Posts Tagged ‘carbon dioxide’

Carbon dioxide can disassociate to form oxygen under uv light in upper atmosphere

October 7, 2014

Oxygen in our atmosphere comes mainly from photosynthesis and not many multi-step abiotic processes producing oxygen from carbon dioxide are known.

But now work with a vacuum ultra violet laser (simulating uv light in the upper atmosphere) shows that the resulting excitation of carbon dioxide molecules can lead to the production of oxygen by disassociation. Vacuum ultra violet (200 – 10 nm; 6.20 – 124 eV) is strongly absorbed by atmospheric oxygen, but 150–200 nm wavelengths can propagate through nitrogen. This is particularly intriguing since it would be controlled by the oxygen concentration in the upper atmosphere. A lack of oxygen would lead to an increase of available vacuum uv available to trigger the disassociation of any carbon dioxide present. This could be a continuous and natural process where carbon dioxide, excited by solar ultra violet light in the upper atmosphere, is broken down to produce oxygen.

Perhaps this happens often enough and in sufficient volume to dampen CO2 concentration increase in the atmosphere.

UC Davis chemists have shown how ultraviolet light can split carbon dioxide to form oxygen in one step. Credit: Zhou Lu

UC Davis chemists have shown how ultraviolet light can split carbon dioxide to form oxygen in one step. Credit: Zhou Lu

Z. Lu, Y. C. Chang, Q.-Z. Yin, C. Y. Ng, W. M. Jackson. Evidence for direct molecular oxygen production in CO2 photodissociation. Science, 2014; 346 (6205): 61

DOI: 10.1126/science.1257156

AbstractPhotodissociation of carbon dioxide (CO2) has long been assumed to proceed exclusively to carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen atom (O) primary products. However, recent theoretical calculations suggested that an exit channel to produce C + O2 should also be energetically accessible. Here we report the direct experimental evidence for the C + O2 channel in CO2 photodissociation near the energetic threshold of the C(3P) + O2(X3Σg) channel with a yield of 5 ± 2% using vacuum ultraviolet laser pump-probe spectroscopy and velocity-map imaging detection of the C(3PJ) product between 101.5 and 107.2 nanometers. Our results may have implications for nonbiological oxygen production in CO2-heavy atmospheres.

UC Davis Press Release:

UC Davis graduate student Zhou Lu, working with professors in the Departments of Chemistry and of Earth and Planetary Sciences, has shown that oxygen can be formed in one step by using a high energy vacuum ultraviolet laser to excite carbon dioxide. (The work is published Oct. 3 in the journal Science).

“Previously, people believed that the abiotic (no green plants involved) source of molecular oxygen is by CO2 + solar light — > CO + O, then O + O + M — > O2 + M (where M represents a third body carrying off the energy released in forming the oxygen bond),” Zhou said in an email. “Our results indicate that O2 can be formed by carbon dioxide dissociation in a one step process. The same process can be applied in other carbon dioxide dominated atmospheres such as Mars and Venus.”

Zhou used a vacuum ultraviolet laser to irradiate CO2 in the laboratory. Vacuum ultraviolet light is so-called because it has a wavelength below 200 nanometers and is typically absorbed by air. The experiments were performed by using a unique ion imaging apparatus developed at UC Davis.

Such one-step oxygen formation could be happening now as carbon dioxide increases in the region of the upper atmosphere, where high energy vacuum ultraviolet light from the Sun hits Earth or other planets. It is the first time that such a reaction has been shown in the laboratory. According to one of the scientists who reviewed the paper for Science, Zhou’s work means that models of the evolution of planetary atmospheres will now have to be adjusted to take this into account.

Fossil fuel combustion at an all time high (but global warming is absent)

June 18, 2014

The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014 is now out and the consumption of all fossil fuels has never been higher. Coal and gas consumption are particularly strong. And – even though many are in a state of denial about it – global warming has come to a stop over the last 18 years. In the last 10 years global temperatures show a slight downward trend.

There seems to be no purpose to the demonisation of fossil fuels other than for pandering to the religion of global warming. Consider the last 25 years. (I use 1988 as a reference point not only because 25 years should be enough to see some trends but also because the BP data is readily available from that date). During this 25 year period gas consumption has increased by over 80%, coal consumption by 0ver 70% and oil consumption by over 30%. The increased global coal burn since about 1999 is particularly striking. In the same 25 year period the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased from about 355 ppm(v/v) to about 395 ppm(v/v) – a rise of about 11%. And global temperatures have not increased at all for almost 2 decades.

Climate policy is policy without any objectives and without any means of checking any achievements. What exactly could we achieve by not using fossil fuels?

There is not a single climate policy proposed by the IPCC or by any government in the world  which has a definable and measurable climate benefit.

25 years of fossil fuel consumption

25 years of fossil fuel consumption

The global warming hiatus now extends to at least 18 years.

Global warming has gone missing

  • The RSS satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 213 months from August 1996 to April 2014. That is more than half the entire 423-month satellite record.
  • The fastest centennial warming rate was in Central England from 1663-1762, at 0.9 Cº per century – before the industrial revolution began. It cannot have been our fault.
  • The global warming trend since 1900 is equivalent to 0.8 Cº per century. This is well within natural variability and may not have much to do with us.

Carbon Cycle: Emissions from forest clearance underestimated, land absorption underestimated

May 23, 2014

Two new papers just published show that the carbon cycle is far from being certain. We still have large uncertainties regarding the sources of carbon dioxide emissions and their magnitude and the sinks where, and mechanisms by which, carbon dioxide is absorbed. One in Global Change Biology. shows that emissions due to forest clearance have been underestimated by some 40% while the second in Nature suggests that there are large land sinks for carbon dioxide in the Southern Hemisphere (paywalled but reported here) which have largely been ignored by climate models.

  1. The amount of carbon lost from tropical forests is being significantly underestimated, a new study reports. In addition to loss of trees, the degradation of tropical forests by selective logging and fires causes large amounts of “hidden” emissions. 
  2. they find that land sinks for CO2 are keeping up with the increase in CO2 emissions, thus modeled projections of exponential increases of CO2 in the future are likely exaggerated. 

The “settled science of climate” is a an edifice tottering on two unproven hypotheses:

  1. That carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is a key driver of global temperature, and
  2. That man-made emissions of carbon dioxide (primarily fossil fuel combustion) are the key contributor to concentration in the atmosphere.

If either of these two assumptions are incorrect, the entire edifice of climate science and climate policy comes tumbling down.

The first now looks decidedly weak. For almost 20 years now global temperatures have stagnated (and show a slight negative trend) while carbon dioxide emissions from combustion have increased sharply. Carbon dioxide concentration has also continued to increase but at a much lower rate than the rate of man-made emissions. No doubt carbon concentration has some impact but it is clearly far from being a key driver of global temperature.

The second assumes that “natural emissions” and absorption are roughly in balance and therefore it must be fossil fuel combustion which is responsible for the increase of carbon dioxide concentration. But the Carbon balance of the earth is far from certain. Volcanic de-gassng of CO2 has been grossly underestimated. The mass of CO2 absorbing bio-mass in the oceans has also been underestimated and remains still highly uncertain.

The error bands surrounding “natural” emissions are of the same magnitude as man-made emissions. Absorption of Carbon dioxide by the oceans and the biological life (algae) in the oceans are, at best, relatively uncertain estimations.

ktwop: Even though the combustion of fossil fuels only contributes less than 4% of total carbon dioxide production (about 26Gt/year of 800+GT/year), it is usually assumed that the sinks available balance the natural sources and that the carbon dioxide concentration – without the effects of man – would be largely in equilibrium. 

…… Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels. ….. 

The demonisation of fossil fuel combustion is based on belief and not on evidence. The carbon dioxide assumptions which are the foundations of the climate orthodoxy are unsound.

Where is the evidence that man-made CO2 is the dominant cause of global warming?

March 1, 2014

Political correctness is fond of stating that there is “overwhelming” evidence of man-made global warming. They have repeated it so often that many actually believe it. The reality however is that there is no evidence beyond assumptions in models that

  1. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has a significant impact on global warming
  2. man-made carbon dioxide emissions (which accounts for about 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions) is incontrovertibly the cause of the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration

Assumptions of the impact of carbon dioxide in models tend to show the assumed impact, but assumptions do not evidence provide.

Patrick Moore (a co-founder of Greenpeace) has been testifying to a Senate Sub-Committee.

Full Statement of Patrick Moore, Ph.D.

Before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight – “Natural Resource Adaptation: Protecting ecosystems and economies”

February 25, 2014

Chairman Whitehouse, Ranking Member Inhofe, and members of the Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at today’s hearing.

In 1971, as a PhD student in ecology I joined an activist group in a church basement in Vancouver Canada and sailed on a small boat across the Pacific to protest US Hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We became Greenpeace.

After 15 years in the top committee I had to leave as Greenpeace took a sharp turn to the political left, and began to adopt policies that I could not accept from my scientific perspective. Climate change was not an issue when I abandoned Greenpeace, but it certainly is now.

There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there were such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” (My emphasis)

“Extremely likely” is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines “extremely likely” as a “95-100% probability”. But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been “invented” as a construct within the IPCC report to express “expert judgment”, as determined by the IPCC contributors.

These judgments are based, almost entirely, on the results of sophisticated computer models designed to predict the future of global climate. As noted by many observers, including Dr. Freeman Dyson of the Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies, a computer model is not a crystal ball. We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the Gods.

Perhaps the simplest way to expose the fallacy of “extreme certainty” is to look at the historical record. With the historical record, we do have some degree of certainty compared to predictions of the future. When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago, CO2 was more than 10 times higher than today, yet life flourished at this time. Then an Ice Age occurred 450 million years ago when CO2 was 10 times higher than today.

There is some correlation, but little evidence, to support a direct causal relationship between CO2 and global temperature through the millennia. The fact that we had both higher temperatures and an ice age at a time when CO2 emissions were 10 times higher than they are today fundamentally contradicts the certainty that human-caused CO2 emissions are the main cause of global warming.

Today we remain locked in what is essentially still the Pleistocene Ice Age, with an average global temperature of 14.5°C. This compares with a low of about 12°C during the periods of maximum glaciation in this Ice Age to an average of 22°C during the Greenhouse Ages, which occurred over longer time periods prior to the most recent Ice Age. During the Greenhouse Ages, there was no ice on either pole and all the land was tropical and sub-tropical, from pole to pole. As recently as 5 million years ago the Canadian Arctic islands were completely forested.

Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species. There is ample reason to believe that a sharp cooling of the climate would bring disastrous results for human civilization.
Moving closer to the present day, it is instructive to study the record of average global temperature during the past 130 years. The IPCC states that humans are the dominant cause of warming “since the mid-20th century”, which is 1950.

From 1910 to 1940 there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5°C over that 30-year period. Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970. This was followed by an increase of 0.57°C during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000. Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature. This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time.

The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000. Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to “human influence.” They are clear in their belief that human emissions impact only the increase “since the mid-20th century”. Why does the IPCC believe that a virtually identical increase in temperature after 1950 is caused mainly by “human influence”, when it has no explanation for the nearly identical increase from 1910-1940?

It is important to recognize, in the face of dire predictions about a 2°C rise in global average temperature, that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing. It could be said that frost and ice are the enemies of life, except for those relatively few species that have evolved to adapt to freezing temperatures during this Pleistocene Ice Age. It is “extremely likely” that a warmer temperature than today’s would be far better than a cooler one.

I realize that my comments are contrary to much of the speculation about our climate that is bandied about today. However, I am confident that history will bear me out, both in terms of the futility of relying on computer models to predict the future, and the fact that warmer temperatures are better than colder temperatures for most species.

If we wish to preserve natural biodiversity, wildlife, and human well being, we should simultaneously plan for both warming and cooling, recognizing that cooling would be the most damaging of the two trends. We do not know whether the present pause in temperature will remain for some time, or whether it will go up or down at some time in the near future. What we do know with “extreme certainty” is that the climate is always changing, between pauses, and that we are not capable, with our limited knowledge, of predicting which way it will go next.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my views on this important subject.

Attached please find the chapter on climate change from my book, “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist”. I would request it be made part of the record.

Click here for Moore’s full chapter excerpt. (pdf)

Fish biomass 10 times greater than thought (and fish “fix” carbon dioxide from sea water)

February 8, 2014

A new paper suggests that the biomass of mesopelagic fish which dominate the total biomass of fish in the ocean is 10 times higher than previously assumed. Instead of being about 1,000 million tens the researchers suggest it could be 10,000 million tons or even more.

Fish are a critical link in the Carbon cycle and especially the removal – by “fixing” as carbonates – of the carbon dioxide in sea water. They act to neutralise acidity and increase alkilinity. The level of carbon dioxide dissolved in sea water itself affects the capacity of the ocean surface waters to absorb more carbon dioxide. A change – by a factor of 10 – in the fish biomass is a not insignificant change to the carbon fluxes through the ocean and to the carbon cycle.

Xabier Irigoien et al, Large mesopelagic fishes biomass and trophic efficiency in the open oceanNature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI:10.1038/ncomms4271

EurekAlert: With a stock estimated at 1,000 million tons so far, mesopelagic fish dominate the total biomass of fish in the ocean. However a team of researchers ….. has found that their abundance could be at least 10 times higher. The results, published in Nature Communications journal, are based on the acoustic observations conducted during the circumnavigation of the Malaspina Expedition. … Mesopelagic fishes, such as lantern fishes (Myctophidae) and cyclothonids (Gonostomatidae), live in the twilight zone of the ocean, between 200 and 1,000 meters deep. They are the most numerous vertebrates of the biosphere, but also the great unknowns of the open ocean, since there are gaps in the knowledge of their biology, ecology, adaptation and global biomass. 

… Xabier Irigoien, researcher from AZTI-Tecnalia and KAUST (Saudi Arabia) and head of this research, states: “The fact that the biomass of mesopelagic fish (and therefore also the total biomass of fishes) is at least 10 times higher than previously thought, has significant implications in the understanding of carbon fluxes in the ocean and the operation of which, so far, we considered ocean deserts”.

Mesopelagic fish come up at night to the upper layers of the ocean to feed, whereas they go back down during the day in order to avoid being detected by their predators. This behaviour speeds up the transport of organic matter into the ocean, the engine of the biological pump that removes CO2 from the atmosphere, because instead of slowly sinking from the surface, it is rapidly transported to 500 and 700 meters deep and released in the form of feces.

Irigoien adds: “Mesopelagic fish accelerate the flux for actively transporting organic matter from the upper layers of the water column, where most of the organic carbon coming from the flow of sedimentary particles is lost. Their role in the biogeochemical cycles of ocean ecosystems and global ocean has to be reconsidered, as it is likely that they are breathing between 1% and 10% of the primary production in deep waters”.

According to researchers, the excretion of material from the surface could partly explain the unexpected microbial respiration registered in these deep layers of the ocean. Mesopelagic fishes would act therefore as a link between plankton and top predators, and they would have a key role in reducing the oxygen from the depths of the open ocean.

The mechanisms by which fish create carbonates and contribute to the “fixing” of carbon dioxide is through feces.

Fish feces reduce ocean CO2 levels

 .. when fish drink seawater they excrete calcium as calcium carbonate — a chalky substance that can make seawater more alkaline and diminish the carbon dioxide in the water. ….. the bulk of the world’s fish species, excluding sharks and rays, produced the carbonate to counter the salt they ingested in seawater. The carbonate binds to the salt and is expelled as pellets, which dissolve in the ocean. … (We) knew before that something in the water was producing carbonate, but believed it came from other sources, such as microscopic marine plankton near the bottom of the food chain. But (we) didn’t understand why they were seeing so much of the carbonate at shallower depths. ……. most conservative estimates suggest three to 15 per cent of the oceans’ carbonates come from fish, but this range could be up to three times higher.

File:Oceanic divisions.svg

Oceanic divisions (Wikipedia)

Climate warming due to humans is highly uncertain says new paper in Science

February 2, 2014

The level of uncertainty in this supposedly “settled” science never fails to amaze. But I observe that it is beginning to be politically acceptable to talk about the uncertainties and even – as in this paper – to begin to question the significance of human activities on climate.

“Climate Effects of Aerosols-Cloud Interactions. Daniel Rosenfeld, Steven Sherwood, Robert Wood, Leo Donner. Science VOL 343, 24 JANUARY 2014

Abstract: Aerosols counteract part of the warming effects of greenhouse gases, mostly by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected back to space. However, the ways in which aerosols affect climate through their interaction with clouds are complex and incompletely captured by climate models. As a result, the radiative forcing (that is, the perturbation to Earth’s energy budget) caused by human activities is highly uncertain, making it difficult to predict the extent of global warming (12). Recent advances have led to a more detailed understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate, but further progress is hampered by limited observational capabilities and coarse-resolution climate models.

The paper is behind a pay-wall but the accompanying press release begins “The warming effect of human-induced greenhouse gases is a given, but to what extent can we predict its future influence?”. I have no doubt that “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere have a small warming effect but evidence is still lacking even for this simple statement because the carbon balance of the earth is still far from certain and the extent to which fossil fuel combustion contributes to the carbon dioxide concentration is still not certain. So while the warming effect of  greenhouse gases is established, its magnitude is not and the impact of humans on the concentration is also not yet certainly established. In fact, the primary contributors to the “greenhouse effect” are still water vapour and clouds but clouds also cause significant cooling by blocking insolation. Carbon dioxide by itself is almost of minor consequence and the weakness of climate models has always been that they make unjustified assumptions for the forcing effects of carbon dioxide. The pause in warming over the last 17-18 years and the slight decline in global temperatures for the last decade – while carbon dioxide concentrations have been steadily increasing – is a further indicator that the warming effect of carbon dioxide has been grossly exaggerated.

The Press Release goes on:

…… Indeed, one could say that the picture is a “cloudy” one, since the determination of the greenhouse gas effect involves multifaceted interactions with cloud cover.

To some extent, aerosols –- particles that float in the air caused by dust or pollution, including greenhouse gases – counteract part of the harming effects of climate warming by increasing the amount of sunlight reflected from clouds back into space. However, the ways in which these aerosols affect climate through their interaction with clouds are complex and incompletely captured by climate models, say the researchers. As a result, the radiative forcing (that is, the disturbance to the earth’s “energy budget” from the sun) caused by human activities is highly uncertain, making it difficult to predict the extent of global warming.

And while advances have led to a more detailed understanding of aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate, further progress is hampered by limited observational capabilities and coarse climate models, says Prof. Daniel Rosenfeld of  the Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author of the article in Science. ….. 

Their recent studies have revealed a much more complicated picture of aerosol-cloud interactions than considered previously. Depending on the meteorological circumstances, aerosols can have dramatic effects of either increasing or decreasing the cloud sun-deflecting effect, the researchers say. Furthermore, little is known about the unperturbed aerosol level that existed in the preindustrial era. This reference level is very important for estimating the radiative forcing from aerosols.

Also needing further clarification is the response of the cloud cover and organization to the loss of water by rainfall. Understanding of the formation of ice and its interactions with liquid droplets is even more limited, mainly due to poor ability to measure the ice-nucleating activity of aerosols and the subsequent ice-forming processes in clouds.

Needless to say they end up asking for more funds:

While it is unfortunate that further progress on understanding aerosol-cloud interactions and their effects on climate is limited by inadequate observational tools and models, achieving the required improvement in observations and simulations is within technological reach, the researchers emphasize, provided that the financial resources are invested. 

Parsing Obama’s SOTU on climate matters: A paean to shale gas

January 29, 2014

Obama’s SOTU address will be spun in many different ways but I felt it was a remarkable paean to gas. Climate change is undeniable but he took care not to call it global warming. Not a lot of alarmism as he praised the effects of using gas. He avoided mentioning the words “fracking” or “shale”. It was all “natural” gas. He tried to give some credit to solar energy but only as an afterthought. Besides, his implication was that gas is not really a fossil fuel!

The entire section is just GAS! Gas! Gas! 

Extracts from Obama’s speech in blue. My comments in red.

“Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy.  The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

Yes. Entirely due to fracking and shale gas and shale oil. The effect of renewables has been negligible.

One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change.  Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas.  I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.  My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities.  

A tribute to shale fracking – without saying so.

And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.

Except if there is shale gas to be found.

It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too.  Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. 

Really! Pounding a solar panel into place!!!!! And not one of those homes gives up its connection to the grid.

Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

Like shale gas – which as we all know – cannot be called fossil energy.

And even as we’ve increased energy production, we’ve partnered with businesses, builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume.  When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars.  In the coming months, I’ll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.

And while he was speaking it was 17°F with light snow in Washington and fossil fuels were heating the city.

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet.  Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. 

True and entirely due to the use of gas.

But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. 

Forget that we had less storms in 2013 than ever before. And Califiornia’s drought is due to climate change. Schwarzenegger said so and he should know.

That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. 

The EPA will be my palace police. And of course if we reduce carbon (dioxide) emissions all droughts and storms and ice melting will miraculously cease!!

The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way.  But the debate is settled.  Climate change is a fact. 

Oh my!. Climate change is settled – ( He never said it was global warming)!

And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”

Meaningless rhetoric. Just how his children’s children will get to look him in the eye is a little unclear. When was the last time you looked into the eyes of a grandparent and blamed them or praised them for the state of the world?

Reality bites as EU backs away from climate goals

January 22, 2014

The European Commission’s new climate change and energy policy is due to be published today. Leaked reports have been circulating and it is clear that reality and the financial crisis are focusing minds and that expensive “feel-good” policies  are being dumped. After 2 decades, meaningless “climate policy” and emissions (read carbon dioxide) limitations have proven to be profligate and counter-productive. Climate has not been influenced in the slightest and European electricity prices are the highest in the world.

It is expected that binding national targets will be scrapped and instead there will instead be EU-wide “goals” or targets.


  • Binding national targets on renewable energy are expected to be dropped from new EU proposals due to be unveiled on Wednesday.
  • The EU executive will also outline a goal on emissions cuts for 2030, set to be 35 or 40% below 1990 levels.
  • A source within the Commission said that going forward, there would be a EU wide target on renewable energy for 2030, but it was likely that there would not be binding national targets. 
  • As well as proposals on emissions cuts, the Commission will set out its thinking on shale gas. It is likely that they will suggest a series of non-binding recommendations as opposed to a EU wide regulation. 

  • The Commission will also outline an effort to reform the EU emissions trading scheme (ETS). 
  • The Commission’s proposals will go forward for consideration at heads of government meetings in March and June this year. ……  that the climate and energy plan may be watered down even further at these meetings.

Climate “scientists” begin to acknowledge the obvious

January 16, 2014

It is obvious that the source of all heat is the Sun and that nuclear reactions in the earth’s interiror producing heat – if any – are negligible in comparison.

It seems equally obvious, considering the relative heat capacities of air with that of water, that the primary vehicle for the storage and distribution of the heat emanating from the sun, around the earth, is first by the oceans and only second via the atmosphere. The heat absorbed is attenuated by clouds. The heat lost from the earth is also primarily attenuated by clouds and only marginally by other constituents of the atmosphere.

But climate models have generally minimised solar insolation effects and largely ignored the oceans. Heat losses have been predicated primarily on carbon dioxide and other trace constituents of the atmosphere and have ended up treating the net effects of clouds as causing warming rather than cooling. Whither common sense!!

But the current “hiatus” in global warming – which may well become 2 or 3 decades of cooling  – is beginning to bring a whiff of reality into the “science”. They don’t acknowledge the possibility of cooling, of course, and don’t give up on their carbon dioxide fantasies but they are beginning to pay some attention to the oceans and the Sun.

But now they reckon models must be judged on a timescale of 50 – 100 years!

But note the phrase “sceptics and some scientists”! I thought scientists were supposed to be sceptical. Science based on belief leaves a little to be desired.

The heat is actually non-existent but the euphemism for that is “missing heat”.

Climate change: The case of the missing heat

Nature 505, 276–278 (16 January 2014),  doi:10.1038/505276a

… Average global temperatures hit a record high in 1998 — and then the warming stalled.

For several years, scientists wrote off the stall as noise in the climate system: the natural variations in the atmosphere, oceans and biosphere that drive warm or cool spells around the globe. But the pause has persisted, sparking a minor crisis of confidence in the field. Although there have been jumps and dips, average atmospheric temperatures have risen little since 1998, in seeming defiance of projections of climate models and the ever-increasing emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate sceptics have seized on the temperature trends as evidence that global warming has ground to a halt. Climate scientists, meanwhile, know that heat must still be building up somewhere in the climate system, but they have struggled to explain where it is going, if not into the atmosphere. Some have begun to wonder whether there is something amiss in their models.

Now, as the global-warming hiatus enters its sixteenth year, scientists are at last making headway in the case of the missing heat. Some have pointed to the Sun, volcanoes and even pollution from China as potential culprits, but recent studies suggest that the oceans are key to explaining the anomaly. The latest suspect is the El Niño of 1997–98, which pumped prodigious quantities of heat out of the oceans and into the atmosphere — perhaps enough to tip the equatorial Pacific into a prolonged cold state that has suppressed global temperatures ever since. …… 

….. But none of the climate simulations carried out for the IPCC produced this particular hiatus at this particular time. That has led sceptics — and some scientists — to the controversial conclusion that the models might be overestimating the effect of greenhouse gases, and that future warming might not be as strong as is feared. Others say that this conclusion goes against the long-term temperature trends, as well as palaeoclimate data that are used to extend the temperature record far into the past. And many researchers caution against evaluating models on the basis of a relatively short-term blip in the climate. “If you are interested in global climate change, your main focus ought to be on timescales of 50 to 100 years,” says Susan Solomon, a climate scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. …….


Man-made global warming is just presumption

December 18, 2013

Presumptions, presumptions everywhere but no evidence to be seen.

  1. There is a presumption among the global warming orthodoxy – but no evidence – that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere causes significant warming of the Earth’s surface.
  2. There is a presumption that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities (primarily by the increase in fossil fuel combustion since the 1950’s) is the primary cause of the increase of concentration in the atmosphere. This presumption is based on the assumption that the oceans and the forests absorb just as much carbon dioxide as they emit. This balance is an assumption and is based on the argument that pre-industrial concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were largely constant. The actual emissions from the forests and the oceans are each an order of magnitude greater than man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. The margin of error in the estimates of amounts of carbon dioxide emitted (and absorbed) by the oceans and the forests is greater than the emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The emissions due to volcanic activity are not well understood just as the rate at which  carbonate sediments are laid down by the oceans is unknown (which in turn affects the concentration of what is dissolved in the oceans and therefore how much gets absorbed by the oceans from the atmosphere). Carbon dioxide released or absorbed by tectonic activity is unknown. There is a presumption based on some limited evidence that approximately 40% of what is released by fossil combustion is accumulating as atmospheric concentration. There is no presumption, however, that increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere must lead to an increased absorption rate.
  3. Fossil fuel combustion and man-made carbon dioxide emissions as well as the atmospheric concentration have been increasing at least since about 1950. For the last 17 years this increase has continued but global temperatures have not increased. For the last 10 years the global temperature has shown a slight decline. It is therefore presumed that the original presumption still holds and that the extra heat is presumed to be hidden in a variety of places  (the deep oceans for example) other than at the Earth’s surface. There is no presumption that these observations are fundamentally in conflict with the original presumption.
  4. It is entirely logical that warming of the earth will cause the ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise just as global cooling will cause the ice sheets to expand and the sea levels to fall. It is presumed by the “establishment” that observed short-term reductions of ice extent are not due to natural variation but are proof that man-made global warming prevails. But when ice extent increases – as is happening currently – it is presumed to be due to natural variability and not relevant to the underlying trend due to man-made global warming.
  5. It is postulated by the establishment that extreme weather events are more likely to occur due to man-made global warming (and are not due to natural variability). But when extreme weather events show a decline – as they are doing currently – then any such decline is presumed to be due to natural variability.
  6. A preponderance of “cold records” being broken – rather than “heat records” is presumed to be proof of man-made global warming causing extreme weather events.

Presumptions do not a science make – especially when the evidence available increasingly conflicts with the presumptions.

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