • Planning Engineer

        I answered this before but the way I identified my responses evidently got the text deleted. Here’s another stab at it. It was awaiting moderation but I hope it gets pulled as it only contained questions and no responses.

        Question 1: Does the report have a breakout of the national level costs (shown in the Report) by Regions?
        Question 2: Is this a realistic scenario (of retiring every coal unit in the Mid-West) requiring basically starting from scratch in building a new T&D System to far away wind sources?
        I agree with you that this issue is extremely important and look forward to objective dialogue of both positives and negatives. I wonder though if this study is a good smoking gun illustration of high costs (based on assumptions).
        Of course, the biggest real time experiment on this is Germany. The German government is quite adamant that they have maintained system reliability.
        Question 3: Do you (or others) have any links to reports out of Germany on this issue of T&D costs when incorporating high levels of renewables?
        I absolutely know nothing about Germany, but I have read that the Germans are addressing this problem by creating a vast system of urban micro-grids and smart grids.

        Great questions. Here are some responses, not necessarily answers. I may be writing a piece for Judith to share here.

        Question 1. I don’t know if the report does or not. I am a little pressed for time but that brings up an important issue – who pays for the costs? If energy flows across area B on the way from A to C, should B who gets no benefit pay? Should the consumers in A pay some even though the benefits go to only sellers in A and purchases in C? (Keep in mind it probably makes the cost for consumers in A go up because you have opened up their market). The fair thing is for the producers or consumers of that energy to pay – but that makes renewables harder to justify and the game is to share, hide and pass on costs.

        Question 2. We sent a man to the moon with 1960’s technology and Germany has given their economy a huge blow to build solar to no benefit. So yes I think it’s a potentially realistic scenario. A scary horrifying one to me though. Would doing it on a smaller scale be better? I would be less harmful overall. The hope is to get better economies of scale by doing it big. But it’s kind of like getting a much bigger truck to sell more watermelons at a slightly lower loss. This study cost millions. It involved utilities and stakeholders representing governments, alternative energy and environmental interests all overseen by the Federal government. Had the costs shown things to be more affordable I believe it would have been trumpeted widely.

        Question 3. I am looking for all the information I can get on Germany. I am sure they spent a ton of money. Keep in mind Germany is a country not a power system. They are interconnected to a bigger grid that did not have as big a penetration of renewables and they benefit from those interconnections. Similarly Denmark as a lot of wind, but they are not a stand alone system – their wind level only works because they are integrated with vast hydro capabilities (in Sweden I think) as well as baseload plants in other regions.

      • Planning Engineer – “…epiconline … Phase II …”

        What does “CO2 costs” in the O&M table mean?

        What does “Generation” in the Capital Costs table mean?

        Also, if I understand correctly, scenario 2, the recommended option, which uses “local” renewable sources, allows for the purchase of carbon credits instead of actually using local sources. Did I get that right?

        Regarding Charles River Associates, I love that dirty water, Boston …:)

    • Why don’t you educate us. I’m interested.

      • Justin, maybe there should be a blog to discuss the engineering issues. Let’s see…one of the last large meetings I attended before retirement was to discuss the design basis for a large project (we landed a cost estimate ca $15 billion usd). The meeting lasted a full week. We had 34 engineers participate. And in spite of being “the client” (or maybe because I was the client?) I learned a ton. The subject is incredibly complex, and we tend to get it wrong way too often. When I think about the glib and truly naive comments I hear from renewables proponents my hair stands on end.

      • @ Fernando Leanme

        >When I think about the glib and truly naive comments I hear from renewables proponents my hair stands on end

        Yes indeed

        I’ve commented on Climate etc a few times that the hard requirements of base load need a few threads entirely devoted to those issues

        So far, no dice …

    • One of the twists of fate along the Soft Energy Path, was that that pre-climate Vision was anchored to the idea of minimizing transmission loss inefficiency by decentralizing. Lovins had a predecessor who had learned power economics in developing India. Schumaker was looking at scale issues: “greenfield.” To get from those premises, to Rachel Maddow instructing us: damn the transmission losses, deploy Big Wind in the Dakotas and Giga-grid it anywhere–“We can do it,” requires some rubber logic.

  9. The SMART GRID is a DUMB IDEA!
    From the article:

    The world’s first ‘online murder’ over an internet-connected device could happen by the end of this year, Europol has warned.

    Research carried out by the European Union’s law enforcement agency has found that governments are not equipped to fight the growing threat of ‘online murder,’ as cyber criminals start to exploit internet technologies to target victims physically.

    The study, which was published last week, analysed the possible physical dangers linked to cyber criminality and found that a rise in ‘injury and possible deaths’ could be expected as computer hackers launch attacks on critical connected equipment.

    The assessment particularly referred to a report by IID, a US security firm, which forecast that the world’s first murder via a ‘hacked internet-connected device’ would happen by the end of 2014.

    Dangers are expected to be posed for example with medical devices such as pacemakers, implantable insulin pumps, and defibrillators. Although there have been no reported cases of hacking-related death to date, last year former US vice president Dick Cheney had the wireless function removed on his defibrillator in order to prevent potential hackers from accessing his device remotely. Cheney’s fear was fictionally realised in the political thriller Homeland, in which his counterpart was murdered by terrorists who were able to hack into his pacemaker – “[the scene] was an accurate portrayal of what was possible,” Cheney said.

    In addition to potential physical damage, the Europol report predicted that an increase in new ways of blackmail and extortion could ensue as we move into an IoT-led economy. People targeted by criminals could be locked out of their homes and cars before they hand over a ransom.

    http://thestack.com/first-online-murder-by-end-of-2014-europol-071014

    • Planning Engineer

      The Eastern Interconnection is the largest, best machine ever. The idea that it was third world or less than smart was promulgated by entities hoping to make a buck (GE/Siemens) and by those who wanted to hide the costs of adding renewables to the grid (Wind/Solar).

      While the industry has had occasional (and unacceptable) blackouts on occasion – it has learned from these and made improvements to lessen the likelihood of such events. Much of what is called the smart grid has little or nothing to do with reliability.

      • I’m a big fan of reliable, non-hackable technology. Keep the damn grid off the internet!!!

      • >Much of what is called the smart grid has little or nothing to do with reliability

        It appears that the most desirable feature of a “smart” grid, from the viewpoint of promoters of the notion, is the ability to disconnect selected consumers at will (the rationale being that they have consumed enough for that 24 hour period)

    • The possibilities for an Orwellian dystopia are many…

  10. From the article:

    A service-based criminal industry is developing, in which specialists in the virtual underground economy develop products and services for use by other criminals. This ‘Crime-as-a-Service’ business model drives innovation and sophistication, and provides access to a wide range of services that facilitate almost any type of cybercrime. The iOCTA report highlights that, as a consequence, entry barriers into cybercrime are being lowered, allowing those lacking technical expertise – including traditional organised crime groups – to venture into cybercrime by purchasing the skills and tools they lack.

    https://www.europol.europa.eu/content/organised-crime-groups-exploiting-hidden-internet-online-criminal-service-industry

    • It makes gun control look like an 18th century solution to a 21st century problem. Of course, that ignores the street crime, accident, and suicide issues. The new wars and organized crime will likely make use of the Internet of things. A lone hacker can do a lot of damage.

  11. In the Guardian newspaper it gave a list of 50 people who could save the planet.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/jan/05/activists.ethicalliving
    Apart from nearly choking when I saw the names Ken Livingston, Al Gore, & Leonardo Di’Caprio, I wonder what they are supposed to save us from. This was recommended reading put forward by a by university course tutor in environmental management. But if such a list does have value who would you put on this list? I’ve already added Judith Curry.

    • Those you mentioned are like anti-knowledge. They enter a room, and the average IQ drops 80 points.

      • You mean something like, they speak and the sum total of human knowledge is reduced?

      • nottawa rafter

        Or when Texas loses a football recruit to Oklahoma, the IQ levels of both states go up.

      • nottawa rafter No the original of this was by Will Rogers who, referring to the Okies in the Dust Bowl days, said that when Okies left for California, those who couldn’t read a map tended to end up in Texas. This raised the IQ of all three states.

    • Both my feet know exactly where my mouth is and are often found there!

      I find such press articles frivolous, and trivialises science and gives a false picture to the public. But it does raise the question of how science is communicated to the public and should it just be left to the popular press. So how should this be dealt with what do you do to address such articles?

      I also worry about how and what we teach the new and upcoming generation of scientists, are they just being spoon fed orthodox views rather than the approach suggested by Popper

      “The orthodoxy produced by intellectual fashions, specialization, and the appeal to authorities is the death of knowledge, and that the growth of knowledge depends entirely upon disagreement.”
      Karl Popper, The Myth of the Framework (1994), pp. ix–x

      • Rob, ” But it does raise the question of how science is communicated to the public and should it just be left to the popular press.” Well, I was going to say that the heavily loss-making low circulation Grauniad [a legend for its typos] is hardly the popular press, but I see it sells close to 200,000 a day. More seriously, who else would do it? A lot of the problem with the CAGW debate is that governments jumped on the bandwagon, made stupid policy decisions, called it “the greatest moral issue of our time’ (Kevin Rudd) etc, and totally distorted the debate and presentation of the science; as have the IPCC and many major scientific bodies such as the Royal Society. In Australia, the best picture of the issue come from The Australian (weekday circulation about 140,000, double at weekends, large and rising online readership). The Oz has always accepted AGW and favoured carbon tax etc but runs articles from all viewpoints and has an excellent letters page (hey, they generally print two a week from me), where there is (subject to space limitations) serious and informed debate (not from all participants). Increasingly, the Oz has run sceptical articles, and has taken to Judith Curry as a major source. Here’s my letter from today’s paper (it was somewhat edited), in response to nonsense from someone who has allegedly been Australia’s leading public intellectual for 40 years or so:

        “Robert Manne should know that science relies on evidence, not consensus (“Figment of imagination,” Letters, 8/10). And if he followed the global warming debate he would know that the alleged 97% consensus is based on discredited studies and only indicates that most climate scientists agree that there has been some human contribution to warming – not that they believe that there is a potential catastrophe. He would also know that all the temperature data sets used by climate scientists show that there has been no warming this century. And if he had any policy nous, he would know that even if warming might resume and might be harmful, that does not of itself justify extremely costly emissions reduction policies which will have a negligible impact on any further warming.

        “The so-called pause in warming which so baffles IPCC scientists is only one of many indications that the future is always uncertain, our predictions are always wrong. Whether or not warming becomes a threat, the best policies are those which enable us to deal well with whatever future emerges – policies which promote flexibility, adaptability, innovation, self-reliance, entrepreneurship and economic growth.”

    • The Guardian got one right. Angela Merkel is presiding over a coal power boom in Germany while continuing to preach anti-nuke and low-carb to the luvvies.

      I suppose someone has to produce those WMF pressure cookers and cute little diesel Golfs for the Guardian-perusing classes, but, more importantly, a seriously underpowered Germany could tip all Europe into something worse than recession. Everyone kinda knows it, so they keep that carbon price in the toilet. (Carbon in Europe is a free market which is free at all times to be fixed outrageously.)

      Coal and Merkel saving the planet!

      • > … cute little diesel Golfs for the Guardian-perusing classes

        I have never perused the Guardian (it’s not even good for loo paper, the print wipes off), but:

        I dearly love the turbo-petrol Golfs – absolutely brilliant cars

        Germany has very considerable deposits of lignite and is again making real, practical use of them

      • 221kW is doing pretty good – but there was a turbo V6 planned at 336KW. Which would get muscle car specs.

      • From Germany I’d rather have a top-of-line WMF Perfect Plus pressure cooker. But I’m a save-the-planet kind of guy.

  12. Here’s a good comparison of the cost of producing oil in various scenarios and countries.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/crude-oil-cost-of-production-2014-5

    • Jim, I assume the cost is only opex?

    • This analysis is misleading. 1. No one is going to produce oil at a break-even point or anywhere close to it, given the capital intensive nature of the industry. 2. Middle Eastern oil producing countries’ economies are highly dependent on oil income. It is not just shieks who live off it, whole populations are subsidized by it. It been some years ago, but the last study I saw for Saudi Arabia, they needs a minimum of $85 dollars to meet governmental and other expenses. This article suggests that it is now $90.
      http://www.vox.com/2014/10/7/6934819/oil-prices-falling-russia-OPEC-shale-boom-gasoline-prices

      • I call BS on that article CMS. Nothing to substantiate it at all. The number given on business insider have been backed up by other sources for most of the items.

      • You are right about the Saudis, though. The last article I read on that stipulated they need about $100/bbl to pay for “social programs.” They will start producing more oil to keep the soma flowing to the people there.

  13. Hot Topic #RSArctic14

    Professor Wadham formal complaint to the RS Society and NASA and parent Universities accusing Dr Gavin Schmidt, Dr Mark Brandon and Dr Sheldon Bacon of defamatory tweeting and unproferssinal conduct

    Their robust response, and original complaint included.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzOmEySKhRVOWjUxU0k4T0ZyYlU/view?pli=1

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzOmEySKhRVOc1prYUNLQXhoa3c/view?pli=1

    • This is funny. I followed those tweets in real time (back in the days I had access to twitter). If it had been only one person allegedly making unprofessional tweets that would be one thing. But with all 3 (pretty much 100% of the people tweeting from that meeting) saying pretty much the same things about Wadhams, well . . .

      • Wadham needs to hitch up his pants. I don’t see any “unprofessional” comments in his complaint, just scientists expressing what they thought of his work (which wasn’t much).

        If there’s any unprofessional comments there, it’s Wadham admitting his projecdtion to zero sea ice volume has no basis in physics.

      • Steven Mosher

        Winepus makes the BIG TIME.

        Lesson for bloggers. Be careful of the charts you post.

    • of course, i don’t have access to google here

    • I have blogged on this dispute. We sceptics ought to support Bacon, Brandon and Schmidt here, since they are doing exactly what we’ve been demanding for years – criticising the alarmists the alarmists in their midst. They in turn accuse Wadhams of intimidation and bullying. It’s an interesting dispute not just from the climate science aspect but also in regard to the use of twitter, and of course free speech.

      • I agree Paul.

      • It is interesting.

        Wadhams gave an alarmist pep talk at a scientific conference and got a cold reception.

        Bacon, Brandon, and Schmidt were appropriately skeptical (kudos) and Wadhams overreacted.

      • Steven Mosher

        yup. kudos to Gavin!

      • My first talk at an international conference went like this;
        I was the last speaker, of the last session on the last day. The speaker before me had her whole lab and friends in the front row. As she left the podium and I assented, they began putting on their coats, began packing their bags and then stared into space dreaming about the bar. When the chair asked for questions, they moved enmass for the exits.
        Afterwards the chair invited me to dinners as he was upset at the events, but I was too shook up for company.

    • Really funny: on “Page 34 of 41” (page 36 using Adobe Reader), discussing this:

      COMMENTARY This tweet is credited to Dr Bacon in the original complaint. However in the complaint it is incorrectly reproduced as: [bold original]

      Sheldon Bacon @sheldonbacon 22h @nathanaelmelia: Entertaining break with Wadhams. Back to science now #RSArctic14” ho ho ;-) [my bold]

      Peter Wadhams has missed the first quotation mark, seen in the screen grab above. The second quote remained. That simple edit (perhaps a mistake) makes the tweet appear to be from Dr Bacon, and it turns it into something that could be interpreted as an attack. It never was, of course. [my bold]

      The context is explained in the Memorandum, but we make the point that the comment is a quote.
      Quotation is not endorsement.

      I haven’t read the entire memorandum yet, but I doubt they address this:

      Peter Wadhams, and they, apparently missed the little “22h” in that copy/paste exercise. That’s the hex representation for a left quote. Probably some problem with whatever they used for copy/paste.

      They may wish to update their “Memorandum” and “COMMENTARY”

    • Matthew R Marler

      Barry Woods: Their robust response, and original complaint included.

      Thank you for the link.

      Those are the most interesting tweets I have ever read, and illustrate a good use of tweeting, namely conversing about a technical presentation during its presentation. Usually in that past that has been done by two or more persons sitting next to me who drowned out the speaker, but here there is no such disturbance of the rest of the audience.

      fwiw, the tweets by Schmidt, Brandon and Bacon did not seem unprofessional to me, but interested and engaged in the presentation. Their comments might be perceived as “sharp” by a speaker, especially one still charged with the energy of giving a talk, but they were pertinent and reasonably phrased.

      The Bayes angle was interesting: A statement like “I stand by my model but won’t bet on it” is indeed taken as indicating little subjective probability that the model is reliably accurate. Recall that the subjective Bayesian has the option before placing the bet of negotiating the terms and loss function to be used. Lots of people do not accept any claim that use of Bayes’ Theorem with subjective probability has any utility, but for those who do, this is an informative response by Wadham.

  14. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS
    Internet Fosters Juvenile Squabbling
    Captain Kirk Versus the Internet

    “Their … technology … outstripped their … maturity. They became addicted … to constant  … stimulation and pointless  … distraction.”

    Computer — translate the 21st century colloquialism “libtard”.

    In other news: DocMartyn did readers of Climate Etc a great service by drawing attention to planetary scientist Walter Munk’s many decades of seminal contributions to oceanic heat-transport phenomena.

    Good on yah for responsible climate-science science and good manners, Walter Munk and DocMartyn!

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  15. Two very good papers worth a read

    Statistics and Climate,
    Peter Guttorp, Department of Statistics, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195

    Abstract
    For a statistician, climate is the distribution of weather and other variables that are part of the climate system. This distribution changes over time. This review considers some aspects of climate data, climate model assessment, and uncertainty estimation pertinent to climate issues, focusing mainly on temperatures. Some interesting methodological needs that arise from these issues are also considered.

    First paragraph of Introduction:

    1. INTRODUCTION
    This review contains a statistician’s take on some issues in climate research. The point of view is that of a statistician versed in multidisciplinary research; the review itself is not multidisciplinary. In other words, this review could not reasonably be expected to be publishable in a climate journal. Instead, it contains a point of view on research problems dealing with some climate issues, problems amenable to sophisticated statistical methods and ways of thinking. Often such methods are not current practice in climate science, so great opportunities exist for interested statisticians.

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-statistics-022513-115648

    Climate Simulators and Climate Projections,
    Jonathan Rougier and Michael Goldstein
    Department of Mathematics, University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TW, United Kingdom;
    Department of Mathematical Sciences, University of Durham, Durham, DH1 3LE

    Abstract
    We provide a statistical interpretation of current practice in climate modeling. In this review, we define weather and climate, clarify the relationship between simulator output and simulator climate, distinguish between a climate simulator and a statistical climate model, provide a statistical interpretation of the ubiquitous practice of anomaly correction along with a substantial generalization (the best-parameter approach), and interpret simulator/data comparisons as posterior predictive checking, including a simple adjustment to allow for double counting. We also discuss statistical approaches to simulator tuning, assessing parametric uncertainty, and responding to unrealistic outputs. We finish with a more general discussion of larger themes.

    http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev-statistics-022513-115652

    Shameless stolen from BishopHill posting by Dan Hughes

  16. JC: Considering that almost all extreme weather occurrences (be they hot/cold, wet/dry etc.) are blamed on global warming (aka climate change) by some almost immediately, this article saying they want to make the case even faster caught my eye…..

    scientists-to-fasttrack-evidence-linking-global-warming-to-wild-weather-9773767.html

    your thoughts?

  17. Climate is a huge problem that you can’t and won’t be able to solve. Nevertheless there is a clearing house “climate science” sort of operation that collects stuff and produces “new” unanswered questions for each new element brought in.

    This produces funding and sociological comfort but what else?

    Would saying it’s not in fact a science affect it, or does it need that name to continue in operation? That is, it’s trading on the good name of science.

    As if astrology collected NASA papers.

    • “Climate is a huge problem” No, it’s a fact of life, humans have thrived in a vast range of climates over the last 12,000 years, and (though I hate making predictions) are likely to do so indefinitely.

  18. Here’s an interesting analysis that I have not seen discussed here (but I may have missed it). Backing out the natural variability.
    http://www.cato.org/blog/new-research-erases-global-warming-pacific-northwest

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Wojick posts  “[Cato Institute whitewash redacted]”

      Pacific Northwest Mountaineers see with their own eyes glaciers retreating to levels NEVER seen in recorded history.

      That’s the common-sense reason why climate-change skeptics are mighty scarce among citizen-mountaineers!

      Conclusion Moraines don’t lie … eh Climate Etc readers?

      Gosh-golly … mebbe those sedentary Cato scribes oughtta get out from behind their desks more often?

      The world wonders!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • David Wojick

        Fan, you could at least try too understand. No, wait…..I forgot…you cannot.

      • From the link:
        “Depending on the glacier, the maximum advance occurred in the 16th, 18th, or 19th century. Pacific Northwest glaciers maintained advanced terminal positions from 1650 until around 1890, emplacing one or several LIA terminal moraines. At the Lyman, Columbia, and Lynch Glaciers in the North Cascades, William Long and I dated moraines using volcanic ash and found that the early Neoglaciation and Little Ice Age advances were similar in size. Early pictures by Cascade pioneers Israel Russell, C.E. Rusk, and Asahel Curtis show glaciers still close to their LIA maximum moraines at the beginning of the 20th century. Similar results were noted in the northeastern Cascades and on Mount Rainier.”

        The Glaciers grew during the LIA, started ungrowing in 1890, and are still ungrowing.

        5C (CCCCC – Catastrophic Caucasian Caused Climate Change) may be contributing to the glacial reduction but the glaciers were retreating before the emissions.

        Climate change before the emissions increase cannot be blamed on CO2 emissions.

      • The IPCC and the Himalayan glaciers that will “disappear” by 2035 endorse your efforts!

        Al Gore and the nonexistent polar ice cap of 2014 also send their best.

        British schoolchildren of 2010 not knowing what “snow” is were unavailable for comment.

      • Fa n

        Moraines indeed don’t lie so I am pleased to point you again to my graph here

        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/clip_image010.jpg

        It shows the advance and retreat of glaciers over the last 3000 years through which the hockey stick sails serenely on, apparently ( and unbelievably) barely deviating in temperature even whilst the glaciers grew and diminished.

        Glaciers, like boreholes reflect temperatures rising for the last 300 years

        I am pleased to advise that a new improved glacier graph has been drawn up and will be unveiled shortly. The information comes from laduries book ‘times of feast times of famine’ plus the papers of many fine glacialogists such as Pfister.
        Tonyb

      • Northeast Pacific coastal warming since 1900 is often ascribed to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, whereas multidecadal temperature changes are widely interpreted in the framework of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which responds to regional atmospheric dynamics. This study uses several independent data sources to demonstrate that century-long warming around the northeast Pacific margins, like multidecadal variability, can be primarily attributed to changes in atmospheric circulation. It presents a significant reinterpretation of the region’s recent climate change origins, showing that atmospheric conditions have changed substantially over the last century, that these changes are not likely related to historical anthropogenic and natural radiative forcing, and that dynamical mechanisms of interannual and multidecadal temperature variability can also apply to observed century-long trends. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/40/14360.abstract

        Never let actual science get in the way of a warmist rant. As a ‘reintretation’ though it suffers the disadvantage of having been observed often before. Apparently not often enough for FOMBS however.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      It’s plain common-sense, eh skeptics?

      The retreating glaciers in the Pacific Northwest are exposing the alpine flowers, grasses, and marmot-burrons from previous glacial retreats!

      Oh wait … they’re exposing only bare rock-rubble … which is more common-sense evidence that the 21st century’s “hockey-stick” glacier-melt is unique … and yet another reason why climate-change skepticism is mighty scarce among Pacific Northwest citizen-mountaineers.

      Needless to say, this same “hockey-stick” ice-melt pattern is being all over the Arctic.

      Conclusion  Either James Hansen’s climate-change worldview is right and Michael Mann’s hockey-stick is real … or else the global climate-change conspiracy is *FAR* more vast than even the most rabid market-fundamentalist conspiracy-theorists ever dreamed.

      The world wonders!

      It is a continuing pleasure — for all of us thoughtful science-minded folks here on Climate Etc — to responsibly allay skepticism by increasing scientific knowledge!

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    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Rob Ellison asserts [bizarrely and without evidence] “Science quite clearly leads to an expectation of cooling for 20 to 40 years at least from 2002.”

      YES! AND *THAT’S* why the sea-level has stopped rising, and the oceans have stopped heating, and the polar ice-mass has stopped shrinking, and why 2014 is markedly cooler [or is it?] than preceding years.

      Oh wait. precisely *NONE* of those things is true, eh Climate Etc readers?

      Conclusion  *MOST* scientists have concluded that (1) James Hansen’s energy-balance worldview is right, and foresee that (2) Michael Mann’s hockey-stick warming blades will continue to lengthen.

      And *MOST* business leaders, military leaders, religious leaders, and political leaders agree with the scientists. Along with ordinary citizens all around the world.

      *THIS* “hockey-stick” blade — of strengthening climate-change belief — is evident to *EVERYONE*, eh Climate Etc readers?

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      • Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        There is actually quite a lot of science that shows that the Pacific is cool – and the past behavior of these regimes suggests persistence for decades. The Pacific north-west study originally highlighted is a case in point. Oblivious twerps like FOMBS notwithstanding.

  19. The latest on Mann v. Steyn, from NRO. oral arguments November 25.

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/389835/update-mann-v-national-review-jack-fowler

    Though they get this part wrong:

    “The court will consider the jurisdictional issue of whether the appeal is proper at this time, and will also consider the merits of whether Mann’s lawsuit should be dismissed.”

    The court will only decide the merits of the trial court’s decision on NRO’s SLAPP motion if it first finds it has jurisdiction. The appellate court could punt again, and send it back to the trial court without deciding the merits of the SLAPP issue. It’s not likely, and would be exactly what Mark Steyn has asked for, but it is possible.

  20. On using amine sorbents to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere .

  21. David writes- “it’s always been known that climate models can’t project the short-term future.”

    Can you point models that are inaccurate for the short term but are reliable over the long term?

  22. Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    The perturbations extend to feasible values for initial
    and boundary conditions and in coupling breadth.

    http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751/F2.large.jpg

  23. D o u g  C o t t o n  

    To Judith, other Lukes & Warmists:

    Unless you can quantify the sensitivity to the greenhouse gas, water vapour which varies between about 1% and 4% in the lower troposphere (for example, quantify the sensitivity to each 1% increase within that range) then you don’t have the correct understanding of thermodynamics to even start to understand any sensitivity to carbon dioxide. Empirical evidence confirms the physics I present, namely that water vapour cools and does not warm by 10 degrees or more for each 1% as the IPCC would have you believe. You are all so gullible to believe this, because moist regions (with 4%) are obviously not 30 degrees hotter than dry regions with only 1% water vapour..

    • Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Tropospheric water vapour concentration diminishes rapidly with height, since it is ultimately limited by saturation-specific humidity, which strongly decreases as temperature decreases. Nevertheless, these relatively low upper-tropospheric concentrations contribute disproportionately to the ‘natural’ greenhouse effect, both because temperature contrast with the surface increases with height, and because lower down the atmosphere is nearly opaque at wavelengths of strong water vapour absorption.

      http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6-3-1.html

      http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6-3-1.html

      Doug asks the wrong question as usual.

      •  D o u g   C o t t o n  

        Rob Ellison makes two major errors in his physics. He says the upper troposphere water vapour radiation has a disproportionate effect, presumably on the rate of radiative cooling of the surface. What a joke! Firstly, he forgets that the intensity of radiation falls off as the square of the distance, and so too does its effect on slowing radiative cooling. Secondly he forgets that there is greater thermal energy transfer the bigger the temperature difference. The slowing of non-radiative surface cooling is caused mostly by the conduction at the interface between oxygen, nitrogen, argon etc molecules and the less the temperature gap the greater is the slowing. The most effective radiation to slow radiative cooling comes from the water vapour molecules nearest the surface. However, none of this has any effect on the supporting temperature at which all the cooling almost stops in the early pre-dawn hours. That supporting temperature is the primary determinant of surface temperatures on Earth, Venus etc.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “What a joke! Firstly, he forgets that the intensity of radiation falls off as the square of the distance, and so too does its effect on slowing radiative cooling.”

        Radiation from a point source falls off as the square of the distance. Radiation from an extended flat surface doesn’t.

      • Pierre-Normand commented

        Radiation from a point source falls off as the square of the distance. Radiation from an extended flat surface doesn’t.

        So radiation from a star doesn’t fall off as the square of the distance?

      • So radiation from a star doesn’t fall off as the square of the distance?

        Not close to the surface.

      • AK commented

        Not close to the surface.

        How close is close?

      • How close is close?

        Don’t have time to track down a link to a good description. For an object radiating as a black body (e.g. a stellar photosphere) radiation from an object actually falls off as the solid angle subtended by it. (As measured in, say, steradians). At moderate distances (say, over 10 radii), that’s approximately proportional to the sine of the angle it subtends, which in turn, for small angles, is roughly proportional to the angle itself. So for that distance, it starts to fall off as approximately the square of the distance. How far depends on how much precision you need.

        As you get closer, the horizon begins to move closer to the observer than the actual equator (using the direction from the observer as a pole), and the angle subtended by the object gets larger than that of the equator. When you’re really close, it subtends approximately 2π steradians, that is half the sky, and doesn’t change much for changing distances.

      •  D o u g   C o t t o n  

        There is far less water vapour in the uppermost layers of the troposphere than there is at around 3Km to 5Km altitude. Yes you could claim that, if there were continuous such levels of water vapour at a high altitude the analogy would be closer to that of parallel planes of radiation rather than a point source. However, the far lower density of water vapour in the upper troposphere, and the greater temperature difference makes that radiation pale into insignificance compared with the water vapour close to the surface.

        But the overall effect of the radiating properties of water vapour is to lower the magnitude of the gravitationally induced temperature gradient and thus to lower the supporting temperature at the base of the troposphere. This causes ordinary air molecules (nitrogen, oxygen, argon etc) to slow the surface cooling by non-radiative processes as well as water vapour (at temperatures close to the surface temperature) to slow radiative cooling of the surface. The level at which the cooling slows or stops in the early pre-dawn hours is set by the gravito-thermal effect and is thus a function primarily related to the solar flux intensity, the acceleration due to gravity and the weighted man specific heat of the gases. This computation works on all planets.

    • Fyi– Some of the coldest regions on Earth are also among the driest with little or no water vapor to speak of.

      • You mean like Antarctica?

      • I was thinking… winters in central Siberia and northwest Canada were atmospheric water vapor is nil and a temperature rising from a -50°F to -45°F would be an example of, global warming.

      • Wag,
        It ss even worse than we thought. The temperatures of ice covered arctic and Anarctica are not measured except for a few science outposts on the continents. So the temperatures are estimated. Now if one keigs and raises them from -45*C to -40*C the average global temperature goes up by ??? . The global average is then hottest on record at 13.5 vs 13.55*C One can make up whatever number is needed are major portions of the globe. Not even counting goiing back and changing the historical records in Australia or other places by homogonization.

        Whoever controls the present controls the past and thus the future.
        Scott

      • Hmmmm… true, true, the warming before 1940 accounts for 70% of the warming since the LIA (about 1850). If we adjust for the amount of global warming since then that has been ferreted out of the temperature records in the coldest and most inhospitable regions on Earth — such as in the dry air of the Arctic or Siberia where going from a -50°C to a -40°C at one small spot on the globe is extrapolated across tens of thousands of miles and then branded as global warming — there has been no significant global warming in the US since the 1940s.

      • What strikes me about the “Arctic heat wave” sp often used as a “proof” of global warming is that the only plots presented for publication/propaganda/news release about Arctic temperatures are for “annual temperature averages from 60 north to 70 north latitude” …

        Thus, although the DMI daily temperature plot for the sunlit summer months since 1959 shows 0.0 degrees warmer (just a small bit cooler actually!), the WINTER DMI daily graph is substantially higher (4 -5 degrees but with a very, very large deviation from week to week. The DMI SUMMER daily temperatures show NO increase at all, and a microscopic 60 year standard deviation of less than 2/10 of one degree. If the Arctic were getting hotter due to any kind of solar radiation or heat trapping, it is ONLY happening when the sun does not shine.

        However, if one averages a long period of “hotter” winter days (when the sun is not shining) and a steady or static (not increasing) shorter period of summer days. the yearly average MUST go up. As needed.

        Further, every plant, lichen, bush, shrub and tree in the world is growing taller, longer, more leafy, more widespread. Much, much darker. Is it any wonder than more “dark” areas due to increased vegetation and tree growth for longer periods of time decrease albedo and increase LAND arctic temperatures?

        Everywhere on earth except Antarctica’s ice shelves and ice continental land. Which IS getting colder over time.

        Well, all of Antarctica is getting colder except that one rocky and somewhat little bit bare peninsula!

      • What global warming? Alaska is headed for an ice age as scientists report state’s steady temperature decline

        – Since 2000, temperatures in Alaska have dropped by 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit

        – Scientists reviewed weather reports from 20 climate stations operated by the National Weather Service located across Alaska

        – 19 of the 20 weather stations reported falling temperatures

        – An ocean phenomenon has disrupted a storm regulating system thus allowing cold winter storms to linger longer and bring a deep chill

        – Local residents have noticed the colder temps but say its no big deal since they are already bundled up for 20-below zero temperatures

        By Daily Mail Reporter

        Published: 13:42 EST, 2 January 2013

      • ”Well, all of Antarctica is getting colder except that one rocky and somewhat little bit bare peninsula!”
        That’s what I thought until I got there too. Well, it’s not rocky and bare. It is actually almost completely covered by glaciers like the rest of Antarctica. Only a few odd capes and offshore islands have any bare rock to speak of

  24. To the religious fervor of liberal fascists simply add a pinch of government science to the heavy-handed Leftist politics that stokes the flames of global warming and reheat until yet another helping of socialist despotism is ready to be shoved down our throats.

  25. My visit to the USSR twenty-nine years earlier, in 1980, helped me grasp the significance of official responses to the Climategate controversy after 2009.

    • Electrical demand has a couple of daily peaks as well as seasonal demand dependent on climate. It is at least feasible that solar and wind can supplant some of that energy – daytime load, solar for air conditioning loads in summer, wind for heating in winter, heating water anytime opportunistically. All without needing redundant capacity – but the penetration is necessarily limited. It can be modeled using the US EPA model which incorporates wind and solar data. It is probably not rocket science.

      Here is a global estimate of the levelised cost of energy. This is the appropriate measure for the scenario above.

      http://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Q2-2013-global-Levelised-cost-of-electricity-Graphic-WEC.jpg

      There are a dozen technologies that are potentially competitive – under $100/MWh. Solar – either PV or thermal – is not one of the dozen. Most have limited availability – either for physical or logistical reasons.
      The major practical sources remain coal, gas and nuclear.

      How is this not simple? We do not want doubled energy costs – and I am really uninterested in dubious externalities calcs. Cheap energy is the currency of civilization – hard to put a true price on the benefits.

      • Faustino,

        Just be froe anyone gets too excited, remember the LCOE of the bottom three on the list (i.e. the dispatchable technologies) are not comparable with the rest (the non-dispatchable technologies)*. This has been pointed out over and over again, but some people just don’t seem to get it, or don’t want to.

        * Hydro can be either dispatchable or non-dispatchable depending on design and regular water flows relative to its capacity.

      • To be clearer, the LCOE of the non dispatchables does not include the cost of back up, energy storage, transmission, distribution, and voltage and frequency control and management. These are manageable when the non-dispatachble technologies are just a few percent of total generation. But it become significant and costly as the proportion of non dispatchables increases.

        The transmission cost is not included in LCOE. However, it is comparatively a much lower cost for baseload technologies than for intermittent, non-dispatchable technologies. Firstly, the average transmission length per MWh transmitted is much higher for non-dispatchanble technologies. Whereas dispatchable technologies, especially nuclear and gas, can be cited near the demand centres (because fuel is brought to them), the wind and solar plants have to be widely distributed and cited in high wind and high insolation areas. This makes for much longer transmission lines per MWh transmitted.

        Secondly, whereas the baseload generators run at high capacity factors (so are using most of the peak capacity of the transmission line on average), the transmission lines to intermittent renewables have to be sized to carry the maximum output of the solar or wind farm, but the average power transmitted is about 15% to 20% for solar and about 30% for wind (without storage).

        These extra costs which are much higher for the non dispartchables than the dispatchables, add a huge additional cost to the LCOE of non-dispatchables but a smaller addition to dispatchables.

        Links on this thread by Planning Engineer, Steve Postrell and me all explain various aspects of this. I’d urge people interested in these issues to read them.

        These are Steve Postrell’s three links:
        ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/9559656/Germanys-wind-power-chaos-should-be-a-warning-to-the-UK.html

        http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21587782-europes-electricity-providers-face-existential-threat-how-lose-half-trillion-euros

        http://theenergycollective.com/robertwilson190/335806/germany-shows-renewable-energy-has-failed-and-other-strange-ideas

      • Peter, I was + 10-ing the sentiments of Robert’s last para. I read two of Steve’s links links earlier, I’d already reached my Economist free limit so couldn’t access that link. And I’ve read and appreciated PE.

      • Faustino,

        Sorry, for implying this was directed at you. It was really intended to be a general comment. I was just responding to you because your was the last comment.

        Yes, I agree with RE’s last para too.

      • To be clearer, the LCOE of the non dispatchables does not include the cost of back up, energy storage, transmission, distribution, and voltage and frequency control and management. These are manageable when the non-dispatachble technologies are just a few percent of total generation.

        The levelised costs for any of the sources don’t include transmission. Back up is not required for some level of penetration depending on specific circumstances. A ‘few percent’ is very vague and i taken literally – rather than as handwaving to minimise the potential of renewables – such as it is – is an underestimation.

        The transmission cost is not included in LCOE. However, it is comparatively a much lower cost for baseload technologies than for intermittent, non-dispatchable technologies. Firstly, the average transmission length per MWh transmitted is much higher for non-dispatchanble technologies. Whereas dispatchable technologies, especially nuclear and gas, can be cited near the demand centres (because fuel is brought to them), the wind and solar plants have to be widely distributed and cited in high wind and high insolation areas. This makes for much longer transmission lines per MWh transmitted.

        Power stations are usually located near the fuel source where feasible. It is much easier to transport electricity than coal – and electricity is commonly transported over great distances via the grid. Solar – if economic – could in fact be placed much closer to demand than conventional power sources – on rooftops, in windows, etc. The limitation is the cost of the technology. Only analysis of specific circumstances is useful – rather than blanket platitudes intended only to misdirect for reasons to do with ideology.

        These extra costs which are much higher for the non dispartchables than the dispatchables, add a huge additional cost to the LCOE of non-dispatchables but a smaller addition to dispatchables.

        Links on this thread by Planning Engineer, Steve Postrell and me all explain various aspects of this. I’d urge people interested in these issues to read them.

        The point remains. LCOE is the relevant measure for comparing technologies. The renewables – the other nine cost effective alternatives – have a limited application – as I said. But some of them are indeed ‘dispatchable’.

        The obsession with wind and solar misses the point. Solar is not economic. Wind may be economic currently under some circumstances. Not in the US by the way – where gas rules for the time being. At some stage solar may be economic – at which time decisions will be made on a commercial basis. I make no arguments for subsidies – but again make the point to Peter that I don’t second guess the market or predict technological evolution.

        Distribution costs vary with location and opportunities and need to be evaluated on a project and distribution network basis – subject to modelling for reliability and cost – rather than be subject of a blanket rejection based on prejudice and wild handwaving.

        The argument is for rational cost analysis and reliability modelling. Rational engineering planning in other words – without dismissing potential sources out of hand for what seem like suspiciously spurious reasons.

        Ultimately there is reasonable cause to replace fossil fuels – not least because they will continue to get more expensive. The way to do this is to technically innovate and explore options.

        I like to keep an open mind – http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

      • Power stations are usually located near the fuel source where feasible.

        Not correct. Nuclear power stations use very small quantities of fuels and they are located near the demand centres and near cooling water. Gas power stations are located near the demand centres and the gas is piped to them. Coal is located near the coal mine or transported long distances to near the demand centre. Coal is transported all over the world.

        On the other hand, wind generation is located where the best wind resources are available. It is often far from the demand centres. If we were to need solar power at more than a minute percentage of total power, it would have to be widely dispersed and have very long transmission lines.

      • If you care to reflect – most power plants in Australia are located near coal supplies. It is optimum for costs. Nuclear plants are some 15% of installed capacity globally. Gas plants are optimally located relatively near gas fields. Turbines seem to be located just about anywhere and there is no particular reason why they need to be remote. The most useful solar installation would seem to be distributed – if the costs come down. Rooftops, windows in high rise, etc. This becomes too speculative for my taste.

        But generally my doubly qualified statement is true enough. You are simply pulling quibbles out of your arse. Stop it – it is too tedious for words.

      • Because China has become a better place to do business than the US it is easy to forget China is a communist country. China is liberalizing economic freedom because the communist government realized it cannot provide for its people while at a time when the US is limiting economic freedom because the Left fears individual liberty and free market capitalism.

      • Yes, Wagathon, it seems very bleak now, . . .

        but the Creator, Destroyer and Sustainer of every atom, life and world in the solar system will not be defeated and hidden by selfish world leaders and their assistants:

        http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-8355

      • [previously posted in wrong place]

        Peter Lang | October 9, 2014 at 5:50 pm | Reply
        We know LCOE typically includes and don’t really need your long winded and irrelevant observations.

        You repeatedly post links to charts and tables listing LCOE of various technologies but fail to mention that LCOE of dispatchable and non-dispatchable generation technologies are not comparable. You’ve been told repeatedly, yet continue to ignore it. It seems as if it is an intention to either mislead other readers, or bait, or try to make out you are an authority on everything. (which previous comments revealed is not the case regarding the electricity industry).

        It seems you are willfully misrepresenting what the LCOE’s tell us.

        LCOE of dispatchable and non-dispatchable generation technologies are not comparable.

        Write that down! :)

      • LCOE is used by everyone but Peter to compare technologies. Peter adds humungous costs to some technologies based on unfounded assumptions and hyperbole. So called non-dispatchable technologies do not need backup up to a specific penetration of 10, 20, 30% based of energy mix and local conditions. Distribution costs may or may not be a factor. The technologies – a broad range of technologies – and the tools are evolving at a rapid pace. Keeping an open mind is preferable to dogmatic assertion.

        e.g. – http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/feature_detail.cfm/feature_id=15401

        Peter takes disbelief in his pronouncements as a cue to proceed from condescension to bombast to vitriol. I will continue to use LCOE to compare technologies – as any rational person does – and will continue to ignore Pater’s instructions – again as any rational person would do.

      • Ellison,

        Ypu’r the professor of vitreol. You employ it continually in almost every comment on all threads. You never let up.

        LCOE is used by everyone but Peter to compare technologies. Peter adds humungous costs to some technologies based on unfounded assumptions and hyperbole

        People who know what they are talking about understand that LCOE of dispatchable and non dispatchable technologies are not comparable. They don’t repeatedly mislead and misrepresent, as you do, even after being told repeatedly. The sources of the LCOE make the caveats clear. You ignore them and pretend it’s an unimportant point and then invariably make a great song and dance over trying to defend your misrepresentations

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Peter Lang and Rob Ellison, please allow me to commend to BOTH of you — as an example of climate-discourse that is civil, scientific, tolerant, and rational — this week’s fine essay by Sou from Bundangawoolarangeera, Heat, Heat Waves and Angry Australian Summers (and Years)

        Otherwise Climate Etc readers might as well watch cat videos!

        Good on `yah Sou! Take a lesson from her, Peter and Rob!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • The International Energy Agency updated their technology roadmaps for solar PV and solar thermal energy, suggesting that, with significant policy and technological progress, solar could collectively contribute 27 percent of global electricity by 2050. Some commentators were quick to exclaim victory, but let’s remember that the IEA has provided a “roadmap” not a set of predictions, nor projections. To achieve that 27 percent requires a high global carbon price – which doesn’t yet exist – and for average annual solar PV deployment to quadruple from 36 GW installed in 2013 to 200 GW/yr between 2025 and 2040. Such deployment will require massive incentives, of which, in their current form, IEA says are “largely unsustainable.”

        http://theenergycollective.com/alextrembath/1950796/will-worlds-dominant-energy-source-be-solar-only-serious-proactive-policy-suppo

        As I’ve been saying, solar is hugely expensive and would need massive subsidies and favouritism for decaes to reach even a small contribution to global electricity supply !!!! :)

      • I agree with this comment on the thread linked in my previous comment:

        “Alex, Maria van der Hoeven of the IEA is being politically but not technically correct when she states

        energy efficiency, many types of renewable energy, carbon capture and storage (CCS), nuclear power, and new transport technologies will all require widespread deployment to meet future climate and energy goals.

        In truth, renewable energy and CCS are not only unnecessary but create dependencies – solar and wind on fossil fuel backup, and CCS on petroleum extraction (EOR) – which may exacerbate carbon emissions.

        Even if marginally helpful, they are expensive and wasteful diversions from more promising technologies.”

      • Am I correct that the IEA scenarios assume little change in public paranoia about and opposition to nuclear power? http://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/EnergyTechnologyPerspectives_ES.pdf

        Can I tease out a thought for consideration by the experts here? I’d like to ask what rate of capacity doubling could be achieved for Small Modular Reactors (SMR) if they achieved a 10% rate of cost reduction per capacity doubling?

        At a 10% rate of LCOE reduction per capacity doubling, a 2-year capacity doubling period, and beginning with the projected LCOE of the mPower SMR in 2022 (at projected LCOE in Australia), the LCOE of SMR’s could be half that of new coal fired electricity in Australia by about 2045. [Coal is the lowest cost electricity generation in Australia.]

        I suspect if the IAEA could be persuaded to change the allowable radiation exposure limits from ALARA to AHARS (as low as reasonably achievable to as high as relatively safe) this could be the catalyst to get people to start rethinking and re-evaluating their fears about nuclear power. This could open the floodgates to a re-evaluation. The next US President could lead the way for the world to get low cost, safe, electricity from, mostly, small modular nuclear power plants. The next US President could begin by revamping the approach taken by the NRC to nuclear regulation. This could unleash competition and with it innovation, cost reduction and continually improving, fit-for-purpose technologies.

        I suspect under these conditions 10% cost reduction per capacity doubling is a reasonable estimate (based on 100 years of historical data for other electricity generation technologies). However, I have no idea what rate of doubling is reasonable? I suspect SMR’s would replace fossil fuel generation worldwide (both existing and new capacity) once the LCOE drops below that of fossil fuels, and the rate would accelerate as the difference between LCOE of fossil fuel and nuclear power increases.

        Q. What rate of capacity doubling could be achieved at a 10% LCOE reduction per capacity doubling and starting at 10% higher cost than fossil fuels in 2022?

      • Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.3 The importance of the factors varies among the technologies. For technologies such as solar and wind generation that have no fuel costs and relatively small variable O&M costs, LCOE changes in rough proportion to the estimated capital cost of generation capacity. For technologies with significant fuel cost, both fuel cost and overnight cost estimates significantly affect LCOE. The availability of various incentives, including state or federal tax credits, can also impact the calculation of LCOE. As with any projection, there is uncertainty about all of these factors and their values can vary regionally and across time as technologies evolve and fuel prices change.

        It is important to note that, while LCOE is a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies, actual plant investment decisions are affected by the specific technological and regional characteristics of a project, which involve numerous other factors. The projected utilization rate, which depends on the load shape and the existing resource mix in an area where additional capacity is needed, is one such factor. The existing resource mix in a region can directly impact the economic viability of a new investment through its effect on the economics surrounding the displacement of existing resources. For example, a wind resource that would primarily displace existing natural gas generation will usually have a different economic value than one that would displace existing coal generation. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

        I have quoted this before to Peter – LCOE remains a convenient measure of relative competiveness of energy technologies. This is why it is so widely used. The contention that some technologies necessarily require redundant capacity or distribution augmentation is simply wrong. No matter how many he tries to tell me I know nothing, am misleading or disingenuous – it is still incorrect and I will continue to say so.

        The economic – the LCOE – says that solar sources are too expensive. Wind in relatively small amounts may be technically and economically feasible – at some very significant environmental cost. In the longer term 4th gen nuclear is my technology pick.

        e.g. http://www.ga.com/energy-multiplier-module

        See the economics – the cost provided is comparable to gas and this technology has many technical and environmental advantages.

        And if anyone believes that FOMBS – or indeed sou from wherever – is anything but a serial pest and a source of perpetually disparagement I’d be surprised.

      • Joshua has very kindly cut and pasted Peter’s comments. Can’t say as I would have been bothered. Joshua uses it to be trivially disagreeable – as is his wont – but let’s deconstruct.

        They don’t repeatedly mislead and misrepresent, as you do

        Avoiding the key issue and burying it in a pile of irrelevancies is an old trick.

        I find your continual misrepresentations and disingenuous statements as indicating you are not trustworthy.

        Why should I bother to follow your links and read them when you don’t even look at mine?

        Your assertion that I am talking about PV only is a misrepresentation or misunderstanding. etc etc

        To respond that Peter takes disbelief in his pronouncements as a cue to proceed from condescension to bombast to vitriol seems fair comment. .
        As is defining his comments as the usual bombastic – and usually abusive and insulting – response.

        My intent is descriptive and not prejudicial – intended to bring the behavior into relief. One can’t simply disagree – one has to be disagreeable. Sad but there it is.

      • I have quoted this before to Peter – LCOE remains a convenient measure of relative competiveness of energy technologies. This is why it is so widely used.

        You keep quoting that and similar, but you ignore the important caveats and how and when it is applicable. It’s cherry-picking and disengenuous. And because you refuse to read the authoritative references I’ve posted in the past (including IEA, EIA, EPRI, AEMO, BREE for jsut a few example) you can’t learn. [you’ve stated in the past you won’t look at anything I post].

        The contention that some technologies necessarily require redundant capacity or distribution augmentation is simply wrong.

        You’re wrong.

        LCOE of dispatchable and non-dispatchable generation technologies are not comparable.

        Write that down!

      • Just to avoid the opportunity for misunderstanding, regarding back-up capacity, as I’ve stated repeatedly, I am not talking about low energy penetration. I am talking about where energy penetration is high enough for the intermittent renewables to be making large cuts in GHG emissions (which is the justification for subsidising and effectively mandating them).

        It should also be remembered that as penetration increase their effectiveness at reducing emissions reduces. For example, on of the best studies is of EirGrid which that wind energy was only 53% effective at reducing emissions per MWh at 17% energy penetration (in 2011).

      • We are channeling Springer now? A more invidious example I can’t imagine.

        I quote the EIA, NREL, ERCOT, the World Energy Council and many others.
        Lang quotes himself – and he is right – I can no longer be bothered. His vision is simply far too narrow – too ideologically hidebound.

        NREL is leading a worldwide conversation about energy systems integration and spearheading innovations that optimize our entire energy system. Energy systems integration combines energy carriers (such as electricity, thermal pathways, fuels, and water) with infrastructures (such as communications and transportation) to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. A range of technologies connect through these energy infrastructures and form systems at a variety of physical scales—from individual buildings to aggregations at campuses and fleets to distribution and regional systems that stretch across continents.

        Energy systems integration research and development at NREL is concentrated in the areas of transmission, distribution, and resource assessment and forecasting. R&D of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies (and the science behind them) also play a major role in seamless interconnection and flexibility between energy carriers and infrastructures. Energy analysis plays a vital part in informing policy and investment decisions as renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies move from innovation to integration.

        Perhaps the most promising approach is to integrate different technologies across networks. There are a dozen technologies that are cost effective right now – a bakers dozen if we include efficiency. The point is to build effective networks incorporating multiple, cost competitive technologies. This brings the ultimate benefits of diversification and resultant reliability and lower economic risk by insulating the system from rising fuel costs especially.

        Perhaps I should remind people that this started as a simple comment on relative costs as shown by LCOE. Choosing cost competitive technologies and integrating them into a system. It can most certainly be done with a limit for low carbon technology utilisation that is yet to be fully explored.

      • Perhaps the most promising approach is to integrate different technologies across networks. There are a dozen technologies that are cost effective right now – a bakers dozen if we include efficiency. The point is to build effective networks incorporating multiple, cost competitive technologies. This brings the ultimate benefits of diversification and resultant reliability and lower economic risk by insulating the system from rising fuel costs especially.

        Just more motherhood. Nothing new here. No appreciation of costs. Doesn’t understand the key point I’ve tried a dozen time to explain to him that LCOE of dispatchables and non-dispatchable is not comparable. Not worth spending time on his selective copy and pastes which so often ignore the relevant points.

      • … key point I’ve tried a dozen time to explain to him that LCOE of dispatchables and non-dispatchable is not comparable..

        It is simply not true. As in the EIA quote above LCOE provides the first cut for comparing technology costs. It is then a matter of factoring in other issues in a comprehensive network analysis. It is not that I want to be difficult – but I don’t just believe him for a moment.

        The NREL systems approach quoted from above is leading edge. This is the interesting point. My ‘selective copy and paste’ is in fact central to the global discourse on new network methods in energy systems.

      • It is simply not true.

        It is true.

        In the EIA tables here dispatchable and non dispatchable are always listed separately – for a good reason! http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

        “A related factor is the capacity value, which depends on both the existing capacity mix and load characteristics in a region. Since load must be balanced on a continuous basis, units whose output can be varied to follow demand (dispatchable technologies) generally have more value to a system than less flexible units (non-dispatchable technologies), or those whose operation is tied to the availability of an intermittent resource. The LCOE values for dispatchable and nondispatchable technologies are listed separately in the tables, because caution should be used when comparing them to one another.”

        AETO Report, p24: http://www.bree.gov.au/sites/bree.gov.au/files/files//publications/aeta/australian_energy_technology_assessment.pdf

        “Projected LCOE does not necessarily provide a reliable indicator of the relative market value of generation technologies because of differences in the role of technologies in a wholesale electricity market. The value of variable (or intermittent) power plants (such as wind, and solar) will depend upon the extent to which such plants generate electricity during peak periods and the impact these plants have on the reliability of the electricity system. Unlike dispatchable power plants (such as coal, natural gas, biomass, and hydroelectric) – which are reliant on some form of stored energy (e.g. fuels, water storage) – wind and photovoltaic power plants do not, typically, include energy storage.

        To cater for sudden, unpredictable, changes in the output of variable power plants, it is necessary to operate responsive, dispatchable power plants (e.g. hydro, open-cycle gas turbines) in a back-up role to maintain the overall reliability of the electricity system. As a result, LCOE by technology is not the only factor considered when deciding what type of electricity generation plant to construct.”

        Do you accept the point yet, or is that beyond the capacity of your ego?

      • Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) is often cited as a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatthour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.3 The importance of the factors varies among the technologies. For technologies such as solar and wind generation that have no fuel costs and relatively small variable O&M costs, LCOE changes in rough proportion to the estimated capital cost of generation capacity. For technologies with significant fuel cost, both fuel cost and overnight cost estimates significantly affect LCOE. The availability of various incentives, including state or federal tax credits, can also impact the calculation of LCOE. As with any projection, there is uncertainty about all of these factors and their values can vary regionally and across time as technologies evolve and fuel prices change.

        It is important to note that, while LCOE is a convenient summary measure of the overall competiveness of different generating technologies, actual plant investment decisions are affected by the specific technological and regional characteristics of a project, which involve numerous other factors. The projected utilization rate, which depends on the load shape and the existing resource mix in an area where additional capacity is needed, is one such factor. The existing resource mix in a region can directly impact the economic viability of a new investment through its effect on the economics surrounding the displacement of existing resources. For example, a wind resource that would primarily displace existing natural gas generation will usually have a different economic value than one that would displace existing coal generation. http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm

        There is really no difference to the passage I quoted earlier – and have repeated here. There are specific loads that are compatible with specific source – and I suggested a few earlier. There are other technologies such as geothermal, landfill gas, biomass and hydro that can be switched with variable sources usefully. It is all a matter of network analysis in the NREL sense.

        Do you get it yet?

      • Ellison,

        There are specific loads that are compatible with specific source – and I suggested a few earlier. There are other technologies such as geothermal, landfill gas, biomass and hydro that can be switched with variable sources usefully. It is all a matter of network analysis in the NREL sense.

        FUD!

        Where’s your network analysis? Where are your costs for a mostly renewables versus mostly nuclear or all fossil fuel grid?

        Let’s see your hand?

      • I’ll make that more specific. Show me how you’d estimate the cost of electricity for the Australian National Electricity Market with the requirement reduce emissions intensity from the grid by 90% by 2050. Use these LCOE: http://www.bree.gov.au/sites/bree.gov.au/files/files//publications/aeta/australian_energy_technology_assessment.pdf
        Include an estimate for grid costs.

      • How about the US for up to 90% emissions reduction by 2050?

        http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

        ‘Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost.’

        I’d pretty much focus on that – while implementing cost effective technologies now. Gas, hydro, biomass, landfill gas, geothermal, etc.

        For goodness sake – get a clue.

      • You may as well have suggested this one:
        http://bze.org.au/zero-carbon-australia-2020

      • For goodness sake get a clue yourself. Do you know what NREL stand’s for, dummy. How gullible are you?

      • ‘NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.’

        They have a $271M budge this year? So any organization – even one run by the US Dept. of Energy – is suspect because they have renewable in the name?

        I gave you precisely what you asked for you merely called me a dummy. Is this how you graciously lose the plot?

      • You’d have to be gullible, or a RE zealot, to trust the costs estimates for a renewable energy electricity system in 2050 that is prepared by the NREL. They are DOE, but a RE advocacy agency. They have a long history of optimistic projections.

        We’ve had many decades of similarly optimistic projections. I recall David Mills and Mark Diesnedorf and other is the 1980’s and 1990s saying “solar power is baseload capable and cheaper than nuclear now, if the government would just give us more money so we can demonstrate it”.

      • I’ll make that more specific. Show me how you’d estimate the cost of electricity for the Australian National Electricity Market with the requirement reduce emissions intensity from the grid by 90% by 2050. Use these LCOE: http://www.bree.gov.au/sites/bree.gov.au/files/files//publications/aeta/australian_energy_technology_assessment.pdf
        Include an estimate for grid costs.

        It is all there for the US – including nuclear. http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/re_futures/

        And you dig in and insist that I do it from scratch? LMFAO

        You do understand that these things are strategic level planning and not intended as road maps. Shorter term planning should focus on the bakers dozen cost effective technologies – along with reducing costs and improving performance of other technologies. Strategic goals in other words.

      • Ellison,

        If you want to believe an NREL projection of the cost of electricity with renewable v nuclear, it shows how gullible an ignorant you are. You really ought to get out more.

        There are many many authoritative sources you could have selected, but you chose NREL. What a joke.

        Here’s CSIRO eFuture calculator: http://efuture.csiro.au/#scenarios Try it with default values then allow nuclear. Notice the least cost option is with nuclear providing about 60% of electricity in 2050. That is without adding the cost of additional transmission, grid balancing, and assuming optimistic cost reduction rates for renewables and no cost reduction rate for nuclear.

        Big picture, even highly optimistic assumptions do not make renewables viable.

      • There is two things that makes renewables viable – as the relevant NREL page says – and indeed which I have previously quoted.

        The direct incremental cost associated with high renewable generation is comparable to published cost estimates of other clean energy scenarios. Improvement in the cost and performance of renewable technologies is the most impactful lever for reducing this incremental cost.

        Low carbon obviously includes nuclear – but nuclear is still a relatively expensive option. SMR are potentially cheaper but they are not yet commercially available.

        The NREL have a $271M budget this year – and do some very interesting work. As I said – I keep an open mind on options and technologies.

        The CSIRO btw include a carbon price that results in coal being displaced by gas in the no nuclear option and gas by nuclear in the nuclear allowed option. It includes assumptions on backup supply that is not necessarily true in the sense that NREL approaches network planning. It is a toy for the unsophisticated public to play with.

        It also includes strong renewables growth in all options. The CSIRO as a bastion of sceptical thinking? You are are an utter joke Lang.

      • Nuclear is cheaper than most “renewables.” From what orifice did you pull “but nuclear is still a relatively expensive option.”?

      • http://www.neimagazine.com/features/featureklt-40s-nuclear-barge-project-still-afloat/

        You can get a Russian KLT 40-S 70 MW for about $7.6 million. The cost for drop shipping a 70 ton reactor should be $70,000 or less.

        They are making them as barge installed units – but you can probably get it shipped assembled on a platform. For land use you need to just add cooling (if you are using it on a barge – that is already provided for).

        Nuclear in the US is as expensive as it is because of the US preference for complex designs, insane regulations from the activist lobby, and a NRC permitting process that takes fricking forever.

        An example of anti-nuclear activist overarching lunacy:
        http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Radiation-and-Health/Naturally-Occurring-Radioactive-Materials-NORM/
        “For example, scrap steel from gas plants may be recycled if it has less than 500,000 Bq/kg (0.5 MBq/kg) radioactivity (the exemption level). This level however is one thousand times higher than the clearance level for recycled material (both steel and concrete) from the nuclear industry! Anything above 500 Bq/kg may not be cleared from regulatory control for recycling. ”

        There is no reason that NRC permitting for a new reactor – particularly a passive safe one – should take more than 3 or 4 months given the desperate nature of the CO2 warming situation and the need for clean energy sources.

        http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm
        Other than some forms of gas turbine (70% of the cost is fuel) which are only cheaper at the current time, nuclear is the cheapest dispatchable energy source you can build at a site of your choosing.

      • Not only that, since you can build nuclear power plants near the load and existing grid, you don’t have the expense of building more grid and don’t suffer the losses involved in long transmission lines.

      • I´m not sure I would like to see the World Bank finance a nuclear power station in Venezuela. The government is incompetent, corrupt, and has close ties to all sorts of terrorist groups. I suspect visualize the places you know. But I visualize places in Africa and Latin America where a small refinery can be a huge public safety menace.

        “Three refining tanks exploded at Venezuela’s biggest refinery complex, killing 41 people and injuring more than 80 people in the Opec nation’s worst ever oil accident.
        —–
        More than 200 homes were reported damaged by the shockwave. Some were across the street from the refinery, which is on a peninsula in the Caribbean Sea in western Venezuela.
        —–
        People living close to the refinery have spoken of a dense fog-like cloud descending in the days before the huge explosion, which sent a shockwave tearing through the surrounding area, shattering shops and homes and littering the streets with debris
        —–
        “The smell of gas could be normal close to a refinery, especially on a windless day like Friday, but [this] wasn’t,” said Mario Theis, who worked as operations manager in the Amuay complex for more than 30 years. “At the first hint of a gas leak sirens should go off and all access roads get closed. It didn’t happen.”
        —-
        This accident and a large oil spill in the eastern state of Monagas have revived allegations from industry professionals that safety protocols and standard maintenance practices were neglected after a general strike by the company’s employees in 2002 led to the firing of more than 20,000 people.
        —–
        According to the blogger Miguel Octavio, citing PDVSA’s official 2011 annual report, the Amuay refinery was scheduled to undergo nine maintenance shutdowns but only two were conducted because of lack of parts.”

        http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/aug/27/venezuela-oil-refinery-explosion-chavez

        I happen to know first hand how unsafe industry operations have become in Venezuela. I also know how things get done in West Africa. I don´t think building nuclear power plants in some countries makes any sense.

      • On the surface this appears to be a logical bit of common sense.

        On the other hand it could be viewed as a combination of colonialism and paternalism.

      • “Sigh” threading messed up. The above was supposed to be a reply to FL about technology in third world countries…

      • Which part of LCOE didn’t you understand. The table of global LCOE is above,. It is what I started with. For the US nuclear is almost twice the cost of gas.

      • Nuclear is somewhat more expensive than gas. So what. Renewables are a whole lot more expensive that gas. Plus, you can put nuclear where the load is and it has enough fuel to last thousands of years. Not sure what your point is.

      • Rob Ellison
        “Which part of LCOE didn’t you understand. The table of global LCOE is above,. It is what I started with. For the US nuclear is almost twice the cost of gas.”

        http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm
        2019 LCOE Advanced nuclear is 86.1 $/MWh
        Gas varies from
        64.4 $/MWh for Advanced Combined Cycle to
        91.3 $/MWh for Advanced CC with CCS.

        A Conventional Combustion Turbine is a peaking facility and not a fair comparison.

        With the gas facilities about 70% of the LCOE is fuel so the cost is really the fuel cost and the facility cost is more or less negligible, compared to nuclear where fuel and refueling is less than 15% of the cost of power generation.

        Anyway gas varies from 75% of the LCOE of nuclear to slightly higher.

      • There are a dozen technologies where the median levelised cost is less than $100/MWh.

        http://www.worldenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Q2-2013-global-Levelised-cost-of-electricity-Graphic-WEC.jpg

        Whether any of these are locally cost competitive depends on local conditions.

      • A series of interplanetary probe missions over the next two decades – four US Mariner missions, two US Pioneer missions and sixteen Soviet Venera missions including eight Venera missions that returned data successfully from the surface – refined the estimates of surface temperature and substantially revised the conception of the atmospheric mass and composition. By the late 1970’s, it was known that the surface temperature was nearly uniform at 737K. The atmosphere was found to be much more massive than originally thought, in fact sufficiently massive to raise the surface pressure to 92 times that of Earth’s atmosphere. And, it was found that the atmosphere consisted almost entirely of carbon dioxide, with only traces of water vapor remaining. The thick clouds that give Venus its high reflectivity were found to be made not of water, but of droplets of
        sulfur dioxide and concentrated sulfuric acid. It took the better part of another decade before the challenges of dealing with the effect of such an exotic atmosphere on climate were fully mastered and a fully satisfactory account of the high surface temperature could be given.’ http://cips.berkeley.edu/events/rocky-planets-class09/ClimateVol1.pdf

        About 35% of sunlight penetrates into the atmosphere – about 3% penetrates to the surface.

      • The Clausius (“hot to cold”) statement is merely a corollary of the Second Law having certain prerequisites, namely that gravitational potential energy be held constant. So “hot to cold” is only always true in a horizontal plane, not in a vertical plane in a planet’s troposphere.

        The atmosphere as a whole has no potential energy – it sits at the bottom of a gravity well. The atmosphere has a temperature and this communicates to the surface. Hot to cold derives from the proceeding laws of thermodynamics – it is an absolute in the energy system. From Sun to surface to atmosphere and space.

      • Water in a lake at the bottom of the landscape has no potential energy. It has no potential to flow anywhere. There is no energy that can be released as water falls because it is at it’s lowest potential.

        Similarly with a column of air in hydrostatic equilibrium. What causes air to move are forces acting on it – Coriolis and buoyancy especially. A parcel of air will rise if it is less dense than the overlying air. Work is done is raising the air parcel against the force of gravity – hence the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. The air parcel will continue to rise and expand until it is as dense as the surrounding air. It is then stable – there is no tendency for the parcel to move – there is no longer a buoyancy force acting on it. Buoyancy is related to the temperature as higher temperature air parcels are less dense – but the rise is driven by displacement and not internal molecular energies that include kinetic temperature.

        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/inteng.html

        Assuming for a moment that the process buoyant rising of an air parcel is quick enough that it is adiabatic – then all the kinetic temperature of the air parcel is retained in an expanded volume. The air is progressively cooler as it rises and expands – but it doesn’t lose energy.

        There are basic physical relationships that are drummed relentlessly into young civil engineers. Doug’s inability to get even these basics correct is annoying and a distraction from far more interesting problems in climate.

      • And still, 7 months after I first asked it, you Rob Ellison cannot explain how the necessary thermal energy gets into the surface of Venus in order to raise its temperature by 5 degrees over the course of its sunlit hours.

        Sunlight provides the energy Dougie. Sunlight also warms the Earth’s troposphere by on average 75W/m2. It is well mixed by turbulent mixing and will rise buoyantly. There is no mystery.

      • He is integrating over all frequencies in order to obtain a “heating rate” but the facts of physics are that the radiation from a cooler source does zero heating in a warmer target because its frequencies are too low.

        This is Dougie’s essential problem. Greenhouse gas molecules resonate at specific frequencies. They can vibrate – transferring energy to adjacent molecules. They absorb and emit photons at specific frequencies and the energy is related to the frequency by the quantum idea – E = hv

        For some fun photon facts – http://judithcurry.com/2014/10/09/my-op-ed-in-the-wall-street-journal-is-now-online/#comment-636903

        If they are scattered back towards the surface they will cause molecules at the surface to vibrate. And the balance of all absorbed and emitted, convected and conducted energy must approximately balance at the surface give or take non-equilibrium warming or cooling.

        These are baby physics and it is egregiously annoying that we return to it again and again.

      • ME – “Assuming for a moment that the process buoyant rising of an air parcel is quick enough that it is adiabatic – then all the kinetic temperature of the air parcel is retained in an expanded volume. The air is progressively cooler as it rises and expands – but it doesn’t lose energy.”

        P-N – ‘Of course it loses energy. How could it cool and not lose any? As the volume of air expands, if performs work on the surrounding. This amount of work matches the amount of kinetic energy lost by the molecules in the now colder volume of air.’

        I was careful to assume an adiabatic process. No matter or energy is lost to or gained from the surroundings. From this assumption you can derive the 1st law and the dry adiabatic lapse rate – the drop in temperature with height as the parcel of air expands. The average kinetic temperature of the parcel falls.

        In reality it does lose energy – hence the larger lapse rate in actuality.

        But consider a rubber balloon filled with helium. There is a confining force of the surrounding atmosphere – outside the balloon – and internally a volume of gas that is warmer and thus less dense than the surrounding air. The buoyancy force is defined weight of the displaced air less the weight of the balloon itself and the weight of the helium inside the balloon. The balloon will rise and until the density inside the balloon approaches the density of the surrounding air. The work that is done is to raise the balloon against the force of gravity – this is equal to the potential energy arising from the density differences.

        Hot air is less dense than the surrounding air and is free to expand as it rises and the surrounding pressures falls. As it expands the volume increases and – in the adiabatic assumption – average kinetic energy decreases.

      • – and internally a volume of gas that is warmer and thus less dense than the surrounding air.

        The helium is not of course necessarily warmer but is less dense.

      • No Dougie? I guess he has gone off to remedial atmospherics. All those years and all that effort and it is back to the drawing board. Ces’t le vie – eh Dougie?

        Rising air does no gain potential energy and lose internal energy as it does. It starts off with potential energy from density differences and work is done raising the mass of the air parcel.

        Ya don’t gotta be a hydraulic engineer to understand this – but it might help.

      • You know I have described Bernoulli’s equation to you Dougie. This is based on the ideas of kinetic and potential energies of fluids. Water from a reservoir has the potential to flow downhill in a pipe and have a kinetic energy at the end of the pipe discharging into a well. The water in the well has no potential energy. It is at the bottom of the gravity well. The top of the water has the same potential energy as the bottom – zilch.

        A parcel of air warmer than the surrounding air has a potential energy resulting from density differences and it rises until the work of raising the mass of the air equal the potential energy. It then stops and has no inclination to move anywhere – it is stable. There is no potential energy in a stable air column. It is like saying one end of a stick has more potential energy than the other. Well – if it falls over sideways – but how likely is that in a stable air column?

        Pretending it has an inclination to flow somewhere is a violation of the condition of local thermodynamic equilibrium

        Kinetic temperature involves the random movement of molecules in a volume. More kinetic energy and the gas is less dense. It rises. It expands. It cools. Until it is in local thermodynamic equilibrium and doesn’t want to rise anymore.

        Here it is at hyperphysics – http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/inteng.html

        As it rises – the motions are still random just less concentrated. This is simple enough even for Dougie do you suppose?

        You are about as right as webby Doug – don’t have a meltdown.

      • At no stage is the electromagnetic energy (cum electron energy) ever converted to thermal (kinetic) energy in the warmer surface. That’s what you, Rob, and most climatologists need to learn, and that’s why the surface of the ocean absorbs and transmits photons from the Sun, but rejects (pseudo scatters) photons from the colder atmosphere.

        ‘The absorption of electromagnetic radiation by water spans a wide range of physical phenomena, characteristic of the general interaction of radiation with matter. It absorbs strongly in the microwave region by excitation of molecular rotations. In the infrared it exhibits strong absorptions from vibrations of the water molecule. As you go above the visible through the UV toward x-rays, it successively absorbs by photoelectric effect, Compton scattering and finally pair production.’ http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/chemical/watabs.html

        IR photons cause molecules to vibrate – e.g. heat. Pseudo scattering is pseudo-science.


      • Let’s try that again.

        It certainly does. You are misdiagnosing DC’s confusion. The gravitational potential energy change is irrelevant and negligible compared with the internal energy change. It’s the internal energy change that’s responsible for the lapse rate.

        Average internal energy changes as I said. Rising air carries latent high into the troposphere and beyond. Rising air will also radiatively cool in the real world. A parcel will rise to where it is stable – and only cooling or further warming will change that. Again – the potential to rise and fall has to do with buoyant potential energy.

        As for the gain in gravitational potential energy of a rising parcel, it’s compensated by the loss from a descending parcel of air of comparable mass. It would only have any relevance to kinetic energy if parcels of air were free falling in the gravitational field. But they aren’t. They are mutually balanced. Rising and descending parcels of air in the atmosphere are rather akin to pairs of identical masses tied together in an Atwood machine. As one rises, the other one descends and potential energies are directly exchanged between then with negligible effect on the kinetic energy of the parcels as a whole.

        Is this an idea from Hadley Cell formation?
        Low pressure cells are divergent and high pressure convergent. Cyclones and anti-cyclones spinning in different direction in different hemispheres. In general hot air will rise near the equator move towards the poles losing heat and then fall. The vectors of Hadley and Walker Cells create the trade winds.

        But the potentials exist because of density differences – both rising and falling. This is no necessity for rising and falling air masses to be equal. A warming surface will warm the troposphere – more warmth rising in the troposphere than cooling air falling.

        It’s adiabatic contraction and expansion that accounts for the works performed by, and corresponding changes in internal energy of, the air parcels. The gravitational field only is relevant to constraining the vertical pressure profile without which no work would be performed at all.

        The work is in raising the mass of air in the atmosphere against gravity. I can only suggest that you work through the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate if you are capable. Sometime that I have seen little sign of I might add.

      • So you don’t know what adiabatic means. The process is adiabatic if it doesn’t involve a transfer of heat through the boundary of the systems involved. It doesn’t mean no work can be performed on the surrounding through a volume change. The second stage of the Carnot cycle is a paradigmatic example of a reversible, isentropic, adiabatic cooling process (expansion) that generates work on the surrounding at the expense of internal energy. It is exactly analogous to the case of a rising parcel of air in the atmosphere (quick enough so that heat transfer at the boundary can be neglected).

        I was very tempted to stop reading at the first line. Loss of matter from the parcel implies loss of energy. The adiabatic assumption implies no loss of energy or matter. I have discussed more than once the problem with abstractions with you.

        “From this assumption you can derive the 1st law and the dry adiabatic lapse rate – the drop in temperature with height as the parcel of air expands. The average kinetic temperature of the parcel falls.”

        The average is lower because the parcel is bigger.

        Yes, the temperature of the parcel falls, and hence so does its internal energy, which you had denied earlier. (Ellison: “The air is progressively cooler as it rises and expands – but it doesn’t lose energy.”) It certainly does.

        By definition no heat or matter is lost – it just goes up a ducks bum in your universe I suppose?

      • Pierre-Normand

        You are being disingenuous again. Of course there is no transfer of matter either. I took that for granted, as my Carnot cycle analogy (second stage) should have made clear. I was clearly contradicting your false assumption that adiabatic expansion precludes energy transfer through *work*. When a parcel of air rises and expands, in addition to gaining gravitational potential energy (which is energy gained through work from the buoyant force applied by the surrounding), it also performs an amount of work on its surrounding equal to the change in volume times the ambient pressure (analogous to the second stage of the Carnot cycle). Are you denying this?

      • You assumed it – didn’t say it – and said I didn’t understand in a silly snarky way?

        You have still got it back to front. The potential energy from buoyancy is equal to the distance the mass is raised against gravity.

        ‘The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become…

        This means that in the end, the rising air will eventually reach the same temperature as all the air around it, and will cease to rise. Now part of the cooler air higher in the atmosphere, it will stay there until the cool temperatures and changing climate conditions move it back down, and the process is repeated.

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “You have still got it back to front. The potential energy from buoyancy is equal to the distance the mass is raised against gravity.”

        It certainly is but this has nothing whatsoever to do with the change in internal energy. The potential energy gained by the rising parcel of air just is swapped with the potential energy lost by the air that descends to replace it (under condition of hydrostatic equilibrium). This process has no effect at all on the internal energy of the parcel, and hence no effect on its temperature. Again, the change in internal energy just is the work performed by the expanding volume of air and equals the variation in volume multiplied by the ambient pressure. For the third time, are you denying that this work translates in a change in internal energy just as it does in the adiabatic expansion that takes place in the second stage of a Carnot cycle? How else would energy be conserved?

        Look up the mathematical derivation of the (dry) lapse rate in any serious reference of your choice (not the mangled eHow explanation, please). You will see that this is how the internal energy change is defined (with dQ set to zero, and the work equal to dV*P) while the acceleration of gravity g only figures in the determination of the vertical pressure gradient, as I said earlier (dP = -rho*g*dz, where rho is the air density). The gravitational potential energy of the expanding parcel of air need not be considered at all in this standard derivation.

      • so From hydrostatics we get:

        dP = -gρdz

        -gdz = dP/ρ = αdP

        where α is the volume per unit mass.

        mgdz = dE

        Is the work done in the Earth’s gravitational field to raise a mass from a reference height to the height z. Work is required to lift mass against gravity. The energy for this is provided by the potential energy of buoyancy. The rising air creates a low pressure zone at the base drawing in the surrounding atmosphere and creating winds. It is not on a string whereby a rising parcel is connected to a falling parcel. The forces on the parcels need to be considered independently. The energy can be determined from considering equating it to bulk potential energy of a mass at height z.

        PE = mgdz

        However PE is stored energy – which with rising air is in the buoyant force causing it to rise in the first place.

        The 1st law of thermodynamics:

        dQ – dW = dU + dE

        Already we can see that Doug has set dU = – dE and ignored expansion – dW – which is the true cause of temperature decrease with height.

        We assume for the moment an adiabatic process and that dQ is zero. dE we can set to zero by assuming that the parcel is in a stable state at the height z and pressure P.

        => dW = dU

        => -PdV = mCvdT
        => VdP – d(PV) = mCvdT
        => VdP – d(nRT) = mCvdT

        In this case, n is the number of moles in the air parcel with volume, V, and the mass of the air parcel is given by m = nµ  where µ is the mean molecular mass per mole of the gas molecules in the parcel. Dividing through by the mass of the air parcel yields.

        (V/m)dP – (n/m)RT= CvdT

        With a few interim steps:

        => αdP = CpdT
        or dT/dz = -g/Cp

        And thus the dry adiabatic lapse rate. We get there via the ideal gas law.

        PV = nRT

        It is a quasi-static formulation. What is assumed implicitly is that the pressure is constant and that work is done to expand the volume. This is not the case with a rising parcel of air. Pressure decreases with height and the parcel decompresses as it moves upward. It is convenient to consider work done – but the physical process is Joule expansion.

        I have cautioned P-N a number of times now about mistaking abstractions for the reality of physical processes in the environment.

      • The ehow description is simple but accurate – btw.

      • I rarely get information from Wikipedia.

        The 1st law of thermodynamics.

        dQ – dW = dU + dE

        dW is the work done for expansion – which is the other side of the coin for temperature decrease with free expansion – which is the term Dougie ignores. This is where the temperature change with height originates.

        ‘DRY ADIABATIC LAPSE RATE.—If a parcel of air is lifted, its pressure is DECREASED, since pressure decreases with height, and its temperature falls due to the expansion. If the air is dry and the process is adiabatic, the rate of temperature fall is 1°C per 100 meters of lift (10°C per Kin), or 5 l/2°F per 1,000 feet of lift. If that parcel descends again to higher pressure, its temperature then INCREASES at the rate of 1°C per 100 meters or 5 1/2°F per 1,000 feet. This is known as the dry adiabatic lapse rate.’ http://meteorologytraining.tpub.com/14312/css/14312_47.htm

        The air parcel rises because of the force of buoyancy exceeds the weight of the parcel. This is a buoyancy potential energy that zeros out at some height where the density of the parcel equals the density of the surrounding air. The energy here comes form the heavier surrounding air pushing the lighter parcel higher and not from internal kinetic energy. A moving parcel has a global kinetic energy of Ek = 1/2 mv^2 that is in addition to the random motion of internal kinetic energy.

        This is just standard hydrodynamics.

        Work is done to raise the parcel and there is pseudo work in expansion – which is in reality cooling with Joule expansion.

      •  D o u g  

        It seems I have to repeat that air does not move in parcels. There is nothing to hold a parcel together. If you suspend an oil filled column heater at a significant distance above the ground in open air (or in a room) the warmed air will spread out in all directions, including downwards. There is no warmed “parcel” of air which only moves upwards above the heater as if in a balloon that has expanded its diameter a bit. All convection involves molecular collisions passing on kinetic energy. Wind does not come into it. I know that upward convection in the Tropics, for example draws in wind at the base to replace the air that has moved upwards – that’s obvious – but wind is not convection.

        Convection is only ever driven by the absorption of new thermal energy. That’s where it gets its energy. Molecules with more kinetic energy drive (or “knock”) other molecules with less KE away from the source of new energy. It’s just like playing a hose into the middle of a swimming pool – the extra water spreads out all over the pool. If you have several hoses all along one edge, the general movement is across the pool away from that edge – as when the Earth’s solid surface is heated by the Sun on a clear day. But on a cloudy day the energy flow by convection may very well be downwards into the surface, because incident solar energy is absorbed in and above the clouds and some of it conveyed downwards by convection. Radiation cannot do this because there are no molecules being affected by gravity in such radiation. And that’s why radiation into a planet’s surface is not the primary determinant of the temperature of that surface.

      • ‘Like your throwing a tennis ball to the back of a truck that’s moving away. The ball comes back with reduced speed and the lost KE is given to the truck.’ P-N

        Don’t ya just love the down home homilies?

        The Joule-Thomson effect depends crucially on the small deviation from an ideal gas given by intermolecular forces, specifically both the attractive and the repulsive parts of the Van der Waals force as approximated (for example) by the Lennard-Jones potential.

        ‘As a gas expands, the average distance between molecules grows. Because of the attractive part of the intermolecular force, expansion causes an increase in the potential energy of the gas. If no external work is extracted in the process and no heat is transferred, the total energy of the gas remains the same because of the conservation of energy. The increase in potential energy thus implies a decrease in kinetic energy and therefore in temperature.

        A second mechanism has the opposite effect. During gas molecule collisions, kinetic energy is temporarily converted into potential energy (corresponding to the repulsive part of the intermolecular force). As the average intermolecular distance increases, there is a drop in the number of collisions per time unit, which causes a decrease in average potential energy. Again, total energy is conserved, so this leads to an increase in kinetic energy (temperature).

        Below the Joule–Thomson inversion temperature, the former effect (work done internally against intermolecular attractive forces) dominates, and free expansion causes a decrease in temperature. Above the inversion temperature, gas molecules move faster and so collide more often, and the latter effect (reduced collisions causing a decrease in the average potential energy) dominates: Joule–Thomson expansion causes a temperature increase.’ Wikipedia

        All this discussion about the dry adiabatic lapse rate is a bit misleading. It is not dry – it is not adiabatic – it is not a parcel – it is not conceptually simple.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “All this discussion about the dry adiabatic lapse rate is a bit misleading. It is not dry – it is not adiabatic – it is not a parcel – it is not conceptually simple.”

        So, all this time we weren’t really talking about the dry adiabatic lapse rate in the atmosphere; we were really talking about throttled air flow through porous plugs? Thanks for clearing that up.

      • Please see this comment.

      • No – I was talking about the expansion of a real gas into a lower pressure zone amongst other things.

      • This is definitely over – I am riding into the sunset pardner.

        ‘Do you or do you not agree that the temperature gradient forms autonomously in any planetary troposphere without there being any need for rising convection from a surface heated by solar radiation?’

        There is evaporation and convection, there is conduction, there is surface warming, there is radiative flux from the atmosphere. Frankly the troposphere is far too turbulent to support anything but relatively quick mixing.

        http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-50.41,-177.63,223

      • Pierre-Normand

        “No – I was talking about the expansion of a real gas into a lower pressure zone amongst other things.”

        If it isn’t throttled through some sort of valve or porous boundary so as to maintain constant enthalpy then it isn’t exemplifying the Joule-Thompson effect. If it is expanding while doing work on the surrounding then it isn’t a case of Joule expansion (where the work is zero). You are trying to imagine every possible kind of phenomenon except for the actual one that is simple thermodynamically reversible adiabatic expansion performing work on the surrounding at the expanse of internal energy (which is clearly assumed in the mathematical derivation that you reproduced from Wikipedia without seemingly understanding it at all).

      • ‘Environmental lapse rate – which refers to the actual change of temperature with altitude for the stationary atmosphere (i.e. the temperature gradient)

        The adiabatic lapse rates – which refer to the change in temperature of a parcel of air as it moves upwards (or downwards) without exchanging heat with its surroundings. The temperature change that occurs within the air parcel reflects the adjusting balance between potential energy and kinetic energy of the molecules of gas that comprise the moving air mass.’ Wikipedia

        The Joule-Thompson effect is about expansion of a real gas. The adiabatic assumption assumes no heat transfer. This is an unlikely assumption as molecules collide with adjacent molecules imparting kinetic energy. However in theory the cooling in an adiabatic process – one that proceeds rapidly enough to limit energy losses – the change in temperature is the result of changes in the balance of kinetic and potential energy on the molecular level. For Doug’s benefit – this is distinct from bulk kinetic and potential energies.

        The derivation is based on one from the Arizona State University – worked through to show the error in Doug’s derivation. Confusing Cp with Cv.
        But I did suggest P-N try it himself. It assumes as I said constant pressure – PdV – something convenient but obviously not true in the atmosphere. The adiabatic lapse rate is useful for indications of atmospheric stability – but not beyond that.

        Insisting dogmatically on a theoretical construct like the dry adiabatic lapse rate – and on one particularly dubious assumption especially – as a complete explanation of atmospheric processes is the sign of a spectacularly inadequate mind.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Someone wrote: “Read my book and you will see I have not been talking about bulk kinetic or potential energy at all, but just exactly what your Wiki quote mentions – mean KE and PE per molecule.”

        The user who introduced this paragraph in the Wikipedia “Lapse Rate” article mentions the motivation for his addition in the talk page. This person clearly has the bulk (organized) kinetic energy of the parcel of air as a whole confused with the sum total of the kinetic (disorganized) energies of the component molecules. As Pekka Pirilä pointed out in another thread, externally driven (e.g. though buoyant force) vertical displacement of bulk *solids* in the gravitational field lead to variations of potential energy that aren’t compensated by variations of kinetic energy of the component molecules. The same holds of macroscopic parcels of air in the atmosphere. It’s only work performed through expansion (or contraction) on the surrounding that’s responsible for the change in internal energy. (Also, gravitational potential energy of component molecules isn’t part of internal energy at all.)

        See the thread “The lapse rate” on ATTP’s blog more more thorough explanation of this point by Pekka.

      • As Pekka Pirilä pointed out in another thread, externally driven (e.g. though buoyant force) vertical displacement of bulk *solids* in the gravitational field lead to variations of potential energy that aren’t compensated by variations of kinetic energy of the component molecules.

        The buoyant force says that there is a potential energy that is expended in raising air against gravity. It is at some height stable. Free expansion in a less dense atmosphere leads to an increase in molecular potential energy and a decrease in kinetic energy. Mixing and collisions with adjacent particles seem more important in reality.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Elisson wrote: “The buoyant force says that there is a potential energy that is expended in raising air against gravity.”

        Sure, but the energy source for performing this work — the work of the buoyant force — entirely is *external* to the parcel of air that is being raised some distance dz and hence has *no* effect at all on the kinetic energy of the constituent molecules of the raised air parcel. (Just write down a simple force diagram). The decrease in kinetic energy of the constituent molecules only is due to the adiabatic expansion and the internal energy expended as a consequence of this work W= PdV that the parcel exerts on its surrounding while expanding. This is *exactly* analogous the the second stage of the Carnot cycle. It is a function of the external pressure change on the air parcel, and not at all a causal result of the gravitational potential energy change. That’s why there is *no* term for the gravitational potential energy change in the mathematical derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate, and the “g” constant only figures in the determination of the pressure change, dP = -rho*g*dz, as a function of vertical displacement dz of the air parcel.

      • That’s what I have said a number of times now quite explicitly. Are you so cretinous you reply to what you think my comments are rather than actually reading them?

        As for the rest I see much arm waving about things that have been discussed endlessly – but nothing more than the terms of the dry adiabatic lapse rate I have given several times as well. Do you take pleasure in repeating the obvious?

        Free expansion as the parcel as it rises occurs as well as IR absorption and emission and mixing and collisions with nearby molecules. In free expansion – molecular potential energy increases in a real gas and kinetic energy decreases. Do you actually understand what is happening or just look for confirming narratives?

        PdV is a convenient mathematical fiction and if you understood any science or engineering that would be obvious. Pressure is not constant and dV is not well defined. In the end it is a mathematical derivation the dry adiabatic lapse rate that is of some interest – e.g. http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/students/courselinks/fall99/atmo171-mcc/atmo171_f99_09.html – but is not even close to the environmental lapse rate usually. That point really pass you by?

        In the beginning we have the 1st law of thermodynamics.

        dQ + dW = dU + dEb

        We might just set 2 of those to zero and ignore molecular potential energy in internal energy U. Sound like a plan? Got any math?

        P1V1 = P2V2

        Say P1 is 100kPa and P2 is 50kPa

        => V2 = 2 Vi

        Wikipedia says that we should expect some 3 degrees C decreases in temperature from Joule expansion. Not much over 5 kilometres.

        But what is this PdV. A pressure of 50hPa – say on a 1m3 volume – expanding to a 2m3 volume.

        so we have – 5000kg/(m·s2) * 1m3 = 5000kg*m2/s2 = 5kJ.

        Now we know that the kinetic energy is:

        KE = 3/2 nRT

        So we need to estimate the temperature at 5km and at the surface – this gives the changes in KE – and the number of molecules (in moles) in the volume. Is that right? Got an answer?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “That’s what I have said a number of times now quite explicitly. Are you so cretinous you reply to what you think my comments are rather than actually reading them?”

        I not only read them, but I quoted precisely the questionable claims that you made before explaining to you why I thought they were false.

        Rob Ellison, it’s difficult to argue with someone who makes frequent dubious claims, and then flatly contradicts them whenever challenged, and then reasserts them, repeatedly, and never retracts anything or acknowledge any inconsistency. But you can’t just cover all bases in that fashion, and then when pressed about the falsehood of your assertion, protest that you explicitly made (also) the *contrary* claim.

        Remember that this conversation began when I challenged your claim that: “The air is progressively cooler as it rises and expands – but it *doesn’t* lose energy.” (My emphasis). Did you not write that sentence? Do you still stand by it? You never retracted it.

        I pointed out to you that the expanding parcel of air *does* lose an amount of energy equal precisely to the work preformed on the surrounding as it expands (and independent of the work performed by the buoyant force against gravity).

        At first you seemed to agree (while pretending to be tutoring me on the process I had just explained to you) but then you quickly reverted to the previous false claim: (Rob Ellison) “We have molecules that expand into larger volume – Joule expansion or free expansion in a lower pressure environment – we simply have *the same amount of energy* in a larger volume. Hence lower T. As in the ehow quote.” (My emphasis) Do you still stand by this claim that “we simply have the same amount of energy in a larger volume”? Or do you still wish to both stand by it and deny it at the same time? Or were you referring to some kind of “energy” other than internal energy? I asked you this a couple times and you declined to answer.

        Thereafter, you doubled down on the “Joule expansion” characterization of the adiabatic process and insisted that the eHow description is correct. But Joule expansion is a process where one assumes that is *no* macroscopic work at all preformed by the expanding gas on the surrounding boundary (and the same holds of the Joule-Thompson process).

        When I point out that the relevant expansion process *isn’t* Joule expansion, and it is rather the process paradigmatically exemplified in the second stage of the Carnot cycle, you purport to agree, but decline to retract *your* earlier insistent claims that the process *is* Joule expansion and that there is *no* energy change within the volume of the expanding parcel of air.

        If we can clear those things up, then maybe you can tutor me on the impact of the balance of kinetic and potential energy due to inter-molecular forces and how this modifies the result of the derivation of the dry lapse rate for ideal gases. But we are not there yet.

      • ‘consider a rising parcel of air –>>

        As the parcel rises, it will adiabatically expand and cool (recall our discussion in chapter 5 about rising parcels of air)

        adiabatic – a process where the parcel temperature changes due to an expansion or compression, no heat is added or taken away from the parcel

        the parcel expands since the lower pressure outside allows the air molecules to push out on the parcel walls

        since it takes energy for the parcel molecules to “push out” on the parcel walls, they use up some of their internal energy in the process.

        therefore, the parcel also cools since temperature is proportional to molecular internal energy’

        Pushing out is an imaginary process. What actually happens? Try to imagine it visually P-N – if you can manage it.

      • And note – it has gone well beyond the point where your handwaving is of any interest at all.

      • This is the problem of the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/spherical.png

        Say we have a perfectly insulating and perfectly elastic sphere at ground level and atmospheric pressure. The internal pressure P is equal to the external pressure. Add some heat and the sphere expands, the air is less dense and the sphere rises.

        As it rises the sphere expands to maintain an internal pressure Pa equal to the external pressure at the height. The energy for this is in the potential energy of the compressed air – like a spring uncoiling as a weight is reduced. All of the action is internal it seems and the question is what that implies for molecular and kinetic energies. But enough for tonight.

        P-N’s schoolgirl physics notwithstanding – we have seen PdV repeated how many times by myself and others – the principles of action seem to be a type of free expansion in which no work is done and no energy lost.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_expansion

      • ‘No Rob. Temperature is not proportional to (the sum of all) internal energy. You have to leave out every form of internal energy except the kinetic energy of the molecules. But, as I’ve told you before I am not talking about wind that causes bulk KE – I’m talking about convection. I also told you before that you need to learn and understand Kinetic Theory to understand atmospheric thermodynamics.’

        It is called the Kinetic temperature – but I all energy is conserved which is the this describes the system.

        dQ + dW = dU + dEb

        The kinetic theory of gases is fairly obvious to any engineer. dU is the internal energy – both potential and kinetic. dEb is the potential energy from buoyancy. dQ is the energy supplied to the system. dW is the work done.

        We can neglect dQ and dEb in the derivation of the of the dry adiabatic lapse rate – always remembering that this is not the environmental lapse rate. dW is assumed to be the work of expansion against a constant pressure – although it is clear that there are problems with the assumption. dU is assumed to be entirely the result of molecular kinetic energy changes – and it is clear that it is not completely true. How not true I don’t know yet.

        dU = mCvdV

        This is very similar to Doug’s formula for gravitational potential energy – but uses a constant volume rather than a constant pressure specific heat. There are additional steps needed to derive the lapse rate in terms of Cp – as shown above. Cv and Cp are not the same for a compressible gas.

        The potential energy we are concerned with is buoyant rather than the gravitational potential.

        This makes Doug’s formula incorrect both in principle and in detail. I am very much inclined to think his horse has bolted – and joined the wild bush brumbies and the ‘roos loose in the top paddock. .

      • Ah – it is called the kinetic temperature – but all energy is conserved which is why this describes describes the system. Nighty night.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “P-N’s schoolgirl physics notwithstanding – we have seen PdV repeated how many times by myself and others – the principles of action seem to be a type of free expansion in which no work is done and no energy lost.”

        So, you are now denying that work is done and you are asserting again that no energy is lost? But just a moment ago you wrote: “since it takes energy for the parcel molecules to “push out” on the parcel walls, they use up some of their internal energy in the process.”

        So, my suspicion was correct. You opted to make both the assertion that some energy is lost through pushing out on the boundary (and hence work is done) and the contrary assertion that no energy is lost and no work is done. But you can’t defend two claims that contradict each other. That’s irrational.

      • Pierre-Normand

        In free expansion (= Joule expansion) there is no temperature change either. You seem not to have paused a second to consider this. As I pointed out repeatedly, if this were the sort of expansion involved in atmosphere overturning, there there would be no lapse rate at all.

      • ‘In free expansion (= Joule expansion) there is no temperature change either. You seem not to have paused a second to consider this. As I pointed out repeatedly, if this were the sort of expansion involved in atmosphere overturning, there there would be no lapse rate at all.’

        I keep saying it is not true for a real gas. Several times. Unless you are actually going to take this on board and move on to something interesting? No? Oh well.

      • Pierre-Normand

        rob Ellison “I keep saying it is not true for a real gas. Several times. Unless you are actually going to take this on board and move on to something interesting? No? Oh well.”

        In case where the gas isn’t ideal (as in the case of the real atmosphere), and assuming there are non-negligible inter-molecular forces, the work performed on the boundary still would be zero if the expansion were free, or some kind of a Joule-Thompson process, by very definition of those processes Though there would be some finite temperature reduction at the end of the process, this would’t only account but for a very small fraction of the lapse rate. So, this new rejoinder of yours would only have made sense if the inter-molecular forces would be so very strong that when the air-parcel expands, *all* of the energy lost to the reduced KE of the molecules were entirely gained by the internal potential energy associated with the inter-molecular forces. This is absurd as it would mean that the expanding parcel of air would exerts no pressure at all on the external boundary during the whole expansion process, and until the expansion is complete and the air parcel has stopped rising.

        This is of course what *does* occur in Joule expansion, by very definition of “free” expansion, which is why it is so utterly irrelevant to the atmospheric case of the slowly (slow ascent speed compared with average molecular velocity) rising air parcel within a continuous vertical pressure field gradient. The fact the gas is real rather than ideal is a red herring that doesn’t justify your bizarre assumptions that expansion is “free” or that internal energy (KE + internal PE) is conserved in either the real or ideal gas cases.

      • ‘There is no such assumption in the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. On the very contrary, pressure is explicitly assumed to be a function of elevation and hence dP = -rho*g*dz.’

        dW = dU

        dW is assumed to be the work of expansion against a constant pressure – although it is clear that there are problems with the assumption. dU the internal energy

        => -P dV = m Cv dT

        Where PdV is the work done under constant pressure. You then use substitution of variables and the ideal gas law to solve for an expression for dP – you then combine it with the hydrostatic equation.

        I am afraid I didn’t read beyond this. More handwaving I suppose.

      • ‘The Joule-Thomson effect depends crucially on the small deviation from an ideal gas given by intermolecular forces, specifically both the attractive and the repulsive parts of the Van der Waals force as approximated (for example) by the Lennard-Jones potential.

        As a gas expands, the average distance between molecules grows. Because of the attractive part of the intermolecular force, expansion causes an increase in the potential energy of the gas. If no external work is extracted in the process and no heat is transferred, the total energy of the gas remains the same because of the conservation of energy. The increase in potential energy thus implies a decrease in kinetic energy and therefore in temperature.’ Wikipedia

        Here’s another picture.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/pressure.png

        The situation is adiabatic expansion – insulated walls and no exchange of matter. The weight is reduced – equivalent to the air buoyantly moving up to lower pressure zones. The expansion is the result of elastic decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. The same kinetic energy in a bigger volume. There are of course many other things going on in the real world including phase transitions and radiative effects.

      • Van der Waals forces are second order effects. You still don’t realise I am talking about diffusion which leads to the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. I am not talking about potential energy associated with Van der Waals forces. Go back to the comment about the sealed insulated cylinder. Until you understand thermodynamic equilibrium, you will get nowhere.

      • I said above that the free expansion cooling was some 3K over 5km – numbers Dougie.

        What we have is expansion due to elastic decompression as the gas rises. The same kinetic energy in an increased volume in this theoretical construct – this gedankenexperiment – in which neither energy or matter is exchanged.

        Diffusion is a process in the Earth’s crust – but otherwise in the system is not significant. There are a multitude of processes.

      • ‘Regrettably, your grasp of applied calculus, and the notation of infinitesimals, also seem wanting. So long as pressure is a continuous function of height (z), then dW = P(z)dV holds *exactly*.

        Odd – I did my honors thesis doing analytical and numerical solutions using high order numerical schemes of the 1st order differential storage equation. What a waste.

        Actually from conservation of energy –

        dW + dQ = dU + dEb

        I have been through this before – no energy gain or loss and a stable air parcel.

        => -P dV = m Cv dT

        And that’s the start of the dry adiabatic derivation. So I’ve got no idea what P-N is talking about – and he doesn’t either.

        As for the other – if you compress a gas it will heat – if no heat is lost or gained and if you then release the pressure the volume will increase and return to the same temperature as before.

      • ‘As I said, your unjustified claim that P was assumed to be constant is directly contradicted by the statement that dP = -rho*m*g. If P had been assumed to be constant, as you claim, then we would trivially have posited dP = 0 in the derivation of the lapse rate.’

        dW = PdV

        The air parcel is assumed to be stable at some height z with pressure P and a change in volume dV.

        dP = -g ρ dz – and not – ρ m g

        And if you integrate for P you get

        P = -g ρ z

        He hasn’t worked through it – gets the wrong end of the stick entirely and whines about me not understanding ‘applied calculus, and the notation of infinitesimals’. What would you think of someone like that?

      • ‘As usual you are simply ignoring the argument and changing the topic.’

        blah blah blah blah blah

      • ‘Rob exposes his lack of knowledge of heat transfer mechanisms when he says “diffusion is a process in the Earth’s crust”’

        So how do you think the Earth equilibriates with surface temperature changes?

        http://ns.umich.edu/research/climate_08/story_pollack_huang.html

        Diffusion is the major process in the Earth’s crust because it is a solid. It is not the major process by far in the oceans and atmosphere.

      • No – diffusion is a minor process in the atmosphere and ocean – energy transport here is very much dominated by turbulent mixing and buoyant convection. Air does warm, rise and expand. This is just reality.

        S-B will give you an effective radiating temperature of the planet but not the temperature of the planet surface – and the difference is the radiative properties of the atmosphere.

        It certainly says nothing about ocean heat – which is a function of the radiative imbalance. It must be the case because all energy – or the vast majority – derives from sunlight. There is heat stored in the atmosphere and the oceans and a few minor forms.

        d(W&H) = energy in (J/s) – energy out (J/s)

        W&H is work and heat. Mostly heat in the oceans.

        It is a very simple consequence of the 1st law.

        But of course no one understand planetary physics but Dougie. I can tell.

      • If this were assumed then there would be no variable at all that’s a function of height, and it would be impossible to derive a lapse rate which is a pressure gradient, that is, the rate of variation of pressure as a function of height.’

        Work is assumed to be the pressure-volume work.

        ‘A simple example of one of those important kinds is pressure-volume work. The pressure of concern is that exerted by the surroundings on the surface of the system, and the volume of interest is the negative of the increment of volume gained by the system from the surroundings.’ Wikipedia

        so dW = PdV

        Look it up. I am not saying that this is the right concept – merely a convenient mathematical form.
        It can be evaluated at any pressure P and height z – so it is known as a quasi-static equation.

        The hydrostatic equation for pressure:

        dP = -g ρ dz

        Appears later in the derivation as part of the expression for internal energy.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Work is assumed to be the pressure-volume work.”

        Yes. It is posited that some work dW will be performed as a result of some volume change under pressure. That’s the (dW = PdV) part of the derivation. What amount of volume change dV do we assume? That’s the amount of volume change governed by some pressure variation dP. That’s the (PdV = -VdP/gamma) part of the derivation. What amount of pressure change dP do we assume? That’s the amount of pressure change that results from the vertical displacement of the air parcel within the weighted atmospheric column. That’s the (dP = -g*rho*dz) part of the derivation. We therefore have described a process whereby *both* the pressure and the volume of a rising parcel of air *vary* on a continuous fashion. We therefore never assumed constant pressure.

      • This is astounding. Those two sentences of yours flatly contradict each other. The average kinetic energy ((EK1 + EK2 + … + EKn)/n) is reduced but the total kinetic energy (EK1 + EK2 … + EKn) is the same with no variation in the number of molecules. Really?

        Really – there are fewer molecules per unit volume.

        Yes. It is posited that some work dW will be performed as a result of some volume change under pressure. That’s the (dW = PdV) part of the derivation. What amount of volume change dV do we assume? That’s the amount of volume change governed by some pressure variation dP.

        No it is the expansion that occurs a result of elastic decompression at some pressure P.

        You really should try thinking it through rather than indulge in silly quibbles if you aspire to be taken seriously. Not by me anytime soon – but someone might. Baby atmospheric physics – btw – is worlds away form the real climate story.

      • The thin surface layer of the oceans does not act at all like a black or grey body because it has other energy input and output which is not by radiation. I can calculate its temperature accurately. Why can’t you do so?

        Oh for God’s sake Dougie. The ocean will equilibriate at a temperature where the gains – SW and IR – equal the losses – IR, conduction and evaporation. There is no equilibrium hence the oceans warm and cool.

      • Really? Per unit volume the total energy is the same? That’s really what you meant? That’s even more astounding. If there are *fewer* molecules per unit volume, and they have *reduced* average kinetic energy, then your claim that the total energy (per unit volume) is the same even more absurd than how I interpreted it (as referring to the whole enclosure).

        You have difficulties with the simplest concepts. As I have said – it comes from not seeing the jiggle jiggle.

        The total energy in the expanded volume is the same but the average energy is reduced. Compress a gas and it warms. Decompress it and it cools.

        And Steffen-Boltzmann is quite the wrong tool Dougie.

      • “No it is the expansion that occurs a result of elastic decompression at some pressure P.”

        Merely saying that the decompression is elastic doesn’t tell us how much decompression occurs as a function of vertical displacement.

        dV = (m Cv dT)/-P

        You could think this through for a change.

      • ‘PdV = -VdP/gamma’ governing equation?????

        -P dV = m Cv dT
        Using d(PV) = P dV + V dP
        => V dP – d(PV) = m Cv dT

        But PV = nRT etc….

        You are not really following this are you?

        There is a pressure P at height z – constant at the height where PdV is evaluated. Quasi static equation.

        The dynamic equation ironically based on hydrostatics.

        dP – m ρ dz

        Gives pressure P on integration.

        P = m ρ z – as I said before.

        The derivation doesn’t account for buoyancy – or you would need to include Eb in the energy conservation equation. It assumes a stable air mass at some height and pressure P. This is the P to use.

      • Pierre is right. High pressure does not maintain high temperatures, Gravity forms a density and a temperature gradient. The pressure gradient results from these two gradients because pressure is proportional to the product of density and temperature. Pressure is not the cause – gravity is. If you made the effort to understand Kinetic Theory you would have far less trouble understanding these concepts. The Wiki article is a good starting point in this case – note the assumptions and the reference to gravity acting on molecules.

        P-N can’t possibly be right – it is just not a possibility. Pressure is the result of the weight at the atmosphere. Weight exists because of gravity. It is a bulk property and the kinetic theory of gases is not relevant to atmospheric pressures.

        An air parcel under a weight is compressed. Clearly if you understood hydrostatics you would know this. With less weight it decompresses. This discussion is going even further backwards.

        https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/pressure.png

      • Pierre-Normand

        “The derivation doesn’t account for buoyancy – or you would need to include Eb in the energy conservation equation.”

        Not true. The reason the buoyant force is irrelevant is rather because the work if produces gets *entirely* converted to gravitational potential energy of the whole air parcel. But this energy isn’t part of the internal energy and hence has no incidence at all in the temperature or pressure variation within the parcel. Likewise, when you lift a solid mass (assumed incompressible, or in a vacuum, say) you also increase its gravitational potential energy, but this has no effect whatsoever on the temperature of the solid mass. This force just doesn’t contribute anything to the thermodynamically relevant dW (thanks to Pekka for this analogy).

      • Perhaps I should correct my hydrostatic equation before the quibbles start rolling in.

        dP = =g ρ dz

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “dP = [-] g ρ dz” (typo corrected)

        This means that dP/dz = – g*ρ.

        What is dz, in the context of the lapse rate derivation, in your view? I am interpreting it as the vertical displacement of the adiabatically expanding parcel of air. Pressure therefore varies with a rate -g*ρ. What is your intepretation of dz? Isn’t the expanding parcel of air rising at all?

      • Not true. The reason the buoyant force is irrelevant is rather because the work if produces gets *entirely* converted to gravitational potential energy of the whole air parcel. But this energy isn’t part of the internal energy and hence has no incidence at all in the temperature or pressure variation within the parcel. Likewise, when you lift a solid mass (assumed incompressible, or in a vacuum, say) you also increase its gravitational potential energy, but this has no effect whatsoever on the temperature of the solid mass. This force just doesn’t contribute anything to the thermodynamically relevant dW (thanks to Pekka for this analogy).

        Very funny. The flows in rising air masses are all turbulent down to micro scales. The potential energy of the buoyant parcel is converted to kinetic energy at the molecular level and bulk level. The potential energy of compression is converted to kinetic energy as molecules are thrown outward in decompression.

        The air rises to a stable point – where it will stay in a local thermodynamic equilibrium. Unless it is warmed or cooled it is essentially weightless – if it cools or warms it develops a buoyancy potential. Think of air as a fluid.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “The potential energy of the buoyant parcel is converted to kinetic energy at the molecular level and bulk level.”

        If you really believe this, then *why* are you setting this energy to zero (as you should!) in the lapse rate derivation?

      • We assume for the sake of the calculation many things that are not true – this is why the environmental lapse rate is so different. The dry adiabatic lapse rate – as I said before – is useful only for providing an indication of atmospheric stability.

        You confuse gross approximations with reality.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “We assume for the sake of the calculation many things that are not true – this is why the environmental lapse rate is so different. The dry adiabatic lapse rate – as I said before – is useful only for providing an indication of atmospheric stability.”

        But we are not discussing the environmental lapse rate. The ELR mainly departs from the dry adiabatic lapse rate because of multiple local factors that we haven’t discussed at all: condensation, overturning that isn’t fast enough, IR absorption, limitations of the adiabatic assumption, etc. We have been discussing the *dry adiabatic lapse rate* and disagreeing about *it*, not about its conditions of perfect realization in the real atmosphere.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “You confuse gross approximations with reality.”

        Again, we can certainly agree that it merely is an approximation (pretty good actually, far from the dew point, at daytime, under calm weather conditions) while strongly disagreeing, as we are, about the nature of the process that underlies the idealized physical process itself and the interpretation of its mathematical derivation. If we don’t agree about *that*, then it isn’t productive to discuss small higher-order corrections (with e.g. non-ideal gases) or deviations in special circumstances.

      • ‘A lapse rate is simply the change of atmospheric temperature over a given change of pressure or altitude. It wouldn’t be surprising if the term lapse rate conjures up a thought about the standard lapse rate. All pilots should be familiar with the standard atmospheric lapse rate. That is, for every 1,000 feet increase in altitude, the temperature decreases by 2 degrees Celsius on average. Remember that? Now, forget it.’
        https://avwxworkshops.com/etips/01-15-10.html

        The question in my mind is what are the actual processes and how are the energies to be accounted for. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is a starting point mostly in questioning assumptions. This is what I was commenting on when P-N started this long and disparaging quibble.

        The energy for expansion is internal. It comes from electrostatic forces in the compressed gas. When decompressed the molecules push apart. Assuming that this doesn’t change the kinetic energy of the molecules merely the separation distance – the number of molecules in a given space declines and the average energy of the space declines.

        The external force confining the gas is reduced and the gas adjusts. I have shown how this is estimated using the pressure-volume work expression. At the boundary there are molecular collisions progressively happening as the mass moves upwards. Huge masses over wide areas. The molecules at the boundaries are almost at the same temperature and so the gains and losses are about equal.

        We have in fact assumed that there are no heat losses or gains – which implies that molecular collisions don’t impart net kinetic energy to adjacent molecules. So a throw away line in the speculation about the interactions of energies in rising air is that the molecules individually have the same kinetic energy in a bigger volume. The energy stays the same but the average over the volume declines. Not sure why this is a difficult concept.

        ‘Now the molecules of the heated air have room to move around more freely, and continue to do so as long as the heat gives them extra kinetic energy. The higher the hot air floats, the more room there is for its molecules to move about, and so it continually expands, its energy pushing it out and up. Here the air runs into a balancing problem due to the laws of thermodynamics. The energy from all of its molecules can be used to propel the molecules out at greater distances so it can expand more, or the energy can be used to keep the air hot, but it cannot do both at the same time.

        The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become.’

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html

        This seems an unremarkable theory – but of course P-N was exceedingly rude about it because it doesn’t conform to the simple assumption of a wall being pushed out.

        P-N may not be discussing the environmental lapse – but I certainly am – again and again. His likening of air moving upward like a solid is simply not even remotely right.

        The flows in rising air masses are all turbulent down to micro scales. The potential energy of the buoyant parcel is converted to kinetic energy at the molecular level and bulk level. The potential energy of compression is converted to kinetic energy as molecules are thrown outward in decompression.

        The air rises to a stable point – where it will stay in a local thermodynamic equilibrium. Unless it is warmed or cooled it is essentially weightless – if it cools or warms it develops a buoyancy potential. Think of air as a fluid. I think of a molecule in local thermodynamic equilibrium as having no gravitational potential energy – just as the water in a lake at the bottom of the landscape has no potential energy. Based on decades of hydrodynamics.

        I started with a simple idea I share with the author at ehow – backtracked to the dry adiabatic derivation in full – discussed the limitations of the assumptions and introduced some more realistic concepts. There is no contradiction – the simple math is what it is and the more dynamic description – quantifying these energies is very difficult – approaches reality.

        P-N quibbles about the math without taking the time to understand it and insists on enforcing his idea of what we are talking about. The dry adiabatic lapse rates and the holy writ of textbook assumptions it seems. On top of which are relentless insults and disparagement. Well, I have developed some ideas – which is the important thing.

      • ‘Convection is heat transfer by mass motion of a fluid such as air or water when the heated fluid is caused to move away from the source of heat, carrying energy with it. Convection above a hot surface occurs because hot air expands, becomes less dense, and rises (see Ideal Gas Law). Hot water is likewise less dense than cold water and rises, causing convection currents which transport energy.’ http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/heatra.html

        Hot air rises Dougie – you should understand that. Taking with it your gravito-thermal effect I presume.
        Hot air has a buoyancy potential energy. It is also compressed so it has an electrostatic potential energy.

        What it doesn’t have is a gravitational potential energy. As I keep saying – water is a lake at the bottom of the landscape has no potential energy. Height is zero. Air also is in a gravity well. Bits of it will only rise or fall if heated, cooled or otherwise entrained in a turbulent flow resulting from pressure differences, the topology of the landscape or the spinning of the planet.

        http://earth.nullschool.net/

        Turbulent flow – btw – is very effective at transferring heat and momentum in very fast micro eddies. So the velocity of bulk movement is not the critical factor in energy transfer on the molecular level.

        And energy is added and lost all the time.

        So the real energy conservation equation is:

        dQ + dW = dU + dEb

        For the internal energy dU – a constant volume is assumed. Hence –

        dU = mCvdT

        Whereas expansion is accounted for in the dW term.

        dW = -PdV in the pressure/temperature form.

        I like math. I am a stickler for explicit assumptions and scrupulous accounting of the terms. But as Einstein said.

        ‘Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.’

        Energies in the atmosphere are very difficult to count.

      • Unless entrained in turbulent flow or surrounded by even hotter air – then hot air will rise. You need to get a firmer grasp on reality Dougie.

      • I have a longer been awaiting moderation for a while – but this will do for the time being.

        ‘Now the molecules of the heated air have room to move around more freely, and continue to do so as long as the heat gives them extra kinetic energy. The higher the hot air floats, the more room there is for its molecules to move about, and so it continually expands, its energy pushing it out and up. Here the air runs into a balancing problem due to the laws of thermodynamics. The energy from all of its molecules can be used to propel the molecules out at greater distances so it can expand more, or the energy can be used to keep the air hot, but it cannot do both at the same time.

        The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become.’

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html

        This seems an unremarkable theory – but of course P-N was exceedingly rude about it because it doesn’t conform to the simple assumption of a wall being pushed out.

        But this latest comment was in response to a silly claim the bulk turbulent flow regime could not change internal kinetic energy. I believe you likened the air column to a solid and therefore bulk kinetic energy didn’t figure in the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate.

        ‘Turbulent flow is characterized by random and rapid fluctuations of swirling regions of fluid, called eddies, throughout the flow. These fluctuations provide an additional mechanism for momentum and energy transfer…

        … but the high frequencies of eddies (in the order of a thousand per second) makes them very effective for the transport of momentum, thermal energy, and mass.’

        Dry adiabatic? Seriously? There are many things not figuring in the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. Try to move on – or at any rate try to stop repeating yourself endlessly – or indeed complain that I am changing the subject when discussing reality as opposed to abstractions of limited value.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “I am changing the subject when discussing reality as opposed to abstractions of limited value.”

        No. You are changing the subject when you put your foot in your mouth and can’t defend your inconsistent claims. You said that energy in the rising parcel of air remains the same while the average energy of the molecules is reduced, and that’s because (according yo you) the energy is spread out in a larger volume. This is completely nonsensical. If there is less *total* energy spread out in a larger volume, there still is less total energy. Sorry if it seems abusive for me to say that this is nonsense, but there is no way I can make sense of this.

      • If you have the same volume of dye diluted in two different volumes of water – the total volume of dye is the same but the dilution is different. It is simple mass continuity.

        Can’t see the analogy? You are seriously tedious.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “If you have the same volume of dye diluted in two different volumes of water – the total volume of dye is the same but the dilution is different. It is simple mass continuity.

        Can’t see the analogy? You are seriously tedious.”

        Sure, but in that case the *average* mass of the particles of dye is *unchanged* and so the to total amount of dye is preserved. So it’s *not* analogous at all to the molecular KE case. In the adiabatic expansion case, the molecules do *not* have the same total amount of energy before and after the expansion process. You acknowledge that the average kinetic energy of the molecules is reduced in order to preserve energy as work is performed on the expanding parcel boundary (W = PdV). You even abuse me when I point this out to you because you think my repeating the obvious is very tedious.

        So, in the diluted dye case, the total amount of dye is preserved, but the volumetric density of die is reduced.

        Whereas in the adiabatic expansion case, the total amount of KE is *not* preserved *because* some of this energy is given up to perform work, and so… how can you claim that internal energy is preserved within the total volume of the expanded parcel? Sure, the volumetric density of KE is reduced, but so is the total.

      • Pierre-Normand

        tl;dr version: reduced average KE of the molecules would be analogous to a case with reduced average mass of the dye particles. Since your dye particles have constant average mass, you analogy breaks down.

      • Just a brief word of thanks. I am following this conversation with great interest and I appreciate your pedagogy.

      • ‘As I said above, go and edit the Wikipedia Convection article, Rob, if you disagree with the use of the term diffusion in gases…’

        But hyperphysics… Actually there is no difference – and gas diffusion is simply the result of a velocity distribution. Your distinction is a triviality

        ‘Convection in calm conditions always causes entropy to increase and the system to approach thermodynamic equilibrium. That’s physics! That’s the Second Law!’

        Your physics is not physics as we know it.

        ‘But in 50 years of helping students learn physics and mathematics I have always found that they learn and retain it better if they think about it for themselves. So teach yourself what thermodynamic equilibrium and Kinetic Theory are all about Rob, because I can tell you have no correct understanding of either, and that is why you don’t understand downward convection against the temperature gradient. Remember molecules travel at 500m per second.’

        I have had 30 years as an engineer, a scientist and a hydrodynamicist. I can tell that you are clueless.

        ‘The temperature gradient evolves even in an insulated sealed cylinder. DO YOU GET IT YET ROB?’

        ‘This result is by no means applicable to the case of our atmosphere. Setting aside the enormous direct effect of the sun’s radiation in disturbing thermal equilibrium, the effect of winds in carrying large masses of air from one height to another tends to produce a distribution of temperature of a quite different kind, the temperature at any height being such that a mass of air, brought from one height to another without gaining or losing heat, would always find itself at the temperature of the surrounding air. In this condition of what Sir William Thomson has called the convective equilibrium of heat, it is not the temperature which is constant, but the quantity ϕ [entropy], which determines the adiabatic curves.

        In the convective equilibrium of temperature, the absolute temperature is proportional to the pressure raised to the power (γ-1)/γ, or 0,29.

        The extreme slowness of the conduction of heat in air, compared with the rapidity with which large masses of air are carried from one height to another by the winds, causes the temperature of the different strata of the atmosphere to depend far more on this condition of convective equilibrium than on true thermal equilibrium.”’
        Maxwell – Theory of Heat, 1888, pp. 330-331:

        ‘Add some new thermal energy at the top of the sealed cylinder (but not making the temperature there hotter than that at the base) and you disturb the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. Now think for yourself how and why there is then downward convection, meaning diffusion mostly.’

        Molecules at different velocities diffuse. Again trivial.

      • ‘tl;dr version: reduced average KE of the molecules would be analogous to a case with reduced average mass of the dye particles. Since your dye particles have constant average mass, you analogy breaks down.’

        In any particular volume in the expanded gas there are fewer molecules – each with the same KE they had before in this totally abstracted state.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “In any particular volume in the expanded gas there are fewer molecules – each with the same KE they had before in this totally abstracted state.”

        If the molecules had the same average KE before and after the adiabatic expansion process, then the temperature would be unchanged. Also there would be violation of conservation energy since some internal energy must be expended while performing work of the moving boundary. But you had agreed that there *is* a reduction in temperature and average kinetic energy, while also insisting that the total energy is the same. Now you seem to have finally realized that this is absurd and you now pretend that we were discussing a case where the average KE of the molecules is unchanged. We weren’t discussing such a case. Even when you were suggesting that the process is free expansion (=Joule expansion) you were also (inconsistently) claiming that there was a temperature drop, and hence a drop in average KE of the molecules. But you *now* finally see the inconsistency, don’t you?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison, as a reminder of what you had said, for the Nth time: “The expansion is the result of elastic decompression of the air inside the chamber and the *reduction* in temperature is the result of a *reduced* average kinetic energy. The *same* kinetic energy in a bigger volume.” (My emphasis)

      • ‘If the molecules had the same average KE before and after the adiabatic expansion process, then the temperature would be unchanged.’If the molecules had the same average KE before and after the adiabatic expansion process.’

        ‘Now the molecules of the heated air have room to move around more freely, and continue to do so as long as the heat gives them extra kinetic energy. The higher the hot air floats, the more room there is for its molecules to move about, and so it continually expands, its energy pushing it out and up. Here the air runs into a balancing problem due to the laws of thermodynamics. The energy from all of its molecules can be used to propel the molecules out at greater distances so it can expand more, or the energy can be used to keep the air hot, but it cannot do both at the same time.

        The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become.’

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html

        You have a problem with both ideas and I can’t help.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “You have a problem with both ideas and I can’t help.”

        This bit of eHow text claims that *either* some amount of internal energy can be “used to keep the air hot” *or* “can be used to propel the molecules out at greater distances so it can expand more” but not both. This is a bit vague but let’s go with it.

        *You* are contradicting this through saying that some of energy can be used to perform the expansion work *and* the internal energy remains the same. The most puzzling thing is that you also want to say that temperature drops in spite of the internal energy remaining the same. You want to say that the average kinetic energy of the molecules drops while the total remains unchanged. I am asking you what this total might be that remains unchanged, and you always duck this question.

        Another way to interpret the eHow explanation would be to assume that the author is confused about adiabatic expansion under pressure and believes it to be identical (as you seem to have also believed) with free expansion. But under free expansion, there is no external work and no temperature change.

      • The potential energy for expansion is both kinetic and electrostatic. The gas is compressed and expands as it rises into lower pressure zones.

        I agree with the ehow author – which is why I quoted it. I can’t really say any more.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “The potential energy for expansion is both kinetic and electrostatic. The gas is compressed and expands as it rises into lower pressure zones.”

        “As it expands into a lower pressure zone” seems deliberately ambiguous between free expansion (zero external work done) and the the case at issue here (were external work dW = PdV). Even if there is some significant change in the internal energy balance between kinetic and electrostatic potential (due to van der Wall forces), in the case at issue, the external work done still is dW = PdV. This corresponds to an equal drop in internal energy (kinetic + electrostatic potential). So, what is this energy that you claim is remaining the same?

      • There isn’t any wall. The gases expand as they are unloaded and diffuse into the surrounding area. The question then is what does that mean for energy accounting?

        But P-N can’t get out of the box – so this is pointless. It is well past the Monty Python point by now.

        The question lil’ Dougie is whether energy is conserved or not as the gas expands – or whether the fictive wall pushing make any sense at all as other than a convenience in an mathematical abstraction based on mechanical devices?

        Entropy is always increasing – from the Sun, to the surface, to the atmosphere and space. It’s a triviality. Entropy tends to maximize is closer to the point but in the convection driven non-equilibrium system of the Earth – departures from maximum entropy are of more interest.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “There isn’t any wall. The gases expand as they are unloaded and diffuse into the surrounding area. The question then is what does that mean for energy accounting?”

        OK. So, after agreeing with me that the work is dW = PdV you are back to saying it’s free expansion. If the expansion were free then internal energy wouldn’t change. We also would need to set dW = 0 in the derivation of the adiabatic lapse rate. Have you tried that?

        But the expansion *isn’t* free. As the air parcel rises, the pressure within it is constrained by the pressure outside of it. It’s *not* akin to a coiled spring that is suddenly set free to expand in a larger space and thereby (temporarily) converts *all* its released internal elastic energy to kinetic energy. It’s rather akin to a compressed spring where the external compression force is reduced progressively and the spring loses energy through work effected on whatever object resists its expansion with some (very nearly) equal force, and thus performs negative work.

        In our case the external compression force results from the weight of the atmospheric column above the parcel, and it diminishes as the parcel rises (hence dP = -g*rho*dz). This constraining force is supplied by the part of the atmosphere that surrounds the expanding air parcel. So, the expansion isn’t free at all and some internal energy is converted to work (while an equal amount of work is supplied to the air displaced from above that is being compressed by moving down, thus conserving energy on the larger scale).

      • No – I described the derivation and questioned the assumptions.

        Think outside the ‘parcel’.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “No – I described the derivation and questioned the assumptions.”

        Questioning assumptions doesn’t entitle you to assert mutually inconsistent claims. You claimed that under an adiabatic expansion process the average kinetic energy of the molecules is reduced but the total isn’t reduced because (as you alleged) it’s the same amount of energy spread out in a larger volume. But this explanation doesn’t work at all. If the average KE drops while the number of molecules is constant, then so does the total.

        As I suggested a couple days ago, the only way I could see for you resolve this inconsistency would be to claim that the van der Waals forces between the molecules of air in the atmosphere are *so* *very* *strong* that real parcels of air hold cohesively together and don’t exert *any* force (and hence no work either) on the surrounding air while expanding. But this is obviously not what happens in the atmosphere.

        I think just like Doug C, you are thrown away by the fact that there aren’t solid physical boundaries around the notional boundaries of the parcels of air for you to mentally visualize. Because you can’t picture the boundary as a concrete material object, you believe the motion of this notional boundary can’t have a real effect. But no real physical boundary is required at all for the effect to be produced by the expansion process. While the boundary is notional, its motion isn’t.

        Consider the adiabatic expansion of the air in a vertical cylinder as the piston above is allowed to move out. Initially, the piston was held in position by a force equal to the pressure of the air multiplied by the area A of the piston. As the outside force on the piston is reduced, the air in the cylinder expands and the pressure in the cylinder drops accordingly. The temperature of the air drops and the reduction in internal energy must match exactly the work performed on the moving piston, as conservation of energy dictates. This work is W = F*dz = (P*A)*dz = P*dV.

        But notice that there is no flow of heat through the piston. The process still is adiabatic. The energy is transferred through mechanical work (force times displacement). If fact there isn’t any flow of heat anywhere. The internal energy density drops uniformly throughout the volume of the expanding gas as its internal pressure also drops uniformly.

        Thus we are entitled to consider separately the parcel of air constituted by the lower half of the cylindrical air column and inquire why *its* internal energy is dropping since *it* makes no contact with the piston. How is this energy leaving the parcel? Its notional boundary is the mid cross-section of the total air column below the piston. As the piston moves out some distance dz, this notional boundary moves out half the distance, dz/2. And the work performed by the lower air parcel is consequently W/2, which indeed must match its reduction in internal energy. When some virtual parcel of air is allowed to expand through a reduction of the pressure of the air above (or around) it, then the loss in internal energy only is a function of the pressure change. It doesn’t matter in the least that there isn’t a solid boundary in direct contact with the relevant parcel. The reduction in internal energy always is exactly PdV and doesn’t require a solid wall nearby to push against.

      • Pierre-Normand

        There, I thought outside the parcel.

      • ‘Questioning assumptions doesn’t entitle you to assert mutually inconsistent claims. You claimed that under an adiabatic expansion process the average kinetic energy of the molecules is reduced but the total isn’t reduced because (as you alleged) it’s the same amount of energy spread out in a larger volume. But this explanation doesn’t work at all. If the average KE drops while the number of molecules is constant, then so does the total.’

        You have said that about 20 times now – it seems such a simple idea. If there are 4 boxes with cupcakes in them. Now take the cupcakes out and put it them in six boxes – how much less is in each box and how much is there in total?

        There is no piston – there are only molecules moving out under elastic compression. If we assume no radiative losses or gains – all of the kinetic energy is conserved in the larger area. In this adiabatic assumption – it is assumed that there is some work done by the pressure-volume relationship. But this is not exact by any means, not provable in any empirical sense, not susceptible to theoretical analysis and not a realistic energy dynamic in the atmosphere. It is a physical metaphor. The real process is molecular diffusion into progressively lower densities and molecular velocities – the pretend process is air in a box at a terminal height.

        Your approach is profoundly naïve – you mistake approximate physics relations for exact reality and refuse to think about what the actual physical processes are. You insist that PdV is an exact description of what happens in nature – it simply and obviously isn’t. The dry adiabatic lapse rate is obviously not even close to the US standard atmosphere.

        http://www.digitaldutch.com/atmoscalc/graphs.htm

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “You have said that about 20 times now – it seems such a simple idea. If there are 4 boxes with cupcakes in them. Now take the cupcakes out and put it them in six boxes – how much less is in each box and how much is there in total?”

        It’s *not* the number of molecules (number of cupcakes) that’s at issue. What is is that represents the average KE per molecule in your cupcakes analogy? Nothing. Hence the analogy is useless. I agree that the number of molecules (number of cupcakes) doesn’t change. It’s the average and total amount of *kinetic energy* (amount of frosty topping) that’s at issue. If the average KE of the molecules drops (the average amount of frosty topping) is *reduced*, as you acknowledge average KE is, then merely re-arranging the cupcakes into more boxes with not make the reduced amount of frosty topping add up to the same total as before. That’s because the total amount of frosty topping just is the average amount of frosty topping per cupcake multiplied by the total number of cupcakes. Since the number of cupcakes doesn’t vary, when the average amount of topping drops, so does the total. That an issue with the conservation of energy (topping).

      • cupcakes = energy – how is that not obvious when we are talking total and average energy?

        This has taken on a surreal dimension that I can’t quite cope with. Look the cupcakes are the energies – we will call them Joule cakes – not the damn frosting. There are fewer cupcakes per box and the same number of cupcakes in total. Really – can’t you understand anything. Frosting is just the icing on the cake for God’s sake. .

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “cupcakes = energy – how is that not obvious when we are talking total and average energy?”

        No. We are talking about total energy and average energy *per* *molecule*. Since now there is nothing in your analogy that represents single molecules, you are simply asserting that the energy is spread out while remaining the same. But I was precisely questioning the consistency of this assertion with the claim that the average energy *per* *molecule* is reduced.

        Look, try it out with just 3 molecules M1, M2 and M3. Each molecule has some kinetic energy KE1, KE2 and KE3. So the average is (KE1+KE2+KE3)/3 and the total energy is (KE1+KE2+KE3). Since there are three molecules from start to finish, the total energy will *always* be 3 times the average. So, how can the total remain the same while the average varies? Moving the molecules further apart will change the volumetric density of the energy, but will have no effect on the total. The total still is KE1+KE2+KE3. That it is spread out in a larger volume is neither here nor there.

      • Cupcakes are conserved – the 1st law of cupcakes. The second law – suggests that you can’t have your cupcake and eat it. The third law says that cupcakes are not a magic pudding.

        All the molecules – lots and lots of them – are the sprinkles on the top of the icing. Now say you have 4 friends – and 2 that you don’t like but had to invite because your mum said so. You can share the cakes with 4 people – and each has so many kilojoules – or you can share them with 6 and each has less kilojoules.

        Let’s go back to the gravitational potential energy at an infinite distance from Earth – that was even funnier.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison : “Let’s go back to the gravitational potential energy at an infinite distance from Earth – that was even funnier.”

        “The general expression for gravitational potential energy arises from the law of gravity and is equal to the work done against gravity to bring a mass to a given point in space. Because of the inverse square nature of the gravity force, the force approaches zero for large distances, and it makes sense to choose the zero of gravitational potential energy at an infinite distance away. The gravitational potential energy near a planet is then negative, since gravity does positive work as the mass approaches. This negative potential is indicative of a “bound state”; once a mass is near a large body, it is trapped until something can provide enough energy to allow it to escape.”

        http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/gpot.html

      • Pierre-Normand

        Let me just note that the last sentence of this hyperphysics blurb is a bit imprecise. We may rather say that given this customary definition of potential energy, the sum total the kinetic and potential energy being negative is indicative of a bound state. Therefore, when KE > PE, escape velocity is exceeded and the trajectory is hyperbolic rather than elliptic.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Or rather, when |KE| >= |PE|, such that KE+PE is non-negative.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “Cupcakes are conserved – the 1st law of cupcakes. The second law – suggests that you can’t have your cupcake and eat it. The third law says that cupcakes are not a magic pudding.”

        The cupcake analogy was brought up by you seemingly as a way to avoid drawing the inescapable conclusion that if the average kinetic energy of the molecules diminishes, then so does the total kinetic energy of the molecules.

        But how can you not possibly realize this so very simple kindergarten grade mathematical result? Don’t you agree that if the total energy of n molecules TE = (e_1 + e_2 + … + e_n), where e_i is the energy of the ith molecule, then the average just is the TE/n? Don’t you agree with that definition of the term “average”? Does it not follow that if n does *not* vary (since the expansion is adiabatic and there isn’t therefor any heat flow or net matter exchange through the boundary) then if TE/n diminishes, then so must TE?

      • ‘Gravitational potential energy is energy an object possesses because of its position in a gravitational field. ‘The most common use of gravitational potential energy is for an object near the surface of the Earth where the gravitational acceleration can be assumed to be constant at about 9.8 m/s2. Since the zero of gravitational potential energy can be chosen at any point (like the choice of the zero of a coordinate system), the potential energy at a height h above that point is equal to the work which would be required to lift the object to that height with no net change in kinetic energy. Since the force required to lift it is equal to its weight, it follows that the gravitational potential energy is equal to its weight times the height to which it is lifted.’ http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/gpot.html

        Not all that relevant for convection because it is buoyant potential rather than gravitational in moving air masses.

        The other idea is fantastic if you want to calculate escape velocity – http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/gpot.html#ui

        You’ll find the mgz form much more useful generally for Earthly concerns like hyrodynamics.

        Phuck cupcakes – I will try a last time.

        ‘The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become.’

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html .

        This is literally true – energy is conserved in a greater volume assuming there are no radiative losses or gains – which we did to start with. The total is x Joules – and the average is x Joule/V – in a bigger volume the total is x Joule and the average is x Joules/(V + dV).

        P-N just gets the wrong idea – and sticks to it relentlessly while disparaging as ignorant what he doesn’t understand. Where have we seen that before?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote : (quoting eHow) ‘The energy of the parcel is always the same, no matter what the air is doing. If this energy is stretched out over a wide area, it cannot create heat by being concentrated in a single spot. The farther away from each the molecules moves, the lower the temperature of the parcel will become.’

        Read more : http://www.ehow.com/how-does_5220405_warm-air-rise-cool-expands_.html .

        This is literally true – energy is conserved in a greater volume assuming there are no radiative losses or gains – which we did to start with. The total is x Joules – and the average is x Joule/V – in a bigger volume the total is x Joule and the average is x Joules/(V + dV).”

        First, you are assuming that under adiabatic expansion of the rising parcel of air there is zero external work is done and we therefore hare complete preservation of internal energy. I think that incredible but let me grant you this claim for the sake of argument.

        Second, you *hadn’t* initially argued that the average energy density density per volume unit is reduced. You had rather argued that the average *kinetic* energy *of the molecules* is reduced. You have to argue this since you acknowledge that the temperature is dropping. (Remember, you had written: “The expansion is the result of elastic decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. The same kinetic energy in a bigger volume.”)

        But since you are denying that there is any internal energy loss from any external work done, and are again assimilating the case to a process of free expansion, (or Joule-Thompson expansion), then, although there trivially is a reduction in volumetric internal energy density, there isn’t (much of) a drop in average kinetic energy of the molecules. The drop in energy density rather is (mainly) a result of the reduction of the number of molecules per unit volume. It is indeed a well known feature of Joule expansion that it does *not* yield any temperature change. It does yield a small energy change in the case of the Joule-Thomson expansion, but this effect on temperature for the expansion of air is tiny, as some kinetic energy is converted in electrostatic potential energy. But this still contradicts flatly your claim that we have the “same *kinetic* energy in a bigger volume” for the simple reason that I stated (if the average KE per molecules drops, then so does the total KE).

        So, in summary, in order to remove the inconsistency in your initial claim, we have to modify it thus: “The expansion is the result of [Joule-Thompson] decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. [We have however] the same [internal, i.e. kinetic + electrostatic potential] energy in a bigger volume.”

        But then the temperature drop for air would be a very small fraction of the drop dictated by the dry adiabatic lapse rate calculated in the normal fashion and, I surmise, would deviate wildly from observed temperature profiles over dry land in mid-afternoon. And the idea that expanding air parcel perform no work on the surrounding is strangely unphysical and unjustified.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Let me also note that you use of the term “elastic decompression” to refer to either Joule or Joule-Thompson expansion is rather odd, since normal expansion that performs work on the surrounding is an isentropic reversible process, while on the contrary, free or Joule-Thompson expansion are irreversible processes (which of course shows how unphysical the assumption is in the case of vertically rising atmospheric parcels, which, we would normally assume, would warm back to the same initial temperature if pushed back to the initial level and recompress to the same pressure before they had had time to mix with surrounding air, conduct heat, or radiate energy away).

      • You both should try to think like the brilliant 19th century physicist Josef Loschmidt – and myself.

      • ‘Second, you *hadn’t* initially argued that the average energy density density per volume unit is reduced. You had rather argued that the average *kinetic* energy *of the molecules* is reduced.’

        Same thing surely. There are fewer molecules in the space.

        ‘Let me also note that you use of the term “elastic decompression” to refer to either Joule or Joule-Thompson expansion is rather odd, since normal expansion that performs work on the surrounding is an isentropic reversible process, while on the contrary, free or Joule-Thompson expansion are irreversible processes (which of course shows how unphysical the assumption is.’

        The gas is compressed – then it uncompresses. It is a reversible process. At least in some sense. There are very few reversible processes in nature. This is the reality rather than air in a box fantasy. Air rising is neither dry nor adiabatic – as I think I have said before.

        ‘So, in summary, in order to remove the inconsistency in your initial claim, we have to modify it thus: “The expansion is the result of [Joule-Thompson] decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. [We have however] the same [internal, i.e. kinetic + electrostatic potential] energy in a bigger volume.’

        There is no inconsistency. What I said was that energy is conserved and there thus the same amount of energy in a larger volume. It is elastic compression that causes the gas to expand in a less dense atmosphere. Energy is conserved.

        One can try to understand what is happening in the space – or you can argue that a box in the sky is a fundamental physical reality like P-N.

        .

      • I might add that only P-N is obsessed with a mathematical convenience – and accounts it a fundamental physical reality. It is in reality a first order approximation and he just doesn’t seem to get this.

      • Gravitational potential energy is totally and utterly relevant when determining the direction of convection, up or down, as explained in two full chapters of my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All..”

        Buoyancy is what causes warm air to rise. The net energy is the difference in weight times the height times gravity.

        m.g.dH = m.Cp.dT

        There are several things wrong with this. Starting with energy conservation.

        dW + dQ = dU + dEb

        Doug I assume sets dQ (energy gains or losses) and dEb (the buoyant work raising a mass against gravity) to zero. So –

        dW = dU

        The pressure/volume relationship is normally used with dW to determine a work of expansion. But what Dougie does is assume that there is a change in gravitational potential energy equal to a loss of kinetic energy.

        Warm air rises because it is lighter until it is at the same density as the surrounding air. The potential energy is that of buoyancy and this is dissipated as the air rises. At the stable height there is no potential energy. Let go of a ball at height and it will fall – the air will stay where it is unless warmed, cooled or entrained. So gravitational potential as Dougie conceives it is fundamentally the wrong idea.

        Constant volume is assumed in dU (internal energy) – and the usual formulation uses the constant volume term for specific heat Cv. Cv and Cp are different for a compressible gas and there seems no rationale for arbitrarily swapping specific heats.

        Doug’s errors are legion. Pseudo scattering, the obsession with the ‘gravito-thermal’ effect, an odd concept of convection downward just to start.

        Pseudo scattering presumes to explain why radiative flux from the atmosphere has no effect on the surface. The ‘gravity-thermal’ effect – if it exists – is overwhelmed by convective processes in the oceans and atmosphere – turbulent mixing in fluids that extends down to micro eddies at the molecular scale. Convection is merely heat transport by mass movement – and we get back to buoyancy and turbulent entrainment in air flows resulting from pressure differences, the Coriolis force and flow over mountains and valleys. Despite Flynn the bumpkin’s rustic musings – the atmosphere is pretty much in constant motion.

        At the surface:

        http://earth.nullschool.net/

        And at height:

        http://earth.nullschool.net/#2014/01/30/0000Z/wind/isobaric/10hPa/orthographic=-159.05,-356.10,356

        It all purports to show that it is not CO2 and radiaitve physics. It is all in fact spectacularly incompetent.

      • ‘[We have however] the same [internal, i.e. kinetic + electrostatic potential] energy in a bigger volume.’

        What does this energy stored in compressed gas consist of? One of the things that I discussed was departures from an ideal gas – which relate to intermolecular forces. The differences is some 3K for air doubling in volume.

        Kinetic theory for an ideal gas assumes there are no intermolecular forces – and macro physical quantities – pressure and temperature – evolve from elastic collisions with each other and walls – if they exist. .

        e.g. http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/kinthe.html

        Walls don’t exist in air ‘parcels’. What happens is that molecules spread out in a ripple of influence as it rises and pressure declines. Molecules diffuse outward.

      • Rob Ellison,

        You say the atmosphere is pretty much in constant motion, despite my musings. Only pretty much? Does it stop occasionally? Why?

        I noticed this also. I don’t know why the wind sometimes stops blowing. Maybe you do. A lack of CO2, perhaps? Maybe too much CO2?

        Only joking, of course.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

      • Winds are caused by heat moving around the planet spun up by planetary spin.

        The links I provided shows almost real time wind fields. You can click on a point for wind speed. Try to find a quiescent point anywhere.

      • No. It’s not the same thing at all. The average kinetic energy of the molecules and average volumetric density of kinetic energy are two entirely different things that can vary independently from one another. For instance, in the process of Joule expansion, the volumetric energy density decreases but the average kinetic energy and temperature don’t change. So this distinction is crucial to the question about the nature of the expansion process.

        Sorry – it is quite obvious that there the density of molecules is lower in the expanded state. The temperature quite obviously declines but energy is conserved in the larger space.

        “The decrease in volumetric energy density trivially is consistent with conservation of the total energy in the expanded air parcel.”

        I didn’t say this.

        Yes, that’s trivial and question begging. The conservation of total internal energy is consistent with a decrease in average kinetic energy of the molecules *only if* the consequent decrease in total kinetic energy (Total_KE =def (average_KE * number_of_molecules)) is entirely compensated by an equal increase in electrostatic potential energy. We therefore must assume dW = 0. But that’s not the case in adiabatic expansion of a rising parcel of air that does work on the surrounding.

        Molecules diffuse outward into the surrounding air. Intermolecular forces are important in expansion of a real gas – I just said that. In kinetic theory as I just said – ideal gases are assumed with no intermolecular forces. So there is expansion that is due to the kinetic energy of the molecules. They have energy and they bounce around and suddenly they are free to bounce around more and more widely disperse. It is a diffusion process – dW is irrelevant except as a mathematical abstraction – which I think I have said about 10 times.

      • Emphatically – it is diffusion and not work in any mechanical sense. You can then move on to reality as opposed to very approximate mathematical abstraction. P-N doesn’t appear to understand the difference.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “Molecules diffuse outward into the surrounding air. Intermolecular forces are important in expansion of a real gas – I just said that. In kinetic theory as I just said – ideal gases are assumed with no intermolecular forces. So there is expansion that is due to the kinetic energy of the molecules. They have energy and they bounce around and suddenly they are free to bounce around more and more widely disperse. It is a diffusion process – dW is irrelevant except as a mathematical abstraction – which I think I have said about 10 times.”

        You’ve said this 10 times and been wrong 10 times. Notice that in the process of Joule expansion, the molecules *also* are free to bounce around and more widely disperse in the empty space newly opened to them, yet there is exactly zero loss of kinetic energy and zero drop in temperature — because there is no external work done. So, this process isn’t relevant to the case of adiabatic expansion withing a slowly expanding gaseous medium (e.g. more air parcels around) or expanding solid enclosure. The two-way material diffusive flux at the notional boundary is irrelevant to the temperature drop in the middle of the expanding parcel since if there were a thin flexible boundary there (as the foil of a rising weather balloon) then there would be no diffusive flux at all but there would still be the very same temperature drop everywhere within the balloon.

        I also granted to you that when the parcel of *real* gas expands, there is *some* (small) part the the reduction in KE of the molecules that is accounted for by the work of inter-molecular forces. It’s this reduction that’s isolated in the artificial Joule-Thompson throttling process. But this is several orders of magnitude smaller than the reduction in KE energy accounted for by the reduction in total internal energy (which you deny occur) that corresponds to dW. Hence, the process that you think mainly accounts for the temperature drop of a rising parcel of air, is negligible compared with the process that you wish to dismiss as a mere mathematical fiction. If your’s were the main process, the dry adiabatic lapse rate (theoretical and measured, e.g. within rising weather balloons) would be very much smaller (about three or four orders of magnitudes according to rough calculation) that the standard textbook result (9.8°C/km) that posits the dW = PdV drop in internal energy.

      • You’ve said this 10 times and been wrong 10 times. Notice that in the process of Joule expansion, the molecules *also* are free to bounce around and more widely disperse in the empty space newly opened to them, yet there is exactly zero loss of kinetic energy and zero drop in temperature — because there is no external work done. So, this process isn’t relevant to the case of adiabatic expansion withing a slowly expanding gaseous medium (e.g. more air parcels around) or expanding solid enclosure.’

        There is a real gas temperature reduction from Joule expansion. But this is just one effect. Which I put at 3K over 5km it seems so long ago. Which is 1 order of magnitude less than the dry abiabatic lapse rate btw.

        ‘The two-way material diffusive flux at the notional boundary is irrelevant to the temperature drop in the middle of the expanding parcel since if there were a thin flexible boundary there (as the foil of a rising weather balloon) then there would be no diffusive flux at all but there would still be the very same temperature drop everywhere within the balloon…’

        blah blah blah blah…

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/if-heat-rises-why-does-th/

        http://scienceprojectideasforkids.com/2010/temperature-changes-with-earths-atmosphere/

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cimgIhtN-AU

        Look – the temperature is lower at height simply because there are fewer molecules per unit area. As air rises it expands into that space and cools. The expanding air mass diffuses into the surrounding space.

      • Rob Ellison: “I didn’t say this.”

        Yes, sorry. I made a mistake editing. This was my own paraphrase of the trivial bit that we are agreeing on.

        I suppose it is this bit that he imagines is all that I am talking about.

        I also granted to you that when the parcel of *real* gas expands, there is *some* (small) part the the reduction in KE of the molecules that is accounted for by the work of inter-molecular forces. It’s this reduction that’s isolated in the artificial Joule-Thompson throttling process. But this is several orders of magnitude smaller than the reduction in KE energy accounted for by the reduction in total internal energy (which you deny occur) that corresponds to dW.

        It is at least some progress from insisting that the atmosphere is an ideal gas. The effect is some 3K/5km. The other effect of expansion is that there are fewer molecules per unit area each with some kinetic energy so the average is lower and T drops.

        There is no work done (dW) on an imaginary boundary. Molecules expand outwards and diffuse into the surrounding space. This is the real effect – as I have said all along – and not the dry adiabatic lapse rate. The latter is a construct based on analogies to a mechanical system. I derived the dry adiabatic lapse rate, discussed the assumptions and moved on to the real world.

        Rob Ellison: “I didn’t say this.”

        Yes, sorry. I made a mistake editing. This was my own paraphrase of the trivial bit that we are agreeing on.

        I suppose it is this bit that he imagines is all that I am talking about.

        I also granted to you that when the parcel of *real* gas expands, there is *some* (small) part the the reduction in KE of the molecules that is accounted for by the work of inter-molecular forces. It’s this reduction that’s isolated in the artificial Joule-Thompson throttling process. But this is several orders of magnitude smaller than the reduction in KE energy accounted for by the reduction in total internal energy (which you deny occur) that corresponds to dW.

        It is at least some progress from insisting that the atmosphere is an ideal gas. The effect is some 3K/5km. The other effect of expansion is that there are fewer molecules per unit area each with some kinetic energy so the average is lower and T drops.

        There is no work done (dW) on an imaginary boundary. Molecules expand outwards and diffuse into the surrounding space. This is the real effect – as I have said all along – and not the dry adiabatic lapse rate. The latter is a construct based on physical analogies to a mechanical system. I derived the dry adiabatic lapse rate, discussed the assumptions and moved on to the real world.

        I never particularly believe anything that P-N says. It is a logic of physical definitions.

      • Whoops – editing mishap looking for a moderation trigger – sorry

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison, regardless whether the change in internal balance between electrostatic potential and molecular KE contributes 10% or 0.1% of the real temperature drop, you can only arrive at the conclusion that the total internal energy of the rising air parcel is conserves (albeit spread out in a larger volume) if you completely discount the other 90% or 99.9% of the effect. This had been my point all along. This larger portion of the effect is not attributable to the increased electrostatic potential share of the internal energy. Hence your claim that the total internal energy is conserved amounts to denying the much larger part of the effect on temperature.

      • It has been my point all along that the reduced heat measured at a point is mostly a result of the reduced molecular density. The parcel expands and diffuses through the surrounding lower density space. The effect ripples out in wider circles – and energy is always conserved. Work – and where does that energy go – is a humdrum metaphor for the molecules and the energy they carry diffusing outward from higher to lower pressure.

        This – as I keep saying – is not the dry adiabatic lapse rate but is the dance of the sugar plum fairy.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Robert Ellison wrote: “It has been my point all along that the reduced heat measured at a point is mostly a result of the reduced molecular density. The parcel expands and diffuses through the surrounding lower density space.”

        There is no heat measured at a point. Heat is measured in a volume. You must mean what is the temperature (or volumetric KE energy density) measured at a point. This is (approximately) proportional to the kinetic energy of the molecules in the vicinity of that point. So, what is needed is an account of the reduction of the kinetic energy of the molecules. Only a small fraction of the reduction in kinetic energy is accounted for by their being spread out in a wider volume, and hence being given up to the electrostatic potential.

        “The effect ripples out in wider circles – and energy is always conserved. Work – and where does that energy go – is a humdrum metaphor for the molecules and the energy they carry diffusing outward from higher to lower pressure.”

        But where does that energy go, indeed? There has been an increase in electrostatic potential energy that compensates only for a small fraction of the *total* reduction in KE for all the molecules in the expanded volume. So there is a net reduction in internal energy. It’s not just more spread out. It’s reduced a whole lot more than the increase in electrostatic potential energy can account for. So, where did the missing energy go?

        It was lost *outside* of the volume through work. That’s my answer. You have no answer so you can’t account for energy conservation at all.

      • David Springer

        The rising parcel of air loses kinetic energy and gains gravitational potential energy. Total energy remains constant but temperature declines because temperature doesn’t measure potential energy. Total energy is also reduced as the expanding gas accomplishes work by pushing other gases out of the way as it expands. Total energy is reduced by that mechanism.

      •  

        Yes Pierre, it is indeed exactly as you say: “what is needed is an account of the reduction of the kinetic energy of the molecules.”

        That as Rob Ellison does not realise is the only way a gas cools – its mean KE per molecule (not bulk KE of course) must be lowered.

        That happens for the same reason that a stone slows down when you throw it vertically into the air. I won’t try to explain it in terms of school-boy Newtonian physics or gravitational potential energy because that would confuse our dear Rob.

        So I’ll take him back to his childhood stone throwing days.

         

      • Pierre-Normand

        DC wrote: “Yes Pierre, it is indeed exactly as you say: “what is needed is an account of the reduction of the kinetic energy of the molecules.”

        That as Rob Ellison does not realise is the only way a gas cools – its mean KE per molecule (not bulk KE of course) must be lowered.

        That happens for the same reason that a stone slows down when you throw it vertically into the air.”

        Is that also for you explanation of the equal amount of adiabatic cooling as a result of the very same ratio of volume increase during the second stage of the Carnot cycle? Gravity? Really? Even if the piston is moved out horizontally?

      • Is that my explanation, Pierre? Not directly. But each result is derived from Kinetic Theory using the same assumptions. The Ideal Gas Law is derived from Kinetic Theory. The temperature gradient in non-radiating gases in a force field such as gravity or centrifugal force in, for exaample, a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube is also derived directly from Kinetic Theory as I have demonstrated in several comments above.

        After all, when that stone is thrown into the air we do see KE and gravitational PE interchanging, now don’t we? And that’s all we need to derive the temperature gradient. After al, didn’t I explain to you both that the state of thermodynamic equilibrium must have no unbalanced energy potentials, and so the mean sum (PE + KE) is constant at all altitudes when the Second Law of Thermodynamics has its way, which it tends towards doing despite the weather.

        Now I’m busy this weekend because my eight-year-old son is playing in the open Junior (under 18) lawn bowls tournament here, having been runner up in our club’s under 18 singles. You can see him in the fourth photo here.

      • Energy is conserved. It is absorbed at the surface and heats the air above. The mass rises turbulently converting the potential energy of buoyancy to kinetic energy – down to the molecular through micro eddies vibrating at thousands of times a second. Spinning up through the Coriolis force to travel at up to hundreds of kilometres an hour in the upper atmosphere.

        Sure molecular diffusion happens – maybe. The process is subsumed in the roiling masses turbulently mixing as they rise. Ice crystals form and melt again and again. Water vapour condenses releasing energy and free falling to the surface to splatter with fantastic energies in miniature on the surface to run in rivulets and grand rivers through the landscape only to return to the sky. Here’s a formula.

        P = Q + E + Δ S
        where

        P is precipitation
        Q is runoff
        E is evapotranspiration
        Δ S is the change in storage (in soil or the bedrock)

        Unlike the dry adiabatic formulation – it is conceptually precise. The dry adiabatic formulation sets energy gains and losses as well as energy due to buoyancy to zero and neglects phase transitions entirely. The reality is much more interesting.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Unlike the dry adiabatic formulation – it is conceptually precise. The dry adiabatic formulation sets energy gains and losses as well as energy due to buoyancy to zero and neglects phase transitions entirely. The reality is much more interesting.”

        You are simply changing the subject to something “more interesting” in order to avoid facing the problems with *your* account of dry adiabatic expansion and the violation of energy conservation within the expanding volume that your account entails.

      • Again – and definitely for the last time (I can;t help myself because you are a totally annoying pratt who couldn’t bring himself to let a poetic description go) no I am not – I derived the formula and discussed the inadequacy of the assumptions and departures from reality. That you insist on staying within the boundaries of unrealistic assumptions and mechanical analogies is bizarre – and to repeat the same whine over and over again is quite irrational.

        All of the energy of the molecules is conserved as they spread and mix into the larger volume. It isn’t converted to anything else. It doesn’t do work and then that work is converted to some other form outside the artificial boundary. It remains as kinetic energy. But then other things are happening at the same time. Assume they aren’t all you like and stick to the assumptions – but I really can’t think of a more dumdass and pointless approach.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “All of the energy of the molecules is conserved as they spread and mix into the larger volume. It isn’t converted to anything else. It doesn’t do work and then that work is converted to some other form outside the artificial boundary. It remains as kinetic energy.”

        Since the reduction in kinetic energy of the molecules is about 20 times larger than the offsetting gain in electrostatic potential energy, that means the the internal energy (kinetic + electrostatic potential) is reduced. I am puzzled by your contrary claim that within the cooling parcel, all this energy “remains as kinetic energy”.

        This doesn’t make sense from the point of view of second grade mathematics (or whatever grade kids are taught about the arithmetic mean — though maybe you were so bright, you skipped that grade and now have a lacuna). (1) You acknowledge that the average kinetic energy per molecule is reduced. (2) If the average kinetic energy of the molecules is reduced then the total kinetic energy *of the very same number of molecules* also is reduced since the arithmetic mean is the sum of the energies divided by the number of molecules. Yet, (3) you claim that all the energy remains in the whole expanded volume *as* kinetic energy. What other form of kinetic energy do you have in mind that isn’t the (certainly reduced) kinetic energy of molecules?

      • ‘You acknowledge that the average kinetic energy per molecule is reduced.’

        No – I don’t.

      • Pierre-Normand

        P-N: “You acknowledge that the average kinetic energy per molecule is reduced.”

        Rob Ellison wrote: “No – I don’t”

        What reduced average kinetic energy were you talking about then? Reduced volumetric density of kinetic energy?

      •  

         

         

        Rob and Pierre:

        If a molecule has an upward component in its free path movement between collisions then some of the translational kinetic energy in that molecule (M.Cp.dT) supplies the addition gravitational potential energy (M.g.dH)that it acquires by virtue of its additional altitude. Vice versa for downward motion. Equate the two and you have the temperature gradient dT/dH = g/Cp which should not be hard to understand.

         

         

         

      • Yes well Pierre that’s why you need to try to apply your “fissics” to the nominal troposphere of Uranus which heats from the top down by convection on the sunlit side that balances the upward convection and radiation losses on the dark side. There’s no surface and no solar radiation penetrating 350Km of the troposphere. Furthermore, it keeps getting hotter going down towards the 5,000K core Is that core cooling off? No. Is there any convincing evidence of significant energy generation or loss of energy in TOA measurements? No.

        So how does the required thermal energy get down there, Pierre and Rob?

        I have asked this many times, and a similar question for Venus, but neither of you can answer, and until you realise that I have answered with valid physics in my book and the my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” (which the book was based on) then you will never learn and understand what is happening on any planet, including Earth.

      • Temperature is measured with a detector – I was thinking of my forearm but anything will do.

        http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/projects/thermometer.html

        In the real world what do you imagine diffusion means? You don’t have a theory – you have a mechanical analogy.

        A stone thrown into the air will not stay there Dougie – a hydrodynamically stable air parcel will. There is a critical difference between buoyancy in a fluid such as the atmosphere and free fall of a dense object that – like much else – you miss entirely as a result of your monomania.

        And of course the perceived heat depends not just on the kinetic energy of the molecule but the number of molecules hitting your face. And of course air in the upper atmosphere is cooler because of radiative physics to start with.

        Your derivation is just plain wrong
        and P-N can’t move past the mechanical metaphor is an analysis that is not even approximately right. The US standard atmosphere environmental lapse rate is some 6.5 degrees C/km – the dry adiabatic rate is 9.8.

        This suggests that other processes are in play – and I suggest that if you can get accurate numbers from your ersatz dry lapse rate then you are fiddling the books.

        Now – I have certainly been patient enough with both of your childish gibes and incompetent physics . This is over as far as I am concerned.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “The US standard atmosphere environmental lapse rate is some 6.5 degrees C/km – the dry adiabatic rate is 9.8.

        This suggests that other processes are in play – and I suggest that if you can get accurate numbers from your ersatz dry lapse rate then you are fiddling the books.”

        This is a strawman argument for I never argued that the environmental lapse rate must match the dry adiabatic lapse rate or that adiabatic expansion of rising parcels of dry air is the only mechanism of heat transport in the atmosphere. However, the fact that the *dry* atmosphere never is convectively stable with a gradient that exceeds the dry adiabatic lapse rate, and the fact that it *is* convectively stable when the gradient is lower, are sufficient enough to demonstrate the the theoretical derivation is sound. That’s because the derivation is *about* the rate of temperature change as a function of vertical displacement within a rising parcel of dry air given the normal gravity generated vertical pressure profile. It’s not about something else.

      •  

        Rob Ellison now seems to acknowledge that diffusion takes place in gases, although at first he thought it was in solids. He wrote ” diffusing outward from higher to lower pressure.”

        Well Rob, any new thermal energy which is absorbed in a region and which disturbs a previous state of thermodynamic equilibrium will indeed lead to outward diffusion (more precisely convection, which includes by definition both diffusion and advection) but that outward diffusion occur for one and only one reason, namely that entropy increases, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics states it will. The direction is not determined by pressure differences. That’s wind you’re thinking of.

        Do you observe a density gradient in our troposphere? Good. Then you know the Second Law of Thermodynamics is working despite the weather

        Do you observe a temperature gradient in our troposphere? Good. Then you know the Second Law of Thermodynamics is working despite the weather..

      • Pierre-Normand

        “There is a real gas temperature reduction from Joule expansion. But this is just one effect. Which I put at 3K over 5km it seems so long ago. Which is 1 order of magnitude less than the dry abiabatic lapse rate btw.”

        That’s not really a big issue, but let me just quibble about this figure. Do you have a source for this 3°C/5km figure? You may be right but it seems high to me. Joule-Thomson expansion just is Joule expansion for a real gas. It isolates the temperature reduction effect due solely to inter-molecular forces (no external work). I would have thought it was much smaller based on the Joule-Thompson coefficient (partial derivative of T with respect to P at constant enthalpy) of molecular nitrogen, which ranges from 0.2 to 0.3 °K/bar in the approximate temperature range of the troposphere. I can’t find the figure for air but I assumed it was similar.

        Since lifting a dry air parcel one kilometer above sea level would cool it by about 10°K according to the dry adiabatic lapse rate, and the pressure change is about 0.11bar, I expect something around 0.02 to 0.03°K as the internal (electrostatic potential) contribution to the temperature drop. That’s nearly 3 orders of magnitude smaller than the total effect from adiabatic expansion. Could the Joule-Thompson coefficient for air be nearly 20 times larger than for pure N2? Maybe so. I’d just like to see some figure.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “I didn’t say this.”

        Yes, sorry. I made a mistake editing. This was my own paraphrase of the trivial bit that we are agreeing on.

      • Pierre-Normand

        P-N: “[…]You had rather argued that the average *kinetic* energy *of the molecules* is reduced.’”

        Rob Ellison: “Same thing surely. There are fewer molecules in the space.”

        No. It’s not the same thing at all. The average kinetic energy of the molecules and average volumetric density of kinetic energy are two entirely different things that can vary independently from one another. For instance, in the process of Joule expansion, the volumetric energy density decreases but the average kinetic energy and temperature don’t change. So this distinction is crucial to the question about the nature of the expansion process.

        “The decrease in volumetric energy density trivially is consistent with conservation of the total energy in the expanded air parcel.”

        Yes, that’s trivial and question begging. The conservation of total internal energy is consistent with a decrease in average kinetic energy of the molecules *only if* the consequent decrease in total kinetic energy (Total_KE =def (average_KE * number_of_molecules)) is entirely compensated by an equal increase in electrostatic potential energy. We therefore must assume dW = 0. But that’s not the case in adiabatic expansion of a rising parcel of air that does work on the surrounding.

      • Gravitational potential energy is totally and utterly relevant when determining the direction of convection, up or down, as explained in two full chapters of my book “Why It’s Not Carbon Dioxide After All..”

        But seeing that you can’t answer my questions about how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus to raise its temperature during its day, or how the energy gets down to the base of the Uranus troposphere or how the core of the Moon stays so hot I rest my case, that case being supported by abundant empirical evidence.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “There is no piston – there are only molecules moving out under elastic compression. If we assume no radiative losses or gains – all of the kinetic energy is conserved in the larger area. In this adiabatic assumption – it is assumed that there is some work done by the pressure-volume relationship. But this is not exact by any means, not provable in any empirical sense, not susceptible to theoretical analysis and not a realistic energy dynamic in the atmosphere. It is a physical metaphor. The real process is molecular diffusion into progressively lower densities and molecular velocities – the pretend process is air in a box at a terminal height.”

        Well, I think that *my* approximation of the internal energy lost when a gas adiabatically expands, as dW = PdV, is an infinitely better approximation for the real atmospheric process than your own bizarre approximation, free expansion, where the variation in internal energy is *zero*. Your approximation better represents Joule’s experiment where the gas is allowed to expand into a previously evacuated cavity through an aperture opened up in the original container, and without doing any external work while doing so.

      • Nope. The temperature gradient is caused by the interchange of translational KE and gravitational PE during free path motion of molecules, and it forms as thermodynamic equilibrium is approached, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics says will happen.

        Sp M.g.dH = M.Cp.dT

        dT/dH = g/Cp

      • That should read

        So M.g.dH = M.Cp.dT as in previous comments.

        In that you both cannot answer my questions about Venus, Uranus and the Moon, I rest my case because you are barking up the wrong tree and have no idea of why thermodynamic equilibrium has a temperature gradient, let alone how convection can transfer thermal energy downwards in a planet’s troposphere, as any attempt to construct an energy flow diagram reveals must happen. You see, you also can’t even explain the surface temperature of Earth’s oceans, now can you?.

        Because you both don’t wish to expose the fact that you can’t answer these questions you make a point of ignoring them. Old trick! Doesn’t work with astute silent readers though.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Of course, true to form (thanks Jim D!), you are mocking and rejecting the exact same claims that you previously were acknowledging, saying to have made yourself. Here is what I had written:

        (Pierre-Normand): “Sure, but the energy source for performing this work — the work of the buoyant force — entirely is *external* to the parcel of air that is being raised some distance dz and hence has *no* effect at all on the kinetic energy of the constituent molecules of the raised air parcel. (Just write down a simple force diagram). The decrease in kinetic energy of the constituent molecules only is due to the adiabatic expansion and the internal energy expended as a consequence of this work W= PdV that the parcel exerts on its surrounding while expanding. [snip Carnot cycle second stage analogy]”

        And here had been your reply:

        (Rob Ellison): “That’s what I have said a number of times now quite explicitly. Are you so cretinous you reply to what you think my comments are rather than actually reading them?

        As for the rest I see much arm waving about things that have been discussed endlessly – but nothing more than the terms of the dry adiabatic lapse rate I have given several times as well. Do you take pleasure in repeating the obvious?”

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Elisson wrote: “dV = (m Cv dT)/-P

        You could think this through for a change.”

        This still leaves dV indeterminate since you don’t know dT either. In order to constrain either dV or dT, you need at some point to relate those to dz. You will find that there is no getting around using the two equations that relate together dP, dV and rho*g. And when you set up those equations, it tells you that dP/dz != 0, i.o.w., pressure varies as the parcel of air is rising.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: ” You have difficulties with the simplest concepts. As I have said – it comes from not seeing the jiggle jiggle. The total energy in the expanded volume is the same but the average energy is reduced. Compress a gas and it warms. Decompress it and it cools.”

        I must confess that I genuinely have much trouble with this concept. What “average energy” are you now talking about? Weren’t we talking about the average kinetic energy of the molecules? Are you still talking about a unit volume or the whole expanded enclosure? If you are talking about the whole enclosure, then when the average energy is reduced then so is the total energy of all the molecules, since this just is the average multiplied by the number of molecules. If we are talking about some constant unit volume, then the molecular population density drops as well as the average energy. So, the total energy within this unit volume drops even more!

        So, what is this “total energy” that you are talking about, that you allege remains the same, if it can be neither the total for the enclosure nor the total per unit volume? Did you really think that through?

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Compress a gas and it warms.[…]”

        Yes, it warms because I produced work to compress it and this work translates to an *increase* both in average (per molecule ) and total energy within it.

        “[…] Decompress it and it cools.”

        Yes, it cools because some the kinetic energy of the molecules (both total and average) is given up as work as the previous process is reversed.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: ” it comes from not seeing the jiggle jiggle.”

        I think that’s your own blindness. Google: “Why does a gas cool when it expands” You will find very many layman explanation (some incorrect, this being the internet!) on physics fora and academic references. There are many variations of my truck/tennis-ball analogy that you so readily dismissed. Here is one from physicsforiums: “Imagine a gas inside a cylinder containing a freely movable piston. If the pressure of the gas inside the cylinder is greater then the pressure outside then the gas will expand and do work by pushing the piston out. In terms of collisions, the gas molecules colliding with the retreating piston will bounce off with reduced velocities. Whether you describe it in terms of work done or reducing velocities of the molecules the result is the same i.e. the gas cools. The cylinder and piston can be dispensed with and the expanding gas will still cool by pushing against the atmosphere.” (Some reformatting mine)

        As a result, the work done corresponds to the total kinetic energy lost by the molecules (assuming an ideal gas for simplicity), and since the number of molecules in the cylinder remains the same, the average KE drops as well (and therefore, so does the temperature).

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “The expansion is the result of elastic decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. The same kinetic energy in a bigger volume.”

        Pierre-Normand replied: “This is astounding. Those two sentences of yours flatly contradict each other. The average kinetic energy ((EK1 + EK2 + … + EKn)/n) is reduced but the total kinetic energy (EK1 + EK2 … + EKn) is the same with no variation in the number of molecules. Really?”

        Rob Ellison rejoindered: “Really – there are fewer molecules per unit volume.”

        Really? Per unit volume the total energy is the same? That’s really what you meant? That’s even more astounding. If there are *fewer* molecules per unit volume, and they have *reduced* average kinetic energy, then your claim that the total energy (per unit volume) is the same even more absurd than how I interpreted it (as referring to the whole enclosure).

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “No it is the expansion that occurs a result of elastic decompression at some pressure P.”

        Merely saying that the decompression is elastic doesn’t tell us how much decompression occurs as a function of vertical displacement.

        We are talking about the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. If we assume that the pressure is constant, then what is it that determines the amount of expansion dV that occurs? I provided my answer. It’s the change in ambient pressure that occurs while the parcel of air rises and expands adiabatically in the weighted atmospheric column (this provides the two equations that relate dP, dV and rho*g). How do *you* determine dV if pressure is constant and therefore dP = 0? If dP = 0 then you can’t make use of the equation (PdV = -VdP/gamma) that governs adiabatic expansion. If you do make use of it, then you get that W = PdV = 0, and therefore dV = 0.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “dW = PdV

        The air parcel is assumed to be stable at some height z with pressure P and a change in volume dV.”

        If this were assumed then there would be no variable at all that’s a function of height, and it would be impossible to derive a lapse rate which is a pressure gradient, that is, the rate of variation of pressure as a function of height.

        “dP = -g ρ dz – and not – ρ m g”

        Yes. Thanks for the correction. This equation states that “dP”, the infinitesimal *variation* in pressure, is a function of dz, the vertical displacement of the expanding parcel of air. Hence, pressure is *assumed* to vary. In fact this determination of dP is the very basis of the determination of dV, through the relation PdV = -VdP/gamma (where gamma is the isentropic expansion factor for the adiabatic process). There would simply be no physical basis for determining the variation in volume dV, were it not for this assumption that it is a direct causal result of the pressure variation that itself results from the vertical displacement of the air parcel, dz, within the vertical atmospheric pressure field.

        “And if you integrate for P you get

        P = -g ρ z”

        Indeed, this plainly confirms that P is a function of height and hence *isn’t* constant around (and within) a rising and adiabatically expanding parcel of air.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “The expansion is the result of elastic decompression of the air inside the chamber and the reduction in temperature is the result of a reduced average kinetic energy. The same kinetic energy in a bigger volume.”

        This is astounding. Those two sentences of yours flatly contradict each other. The average kinetic energy ((EK1 + EK2 + … + EKn)/n) is reduced but the total kinetic energy (EK1 + EK2 … + EKn) is the same with no variation in the number of molecules. Really?

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison wrote: “dW = dU

        dW is assumed to be the work of expansion against a constant pressure – although it is clear that there are problems with the assumption.”

        Regrettably, your grasp of applied calculus, and the notation of infinitesimals, also seem wanting. So long as pressure is a continuous function of height (z), then dW = P(z)dV holds *exactly*. Since the variation in pressure is infinitesimal while the parcel of air only rises by an infinitesimal distance dz, this expression for dW is exact. When integrated over some finite displacement, then the P(z) function within the integral is evaluated as a function of z. But since the lapse rate that we seek to derive is a gradient, there is no need to integrate at all in order to find its exact value as a function of height, or of pressure (with the density rho also being a function or height or pressure). There is thus no need to write it explicitly “P(z)”. As I said, your unjustified claim that P was assumed to be constant is directly contradicted by the statement that dP = -rho*m*g. If P had been assumed to be constant, as you claim, then we would trivially have posited dP = 0 in the derivation of the lapse rate.

      • Pierre & Rob

        As explained by Josef Loschmidt in the 19th century, the temperature gradient in a planet’s troposphere, crust and mantle (-g/Cp) evolves by diffusion or conduction. When a long sealed insulated cylinder with 80% pure nitrogen and 20% pure oxygen is rotated about its centre the top gets cooler and the bottom gets hotter as energy is redistributed (not lost or gained) and entropy increases to the maximum accessible level. That state is thermodynamic equilibrium.

        This is all well confirmed empirically. Until people understand this, they will never understand how the required energy gets down into planetary surfaces, crusts, mantles and cores. Solar energy supports all such temperatures by downward convection, which includes diffusion and advection. That is what people don’t yet understand, but it’s fact and they won’t learn it in climatology classes.

        Footnote: Robert Brown on WUWT did not successfully refute the gravito-thermal effect because he clearly does not understand that a new state of thermodynamic equilibrium evolves when an external connection is made between the top and bottom of the cylinder. There is no perpetual cyclic motion of energy.

        In summary, climatology has been barking up the wrong tree with their incorrect radiative greenhouse conjecture.

      • I don’t know what you are talking about – and I suspect neither do.

        What I said was that – dW is assumed to be the work of expansion against a constant pressure – although it is clear that there are problems with the assumption.

        There seems little contradiction. But more handwaving about schoolgirl physics and whines about my supposed contradictions is really uninteresting.

      • Pierre-Normand

        Rob Ellison: “What I said was that – dW is assumed to be the work of expansion against a constant pressure – although it is clear that there are problems with the assumption.”

        There is no such assumption in the derivation of the dry adiabatic lapse rate. On the very contrary, pressure is explicitly assumed to be a function of elevation and hence dP = -rho*g*dz.
        The work done when the air parcel rises by an infinitesimal distance dz *exactly* is W = PdV. If you wish, it can be written (“P1″+”P2″/2)*dV. But since the difference between “P1” and “P2” is an *infinitesimal*, this changes nothing at all to the derivation.

        And of course, the fact that the expansion is preformed against a boundary that resists with an external pressure matching the internal pressure, the expansion isn’t free at all. When you are asserting that the expansion is free, you aren’t thereby challenging your own (stawman) claim about constant pressure. You are rather positing that no work is done at all. In fact you explicitly said that the energy change is zero. But in that case the temperature change *also* is zero (an obvious but inconvenient implication that you never denied or acknowledged). But you are claiming that (1) the expansion is free, *and* that energy is constant, *and* that is isn’t constant, *and* that temperature changes. You are certainly contradicting yourself a lot.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “That’s OK. Silent readers often read my comments and so they will see you not being able to respond to my explanation of the errors you make. (I love dealing with narcissistic arrogant people.)”

        That’s cool.

      •  
        Pierre and Rob:

        Energy is re-distributed in the long, thin insulated sealed cylinder when it is rotated about its mid point from a horizontal to a vertical position. No energy is gained or lost. But entropy increases to the point where the density gradient and the temperature gradient stabilise. That is the state of thermodynamic equilibrium. The mean gravitational potential energy per molecule at the top has increased by exactly the same amount as the mean kinetic energy per molecule at the top has decreased and vice versa at the bottom. Kinetic Theory tells us that temperature is proportional to the mean Kinetic Energy and nothing else affects it. So there is an autonomous temperature gradient which requires no heated surface and no imaginary rising and cooling parcels of air – just diffusion.

      • No Rob. Temperature is not proportional to (the sum of all) internal energy. You have to leave out every form of internal energy except the kinetic energy of the molecules. But, as I’ve told you before I am not talking about wind that causes bulk KE – I’m talking about convection. I also told you before that you need to learn and understand Kinetic Theory to understand atmospheric thermodynamics.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “With a few interim steps:

        => αdP = CpdT
        or dT/dz = -g/Cp”

        Some interim steps indeed. And where did “g” come from? That’s not from dE, the work of the buoyant force required to change the potential energy, since you have set this to zero, right? It is indeed irrelevant to the derivation of the lapse rate, as I had insisted, since it had no bearing on the internal energy of the air parcel at all. “g” rather comes from the other step, that you now gloss over, where the acceleration of gravity determines the pressure gradient, as I had told you from the beginning.

      • Pierre:you wrote: ” The gravitational potential energy of the expanding parcel of air need not be considered at all in this standard derivation.”

        This epitomises the problem you and others get into when you think of “parcels” of air which don’t exist. You don’t have some parcels going up and others passing through them on the way down You just have molecules going in all directions, with no net movement at thermodynamic equilibrium. But you do have a difference in mean gravitational potential energy for molecules at a higher altitude compared with those at a lower altitude. So if you are to have no unbalanced energy potentials then you must have lower mean kinetic energy (temperature) at the higher altitude. Otherwise, if KE were homogeneous (as is implied in the GH conjecture as the starting point before the 33 degrees of warming) then you would have more PE at the top and some molecules would fall more than others would rise. And as they fall they gain KE and they only stop any net falling when thermodynamic equilibrium is attained. Such a state must have a temperature gradient as Josef Loschmidt correctly explained in the 19th century. You cannot disprove this, and it’s obvious in all planetary tropospheres with or without surfaces or solar radiation reaching the base thereof.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “Rising air does no gain potential energy and lose internal energy as it does.”

        It certainly does. You are misdiagnosing DC’s confusion. The gravitational potential energy change is irrelevant and negligible compared with the internal energy change. It’s the internal energy change that’s responsible for the lapse rate. As for the gain in gravitational potential energy of a rising parcel, it’s compensated by the loss from a descending parcel of air of comparable mass. It would only have any relevance to kinetic energy if parcels of air were free falling in the gravitational field. But they aren’t. They are mutually balanced. Rising and descending parcels of air in the atmosphere are rather akin to pairs of identical masses tied together in an Atwood machine. As one rises, the other one descends and potential energies are directly exchanged between then with negligible effect on the kinetic energy of the parcels as a whole. It’s adiabatic contraction and expansion that accounts for the works performed by, and corresponding changes in internal energy of, the air parcels. The gravitational field only is relevant to constraining the vertical pressure profile without which no work would be performed at all.

      • Pierre-Normand

        “I was careful to assume an adiabatic process. No matter or energy is lost to or gained from the surroundings.”

        So you don’t know what adiabatic means. The process is adiabatic if it doesn’t involve a transfer of heat through the boundary of the systems involved. It doesn’t mean no work can be performed on the surrounding through a volume change. The second stage of the Carnot cycle is a paradigmatic example of a reversible, isentropic, adiabatic cooling process (expansion) that generates work on the surrounding at the expense of internal energy. It is exactly analogous to the case of a rising parcel of air in the atmosphere (quick enough so that heat transfer at the boundary can be neglected).

        “From this assumption you can derive the 1st law and the dry adiabatic lapse rate – the drop in temperature with height as the parcel of air expands. The average kinetic temperature of the parcel falls.”

        Yes, the temperature of the parcel falls, and hence so does its internal energy, which you had denied earlier. (Ellison: “The air is progressively cooler as it rises and expands – but it doesn’t lose energy.”) It certainly does.

      •  D o u g  

        I didn’t say energy doesn’t balance at the surface. It more or less does at any particular point over a 24 hour period. But there is net energy loss in the late afternoon and at night and net energy gain during the morning and early afternoon. What you can’t explain is the net energy gain and how it reaches the observed temperature. You probably don’t realise you can’t explain it because you are brainwashed with the climatology garbage about adding the back radiation flux to the solar flux and bunging the total into Stefan Boltzmann calculations. That’s why you think water vapour warms by about 30 degrees, whereas in fact empirical evidence proves the physics I present which explains why all the water vapour cools by about 10 to 12 degrees.

      • In reply to Rob Ellison | October 12, 2014 at 7:44 pm

        I am fully aware of all that data about Venus, but that paper is wrong and the required energy to raise the temperature is not transferred to the surface by radiation from the surface. The temperature at any particular point on the equator cools by about 5 degrees during the 4 months of the Venus night. Why wouldn’t it cool to some extent, just like Earth’s surface cools at night? And it warms back up again by the same amount, because there’s no evidence of either long term cooling or warming for Venus. I am not interested in your calls to authority, for I have no respect for those who publish information that is a travesty of physics.

      • Rob Ellison commented

        For the US nuclear is almost twice the cost of gas.

        I wonder what it would be if all of the repressive licensing and legal challenges were eliminated?

        One might think that if we were really worried about climate change and preserving the modern world we’d be building them as fast as we can, but instead they focused on a solution that is pretty much guaranteed to drastically impact modern society, and might not even reduce Co2.
        Just what do they really want to reduce, warming or society?

      • Rob. When the cost of electricity is considered, it should be the DELIVERED cost. This will take into account transmission losses and the cost of the grid.

      • Ellison

        One can’t simply disagree – one has to be disagreeable. Sad but there it is.

        Describes yourself precisely, hypocrite!

      • The levelised costs for any of the sources don’t include transmission. Back up is not required for some level of penetration depending on specific circumstances.

        I explained all that. Re-read!

        Nit picking about what “a few percent means” is silly on a point like this. Avoiding the key issue and burying it in a pile of irrelevancies is an old trick.

      • We know LCOE typically includes and don’t really need your long winded and irrelevant observations.

        It is at least feasible that solar and wind can supplant some of that energy – daytime load, solar for air conditioning loads in summer, wind for heating in winter, heating water anytime opportunistically. All without needing redundant capacity – but the penetration is necessarily limited. Is what I said – and it is obviously correct. Nor does it require – necessarily – expensive augmentations to the network. Networks are designed for infrequent peak loads.

        The substance of the comment – however – was that there are a dozen technologies that are low cost currently. One of these was onshore wind. None of them was solar. So do try and get the context right before more irrelevant pontificating.

        The key problem is that your insistence on clearly misguided ideas about distribution costs are expressed dogmatically in wildly overstated terms. The usual bombastic – and usually abusive and insulting – response when I don’t believe you is to say I don’t know what I’m talking about and should read more. Or indeed – am unprofessional, a bore and a fool. I am not interested at all in indulging your nonsense.

        I have given you dozens of links – I think you read more broadly and think less dogmatically prior to putting your mouth into gear.

        http://www.nrel.gov/

      • … I think you should read…

      • Well,

        The LCOE numbers are just sort of a starting point.

        A solar facility in the SW “where the skies are not cloudy all day” is much more feasible and cost effective than a facility in the NE or Pacific Northwest. Cloudy locations will generate significantly less power than would be expected from t