Holiday almost over

I’m finally home after being on holiday for two weeks. Apart from responding to some comments when I got the chance, I haven’t written a blog post for over two weeks. It’s the longest break I’ve had since April last year, and it’s been wonderful. It may actually take a while before I have the energy or inclination to write anything substantive. Apart from thinking a little about the definition of radiative forcings (motivated by the later comments on this post), I also haven’t given climate science much thought at all. This post certainly isn’t going to be about anything meaningful, and is really just a chance for me to say that I’m back and to post one of my pictures that I quite like. No prizes for guessing where it is 🙂

Castle

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80 Responses to Holiday almost over

  1. Welcome back – and I hope you feel suitably refreshed!

  2. Mark,
    Thanks. It’s been very good, although I’m glad to be home and am actually quite looking forward to getting back to work.

  3. Joshua says:

    Nice spot – but you’d think they’d clean up that crumbling building in the background.

  4. Vacations sometimes end like this:

  5. Vinny Burgoo says:

    My dog-loopy* neighbours were up there a few weeks ago. They were almost rabid with missionary zeal for the place when they got back but it was hard to tell whether you had to be dog-loopy to love it that much. What was so great? ‘It was the most dog-friendly place we’ve ever been.’ The scenery? ‘The dogs loved the beach.’ Food? ‘One place had bowls of water and free dog-food outside.’ I didn’t ask about the sex.

    ===
    *They used to have about twenty. Now down to four or five.

  6. Vinny,
    I don’t think you need to be dog loopy. The beaches are good, so we normally spend quite a bit of time on the beach. This time we also did a bit of rock climbing. In the past we’ve been down to Hadrian’s Wall. It does have very nice scenery and – if you happen to like these kind of things – plenty of castles, some of which aren’t even ruined.

  7. Vinny Burgoo says:

    I passed through that area about twenty years ago and thought it beautiful and fascinating. It’s probably time to explore it properly. (But not until I’ve got a car – non-electric, natch – that I’m not always expecting to snap in two because of the rust.)

  8. Michael 2 says:

    My immediate guess was Lindisfarne castle but turns out to be nearby Dunstanburgh castle 23 km southward. The Scot in me would like to go there someday.

  9. M2,
    No prizes though 🙂

  10. Steve Bloom says:

    I think of them all as Castle Aaargh. Were there postcards available in Aramaic?

  11. victorpetri says:

    Well, here is possibly a topic for your blog,
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericmack/2014/07/21/june-was-hottest-on-record/

    The hottest month in the world ever recorded.

  12. Marco says:

    I recommend you ignore Victor’s request (who cares about single month records?). It’s better to take on BAMS state of the climate 2013. Although I am not sure you can add anything to it.
    http://www2.ametsoc.org/ams/index.cfm/publications/bulletin-of-the-american-meteorological-society-bams/bams-state-of-the-climate-2013/

  13. Marco,
    Your recommendation would seem sensible and, as you say, not much I could add to the BAMS state of the climate 2013 report.

  14. victorpetri says:

    Not only was June the warmest month ever, which I think is interesting in itself, also May was the warmest May ever. What’s more, all 12 months have records set since 1997.
    But OK, maybe there is not much blogging material in it.

    Anyways, just a suggestion.

  15. victorpetri,
    The problem with highlighting particularly warm months (or years) is that it doesn’t really tell you anything of the long-term trend, which is really what’s important. It’s not wildly different from those who use particularly cold months (or years) to argue against AGW. What’s more relevant is what is the trend, not have we just had a particularly warm month? What is interesting, however, is that we are now having La Niña years that are warmer than past El Niño years. That, however, is illustrating a trend, rather than picking on a single month or year.

  16. victorpetri says:

    To add to that, in July 2014, the Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño Watch, stating a 70 percent chance of El Niño development by the end of the year.
    And all months in the year having records set since 1997 certainly is a trend indicator as well.

  17. vitorpetri,
    Sure, if you consider temperatures now with the past and consider the implications of an El Niño later this year, that would be indicative of a trend. Not quite sure what more I could actually say, though.

  18. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Re: your 9:47.

    I rarely see a comment similar to yours above (except in reverse) over at WUWT or Climate Etc.when a “skeptic” talks of a short-term cold period. The fact that I don’t see more is part of why I put “skeptics” in quotation marks. It is therefore a problem for me that I also rarely see comments similar to yours at “realist” sites when someone talks about a short-term warm period – so it was good to read your 9:47.

  19. izen says:

    At the risk of disappointing Joshua I would point out that while a couple of record months in a row does very little to change a multidecade trend, there are aspects of the record that may be a fingerprint of other impacts of climate change.

    The records set are almost entirely driven by the record rise in Sea surface temperatures. Supportive at least of the claims that the OHC is rising.
    One aspect of these June temperatures is that they exceed the maximum previous record for SSTs set by the major El Nino June temperatures in 1998.
    This during a climate pattern that is at most teetering on the edge of a weak El Nino. Will the high SSTs cause shifts in the range and magnitude of rainfall like an El Nino, or into some new and unpredictable pattern of weather?
    The record level of SSTs anomaly suggests the least likely outcome is that weather patterns will show no significant change.

    Given the dominance of water in both holding the extra energy and redistributing it by evaporation, a process that is surface temperature sensitive and generates most of the weather, these record breaking monthly measurements do have implications beyond a very weak influence on long term climate trends.
    Perhaps as prequel, preview or trailer of the future.

  20. AnOilMan says:

    izen: I don’t think there is any reason to believe that what we consider to be normal weather cycles like El Nino and La Nina exist in a high temperature world. I believe its safe to say that at some point such cycles will be subsumed by something else.

    To my eyes, geo-engineering the planet intentionally to an unknown state is insane. And knowing ahead of time that the intent is to increase strife, cause irreversible ecological collapse, and inflict destruction of economies, and deprive people of jobs, makes this beyond the pale. (That’s just Canada by the way.)

    Anders: Have fun. I really enjoyed Aberdeen when I visited. I loved the area and traipsing about castles. Although my wife found a culinary review that was funny, “If you’re looking for fine Scottish cuisine cooked with precision, you’ve come to the wrong town.”

  21. AOM,
    I have been to Aberdeen, but not on this holiday 🙂

  22. izen,
    I was going to add that my concern was simply in using a single record monthly temperature alone to argue for or against AGW. What you’ve done in your comment is to put it into a much more relevant context. For example, I hadn’t realised that the SSTs now are higher than they were prior to the 1998 El Niño.

  23. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says: “izen: I don’t think there is any reason to believe that what we consider to be normal weather cycles like El Nino and La Nina exist in a high temperature world.”

    Nor, for that matter, is there any reason to believe it will NOT exist. I suppose that makes my cup half full and yours half empty or vice versa. Life would probably be better, or at least more predictable (which I suppose some equate to better), without these cycles.

  24. oarobin says:

    ATTP,
    if you are looking for a topic to blog on, i would like to get your thoughts on
    this paper by Nassim Taleb on the precautionary principle.

  25. AnOilMan says:

    MIchael 2: There is plenty of reason to believe they might not exist. At what point will the signal (heat) drown the noise (ENSO).

    That is why this very question has been studied. The current answer is yes they will remain for the next century, but ENSO events will be much worse, and more damaging.

    And just cause I worry ENSO might not be there, doesn’t mean I want to find out what replaces it. A hotter world has a lot more energy sloshing around in it. That’s not a good thing.

  26. oarobin,
    I’ll have a look, but that is a topic about which I have little knowledge or understanding.

  27. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says “MIchael 2: There is plenty of reason to believe they might not exist. At what point will the signal (heat) drown the noise (ENSO).”

    Never. ENSO has a periodic component whose frequency is different than the either linear increasing or very long term “signal” of global warming. They will always be distinguishable.

    In the Navy I searched for submarines. Their “signal” was seriously drowned out by ambient noises — the sea surface churned by wind, whales calling to each other. What permitted the search was the periodicity of the expected signal and the magic of FFT.

    You are correct that ENSO could disappear, but not because it is “drowned out” but because whatever mechanism that stimulates its existence might be temperature dependent. But I have seen nothing to suggest what causes the mechanism, thus no hint that it will stop, neither any hint that it won’t stop. You assert it has been studied and I thank you for that claim as it will give me something new to study.

    I’m glad you wrote “heat sloshing around”. That’s the problem. It isn’t going to slosh around. If the poles warm faster than the equator, which is the assertion, the differential becomes less going from equator to pole, and it is the difference in temperature that drives the heat engine. Remove that difference and the heat engine stops regardless of how much heat you have in the system. That also has implications but isn’t the charge you were making. The observations match this — hurricane force and frequency is DOWN — just as it ought to be with less of a thermal gradient. On the other hand, I can see where once in a while you might get a doozy of a hurricane if a “polar vortex” just happens to loop over the Gulf Stream.

    I can also see where heat must transfer to the poles, either by the Gulf Stream or by atmospheric cyclone. If the Gulf Stream stops then a band of never-ending cyclonic storms will doubtless come into existence just as it now exists over the Aleutian Islands which form a natural barrier between the warm Japanese current to the south and the cold Bering Sea to the north and also just happen to lay under the polar air mass boundary of rising air.

  28. Michael 2 says:

    oarobin suggested a document on a Precautionary Paper (link above).

    I looked at the Precautionary Principle paper. It appears to justify the “At Any Cost” principle to prevent whatever is your Fear du Jour, GMO in this instance (for me an asteroid collision with Earth is a lot more dangerous than Golden Rice).

    “Given the promotion of ‘golden rice’ by the agribusiness that also promote biofuels, their interest in humanitarian impacts versus profits gained through wider acceptance of GMO technology can be legitimately questioned”

    Strange words.

    Science isn’t involved in moral decisions. In the case of golden rice, either it solves the problem it was designed to solve, or it doesn’t.

    But it came from UEA where science and morality meet.

  29. AnOilMan says:

    Michael 2: I wrote ASW software. I know what it does, and how it does it. You’ll be happy to know that the same folks who saved you from Russian Navies turned their attentions to Climate Change. Subs use live + historical, temperature, salinity, noise profiles. Mostly acoustics are driven away from certain depths by temperature and salinity. If a sub is 120 db down, there isn’t much you can do about it except try to get close and get lucky. There’s no magic FFT. (I am currently looking at Beam Forming for oil drilling. Dang if 10th order differential equations aren’t a b**ch to solve.)

    I think you’re rambling about ENSO. I haven’t tied any sort of mathematical meaning to what I said. If you change a system… its different. Different is by definition, not necessarily better. Many learned people are looking into this kind of thing even if you aren’t very skeptical.
    http://cires.colorado.edu/news/press/2011/elnino.html

    Lastly all the data on Hurricanes is that they will be worse, but we still can’t quite tell when that would really be noticeable. No one has said it should happen yet or be noticeable yet. If you are interested in that, perhaps you should read Storm World. Since it was endorsed by Judith Curry, it should be safe for you to read.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_World

  30. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says ” You’ll be happy to know that the same folks who saved you from Russian Navies turned their attentions to Climate Change.”

    No doubt. The Beltway Bandits were chasing government grants back then and they are still chasing government grants. Occasionally the bandits were producing something pretty good, but not always. Even when good it sometimes had gaps.

    You say you wrote ASW software? Perhaps you were the man that left a “hole” in the communication software — failed to handle the possibility that a synchronous idle character might be phase shifted. I managed to get the microcode and inspected it — the device ignored any even parity code that it did not recognize, including the “synchronous idle” character itself. That was stupid and caused a great deal of grief. Communications would stop stone cold dead and stay that way until manually resynchronized. I submitted a change request with sample program code — if it’s a “6” (synchronous idle) THEN ignore, but if it reaches the bottom of the branch list, you need to resynchronize. (add two lines and change a third. Easy as Pi)

    I spoke with the programmers and they agreed with me that the problem was exactly as I described and they promised to have a fix that same day — after all, I gave them the fix. Then suddenly it became political, the programmer vanished, management demanded all the documents and methods I had used to discover this and that was the end of that. They did NOT like me having the microcode source list and that’s the same phenomenon we’ve seen in climate science.

    Beltway bandit computer programming has a similar profile — the part that does the work (engineering) and the part that interfaces with the government (political). I suppose it is a bit like a bipolar molecule and you have to present the right bits to the right people at the right time.

    So while it is very likely that real scientists are doing real science, I am quite certain that what I *see* has been passed through many layers of bureaucrats choosing what I see, and quite likely altering some of it, a little here, a little there, at each management level. I don’t really fault people for that — if the ONLY thing presented to the public was the raw analysis from the Vostok ice core, minuscule variations in oxygen isotopes as you go down — would people be inspired to give up their lifestyles? Probably not. But by making scary stories, have you actually had any more substantial results? Sure, in nations that have very little freedom anyway but only imagine it (Australia for instance). Parliamentary systems where MP’s are not elected, only parties are elected, and once elected the MP’s can do whatever they want.

  31. BBD says:

    would people be inspired to give up their lifestyles?

    Decarbonisation doesn’t require people to “give up their lifestyles”. Contrarian rhetoric at its most tedious and irritating.

  32. BBD says:

    But it came from UEA where science and morality meet.

    Or in other words: Climategaaaaaaate (the scandal that never was, brought to you by the denial industry). You are insinuating a conspiracy theory. More tiresome contrarian rhetoric.

  33. AnOilMan says:

    Michael 2: No. They used the same data and methods that hide\found submarines to determine ocean heat content. The reason for this is obvious… the navy uses physics too, and they wrote the book on accurately measuring ocean temperatures.
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/data.nodc.woa94.html
    ftp://140.90.235.82/pub/woa/PUBLICATIONS/grlheat08.pdf
    http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/noaa_documents/NESDIS/NODC/journal_articles/science_2000_warming-world-ocean.pdf

    This has nothing to do with communications or Beltway Bandits.

  34. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says: “Decarbonisation doesn’t require people to give up their lifestyles.”

    I find myself at a loss for words at the utter absurdity of that remark.

    Would you like to play a game of tic-tac-toe? The only way to win is not to play!

  35. M2,
    Why is it absurd? If it is absurd, that would seem to imply that we have a few decades or maybe a century of economic growth left and then the world will fall into darkness and our descendants will not know the kind of lifestyles we’ve been able to enjoy. Seems rather alarmist to me.

  36. BBD says:

    I find myself at a loss for words at the utter absurdity of that remark.

    I had a similar reaction to the above. Displacement of coal from electricity generation does not require a return to the dark ages. What I objected to (and am continuing to do so) is the unsupported implication that this is the inevitable outcome of emissions reduction policy. That’s rhetoric.

  37. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says “They used the same data and methods that hide\found submarines to determine ocean heat content. The reason for this is obvious… the navy uses physics too, and they wrote the book on accurately measuring ocean temperatures.”

    Hmm. I was thinking more about the application of FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) to distinguish a periodic signal (ENSO) from a linear or very long period signal (climate change) as it relates to finding a submarine through its SSTG (ship’s service turbine generator) invariant frequency signal integrated over time as compared to random sea noise that gradually cancels out depending on integration time — and the low probability that changing the temperature of the sea would significantly alter either phenomenon.

    Yes, we dropped many BT (bathythermal) buoys for the purpose of profiling temperature vs depth to locate the thermocline, a datum necessary to choose the depth of the hydrophone dangling from its sonobuoy.

    The actual accuracy of the BT’s is relatively unimportant, what was important was locating the depth of the thermocline. I do not claim accuracy or non-accuracy as to absolute temperature or its utility in the application you have in mind but I’d be suspicious of claims of absolute accuracy better than a degree. If I remember right everything in those days was analog so far as the buoys themselves went and doppler shift by the aircraft itself had a slight impact on the results.

    Calibrated BT’s existed but were used primarily by VXN8 in its own little fleet of 3 Research P3’s.

    Since hundreds of thousands of BT’s were dropped I accept that collectively their inaccuracies probably average out and useful data can be gleaned from the collection.

    “This has nothing to do with communications or Beltway Bandits.”

    Agreed. We have been having an interesting conversation about FFT and sonobuoys, a thing I last used at the end of the “cold war”.

    However, in the event the conversation wanders back into the realm of the politics of climate science, then beltway bandits and government sources are relevant to my *acceptance* of claims. I have worked in government. So, it appears, have you.

  38. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP “M2, Why is it absurd? If it is absurd, that would seem to imply that we have a few decades or maybe a century of economic growth left”

    Maybe a century of carbon left, yes, little argument there. But that wasn’t the claim. The claim is changed lifestyle. Of course it will change, either by choice or by natural consequence of simply running out of food and fuel.

    Some of the changes I anticipate is homo sapiens, a diurnal (active during the daytime) species will return to being active primarily in the daytime. Solar power is abundant; storage is not, hence activities that require the most power will happen in daylight. It may well be the case that nighttime power will come from your own batteries which you charge from the grid, or your own solar (or more likely both) during the day. The utility companies might not even try to store power for the night.

    Commuting 60 or more miles every day to work, a thing once considered rather normal and common, will end for most people. Rail will become far more popular. Short range electric vehicles will be common as they can use less expensive batteries.

    Industry will change. When you can draw from a pool of employees with a 60 mile radius you can be highly specialized. If you are limited to a radius of only 10 miles, some highly specialized endeavors will probably just stop happening.

    Petroleum will still be necessary for such things as aircraft and ships at sea for a very long time. However, with a vastly reduced market the price per barrel will rise dramatically as the cost of drilling and extraction will be borne by considerably fewer customers. The inevitable result will be the end of commercial air travel for most people until and unless synthetic high density fuels are invented. They will necessarily be carbon based because that’s where the density happens – hydrocarbons – but it won’t have to be fossil hydrocarbons.

    Because of the higher cost of shipping, international trade will dwindle and imports of cheap Chinese stuff will end. The result will be higher cost of just about everything domestically produced, combined with higher cost of fuel — either by tax or by scarcity (probably both). Non-essential spending will end and the town of West Yellowstone, and all like it that depend on vacationers and tourism, will die. A more European style might emerge where going to the next town for a beer is the big vacation. There’s a bit of that in Minnesota already — go to Rothsay to see the giant prairie chicken.

    IF, and it’s a really big if, suitable storage is developed then solar power could usher in a new era of prosperity for the whole entire planet.

    But BBD insulted my intelligence saying decarbonization will cause no lifestyle changes. Oslo could probably decarbonize but that’s about it. The city is high density and already serviced by electric trolley using hydropower. I had no difficulty getting around on foot and trolley. But farms? They depend on petroleum. If you cannot eat, of what use is your electric trolley?

  39. BBD says:

    Solar power is abundant; storage is not,

    You assume zero development in eg. vanadium flow batteries for utility-scale application. Your rhetoric is relentlessly negative.

    But BBD insulted my intelligence saying decarbonization will cause no lifestyle changes.

    No, I questioned your rhetoric about back to the dark ages. Inflexible mentation is useless for solving problems.

  40. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says (in several ways): “More tiresome contrarian rhetoric.”

    It is whatever you want to call it but you are avoiding discussion. For all I know you have commended me with high praise. It has your attention for sure.

    In what way will my lifestyle NOT be changed by decarbonization? What will replace my car, my light, my heat, my food, my job? Don’t speculate, be specific. Your claim is that my lifestyle will not change. My claim is that it must change. It *could* someday be better, but that assumes technology not presently existing.

  41. AnOilMan says:

    M2: Interesting, I hadn’t heard of using FFTs for ENSO. It seems a bit dubious to me since that kind of analysis is disconnected from the reality of real world physics. (Kinda smacks of curve fitting to me.)

    As for predicting temperatures profiles, they are very very accurate. XBTs are an absolute, +-0.1C accuracy. However, that number is ten times the actual accuracy mainly so they can get away with being too fussy. Wheatstone Bridges and Thermocouples aren’t exactly new you know. They are old and accurate.

    In ASW the data is used two ways. On the sub where they can’t launch an XBT to get local data, they use historical data almost exclusively to determine where to hide. Note: this data is sparse in both time and spacial location. (We protect billions of dollars in equipment by filling in the considerable holes in that data set.) On ships they use the same data, plus they use recent XBT data.

  42. AnOilMan says:

    BBD: Personally I’m following Donald Sodaway’s liquid metal batteries. However just like solar panel production is ramping up globally, so is battery production. It goes hand in hand. Problem solved, case closed.

    I don’t really see any serious damage to life style due to high energy prices. But there will be some effort for people to get used to things. As I said earlier ‘different’ by definition does not mean ‘better’. It’s different. You can enjoy a full life style without a monster carbon foot print.

    It will ripple through out our society though. Needing to hire people to install and maintain solar systems will increase employment. Not needing to send our military abroad to fight for energy security, will reduce/downsize military budgets, and lower taxes. Lowering death rates from asthma and breathing related problems will be a wonderful bonus. And we clean the place up.

    What’s not to like.

  43. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan made these excellent comments: “M2: Interesting, I hadn’t heard of using FFTs for ENSO. It seems a bit dubious to me since that kind of analysis is disconnected from the reality of real world physics. (Kinda smacks of curve fitting to me.)”

    Ya think? Anyway, wavelets work better for this. Wavelets are ideal for revealing the long-term chaotic nature of such things while for a few decades it will seem to be periodic; with phases and frequencies coming and going very slowly.

    “As for predicting temperatures profiles, they are very very accurate. XBTs are an absolute, +-0.1C accuracy. Wheatstone Bridges and Thermocouples aren’t exactly new you know. They are old and accurate.”

    That they are but a thermocouple requires a cold junction to act as a reference (if I remember right).

    Anyway, I found a reference for Navy sonobuoys and BT’s. Short answer is that they use thermistor (link directly below) probably accurate to 0.1 or 0.2 (from a commercial source link below the quotes).

    http://navybmr.com/study%20material2/NAVEDTRA%2014340.pdf

    “Bathythermograph Sonobuoy.—The BT sonobuoy is used to measure water temperature versus
    depth. … The probe uses a thermistor, which is a temperature-dependent electronic component, to measure the temperature. The electrical output of the probe is applied to a voltage-controlled oscillator. The oscillator’s output signal frequency modulates the sonobuoy transmitter.” (page 19, same source).

    Well good. Thermistors do not require a reference temperature.

    http://www.ussensor.com/standard-precision-interchangeable-thermistors-01%C2%B0c-and-02%C2%B0c-accuracy

    So my faith in the overall accuracy of BT measurements is improved.

  44. BBD says:

    M2

    In what way will my lifestyle NOT be changed by decarbonization? What will replace my car, my light, my heat, my food, my job? Don’t speculate, be specific.

    FFS. Now ramping up renewables and nuclear to displace coal from electricity generation is going to cost you your car, plunge you into darkness, remove all your food and render you unemployed? This is what I mean by your relentlessly negative (and daft) rhetoric. It’s tedious. Stop it.

    Utility-scale batteries enable wide-scale deployment of wind and solar. The game changes and you will barely notice unless you are in the habit of wasting vast amounts of energy, in which case you *need* your lifestyle changing.

  45. AnOilMan says:

    M2: Here’s a great talk on using uncalibrated and difficult data in 1978, yup… .1C with no post processing;
    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a102085.pdf

    But if you look at the calibration and post processing required for each and every version of bathythermograph ever produced you will find .01C is entirely achievable. As I said, the reason for the high .1C error spec is to obviate the supplier from post launch data cleaning, which can be done long after the fact.
    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/GTSPP/document/qcmans/csiro/csiro.htm

    My favorite is the HMS Challenger;
    http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/04/modern-ocean-temperatures-compared-to-challenger-expedition-data/
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n6/full/nclimate1461.html?WT.ec_id=NCLIMATE-201206
    http://www.greenhouse2011.com/UserFiles/Presentation/presentationUrl_10.pdf

    Wow… we use the same instruments today to calibrate spectrometers for oil refineries. Good see they are still just as accurate as they were 135 years ago.

    There are plenty of papers discussing the various issues with the various XBTs and what to do about it. You should read up on that to get a better understanding.

    However, now that we’re past absolute measurement error, rudimentary math will reduce that error by many orders of magnitude. We are a long long long way off from your initial 1C guess.

  46. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan — thanks for the link to HMS Challenger and interesting commentary on bathythermal buoys. When I first saw you mention “Challenger” what popped in my mind was the Glomar Challenger. I remember avidly reading about that one and similar research ships as a teen. Television was severely restricted in my household but Jacques Cousteau was always permitted (actually more like required) viewing. His wind-turbine sailing ship came to Alaska while I was there; apparently offered tours of his ship (I think it was his son captaining that sailing ship), but I was climbing a small mountain and missed that opportunity.

    (rant:)
    I just wish there could be some interesting stories that didn’t invoke “global warming”.

    I’m reminded of medieval Europe up to nearly modern times — you could do anything you wanted *provided* it supported the Catholic church in some way. Naked people? Sure, no problem — just name your statue “David” and its okay. But that stemmed from patronage, the Catholic church was paying for all this music, art and sculpture.

    You could even buy indulgences to do whatever you wanted. Now the equivalent is Carbon credits. Buy a carbon credit and drive your SUV and the patron is now the National Science Foundation.

    (/rant)

  47. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says “Utility-scale batteries enable wide-scale deployment of wind and solar.”

    Name the manufacturer. Do it now. Until and unless such batteries exist you are dreaming.

    I have the same dream but I also recognize I don’t have to wait. Household batteries can exist NOW, lifestyle changes can happen NOW to require less nighttime energy and produce independence from outages and brownouts.

    RV owners do all these things as a matter of routine. Nickle-Iron (NiFe) batteries have an exceptionally long service life, so do calcium-iron batteries. But they are very big, heavy and at the moment apparently only made in China.

    “unless you are in the habit of wasting vast amounts of energy,”

    While it is clear that you do not read my comments I hope others have noted the several occasions in which I describe the energy savings procedures in my house — CFL, LED, timers on fans, little things like that. My monthly electric bill is about $30. Solar on a large scale is too expensive for me but I have a couple of PV panels for my radio hobby.

  48. BBD says:

    Name the manufacturer. Do it now. Until and unless such batteries exist you are dreaming.

    And on we go with the negative rhetoric. Read this. Affordable utility-scale batteries are right around the corner. Find me someone credibly qualified who thinks otherwise.

  49. BBD says:

    More on manufacturers of utility-scale batteries.

  50. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan wisely says “As I said earlier ‘different’ by definition does not mean ‘better’. It’s different.”

    My point exactly. Lifestyle changes. It must, it will, to suggest otherwise is absurd. It *could* be better and eventually probably will be. But until that golden era of free electricity for all, another Great Depression is somewhat likely.

    “It will ripple through out our society though. Needing to hire people to install and maintain solar systems will increase employment.”

    For a few installers. The net impact, in my opinion, will overall be hugely negative. We have already seen the failure of many companies that went into, and right back out of, business of solar panel installation. The successful ones such as Vivint have a built-in doom — they bear the capital cost of solar and install synchronous inverters on client’s houses. The net effect is their clients consume very little utility power and yet the grid must be maintained. This is unsustainable.

    “Not needing to send our military abroad to fight for energy security, will reduce/downsize military budgets”

    A very good thing!

    “and lower taxes.”

    Not bloody likely but it is a nice dream.

    “Lowering death rates from asthma and breathing related problems will be a wonderful bonus.”

    Indeed it will. The cleanest place I ever lived was Iceland. Seeing 60 miles was nearly an everyday occurrence.

    This is why I wish “clean” was decoupled from “global warming”. As the world loses interest in global warming it is also losing interest in “clean” because they have been coupled. I have always been interested in clean air and water and am willing to pursue such things quite apart form whether or not CO2 is actually a problem.

  51. M2,

    This is why I wish “clean” was decoupled from “global warming”.

    Why? I’ve never understood this kind of argument. If there are multiple reasons why we should consider doing something, surely that strengthens the argument, rather than weakening it. You seem to suggest that if we argued for “clean” energy without using global warming as a reason, there’d be more success. I disagree. In my opinion, the opposition isn’t to global warming. The opposition is to “clean” energy. Whatever argument is used for clean energy, there’d be opposition.

  52. BBD says:

    But until that golden era of free electricity for all, another Great Depression is somewhat likely.

    And on, and on…

    ATTP is right.

  53. AnOilMan says:

    Michael 2: Utility scale batteries exist now and are for sale. They currently cost between $0.30 and $0.10 per kwh lifetime installed. As sales ramp up they are expected to hit $0.05 per kwh. Those numbers come from a Climate Denial website so it should be safe for you to accept. And they aren’t wonderful numbers since you can clearly see what is going to get added to your electricity bill.

    However, utility grade batteries have been deployed with fossil fuels for a long long time now, as they prevent he need to construct additional power stations. Initially the idea is to charge with excess power, and discharge during peak demand. (That was the 1960’s… times are different, but the application is the same.)

    Here’s a great review to give you a basic grounding on what is already being done, and the organizations already building, selling, and using the various technologies;
    https://www.purdue.edu/discoverypark/energy/assets/pdfs/SUFG/publications/SUFG%20Energy%20Storage%20Report.pdf

    Wow Michael 2, I had no idea so so so many companies were building and selling this stuff now! There are so many!

    I really feel like you are wasting time with silly replies and responses. You keep trying to say things with some sort of authority when its obvious you haven’t looked anything up. You argued that sensors can’t be accurate when its obvious and easily determined that they are. That kind of response doesn’t make sense to me. Many things you say start with the basic assumption that people who work with the real data, facts and figures have no idea what they are doing. Its seems you are consistently wrong.

    BBD: You forgot Ambri… They have sales and are currently ramping up. (No one has made money betting against Bill Gates yet.)
    http://www.ambri.com/

    Utility grade batteries aren’t anything new. The biggest and oldest is a dam in Scotland, they fill it during the day and drain it by night.

  54. BBD says:

    AOM

    You forgot Ambri…

    So I did. But with that many to remember… 😉

    May I add Dinorwig to the list of Old Skool utility scale batteries? Now that’s a pumped hydro reserve and a half.

  55. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says: “Affordable utility-scale batteries are right around the corner.”

    I’ve been hearing that since I was a teenager. Maybe this time it is for real.

  56. M2,

    I’ve been hearing that since I was a teenager. Maybe this time it is for real.

    Presumably, that has to be partly true for anything that turns out to be real?

  57. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says (some things quoted between my responses)

    “Michael 2: Utility scale batteries exist now and are for sale. They currently cost between $0.30 and $0.10 per kwh lifetime installed.”

    I see. Perhaps the link you provide will explain why they are not in widespread use and power companies are still building peaking plants.

    “As sales ramp up they are expected to hit $0.05 per kwh.”

    Very nice.

    “Those numbers come from a Climate Denial website so it should be safe for you to accept.”

    I accept nothing from a site that denies climate. Climate exists.

    “utility grade batteries have been deployed with fossil fuels for a long long time now, as they prevent he need to construct additional power stations.”

    Perhaps the link you provided gives some actual, operational examples.

    “Initially the idea is to charge with excess power, and discharge during peak demand.”

    Indeed. I have been following various developments in flow batteries and also superconducting storage rings.

    “Wow Michael 2, I had no idea so so so many companies were building and selling this stuff now! There are so many!”

    That is why sharing information right here is such an excellent thing. I learn much.

    “I really feel like you are wasting time with silly replies and responses.”

    True. But without “silly replies” you would not have been forthcoming with interesting and useful information.

    “You keep trying to say things with some sort of authority”

    In which way do you or anyone else here differ on this point? However, compare my responses with BBD’s responses and the difference should be acutely obvious. I provide explanations of what I believe and why I believe it, and this gives you opportunity to target your response at specific areas of disagreement. Sometimes I provide links to sources and sometimes you do.

    “That kind of response doesn’t make sense to me. Many things you say start with the basic assumption that people who work with the real data, facts and figures have no idea what they are doing.”

    Fallacy of the false alternatives. Failing to immediately believe every word *you* speak is simply not the same as the accusation you now propose.

    “Its seems you are consistently wrong.”

    I try harder. Consistency is a virtue. But the *seeming* can also be a reflection of your own perceptual biases. Nobody can be wrong all the time, so if it seems that’s the case, then your perceptions could use a bit of fine tuning.

    “Utility grade batteries aren’t anything new. The biggest and oldest is a dam in Scotland, they fill it during the day and drain it by night.”

    Good for them. Few places in the western United States have enough water for such a scheme.

    Anyway, I’ve kind of forgotten what started all this so I’ll start to try to not respond more on this thread. I appreciate all that you have shown me and I have saved several documents for further study. Adequate storage and transmission of power is THE key for the future.

  58. BBD says:

    “You keep trying to say things with some sort of authority”

    In which way do you or anyone else here differ on this point? However, compare my responses with BBD’s responses and the difference should be acutely obvious.

    Not to me.

  59. BBD says:

    Affordable utility-scale batteries are right around the corner. Find me someone credibly qualified who thinks otherwise.

    We’ve been treated to another exercise in self-justificatory rhetoric but not an answer to the above.

  60. AnOilMan says:

    BBD: Pretty much. Its the same stuff as always, only softer and more verbose. Its deny, dismiss, excuse, often with a folksy backgrounder. (The bandits did all!) Its like going to an office where someone says ‘no’ over and over, but never offers anything or does anything constructive.

    Michael 2: I would recommend significantly more humility in the face of making stuff up that you don’t know about. I mean I only need to look for a few seconds to disprove your claims over and over again.

    This diminishes your opinions immensely. Why don’t you go hang out at Judith Curry, or Watts Up With That? I think they’d like what you have to say.

  61. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says: “If there are multiple reasons why we should consider doing something, surely that strengthens the argument, rather than weakening it.”

    It is a two-edged sword. Consider my children. The more reasons I offer to DO a thing the less likely I am to be obeyed — IF it is a thing they do not want to do. These many reasons just create opportunity to negotiate, argue, and proclaim that the thing doesn’t need doing because a stated reason has been satisfied already. My wife falls into this trap regularly — she just wants something “clean” but tries to come up with “reasons” which then become avenues of argumentation as each “reason” is shown not to be the actual motivation. I tell my child, “Mow the lawn”. No reason given. No argument accepted. Of course that won’t work on a global scale but the reason ought to be exactly what is wanted.

    “You seem to suggest that if we argued for clean energy without using global warming as a reason, there’d be more success. I disagree.”

    I do not argue your conclusion. I think the overall success might be about the same, long term success greater and short term success less. In other words, the short term success works because of fear, but fear cannot be sustained. People living in Cambodia or Josef Stalin’s USSR lived in terrible conditions but became acclimated to it more or less so much that quite a few people wish to return to it. Since we are talking long term goals, it really should emphasize the most obvious factor of all — fuel is running out. There’s no avoiding it. Entire civilizations are extinct because they burned all their forests for fuel.

    As it happens, essentially all alternatives are indeed “clean” and for me that’s a huge bonus but isn’t the primary goal. Many people don’t care about clean. Many probably don’t even know what it is. But essentially every human on earth depends on energy in some way.

    “In my opinion, the opposition isn’t to global warming. The opposition is to ‘clean’ energy. Whatever argument is used for clean energy, there’d be opposition.”

    When my father was stamping out coal fired generating stations the opposition wasn’t to clean per se, but rather a coalition of factors — government intrusion (much hated in the west even though government land is the most libertarian thing of all), a few people NOT to be employed by the power plant (economic loss). Well really that’s about it. Ranchers were opposed to environmentalists because so many of them are (or were) hippies that didn’t seem to do a day’s work and were going around telling others what to do and not do.

    My father took a completely different approach and visited ranchers in a nonthreatening way, at some point commenting on the beautiful land, the healthy cows or sheep eating clean grass and drinking clean water and breathing clean air; then casually comment on thick clouds of soot hanging over western valleys where winds often do not blow and inversions can trap soot for weeks on end. Before they knew it, ranchers were all in favor of clean air and water *without* once hearing, or speaking, the dreaded word “environmentalist”. People don’t like “ists” of any kind.

    It helped he wasn’t from California.

  62. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says “Why don’t you go hang out at Judith Curry, or Watts Up With That? I think they’d like what you have to say.”

    I am unfamiliar with Judith Curry. I check WUWT more or less daily to see if there’s any new stories but there’s not much discussion. Nick Stokes pops in once in a while but there, *he* is the man with the silly comments.

    Anyway, I cannot learn things I already know. I must come where things are offered that I do not know and perhaps do not believe. If I am to add knowledge to my library I must go where things are not already known to me. Of course, the place must have knowledge and then it must differ from what I already have and best of all, I wish to challenge assertions. If all I wanted was someone to preach to me I’d go to SkepticalScience.

    That is here.

  63. Ian Forrester says:

    AOM, just a slight correction:

    The biggest and oldest is a dam in Scotland, they fill it during the day and drain it by night.

    I assume you mean Cruachan on Loch Awe? It was built at the same time and in conjunction with the Hunterston A nuclear power plant in Ayrshire. The dam releases water during the day and is refilled at night with excess power from Hunterston. Cruachan is unique in a couple of ways. Firstly, the power station is built completely inside Ben Cruachan. Secondly, the turbines are dual purpose, the water flowing through them during the day generates electricity and they are used as pumps at night. Other pumped storage systems, at the time, used separate turbines and pumps.

    By the way the name plate capacity is approximately 600 MW.

  64. AnOilMan says:

    Ian, Yup that’s the one. They also have tours. (I can never remember the Scottish name, but I remembered about it from a news broadcast I saw in 1980s.) Apparently the US has much bigger ones. Their national peak capacity is already 14GW.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cruachan_Power_Station
    http://www.visitcruachan.co.uk/

    I’m just reading that document I linked above. Its really informative about the various technologies and their state of development. Liquid Metal is currently commercially viable with over 100MW installed. (I didn’t know they were that far along, but I suppose that’s why they have a massive hiring spree right now.)

    Looks like its all going just about right;
    http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2014/03/us-solar-celebrates-records-in-2013-big-trends-coming-in-2014

    This video sums up today’s discussions nicely.

  65. M2,

    Nick Stokes pops in once in a while but there, *he* is the man with the silly comments.

    Except, he’s not, unless you define “silly” as “at odds with the normal commenters for the site”, in which case he is.

  66. Regarding Nick Stokes, he will engage but the issue is one of maintaining the fight.

    Case in point is where on Lucia’s site, Nick puts up a detailed plot of Toronto temperature over the past 100+ years showing a clear warming trend, and then Steve McIntyre comes along (a Toronto native) and promptly gives all sorts of anecdotal evidence to argue that it is mostly an Urban Heat Island effect. McIntyre says with his expert “statistical” skill “whenever we drive back into the city from the country, one can feel the extra heat in the city.”

    Will Nick Stokes counter? I don’t know, he probably has better things to do.
    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2014/july-uah-bets/#comment-131419

  67. AnOilMan says:

    Do not confront the silliness, or the silliness will confront you!

    (Just working out the kinks in my new-found formulaic responses. 🙂 )

    WebHubTelescope: It is interesting that the denial community likes to hide science with folksy stories. And these days, they are trying to hide science with statistics. Speaking of which can anyone find Tol’s Mythical 300? Anyone? Bueller?

    (FYI, I’ve often thought they should do this since its way harder to see through.)

  68. Michael 2 says:

    ATTP says “unless you define ‘silly’ as ‘at odds with the normal commenters for the site’, in which case he is.”

    Precisely.

  69. > Its like going to an office where someone says ‘no’ over and over, but never offers anything or does anything constructive.

    This may indicate that sometimes dissenter is more appropriate than contrarian.

  70. BBD says:

    As in “dissentient”?

    The colour purple springs to mind… 🙂

  71. Michael 2 says:

    AnOilMan says: “It is interesting that the denial community likes to hide science with folksy stories.”

    While the advocacy community uses scary stories. “Day After Tomorrow” being an example.

    “And these days, they are trying to hide science with statistics.”

    I think you crossed sides there for a moment. Who exactly is preaching 97 percent? But you are absolutely correct. Someone *is* trying to hide science with statistics.

    Anyway, a lot less ridiculing your opponents and a lot more “look at my solar powered house” would probably enlist more support.

    I drove a Ford Fusion hybrid rental car in Minnesota. It was unbelievable — 600 miles on 15 gallons and sporty, too!

    Way back in 1983 or so I bought my first PV module, a Siemens 40 watt panel. It still works. My buddy, on seeing it, bought rather more of them. He is libertarian, as am I, and energy independence is a thing worth pursuing for its *independence*.

    If houses were *built* with solar already installed the cost of it would simply become part of the mortgage and suddenly nearly everyone could do it. That this would dramatically reduce CO2 is something that most libertarians don’t care about but perhaps you DO. It’s a “win-win”.

    No way can we run out of *silicon*.

  72. Michael 2 says:

    WebHubTelescope says: “…Urban Heat Island effect.”

    Where I live it is exactly opposite — Urban COOL effect. The town has thousands of trees, most planted by Boy Scouts over several decades (I approve Eagle Projects planting about 400 trees per year). There’s about a ten degree difference at the edge of town — the town is COOLER.

  73. Michael 2 says:

    BBD says: “We’ve been treated to another exercise in self-justificatory rhetoric but not an answer to the above.”

    Fortunately we have you to explain this as otherwise no one else would have noticed. 😉

    As to the question, there is no answer, nor can there be. Someone else can chase that squirrel. All you needed to do is point me to someone actually, right now, using utility scale batteries with the follow-on being that it is something that can be widely used, not a fluke of geography useful in Scotland but not many other places (a large reservoir of water AND a large reservoir of electricity AND inability to quickly ramp up or down a nuclear power station).

    For purposes of this discussion I think 600 megawatts for 12 hours would qualify.

  74. BBD says:

    As to the question, there is no answer, nor can there be.

    Nonsense. You just can’t find anyone with appropriate credentials who will back your astonishingly pessimistic view on technical development in utility-scale battery technology. They are all saying the opposite.

    This should tell you something about the validity of your position.

  75. AnOilMan says:

    BBD,

    Or maybe it doesn’t say anything about the validity of anything! 🙂

    It kind misses the point that we have a considerable amount of time to get batteries in place. Our current backup system works just fine. (Coal) We’ll just use coal less and less as we use solar during peak consumption hours. To be fair I think that will be the likely route as less environmentally damaging technologies are deployed. US Power Think tanks believe that to be the case, and they need to react quickly before they go bankrupt.

    I also think people will be a lot happier with the stability and reliability of solar and wind over coal. Coal Power Plants are down about 13% of the time which may seem good until you realize it’s taking 500MW out with it. So, need a backup 500MW power plant just in case. The equivalent in solar or wind is a missing 65MW which is far easier to handle. Even better, solar delivers most when we consume the most. Hot summer days. (Which are longer and hotter with Climate Change.)

    I noticed that they have reservoir power reserves all over the US and in various climates. The biggest was whopping huge compared to the Scottish one. Cool huh?

  76. BBD says:

    AOM

    The equivalent in solar or wind is a missing 65MW which is far easier to handle.

    Surely this depends on the share of wind and solar in any given grid? I’m not clear where the 65MW figure comes from.

    Even better, solar delivers most when we consume the most. Hot summer days. (Which are longer and hotter with Climate Change.)

    True for some latitudes, but not for others. In the UK (about 50 – 59N I think), electricity use is higher in the winter and solar doesn’t do so well. That said, I fully expect solar-powered air conditioning for summer use to grow in popularity in the UK as the decades pass.

  77. Steve Bloom says:

    “This may indicate that sometimes dissenter is more appropriate than contrarian.”

    Call me old-fashioned for thinking so, but very frequently “denier” is most apt of all.

  78. Sometimes, “jerk” works too.

  79. AnOilMan says:

    Mashey’s ‘Pseudoskeptic’ is a great twist because pseudo skeptics aren’t skeptics. Their minds are already made up, and they are trying to twist reality to suit their belief system.

    BBD: I was talking about 13% downtime in a large 500MW solar installation. 13% is repair + emergencies. It’s not a valid comparison in that solar installations are far more complex and are prepared for such contingencies. They include everything in the installation costs and work out the effective power output. Failure rate of equipment, weather trends, and solar hours are all factored in ahead of time, and because an entire installation doesn’t fail, like a power plant does, it’s far more reliable. Parts break, technician fixes it. There’s no interruption of power.

    I’m Northern too, I’m in Canada. Our winter energy is high, but it’s natural gas for a lot of Canada. We don’t get a lot of fog, but overcast comes and goes. I suspect that solar efficiency would be similar from Canada to the UK.

    Worse, Canada is large, and it’s a long ways between cities, so many electric cars really aren’t that handy.

    We’re currently enduring ‘whacky weather’ (again) this year. The jet stream has severely criss crossed the Canada US border. They are suffering from severe rain and flooding to the East and a massive heat wave all the way to the arctic. Severe forest fires are raging in the North West Territories. Forest fires aren’t controlled up there, so we can’t blame the practice of controlling forest fires. The smoke is blowing North to South across the entire country to the US.

    I wonder if the whacky Jet Stream affects ENSO…

  80. > Mashey’s ‘Pseudoskeptic’ is a great twist because pseudo skeptics aren’t skeptics.

    I do not always use “Pseudoskeptic”, but when I do, I prefer to say Speedo-skeptic.

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