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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Antarctic Ice Loss Tripled, from near zero to an extremely tiny number! (Nobody mention those volcanoes)

Quick — tax the magma

It’s another round of Antarctic Doom about next to nothing. In April Antarctica’s ice was melting five times faster than usual. Now it’s losing ice three times faster in the last five years than the 15 before that! What you won’t hear is how the Antarctic ice cap has 29 million cubic kilometers of ice and has been there for 30 million, mostly warmer, years. You also won’t hear how Antarctica was warmer in Roman Times, or that the  Antarctic Peninsula has cooled by almost 1 degree.

You also won’t hear a word about any volcanoes

The new paper has zero mentions of the word. But other scientists have published plenty of papers describing how the West Antarctic zone is being warmed from below by 1200 degrees of magma. According to scientist Dustin Schroeder and co,  it is as if the Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctic is sitting on a “stovetop burner”.[1]  His words. Thwaites Glacier,, smack in the middle of the warming is being melted from below by geothermal heat. Then there is the large blob of superheated rock 60 miles below West Antarctica. The researchers use the phrase “like a blow-torch”….  Capping it off, only [...]

Solar Wind bombardment “worse than we thought”, but we *know* particles at 800km/s have No effect on our climate

Solar Wind, Earths magnetosphere.  Image: NASA

The Solar Wind is a torrent of space weather cruising past at 500 — 800 kilometers per second which is around 1.5 million miles per hour or, if you prefer, Mach 2,000.*  It’s so powerful it erodes rocks on Mars, ejects particles up high and creates a kind of atmosphere of tiny rock particles which we can study. Then it blows that Martian atmosphere away.

In this new research people realized it was not just the rain of tiny high-speed protons fritzing Mars at 800 km per second that were carving up the rocks — the main role was from the heavy and highly charged  He2+. (Now there’s a molecule you don’t see too often).

You might think that a variable torrent of charged particles that are constantly changing speed and direction might have an impact on our atmosphere, but you’d be wrong (or at least, politically incorrect). On Earth the solar wind “just causes the northern lights”. How do we know? We’ve got climate models. In all known GCMs the total global forcing for solar wind is “zero”. Must be true.

Thus and verily the IPCC can conclude that a flow of [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

Corals use epigenetic tricks to adapt to warmer and “more acidic” water

After half a billion million years of climate change, I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that life on Earth (and specifically corals) have so many ways to cope with the climate changing. After all, it’s natural (if you are trained by Greenpeace) to assume that corals can only survive in a world with one constant stable temperature just like they never had.

One more tool in the coral-reef-workshop

Corals don’t just have a tool-box, they have a Home Depot Warehouse. h/t to GWPF

We already knew corals chuck out the symbionts that don’t work so well and pick up better partners. Plus, evolution  left a stack of genes lying around that were honed  in a world that was warmer, and natural selection has a way of amplifying better combinations as conditions shift. Then there is the way corals can be reseeded from safe sites, far away. Now we find out that corals can use epigenetics too.

Epigenetics is that kind of spooky effect where people can inherit the exact same DNA code yet it works or doesn’t work depending on whether it was Dad’s copy, or Mum’s, or whether parents were starved, fearful or stressed. It’s weird, see more [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Energy Crisis: NSW can’t keep coal plants, or aluminium smelters running, prices hit $14,000MW/hr

It’s not even summer.

NSW has been hit by clouds and a lack of reliable coal power. Prices are soaring.  In NSW the Tomago Aluminium Smelter consumes about 10% of the state’s electricity. It has been forced to switch off three times in the last week because there was not enough reserve power on the grid.

The boss of Tomago, Mr Howell, said Australia is “at a crisis point with our energy system”. 

“This is not summer with extreme demand. This is the likely future of our energy grid as once reliable baseload generators exit the [NEM] and are mostly replaced with intermittent wind and solar projects with no practical storage to speak of,” Mr Howell said. “Our energy debate should not advocate either renewables or conventional thermal,” he said.

– SMH, Peter Hannam,

Aluminum pot lines can only sit idle for a few hours before they cool too far and the damage becomes permanent and wildly expensive as the aluminum becomes solid.

Renewables-fans blame the emergency on the unreliability of coal

See @TheAustraliaInstitute. Suddenly Australia is the only western nation on Earth with coal resources that can’t [...]

Solar overload — “Costs a fortune” as the super Duck Curve flood of electricity hits Australia

Ladies and Gentlemen, Australia is now romping in as Star-Crash-Test-Dummy in the renewables stake.

Proportionally, we have more uncontrolled solar roof top generators than any other nation. We’re in uncharted territory: about 20% of houses in Hawaii and California have Solar PV, but in Western Australia, it’s 25%. In Queensland it’s 30% and throughout Australia we are adding 100MW a month and it’s like a whole new coal fired station every year (except it doesn’t work most of the time).

Strap yourself in! This is more useless infrastructure than anywhere else on planet Earth. The only time solar PV panels provide something we might need is at afternoon tea time in summer when airconditioners are on. So for three quarters of the year they provide electricity when we don’t need it, and for three quarters of every day they don’t even work. The rest of the time they burn capital, increase the blackout and fire risk and sit there collecting dust and hail stones.

Electricity at the wrong time is not just wasted, it’s a burden

Too much electricity bumps up the grid frequency and voltage, potentially damaging equipment and risking blackouts. Obviously we have to “manage” this flood of [...]

Even in sunniest Queensland, solar can’t run without big subsidies — so big they have to be kept secret

Solar is so competitive that the Queensland government has to pour in money to keep solar developers from running away.

How much money? Who knows. Whatever it is, it’s so big, the government has to keep it a secret.

Queensland taxpayers kept in dark as they prop up solar firms

MARK SCHLIEBS, The Australian

The Queensland government is concealing its financial support for large-scale renewable energy projects, guaranteeing subsidies to solar companies that do not ­appear on balance sheets.

With an expert panel previously finding the government would need to spend between $500 million and $900m in subsidies to meet its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030, there are now calls for spending to be made public.

The government has struck four deals with major solar-farm developers, under “contracts for difference”, with floor prices nominated for the sale of their ­energy in order to attract finance. When the market price falls below that threshold, the government has to make up the difference.

Luckily for Queensland taxpayers — who don’t know how to spot a good investment or the energy source of the future — the Government can spend their money for [...]

China: solar stocks plummet as solar subsidies cut to “make electricity cheaper”

Back from travels finally. So much to catch up on.

Last week, the world leading nation in solar panel manufacturing announced big cuts to subsidies in order to make their electricity cheaper. Can you believe? The cuts are big enough for The Motley Fool to headline this “Why the Lights Went Out on Solar Today”. (h.t GWPF)

Image by  Snowacinesy

Put this in perspective — in late 2016, Scientific American declared that China Is Dominating the Solar Industry. Apparently, the Chinese forced the prices down, drove US leaders out of business, and the US could only hope to be second.  Without a hint of impending doom, Scientific American went on to title one sub-part: AN INDUSTRY PROPELLED BY TAX CREDITS. The Chinese government picked a “winner”, grabbed the industry from all over the world, brought it to China, and ran with it. Now apparently rising electricity prices hurt too much. Who could have seen that coming?

“According to some veterans in the U.S. solar industry, China bought solar companies and invited others to move to China, where they found cheap, skilled labor. Instead of paying taxes, they received tax credits.”

Last week the Chinese government announced [...]

Midweek Unthreaded

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UK Met Office “loses” 300 year database, uses noise to generate *hottest ever* spam headline

According to the Met Office:

“Britain has enjoyed its sunniest and warmest May since records began in 1929, provisional figures show…”

The average daytime maximum temperature was 62.6F (17.0C), just beating the previous all-time high of 62.4F (16.9C) set in May 1992.

However not-so-provisional, long known and well studied records show that this May was just like a lot of other Mays. So far, this controversial and unexpected result has not been reported.

The Met Office appear to have lost the worlds oldest and longest temperature dataset. Luckily unfunded blogger, Paul Homewood of Notalotofpeopleknowthat, kept a copy of the historic Central England Temperature record on a spare USB stick and spotted that this May in England really wasn’t that unusual.

Warmest May “Evah”? No, That Was In 1833

Spot the warming effect of CO2  — Not:

Central England Temperatures

The legendary data appears to have gone missing sometime in the last three weeks:

Britain enjoying the hottest May since 1772

Tom Peterkin, Telegraph

The average temperature from May 1 to 10 was the highest ever noted since meteorologists first started gathering precise daily data in 1772.

If only all Met Bureaus had  [...]

Weekend Unthreaded

Weekend Unthreaded

I’m travelling this long weekend (again). Things may be slower here….

My email replies will definitely be delayed.

Turnbull govt proposes carbon tax on new cars to keep old cars on the road and increase pollution

Showing an uncanny knack to do exactly the wrong thing in an expensive way and with prosaic timing, the Turnbull government is apparently considering using Australian cars to control the climate. As a nation of die-hard car heads with the lowest population density in the world and award winning high prices for electricity, we qualify as the last advanced nation on Earth who should go “electric”.

Currently, EV’s are so rare here, we have one for every 1,750 square kilometers. Don’t be fooled by the Australian continent’s map of charging points. Each charging point is scaled up to approx 14,000 times its real size.

The day after Trump was elected on a vow to quash Paris, we signed up, now as the US winds back emissions rules, Turnbull wants to ramp them up:

Carbon laws ‘to drive top cars off the road’

The Australian, Ben Packham and Remy Varga

The car industry has warned that some of Australia’s most popular cars will be taken off the market, or face significant price hikes, under tough carbon-emissions standards being actively considered by the Turnbull government.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries said the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger, [...]