by Judith Curry

It’s your turn to introduce topics for discussions

Today in the U.S., we are celebrating Thanksgiving.  I am currently in Wisconsin, visiting my family (its cold and snowy, but I’m avoiding the worst of the winter weather in the U.S.)

In the spirit of the day, I would like to thank the Denizens for your continued participation, insights, and civility.

### 765 responses to “Open thread: Thanksgiving edition”

1. If you’re not discussing anything in particular I’d welcome some comments, feedbacks, ways forward on these:
Simplifed Atmospheric Model
Cloud feedbacks

thanks

• Scottish, If you have an ideal black body or a perfectly transparent atmosphere, you have tsi/2 for the day side. If you are trying to estimate a sub-surface, you would have tsi/pi. So for an ideal black body the day average energy would be closer to 680 Wm-2 and for a subsurface, that would be earth, since the atmosphere is not perfectly transparent, the day average energy would closer to 433 Wm-2. The “average” temperature of the subsurface over 24 hours would depend on the rate of heat transfer through the various atmospheric layers. For the perfect black body it would be tsi/4 with allowances for albedo including the required assumptions to approach the simpler to directly calculate subsurface energy.

Try that approach instead of following the a\$\$trophyicists :)

• Scottish, I will send your links to members of our climate study group.
We were in Scotland in Sept and the Weather was wonderful.

• btw scottish, the reason for tsi/pi is that you are actually looking for the energy that can be converted into heat. Each layer has a different refractive index and critical angle that limits the amount of energy that can penetrate for a given solar azimuth. So to find tune your estimate think about designing a solar gradient energy storage pond.

The oceans btw add another layer to the “atmosphere” that can be penetrated and land does not. So your 433 Wm-2 which would produce an “average” temperature of 22.5 C would be most accurate for a water world. Since that darn land is here your solar pond is less efficient since energy, is transferred from your pond to the land mass. Due to that, the “average” temperature of the real oceans, oceans that don’t get covered by sea ice, is only ~20 C meaning your are losing in the ballpark of 18wm-2 (includes latent). to the silly land mass.

You could increase the fresh water lens and reduce surface wind mixing to increase efficiency, but on a planetary scale that might not be cost effective :)

• captdallas2 0.8 +/- 0.2
I consider that the top foot or so of the land is like an atmospheric layer as well in that the sunlight penetrates a few microns and the heat energy permeates the top foot or so depending on the composition of the earth and the amount of sunlight it receives. Hence the earth is a heat sink like the ocean albeit not a very good one.
Read somewhere average earth temperature is 14.0 degrees, Oceans are 16.1 degrees and land is 9.0 degrees over the earth as a whole.
Are these ball park figures correct and why don’t we use the average estimated earth temperature [AEET] more widely and more often?

• Angtech, They are in the ballpark. One of the problems is the ballpark is a few degrees. Hansen tends to agree with the 14C down from 15 and there was a paper that had average at 14.45 C degrees.

Reynolds oiv2 has SST at around 18 C.

http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/isstoi_v2_0-360E_-90-90N_n.png

and that agrees pretty well with ERSSTv3b

CRU has a land temperature product that is around 14 C

http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icru_tmp_0-360E_-90-90N_n.png

So based on those, “Average” surface temperature should be around 17 C degrees.

• Thanks CD,
But now I am more confused. Is the CRU excluding Antarctica?
Any consensus on the average global temp estimate here, Gates and JimD/Judith,Mosher/ CD and Rob?

• angtech,” But now I am more confused. Is the CRU excluding Antarctica?”

I don’t think CRU includes all of either pole. BEST has a global land of estimate of 8.68 C. Big difference. Then how they deal with sea ice area is a problem. Once all that is resolved, there is the issue of how meaningful Global Average Temperature really is with super cold polar night values included. -89 C degrees is about 65 Wm-2 which is a bit outside of the greenhouse effect territory.

• Jim D

Scottish Sceptic, I disagree with the entirely opaque case you give, and that you expect to also be -18 C like the entirely transparent one. This is not correct. It would be more like Venus where the surface temperature then depends on the mass of atmosphere and its lapse rate. In general the surface temperature depends on the mass between the effective radiating level and surface and the lapse rate. I didn’t read your 3rd case, but if it makes similar assumptions, it also may be wrong.

• Matthew R Marler

Scottish Sceptic: Cloud feedbacks

Multiple processes in the flow diagram are undoubtedly changed by CO2, surface temperature increase, or both.

Doubling of CO2 concentration probably increases the rate of outbound radiation from everywhere except the extreme lower troposphere; that was a conjecture of mine some time ago, and a quote from a source provided a few days ago by Pat Casson suggested that I might be correct.

An increase in surface temperature of 1C undoubtedly increases both the rate of energy transport by dry thermals, and by evapotranspiration; water vapor pressure, hence presumably rate of evaporation, increases supralinearly with temperature, so the increase in evapotranspiration ought to be higher the higher the temperature increases.

Few studies have been done on the changes in the rates of the energy flows, which was why I got so excited by the Romps et al paper on the change in lightning frequency, which depended on their calculation of a particular energy flow rate and its changes.

It is fairly easy to posit what seem like reasonably changes in some of those flow rates that would completely nullify any warming; I can find little information on whether those rates have changed since 1900, have changed since 1950, or are changing now. Those “posits” are naive, and not “constrained” (as Poms et al wrote of lightning rates) by calculations based on careful analysis.

I expect more and more attempts like that of Poms et al to estimated changes in the rates of diverse energy transfer mechanisms.

• Steven Mosher

When I try to model cloud feedbacks, I start getting some startling figures with likely warming for a doubling of CO2 is as low as 0.1-0.2C. Clearly this is the reason they “can’t” model clouds – because this whole scam falls apart.

#########

It’s always ironic to find skeptics making huge leaps of
Logic. Here there are several. One. Thinking that clouds
Refers to one type of entity. Two. Assuming your modeling efforts were without flaw even if you can’t find the problem.
Three assuming you know why clouds are hard to model.

Go back to skeptic school

• kim

Nimble kim among the cumulonimbus.
==========

2. Happy Thanksgiving, Professor Curry.

3. JCH

I personally do not think the warmest year is in the bag until December is in.

NOAA:

Month – Land – Ocean – to date—ONI—
Jan……….4………..4………..4……….-0.6..
Feb………44……….7……….8……….-0.6..
Mar……….5…………5……….7……….-0.5..
Apr………..3………..3………..6……….-0.1..
May……….4………..1………..2………..0.1..
Jun………..7………..1………..3…………0.1..
Jul………..10……….1………..3………..0.0..
Aug………..2………..1……….1…………0.0..
Sep………..6………..1……….1…………0.2..
Oct…………7………..1……….1….

Land has lagged; ocean leads; ONI average is negative.

• JCH, Now wait a minute, JimD is certain that land leads the oceans, at least since 1950.

• JCH

In terms of a year, in most years it has. This year the PDO and the AMO, which are just temperature and are not cycles, shot up. So the SST’s outside of the ENSO region have jacked the SAT to record levels. The fisheries have hinted for several years that there is a change in PDO behavior.

You’re distorting what he means.

• Am I? I was under the impression that JimD was saying due to the Great and Powerful Carbon, atmospheric forcing over land was backing up the global energy toilet. What did I distort?

• JCH

SST’s are leading. A fair percentage of the oceans are underneath that, and they’re a few years away from catching up with land.

• Jim D

This is an area where skeptics are very confused. El Ninos for sure have oceans leading land. However, when you look at 30-year running averages like I tend to, you have smoothed these out and see the climate signal that is mostly responding to external forcing changes, and that is where you see the land leading due to its lower thermal intertia. In fact, which one leads can be a way to distinguish between internal natural variability and forcing.

• JCH

You have the same sun, a little weaker. The wind stops blowing and upwellling slows way down. The hot-water mountain in the Western Pacific relaxes and spreads out over the Pacific. It’s not going to drive the SAT to record levels. What does that is ~400 ppm. It never stops.

So it comes back to haunt all but the stupid.

And it took maybe a month or two for the earth’s new furnace to set the pace.

• JCH, the different uptake time constants between land with low specific heat capacity and oceans with high specific heat capacity would tend to cause a lead/lag relationship which is pretty much what I see and what I would expect. JimD with his 30 year averaging seems to think that his last average is a sign of things to come, land constantly leading oceans aka the toilet backing up.

Since the oceans provide a great deal of the energy to the land and most of the global energy, I tend to think JimDs, observation is a tad misleading. You don’t?

• Jim D

captd, you may or may not know that the difference between TCR and ECS is due mostly to the fact that the ocean lags. The forcing leads, the land follows quicker and the ocean follows slower. I don’t think I am saying anything complicated here. We see this also in the spring-summer transition which is a forcing change of a different kind, when the interior continents warm up faster and more than the ocean. It’s thermal inertia.

• Curious George

Happy Thanksgiving everybody.

I just gleaned a great idea on this thread: use 30-year averages. Then there is no “pause”. 30 is a magical number. 50 and 100, too.

• JimD, “I don’t think I am saying anything complicated here.”

No, its not complicated it just isn’t correct. The atmosphere responds extremely quickly and the CO2 equivalent gas forcing is a very gradual process. What you are doing is picking a mixture of temperature data and smoothing periods then having a eureka moment. Land responds faster to solar and volcanic forcing than the oceans which appear in the Tmax part of the land Tave. If you want to compare GHG impact you would be better off comparing SST to Tmin. From ~1910 to present, there isn’t “significant” land lead of SST. Prior to 1910 there is enough instrumental error you cannot really determine much of anything.

Since the “lead: you are seeing is primarily due to Tmax, you are misinterpreting the meaning.

It is not very complicated.

• Jim D

captd, the forcing has been steadily increasing and fairly fast for the past few decades. It should not be surprising that the land has warmed faster, I and I think you agree that it is not surprising, and that it is because of thermal inertia differences. It is very hard to warm the ocean as quickly. You have this way of disagreeing while essentially agreeing, which is somewhat irksome. It’s not a eureka moment, just obviousness. You can also see how a detrended CRUTEM4 NH (land) leads the AMO (ocean). This is also understood in terms of thermal inertia. Just obvious, you would agree?
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/mean:240/mean:120/plot/crutem4vnh/mean:240/mean:120/detrend:0.7/offset:0.5

• JimD, If the evidence was in both Tmin and Tmax, that would indicate there is a more land based Co2 equivalent forcing. If the lag were more obvious in Tmin that Tmax that would be stronger evidence. But when it is ONLY in Tmax, that is not evidence of CO2 equivalent forcing.

There are more sources other there than wood for tease. Try this one.

http://climexp.knmi.nl/selectfield_obs2.cgi?id=someone@somewhere

You can register with your institution or try mine, Redneck Physics :)

• Jim D

Tave is the most directly comparable temperature signal with the SST. Once you start looking at Tmax and Tmin you are bringing in other factors like the land drying out and increasing the diurnal range, which don’t help in the interpretation. It is the mean that matters for the soil thermal storage which is Tave that you compare with the ocean surface layer storage. It’s just apples with apples. Soil warming clearly leads ocean warming on this basis.

No labels on the axis but that is BEST Tmax, Tmin and ERSST normalized and detrended with offsets so you can compare. See how SST and surface temperatures diverge prior to 1910? The after 1950 Tmin and SST settle into pretty good synchronization. Tmax really under and over shoots because of all the things that impact solar energy reaching the surface. So much so that the DTR started changing slope around 1985. DTR shouldn’t increase if CO2 or positive cloud forcing is the culprit. The difference isn’t really big enough to write home about, but it isn’t consistent with CO2 related forcing. Now BEST, since it and C&W aren’t “real” data sources, isn’t updated like the big guys, so that end in 2013.

• JimD, “Tave is the most directly comparable temperature signal with the SST”

REALLY? What a novel idea. Is that because it tends to look like what you want?

• “I just gleaned a great idea on this thread: use 30-year averages. Then there is no “pause”. 30 is a magical number. 50 and 100, too.”
—–
10 year average works as well for tropospheric surfsce temps. No hiatus. Every decade warmer than the previous.

• Jim D

Tave represents the energy going deeper into the soil, like I said. This is like SST. It is what counts in energy budgets and the forcing. If you want to look for longwave effects, it is better to get at that in polar areas and see what kind of warming they are doing relative to the tropics, for example.

• Jim D

Yes, since the 80’s rise from the 70’s each decade has beaten the previous decadal record by nearly 0.2 C, which is a whole standard deviation, not just marginal increases, but shattering previous records by a statistically significant margin. In fact with the long solar lull and no strong El Ninos the 2000’s decade already looks like an easy target for this decade to beat by a large margin, but we have six years to go to find out.

• JimD, Soil moisture and everything but CO2 is still climate related. Your claim is that land surface temperature leads SST and that is a “signature” of CO2 equivalent forcing. I claim it is a product of selective smoothing and data selection/data limitations.

That is a little cleaner and I used 27 month cascade smoothing so the peaks aren’t shifted and the “normal” cycle of ocean variability is still present. There isn’t much of a “signature” there at least to my eye. Tave would just shift a few peaks here and a simple smoothing would shift them a bit more.

Now if you got a bit more “statistically” minded, you could do some lag correlations, but tossing out a simple 30 year average and yelling “EUREKA!” isn’t all that thorough.

• ‘However, this was a static simulation that did not include the fact that the forcing itself can change the depth of the boundary layer by making it less stable. In a series of papers exploring the nonlinear dynamics of the stable boundary layer [McNider et al. 1995a, 1995b; Shi et al., 2005; Walters et al.
, 2007] it was shown that in certain parameter spaces the nocturnal boundary layer can rapidly transition from a cold light wind solution to a warm windy solution. In these parameter spaces, even slight changes in longwave radiative forcing
or changes in surface heat capacity can cause large changes in surface temperatures as the boundary mixing changes. However, these temperature changes reflect changes in the vertical distribution of heat, not in the heat content of the deep atmosphere…

In summary, given the lack of observational robustness of minimum temperatures, the fact that the shallow
nocturnal boundary layer does not reflect the heat content of the deeper atmosphere, and problems global models have in replicating nocturnal boundary layers, it is suggested that
measures of large-scale climate change should only use maximum temperature trends’ http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

I have been reading Pielke’s paper on surface temps that he posted yesterday. Here is another mechanism – in addition to the others covered in the paper.

The so-called land/ocean contrast is a surface artifact that doesn’t exist in the deep atmosphere.

• Jim D

As I said earlier, internal natural variations such as the short wiggles in your plot may well have the ocean leading, and you are not looking at anything to do with climate change when you look at those. The 30-year focus is to look at genuine climate change by itself, where the signal becomes clear, otherwise you are just confusing yourself with the irrelevant details of wiggles.

• JimD, “As I said earlier, internal natural variations such as the short wiggles in your plot may well have the ocean leading, and you are not looking at anything to do with climate change when you look at those.”

Really? Normalized to one standard deviation the 1940 peak would be a little bit Abby-normal and the 1980 shift would also be a bit Abby-normal. Both seem to have some relationship with “natural” variability as in FIIK what done it. When you just smooth Abby-normal peaks and valleys, the smoothed result can shift those Abby-normal peaks and valleys a touch. That is why smart folks do double checks when they get those Eureka moments.

https://www.climate.gov/sites/default/files/styles/inline_all/public/Comic_RollerCoaster_610.jpg

There is another Eureka moment complete with over smoothing, poor data selection and over confident data manipulation. No matter how often someone, including the authors point out the lack of “robustness”, climate kiddies still like to ride the roller coaster.

• Rob, “In summary, given the lack of observational robustness of minimum temperatures, the fact that the shallow
nocturnal boundary layer does not reflect the heat content of the deeper atmosphere, and problems global models have in replicating nocturnal boundary layers, it is suggested that
measures of large-scale climate change should only use maximum temperature trends’”

I tend to think that both should be used and neither one trusted completely. All data’s gots its limitations.

• The point was that Tmax is more reliable for temperature trends.

• Jim D

captd, the 30-year averaging resolves the upturn that matters and the phase lag of the ocean well enough to see. I don’t think we need any more detail than this to see the lag which is blatantly obvious and the separate gradients of the recent warming are represented well here too. This separation is a sign that the earth has fallen behind the rising forcing curve and is now trying to catch up, land first: something that didn’t seem to happen in the prior warming ending after 1940. Emphasis on long-term trends like this is also more relevant for the future.

• JimD, Right, the point is you like the results and don’t mind at all that there are issues with your method.

And JCH, being a good team player, agrees wholeheartedly with your assessment. I just wanted to make sure y’all weren’t getting all pseudo-sciency on me.

• Jim D

I use a 240/120 pass to get a triangular 30-year weight. The main purpose is that it doesn’t suffer so much from end-point effects as the flat 360-month average square-wave method which produces the insignificant blippiness that you have with your spurious minimum just due to a previous max going outside the averaging window. The triangular filter is better at removing short-period noise effects that a simple square wave can’t.

• JimD, That is better than a simple average, but you still have a 20 year simple average with a ten year average. That still shifts the break points.

Those tacky wiggles are part of the data.

Just say it JimD, you like what it looked like

• Jim D

It turns out that a 10-year average sliding over a 20-year average gives you a triangular weight over 30 years, which is why it is so smooth.

• Jim D

What I like about it is that I don’t have to look at wiggles that are not relevant to climate change. You don’t see the pause either, because the later years have weights centered around 1998 with the warming acceleration before that canceling the pause after that.

• Jim D

captd, even better if you use CRUTEM (land) instead of HADCRUT (global). Simpler curves, easier to explain. Just what skeptics don’t like because obfuscation is their game, and wiggles do that for them.

• JimD, “What I like about it is that I don’t have to look at wiggles that are not relevant to climate change. ”

No, what you like about it is it looks like what you want to see. The reason I use 27 month is because of the QBO which has a rough period of 27 to 29 months. If you look really, really close, you will see that land shift in and out of phase with the 27 month “normal” SST “noise” or QBO. In phase increases amplification, out of phase reduces amplification, its an inertia thingy.

Now if you can come up with the absolute cat’s a\$\$ break point analysis for quick and dirty wood for tease use, I will alert the media. Until then try to be a bit more skeptical.

• Jim D

captd, if the skeptics can’t even explain the relatively simple behavior of 30-year averages, they are already in trouble with their theories about the causes of climate change, and don’t need to delve into further details until they sort this part out first.

• JimD, “captd, if the skeptics can’t even explain the relatively simple behavior of 30-year averages, they are already in trouble with their theories about the causes of climate change, and don’t need to delve into further details until they sort this part out first.”

I guess your are right is sure can be difficult to explain simple things like synchronization.

• Jim D

captd, apart from ENSO, you’ve got the solar cycle in there with 0.1 C swings, volcanoes with a few tenths now and then,… It’s a mess if you want to understand every wiggle, but have at it, if you think that’s your mission. Web had a pretty good go at it, and no matter how many wiggles you remove, the underlying CO2 part is still significant, as he showed (where is he by the way?).

• JimD, “Web had a pretty good go at it, and no matter how many wiggles you remove, the underlying CO2 part is still significant, as he showed (where is he by the way?).”

Don’t know. He was hanging out at ATTP. I never said CO2 wasn’t significant, just half a significant as you think :)

• Pierre-Normand

“Web had a pretty good go at it, and no matter how many wiggles you remove, the underlying CO2 part is still significant, as he showed (where is he by the way?).”

At ATTP he said that he is unable to post here because he has been banned.

• Matthew R Marler

Pierre-Normand: At ATTP he said that he is unable to post here because he has been banned.

More likely he got tired of being censured for gratuitous insults.

• The truth is that he made a major fool of himself with his infamous Bose-Einstein meltdown and staying away is not merely advisable but raises the standard of the blog sans his legendary incompetence.

He obviously still has scant regard for personal honesty.

• steven

I don’t think these authors are skeptics.

• Jim D

steven, I have seen that paper before. When they try to drive the land with the ocean warming, it gives nothing like the observed warming pattern. You can see the problem in the pictures and stats, but they don’t say much about it.

• steven

Jim, no problem. From now on just state it correctly. The skeptics and the scientists are wrong and Jim D is right. Thanks.

• Here’s and unpaywalled version.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/people/gilbert.p.compo/CompoSardeshmukh2007a.pdf

But right – we’ll believe Jimbo’s wood for dimwits graphs instead.

• steven

Thanks Rob. I’ll keep it handy for the never ending speculation that only skeptics think oceans may be driving land warming.

• Jim D

steven, it is just spot-the-difference between their Figure 1a and 1b. Judge for yourself. I see some significant ones, but maybe I am just biased.

• steven

Jim, the models aren’t right so therefore the scientists are wrong? Interesting point of view coming from you. Are you consistent in your evaluations?

• Jim D

Maybe you agree with their conclusion, that just warming the ocean does increase the moisture over the continents in the models, which being a GHG helps to increase the temperature there. It is just the water vapor feedback in action without the direct CO2 effect, and yes this part is important too, but it is only part.

• Jim D

steven, you can’t say the model isn’t right because nature doesn’t do that experiment to check it against. However if you now believe the models, it shows that water vapor’s GHG effects over land are enhanced by a warmer ocean, and I would agree with that.

• steven

Jim, I have little interest in arguing with you over whether oceans do drive the warming or not until you get past the stage where you declare it an impossible scenario invented by skeptics. You have seen more than just this one paper before from scientists that do this for a living yet your rhetoric doesn’t change. Figure that out why that is since that seems to be the immediate question of interest.

• Jim D

steven, the land has warmed twice as fast as the ocean for the last 30-40 years. The land can amplify GHG effects, and this just adds to the warmer air coming from the oceans, and perhaps they showed that. The interior continent difference is striking, though, and this must be where the land responds on its own, because their ocean-forced cases showed no such enhancement there.

• Here’s another one Steven.

http://users.monash.edu.au/~dietmard/papers/dommenget.land-ocean.jcl2009.pdf

‘Model simulations illustrate that continental warming due to
anthropogenic forcing (e.g., the warming at the end of the last century or future climate change scenarios) is mostly (80%–90%) indirectly forced by the contemporaneous ocean warming, not directly by local radiative forcing.’

But you only have to contrast that with a wood for dimwits graph to realise tha it is rubbish.

• Jim D

The added water vapor creates a GHG forcing which to which the land has an amplified response. So whether the forcing is from just H2O or CO2 with an H2O feedback, the land warms faster. This is what I have been saying. It is just thermal inertia. I also think the land would warm even if you held the ocean temperature constant and increased CO2, but they did not do that experiment. The direct CO2 effect adds to their tested H2O effect, and gives the somewhat strong divergent signal in the observations that you like so much.

• Jim D

…and consistent with an external, not ocean, driver, the land leads in phase.

• ‘Recent studies find that this land–sea contrast also exists in equilibrium global change scenarios,
and it is caused by differences in the availability of surface moisture over land and oceans.’ The other factor in surface temperature is a bias in night time minimums – where most of the warming occurs – as per Pielke.

It doesn’t happen in the troposphere for obvious reasons.

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/uah/plot/uah-land

I don’t BTW waste my time anymore with Jimbo’s graphs. A hopeless mishmash of ad hoc statistical manipulation. Slap it around using the automated procedures until it tells a story you recognise.

• Dick Hertz

Based on my personal proxies for warmness, which include things like swimming pool opening date and first outdoor baseball practice, 2013 and 2014 were the coldest years on record. Of course the record only goes back to about 1996. Also days over 90F was 3 this year, with a normal of about 13 or 14.

Oh, one more, layers under Halloween costume this year was 3.

• JCH

Write a paper. There are journals that will publish it. For a smallish fee.

• JCH

And Dick, in terms of the 2013-2014 winter, it was very cold. My hunch is December will be warmer this year, and the rest of the winter relatively mild. The next months will tell the story.

• Jim D

Someone in the UK or Australia would pick different years as the coldest in their memory. This is why the global index is the one that counts most. There’s a lot of cancellation at small scales.

• JCH

Now Jim D, you can’t go around calling the America and its territories of Canada and Mexico small, nor should you be suggesting shrimpy England and that nutter continent can offset the USA.

• Jim D

Indeed the US may be big enough that someone living in a different state from Dick may also have different coldest years in their memory, even if limiting it to the last 20. But the US is only 2% of the global area, so it is small in that sense.

• JCH

No, I don’t.

• JCH

Boats are not especially forgiving, so sloppiness gets weeded out.

• John Smith (it's my real name)

JCH
ONI?
ocean temps?
looked at the NOAA ONI graph
seems to show temps in a range of 2 degrees from the 50’s
in the 50’s and 60’s was this literally data from buckets over the side, no?
can’t be that accurate
Am I missing something?

• JCH

Oceanic Nino Index.

The US Navy is full of perfectionists.

• John

There is a distinction between ocean heat content and Sea surface temperatures. Here is OHC

“OHC is defined as the integrated temperature change times the density of sea water, times specific heat capacity from the surface down to the deep ocean. In other words, OHC is an anomaly calculated in comparison to a reference period. OHC is estimated based on temperature measurements or on reanalyses using a combination of models and observations.

Changes in heat content cause the ocean to expand or contract, thereby changing sea level regionally and globally. This thermosteric effect has contributed about one quarter to global sea-level rise since 1993.’

SST’s is taken much closer to the surface. I wrote about SST’s here

http://judithcurry.com/2011/06/27/unknown-and-uncertain-sea-surface-temperatures/

There was a change over from Buckets to engine manifolds and floating devices but prior to the 1950’s /60’s I would not place much trust in the data which was often very thinly gathered. You needed one reading in a year in a grid square for that to be used to create a longer temperature for that grid and to interpolate it. to adjacent squares.

There are some reasonable readings along well travelled shipping lanes but generally the idea of a global SST to 1850 is nonsense.

HMS ‘Challenger’ was probably the first scientific expedition to examine SST’s (and deeper temperatures) but it was very limited in scope as regards the amount of ocean it sampled. Its a fascinating read though.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/research-curation/science-facilities/library/our-collections/special-collections/travel-and-exploration/challenger-expedition/index.html

tonyb

• John Smith (it's my real name)

US Navy
full of perfectionist
funny
thanks

• John

tonyb

• John Smith (it's my real name)

Tonyb
thanks for good info
ONI looks like it’s determined from SST
at least that’s whats on the NOAA graph
how’s that Nino prediction business going?
OHC looks like a complicated construct
as in an intellectual construct
does OHC have actual material existence?
almost sounds like the answer is “42”
that one’s gonna take me awhile

billions of Hiroshima bombs of heat
OHC should be getting up there

1872
man, the data set looks short, incomplete, and taken with differing measuring sticks
do we know how many decades any of these cycles last?
30 years arbitrary, no?
drawing grand conclusions at this point escapes me
but I’m trying

I am sure the Royal Navy has more perfectionist than the US Navy
at least I hope so

we’re celebrating one of the re-branded pagan holidays here
Probably the feast of something or other
:)
I miss Green Man

• jim2

There won’t be any “warmest year ever” this year.

4. PMHinSC

A Happy Thanksgiving to all with a special thanks to Dr. Judith Curry for providing a forum for all our voices to be heard.

5. John Smith (it's my real name)

on this day
one of the many things I thank Gaia for, is CE

observation from a newbie non science person following this subject

I believe science has inherent logic
scientist who know their subject, usually communicate clearly, and can be understood on a basic level by ordinary interested folk (ex. Judith Curry)
also they think they should reach out to us (ex. Judith Curry)

experts who say “you can’t understand what we know, so trust us”
are hiding something
usually a lack of confidence in their position

like a “tell” in poker
“denier”… that’s a tell

I learn so much from the folk who comment here, and appreciate all,
thanks for tolerating me
kudos and happy re-branded pagan holidays

except maybe Michael
I guess many of you know who he is, not me
(is that “the” Michael?)
if so…wow

• JS, happy US Thanksgiving to you also. Sentiments echoed.

6. jim2

From the article:

Energy now operating on Moore’s law: Pro
13 Hours Ago
Don Luskin, Chief Investment Officer at Trend Macro, says technological abundance is collapsing prices in the energy sector, which is hurting major cartels like OPEC.

http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000334415

• brent

@jim2
Hard to believe how disconnected from reality that guy is.
Moore’s law in oil industry?? No chance!!

OPEC output decision ensures U.S. shale industry will crash, says Russian oil tycoon
“In 2016, when OPEC completes this objective of cleaning up the American marginal market, the oil price will start growing again,” said Fedun, who’s made a fortune of more than US\$4 billion in the oil business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “The shale boom is on a par with the dot-com boom. The strong players will remain, the weak ones will vanish.”

cheers
brent

• brent

@jim2
Oh.. I don’t want to see the US suffer, nor Canada (I’m a Canuck).
However, wild-eyed utopian thinking isn’t my style.
Remember in 1986, when Saudis tanked the oil market, price was way lower, sub \$10 briefly as I recall.
Even at \$50, price is way higher than that time, and Moore’s law simply doesn’t remotely apply.
Rud Istvan’s recent book is an excellent read, and recommended
Also Doug Proctor’s post here was very astute.

And again, we can’t think of “expensive” in just monetary terms as, say the Soviets did. We have to think of it in terms of energy in-for-energy out.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/12/more-fun-with-oil-and-gas/#comment-1534455
Very Best Wishes
brent

• jim2

Brent – the Russians are already suffering. The low oil price will just pile on more suffering. The Saudis can’t tolerate \$50 oil any more than the US. They need about \$100 to support their social “welfare” payments to their people. Other countries in the Middle East would just about fold if oil got that low.

And we’ve been talking oil. Shale nat gas is an entirely different animal in the US. It will continue to thrive no matter the price of oil.

As I said, and it’s not like we have a choice, we will have to wait and see how it unfolds.

• jim2

Hi Brent. It does seem a little over the top. But OTOH, technology HAS brought down the cost of extraction of shale oil. If the price of oil falls to \$50, I’m sure shale oil companies will suffer, but I doubt it will go that low.

Between here and there, companies would curtail additional drilling which the the greatest expense they sustain. This would mean they would incur no more debt. They would also focus their attention on maximizing production of the wells they have which will advance that aspect of the process.

Some shale oil companies may go bankrupt, but the assets will be passed one way or another to stronger hands.

So, you might want to curb your enthusiasm as you anticipate the death of the industry that is driving the US economy at this time, unless of course, you would like to see the US suffer. We will have to wait and see how it plays out. You may be surprised. In my case, at least, I’m hoping for a pleasant one.

Cheers, Brent.

• Jim2 said “They would also focus their attention on maximizing production of the wells they have which will advance that aspect of the process.”

Jim, I’m not sure what you mean. Will you elaborate?

• jim2

Max – oil is always left behind in the rock. They probably will drill less and experiment more with secondary recovery techniques or re-fracking existing wells.

I just saw Dennis Gartman on CNBC and he said the shale oil producers have already borrowed money to drill, so apparently some of them won’t cut back on drilling immediately. He said we will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production and that in 6 months or so we might see a slowing of production increases.

I still have my handful of shale oil stocks. All were down, one as much as 25%. After the initial shock, some will swoop in to get bargains. If the worlds economies pick up, so will the price of oil. If China decides to build oil reserves due to cheap oil, the price will go up. I’m in these for a couple of years at least.

• jim2, I hope I’m wrong, but the secondary recovery techniques you mention may be expensive relative to returns, and if so, wouldn’t be undertaken if the price of oil is too low to justify the expense. You didn’t mention drilling a second well. If the first well in a spacing unit isn’t recovering the oil and gas efficiently, another well could be drilled, regulations permitting, but that also could be relatively expensive.

Production from fraced wells in my area declines very rapidly in the first few years, and I doubt the decline differs much elsewhere. Unfortunately, after about about four years, production may be only a fraction (typically about one-quarter) of what it was the first year. It can then can remain at that level for a long time, 20 years or 30 years, and hopefully even longer.

Looking back at oil prices, I probably should have sold my mineral rights 6 months ago. Oh well, as someone once said, “No matter what you do, your capital will be at risk”

• jim2

Drilling the well is the most expensive part of the process. You are correct that the price of oil will determine what is feasible. IMO, IMHO, it is probably good you still have your mineral rights.

As to the companies, the blood bath today didn’t take into account natural gas production – which will be unaffected by OPEC – and hedging which some of “my” companies do.

• JCH

Today was not a blood bath. A blood bath is when all your friends are finished in the oil business. In the months after a blood bath, you see them working at 7-11, and it will be for the rest of their working careers; you see the front doors of their houses swinging in the wind because nobody is buying. That’s an oil-patch blood bath.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

jim2, good point about natural gas. And since wells usually produce both gas and oil, a decline in drilling resulting from lower oil prices would put a damper on increases in the supply of gas as well as oil.

• The thing about wind and solar schemes is that they don’t need a cartel to be extortionate and corrupt. They’re born that way (so don’t make fun of them).

More and better nukes plus an oil lake, not to mention Congo etc hydro, Big Frack and all those centuries of coal to be exploited…there might not be any energy cartels soon. Mind you, that could be handy for common humanity, especially if the coolists are right or if a few more volcanoes go pop. The fun part will be watching Saudi royalty looking for hospitality jobs in Paris like the tsar’s relatives had to do.

Imagine being Spain or Ivanpah begging for some funding to fix and maintain all that renewable trash in a world without rigged markets! But how do you take it all away after nobody can even afford to employ a serf to wipe down the greasy panels? Or do you just leave it all there like we did with the tide generators and Timmy’s Geothermia? You only need so much installation art.

• Naychur not Nurchur, them wind and solar techies.
Inefficient, intermittent, land – hungry varmints.

• kim

I miss the Ruritanian Empire, but set the sun it must.
We gauge the past and future tense, in the twilight dust.
===============

• Thank giving’s kim’s back. )

• kim

I felt like a bird in a herd but now I fly like flock.
=============

• E.F. known fer witty variations on a theme – like kim
and naychur.

• Kim and Beth +1’s. I always appreciate your contributions to Judith’s blog.

• Thx Peter and likewise. Keep on keepin’ on.
Need u hi i q types ter keep the serfs in order.

• Nah!! You serfs are fine just as you are! You will not find many really high IQ’s around the climate wars, thems too busy doing something more constructive with their time methinks. I find little to contribute these days but keep coming back to keep up with the state of play.

Being an open thread and all that so here’s my tribute to Phil Hughes. Such a tragic loss of a fine sportsman and human being. A quality Aussie that will always be remembered with affection all over the cricket world.

• Yes Peter, Phil Hughes’ death a tragic accident.Young sportsman
in the prime of life.

• tonyb

Beth

I expressed my condolences to Mosomoso on another thread yesterday. As this seems a better place I will repeat the exchange here

“Mosomoso

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Aussie cricketer Philip Hughes. I had hoped he would pull through, but it wasn’t to be.
tonyb

mosomoso | November 27, 2014 at 11:21 am |

Tony, he’s one of our local boys from around here on the midcoast. He was working so hard to fix his game. Much expectation he’d be back in the test arena very soon. We appreciate the comments from all over the cricketing world.

climatereason | November 27, 2014 at 11:53 am |

Mosomoso

Its been headlines news all day here with a four hour radio tribute tonight.

Loads of flowers laid at Lords from cricket lovers of all nations.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/live/29697239

tonyb
—— —– —

Still very much front page news and all of us here are deeply shocked and saddened as are all the nations of the cricketing world.

tonyb

• You know, he had his problems on off stump, but he was full of runs and would have made it back in the end.(I recall an Englishman with that problem, called David Gower. He worked his way through it.)

Thanks for well wishes guys. I’ll pass them on to people at Macksville when I see them.

• Tony,
People are laying cricket bats at their front gates
as a way of showing their response to Phil Hughes’
death.
bts

• Beth

That’s a nice gesture

Tonyb

• kim

Gotta Little League Louisville Slugger out.
===============

7. jim2

From the article:

OPEC will not cut oil production: Saudi minister
Phillip Tutt | Matt Clinch

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) decided on Thursday not to cut oil production, despite sliding oil prices.

Following a meeting of OPEC in Vienna, the oil minister of leading member Saudi Arabia, Ali Al-Naimi, was asked whether the group had decided not to reduce its output from 30 million barrels per day. He responded: “That is right”.

Speaking to CNBC, Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister and newly elected OPEC president, Diezani Alison-Madueke, said that non-OPEC oil producers had to “share the burden” of any future cut in production.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102222286

8. Happy Thanksgiving, Judith. I’m very thankful for your blog ClimateEtc. I’ve learned much visiting here.

9. jim2

Fossil fuel prices, 11/27 10:43 ET. US light oil has dropped. Coal is up.

OIL 70.94 -2.75
BRENT 74.82 -2.93
NAT GAS 4.252 -0.103
RBOB GAS 1.962 -0.0731
DIESEL 2.3312 -0.0653
ETHANOL 2.10 — UNCH
URANIUM 40.00 -0.50
COAL 54.00 0.07

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Falling prices are good for the economy overall but not good for the economies of oil and gas producing areas.

• jim2

Max – unfortunately, oil and gas represent the hottest areas of the US economy. I don’t have a handle on all the variables, so I can’t really say if a further drop in the price of oil will be a boon or bane overall. If it stays where it is now, the oilfield will probably be OK. If it drops a lot more, who knows what the net effect will be.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Further declines in the price of oil could discourage new exploration in the U.S, thus impeding growth in domestic supply. A well’s production can drop fast in the first few years of operation, so if few new well are being competed, production could level off or decline.

• As prices fall, output in the US will decline as the companies will opt to leave the asset in the ground until prices warrant production. This is a poker game with OPEC, as ultimately all the producers want higher prices, but the ramped up US production over the past few years created an oversupply, and now OPEC is betting they can use the oversupply to drive prices so low that US output will fall. OPEC has the advantage in that their net cost of production per barrel is lower than the US.

• And get back any market share lost to U.S producers?

• The U.S. oil and the knowhow to extract it will not disappear even if low prices keep some of it from being extracted for a while. Like most assertions of predatory pricing, this one suffers at the so-called “recoupment” stage, where the predator is supposed to get back its investment in overproduction by charging higher prices. It’s like one of those “Step 1: Open 1000 stores; Step 2: Spread rumors that all other stores are bad; Step 3: Profit!” strategies.

• jim2

The US is controlling prices. As soon as US production declines, the price of oil will go back up and drilling will commence, if it ever has a chance to stop.

• jim2

One reason oil will eventually go up, China. As citizens there climb the class ladder, they will increase their use of energy on a per capita basis.

10. tekguyjeff

Judith, thank you for this blog. Although I have learned much from this blog, I have mucho to go. I don’t offer my 2 cents very often, but I read it almost every day.

I learned a long time ago (in the Merchant Marine) that to get coverage of the news one must listen to two radio stations: Voice of America and Radio Moscow; in between those opinions was the BBC.

Today, Climate, etc is the voice of reason.

Thanks, and please keep up the good work.

Jeff

11. Dog Experiences Best Day Of His Life For 400th Consecutive Day ~The Onion

12. I can, I may, I might fear global warming.
I shall, I will, no, I must fear it; or,
perhaps, I ought to fear not!
What do we want?

13. Sometimes there’s a valid reason for hiding the truth:

Happy Thankgiving!

14. Curious George

Happy Thanksgiving to you.

• Peter Lang

Is the threading corrupted on this thread already? if so why does it happen? Why does it happen so often on Open treads?

• Yes it is. And who knows why. Is certainly not Judiths to sort out. Just another example of quality control failure in modern first world society.

• Jim D

When the threading breaks, it is because Judith had to delete a post. Anything connected to that post or replying to broken replies ends up somewhere near the bottom.

• Peter Lang

Rud,

Or is it caused by deleting parent comments without deleting the children?

• In his blogging about Canada’s hate speech laws, right-wing personality Ezra Levant defamed a young law student as a serial liar, a bigot and a Jew-hating “[NOT ETC FRIENDLY]” bent on destroying Canada’s tradition of free expression, a judge has found.

For these unfair, false and “extremely serious” written comments, which were motivated by “ill will,” and showed a “reckless disregard for the truth,” Mr. Levant must pay Khurrum Awan \$80,000, Judge Wendy Matheson of Ontario Superior Court ruled Thursday.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/11/27/ezra-levant-loses-hate-speech-case-must-pay-80000-to-man-he-defamed-as-illiberal-islamic-fascist/

• Steven Mosher

cool where are the blog posts so I can preserve them prior to take down

• jim2

As someone at Reddit said, graphene can do everything except make it out of the lab.

• Graphene is a new material with extraordinary potential – and applications are emerging.

But the new and interesting idea – demonstrated in the lab – was the proton filter.

• DocMartyn

Our nanovectors started life as graphene and get across the blood brain barrier into tumors, so they have made the transition from lab to vivarium.

• Rob Posted, “This is very interesting.

I am kind of surprised this one gets picked up. When graphene is doped with something like iodine it makes a very efficient PEM for hydrogen fuel cells/electrolysers. Just layers of graphene make a good water purification filter. Getting products based on either property into production should have roughly a ten years R&D testing/regulatory approval time frame with the usual initial sticker shock.

So this should be 5 to ten years out.

http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-archive/2013/june/graphene-fuel-cell-catalyst-claimed-to-outperform-platinum-equivalent

If it makes it of course.

and this neat property.

http://phys.org/news/2014-02-graphene-affair.html

Graphene should also be applicable to lower temperature gas to liquid fuel conversion since it can be doped with different elements to vary the “mesh” sizes to create purer gas streams. Graphene really does have a great deal of potential beyond trying to suck stray protons out of thin air.

• David Springer

@Rud

It’s a bug in WordPress software. Failure to repair a deleted item from a linked list. QC failure in modern first world isn’t quite fair in this case. It’s the nature of the beast in open source software. You get what you pay for is a more apt description. In this case you pay nothing so you can’t reasonably expect QC to be more rigorous than software which has paying customers who can vote with their pocketbooks for better QC.

• Steven Mosher

Open threads are a free for all. well, in some universe they are.

In general it’s a successful policy to have an open unmoderated thread.
a mosh pit if you like those sorts of things.

I dont know why Judith wants to moderate an open thread. she can of course.

Ideally if you found someone out of line or off topic on a themed thread, then you just tell them to get a room and move their discussion/fight/bromance to Open thread.

basically this would mean you never delete anything or snip anything you just move it to Open. Apply the least force required when it comes to deleting or removing peoples words.

• Peter Lang

By “mosh pit’ do you meant a bully pit, where bully’s like you roam free.

• Peter Lang

Let’s liven up the discussion a bit:

Renewable energy is not sustainable: http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/
Energy needs an Energy Return on Energy Invested (ERoEI) >14 to support modern society. Wind and solar are nowhere near that. Only nuclear, fossil fuels and hydro are sustainable. This is a slam dunk for renewables like wind and solar They cannot power modern society. There are many other ways of coming at this issue which lead to a similar result.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Ha Ha, here we go again. Peter Lang sees renewables as a threat to his pet (nuclear power plants), and comforts himself with the notion renewables are lacking in ERoEI. Hopefully, he someday will wake up to the fact what’s holding back construction of new nuclear power plants is (a) nuke frighten the public, and (b) nuke ain’t a good ERoEI.

I first posted this in the wrong place. I apologize for the error.

• Peter Lang

The energy return on energy invested (ERoEI) in renewable energy is not sufficient to supply the energy needs of modern society.

A short, excellent, short explanation of why renewables have no future is here:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/. The EROEI needs to be at least 14 to support modern society. So, only fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear can do it.

Below are some ERoEI figures for various electricity generation technologies. These include buffering – i.e. energy storage so the unreliable, non dispatchable renewables are properly comparable with the dispatchable technologies.

Solar PV = 1.6
Biomass = 3.5
Wind = 3.9
Solar CSP (desert) = 9
Gas (CCGT) = 28
Coal = 30
Hydro = 35
Nuclear = 75

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

When it comes to renewable sources of energy, few are more negative than energy expert Peter “it won’t work” Lang.

Historically speaking, Lang is in pretty good company. Some earlier “it’ll never work” predictions from experts in other fields are quoted from the linked source.

W]hen the Paris Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.
– Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University

This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
– Western Union internal memo, 1878

– Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), British mathematician and physicist, ca. 1897.

That the automobile has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been introduced.
– Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909.

That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.
– Admiral William Leahy. [Advice to President Truman, when asked his opinion of the atomic bomb project.]

Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.
– Darryl F. Zanuck, head of 20th Century-Fox, 1946.

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.
– Kenneth Olsen, president and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

https://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/neverwrk.htm

For more Ancient Wisdom, see the linked site. Also read post by Fossil-Fuel Luddites and Nuclear-Power Die-Hards here at Climate Etc.

• Peter Lang

In your previous comment you said:

nuke ain’t a good ERoEI.

I gave you the numbers showing you are wrong. dead wrong. You dodged that and went onto posting a whole pile of vaccuous other material.

You just demonstrated two of the 10 Signs of intellectual dishonesty:

4. Avoiding/Ignoring the question or “ . . . and let’s not forget about . . .” Anybody who refuses to admit that their argument is weak in an area and, worse still, avoids answering difficult questions in that area is being intellectually dishonest. If they don’t ignore the question, these people are easily recognised from their efforts to change the subject.

5. Never admitting error or “I am/We are right – regardless of your evidence”. These are the people who will never admit that they are wrong – ever – regardless of clear evidence that demonstrates their error. See Sign #1

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Get Real, Lang ! If new nuclear power plants were a good investment, lots would be under construction, and you wouldn’t need to be here trying to sell people on these things. And please don’t tell me this industry is being hamstrung by needless regulations, which if relaxed would open the flood gates holding back investment. The regulations are there to protect the public.

I could be wrong but I suspect you have wasted a lifetime promoting nuclear power, and you can’t accept that it hasn’t lived up to expectations.
You have my sympathy. But you might be better off just letting go of your dream of a nuclear powered world.

• jim2

Nuclear in the US is hamstrung by needless regulations and lawsuits from NGOs.

• jim2

Look at how many nuke plants are being built in China, for example.

• ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’
T. S. Eliot

Let’s shift it to the bottom of the post.

This quote is quite uplifting – unlike e pluribus unum which was apparently plagiarized from a classical recipe for a salad dressing. The US is not so much a melting pot as a salad bar.

I quite like technology – of all kinds.

If you look at the graphic – there are a dozen energy technologies that are sub \$100/MWh. Some of these are renewable and despatchable. You can even mix and match – say 5% wind and 30% hydro – to get a reliable and low cost system.

But to get beyond that at all cost effectively requires new technology.

This one is relatively old technology – with a few new twists – perfectly safe, modular, creates very little and short lived waste, uses a range of fuels including conventional nuclear waste and is costed at about the same as gas in the US. Damn cheap.

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

Here’s a Chinese version.

But energy and finances are not very serious questions at all. We should perhaps leave it entirely to puerile little twits and flying monkey power.

• ‘We return to our analysis of the isolated, ideal gas, before the introduction of the radiation term in
Section 3.5. It was based on only two assumptions: the familiar expression for the internal energy of an ideal gas and the ideal gas law. The adiabatic equation of change, roe/T^n = constant, was not postulated, but derived from those assumptions. In the absence of gravity, the result is standard. In particular, the equations of motion allow for stationary states with uniform density and temperature. The effect of gravity was included by adding the gravitational potential energy to the Hamiltonian; which is standard practice. The result of that modification is that, in the presence of the gravitational field, there are no longer any stationary solutions with uniform temperature. Instead, both density and temperature decrease with elevation. This should be welcome as being in agreement with what is observed in real atmospheres.
The fact that a portion of the atmosphere of the Earth exhibits the same temperature profile is a surprise; it suggests that the temperature gradient is not a product of radiation….

In this framework, the inclusion of a gravitational field is natural. Inevitably, it leads to pressure
gradients and, thus, also temperature gradients. The theory, as it stands, predicts the persistence of a temperature gradient in an isolated system at equilibrium. The existence of a temperature gradient in an
isolated thermodynamical system is anathema to tradition, and further work is required to find a way to avoid it or to live with it. In the absence of experimentation, the question may be said to be academic, for it has little or no bearing on the application of the theory to actual atmospheres. However, it touches on the foundations of thermodynamics, and it deserves to be settled, or at least debated. Here, we shall
try to summarize what it is that we feel is missing in the official position.’ http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/3/1515

This is of course the problem – and not one – I fear – that we may trust P-N to resolve. It leads Christian Frønsdal to propose an experiment.

See more at – http://clivebest.com/blog/?p=4101

• David Springer

Probably the best single paper I’ve read on the subject. Thanks for the link.

Entropy 2014, 16(3), 1515-1546; doi:10.3390/e16031515

Article
Heat and Gravitation: The Action Principle
Christian Frønsdal
Physics Department, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1547, USA; E-Mail: fronsdal@physics.ucla.edu; Tel.: +1-310-459-1392
– See more at: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/3/1515/htm#sthash.PemUTEeX.dpuf

• Pierre-Normand

David, I read Frønsdal’s paper when Rob Ellison first linked to it in an earlier thread. I didn’t understand it. If you understand his argument then maybe you can explain it in your own words. For sure, it doesn’t appear to rely on the simplistic and invalid argument that molecules moving up lose kinetic energy and molecules moving down gain kinetic energy, or that average mechanical energy must be constant for molecular populations at different heights.

• Your comment is awaiting moderation. So I might as well bring it down here. God this threading is annoying. Let me guess – I used the word d_umb.

It is proposed that a formulation of thermodynamics as an action principle may be a suitable approach to adopt for a new investigation of these matters. This paper formulates the thermodynamics of ideal gases in a constant gravitational field in terms of the Gibbsean action principle. This approach, in the simplest cases, does not deviate from standard practice, but it lays the foundations for a more systematic approach to the various extensions, such as the incorporation of radiation, the consideration of mixtures and the integration with general relativity. We study the interaction between an ideal gas and the photon gas and the propagation of sound in a vertical, isothermal column. We determine the entropy that allows for the popular isothermal equilibrium and introduce the study of the associated adiabatic dynamics. This leads to the suggestion that the equilibrium of an ideal gas must be isentropic, in which case, the role of solar radiation would be merely to compensate for the loss of energy by radiation into the cosmos. An experiment with a centrifuge is proposed, to determine the influence of gravitation on the equilibrium distribution with a very high degree of precision.’ – See more at: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/3/1515/htm#sthash.PemUTEeX.hwZJ70xu.dpuf

I said once that the math is quite advanced and that I was struggling through it. Still am in fact. Mike Flynn promptly said he understood it and wasn’t I pretty d_mb. So perhaps we should ask Mike.

The bottom line is unmistakable – I have added the emphasis – and the call for experimentation equally so. It is one of those questions that has been discussed for 100 years. There seems a clear ‘consensus’ that an adiabatic column has a uniform temperature – but no entirely convincing explanation. In the atmosphere of course we add radiation and convection to the processes. But Christian Frønsdal is suggesting that there is an underlying thermal gradient due to gravity. Much as Doug Cotton has been rabbiting on about – but we shouldn’t hold that against it. There is no mechanistic theory – it simply emerges from the math. Something of course that sometimes leads to fundamental advances in physics. Sometimes not. I can’t tell – I’m struggling with the math. Ask Mike – that should be a hoot.

• Judging the work of Frønsdal is far from trivial. He is professor of Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics at UCLA, PhD 1957 meaning that he must have been emeritus for quite a while. From his web page:

I am engaged in writing a book on Thermodynamics. This work has some controversial elements and departs from traditional views and methods in many ways.

He sees to have two goals.
1) Base the work on Lagrangian approach.
2) Include General Relativity in the analysis

The main field of application, where General Relativity is of importance is astrophysics. He writes further

I have moved away from elementary particles and from pure mathematics to take up work in astrophysics, about five years ago. I am very unhappy with the method invented by Tolman and think that I have improved on it. But to justify my suggestions with respect to this topic I have had to make a strong effort to learn thermodynamics; the book is the result.

The paper Heat and Gravitation: The Action Principle was published 18 March 2014. Up to now the only three references to that paper known to Google Scholar have been by Frønsdal himself.

In this paper Frønsdal refers to his earlier paper C. Fronsdal and A. Pathak: On entropy in eulerian thermodynamics. This is again a paper referred to only by Frønsdal himself. We have a couple of papers that have not raised enough general attention to make anyone else refer to them. The abstract of this earlier paper concludes:

It is a basic tenet of thermodynamics that the equilibrium of an extended, homogeneous and isolated system is characterized by a uniform temperature distribution and it is a strongly held belief that this remains true in the presence of gravity. We find that this is consistent with the equations of extended thermodynamics but that entropy enters in an
essential way. The principle of equivalence takes on a new aspect.

In the new paper the chapter that discusses the earlier one ends

The conclusion of this study is that the requirement of an isothermal equilibrium is consistent with thermodynamics, but at a price that may be too high. If the implications for the gravitational interaction are unacceptable, then work remains to be done, and the need for an experiment remains urgent.

I join P-N in inviting anyone to explain, how his work is relevant for the present discussion taking into account that we are not looking at stellar structures or anything else, where General Relativity should be used rather than the simple assumption of uniform gravity in nonrelativistic settings.

• nottawa rafter

Pekka

What does he mean “..but at a price that may be too high.”?

• One more comment. The paper referred to by Rob and David contains also the following:

Note added in proof: Papers that disagree with these conclusions abound. At the suggestion of the referee, the following references have been added: Combes and Laue, 1985 [43], Manabe and Strickler, 1964 [44], Roman, White and Velasco, 1995 [45], and Velaso, Roman and White, 1996 [46].

I interpret that to mean that the referee remained highly doubtful on the paper, but could not find any actual error in it. Three of the four papers listed here have been discussed in this thread (Manabe and Strickler probably not).

• Pierre-Normand

The only use that Frønsdal makes of general relativity in his paper is an appeal to the principle of equivalence in order to generalize the result for the centrifuge thought experiment (or proposed experiment) to the case of a column of gas in an external gravitational field. It seems reasonable enough to assert that *if* it were established that there ought to be a radial temperature gradient in the rotating gas centrifuge in thermodynamical equilibrium then this would generalize to the case of a gas in an external gravitational field. But I don’t see how Frønsdal has established the antecedent of this conditional statement, or indeed if he believes that he has. His discussion of this case is very short and elliptical.

• In the chapter on centrifuge Frønsdal states without any further justification

Then, neither T nor p is constant, for the hydrodynamical equations demand that:

rω² = cT’, c = (n + 1)R ~ 10^7cm²/sec²K (for air)

I don’t believe that’s correct. He assumes the result, and gets the result.

Making a valid experiment to tell, what the radial temperature gradient is in equilibrium is probably very difficult. Building an ultra centrifuge that has inner and outer cylinders that are insulated well enough and getting it to run long enough smoothly enough to to even start the approach towards thermal equilibrium may be far too difficult. We know that any small inhomogeneity in the setup will lead to radial convection and thus to the adiabatic lapse rate. The thermodynamic equilibrium results only when (molecular) conduction dominates over all other forms of heat transfer.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka, I had wondered, but could not check, if Frønsdal mistake, in the earlier sections of the paper, would not have been to build into the set up of his dynamical equations the condition of stationarity under convection. Then he would just have gotten the dry adiabatic lapse rate and mistaken it for a gravito-thermal effect at equilibrium.

• P-N
That would be the most logical explanation for his strange results.

A further reason to think that the error is there is in his reliance on hydrodynamic equations. In thermodynamic equilibrium hydrodynamics plays no role as the only movement is the local thermal motion of the molecules. All velocities that would occur in any formula of hydrodynamics are zero.

• Thinking further along these lines we can see, how his error might have come out.

Assuming no dissipation of any kind any closed circulation will go on for ever. Thus we may write equations of thermodynamics and hydrodynamics of frictionless fluid where diffusion/heat conduction is also absent, and find an infinite set of stationary solutions for these equations. One of these solutions is the isothermal thermodynamic equilibrium. Other solutions involve convection and adiabatic lapse rates. Of course none of these additional solutions is physical as real fluids have always heat conduction even, if it’s often so weak that it can be forgotten.

• David Springer

Pierre-Normand | December 1, 2014 at 3:11 am | Reply

David, I read Frønsdal’s paper when Rob Ellison first linked to it in an earlier thread. I didn’t understand it. If you understand his argument then maybe you can explain it in your own words. For sure, it doesn’t appear to rely on the simplistic and invalid argument that molecules moving up lose kinetic energy and molecules moving down gain kinetic energy, or that average mechanical energy must be constant for molecular populations at different heights.

Actually, it does rely on the simplisitic argument that molecules moving upward are opposed by gravity and molecules moving down are aided by gravity making collisions stronger in one direction than the other.

The result is mechanical energy per mole of air being equal anywhere in the column at equilibrium in a non-convecting isolated atmosphere. That is its state of maximum entropy. All systems gravitate (pun intended) toward maximum entropy. That’s 2LoT.

It is Loschmidt’s graviito-thermal effect in a nutshell and contrary to claims it creates a temperature gradient that violates 2LoT by enabling a perpetuum mobile of the second kind I have not been able to imagine, even in principle, a mechanism which could extract work from that gradient because the mechanism itself must also overcome gravity. Ergo I don’t think Maxwell’s knee-jerk reaction that it can’t be true because of 2LoT is valid. The only experiment to date supports Loschmidt not Maxwell and of course no isothermal atmosphere has ever been observed in nature which certainly does not argue for Maxwell being correct even if it doesn’t directly vindicate Loschmidt.

When atmospheric physics this basic are being argued today with the only defense being “ad populum claims of settled science” rather than empirical support it raises a red flag about how much other ad populum physics we are really dealing with. Clouds are far more complex than lapse rates for instance and clouds throttle a huge fraction of the solar energy that makes it, or not, to the earth’s surface.

• Pierre-Normand

David Springer wrote: “Actually, it does rely on the simplisitic argument that molecules moving upward are opposed by gravity and molecules moving down are aided by gravity making collisions stronger in one direction than the other. […]”

If that’s true, then he has been neatly refuted by Coombes and Laue. It remains for you to acknowledge this argument or refute it. But where do you see this mistaken assumption being being built into Frønsdal mathematical derivation of a temperature gradient? Are you just assuming?

“It is Loschmidt’s graviito-thermal effect in a nutshell and contrary to claims it creates a temperature gradient that violates 2LoT by enabling a perpetuum mobile of the second kind I have not been able to imagine, even in principle, a mechanism which could extract work from that gradient because the mechanism itself must also overcome gravity.”

As Pekka suggested elsewhere, the mechanism could be realized with a thermoelectric pair that would not affected by gravity in the same way. Also, a net radiative flux travelling up from the bottom of the column to higher up in the column would allow one to extract energy (since photons are red-shifted by the gravitational field much less than required to bring the radiation temperature down at the same rate). Further, since Frønsdal thermal gradient depends on the nature of the gas, adjacent columns filled with different gases put in thermal contact would also allow for setting up a thermal engine. Indeed, Frønsdal cites Graeef’s experiments as possible confirmations of his effect, and Graeef himself advertises his results as the realization of perpetual motion machines of the second kind.

• Pierre-Normand

“…adjacent columns filled with different gases put in thermal contact would also allow for setting up a thermal engine.”

I mean, something like a Carnot machine could be sandwiched between the two columns at one end and use them as differential thermal baths; while the columns are put in thermal contact at the other end. The differential gravito-thermal effects in both columns would tend to spontaneously restore the temperature differential used by the engine.

• Peter Lang

There are many reasons why it will take decades to get from the time when a proponent claims they will have a “commercial prototype” until versions of it are commercially successful and they have sufficient penetration to be making a significant contribution to global electricity supply and reduction of global GHG emissions. Small plants can be built faster and the technology can be improved faster than large plants. But we’ve already had small plants in the past, and moved to larger plants (largely because of the costs of licencing, regulatory imposts and other restrictions that made larger plants more cost effective). Now we need to remove the unnecessary restrictions so small plants can be viable and an attractive investment option for investors. Even once we remove the impediments, it will take decades for the benefits to be fully implemented and all the cost imposts to be removed from new plants.

Certainly, new technologies will emerge over time. The rate of rollout will be driven by economics. There is enormous knowledge and commercial experience with the thermal reactors. New reactor types will have to demonstrate their superiority at meeting requirements, fit-for-purpose, reliability and economics over a long period before the wisely conservative electricity industry and investors will invest in them in large scale.

We can get some appreciation how long it takes for new technologies to reach commercial maturity by looking at cars, trains plains, computers and iPhones. The smaller the item the faster new designs can be implemented and rolled out. iPhone models have a life of a year or two. They cycle through models and improve much faster than nuclear power stations which have 40 to 80 year lives before replacement. Windows software has new versions are about 3 years apart. It’s taken two decades to get to their current version (called Version 8). It’s taken nuclear power plants based on thermal nuclear reactors (i.e. water moderated reactors) 60 years to get to Generation III+. The fast reactors, and other Gen IVs will need many generations to get to the stage where they are commercially viable. That’s the reality.

Demonstration ‘pebble bed’ reactors has been around for 50 years. The EBRs for runner of the IFR’s (many regard these as the most prospective and most proven of the advanced reactor designs) have been around for 50 years. And despite their claimed advantages over thermal reactors, they haven’t yet got close to being commercially developed, let alone commercially successful. These example give some idea of how long it takes and how few of the concepts and demonstrators emerge as successful.

This figure shows one of the reasons why the hard-heads say the Gen IIIs will dominate the new nuclear capacity builds for decades – the full fuel cycle and the back end of the fuel cycle are cheaper for the once through technologies (where the fuel is used once and then disposed) than for the partial recycling in LWR’s or multiple Pu recycling with LWRs and fast reactors.

• David Springer

Gravity sometimes causes unexpected things, boys. Time-dilation for instance. Quantum isn’t the only weirdness.

But in this case of maximum entropy for isolated non-convecting atmospheres it’s pretty simple. The reason conduction doesn’t work as expected in the gravity field is that collisions are made asymmetrical with respect to direction. While this might seem to violate basic laws of thermodynamics by setting up temperature gradients at equilibrium it really violates no such thing when potential energy is used in the entropy calculation. Maximum entropy is attained when mechanical energy per unit mass of matter is the same throughout the volume. You can’t ignore gravitational potential energy when evaluating the state of maximum entropy!

• Pierre-Normand

David Springer wrote: “The reason conduction doesn’t work as expected in the gravity field is that collisions are made asymmetrical with respect to direction.”

David, during all this conversation you’ve studiously avoided so much as acknowledging the simple argument why this claim of yours is false. The kinetic energy distribution of the colliding molecules at all levels is the same. Maybe you ought to read just the introduction of the Coombes and Laue paper and think about it.

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/coombes-laue.pdf

You could also play with the molecular dynamics simulator discussed in the SoD thread and ponder why the speed distribution of the free falling 2D molecules doesn’t appear to be reduced higher up in the box like you would wrongly expect them to.

http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/08/16/convection-venus-thought-experiments-and-tall-rooms-full-of-gas/#comment-81966

http://physics.weber.edu/schroeder/md/InteractiveMD.html

• P-N

In a thread that’s broken as badly as this, it’s best to always write replies to the lowermost comment. New comments end up somewhere higher up.

• P-N “You could also play with the molecular dynamics simulator discussed in the SoD thread and ponder why the speed distribution of the free falling 2D molecules doesn’t appear to be reduced higher up in the box like you would wrongly expect them to.”

The free falling molecules speed distribution doesn’t appear to be reduced? Under gravity the molecules velocity would be at a minimum at the top of its arc. If travel is straight up, the minimum would be zero as it changes direction without collision to force a change in direction. That would shift more molecules to the approaching zero side of the speed distribution. Molecules with near zero velocity for a brief moment in time would be subject to greater molecule-molecule attractive forces, but the reduced density required for maximum impact of gravity would reduce the probability of interaction.

Near the bottom, there would be more molecules in close proximity which would increase the probability of molecule-molecule attractive forces becoming somewhat significant. You can look at that in a number of ways I imagine, but it would tend to skew the velocity distribution to the lower side due to less than perfectly elastic collisions. .

In addition to that, the variation in collision probability would increase the probability of photon release when you have something other than monoatomic gases in the mixture.

I am at a bit of a loss as to why you think a “perfect” explanation of “all” processes in a “real” atmosphere is provided by an “ideal” gas model. Frosdal(?) and other are just exploring the limits of the ideal cases which requires not continually using the same set of initial assumptions. So far the difference isn’t very significant, hurrah ideal!, but improving accuracy by a fraction of a percent appears to be a very big deal for Frosdal. If I am not mistaken, there are people still trying to improve lapse rate estimates for the other planets, even our own. When you get down to percent or less improvements, then you have to consider those pesky second order effects.

BTW, what is a doubling of CO2 again? About a percent?

• Pierre-Normand

CD: “I am at a bit of a loss as to why you think a “perfect” explanation of “all” processes in a “real” atmosphere is provided by an “ideal” gas model.”

What an awful straw man. I am making the ideal gas approximation in order to exhibit a flaw in an argument that purports to apply to a system where this approximation is made. Frønsdal only consider ideal gases in his paper, if I remember. Your basic argument (“basic premise”) also yields the conclusion that there is a temperature gradient in a ideal gas at equilibrium under gravity. It is only fair to show that the argument is invalid in a context where it is applicable. Nothing is gained from introducing all sorts of real world complications before the logical flaw in the argument has been grasped. The result just is to pile up more confusion over existing confusion.

• P-N, Sorry but it isn’t a strawman, it is the point. You keep using ideal gas approximations to disprove criticism of ideal gas model assumptions. You are stuck in your own feedback loop.

In a real atmosphere there is typically a hydrostatic condition assumed to be in equilibrium that never really is. All ideal models have warts. Fronsdal and others are just picking the warts.

Their picking may never lead to an improvement, then again it might. But you don’t debate their work by ignoring their point and saying they are ignoring your point. Zero progress results. Maxwell elected to ignore the issue, “meh, Its not significant in a real atmosphere.” Probably a smart move on his part. Boltzmann elected to off himself.

• Pierre-Normand

CD: “All ideal models have warts. Fronsdal and others are just picking the warts.”

So, I checked again. Frønsdal derives his gravito-thermal effect for an *ideal* gas column under an homogeneous gravitational field. You can’t consistently endorse his result, on the one hand, and also object to my criticism on the ground that it only applies to ideal gases, or that the alleged effect requires a non-homogeneous gravitational field, on the other hand.

• Pierre-Normand

CD: “In a real atmosphere there is typically a hydrostatic condition assumed to be in equilibrium that never really is. All ideal models have warts. Fronsdal and others are just picking the warts.”

Frønsdal also assumes hydrostatic equilibrium (or so he alleges — see Pekka’s recent criticism). If an effect is exhibited in a real atmosphere just because it isn’t in hydrostatic equilibrium, then that’s not a ‘gravito-thermal’ effect as people understand this expression. It’s just a convective lapse rate.

• P-N, “It’s just a convective lapse rate.”

Pretty much, but assuming an average kinetic temperature with adjacent layers in constant contact, there should be a tendency toward no lapse rate. That “paradox” is basically due to the difference between kinetic temperature and thermodynamic temperature, i.e. entropy. So an “ideal” model requires an unrealistic condition. How much impact is there on large scale real world application of the “ideal” model assumptions? So far, not much, but it is unlikely there is none, especially in situations where it is iffy to assume the system to be in “equilibrium”. .

That is why in non-equilibrium thermodynamics you have the luxury of defining your own entropy in order to make a problem “workable”, not necessarily “solvable”. Plus in thermo you can select a number of frames of reference to help avoid overly optimistic assumptions. In general, a sequence of ideal approximations produce a limit not a solution.

• CD,
Thermodynamic equilibrium is a solution, but it’s not a solution applicable to the Earth or any other star or planet that’s warmer than the background radiation due to any source of energy.

Nobody (that I know about) is proposing that full thermodynamic equilibrium would be relevant as anything else than a theoretical construct.

• Pierre-Normand

“Nobody (that I know about) is proposing that full thermodynamic equilibrium would be relevant as anything else than a theoretical construct.”

That’s true Pekka, though it seems that most everyone who endorses the reality of the gravito-thermal effect in the climate blogosphere believes that it provides some sort of explanatory alternative to the greenhouse effect and/or of the environmental lapse rate. Frønsdal also seems to believe his results to challenge the customary explanation of the latter — which seems to be the drift of his long historical introduction.

• P-N,
The error in that direction is, indeed, more common, but even people, who think that the thermodynamic equilibrium is not isothermal should understand that circulation like that found on Earth leads to strong dissipation, and that maintaining circulation in spite of the dissipation requires an atmospheric heat engine that gets its driving force from the temperature differences created by GHE. They should understand that, if they had any understanding of physics.

• Pierre-Normand

“[…] They should understand that, if they had any understanding of physics.”

For sure. It’s nice for you to re-emphasize this fact. Notice that there now is a new thread devoted to this topic.

• David Springer

Pekka Pirilä | December 1, 2014 at 10:34 am | Reply

P-N,
The error in that direction is, indeed, more common, but even people, who think that the thermodynamic equilibrium is not isothermal should understand that circulation like that found on Earth leads to strong dissipation, and that maintaining circulation in spite of the dissipation requires an atmospheric heat engine that gets its driving force from the temperature differences created by GHE. They should understand that, if they had any understanding of physics.

GHE not needed. Atmosphere is heated mostly by rain and the water cycle is not dependent on IR absorption by water vapor or any other so-called “greenhouse” gas. Nice try but no cigar.

• Pekka, “Nobody (that I know about) is proposing that full thermodynamic equilibrium would be relevant as anything else than a theoretical construct.”

” A famous incidence involves Loschmidt (1876) [28], who believed that an isolated atmosphere, at equilibrium in a gravitational field, would have a temperature gradient” – See more at: http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/3/1515/htm#sthash.PemUTEeX.pvIfXQEM.dpuf

That would be a complete atmosphere at equilibrium. I believe when a zero greenhouse gas Earth is used as a thought experiment a “perfectly” isothermal atmosphere, i.e. no temperature gradient was postulated. These theoretical constructs are what are being discussed. Any ideal model is a theoretical construct.

I am more a “real” world kinda guy so I don’t have a horse in this race, but what’s your point?

• Pierre-Normand

“That “paradox” is basically due to the difference between kinetic temperature and thermodynamic temperature, i.e. entropy”

Not even close. (Also, thermodynamic temperature isn’t entropy). The apparent paradox is entirely created by the invalid inference that the slow down of the rising molecules yields a lower average speed of the molecular populations higher up (or conversely).

• P-N, “Not even close. (Also, thermodynamic temperature isn’t entropy).”

No, thermodynamic temperature isn’t entropy it includes entropy, 1/T=dS/dE. Ideal models eliminate entropy so processes are 100% reversible. So if you have an isolated atmosphere in a gravity field, which would have a lapse rate, but adjacent layers in constant contact, the “ideal” kinetic temperature implies that the system would tend toward isothermal with zero lapse rate. Now you can propose a convective equilibrium so this un-physical isolated atmosphere in a gravity field can be isothermal (no lapse rate) or you can propose a “shell” and use a radiant equilibrium.

All of this is due to taking the concept of “equilibrium” to ridiculous extremes while ignoring entropy. This is a battle of thought experiments that is a ridiculous waste of time, IMHO.

You battle that with statements like, ” The following paper does exactly that and finds out that the two effects indeed cancel out exactly when the vertical profile initially is isothermal and the density profile is barometric (as a consequence of the ‘drop off’ effect). Hence, this is a stationary state.”

Amazing, the two effect “exactly” cancel out if there is a lapse rate. Does that mean that entropy is negligible? Perhaps I should alert the media?

• David Springer

Pierre-Normand writes: “thermodynamic temperature isn’t entropy”

Glad to know you understand at least that much.

• Pierre-Normand

CD: “The free falling molecules speed distribution doesn’t appear to be reduced? Under gravity the molecules velocity would be at a minimum at the top of its arc. If travel is straight up, the minimum would be zero as it changes direction without collision to force a change in direction. That would shift more molecules to the approaching zero side of the speed distribution.”

This is false for reasons that I already explained.

It is also explained by Coombes and Laue:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/coombes-laue.pdf

• Yes, China is building more nuclear power plants than the US, but I suspect the financing is by the Chinese government rather than private investors, and I read about a public protest over concerns about safety.

As GaryM might say, this is just another case of communist dictators forcing something on the Chinese people that the people don’t want.

I am concerned over nuclear waste disposal. Given the Chinese record on contamination of food and other goods, can we trust them on nuclear safety? I would be surprised if their regulations are as strenuous as ours. Thank god the U.S. government puts the safety of the public first.

I’m afraid nuclear power advocates who call for less regulation are not putting public safety first, and that’s why I don’t trust them.

• Peter Lang

What proportion of the world can get to 30% hydro? Only a few countries which have high precipitation and high topographic relief. Australia has about 6% hydro, so on using the suggested ratio (30:5) about 1% wind and solar can be reliably dispatchable. Sounds about right.

Also, it’s important to explain that LCOE figures are for individual technologies, and for intermittent, unreliable non-dispatchable renewables like wind and solar are not their cost as part of a system. Comparison of LCOE (including the additional cost of transmissions on top of the existing system) for an electricity system that could reduce GHG emission from electricity generation by 90% are:

73% Nuclear, 15% gas, 12% renewables = \$123/MWh
86% renewables 14% gas = \$280/MWh

The nuclear option is less than half the cost of renewables.

However, the Renewable option is high risk. It’s never been done and practitioners say it probably can’t be. Conversely, the nuclear option is proven – France has been running at 75% to 85% nuclear for over 30 years and France’s emissions are just 15% of Germany’s and Denmark’s. Ann allowance for risk should be added to the renewables option. \$50/MWh might be about right on the basis of the social cost of carbon not saved. So, renewables \$330/MWh, nuclear \$123/MWh.

The evidence is stark for all but the deniers.

Oh yes, and nuclear is also the safest way to generate electricity. Who could object to that? http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

• Peter Lang

Oh yes, and the CO2 abatement cost for the two options above:

73% Nuclear, 15% gas, 12% renewables = \$86/t CO2
86% renewables 14% gas = \$257/t CO2

The CO2 abatement cost for the renewable option, if it could be done, is three times higher than for the nuclear option. Renewables would be much higher in practice and if the \$50/MWh risk of not succeeding was included

Pretty clear for all but the numerically obstinate, eh?

• Try this for an example.

There were a dozen technologies sub \$100/MWh listed – and they all work up to some level of penetration without storage. Go back and consider the alternative the alternatives – and solar isn’t one of them yet. As far as wind is concerned – it is reasonable to balance it with hydro as Quebec Hydro – for instance – does. Instead you have this ritual quibble you repeat endlessly – it is very tedious.

You disagree with the modular nuclear option?

You know I think you are a pompous bore – Peter – with an obsessional delusional quality as fraught as that of any denizen. So as far I am concerned you can sit on it and rotate. Preferably without bothering to reply to me.

• Peter Lang

You know I think you are a pompous bore – Peter

One I will mention is the you repeatedly try to mislead other readers about LCOE. You either don’t understand it or, if you do, you are being dishonest. It’s been explained to you a dozen times by me and others. You are making disingenuous comments about the chart you keep posting. You don’t understand what you are talking about. Your ego is such you can’t accept you don’t understand and keep trying to make out you’re an authority on something you have little understanding of and no relevant experience in.

There were a dozen technologies sub \$100/MWh listed – and they all work up to some level of penetration without storage.

That’s meaningless, arm-waving. What does “some level of penetration mean”? Is it a sufficiently large proportion to mean that renewables can play a major role in cutting global GHG emisisons? Because that’s what is relevant. If it wasn’t for that requirement there’d be no push for renewables at all.

As far as wind is concerned – it is reasonable to balance it with hydro as Quebec Hydro – for instance – does. Instead you have this ritual quibble you repeat endlessly – it is very tedious.

That’s cherry picking. I asked you what percentage of the global electricity supply could be from hydro. You’ve ignored the question – dodged it. I mentioned that a few countries have considerable hydro potential, but its a small and declining proportion of global electricity. it will decline a loit further by 2050. so It cannot make much difference to achieving the very large targets wanted by those who are most concerned about GHG emissions.
As you’ve been told dozens of times by me and others the LCOE of non-dispatchable and dispatchable technologies are not comparable. To get comparable costs you have to compare equivalent systems with equivalent requirements. When included in the system, you have to include a whole host of other costs for the unreliable, intermittent, non-dispatchable technologies. Why does your ego prevent you from accepting this fact that is pointed out to you frequently. Other significant sized countries that have reasonable hydro resources are: Canada, Brazil, Scandinavia, China, Russia. Germany has less than Australia. UK doesn’t have much either. Globally hydro supplies about 15% of electricity and this will decline by 2050.

Solar and wind are highly unlikely to be able to make a major contribution to world energy supply. The ERoEI and cost of dispatchable systems (with sufficient storage to make them a genuine replacement for fossil fuels and nuclear) preclude it. That’s a fundamental technical issue, not a case of public perceptions and fear.

The pebble bed is just one of about 40 or 50 concepts and demonstration reactors. It’s been in demonstration phase for about 40 years in German (abandoned) South Africa (abandoned) and now China. It may become commercially viable, it may not. I agree new technologies will emerge, but we don’t know which will become commercially successful. As I’ve explained to you before, it takes decades for the technologies whose plants have long lives (e.g. 40 to 60 years) to evolve and mature.

If you weren’t so arrogant you might be prepared to accept some of this stuff I’ve been trying to convey to you for the last few years.

• All the little tricks…

• Joshua

Chief says –

==> “The insistence on attempting to dominate discourse – the characterisation of disagreement as ignorance, the assumption of a pedagogical persona to talk down to me of all people, as well as everyone else, repeating your errors and then describing a failure to go along with them as arrogance or bad faith”

Ah yes, the beauty of chief’s unparalleled mastery of unintentional irony.

Spectacular.

• JCH

Lol.

• Peter Lang

The energy return on energy invested (ERoEI) in renewable energy is not sufficient to supply the energy needs of modern society.

An excellent, short explanation of why renewables have no future is here:
http://bravenewclimate.com/2014/08/22/catch-22-of-energy-storage/. The EROEI needs to be at least 14 to support modern society. So, only fossil fuels, hydro and nuclear can do it.

Below are some ERoEI figures for various electricity generation technologies. These include buffering – i.e. energy storage so the unreliable, non dispatchable renewables are properly comparable with the dispatchable technologies.

Solar PV = 1.6
Biomass = 3.5
Wind = 3.9
Solar CSP (desert) = 9
Gas (CCGT) = 28
Coal = 30
Hydro = 35
Nuclear = 75

• Peter Lang

Cost per average power delivered (\$/W average, or \$/Wh per hour) is a simple, approximate, way of comparing electricity technologies that have high capital costs and low fuel costs (such as renewables and nuclear):

Nuclear (USA) = 5.5
Nuclear (UAE) = 4.3
Solar thermal, Tonapah (USA) = 18
Solar thermal, Ivanpah (USA) = 19
Solar PV with storage, Windora (AUS) = 110

Solar thermal is over 3 times more expensive than nuclear.
Solar thermal is over 25 times more area than nuclear

• Let’s go back to this graphic.

Geothermal, wind, geothermal flash plant, landfill gas, large hydro, small hydro, nuclear, natural gas and coal are all potentially sub \$100/MWh on a central estimate. Municipal solid waste comes close.

Of these – coal and gas costs are increasing – and nuclear and PV costs with newer technology are set to decrease. Some of these sources have other benefits. They can be mixed and matched in a systems sense to maximize resource use efficiency.

• Let me correct myself – solar is by no means sub \$100/MWh – yet.

• To remind people – levelised costs are based on capacity estimates taking into account usable winds or insolation in the case of wind or solar. But these – I repeat – are not the limit of alternative energy technology.

• Peter Lang

[repost] in correct place]

Levelised costs take into account much more than capacity factors (not “capacity estimates”, again demonstrating your lack of experience in the industry). And LCOE commonly uses the same operational life expectancy for all types of plants which massively under estimates the LCOE of the intermittent unreliable technologies and the over estimates the LCOE of the long life dispatchable technologies. There’s just so much you don’t understand. Furthermore, as I’ve tole you many times, but your ego prevents you from accepting, there are many other costs that have to be included in the LCOE of the non dispatchable, intermittent, unreliable renewables. You keep ignoring that. the fact you do means you are intentionally misleading other readers while trying to pretend you know what you are talking about. You don’t and the fact you keep doing it even after being told, shows you are intentionally dishonest.

• Peter Lang

What proportion of the world can get to 30% hydro? Only a few countries which have high precipitation and high topographic relief. Australia has about 6% hydro, so on using the suggested ratio (30:5) about 1% wind and solar can be reliably dispatchable. Sounds about right.

Also, it’s important to explain that LCOE figures are for individual technologies, and for intermittent, unreliable non-dispatchable renewables like wind and solar are not their cost as part of a system. Comparison of LCOE (including the additional cost of transmissions on top of the existing system) for an electricity system that could reduce GHG emission from electricity generation by 90% are:

73% Nuclear, 15% gas, 12% renewables = \$123/MWh
86% renewables 14% gas = \$280/MWh

The nuclear option is less than half the cost of renewables.

However, the Renewable option is high risk. It’s never been done and practitioners say it probably can’t be. Conversely, the nuclear option is proven – France has been running at 75% to 85% nuclear for over 30 years and France’s emissions are just 15% of Germany’s and Denmark’s. Ann allowance for risk should be added to the renewables option. \$50/MWh might be about right on the basis of the social cost of carbon not saved. So, renewables \$330/MWh, nuclear \$123/MWh.

What about the CO2 abatement cost?
73% Nuclear, 15% gas, 12% renewables = \$86/t CO2
86% renewables 14% gas = \$257/t CO2

The CO2 abatement cost for the renewable option, if it could be done, is three times higher than for the nuclear option. Renewables would be much higher in practice and if the \$50/MWh risk of not succeeding was included

Oh yes, and nuclear is also the safest way to generate electricity. Who could object to that? http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

Pretty clear for all but the obstinate, and/or dishonest eh?

• ‘Levelised costs take into account much more than capacity factors (not “capacity estimates”, again demonstrating your lack of experience in the industry).’

Supply availability estimates – based on sunshine and wind data. In the US in the EPA systems software model. And I have studied the interface of technology, policy and society for decades. I have a broad background – and I just don’t think that the obsession he has produces sound policy. There are many people more reliable and knowledgeable than Lang – despite his continued assertions of expertise in the area.

‘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

The take away message is that system cost depend on local conditions. This can’t be determined before a system is designed at least conceptually and modeled based on the available resource mix.

But the bizarre thing is – only one of the group of sub \$100/MWh in the global levelised cost graphic is non-despatable – being wind.

The whole frothing at the mouth denunciation of wind and solar is utterly misguided. Totally mad. .

• Let’s split this up.

In 2002, GIF selected six systems from nearly 100 concepts as Generation IV technologies:

• gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR);
• molten salt reactor (MSR);
• sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR);
• supercritical-water-cooled reactor (SCWR);
• very-high-temperature reactor (VHTR).

The Technology Roadmap Update has confirmed the choice of these six systems.

Timelines and research needs were developed for each system, categorised in three
successive phases:

• the viability phase, when basic concepts are tested under relevant conditions and all
potential technical show-stoppers are identified and resolved;

• the performance phase, when engineering-scale processes, phenomena and materials
capabilities are verified and optimised under prototypical conditions;

• the demonstration phase, when detailed design is completed and licensing, construction and
operation of the system are carried out, with the aim of bringing it to the commercial deployment stage.

The road map from the Gen IV international forum consists of a development pathway for a number of designs of small, modular nuclear plants for specific purposes.

The technology has been in development for decades at various locations including the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Chinese ‘pebble bed’ reactor is based on the German prototype of the 1960’s – via the South African experience. They have operated a research plant for a number of years and are constructing a demonstration plant.

• The US designs – from major nuclear industry players – being fast tracked to approvals and commerialisation incorporate important evolutionary developments in fuel cycles and materials.

• The technology is nuclear fission technology that is at long last mature. It won’t melt down. It consumes orders of magnitude more of the energy in fuels thus producing much less waste that is dangerous for hundreds rather than millions of years – solving the waste problem. It can use waste from conventional plants as fuel – thus starting to address the legacy of 270,000 tons of high level waste sitting in drums and ponds worldwide. It is much lower cost than large scale reactors. It can be factory built. It can be delivered by truck and placed in a concrete bunker to operate without intervention for decades. It can produce waste heat at a temperature high enough to produce hydrogen – thus opening up the possibility of a new liquid fuels cycle. It is small enough to be deployed in areas without grid electricity – to extend power availability to areas where western levels of power availability are simply not available. It does not require a traditional large scale grid – it can be developed as a node on a dense energy network. There can be generic approvals – simplifying processes for everyone including countries without an existing nuclear regulatory framework. It is a critical – and proven – technology for a sustainable, high energy planet.

The diverse proposals are based on extensive testing and development worldwide over decades. Commercialisation of this game changing nuclear technology is oh so close.

• Peter Lang

[Post in correct place – again]

And I have studied the interface of technology, policy and society for decades.

It’s all about you and how great you are. Sorry, for me you are just a nasty piece of work. Many people have lots of relevant experience (not just reading and academic). But they don;t keep telling us how great they thing\k they are. And they are not continually abusive as you are.

What really stands out is you continually misrepresentation of LCOE chart you keep posting And the dishonesty you display by continually misrepresenting what it means.

• Peter Lang

Put as simply as I can, the high level, policy relevant facts are:

1. To make deep cuts to emissions from electricity systems (like the 90% France has achieved), requires a high proportion of either renewables or nuclear.

2. But renewables cannot do the job and are unlikely to ever be able to do the job (see links on ERoEI in comments above and other comments, for example on the posts and thread by Planning Engineer).

3. Using the highly optimistic projections of costs (ignoring the fact they can’t do the job of supplying a large proportion of a large electricity system), the LCOE of the system would be twice that of a mostly nuclear system (like France has).

4. And the CO2 abatement cost of the mostly renewable system would be three times as high as the mostly nuclear system

5. And the mostly nuclear system would be safer too.

What more could we want?

How much clearer can the choice be (at least for those who think rationally?)

• Let’s copy this forward.

‘Rob Ellison | November 5, 2014 at 7:13 pm |
The post is impossibly obvious. It complains about the potential over utilization of some energy technologies – and thus cost increases. The interesting question is how to cost effectively integrate diverse supplies – biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, solar, biogas, etc. into the mix. Diverse supplies are an unmitigated good – as insurance against complete reliance on a limited number of supply technologies.

Rational planning goes beyond that to systematically identify research needs and commercialization routes. Solar and nuclear come to mind as having especial potential for cost reduction and performance improvement. There are as well substantial global off grid opportunities for a diversity of supply options.

Most having a mix of biomass and solar – makes perfect sense.

Planning Engineer | November 5, 2014 at 7:47 pm |
Rob – I strongly agree that: “The interesting question is how to cost effectively integrate diverse supplies – biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, solar, biogas, etc. into the mix”. I also agree that there is value in having a diverse resource mix. I have meant to be clear on such things.

I support research into renewables, but not transforming the power grid into a huge experiment.’

Back in the 70’s – I remember some drug addled hippy chanting ‘solar power now’. It was in someones kitchen – so both the setting and the sentiment was a bit loony tunes – I thought to myself. I don’t I have ever advocated replacing fossil fuels with windmills and solar panels. But really – there is no reason no to include a diverse supply in the mix if unit deployment are low enough. As distinct from contrived costing fantasies.

JC SNIP

• Let me correct the typos.

I don’t (think) I have ever advocated replacing fossil fuels with windmills and solar panels. But really – there is no reason not to include a diverse supply in the mix if unit deployment (costs) are low enough. As distinct from contrived costing fantasies.

• Peter Lang

The interesting question is how to cost effectively integrate diverse supplies – biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, solar, biogas, etc. into the mix.

If you’d read the references I’ve given you in the past you’d understand that that is exactly what has been done and what the figures are based on. But as you’ve said, you wont read anything I post or link to – your pride prevents it.

Your pile of motherhood statements don’t deal with the main issue that:

a) the ERoEI, cost and cO2 abatement cost of a mostly renewable system that is sufficient to cut emissions by a large proportion (like 90% as France has done), and

b) you’ve been continually misrepresenting the LCOE chart you have posted dozens of time and keep reposing on this thread.

c) you are being disingenuous, trying to mislead and intellectually dishonest.

• Again – the sub \$100/MWh group of technologies in the graphic of global LCOE were all despatchable bar on-shore wind. These is no reason that wind cannot be usefully integrated with other technologies – unless birds, bats and landscapes rule. LCOE – as the EIA attest in the quote I provided yet again – is a useful comparison for technologies. If quoting the EIA is misrepresenting it – guilty.

Nuclear – as in the 3 small modular reactor posts just above is the future of generation in the near term.

Seeing things through tunnel vision is one of the problems preventing focus on the critical issues.

• Peter Lang

[Repost]

Correction:

a) the ERoEI, cost and cO2 abatement cost of a mostly renewable system – that is sufficient to cut emissions by a large proportion (like 90% as France has done) – mean the mostly renewable system is not viable and unlikely to be viable.

• ‘If you’d read the references I’ve given you in the past you’d understand that that is exactly what has been done and what the figures are based on. But as you’ve said, you wont read anything I post or link to – your pride prevents it.’

Other people seem to strongly agree with me. And as you say – I have given up on you long ago Peter. I don’t much read any blog. There are much more worthwhile things to read. It’s not my ‘pride’ – but merely prioritising quality.

• Peter Lang

Again – the sub \$100/MWh group of technologies in the graphic of global LCOE were all despatchable bar on-shore wind. These is no reason that wind cannot be usefully integrated with other technologies

At the scale required to make a large reduction in global GHG emissions they are not viable – they are not viable economically, environmentally, area required, cropping area required or importantly on ERoEI basis.

• Peter Lang

Commercialisation of this game changing nuclear technology is oh so close.

Oh yea! No experienced practitioner would utter such nonsense. The solar power advocates were saying the same thing in the 1980’s and ever since. As I explained in one of my comments above (but will repeat here since you either didn’t read it, or ignored it) the pebble bed is just one of about 40 or 50 concepts and demonstration reactors. It’s been in demonstration phase for about 40 years in Germany (abandoned) South Africa (abandoned) and now in China. It may become commercially viable, it may not. I agree new technologies will emerge, but we don’t know which will become commercially successful. As I’ve explained to you before, it takes decades for the technologies whose plants have long lives (e.g. 40 to 60 years) to evolve and mature.

Read the story of EBR II http://www.ne.anl.gov/About/reactors/EBR2-NN-2004-2-2.pdf , now PRISM (possibly one of the most prospective of the Gen IVs) which is being considered by UK to consume some of its waste.

• ‘Oh yea! No experienced practitioner would utter such nonsense. The solar power advocates were saying the same thing in the 1980’s and ever since. As I explained in one of my comments above (but will repeat here since you either didn’t read it, or ignored it) the pebble bed is just one of about 40 or 50 concepts and demonstration reactors.’

If you had bothered to read or understand the many links provided – instead of repeating the same nonsense – you would understand how different this technology is and how close it is to licensing and commercialisation.

The GIF has half a dozen designs under development The Chinese have a ‘pebble bed’ and another under construction. The US has the best designs – with commercial development underway by some of the biggest players in the industry – with planning for fast tracked licencing by the US DOE.

‘SMRs designed from advanced and innovative concepts, using non-LWR coolants such as liquid metal, helium or liquid salt, may offer added functionality and affordability. This program element will support laboratory, university, and industry projets to conduct nuclear R&D on capabilities and technologies that are unique and support development of advanced SMR concepts for use in the mid- to long-term.

Advanced SMR R&D activities will focus on four key areas:

Developing assessment methods for evaluating advanced SMR technologies and characteristics;
Developing and testing of materials, fuels and fabrication techniques;

Resolving key regulatory issues identified by NRC and industry; and

Developing advanced instrumentation and controls and human-machine interfaces.

This program element may also include evaluations of advanced reactor technologies that offer simplified operation and maintenance for distributed power and load-following applications, and increased proliferation resistance and security.’

http://www.energy.gov/ne/nuclear-reactor-technologies/small-modular-nuclear-reactors

Majors players with a depth of experience are putting billions of their own money into the commercialisation of these designs. You don’t do that with a 40 year window.

Who do we believe – Lang or all of the major US nuclear players. The choice to me is not difficult.

• Peter Lang

[repost]

Your complain (sic) seems to be that non-despatchable technologies have other costs. This is not necessarily the case – and wind can be mixed with hydro for instance to conserve a limited resource.

We’ve already been through that and dealt with it. Why do you keep repeating irrelevancies after they’ve already been shown to be irrelevant? It’s a sign of intellectual dishonesty when you don’tr acknowledge when you are wrong.

Hydro is currently about 15% of global electricity supply and the proportions will decrease because there is insufficient resource available. And, using your ratio of 30:5, 15% hydro may be able to support 3% of wind or other unreliable generation technologies. I’ve told you that, you can check it. Why don’t you acknowledge it?

[BTW, biomass is also unreliable for back up.]

Why don’t you acknowledge the major point. Renewables cannot make a major contribution to global electricity supply, so they cannot have much impact on reducing global GHG emissions?

Why don’t you acknowledge the main points instead of arm-waving and trying to avoid them?

• Peter Lang

Here I review the paper “Simulations of Scenarios with 100% Renewable Electricity in the Australian National Electricity Market” by Elliston et al. (2011a) (henceforth EDM-2011). That paper does not analyse costs, so I have also made a crude estimate of the cost of the scenario simulated and three variants of it.

For the EDM-2011 baseline simulation, and using costs derived for the Federal Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (DRET, 2011b), the costs are estimated to be: \$568 billion capital cost, \$336/MWh cost of electricity and \$290/tonne CO2 abatement cost.

That is, the wholesale cost of electricity for the simulated system would be seven times more than now, with an abatement cost that is 13 times the starting price of the Australian carbon tax and 30 times the European carbon price. (This cost of electricity does not include costs for the existing electricity network).

Read Elliston et al. to understand the assumptions in the modelling of the integrated system to supply all of eastern Australia’s electricity. Note the modelling optimises to minimise the use of biofuels.

• [repost]

Your complain seems to be that non-despatchable technologies have other costs. This is not necessarily the case – and wind can be mixed with hydro for instance to conserve a limited resource.

But it is at any rate irrelevant – the other technologies are despatchable and have ancillary benefits. They are not wind and they are certainly not solar. That they can’t supply all power requirements is fairly obvious but again irrelevant.

The future is increasingly small, modular reactors – Unless there is a technological breakthrough in other technologies – for the reason I have given. Yet these other technologies have uses and benefits and are therefore of great interest. . A diversified energy supply is a positive in it’s own right.

• Peter Lang

As I said before: I agree new technologies will emerge, but we don’t know which will become commercially successful. As I’ve explained to you before, it takes decades for the technologies whose plants have long lives (e.g. 40 to 60 years) to evolve and mature.

Despite what the proponents claim, it will take a long time (decades) before SMSR’s and Gen IVs become commercially successful.

There is much you do not understand about all this (me too) but at least I have been involved for a long time and in the policy analysis and much more across what is relevant and what the practitioners are saying.

The GEN III will remain the dominant form of nuclear for a long time.

I agree that the SMSR’s are essential for faster roll out and faster learning rates (to get costs down faster) and for much widespread application. It’s important we move to that.

The most important thing to do, IMO, is to work on persuading people to remove the massive impediments that are making nuclear power too expensive for the whole world. And the USA is the country that can have by far the greatest influence in making this happen.

There is much I could explain and many valuable links to provide if you were open to read them.

• Here we go yet again. I have spent decades doing analysis for major projects – I have training and experience in the interface of science, technology, policy with society and the natural world.

There are several designs – and the technology is proven. General Atomics have built gas reactors and many small research reactors. The commercial prototype for this one will be up and running – they say – within a decade.

An LCOE of \$65/MWh will ensure that the price point is doable – unlike large scale nuclear – and the modular nature of the system gives it a strong technical edge. Especially in areas with undeveloped grids. The technology is proven – it needs only the right package.

The technology is nuclear fission technology that is at long last mature. It won’t melt down. It consumes orders of magnitude more of the energy in fuels thus producing much less waste that is dangerous for hundreds rather than millions of years – solving the waste problem. It can use waste from conventional plants as fuel – thus starting to address the legacy of 270,000 tons of high level waste sitting in drums and ponds worldwide. It is much lower cost than large scale reactors. It can be factory built. It can be delivered by truck and placed in a concrete bunker to operate without intervention for decades. It can produce waste heat at a temperature high enough to produce hydrogen – thus opening up the possibility of a new liquid fuels cycle. It is small enough to be deployed in areas without grid electricity – to extend power availability to areas where western levels of power availability are simply not available. It does not require a traditional large scale grid – it can be developed as a node on a dense energy network. There can be generic approvals – simplifying processes for everyone including countries without an existing nuclear regulatory framework. It is a critical technology for a sustainable, high energy planet.

• Saved for posterity P-N?

Does this mean you have stuck it up your arse instead of pulling it out?

• David Springer

The technology is NOT proven for commercial operation. That only happens when commercial reactors are deployed, been in use for the anticipated service life, operating costs were as expected, and decommissioning completed.

• Pierre-Normand

Judith: “I don’t want to put either of you in moderation, but i will if you continue with uncivil posts. Thanks for your cooperation.”

Rob: “Fix the damn threading as a priority rather than making arbitrary deletions and waving your arms about moderating *me*.” (my emphasis)

Saved for posterity.

• ‘We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL030288/full

Climate chaos is ergodic over long periods – perhaps. What matters more is the statistically non-stationary abrupt shifts in climate states at decadal to millennial scales of variability. It is a new way of thinking about climate as a system rather than as disparate parts. As Marcia Wyatt said – climate ‘is ultimately complex. Complexity begs for reductionism. With reductionism, a puzzle is studied by way of its pieces. While this approach illuminates the climate system’s components, climate’s full picture remains elusive. Understanding the pieces does not ensure understanding the collection of pieces.’ Understanding climate begins by viewing it through the lens of complexity theory.

The US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) defined abrupt climate change as a new climate paradigm as long ago as 2002. A paradigm in the scientific sense is a theory that explains observations. A new science paradigm is one that better explains data – in this case climate data – than the old theory. The new theory says that climate change occurs as discrete jumps in the system. Climate is more like a kaleidoscope – shake it up and a new pattern emerges – than a control knob with a linear gain.

The theory of abrupt climate change is the most modern – and powerful – in climate science and has profound implications for the evolution of climate this century and beyond. A mechanical analogy might set the scene. The finger pushing the balance below can be likened to changes in greenhouse gases, solar intensity or orbital eccentricity. The climate response is internally generated – with changes in cloud, ice, dust and biology – and proceeds at a pace determined by the system itself. Thus the balance below is pushed past a point at which stage a new equilibrium spontaneously emerges. Unlike the simple system below – climate has many equilibria. The old theory of climate suggests that warming is inevitable. The new theory suggests that global warming is not guaranteed and that climate surprises are inevitable.

https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/unstable-mechanical-analogy-fig-1-jpg1.jpg

Many simple systems exhibit abrupt change. The balance above consists of a curved track on a fulcrum. The arms are curved so that there are two stable states where a ball may rest. ‘A ball is placed on the track and is free to roll until it reaches its point of rest. This system has three equilibria denoted (a), (b) and (c) in the top row of the figure. The middle equilibrium (b) is unstable: if the ball is displaced ever so slightly to one side or another, the displacement will accelerate until the system is in a state far from its original position. In contrast, if the ball in state (a) or (c) is displaced, the balance will merely rock a bit back and forth, and the ball will roll slightly within its cup until friction restores it to its original equilibrium.’(NAS, 2002)

In (a1) the arms are displaced but not sufficiently to cause the ball to cross the balance to the other side. In (a2) the balance is displaced with sufficient force to cause the ball to move to a new equilibrium state on the other arm. There is a third possibility in that the balance is hit with enough force to cause the ball to leave the track, roll off the table and under the sofa.

I posted this at Science of Doom. It is based on one simple underlying observation – that climate change occurs as discrete jumps between climate states. The explanation is not in the physics of the component parts – excited states, molecular rotation, translation and vibration, whatever – but in complexity theory. Unless you have a working understanding of ergodicity and strange attractors – climate is an unfathomable mystery.

I have discussed this often here. Notably in a recent head post here that was greeted with jeers, insults and incomprehension. Come to think of it – that seems to be the usual response to anyone. I cite webbly’s infamous Bose-Einstein meltdown. You can almost write the script as each post appears. It’s a bit of a Punch and Judy show.

• Curious George

Robert – your quote seems to be taken from a black magic textbook. It does not make much sense; it is just buzzwords put together: “We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged.” It means nothing: what is a synchronous state? What is a coupling strength? What are indices? What is a new climate state?

Seriously, I agree that systems with tipping points exist.I also agree that the climate might be one of them. But we have to do a lot of work to prove it – until then it is merely an alarmist speculation.

• Curious George

Rob – I quoted a text you have selected. But if you insist on quoting from the article: “An important aspect in the theory of synchronization between coupled nonlinear oscillators is coupling strength. It is vital to note that synchronization and coupling are not interchangeable.” So the climate is a system of coupled nonlinear oscillators? Prove it, then criticize.

• Then we might continue with something that seems almost equally unreasonable and pugnacious.

Prove that the atmosphere and oceanic indices are chaotic oscillating nodes on a network?

The two papers – here’s the other – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full – go some way to showing that the Earth system behaves in certain ways consistent with the specific other systems.

The underlying observation that needs an explanation along these lines is the abrupt nature of climate change.

‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker

It is blindingly obvious in any climate series.

https://watertechbyrie.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/gisp2_vostok1.png

Now the real question is – do you have a better paradigm for abrupt change in the Earth system? If you don’t – I might just go with what we have.

• Curious George

Rob – thank you for a thoughtful reply. You show that in addition to minor transitions like ” the great climate shift of the 1970s” (which escaped my attention at the time) there are also shift on ice-age time scales. Undoubtedly true. Climate has always been changing. Not much of a paradigm.

Milankovitch cycles are an attempt to explain ice ages by a physical (astronomical) mechanism. I applaud that effort. But to blindly apply statistics to data on a hope to discover a set of nonlinear coupled oscillators without any idea of an underlying physical mechanism does not look promising to me. It is just a particular kind of model, bringing no insight at all.

No, I don’t have a better paradigm. And I don’t see a good paradigm anywhere. I see a work in progress; I don’t see any reason to ring an alarm bell based on that unfinished work.

• ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

Milankovich cycles set the conditions for ice and snow feedbacks that are initiated by changes in thermohaline circulation. The physical principles are feedbacks in a chaotic system.

Abrupt climate change is real and based on observation – the theory provides an explanation for the data. That’s how science works traditionally.

• Curious George

“the theory provides an explanation for the data.” Agreed. I am only missing two pieces of information: the theory and a good data.

• ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies…

What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.’ NAS 2002, Abrupt climate change: inevitable surprises

It’s through want of trying – or perhaps a lack of brights – Curious. Not through the lack of data or a systems theory to explain abrupt change.

• JCH

You’re stuck. Broecker and everybody else moved on.

• ‘If climate science didn’t believe that climate was chaotic this article would be different. But most appear to believe it and many papers that the IPCC referenced for chapter 11 have chaotic climate as their working assumption.’ SoD

I haven’t any AR5 – but please do so and tell me if he is wrong.

• Pierre-Normand

This current SoD blog post (and the ongoing series that it is a part of, regarding natural variability and chaos), and the responses that it elicits, indeed is most interesting.

http://scienceofdoom.com/2014/11/29/natural-variability-and-chaos-four-the-thirty-year-myth/

• Indeed – is it?

• Pierre-Normand

Indeed — it is.

• ‘JCH | November 30, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Reply

Of course he’s right. Try going there, act like a person with no personality disorder, and see if you can convince him you’re right.’

This needs to go from above Judy. The original statement was that Broecker and everyone else but me had moved on.

Now JCH seems to be suggesting that no one has in fact moved on – other than to the obvious and inevitable paradigm of abrupt climate change – and he will throw in an insult to divert from the original nonsense.

I have in fact been at SoD and made several comments without eliciting the lowest common denominator free for all snark that seems the natural mode for CE.

It seems to me that SoD has an open mind – this seems fairly rare in the climate war – is able to assimilate idea quickly and has yet to attain much depth in the topic. It’s quite refreshing. Who is SoD?

• JCH

• Matthew R Marler

I thought that was a rehash of much stuff that has been presented long ago and several times since here at Climate Etc by, among others, Rob Ellison. What was it in particular that appealed to you?

• Here in fact is an early CE post by Tomas.

http://judithcurry.com/2011/02/10/spatio-temporal-chaos/

And a paper – referenced by Tomas – I had forgotten about.

Ah – the salad days of CE.

• Curious George

The salad days of CE. Rob, you have my full support here.

• Pierre-Normand

You must read the responses, Matthew, and not just the OP.

• Matthew R Marler

Pierre-Normand: You must read the responses, Matthew, and not just the OP.

I did not think highly of those either. Let me recommend instead, as I have before, the book by Henk Dijkstra: Nonlinear Climate Dynamics; as well as almost any textbook on nonlinear dynamics such as Chaotic Dynamics of Nonlinear Systems by S. Neil Rasband, a nice short intro of only about 215 pp.

Was there a comment at that site that you particularly liked?

• Mattstat, yep, pretty much a rehash, but it was nice seeing the initial versus boundary value discussion acknowledged. This is where over smoothing paleo to get “unprecedented” uncertainties tends to inspire a great deal of over confidence. This is one of my new favorites from Marcott et al.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XWxUtSoLgJg/VHOWejsl5JI/AAAAAAAAL0M/n-JoSTeEfpo/s1600/IPWP%2Boppo%2Bwith%2Bm.png

Yellow as included in Marcott, Blue didn’t make the cut. That implies not only greater uncertainty but bias as well, associated with paleo reconstruction sampling periods. I guess living things do tend to be biased toward survival.

• Pierre-Normand

Matthew, yes, I thought the comments by Pekka and Hypergeometric were illuminating. But I am a naïve non-specialist so I may be learning things that are obvious to you (as they doubtlessly are to Rob ;-) Tank you, though, for the further reading recommendations.

• Pierre-Normand

Matthew, this hypergeometric guy seems like an interesting fellow who shares some of your interests and background.

https://hypergeometric.wordpress.com/

http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/Jan+Galkowski

• Matthew R Marler

Pierre-Normand: Matthew, this hypergeometric guy seems like an interesting fellow

thank you. I bookmarked them.

• WHY THERE IS GLOBAL WARMING

People in the USA, are being told by the U.S. government and media that global warming is man-made. If that is true, how can the government and media explain the high temperatures the earth has experienced in past years when there were far fewer people? Let us look back in the world’s history: for example, between roughly 900AD and 1350AD the temperatures were much higher than now. And, back then there were fewer people, no cars, no electric utilities, and no factories, etc. So what caused the earth’s heat? Could it be a natural occurrence? The temperature graph at the bottom of this article shows the temperatures of the earth before Christ to 2040.

In the book THE DISCOVERERS published in February 1985 by Daniel J. Boorstin, beginning in chapter 28, it goes into detail about Eric the Red, the father of Lief Ericsson, and how he discovered an island covered in green grass.

In approximately 983AD, Eric the Red committed murder, and was banished from Iceland for three years. Eric the Red sailed 500 miles west from Iceland and discovered an island covered in GREEN grass, which he named Greenland. Greenland reminded Eric the Red of his native Norway because of the grass, game animals, and a sea full of fish. Even the air provided a harvest of birds. Eric the Red and his crew started laying out sites for farms and homesteads, as there was no sign of earlier human habitation.

When his banishment expired, Eric the Red returned to congested Iceland to gather Viking settlers. In 986, Eric the Red set sail with an emigrant fleet of twenty-five ships carrying men, women, and domestic animals. Unfortunately, only fourteen ships survived the stormy passage, which carried about four-hundred-fifty immigrants plus the farm animals. The immigrants settled on the southern-west tip and up the western coast of Greenland.

After the year 1200AD, the Earth’s and Greenland’s climate grew colder; ice started building up on the southern tip of Greenland. Before the end of 1300AD, the Viking settlements were just a memory. You can find the above by searching Google. One link is:

The following quote you can also read about why there is global warming. This is from the book EINSTEIN’S UNIVERSE, Page 63, written by Nigel Calder in 1972, and updated in 1982.

“The reckoning of planetary motions is a venerable science. Nowadays it tells us, for example, how gravity causes the ice to advance or retreat on the Earth during the ice ages. The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth’s axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth’s tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons. Every so often a fortunate attitude and orbit of the Earth combine to drench the ice sheets in sunshine as at the end of the most recent ice age, about ten thousand years ago. But now our relatively benign interglacial is coming to an end, as gravity continues to toy with our planet.”

The above points out that the universe is too huge and the earth is too small for the earth’s population to have any effect on the earth’s temperature. The earth’s temperature is a function of the sun’s temperature and the effects from the many massive planets in the universe, i.e., “The gravity of the Moon and (to a lesser extent) of the Sun makes the Earth’s axis swivel around like a tilted spinning top. Other planets of the Solar System, especially Jupiter, Mars and Venus, influence the Earth’s tilt and the shape of its orbit, in a more-or-less cyclic fashion, with significant effects on the intensity of sunshine falling on different regions of the Earth during the various seasons.”

Read below about carbon dioxide, which we need in order to exist. You can find the article below at:
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html.

Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth’s atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth’s oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.

At 380 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth’s atmosphere–less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth’s current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.

CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life– plants and animals alike– benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.

CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there, but continuously recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth’s oceans– the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.

If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions and all other government proposals and taxes would have a negligible effect on global climate!

The government is lying, trying to use global warming to limit, and tax its citizens through “cap and trade” and other tax schemes for the government’s benefit. We, the people cannot allow this to happen.

A temperature graph normally goes here that shows the Earth’s Temperature from -2400 to guesses in +2400.

If the Earth’s temperature graph is not shown above, you can see this temperature graph at the link:
http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm

• JCH

Of course he’s right. Try going there, act like a person with no personality disorder, and see if you can convince him you’re right.

• Curious George

Rob – please provide a link to a systems theory you refer to, and a link to a good data.

• PMHinSC

Curious George | November 30, 2014 at 8:36 pm |
“the theory provides an explanation for the data.” Agreed. I am only missing two pieces of information: the theory and a good data.

I would strike the word “good” and just say ” I am only missing two pieces of information: the theory and data.” It seems there are a lot of commenters who enjoy strutting their egos and just ignore the fact that there is no data showing manmade carbon dioxide is causing any harmful effect on the atmosphere.

• Let’s just summarise – and then I think I will go for a swim instead.

I can’t remember what I was snipped for – but it seems a bit arbitrary given the vociferous frothing at the mouth vitriol coming my way.

It is all an off the wall response to a statement about sub \$100/MWh technologies – one of which was on-shore wind. Now I can’t really see what the problem is – particularly as sub \$100/MWh technologies other than wind are despatchable. And I think I clearly said that the future for the bulk of low cost generation was nuclear.

But it precipitated a meltdown of epic proportions on the basis of denouncing something I had not remotely said. And repeating ad nauseum fantasy EROI and deaths from various technologies. Both of which are objectively all over the place, not remotely believable and not rationally usable.

Seriously – what is the point?

• jim2

The beginning of capital expenditure cuts for shale oil and gas companies has already begun.
From the article:

Our nation’s horizontal rig count has increased by 104 since prices peaked at \$107/bbl at the start of July, which correlates to an 8.2% increase, while at the same time the price of WTI has dropped 31%. The vertical/directional rig situation has largely hid this fact to observers who are just following the total rig count. Vertical/directional rigs over this same time period have dropped by an identical percentage of 8.09%.

So, we’ve got to assume that domestic production is not going to level off until after the public CapEx budgets get recalculated and implemented in January or February. Then, we should calculate an additional four months on top of that before we’ll actually see the production curtailments that will accompany that leveling off. So I doubt that we’ll see any meaningful curtailment in the current increasing production trend that appears to be adding an additional 80,000-85,000 bbls a month on average. I can’t predict what this will do for prices, but it clearly can’t be good for anyone predicting a return to \$80+ WTI in the next 6-8 months.

Many companies have withheld announcements or color on changes to their budgets. Anadarko (NYSE:APC) for instance has stated that they won’t announce 2015 CapEx changes until March of next year. However, here are some recent announcements by some larger E&Ps that have officially curtailed their upcoming 2015 CapEx budgets:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/2717165-current-rig-count-to-increase-domestic-oil-production-growth-until-late-2015

• Peter Lang, While there is plenty of ego and arrogance to go around, a lot of the passion is due to belief in ideal models and their application to real world problems. A great example in the law of large numbers and the central limit theory which requires a “normal” distribution. That works like a champ with huge numbers of course measurement of the same thing, but doesn’t translate to Paleo which is sparse measurements of different things with unknown biases.

I was trying to show that the R. Gates using the Marcott et al. reconstruction which has “unbelievable” uncertainty limits for the Holocene.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-XWxUtSoLgJg/VHOWejsl5JI/AAAAAAAAL0M/n-JoSTeEfpo/s1600/IPWP%2Boppo%2Bwith%2Bm.png

The yellow is one of the Marcott reconstructions used and the Blue is a continuation of the same area not used in Marcott. When you consider the actual uncertainty of the original reconstructions instead of a statistical fantasy uncertainty based on previously smoothed reconstructions smoothed yet again, there is a “significant” difference.

Believers assume that the published uncertainties have to be” correct and skeptics question the validity. Its not nice to question someones belief. That is pretty much Climate Science in a nut shell.

• Peter Lang

Thank god the U.S. government puts the safety of the public first.

They don’t! And you can thank the irrational anti-nukes’ scaremongering campaigns over the past 50 years for that.And the gullible, non-skeptical members of the public who have swallowed all the scaremongering hook, line and sinker, and voted for the impediments to be placed on nuclear power.

Pollution from coal fired power plants is causing about 15,000-35,000 early deaths per year in the USA according to EPA. If nuclear replaced coal it would nearly avoid all this fatalities (with a low probability of some deaths from nuclear accidents).

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Peter, I think you know much of the public opposes nuclear power because they believe it has deadly potential. I object to relaxing safety regulations, but otherwise, I’m not strongly opposed to it. I fear, however, your fanatical advocacy of nuclear power makes you a less than reliable source of information on the subject. I’m sorry, Peter, but you are too zealous for me to trust. I will try to close by saying something positive. I think you could be a good TV evangelist.

• @ Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

“I object to relaxing safety regulations, but otherwise, I’m not strongly opposed to it.”

So if I understand, no matter the empirical rationality, who got the regulations implemented, or for what purpose (Could it be that the purpose of never ending ratcheting up of nuclear ‘safety’ regulations’, rather than enhancing ‘public safety’, is to make it impossible, from an engineering point of view, to meet them, thereby taking nuclear off the table completely? As has been the objective result of the safety rules and permitting process.), once a safety regulation is ‘on the books’, it should never be reviewed or revised downward? Ever?

Have any of those progressives so ostensibly obsessed with ‘public safety’ ever compared the public consequences of NOT having a plentiful supply of cheap electricity to the consequences of a slight relaxing of the regulations on power generation of all forms, not just nuclear? The question is rhetorical, of course, as can be deduced from the screams of outrage from them regarding the efforts of the heartless capitalists who are willing to poison/irradiate us all (including themselves, of course) for their own enrichment, every time a power plant–of any type–is proposed or any time someone suggests that the regulations may too stringent for our own good?

Oh well, I’m sure that the folks living in grass huts, cooking their (unrefrigerated) food over an open fire, using cow dung collected for the purpose at least go to bed (on their dirt floor) every night, thankful that the US/European progressives have, without even being asked, protected them yet again from the ravages of the Human Carbon Volcano and ensured that they won’t have to worry about their (starving) children glowing in the dark.

• In 2002, GIF selected six systems from nearly 100 concepts as Generation IV technologies:

• gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR);
• molten salt reactor (MSR);
• sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR);
• supercritical-water-cooled reactor (SCWR);
• very-high-temperature reactor (VHTR).

The Technology Roadmap Update has confirmed the choice of these six systems.

Timelines and research needs were developed for each system, categorised in three
successive phases:

• the viability phase, when basic concepts are tested under relevant conditions and all
potential technical show-stoppers are identified and resolved;

• the performance phase, when engineering-scale processes, phenomena and materials
capabilities are verified and optimised under prototypical conditions;

• the demonstration phase, when detailed design is completed and licensing, construction and
operation of the system are carried out, with the aim of bringing it to the commercial deployment stage.

The road map from the Gen IV international forum consists of a development pathway for a number of designs of small, modular nuclear plants for specific purposes.

The technology has been in development for decades at various locations including the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Chinese ‘pebble bed’ reactor is based on the German prototype of the 1960’s – via the South African experience. They have operated a research plant for a number of years and are constructing a demonstration plant.

The US designs – from major nuclear industry players – being fast tracked to approvals and commerialisation incorporate important evolutionary developments in fuel cycles and materials.

The technology is nuclear fission technology that is at long last mature. It won’t melt down. It consumes orders of magnitude more of the energy in fuels thus producing much less waste that is dangerous for hundreds rather than millions of years – solving the waste problem. It can use waste from conventional plants as fuel – thus starting to address the legacy of 270,000 tons of high level waste sitting in drums and ponds worldwide. It is much lower cost than large scale reactors. It can be factory built. It can be delivered by truck and placed in a concrete bunker to operate without intervention for decades. It can produce waste heat at a temperature high enough to produce hydrogen – thus opening up the possibility of a new liquid fuels cycle. It is small enough to be deployed in areas without grid electricity – to extend power availability to areas where western levels of power availability are simply not available. It doesn’t require a traditional large scale grid – it can be developed as a node on a dense energy network. There can be generic approvals – simplifying processes for everyone including countries without an existing nuclear regulatory framework. It is a critical – and proven – technology for a sustainable, high energy planet.

http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/programs/energy-and-climate/our-high-energy-planet

The diverse proposals are based on extensive testing and development worldwide over decades. Commercialisation of this game changing nuclear technology is oh so close.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

The choice is between (a) loosely regulated nuclear power, or (b) burning cow dung for fuel.

Hmm….

I need more time to think.

• Peter Lang

India’s coal conundrum: which comes first, the climate or the poor? – See more at:
http://www.marklynas.org/2014/11/indias-coal-conundrum-which-comes-first-the-climate-or-the-poor/#sthash.rQ5buEQl.dpuf

• @ Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

“The choice is between (a) loosely regulated nuclear power, or (b) burning cow dung for fuel.”

Those are not the choices. The choices are (a) establish generator regulations and the permitting process for new plants, nuclear or otherwise, with the objective of ensuring public safety rather than ensuring that the process, legal and permitting, is so restrictive that it cannot be achieved in finite time with finite funds or (b), above.

Keep in mind that the folks who are setting our technical and regulatory policies are totally focused on achieving (b).

For a refresher on the ultimate objective of our environmental policies, see the quotes from several of the icons of the movement, who regularly receive standing ovations when they address environmental and climate forums:

No, cow dung is the objective, unless the Maurice Strongs of the world succeed in banning cows along with energy from the grid (“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
Maurice Strong,
Rio Earth Summit”

If left to the environmental movement, as represented by the most famous among them, the ultimate objective would appear to be the banning of fire in any form (except for that necessary to maintain themselves in the jet-setting lifestyle to which they have become accustomed as they flit from spa to spa, ensuring that WE live OUR lives at the technological level that THEY consider appropriate.

• jim2

Wrong, Gates. Try to think out of your conceptual box. From the article:

HONG KONG—CGN Power Co., China’s largest nuclear-power producer by installed capacity, has filed a listing application for a US\$2 billion initial public offering in Hong Kong.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/chinese-nuclear-firm-files-for-hong-kong-ipo-1409838012

• GaryM

It’s always refreshing when the progressives come right out and admit their fondness for their fellow travelers among the world’s dictatorships. Tom Friedman is right there with ya’ buddy.

What’s the enslavement of a billion people, and the murder of tens of millions, when it furthers progressives’ delusions of their own superiority?

• David Springer

Max_OK, Citizen Scientist | November 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm | Reply\

“Get Real, Lang ! If new nuclear power plants were a good investment, lots would be under construction, and you wouldn’t need to be here trying to sell people on these things.”

Yup. And they’d build them in countries where there are no extra costs from regulatory burdens. That’s not to say there aren’t radically more economic designs that are feasible its saying there’s none of those designs proven right now and it’s saying that regulatory burdens aren’t the problem because there are countries where there are no regulatory burdens to build, test, and deploy.

His ERoEI number appears wildly inflated most likely due to it being calculated on hypothetical situations or without full accounting for end-to-end supply chain and decommissioning costs. As well some kinds of biomass are extremely efficient there just isn’t enough of it. I have friends in upstate NY that cut their own firewood from their backyards to heat their homes in the winter and the cost is negligible because the land is fallow otherwise, they do it like mowing the lawn or raking leaves, consumption is on-site, ash disposal is on-site, and modern high efficiency wood-burning furnaces are employed.

• ‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.’
T. S. Eliot

This quote is quite uplifting – unlike e pluribus unum which was apparently plagiarized from a classical recipe for a salad dressing. The US is not so much a melting pot as a salad bar.

I quite like technology – of all kinds.

If you look at the graphic – there are a dozen energy technologies that are sub \$100/MWh. Some of these are renewable and despatchable. You can even mix and match – say 5% wind and 30% hydro – to get a reliable and low cost system.

But to get beyond that at all cost effectively requires new technology.

This one is relatively old technology – with a few new twists – perfectly safe, modular, creates very little and short lived waste, uses a range of fuels including conventional nuclear waste and is costed at about the same as gas in the US. Damn cheap.

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

Here’s a Chinese version.

But energy and finances are not very serious questions at all. We should perhaps leave it entirely to puerile little twits and flying monkey power.

• Steven Mosher

Peter

“By “mosh pit’ do you meant a bully pit, where bully’s like you roam free.”

it’s basically a free speech zone. So, if you are offended by harsh language
then you stay away. your choice.

the concept is pretty simple. you dont need to snip stuff. just move it.

What you will find is that it actually works. when people start to stray off topic or get into food fights you just move their conversation.

here is what you find. Once they are moved they stop.

• “Open threads are a free for all. well, in some universe they are.”
——-
Content should be open (within bounds of obscenity rules) but the presentation of that content should always be polite. There simply should be a zero tolerance for name calling of any sort.

• freeHat

As a bystander who normally doesn’t comment, I’d say the less technical it gets the worse it gets. Not a rule though, but a trend :)

15. Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

A new poll shows both Democrats and Republicans want more wind power.
http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=6997

• John Vonderlin

Max,
Following this link and further I noted that the poll was purchased by those who want the multi-billion dollar tax benefit. It was comprised of only two questions, with no in depth questions about details of the legislation, its benefits, or cost. I’m not buying that this poll reflects the will of the American people on this policy matter.
I’m sad you’re glad at such blatant manipulation of the public’s perception. Yet, I too want more wind power.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Yes, John, I know who paid for the poll.
The fact it was financed by wind power interests doesn’t necessarily make the results wrong, but you are right about questioning the results of this survey or any other survey paid for by an interest group.

I’m glad you want more wind power.

• Barnes

Maybe those taking the poll should understand the entire manufacturing process required for windmills. Consider the following:

On the outskirts of one of China’s most polluted cities, an old farmer stares despairingly out across the immense lake of bubbling toxic waste covered in black dust. He remembers it as fields of wheat and corn. Hidden out of sight behind smoke-shrouded factory complexes in the Baotou, and patrolled by platoons of security guards, lies a five mile wide “Tailing” lake. It has killed farmland for miles around, made thousands of people ill and put one of China’s waterways in jeopardy.
This vast, hissing cauldron of chemicals is the dumping ground for seven million tons a year of mined rare earth after it has been doused in acid and chemicals and processed through red-hot furnaces to extract its components.
…When we finally break though the cordon and climb the sand dunes to reach its brim, an apocalyptic sight greets us: a giant secret toxic dump….
….The lake instantly assaults your senses. Stand on the black crust for just seconds, and your eyes water and a powerful acid stench fills your lungs.
For hours after our visit, my stomach lurched and my head throbbed. We were there for only one hour, but those who live in Mr. Yan’s village of Dalahai and other villages around breathe in the same poison every day.
People began to suffer. Galahai villagers say their teeth began to fall out, their hair turned white at unususally young ages, and they suffered from severe skin and respiratory diseases. Children were born with soft bones and cancer rates sky rocketed.
This is what the process looks like in a major facility in China – where most rare earths for wind power are mined. This is a first hand account from reporter Simon Perry as recounted in “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”.

What were you saying about pollution there Max-OK?

• Barnes

Another interesting bit of information about wind power that you may want to consider Max-OK:

Energy consumption in wind facilities

Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. At the facility in Searsburg, Vermont, for example, it is apparently not even metered and is completely unknown [click here].* The manufacturers of large turbines — for example, Vestas, GE, and NEG Micon — do not include electricity consumption in the specifications they provide.

Among the wind turbine functions that use electricity are the following:

– yaw mechanism (to keep the blade assembly perpendicular to the wind; also to untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary) — the nacelle (turbine housing) and blades together weigh 92 tons on a GE 1.5-MW turbine

– blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)

– lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.

– heating the blades — this may require 10%-20% of the turbine’s nominal (rated) power

– heating and dehumidifying the nacelle — according to Danish manufacturer Vestas, “power consumption for heating and dehumidification of the nacelle must be expected during periods with increased humidity, low temperatures and low wind speeds”

– oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox

– hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)

– thyristors (to graduate the connection and disconnection between generator and grid) — 1%-2% of the energy passing through is lost

– magnetizing the stator — the induction generators used in most large grid-connected turbines require a “large” amount of continuous electricity from the grid to actively power the magnetic coils around the asynchronous “cage rotor” that encloses the generator shaft; at the rated wind speeds, it helps keep the rotor speed constant, and as the wind starts blowing it helps start the rotor turning (see next item); in the rated wind speeds, the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine’s rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more

– using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low or, as many suspect, to maintain the illusion that the facility is producing electricity when it is not, particularly during important site tours or noise testing (keeping the blades feathered, ie, quiet)) — it seems possible that the grid-magnetized stator must work to help keep the 40-ton blade assembly spinning, along with the gears that increase the blade rpm some 50 times for the generator, not just at cut-in (or for show in even less wind) but at least some of the way up towards the full rated wind speed; it may also be spinning the blades and rotor shaft to prevent warping when there is no wind

Could it be that at times each turbine consumes more than 50% of its rated capacity in its own operation?! If so, the plant as a whole — which may produce only 25% of its rated capacity annually — would be using (for free!) twice as much electricity as it produces and sells. An unlikely situation perhaps, but the industry doesn’t publicize any data that proves otherwise; incoming power is apparently not normally recorded.

Is there some vast conspiracy spanning the worldwide industry from manufacturers and developers to utilities and operators? There doesn’t have to be, if engineers all share an assumption that wind turbines don’t use a significant amount of power compared to their output and thus it is not worth noting, much less metering. Such an assumption could be based on the experience decades ago with small DC-generating turbines, simply carried over to AC generators that continue to metastasize. However errant such an assumption might now be, it stands as long as no one questions it. No conspiracy is necessary — self-serving laziness is enough.

Whatever the actual amount of consumption, it could seriously diminish any claim of providing a significant amount of energy. Instead, it looks like industrial wind power could turn out to be a laundering scheme: “Dirty” energy goes in, “clean” energy comes out. That would explain why developers demand legislation to create a market for “green credits” — tokens of “clean” energy like the indulgences sold by the medieval church. Ego te absolvo.

(One need only ask utilities to show how much less “dirty” electricity they purchase because of wind-generated power to see that something is amiss in the wind industry’s claims. If wind worked and were not mere window dressing, the industry would trot out some real numbers. But they don’t. One begins to suspect that they can’t.)

*Wayne Gulden has analyzed the daily production reports of a Vestas V82 1.65-MW wind turbine at the University of Minnesota, Morris, from 2006 to 2008. Those records include negative production, i.e., net consumption, as well as daily average wind speeds. The data suggest that the turbine consumes at a minimum rate of about 50 kW, or 8.3% of its reported production over those years (and which declined 2-4% each year).

There is also the matter of reactive power (VAR). As wind facilities are typically built in remote areas, they are often called upon to provide VAR to maintain line voltage. Thus much of their production may go to providing only this “energy-less” power.

See also: “Tehachapi’s four turbines may be scuttled”, Gordon Lull, Nov. 7, 2012: “[N]ow some question whether the turbines actually cost more money, in terms of electricity usage and maintenance expenses, than they generate in power.” … “[T]he turbines themselves, intended as renewable energy generators, must draw significant amounts of electricity from traditional non-renewable sources when being started.”

†Much of this information comes from a Swedish graduate student specializing in hydrogen and wind power, as posted in a Yes2Wind discussion. Also see the Danish Wind Industry Association’s guide to the technology. The rest comes from personal correspondence with other experts and from industry spec sheets.

An observer in Toronto, Ontario, points out that the blades of the turbines installed at the Pickering nuclear plant and Exhibition Place turn 90% of the time, even when there is barely a breeze and when the blades are not properly pitched — in a region acknowledged to have low wind resource.

In large rotating power trains such as this, if allowed to stand motionless for any period of time, the unit will experience “bowing” of shafts and rotors under the tremendous weight. Therefore, frequent rotating of the unit is necessary to prevent this. As an example, even in port Navy ships keep their propeller shafts and turbine power trains slowly rotating. It is referred to as “jacking the shaft” to prevent any tendency to bow. Any bowing would throw the whole train out of balance with potentially very serious damage when bringing the power train back on line.
‘In addition to just protecting the gear box and generator shafts and bearings, the blades on a large wind turbine would offer a special challenge with respect to preventing warping and bowing when not in use. For example, on a sunny, windless day, idle wind turbine blades would experience uneven heating from the sun, something that would certainly cause bowing and warping. The only way to prevent this would be to keep the blades moving to even out the sun exposure to all parts of the blade.
‘So, the point that major amounts of incoming electrical power is used to turn the power train and blades when the wind is not blowing is very accurate, and it is not something the operators of large wind turbines can avoid.
‘[Also, there is] the likely need for a hefty, forced-feed lubricating system for the shaft and turbine blade assembly bearings. This would be a major hotel load. I can’t imagine passive lubrication (as for the wheel bearings on your car) for an application like this. Maybe so, but I would be very surprised. Assuming they have to have a forced-feed lubrication system, given the weight on those bearings (40 tons on the bearing for the rotor and blades alone) a very robust (energy-sucking) lubricating oil system would be required. It would also have to include cooling for the oil and an energy-sucking lube oil purification system too.’
–Lawrence E. Miller, Gerrardstown, WV, an engineer with over 40 years of professional experience with large power train machinery associated with Navy ships.

Also: ‘The wind farm operator … has to keep the sensitive equipment — the drives, hubs and rotor blades — in constant motion …’ (The Automatic Earth, Oct. 27, 2012)

• Barnes

And just one more fun fact for you Max-OK – the steel and iron required per megawatt of wind – 542.3 Tons; for Coal – 35.3 tons, and for natural gas – 5.2 tons. Sources: ALPINE Bau GmBH, July 2014, Peterson Zhao, Petroski (2005);Wilburn 2011, as cited in “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:.

Glad to see you prefer to use an energy source that produces such toxic waste during the production process, then utilizes massively execesive quantities of materials manufactured using fossil fuels, so that it can be deployed to a grid where it will frequently use more energy than it produces, and have the side benefit of creating problems in grid management due to it’s intermittency. Brilliant plan.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

I suspect Barnes suffers from a fear of wind turbines. I’m not sure his phobia has a name. Could it be “anemomenophobia”?

Phobias are irrational fears, and many people have one kind or another. I, for example, am afraid of heights. However, my phobia seem less severe than Barnes’ fear of wind-turbines. I don’ object to the construction of sky scrapers, whereas Barnes tries to find reasons wind farms shouldn’t be built, and gullibly accepts and promotes anti-windpower propaganda.

Sadly, Barnes’ anemomenophobia (or whatever its called) has turned him into a fool with a mission.

• Barnes

No irrational fears or phobias there Max, just an aversion to stupidity. Thinking that introducing what amounts to little more than 12th century technology to the modern day energy mix to provide base load power is, in a word, stupid. The info I provided is factual, but I don’t expect ideological fools like you to bother looking past your own blinders at any info that does not support your belief system.

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Barnes, I know a phobia when I see one, and I strongly suspect you are terrified at the thought of wind turbines, but I’m not sure why you are possessed by this irrational fear. Perhaps as a child, you stuck your finger into an electric fan or had a pet bird fly into one.

On the other hand, I have given some thought to another explanation. You could have a crazy love for fossil fuels, a love so passionate that the thought of an alternative (wind power) makes you furious. Your anger would be understandable. Who likes something he loves threatened?

If both of these explanations are true, you must really be a mess. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes.

• Pierre-Normand

“Thinking that introducing what amounts to little more than 12th century technology to the modern day energy mix to provide base load power is, in a word, stupid.”

Burning stuff is 1,250th century BC technology, and possibly much older than that.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Control_of_fire_by_early_humans

• That’s a seriously long list of potential issues by Barnes. I think some type of diverse independent group should be commissioned to look into this and make some kind of assessment report.

• Pierre-Normand said on November 29, 2014 at 12:05 am

“Burning stuff is 1,250th century BC technology, and possibly much older than that.”
________

Good point. My guess is burning stuff predates windmills and may predate sails.

• Pierre-Normand

For sure. ‘1,250th century BC’ means 125,000 years ago.

• Skiphil

Burning stuff led to innumerable benefits to humans, but may also have led to messed up teeth:

• Max_OK, Citizen Scientist

Skiphil, thanks for the link about teeth and cooked foods. I found it very interesting.

I recently asked my dentist why I have had fewer cavities in my lower teeth than in my upper teeth. He explained the lower teeth are exposed to more saliva than the uppers, and saliva helps prevent decay.

• Barnes

Max – first of all, you once again provide absolutely no counter information to the factual information I gave you to read. You simply launched into an ad hominen attack. If I am so far off base, with your vast intellectual prowess, you should be able to easily counter the points I made.

Oh well. I have found that blind ideologues like yourself rarely if ever see anything clearly. Yes, I do love fossil fuels because of the great benefits they have provided to the the human race – that you are unable to see this speaks volumes to your blindness. As I frequently ask of anyone who has such an irrational fear, using your words, of fossil fuels, name me one thing in your life that you eat, wear, walk on, use, or otherwise consume that is not touched or benefited in some way from fossil fuels. I have not yet received a response to that question.

My only fear on Wind Turbines is that we will continually waste enormous resources in time, energy, environment, and money on a technology that is so easily shown to be virtually useless/damaging, and in fact may actually use more energy just to operate than it sends back to the grid – not even counting the enormous amount of energy required in the full manufacturing process.

And, it is particularly interesting how ideologues like yourself love to point to all the pollution stemming from burning fossil fuels , but seem to have no problem with pollution caused bu mining of rare earth materials required by wind turbines.

As for Pierre’s idiotic quote, give me an idea of the footprint and cost that would be required of a wind farm that would be able to provide the electrical needs of say a city like NYC and compare it to the foot print and cost of a conventional coal fired power plant.

Lastly, if you guys are so sure of yourselves, why don’t you read and provide convincing counter arguments to http://www.wind-watch.org/ and aweo.org. Reading the information provided would give any rational thinking person pause about continuing to waste money wind turbines, but of course, rational thought coming from blind ideologues my be a bit too much to ask.

• Barnes

Canman – actually, I view AWEO as an independent source. Their view is that greenhouse gases and buning fossil fuels are serious issues that need to be addressed. They just took a hard look at Wind Turbine technology and found serious problems with it. The info I provided above is a small part of the info you can find on their web site, I suggest that anyone should take the time to look through it – something Max either is unable to do, or simply refuses to do since it interferes with his belief system,

• Ron C.

Locals in the UK call the windmills “prayer wheels.”

• kim

War Memorials.
============

16. Hi Judith. Thanks for the opportunity to add to the discussion. I believe science is all about discussion, testing, and validation. I just recently discovered your blog from CCNF where I was reading what John Nielsen-Gammon has been posting. I’m a meteorologist with about 40 years experience and first met John about 15 or 20 years ago and have great respect for his scientific intellect and insight. I’ve been trying to learn more about the Earth’s climate history because it seems to me that we cannot accurately predict the future without fully understanding the past.

I find the climate reconstructions using oxygen isotope ration analyses from glacial ice cores and ocean sediment cores to be very interesting in looking across the last few million years of climate history. I’m sure these reconstructions have plenty of flaws, but they do show similar patterns and provide at least a general overview of our highly variable global climate over longer time scales. It appears that over the last few thousand years the global climate has been relatively stable compared to the frequent wild swings over the past few million years. It also appears that we have a very poor understanding of what has caused the much larger variations in the past although there are plenty of hypotheses. Until we can more confidently predict these past wide variations over scales of at least hundreds of thousands of years, I have little confidence in future predictions.

After looking at the climate reconstructions, the thought occurred to look at the last several interglacial periods to see how our current interglacial compares and to use this information to serve as a crude persistence climate forecast for the next few thousand years. To this end I made the graph below (which hopefully will show up in this comment).

Happy Thanksgiving.

• Oh well. Looks like the html I added in the comment didn’t post the graph. Here’s a link to my post on “Interglacial Comparisons” with the graph included.
http://oz4caster.wordpress.com/2014/11/24/interglacial-comparison

• Ron C.

Nice post and image. Usually if you copy and paste and image URL, wordpress will display it. Hopefully it will work here for your image:

https://oz4caster.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/interglacial-warm-period-comparison.gif?w=750&h=532

• Ron C.

OK. So it didn’t work here.

• https://oz4caster.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/interglacial-warm-period-comparison.gif

You have to have the link just to the file .gif etc without any trailing stuff.

• jim2

Ron – it has to be an image file. Like http://bob/jack/yourimagefile.bmp or http://bob/jack/yourimagefile.png

• Thanks guys. I tried to present a click-able graph that linked to my post when clicked, rather than going to the image file when clicked. Apparently WordPress didn’t like that.

• Matthew R Marler

Thanks for the link. That looks like a good site.

• kim

Yikes! Hockey Sticks, Hockey Sticks everywhere, and not a drop, just ice.
===========================

• Jim D

We have to remember when looking at graphs like this that the cold and warm periods are bounded by CO2 values of 190 ppm and 280 ppm, and the Ice Ages only started after CO2 values dropped towards 300 ppm in the last couple of million years. Here is one good summary of the long view for CO2, although more estimates these days put the peak nearer 1000 ppm.
The warmest part of the Cenozoic also had the highest CO2 amount.
Needless to say, sea level was also 70 meters higher prior to 35 million years ago when Antarctica first glaciated at CO2 levels near 500 ppm. Without looking at this in the context of long-term CO2, you miss an important part of the picture.

• kim

We wuz flat runnin’ out of it, that carbon stuff, we wuz.
==============

• @JimD
Thanks for the nice graphs. I haven’t seen these two before but have seen some very similar graphs. My post is not about CO2, but simply about looking at temperature cycles over the last 500,000 years as a possible predictor for future climate. Obviously having only four complete cycles does not provide a lot of confidence as a predictor for the fifth and I am aware that the glacial cycles were spaced about every 40,000 years during the preceding million years before the last half million years.

The correlation of estimated CO2 and global temperatures is interesting, but as you know correlation does not prove causation. If you believe CO2 is the primary driver, you must explain how CO2 could suddenly rise during an intense glacial period and thus cause temperatures to rise dramatically for about 5,000 years. Your hypothesis must also explain how these glacial cycles ending with sudden CO2 increases have changed from 40,000 year periodicity to 100,000 year periodicity over the last million years.

Also I notice that these graphs do not depict many of the massive volcanic eruptions in the past nor do they show all of the major meteor impacts, both of which may have had substantial wild card effects on climate, as compared to more predictable orbital/mechanical effects and much more gradual continental drift effects.

• Jim D

oz4caster, as we can see, CO2 rises typically 90 ppm in response to the warming of 8-10 C in the recovery periods. This is just expected from the warmer oceans and perhaps biosphere being less able to retain CO2, maybe 10-15 ppm per degree. This 50% increase in CO2 would have caused a couple of degrees of that warming by itself, but most of the warming was probably the positive albedo feedback from the glacier retreat. This outgassing still happens with warming today, but is small compared to the 100+ ppm CO2 added by man that has become the main driver. As for volcanoes, the diagram shows that CO2 outgassing was a main cause of the rise in the early Cenozoic. A similar volcanic period caused the rise of CO2 and warming in the early Mesozoic that got us out of the previous icy period in the Permian. These occur from plate tectonics, while mountain building has the opposite CO2 reduction effect leading to cooling as happened after the Eocene maximum. Therefore volcanoes and mountain building are extremely important links between continental drift and CO2 and consequently temperature.

• @JimD
What I don’t see in the graphs are the major meteor impacts producing a 100 km crater in Siberia about 35.7 mya and one producing an 82 km crater at Chesapeake Bay about 35.5 mya and the ensuing very active volcanic eruption period from 35 mya to 25 mya that includes eruptions of 6800 km3 in Yemen 29.5 mya and 5000 km3 at La Garita Colorado 27.8 mya. There was also a 52 km impact crater made about 25 mya in Tajikistan and a Yellowstone eruption of 2450 km3 about 2 mya just to mention a couple more. For comparison, the Mt Pinatubo eruption in 1991 was about 10 km3. I can imagine that each of these events had some substantial climate impacts, perhaps for hundreds or even thousands of years, but information on any climate impacts from these events seems to be very sparse.

• Jim D

oz4caster, the meteor impacts and volcanoes you mention would be blips of less than a millennium, or even a century, that would not show up on such a graph. What is needed is a lasting change to the atmospheric CO2 level, which is what these volcanic periods did, because they took deeply buried carbon and put it back into the atmosphere and ocean. That is the only way to get a lasting effect: to restore deeply buried carbon to the atmosphere (as in volcanoes or fossil fuels) or to rebury it as in weathering and natural biosphere sequestration. The exchange between deep and surface carbon is a major factor in explaining the climate of the last half billion years, and that has mostly been driven by plate tectonics, until now.

• @JimD
I did notice a sudden sharp drop of about 3C on the temperature graph at about 35 million years that presumably corresponds to the major meteor impacts around that time, but it was not annotated. The temperature decline that began about 50 mya halted during the very active volcanic period from 35 to 15 mya and then resumed a fairly steady decline into our current ice age. The beginning of the current ice age around 3 to 4 mya appears to coincide with the closing of the oceanic gap between North and South America by the formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Probably more than just a coincidence, and if it was causative that suggests the importance of oceanic circulations as at least a factor in driving the increasing amplitude and duration of the glacial cycles in our present ice age.

• Jim D

oz4caster, I think the drop at 35 million years ago was due to the albedo effect of the first glaciation of Antarctica. The glaciation of Greenland a few million years ago preceded the descent into the Ice Ages, by providing another cooling stage, also with Arctic sea ice expanding around then. These glaciations have global temperature effects comparable with the more recent series of Ice Age glaciations.

• David L. Hagen

Pending glaciation
75% chance of glaciation is a far more serious danger than a little bit of warming. On ice core Murry Salby incorporating diffusion.
By Pehr Björnbom A comparison of Gösta Pettersson’s carbon cycle model with observations

• David L. Hagen

Murry Salby Interview highlighted by Jo Nova
RUPERT DARWALL, An Unsettling Climate
Global-warming proponents betray science by shutting down debate.

Another pillar of the IPCC’s case has been the claim, based on ice-core records of CO2 concentrations, that present levels of carbon dioxide are unprecedented. But here, Salby maintains, accounting for the dissipation of CO2 trapped in ice cores—previously ignored—radically alters the picture of prehistoric changes in atmospheric CO2 levels. Even weak dissipation would mean that such changes have been significantly underestimated until now—and would also imply that modern changes in CO2 are not unprecedented. If Salby is right, the IPCC’s unequivocal claim that modern levels of CO2 are at their highest levels in at least 800,000 years would not hold. . . .
Salby’s preliminary findings led him to a wider study, in which he determined, among other things, that the observed relationship between global temperature and CO2 differed fundamentally from that described in climate models.

• oz4caster, welcome aboard.

• AK

What I notice is how similar the current interglacial is to the one labeled 418,400YBP, as well as the similarities between 131,400 and 335,500. While 243,800 looks like a shortened version of 131,400/335,400.

If you predict the warming trend of the current interglacial by analogy with the similar one, we would be in for another 6-7000 years of warming prior to the beginning of the next Ice Age.

Of course, it could be just similarities among random walks, or a consequence of orbital mechanics. But it is interesting.

17. Steven Mosher

Note to willard.

week in review is different.

see how simple? you know its an open thread when it says open thread

• Steven Mosher

Willard Fibbs again. he has no honor.

“Willard | November 15, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Reply
A squirrel in an open thread. Fancy that.

Steven Mosher | November 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Reply
the king climate baller redefines week in review as open thread.

You will know its an open thread when it says “open thread”

or make up your own damn rules. you have no honor

#######################

Basically Willard on the Nov 15 week in review thread you treated it as an Open thread. when called out you then you tried some historical revisionism. Then you tried to excuse your bad behavior by appealing that others did it first.

I explained to you that you would know its an open thread when it says “open thread.”

not post hoc analysis, fibber willard.

See, when a smart guy cant admit he was wrong about something as simple as posting off topic.. well then you cant really give him the benefit of the doubt. And one need not interpret his words charitably. cause he has no honor

• > Then you tried to excuse your bad behavior by appealing that others did it first.

Spot the ClimateBall ™ move.

Begging the question.

Yup.

***

> I explained to you that you would know its an open thread when it says “open thread.”

Spot the ClimateBall ™ move.

Reversing the burden of proof.

Yup.

***

Judy always treated her weekly reviews as open threads. Denizens always treated her weekly reviews as open threads. As far as I can recall, I always posted links that where relevant for the week at hand by limiting my search to the last week.

When Judy will declare that her week reviews are not open thread will they not be. She even has the power to declare threads about the “state of the blog” an open thread. Only when Judy dubs Moshpit her new white knight will be able to play King of the hill in a plausible manner.

Also note the

• Steven Mosher

“Judy always treated her weekly reviews as open threads.”

Denizens always treated her weekly reviews as open threads.

As far as I can recall, I always posted links that where relevant for the week at hand by limiting my search to the last week.

You have a choice. you defend your choice on bogus terms

cause everyone else does it.

then you lie about post hoc analysis

willard climateball king

Again begging the question.

• > Also note the […]

Let’s close this thought. Also note the honorable advice Moshpit gave at Lucia’s:

adopt a sock puppet and mis paraphrase the text he wont show, then challenge him to prove you wrong by quoting the text.

• Steven Mosher

It’s pretty simple Willard you have a choice.
You have no honor.

• Steven Mosher

For grins Willard go to the last week in review.
See who commented on the articles and see who made the same choice that you and omanual make.
Nice company you keep

• kim

OK, now let’s talk about fabricating a tapestry.
=================

• Matthew R Marler

Steven Mosher: I never treated them as open threads.. cause they are week in review.

Well, that’s you. Lots of people have posted off-topic information, links, etc frequently without waiting for “open” threads.

• > I observe your choice.

And then comes a judgement.

Nice ClimateBall ™ move.

***

> For grins […]

Take a look at this handbag fight in a comment thread about Groups and Herds:

wrong Roger.

in some cases its the same location in other cases its different locations.
Its also different times.

http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/25/groups-and-herds-implications-for-the-ipcc/#comment-650364

So Senior makes an OT comment, and the Moshpit replies.

Et cetera.

The Moshpit says something about never treating Weeks in review as something or other.

• Michael

Mosher,

you make a fine thread nanny.

• Steven Mosher

• Michael

I’m sure I complement you in no way.

18. brent

Happy Thanksgiving from OPEC :: ))

Saudi Arabia to keep politics out of OPEC, will let market stabilize price
Saudi Arabia’s oil minister said he believes the oil market will stabilize itself and raised the question why OPEC is expected to play a unilateral role in the global energy market, and not the US.
“The market will stabilize itself eventually,” Ali Al-Naimi,the country’s oil minister, told reporters on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s OPEC meeting, Bloomberg News reported. Both American and European oil blends fell Wednesday afternoon. Brent Crude dropped below \$78 per barrel and WTI dipped below \$74 per barrel.
“Why should Saudi Arabia cut? The U.S. is a big producer too now. Should they cut?” Naimi asked

The Sellside Chimes In On The Crude Crush: “This Will Reverberate For Years”
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-27/sellside-chimes-crude-crush-will-reverberate-years

Oil Prices Collapse After OPEC Keeps Oil Production Unchanged
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-11-27/oil-prices-collapse-after-opec-keeps-oil-production-unchanged

• jim2

Even when OPEC could come to an agreement to cut, they would go home and cheat on it. For now, OPEC is a non-entity. It’s the US that changed the game, not the terrorist countries.

• brent

Inside OPEC room, Naimi declares price war on U.S. shale oil
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/28/us-opec-meeting-shale-idUSKCN0JC1GK20141128

• jim2

Thanks for that article, Brent. So, maybe OPEC is still an organization. But they also put a curse on their own house. This will be fun to watch.

• jim2

From the article:

“I think there will be increased scrutiny of the balance sheets of the exploration and production companies. You’ll see some of the weaker players fall out,” said Tamar Essner, energy analyst at Nasdaq Advisory Services.

No crash just yet: While financial stress could be looming for shale oil producers, experts aren’t forecasting a complete meltdown.
“I don’t think this will spell the death knell of the U.S. shale industry. Time and again this industry has proved very resilient,” Essner said.
Nysveen said the breakeven crude oil price for U.S. shale producers is around \$50 or \$55. Despite the recent plunge, oil is still well above that at the \$70 range.
Those crucial breakeven points have been trending lower and lower in recent years thanks to technological advances that have made oil producers dramatically more efficient.
“U.S. production is much more competitive than 30 years ago,” Nysveen said.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/11/28/investing/opec-oil-price-us-shale/

• jim2

News from Russia …

Mamdouh Salameh: This is a very bad decision by OPEC, because it means that the price of oil will slide down further.

That will be reflected in lower production in the future. It means they are planting the seeds for a huge oil crisis in 2015 or 2016.

And they wanted the price to slide because they can take a bit more pain than Iran, because they need \$100 a barrel while Iran needs \$125. They want to damage Iran’s economy, which is a very [wrong] decision because it means Saudi Arabia is playing with fire. Furthermore, they hoped that the sliding price will kill US shale oil production. And that will antagonize the United States which is a protector of Saudi Arabia.

Of course, Iran is worried as well as Venezuela, because they need a price, in the case of Venezuela of \$110, and in case of Iran \$125. This means that they are worried, they might not agree with the price, with the decision, but they are not going unilaterally to cut their own production, because that will lose them a bit of market share.

Some efficient producers can live with \$70 a barrel. Most of them will need \$75 to \$80. So Saudi Arabia thinks that if the price slides to \$70 or below it means it will undermine the shale oil production in the United States. But that’s a wrong decision, because sooner or later the price will get back and start to rise. And shale oil producers will go back to producing oil in America. As I know that Saudi Arabia and Iran are having a proxy war. So Saudi Arabia can take less pain than Iran from a reduction in the oil price, but they cannot tolerate it for long, because sooner or later they have to balance their budget. And they cannot balance their budget with \$70; they need \$100 or more.

MS: I don’t think that was cooperation. Russia was prepared to cut production to the tune of 300 or 400 thousand barrels a day, provided OPEC takes the decision to reduce production by 2 million barrels, which is the amount, needed to soak up the glut in the oil market. OPEC took the wrong decision, I think. Russia is free not to cut production. Russia is not going to cut production, if OPEC itself is not cutting production in a meaningful way and in an adhesive way.

http://rt.com/op-edge/209743-opec-summit-prices-saudi-shale/

• Maybe the oil companies and nations should hire De Beers to show them how to boost the price of something increasingly abundant and common. If cartels just aren’t working, I’d suggest a green angle (our carbon is the nice one and there’s no radiation or added MSG or Bambis harmed). Peak Oil hysterics might help.

Or maybe oil needs to become just another commodity competing against its great rival, coal and its great potential rival, nukes. Maybe the Western nations with domestic energy resources should exploit and enhance what is under their feet, rather than competing for what is under foreign feet. And maybe we should check to make sure that any alternatives really are alternatives and have batteries included. And renewables need to be, well, something you actually can and will want to renew.

By all means keep up talk of climate tackling and planet saving. The Chinese will show you how to make a promise to make a commitment to act on making a promise to make a commitment. When Merkel bailed out of nukes she didn’t try to catch more feeble northern sun to run Germany. She talked green ever more loudly – but dug and burnt the brown stuff.

None of this precludes conservation, innovation, modernisation and efficiency. But you need to notice your in a world of people and interests before you try to save a planet you’ve barely looked at.

• jim2

Where did those peak oil Chicken Littles run off to?

• jim2

From the article:

Production per well was projected to increase in fields in North Dakota, Texas and Colorado, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Companies are getting more oil per dollar spent drilling, driving costs down by as much as \$30 a barrel since 2012, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Longson said in a report Oct. 13.

Lower Prices

“Prices aren’t low enough to put these projects at risk,” Matthew Jurecky, head of oil and gas research for the London-based research company GlobalData Ltd., said by e-mail yesterday from New York. “The profit margin on most commercial unconventional oil plays will support prices as low as \$50, many below that even.”

U.S. shale producers could keep pumping oil economically even if Brent dropped to \$60 a barrel, Bjornar Tonhaugen, an analyst with Oslo-based Rystad Energy, said in an e-mailed report yesterday. Brent would need to remain at \$50 a barrel for 12 months for North American shale output to drop by 500,000 barrels a day, he said. Morgan Stanley (MS) said break-even costs at the Eagle Ford shale formation in Texas range from \$30 to \$60 a barrel.

“We continue to be impressed by how much operators are improving their operations,” R.T. Dukes, an upstream analyst for Wood Mackenzie Ltd. in Houston, said yesterday by phone. “There’s enough out there that significant development would continue even at \$75 or \$80.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-15/opec-finding-u-s-shale-harder-to-crack-as-rout-deepens.html

• brent

Why oil prices will bounce back … eventually

Peak oil is real, depending on how you define oil.

Euan Mearns, an oil analyst I like a lot because he is independent and not really an analyst – he’s a geologist and good researcher who strays off the beaten path – produced a fascinating little chart recently on his Energy Matters site. The chart showed that conventional oil and condensate – the “black” oil that comes out of the ground easily and relatively cheaply and can be refined into gasoline – reached a production level of 73 million barrels a day in 2005. Guess what? Almost a decade later, conventional oil production has not climbed even though prices were high for most of that time.

What drove global production up to the current 92 million barrels a day or so was non-conventional production – the oil sands, U.S. shale oil, biofuels and natural gas liquids. The problem is that most of this production is highly expensive and a lot of it, like the gas liquids, is refined into heating fuels, such as butane, not transportation fuels, which are the biggest oil products market. Barring a technological breakthrough, the world has probably seen “peak” conventional oil production. That means any significant production gains will have to come from non-conventional oil. Continued low prices can only damage that production.

• jim2

This is all old news. I grow tired of the bogus “conventional” oil dodge. The fact is, none of the peak oilers predicted the shale oil boom and the current low prices. Up until about a year ago, they were still predicting \$150 or \$200 oil. Not exactly what I would call competence in the prediction profession.

The shale oil producers will curtail drilling before they curtail pumping. And the terrorist countries might blow up due to the low oil prices which will send oil prices up again.

The risk in oil prices is still to the up side, not the down side.

The fact is oil WILL peak some day. It’s just that the peak oilers won’t get the date right.

• Brent, not only did contentional peak in 2008 (even IEA says so), it has been starting to decline since. IEA found existing fields falling at a rate of 5.1 to 6.9% per year. Only 8 ‘supergiants since 2000. Kashigan and the 7 brazil deepwater subsalts. When you go through unconventionals, Venezuela Orinoco API less than 10 has not offset its conventional decline, even though now the largest OPEC reserve. Athabasca bitumen sands need \$100/ bbl since it takes 1.2 barrels of bitumen plus hydro upgrading at \$20/bbl to make one barrel of syncrude. Shale breakeven depends on where in which shale. But for sure at \$100bbl only 25% of Bakken wells were economic–paying for all the duds. The lower prices will reduce drilling, and the steep shale decline curves noted above will restore supply/ demand balance in less than 2 years. The Saudis know this. And I posted on it here in 2013? Essay IEA Fictions.
Jim2, you would benefit from reading all the oil and gas essays in Blowing Smoke, recommended by Judith. It is evident you are not well grounded in petroleum geophysics and engineering. The ultimate peak arrives around 2020, and certainly before 2030. Including shale production using horizontal drilling and fracking. At that time IMF says oil will be \$200bbl. Never underestimate the drastic price volatility (\$140 when in late 2007 demand exceeded supply by 1.5 mbpd, now \$70 when supply exceeds demand by 1.5mbpd) in a price inelastic commodity.

• jim2

Rud implies I’ve said something vastly wrong about petroleum production or price. I hope he researched his book better than that comment, otherwise it will be a waste of money to buy it and time to read.

So, Rud, you slime me but don’t quote me. You should be able to round up 5 or 6 comments by me that illustrate your point. Make sure it’s something I said and not a quote from another source.

• Matthew R Marler

Rud Istvan: The ultimate peak arrives around 2020, and certainly before 2030.

“Ultimate” peak of what exactly? We already had the peak of a class of petroleum, but with new technology the availability of hydrocarbon-based fuel continues to grow. Is this “ultimate peak” prediction contingent on there being no improvements in technology in 16 years with an impact roughly comparable to fracking?

There has been a tendency for these “peak” predictions to be true, but to be found only to have depended on restrictive classifications of “available” and “resources”. What can’t happen in 15 years for 2030 to be the peak of hydrocarbon fuel?

19. Lauri Heimonen

Judith Curry

I am concerned about the muddled situation still prevailing as the recent climate warming is treated by scientists, media and politicians. There seems to be only indiduals who openmindedly are able to scrutinize the real problem of the recent global warming.

Judith Curry; http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/25/groups-and-herds-implications-for-the-ipcc :
”Group failures often have disastrous consequences—not merely for businesses, nonprofits, and governments, but for all those affected by them. – Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie”

I regard the mere belief of AGW as one of the most threatening ‘group failure’. Without any empiric evidence, politicians, media and certain institutional scientists seem to focus their attention on the hypothetic target to prevent global warming by cutting anthropogenic CO2 emissions. As I have already e.g. in my comment http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/15/week-in-review-35/#comment-648868 stated, the role of Anthropogenic CO2 in the recent total increase of CO2 content in atmospere is only about 4 % at the most, and the increase of CO2 content in atmosphere has followed warming and not vice versa.

Judith Curry, you have yourself got rid of the model-based climate sensitivity as your pragmatic logic replaced the model results of temperature. I appreciate your statements, according to which the climate sensitivity based on empiric observations of temperature is only about half of the result based on climate models adopted by IPCC. This together with the hiatus during the last about 18 years questions the AGW warming assessed by IPCC. However, I regard still even the assessment of yours on the climate sensitivity as uncertain, since the hiatus can be understood that the climate sensitivity could be near zero.

As I understand, even you assess that the anthropogenic CO2 emissions mainly have controlled the increasing, decadal trend of recent CO2 content in atmosphere. On the basis of my comment above you surely understand that I regard the anthropogenic share of increase of atmospheric CO2 content as minimal.

In addition, I have understood that you, Judith Curry, are striving for an appropriate interface between politicians and scientists where both of them can understand each others well enough concerning a potential working solution for actions needed. But this is very difficult on the multidisciplinary problem of climate warming like on any kind of complex problem. However, if we focus only on one key point maybe this is easier. The key point of mine is the role of anthropogenic CO2 emissions in the total CO2 content in atmosphere. It can be expressed very simply:
a) All CO2 emissions from sources to atmosphere and all CO2 absorptions from atmosphere to sinks together control the CO2 content in atmosphere.
b) A share of a particular CO2 emission in total content of CO2 in atmosphere is determined by its proportional amount in total CO2 emissions to atmosphere.
c) As the anthropogenic share of the total amount of CO2 emissions is about 4 %, even the anthropogenic share of CO2 content in atmosphere is about 4 % (at the most).

20. Ray S Leonard, PE

Climate Change and Collapse
The focus of this note is on: that while politicalized scientists, environmentalists, industrialists, and their lackeys in various elected bodies argue about kicking the can down the carbon pathway we really need to start dealing with the consequences of the inevitable: there has been climate change before and there will be climate change again. Humanity’s actions may accelerate or slow the process but we will not stop nature’s cycles.
A bit of background: I got interested in the collapse of societies in the late 70s as part of my interest in space industrialization, space colonies, and sustainable energy (satellite solar power systems). Though ASCE I was involved in some of the pre-CONs leading to Rio 84. Also living in the US Southwest has made me very aware of the cycles of drought re climate variability. Since I’m visiting grandchildren I’m not at home and don’t have access to all my files so I hope the readers will forgive some sloppiness in dates.
First, I accept climate variability and climate change as a given based on historical records. Major droughts have caused the collapse of civilizations: one about 1500 BC, the Maya 1100-1140 AD, the Anasazi, approximately around 1140 AD. Then there was the middle warming period, 600 to 1000 AD followed by the little ice age, 1000- to ?? AD, there is considerable debate about when the little ice age ended. There was also the shift in the southern oscillation which caused the “mid-Victorian holocausts” due to drought in India and China. From my high school Latin I remember reading about the breadbasket of the Roman Empire being Northern Africa, which is now desert. The droughts in the Midwest in the 30’s (dust bowl), and early 50’s changed the structure of a number of cultures in the US.
From major volcanic eruptions we know that “massive” changes in atmospheric reflectivity can dramatically impact global weather. However, I haven’t read much about the atmospheric sensitivity to carbon concentrations vs. its sensitivity to water vapor and flaring products (nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor). Coal is bad and we won’t talk about oil producers flaring practices. Wonder why?
What I find interesting and slightly amusing is the focus on carbon while ignoring the impact of the flaring from oil wells around the world. “Every year, billions of dollars worth of natural gas are wasted; burned or flared at oil fields across the world. Such flaring produces some 400 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.” GGFR.
Ignored in the public discussions is the impact of massive ridges of heat, dry air, and particulate matter injected into the atmosphere by the extremely long strips of urban development along the coasts.
Also ignored are the implications of desertification and deforestation. When I was involved in PrepCon IV leading to Rio 84 the destruction of the rainforests was the current hysterical crusade. Recently some Brazilian researchers have theorized that the vast destruction of the Amazon rainforest may be partially responsible for the long lasting drought in the Sao Paulo region.
An economic question that should be asked is: what costs should a society be willing to incur to satisfy the carbon hysteria crowd in their efforts to perhaps slowing global warming vs. the costs required to protect the built infrastructure from the effects of global climate change.
A question which I think should be researched is there a tipping point? Global warming doesn’t concern me as much as the tipping point issue. We can build islands for the Pacific tribes but the whole of the Northern Hemisphere will be in a world of hurt if we tip over into another climate scenario such as another ice age.

21. Brian

Have a great thanksgiving, eat lots, share stories and enjoy the family.

22. I consider that the top foot or so of the land is like an atmospheric layer as well in that the sunlight penetrates a few microns and the heat energy permeates the top foot or so depending on the composition of the earth and the amount of sunlight it receives. Hence the earth is a heat sink like the ocean albeit not a very good one.
Read somewhere average earth temperature is 14.0 degrees, Oceans are 16.1 degrees and land is 9.0 degrees over the earth as a whole.
Are these ball park figures correct and why don’t we use the average estimated earth temperature [AEET] more widely and more often?

23. Matthew R Marler

Economists take on Little Ice Age:

Abstract

We analyze the timing and extent of Northern European temperature falls during the Little Ice Age, using standard temperature reconstructions. However, we can find little evidence of temporal dependence or structural breaks in European weather before the twentieth century. Instead, European weather between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries resembles uncorrelated draws from a distribution with a constant mean (although there are occasional decades of markedly lower summer temperature) and variance, with the same behavior holding more tentatively back to the twelfth century. Our results suggest that observed conditions during the Little Ice Age in Northern Europe are consistent with random climate variability. The existing consensus about apparent cold conditions may stem in part from a Slutsky effect, where smoothing data gives the spurious appearance of irregular oscillations when the underlying time series is white noise.

Kelly, Morgan; Ó Gráda, Cormac. Change points and temporal dependence in reconstructions of annual temperature: Did Europe experience a Little Ice Age?. The Annals of Applied Statistics 8 (2014), no. 3, 1372–1394. doi:10.1214/14-AOAS753. http://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aoas/1414091217.

Behind a paywall. You can get it if you have an account with Euclid.

• Matthew, Interesting paper. The authors to have some pre-conceived idea of what caused LIA. They conclude “consistent with random climate variability” as if there’s nothing causing the changes in temperature. I suppose they’re implying there’s lots of different things going on to cause the ups and downs.

• Matthew R Marler

anng: . The authors to have some pre-conceived idea of what caused LIA. They conclude “consistent with random climate variability” as if there’s nothing causing the changes in temperature.

“Random variability” is variability that is unpredictable and non-reproducible. This has been endlessly debated, but “epistemologically [or empirically] random” does not imply “metaphysically random”. Empirically random may may mean merely that the causes are unknown and complex, but until they are understood nothing definitive can be said about them. With that as preamble, I don’t agree that the authors had a pre-conceived notion of what causes LIA, only what it would look like in the record.

I suppose they’re implying there’s lots of different things going on to cause the ups and downs.

I think that is “consistent with” their view, not implied by it.

I am glad you found it interesting.

24. Matthew R Marler

In the spirit of the day, I would like to thank the Denizens for your continued participation, insights, and civility.

You are most welcome. I thank you many times for permitting me to read and write here, mostly silently. So, …, out loud,

Thank you!

Matt

25. marywilbur

I don’t pretend to have a great understanding of climate science; so my question is very basic. What is meant by “anomaly”? Anomalous in comparison to what? What authority decides the basis for the anomaly?

• An Anomaly as used in climate science is the variation of a time series around a mean or average of some selected time period. So instead of saying the temperature changed fro 22 to 22.5 degrees you could say the temperature changed by half a degree or the temperature changed from -0.25 to 0.25 degrees.

For a temperature record huge seasonal swings, you just subtract the average and the seasonal cycle to get the anomaly.

So you go from something like this
http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icru_tmp_0-360E_-90-90N_n.png

To something like this

http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/icru_tmp_0-360E_-90-90N_na.png

It makes it easier to calculate the change in lots of time series and add hundreds and thousands of time series together. So even though global land temperature varies by about 15 degrees every year, you can pick out that whopping 0.8 degrees change in temperature anomaly over a hundred years or so.

• John Smith (it's my real name)

Cap
wow… so the anomalies look somehow more extreme?
so that up tic around 2000 is actually in the data above?
I have a tough time seeing it
this subject gets curiouser and curiouser

26. nottawa rafter

So as to not leave out Mr Turkey today, word comes from Michigan State University that it has received a federal grant to evaluate the effects of extreme temperatures on the quality of Turkey meat associated with global warming. Scientists in Delaware are doing research on the deleterious effects on chicken meat from anticipated rising temperatures as well.
To assuage the muskrat connoisseur lobby, efforts may be underway to study global warming effects on the sinewy texture and oily flavor of the muskrat population. Rumor has it that the Pointe Mouillee Rod & Gun Club is concerned about AGW and it’s long term effects on its annual Muskrat Boiled Dinner night.

27. Mike Flynn

To date, nobody, Warmist or otherwise, has managed to warm anything at all by surrounding it with carbon dioxide. No one.

The molten planet on which we live continues to cool. Slowly, very slowly, but inexorably, for all that. The distant Sun is unable to prevent the cooling, let alone increase the heat content, of the planet some hundred and fifty million kilometres distant.

And how could it be otherwise ?

Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been spent by so few, to produce so little for so many. Buffoons to the right of them, buffoons to left of them, into the valley of Stupidity . . . – pretty much sums up the Charge of the Climate Clowns!

Happy Thanksgiving to all the US denizens! May all your turkeys be tender!

Live well and prosper,

Mike Flynn.

• Curious George

Mike – I feel that our views of a humankind are similar. But not our views of a geological history. There are indications (based on proxies, we both love proxies) that the whole Earth may have been frozen some 650 million years ago, so-called “snowball earth” hypothesis.

28. Jim D

An interesting thing happened at WUWT. Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards wrote a response to a piece by Tim Ball who compared the IPCC to H!tler and presented a conspiracy theory typical of skeptics here too. Normally the Ball piece would have been typical fare over there, but now a tide seems to have turned with Watts disowning it and claiming it won’t happen again. Betts and Edwards as lukewarmers working within the climate science community know such conspiracy theories involving the whole of the climate science community are just bunkum and called it out. [I wish Judith would do something along the lines they did]. Even some WUWT skeptics like hunter and Barry Woods were worried that the piece was exactly the kind of thing that gives Lewandowsky ammunition against them. Others there, perhaps the majority, supported Ball, but they are split for sure.
Happy Thanksgiving!

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/

Bearing in mind there are some fine examples of tribalism on display I am surprised that Joshua is not all over it

Tonyb

• Matthew R Marler

Sheesh. I never read either of those posts, and now the Best and Edwards is up to 900+ posts.

I check WUWT every day, but I skip most posts, or read only a few sentences. Are those threads now worth reading?

• Matthew R Marler

Tonyb, let me recommend that you check out the paper on ice ages in the Annals of Applied Statistics that I cited earlier. I sent a copy to Prof Curry, and maybe she’ll send it on to you if you express interest.

• Diag

Tim Ball’s post would have been acceptable without the Hitler quote I expect. Would it have created the same reaction with a Stalin quote? But with the quote, the reader stops reading and starts assuming. Comparing the IPCC’s use of “facts” to Hitler’s is not in fact comparing the IPCC to Hitler, since many others throughout history have abused the truth in the same way. IPCC has not done some of the other things Hitler did, so if that is what Tim Ball meant, he is wrong. But I think Tim Ball’s comments are similar to what got Mark Steyn et al in trouble — the comment itself is true and fair; the implication-too-far which people jump to (that he did not say) iis not.

PS. Tim Ball is to be thanked for bringing up the Maurice Strong connection.

• Jim D

The bottom line is the use of the ‘big lie’ idea from the quote by H!tler. He seems to deeply and genuinely think that and then tries to come up with a motive for all the climate scientists to conspire in the ‘big lie’. It’s kind of sad.

• AK

Perhaps readers would prefer this (partial) paraphrase:

I doubt that the justices would be prepared for the scale of the audacity of the untruthfulness of Mann’s claims about the investigations. Steyn’s instinct was that it’s easier to deal with such untruthfulness at trial. In most motions, as I understand it, plaintiff’s claims, even if untruthful, have to be stipulated for the motion. However, there seems to be a substantial legal question about the degree to which anti-SLAPP judges are required to accept assertions or whether they are obliged to consider evidence even at a motion stage. I understand that much of yesterday’s discussion was about such standards.

• Dick Hertz

An interesting thing happened at WUWT. (not very interesting)

Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards wrote a response to a piece by Tim Ball who compared the IPCC to H!tler and presented a conspiracy theory (so far correct) typical of skeptics here too. (This part is incorrect)

Normally the Ball piece would have been typical fare over there, but now a tide seems to have turned with Watts disowning it and claiming it won’t happen again. (I don’t follow WUWT very closely, I often browse the headlines for something interesting and rarely find it, but I don’t think the piece was “typical”)

Betts and Edwards as lukewarmers working within the climate science community know such conspiracy theories involving the whole of the climate science community are just bunkum and called it out. (I agree)

[I wish Judith would do something along the lines they did]. (Judith calls out kooks when she sees fit, sometimes she sees kooks that you can’t see. Some kooks aren’t worth calling out. I think Judith’s “call outs” are reasonable, but that just my opinion)

Even some WUWT skeptics like hunter and Barry Woods were worried that the piece was exactly the kind of thing that gives Lewandowsky ammunition against them. (I don’t know who Lewandowsky is aiming his “ammunition” at, but he usually hits his foot with great accuracy and precision. I respect Barry Woods and value his opinion.)

But others there, perhaps the majority, supported Ball, but they are split for sure. (I rarely read comments at WUWT)

Happy Thanksgiving! (I agree)

• Jim D

You disagree that many skeptics support the kind of thing Tim Ball is talking about which is essentially the Agenda 21 conspiracy theory that posits that the UN wants a world government that will take your land away from you, reduce your population, and multiple other things using faked climate change science as an excuse to gain control, so they come at climate change with their own brand of scaremongering. Search for Agenda 21 and either Monckton and Ball who espouse these views on Youtube, and along with Eschenbach who also has some anti-Agenda 21 views, they contribute regularly at Watts’ site. Ball has eye-opening interviews with talk-show host Deagle, and Monckton talks about concentration camps in connection with Agenda 21 in Australia, for example. It is typical right-wing wide-eyed stuff, and climate is only a small part of their broader theory that they have somehow pieced together from this founding UN document.
For sanity you can then also look at the actual Agenda 21 from 1992 Rio linked here, and it is a bit of a stretch to read world government into anything they have. It is a UN document that says that the nations of the UN should be concerned about sustainable development in the 21st century (hence 21), which is common sense, and it is hard to find anything to disagree within it. It is just a list of things to be aware of as the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is set up to be.
http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/Agenda21.pdf

• “Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
David Brower

Delusional – but an authoritarian impulse just the same. With a millennialist impetus underpinning everything they say and do.

Yeah sure. Moderate and unexceptionable insanity.

• “While there remain wildly disparate views about climate science, I see that there are people on both sides that are gravitating towards a more central and in my opinion, more reasonable view.” – Watts
Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. “The triad is often said to have been extended and adopted by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, however, Marx referred to them in The Poverty of Philosophy (1847) as speaking Greek and “Wooden trichotomies”.” – Wiki

• Jim D

Keeping the conversation to just science, it should be possible to have a reasonable discussion such as the one Betts, Edwards and Watts participated in this year. There should be no attribution of agendas to each other. Let the science speak for itself. How much warming for how much extra CO2 in the atmosphere? How much extra CO2 for how much fossil fuel burning? These are the objective science questions. Once you get into how much warming, or what CO2 level, or sea-level rise rate, is safe or dangerous, that is where it depends on factors such as where you live, how much you can afford to adapt to, and whether you are more inclined to a global or personal viewpoint, and politics enters.

• “But once it has managed to pose itself as a thesis, this thesis, this thought, opposed to itself, splits up into two contradictory thoughts – the positive and the negative, the yes and no. The struggle between these two antagonistic elements comprised in the antithesis constitutes the dialectical movement. The yes becoming no, the no becoming yes, the yes becoming both yes and no, the no becoming both no and yes, the contraries balance, neutralize, paralyze each other. The fusion of these two contradictory thoughts constitutes a new thought, which is the synthesis of them. This thought splits up once again into two contradictory thoughts, which in turn fuse into a new synthesis. Of this travail is born a group of thoughts.” https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch02.htm
Marx seems right about this. I suppose it matters how efficient the process is. If a tribe decides not to entertain the antithesis, there’s a stagnation, evolution stops. But I suppose progress will continue but other people will be the cause of that.

• kim

There’s a blobby green elephant in the room, breaking windows fore and aft.
==================

• Dick Hertz

Jim D
Define many and define skeptics. There are what, 9 billion people on the planet, at least 25% of them are complete morons (and that is being very generous). That’s over 2 billion morons. I’ve got news for you they come from all political persuasions and some of them have very loud voices.

Monckton, Ball and Eschenbach. I don’t take any of them very seriously. It wouldn’t take long to make a list of equally stupid, loud voices on the alarmist side. Romm, McKibben, or anyone who has lost toes to frostbite while trekking to the north pole to raise awareness about global warming.

Agenda 21. I have never heard of it and I don’t care. The UN is a bloated bureaucracy and often operates against the interest of the people whose wealth supports it. It seems that some of their policies are based on what I feel are fundamental misunderstandings about human nature. No conspiracy necessary. It is simple left-wing wide-eyed stuff.

You want to stop CO2 emissions? Invent and/or build a better, cheaper way of producing energy. You want to help people get out of poverty, teach them to create wealth. There are 3 ways to do that, agriculture, mineral extraction and manufacturing. Problem solved.

Ran Swanson can explain it so much better than I can.

• Joseph

It must be a scary world to live in where the UN is planning for global socialism and climate science is merely a propaganda tool to ram the agenda through. I mean all those scientists and authority figures out to fool us. If believed that, I would be a little upset as well.

• “It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Paul Watson

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
Timothy Wirth

I personally welcome the reptilian overlords peddling the big climate lie.

• I’d call Watt’s explanation a correction but subject to being on a mild to more than moderate scale of corrections. I think seeing someone do that is good. I have found Tim Ball’s posts to be worth reading but this one would have worked better with a change or two. His reference to someone from Austria was like touching the third rail. http://www.politico.com has a collection of 16 references to someone from Austria in U.S. politics.

• miker613

Good one Anthony Watts. We need more people objecting to their own side going overboard.
Too bad almost all the comments over there continue to insist on the crazy stuff. But that’s why I rarely go there.

• I am encouraged that there is at least some self policing going on, and polarizing statements recognized for what they are. I will also be interested to see how this seemingly expanding “lukewarmer” community (Edwards, Curry, etc.) evolves. The higher profile they become, the more they will be seen as a useful political tool, but that could make them less effective as bridges between the sides. Staying politically neutral might help attract more potential scientist lukewarmers who will shy away if the movement is too politicized.

• Watts didn’t do Ball any favor by posting his piece at WUWT. He should have know it would result in Ball being ridiculed.

• Louise

Dr Edwards states emphatically that she is not a Lukewarmer but is firmly Mainstream (whatever that is). She says she participates in dialogue with Lukewarmers to better understand their position and in the hope that they will reciprocate.

The vitriol directed at her and Dr Betts in most of the comments under their reply to Tim Ball is horrific. Moderation should have been employed long since.

• Jim D

Actually Betts and Edwards weren’t quite right when they said Ball was “drawing parallels between climate scientists and Hitler”. His quote was from Hitler accusing his opponents of the ‘big lie’. so if anything he is drawing the parallel between himself and Hitler in the type of accusation he is throwing at climate scientists. Just a quibble.

• Jim D

So now Tim Ball has another post up there with the same conspiracy theory ideas, but this time not comparing himself to Hitler. Either Watts missed another one, or it was only the Hitler reference he didn’t like about the first one, not the conspiracy theory part.

• Barry Woods

What do you mean ‘even’ .. Barry Woods

As soon as I saw it couldn’t believe Anthony had read it properly, he hadn’t he was on the road travelling, smartphone, and had a number of issues going on at the same time, and I said it was dumber than dumb (and really offensive and irrational, deception, conspiracy theorising , motives) and worthy of deletion (with an explanation as to why, not to just vanish it).

I also said this to Richard and Tamsin (that Anthony could not have read it properly, and I’d asked to get it removed and hoped they could provide a response (Anthony asked if I could ask as well, a bit later on)

I was critical of James Delingpole over 3 years ago (for labels like Watermelon, and generalised rhetoric. I had an argument with him (and half of Bishop Hill regulars) about it at Bishop Hill (70:30 disagreeing with me )
http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/9/28/dellers-on-reason.html

I mention that because Dr Tamsin Edwards added a comment there about no longer using ‘deniers’ because of chatting with Andrew and myself.

so ‘even’ sceptics like Barry Woods is a bit irritating..
(also I’m not a sceptic, I’m a member of the public, a lukewarmer if you must assign a label)

This was 3 years ago: (see 14th comment)

Tamsin Edwards:

“So give them a chance. Barry has won me over to you with respect, goodwill, and true listening. Please follow his example if you want to engage with climate scientists. Bish’s too. ”

longer extract:

“Right. At Barry’s request I’ve just read all of this thread on my phone. And it’s probably a bad idea to comment because I’m tired and have had a couple of beers (which explains why I haven’t just got up and got my laptop and modem to read and comment!).

As many of you know I’m @flimsin the climate scientist. When you start sentences with (paraphrasing here) “the science is just…” or “CAGW is…” remember that behind the science are people like me. Kids who liked maths, read Stephen Hawking, worked hard during undergrad while the arts students had lie ins, trained to be a scientist in a different field (eg particle physics) then became climate scientists. I’m just a nerd who likes to understand stuff!

I haven’t read Watermelons or watched the clip. A few thoughts….

Shub, I am an example of a consensusist who has stopped using denier directly because of Barry, Bish and this forum.

“Name calling is ever so counterproductive. Today I was defending you lot to (particle physics) friends, yesterday to climate/stats friends, saying that denier offends and there is a spectrum of opinions anyway.

Scientists usually end up saying denier because they only really hear about those denying CO2 is a GHG and that the earth is warming, and they don’t like skeptic (because they are themselves skeptical) and other terms haven’t stuck. Some soften it with “denialist”. They really don’t intend it to echo Holocaust denier I don’t think. They think of it more as equivalent to creationism.

But this is only because of an important reason…

Most. Scientists. Don’t. Know. You. Exist.

Really! They are not aware that a significant part of people trying to prod science for weak spots actually are fine with AGW but not sure of magnitude/timing/impacts/policy. When I explain this they say “oh, that sounds perfectably reasonable!”. After all we argue about the first two or three in conferences and the literature ourselves! They agree Mann analysis was wrong, and would agree on lots of other things like “All models are wrong” (“but some are useful” :) )

So give them a chance. Barry has won me over to you with respect, goodwill, and true listening. Please follow his example if you want to engage with climate scientists. Bish’s too.

I am a modeller. My personal hygiene is not too questionable and I’m proud to be called one :) But not watermelon.

Name calling is a surefire way to homogenise and depersonalise a group.”

and I mentioned Lew, not because I care what he thinks, but to be sarcastic to all the other commenters , spouting rubbish, without any selfawareness.

final comment about it at WUWT:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/27/a-big-goose-step-backwards/#comment-1800032

• Barry

I didn’t see the original article but we were amongst the first to express our support for tamsin and Richards article. I think wuwt has changed as it has become more popular, with many more increasingly right wing sceptics with limited knowledge of climate science and far fewer from the consensus side appearing in the forums to present an alternative view.There are a lot of posters there these days expressing conspiracy views

I also think the nesting format doesn’t work well there as there are too many articles to foLlow to be able to hold a sensible extended conversation when viewpoints can be explored in depth.

It was good to meet up with you in Bristol and hope we can get together again, perhaps with Richard or tamsin in exeter or Bristol.

I think it was unfortunate that the original article was posted as I very much got the impression during our meeting with Anthony that he genuinely wanted to have a discussion with such as Richard and tamsin and was tired of all the shouting from both sides

Tonyb

• Dick Hertz

“spouting rubbish, without any selfawareness” +10 Barry, that is a phrase that can be used all over the climate blogosphere.

• Joshua

The post was a fairly typical variant of a common theme in the blog wars: “Those who disagree with me about climate change are sociopaths.”

Hardly a thread appears at WUWT, let alone Climate Etc., without comments that strike that theme.

It’s pretty funny that the Ball thread has drawn so much attention, with lame excuses offered for Watts’ involvement.

It’s same ol same ol’, dudes. Same as it ever were.

• Michael

I do wonder if there is a link between this kind of stuff and their obsession with Michael Mann.

• Dick Hertz

And along come Joshua and Michael to put and exclamation point on …without any self-awareness!
Unless I’m mistaken, Joshua was linking the WUWT story here trying to get people to read it and comment. Then he would be able to complain that people were reading it and commenting.
Michael loves to start hyperventilating whenever someone brings up Mann but so often he is the first one to bring up Mann.

• Michael

Dick Hertz | November 29, 2014 at 10:30 am |

…” whenever someone brings up Mann but so often he is the first one to bring up Mann.”

“So often” Dick?

I suspect you won’t be able to provide a single example.

• Dick Hertz
• Joshua

Dick –

I have no idea why you think I’d object to people reading the post and commenting.

The post and comments are what they are.

“Skeptics” calling people who disagree with them about climate change sociopaths.

Same ol’ same ol’. A daily event at WUWT, here, and any other number of blogs where “skeptics” hang out.

It’s information.

• Michael

Dick,

“Michael | November 28, 2014 at 11:34 pm |
I do wonder if there is a link between this kind of stuff and their obsession with Michael Mann.”

But;
“AK | November 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
Perhaps readers would prefer this (partial) paraphrase:
‘I doubt that the justices would be prepared for the scale of the audacity of the untruthfulness of Mann’s claims about the investigations…’ ”

Try again Dick.

• Jim D

Another thought on this WUWT Tim Ball issue. It is called “tarring with same same brush”. Just as some skeptics with an out-there conspiracy theory about UNEP, Agenda 21 and the ‘big lie’, can be used to tar all skeptics, we see the same on the other side where Climategate is used to tar all climate scientists. When skeptics see themselves defined by their “hoax” wing, they get a sense of what the constant use of the Climategate rhetoric is probably like for the average climate scientist. The solution to get past this rather unproductive back and forth is to stick to the science and avoid trying to find one-size-fits-all motives.

• “My three goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with its full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”
David Foreman,
co-founder of Earth First!

“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”
Ted Turner,
Founder of CNN and major UN donor

“The prospect of cheap fusion energy is the worst thing that could happen to the planet.”
Jeremy Rifkin,
Greenhouse Crisis Foundation

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
Paul Ehrlich,
Professor of Population Studies,
Author: “Population Bomb”,
“Ecoscience”

“The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.”
Sir James Lovelock,
BBC Interview

“We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology,

“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
Sir John Houghton,
First chairman of the IPCC

“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”
Paul Watson,
Co-founder of Greenpeace

“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
David Brower,
First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

“We’ve got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”
Timothy Wirth,
President of the UN Foundation

“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart,
former Canadian Minister of the Environment

“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
Emeritus Professor Daniel Botkin

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
Maurice Strong,
Founder of the UN Environmental Program

“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
Paul Ehrlich,
Professor of Population Studies,
Author: “Population Bomb”, “Ecoscience”

“If I were reincarnated I would wish to return to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh,
husband of Queen Elizabeth II,
Patron of the Patron of the World Wildlife Foundation

“The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization we have in the US. We have to stop these third World countries right where they are.”
Michael Oppenheimer
Environmental Defense Fund

“Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”
Professor Maurice King

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing – are not sustainable.”
Maurice Strong,
Rio Earth Summit

“Complex technology of any sort is an assault on the human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”
Amory Lovins,
Rocky Mountain Institute

“I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. it played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”
John Davis,
Editor of Earth First! Journal

“From the saintly and single-minded idealist to the fanatic is often but a step.”
Friedrich Hayek

The uncomfortable truth that they continue to hide from – of hide from the wider public – is that the movement consists entirely of the dangerously insane constrained only by a lack of power.

• Barnes

While not quite in the same vein, you can add a quote from Bill McKibben:

From “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels”

• Jim D

Rob, you forgot Bill Gates who apparently wants to use vaccines to depopulate the world. It’s all over the Web, so it must be true.

• Dick Hertz

Jim D, I couldn’t agree more. So when one reflects on an idea like “tarring with the same brush” and how wrong and unfair it is, the first thing one should do is ask questions like, do I do this, why do I do this, can I take steps to ensure that I do this less. Then you lead by example. Then and only then can you encourage others to follow on the same path. It is a good reminder Jim D, and now I’m going to think about how it applies to me, I would encourage others to do the same.

• Joseph

Rob, you need to consider how influential these people are in the debate. I would say that considering we haven’t really done a lot to reduce our CO2 emissions in the past couple of decades that their influence has been minimal.You also have people on all sides and extremes of the political debate trying to use issues to advance political goals, that doesn’t mean they are dominating the agenda or even shaping it.

• GaryM

Joseph,

“I would say that considering we haven’t really done a lot to reduce our CO2 emissions in the past couple of decades that their influence has been minimal.”

Reading comprehension is not necessary to being a good progressive.

The quotes above demonstrate that for the real progressives, the activists (as opposed to the default progressives like yourself and other commenters here) reduction of CO2 is not the real goal. It is a means to an end.

They are the Jonathan Grubers of the progressive movement. You and your fellow commenters here are among the targets identified so eloquently by Gruber. This comment of yours is precisely why the Grubers think and act as they do.

At some point in time, some of you might want to actually read what your dear leaders are saying about you. and take them at their word. You would not be such fawning sycophants if you did.

• Joseph

Gary, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t really pay attention to political activists on climate change. Why should I? And if these activists are really irrelevant in the big scheme of things why should anyone care about them?

• GaryM

Joseph,

“Gary, I am sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t really pay attention to political activists on climate change.”

That’s funny. because you regurgitate their propaganda all the time.

They have tremendous power. Just ask the unemployed coal miners. processors, transporters and plant operators.

The funny part is that you equate lack of reductions of CO2 as a sign they lack power. Which shows just how clueless you are to what it is you are supporting.

• Joseph

Gary, I don’t know what you mean when you say I regurgitate propaganda all the time. I also don’t understand why you think action on climate change means people are paying attention to political activists. The science says there are multiple risks from continued climate change. That’s not activists saying that. That is scientists saying that. So I think you are overemphasizing the importance of people that most people have never even heard of.

• willb

Sticking to the science seems like a good idea to me. One bit of science that seems interesting is
oz4caster’s comment.

His global temperature plot, derived from oxygen isotope ratios, shows the average temperature over the last 500,000 years to be consistently at least 5°C below the Holocene temperature He also shows each of the last five glacial periods ended rather abruptly. This tells me the Earth is nowhere near any kind of climate equilibrium and it therefore seems misguided to me to attempt to derive an equilibrium climate sensitivity from current temperature fluctuations.

Of the last three interglacial periods, he shows that only one lasted longer than our current interglacial, and that one not by much. It seems to me his plot is suggesting the end of the Holocene may not be too far off. I have no trouble agreeing with oz4caster when he says:
” … we have a very poor understanding of what has caused the much larger variations in the past although there are plenty of hypotheses. Until we can more confidently predict these past wide variations over scales of at least hundreds of thousands of years, I have little confidence in future predictions.”

If I were a climate scientist worried about catastophic climate impacts I would be much more concerned with trying to understand how and why glacial-interglacial transitions occur rather than with AGW.

• rls

Joseph

You state that you don’t pay attention to political activists, but where did you get the idea that the wars in Iraq were all about oil? The idea has no basis in fact.

Two relationships that are hard to ignore:

1. The embrace of CAGW by progressives

2. The use of lies and deception by both progressives and CAGW scientists

Regards,

Richard

• willb:
Best theory to me of glacial to interglacial transitions:
http://scienceofdoom.com/2014/04/14/ghosts-of-climates-past-nineteen-ice-sheet-models-i/
“..Our simulations suggest that a substantial fraction (60% to 80%) of the ice sheet was frozen to the bed for the first 75 kyr of the glacial cycle, thus strongly limiting basal flow. Subsequent doubling of the area of warm-based ice in response to ice sheet thickening and expansion and to the reduction in downward advection of cold ice may have enabled broad increases in geologically- and hydrologically-mediated fast ice flow during the last deglaciation.”
Basal sliding triggered by the accumulating mass of ice moves the ice in the direction of the equator where it melts. oz4caster’s graph showed a similarly sloped 5000 year run up of temperatures in all 4 cases. We think of icesheets as a kind of negative heat. They insulate and still have the ability fall downwards, flatten and move. We can look at it as the Earth had the unfortunate result of turning cold. It gets to work towards fixing that eventually, by making ice. We’ve discussed hydro power. I wonder how much of that is stored in the ice sheets?

29. In the previous edition of CE there seemed to be some confusion on exactly what stationarity meant. Stationarity means that wherever you look at historic data like global average temperature (for example), its statistical properties ate the same ( SD. autocorrelation function, etc are the same). The 1940 average global temperature record is not part of a stationary record because temperature falls very fast after 1940, despite large increases in fossil fuel burning, or any other known metric at the time. This is a totally unexpected event which the IPCC chose to ignore. It follows that models based on stationary theory cannot be sustained.

Temperature in gases has two components: kinetic and vibrational, the latter depending upon the elements and neutrons in the molecule and their degrees of freedom. No one knows exactly what happened in 1940, but the possibility of spectral change and vibrational mode change cannot be ignored. After all, N2 and O2 molecules and H20 were much more likely to be encountered in the troposphere than CO2.

• stevefitzpatrick

“No one knows exactly what happened in 1940, but the possibility of spectral change and vibrational mode change cannot be ignored.”

Are you joking?

• kim

The totalitarian vibrations were quite palpable, even painful, as far as down under.
============

• Steve: no, I’m not. Some years ago when I first studied climate i downloaded an interesting graph from the Australian BOM. It shows the spectrum of CO2 when illuminated by the earth’s IR. the interesting part is that that the 14.99 micron line is 98% absorbed and only requires a small increase to be 100%, meaning IR could escape from earth without further heating. Would not this cause a discontinuity or even a drop in global average temperature? See my paper underlined above.

• stevefitzpatrick

Alaxander Biggs,
You are very confused about absorption of radiation. When CO2 absorbs a photon, the energy from that photon is almost instantly thermalized. The initial kinetic energy in the absorbing CO2 molecule is transferred to other molecules; that is, the entire air mass warms. The CO2 molecules do not become “saturated”, and they are always available to absorb more 14.99 micron radiation. The “population” of CO2 molecules is almost 100% in the ground state, and only a tiny fraction is ever in an excited state. It is the tiny fraction in an excited state that can emit a photon. CO2 molecules in the air are continuously being ‘promoted’ to and ‘demoted from’ an excited state due to impacts with other molecules, but the vast majority of CO2 is always in the ‘ground’ state, where it can’t emit a photon. Most of the time an excited CO2 molecule is demoted to the ground state before a photon is emitted, but once in a while a photon will be emitted, which just mean the gas as a whole will cool radiatively. As the temperature of the gas increases, the (tiny!) equilibrium fraction of CO2 in an excited state increases, so the rate of emission of photons from the CO2 increases with rising temperature… hot stuff emits more radiation than cold stuff, but the vast majority is always in the ground state, even when 14.99 micron photons are being absorbed. There is no practical limit to how much 14.99 micron radiation CO2 can absorb.

There is one circumstance where most CO2 molecules are in an activated state (this called a population inversion): inside a CO2 laser. When the population becomes inverted, the probability of an emission becomes greater than the probability of an absorption. The passing of a photon near an excited molecule can stimulate the emission of another photon, thus amplifying the intensity of light (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)… a laser.

• kim

Photon Steve illuminates the path of Judy’s sabre, Salonword! An old dog magically learns young pup tricks.
=====================

• Steve: Thank you for this further contribution to my paper. That the 14.99 micron absorption of the CO2 molecule is a vibration cannot be dismissed. Like all other mechanical vibrations it has a peak of absorption capacity beyond which further further forcing function has little effect, but would simply increase the CO2 molecules kinetic energy and which would have a similar effect on the much more plentiful N2, O2 and h2o molecules. Only a neutron rich CO2 could lose enough energy to cause a sudden sharp drop in temperature. So do you have a better alternative explanation?

• Jim D

The 15 micron band is multiple lines with the vibration mode separated by rotation modes that are very close together. Most of these lines are not saturated at 400 ppm. This is how it behaves with CO2 amount. Notice that the main effect is broadening.
https://24.media.tumblr.com/397ce32b07a3af460756c49ace67004b/tumblr_n13grkUkiK1t4esr2o1_500.jpg

• Pierre-Normand

Jim D, AB has an idiosyncratic understanding of ‘saturation’ whereby most of the CO2 molecules are in an excited state at any given time and hence can’t absorb IR photons anymore. Stevefitzpatrick properly addresses this misconception in his earlier response to him. Though you point is valid for countering the usual argument about saturation (understood as near total opacity of the full atmospheric column, or some thick layer).

• Jim D

Yes, AB is also talking as though he thinks one line at 14.99 microns is the only one there. It is a band with many lines at different levels of saturation.

• Yet there are breakpoints in climate around 1912, the mid 1940’s, 1976/1977 and 1998/2001. Without the hint of a space cadet theory for it.

• stevefitzpatrick

Alexander Biggs,
Once again, you clearly do not understand the process. I will try once more. Yes, there is a transition to an excited state when CO2 absorbs a photon. That excited state represents additional kinetic energy within the molecule. Once in that excited state, the CO2 molecule can do one of two things: it can emit a photon, which returns it to the non-excited (ground) state, or it can transfer the kinetic energy to other molecules due to physical impacts (collisions). It turns out that unless the air pressure is very low (pretty deep vacuum) the probability of transferring the energy to another molecule is very high, and the probability of emission of a photon is very low. The excited CO2 molecule takes (on average) much longer to emit a photon than the time between collisions with other gas molecules. So when CO2 in the air absorbs 14.99 micron photons, the energy is mainly converted into heat; the vast majority of CO2 molecules at any instant remain in the ground state, and continue to be able to absorb 14.99 micron photons…. there is no “saturation” of the CO2 molecules’ capacity to absorb photons, because virtually all of the CO2 molecules are always in the ground state.

If this makes no sense to you, then maybe you should read up on how infrared spectroscopy works.

• I believe Angstrom said that the CO2 spectrum was “Effectively” saturated at sea level. Could it be the Effective” saturation is due to the much higher rate of collisional energy transfer?

• Pierre-Normand

Captdallas, Knut Angström was referring to a completely different kind of ‘saturation’, which just is the opacity of an atmospheric layer to infrared in the CO2 bands (such that, as he wrongly thought, *more* CO2 wouldn’t make much of a difference for the greenhouse effect). See the earlier comments by Jim D in this sub-thread, and also this excellent RealClimate post:

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/

• P-N, I believe Knutt was testing CO2 at STP and sea level. The general criticism of his test is that his chamber wasn’t the perfect length to “see” that CO2 wasn’t saturated or “effectively” saturated. Because of his comment, Arrhenius revisited his initial calculations and produced a not very well circulated revised estimate of 1.6 C (2.3 with water vapor) in around 1910 when temperatures were about 0.8C lower than today.

Of course as Gavin would say, “We know a lot more now than Arrhenius did then.” which seems to mean the more we learn the lower “sensitivity” gets.

• P-N, Here is a chart produced by skeptical science which appears to have originated at altervista.

http://ishmael.altervista.org/fig2.jpg

Broadening is based on a temperature of 300K with a 220K lower limit. My question has always been is 300K a realistic “source” temperature. The atmospheric boundary layer where water vapor starts assuming a lesser role is about -2 C degrees (271K) and there is a fairly significant portion of the Earth lower than 220 K degrees in winter. When you hunt for “Ideal” as in maximum impacts, you should expect “real” impacts to be less than “ideal”.

• Jim D

captd, the graph I posted above is for a realistic temperature and vapor profile. The peak in the middle of the CO2 band is from the stratosphere which warms with height and therefore radiates more as you add CO2.

• JimD, without a legend it is hard to tell, but it looks like you surface temperature is around 297.5 K degrees which would be a tropical atmosphere with zero offset based U of Chi modtran model. When I refer to an “Atmospheric Boundary Layer” that is around the point where water vapor starts condensation and since water has that tacky condensable nature it tends to provide a stabilizing effect on temperature which is a source of energy for the stratospheric co2, ozone, etc. etc. with the other being old Sol which creates the ozone. Stratospheric zone advected to the poles is supposed to “warm” the poles by about 50C which is a good thing since CO2 doesn’t really kick much spectral a\$\$ below 220K degrees.

Interestingly, the average temperature of the Stratopause happens to be around 0C degrees which is a remarkable coincidence given that water vapor/ice vapor is also a GHG.

• SoD shows some comparison of empirical observations and models in this post. The figures are from the 1989 book of Goody, but that does not influence their value much. They are from a single location (Gulf of Mexico). Global averages are different, but it’s actually better to compare curves from a single location.

• Pekka said, “SoD shows some comparison of empirical observations and models in this post.”

That is a good post a doubling of CO2 would produce about 1 C of Warming, CO2 response is dependent on both surface emission and emissions throughout the atmosphere.

What I see as the major issues are water vapor response and Ozone. I believe both have been given considerably more attention since the “pause” became noticeable.

Since CO2 impact decreases as “source” temperature decreases or vice versa, poleward advected energy is one of those critical dynamic issues since O3 and H2O at the poles are provided by Brewer-Dobson circulations. Cloud response, especially mixed phase liquid layer topped, from what I have gathered from my reading, is critical because they provide a portion of the emissions that determine overall CO2 response.

I am in very close agreement with the 1 C per doubling, with my 0.8C +/-0.2, but I tend to find cloud response grossly over estimated and variability in atmospheric circulation, poleward advection, grossly underestimated, especially in the stratosphere.

As I said, when you hunt for “ideal” as in maximum impacts, you should expect “real” impacts to be less.

• Steve Fitzpatrick

So long as Mr. Biggs is satisfied that CO2 does not become ‘saturated’ due to absorbance of ~15 micron photons, I have accomplished something. If not, I have wasted a fair amount of time.

• Your notion of statistical stationarity in a time series is flawed. Please reread McKitrick’s recent paper on statistically significant ‘pause’ duration. It is well explained there. Whether mean temperatures were flat or declining from 1940 to 1975, or rising from 1975 to 1998, does not affect the mathematical notion of stationarity in temperature time series.

30. Peter Lang

To paraphrase the second comment on this thread:

“If you’re not discussing anything in particular I’d welcome some comments, feedbacks, ways forward on these:”

What information can climate scientists provide that is relevant for policy analysis? E.g. pdfs for these:

1. probability that the policies being advocated will succeed in the real world – where succeed means deliver the claimed benefits (in \$ of climate damages avoided) on the claimed dates http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/10/26/cross-post-peter-lang-why-carbon-pricing-will-not-succeed-part-i/ .

2. time to the next abrupt climate change, its sign (warming or cooling), rate of change, magnitude of total change, duration.

3. damage function

4. Costs and benefits of advocated policies: http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/10/27/cross-post-peter-lang-why-the-world-will-not-agree-to-pricing-carbon-ii/

31. Ken Morgan

For those of you who remember Ray Stevens, he’s alive and well and singing about Global Warming.

• Cool!

• John Smith (it's my real name)

I bought land in Iceland
and cows
what…too soon?
the NH is still warming, right?

32. maksimovich

The European space weather symposium was last week held in Belgium.

Lockwood et al suggested that there was a secular change in open solar flux in the 20 th century.

The results of both the reconstructions and the modelling show the average open solar flux did indeed double between 1900 and the modern era and has been declining rapidly since 1985. In the Maunder minimum it was close to a quarter of its value in the recent grand maximum.

http://stce.be/esww11/program/06_v2.php

33. Barnes

Happy thanksgiving to all. While we all have much to be thankful for, we should all be thankful for fossil fuels, without which, many if not all, would not be having these discussions on open thread thanksgiving.

• Thankful for fossil fuels? OK, but don’t forget other things we should be thankful for, including many more important than fossil fuels. Here’s a partial list:

Sunshine
Air
Water
Soil
Plant life (probably most)
Wind
Sex
Mammals (some)
Birds (some)
Insects (some)*

*Obviously bees, but also termites, which get a bad rap. If not for termites, we would have a big dead wood problem.

• Barnes

Max – don’t disagree with you, for once.

34. jim2

11/27. 10:42 ET. Oil is dropping fast. Coal is still up.

OIL 68.92 -4.77
BRENT 72.49 -0.09
NAT GAS 4.22 -0.1357
RBOB GAS 1.9122
DIESEL 2.2905 -0.106
ETHANOL 2.10 — UNCH
URANIUM 40.00 -0.50
COAL 54.00 0.07

• jim2

11/28. 8:48 AM ET. Oil is up a bit. Brent has actually gained. Apparently traders believe the major impact will bee on US light. The futures structure for US light is still contango, meaning the price is biased to drop further.

_________Price____Change
OIL_____69.55 ____-4.14
BRENT__73.40______0.69

• jim2

In spite of the contango, oil picked up a bit.

OIL__________68.71___-0.29
BRENT_______72.23___-0.31
NAT GAS_____4.01____0.003
RBOB GAS___1.8771__-0.0039
DIESEL______2.2049__-0.0075
ETHANOL_____2.168___—
URANIUM_____38.75 __-1.25
COAL________54.23____0.23

• jim2

(Oops! wrong place the first time)
12/1/2014 8:00 PM ET
In spite of the contango, oil picked up a bit.

OIL__________68.71___-0.29
BRENT_______72.23___-0.31
NAT GAS_____4.01____0.003
RBOB GAS___1.8771__-0.0039
DIESEL______2.2049__-0.0075
ETHANOL_____2.168___—
URANIUM_____38.75 __-1.25
COAL________54.23____0.23

• jim2

11/28 5:30 PM ET

OIL________66.15_____-7.54
BRENT_____70.02_____-2.56
NAT GAS___4.088_____-0.267

• jim2

11/30 9:03 PM ET
OIL________64.72___-1.43
BRENT____68.40___-1.75
NAT GAS__3.995___-0.093

• jim2

And US light oil futures are still in contango. Lower prices to come.

• jim2

Big draw down of nat gas.

http://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.gif

• jim2

12/2/14 9:51 PM ET
OIL______67.74
BRENT___71.20
NAT GAS 3.846

35. Pierre-Normand

There was an extended (and rather off-topic) discussion a few weeks ago about the so called gravito-thermal effect, which is not endorsed by mainstream physics. I was focusing on refuting one particular argument for the alleged effect that relies on the principle of conservation of energy as it applies to air molecules that travel up and down in the Earth gravitational field, and must slow down when moving up. The main flaw in this argument had been pointed out by FOMD just before I got involved in the discussion. The reason why the effect of gravity on individual molecular speeds doesn’t tend to yield to a decrease in average molecular kinetic energy (and hence in temperature) for molecular populations as one moves up in the atmosphere is nicely explained in this paper:

Coombes and Laue, ‘A Paradox Concerning the Temperature Distribution of a Gas in a Gravitational Field,’ Am. J. of Physics, 1985.
http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/coombes-laue.pdf

This is consistent with two discussions that I had earlier referenced:

Pekka Pirilä, ‘Kinetic gas theory for gas in gravitational field’
http://pirila.fi/energy/kuvat/barometric_derivation.pdf

Berberan-Santos, Bodunov, Pogliani, ‘On the Barometric Formula’, Am. J. of Physics, 1997.
http://web.ist.utl.pt/ist12219/data/43.pdf

• ‘The problem proposed and analysed by
these authors is the following: If a vertical column of an adiabatically enclosed
ideal gas is in thermal equilibrium, is the temperature the same throughout the column or is there a temperature gradient along the direction of the gravitational field? According to Coombes and Laue, there are two conflicting answers
to the above question:

(1) The temperature is the same throughout because the system is in equilibrium.
(2) The temperature decreases with the height because of the following two reasons.
(a) Energy conservation implies that every
molecule loses kinetic energy as it travels
upward, so that the average kinetic energy of all molecules decreases with height.
(b) Temperature is proportional to the average molecular kinetic energy…

In conclusion, in our opinion a full explanation about why answer (2) to the paradox formulated by Coombes
and Laue is wrong must discern between the cases of a finite system and an
infinite system. In the former case, statement (2) is wrong because the assumption in statement (2b) is wrong. In the latter case, statement (2) is wrong because the conclusion in statement (2a)
is wrong (as it has been established by Coombes and Laue).’

The trivial and irrelevant thought bubble concerned the equivalent of bouncing balls with a Maxwell-Boltzmann velocity distribution. It was to the effect that average kinetic energy was *exactly* (in the narrative of P-N) equal at every level. We have yet to see a proof of the *exact* equality in the thought bubble – remembering of course that this is not remotely the real world.

http://in-the-sky.org/physics/balls.php

In the real world of course temperature falls with height and so kinetic energy is not remotely equal.

In the other trivial thought bubble FOMBS opined that the gravito-thermal because of the symplectic manifold of the Hamiltonian. It is not quite clear what he could possibly have meant by this.

But I introduced a paper that suggeted that the symplectic manifold of the Hamiltonian of the atmosphere indeed says that there is a gravito-thermal effect for a gas in gravity.

http://www.mdpi.com/1099-4300/16/3/1515/pdf

I make no claim either way – and in the real world of course there are many other things happening. But you have to give it to P-N. He is a remarkably persistent – if pompous and utterly unworldly – space cadet.

Come to think of it – are these sort of abstract thought bubbles not a defining characteristic?

• Pierre-Normand

“In the real world of course temperature falls with height and so kinetic energy is not remotely equal.”

Sure, because the atmosphere is mostly warmed from below, is radiatively active, and convection occurs, which has a tendency to bring it close to the adiabatic lapse rate (dry or wet, as the case may be). My issue was with a specific argument from conservation of energy as it applies to individual molecules. This argument (which you endorsed) purports to show that there would be a gravito-thermal effect in a gas column at equilibrium (whatever the case may be in the real atmosphere, which *isn’t* in equilibrium). Those papers show why this specific argument is wrong. Conservation of energy (kinetic + gravitational potential) at the level of individual molecules is consistent with the *distribution* of speeds being constant with height and the gas being isothermal.

• Give it a rest P-N. You have in fact lost me somewhere in your usual convoluted and extreme verbiage – just after where you said that – yes in fact there is a temperature lapse in the real world.

But you have misrepresented me yet again. Bad faith, obfuscation and distraction that seems pretty much par for the course for a bizarre little space cadet.

Let’s try and see what it is.

‘This argument (which you endorsed) purports to show that there would be a gravito-thermal effect in a gas column at equilibrium (whatever the case may be in the real atmosphere, which *isn’t* in equilibrium).’ P-N

Odd because I linked and quoted a peer reviewed paper in a respectable journal from a Professor of physics at a mid-tier American university suggesting that the symplectic manifold of the Hamiltonian did indeed show a gravito-thermal effect – and suggesting an experiment to measure the effect. As I have have said on a number of occasions now – including just above – I draw no conclusions from the derived expressions. The Hamiltonian in fact.

Odd – because neither Pirilla’s paper or this other address the issue and the contention that you seek to draw is purely delusional word salad with no actual semblance to any possible reality.

• The real world having a temperature lapse – of course – says that the average kinetic energy at any level is not remotely *exactly* equal.

And I think I will have to stop using those annoying little asterisks ironically. He just don’t get it.

• Pierre-Normand

Rob Ellison wrote: “But you have misrepresented me yet again. Bad faith,”

How did I misrepresent you? Don’t you remember endorsing the argument that since total=kinetic+potential energy must be conserved, then the average kinetic energy of the molecular populations can’t be the same at all heights in the gas column? Do you really need me to provide links to the numerous posts where you were making this argument quite explicitly? In any case, if you can’t even remember having made this argument, are you at least agreeing now that this argument is invalid and that the papers that I linked to show why that is so?

• Average kinetic energy is not the same at any level. There is a temperature gradient. In the real world.

What I have said repeatedly is that this you have not shown it to be the case for bouncing balls. Despite extreme and silly verbiage.

• Pierre-Normand

Rob Ellison: “What I have said repeatedly is that this you have not shown it to be the case for bouncing balls. Despite extreme and silly verbiage.”

The papers that I linked to consider (for simplicity) molecules of an ideal monatomic gas that collide elastically on the walls of some container. Pekka’s note simply considers speed distributions at various levels and flows across levels. The particles essentially just are bouncing balls with Maxwell speed distributions. You own argument about conservation of total energy also purported to apply to molecules of a gas, not just bouncing balls. I can’t see what difference it makes. If the argument is invalid for the case of monatomic molecules with Maxwell speed distributions, then it also is invalid for the idealized case of bouncing balls.

• ‘… ‘This argument (which you endorsed) purports to show that there would be a gravito-thermal effect…’

Do try to focus P-N. You are either talking bouncing balls or gravito-thermal. Conflating the two after, before or during the fact is dastardly dishonest.

• The atmosphere at different levels has a different temperature. Therefore the average kinetic energy is different at different levels. This is the reality. Please try and keep it in mind.

Bouncing balls are some alternate reality adiabatic thought bubble. Do try to keep it straight.

• And – yes – the point is that bouncing balls are metaphors for molecules. Duh.

• Pierre-Normand

Rob Ellison: “And – yes – the point is that bouncing balls are metaphors for molecules. Duh.”

OK, so if the argument is invalid as applied to the case of identical monatomic molecules in a box, then it also is invalid for the case of identical bouncing balls in a box. The two cases are essentially the same. Bouncing balls (e.g. in the 2D simulation that I linked to in the previous thead) are idealized 2D monatomic molecules. Notice also that all the paper that I linked to assume that there *is* a vertical density gradient in the box, which is exactly the same as the density gradient in some segment of an open column of atmosphere assumed to be in thermodynamic equilibrium. This also is something that you had denied.

• Pierre-Normand

Rob Ellison: “The atmosphere at different levels has a different temperature. Therefore the average kinetic energy is different at different levels. This is the reality. Please try and keep it in mind.”

That’s because the real atmosphere isn’t in thermodynamic equilibrium. All the arguments for the alleged gravito-thermal effect assume equilibrium. The claim precisely is that there ought to be a vertical temperature gradient in a gas column under gravity at equilibrium. That’s also the case for Frønsdal’s paper. He likewise assumes that the atmospheric column under consideration is in thermodynamic equilibrium. He also believes the gravito-thermal effect to be manifested in enclosed spaces such as the centrifuge or Graeff’s experimental apparatuses. So, that’s what we are discussing — gas columns in thermodynamic equilibrium.

• jim2

Rob – you just need to change your POV of the problem. Consider it as the mass of air coming into equilibrium with the gravitational field.

If you started with an adiabatic system comprised of a uniformly distributed column of air, then turned on gravity, there would be a re-adjustment of the air in response. The air would begin to fall. But the pressure and temperature would rise at the bottom, counteracting the fall. This process would continue until the pressure (and temp) at each level was just enough to counteract gravity.

During the pre-equilibrium stage, work is being done on the column of air, so during this stage, the average temperature would increase. But as soon as equilibrium was reached, the temperature profile would be stable. Since the system was assumed to be adiabatic (including to radiation), it can’t gain or lose energy, so the temperature profile would be stable from then on.

• Pierre-Normand

jim2: “During the pre-equilibrium stage, work is being done on the column of air, so during this stage, the average temperature would increase. But as soon as equilibrium was reached, the temperature profile would be stable. Since the system was assumed to be adiabatic (including to radiation), it can’t gain or lose energy, so the temperature profile would be stable from then on.”

And then, thermal conduction (and radiation, internally) will slowly bring the temperature gradient back towards zero.

• jim2

Pierre – that would happen only if the gravitational field disappeared.

• jim2

P-N. wait. I think you are correct. The temperature would equilibriate within the column, but the pressure gradient would remain.

• Pierre-Normand

jim2 wrote: “P-N. wait. I think you are correct. The temperature would equilibriate within the column, but the pressure gradient would remain.”

Yes, exactly. And that this is a stable configuration under the assumption of thermodynamic equilibrium is demonstrated in Pekka’s short note that I liked to earlier in this thread. Well… here it is again:

http://pirila.fi/energy/kuvat/barometric_derivation.pdf

And also, since I don’t think it was linked to before, here is the paper by Román, White and Velasco:

http://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/s-velasco.pdf

• gravito-thermal … effect did not exist…

• Related discussion has gone on at SoD based mainly on two papers of Román, White and Velasco. Most of that discussion is about the nature of microcanonical ensembles and about the minuscule dependence of the average kinetic energy on the height in an ensemble of totally isolated systems with a finite number of particles in gravitational field.

The argument in that discussion is between two sides that agree on the isothermality up to the effect that’s really small (too small to observe in practice), but in spite of this it’s possible that some people find the argument illuminating (while others do certainly think that it’s irrelevant).

• Pierre-Normand

Thanks Pekka. I had read the Román, White and Velasco paper but wasn’t aware of the SoD discussion. Now, your claim about isothermality “up to” some small effect (and hence not quite isothermal) seems somewhat inconsistent with this initial suggestion of your’s:

“From the second law it follows that a fully isolated volume of gas is exactly isothermal in thermal equilibrium also in gravitational field, but being exactly isothermal does not mean that the average kinetic energy of the molecules must be exactly the same, if the molecules are interacting. Thus the molecular interaction might explain the claimed result of Velasco et al.”

Granted, the claimed effect concern an idealization that can’t be realized in the real world (such that the mircocanonical ensemble of states would be realized rather then the canonical ensemble). Doesn’t the result in Velasco et al applies also for a system of non-interacting molecules (just for the microcanonical case, of course, since in the other case molecules must interact with the surrounding thermal bath), assuming equilibrium nevertheless was achieved? In that case, it would seem, molecular interaction’s can’t account for a height dependence of speed distribution, however small.

• Pierre-Normand

“In that case, it would seem, molecular interaction’s can’t account for a height dependence of speed distribution, however small.”
…though something else, I know not what, would presumably account for it. (Still talking about the idealized microcanonical case, and below the thermodynamical limit.)

• Pierre-Normand

Still responding to myself, I was wondering: “…though something else, I know not what, would presumably account for [the height dependence of the speed distribution.”

Pekka’s SoD post concluding with “It’s analogous to the difference between binomial distribution and normal distribution.” was quite illuminating.

http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/08/16/convection-venus-thought-experiments-and-tall-rooms-full-of-gas/#comment-82342

• I think we are going to need a bigger box? It is pretty amazing to me that this problem never dies gracefully. Most everyone agrees that the effect, if it exists, is so small it is meaningless, and for it to exist requires lots of tweaking of the dimensions of the containment and number of particles involved.

It’s pretty much like the GHG effect argument. Most agree that with a doubling of CO2 there is increased resistance to atmospheric heat loss of about 3.7 Wm-2 which would have an impact on the temperature of “A” surface of between 0.8C and 1.2 C.if the effect is 100% efficient, but then the idealized models tend to wander toward a perfect storm of ideal positive feedbacks. The perfect storm requires “A” frame of reference and “A” set of assumptions so the debate grinds to a halt.

• Pierre-Normand

Coming to think of it, the limiting case of one single molecule bouncing up and down in a box is illuminating. In the microcaconical distribution case, there obviously is a height dependence on the speed distribution (and a rather ill-defined temperature) of the single molecule, while in the canonical distribution case interactions with the identical thermal baths of the top and bottom walls would equalize the speed distributions (since the drop off rate — e.g. the density of probability of presence — as a function of height, comes fully into effect). I think that solves my puzzle regarding Velasco et al.

• Pierre-Normand

Captdallas: “Most everyone agrees that the effect, if it exists, is so small it is meaningless”

Actually, Doug C., Christian Frønsdal, and Rob E., who seems to endorse Frønsdal’s result, and few other Climate Etc contributors, think the effect to be so large as to be comparable to the dry adiabatic lapse rate. You are free, of course, to throw them all under the bus.

• P-N, Doug C. just keeps climbing out from under the bus. Robert E. I believe agrees that the effect is ridiculously small, but gravity would shift the velocity distribution. Don’t know the other guy.

• Pierre-Normand

Captdallas: “P-N, Doug C. just keeps climbing out from under the bus. Robert E. I believe agrees that the effect is ridiculously small, but gravity would shift the velocity distribution. Don’t know the other guy.”

How would gravity shift the velocity distribution in your view? How big the alleged effect is depends on the mechanism hypothesized to cause it. Rob E. didn’t say how big the effect is supposed to be. He both claims to be agnostic about its existence and, at the same time, endorses Frønsdal who claims the effect to be comparable to the dry adiabatic lapse rate, which, though hard to detect in the laboratory, hardly is insignificant. My own focus mostly was to show that one popular argument that purports to show that a column of gas in thermodynamic equilibrium under gravity can’t have a uniform molecular speed distribution is flawed.

• P-N, “How big the alleged effect is depends on the mechanism hypothesized to cause it.”

Gravity is the mechanism,it is dependent of the interaction of the molecules under the influence of gravity and the effective temperature/pressure. In the one of two molecule case there is obviously a difference in the energy near the bottom and near the top. As the container approaches absolute zero, the molecules would tend to collect at the bottom, but it the container is packed full of molecules, there would be less of an accumulation at the bottom. So with an infinite number of closely pack molecules, you have next to nothing until condensation in the B-E sense. So you can pick how big by changing the parameters, i.e. increasing the size of the box with a fixed number of molecules.

Since it is an nonphysical problem, you don’t find huge perfectly constructed boxed laying around very often, how much effect would you like?

• Pierre-Normand

Captdallas, maybe you should read the Velasco et al paper (and the Coomes and Laue paper that it is commenting on) before commenting further because right now you are mixing up the canonical system with the microcanonical system incoherently. In the latter case only is there a height dependence on speed distribution (though no well defined temperature). But there also isn’t any surrounding thermal bath. The container fully isolates the system and the total energy of the system is constant. In the former case, though there is a well defined (isothermal) temperature and there are interactions of the molecules with the surrounding bath, there is no height dependence on speed distribution at all.

• P-N instead of jumping into canonical and microcanonical perhaps you should just back away and get a mental picture of the problem. Gravity is an acceleration, the longer the free path the faster the particle velocity can become. When you increase the number of particles you reduce the mean free path, then there are limits imposed on the maximum velocity, like the speed of sound, speed of second sound if you like to think in terms of phonons and relativistic heat conduction,pick our poison. The difference between top and bottom could approach +/-mg I believe.

With a smaller number of particles or the perfect temperature and pressure you can get into things like super fluidity. Let your imagination run wild. You can get about any answer you like, but gravity is still a part of the considerations.

Realistically, it is best to say, “meh, it’s insignificant in a real atmosphere” and let the issue die. I think that is what Maxwell and Boltzmann did.

• CD,
When the particles interact as hard balls, gravity affects only the density, not the average kinetic energy. This is the case that’s usually considered, and that’s a good approximation for the atmosphere.

If the interaction between particles differs from that, the total energy of the system includes also potential energy due to this interaction. The potential energy contribution is the larger, the higher the density. Thus the share of potential energy decreases with height. That affects also the average kinetic energy. The sign of this effect is different for attractive and repulsive interaction between molecules. It’s still true that the temperature does not depend on the height, but with interaction the relationship between the temperature and the kinetic energy breaks down.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka Pirilä wrote: “It’s still true that the temperature does not depend on the height, but with interaction the relationship between the temperature and the kinetic energy breaks down.”

Are you sure about this Pekka? I would have thought the average kinetic energy was still exactly the same, and a function of temperature only, since the speed distribution still is exactly the Maxwell speed distribution at all height, but there now is an additional potential energy term — due to inter-molecular forces — that is indeed a function of molecular density. Hence there is a variation of the ratio of kinetic to total energy, as a function of height, but still no variation in the average (transpational) kinetic energy. Indeed, isn’t this guaranteed by the equipartition theorem?

• Pekka, “When the particles interact as hard balls, gravity affects only the density, not the average kinetic energy. This is the case that’s usually considered, and that’s a good approximation for the atmosphere.”

The problem isn’t posed as a “usual” case, it is posed as an unphysical case. While the average kinetic energy doesn’t change, the force applied to top and bottom does, which can skew the distribution of velocities just enough for a Eureka moment. By definition the container is at a fixed temperature and pressure and by selecting specific temperatures and pressures the poser can add wrinkles to the problem. Answer that one then here comes another.

“meh, it insignificant in a real atmosphere” is the easy way to find something more productive to do.

• kim

Heh, just as much effect as is needed, Cap’n; no more no less. We like to be economical.
============

• Pierre-Normand

“transpational…” translational

• P-N,
When molecules interact,speed distribution is not Maxwell-Boltzman. The probability of each state is exponential in energy, but the energy of a subsystem large enough to be considered as including all interactions is not the sum of the kinetic energies only, but includes also the potential energy terms from the interaction. If the interaction is attractive as it typically is, the particles accelerate when approaching each other, their kinetic energies increase, while the potential energy goes down.

The dynamics must be studied using QM. The multiparticle wave function cannot be presented as a product of wave functions of individual particles. It’s simply not possible to describe the multiparticle system fully using concepts of kinetic gas theory.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka,

OK, I was completely discounting quantum effects for simplicity. Don’t you agree that the distribution of speeds at any height still exactly is the Maxwell speed distribution in *classical* kinetic theory, and hence the (translational) kinetic energy is (3/2)kT irrespective of any energy potentials (that’s even true in classical solids and liquids)? I think the average kinetic energy still is (3/2)kT in the case of (classical) van der Waals gases, and this would be good enough an approximation to cover the sorts of cases envisaged by Captdallas (though not superfluidity, obviously).

I had earlier suggested (in another thread) that in classical statistical mechanics, even molecules that are bound into crystal latices (and treated as simple harmonic oscillators) still have Maxwell speed distributions at any point in space, and hence irrespective of their positions within the potential energy wells defined by the inter-molecular bounds, since the case is perfectly analogous to the constant speed distribution of gas molecules within a larger gravity well. Even though an individual molecule slows down while it is moving away from its equilibrium position in the lattice, its probability to be found further away likewise is reduced since it may not have enough total energy to get there and this drop-off effect (from the least energetic particles) compensates for the reduction in speed such as to maintain the speed distribution (and average KE) constant. And this, of course, explains why (ideal monatomic) gas molecules that collide elastically with molecules that are bound into the lattice are thermalized at the very same temperature. (Granted, the quantum mechanical treatment is more difficult to picture.)

I would have thought this lesson generalizes for the case where the potential energy terms aren’t spatially fixed in space but rather are a function of the relative positions of all the particles in a van der Waals gas, or a compressible liquid, or a solid where all the collective lattice vibrational modes are considered. And hence the speed distribution of individual molecules would be the same in all those cases, and a function of temperature and molecular mass only (and KEavg = (3/2)kT everywhere). This, again, seems to me to follow from the theorem of equipartition of energy in classical quantum mechanics (and not just the kinetic theory of ideal gases).

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka wrote: “The probability of each state is exponential in energy, but the energy of a subsystem large enough to be considered as including all interactions is not the sum of the kinetic energies only, but includes also the potential energy terms from the interaction.”

I agree with all this, but the exponential dependence for the total energy of the system is true for the whole system (or any given subsystem with a well defined total energy). For any individual molecule, its energy distribution at some point in space also depends on how may degrees of freedom are available for it to share in this energy at this location. Giving it more potential energy terms (e.g. because the gas density is higher and hence it potentially partakes in more inter-molecular interactions) also provides it with a larger share (or smaller share if the forces are attractive) of the energy of the whole system. Hence you can’t infer from the fact that E = KE+PE that, at those spatial locations where average PE is larger, the average KE is lower. This inference can’t validly be made for the case of gravitational fields, as you well understand, but also for PE terms that result from inter-molecular forces, or so it seems to me.

• Pierre-Normand

“I agree with all this, but the exponential dependence for the total energy of the system is true for the whole system…” in the canonical ensemble, of course. I just now realize that I earlier mixed up “canonical” and “microcanonical”.

• Pierre-Normand

I just now realize that I earlier mixed up “canonical” and “microcanonical”
…in my reply to Captdallas only.

• P-N,
The whole framing of the situation by separating the kinetic energy of each particle works only, when the interaction between the particles can be considered a very small perturbation (except that hard ball type collisions can depend on a strong interaction, because the interaction is instantaneous).

When each particle is for a significant fraction of the time so close to another particle that they interact, the motion of the particle is disturbed. The energy of the particle is not any more only kinetic energy. If we define a subsystem in a precise way the eigenstates that correspond to a specific energy of the system are complex multiparticle states. This means that the simple picture of the kinetic gas theory of noninteracting particles is not valid any more. The equation of state of the gas is not that of ideal gas, but is significantly better described by van der Waals equation or virial expansion.

Under such conditions the simple kinetic gas theory does not work exactly enough, the velocity distribution of the molecules is not exactly Maxwell-Boltzmann, the relationship between kinetic energy of the molecules and temperature gets modified, but the basic equations of thermodynamics are still valid, and there’s still an exact relationship between the temperature and the distribution of states in the canonical ensemble, it’s just different from the case of the ideal gas.

• Pekka, said, “Under such conditions the simple kinetic gas theory does not work exactly enough, the velocity distribution of the molecules is not exactly Maxwell-Boltzmann, the relationship between kinetic energy of the molecules and temperature gets modified, but the basic equations of thermodynamics are still valid, and there’s still an exact relationship between the temperature and the distribution of states in the canonical ensemble, it’s just different from the case of the ideal gas.”

Thank you for that. I believe it has been mentioned less specifically a number of times.

P-N, Glad you corrected that because I was at a loss about what the heck you where trying to say. As I mentioned before, the effect doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, kinda of like that stray photon the “violates” the 2nd law.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka, I can only assume that you browsed my replies very quickly and superficially. My arguments rely on classical statistical mechanics and purport to apply to van der Waals gases, liquids and solids, and not just ideal gases where ranged inter-molecular forces are neglected. What I mainly relied on is the equipartition of energy in the classical limit. I merely abstracted from quantum and relativistic effects. My arguments may be wrong, but I don’t make any specific use of results from kinetic theory. Isn’t it true that, in the classical limit, EKavg = (3/2)kT equally for solids, liquids and gases? I got that result from Reif (Fundamental of Statistical and Thermal Physics) initially.

Consider as an instructive example the pressure from a van der Waals gas on the walls of its container. The pressure clearly must be a function both of the speed distribution of the molecules that hit the wall, and the rate of collisions. The pressure also will be lower as compared with a real gas at the same temperature and same molecular mass (unless the van der Waals gas is compressed so much that the inter-molecular forces become repulsive on average). One naive explanation for the reduced pressure would be that the molecules that hit the wall tend to slow down as they move away from other attracting molecules behind them and hence the speed distribution is lowered as compared with the speed distribution of the molecules of the ideal gas. But this can’t be right since if this were the case, then the solid walls would tend to cool to a lower temperature than would be the case with an ideal gas at the same temperature, and this is absurd.

The explanation must rather be that even though molecules of the van der Waals gas hit the container walls with the exact same speed distribution (and hence the same average kinetic energy), the rate of collisions is lower. This is for the same exact reason why the collisions on both the top and bottom walls have the same average speeds despite gravity. Van der Waals forces affect total and average internal energies of molecules, and they also affects density distributions in proximity to walls, but they have no effect on speed distributions of the molecules as specific spatial locations.

• Pierre-Normand

Captdallas: “P-N, Glad you corrected that because I was at a loss about what the heck you where trying to say.”

Glad it helped. If only you (or Rob E.) would reciprocate and sometimes take back erroneous claims that you make.

• I am always at a loss and usually simply give up trying to a discussion about the real world. It’s the extreme and incoherent verbiage that relies more on jargon than comprehension and is a stranger to math entirely.

I am afraid the less than good faith is however the defining and most unfortunate characteristic.

• Pierre-Normand

“…but they have no effect on speed distributions of the molecules [at] specific spatial locations.” Sorry.

• P-N,
When the molecular interactions affect the equation of state, the assumptions behind the equipartition of energy are not valid any more. Thus it cannot be used to tell, how important these changes are. Also the interaction with the walls gets modified, but in a way that maintains the conclusion that the equilibrium is isothermal. This conclusion depends only on the Second law that’s not violated.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka: “When the molecular interactions affect the equation of state, the assumptions behind the equipartition of energy are not valid any more.”

I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks. I’ll have to inquire some more into those assumptions. In particular, I will have to look at the that my old Reif textbook deals with specific heats of solids and liquids at the classical limit. I had assumed from this treatment, as I remember it, that equipartition of energy held in those cases and inferred that it ought to hold in the case of van der Waals gases as well.

Wouldn’t you agree, though, that the speed distributions still would be extremely close to the Maxwell speed distributions (and KEavg being also extremenly close to (3/2)kT) for the case of van der Walls gases, in close proximity to solid walls where pressure is reduced?

I was also thinking about speed distibutions of stars in old star clusters. In the peripheral regions of the cluster this seems quite closely analogous to a low temperature van der Waals gas in a large container under no gravity at all. While the situation is quite complex in the core of the cluster, further away at the periphery, the stars behave closely as if they were attracted by a single spherical mass at the core of the cluster (while homogeneities in from pairwise attractions can be neglected). In that case too, I would expect speed distributions to be very closely the same Maxwell speed distribution irrespective of the distance from the core.

Incidentally, I belatedly replied to your last response on the ATTP forum.

• Pierre-Normand

To follow up about the analogy with star clusters, I just found out in Frank H. Shu, The Physical Universe: An Introduction to Astronomy, p. 175, that stars in star clusters indeed tend to approach a Maxwell-Boltzmann speed distribution and only are prevented from achieving it (according to Shu) by the constant evaporation due to faster stars achieving escape velocity. So, surrounding the cluster with an ‘elastic wall’, and letting it age, would seem to provide a model for an analogue for a van der Waals gas with a Maxwell speed distribution which is a function only of stellar mass and the cluster’s ‘temperature’.

• P-N, “Glad it helped. If only you (or Rob E.) would reciprocate and sometimes take back erroneous claims that you make.”

If I can think of one I will let you know :) There is one I think you believe I was in error. Where I mentioned that molecules more closely packed with lower than average velocities would tend to cluster which would be related in molecule to molecule attractive forces. I am sure there is a more elaborate explanation, but in a real container, that could lead to measurement errors, for example, the average velocity of molecules escaping a pinhole is slightly higher than the average velocity of the volume.

I believe that Rob mentioned that FOMD mentioned such an experiment and while I am not positive, I believe that indicates gravity is having an influence on the velocity distribution. That is two “believe” sentences in a row, btw. :)

• Correction, that is a run on sentence that should have been two believe sentences in a row :)

• P-N
Equipartition theorem is normally used in connection of independent degrees of freedom and corresponding variables, which have the following properties:
– the density of states in the phase space is constant in the variable without any effective upper limit for the variable. If the values are discrete their separation must be very small in comparison to kT
– energy of the state has a term proportional to some power of the variable (2nd power for kinetic energy, 1st power for altitude in gravitational field. The average gravitational potential energy is twice the average kinetic energy in one direction, because the power enters in the denominator)

These are two essential points. When particles have interaction of the type that leads to deviations from the ideal gas law, position and velocity (or momentum) get coupled, single particle states of fixed momentum are not eigenstates of the system, and everything gets more complicated. The standard kinetic theory works so well, because the gases are commonly so close to ideal gas that this kind of effects can be dismissed. Furthermore the volume term of the van der Waals equation alone does not change the results much, because it corresponds essentially to the hard ball model of the gas, where the interaction of the molecules is instantaneous and where the molecules are in free motion almost all the time.

• P-N, What is kinda interesting is consider a vertical column of air 100000 meters tall magically captured in a mass less infinitely strong cylinder. As soon as it is enclosed, the column would tend to rise like a balloon and float some distant up in the atmosphere.

Where it floats, should be where the molecules are as uniformly distributed as possible for a ridiculously large “parcel” still forced to maintain a vertical orientation in a gravity field. The force of gravity on that “parcel” would be lower than if it was lashed down to prevent the floating. To me, that is why the problem is more like metaphysics than physics. There is an unseen force being ignored from the very beginning.

The ideal gas laws, created long before QM, are based on observations of the real world where experiments had to ignore somethings in order to estimate others just to make the problems solvable. They work very well, but aren’t perfect, especially when the problems posed magically assume unrealistic things. Like a volume so large it cannot be assumed to be in “local” thermodynamic equilibrium.

“Meh, Its insignificant in a real atmosphere.”

• David Springer

@Normand

The flaw in your thinking is that temperature is a measure of kinetic energy excluding potential energy. Mechanical energy is the sum of kinetic and potential.

If we begin with an isothermal column of air outside of a gravity field then each molecule’s mechanical energy is equal to its kinetic energy.

If we then apply a gravity field (i.e. a planetary air column) then the molecules at the base of the column mechanical energy is still equal to its kinetic energy but molecules at the top of the column mechanical energy has a potential component.

The gravity field adds no energy to the closed system so conservation of energy implies that molecules nearer the top of the column have less kinetic and more potential energy than those nearer the bottom in a one to one correspondence.

So while mechanical energy of each molecule remains constant with or without a gravity field the kinetic energy of each molecule does not remain constant. Since temperature is a measure of only kinetic energy it follows that temperature is not constant in the gravitational field.

QED

Thanks for playing. Better luck next time.

• Temperature is not a measure of only kinetic energy.

• David Springer

Oh here we go again. Taking Pekka to school.

Definition:

Temperature is a measurement of the average kinetic energy of the molecules in an object or system and can be measured with a thermometer or a calorimeter. It is a means of determining the internal energy contained within the system.

• Pierre-Normand

Pekka: “Temperature is not a measure of only kinetic energy.”

Just for the purpose of discussing David Springer’s example, it is reasonable to assume that kinetic temperature at any given height just is T = (2/3)*KEavg/k, where KEavg just is the average kinetic energy of the molecules at that height. The Boltzmann distribution law applies separately to the gravitational potential energy term and yields the vertical barometric density distribution, while the separate term that corresponds to translational kinetic energy yield the Maxwell speed distribution which is a functions of local temperature only.

• Pierre-Normand

David Springer: “The flaw in your thinking is that temperature is a measure of kinetic energy excluding potential energy.”

Stangely, in your reply to Pekka you are reverting back to agreeing with me that temperature just is a measure of average kinetic energy of the molecules (which is good enough a definition for the case of ideal gases, regardless of the presence of a gravitational field.)

I can’t get the working of your thought experiment. If you would just start with an isothermal column with no gravity, as you propose, and then suddenly ‘turn on’ gravity, then the gas would initially compress more near the bottom of the column and heat up as a result, and decompress near the top and cool down, as described earlier by another poster. This doesn’t have any bearing on the equilibrium case since from then on thermal conduction can occur and the column can become isothermal again.

What the sudden introduction of the gravitational field (which could be simulated by the sudden acceleration along the long axis of a cylindrical container) would produce isn’t any sudden drop in kinetic energy of the molecules higher up in the potential. The molecules can’t know what their relative height is with respect of the whole column and drop their velocities accordingly so as to maintain Eavg(h) = KEavg(h)+PE(h) the same for all the molecular populations at any height. There would initially be no discrete change at all in the speed distributions. So, your argument seems not to work at all.

• In any fixed system in local thermodynamic equilibrium, there’s surely a unique connection between the average kinetic energy of the particles and the temperature, but there’s also a connection between the temperature and the average energy of other types like the potential energy related to the interaction between the molecules. The fixed system I mention at the beginning means that the average density must also be the same for the connection to be unique. When the average density of interacting particles is changed the average kinetic energy that corresponds to a particular temperature changes, perhaps not much, but it changes.

What remains unchanged as long as the temperature is the same, is the law of dependence of the relative occupation levels of any two states of the system being considered on their energy: exp(-ΔE/kT), where ΔE is the difference of the energies of the two states considered and k is the Boltzmann constant. This is the ultimate definition of the temperature on the microphysics level, other definitions are simplifications of this or based on thermodynamics without any direct contact to microphysics.

• Pierre-Normand

Those latest two posts are extremely useful Pekka. Thank you very much.

• David Springer

No, the column won’t become the same temperature throughout in a gravitational field. Internal energy, which includes both potential and kinetic, per mole of gas becomes constant throughout the column. If this were not the case you’d have a perpetual motion machine where internal energy per mole increases with altitude due to its increasing potential energy. The 2nd law is maintained by a decrease in kinetic energy with altitude along with an equal and opposite increase in potential energy.

If you boys want to continue making an argument that a gravitationally confined column of gas becomes a perpetual motion machine with a permanent energy gradient then you are either wrong or have stumbled onto a way of disproving the second law of thermodynamics.

In any case, thanks for playing. It’s been a gas.

• Pierre-Normand

David Springer, the internal energy of a gas doesn’t include the bulk gravitational potential energy of the gas. If one stores two identical gas cylinders (filled with the same amount of the same gas) on two superposed shelves several feet apart, they still have the same total internal energy if they are at the same temperature. Since they are at the same temperature, you can’t extract any work from the internal energy of those gases using them as differential thermal baths for powering a thermal engine. If there is a temperature difference between them, then you can.

Also, what the second law prevents is for heat to spontaneously flow from a colder system to a warmer system (or from two systems at equal temperature). This is true irrespective of the volumetric density of internal energy, or of average molecular internal energy, of the systems.

• David Springer

I meant to say mechanical energy not internal energy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_energy

In the physical sciences, mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy. It is the energy associated with the motion and position of an object. The principle of conservation of mechanical energy states that in an isolated system that is only subject to conservative forces the mechanical energy is constant.

• David Springer <