Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Africa's Future is in Rooftop Solar Power

Two weeks ago (9/14) the Wall Street Journal had a special supplement section on energy. One of their Africa correspondents, Drew Hinshaw, wrote from Ghana about his family's problems getting electricity from the grid there, especially now that he has an infant son -- the power is unreliable, with frequent daylong outages.

600 million Africas, he wrote, more than half the continent's population, are not connected to a power line. Those that are often have intermittent and unreliable service.

So Hinshaw put in rooftop solar where he lives, spending $3000 for two solar panels and lead-acid batteries that meet his family's basic requirements -- a refrigerator, fans, laptop, and modem.

His article. titled "So Much Sun, So Little Electricity," was accompanied with some data, which I've converted to the graphical form below. It shows, it seems to me, that the future prosperity of African societies will not come only from a vast fossil fuel infrastructure like the developed countries have, but will instead include a large amount from active individual and local efforts to utilize the the continent's most easily accessible resource.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Upcoming Supermoon Lunar Eclipse

This will be good, especially if you're on the west coast of the U.S.: a rare supermoon lunar eclipse next Sunday evening, followed by a bright supermoon the next night.

"Supermoon" means the moon is full and at its closest approach (perigee) to the Earth, meaning it will look larger than usual (and 14% larger than at apogee). There have only been 5 of these since 1900; the last was in 1982, and the next won't happen until 2033.

It will be especially convenient on the U.S. west coast, because the moon rises early in the evening, so kids will be able to see it without staying up late. This site has details for many of the major cities that will be able to view at least part of the eclipse -- western Europe will be able to see the ending of the eclipse Monday morning, and New York City can view the maximum at 10:47 pm Sunday evening.

The Oregonian has details for this part of the world:
For viewing in Portland and northern Oregon, the eclipse begins at 5:11 p.m., Sunday, Sept., 27, 2015. That's before it gets dark and before the moon rises, but it only gets better.

The maximum eclipse is at 7:47 p.m. next Sunday evening and continues until 10:22 p.m., for a duration of five hours and 11 minutes. For 72 of those minutes, the only light hitting the full moon will be a reddish glow from sunrises and sunsets around the globe. The full moon takes place at 7:50 p.m. PDT next Sunday.

The moonrise that evening is at 6:58 p.m., at 88 degrees (or almost due east). The sunset is at 6:59 p.m., so the sky should be getting dark as the moon goes into its full eclipse at 7:11 p.m. next Sunday. The moon will be just 8 degrees above the eastern horizon at the instant of the greatest eclipse, making the event more spectacular than during an eclipse occurs with the moon high overhead.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another Turd from Tony Heller (AKA "Steve Goddard")

Tony Heller -- the real name of the blogger Steve Goddard -- is so angry no one takes him seriously anymore that every other post of his (literally) is covered with spittle as he rants and raves that all climate scientistgs are criminals and frauds who have Satan over for tea.

Problem is, Heller has thoroughly earned his disreputation, with boneheaded errors like this [retraction] and this, for which even Judith Curry called his analysis "bogus."

Heller produces turds like clockwork. Here's yet another:

This is another lie, as only Steve Goddard could produce.

The Hadley Center's HadCRUT4 data series for the Southern Hemisphere is here. Here's the explanation of their file format. Notice what it says about columns 11 and 12 (click to enlarge):

If you can't read that, the last bullet item is:
Columns 11 and 12 are the lower and upper bounds of the 95% confidence interval of the combined effects of all the uncertainties described in the HadCRUT4 error model (measurement and sampling, bias and coverage uncertainties).
Thus, the 5-95% confidence limits for the HadCRUT4 SH global temperature anomaly for January 1850 are -1.055°C and -0.058°C (top line, far right) -- a huge range in accuracy, with error bars ~ 90%, and definitely not the 0.001°C Goddard claims. (Without knowing the instruments involved -- which Goddard does not -- we can't say if the precision is warranted or not. In any case, the number comes from a model, not from raw measurements.)

The effect on long-term trends: zilch.

There's a reason everyone but the Heartland Institute has dismissed Goddard as a crackpot....

Heisenberg, Schrödinger and Ohm are in a car....

Heisenberg, Schrödinger and Ohm are in a car.

They get pulled over. Heisenberg is driving and the cop asks him "Do you know how fast you were going?"

"No, but I know exactly where I am" Heisenberg replies.

The cop says "You were doing 55 in a 35." Heisenberg throws up his hands and shouts "Great! Now I'm lost!"

The cop thinks this is suspicious and orders him to pop open the trunk. He checks it out and says "Do you know you have a dead cat back here?"

"We do now, asshole!" shouts Schrödinger.

The cop moves to arrest them. Ohm resists

(Thanks Jim.)

Cyclonic Energy at Record High

August had the highest global ACE value -- Accumulated Cyclone Energy -- of any August since records began in 1970. [data]

It's not a perfect metric of cyclonic energy -- it doesn't include a storm's size, for example, as I wrote about here and here-- but it does seem the most popular and the most published.

Of course, August also saw the highest sea-surface temperatures according to HadSST3 data (since 1850) and NOAA data (since 1880). Just a coincidence I'm sure.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

An Even Easier Way to Get a Hockey Stick: Mere Exponential CO2 Growth

When I was gone last week, someone pointed out to me an excellent (and obvious) point: Superexponential growth in CO2 isn't needed to give a hockey stick -- mere exponential growth suffices. 

That is, by the exact same reasoning I gave before, exponential CO2 growth gives a linear increase in temperature -- i.e. a hockey stick.

Since, all else being equal, temperature change is proportional to the logarithm of CO2 concentration, CO2 increasing exponentially leads to a linear increase in temperature.

So a constant atmospheric CO2 concentration from, say, 1000 AD to the year 1850, results in no temperature change.

After that, an exponential change in CO2 results in a linearly increasing temperature.

That is, a hockey stick.

So, for Steyn's book to be at all true, basic physics must be violated. Whose side would you take in that fight -- a music reviewer, or the fundamental laws of the universe?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Satellite-Era Sea Level Rise Starting to Accelerate

The latest data on sea level rise from AVISO is now starting to show a positive acceleration.

I'll dice the data in two ways; both show an acceleration:
  1. fitting it to a 2nd-order polynomial
  2. calculating the change in the slope of the most recent 20 years.
First, here are the sea level data from AVISO:

The second-order polynomial fit shows an acceleration of 0.005 ± 0.009 mm/yr2, where the uncertainty is calculated assuming no autocorrelation.

That's still small, but it's been increasing steadily since the 2010-11 La Nina that took a lot of water from the ocean and dumped it on land -- which Josh Willis called correctly and Bjorn Lomborg called wrong:

This fit finds that the current rate of sea-level rise is 3.83 mm/yr.

The second method, calculating the change in the linear slope of the last 20-year's worth of data (20 being picked arbitrarily) finds an acceleration of 0.021 mm/yr2. (Sorry, I haven't calculated its uncertainty.)

Even a little bit of acceleration sends the projection up fast: here is the change in the projection to the year 2100, relative to 1993:

In other words, in late 2014 the projection for the year 2100, relative to 1993, was 30 cm; now, just 2/3rds of a year later, it's up to 38 cm.

(The AVISO data record now spans 22.5 years.)

One last number, since it gives me the opportunity to use my favorite unit, the Sverdrup (Sv), which equals one million cubic meters per second: the change in the volume of the ocean from land ice melting + water thermal expansion is 0.04 Sv, or almost 21 times the flow of water over Niagara Falls.

That's more than twice the average discharge of the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico (= 0.017 Sv).

The Remarkable Decline in Sea Ice

The turnaround in sea ice extent, both in Antarctica and globally, is remarkable. Yesterday's global sea ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record for Sept 14th:

with a current anomaly of -2.1 million km2.

Of course, this all may turn around at some point -- the Antarctic seems especially fickle.

Data sources:
daily Arctic sea ice extent [latest] [1978-2014]
daily Antarctic sea ice extent [latest] [1978-2014]
daily Global = Arctic + Antarctic SIE

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Arctic Sea Ice Extent, in Standard Deviations

For the entire year, 2012's record low minimum was -3.66 standard deviations from the mean.

2015's low (at least so far) was -3.10 sd's from the mean, on March 9th.

The linear fit to the data, which is pretty good, has the ice extent losing 0.09 standard deviations a year.