Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #266

By Ken Haapala, President – Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Bounding the Fear: Last week’s TWTW discussed a presentation by Hal Doiron of The Right Climate Stuff Team (TRCS). TRCS is a group of retired and highly experienced engineers and scientists from the Apollo, Skylab, Space Shuttle and International Space Station eras who have volunteered their time and effort to conduct an objective, independent assessment of the carbon dioxide (CO2)-caused global warming to assess the reality of the actual threat, and separate that from unnecessary alarm. They have applied the techniques they learned for space missions to this task. A rough engineering analogy is: How can they be confident that an astronaut will not cook or freeze in a space station or a space suit?

As a young engineer, Doiron approached the modeling of the lunar lander by bounding the risks. Similarly, he approached the problem of what would happen, in the worst case, with a doubling of carbon dioxide (CO2) by establishing an upper bound. The team created a simple, rigorous earth surface model using principles established in Conservation of Energy. He shows how the model is validated using 165 years of atmospheric greenhouse gas data and HadCRUT surface temperature data.

The worst-case scenario is that if all the temperature rise since 1850 is from CO2 increase in the atmosphere, then doubling would result in an increase of temperatures no greater than 1.8 degrees C, and may be far less. Given the extent of the data and conservation of energy principles, the digit to the right of the decimal point is significant. [Last week, this number was omitted from the TWTW text.] From today, the net increase the estimate is no greater than 1 degree C.

With Doiron’s approach, there is no need to be bogged down in the Kiehl – Trenberth general model, for which there are no accurate measurements for some of the key energy flows. For example, with the Kiehl – Trenberth model, we cannot guess with sufficient accuracy the values of all the energy flows needed to produce meaningful result. After 37 years, the failure to significantly narrow the range given for a doubling of CO2 in the Charney Report shows that Kiehl – Trenberth approach is futile, though used by the climate establishment.

The TRCS approach is empirical, based on the best long-term surface temperature data available. One must realize that the surface data has issues, such as human change in land use, influences by changes the oceans, changes in solar activity, etc. There may be reasons to continue to monitor the temperature trends, but no reason to fear the influence of CO2.


Quote of the Week. “As usual, nature’s imagination far surpasses our own, as we have seen from the other theories which are subtle and deep”― Richard Feynman


Number of the Week: About $50 to $55 per barrel


End of the Scare: At the Twelfth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC-12) Christopher Monckton of Brenchley gave a mathematical presentation of climate sensitivity (the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2) based upon feedback theory in electronic circuitry.

As discussed in the previous three TWTWs, the Kiehl – Trenberth model asserts a strong positive feedback of latent energy flow from the surface to the atmosphere through a phase change of water into water vapor at the surface, which condenses back into water higher in the atmosphere, giving off heat. The latent energy flow is the source of the speculated (but not observed) hot-spot, mistakenly called the “distinct human fingerprint.” The latent energy flow in the Kiehl – Trenberth model is a calculated value, needed to close the model. It is not an observed value.

Using an engineering analysis for feedbacks, Moncton arrives at a maximum sensitivity of 1.9 K (or 1.9 degrees C), remarkably close to the 1.8 degrees C result by TRCS team, using a totally different approach.

There may be objections to the Moncton approach such as claiming that the atmosphere is not an electronic circuit. However, this objection is not pertinent. The Moncton approach is standard and the same as the approach taken by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He takes the approach to its logical conclusion. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – ICCC-12.


Time to Go Home? The United Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), IPCC, the Paris Agreement, and attendant political organizations built on these efforts claim a need to stop global warming at 2 degrees C. Usually, the figure is from about 1850, the start of the HadCRUT dataset of monthly instrumental temperature records formed by combining the sea surface temperature records compiled by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the land surface air temperature records compiled by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. (Note: annual atmospheric temperature data from satellites start in 1979.)

From the two analyses above, we see that the goals can be met without any economically punitive curtailment of CO2 emissions. Despite spending over $40 billion on “climate science” since 1993, the US government has failed to produce a bounding analysis. Thus far, there is no indication that the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) or any other US government entity engaged in climate studies is doing so.

It is time to declare victory, close the CO2 programs, and monitor temperatures to see if there is any real danger of temperature rise exceeding 2 C from a human cause. The projections from models that are not validated do not represent real danger. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Defending the Orthodoxy, and After Paris!


Two Polar Vortexes? A paper published by the American Meteorological Society in January 2017 brings out an important distinction that is often glossed over: For both the northern and southern hemispheres, there are two distinct polar vortexes; one in the troposphere to about 16 km (52,000 feet) and the second in the stratosphere, strongest above 32 km (105,000 feet).

The tropospheric polar vortex is larger, exists all year, and is often called the jet stream. The smaller stratospheric polar vortex is located much closer to the poles and exists only from fall to spring. “These polar vortices are neither unusual nor extreme; they are simply basic features of Earth’s climatology.” All too often those reporting on polar vortexes do not make distinction between the types.

Further, the stratospheric vortex may play a role in weather disturbances, but often does not. “Additionally, since surface weather disturbances are associated only with displacements of the vortex edge in limited areas rather than hemispheric-scale changes to the vortex, it is not clear that invoking the term vortex clarifies anything, given that the vortex is a hemispheric-scale structure.” [Boldface was italics in the original.]

The article concludes with the need to “Make clear that any individual extreme weather event is not the consequence of either the existence or gross properties of either polar vortex, whether tropospheric or stratospheric, as both vortices are normal climatological features of Earth’s atmospheric circulation. Rather, as in the case of 2014, the events of interest tend to be associated only with transient and localized displacements of the tropospheric vortex edge.”

It appears that the human fingerprint invoked by Mr. Mann in his March 29 testimony to the House Science Committee may have been another example of Mr. Mann confusing natural events with human cause. See links under Changing Weather and Un-Science or Non-Science? in the April 8 TWTW.


Lessons in Dogma – or Go East Young Man: The Heartland Institute has sent out copies of the book “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to science teachers in the US. The National Science Teachers Association has responded by sending a letter to science teachers signed by David Evans, Executive Director. The letter states that the Heartland package “contained their propaganda on global warming.” The letter contained links to references by the North American Association for Environmental Education; National Wildlife Federation; American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the National Center on Science Education; The CLEAN Network; and the Washington Post.

Starting in the 1990s, AAAS has refused to publish scientific papers calling into question claims of dangerous human-caused global warming. In order to publish, empirical scientists such has Roy Spencer have been forced to find journals such as Asia-Pacific Journal of Atmospheric Science, supported by the Korean Meteorological Society. The censorship by AAAS has enriched climate studies in the Far East, but has damaged such research in the US. The biases in the other organizations mentioned in the above letter are quite clear. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC and Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda on Children.


Number of the Week: About $50 to $55 per barrel. World producers and consumers are receiving a lesson in free-market economics. All too often the term “free market” is misunderstood. It is not mean that entry and exit into the market is without cost. But, a free market does not have undue government regulation or collusion between government and a few favored producers. The latter is often called “crony capitalism”

It appears that even with the new OPEC restriction on output, the price of crude oil is not surging above $50 to $55 per barrel (Brent Crude). West Texas Intermediate is somewhat lower. The price is bleak for the petro-states that depend upon high oil prices to balance their national budgets.

But, at the current price, shale oil producers are increasing output. In general, the price prompting an increase in production includes a profit margin of about 15%. Also, the Dakota Access pipeline is scheduled to start carrying oil from the Bakken to Illinois in mid-May.

The real winners are American consumers, and consumers world-wide.

As strange as it may appear, perhaps the economically sound stimulus bill passed by Washington this century was the 2005 Energy Policy Act. Although it had many questionable subsidies for alternative energy – biofuels, solar, wind, etc. – it kept Washington from controlling hydraulic fracturing for natural gas by exempting fluids used for drilling from a host of federal regulations. Since they frequently occur together, exemptions for natural gas can easily apply for oil. This cost the government nothing. See Article # 1 and links under Oil and Natural Gas – the Future or the Past?



1. OPEC Production Keeps Declining as U.S. Shale Surges

By Benoit Faucon, WSJ, Via GWPF, Apr 13, 2017


The reporter writes:

OPEC said Wednesday its output had kept falling in March as members tightened compliance to agreed cuts, but said U.S. producers were enjoying a revival thanks to higher oil prices.

The 13-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries committed last year to cut about 1.2 million barrels of oil a day in a bid to bring a vast global oversupply of crude back in line with demand and raise petroleum prices.

The agreement helped raise oil prices about 20% after it was announced on Nov. 30. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers also pledged to trim another 558,000 barrels a day.

In its closely watched monthly oil report, OPEC said its production decreased by 153,000 barrels a day to an average of 31.93 million barrels a day. The group uses independent experts—such as analysts and shipping trackers—to assess its output.

The decrease was largely driven by lower production in the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, respectively by 33,000 barrels a day and 26,000 barrels a day—which have both committed to reduce their output.

Saudi Arabia is producing below its quota of about 10 million barrels a day and supports an extension of the quotas.

But the group is still pondering how to deal with rising U.S. production, which is filling the vacuum left by its output curbs.

In its monthly report, OPEC raised its U.S. supply growth forecast by 200,000 barrels a day for 2017.

“’The number of drilling rigs and the reactivation of companies’ spending are the two most important factors leading to an expected output surge in the coming months.,’ it said. It cited a year-on-year increase in drilling rigs by 374 units to 824 rigs in the week of March 31.”

What Russia will do is a further complication to cartel.


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