Saturday, June 24, 2017

The 3 S's of Climate Change: Simple. Serious. Solvable.

I like this, from Scott Denning's Twitter profile (@airscottdenning):

"Tweeting about the 3 S's of Climate Change: Simple. Serious. Solvable."

Al Franken Made a Fool of Rick Perry

Admittedly, it wasn't very difficult. All Perry could do was just dumbly deny what the science says:


I think Franken might be thinking of running for President. He has a new book just out -- why now? -- and yesterday I heard him being interviewed on Oregon Public Radio. There he was sharp and smart and, just in the right amount, funny. But in the video above, he comes off as droll and a little bored. His points are smart -- far smarter than the hopelessly banal Rick Perry has, who can't explain any science to save his life -- so he'd need to work on that. But he could be just the right foil if Trump runs again in 2020 (which I doubt he will; I suspect he'll resign before them, maybe right before then). And Mike Pence would have no idea how to counter Franken's intelligence and humor.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Abdussamatov's Solar Irradiance Prediction is a Total Failure

Deniers like to believe there are reasons why a decline in the Sun's irradiance will lead to another ice age -- it's not true -- and one of their favorite papers is by H. Abdussamatovhttp://www.ccsenet.org/journal/index.php/apr/article/view/14754/10140, which I don't think has even been published anywhere.

I've written about his claims before, and took a look again today. Abdussamatov is even more wrong than he was a year ago.


The vertical blue line on this graph is the present. According to Abdussamatov, the "new Little Ice Age epoch" should already have started.

Nonsense.

Abdussamatov says he used PMOD data for total solar irradiance (TSI).

Here is PMOD's latest data page.

Which link to use for the latest TSI? This, I guess. It's hard to know. Good luck trying to figure that out.

Their FTP site was written as if this was 20 years ago. I can understand how back then the WWW was new, as was expecting scientists to post their data.

But in 2017? No way. Wake up, PMOD, and make your data easily available to the people who are paying for it.

Anyway, here, as best as I can determine, is PMOD's latest TSI data:


This dataset aren't anything like the one above. Abdussamatov predicted that TSI would now be about 1.25 W/m2 below the PMOD 1980-2005 base value of 1365.5 W/m2.

This isn't at all true. Abdussamatov didn't link to his data, so I can't reproduce his actual base values. PMOD's base value is, by my data, 1360.0 W/m2. And it is now nowhere 1.25 W/m2 below that base value.

Conclusion: Abdussamatov's prediction is a total failure.

James Randi

Saturday, June 17, 2017

World Coal Production Decreases For Third Straight Year

From Bloomberg News:


However, US coal production is was on a bit of an upswing in recent months.


Temporary, surely. And I don't see that Trump had any role in this whatsoever -- it started almost a year before he took office.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Celilo Falls, Now Gone

Here's a great picture of tribal salmon fishing at Celilo Falls, on the Columbia River, once the fourth largest waterfall in the world by flow rate (over twice the flow over Niagara Falls). It was submerged when the Dalles Dam was built in 1957. From the Oregonian article, "7 wonders of Oregon that no longer exist." Most of the salmon are gone too.


Wikipedia has this picture in color.

And here's a video of this beautiful thing before it disappeared.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

When Christopher Monckton Warned about Manmade Greenhouse Gases

He wrote: "...too much carbon dioxide is dangerous."


From the Evening Standard on February 2, 1988.

Via Ed Hawkins on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Con Beausang, Rest in Peace

I received the sad news today that one of my officemates in graduate school, Con Beausang, passed away the other day.

Con was an experimental nuclear physicist and held the Robert E. and Lena F. Loving Chair at the University of Richmond. Unfortunately I hadn't kept in touch with him after graduate school, but I have warm and cherished memories of him from our time at Stony Brook. He was unique, that's for sure.

I never, ever saw Con in anything other than a very cheerful mood. He would come into the office each morning to drop off his coat, before going down to Stony Brook's accelerator to work for the day. He'd breeze in with something like "Top of the morning to you, gents! What a fine, lovely day it is," regardless of what the weather actually was. He'd say something about his car, which he named and talked about like another person in his life, but closer than most. Sometimes he'd say something about us theorists (Con was in a research group that worked on the detailed structure of nuclei, while the other three us in the office did theory, which, as he observed, mostly involved just sitting around). Being Irish, he pronounced the word "three" as "tree." He taught me about Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf, and surprisingly, that phrase still rolls melodically right off my tongue. Once he and I were going somewhere and were on a sandy, dirt road and something in his engine caught fire; Con stopped and had me help him throw sand on it to put it out, then he got back in the car like nothing had happened. He always served a small scoop of ice cream the few times I went to his place for dinner. He was exceedingly easy to be around.

The administrative assistant at the University of Richmond's physics department told me they have been getting more and more graduate students in recent years, and she thought Con had a big part in that, "taking care of everyone."

I have more information about his death, but don't feel it's appropriate to share it in a public forum. Write me if you knew him and would like to know more. I also have his home address, if you want to send anything in memorial, to his wife Cindy.

I am very happy to have known Con; there was no one else like him. It almost seems like yesterday. How very sad that he is gone, and far, far too early.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

US's Progress Towards Meeting Its Paris Commitment (= On Target)

So, most of the US's recent reductions in CO2 emissions are due to fracking, which has produced enough natural gas at a low enough price to outperform coal, leading utility managers to shutter coal plants.

I don't see why this won't continue, Paris Agreement or not -- it's pure economics. I estimated here that 70% of recent US CO2 reductions are due to fracking -- that is, not down to a deliberate shift to renewable energy sources or increases in energy efficiency, but simply due to getting the same amount X of energy from natural gas instead of coal.

This shift can't go on forever. I estimated here that at best this can lead to a US per capita CO2 emissions about 15 metric tons (t) CO2/yr. That's still huge, relative to the world, whose per capita emissions are about 5 t CO2/yr.

Obama got lucky with fracking. It grew during the end of the GW Bush administration, and progressed strongly throughout Obama's two terms. The US committed to a 26-28% reduction in 2005 CO2 emissions by 2025. Fracking has actually put us on that trendline:


Trump can try to affect the 30% of US CO2 reductions that come from nonfracking sources -- better gas mileage, more electric cars, some utilities' shifts towards wind and solar, and what else? -- but I don't really see how he will delay the transition of utility power sources from coal to natural gas. That will remain as long as natural gas is the cheaper source.

And is Trump really going to expect car manufacturers to build cars that get less gas mileage? No -- they're not just designing and building for the US, but for Europe too, and Asia. And to consumers who can afford new cars, who are more smart and level-headed.

It seems to me that at best Trump can delay some CO2 reductions -- though only a fraction of what the US emits. The other reductions are happening because it's finally economical for them to happen.

And because major US states want them to happen, because they see and understand the future in a way that completely eludes Trump.

So I think Trump's decision on the Paris Agreement -- probably based more on his psychological weaknesses, of needing to always play the victim, to think that everyone, everywhere is against him, which he clearly projects onto America -- might not be as bad as is currently feared. But in no way because of him.