Wednesday 28th of October 2020

old fart never understood sciences...

old fart

The release of a report on how global warming, via more CO2 in the atmosphere, has influenced a noticeable "greening of the planet" or "plant growth" in the last 30 decades is not surprising. These effects were actually predicted with reasonable precision by the "father" of the global warming science, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius (I often call him Sven for short). 


But this increase of greenery and CO2 is not the whole story. At the end of the report, GLOBAL WARMING IS STILL mentioned as A MAJOR INCOMING PROBLEM. We have to also look at the de-icing of the planet which releases land for more plants to colonise, as well as deforestation and other mitigating factors such as clearing lands and burning old forests for crop use. As well we need to consider the rise of sea level which also impacts on forested/cultivated areas in low lying river deltas.
When clearing "sparse" natural vegetation in Queensland and replacing it with cultivated fields for crops or grass for cattle, this is going to increase the apparent greening of the planet by intensifying cultivation, while reducing native animal species survival through loss of habitat and introduced species. 
Thus this greening cannot happen without changing the landscape The soil quality is also changed via the usage of fertilizers. Some of these fertilizers end up in rivers flowing to the coast, charging the sea water with extra "acid" nutrients, contributing to either algal blooms or more pH imbalance in the rivers. At sea, the acidification of the ocean by absorption of CO2 adds to these localised nutrients.

The "green" changes in regard to CO2 increase is as predicted by models: increase humidity and rainfall, but not everywhere. There are many places these days where rain is so fierce and so sudden that massive floods ensue. In other areas, the drought is becoming critical due to the shifts in the climatic banding vagaries. One such area is Tasmania, usually quite well-watered. The Gordon dam is so low, the State government has to use gas turbine generators to make up the shortfall in hydroelectricity as an electricity supply cable from mainland Victoria has also been "cut". It seems it will take a couple of years to find the fault and fix it. The Gordon dam, a pride and joy of the The Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmanian, is below 18 per cent capacity. Soon possibly, the original Lake Pedder will reappear. Drowned in 1972, with much opposition for destroying this one of the most beautiful place on the planet, Lake Pedder...
Rainfall is one of the tricks of nature. Rainfall, contrary to root irrigation of plants, brings nitrogen down from the atmosphere into the soil. Nitrogen is essential for good plant development. this is why we use various nitrates to fertilize.

So here we can say that CO2 and the warming of the atmosphere is beneficial. To a point. 

This point was set at a maximum by Arrhenius at 2 degrees Celsius to provide northerly temperate countries with more opportunity for "more crops" — all with a moderate increase of CO2, but he also had no idea that the amount of CO2 humans would add into the atmosphere would reach the present super-high level. 

Arrhenius did not also allow for climatic weather change, including increases in atmospheric disturbances. You can't tell that all countries, including islands that have been devastated by the biggest cyclones, hurricanes and typhoons registered on the planet so far — will benefit from CO2 increase. Even the USA. 

It is to be expected that the increase of "2" degrees Celsius is not uniform and can be devastating. More heat will go to the pole in the northern hemisphere while more heat seems to go to Australia and the Pacific Ocean banding in the southern hemisphere. All mostly predicted in the computer modelling of global warming.

The major problem is that there is enough CO2 in the atmosphere already to push temperatures beyond 9 degrees extra than pre-industrial level. And this is why we need to shut down our usage of fossil fuels NOW.

Uncle Rupe is an old fart who never understood science. And he never tried to understand because this would be contrary to his beliefs that money is the only thing on earth.


except him...

IN WHAT SHOULD, in a rational world, have been an entirely unnecessary research project, U.S. scientists have once again explored familiar ground and arrived at a familiar conclusion: 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and that it is caused by humans.

Since the governments of 195 nations have, de facto, already accepted this, and collectively vowed at the UN climate conference in Paris last December to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion and contain global warming if possible to a rise of 1.5°C, it might be expected that citizens would need no further convincing. But surveys shows that they do, and particularly in the United States.

So John Cook, climate communication fellow at the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute in Australia, and colleagues from the US, Canada and Europe report in Environmental Research Letters that they have examined all the research yet again.

And they have come up yet again with a conclusion that supports all previous research: that 97% of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans...

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a pot boiler...

The simple complexities of global warming

When you have a pot of water on a stove with a constant flame underneath, the water in the pot will heat up according to its specific entropy — which in a simple expression is the resistance of water in absorbing heat. Various elements/molecules/compounds have different specific entropy. 

The same quantity of steel for example will absorb heat faster than water. This is why pot makers work out ways to distribute temperature evenly in a pan. In most modern pans, the bottom will be made of thick copper, while the walls will be thinner stainless steel for "boilers", while for "fryers", the walls will be made of cast iron, or cast composites. A non-stick surface is often added but not necessary for heat distribution. At this simple level we can already see "complications" and variations. Some cheap pans will burn food at the bottom while the food at top will stay cold. You've done it.

A pot of water is a simple item that we can consider homogenous, though the water inside the pot will be warmer at the bottom due to the proximity of the flame. In accordance with the laws of physics, this warm water will expand, thus will have a lower density than the cooler water above. This lower density will make the warmer water rise to the top. This effect creates convection currents inside the pot. We can see movement of water inside the pot.

The flame will produce heat. Some of the heat will be dispersed around the pot and will be lost, not used to heat the water. Some of the heat will warm the water. But it's not instant. The water in the pot will take time to absorb the heat until it reaches a certain level of heat and create steam. There are lots of variable, including atmospheric pressure. For example in a pressure cooker, the temperature of the boiling point of water rises in relation to the pressure inside the pot according to the Clausius-Clapeyron relation. It is simple enough, yet it depends on how much water there is in the pressure cooker and what pressure we allow to build inside it.

So even with a simple system of a local stove, heating water with a flame has lots of variable including the quantity of water. We simplify: A calorie is defined as the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius.

It might take one third only of a calorie to raise one gram of steel by one degree Celsius. Steel "warms faster" than water.

Even at this basic level things are complicated enough, though not complexed.

Now to global warming.

The system is far from being uniform, the saucepan is HUGE and our flame is only a very temperamental small heat source. 

We have to dip our lid to Arrhenius. He was faced with massive amounts of variables when he decided to calculate the inductive differences between ice ages and warmer climes. And he did not have computers to do the permutations. 

This is why he had to do a lot of research on the variability of warming gases in the composition of atmosphere. We know the most warming gas is water vapour, but water vapour is "erratic". It has various forms, such as cloud or clear vapour, or even ice at high altitude — all at various intensity/density/dew point depending on the weather of the day. But we know that this "erratic" behaviour, evens itself out. The sum-total of erratic is stable — stable enough to maintain the local and global averages of temperature over days and seasons. Other gases such as nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere are pretty constant in their behaviour, and can be discarded for such calculations. 

Arrhenius had to find the gas which had a specific constant proportion in the atmosphere during ice ages with a different constant proportion during the warmer climes. Research hinted at CO2. But the quantities were quite small. Arrhenius calculation showed that during ice ages the proportion of CO2 was specifically 45 per cent lower in the atmosphere with a calculated differential temperature of more than 6 degrees Celsius. Modern research and experiments show that between 180 ppm (ice ages) and 300 ppm (warmer climes) of CO2 in the atmosphere, the correlative difference is about 10 degrees Celsius.

This is a powerful Eureka moment. Other calculation by Arrhenius showed that industrialisation through burning coal was going to change significantly those CO2 ppm proportions, even in minute quantities, thus changing the surface temperature of the planet. Many scientists at the time (in the late nineteenth century) challenged Arrhenius theory. Arrhenius redid his sums and proposed that he was correct and that a modest addition of CO2 could be beneficial to crops in the northern hemisphere by adding an extra 2 degrees Celsius to the atmosphere. 

Enters the storms of feedback mechanism

Modern statistics and observation of present and past era show that the process is very complex, but with specific increases despite the "erratic" behaviour of the atmosphere.

In order to predict the next temperature increase, we have developed computer models based on observed input and various extrapolated formula, that have to take account of sun light variability, earth wobbles and seasonal variations.

— the surface of the planet is not an homogenised entity. There are gradients due to its spherical shape, due to the axis position creating seasons, day and night and specific climatic sections from polar to equatorial banding. Ice at the poles, including sea ice and continental ice complicate the feed back mechanisms. Albedo and spacial heat loss are also feedback mechanisms that modify with increase surface temperature. As well, jet streams will also influence the distribution of heat on the surface. Warm and cold fronts creates eddies of temperature inversions.

— on the global scale, increase of CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the temperature of the surface of the planet.

— on a local scale there will be increases and/or decreases of temperature due to local conditions that will change due to changes in other part of the globe. For example it is likely that as the earth warms in general, the Gulf Stream, which keeps the UK warmer for its latitude, will slow down and leave the UK in a cooler position for a certain amount of time until the general heat raises the temperature again, possibly beyond "comfortable".

— the differential of heat entropy between the atmosphere and the oceans has the potential to increase the strength of atmospheric disturbances — cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, storms. 

— sea currents and up-swells will complex the warming of the surface of the planet. The water on the planet is a strong factor in retarding the process of warming of the earth surface. This masks the probable disasters we are facing by displacing the timeline of future events.

— the increase of atmospheric temperature in conjunction with the increase of CO2 is difficult to quantify over small amount of time, but can be trended with a reasonable bracketing of minimum and maximum warming over decades.

— we can be certain that the trend of present warming is due to CO2 level plus increase of other warming gases such as methane. 

— the burning of fossil fuels by humans has already reintroduced atmospheric conditions of aeons past, during which there was no polar ice cap, surface temperature was higher by about 15 degrees Celsius and sea level was about 75 metres higher than the present. 

— the plate tectonic position being different from such times presents different characteristics as to the distribution of the warming.

— in past aeons, it took between 10,000 to more than 1.000,000 years to naturally achieve such atmospheric changes as we have introduced in less than 150 years by burning fossil fuels —fossil fuels being the sequestered results of past geological time upheavals. 

— it is to be understood that the burning of fossil fuel has modified the surface of the planet's potential conditions for the next 10,000 years. Most of these modifications will make some places inhabitable and make a lot of accepted comforts impossible to maintain without furthering the damage to the surface of the planet. Adaptation will be a key factor for survival, yet many animal and plant species won't adapt quickly enough. Extinction on a massive scale beckons.

— will we cope with what we have already unleashed?

— should we unleash more warming on the planet by burning more fossil fuels?

— at which point will the problems of global warming outweighs the benefits of burning fossil fuels? the answer was 1996.

— what formula for warming should we adopt? Linear, exponential or parabolic? 

— the pseudo-parabolic with a high plateau limit is the most probable (a Lagrangian weirdo). The plateau limit is when the heat, the albedo and spacial heat loss balance out, in present changing atmospheric conditions. Even the best of the best computers cannot give us this answer as the input of parameters is too great. The trend is for accelerating (parabolic) warming nonetheless.

Here are Gus' predictions under present 400 plus ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere: complete de-icing of the poles is a possibility. Rise of 25 to 50 metres of the sea level. Temperature of 40 degrees Celsius in equatorial regions. Temperature variability between 20 and 55 degrees in temperate/tropical regions. 5 to 20 degrees Celsius in arctic region. One to 10 degrees Celsius in Antarctica. Timeframe: 400 years. Far fetched? I believe this is the process that we have unleashed on the planet. 

It's not terminal but it's not going to be pretty.

Gus Leonisky
your local scientific clairvoyant.


turnbull = more bullshit...

Turnbull’s evolving climate strategy: When less is more

By Giles Parkinson on 26 April 2016

The Coalition government under Malcolm Turnbull has a rapidly evolving strategy on climate change and clean energy – announce new jobs and investments, but only after cutting even more jobs and investments.

Those were the allegations levelled at the Turnbull government on Tuesday after the CSIRO announced a new climate change research centre in what appears to be a patch-up job by innovation minister Christopher Pyne and environment minister Greg Hunt, and Hunt’s announcement of an “extra” $50 million for the Great Barrier Reef.

The CSIRO cuts are particularly galling for the science community. A new division to be based in Hobart, combining with elements of the Bureau of Meteorology, will employ 40 climate scientists. But CSIRO chief Larry Marshall, intent on converting the CSIRO from focusing on the public good to revenue opportunities with business, says 75 jobs will still be lost from the climate division, albeit down from 110.

CSIRO climate scientists dismiss this as a “con” job. Professor Dave Griggs, a former director of Monash Sustainability Institute at Monash University said it was like “trying to put a sticking plaster over a gaping wound.”

Similarly, Hunt on Tuesday announced $50 million of “new” funding for the Great Barrier Reef, which the government has finally realised is under grave threat following the worst bleaching event on record, which has touched more than 90 per cent of the reef.

The Greens said: Not so fast, arguing that the funds simply replace monies cut in the past two years – $40 million from the Reef Water Quality Program in 2014, and $10 million from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

The recycled funding follows a similar pattern on clean energy. Hunt has used the proposed start of construction on a wind farm in northern NSW as proof that the government has brought clarity and stability to the industry. Instead, the Coalition’s policies have brought the industry to a standstill.

And last month, when the Turnbull government announced the creation of a “new” Clean Energy Innovation Fund, it did so only after shifting funds already allocated to the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and announcing it would seek to rescind the $1.3 billion budget legislated for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

On climate, numbers are juggled in a different way. Hunt insists that Australia is on track to deliver its Kyoto target for 2020, which is true, because it is largely a book-keeping exercise borne out of a highly favourable agreement for Australia reached a decade ago.

The climate target that really matters – the one signed in New York last Friday under the Paris agreement – is more problematic. Australia’s target is well short of what is considered its fair share by every assessment bar the Coalition’s, which continues to rely on a “per capita” reduction calculation that places Australia at the bottom of the world ladder, along with the oil-guzzling Saudis.

Australia’s own data actually shows an increase in emissions in the coming decade, bar some as-yet unannounced policy measure. And while the Coalition may be relying on another fortunate piece of accounting, the Paris deal calls for the “decarbonisation” of the global economy. That means replacing fossil fuels with clean energy.

There is now a growing view that the cross-over point between the fossil fuel era and the debarbonised era may occur in the next five years.

This will coincide with further falls in the cost of solar, and a growing contribution to the world’s energy mix, and a big slump in the costs of battery storage, which will not only facilitate more renewables, both at grid level and “behind the meter” in households and businesses, but make electric vehicles something of a no-brainer for consumers.

Ray Kurzweil, the futurist who has made a host of noteworthy predictions, including the uptake of the internet, says he expects solar to become the dominant energy source within 12 years, pointing to the repeated doubling of solar’s share of energy production every two years.

“In 2012 solar panels were producing 0.5% of the world’s energy supply. Some people dismissed it, saying it’s a nice thing to do but at a half percent is a fringe player. That’s not going to solve the problem,’” Kurzweil said at a recent forum.

“They were ignoring the exponential growth — just as they ignored the exponential growth of the internet and human genome project. Half a per cent is only 8 doublings away from 100%.

“Now, four years later solar has doubled twice again. Now solar panels produce 2 per cent of the world’s energy, right on schedule. People dismiss it saying ‘2 per cent is nice, but a fringe player. That ignores the exponential growth, which means it is only 6 doublings or 12 years from 100 per cent.”

Not everyone is ignoring it. Oil major Total last week announced it was creating a new division focusing on renewables and “electricity” rather than transport fuels, with a goal to be one of world’s top three solar producers.

Saudi Arabia has repeated its focus on looking at a world beyond fossil fuels. The collapse in the oil price is estimated to cost Gulf states $500 billion in lost revenue in 2016, leaving them with bludgets barely capabe of affording the massive subsidies paid to fossil fuels.

And US defence major Lockheed Martin has announced its intention to go into the battery storage industry – this, as the French and India governments confirmed their pact to encourage $1 trillion in new investment in the solar industry under the International Solar Agreement first unveiled in Paris.

These examples barely scratch the surface of what’s going on around the world. It leaves the Australian economy, which continues to focus on commodities and to prostrate itself at the feet of the fossil fuel industry, with a clouded future.

The government, you would hope, is smart enough to see what is coming. It just doesn’t have the fortitude to share that view with the public, or tell the hard right ideologues to stop kidding themselves.

and now the weather...


The bureau's boss bows out just days before the federal budget on Tuesday will reveal whether the government axes funding for programs set up under the National Plan for Water Security. Begun in 2007 by then prime minister John Howard, the 10-year, $10 billion program funded a range of water policies, with almost $450m going to the bureau.


The bureau now had "the world's best water information service", including precise stream-flow forecasting, that boasts a return on investments of between twofold and ninefold, despite the early stage of many projects, Dr Vertessy, a hydrologist by training, said. A drop in funding would result in a sharp reduction of services.

Funding constraints also hindered the bureau's ability to win its case to house climate researchers facing the chop at the CSIRO.

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indian summer...

With sizzling temperatures claiming more than 300 lives this month in India, officials have banned daytime cooking in some parts of the drought-stricken country in a bid to prevent accidental fires that have killed nearly 80 more people.

The eastern state of Bihar this week took the unprecedented step of forbidding any cooking between 9am and 6pm, after accidental fires exacerbated by dry, hot and windy weather swept through shantytowns and thatched-roof houses in villages and killed 79 people. They included 10 children and five adults killed in a fire sparked during a Hindu prayer ceremony in Bihar’s Aurangabad district last week.

People were instead told to cook to night.

Hoping to prevent more fires, officials have also banned the burning of spent crops and religious fire rituals. Anyone defying the ban risks up to a year in jail.

“We call this the fire season in Bihar,” Vyas, a state disaster management official who goes by one name, said. “Strong, westerly winds stoke fires which spread easily and cause great damage.”

Much of India is reeling under a weeks-long heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and left at least 330 million Indians without enough water for their daily needs.

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