JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Weekend Unthreaded

… look out for a request from TonyfromOz and entertainment from Appattullo

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Rating: 8.2/10 (29 votes cast)
Weekend Unthreaded, 8.2 out of 10 based on 29 ratings

Tiny Url for this post: http://tinyurl.com/pv68gem

101 comments to Weekend Unthreaded

  • #
    Sceptical Sam

    I was just so pleased to see that Australia is on track to register its lowest level of green energy asset financing since 2002 when I read this morning’s “The Weekend Australian”.

    According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance Australia’s policy uncertainty is preventing private investment in new large scale assets.

    Now that’s a huge win for the Australian taxpayer who has been pumping subsidies into that silly, uneconomic, sector for far too long.

    May it stay that way for as long as it takes the rest of the world to wake up to the abject poverty of the renewable energy bubble.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/australia-behind-algeria-in-clean-energy-investment/story-e6frg8zx-1227079563371

    Australia behind Algeria in clean energy investment
    The Australian
    October 04, 2014 12:00AM

    “AUSTRALIA now lags behind Algeria and Myanmar for investment in clean energy as the dollars being poured into the domestic sector dramatically slow on the back of the government’s review of the renewable energy target.

    Data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows the country is on track to register its lowest level of asset financing since 2002, as policy uncertainty prevents any private investment in new large-scale assets.

    Only $193 million was invested in new large-scale renewable energy projects in the third quarter of this year, bringing year-to-date investment to $238m.

    Australia has now slid from being the 11th-largest investor in large-scale clean energy projects last year to 31st this year — so far — lagging behind Algeria (26th) and Myanmar (19th).

    The latest report on the Bloomberg data points out that by comparison, India, the 8th-largest investor in large-scale projects last year, had invested $US1.2 billion during the past quarter and $US2.6bn over the year to date.

    Australia’s target of providing more than 20 per cent of electricity needs from renewables by 2020 is under review, as the Abbott government considers a report by businessman Dick Warburton on the renewable energy target.

    His report recommends grandfathering the RET to existing participants or pegging increases in the target to any growth in electricity demand.

    The federal government and Labor met this week on the future of the RET, but it is understood any deal is far off.

    Private investment in Australia’s renewable sector is expected to remain frozen until the government’s position is clarified.

    Bloomberg highlighted that the hiatus in investment would continue for several years if the recommendations of the review panel were not rejected.

    In the third quarter of this year, large-scale asset finance in Australia was 78 per cent lower on the $861m invested in the same quarter last year.

    Assuming financing remains at similar levels in the fourth quarter, Australia is on track to record its lowest annual result since 2002.

    Globally, clean energy investment is on track to record a bounceback in dollars invested after years of decline.

    The figures published by Bloomberg, based on real-time data transactions and projects, showed clean energy investment in the July to September quarter was $US55bn, up 12 per cent from the $48.9bn in the same period last year.”





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    • #

      Plenty of mail-investments in “renewables” around the world.

      Germany’s discovering that two-thirds of its land-based wind turbine installations are making a loss; despite subsidies. Pierre Gosselin covered this a couple of weeks ago.

      Their plans were evidently made on “average wind”. Their expectations raised. Lots of money put into projects. Trees cut down, tracks built, power lines strung.

      Average wind is what you might get 50% of the time. In the long term. Perhaps before the wind turbines have broken down and are beyond repair (typically 8 to 12 years).

      To be reasonably sure that you’ve not blowing your money, you ought to look at the wind that’s there at least 95% of the time (95% confidence interval). i.e. assume a wind speed that’s about 2 standard deviations (2 σ) below the average.

      When I apply 2σ to insolation data for checking the viability of PV solar electricity, I need a nearly infinite array size along with 48 hours’ worth of electrical power in storage. And it still won’t be enough for an average of more than 16 days a year.

      Electricity grid supply is typically 99.9% or better.

      161

      • #

        <mumble>
        Forgot the obligatory quote from The Flying Dutchman (Der fliegende Holländer) by Richard Wagner (ca. 1843)

        Wer baut auf Wind, baut of Satans Erbarmen

        Translates roughly to

        He who trusts the wind, trusts Satan’s mercy!

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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      what definition of “renewable” are they using?

      I ask because hydroelectricity isn’t regarded as renewable until the figures on the amount installed need padding. Also, given their obsession with biofuels how much is due to trees being burnt?

      I note that, unlike Australia, Myanmar, Algeria and India haven’t got reliable grid electricity. It is small wonder that they are installing more capacity. Why it in “renewables’ (outside Hydro) isn’t explainable unless they’re getting subsidies to do so. Otherwise they’d be installing something cheaper and more reliable.

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      • #
        Bobl

        Its perfectly understandable, in those places any supply is better than no supply so there is no need to design the renewables properly. If the need is to give 100 people 200W for 5 of 6 hours a day then solar is perfectly viable. Like rooftop solar. For example lets say you build a garden house or studio 500m down the back of your property away from your power source. Installing the power cable is going to cost about $4000. If instead your power need is daytime only, you can install about 15 200W panels for that, for just $700 like Myanmar you could install 2 x 250 W panels and a small sine wave inverter, enough to run a bar fridge and an efficient TV while the sun shines.

        Up to a certain point Solar is cheaper up front than running cable and digging holes or placing posts. But! It’s not the same power, 99% reliable solar power costs about 30 times intermittent solar. You need 5 x the number of panels, to cover 24 hours instead of 5 hours, you need 5 x that to cover the inevitable cloudy days where you only generate 1/5th that power in the 5 hours you have, and you need a battery system to extend availability from 5 hours to 24 hours.

        So to provide the equivalent of your $700 solar setup, but on a baseload 24 hour, 99% reliability basis, you will spend not $700, but about $20,000, this isn’t justified unless then distance from the power source is 5km. In Myanmar where 100m of cable might be worth a years salary, infrastructure might also be a bit harder to maintain.

        Hope this lays the economics out a bit for people, small part time isolated systems is where solar shines, the greenies tend to assume this can be extended to baseload but the costs to go from part-time unreliable to full-time reliable are like the above example stupendous, they are only viable where infrastucture costs are prohibitive.

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        • #

          When you read such drivel about renewables you know two things for sure: first, it is just another example of the Left pushing their anti-fossil-fuel agenda; and, second, it will be lies.

          Let me demonstrate how it is done. Let’s suppose I am a leftist. What sort of leftist you ask. Well, I could be:

          - someone who as a teenager suffered low self-esteem because of body image issues, so I developed a deep-seated resentment of society and that drew me to leftist politics, because, subconsciously, I saw it as operating against the interests of society. The malicious pleasure I felt from using leftist politics to take revenge against society gave me a psychological release from the anxiety that built up inside my mind from my self-image issues. I was lucky, though. Many of my friends did not find the same way to relieve their self-anxiety and it manifested in all sorts of harmful ways. Some resorted to extreme forms of self-mutilation; others practiced less extreme forms of self-mutilation such as ‘going goth’, which makes you look ‘ugly’ and therefore relieves you from the pressure of feeling that your unadulterated looks are unattractive; others developed nervous tics such as tourettes – but I became a leftist; or

          - I think I’m smart but I am not smart enough to know that I am as smart as I think I am. I got some useless qualification and then went on to do an even more useless doctorate, but it meant that I read all the classics and I would go to dinner parties and recite parts of them – with a faux Oxford accent – and it would make me feel SO intelligent. I might have become a lecturer and got life-long tenure and made a few dollars in captital gains on real estate. My life was comfortable and my position was secure and all of this PROVED to me that I was so much more intelligent than everyone else. I felt so good about myself I had this compelling urge to tell everyone about it – to socially advertise how superior I was to ordinary people. I could see that leftist politics gave me the appearance being high-minded and virtuous and it distinguished me from all those ‘ordinary’ people out there. Ohhhh, you know, all the people in the suburbs – beastly lot that they are. And, you know, I could see how distressing the results of leftist politics were to people, and seeing them hurt just made me feel all the more superior to them. But every now and then I would see the wealthy – the people with real power – and it annoyed me that they had influence over people, whereas, clearly, a person of my superior intelligence should have the exclusive right to tell everybody else what is best for them. But leftist politics will give me the power to harm the wealthy, too, and that rightly will elevate me above them in the social power structure. Now, if only there were some way I could take their money…; or

          - I am a well-meaning person but, alas, not too bright. I cannot resolve complex problems and I respond to simple messages. I believe what I am told when I hear there is a problem with CO2, so, naturally, I am opposed to CO2 and support alternatives. But I am not able to understand the consequences of this. And people talk about such complex things that I don’t understand. But I do know that I want renewables, because they sound REALLY NICE.

          So, anyway, imagine I am a leftist, but you can choose which.

          Let’s suppose I am arguing in favour of the NBN because I want a government monopoly to control telecommunications infrastructure. In places like Bangladesh, people are driving vans and even bicycles on circuits through remote villages bringing a few minutes of internet access to each. If I were an unprincipled leftist (and what other sort is there), on becoming aware of this story about Bangladesh I would say, ‘With the cutbacks to the NBN rollout new connections to the internet in Australia are now falling behind those in Bangladesh.’ That is how it is done. And that, too, is how the Left are fabricating these stories about the rollout of renewables. When a village without any infrastructure gets a single solar panel to run a pump or a computer the Left are trying to deceive people into believing that the country concerned chose a so-called renewable power source RATHER THAN a fossil-fuel one.

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    • #
      James Murphy

      For what it’s worth, there is currently a large increase in oil exploration and drilling activity in Burma.

      I have a very strong feeling that people without regular (or any) electricity will not be wanting to wait until the electricity is ‘all green’, before having access to it. I also find it interesting that the human rights violations, genuine social inequalities, and perversion of democracy in such countries are apparently less of a concern than renewable energy…

      Still, I keep forgetting that, according to ‘the Left’, Australia is the only country in the world which is mean to people, and apparently now has a corrupt and totalitarian government, and a PM keen on war with the poor defenceless and misunderstood ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh who are only being targeted by Abbott for being muslims.

      50

  • #

    Thanks Joanne.

    I’m asking for your readers help here if any of you are interested in a search.

    I mentioned last week that I’m working on a project. Usually, I can find information and write an accurate Post within days. This time however, I’m not stumped, but everywhere I look, it only raises more questions, instead of supplying answers. Because of that, I’ve now been working on this for more than 2 weeks, and have invested (probably even more than) 70 hours plus, and I think I’m still a week away, if not more.

    Look closely at the map at this link.

    Under the map, look at the list of hydro power plants and proposed plants. Note the one for Motuo, and that’s 38,000MW. That’s 70% larger than the biggest Hydro on Earth, the humungous Three Gorges Hydro.

    Now look at the enlargement of this area in question under the main map at the right. See how it shows lines across the area. Those lines indicate tunnels, and it’s a fairly bland thing to say, lines on a map and tunnels. Tunneling for Hydro is nothing new as the Snowy Scheme, besides its 16 dams, has 12 tunnels through the Mountains, and two of them are 15 miles long, 26 feet across. One tunnel here for this project in Tibet is 25 miles long, starting at a dam, and then tunneling through the Mountain, and from there, from what I can make out it then follows another river along a ravine down to the far end, near Medoc, or Metogas it says on this map, where there will also be a second dam.

    Note the drop in altitude here, almost 2000 metres.

    All the sites I have visited postulate that this will be a dam along the scale of Three Gorges, only larger.

    Keeping that in mind, I then ventured to Google Earth to see if this area could support a dam along the same lines as Three Gorges, only way, way bigger than that, probably with a wall more than four kilometres long plus, something out of the question anywhere, let alone in this area with its tight canyons.

    So, I suspect it’s something completely different, and I’m not letting on here, sorry, although I suspect some of you may actually have ideas on that. I’ve visited literally hundreds of sites in this search, and found some things that, using logic, I think are being planned for here.

    Now, while some sites say this Motuo project is ‘Under Active Consideration’ one or two sites I found from China, by circuitous routes and the use of the translation facility, well, they say that the project has actually started.

    So, looking in Google Earth was, to say the very least, eye opening, and I found some intriguing things, one of which was the airport in question. While I wanted to concentrate on the Hydro, I thought there might be some general interest in the airport I found, so I did a Post on that subject.

    The task I have for you is for those of you who have Google Earth to search this area and just tell me what you think. I seem to think there is a lot of engineering infrastructure build up in this area, but more eyes on the area with questioning minds would give me a better perspective. You’re not going to find any evidence of a project on this scale. Now, while that Google Earth imagery may actually be dated 2014, I’m not so sure.

    For those of you who do not have Google Earth, I did find a navigable satellite imagery, similar to Google Earth, but without a lot of the features, but it is still searchable.

    The details of a start point for that search are at the Post I link to below, and for those without the Google Earth program, there is also a link to that satellite imagery as well, and directions on where to start.

    Also, and this a bit of a punt, if any of you can find more recent searchable imagery, I would appreciate looking at that also.

    This Motuo hydro project looks like it might be perhaps one of the most astonishing engineering projects of our modern time.

    While everyone thinks mega dam, it is most definitely not that at all.

    Again, thanks to all of you, and a special thanks to Joanne for allowing me to be able to ask this favour.

    The Post of mine is at this link. Intriguing Mystery In Tibet (Part One) The Airport In The Wilderness

    Tony.

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    • #
      Truthseeker

      Tony, it’s obvious.

      They are going to build a tunnel that goes all the way through the planet and come out in South America. They are sick of dealing with heroin from the golden triangle via the Triads and want to get the good quality cocaine straight from the Cartels …

      Prove me wrong …

      30

    • #
      Mark D.

      Tony, if the entire length of tunnel were filled with water the pressure at the low end would be in the area of 3000 PSI (200 bar). A very great amount of generating potential with a modest size dam and relying on the large flow of the river rather than a large impound area.

      Am I close?

      80

      • #
        Wally

        MarkD. 3000 psi is a horrifying pressure to manage. I had dealings with pressures like that in hydraulic systems and vast care needs to be taken with only small pipe sizes. Managing pressures like that in rock, etc (which is normally under compression from the outside) would be an immense challenge.

        40

        • #
          James Murphy

          You are quite right, but a relatively simple geomechanics study would provide all the information needed – formation (pore) pressure and fracture pressure, along with the orientation and magnitude of the minimum yield stress. Given the geological setting in Tibet, it could all be very interesting, with the tectonic stress regime being of more significance than the normal hydrostatic gradient.

          The primary principle of well control in the oil/gas industry is pressure management via drilling fluid. Too much, and the rock fractures, leading to severe problems, too little and things go kaboom. If you’re right on the limits near the fracture pressure, then you can end up with a situation where, when circulating while drilling (obviously increasing pressure exerted on the formation), fluid is injected into the rock, but when circulation stops, most of it returns from the formation, but the formation is not permanently fractured. Most land rigs in Australia have equipment rated to deal with surface pressures of 3000 or 5000psi, with most offshore drilling activities having equipment with working pressures of 5000-15000psi. Equipment capable of withstanding a working pressure of 20000psi is, err… in the pipeline, so to speak.

          ‘Narrow margin’ drilling is the term used when there is a very small margin between the pore pressure and fracture pressure. It is indeed a very challenging environment, although we continue to ‘drill the un-drillable’, thanks to new technology, and better information about rock behaviour.

          20

          • #

            Thanks James.

            I mentioned earlier that drilling large (26 feet across) tunnels for hydro is nothing new as they did it here in Oz for the Snowy Scheme, and 2 of those tunnels are 15 miles long.

            Incidentally, both of those long tunnels (well, I would say most of the long ones) were started at either end, to eventually meet in the middle.

            Kaisers was the main early one, and they were a consortium of 6 companies, but using the acronym of only 4 of them, KPWR, Kaiser, Perini, Walsh and Raymond. That morphed into KPMR when Walsh left and and Australian outfit Morrison-Knudsen joined, but still referred to as Kaisers.

            Then there was Utah.

            Then, Bill Hudson, against some advice hired a tiny Queensland Engineering firm, Thiess, for one of the long tunnels. The work was considered out of their league, but they not only finished on time and under budget, but way before time, and way way under budget, and Thiess was made from that point on.

            Those tunnels were the real engineering feat in the Snowys, but no one ever sees them, just the big picture of those 16 dams is the most visible of images for the Snowy Scheme, and those tunnels first started as far back as 1958.

            The Power stations are also (mainly) underground, but nowhere near the scale as these ones in China now.

            I would however say that even though this has been around for quite a long time, technology would have vastly improved over the years.

            Tony.

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            • #
              Graeme No.3

              Tony;
              my father was an engineer and visited the Snowy Scheme in the early sixties. After he died we found a few personal photos, as he had destroyed a lot in the years of gradual worsening health. All those he had of the Snowy scheme were still there.

              30

    • #
    • #

      Quite a project you’ve set yourself! In having a look to follow your reasoning, I looked at your video link of the aircraft going into Lin Zhi on your blog.

      The approach to Lin Zhi Airport doesn’t seem as complicated as this one into my home town of Queenstown, NZ. As the a/c, an A320, enters the cloud, you’re looking right at where we farmed – although you Aussies might find it hard to believe. (We like our land to stick up on end so we can graze both sides of the acre. :) ) The a/c then turns 270° whilst in the cloud and returns to VFR on short finals.

      I used to pick mushrooms where the runway is now. Goodness, how times change!

      60

      • #

        Please excuse the double entry. If I clicked “Post comment” twice, it had to have been nano seconds between clicks….

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      • #
        DavidH

        Thanks FijiDave – really enjoyed that video. In March this year, I flew into Queenstown from Sydney. The plane landed on the opposite runway (23) to your video. The approach took the plane east of the city on the downwind leg, descending and turning “base” around a large hill then on to “final” down a long valley (the map tells me it’s the Kawarau river), now below the top of the hill on the right and way below the Remarkables ski resort on the left. Do they fly that approach in IMC?

        30

        • #

          DavidH: Although I come from an aviation family (Dad was a foundation Director of Southern Scenic Air Services based at Queenstown, and my brother and a nephew are CPs) I am not and the vernacular and acronyms of the industry are not that familiar to me. I understand that the approach as seen in the video is by the (new?) GPS system where the a/c flies through an imaginary tunnel programmed into Airbus avionics [?].

          I am not sure if they use it on the approach from the east, which is a spectacular approach, as you say. I’ve done it in a 737 a couple of times and loved it. A heck of a lot different than doing it in the Old Man’s old Auster!

          50

          • #
            DavidH

            IMC are the conditions under which IFR is in force. More clearly put, when in Instrument Meteorological Conditions, Instrument Flight Rules apply. (My instructor did say once that “IFR” means “I follow roads”.) So the cloudy conditions in the video you linked to would qualify as IMC, at least for the approach.

            10

      • #
        Wally

        My God FijiDave thats an amazing approach and landing. If not for modern technology it would be impossible. Would scare the bejesus out of me if I was up the front doing that for the first time.

        50

      • #
        Annie

        Great video FijiDave.

        10

    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      As Mark points out, there will be a lot of pressure at the downhill end of the tunnel, that would need a dam and a large lake in order to lower the pressure to something the turbines could handle.

      But what if the Chinese created the tunnel; not as a straight “pipe”, with one humungous dam at the end; but as a series of downward steps, with each “step” having a turbine that was capable of handling the pressure at that point? The cascade of steps would reduce the water speed to something close to that of the river at the downstream end, by extracting energy at every “step” of the way? That would also remove the need for a seriously large dam.

      The next task would be to calculate how many steps would be required to manage the degree of fall, and to guesstimate the size of each turbine each step. At a guess, the total might well be in the Gigawatt range.

      “The biggest power project, starts with a single step”. :-)

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      • #

        Rereke,

        oh, you’re good.

        Now, at each step, think of a turbine hall with 9 X 700MW turbine/generators.

        A cascading number of the turbine halls along the length (of that ‘line on the map’) from the up side to the down side.

        Umm, some of those actually inside the mountain. (Hint Longtan)

        Tony.

        60

        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          Tony, coming from you, that is a complement.

          Of course, I only thought about Motuo, but they also get to do it at Dadyqia. Add those two projected outputs together, and you get 81GW.

          The limiting factor will be the ability to distribute the electricity produced.

          The other nice thing is that, unlike a dam, the downstream flow will not be impeded. India will still get the same volume of water they have always had.

          What is not to like?

          60

          • #

            Rereke,

            like you, I added Motuo and Daduqai together to get that 81GW of Nameplate.

            That’s the equivalent of, umm, Forty large scale coal fired power plants.

            Tony.

            50

            • #

              Okay then three images.

              Francis Turbine. This can drive a 700MW Generator. Just the blade section is in the flow of the water. The generator is attached above the turbine.

              A 700MW Generator. Being lowered into place above the turbine.

              A Turbine Hall. The large blue circle on the floor indicates the size of the generator. Note the man walking along the wall at the right of the image. (Look closely) There are 8 turbines in this hall. Now think of this Turbine Hall inside the mountain. They have done this at a couple of places already, notably at the Longtan Hydro, where they have 9 X 714MW generators in the turbine hall.

              Tony.

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              • #
                Yonniestone

                Tony from my post #3.2 below I thought maybe the Motuo engineers used of a variation of a stepped spillway design on a much larger scale, replace the forcing of hot and cold air with the kinetic energy of water controlled via gravity and you could have another step design engine?

                40

          • #
            Wally

            My father is a retired electrical power utility engineer. His comments:

            “freezing over of water storage and rivers would be something of a problem. They would almost certainly use HVDC to get the power out as it is inherently more stable and doesn’t need synchronous condensers or static VAR compensation. But ice load on the conductors would still be a problem.”

            50

        • #
          Wally

          Snowy scheme and hydro power in NZ have turbine halls inside the mountain – its not at all unusual.

          Doubtfull Sound + hydro power station in NZ is a MUST VISIT !

          40

      • #
        JohnRMcD

        What if they are not using compound turbines, but are using Pelton Wheel technology. That would handle higher head pressures.

        30

        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          Yes I agree, that turbine design will be a major factor in how the solution performs.

          My responses to Tony are purely speculative. Although I am deeply interested in matters pertaining to China, I was not aware of this project until Tony issued his challenge.

          The Chinese tend to apply the simplest solution to a problem, even if they have to do it multiple times to handle scale. One has only to look at their use of tied-together wooden scaffolding, on multi-story construction sites to get the message.

          31

          • #
            James Bradley

            Yes, simple solutions are often the best. NASA spent millions to develop a pen that wrote in zero gravity. Russia used pencils…

            30

    • #
      tty

      There is no need for multiple steps or other fancy solutions. There is at least one hydropower station in Switzerland with almost as large a head (1900 meters). However given the large flow this project will require either a tunnel with very large cross-section or several tunnels. Also a large number of turbines. The Three Gorges uses 32 turbines of 700 MW each. This project would need about 55 of similar size.
      The main engineering challenge will probably be to drive the tunnel(s) through an area with complex and hard-to-predict geology, and to line the tunnel(s) strongly enough to withstand the pressure (including surges).
      A largish dam will be needed at the top to even out seasonal fluctuations in river flow (which is dependent on the summer monsoon), but it would not need to be nearly as large as the Three Gorges dam I think.
      It is interesting that there is another similar project starting further upstream and ending further downstream. This must mean either that these two projects are alternative ones, or that each will only use a fraction of the total flow in the river.

      As for how long it will take to carry out it might be worth noting that a similar but much smaller scheme in Sweden (Stalon) with a 20 kilometer long tunnel a 200 meter head and three much smaller turbines took three years from the start of construction until fully operational.

      A project this size will have international repercusasions since it is likely to change the annual flow regime of the Brahmaputra-Ganges system and affect the sediment load of the Brahmaputra, which will have effects downstream in India and Bangladesh.

      30

    • #
      tty

      As for the airport. I just remembered an odd coincidence. At the Stalon Hydropower station I mentioned in an earlier post, they actually used the surplus rocks from the tunnel to build an airstrip. Handy to have one if you need spares or other equipment quickly.

      30

    • #
      Matty

      I guess quite a few Indians are rather curious as well, what they are really up to with the headwaters of their Brahmaputra.

      40

    • #
      dp

      It appears to be underground penstocks to bypass the river. That is a lot of head pressure – they must have really bright hydrologists. The ultimate goal is to flood the Tibetan plateau and have the world’s most dangerous but very affordable energy. Kind of reminds me of Asimov’s Waterclap a little bit, though. A backwave from a blowout in a large and long penstock has the capability to suck in the mountain. Even a little one can bugger things up. http://deereault.com/hydroelectric-services/bear-creek-hydroelectric-project.php

      Here’s a real world example of the flooded plateau idea: http://www.wplives.com/frc/stairway_of_power.html

      40

  • #
    Wally

    With enough water, series of small dams one after another would cumulatively have the effect of power generation and flood mitigation. In the end the fall (and thus potential energy) are the same.

    The old pipe race into generation is traditional but there are pipe losses.

    Wild speculation here, I’m nit a hydrology engineer.

    30

  • #
    Andy Pattullo

    A fantasy television interview too close to the triuth:

    “A History of the Future” Interview

    SK: Welcome ladies and gentlemen. I am your host Skip Tickle and this is Today This Week, a news and events program that brings you up to date on the world around us. We are very fortunate to have in our studio the author of this week’s West Burbank Tattler book-of-the week non-fiction runner up “A History of the Future”. Please join me in welcoming distinguished author and part time used car salesman Mr. Morbid Sertaintee.

    MS: That’s “Dr. Sertaintee”. I have a PhD.

    SK: I do apologize Dr. Sertaintee. In what area is your PhD?

    MS: Advertising.

    SK: So…. Dr. Sertaintee, you’ve written this very unusual book “A History of the Future”. Can you tell our audience a bit about it and why you wrote it?

    MS: It would be my pleasure. We’ve known for some time that the future isn’t what it used to be. I first began the journey that led to my book “A History of the Future”, which coincidently is available at several second hand bookstores in West Burbank at a substantial discount… I first began when I looked back to try and determine when exactly the future deteriorated.

    SK: And what did you find?

    MS: Well, as it turns out, ever since the start of government funded environmental and climate research the future has always been a bit sketchy. There was a brief period in the late 50’s and the 60’s when the future was brighter – you know flying cars, robot maids, space food, free love…… free………

    SK: Dr. Sertaintee… Dr……..

    MS: Ah sorry. One’s mind wanders. Yes – free love in flying cars- that was followed soon after by a rash of environmental Armageddon awareness and the future has never been the same since.

    SK: Armageddon is a strong word. Is it really all that bad?

    MS: Well what would you call it? We know for a fact that if we don’t act now, act quickly and with determination, if we don’t severely curtail our lavish meat-eating, home-heating, dark-lighting ways more than seven billion people will die before the end of this century.

    SK: Well… seven billion….. that is concerning. And if we act, as you say, we can prevent this terrible outcome?

    MS: Not as such, but I think if we all keep busy we won’t think about it quite so much.

    SK: I am sure this is very unsettling for our viewers. Are you certain nothing can be done to prevent such a horrific outcome?

    MS: Nothing. It’s just the way things are. Once a person is born in today’s modern world there is no way to prevent them from dying in some cataclysmic climate nightmare after an average of about 76 years. But what we can do is expend every possible effort to ensure when people shake off their mortal coil, that they do so in a temperature only marginally different from that of the mid twentieth century average.

    SK: Well I suppose that is some consolation. What will it take to optimize that temperature you speak of?

    MS: Well it is pretty straight forward. We need to make electricity about eight times more expensive, raise the price of food so that once again half the population is malnourished, pave the landscape with solar panels and windmills, prevent all developing countries from developing and everyone will have to hold their breath so as not to add carbon pollution to the air.

    SK: These seem like drastic measures. How certain are you that they are necessary and effective?

    MS: There really is no doubt. These outcomes and the need for mitigation are all predicted in a multitude of well funded climate models.

    SK: But models aren’t reality – are you sure what they predict is true? I mean, the steps you propose will kill off at least 80% of those 7 billion long before their 76 years and the remainder will have brain damage. It seems a high price.

    MS: I can assure you these models have been subjected to the most rigorous statistical testing and there can be no doubt about their skill in predicting a future riddled with climate of all sorts.

    SK: So the models have been tested against observations and skillfully predicted what we already know of climate trends?

    MS: Well not as such, but we have applied newer more flexible statistical tests that allow us to see trends that don’t yet exist in reality. Take for example Mannic Regression. It’s a fairly new statistical technique to confirm the validity of future oriented models.

    SK: I am not a statistician, can you explain Mannic Regression for the lay person?

    MS: Well sure. I guess a lot of the listeners have played solitaire and many of them have pulled a few cards out of the deck in a non standard fashion when they get stuck. Now if those people convince themselves that they won fair and square, well that’s Mannic Regression.

    SK: That doesn’t sound like a very good statistical test.

    MS: You might well think that, but the method has proven of immense value in the world of climate models, and climate impact predictions……. err projections….. ahhhh I mean scenarios.

    SK: Sooo…. your saying qualified statisticians have validated Mannic Regression as a reliable test of model outputs?

    MS: Well… not as such….. but I think the sheer weight of grants and publications speaks for itself. In fact if it weren’t for Mannic Regression and other new statistical approaches we couldn’t be nearly as certain about the future.

    SK: You mention other statistical techniques. Can you provide an example?

    MS: Sure, I think everyone can agree that the end, so to speak, is nigher than ever. That’s just a bit of climate humor. But seriously, bad things are about to happen and we will all be very sorry once we’re dead. With that in mind of course we need to search the scientific data for the most important trends that tell us exactly how the end of times will come. We don’t want to waste time on falsely optimistic scenarios or contradictory evidence of wellbeing in the human or natural environment.
    We can now solve this problem with a very helpful statistical test we call Cooked Trend Analysis. When done properly, any evidence will be found to validate the hypothesis that “it is worse than you could ever have imagined”. The test when applied to pseudopsychosociological investigations has confirmed in all cases a 97% consensus.

    SK: A 97% consensus? Exactly what is this 97% consensus about?

    MS: Anything you want it to be. That’s the beauty of the Cooked method. No more worry about contradictory findings. No more doubt. No more confusion.

    SK: Well Dr. Sertaintee, it seems our time is about up. I want to thank you for speaking with us today. And ladies and Gentlemen please joins us tomorrow when we speak with those rising stars of the geophysical world Drs. Iam Wright and Uri Knott from the University of Hiddenmethods in Geneva. Drs Knott and Wright will discuss their surprising new theory of thermal gravity which explains how a very small amount of CO2 induced global warming increases volcanism, alters ocean currents, tilts planetary orbits and revs up sun spots. That’s our show for today.

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      That is brilliant! Well done Sir!

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      NielsZoo

      Very nice… and terrifying to think that it is far more accurate than it should be.

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      Roy Hogue

      A fantasy television interview too close to the triuth: sic

      True! But the future is ours to change. Let’s get busy making it look a little more like it used to be. Toss out the current troublemakers and put in some better troublemakers in their place. We couldn’t possibly come out any worse than we are now if we just put our effort into it.

      I say, “Better trouble makers in every office.”

      I’m sure everyone can come up with some of the defining qualities of a better troublemaker. For instance, a better troublemaker sleeps in late every morning so he spends less time at the office making trouble and does that every single day. Just think of the improvement from this one thing all by itself.

      I leave the rest as an exercise for everyone. And soon we’ll know how to save the world. Dr. Sertaintee will then be painting a brighter picture. ;-)

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      Truthseeker

      Now that is satire …

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      Andrew McRae

      I copied the text and pasted it into eSpeak so I could listen to it like an interview.
      It came out more like Stephen Hawking talking to himself.

      _ _ _ _ _

      In other news, the 2nd half of the Only Heaven Knows parody was posted yesterday.

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    Ceetee

    “Dr. Sertaintee” – I like it. Has a railway engineer ring to it.

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  • #

    My third post regarding the recent walrus hype in the Northern Hemisphere media: I couldn’t resist because it adds another dimension that has been pretty much ignored so far.

    “High walrus numbers may explain why females and calves are hauling out in droves”

    http://polarbearscience.com/2014/10/04/high-walrus-numbers-may-explain-why-females-and-calves-are-hauling-out-in-droves/ and http://wp.me/p2CaNn-1zb

    Apologies if such northern concerns are of little interest; penguins arguably much cuter…

    Susan Crockford, PolarBearScience

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      Ceetee

      Not at all Susan. I saw a article about 9-12 months ago which sort of hinted at Walruses being the new poster species of the AGW movement. I wondered at the time because being an avid natural history follower I had never seen any evidence of Walruses congregating and breeding on anything other than beaches and not sea ice. Am I barking up the wrong tree here?.

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      • #

        Ceetee,
        Actually, walrus breed and give birth on the sea ice in spring/early summer. Late summer most males haul out together in large herds but females and their calves haul out separately (although some males may tag along).

        They go back onto the ice again in late fall and stay there all winter, til the whole cycle repeats itself the next year.

        Hope this helps!

        Susan

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      Rereke Whakaaro

      We need to invent Smellyvision, so that the average lay-person can really appreciate the true nature of mammals and birds that live exclusively on fish.

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        Ceetee

        Been watching rugby Rereke?

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        tom0mason

        And the smell of the breath of one of those cute carnivores – say a polar bear, they may appreciate the wildlife programs better then.

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        tty

        Walrus mostly eat clams, and actually they don’t smell too bad. I sneaked up quite close to big haulout on Svalbard once and since they have a keen sense of smell (but very inferior sight and hearing on land) it was upwind all the way. It’s not nearly as bad as a penguin colony for example.

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          Rereke Whakaaro

          “A loaf of bread,” the Walrus said,
          “Is what we chiefly need:
          Pepper and vinegar besides
          Are very good indeed–
          Now if you’re ready, Oysters dear,
          We can begin to feed.”

          “O Oysters,” said the Carpenter,
          “You’ve had a pleasant run!
          Shall we be trotting home again?”
          But answer came there none–
          And this was scarcely odd, because
          They’d eaten every one.

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      Susan:

      You are a breath of fresh air in this musty old debate.

      Keep up the good work trying to find answers.

      Thank you!

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      tty

      I would suggest that penguins are un-argually much cuter.

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      So to summarize, there appears to be no equilibrium population of Walruses, but a fluctuating one that is related to the food supply.
      This phenomena I believe was first noticed in England in the fox and rabbit populations. Rabbits are the main source of food for the foxes. An increasing population of rabbits will increase the fox population. This will lead to a decline in the rabbit population, so foxes will starve. The drop in the fox population will enable the rabbit population to recover. Over time, the fox and rabbit populations will follow sine waves that are offset. There is no equilibrium population for either species. The same will be the case for walruses and their major food source.

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    Ross

    A bit of a laugh to have with your morning coffee -”What academics are really saying” ( I hope the copy/paste works)

    https://twitter.com/conradhackett/status/517599880919785472/photo/1

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    TdeF

    Ocean acidification. Really? I find it unbelievable the Melbourne Age had half a page on the damage to corals from increasing ocean acidification. How do they get away with this story? The world’s oceans are alkali! How can they be more acid when they are alkali?

    Is it just sophistry, a plausible statement intended to deceive? So adding an acid ‘acidifies’. Increasing acidification implies clearly that acid is the current state and it is getting worse? In fact adding weak carbonic acid to an alkali ocean would make the seas very slightly more neutral. Then the amount of CO2 already in the ocean is 50x that in the atmosphere, so surely it could only change 2%? You could put the whole lot in and the oceans would not be acid.

    Is it that many people just have no idea of pH or equilibrium or basic secondary school chemistry? How can professional science writers in ecology and the environment print this stuff without some guilt? Or are they Flannery style ignorant scientists, no chemistry, no physics, no mathematics, no equilibrium. Science fiction writers.

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      The Backslider

      It is always their intention to sound as alarming as possible. The average Joe does not know any better (and doesn’t really care to either!).

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        TdeF

        The average Joe cares about the Great Barrier reef. So it is simple manipulation by blatant deceit and reprehensible.

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    Graeme No.3

    Did they mention measured levels of pH ?
    Did they mention equilibrium ?
    Did they show any knowledge of secondary school chemistry ?

    Of course they didn’t. And since they probably don’t know about these things they don’t feel any guilt.

    Since the MEASURED pH adjacent to corals “in the bubble bath” were 7.74 and 7.96 it would seem lunacy to claim the ocean will become acid, especially as the sea water was being exposed to a CO2 level of one million p.p.m. At this stage I invite readers to find a picture of the White Cliffs of Dover and say to themselves “these were lain down by marine organisms in the Cretaceous Period when CO2 levels were double (at least) that of current levels”. The rate was about 0.5mm per year for a deposit depth of 500 metres.

    The best line in the link debunking the supposed threat is “That lack of a threat is a threat to a human institution though – the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) based in Townsville, north Queensland run by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.” Readers with long memories will remember a long line of “Great Barrier Reef under THREAT” (send money) beloved of the ABC in particular.

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      ianl8888


      And since they probably don’t know about these things they don’t feel any guilt

      Even if the meeja denizens did know, they would still feel no guilt

      It was Murdoch who pointed out that the MSM have no requirement to educate the public. He’s right, of course, it doesn’t, so it doesn’t

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    pat

    Andy Pattullo -

    thanx for the laugh…here’s one back:

    3 Oct: UK Independent: Tom Bawden: Scientists to ‘fast-track’ evidence linking global warming to wild weather
    “It’s like a weather autopsy. We know from rigorous scientific testing that smoking increases the likelihood of cancer and work out the conditional probability accordingly,” said Dr Heidi Cullen, chief scientist with Climate Central, an organisation in Princeton, New Jersey, that is also working on the project.
    The group aims to have the new model up and running by the end of next year. In some weather events it may establish that there is no link, in others the connection may be weak or uncertain and in others it could be very strong, or almost definite, the group says…
    Research published this week, for example, could not come to a unanimous decision on whether the drought afflicting California had been exacerbated by human activity. However, it did conclude that regardless of the causes, the effects of the drought had been worsened by global warming.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/scientists-to-fasttrack-evidence-linking-global-warming-to-wild-weather-9773767.html

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    pat

    a very smug NRDC…

    2 Oct: NRDC Blog: David Doniger: Wall Street Journal Smoking Something on
    Carbon Pollution Lawsuit
    The Wall Street Journal’s editorial writers have gone all aflutter over a
    flaky lawsuit to stop EPA from putting limits on the two billion tons of
    carbon pollution pouring from the nation’s power plants. The suit was
    brought by Murray Coal, whose colorful President and CEO, Robert Murray,
    recently said that anyone expecting the recovery of U.S. coal markets is
    “smoking dope.” That’s an apt description of anyone, Wall Street Journal
    included, who expects this lawsuit to succeed…
    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ddoniger/wall_street_journal_smoking_so.html

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    Neville

    Steve McIntyre still isn’t happy with the Pages 2 revision although they have flipped one important temp series up the right way and this has helped to show more Med warming.

    But why does this honest bloke have to point out these absurd failures to these so called experts? And how much is so called peer review really worth when they keep making these idiotic mistakes?
    The fact is that they’re either not very bright or just a group of con merchants. But Mann etc still like their data used upside down.

    http://climateaudit.org/2014/10/04/okshola-which-way-is-up/#more-20023

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    Roger

    Anybody out there with a legal background?

    Does the International Bar Association have any clout?

    There was an article in Friday’s Oz in the Legal Affairs section about this mob looking at legislating for climate change justice (whatever that is). I can’t get through the paywall where I am, but a link to the relevant IBA page is here.

    I only saw a hard copy briefly, but it seems that they are keen to legislate from an assumption that all models are correct (even the ones that disagree with each other), all extrapolations are valid and it’s all the fault of we evil people.

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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      The International Bar Association was formed in London in 1947. It is an association of national associations, and individual lawyers, but cannot direct their proceedings.

      It is effectively a lobby group for various causes on behalf of its member associations. In that role it has the ear of various UN bodies.

      It you want a parallel, it has much the same status as the various Institutes of Engineering, or the Medical Associations, in that it can publish guidelines and inform members of best practice, etc, but has no national or international jurisdiction apart from through its member base.

      They certainly cannot legislate anything at all. If consulted, they might have input to some legislation, and may even provide an initial draft, but that would be as far as they could go.

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      • #
        Roger

        Thanks Rereke

        My query was intended to be more along the line of whether there are idiots who can legislate who will take notice of what the IBA proposes.

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        • #
          Rereke Whakaaro

          The world has no shortage of idiots. And, because they tend to be light-weights intellectually, they inevitably float to the top.

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    warcroft

    http://io9.com/explore-the-worlds-most-detailed-map-of-the-seafloor-r-1642315933

    An awesome new detailed look at the ocean floor. With all the rotating and zooming you could want.

    See if you can find the hidden warming ;)

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  • #
    Aussieute

    This video is just so succinct and sums up why many of the “scientists” can be best described as “money grubbers” or “religious zealots”

    Listen really carefully as this actually cuts through the diatribe that is spewed forth by the IPPC, ABC, BOM and others

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    • #
      Mike Smith

      Oh for the days when scientists (and their Nobel prizes) were deserving of the utmost respect.

      We had it so right and then made it so wrong. It’s all very, very sad!

      30

  • #
    Skiphil

    Ben Santer shows up to make a critical comment at WUWT (it does appear really to be him, judging from the detail in the comment and the specific anecdote related):

    Ben Santer comment at WUWT

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  • #
    handjive

    It flew at nearly Mach 7, seven times the speed of sound and twice the speed of a rifle bullet.

    The speed record it set 47 years ago today still stands today.

    47 YEARS AGO TODAY: THE FASTEST MANNED AIRCRAFT FLIGHT EVER.
    http://alert5.net/2014/10/02/47-years-ago-today-the-fastest-manned-aircraft-flight-ever/

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  • #
    Just Thinkin'

    It just amazes me the amount of land that is taken up by these blights on the
    countryside; these bird choppers and bird burners.
    For many times the amount of “reliable” power from these monstrosities (green power, which
    it isn’t) there is a MUCH smaller footprint for a smaller, continuous power house.
    I love being able to turn my lights etc on whenever I want to, not just when
    the sun is shining and/or the wind is blowing.
    And, as for storing carbon dioxide in the ground, as a liquid, what happens
    when the temperature of the stored item goes up?
    I DON’T want to be anywhere around where the CO2 is stored.

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  • #
  • #

    On a more serious note:
    I notice that the ice in my rum and coke melts quicker on a warm day than it does on a cold day.
    Is this yet another consequence of global warming?

    I am a very observant character and with a bit of peer support, I could probably knock together a good research paper on this for the IPCC.

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  • #
    D o u g   C o t t o n  

    There are serious omissions of major energy flows in all the energy diagrams which purport to explain that radiation from the cooler atmosphere causes the Earth’s surface to be “33 degrees” warmer than it otherwise would be in the absence of “greenhouse gases” like water vapour and carbon dioxide.

    Empirical evidence in world temperature records shows that more moist regions have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitudes and altitudes. This is the exact opposite of what the IPCC would have you believe, because they say that greenhouse gases like water vapour warm the surface.

    They also imply that radiation into a planet’s surface is the primary determinant of a planet’s surface temperature. You only need to consider a region covered by cloud for a few days to realise there is something seriously wrong with this radiation conjecture. The surface still warms a little by day and cools by night even though it is not receiving any direct solar radiation because of the clouds. Now it cannot be radiation from the cooler clouds and atmosphere that is warming the surface. Basic physics tells us there would be more radiation out of the surface than into the surface. So why does the cooling stop around dawn and turn to warming? The reason is that there is a very significant supply of thermal energy into the surface which is not shown in those energy diagrams. No solar radiation reaches the base of the nominal troposphere of the planet Uranus, but it’s hotter than Earth’s surface down there.

    So the facts that water vapour cools rather than warms, and that a surface receiving no solar radiation can be warmed should shake your confidence in the greenhouse conjecture.

    Why did people like James Hansen (with limited understanding of thermodynamics) make such a huge mistake in postulating that a radiative greenhouse effect keeps us warm?

    The single most important and fundamental error in the greenhouse conjecture is their assumption that the Earth’s troposphere would be isothermal (all at the same temperature) in the absence of these radiating molecules in the so-called greenhouse gases. The Second Law of Thermodynamics tells us that would not be the case, because such a situation would have unbalanced energy potentials (more gravitational potential energy per molecule at higher altitudes) and so entropy could still increase. And it does, and some molecules fall until the effect of gravity causes there to be a density gradient, in accord with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. We can all observe this density gradient, because the air is in fact more dense at lower altitudes. Hence you can all observe that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (which is not just about temperatures) is in fact operating as we would expect, balancing out the energy potentials such that the mean sum of potential energy and kinetic energy is tending towards being homogeneous. In other words the system in calm conditions will tend towards this state of thermodynamic equilibrium with maximum entropy. Because of the gradient in potential energy there is thus a gradient in kinetic energy (temperature) and that will be maintained by thermal energy transfers in all accessible directions including downwards into the surface at night and in those cloudy conditions when there’s no direct solar radiation.

    And that is why the whole greenhouse conjecture is wrong.

    All climate change is entirely due to natural cycles, most relevant being a cycle of about 1,000 years and a superimposed cycle of about 60 years. The former has about 100 years of warming (by less than half a degree) before it turns to 500 years of cooling. The latter is declining for 30 years following the maximum in 1998. So you can expect the net slight cooling to continue until at least 2027, as I predicted in an archived statement over three years ago. The cycles are closely correlated with the inverted plot of the scalar sum of the angular momentum of the Sun and all the planets. We don’t yet know why, but they are, and so the evidence that planetary orbits regulate Earth’s natural climate cycles is very compelling.

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  • #
    D o u g   C o t t o n  

     

    You see, when you (eventually) come to grips with the reality of the gravito-thermal effect and how it determines all planetary temperatures and how it supports surface temperatures at the base of a planet’s troposphere, then you realise that climatology got just about everything wrong.

    Climatologists think water vapour warms the surface, the more the warmer. It doesn’t.

    Climatologists think that isothermal conditions are the norm in the absence of radiating molecules. They aren’t. The gravito thermal effect sets the temperature gradient (which has nothing to do with lapsing from hot to cold regions) and it sets it from the cooler regions downwards to the warmer regions. Radiating molecules (like water vapour) lower the gradient and cause cooler surface temperatures.

    Climatologists think the Sun’s direct radiation warms planetary surfaces like those of Venus and Earth, and they think the surface then warms the lower troposphere. It doesn’t. It’s the other way around.

    Climatologists think carbon dioxide warms the surface. It doesn’t.

     

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  • #
     D o u g 

    Don’t you realise that lukes and warmists alike are “spamming” the concept that back radiation is what warms the surface by that “33 degrees” which is wrong anyway? If there were no gravito-thermal effect (about which physicists have known since the 19th century) then the troposphere would be hotter at the top where solar intensity is strongest and only around -35C at the base of the troposphere where solar radiation into the surface averages 161W/m^2 and we could assume emissivity around 0.88.

    So there’s really about 50 degrees of warming to explain. How much is due to each 1% of water vapour? We know water vapour in the lower troposphere varies between about 1% and 4% so let’s say it averages 2.5% (correct me if I’m way out) and thus sensitivity for each 1% would be 20 degrees. But are regions with 4% warmed by 80 degrees and those with 1% warmed only 20 degrees? If not, why not? Why is it that temperature records show those with 4% to be cooler than those with 1% at similar latitudes and altitudes?

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     D o u g   C o t t o n 

    While ever you can produce no explanation for the net inflow of thermal energy required to raise the temperature of the Venus surface by 5 degrees during its sunlit hours (as per Hans Jelbring’s paper) then you have no understanding of planetary atmospheric and surface temperatures and the complete picture of all energy flows. I have explained what physics tells us: you have not.

    00