JoNova

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


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Forget extreme temperatures: Nothing kills as many people as moderate cold

Some are scoffing at the idea that rising heating costs will kill people. But check out the number-one temperature-killer in 74 million deaths across 13 countries. It’s not the extremes that we need to worry about, the deadly phrase is “mildly suboptimal temperatures”. Look at the blue finger of death in the graph below, starkly showing how irrelevant “extreme heat”, or any other ambient temperature zone, is.

Do you need an excuse to turn the heater on in winter? Low ambient room temperatures will thicken your blood.

Moderate cold accounted for as many as 6.6% of all deaths. Extreme temperatures (either cold or hot) were responsible for only 0·86%.

Join the dots — will we save more lives by:

a) making homes cold now in the hope that lower “carbon” emissions will,

b) mean less deaths from heat in 90 years time despite people probably having better access to heaters and air conditioners?

Would you sacrifice ten years of your life…

Note the big killer “moderate cold”  |  Click to enlarge

Cold is more likely to kill you in Sydney than in Sweden

Check out the curves below. As a percentage of the population, there [...]

Al Gore 2017: Was that science or gratuitous random weather-porn to fuel superstitious belief

Gore’s a modern day soothsayer with powerpoint

Thanks to CFACT I was lucky enough to get to see Al Gore in Melbourne yesterday (and even luckier to see Climate Hustle the night before and meet some great people!). Gore wanted everyone to spread the word, but banned anyone recording him. (The staff actively patrolled for wayward cameras. We’d love to have helped share Gore’s message, but we would have been kicked out for doing so).

The intrepid Marc Morano even managed to meet Al in an inconvenient encounter:

Marc Morano kindly offered Al Gore a copy of Climate Hustle, (which might have helped him feel a lot better about the future). Gore refused to take it. Possibly, he’s not that interested in climate change.

What I saw was nearly a whole hour of primal weather-porn – gratuitous, non-stop, scenes from the apocalypse,  glowing clouds boiled about incandescent forests, and giant drains in the sky emptied massive clouds in a flash. Glaciers crumbled before our eyes.  Poor victims were stuck in boiling tar on hot roads, they crawled out of mud slides, and were dragged in spectacular rescues from cars being swallowed by turbulent floods. Biblical is the word.

Gullible, [...]

Chiefio: minor changes in clouds swamp the effect of CO2 — see it every day

I was taken by the way Chiefio slices away the clutter to leave bare the most pertinent point. From day to day, the sun, the latitude, our orbit, and the CO2 levels are the same as the day before, yet the temperature can swing wildly. Over a whole month, most variables are constant, yet one obviously dominates the monthly average, a factor we don’t even have good data one in the long run.

Is The Average Variation Of Clouds CO2?

Now the one big thing I can add to the graph itself is simple. I watched the sky during that time, closely. The cool days were cloudy to overcast. The hot days were clear blue sky. Temperature directly matched to degree of clouds. Cloudy days are cool. Clear days are hot.

During these three weeks of data, there is nearly zero change of any of the Milankovitch parameters. Insolation is a functional constant to a large number of decimal places. Our latitude and longitude and distance to water do not change. All manner of variables in this complex soup are held constant by the nature of their 1000s of year rate of change. On the scale of [...]

Turkey can’t get free money from US, decides climate is safe, Paris unneccessary

Ergodan does his own climate maths — decides that the most significant inflatable cash cow has  disappeared from the sky. The global climate suddenly looks clearer, and so Turkey pulls back from Paris accord:

(Reuters)  The U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement means Turkey is less inclined to ratify the deal because the U.S. move jeopardizes compensation promised to developing countries, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

“Therefore, after this step taken by the United States, our position steers a course towards not passing this from the parliament,” he said.  (link)

Turkey, saving the planet, one bank account at a time.

How many other nations do the same maths but are aren’t quite so, ahem,  honest?

Satellite battle: Five reasons UAH is different (better) to the RSS global temperature estimates

And so the adjustments war ramps up a notch.

There are two main groups that use essentially the same NASA and NOAA satellites to estimate global temperatures. In the last year, they’ve both made adjustments, one down, and one up, getting further apart in their estimates. In ClimateWorld this is a big deal. Believers are excited that now a satellite set agrees a bit better with the maligned “hot” surface thermometers. But UAH still agrees more with millions of weather balloons. The debate continues. Here’s my short synopsis of the  Roy Spencer (and John Christy) from the “Comments on the new RSS lower tropospheric temperature set.” (If something is wrong here, blame me).

The Bottom Line:

1. Both data-sets show far less warming than what climate models estimate.  UAH shows +0.12 C/decade, the new RSS trend is up to +0.17 C/decade. But climate models estimate  +0.27 C/decade in the lower troposphere.

2. The headline suggesting that the RSS revisions found “140% faster warming since 1998” is the usual hype.  The warming trend was tiny to start with. The headlines didn’t tell us that RSS is now warming a few hundreds of a degree per decade faster, [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

“Oh My Cod!” Climate Change will shrink your fish and chips

Last December British Fish and Chips was going to become Squid and Chips thanks to Climate Change. This year, cod will become anchovies. Battered anchovie anyone?   British Fish and chips have been dying for a decade.

Now, apparently, fish are shrinking, thanks to falling oxygen levels in the seas:

By 2050, the size of fish could shrink by 10 – 20 per cent, Dr William Cheung, a marine ecologist at the University of British Columbia, Canada, forecast.

Dr Cheung, who gave a keynote address at the 50th Anniversary Symposium of the Fisheries Society of the British Isles at Exeter University this week, said some fish in the North Sea, including haddock, were already getting smaller.

Some might say the shrinking Haddock might have more to do with over-fishing.

He predicted the trend would continue with common species such as cod shrinking by up to a fifth within our lifetime.

Get ready for “child’s portions” of fish and chips. No really, that’s the headline, not the punchline.

Climate change will extinguish Life on Earth but if that doesn’t scare you, let me tell you about your shrinking food. Kiddie meals are coming!

Electricity cost train-wreck arrives in Australia

Something very “seismic” has happened to our electricity prices.

Paul McArdle of WattClarity goes through each state looking at quarterly trends and prices, and remarks that things are going “off the chart”. We had some electricity crises in Australia in the last 12 months, and 2016 was a significantly more expensive than all previous years bar the major drought year of 2007. But ominously, prices haven’t come down in what should be a “normal” quarter. In Tasmania there was a crisis last year when dams ran dry, and the undersea Bass cable broke. But this quarter, prices are only $3.20/MWh lower than the crisis levels of Q2 2016 despite water in dams and a working cable to Victoria. Something has gone seriously wrong with our electrical grid and market. In both Victoria and South Australia prices are higher on average than any previous April-June quarter in the 19 year history of the National Electricity Market. In Queensland and New South Wales, prices are at the “second highest”.

McArdle goes to some length to explain that this is not “one factor”, which seems obvious and fair — Its the combination of the closure of Hazelwood and Port Augusta coal generators; the [...]

On Sunday, Goulburn got colder than the BOM thought was possible (and a raw data record was “adjusted”).

The BOM got caught this week auto-adjusting cold extremes to be less cold. Lance Pidgeon of the unofficial BOM audit team noticed that the thermometer at Goulburn airport recorded – 10.4°C at 6.17am on Sunday morning, but the official BOM climate records said it was -10.0°C. (What’s the point of that decimal place?) Either way this was a new record for Goulburn in July. (The previous  coldest ever July morning was -9.1°C. The oldest day in Goulburn was in August 1994 when it reached -10.9°C).

Apparently this was an automated event where the thermometer recorded something beyond a set limit, and the value put into the official database was the artificial limit. Since colder temperatures have already been recorded in Goulburn, who thought it was a good idea to trim all future minus-ten-point-somethings as if they were automatically “spurious”?

Yesterday, the BOM have acknowledged the error and at first deleted the -10.0 figure, replacing it with a blank space. Then today, after Jennifer Marohasy’s post, they’ve corrected it.

You might think a half degree between friends is not that significant, but this opens a whole can of worms in so many ways — what are these “limits”, do they apply [...]

Wind disappears in South Australia, costing wind-industry millions, BOM blames climate change even though models predicted faster winds

The wind fizzled out over the South East slab of Australia during June. Predictably, that meant the wind industry lost millions, and wholesale electricity prices went up. When the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) was asked where the wind had gone, Darren Ray, expert climatologist, said it was due to a high pressure system over the bight, which, he explained, was linked to “climate change”. Thus, as the world warms, wind farms will be progressively more useless in South Australia. Perhaps the BOM should have mentioned that before SA became dependent on wind farms? I don’t think he had thought this one through.

Perhaps the BOM is hoping that the masochistic sacrifice of South Australia will stop global warming before global warming stops the wind farms?

You might think that if the global climate models could see this coming they would have suggested that wind farms weren’t a good idea. Or maybe, since climate models predict every equal and opposite outcome in unison, the models are always right post hoc, but not so useful in projections?

Climate models predict climate change causes faster and slower winds over Australia

In 2017, Darren Ray, BOM expert, said the decrease in winds was due [...]

Coal Boom: 1600 new plants in 62 countries around the world – increasing 43%

“End-Coal” Global Coal Tracker  does a magnificent job of showing how essential coal is around the world, and which countries are pathetically backwards in developing new coal plants. It’s probably not what the “CoalSwarm” team was hoping to achieve, but this map is a real asset to those of us who want to show how tiny Australia’s coal fired assets are compared to the rest of the world. The site itself is a fancy-pants high gloss major database and website that also shows how much money is in the “anti-coal” movement. Oh, that skeptics should have even 2% of these funds. Heffa Schücking, the director of Urgewald, which created the maps, calls it a “cycle of coal dependency”. Normal people call it “freedom and wealth”.

Chinese companies build coal plants — NY Times

These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, roughly a fifth of these new coal power stations are [...]

Pop Quiz: To get cheaper electricity should we build a/ new coal plant, or b/ pay $3b in renewable subsidies?

Tricky maths in Australia. Should we save  $800 million dollars and get stable cheap modern electric power or give that money to renewables giants to help them compete with our fifty year old coal fleet and get us 0.0001% better weather in 2100*? Hmm. What to do?!

A new HELE Coal plant (also known as an Ultra Super Critical — USC– coal generator) would cost $2.2 billion. We currently pay $3b a year in renewables subsidies. A modern coal plant would make 1,000MW of electricity 24 hours a day (and stabilize the grid for free). Renewables subsidies get us free electricity at random moments which we may or may not need, they need expensive gas back up, and add enormous costs to stabilize the grid.

If we get one modern hot coal plant we might catch up to countries like Indonesia, and Malaysia, though we’ll still be far behind India and Japan, which is building 45 USC plants. As of May 2017, China has at least 90 USC plants. The USA has one. What does an “advanced economy mean”?

 

The Minerals Council has a new report out with some Fun Facts and numbers screaming for attention:

 

Can’t slip old solar panels into the compost heap. A toxic cadmium, lead headache coming?

So having some solar waste panels lying around is not exactly like having a second-hand nuclear fuel rod in the basement, but there will be Gigatons-to-Go, the volume is spectacular, and we can’t eat cadmium for breakfast. There will literally be a mountain of toxic garbage — and only Europe, apparently, has a rule about solar manufacturers having to collect and figure out what to do with the solar waste. (And with a 25 year lifespan, how much, exactly, is even that worth? Just say “Solyndra“.)

A new study from a group called Environmental Progress shows that solar panels make 300 times more volume of toxic waste per megajoule as nukes do. All estimates like these are based on assumptions and guesses, so perhaps it’s not that bad. The study might be exaggerated, and maybe solar panels are only 100 times larger in volume than nukes eh? Where’s the Green outcry.

Study: Solar panels a looming toxic ‘crisis’

Discarded solar panels, piling up around the world, are detrimental to the environment, according to a new study by Environmental Progress.

And carcinogenic.

And teratogenic.

While environmentalist have warned for decades of the [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

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