Week in review – science edition

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye this past week.

Surface water shifting around the earth [link]

How did the 2015 Solar Eclipse affect temperatures [link]

Special edition on  Tipping Points in Past Global Changes [link].  Some interesting articles.

Ice at base of Dye3 (Greenland) at least 400kyr old, & at GRIP ~1 Myr. Implications for the long-term stability of the Greenland ice sheet [link]

Links found between Pacific sea level & global temperature changes [link]

Experts assess the feasibility of negative emissions [link]

Delaying mitigation to 2040 could require 160 years of geoengineering to stay below 2 C: [link]

Comment: Two views of ocean acidification: which is fatally flawed? [link]

Chris Colose: Hemispherically asymmetric volcanic forcing of tropical hydroclimate during the last millennium [link]

ChemTrails: Quantifying expert consensus against the existence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program [link]

ARCTIC SEA ICE –Persistence Puzzles [link]

Peter Wadhams: Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be ice free [link]

The danger of ‘crying wolf’ in predicting an ice-free Arctic summer [link]

New #solarenergy forecasting system developed by #NCAR could save millions of dollars [link]

Engineered Bacterium Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane Fuel [link]

The Coming Solar PV Revolution Will Be Electrifying [link]

Energy storage: opportunities and obstacles. [link]

Solar dish sets steamy thermal energy efficiency record [link]

Possibly habitable planet found around our nearest neighbour star [link]

This is very interesting: The centrality of mathematics in the history of western thought [link]

About science

Why experts get it wrong: being knowledgeable about a subject implants false memories [link]

‘Highly Tweeted Articles Were 11 Times More Likely to Be Highly Cited’ [link]

MichaelEMann and Stefan Lewandowsky: How to Identify Trolling Denial vs. Honest Skepticism [link]

Lewandowsky and Mann in psycho pen [link]

“A Dummies’ Guide to ‘Debate, Denial and Doubt’ by Dummies, for Dummies” [link]

Opinion:  Why the public should mistrust science [link]

Why scientists are losing the fight to communicate science to the public [link]

Why the University of Chicago’s Anti–‘Safe Space’ Letter Is Important [link] …

A speech code for lawyers, banning viewpoints that express ‘bias,’ including in law-related social activities [link]

 

 

 

 

209 responses to “Week in review – science edition

  1. This link seems to be missing:

    Comment: Two views of ocean acidification: which is fatally flawed? [Link]

  2. Steven Mosher

    natural variability gives you about a 20 year uncertainty in the date for ice free..

    Jahn, A. et al. (2016) How predictable is the timing of a summer ice-free Arctic?, Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2016GL070067

  3. Ocean acidification

    No evidence it can be attributed to fossil fuel emissions
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2669930

    • Very shoddy work.

      In this empirical study of historical emissions data and historical CO2 concentration data of the oceans over a 57-year period from 1958 to 2014, we were unable to detect a correlation between the annual rate of emissions and the mean annual change in oceanic CO2. This correlation is a pre-condition to the anthropogenic ocean acidification hypothesis which holds that the annual rate of human emissions causes annual changes in oceanic CO2 concentration (Scripps, 2013) (NOAA-1, 2015).

      It most certainly is not.

      Dissolved CO2 would be expected to be in rough equilibrium with atmospheric pCO2 with a settling time around 1 year. But the correlations between atmospheric pCO2 and fossil emissions (with or without land-use) don’t really start till you get to around decadal time-frames and longer. Given the variation, the 2-5 year time-frames are probably associated with ENSO (that seems to be the consensus). Whatever, they don’t follow fossil emissions.

      The first ref for that ridiculous statement (Scripps, 2013) fails (as far as I can see) to support the claim for any “correlation between the annual rate of emissions and the mean annual change in oceanic CO2.” Same for their second ref (NOAA-1, 2015).

      Also, both of them are pretty much “gee-whiz” science sites, not peer-reviewed studies. (Perhaps because no such peer-reviewed study could be found to support that nonsense?)

      This sort of junk just confuses issues, and fosters polarization and antagonism.

  4. I reckon Peter Wadhams needs to look at the data better. March maximum sea ice extent relatively increased from 2008-2013 following the reduced Sept extent 2007-2012. That implies a negative feedback.

  5. The paper on the centrality of mathematics is very interesting. Unfortunately not understanding maths is a source of pride among many of the humanities graduates I know.

  6. Willis Eschenbach

    I cracked up at the title containing the purported “Coming Solar PV Revolution” … when you are as old as I am, you’ve seen that phrase for about 50 years, with the promised revolution always receding into the future as the years roll on. It’s always only a few years away, though, so gosh, thank goodness, all we need to do is wait a few short years and Solar PV will finally be revolved …

    Do these folks not notice history?

    w.

    • I was on the board of a solar startup out of Argonne (which failed technically). Three facts that Ars Texhnica did not mention.
      The Shockley Queisser theoretical quantum efficiency limit for a single junction system is ~31%. The best monocrystalline silicon cells are now ~ 26, and the best commercial panels made from them ~22.5. Poly Si is inherently about 75% of this because of crystal grain boundary charge trapping. CdTe is about 80% of this because of bandgap mismatch to the sunlight spectrum (silicon is almost perfect). There cannot be any further significant efficiency improvements. (Mutiple junction cells do exist for space applications, with efficiencies up to 41%. But these are very, very expensive III/V semiconductor materials that will never be feasible for commercial applications.)
      Finished solar panels come down a classic semiconductor learning curve. Details vary by type, but the slope is about a 15% reduction in cost per doubling of ACCUMULATED production. That means panel costs will come down a further 15 percent from now when as much new solar has been installed as now exists in the world. No revolution there.
      Finally, depending on details (solar tracking, utility v. Residential), about 40-60% of the system cost is ‘everything else’ (mounts, intall labor, wiring, inverter) that does not follow a learning curve and has come down almost negligible amounts in the past decade.
      Ars Technica may be a fan of solar, but the real world no revolution is coming. And there would not be the installed base that exists now without massive true subsidies.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Finally, depending on details (solar tracking, utility v. Residential), about 40-60% of the system cost is ‘everything else’ (mounts, intall labor, wiring, inverter) that does not follow a learning curve and has come down almost negligible amounts in the past decade.”

        we agree again.

        A while back my friend did a solar start up and I went in to kick the tires.
        As I looked at the system cost about 50% was stuff that would not
        follow Moores law. Stuff. commodity Stuff that weighs pounds, and pounds = dollars .. no real opportunity to drive cost out

        Same thing in the inverter.. he opened it up… stuff.. none of it
        shrinkable.. except maybe an asic or two and they were allready tiny

      • One of the biggest potential reductions in installed solar cost was replacement roofing, plain old waterproof singles with solar cells and retractable awnings for pitched roofing. After 20 years you rip it off and do it again. The grid scale subsidies shot that the hell.

      • Costs of utility-grade solar PV installed have been coming down at roughly the same rate as panels themselves.

      • Utility-Scale Solar 2015 An Empirical Analysis of Project Cost, Performance, and Pricing Trends in the United States

        From here,

      • AK, the limiting factor is the costs of the land, supporting materials and installation costs. A pitched roof has to be installed and covered with something anyway and the roof decking already has to support weight and be relatively flat.

      • AK, the limiting factor is the costs of the land, supporting materials and installation costs.

        All those are included in installed utility PV prices.

        As deployment expands, there’ll be incentives for manufacturers to come up with cheaper better systems for support. And installation will probably be mostly automated within 5-10 years even for rooftop, much less utility-grade.

        Better support designs will allow using land that can’t be used today, continuing the decline in land cost. And increasing volumes, and experience, will force the reduction in permitting costs, especially for utility grade.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        AK | August 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm |

        Costs of utility-grade solar PV installed have been coming down at roughly the same rate as panels themselves.

        Thanks, AK. Unfortunately, your citation (while interesting) says NOTHING about the changing cost of solar panels. Nor does it say one word about changing costs for the mounts, installation labor, wiring, or inverter that Mosh mentions. So you can’t use it to support your claim. Not saying you are wrong, just saying that your citation doesn’t even touch your claim.

        w.

      • Unfortunately, your citation (while interesting) says NOTHING about the changing cost of solar panels.

        Solar PV is well known to be doubling deployment every ~2 years, and dropping by ~50% in cost every 5-6 years.

        I see no point in digging up links for that, they’re all over.

        Nor does it say one word about changing costs for the mounts, installation labor, wiring, or inverter that Mosh mentions.

        All those are included in the final installed costs. Along with “soft” costs such as permitting.

        So you can’t use it to support your claim.

        Actually, it supports my claim a lot better than a breakdown would.

        Not saying you are wrong, just saying that your citation doesn’t even touch your claim.

        Read harder.

      • Here Willis. (I changed my mind. Probably a waste of time, since I’m sure you’ll go searching for alternate opinions. I certainly would.)

      • In order to help integrate uk solar and wind power into the grid eight large battery installations are being Created. Britain has invested large sums in renewables at the expense of base power and it is likely that if there is a severe winter there will be power cuts.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/08/26/eight-uk-battery-projects-win-funding-from-national-grid/

        One of the drawbacks of this reliance on currently expensive renewables is our climate. It is not windy enough for wind power and as for solar…hey this is the UK!

        Tonyb

      • Willis Eschenbach

        AK | August 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm |

        Read harder.

        Sorry, AK, but when you start that kind of nonsense, you’re no fun to play with … so I fear you’ll just have to play with yourself. When a man tells me to “read harder”, I’m no longer interested.

        w.

      • When a man tells me to “read harder”, I’m no longer interested.

        Aaaw…

        Thin-skinned? When somebody tells me “[Y]our citation doesn’t even touch your claim” when it fully supports it, they have no business objecting to being told “to ‘read harder.’

      • AK,

        If what your magazine claims is true, then why in Germany, when the feed-in tarriffs for roof-top PV solar were slashed beginning in 2010,

        Did the installation of new roof-top PV solar almost grind to a halt?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        AK | August 27, 2016 at 6:33 pm |

        When a man tells me to “read harder”, I’m no longer interested.

        Aaaw…

        Thin-skinned? When somebody tells me “[Y]our citation doesn’t even touch your claim” when it fully supports it, they have no business objecting to being told “to ‘read harder.’”

        Thin-skinned? No, I just find that as I age I’m losing my ability to deal with pricks in a polite manner, so I just leave … there are polite ways to suggest that a man has missed something in his reading. You know, like pointing out just what it was you think he missed, complete with page numbers or quotes to clarify your meaning.

        Simply saying “read harder”, on the other hand, is just an common garden-variety insult. Still not interested. As I said before, you’re gonna have to play with yourself, I’m done.

        w.

      • ‘Solar PV is well known to be doubling deployment every ~2 years, and dropping by ~50% in cost every 5-6 years. I see no point in digging up links for that, they’re all over.’

        If you’re not going to dig up links perhaps you should do the basic math. 256GW PV installed at the end of 2015 –> we should see 110GW installed this year, if current doubling time was 2 years. Instead installations are on track for about half as much.

      • AK, past performance and all that. The same reduction in actual cost of PV cells applies to roof top only. Old style roof top required more mounting hardware and higher installation cost. The single style PV would be about the same cost as utility scale without tying up land, adding grid extensions etc. etc. If you are installing a roof anyway, it is a better cost option. That was the original focus of solar which got put on a back burner because grid scale subsidies and utility mandates drove research another way.

      • If what your magazine claims is true, then why in Germany, when the feed-in tarriffs for roof-top PV solar were slashed […]

        Well, prices are dropping exponentially. So the farther back you look the less good a deal it was without subsidies.

        But for me, the biggest deal is that rooftop PV has always, IMO, been a boondoggle. That’s why I’ve made a point of focusing on utility-grade.

      • @AK

        “Solar PV is well known to be doubling deployment every ~2 years, and dropping by ~50% in cost every 5-6 years.”

        Well known to whom? You?
        DATA say a different thing.
        Nice try, though.

      • Steven Mosher

        AK

        I think what Rud and I are explaining to you is pretty simple

        I looked at the cost of the system

        1000

        500 of that was silicon based
        500 of that was Metal and Stuff

        So I did what I normally do.

        The silicon stuff will ( hopefully) scale with moores law
        and become, effectively, close to zero.

        Then I looked at the metal stuff, boxes, wires, mounts.
        these are made of stuff that you fabricate

        At scale, your tooling cost goes to zero.. and your product cost
        is just the price of stuff per pound

        So when you work with components for a while you understand that
        the cost of pcb doesnt scale down like moores law, caps, inductors, resistors, connectors… they dont scale down like ASICs do.

        So yes, we have seen some steep drops in the system price..
        but the bottom threshold is limited by the STUFF.

        There maybe ways around it.. but for planning… your cost floor
        is the STUFF

      • If you’re not going to dig up links perhaps you should do the basic math. 256GW PV installed at the end of 2015 –> we should see 110GW installed this year, if current doubling time was 2 years.

        Straw man.

        There’s some variation from year to year.

      • Then I looked at the metal stuff, boxes, wires, mounts.
        these are made of stuff that you fabricate […]

        How much has to be made out of metal? You’re assuming that there won’t be much cheaper replacement technologies as volumes increase.

        Unwarranted assumption.

        Support can be made out of cheap plastic, inflated with air.

        Inversion can be skipped for many applications, such as pumping, desalination, and power→Gas. For that matter, the mass of silicon required for the FET’s needed for inversion can probably be reduced by at least a factor of 10.

        Anyway, my point was that in the past utility-scale solar PV has been dropping in cost at roughly the same exponential rate as panels.

        And how can you insist that we can’t predict the future from the past, when you insist that things like “equilibrium climate sensitivity” are anything more than a myth?

      • DATA say a different thing.

        Wrong!

      • That was the original focus of solar which got put on a back burner because grid scale subsidies and utility mandates drove research another way.

        Not only is rooftop solar more expensive to install, but it’s a much bigger headache for utilities.

        Especially the financials. Creating a vehicle that owns and invests in a mixture of flex-fuel CCGT, solar (and/or wind), and storage will allow much better ROI’s. As long as they’re not required to market their power products separately.

        IMO.

      • Taking a ballpark figure of 200 PV GW installed by the end of the 2014, the ‘actual data points’* in AK’s last chart, together with the 2015 numbers and a guesstimate for the current year, imply growth rates of:
        2016: 60 / 257 = 23.3%
        2015: 57 / 200 = 28.5%
        2014: 50 / 150 = 33.3%
        2013: 35 / 115 = 30.4%
        2012: 29 / 86 = 33.7%
        2011: 27.7 / 58.3 = 47.5%

        Remember that a doubling time of two years requires 41.4% yearly growth. The numbers speak for themselves.

        *I will note it comes from a Cleantechnica article from July 2014, so obviously the 2014 figure could only be a forecast.

      • AK, “Not only is rooftop solar more expensive to install, but it’s a much bigger headache for utilities.”

        Yep, grid connection and net metering is a pain. However, a home owner can significantly reduce their electric use and have some level of off grid reliability. The majority of this whole renewables movement is supposed to be for those poor pitiful third worlders, so developing for the soon to be irate masses should be a priority. Getting the cost down so they can afford it is the ticket.

      • @Alberto Zaragoza Comendador …

        Cherry-picking end-points. That says something about your honesty.

      • AK said:

        But for me, the biggest deal is that rooftop PV has always, IMO, been a boondoggle. That’s why I’ve made a point of focusing on utility-grade.

        We managed to dodge lightning in Texas. We never mandated those nonsensical subsidies for rooftop PV like they did in Germany and California, at least not on a state-wide level.

        But west Texas is perfect for utility solar, and ERCOT projects that’s going to take off. There are still no state subsidies for utility solar, other than maybe some reduction in local ad valorem taxes. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary, because local governments give those tax breaks to many types of businesses.

        So the only out of the ordinary subsidies these solar farms in west Texas get are the federal subsidies.

        Then ERCOT spent several billion dollars to expand the grid to west Texas — that’s where the wind and solar is. The consumers, on the other hand, are in central and south Texas.

        Here’s ERCOT’s projection of future generation capacity from various sources:

        If these projections come true the problem, as with all wind and solar systems, is the intermittency problem. ERCOT has dealt with this issue as the cavalry generals of 1914 dealt with the machine gun — by ignoring it. It looks like they’re hoping for some miracle on the energy storage front.

      • The majority of this whole renewables movement is supposed to be for those poor pitiful third worlders, so developing for the soon to be irate masses should be a priority.

        I don’t see it that way. The real point is to wean our entire civilization off of fossil fuels, while minimizing the impact of emitted CO2 without impacting energy prices.

        Thus, the 3rd worlders should get flex-fuel CCGT, as quickly as possible, and the developed world should switch from coal to CCGT as quickly as possible, while deploying as much solar (and, I suppose, wind) as is economical.

        Solar is right now just about cost-effective as a supplement for CCGT, in terms of eliminated fuel costs. As the price comes down (via Wright’s “Law” with increased volume), it will become cost-effective to increase the capacity until it reaches roughly the same as max demand.

        The excess from solar can be converted to gas fuel. At first H2, which can be fed into an existing distribution network up to around 3% (IIRC), then, with improving technology, the H2 can be combined with ambient-sourced CO2 to create methane, which can replace fossil gas up to 100%.

        In around 15-20 years, solar power→gas/liquid fuel will probably be cheaper than fracking it out of the ground, or from sea-floor methane hydrate. At that point, the world can quickly progress entirely off of fossil fuels to solar, and perhaps wind.

        Also at that point, Wright’s “Law” will have worked together with large volumes of CO2 extraction for power→gas/liquid fuel to bring down the price of CO2 extraction, and increase the available volume, so that massive carbon sequestration can take place. Thus removing all the extra carbon already added to the system today, as well as that added in the near-term future.

      • ERCOT has dealt with this issue as the cavalry generals of 1914 dealt with the machine gun — by ignoring it. It looks like they’re hoping for some miracle on the energy storage front.

        I don’t know, how does the capacity for NG compare to projected maximum demand?

        Thing is, solar (and wind) can pay for itself in reduced fuel costs as long as (gas) CCGT has the capacity to handle the max demand. It’s only if they’re expecting to depend on some combination of intermittents and CCGT to meet max demand that they’re taking any significant risk.

        Unless I’m reading the colors wrong on that chart, gas CCGT is way up there compared to the others.

      • AK,

        They’re projecting that by 2031 there will be a need for 4,000 MW of either flexible generation capacity or storage capacity.

        Sure, this can be met by flexible generation capacity. Double your pleasure. Double your fun. Double your costs.

      • Double your pleasure. Double your fun. Double your costs.

        Are you familiar with the relative capitalization costs of CCGT, coal, solar, and wind?

        The notion that there’s “something wrong” with redundant capacity is a myth. As any (good) engineer knows, redundancy is good, even essential, in some places (in the design).

      • AK,

        RE permitting costs coming down.

        Unlikely. I build infrastructure and permitting costs generally are rising.

      • I build infrastructure and permitting costs generally are rising.

        The Sunshot Program is working on lowering “soft” costs, including permitting.

        According to this document:

        Through the Rooftop Solar Challenge (RSC 1 and 2), SunShot has benchmarked hundreds of communities and empowered them to advance their solar market maturity through measures that have saved Americans nearly 800 years of “red tape” related roadblocks to date. These projects have shortened permitting and inspection times by 40% and reduced permitting fees by 12% for participants.

        Similar initiatives are, AFAIK, under weigh for utility and commercial solar.

        Such efforts would certainly fit in with Trump’s proposed policies if elected, and since they’re already under weigh, it seems likely that Clinton would also continue them.

      • @captdallas
        “However, a home owner can significantly reduce their electric use and have some level of off grid reliability. ”

        I wouldn’t call 25~30% “significant”. That’s the most one can do without battery storage.
        The advantage of self-consumption pays only if there are lavish “incentives” that go with the non-self-consumed fraction of the electricity produced… like the 40+ cEuro/kWh awarded few years ago in Germany or Italy… an un-sustainable drain of resources pulled out of the wallets of all those who couldn’t afford a PV system on their roof.
        And if one factors in the cost of battery storage then the economy of the operation gets much, much worse.
        Battery costs do not follow a Moore’s law… they could drop their costs significantly only if most of their production moved to China/Taiwan, like PV cells/modules/panels have done (and are still doing…. ~70% are fabricated over there).

      • @green cheerleader
        “The excess from solar can be converted to gas fuel. At first H2, which can be fed into an existing distribution network up to around 3% (IIRC),”

        Yeah!… right!… you take a kWh generated at 15-20% capacity factor, to make H2 via hydrolysis at 50% efficiency, and then make electricity burning the H2 mixed with natural gas… at 60% efficiency at best:
        0.15*0.5*0.6=?

        Intermittent renewables will NEVER EVER be able to take the place of FF or nuclear power stations: forget about it, pal!

      • Yeah!… right!… you take a kWh generated at 15-20% capacity factor, to make H2 via hydrolysis at 50% efficiency, and then make electricity burning the H2 mixed with natural gas… at 60% efficiency at best:
        0.15*0.5*0.6=?

        Nope.

        You can’t add the capacity factor. Give it a round-trip efficiency of ~30% from PV bus to CCGT bus. NOTE: no inversion is necessary since electrolysis uses DC in, but we do have to add a step for 4H2+CO2→CH4+2H2O.

        Using numbers from here (there’s some variation in numbers from different resources), the current LCOE for solar PV scheduled for 2018 is around 7.1¢/KWHr (p 12). Equivalent for advanced CCGT is around 4.8¢/KWHr (p 12), of which perhaps 1.5¢/KWHr is capital costs and fixed O&M.

        Let’s suppose by 2040 the cost for solar PV has come down to 0.6¢/KWHr, which we divide by 30% yielding 2¢/KWHr, then add the 1.5¢/KWHr for CCGT capital&fixed O&E yielding 3.5¢/KWHr. Subtracting that from the 4.8¢/KWHr for gas CCGT yields 1.3¢/KWHr for electrolysis and Sabatier reaction.

        Could the prices of this hardware actually be brought down that far by 2040? Probably. IMO.

        Intermittent renewables will NEVER EVER be able to take the place of FF or nuclear power stations: forget about it, pal!

        Denial. It ain’t just a river in Egypt.

      • @green cheerleader

        “As any (good) engineer knows, redundancy is good, even essential, in some places (in the design).”

        Yeah!… sure!… everybody here has 4 houses, and 5 cars… because “every good engineer knows that redundancy is good”.

        I don’t know what it is but it must be good.

      • Yeah!… sure!… everybody here has 4 houses, and 5 cars… because “every good engineer knows that redundancy is good”.

        Not only can’t read, but spouts straw men.

      • Alright, looking around, I see estimates ranging from 6-10 years for a 50% reduction in PV module cost. But here’s the latest (AFAIK), and peer-reviewed to boot:

        How predictable is technological progress? by J. Doyne Farmera, François Lafond Research Policy Volume 45, Issue 3, April 2016, Pages 647–665

        [… A] watt of solar photovoltaic capacity cost $256 in 1956 (Perlin, 1999) (about $1910 in 2013 dollars) vs. $0.82 in 2013, dropping in price by a factor of about 2330. Since 1980 photovoltaic modules have decreased in cost at an average rate of about 10% per year. [my emphasis]

        This corresponds to a 50% reduction in around 6.56 years. (web calculator for those wanting to check.)

        If you look at the last 1/2 decade or so, you’ll see that the price has been dropping much faster than that, although it’s just making up for a “pause” right after 2000.

        So for the last decade, a figure of 5-6 years is ballpark.

      • “I wouldn’t call 25~30% “significant”. That’s the most one can do without battery storage.”

        You can get a little higher by adding a little energy management and just using batteries for led lighting and basic needs. There are some dedicated off griders (preppers) that have done some interesting stuff. Of course they have passive solar hot water and propane for cooking to reduce electric and more dedicated 12 vdc appliances to save on inverters.

        As far as building a 3000 plus sq. ft. show house to impress investors, that is kind of dumb to begin with.

      • “Yeah!… right!… you take a kWh generated at 15-20% capacity factor, to make H2 via hydrolysis at 50% efficiency, and then make electricity burning the H2 mixed with natural gas… at 60% efficiency at best:
        0.15*0.5*0.6=?”

        Actually, the conversion efficiency isn’t as much a problem as the storage inefficiency and cost. 50% efficiency when the energy is going to be wasted anyway is a big time bonus. Grid connection was supposed to be the salvation but easier said than done.

      • Steve Mosher: So when you work with components for a while you understand that
        the cost of pcb doesnt scale down like moores law, caps, inductors, resistors, connectors… they dont scale down like ASICs do.

        It could work out like the cost reductions in personal computers (incl cell phones) and their components, fiber optic cable, and such.

        The costs for installed roof-mounted systems that I have seen around here (San Diego Co.) have been falling at about 10% per year. So full system prices are falling more slowly, in percentage terms, than the prices of the PV cells, but they are falling.

        The idea that “stuff” can not decrease in price was well-critiqued by Julian Simon. I know a guy who earns money by recycling the stuff in discarded computer components — even the gold earns him a very low hourly wage, and the rest is mostly ground into paving stones.

        I think it’s hard to maintain a balanced perspective on PV power — glory is always just beyond the horizon, but costs are falling. There is no good reason I can think of so far to be extremely confident that the system costs in 30 years will or won’t exceed 7% of what they are now. It all depends on persistent investment of time and talent.

        As an aside, Right now CAISO reports that about 8,000 MW out of 24,000 MW of total supply to their customers is coming from renewables. (http://www.caiso.com/Pages/TodaysOutlook.aspx). I think CA has a bad policy that produces high electricity prices, but when current installations are replaced, the replacement costs might be much lower.

      • Good engineers take a hard look at cost and practicality. Your stringing together of renewables and gas turbine plants inevitably leads to higher consumer prices because debt repayment and profits have to be covered by the poor capacity of the asset components. Stated differently, the cost of power from the gas turbines (combined-cycle) is much lower if renewables are simply “deep-sided”.

        The fact that renewables have been bleating for forced subsidies for decades demonstrates the inherent lack of competiveness of the technology.

      • Stated differently, the cost of power from the gas turbines (combined-cycle) is much lower if renewables are simply “deep-sided”.

        Wrong.

        The fact that renewables have been bleating for forced subsidies for decades demonstrates the inherent lack of competiveness of the technology.

        Nope.

        Maybe you should read up on Wright’s “Law”. Or the link above (which uses Moore’s “Law”, by analogy). Or here.

      • According to the document I linked above, the LCOE for advanced CCGT scheduled for 2018 is around 4.8¢/KWHr. The capital cost and fixed O&M add up to ~1.52¢/KWHr.

        Multiply that by 87% assumed capacity factor to get 1.3224¢/KWHr and divide by 67% (subtracting out a 20% capacity for solar) to get about 1.974(1.973731343283582)¢/KWHr, then subtract the original 1.52 to get ~0.45(0.453731343283582)¢/KWHr difference in LCOE.

        Add in the original 4.8¢/KWHr to get ~5.254(5.253731343283582)¢/KWHr. That’s the adjusted LCOE for gas CCGT with solar PV filling in 20% capacity.

        4.8¢/KWHr is hardly “much lower” than 5.25¢/KWHr.

        Let’s suppose that, by 2023, solar PV installed has an LCOE of 2.984¢/KWHr. We average that at 20% capacity with the 5.254¢/KWHr at 80%: (4×5.254+2.984)/5=4.8¢/KWHr.

        So that’s the break-even point for solar PV. Without subsidy. If new installed utility-scale PV continues its ~13%/year decline, it will actually be at ~2.7¢/KWHr by 2023.

      • AK: If new installed utility-scale PV continues its ~13%/year decline, it will actually be at ~2.7¢/KWHr by 2023.

        At what rate is the cost of electricity from CCGT declining? Just curious.

      • ristvan: Finally, depending on details (solar tracking, utility v. Residential), about 40-60% of the system cost is ‘everything else’ (mounts, intall labor, wiring, inverter) that does not follow a learning curve and has come down almost negligible amounts in the past decade.
        Ars Technica may be a fan of solar, but the real world no revolution is coming. And there would not be the installed base that exists now without massive true subsidies.

        30 years ago a DEC MicroVax II cost about $10,000. That much computing power, with a better operating system and communications, is available for about $500 now. Put differently, a box that size, power consumption, and price now has about 100 times the computing power, lots more disk space, and a better operating system.

        PV system prices are falling. There is no especially compelling argument that they can not continue to fall for the next 30 years, or that they necessarily will do so. It’s all a matter of perseverent investment.

      • At what rate is the cost of electricity from CCGT declining? Just curious.

        I don’t know about the capital part. Most of the cost LCOE depends on projecting fuel costs which are pretty much fantasies.

        Natural gas prices for electric power utilities are charted here. As you can see, gas costs have come down considerably since 2008.

        Given the current complaints about oil and gas prices being too low to support extraction, there may be a good chance that the price will go back up.

        IIRC these are prices at Henry Hub; actual price will vary by region, depending on transport costs.

        The data can be downloaded into a spreadsheet, I’ve done that and played around a bit with payback periods for various combinations of PV and gas prices, Nothing I’d be ready to publish, even in a comment here.

        But, IMO, if we can rely on PV to continue its exponential decline (or even help it some), it would be reasonable to roll out CCGT as quickly as possible for everybody, while planning on melding in solar over the next decade or two.

      • This matches very well my semiconductor understanding, but leave out the reliability of semiconductor electronics, and that solar suffers from 3 of the 4 main factors.
        Heat
        Thermal cycles
        Environment

        It just doesn’t have much in the way of vibration.

        Mtbf for 10 40 year panels is about 10 years before they start exhibiting failures.

      • For that matter, the mass of silicon required for the FET’s needed for inversion can probably be reduced

        No, no, no. Totally and completely wrong. The size is dictated by managing heat. Voltage requires a certain physical size, as does current density, but where these are limited is the reliability due to heat,and they will get hot.
        You can almost double power ratings with liquid cooling, but that isn’t very cheap, or reliable.

      • But, IMO, if we can rely on PV to continue its exponential decline

        But you just can’t. Moores law isn’t applicable.

      • [… S]olar suffers from 3 of the 4 main factors.
        Heat
        Thermal cycles
        Environment

        Actually, I’ve been playing around with some ideas for that:

        If you enclose your panel in an inflated sphere of plastic (e.g. Mylar) filled with hydrogen, maybe 1-3 meters across. You could cool the hydrogen and blow it along the face of the “panel”, carrying away the heat and eliminating both heat and thermal cycles.

        Another advantage is that the panel could be steered in two dimensions (2-axis) with extremely light and cheap elements made from inflated plastic, because they’d all be isolated from environmental effects. (Except inertial forces from wind buffeting, but if the inflated supports are made from flexible materials, the whole assembly could simply fly out of shape/position when buffeted, then return when the shaking is over.)

        Of course, there’s the risk of fire, but with proper design, and separation, I suspect that could be dealt with. Alternatively, you could use pressurized air/nitrogen, but they don’t conduct heat as well.

        Mtbf for 10 40 year panels is about 10 years before they start exhibiting failures.

        Yeah, IMO the best approach is to assume a regular (hopefully small) rate of failure, and an automated process to replace failed units and bring them in for re-manufacture.

        An advantage of this approach is that it could substantially reduce your initial capital cost.

      • For that matter, the mass of silicon required for the FET’s needed for inversion can probably be reduced

        No, no, no. Totally and completely wrong. The size is dictated by managing heat. Voltage requires a certain physical size, as does current density, but where these are limited is the reliability due to heat,and they will get hot.

        I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can almost double power ratings with liquid cooling, but that isn’t very cheap, or reliable.

        Actually, it’s getting both cheaper and more reliable every year, exponentially.

        But IMO the best option is a sort of heat-pipe technology using a light hydrocarbon and passive flow with differential surface tension. It probably wouldn’t allow you to pack more current onto a single area of chip, but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

      • But, IMO, if we can rely on PV to continue its exponential decline

        But you just can’t. Moores law isn’t applicable.

        But Wright’s “Law” is. And all you need is the proper supply/demand economics combined with Wright’s “Law” to produce the exact sort of exponential effect that “Moore’s Law” does.

        In fact, Nagy et al. found:

        This evidence from information technologies [24], and the results presented here, suggest that Moore may perform significantly worse than Wright over longer time horizons.

      • AK: it would be reasonable to roll out CCGT as quickly as possible for everybody, while planning on melding in solar over the next decade or two.

        Thank you for the reply.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        That just makes them fragile. Maybe with poly crystal there might be an advantage, but they probably don’t deposit anymore silicon crystal than the bare minimum already.
        For mono crystal they grow ingots, and then saw them into slices. You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

        If you mean cool the back of the bottom one, would cool all of the them, that doesn’t work either. Cray sprayed fluorocarbons directly on the processors, all processors. I don’t think even a bath would would work, it’d boil in the thin layer between layers.

        I do like the inflatable mounts, though I don’t know hydrogen would be okay, and they would have to take a battering from wind and flying stuff, but maybe it would make a cheap tilting mount.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

        but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

        If you mean cool the back of the bottom one, would cool all of the them, that doesn’t work either. […] I don’t think even a bath would would work, it’d boil in the thin layer between layers.

        Boiling (or rather evaporating in place) is the idea.

        What I’m thinking of is to stack chip, flat heat pipe, chip, flat heat pipe, etc.

        The heat pipes would use a light hydrocarbon rather than water, alcohol, or ammonia, so it could lie right on top of the top of the chip. Put microchannels on the back of each chip, with coatings and intermediate flow channels (threads) all made of polymerized hydrocarbons. That way the top of each chip could be covered with a layer of evaporating liquid.

        I do like the inflatable mounts, though I don’t know hydrogen would be okay, and they would have to take a battering from wind and flying stuff, but maybe it would make a cheap tilting mount.

        I’m actually playing around with lots of designs, the hydrogen is for the ones light enough to carry their own weight, although the higher thermal conductivity would help elsewhere as well.

        One design criterion I’m assuming will be built-in is ability for dynamic replacement. This means a module that’s broken by a bird, and a module that fails in the PV, could both be replaced by an automated system.

        Then it’s just a matter of finding the optimum balance between fragility/failure rate and cost.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

        but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

        If you mean cool the back of the bottom one, would cool all of the them, that doesn’t work either. […] I don’t think even a bath would would work, it’d boil in the thin layer between layers.

        Boiling (or rather evaporating in place) is the idea.

        What I’m thinking of is to stack chip, flat heat pipe, chip, flat heat pipe, etc.

        The heat pipes would use a light hydrocarbon rather than water, alcohol, or ammonia, so it could lie right on top of the top of the chip. Put microchannels on the back of each chip, with coatings and intermediate flow channels (threads) all made of polymerized hydrocarbons. That way the top of each chip could be covered with a layer of evaporating liquid.

        I do like the inflatable mounts, though I don’t know hydrogen would be okay, and they would have to take a battering from wind and flying stuff, but maybe it would make a cheap tilting mount.

        I’m actually playing around with lots of designs, the hydrogen is for the ones light enough to carry their own weight, although the higher thermal conductivity would help elsewhere as well.

        One design criterion I’m assuming will be built-in is ability for dynamic replacement. This means a module that’s broken by a bird, and a module that fails in the PV, could both be replaced by an automated system.

        Then it’s just a matter of finding the optimum balance between fragility/failure rate and cost.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

        but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

        If you mean cool the back of the bottom one, would cool all of the them, that doesn’t work either. […] I don’t think even a bath would would work, it’d boil in the thin layer between layers.

        Boiling (or rather evaporating in place) is the idea.

        What I’m thinking of is to stack chip, flat heat pipe, chip, flat heat pipe, etc.

        The heat pipes would use a light hydrocarbon rather than water, alcohol, or ammonia, so it could lie right on top of the top of the chip. Put microchannels on the back of each chip, with coatings and intermediate flow channels (threads) all made of polymerized hydrocarbons. That way the top of each chip could be covered with a layer of evaporating liquid.

        I do like the inflatable mounts, though I don’t know hydrogen would be okay, and they would have to take a battering from wind and flying stuff, but maybe it would make a cheap tilting mount.

        I’m actually playing around with lots of designs, the hydrogen is for the ones light enough to carry their own weight, although the higher thermal conductivity would help elsewhere as well.

        One design criterion I’m assuming will be built-in is ability for dynamic replacement. This means a module that’s broken by a bird, and a module that fails in the PV, could both be replaced by an automated system.

        Then it’s just a matter of finding the optimum balance between fragility/failure rate and cost.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfol1ation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

      • I was talking about making them thinner.

        You can order them thinner, but at Harris they just broke easier.

        I was actually thinking of Proton Induced Exfoliation.

        There’s also a good possibility that the cost of semiconductor grade silicon ingots may come down far and fast.

        but it could potentially allow you to stack 20-30 chips/cm while allowing the coolant to flow along the back-side of the chip above.

        If you mean cool the back of the bottom one, would cool all of the them, that doesn’t work either. […] I don’t think even a bath would would work, it’d boil in the thin layer between layers.

        Boiling (or rather evaporating in place) is the idea.

        What I’m thinking of is to stack chip, flat heat pipe, chip, flat heat pipe, etc.

        The heat pipes would use a light hydrocarbon rather than water, alcohol, or ammonia, so it could lie right on top of the top of the chip. Put microchannels on the back of each chip, with coatings and intermediate flow channels (threads) all made of polymerized hydrocarbons. That way the top of each chip could be covered with a layer of evaporating liquid.

        I do like the inflatable mounts, though I don’t know hydrogen would be okay, and they would have to take a battering from wind and flying stuff, but maybe it would make a cheap tilting mount.

        I’m actually playing around with lots of designs, the hydrogen is for the ones light enough to carry their own weight, although the higher thermal conductivity would help elsewhere as well.

        One design criterion I’m assuming will be built-in is ability for dynamic replacement. This means a module that’s broken by a bird, and a module that fails in the PV, could both be replaced by an automated system.

        Then it’s just a matter of finding the optimum balance between fragility/failure rate and cost.

    • Yes. But very few people notice history when it comes to energy, not journalists, and certainly not politicians. As I showed in my 2013 book on US energy policy, congressional debates in the 2000s seemed to have been cut and pasted from the Congressional Record of the 1970s with just the names changed. I recall solar was said to be “there” in 1978; turned out that, to quote Gertrude Stein, there was no there. there.

      • David Wojick

        I remember it well because I taught Technology and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon in the 1970s. One huge difference is that back then we built a big national fleet of coal fired and nuclear power plants, to save natural gas for higher uses.

        Since 2000 we have been switching to natural gas for juice, building almost nothing but a great new fleet of gas fired plants. In both cases all the talk has been about renewables, but it is still just talk. Maybe next time we will finally go renewable, in 40 years or so, if we can solve the storage problem. A big if.

    • The Universal Solar PV Constant is equal to the Universal Fusion Constant. Practical applications are forever 20 years in the future.

  7. Greenland ice dating. This was previously known from the NEEM core. Good to get further confirmations.

    • A waste of time since it requires asking questions and some dipsticks around here think that is verbotten.

      • Steven Mosher

        Honest questions are ok.
        trying to argue in the form of a question… weak. And I dont like weak arguments..

      • I don’t like weak answers. I really don’t like scripted answers. There is a link to a paper by Chris Close on how asymmetrical hemispheric forcing can do strange and wonderful things. J. R. Toggwieler mentioned that the impact of such could be quite significant and take quite some time to resolve itself. Last I heard from you is the scripted, “there is no evidence of long term persistence.”

      • Steven Mosher

        too funny.

        models are now evidence.

      • “too funny.

        models are now evidence.”

        Typical Mosher

      • Steven Mosher

        and precipitation is now temperature

      • “and precipitation is now temperature”

        I belief precipitation is part of climate. “Temperature” by itself isn’t all the great as a “climate” index. The main “evidence” for hemispheric asymmetry is sea surface temperatures which have a fairly “robust” influence on precipitation and provide a reasonable proxy for energy in the system.

      • I belief precipitation is part of climate. “Temperature” by itself isn’t all the great as a “climate” index.

        Yes, and global average temperature doesn’t mean much.

        Like politics, all climate is local.

      • Steven Mosher

        captain follow the argument.

        Mosher: there is no evidence of LTP in temperature
        Captain: look at this modelling study on volcanos and hydrology
        Mosher: A) models are not evidence. B)precipitation is not temperature

        yes hydrology is a part of climate.

        Come back when you have evidence ( it would have to paleo ) of LTP
        in temerapture… and then I will ask you how the paleo was calibrated
        and it you trust the instrument record.

      • “Come back when you have evidence ( it would have to paleo ) of LTP
        in temerapture… and then I will ask you how the paleo was calibrated
        and it you trust the instrument record.”

        Which temperature record? I spent a week or so digging out paleo reconstructions for tropical oceans about the time Rosenthal et al where working on the Pacific ocean heat content reconstruction. Prior to the Karl et al. “repair”, I matched ERSST to the region, included sea level rise as a proxy for OHC and even included BEST and CET scaled because of the pesky land amplification. Agreed extremely well with Rosenthal et al. and seems to be agreeing with some of the more recent “corrected” PAGES2k reconstructions. Unlike “global” temperature, the tropical regions have much less noise, natural and adjustment wise.

        You seem to be stuck in a denialist rut Moshpit. The new younger science cadre is liable to clean your clock. Btw about that pre-1950 SST repair by Karl et al. I have heard much.

      • Steven Mosher: Honest questions are ok.

        Are you the one uniquely qualified to judge which questions are honest? You skip most questions put to you. Trying to argue in the form of a question is called a “Socratic dialogue”. It is a good way to reveal limits and contradictions in a person’s opinions, though it generally is insufficient by itself to produce solutions to problems..

    • Willis Eschenbach

      Many thanks for a great read, Steven. Any story connecting three of my heroes, Danny Hillel, Richard Feynmann, and Steven Wolfram, has got to be good, and that was very good.

      w.

  8. Willis Eschenbach

    FINALLY! An article on Judith’s wonderful site that doesn’t explain the lack of trust of scientists as a “communications problem” … from the article:


    This weekend RealClearScience ran an editorial bemoaning the public’s distrust of science. The author explains away the problem by insisting that the public is naive, rooked by Republican “pandering,” and uninterested in a scientific establishment “too old, too male,” and not “representative.”

    In essence, she answers her own question. Reasonable people distrust science because of the way scientists treat them.

    The truth is that many scientists pick political sides, look down their noses at the public, and play politically correct games. I think the public is on to something. I wouldn’t trust us either.

    The condescension is the worst part. Many research scientists who fret and wail about public ignorance live off the public dime. Our microscopes, our labs, our pipettes and our particle colliders are bought with taxpayers’ money. They pay our salaries too.

    So when we tell them how stupid they are, how ignorant and backward and wrong they are, why shouldn’t they be angry?”

    And the author doesn’t even get to the part about where a number of mainstream climate scientists have been caught lying and cheating and packing peer review panels and engaging in wire fraud to put their case forwards … there are many very good reasons why much of the public doesn’t trust climate science or climate scientists, and very few of them have to do with poor communication skills.

    w.

    • Steven Mosher

      kumbuya….

      ‘But most people simply want to know that someone is listening, that someone is taking their worries seriously; that someone cares for them.”

      what a load of tripe.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        Steven, you truly need to update your posting game. I have no idea what “kumbuya” (kumbaya?) means to you, nor does anyone else.

        Nor does your comment even touch the important question the author raised, and which I quoted, viz:

        So when we tell them how stupid they are, how ignorant and backward and wrong they are, why shouldn’t they be angry?

        Not to mention when the scientists flat-out lie to us and commit wire fraud to promote their bogus claims … yes, we damn well should be angry.

        Now, what in hell do those real-world issues have to do with kumbuya, whatever that is?

        w.

      • Steven Mosher

        sorry willis, there were TWO realclimatescience editorials.

  9. Article about future study of clouds and aerosols.

    “NASA aircraft probe Namibian clouds to solve global warming puzzle”

    http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/08/nasa-aircraft-probe-namibian-clouds-solve-global-warming-puzzle

  10. Judy,

    thanks for the links. (Geoff Chambers posted a masterful, non-parodic summary of events directly after the articles you link to at CliScep.)

    Willis, you forgot to mention scientists, of sorts, who use our taxes to elaborate theories accusing half the population of—alternately—being conspiracy theorists (LOG12), or of conspiring to undermine them and “their” “science” (The Subterranean War on Science).

    And you forgot pseudonymous pseudoscientists like ‘And Then There’s Physics’ who publicly admit their own research, paid for by us truly, is “strategy, not science,” but “see nothing wrong with that.”

    Otherwise +1.

    Warning: the link goes to ATTP’s site. But the comment exposes his inverted mental model of science, so it’s worth a laugh if you haven’t read it before.

  11. California energy storage. The CPUC mandated MW when it needs MWh of storage. The mandate is nonsense from a grid reliability/renewable intermittency standpoint. The reason was lobbying by the California Energy Storage Association (all the usual battery suspects plus VC backed battery startups). They can provide the MW and they know they cannot provide the MWh that California renewables actually need. The electric utilities don’t care, they just salute and pass the costs along.
    An article alleging the grid storage problem is being solves is just factually wrong.

    • What it needs is MW with sufficient time capacity to meet the purposes involved. See slides 8&9 here. Voltage support, ancillary services, peaker load following, and, if I’m understanding properly, filling in the transitions between intermittent and CCGT. I’d guess 20-40 minutes, Planning Engineer could probably give a better estimate.

      According to this page SCE, for instance, is adding 1.284GWatts of CCGT as well as a few hundred MW of storage.

      The full PDF DECISION AUTHORIZING LONG-TERM PROCUREMENT FOR LOCAL CAPACITY REQUIREMENTS.

      • AK, you may have missed the significance of my comment. Intermitancy is some number of hours (say 12 for solar) times the intermitant capacity installed that has to be bridged. So you need MWh, not MW. Grid storage is ALWAYS specified as MW x hours. All pumped storage caacity. All battery storage. New Tesla super battery is speced 100kwh.
        So the official CPUC mandate is no different than a poker tell. Its a cheat that gives the game away.

      • AK, you may have missed the significance of my comment. Intermitancy is some number of hours (say 12 for solar) times the intermitant capacity installed that has to be bridged.

        No, I didn’t. You just didn’t read my comment.

        According to the links I provided, my guess is that they need 20-40 minutes.

      • AK, I did but discounted. 40 minutes storage is sufficient to offset 12 hour solar and multiday wind??? No matter your peak load assumptions, you fail on basic math. Not worth debating further.

      • AK, I did but discounted. […] Not worth debating further.

        Denial. It ain’t just a river in Egypt.

      • @green cheerleader

        “According to the links I provided, my guess is that they need 20-40 minutes.”

        On which planet is night lasting only 20-40 minutes? Not earth, for sure.
        Not even a nice try, this time… you can do better.

      • Yet another knee-jerk naysayer who can’t read.

        Sigh…

      • @green cheerleader
        “See slides 8&9 here. ”

        Exactly. Slide 8 is a simple list of examples… for the dummies… while slide 9 gives some numbers IN MEGAWATTS!… which is NOT the correct unit of measure for ENERGY, my friend!

    • Curious George

      This is not a law for engineers. It is a law by lawyers to benefit lawyers.

  12. Energy storage: opportunities and obstacles.

    The problems with intermittent sources of power are wicked, as Germany is discovering. The largest problem is not diurnal variation, it is seasonal and random variation.

    The author quotes Brick and Thernstrom:

    “If I live in Sacramento, the difference in solar output between January and June is a factor of three,” said Brick.

    “So the same unit on my house will make three times the electricity in a typical June than in a typical January. If I’m a facility owner, the problem I have is, if I want to make sure I generate my needs in January, I’m going to overbuild my system relative to what I need in June.”

    And they note that applying pumped hydro storage to fix the surplus problem… would require California building more than 200 more [pumped hydro] facilities.

    Well… this is exactly what Germany has “discovered”. If you just want to build enough storage to meet diurnal variation you must build solar+wind capacity to somewhere between 3-10 times that required for optimum solar+wind conditions. Or if you want to build the minimum amount of wind+solar to meet annual demand, then you will need huge amounts of vastly expensive storage. Unless there are some quantum breakthroughs in technology, California and Germany must have significant fossil fuel or nuclear backup or accept the very high costs of either wind+solar overcapacity or huge quantities of storage capacity.

    Likely we will see a combination of fairly expensive wind+solar capacity, plus a very expensive, complex and vulnerable adaptive grid, plus very expensive storage, plus fossil fuel “backup” which actually shoulders much of the burden on a fairly regular basis. There will be lots of money to be made by honest entrepreneurs and crooks and politicians, and lots of bills to be paid by rate-payers and tax-payers alike. But due to the up-front carbon costs there will be scarce carbon “savings” for at least a generation.

    • Curious George

      Who would have thought that the sun sets? Who would have thought that the wind does not always blow? (Regarding the second question, consult 17th century sailboat timetables, if you can find them. I could not.)

      In reality, it is all about a redistribution of wealth. From the poor to the rich, as usual.

    • Here’s what it looks like to the unfortunate ratepayers in California who have to pay for all this. And my guess is that it is only going to get worse. Much worse.

    • By 2020 the projection is that California will need 15,000 MW of flexible generation capacity to cope with the intermittency problem of wind and solar.

  13. In moderation. I guess it was the “c” word that got me it trouble.

  14. Another earthquake in Italy with tragic consequences, 280+ dead.
    Most of Italy sits on the African tectonic plate, riding onto the subducting European plate. Nothing special about it, except that just next to subducting line is the highest CO2 concentration to be found anywhere on the European continent. The frequent south westerlies take the CO2 in the NE direction across Dinaric Alps.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SEE-CO2
    It should be noted that there is hardly any industry in the area.
    So where all this excess of CO2 comes from?
    Test drilling has shown that the Adriatic sea (the inland extension of Mediterranean to the Italy’s north east) has moderate oil deposits at some depth.
    Is it likely that as the plate is forced further down, that with the temperature increase the oil deposits (or associated gasses) slowly combust releasing CO2 ?
    Geologists?

      • Vukcevic,
        See Figure 1 here:-
        https://webfiles.uci.edu/setrumbo/public/Methane_papers/Etiope_Atm%20Environm_2009.pdf

        Italy has a high concentration of known macro-seeps of methane, but you do not need to invoke combusion to explain the CO2. The methane is converted to CO2 either by hydroxyl reaction or by methanotrophs which accumulate around natural seeps as a nutrient source.

      • Kribaez tanks
        Interesting article. Fig.1. shows lot of methane seepage across rest of Europe, but no CO2 execs, while the location of the highest CO2 concentration shows no methane seepage.
        Puzzle remains, why here not there and vice versa?

      • Don’t forget there are simple deep-soil mechanisms that can release CO2. If acids from decomposing leaf litter seep into limestone or soil containing it, they will react to release CO2.

      • Also sulfates from bacterial oxidation of hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Europe is full of caves, and H2S from volcanic and biological sources can travel long distances.

        For that matter, so can calcium carbonate.

        There are also bacteria that can oxidize ammonia to nitrites/nitrates, with similar effect.,

        OTOH, notice when this map was taken: Oct 1-Nov 11. Centered in higher altitude areas where photosynthesis has pretty much stopped, while decay of leaf litter and soil carbon compounds would continue. It could just be that.

      • Thanks AK
        That all make sense, for a particular region, but not at the account of exclusion of the rest of Europe.
        As matter of interest Dinaric Alps rising off the Croatia’s coastline are mostly rocky and not particularly rich in woodland or vegetation in general.
        The puzzle still persists, why here not over there.

  15. Hemispheric asymmetrical volcanic forcing causes the ITCZ to shift, imagine that? Climate science boggles the mind at times.

  16. one inexpert (graphic) comment on two expert interpretations

    “Science Highlights: Tipping Points” and
    “A Dummies’ Guide to ‘Debate, Denial and Doubt’ by Dummies, for Dummies”

  17. on the Arctic ice doom soap opera …
    Wadhams is doing politics not science.
    Just like the Clinton campaign.
    Playing through to the next news/election cycle.
    If your team wins, then you can declare truth by fiat.

    Especially if you think the public are fools and you fib by omission,
    Arctic will be ice free … (in the summer)
    Ice free … (except for the 1.5 million sq klicks)
    if you fail to mention that you have no idea what the long term norm is or if there even is such a thing
    or data since 1979
    Or that it has nothing to do with SLR

    As for Mann and Lewandowsky, I doubt that I have addressed your Lordships properly …bollocks.

  18. As I have pointed out there are many factors that determine global cloud coverage it is not just galactic cosmic rays therefore unless the values for GCR reach high threshold values for a sustained period of time it will be hard to see a correlation.

    The same can be said when the sun is in it’s normal 11 year so called sunspot cycle very hard to see the solar/climate connections.

    Some that try in vain to say a solar/climate connection does not exist try to isolate a given solar parameter versus the climate as an x change in one will equal an x change in the other and treat it as if it is in isolation which is misleading.

    As far as the data in my opinion it proves that the current climate is in no way unique ,it shows each and every time there is a prolonged solar minimum period the global temperature response is down and vice versa .

    I have laid out the extreme solar parameters which I think will bring global temperatures down which up to today since the ending of the Dalton Minimum have not taken place except for a brief period of time between years 2008-2010, therefore we did not have any cooling or any other notable solar effects versus the climate through out that entire time period, which I have said time and time again would be the case. The solar effects are there however, but normal climate noise obscures them to the point where no real pattern can be discerned.

    Once my solar values are reached and sustained which I have posted many times only then will the solar/climate connections start to show up in a more obvious way. At that point the solar effects should be able to rise beyond the normal climate noise which is in the climatic system.

    I expect this is happening now ,and I think this time the duration of the low average value solar parameters I have called for moving forward will be long enough so that a more definite solar/climate connection will start to be realized.

    We should find out as we move ahead.

    • “The solar effects are there however, but normal climate noise obscures them to the point where no real pattern can be discerned.”

      Here’s a real pattern. It predicts that the solar factor responsible must weaker around the sunspot maxima of 1969 and 1980 and generally stronger between them, and the full reverse of that during a warm AMO, being stronger around the sunspot maxima, and generally weaker between.

  19. Re The centrality of mathematics in the history of western thought. I am surprised that Judith Grabiner’s essay does not mention the works of Bertrand Russell – Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy, Russell and Bertrand and Alfred North Whitehouse’s – Principia Mathematica and Ludwig Wittgenstein’s – Tracticus and Philosophical Investigations (latter begat the “duck – rabbit” symbolism). Is it a duck or a rabbit?
    https://imageshack.com/i/pm2QWD08j

    • Curious George

      These important works are more about mathematical logic than mathematics. Euclid’s axioms influenced generations. Russel attempted to carry them to the extreme – to cover the whole mathematics. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your opinion, Kurt Goedel showed that there are limits to axiomatization. You may even perceive the invisible hand of God there.

    • DW, skimmed and left as interesting but not going near far enough. Also nothing on Hilberts ‘eliminate ignoramous’ program or Kurt Geodel’s wonderful proof that isn’t possible, which provides a new definition of knowing and uncertainty. Nothing on Shannon’s information theory.

      That math informs thought is obvious. Therefore maths evolution evolves thought more generally. My own personal epiphany was mathematical chaos theory popularized by Gleick’s best seller Chaos. I published the very first peer reviewed theoretical plus experimental application to microeconomics, specifically to factory productivity. Explained the 6 sigma productivity results, a large survey of kanban manufacturers productivity, and a specific issue in the US then largest truck assembly plant. A single mathematical idea that related seemingly different economic observations in a beautiful simple way.

  20. For the past 111 years (1905-2016), humanity has been the captive passenger on “Spaceship Earth” sailing through the stormy sea of “Space Weather” –

    http://www.spaceweather.gc.ca/sbg-en.php

    That is but one of the social costs from overlooking or intentionally hiding the source of energy Einstein discovered in 1905: E = mc^2

  21. Kudos to the University of Chicago Dean for his letter regarding safe spaces and trigger warnings. Also noted recently is a statement by a Harvard professor of Psychiatry who believes over half of college students are suffering some sort of mental disorder. Whether he is able to clinically substantiate such a claim, I suggest the two issues are not unrelated. Too many people are growing up believing that life should meet their expectations rather than them meeting life’s expectations. When did mental toughness become out of favor?

    But just when things are looking up, we understand that a University of Iowa medical professor is challenging the Athletic Department for the school’s logo and mascot, deeming them too scary and suggesting violence.

    Ooh well, the insanity goes on.

    • Curious George

      In an ideal world for a psychiatrist everybody (except her/himself) suffers from a mental disorder. Is a political correctness a mental disorder?

  22. Delaying mitigation to 2040 could require 160 years of geoengineering to stay below 2 C

    Why do we need to stay below 2 C? What is the empirical evidence to show that 2 C warming will be significantly harmful? What is the empirical evidence to calibrate the damage functions used in the IAMs? What are the uncertainties in the damage estimates?

    • We don’t. Schnellnhuber of PIK admitted he made it up for ‘marketing’ purposes. And now that sensitivity says maybe 1,6 rayher than 3, the warmunists are trying to lower 2C to 1.5C. Without much success s they had so anchored on 2.

      • Rud,

        I lean towards this view too. I am trying to challenge those who believe in CAGW to provide convincing evidence to support their contention that a doubling of CO2 concentrations (or even higher) would do significantly more harm than good.

      • the coming solar PV revolution: Rising from today’s 227 gigawatts, IRENA estimates that “solar PV capacity could reach between 1,760 and 2,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.”

        This represents a rise from today’s 2% share of global electricity generated by solar PV, to around 13% by 2030.

        That’s something, but is it a “revolution”?

      • This represents a rise from today’s 2% share of global electricity generated by solar PV, to around 13% by 2030.

        That’s something, but is it a “revolution”?

        A better estimate would be 2023. But I’m not sure even that should be called a ”revolution

  23. Engineered Bacterium Turns Carbon Dioxide into Methane Fuel

    I think that counts as evidence against the case that science is “broken”. It’s only one line of research, but it fits well with Vannevar Bush’s vison: Scientific progress on a broad front results from the free play of free intellects, working on subjects of their own choice, in the manner dictated by their curiosity for exploration of the unknown.

  24. oops badly nested:

    the coming solar PV revolution: Rising from today’s 227 gigawatts, IRENA estimates that “solar PV capacity could reach between 1,760 and 2,500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030.”

    This represents a rise from today’s 2% share of global electricity generated by solar PV, to around 13% by 2030.

    That’s something, but is it a “revolution”?

    • This represents a rise from today’s 2% share of global electricity generated by solar PV, to around 13% by 2030.

      That’s something, but is it a “revolution”?

      A better estimate would be 2022. But I’m not sure even that should be called a ”revolution

  25. from Mann and Lewandowsky: Skepticism can be distinguished from denial in a few key ways, like denial’s reliance on conspiracy theories, its tendency to attack scientists and its lack of peer-review.

    Gracious, we get a lot of that from true believers: reliance on conspiracy theories, its tendency to attack scientists and its lack of peer-review .

  26. Lewandowsky and Mann in psycho pen [link]

    Blessedly short.

    Mann v. Mann and Lewandowsky v Lewandowsky. Plus, the pair weigh in on the role of debate in science.

  27. “The FTC’s complaint alleges that OMICS Group, Inc., along with two affiliated companies and their president and director, Srinubabu Gedela, claim that their journals follow rigorous peer-review practices and have editorial boards made up of prominent academics. In reality, many articles are published with little to no peer review and numerous individuals represented to be editors have not agreed to be affiliated with the journals.

    According to the FTC’s complaint, OMICS does not tell researchers that they must pay significant publishing fees until after it has accepted an article for publication, and often will not allow researchers to withdraw their articles from submission, thereby making the research ineligible for publication in another journal. Academic ethics standards generally forbid researchers from submitting the same research to more than one journal.”

    Gee. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that someone caught once would learn. I wonder if Steven Mosher got caught twice?

    A case of “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

    As Steven might say – “Too funny!” Or too gullible, take your pick.

    Pardon my cynicism. Sharks prey on the unwary – particularly attention seeking wannabes.

    Cheers.

    • I think you made a good point that we should draw attention to “science” being a business and publication of “papers” being pray to “bate and switch” practices. Scientist portray themselves one way and seem to forget the rest of us are watching, with our own questions. Cynicism pardoned.

  28. Let us all pray
    that we are not a prey
    to those who would portray
    themselves as philosopher-kings
    or some such invincible-things.

  29. Pingback: Why scientists are losing the fight to communicate science to the public | Occam’s corner | Science | The Guardian – Noscibilis et Amabilis

  30. The green vision:

    As enabled by smart grid:

    By linking energy rates to “time of use,” electricity costs can be directly related to grid demand. This incentivizes customers to shift energy consumption to cheaper, “off-peak” times, to help reduce or avoid blackouts. Hot summer months and other peak demand times can therefore be relieved from heavy energy drains that often lead to rolling brownout programs.

    Grid-connected residential solar customers would be further incentivized to share excess energy at “peak” usage times, as they would be paid at the higher daytime rate. Shifting energy consumption to evening hours could result in buying back electricity from the grid at cheaper off-peak rates.

    Does anyone else find this offensive? More strings from the people who want to control how we live. I do not view constantly checking the spot price of energy as an added benefit to my life. People do not want to live this way, and should not need to.

    It seems to me prices would have to be pretty draconian for the poor to make the effective. Or, there is the other threat of brown-outs and blackouts. I somehow would not put denying electric services to control people’s behavior as beyond what is acceptable to some greens.

    • It’s a religion, and a very extreme, fundamentalist one at that, completely disconnected from the everyday, down-to-earth concerns of most people.

      • edbarber: It’s a problem when it is used to cover up the deficits of certain power generation techniques, like solar.

        It’s obvious that I prefer time of use pricing, with or without solar, and you do not. As to solar, in CA it’s the law, passed by the legislature and confirmed by referendum, so we are stuck with it.

    • edbarbar: Does anyone else find this offensive?

      “Time of use” electricity pricing is an improvement over constant pricing, because the supply at peak time of use, e.g. noon – 6pm, is more expensive than baseline supply, e.g.early morning..

      • The opinion of people I work with, who have developed smart grid back-bones, is that for all practical purposes no one will use time sensitive pricing.

        To make it work, you will have to make costs draconian. Note, this was in the context of making solar work, trying to mate consumption to the power generating characteristics of solar power.

        This is the green perspective, of some (I hope not most). In order to achieve what we want to achieve, we are willing to force others to behave in a manner we want them to. Not only is there an arrogance there, there is also a kind of evil.

      • edbarbar: The opinion of people I work with, who have developed smart grid back-bones, is that for all practical purposes no one will use time sensitive pricing.

        What do you mean “no one”? I am billed that way. Costs do not have to be “Draconian”, they have to be clearly labeled on the bills. There’s a song: “Seven and a half cents doesn’t buy a heck of a lot. … .” Some people will make better use of the information than others.

      • I said for practical purposes, and by that I mean that it makes a meaningful difference. The whole meaning. I thought carefully about that sentence, and sure, some people will try to save the pennies.

        I am billed that way.

        Being billed that way and changing your behavior to adapt to time sensitive pricing are two different things. Are you going to do your laundry Saturday night? How many are willing to do that? The assessment from people I work with who have been in the business for over a decade is for practical purposes, no one will. Unless prices are draconian, like they are in Chico, CA.

        Smart grid does a number of things. First, it obviates the need for meter readers. Second, it promises faster energy reroute in the event of failure. That later is important here in CA, since the CPUC, and I assume other regulatory agencies, fine utilities based on downtime metrics. Utilities convinced the CPUC it made sense to charge their customers for smart grid for reasons that probably don’t make a lot of sense, like pricing on demand.

        It’s just another way for people to take their priorities and force behavioral changes on other people. That’s the goal of some. It’s not a bonus. It’s a minus for most people.

      • edbarbar: Are you going to do your laundry Saturday night?

        Why not? It isn’t a hardship. As with any kind of thriftiness available, some people won’t care, and some people will.

        Why exactly is constant pricing better? Because everyone has already adjusted? Time of use pricing follows the cost of production better.

      • Why exactly is constant pricing better? Because everyone has already adjusted? Time of use pricing follows the cost of production better.

        It’s a problem when it is used to cover up the deficits of certain power generation techniques, like solar.

  31. Few Are Ready for Uber’s Self-Driving Cars
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/august_2016/few_are_ready_for_uber_s_self_driving_cars

    Uber has announced that it is launching a test program of driverless cars in Pittsburgh, but Americans are just as reluctant to take a self-driving car service as using one for their personal vehicle.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that just 17% of American Adults say they would hire a self-driving car through a service like Uber.

  32. Here’s an article that should give the techno-triumphalists and techno-utopians pause:

    Could A Lithium Shortage De-Rail The Electric Car Boom?
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Could-A-Lithium-Shortage-De-Rail-The-Electric-Car-Boom.html

    Lithium prices have already gone through the roof.

    And these price increases are caused by the anticipated extra demand being placed on lithium supplies as the new Telsa battery factory comes into full production.

    Imagine what future lithium prices will look like if the prediction of some of the techno-utopians regarding EV sales comes true:

    • Big Wind’s Dirty Little Secret: Toxic Lakes and Radioactive Waste Links to:

      Evaluating Rare Earth Element Availability: A Case with Revolutionary Demand from Clean Technologies by Elisa Alonso, Andrew M. Sherman, Timothy J. Wallington, Mark P. Everson, Frank R. Field, Richard Roth, and Randolph E. Kirchain Environ. Sci. Technol. 2012, 46, 3406−3414

      ABSTRACT: The future availability of rare earth elements (REEs) is of concern due to monopolistic supply conditions, environmentally unsustainable mining practices, and rapid demand growth. We present an evaluation of potential future demand scenarios for REEs with a focus on the issue of comining. Many assumptions were made to simplify the analysis, but the scenarios identify some key variables that could affect future rare earth markets and market behavior. Increased use of wind energy and electric vehicles are key elements of a more sustainable future. However, since present technologies for electric vehicles and wind turbines rely heavily on dysprosium (Dy) and neodymium (Nd), in rare-earth magnets, future adoption of these technologies may result in large and disproportionate increases in the demand for these two elements. For this study, upper and lower bound usage projections for REE in these applications were developed to evaluate the state of future REE supply availability. In the absence of efficient reuse and recycling or the development of technologies which use lower amounts of Dy and Nd, following a path consistent with stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at 450 ppm may lead to an increase of more than 700% and 2600% for Nd and Dy, respectively, over the next 25 years if the present REE needs in automotive and wind applications are representative of future needs.

      • Solar Cells Linked to Greenhouse Gases Over 23,000 Times Worse than Carbon Dioxide According to New Book, Green Illusions

        Hexafluoroethane has a global warming potential that is 12,000 times higher than CO2, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is 100 percent manufactured by humans, and survives 10,000 years once released into the atmosphere. Nitrogen trifluoride is 17,000 times more virulent than CO2, and SF6, the most treacherous greenhouse gas, is over 23,000 times more threatening

        The solar photovoltaic industry is one of the fastest-growing emitters of these gases, which are now measurably accumulating within the earth’s atmosphere according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A NOAA study shows that atmospheric concentrations of SF6 have been rising exponentially. A paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters documents that atmospheric NF3 levels have been rising 11 percent per year.

      • AK

        I am confused by your latest solar link. I have not being following the debate on the thread closely but haven’t you been arguing the merits of solar power?

        To me it can not come of age until storage technology exists and an admittance is made by its promoters that some locations are much more suitable than others.

        Here in the UK for example the industry is heavily subsidised yet we only get some 1700 to 1900 hours of sun per year with commensurately low light levels outside of the peak summer months and none at all of course during winter nights when power is most needed

        Tonyb

      • I am confused by your latest solar link. I have not being following the debate on the thread closely but haven’t you been arguing the merits of solar power?

        I certainly argue the merits of solar power. But I don’t believe in deceiving myself, or anyone else about the problems.

        All are solvable, IMO. But the sooner attention is drawn to them, the sooner they’ll be solved.

        As for England, I’m a believer in “globalization”, of sorts. Specifically, I would apply Ricardo’s principle of comparative advantage to power generation.

        Thus, solar power→gas/liquid fuel could well be accomplished in the tropical Atlantic, with the results being piped to England, and Europe in general.

        “Globalization” comes in many forms, and one where individual investors (nation-state, corporation, etc.) are able to invest in productive resources in other parts of the world seems essential to our future.

        The current problems with labor costs are due, IMO, to one particular type of globalization, exacerbated by the growing influence of automation/robotics.

      • For that matter, Tonyb, if the Eurocrats had been interested in solving problems rather than building bureaucratic empires, Brexit might well not have happened, and something like “comparative advantage” might have been applied to solar power.

        Why shouldn’t German or British companies invest in solar power plants in Spain, Italy, or Greece? Spain at least is close enough to transport it by current transmission technology. They would get some income (rents, jobs, etc.) while areas too far north for good solar could get some power.

        Using my approach, England could have built CCGT, based on long-term delivery contracts from the US, and solar in Spain, which would probably have paid for itself in saved fuel costs.

        The CCGT would have provided the reliable power, while solar would have helped defray fuel costs. Granted, it wouldn’t have been as cheap as building a bunch of coal-fired plants, using local coal, but IMO it would have been better than what’s there now;

        Similarly Greece and Germany, with the flow of money to Greece in return for solar power helping to defray the horrible balance of trade.

      • AK

        Thanks for that. It is important to highlight pros and cons and of course it would be deeply ironic if planet saving solar power was instead helping to destroy it. I did not see in the link any indication as to when the Chemical emitted by the solar cells Would actually reach a level whereby it was a noticeable warmimg factor in its own right

        Tonyb

      • I did not see in the link any indication as to when the Chemical emitted by the solar cells Would actually reach a level whereby it was a noticeable warmimg factor in its own right

        Well, for the moment emissions are small:

        SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 22,800 times that of CO2. SF6 is an anthropogenically produced compound, mainly used as a gaseous dielectric in gas insulated switchgear power installations. Given the low amounts of SF6 released compared to carbon dioxide, its overall contribution to global warming is estimated to be less than 0.2 percent. Sulfur hexafluoride is also extremely long-lived – they remain in the atmosphere for longer period than any other compound. SF6 acting as green house gas can have a heavy impact on the Global climate, and its concentration in the earth atmosphere is rapidly increasing. It is inert in the troposphere and stratosphere and has an estimated atmospheric lifetime of 800–3200 years. Sf6’s anthropogenic sources are di- electric mediums.

        The unique properties of SF6 have led to its adoption for a number of industrial and scientific applications including,

        1.   Medical applications: electrical insulation in medical equipment (e.g. X-ray machines), or surgery,
        2.   Electrical insulation in scientific equipment: (electron microscopes, particle accelerators such as Van der Graf generators),
        3.   Acoustic insulation in double glazed windows
        4.   Tracer gas for studying airflow in ventilation systems (for instance in mines) or in the high atmosphere.
        5.   Tracer for leak detection in pressurised systems.
        6.   To provide a special atmosphere for metallurgical processing (aluminium and magnesium) for military purpose.

        As you can see, electronics and PV manufacture aren’t high on the list of applications.

        But as PV manufacture scales up by several hundred to a thousand times, we better have efficient scrubbing technology. There’s an interesting technology called Proton Induced Exfoliation that may be able to cut the cost of hyper-pure silicon cells by a factor of 3-20, but it also uses HS6.

      • @climatereason
        “Here in the UK for example the industry is heavily subsidised yet we only get some 1700 to 1900 hours of sun per year ”

        No way. UK’s PV runs around 900 full-load-hours… i.e. a scant 10% capacity factor. Not even sunny Sicily gets the 1700-1900 you’ve cited.

      • Robert

        Here is the data for annual sunshine hours

        https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/United-Kingdom/annual-sunshine.php

        The maximum in the UK is around 1900 hours but solar farms are set up on areas that get rather less than this.

        Tonyb

  33. I have to go look at all the results, buy I find it interesting that all of that effort was put into seeing the sensitivity to solar during an eclipse, and yet as far as I know, I’m the only one using the the changing length of day from the annual cycle to calculate sensitivity.
    We have a huge amount of data we can use, and yet I’ve never seen it mentioned anywhere else.
    Btw, in the extra tropics cs varies, but in no place is it more than about 0.02F/Whr
    Makes you want to go Hmmmmm.

  34. From the Wall Street Journal …

    Forecasts of Brexit Gloom May Be Overdone
    Experts often look to stay ahead of worst-case scenarios, building up a long list of cataclysms that never were

    I think this applies to climate as well.

    It’s early, but data so far suggest the British decision to leave the European Union could be another example of a recurring phenomenon: expert predictions of dire consequences to political decisions that end up proving overheated.
    [ … ]
    “Forecasters often feel incentivized to pump up the probability of worst-case scenarios” said Philip Tetlock, an expert in political forecasting at the University of Pennsylvania. Forecasters may inflate the probability of disasters, as a way to increase the salience of a warning, or because they believe that proving prescient will be something they can boast about, while proving mistaken will be something most people forget. “Over time, this has some corrosive effect on trust in the expert community,” he said.

    There’s a rich recent history of cataclysms that didn’t happen.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/forecasts-of-brexit-gloom-may-be-overdone-1472406752

  35. How can a self-perpetuating secular priesthood of credentialed “scientists” purport to maintain a monopoly on the production of scientific knowledge? (Let me emphasize that I am in no way opposed to specialized scientific training; I object only when an elite caste seeks to impose its canon of “high science”, with the aim of excluding a priori alternative forms of scientific production by non-members.

  36. Brand new research: Crystal unclear: Why might this uncanny crystal change laser design?

    Laser applications may benefit from crystal research by scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and China’s Shandong University. They have discovered a potential way to sidestep longstanding difficulties with making the crystals that are a crucial part of laser technology. But the science behind their discovery has experts scratching their heads.

    […]

    So far, the team’s microcrystals outperform conventional crystals in some ways, suggesting that harnessing them could signal the end of a long search for a fast, economical way to develop large crystals that would otherwise be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to create. But the microcrystals also challenge conventional scientific theory as to why they perform as they do.

    […]

    The mystery is why the microcrystals perform as they do. Basic physics says they shouldn’t.

    Conventional physics models indicate that an optical medium like a crystal must not be symmetric about its center if it is to convert energy efficiently, yet these microcrystals appear to break this rule.

    “We’ve spoken to a number of experts in different fields worldwide, and none of them can explain it,” says NIST physicist Lu Deng. “Currently no theory can explain the initial growth mechanism of this exotic crystal. It’s challenging our current understanding in fields from crystallography to condensed matter physics.”

    The original research article: Ambient-condition growth of high-pressure phase centrosymmetric crystalline KDP microstructures for optical second harmonic generation by Yan Ren, Xian Zhao, Edward W. Hagley, and Lu Deng Science Advances 26 Aug 2016: Vol. 2, no. 8, e1600404 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600404

    This is a good illustration of the relationship between applied and basic science. Searching for new ways to accomplish a targeted result can (occasionally) result in finding something inconsistent with current theory. Once found, the theory must be replaced with a new one that can correctly predict subsequent results. This new theory, then, can potentially lead to all sorts of new engineering (applied science) advances.

    Although research reports seldom have room for discussions of motivation, the discussion begins with:

    One of the motivations to develop microstructures with new molecular structures and packing arrangements, exotic shapes, and low dimensionality is to enhance our knowledge of nonlinear optics in these materials to facilitate novel device applications.

  37. It has been my understanding that Mars, is a cold & windy place.

    http://www.dw.com/en/scientists-exit-hawaii-dome-after-year-long-mars-simulation/a-19509826

    Air conditioning is not the same as using heaters in you ‘space’ suit and when you take your walks in the bitter cold you will remember that there, balmy days are few and far between.

  38. From my daily email missive from Texas Monthly:

    Renewable Revolution

    Oil? Who needs oil?

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Texas is experiencing a “bonanza” of renewable energy. We’ve added more “wind-based generating capacity” than anywhere else in the nation, and, as of April, wind turbines make up 16 percent of the state’s electrical generating capacity, up from two percent in 2001.

    Solar power is on the rise here too. As the Journal notes, going green is typically something for blue states, but it looks like we have our conservative state leadership to thank for this renewable energy explosion.

    “Texas officials didn’t invoke global warming to sell the program,” write the Journal. “Instead, they touted renewable energy as a consumer-choice issue, a jobs producer and a way to pump more money into rural counties.” In other words: renewable energy, done the Texas way. More than 100,000 Texans are now working in renewable energy, and more jobs could be on the way, particularly in solar energy.

    One non-profit solar energy trade association says that in just five years, Texas is expected to jump from tenth place in solar capacity to second, behind California. The future of renewable energy in Texas looks bright.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/which-state-is-a-big-renewable-energy-pioneer-texas-1472414098?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Monday%2008.29.16%20SoT&utm_term=The%20State%20of%20Texas

  39. Chemtrails: wouldn’t publishing names bias respondent selection? And what about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRHFqKI90eI
    What do you make of it?

  40. The article about a connection between the height of the ocean in the Western Pacific and World mean temperature is just pointing out the obvious connection between the El Nino/La Nina cycle (+ the Pacific Bi-Decadal Oscillation) and the release of accumulated heat stored in the Warm Pool.

    During the global warming hiatus, between 1998 and 2012, trade winds where stronger than average, muting El Nino conditions and emphasising La Nina condition. This lead to build up of heat storage in the Warm Pool in the Western Pacific between these years and a net cooling trend in the World’s mean temperature. Since 2013, the trade winds have weakened an we have switched over to a regimen that favours El Nino conditions – leading to a warming of the planet.

    Hence, what I and Bob Tisdale have been pointing out for some time is that the El Nino/La Nina (ENSO) Cycle is main source of natural climate variation on time scales ~ < 30 years.

    Wilson, I.R.G., 2013, Are Global Mean Temperatures
    Significantly Affected by Long-Term Lunar Atmospheric
    Tides? Energy & Environment, Vol 24,
    No. 3 & 4, pp. 497 – 508

    http://multi-science.atypon.com/doi/pdf/10.1260/0958-305X.24.3-4.497

    What Bob Tisdale has shown is that the accumulation and release of stored heat energy in the tropical Pacific is not a zero-sum game but one in which that released ocean heat energy is transferred into the temperate latitudes following major El Nino events.

  41. That should read …on time scales ~ < 100 years.

  42. In Peter Wadhams article: Next year or the year after, the Arctic will be ice free [link]

    He states: “Sea ice reflects about 50% of the solar radiation it receives back into space. By contrast, water reflects less than 10%”

    This doesn’t seem right for extremely high latitudes. During the summer in the arctic the grazing angle of the sun is at most 23.5-ish degrees, and it’s generally less than this. Heck, it’s negative for half the year (dark).

    I’d like to assert that water reflects the large majority of solar radiation back into space when the grazing angle is 23.5 degrees or less. I’m looking for a reference. Can someone help me?

    • Oceans aren’t still, so you have to take into account waves and spray, but …

      http://scubageek.com/articles/wwwatw.html

      • Thanks. I googled-searched and saw some charts like this. In this case 0-degrees is vertical (i.e. perpendicular to the water and not much is reflected back), and 90-degrees is parallel to the water’s surface. These scales are hard to read, but it’s still hard to believe that from between 70 to 90 degrees (roughly the incidence angle from straight up in the arctic in the summer) that anything near 50% is absorbed. Also, the amount of energy hitting any patch of ocean is reduced by the cosine of this angle, which is about 0.35 at 70-degrees and zero at 90-degrees. The combined effect of means very little energy from the sun gets into sea-water at the poles.

      • Another quick note… the labels perpendicular and parallel on the two curves refer to polarization of the light on these charts. They are not incident angle references.

    • I’ve used this doc
      http://www.iwu.edu/~gpouch/Climate/RawData/WaterAlbedo001.pdf

      And remember it isn’t all curvature to the north, it’s curvature east and west of the solar noon line too. You can then use S-B to the temp of the sky (~100F colder here in the winter, @ 41N, but you have to add the forcing from Co2 back into that temp).
      My estimates make it down to cloud cover for about one month (around June 28th), the rest of the year it’s the planets cooling system, with water releasing a lot more heat than ice.

  43. “Professor Wadhams also submitted a forecast to the SIPN team in June 2015 suggesting that the September ice extent would be 0.98 million sq km,..In the end, there was 4.6 million sq km of sea ice in September 2015”

    The sea ice was just 469% bigger than the nutty professor predicted. Instead of being embarrassed for his gigantic mistake, the nutty professor now predicts the ice will be gone next year. Prof. your face is thicker than iceberg. Why don’t you just predict your own disappearance? We would rather have Wadhams-free sea ice

    Prof. Wadhams a.k.a. Prophet of Doom

    • I thought he was just a hunch back…

      http://www.thecollegefix.com/post/28825/

      little did he know.

      • True believers and authoritarianism, who would have ever thought that the two go together like Thelma and Louise?

      • Let’s hear it from Prof. Wadhams’ own mouth:

        “People tend to think of an ice-free Arctic in summer in terms of it merely being a symbol of global change… the impact will be profound and will effect the whole planet and its population… seas will rise by 60 to 90 centimetres this century. I think a rise of one to two metres is far more likely. Indeed, it is probably the best we can hope for.”

        “That may not sound a lot but it is really very serious. It will increase enormously the frequency of storm surges all over the world… it just means more and more people will be drowned.”

        Yup the hunchback is a true believer and alarmist. When sea ice disappear in summer, the world will go to hell

  44. “Science is debate.

    I’ll be sure to remember this equation next time someone says “there’s no real debate in the climate literature” or climatologists “are no longer debating.” Algebra just got fun!

    In terms of own-goals there’s an embarrassment of riches here.

    Michael Mann on FOI, 2007:

    I would not respond to this. They will misrepresent and take out of context anything you give them. This is a set up. They will certainly publish this, and will ignore any evidence to the contrary that you provide. … I have been talking w/ folks in the States about finding an investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his thusfar unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests.

    Michael Mann on FOI, 2016:

    Scientists should assume that requests for data or clarification are made in good faith and are reasonable. Scientists should also generally not be concerned about the motives of the requestor as simple disagreement must not preclude access to data.

    Stephan Lewandowsky on the skeptical community, 2011:

    Engagement, in my view, is not a solution but just an enormous waste of time.”

    You would think these guys were smart enough to know that if you ask for no debate you will end up with ad nauseam. Apparently not! OWN GOALS! GO TEAM!

  45. “The latest breakthrough? A new receiver that’s 97 percent efficient. ‘We believe (it) to be the world’s most efficient solar receiver,’ Dr John Pye, from ANU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science said.”

    Big deal Dr. Pye. Do you know commercial gas water heaters have 98% thermal efficiency? Your 97% thermal efficiency is steam. If you convert that to electricity, you’re lucky to get 40% energy efficiency. Do you know combined cycle gas power plants have 60% efficiency and much lower cost than concentrated solar power? But as environmentalists would have it, anything solar will save planet Earth. Nevermind that poor people can’t afford it. The demise of poor people is good for the planet.

  46. From the article:

    The 1,650 lb. apparatus known as a trim-and-drill tool is comparable in length to a large sport utility vehicle and will ultimately be tested for use in building the Boeing 777X passenger jet. Basically the tool will be used to secure the jet’s composite wing skin for drilling and machining before assembly according to researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ONRL) who developed the tool.

    +More on Network World: The hottest 3D printing projects+

    ONRL said it printed the tool in only 30 hours using carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials.

    “The existing, more expensive metallic tooling option we currently use comes from a supplier and typically takes three months to manufacture using conventional techniques,” said Leo Christodoulou, Boeing’s director of structures and materials in a statement. “Additively manufactured tools, such as the 777X wing trim tool, will save energy, time, labor and production cost and are part of our overall strategy to apply 3D printing technology in key production areas.”

    http://www.networkworld.com/article/3114569/hardware/1-650lb-3d-printed-aircraft-tool-sets-guinness-world-record.html

    • Additively manufactured tools

      We are within 10 years of Drexler’s prediction of nano assemblers by 2025. His book in the mid 80’s, Engines of Creation was been pretty spot on so far.
      We can manipulate individual atoms (IBM just made a moving of atoms moving around), we can build any dna sequence we want, and we can make features in semiconductor lithography under 20 nm.

      It’s coming, atomic scale manufacturing.

  47. article clip about a 3-d printed tool @jim2 | September 1, 2016 at 7:40 am in moderation.