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Forest fires may produce as much CO2 as half of all fossil fuels burned

Globally, fires have been overlooked as a key player in the global CO2 cycle. Tom Quirk has dug up some studies showing that CO2 emissions from fires can be as high as half of the total emissions from human fossil fuel use.

Smoke from fires over Indonesia, and Borneo, Satellite, NASA, 1997

“In October and November 1997, the haze from fires in Indonesia spread as far the Philippines to the north, Sri Lanka to the west, and northern Australia to the south. In the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo, there was a pollution index reading of 860.” | Annette Gartland

Peat deposits can be an extraordinary 20 metres thick. In 1997, a fire consumed 8,000 square kilometers of mostly peatland in Borneo. Researchers estimated 0.2 Gt of carbon were released in this one area that year, and that carbon emissions from fires across Indonesia in 1997 emitted between 0.8 and 2.5 Gt — or “13 to 40%” of the size of global human fossil fuel emissions.[1] Obviously uncertainties are large, but so are the numbers. It all makes the idea of a “carbon market” pretty meaningless: the largest players in this market can’t play and don’t pay. In carbon accounting, fires are “an act of God” (non-anthropogenic), and are considered neutral because the trees will grow back. But humans play a role in fire management and the regrowth…

Other researchers, der Werf et al 2004, looked at fires around the world during the El Nino year and estimated that 2.1 Gt of carbon was released — which explained 66% ± 24% of the extra CO2 emitted globally that year.[2] Bowman et al estimate fires produced emissions around 50% of the size of human emissions.[3] Murry Salby argues that ocean temperatures drive CO2 levels and the warmth of the El Nino in 1997 released more CO2, but here a lot of the extra CO2 released that year looks like it comes from fires.

To put all this in perspective, total human emissions of carbon in a year is about 8 to 10 Gt. Australian emissions are a mere 100 mt*. Indonesia’s are 150 mt, while China’s are 2.5 Gt and increasing by 100mt each year. China is adding emissions equivalent to the entire Australian output each year. India puts out 500 mt, increasing by 50 mt each year. Shaving a mere 5% of the Australian output which is a mere 1.16% of the total output, seems as futile as it gets. How much should we pay?

— Jo

We didn’t start the fire   (with thanks to Billy Joel)

The southern hemisphere is the innocent hemisphere in the rise in atmospheric CO2.

Map, Global fires, pyrogeography on Earth

This statement can be seen by looking at the estimates of fossil fuel emissions from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC), an agency of the US government.

Fossil Fuel emissions, graph, latitiude

For the year 2010 CDIAC estimates 8,900 million tonnes of carbon (Mt C) in CO2 was produced world wide. Only 406 Mt C was produced in the Southern Hemisphere below a latitude of 120S. This is only 4.7% of the total global emissions.

carbon emissions in the Southern Hemisphere, graph, longitude

These emissions are spread across three continents with Australia being the smallest continental contributor. So to put this in perspective, the annual increase of fossil fuel emissions from China is equal to Australia’s total annual emissions while the annual increase from Indian fossil fuel emissions is half of Australia’s total emissions.

Continent

Fossil fuel emissions Mt C

% of global total

South Africa

138.0

1.60%

Australia

100.4

1.16%

New Zealand

    8.7

0.10%

South America

159.0

1.84%

Total

406.1

4.71%

It is worth noting that during the 1997-98 El Nino, forest and peat fires in Borneo were estimated to contribute 240 to 280 Mt C in CO2 to the atmosphere. When extended to Indonesia as a whole, the estimate was 819 to 2,370 Mt C in CO2 from fires.

The Bowman review 2009:

Currently, all sources of fire (landscape and biomass) cause CO2 emissions equal to 50% of those stemming from fossil-fuel combustion (2 to 4 Pg C year−1 versus 7.2 Pg C year−1) (7, 40, 41).

There is an imbalance between Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The highest concentrations of atmospheric CO2 occur in the far North measured at Alert in Canada, 820N and Point Barrow on the north shore of Alaska 710N. The figure below shows the average difference of atmospheric CO2 levels at latitudes greater than that of the South Pole from 1994 to 2014.

...

The conclusion is that not only are Southern Hemisphere and, in particular, Australia very small contributors to fossil fuel emissions but also the recipients of the overflow of CO2 from the Northern Hemisphere..

So will efforts to reduce CO2 concentrations from Southern Hemisphere continents have any effect on the Northern Hemisphere? Our only part in this is a very small contribution to the southern sinks of CO2 that might displace CO2 from the North..

So if there is a problem, it is a problem of the North.

REFERENCES

[1^] Page, S et al (20o2) The amount of carbon released from peat and forest fires in Indonesia during 1997, Letters to Nature, vol 420, p 61

[2^] der Werf et al (2004) Continental-Scale Partitioning of Fire Emissions During the 1997 to 2001 El Niño/La Niña Period, Science: Vol. 303 no. 5654 pp. 73-76 DOI: 10.1126/science.1090753

[3^] Bowman et al (2009) Fire in the Earth System. Science Vol. 324 no. 5926 pp. 481-484, DOI: 10.1126/science.1163886

*Figures here are in pure carbon terms. If we talk in terms of CO2 emissions rather than pure C, the numbers are 44/12 times higher.

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162 comments to Forest fires may produce as much CO2 as half of all fossil fuels burned

  • #
    Joe V.

    … and biomass the rest. Burning forests for biomass produces more CO2 than it saves. New study reveals. David Rose in The Mail on Sunday digs in the dirt of BioMass https://twitter.com/carbongate/status/617417619717640192

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  • #
    Dennis

    Meanwhile in Australia Greens activists in local government and state governments argue against controlled burning of bushland to reduce fuel on the ground that attracts and feeds much hotter bush fires. The Snowy Mountains region of Victoria where cattle have been grazed for well over one hundred years, grasslands, are now becoming tangles of Blackberry bushes, shrubs and long grass and fires in recent years have been extremely hot wildfires that have caused considerable damage to the National Park and surrounding areas.

    Management of bushland and grassland practised for thousands of years by the Australian Aborigines does not fit into the Greens’ socialism masquerading as environmentalism game plan.

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    • #
      Truthseeker

      Dennis,

      Management of bushland and grassland practised for thousands of years by the Australian Aborigines …

      Hate to burst your “noble savage” bubble there, but the Australian Aborigines did not manage anything. They burnt bush to make hunting easier and to catch prey. It is just greenie moral preening that has pushed the “management” myth by the indigenious peoples of this continent (white = bad, black = good).

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      • #
        el gordo

        Over 40,000 years they built up walking tracks all over the place and picked up firewood as they went. They carried it on top of their heads to the next camp spot where there would be water.

        I’m suggesting a lot less deadwood around the tracks would have been useful if a quick exit strategy was needed when a bushfire took hold.

        Up the ‘top end’ they say dry season burning is traditional, but I have my doubts.

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      • #
        David Maddison

        Thanks for that comment Truthseeker. The Aborigines did what they needed to do to survive. Their “management” involved massive environmental destruction due to constant burning of tbe land resulting in the extinction of huge numbers of species that were not fire resistant. The Australian environment would be much different and more “natural” today if not for the intervention of Aborigines.

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        • #
          Matty

          So can it be blamed on Aboriginal Global Warming

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        • #
          el gordo

          David bushfires were common prior to humans setting foot on the island, due to lightning strikes. The extinction of the mega fauna was probably caused by humans hunting down the young.

          ‘The Australian environment would be much different and more “natural” today if not for the intervention of Aborigines.’

          Apart from the mega fauna extinction the first humans didn’t change anything. At the LGM most were living in the top end with little impact on the environment and they moved south again during the Holocene.

          Gum trees were here long before humans (they are the problem) so I’m in favor of culling more gums and crocs.

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          • #
            TFH

            The hottest parts of Australia with plenty of good rivers and beaches to swim in to cool off but you can’t because straight away you become part of the food chain,I say more croc skin boots and bags and crocs only to be seen in a croc farm or zoo.

            Oaks and Redwoods look prettier than scabby old gumtrees!

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          • #
            Just-A-Guy

            el gordo,

            You wrote:

            David bushfires were common prior to humans setting foot on the island, due to lightning strikes.

            Reminded me of a Nature documentary on parrots in Australia. At min 32:00 (aprox) the narrator begins to describe how fires, caused by lightning strikes, are inter-woven into the complex bio-sphere in parts of the Australian bush.

            The link originally appeared in a comment here on the blog back in early Jan (?), and the documentary doesn’t mention climate change ™ even once, which was odd but welcome.

            Appologies for not crediting who posted the link.

            Abe

            20

          • #
            Beowulf

            El Gordo

            “Apart from mega fauna extinction, the first Australians didn’t change anything.” Sorry but that’s drivel. It’s dangerous to generalise to such an extent. The fallacy of your statement can quickly be seen in the pre-white settlement distribution of some plant species prone to being killed by fire. Hoop Pine (Auraucaria cunninghamii) and Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta) both grew from southern Queensland down to the northern bank of the Macleay River (near Kempsey NSW) where they magically stopped dead in their tracks.

            Early pioneers commented on the mysterious botanical line in the landscape. Turns out the reason was that the tribe on the southern side of the river absolutely loved to play with matches, so much so that they continually wiped out any fire-sensitive plants that tried to invade their territory, or are you suggesting that lightning only struck areas south of the river prior to white settlement? These days Silky Oak has extended its range enormously as a volunteer weed, mostly because it has winged seeds, is drought resistant and the fire frequency is much lower under European land stewardship.

            The aborigines aided and abetted the lightning strikes which you rightly refer to, and what we are stuck with now is a flammable landscape of eucalypts and their fire-dependent allies. I’m a big fan of hazard reduction on a vast scale. We have no choice. We can’t clear-fell all of Australia to make it safe. Greens in positions of power are a threat to us all with their idiotic no-burn policies.

            There were very severe fires near Port Stephens (north of Newcastle) in late 2013 in dense bush that to the best of my recollection hadn’t burnt for at least 50 years. It was a firebomb waiting to happen, with years of accumulated fallen branches and an understorey of dry bracken.

            After the fires were eventually put out, they interviewed a local fire captain. He stated that the bushfire brigades have basically given up on trying to organise hazard reduction burns due to the massive red tape involved. He said that it was taking up to 2 YEARS for them to get approval for the burn-offs, each of which has to be approved individually by the bureaucrats before it can proceed. If the weather on the approved day is unsuitable for a burn, it is cancelled and the whole process starts again. Local brigades can no longer use their initiative, but are controlled from the top.

            So now our volunteers have to run around fighting firestorms in summer instead of conducting cool burns in winter.

            What hope do we have that common sense will ever prevail again?

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            • #
              Annie

              An uptick with feeling as we live in the area of the firestorm of 2009. What appalls me is that so much regrowth is there and planned burnoffs couldn’t happen as conditions at the time have been unsuitable. The moisture content of the area is very carefully monitored and burnoffs are cancelled if the ‘boss’ concerned isn’t happy about safety. He saw what happened in 2009.

              00

      • #
        Another Ian

        David M

        Try your bubble up against Bill Gammage “The Biggest Estate on Earth: how aborigines made Australia”

        40

    • #

      I’ve been travelling the High Country in Victoria for over 40 years and it was never better managed that under the old Forestry Commission, who worked closely with the loggers etc, who were often the first respondents to any fire outbreak.

      Once the environmentalists took over, after closing down the Forestry Commission and replacing the experienced people, who had years of CDF, with edumacated uni graduates, the whole place went wheels up.

      Since the change, the bush has never been as clean (blackberry and undergrowth free), never been as safe (especially for wildlife) and never been as accessible (what you can’t manage, close off).

      In their own way, environmentalists cause as much destruction as the worst of their enemies.

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      • #
        OriginalSteve

        The UN Agenda 21 basically says – herd people into huge highly dense cities so they are easily “managed”, and lock them out of 90% of the countryside forever.

        Incidentally, having a highly dense population allows a bioengineered disease to propagate quickly and lethally, to kill as many as possible as quickly as possible….

        Yup…gotta love the extreme green agenda….

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        • #
          Craig Thomas

          No it doesn’t. It says that

          “Sixty percent of the world’s population already live in coastal areas, while 65 per cent of cities with populations above 2.5 million are located along the world coasts; several of them are already at or below the present sea level.”

          Clearly implying that big cities are dangerous.
          and

          “In formulating human settlements policies, account should be taken of resource needs, waste production and ecosystem health.”

          Clearly implying that big cities are bad.
          and

          “Case-studies of local level responses by different groups to demographic dynamics should be developed, particularly in areas subject to environmental stress and in deteriorating urban centres.”

          Clearly implying big cities are bad.
          and

          “An assessment should also be made of national population carrying capacity in the context of satisfaction of human needs and sustainable development, and special attention should be given to critical resources, such as water and land, and environmental factors, such as ecosystem health and biodiversity.”

          Clearly implying that big cities are bad.
          oh, hang on, here is their cunning plan:

          “Recognizing that large increases in the size and number of cities will occur in developing countries under any likely population scenario, greater attention should be given to preparing for the needs, in particular of women and children, for improved municipal management and local government.”

          Yep, they accept that urban population will grow, and they say we should plan it properly so people’s needs are met.
          Meeting people’s needs so they can live comfortably – what a horrible thought, eh?

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          • #
            RB

            Clearly implying?

            Rapidly growing cities, unless
            well managed, face major environmental problems. The increase in both the number and size of cities
            calls for greater attention to issues of local
            government and municipal management

            Most of it is about studying demographic trends but it appears to me to be geared towards stuffing more people in smaller urban centres.

            21

          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            That sounds vaguely reminiscent of the National Socialist propaganda for the ghettos.

            Just saying.

            30

    • #
      Robert O

      Dennis, your comment about fire management and green politics is very true. There have been bushfires nearly every Summer in southern Aust. since time immemorial and these have been exacerbated by the build-up of fuel levels in the alpine forests by the bans on control burning and cattle grazing. The intensity of the Black Saturday fire(s) in 2009 was, perhaps, one of the biggest ever with several thousand houses lost, the death of 179 people and countless wildlife. Locking-up forests and National Parks as per green politics is not the answer; the only practical method for reducing the fire intensity is periodic controlled burns under mild conditions. If one doesn’t do this the fuel in the eucalypt forest, gumnuts, bark, branches,leaves, will accumulate until such a time there are very dry conditions and a source of ignition, and then there is a catastrophe. Examples include 1934 and 1967 in Tasmania, 1939, 1983 and 2009 in Victoria. In the recent fire at Dunalley, S. Tas., farmers complained about the difficulty of getting approval to do control burns, but although there weren’t any deaths, many houses were lost and the inhabitants sought refuge on the shoreline.
      This was just another consequence of the Greens in Tasmania.

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      • #
        Robert O

        The other point about locking-up the old-growth eucalypt forest as world heritage, as per the green mantra, is that they will not regenerate simply because eucalypt seedlings do not grow under a canopy of encroaching rainforest species, mainly Nothofagus the southern “beech”. There are many examples in Tasmania of dead old growth eucalypts in a sea of rainforest species which is the ultimate result of this; anecdotally, when the rainforest trees attain around 110 years of age, the overstorey of old-growth eucalypts is dead unless there has been a wildfire in the intervening years and then you have the old-growth eucalypts with a younger aged regrowth stand. It really is a classic oxymoron, but that is green politics and their “science”. And as to the UNESCO folk organising world heritage areas what would they know about eucalypt ecology?

        11

      • #
        TFH

        Sorry folks the 2009 Black Sat fires being a disaster because of green policies is a myth,Kinglake and Marysville burnt because people built homes in the wrong places,it was after a prolonged dry spell and the temps were at the extreme with very low humidity plus very strong winds,these are the recipe for disasters,no govt policy could stop what happened and it will happen again and again as it always has here in Australia.

        BTW between Marysville and the start of that fire was a large managed pine plantation!

        Eucalypt forests will burn regardless of what is done beforehand,the only way to stop the wildfires is to remove all the trees,and noone wants that.
        Cutting down the amount of trash will help in reducing the intensity of a bushfire but nothing can slow or stop a firestorm when the conditions are right,once the initial firestorm has abated then backburning is about the only man-made thing that will stop or control a fire

        10

        • #
          Robert O

          TFH, I would agree that it is not a good idea to build a home in the Bush unless you have a good green clearing around it and keep the immediate surrounds open as well by a little burning under mild conditions. A fire pump and a good water supply is also a must to put out any spot fires from ember attack. The main factors controlling fire intensity are the fuel-load, its dryness, ambient temperature, relative humidity and wind velocity. Once there is a source of ignition (man or lightning) they are pretty well unstoppable if the factors are at extremes as they were in 2009 or 1939 and the greens just don’t get it.

          00

        • #

          I think that there were many contributing factors to the Black Sat fires. You can’t entirely dismiss green policies, as they would have contributed to the situation. For example, green policies forbid you from clearing trees in order to provide adequate firebreaks and the like. Just look at the poor sod who was taken to court by the Nillumbik Shire council for doing just that and saving his home.

          Green policies, more often than not, create the exact opposite of what the environmentalists hope to achieve. They never consider the unintended consequences of their actions and, more importantly, never learn from their mistakes. They actually don’t believe that they ever make mistakes, it’s always someone else’s fault or just nature in action.

          01

          • #
            Robert O

            Bemused, yes it is unfortunately true that the greens are dogmatic and don’t learn from experience. Were not they indirectly linked to the deaths of the 179 souls in 2009 by their control of the councils preventing a commonsense approach to living in the bush with its dangers? The basis of green politics is that their support comes from the inner cities whereby their supporters think they are doing their bit to save the planet, and at the same time enjoy the benefits, cafe lattes, aircon., good hospitals and schools. Bob Brown realised this a longtime ago and certainly was a good general in military terms; he was directly or indirectly responsible for a large amount of the green tape controlling our lives.

            11

      • #
        Annie

        i think it was 173 deaths on Black Saturday…some of them people we knew.

        00

    • #
      Safetyguy66

      Ah Dennis you have touched on the great schism of the green movement.

      How to appear to be cool hipsters about both the environment and aboriginal rights at the same time. Oh the dilemmas you face when being cool is your goal.

      The cracks are starting to appear already in Tassie and WA. Green groups have taken it upon themselves to make declarations about fixed management plans for certain wilderness areas, while aboriginal groups don’t necessarily recognise the greens totalitarian power over the area. (surprisingly)

      Should be interesting going forward to see the greens put the final bow on their position of preferring trees over humans and this time using aboriginals as the victims rather than middle class white folks for a change.

      41

      • #
        Debbie

        Far too much of our country is now just an accident waiting to happen re veg and forest management.
        The native flora and fauna gets wiped out too when a fire goes out of control .
        The damage from the 2003 fires in the Snowy national park is still starkly evident.

        10

  • #
    Bob in Castlemaine

    Yeah but this is “good” CO2 right? For example the gazillion tons of once US forest trees currently being chipped before being shipped to UK to be burnt in the furnaces of Drax power station is bio-fuel right?
    By the way, anyone know if the US forests currently being burnt at Drax and other bio-fuel sites qualify as global human fossil fuel emissions or acts of God?
    I suspect not a lot of particulate control on those “good” forest/bush fires, nor too much concern about combustion control and fair dinkum nasties like NOx and SOx.

    141

    • #
      Dennis

      The best situation would of course be no bushfires however they cannot be eliminated but they can be cooler and less damaging when ground fuel is not allowed to build up and low level growth is kept to a minimum.

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      • #
        Olaf Koenders

        Therein being the problem, vast burn-offs across continents to reduce ground fuel is impractical. Greenies aren’t crying about bushfires at the moment, but only about the vast swathes of forests cut down to make their own Tasmanian Oak furniture, staircases, bookshelves and patios.

        The most hypocritical and ridiculous TV advert is the one where the guy says that trees lock away the CO2 which is a good thing for making your house out of, entirely forgetting (intentionally) that CO2 is what grew the damn tree in the first place.

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  • #
    ian hilliar

    I once asked the CSIRO if anyone had ever done any estimations of the amount of co2 produced by big Aussie bushfires, and if it were true that these emissions would have dwarfed the industrial co2 emissions over the previous 10 years. The answers were; no, and, off the record, you are probably right.

    212

    • #
      Craig Thomas

      Who did you ask? The janitor?
      If you had asked the right person, they would have pointed you in the direction of Mark Adams’ research, which answers your question and demolishes your hypothetical.

      13

  • #
    DaveR

    Good to see el gordo has already highlighted the potential impact of the burn-off over northern Australia every year. Experienced it last month with almost 50km of bush alight between Mt Bundey and Jabiru. And in that area its undertaken by traditional owners, as well as Parks officers. Wait to see how that one plays out politically!

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  • #
    el gordo

    Australians traditionally burn off in the dry season.

    http://www.ecosmagazine.com/paper/EC13150.htm

    30

  • #
    Peter C

    The source of the rising CO2 levels gets even more obscure!

    There is an imbalance between Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The highest concentrations of atmospheric CO2 occur in the far North measured at Alert in Canada, 820N and Point Barrow on the north shore of Alaska 710N. The figure below shows the average difference of atmospheric CO2 levels at latitudes greater than that of the South Pole from 1994 to 2014.

    The conclusion is that not only are Southern Hemisphere and, in particular, Australia very small contributors to fossil fuel emissions but also the recipients of the overflow of CO2 from the Northern Hemisphere..

    The latest image from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (NASA) does not support that conclusion.
    http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/oco2/nasas-spaceborne-carbon-counter-maps-new-details

    The Southern hemisphere would seem to be a major contributor, esp Africa, South America and Indonesia, but not Australia. NASA speculates that the higher levels are due to burning off.

    It is also noticeable that the “dark satanic mills” of the midlands of England and the Ruhr valley in Germany are not a source, although China is.

    The image only covers a limited period from Oct-Nov 2014. NASA has not yet seen fit to release further data.

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    • #
      PeterPetrum

      “Global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 11, as recorded by NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2. Carbon dioxide concentrations are highest above northern Australia, southern Africa and eastern Brazil.
      NASA/JPL-Caltech”

      Since when was Java part of Northern Australia?

      50

  • #
    Owen Morgan

    How, or when, did peat develop on Borneo? In Britain and in Ireland, peat deposits largely date from the Bronze Age, when a fairly significant drop in temperature happened to coincide with the first widespread use of metals on these islands. (Luckily, no Greenatherium was around to blame the “climate change” on all that copper.)

    Peat deposits are not like Carboniferous ones, which were laid down before dinosaurs ever existed. With peat, we are talking about just a few thousand years.

    112

    • #
      Owen Morgan

      Isn’t it amazing how almost every comment I ever contribute to Jo’s site gets one imperial thumb down? OK, the serial down-thumber did miss one of my feeble comments, a few days ago, but he (I am sure it is a he) always manages to give an off-with-his-head to much better comments than any of mine.

      Marking my drivel down is one thing, but you never contribute a response, either to my comments, or to Jo’s excellent articles themselves, or to the very erudite commenters to whom you automatically give a thumb down. You think you are insulting me, this way, by including me in this fellowship, but I am actually honoured. It’s not an honour I have earned, but I still appreciate it. Keep the red thumbs coming, muppet.

      63

      • #
        Graeme No. 3

        Only one? You must try harder, and see if you can get the maximum number of thumbs down. I think that is 5 as that seems to be all the numbers that they can muster.
        I don’t think you need worry about the quality of your posts and trying to work out what their system is, as there is none. For a start they often ding-dong completely innocuous posts. Then they are unlikely to have read most posts they ding-dong as they wouldn’t understand them anyway.
        I think they have a quota to fill and when they finish that, they disappear until the next article.

        Ding-dong is my not very subtle way of suggesting that they are all loud and cracked. So let’s see how many this post gets.

        42

        • #
          Owen Morgan

          You’re right. The wannabe Neros have been piling in with their red thumbs, but are still staying a little coy about their thoughts, such as they may be, on any of the issues raised in the article.

          20

      • #
        Annie

        Gosh! You have now managed three. Well done!

        00

  • #
    el gordo

    ‘Currently (2003) in Australia the average area affected by fire is an astounding 30 million hectares a year, 90% of it in the tropical north of Queensland, Western Australia, and Northern Territory.

    ‘Humans initiate almost all fires, with only a small number being wild fires. In all an estimated 150 million tonnes of carbon are burned compared to 85 million tonnes of fossil fuels. Fire as practised in Australia is a major contributor to global warming.’

    AUSECO

    50

  • #

    The CO2 you can’t tax never happened.

    In the case of waste/biomass (still by far the EU’s biggest “renewable”, did you know?) some clever accounting people who probably should have been locked up after 2008 have assessed it as carbon neutral. So CO2 from waste/biomass/biofuel combustion happened but it didn’t, or only sort of. Because everything just grows back. Sort of.

    Of course, the best way to deal with any CO2 is to get the EU to rort its “price” downward. They have the odd bill to pay and Angela is digging much brown even as she is still preaching green. Never mind: carbon money is moving about and getting skimmed as it moves. That’s where the real climate action is!

    101

  • #
    Ted O'Brien.

    If the land returns to forest after the fire then the fires are carbon neutral. It is only when land use changes that forest fires should be taken into account at all.

    50

    • #
      Richard

      Damn. Ted has a point.

      40

      • #
        Just-A-Guy

        Richard,

        Yes, he does. Which is why, as many here have noted before, the CAGW® adherents aren’t here to argue. IOW, where are sillyfilly, twinotter, BilB, Tristan and all the rest?

        They’re not here because there’s no reason to be here.

        There’s another point that could be made, and just to play the other sides advocate for a moment.

        By discussing climate change ™ on the adherents terms, you inadvertently acknowledge that there’s something to CAGW® by saying, “It’s not our co2 that’s causing the warming, it’s all natural”. IOW, fires are irrelevant because as long as human co2 production per annum exceeds co2 accumulation per annum, then it matters not which co2 is accumulating in the atmosphere. This is because if human co2 production didn’t exist, the natural sinks would absorb the natural co2.

        IOW, even if all the numan co2 was absorbed by natural co2 sinks immediately, that leaves natural co2 to accumulate because the sinks have already absorbed all they can.

        So there’s no point in discussing where the co2 accumulation came from.

        The klimate clique that concocted the whole scenario, thought it through very well. They know where to place their emphasis, and they know where to back away.

        Now, post an article or comment on something that does threaten their program and to the extent that it’s a threat, to that extent they’ll show and fight. Like I said, it’s been mentioned before and it’s pretty much borne out by the facts on the ground. At least on this blog.

        And just so there’s no mistake. I don’t agree with any of their pseudo-science BS. I’m only making an observation.

        You wan’t to make a case against CAGW®? Make one that you can win.

        Abe

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        • #
          Richard

          Even if all human CO2 was absorbed by natural CO2 sinks immediately, that leaves natural CO2 to accumulate because the sinks have already absorbed all they can

          I see where you’re coming from, but I think that argument might be a little too simplistic. You’re familar with Henry’s law, right? Henry’s law sets a fixed equilibrium partitioning ratio for how much CO2 resides in the ocean and atmosphere. So if CO2 gets put into the atmosphere, when equilibirum is reached, which can happen surprisngly fast (think when you open a bottle of coke it goes flat within a few days as a new equilibrium is reached), the vast majority of CO2 that humans put into the atmosphere will be absorbed by the oceans upon equilibrium. The amount absorbed by the oceans at equilibrium should be 98% in accordance with the current partitioning ratio of 1:50 at the average surface temperature of 15C. However, even though the oceans would have absorbed virtually all the CO2 that was put into the atmosphere (at equilibrium) they could still cause an increase in atmospheric CO2 if they warmed since the equilibrium partitioning ratio is temperature-dependent. Increasing the ocean temperature by around 5C would shift the partitioning ratio to ~1:40 and release about 200 gigatonnes into the atmosphere and asumming humans have emitted about 2000 gigatonnes since the industrial revolution only about 60 gigatonnes of that would be added to the atmospheric increase at equilibrium. The oceans can cause an increase in CO2 while also absorbing almost all the CO2 humans put into the atmosphere. Thus the ‘bank-anaology’ argument as expounded by the likes of Gavin Cawley is invalid. It is possible, and Salby must be aware of this.

          So there’s no point discussing where the CO2 accumulation came from

          If there’s evidence against the claim that humans are causing the increase (which there is, as Salby has shown) there is point in discussing it, otherwise we’d be just as bad as the IPCC.

          They claim that the energu going out of the system must equal the energy going in

          I agree, seen Venus lately? It gets an average of 65W/sq.m of solar radiation averaged out over the entire planet (due to the high albedo) and is radiating at 16,700W/sq.m. That’s quite some disparity.

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            Richard

            ‘Bank-analogy’ Sorry I’m pedantic when it comes to spelling.

            10

          • #
            TdeF

            The half life of absorption of CO2 into the oceans is 14 years because the planet is one very big coke bottle. The majority of gaseous CO2 is dissolved in the ocean, far more than all the other sinks combined.
            You can see this from the CO2 graphs at Moana Loa. There is not the slightest perturbation from huge events like bushfires. Nor from the end of the drought in Australia which would absorb vastly more CO2 than the biggest fire. You can even see the smooth cyclic CO2 outgassing from summer and winter temperatures in the bumps. Not a sign of other tiny events.

            Henry’s Law is a fact and not something which can be ignored. The IPCC get around this simple science in two ways. First they say the deep ocean takes 1,000 years to mix with the upper ocean, so they only use the first hundred metres and claim the rest of the coke bottle is irrelevant. Given CO2 is a gas, this is make believe. Then they claim the typical time to exchange CO2 gas is 80 years (Half life) when you can show instantly that it is 14 years.

            After stoichiometry (counting atoms), equilibrium is the next most important concept in Physical Chemistry. No physical scientist would believe that we could increase CO2 on only one side of the air/water boundary. Gas exchanges very freely, which is what you are doing right now breathing, exchanging O2 for CO2.

            The very idea that mankind can release CO2 and push up aerial CO2 underpins all the deceitful science behind man made Global Warming. Long before Murry Selby, Prof Suess in 1950s noted that after WW2, the total aerial CO2 from industry was no more than 2%, based on his radio carbon dating invention. The physics has not changed.

            So much simple science has been bypassed you wonder how our Climate Commissioner Will Steffen can live with himself as a PhD industrial chemist. I wrote to him about this question of equilibrium and he did not answer the question but simply referred to the reports of the IPCC. You cannot get a warmist scientist to discuss science.

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              TdeF

              Another point about the CO2 growth. You would expect a rapid growth if man made CO2 was producing the increase, not the almost straight line. Firstly world population is increasing rapidly then energy per person is also increasing, so total CO2 must be increasing.

              World population

              This is again not reflected in the CO2 graph. Why? The source of the CO2 increase is clearly steady, not sensitive to forest fires, individual events, the popularization of motorized transport, industrialization, world war, droughts and sudden recovery or anything else. It is just steadily increasing in a near linear fashion. This is not man made CO2.

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                el gordo

                ‘This is not man made CO2.’

                The linear nature of the rise does offer the tantalizing possibility that the steady increase is mostly natural.

                A good argument.

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                el gordo

                ‘In viewing this history, it is most interesting to note (and know) that over its first 4,800 years (that’s 96% of the record) – when the temperature varied all over the place – the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration was extremely stable, hovering between about 275 and 285 ppm; while over the last 200 years (the remaining 4% of the record), when the temperature shows but a fraction of a degree warming, the air’s CO2 concentration rose by well over an extra 100 ppm.

                ‘Clearly, the air’s CO2 content is not a major driver of earth’s temperature. In fact, it may not even be a minor driver.’

                Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso

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                el gordo

                I’m prepared to concede that the rapid rise in CO2 can be put down to the hand of man and the way things are going its just in the nick of time.

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              • #
                TdeF

                El Gordo, the ‘rapid rise in CO2′ is nowhere near rapid enough for the rapid population growth multiplied by the rapid increase in energy consumption per capita.

                Compare actual CO2 growth

                25% growth in CO2 between 1960 and 2000.
                Actual fossil fuel consumption growth was more than 100%.

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              • #
                el gordo

                ‘Compare actual CO2 growth’

                Give me a link for CO2 levels since the time of Christ, otherwise its the mantra.

                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UatUDnFmNTY

                Did CO2 levels increase during and after the RWP and MWP?

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              • #
                el gordo

                During and after the MWP there is no indication that increased warmth worldwide liberated more CO2 through natural causes.

                http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/lawdome.smooth75.gif

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        Just-A-Guy

        Richard,

        Now, if you want to ‘fight fire with fire’ so to speak, then there’s always this:

        The IPCC, Inc., and all of the climate change ™ adherents claim that there must be some sort of balance in the so called ‘energy budget’ of the earth. IOW, they claim that energy going out of the system must equal energy coming in.

        Why does no one dispute this nonsense? This concept is patently false and yet no-one, to my knowledge addresses the issue. If someone has, I will appologise and accept my ignorance of that fact.

        So why, you may ask, is this so-called ‘balance’ patently false?

        Because there are all these fires! Three different types of fires, to be exact.

        1. There are numerous active volcanos releasing energy, stored heat, from deep within the earth. This additional heat must be increasing the total amount heat leaving the system. We expect the outward radiation to be greater than the input. So the imbalance, i.e. the increase in outgoing radiation is not because of co2 ‘back-radiation’.

        2. All animal life on the planet uses chemical reactions that produce heat. Little or no energy goes into this process but large amount of energy are still being output into the system. We expect the outward radiation to be greater than the input. So the imbalance, i.e. the increase in outgoing radiation is not because of co2 ‘back-radiation’.

        3. And then there’s all these fires. The natural ones, I mean. Lightning hits. A fire ignites. Conbustion releases the energy stored within the combustible material, (trees, coal, etc.) and this increases the amount of heat that will now radiate out of the system. We expect the outward radiation to be greater than the input. So the imbalance, i.e. the increase in outgoing radiation is not because of co2 ‘back-radiation’.

        The whole concept of radiative imbalance caused by co2 back-radiation is moot once you consider how much additional radiated heat must leave the system relative to how much radiated heat comes in. Naturally! We expect the outward radiation to be greater than the input. This is a natural phenomenon. So the increase in outward radiation is not caused by co2 ‘back-radiation’.

        A balanced budget may be expected from your government, but not from your planet. ;)

        Now there’s something you can sink your teeth into. Or, if we’re sticking to the ‘fire’ analogies, “We didn’t start the fire, it was always burning, since the world’s been turning.”

        Abe

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      TFH

      Perpetual motion of sorts.

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    • #
      Harry Twinotter

      Ted O’Brien.

      Yes, forests are considered carbon neutral. But a forest may take a long time to grow back.

      I think fires have been included in the background CO2 rates. Even if a forest does not burn, individual tree will die eventually and give off CO2 as they rot. So a forest is both a source and sink of CO2.

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    ROM

    Black Thursday; February 6th 1851

    BUSHFIRE – BLACK THURSDAY, VICTORIA 1851

    The Victorian bushfire known as ‘Black Thursday’ occurred on 6 February 1851, though fires had been burning for some weeks, At 11am in Melbourne the temperature was 47C in the shade with a hot wind blowing from the NNW.

    Fires raged out of control from Barwon Heads, Victoria, to Mount Gambier, South Australia, while the smoke haze spread as far as Tasmania. Approximately 12 people died and 5 million hectares – approximately a quarter of the state of Victoria – was burnt.
    Losses included one million sheep and thousands of cattle with many properties and communities destroyed. The fire affected the Wimmera, Portland, Gippsland, Plenty Ranges, Westernport, Dandenong and Heidelberg with extensive damage in Victoria’s Port Phillip district.

    __________

    Wiki ; Black Thursday 1851;
    “The temperature became torrid, and on the morning of the 6th of February 1851, the air which blew down from the north resembled the breath of a furnace. A fierce wind arose, gathering strength and velocity from hour to hour, until about noon it blew with the violence of a tornado. By some inexplicable means it wrapped the whole country in a sheet of flame — fierce, awful, and irresistible.”[1]

    _____________

    Trove;
    The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) (about) Saturday 28 June 1924

    BLACK THURSDAY.
    By EDWARD C. O. HOWARD.
    Doubtless there are many colonists still living who recollect Thursday, February 6,1851, since known by the designation of”Black Thursday.” My father occupied
    a brick house he had just built in Jeffcott street, on the western slope of the Flagstaff Hill, about the first erected in that locality.
    I have a vivid recollection of the day, for as a youth of 12 years I, boy-like, sneaked out of the new building to have a look at a structure raging in flames in the neighbourhood and on returning was severely reprimanded for venturing out in such awful heat.
    It is on record that for 26 years previously at no period did the heat of the atmosphere approach to anything like what was experienced on that eventful day.
    A scorching wind from N.N.W., sufficiently strongto raise clouds of dust before it, set in from an early hour. Although the rays of the sun were in some degree obscured by the dust the denseness of the atmosphere was most intolerable, even the lawyers in court being induced to forego their fees by requesting the presiding judge to postpone the proceedings.
    The thermometer,of Fahrenheit, was about 110 in the shade and 129 in the sun.
    Accounts soon came pouring into town from all quarters of the appalling ravages made by fires. Mr.Powlett’s police station was completely destroyed, house furniture, every stitch of clothing except what was in actual use,library, tent, fences and crops all being burnt.
    All along the River Plenty for 12 miles was one blackened scene of desolation, and every family was either utterly ruined or seriously injured, a mother and five
    children being suffocated by the effects of the flames. The surrounding country became a flame of fire, which demolished the trees, scrub, undergrowth, and everything before it.
    Everyone in the district was a loser, nothing being thought of but fire and its horrors. A pile of sheep and bullocks, nearly all dead, was discovered in one of the creeks. For miles around Ballarat and Geelong an immense amount of property was destroyed, especially on the Barrabool Hills, where many farmers were ruined.
    In this district something like 3,000 tons of hay and 50,000 bushels of wheat were lost. Bacchus Marsh and Ballan also suffered, while the Buninyong forest was for days a burning blaze.
    At the Werribee about 4,000 sheep perished, and at Mount Macedon three men were lost. The neighbouring ranges of Kilmore, which town escaped, were on fire, caused it was said, by some men who were burning stubble. The creeks were full of carcases of bullocks. No quarter of the district escaped, so general was the conflagration, which extended from Gippsland northward as far as the Goulburn, where the sheep on several stations were considerably thinned, one squatter alone losing 7,000.
    We are told that darkness overspread the whole of Gippsland, caused by smoke, which, carried by the north wind from the burning forests on the ranges, totally
    obscured the sun’s light. This darkness began to be perceived about 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and gradually increased until it became dense enough to hide from sight even the nearest objects.
    In Melbourne people flocked to the Flagstaff Hill, where a good view of the fires in the surrounding country could be obtained.
    At Portland the same excessive heat and bush fires were experienced, so much so that the races for the last day were postponed. A bush fire in the vicinity
    of the town began to rage with the utmost fury. It sprung up near the racecourse, and through the violence of the hot wind threatened to consume the booths and to envelop the persons who had assembled there in the flames before time could be afforded them to escape. The newly erected cottage of the collector of Customs was swept away, leaving time only for the owner and family to escape before their residence became a perfect cinder.
    So sudden and rapid was the progress of the flames thal the fowls and goats about the premises were all consumed.
    The fences and all that stood in its way for nearly five miles were carried away by the fire. The utmost concern was felt in town at the same time at the approach of fire from another quarter.
    Burnt particles were whirling down the streets and flying over the tops of the houses in profusion.
    Those of the inhabitants in their houses made the best preparations which they could for themselves respectively, water carts and all concentrated effort being at a sad discount. While the fire was raging in the immediate vicinity of the town, Mount Clay and the farmers in that locality were enveloped in one vast blaze
    -many farmers lost the whole of their crops. The work of years was swept away from those industrious families and severe sufferers, their fences and homes being annihilated at one stroke.
    Throughout the country generally traffic was temporarily suspended, and the carriers of several of the inland mails were intercepted by bush fires.
    A remarkable occurrence was the finding in several places of hundreds of dead opossums and snakes, some of the latter several feet long.

    At sea the weather was even more fearful than on shore. Twenty miles out the heat was so intense that every soul on board was struck almost powerless, as reported by Captain Reynolds. A sort of whirlwind in the afternoon struck his vessel, and carried the topsail clean out of the bolt rope.
    Flakes of fire were at the time flying thick alll round the ship from the shore, while the air was filled with cinders and dust, which fell in layers on the vessel’s deck.
    Fortunately the wind moderated about 2 o’clock, and further apprehension passed away.

    On Friday
    rain fell lightly in several parts of the interior, and on Sunday the 9th, prayers or rain were offered in several of the Melbourne churches. The foregoing is
    merely an outline of the loss and damage done in the towns and country.
    Much more could be said on the subject, but it would take up too much valuable space to give further details respecting the catastrophe that visited the colony on February 6, 1851.

    __________

    Trove;
    The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) (about Monday 10 February 1851

    THE LATE BUSH FIRES

    This long article in the Argus on Monday 10th February 1851 gives a full report from across the colony of the fires that covered and consumed an estimated one quarter of Victoria that day.
    There is still evidence of that fire on some of the oldest trees in Victoria’s Wimmera.

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    Barry

    Then there are the underground coal fires. Read this from the Smithsonian and this from Discover Magazine . In fact, in the late 1990s Discover Magazine (I still have the hard copy somewhere) contained a piece on one - just one - underground coal fire in China that produced as much CO2 each year as all the cars in the US did. Some say we have the longest-burning underground coal fire right here in Australia.

    Now ask yourself this: when is the last time you heard environmental groups or Greens politicians say we ought to do something about these fires?

    And don’t let the Left say this is ‘yet another reason’ not to mine coal. The articles explain the causes of these fires range from the natural, such as lightning, to man made causes such as hand mining and clearing land with fire. For example:

    In Indonesia, huge tracts of land once covered by rain forest— and underlain by near-surface coal—is fast being logged, then cleared for agriculture. The preferred method: fire. The practice has ignited perhaps 3,000 coal fires since 1982, destroying houses, schools and mosques. Heavy smoke carpets much of Southeast Asia, blocking out sunlight and causing crop failures as well as reducing visibility and, in at least one case, triggering an oil-tanker collision. The smoke is also implicated in an epidemic of asthma.

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    ROM

    To put that five million hectares into the modern perspective, the area that was burnt on Black Thursday in 1851 was larger than the smallest 100 of the list of 234 nation states and principalities as given in the link following;

    Countries of the World by Area

    Just a few examples ;
    Slovakia, Estonia , Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland,Taiwan, Belgium, Israel, East Timor >>

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  • #
    Richard

    Is the 50% estimate from Bowman et al 2009 the CO2 emissions from fires (relative to human emissions) every year? He says “currently” so I would assume so. Incredible, and it blows the IPCC’s claim that “humans are responsible for the entire increase” right out the window. I’d like to see Ferdinand Engelbeen wriggle his way out of this one.

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  • #
    llew Jones

    Of course it is not the CO2 emissions per se that is relevant to anthropogenic global warming but the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2. Indeed how much of the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere can be attributed to the human use of fossil fuels, how much from CO2 emissions from natural sources such as bush fires etc ( eg CO2 from volcanoes that also produce global cooling SO2) and how much from the ocean , which of course may be warming due entirely to natural climate variation since the last little ice age.

    Human emissions are not particularly relevant in apportioning blame unless it can be shown how much of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is attributable to each of the sources of CO2 emissions.

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      Dave in the states

      Indeed, Dr Salby findings show the human contribution to be of very small significance.

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        Craig Thomas

        I must have missed these “Dr Salby findings”.
        Where and when were they published?

        17

      • #
        tom0mason

        Dave in the states,

        You mean as M. Salby outlined in his book ‘Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate’? –

        … anthropogenic emission of CO2in gigatons of carbon per year (GtC/yr). Around 1850, CO2 emission ramped up exponentially, approaching 1 GtC/yr at the time of Arrhenius. Following World War I and during the Great Depression, it increased slower. Then, after World War II, CO2emission increased sharply, chiefly through combustion of liquid fuel that supports transportation. Almost as great is emission from the combustion of solid fuel in power generation and industry. It is noteworthy that, during the 1940s and 1950s, when emission from fossil fuel accelerated, proxy CO2 inferred from the ice-core record (Fig. 1.14) did not. If anything, rCO2 during that period decreased. Current rates of anthropogenic emission exceed 7 GtC/yr. Although increasing, this is still only about 4% of total CO2 emission, which is dominated by natural sources; cf. Fig. 17.11. Consequently, even a minor imbalance between natural sources and sinks can overshadow the anthropogenic component of CO2emission.


        Although differing between models, projected changes of temperature are sufficiently great to imply important changes to the Earth’s climate (e.g., by melting of continental ice and increasing sea level). In the stratosphere, where CO2 dominates infrared (IR) cooling to space, temperature decreases as large as 10 K have been suggested. They, in turn, could alter other radiatively active constituents such as ozone.
        Distinguishing the anthropogenic component of such changes from the natural component will be essential to correctly interpret observed changes and to understand how they are likely to evolve. This is especially true for changes of regional climate, for which model projections are far less reliable than for global-mean temperature (Sec. 8.7.3).

        [my empasis]

        ¯
        And of course he reiterated this more so in his many lectures.

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        • #
          Kenneth Richard

          Other relevant quotes from Salby’s textbook on atmospheric physics:

          http://www.atmosfera.unam.mx/jzavala/OceanoAtmosfera/Physics%20of%20the%20Atmosphere%20and%20Climate%20-%20Murry%20Salby.pdf

          “Together, emission from ocean and land sources (∼150 GtC/yr) is two orders of magnitude greater than CO2 emission from combustion of fossil fuel. These natural sources are offset by natural sinks, of comparable strength. However, because they are so much stronger, even a minor imbalance between natural sources and sinks can overshadow the anthropogenic component of CO2 emission.” pg. 546
          ————————–
          “The vast majority of that [greenhouse] warming is contributed by water vapor. Together with cloud, it accounts for 98% of the greenhouse effect.” pg. 249
          ————————–
          “Surface temperature depends on the atmosphere’s optical depth. The latter, in turn, depends on atmospheric composition through radiatively active species. Water vapor is produced at ocean surfaces through evaporation. Carbon dioxide is produced by decomposition of of organic matter. These and other processes that control radiatively active species are temperature dependent.” pg 249,250
          —————————
          “The resemblance between observed changes of CO2 and those anticipated from increased surface temperature also points to a major inconsistency between proxy records of previous climate. Proxy CO2 from the ice core record (Fig 1.13) indicates a sharp increase after the nineteenth century. At earlier times, proxy CO2 becomes amorphous: Nearly homogeneous on time scales shorter than millennial, the ice core record implies virtually no change of atmospheric CO2. According to the above sensitivity, it therefore implies a global-mean climate that is “static,” largely devoid of changes in GMT and CO2. Proxy temperature (Fig. 1.45), on the other hand, exhibits centennial changes of GMT during the last millennium, as large as 0.5–1.0◦ K. In counterpart reconstructions, those changes are even greater (Section 1.6.2). It is noteworthy that, unlike proxy CO2 from the ice core record, proxy temperature in Fig. 1.45 rests on a variety of independent properties. In light of the observed sensitivity, those centennial changes of GMT must be attended by significant changes of CO2 during the last millennium. They reflect a global-mean climate that is “dynamic,” wherein GMT and CO2 change on a wide range of time scales. The two proxies of previous climate are incompatible. They cannot both be correct.” pg. 254
          ————————
          “Revealed by natural perturbations to the Earth-atmosphere system, the sensitivity accounts for much of the observed variation of CO2 emission on interannual time scales (Fig. 1.43). It establishes that GMT cannot increase without simultaneously increasing CO2 emission – from natural sources.” pg. 253
          ————————
          “The results for the two periods are in broad agreement. Together with the strong dependence of CO2 emission on temperature (Fig. 1.43), they imply that a significant portion of the observed increase in r˙CO2 derives from a gradual increase in surface temperature.” pg. 253
          ————————
          “Warming of SST (by any mechanism) will increase the outgassing of CO2 while reducing its absorption. Owing to the magnitude of transfers with the ocean, even a minor increase of SST can lead to increased emission of CO2 that rivals other sources.” pg. 546
          ————————

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        • #
          Craig Thomas

          This rubbish by Salby does not exist in the formal scientific literature. He never conducted any relevant research. He never published any relevant science. His opinions are not backed by any facts, science, data or argument.
          Lucky *I* was sceptical.

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          • #
            Rereke Whakaaro

            There is no law that says that scientific research findings must be published in, “the formal scientific literature” (whatever that means), or even published at all, for that matter.

            And since you agree that Salby’s work was not published, you have no basis on which to decide whether it was relevant research or not.

            Lucky *I* was both sceptical, and open minded.

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            • #
              Craig Thomas

              It means that genuine researchers conducting genuine science, collect their results, mount their argument, and then publish it in order to convince other scientists that they are onto something.

              Not only are Salby’s opinions laughed at by other scientists, he can’t even produce any kind of data or argument to back them up, which is – much as you might like it not to be – how science is done.

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          • #
            TedM

            “Give it up Kenneth – Salby is a thoroughly discredited source”. By whom?

            ” He never conducted any relevant research” Totally untrue.

            “His opinions are not backed by any facts, science, data or argument.” Equally untrue.

            In fact your comments border on libel.

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              Craig Thomas

              Pffft. Salby has an execrable reputation and couldn’t possibly complain of being libelled.

              “Our investigation revealed that the subject, consistently and over a period of many years, violated or disregarded various federal and NSF award administration requirements, violated university policies related to conflicts and outside compensation, and repeatedly misled both NSF and the university as to material facts about his outside companies and other matters relating to NSF awards.”

              http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2009/oig0902/oig0902_4.pdf

              page.34.

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    • #
      tom0mason

      llew Jones,

      The UN-IPCC fake figures for anthropogenic CO2 is based on the lie that human-made CO2 can stay in the atmosphere for more than 30 years, and so accumulates. Most observations and measurements indicate this is gross exaggeration, but that has not stopped it being a mainstay of AGW theory.

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        TdeF

        Where does the CO2 go? Into the ocean. If 98% of all CO2 is the ocean an agreed fact, 98% of all man released CO2 must end up in the ocean. The only question is how long this process takes.

        The IPCC figure for the half life is not 30 but 80 years for half the CO2 to vanish. This is an absolutely necessary requirement for the man made CO2 argument to make sense and it is absolutely, demonstrably wrong.

        The true figure with a half life of 14 years for half gone is 28 years for 3/4 gone. So CO2 from the formation of the IPCC 27 years ago is around 3/4 gone.

        That is real, provable science. Man made CO2 was not more than 2% of the total in 1955. It is not more than 4% today.

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      Harry Twinotter

      llew Jones.

      It can be shown how much CO2 comes from natural sources and how much comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

      They have analysed the different isotopes of carbon – “old” carbon can be distinguished from “new” carbon.

      10

      • #
        llew Jones

        Really? Who told you that? Here’s a bit from Roy Spencer to correct that myth:

        “The ratio of the C13 isotope of carbon to the normal C12 form in atmospheric CO2 has been observed to be decreasing at the same time CO2 has been increasing. Since CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning is depleted in C13 (so the argument goes) this also suggests a manmade source.

        But when we start examining the details, an anthropogenic explanation for increasing atmospheric CO2 becomes less obvious.

        For example, a decrease in the relative amount of C13 in the atmosphere is also consistent with other biological sources. And since most of the cycling of CO2 between the ocean, land, and atmosphere is due to biological processes, this alone does not make a decreasing C13/C12 ratio a unique marker of an anthropogenic source.”

        02

  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Unfortunately there is a human contribution to the forest fire component of CO2. Here in Southern California the increasing demand for housing has pushed development farther and farther into some of the most combustible terrain in the whole state. And since the origin of many forest fires is human, the number of such fires has increased in those places where previously there were few if any fires. The resulting damage has been devastating, with dozens of homes destroyed and lives impacted for many years to come.

    Summer has been known around Southern California as the fire season for more than my whole lifetime and it’s getting worse. As a child growing up I watched the foothills near us burn more than once. At first there were no homes built up into those foothills. But when the houses were built the fires didn’t stop happening.

    This is a far worse consequence of forest fires than the CO2 they produce. And I have to assume that the same population pressure is happening in other places around the world.

    20

    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Just one supporting link.

      If you’re interested a Google search such as, southern ca forest fire damage history, will get you a lot of information and not just on Southern California.

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      • #
        Yonniestone

        I was thinking of you and our American friends when news of the fires reached us, stay vigilant and safe my friend.

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        • #
          Roy Hogue

          Yoni, thanks.

          I’ve watched the hills all around me burn more than once. Fortunately we’re far enough from the chaparral that there’s little danger to the house. But in any fire I keep a close watch on the wind direction because hot ash has fallen on us more than once. Fortunately it burns out before reaching us but I don’t think I can count on that every time.

          Then there’s the smoke. We can get it even from fires too far away to see and the stuff just loves to hug the ground sometimes. Choke! Choke! :-(

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  • #
    John F. Hultquist

    More than CO2 goes up in the smoke.

    Here in central Washington we have summer. It is dry and hot, as always. Now we have a couple of nuts sneaking around setting fires. A person set a fire along a road and then moved 15 km. east and set a cattle rancher’s hay on fire. Fire spotters from the first fire saw the hay fire go up and so it was gotten to before spreading to the hills nearby. We live in between the two fires. A few days earlier and 65 km. north a fire of human origin (?) burnt through grasslands and into the NW corner of the City of Wenatchee. Photo here:
    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2015/06/30/00/2A185F4100000578-3143932-image-a-14_1435622169704.jpg

    It is from the UK’s Daily Mail. The best I could find. It shows the burned downslope and the remains of several houses. Note the unburned one on the upper left. There is a steep upslope (not seen in this photo) leading to the houses. See Google Earth here: 47.454138, -120.354328

    The products of a complete house combustion must be an unhealthy mix. I’ve never seen a list. Gigatons it is not, but it sure looks nasty going up.

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    • #
      Roy Hogue

      Arson is about as vicious a crime as I can imagine — something right next to rape and murder on the scale of unacceptable behavior.

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        PeterPetrum

        It often does lead to murder (viz a Black Friday) but is never called that when the miscreant who has caused the death of others through his arson is brought to court. Should be a mandatory life sentence.

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          Roy Hogue

          At least here in the states it is called murder when arson results in someone’s death. Unfortunately we have several already old arson caused wild fires (grass and chaparral terrain almost as combustible as gasoline) resulting in a fatality but no suspect. One of them killed a whole firefighting crew when the wind changed and they were suddenly surrounded by fire with no way out.

          The person I would describe as the “arsonist of opportunity” can be very hard to catch but can kill someone and do millions in damage and firefighting cost. He has no motive other than that he saw an opportunity — a hot windy day and some dry grass on a hillside in a place where the likelihood of being seen is low…and suddenly you have a fast moving fire.

          Unless he was seen and could be identified there are no leads for investigators to follow.

          The charge can be first or second degree murder depending on the circumstances.

          The number of arson cases seems to be fewer than plain old human carelessness. And carelessness more often leads to the person responsible.

          In that case any death would be manslaughter.

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  • #
    Ruairi

    The warmists don’t care about facts,
    Or their theory being riddled with cracks,
    Once the main public view,
    Is that man’s CO2,
    Should be taxed and cut to the max.

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    jomo

    Since the global warming scam truly is a religion….what would be more fitting than to open with a prayer?:

    “ALGORE is my shepherd; I shall not think.
    He maketh me lie down in Greeneth pastures:
    He leadeth me beside the still-freezing waters.
    He selleth my soul for CO2:
    He leadeth me in the paths of self-righteousness for his own sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of reason
    I will fear all logic: for thou art with me and thinking for me
    Thy Gore’s family oil fortune and thy 10,000 square foot mansion,they
    comfort me.
    Thou preparest a movie in the presence of contradictory evidence:
    Thou anointest mine head with nonsense; my obedience runneth over.
    Surely blind faith and hysteria shall follow me all the days of my life:
    and I will dwell in the house of ALGORE forever……….”

    -Author Unknown

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    Yonniestone

    What about the CO2 released by earths oceans everyday?, don’t see many CAGW zealots launching a social media social injustice attack on the cruel sea.

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  • #
    Robert Wykoff

    I sometimes wish my state of Nevada could sue the state of California for destroying our air quality every summer as a result of their stupid greenie forest (non)practices. Like clockwork every august our air quality becomes worse than Bejing as the inevitable fires rage across northern California, and even 4 wheeling to the nethermost remote reaches in the mountains of the eastern part of Nevada, one is unable to get away from the smoke pouring over the sierras carried by the prevailing winds.

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  • #
    Safetyguy66

    Yet another factor that basically proves Murray Salby’s point. We couldn’t affect the total net carbon emissions cycle if we tried.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g9WGcW_Z58

    Think we are melting the icecaps? Heres a brain teaser for you.

    Post your best plan to completely melt one pole in a decade starting from tomorrow. Go ahead. I have yet to see a plan that would even scratch the sides of either pole, yet around half the population of the Western world believes we are doing it by accident.

    So much dumb….

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    • #
      Craig Thomas

      Murry Salby had a powerpoint slide and no published research.
      Forgive me for being sceptical.

      As for Arctic sea ice:
      http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/files/2000/09/Figure3.png
      Sure looks like it’s going somewhere…do you think the missing ice has melted, maybe…?

      18

      • #
        Craig Thomas

        Greenland’s ice is also going somewhere – maybe it’s melting too?
        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/imageo/files/2014/08/Greenland-ice-mass-balance.jpg

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        • #
          James Bradley

          Sublimating, melting, the Greenland ice waxes and wains – ask Erik the Red.

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        • #
          el gordo

          More importantly, Mount St Helens has increasing mass balance and is the world’s newest glacier.

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          • #
            Craig Thomas

            You see, El Gordo, this is why you can’t be taken seriously – Greenland is losing 1500Gt per year. The Mt St Helens glacier’s is mass is about 0.3Gt.

            10

            • #
              el gordo

              Its my understanding that sea level rise has stalled, which suggests the Greenland melt is of no consequence.

              00

      • #
        James Bradley

        Arctic ice, now there’s a conundrum, how does ice melt at below zero, well it doesn’t – back to sublimation.

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      • #
        James Bradley

        BTW, Craig,

        Sublimation is a natural climate thing, unlike ice melting at below zero which would be an unnatural climate thing.

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        • #
          tom0mason

          James Bradley
          Maybe its increasing, unlike some alarmists would have you believe.

          11

        • #
          Craig Thomas

          Sublimation is a thing, indeed – a thing about which there is a lot of uncertainty.
          I’m wondering what information James has access to that is currently unknown to science?

          ftp://ftp.cira.colostate.edu/ftp/Liston/papers/first_author/2004.liston.NH.pdf

          “The state of knowledge for winter sublimation (S) is even more limited. There are few actual measurements and most studies have used physical models to estimate this quantity. Moreover, fundamental questions concerning the boundary-layer physics of arctic winter sublimation remain unanswered.”

          So here we have James making a spectacle of himself on two grounds:
          – he seems unaware that arctic ice melts, even right on the North Pole
          and
          – he seems to have developed a belief not backed by any data that sublimation…something…something…therefore the rapidly dwindling arctic ice is….something….

          If anybody understands what his point is, it would be good to have it explained. I suspect there is no point, though, just pointless bafflegab.

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          • #
            James Bradley

            Craig,

            You write:

            “Sublimation is a thing, indeed – a thing about which there is a lot of uncertainty… ”

            I respond:

            I’d say there is a lot more uncertainty about your CO2 based climate models.

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            • #
              Craig Thomas

              We’re not talking about any CO2 models, we’re talking about the certain fact that arctic ice melts right on the North Pole, and your strange, unwarranted, and so far apparently irrelevant assertion about “sublimation”.

              12

              • #
                James Bradley

                Craig,

                Great, so we agree that CO2 has nothing to do with Arctic ice reduction, now all you have to do is establish how ice melts at a temperature below its freezing point.

                How’s that photo coming along, or is it still at the shop?

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      • #
        • #
          Craig Thomas

          Yes, El Gordo, yet another “recovery” trumpeted on the basis of nothing.

          Why don’t you save your “recovery” until the ice actually manages to exceed the 30-year mean.

          02

          • #
            el gordo

            Be patient comrade, global cooling has just begun. Enjoy the moment, few ordinary people get to see climate change happening.

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          • #
            Safetyguy66

            I notice no one has a plan to melt one pole completely in a decade then.

            So melting/freezing….its all guess work basically. Guess work that will cost 89 trillion to “fix”.

            Its all so highly scientific.

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      • #
        RB

        You criticised someone for no being up to date? How about a plot showing that the last two Septembers in the Arctic have been 6 million km2, the same as in 2006. The melt season started so late that is will probably be larger this year.

        There was melt water and open water at the North pole back in the 50s.

        Most importantly, the arctic ice mostly melts from below. The air is only a couple of degrees above 0 and the heat capacity of air is not large enough to pass on enough heat.

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  • #
    RB

    I guess that when its hot there are more fires. Maybe just coincidence.

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  • #
    pat

    WUWT: “Deniers” in their midst – All is not well in Nobel Prize Land
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/07/07/deniers-in-their-midst-all-is-not-well-in-nobel-prize-land/

    this needs to spread like wild fire.

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    • #
      Craig Thomas

      If you (or the ex-weatherman, Anthony Watts) want to try an argument from authority – don’t you think it might be wise to pick an actual authority?

      Here is Ivar Giaever admitting he knows 3/5 of stuff-all about climate change:

      “…in 2008 I was in a panel here about global warming and I had to learn something about it. And I spent a day or so – half a day maybe on Google, and I was horrified by what I learned.”

      Lol.

      13

      • #
        James Bradley

        Craig,

        I agree with you, a day or two is quite enough time to become a recognised climate scientist, how long did it take you?

        41

      • #
        RB

        Its not an argument from authority, Craig.

        If it is so settled, then it should be easy to convince a Nobel Prize winning physicist. As you pointed out, he has been interested for 7 years, enough time to get a B.S. in climate science and then a PhD. Considering the point from which he starts, it wouldn’t take even that long to get to grips with the ‘science’. 35 outof 65 were of the same opinion that the sceince was far from settled.

        Watts reported this. Why bring up his experience? Grub.

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  • #
    Bernard J.

    Forest fires may produce as much CO2 as half of all fossil fuels burned

    So, a positive feedback, then?

    60

    • #
      el gordo

      That’s a funny line BJ, I’ll borrow it.

      10

    • #
      Craig Thomas

      The thumb action on your post says it all really….

      13

      • #
        James Bradley

        Craig,

        So a green thumb isn’t a positive feedback?

        41

      • #
        el gordo

        BJ is one of your clan (with a sense of humour) which is why he got the green thumbs.

        Do me a favor and ask some of the other characters at Deltoid to drop in here for a debate, see if they can make a difference before Paris.

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  • #
    TFH

    The early Aboriginals(putting a date on them is problematic) noticed after a fire that new green grasses etc grew they automatically presumed that this was a good thing because it made hunting easier but in the long run only the flora that could withstand repeated burning and the fauna who could live off the available flora were the ones to survive,whereas before then fires would have been quite sporadic and the local flora and fauna would contain many more species plus the amount of humus in the soil would be much higher and drought would have less of an impact amongst the smaller flora and fauna.

    20

    • #
      el gordo

      Over the millions of years before humanity arrived the flora had already adapted to the unique inhospitable conditions and the fire regime.

      The aboriginal population also adapted to survive and the fire stick was a useful tool.

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  • #
    pat

    7 July: The Heritage Foundation: The Many Problems of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Climate Regulations: A Primer
    By Nicolas Loris
    (Nicolas D. Loris is Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, of the Institute for Economic Freedom and Opportunity, at The Heritage Foundation.)
    Abstract
    No matter one’s personal opinions on the climate effects of man-made greenhouse emissions, the Obama Administration’s proposed climate-change regulations will exact a high price on Americans and have a negligible impact—if any—on global temperatures. The EPA has already put into place several greenhouse-gas regulations; however, the most far-reaching regulations are set to be finalized this summer. Known as the Clean Power Plan, these regulations have garnered bipartisan concern at all levels of government due to the threats the Clean Power Plan poses to the economy, quality of life, reliability of the national power grid, and constitutional separation of powers. Congress and the states should intervene and reject these regulations entirely before the U.S. energy system is put on a costlier and less reliable path…
    http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2015/07/the-many-problems-of-the-epas-clean-power-plan-and-climate-regulations-a-primer

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  • #
    pat

    5 July: WSJ: Rupert Darwall: Obama’s Renewable-Energy Fantasy
    Bill Gates recently noted that the cost of decarbonization using today’s technology is ‘beyond astronomical.’
    (Mr. Darwall is the author of “The Age of Global Warming: A History” Quartet, 2013).
    The EPA ran afoul of the law by failing to conduct a cost-benefit analysis before it acted to reduce mercury emissions from coal-power plants. There is no objective cost-benefit analysis that could justify the president’s target for renewable energy…
    Google engineers came to a similar conclusion last year. After seven years of investigation, they found no way to get the cost of renewables competitive with coal. “Unfortunately,” the engineers reported, “most of today’s clean generation sources can’t provide power that is both distributed and dispatchable”—that is, electricity that can be ramped up and down quickly. “Solar panels, for example, can be put on every rooftop, but can’t provide power if the sun isn’t shining.” …
    If Mr. Obama gets his way, the U.S. will go down the rocky road traveled by the European Union…
    Germany passed its first renewable law in 1991 and already has spent $440 billion (€400 billion) on its so-called Energy Transition. The German environment minister has estimated a cost of up to $1.1 trillion (€1 trillion) by the end of the 2030s. With an economy nearly five times as large as Germany’s and generating nearly seven times the amount of electricity (but a less demanding renewables target), this suggests the cost of meeting Mr. Obama’s pledge is of the order of $2 trillion.
    There are other, indirect costs to consider…
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-renewable-energy-fantasy-1436104555

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    pat

    pdf 38 pages: Strata.Org: THE TRUE COST OF ENERGY: WIND
    FINAL REPORT | JULY 2015
    PRIMARY INVESTIGATORS:
    Randy T Simmons, PhD Utah State University
    Ryan M. Yonk, PhD Utah State University
    Megan E. Hansen Strata Policy
    KEY FINDINGS:
    Regardless of how cost factors are considered, the true cost of wind energy in the United States is, on average, 48 percent higher than most estimates claim. This is because generating electricity from wind power entails many hidden costs. A true estimate of the cost of wind power to the American public must account for the following factors…
    http://www.strata.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Full-Report-True-Cost-of-Wind1.pdf

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    pat

    8 July: ClimateConversation New Zealand: de Freitas temperature study reaches top 5% of 3.67M scientific papers
    Confirms Salinger’s Trojan Horse (see below)
    by Richard Treadgold
    Now the study has been properly done for them, and how deeply ironic it is that by using Salinger’s own improved method his exaggerated warming influence on the New Zealand temperature record—an extravagant 0.91±0.30 °C per century over the last 100 years—is deflated by about 70%. Perhaps that is why NIWA never wanted to use it, though a better question is why Salinger himself never used it…
    http://www.climateconversation.wordshine.co.nz/2015/07/de-freitas-temperature-study-reaches-top-5-of-3-67m-scientific-papers/

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    pat

    details all the day’s sessions:

    7 July: CarbonBrief: A Carbon Brief guide to the Our Common Future conference in Paris
    In the biggest gathering of scientists ahead of COP21 in December, thousands of climatologists, social scientists, economists and policy experts have descended on the UNESCO headquarters in Paris today to kick off the Our Common Future under Climate Change conference…
    We’ll start with today’s programme, but look out for updates coming soon with highlights from the rest of the week…
    4:30-6pm Attribution of extreme events
    A whole parallel session looking at how high impact extreme events are changing and why, with the Met Office’s Peter Stott and Dim Coumou from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impacts Research (UNESCO Fontenoy – Room VI). In a separate session about climate services, Heidi Cullen is giving a talk at 5:50pm on doing real-time attribution…etc
    4:30-6pm Special dialogue on climate change and the media
    Carbon Brief will be attending a session with invited media, academics and scientists to discuss how the media covers climate change. Under discussion is how to best communicate the complexities of climate science to the public through the media and why climate change remains largely confined to the science or environmental pages.
    Carbon Brief will also be running informal workshops each day from 1:30-2:30 for scientists to come along and talk to us about how the media covers climate change, learn more about what journalists look for in a story and tell us about their own media experiences. Come along to room VIII-Bis in the basement of the UNESCO building at 1:30pm, sign up on the sheet outside our room or email info@carbonbrief.org to join in.
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/07/a-carbon-brief-guide-to-the-our-common-future-conference-in-paris/

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    pat

    7 July: CarbonBrief: How a 1967 study greatly influenced climate change science
    by Prof John Mitchell
    Yesterday, Carbon Brief published the results of our survey of climate scientists (LINK) asking them to name the most influential studies of all time. The clear winner was a paper published in 1967 written by Syukuro Manabe and Richard. T. Wetherald. Today, we published an interview with Manabe (LINK). Here, Prof John Mitchell, the Met Office Hadley Centre’s chief scientist from 2002 to 2008, explains why the paper has proved to be so significant…
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2015/07/prof-john-mitchell-how-a-1967-study-greatly-influenced-climate-change-science/

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  • #
    Dennis

    For people interested in modern application of traditional land management in the Kimberly Region of Western Australia;

    http://www.landmanager.org.au/land_manager/downloads/KRFMP_ReportA_Exec_Summaryscreen_version.pdf

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    doubtingdave

    Hi to everyone down under on the morning of the first test match (lets hope the weather holds up fine)anyway earlier in this thread JUST A GUY wondered where all the trolls are lately but i doubt they would want to comment on this bush/forest fire story.They only want people to see co2 in a negative light and yet here is perhaps the only genuine way you can show extra atmospheric co2 to be a problem as in more c02 in the atmosphere leads to more plant groath which adds more fuel to the fires !!! evil little molecule that it is.So the only alarmist to show in this thread is Craig Thomas, who’s only mission in life seems to be to try and derail the thread by diverting people away from seeing co2 as a wonderfull life giving magic molecule that it is.

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    Graeme

    Another source is the inherent CO2 in all gas fields. Another is the load following generators as the Greens refuse to realise that Wind Turbines do not work! Since Australia is going from a moderate gas producer to one of the biggest in the world we should we not consider this CO2 in our outputs?

    Regards,

    10

  • #
    TedM

    Since my previous comment was removed I am trying again. Same or similar comment.

    The release of CO2 from forest fires is part of a cyclical process. The post fire regeneration and regrowth absorbs as much CO2 as was released by combustion to achieve the same growth state. If forests and the associated plant community didn’t replace itself following fire it would be impossible for that place to burn again. Understanding this is not hard.

    There is an increasing body of research that appears to demonstrate that forest fires under the right conditions contribute to soil carbon as charcoal remains. This is a natural form of carbon sequestration.

    10

  • #
    Harry Twinotter

    “So will efforts to reduce CO2 concentrations from Southern Hemisphere continents have any effect on the Northern Hemisphere? Our only part in this is a very small contribution to the southern sinks of CO2 that might displace CO2 from the North.”

    Yes, Australia reducing CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning will not make much difference.

    All the more reason to have a global treaty on carbon rationing.

    01

    • #
      Harry Twinotter

      “This is equivalent to 13–40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and contributed greatly to the largest annual increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration detected since records began in 1957.”

      True, but I don’t think these types of fires happen every year.

      02

  • #
    ScotsmaninUtah

    “Fires and the Climate Scientist’s bias…”

    The many scientific papers on the effect of global warming on the frequency of fires always seem to imply a negative.
    I have yet to see a paper that positively describes the releasing of tundra or permafrost land as a potential for agriculture.

    The reason why large parts of Canada , Russia, Alaska and Northern China are not known for their agriculture is that these areas of land are “too cold”.
    It seems very strange that climate scientists regard the 20%-33% (approx) of land that is permanently frozen as something to be welcomed.

    20