Power From Ocean Currents 24/7 - Pilot Project Plan - At Source Of Gulf Stream In Florida
    By Robert Walker | May 20th 2014 02:28 PM | 43 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    We are surrounded with an abundance of clean energy, if we only had a way to harness it it. Most people probably know about solar energy, that we would only need to harness a tiny fraction of it to power the entire world (e.g. the Sahara desert has eighteen times the surface area needed to power the entire world).

    However, solar power is intermittent, even in deserts, with day night cycles. Wind also is unpredictable. Tidal power is intermittent also. Hydro power on the land is limited - and also often has environmental impact because of the need, usually, to dam a river to get it.

    The Gulf Stream runs continuously year in and year out. They could be an important part of our energy mix in a sustainable clean energy future for the planet, taking over from other 24/7 load power sources like oil and coal. For instance, a thousandth of the energy from the gulf stream could supply 35% of the energy requirements of Florida.
    Florida is where the gulf stream "starts", and has a tight ocean current, good place for a pilot scheme in subsurface ocean currents.

    The  Florida current, start pf the Gulf Stream,  a natural site for a pilot ocean current plant, and where this kickstarter plans to site it.
    Other places where ocean current energy could be a valuable part of the energy mix include places with shallow waters and sea lochs.

    Here in Scotland, not far from where I live, we have the falls of Lora where Loch Etive pours into the sea, sometimes quite a spectacle.

    There are rapid tides that move clockwise and then anti-clockwise around the islands depending on the tide - and strong currents in the English Channel also. Though they are intermittent, because of the complex coastline then different parts of the coast have currents at different times of day - though as they are tidal currents would be strongest at spring tides. It's not quite the 24/7 of the Florida current - but you can well see them filling in gaps in solar and wind power coverage for the base load.

    Other places with strong tidal currents include UK, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Philippines, parts of the US, 

    Sea water is 832 times as dense as air, providing a 5 knot ocean current with more kinetic energy than a 350 km/h wind.

    According to the Ocean Energy Council, "Ocean currents are one of the largest untapped renewable energy resource on the planet. Preliminary surveys show a global potential of over 450,000 MW, representing a market of more than US$550 billion.".

    Major currents of the world, red ones are warm, blue ones are cold. Some are in remote locations, and some are too slow moving to be easy to extract but some are close enough to land masses with populations and industries with significant amounts of power consumption - and powerful enough to be of considerable interest, especially, the Gulf stream.

    They represent a vast amount of energy, many times the worlds total power requirements though of course you'd only extract a tiny fraction for power.

    There are many other tidal currents on a small scale not shown on the map, for instance around the islands of Japan, the Philippines, around Italy and the UK.

    This is what "Ocean Energy Turbine" looks like.

    Because water is so much denser than air, then you can generate power from a slower current, just one mile per hour. As a result, it's not a hazard for the marine environment, unlike the much faster wind turbines, which have to be sited with care.

    Ocean Turbine from Crowd Energy on Vimeo.

    More videos here: Ocean Turbine from Crowd Energy on Vimeo.

    The way they work is innovative, the shutters open when they are moving against the current and close when moving with the current, so turning a steady current into a rotating motion.

    They will also use the turbines to generate clean drinking water from the sea, which may end up being as important as the power generation.

    The aim of the kickstarter is to test a 52 inch prototype in the lab. That would lead up to a full trial off the Florida coast later on which will take power to land via a DC cable. He is working with the Florida Atlantic University Southeast National Marine Renewable Energy Center

    Their kickstarter ends in a couple of days.  Since kickstarters often get many of their donations in the last couple of days, they do have a chance, but I think not a huge one. They are obviously new to kickstarter and had various issues with the campaign .

    However, if you like the idea, this is an opportunity to show your support. Also, they will probably launch again, which is permitted on kickstarter, even the exact same project. You can show your support this time around by pledging to the project if you are interested in it.

    Check it out here: Ocean Energy Turbine - Limitless Clean Renewable Energy

    I started a kickstarter myself recently, and found this while looking at other technology related kickstarters.  I usually post on space issues, and on music. There's a connection with the space articles as of course, one of the possible future benefits from space is unlimited solar power from satellites, which again I think might be part of the future energy mix, similar advantage that it is all round uninterrupted power.

    However, this is a far simpler method to achieve uninterrupted renewable energy, with a surprising amount of potential, and perhaps will be part of the mix in the future.

    Any thoughts or background information or questions? Do say in the comments.


    I think that it is pretty obvious that such kinds of power plants can never become economical. Just putting this stuff out at sea would increase costs dramatically compared to rational power plants. The equipment will be short lived in the harsh maritime environment. A real hydroelectic turbine produces many times more power than one of those silly wave/stream rotors. It would require many times the capital investment to achieve the same effect.

    The Mexican Gulf is full of hydrocarbons which are much more efficient to pump up and burn. Thus far, the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere from 0.03% to 0.04% has only had positive effects by "greening" the world and increasing harvests per acre. The temperature remains unaffected for the 18th year in a row now, and counting. We should stick with what has been proven to work well.

    Well, it's a forecast rather than seeing the future of course. But just as our predictions for the next day are getting better with faster computers, same also for predictions for the future. 

    You can't predict the weather exactly years into the future, but you can predict trends. And with improved understanding, faster computers, and more data, the climatologists are becoming more and more confident in their predictions.

    Key predictions are - sea level rise, acidification of the oceans - causing problems for instance for corals and some shellfish - increased numbers of storms, some areas of the world get wetter, some get drier - e.g. Northern part of the US to get wetter, Southern part to get drier.

    Here are the detailed prediction maps for the US for instance, wetter in the North, drier in the South, in the far North in Alaska the permafrost is likely to melt, a serious issue given that many houses rely on permafrost for their foundations.

    And these are the projected temperature changes for the US with latest models

    Some parts of the world, especially polar regions and high mountains are already seeing dramatic changes, for instance many glaciers reduced in size, some gone altogether.

    The rising sea levels naturally concern Pacific islanders who live on atolls just a few feet above the waves who may lose their island completely as the sea levels rise. About 15% of the  Pacific islands, 1% of the total area would disappear completely if sea levels rise 1 meter - which is at the low end of predictions for global climate change. Or 62% of the islands and 9% of the area if we have a six meter rise. See Some 15% of Pacific islands wiped out by 1m sea level rise

    Here in the UK the rising sea levels are a concern for the Thames Barrier.


    The recent cold snap over N. America - with a corresponding warm spell over the UK with extensive flooding here - that's one of the things we can expect to happen more often as the climate changes.

    They couldn't say for sure that that particular weather event was caused by climate change. But there's a connection between warming seas in Asia, floods in Europe and cold winter weather in the US, they believe it was caused by excessive rainfall in the Pacific.

    This is the map of the global temperatures for first week of January compared to the average. See the warming over Europe, freezing over the US and both peaked on the same day, 6th January.

    The sea level in the UK has risen by 26 cm believed to be caused by climate change.

    See "The recent storms and floods in the UK" published by the met office here.

    At the same time, there have been dramatic changes in the ice cover of the Arctic with the first cargo ships to sail the North West Passage,

    First cargo ship to sail the North West Passage last year - used to be possible only for ice breakers and such like.

    This shows decreasing ice cover in the Arctic, with a record low in 2012, and general trend downwards.

    Same in Antarctica, it's losing ice, and a recent study has found  that the process is unstoppable. Their conclusion was that eventually Antarctica will lose much of its ice, though we can slow the process down, from perhaps 200 years to 800 years.

    See Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say
    You may see reports that the ice in Antarctica is increasing - that's about the sea ice. It's losing ice from the continent and gaining ice in the sea at the moment. 

    That is not good news as the big long term issue with Antarctica is that as it loses ice from the land, this raises sea level. Ice in the sea is neutral - adding more sea ice makes no difference at all to sea level, an iceberg makes exactly the same contribution to the sea level as the same amount of ice melted, by Archimedes principle. See Is Antarctica losing or gaining ice?

    Similarly also there's been a global reduction in ice in glaciers in the mountains, with some glaciers vanishing altogether.

    Peru's ice cap, source of water for many people, is melting at 600 feet a year

    And there are several big unknowns that could change the predictions of the models. One of them, that could cause major issues is the release of methane hydrates.
    These could be a potential new fuel source. But they are also potentially unstable - called "fire ice" - warming could release large quantities of them, and this also could lead to collapses of continental margins leading to tsunamis. These are hard to model and predict at present. See Climate change impacts on methane hydrates

    As for the temperature remaining steady, look at this plot of global temperature

    And this larger plot that also shows the running five year mean in black

    See how jagged the line is. The global average temperature varies by a couple of tenths of a degree from year to year. So, you will get runs like that, where for a decade or more the temperature seems steady - but then followed by a sudden rise, any year it can be 0.2 degrees C hotter or colder than previous year, and it means nothing. But over decades you can plot what is happening clearly.

    Now these are just models of course, and predictions. It's not foreseeing the future. But they are our best models. From speculation a couple of decades ago, with wide variety of predictions, it's now detailed predictions and you can look up the climate change predictions for your part of the world.

    It's much like weather forecasting on the day to day level. A couple of decades ago you didn't pay much attention to it. But now I find myself checking, even to see when exactly in the day they expect rain showers to fall.

    The scientific opinion is now a clear consensus, almost nobody doubts that there is climate change going on, right now, and that it is mainly caused by human activities.

    At least it deserves consideration. It's just possible, don't you think that these scientists and all the climate models have got it right?

    For the predictions of the models for the US, and for the world, in detail, see 

    Future Climate Change - US Environment Protection Agency

    As for durability of these undersea turbines - well we have plenty of experience of undersea drilling rigs, oil platforms, and so on. I'm sure we can make turbines that will last long term beneath the sea!

    It's just possible, don't you think that these scientists and all the climate models have got it right?

    Unfortunately Robert I don't. A very similar warming occurred in the 20's-40's, and climate swings seems to more likely tied to ENSO, PDO, and AMO cycles. And then there is the whole issue of poor sampling of ocean/surface condition in the past (and currently still for the oceans).

    To see what the trends of the actual surface measurement we have, go look at my pages here at Science 2.0, follow the link in my name.
    Never is a long time.
    This isn't the place to have a climate change debate. If you are interested in facts, you can find them online. Just very briefly:

    IPCC now says that there are no reasons to believe that higher temperature would cause more extreme weather.

    Your temperature graph show only a two decades long period of temperature increase. After that we have had a two decade period without any temperature increase. This is obviously totally uncorrelated with the exponentially increasing CO2 emissions.Climate science today is full of explanations of how many many other factors are much more important than human CO2 emissions.

    IPCC says that reducing CO2 emissions would cost much much more than gradually adapting to climate change, if they were to occure, which they haven't and which is very very uncertain if they will. Thus far ALL models of future climate have been thoroughly falsified. None of them predicted the two decades without any warming which we now have recorded.

    Instead of the megalomaniac idea of changing the climate, we should adapt to climate changes. We may never understand how climate changes, but change it will. Since temperatures haven't increased in two decades now, all observed climate changes are unrealted to our CO2 emissions. CO2 in itself is only good for life on Earth, both for wild life and for our agriculture. All life actually comes from atmospheric CO2, the gas of life. We do life on Earth a service by recycling fossil fuels to the atmosphere from which it ahs originated.

    If two the falsification of all model predictions, and two decades without any warming did not change your mind, could you describe ANY scenario which would make you abandon your belief in the climate panic? Is it a hypothesis of yours, or is it an unconditional religous conviction?

    Okay, I've found a good recent article about this hiatus here, you might find it interesting. Climate change: The case of the missing heat (article in Nature, January of this year)

    In short, it's gone on longer than you'd expect from just the effects of noise. So you are right there. It's got scientists puzzled, and it's lead to a search for the explanation. 

    One possibility is that it's due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. 

    The heat hasn't just vanished of course. Either reflected away from the Earth by increased aerosols, but apparently that's not too likely. The best explanation at present seems to be, that it's caused by this decades long oscillation - and that the warmer water is still there but more heat moved into the deep ocean after 1998.

    If the scientists are right then we should see a big spike in temperature in the very near future, because the cold phase of the oscillation can only last so long before it reverses and you get back to the warm phase again.

    I go by the scientists and their models, as the best we have. When climate skeptics like you say that they are wrong, but all the scientific papers I read say that there is global warming - pretty much total consensus now, then I go with the scientists.

    Certainly don't assume they've got everything right, they do make mistakes or have information that they don't know. But I think it's the best we have, best way to prepare for the future. And certainly not to be dismissed out of hand, on basis of data that they of course have also studied in great detail.

    And - not just scientists from one particular country - who might be biased, but worldwide, all saying the same thing.

    It's like asking me, who do you rely on for your weather predictions - the weather forecasters or intuitions of a friend? A couple of decades ago you'd go by what your friend says perhaps if they are weather savvy. But nowadays even people whose livelihood depends on the weather, sailors, farmers etc, they all rely on the weather forecasts rather than their intuitions, because the science has got so much better in this area - mainly because of the faster computers available now.
    But of course scientists aren't perfect, make mistakes, have personal biases, look at things with preconceived ideas, may even in some cases have agendas they want to push. And our understanding of global climate is very limited based only a few centuries of direct observation and facing conditions that have never happened like this quite before - even times in the past when the Earth was as warm as this, it was different from present day Earth in many other ways.

    So it's good for everyone to look at what they say and question the findings and so on.

    Don't worry about whether or not this is on topic for the article. I'm fine with discussing anything in these comments it's fine to go off on a tangent. 

    But this is actually highly relevant to the project, after all, one of the main motivations for projects like this is to do something about global warming.

    "The heat hasn't just vanished of course."

    Yes it has!
    All temperature measurements prove that there exists no global warming. The hypothesis that human CO2 emissions could cause global warming, has been thoroughly disproven since the 1990s. Human CO2 emissions has been proven to be a completely insignificant factor when it comes to affecting the climate.

    "I go by the scientists and their models, as the best we have."

    Do you mean scientists like the world leading nestor of climate science, like ?

    Global temperatures have increase by NAUGHT!
    How do you explain any climate change by the force of ZERO temperature change?

    20 years without climat warming inspite of exponential increase of CO2 emissions haven't affected temperatures. Could you name any kind of observable event which could change your mind? Or is your belief in global warming a religous thesis, and not a falsifiable scientific hypothesis? If 20 years with zero global warming didn't convince you, would 30 years? Would 40 years? Would even a new ice age in 1000 years convince you? Would anything make you convert from your political religion?

    Well, if it is the Pacific Decadal oscillation - then the period of that is 20 to 30 years. But has been different in the past. Likely to last 20 or 30 years but not totally certain it will.
    I think rather than a particular date in the future, it would be rather, that if they find that the oscillation has switched from burying hot water to returning it to the surface - and then the temperatures stay steady or even decrease after that - then you'd think good reason to be skeptical. If I understand it right.

    And - in that case - it would be highly unsatisfactory to just say that the models are wrong and leave it at that. 

    As scientist, the next step is, that you'd want to know why they are wrong. What did they leave out of the models? 

    Just as our daily weather forecasting used to be very unreliable and now is pretty accurate, so - I feel our long range climate modelling can become more and more accurate also. So - if it turns out they aren't accurate now - doesn't mean that the whole idea of trying to model our climate using computers is flawed. Just means that they got something wrong in the models. So we have to find out what it is they got wrong and why and what can be done to fix the models so we can predict future world climate better.

    Does that make sense?
    Do you not think it possible that some or most of the warming is from the positive portion of the Ocean cycles? The PDO switched from the positive to negative side 5 or so years ago, and the AMO is scheduled to switch from positive to negative (and yes that does mean that during the warming of the last few decades, both cycles were in their warm phases). Also, global warming hasn't been global, it's been mostly the Northern Hemisphere warming.
    Never is a long time.
    Okay - the global warming of climate change is the average temperature of the whole world. Some areas will get much warmer than that. Others may get colder. And generally the prediction is - more extreme climates, more storms, hurricanes, floods and so forth, and extremes of dry weather and heat.
    The recent cold snap in the US according to the models is probably due to climate change, also the recent flooding in the UK. The flooding in Bangladesh may be. Some of the hurricanes may also be though you can't point at a particular one and say "this hurricane was caused by climate change" but the frequency of hurricanes is predicted to increase. Oceans more acid and sea levels rising - all that has also been observed. For instance corals are already being impacted by the greater levels of acid in the sea and countries close to the sea having to build flood defences to cope with the sea level rises.

    So - is not at all just a steady increase in temperature. Indeed the global change of just 1 degree is hardly very much, it's because the models predict that it's uneven for instance having more effect on the poles which increases sea level, to take one example - and disturbing the patterns of the winds and the sea currents and the jet stream - the recent cold snap + flooding was due to a distrubance of the jet stream - that much is certain - caused by excessive rain in Asia. And they think the excessive rain was probably caused by climate change.

    So - the climate is hugely complicated, and interconnected with unusual climate events on one side of the world having an effect a few days later on countries on the other side of the world - and so is climate change. That is - according to the models, according to the scientists who write papers about it in Nature - the Met office here in the UK, the US EPA, etc etc. Well climate change is immensely complicated anyway whether human caused or naturally caused.
    That is a very poor motivation for why taking money from productive industries in order to build such ridiculous propellers in the ocean. "Climate change" is a political ideology. The ideologoy of abolishing industry, energy, transports and agriculture and killing billions of human beings by starvation. Space flight is of course the first thing which the climate changists will forbid.

    Hurricanes and other "extreme weather" are more rare now than ever. The IPCC states that there is no reason to believe that extreme weather would become more common even if temperatures would rise. It is only the politicians and journalists who claim the opposite. Human CO2 emissions have exclusively had very good consequences for both wild life and our economy. Good news is however against the belief of the doomsday climate changists so they deny the reality. They even deny the weather, as obvious to everyone as it is. I'm sorry for you if you have been fooled by those murderous fraudsters.

    Well I think you are reading different news stories from the ones I see, that's all I can say, and getting a different message about what's happening.

    To take one example - do you think the recent cold snap in the US in January was caused by a diversion of the jet stream which also caused flooding in the UK, and was originally caused by excessive rain in Asia? Or - do you think that they just got that wrong, if so why do you think it happened?

    What do you think causes the ice cap at Peru to get smaller by 600 feet a year - or is that mistaken in some way if so why?

    Do you agree that the Arctic ice cover is getting less every year and that the Antarctic ice is also melting with runaway collapse of some of the ice inevitable over next few centuries? If not, what's wrong with the research of the scientists who say that it is? And why was it possible for a cargo ship to sail the North West passage for the first time ever last year?

    Do you agree that the sea levels are rising? If not, why did the UK go to the expense of building the Thames flood barrier in London, and why has it had to be raised so many times to protect London?

    Do you think the CO2 will cause acidification of the oceans, or did the scientists who did that research also get it wrong - if so what is their mistake and how should they correct their models to take account of your belief that there will be no acidification?

    I've already posted quite a few things here like that - but your only answer is to say I'm deluded - not to answer any of the particular points, what you think is going on. Or to say what you think is wrong with the models and what they should change to make them accurate.

    That's not science, that's just putting forward a point of view. With science you need to help the scientists make progress by trying to identify more exactly what is wrong with their research, if you disagree - and try to suggest alternative theories and explanations of the things observed and alternative models that both

    1. predict all the things that actually happened so far


    2. Also then agree with your own ideas about what you think will happen next.
    Then you make a prediction from your model, detailed prediction of what you think is going to happen, say  in the next decade. 

    Or right away details of measurements to make e.g. to measure temperatures somewhere, some surprising prediction that they can measure to confirm your model.

    Then you see whose prediction works out best. If your model does a better job than the others, it will begin to get support, and if you are on the right lines, eventually it becomes overwhelmingly clear that your model predicted what happened better than anyone else's.

    That's how it works, or that sort of a thing.

    And in this conversation right now, if you want to try to convince me that the climate science I read about in the science journals is wrong, or might be wrong, I need details and explanations of all these things I see news stories about all the time in the science journals and media.

    Most of the science skeptics just seem to say that the scientists have got it all wrong, that it's just natural variability - but - correct me if I'm wrong - I don't think many of them attempt detailed models or predictions of what they think will happen in the next few decades to the world climate
    - that is - except those who think the models are basically on the right lines, but of course with lots of details still to be sorted out - and go with the ones that predict the smallest effects rather than go with the average predictions. I can relate to that and understand the climate skepticism if presented like that.
    BTW you refer to the IPCC but I think must be an old report,  haven't checked older ones but the 2014 report says:
    Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability

    Key risks are potentially severe impacts relevant to Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which refers to “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” Risks are considered key due to high hazard or high vulnerability of societies and systems exposed, or both. Identification of key risks was based on expert judgment using the following specific criteria: large magnitude, high probability, or irreversibility of impacts; timing of impacts; persistent vulnerability or exposure contributing to risks; or limited potential to reduce risks through adaptation or mitigation. Key risks are integrated into five complementary and overarching reasons for concern (RFCs) in Assessment Box SPM.1. 

    The key risks that follow, all of which are identified with high confidence, span sectors and regions. Each of these key risks contributes to one or more RFCs.

    i. Risk of death, injury, ill-health, or disrupted livelihoods in low-lying coastal zones and small island developing states and other small islands, due to storm surges, coastal flooding, and sea-level rise.

    ii. Risk of severe ill-health and disrupted livelihoods for large urban populations due to inland flooding in some regions.

    iii. Systemic risks due to extreme weather events leading to breakdown of infrastructure networks and critical services such as electricity, water supply, and health and emergency services.

    iv. Risk of mortality and morbidity during periods of extreme heat, particularly for vulnerable urban populations and those working outdoors in urban or rural areas.

    v. Risk of food insecurity and the breakdown of food systems linked to warming, drought, flooding, and precipitation variability and extremes, particularly for poorer populations in urban and rural settings.

    vi. Risk of loss of rural livelihoods and income due to insufficient access to drinking and 
    irrigation water and reduced agricultural productivity, particularly for farmers and pastoralists with minimal capital in semi-arid regions.

    vii. Risk of loss of marine and coastal ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for coastal livelihoods, especially for fishing communities in the tropics and the Arctic.

    viii. Risk of loss of terrestrial and inland water ecosystems, biodiversity, and the ecosystem goods, functions, and services they provide for livelihoods.
    Since temperatures have NOT increased last 18 years or so, then of course no changes in climate could be attributed to human CO2 emissions. Because they only have effect by increased temperature. CO2 in itself only stimulates vegetation and thereby all life on Earth and it is a very good thing, actually CO2 emissions is the best of all things!

    Then it has been suggested, and it is in a totalitarian way indoctrinated in all schools and all news media, that human CO2 emissions could cause so called catastrophes. Like us having to rebuild our cities according to moving coast lines during the next centrury (something which we have always done and is no catastrophy at all). Global warming is a political scam. Leading scientists turn their back on it now. The computer models have all been thoroughly refuted because none of them predicted 18 or so years without any temperature increase. This is very good news! But the psycopathic politicians only like doomsday news because with that terror they could grasp even more money and power. Christians have used doomsday terrorism for millenia, the warmists have copied exactly that same propaganda concept. Don't be naive!

    Here's a brief summary of how the models of the doomsday warmists have failed very miserably:

    Let me run down some of the things on your list.

    The cold snap, The PDO switched a few years back. That changed the jet stream. It changed to the same mode as the mode that led the the 30's dust bowl in the SW US. There were some awfully cold winters back then.

    There is glacial melting, but glacier's do melt back, then refreeze. As you mentioned Greenland had melted much more than now ~1,000 years ago.

    The Arctic experienced very similar melting during the first part of the century. Plus IMO the melting is from warm water, not air temps, in fact i believe the warm air temps are from more exposed ocean. It's an ocean current thing, not warm air. Plus while changes in air temps are numerically large, the arctic's is still quite cold, and it's very poorly sampled. And a lot of ships were trapped in the ice last year, and there was a large increase in ice extent.

    IIRC sea levels have gone up, ~8" in the last 100 years, also poorly sampled, with large variances globally and some due to land subsidence.

    Acidification, is something that needs watched, in fact, I'm okay with paying attention to all of this, but not doing things that will negatively impact most of the people on the planet, until we really have a better understanding of what's going on. The models were written explicitly to have a high sensitivity to increased CO2.

    I'm not comfortable with the peer review process on climate papers, it seems (and climategate confirms) that there is a strong bias against any paper that doesn't toe the line, so if you want to get published, you have to put some polish on it.

    Having actually looked at the surface measurements, it's lacking, very lacking. Global temp averages as published are largely made up, which if temps were linear spatially might not be so bad, but they're not. The measurements themselves don't paint the same picture.

    I've also spend ~15 years supporting simulators, and have seen model bias before, a cpu model is written as the developer thinks the cpu works, but that doesn't mean it actually models the cpu.
    Climate is chaotic, we don't have good long term data, we don't even really understand it yet. We've seen warm cycles, which seem tied to the ocean cycles (there was a warming "crisis" in the 30's). The models while important, are not policy ready, we see signs of warming, but there's been sign of warming in the past, then it got very cold. Plus if you looked at the work I did, max temps really haven't gone up that much. CS to me, appears to be at the very low end of the range. Ocean temps are way under sampled, even if they are warming, once mixed into the deep that heat will not impact surface temps, deep oceans are near freezing.

    I've also played around with a IR thermometer, clear skies are really cold, the other day it was 70-75F colder than air temps, cloud bottoms however are much warmer, half that or less.

    Last year we had far fewer hurricanes than expected, and based on ocean cycles they toggle between hitting land in the US between the gulf and the east coast. Joe Bastardi predicted the switch from gulf canes to east coast canes 5-10 years ago, based on a review of hurricane historical data (again we had some big ones hit the east coast back in the 30's).

    I could go on, the list of "well but" regarding climate is very long, and it seems that many of the scientist bought their own hype, and it stopped being science and turned into a "scientists save the world, highlights at 11:00" type thing. Most of the world is energy poor, cooking over wood and dung, freezing to death in the UK because they can't afford to heat their homes, so there is a tangible downside.
    I'm not against solar and wind, I just don't think they are able to replace fossil fuels, and as I mentioned if CO2 was really that bad, we should be building nukes like crazy, but the greens don't like them either! It seems that most of them don't like civilization. I do think we are near a tipping point, either we become a space faring race, or we will lose the ability to do so for a long time, which leaves us sitting ducks. And much of the technology needed to do this, will then address many of these concerns.
    Never is a long time.
    Okay thanks, interesting, well argued. And followed your name link and read what  you had to say there as well.
    Yes no question at all though, agree that natural variability could do the same things that we've observed so far, has done in the past, just is question - whether it is doing it this time. And main reason there is because if it is us doing it then we can probably do something to fix it relatively easily - so leads to optimism that we can fix the issues.  

    If it's nature doing it - we might still be able to fix it also - but harder because fighting against natural forces is hard - not impossible but hard, but as you say if it is natural then maybe it will just sort itself out...

    You haven't convinced me, but I think I've said as much as I know about the subject, I'm only going to repeat myself to say anything more back and don't see the point in that as you've read that already - so leave you the final word here :).
    As you say the time period of study so far is really small - decades, going for centuries - and agree not very good data for much of it also, not sure if detailed satellite imaging of the whole Earth measuring of sea levels from space - that's not been around for that long.

    Looks like we'll find out eventually as we get longer time periods of data from what you say - maybe not know for sure for some decades yet I assume with such long lived cycles to take account of.

    Just to say to make sure on same page - chaotic - isn't by itself a bad thing, it just means uncertainty of some features. E.g. you could predict that there are more hurricanes because all the models have more hurricanes in them - but can't say which year will be the bad one for hurricanes e.g. in one run of your model it might happen in 2018 and in another in 2019, and in another not until 2023, so if that's what happened you would be justified in saying that there will be more hurricanes with high probability but be totally unable to say if any particular hurricane was caused by global warming, or to say which years will be the bad ones for hurricanes.

    Same as with the solar system. For instance - this is on a longer timescale - with Mars, then it's been shown it's axis changes in tilt in a chaotic way long term. Yet - we also know a lot about its axial tilt. We know that it can be anywhere between almost vertical and tilted so far that it has equatorial ice sheets - and say a fair bit about how often it is in any of those states and s forth - but can't predict exactly which millennia, say a few hundred million years in future, will be the ones with the equatorial ice sheets. Or with Hyperion, it tumbles chaotically but it's orbit is of course well known and not chaotic at all on the timescales of years, centuries or millennnia.

    Hyperion with the famously chaotic rotation - you can't predict it's orientation at all far into the future - but it's orbit you know a long way into the future to high accuracy.
    BTW this is an interesting new article earlier this week about measuring sea level and land level simultaneously at a coastal station using GPS. New tide gauge uses GPS signals to measure sea level change 

    I agree also - that many of the concerns will be addressed by new technology - e.g. - well I think myself, disagreeing with you - that solar power might have a very significant role in the near future. It's already reached break even in several parts of the world where you pay less for the power if you install a solar panel in your home than if you buy the elecricity from the grid without subsidies. So - as prices go down then might start to get large areas of solar panels just through that, e.g. in the deserts. With long range transmission lines as well - could be a significant part - though to go as far as to take over base load you also need to have batteries - but are possible solutions there also such as the idea that if we have an economy based on electric rather than gasoline driven cars, then the batteries of the cars, connected to the grid with financial incentive, using a small fraction of each battery for load balancing - could itself pretty much solve that problem.

    Main thing there is - so I'm optimistic that we will eventually replace it all by renewables - or nuclear fusion - or whatever it is. Perhaps clean nuclear fission also. I'm not at all sure about Uranium based fission because of the proliferation concerns, exporting technology that makes it really easy for countries to build nuclear weapons - and because it has very long lived biproducts which you then have to do something about - even if you can - still - it's better if you just don't generate them in the first place. But thorium based certainly seems worth evaluating and may be a solution from what I've heard about it. I think it's a good thing we didn't go all out and build nuclear power stations though - look at Chernobyl and the Japanese nuclear power stations - until recently we haven't had the technology to build really safe nuclear power stations.

    And you do also have - with nuclear power - and not with solar etc - that something unpredictable like an earthquake or tsunami or hurricane or a meteorite strike on a nuclear power station - or indeed sabotage or terrorism - that could spread radioactive material over a large area - which can't happen with a solar farm. And if the wastes can be disposed, still is not straightforward - and you have to include the cost of decommissioning the power station to do the sums properly - both economic and environmental - the full lifetime cost from first building the power station all the way to a future when there is nothing left that is a hazard to anyone.
    I think it's not a black and white obviously has to be a good thing or bad thing - but has to be evaluated carefully on its merits.

    And - there is a huge amount of energy available for renewables. Here in the UK, Scotland especially - could get much of our power from the sea in one way or another - these sea current generators for base load - if they got them working - plus solar + wind + hydro + using the hydro for storage for load balancing (as they do already).  Geothermal also theoretically pretty huge though hard to access in most parts of the world, and other sources also e.g. annual melt of ice sheets in Greenland if we can find ways to store it, if we can develop the battery technology.

    But the concern is - if our problems are caused by global warming (as I said - you've given the best argued reply here for sure - but I still think it is myself after reviewing what you said) - that things will go too far before we fix it. If it takes until 2050 or even 2100 to develop the necessary technology for instance.

    So - might be that Bangladesh is already much of the lower areas are flooded, that many of the Pacific islands have disappeared beneath the sea, that the barrier reef no longer has corals on it, that Antarctic ice sheet is in irreversible decline (which it seems it may well be already) - that the sea has absorbed a lot of heat which it will keep for thousands of years - and that we stop the blip of human generated warming - but then have to live with the consequences of those few decades of human history for centuries.

    Andi if the IPCC 2014 report is right - then in the next few decades before we go over to new technologies for energy - then millions of people will have died in natural disasters, lost their livelihood, become refugees and had to leave their countries and become homeless, all preventable if we'd curbed our CO2 emissions.
    And other countries incur unforeseen costs of billions due to things like hurricanes, climate change, drought, floods etc - which could make their economies fragile and have indirect effects maybe just as bad further down the line, and cause a lot of interim financial and practical hardship for many. Again - that is - if the IPCC report is right in its conclusions.

    So - I think that's also part of it - that we are being forced to make decisions and act, when everyone on all sides of the debate or the spectrum of opinion knows the models are incomplete as is our understanding of climate change - and that much work is still needed to refine them, but they are the best we have at least most think so, and many think they give enough information to be a guide for action. While others, as I've discovered here, still feel quite strongly that they don't - but whatever we do - the decisions we make will impact millions of people in the next few decades. So is this strong incentive to try to get it right, and that takes it inevitably into politics really.

    First I want to thank you for taking my comments seriously, and considering them, it's a rare thing on this topic in many qtr's.

    Chaotic isn't a bad thing, but it does make interpreting simulation results much harder. When I was supporting electronic design simulators, I'd get customers confused about why the simulator gave them a specific result that wasn't what they expected. In most cases the simulator did exactly what it was told to do, but that wasn't what the engineer thought he was asking it. Plus models have all sorts of different levels of fidelity. Analog transistor/transfer level models could be the most accurate,  but because they were diff equation solver (like GCM's are) there were convergence and time step problem. Plus you were really limited on circuit size due to processing capacity. Once you moved into digital with idealized gate level models the numeric issues went away, but there is some loss of fidelity around state transition levels. But you can't simulate a system at gate level, just creating models for the large scale devices (like cpu's) just takes too long, even if you could run a long simulation with it, so behavioral modeling was developed, but the level of abstraction of the models became a problem, does your cpu model really function like silicon does? And we know that complex systems have emergent behavior, if your model doesn't account for such subtlety, your sim results don't match what happens in the lab. But we can't bring the climate into a lab and run tests.

    I do come across a little harder on solar, than I really am. I do see a place for it at the table, but I still think there are a lot of difficult problems with it supplying a large % of our energy left to solve. I looked at adding solar to my home two different times, but even the most recent (3 or so years ago), the ROI was still 10-15 years, and it wouldn't supply all of my energy, as well as my house faces the wrong way. And that ROI relies on there not being any equipment failures. Having spent a few years working in a Defense contractors reliability group leads me to think that power generating equipment supporting relatively large amounts of power while being exposed to solar heating will create component heating that will shorten lifespans. Large scale solar will suffer from siting issues due to the environmental impact on the wildlife, plus the remote access will require infrastructure to get the power out that just doesn't exist. Space based solar is pretty cool, but we really don't know what the environmental issues will be beaming that much power thought the atmosphere. I like the idea of ocean current powering generators, but that has it's own set of difficulties. Not that they probably can't be resolved, but will it be cost effective.
    I'm also excited by thorium burners, I'd love being able to buy one for my home for $5,000-10,000 that would supply my electricity for 10-20 years. But all of these have much development left to do, and having the Gov throw money at solar was a big waste, they should have come up with tax incentives for all forms of energy, and let the market fight to create the right solutions, not a particular solution.

    I think, based on surface measurements CS has to be ~1C or less per doubling, which I think gives us time to develop technology that will allow us to gracefully wind down fossil fuel usage.

    I did see the GPS effort to monitor sea level, it will supply much needed clarity.
    Antarctica, currently has the largest(or nearly) ice extent that we've ever measured, and is roughly in balance. According to this, the ice loss isn't accelerating, but about the same, seems that there was a sign error that mistakenly doubled the loss rate. Arctic ice is already floating, it doesn't matter. Also, the concerns of a arctic ice loss tipping point is over-hyped. Once the Sun gets > than about 75 degrees from overhead, it starts to reflect off of the surface of water, giving an albedo very near ice. But open water is much warmer than arctic ice, which greatly increases heat loss to space when the sky is clear. There's only a small range of Longitudes directly under the Sun that is energy positive, the rest is net negative, or very nearly so (I've done the back of the envelope calculations, and it would really boil down to the ratio of clear/cloudy skies). I find it interesting that a dumbass high school grad like myself can figure this out, and all of these smart scientists never seem to.

    Lastly, which side of the fence to be on, people are dying now because they are energy poor, a lot of people. Verses possibly a lot of people down the road. Dead is dead, and I'd much rather live now, and take the risk of later every time.

    But again, thanks for a thoughtful discussion!
    Never is a long time.
    Okay, yes my interest is in finding out what the true situation is whatever it is. As you say, if it turned out that the models were wrong, then it would be a multiple decades long use of resources that could be better used in other ways. But if they turns out that they are right then we will be jolly glad we did what we did and wish we'd done more.


    Yes good point about emergent behaviour, not just chaos, reasonably straightforward - but some complex interaction between different things in the climate cycles which the models might not be able to pick up on and predict - until it either happens - or someone predicts it to happen. Yes,  the models are only as good as the scientific understanding that is input into them.


    Yes, I think talking is the key - rather than trying to score points and win arguments. That never works anyway - or almost never just ends up trying to see who can score most points but nobody learns anything from it.

    I think the best way we'll find that is if everyone concerned talks to each other and listens to each other.
    Anyway, first looked up some things related to what you say.


    On Arctic albedo effects, seems we can use actual data not theory according to this report
    Observational determination of albedo decrease caused by vanishing Arctic sea ice, and they estimate the effects of the albedo changes as equivalent to 25% of the direct forcing from CO2over the last 30 years.

    Sounds like that may solve this debate or at least is a way forward to solve it, examining their work to see if there are any flaws in it.


    Also more here about why the Arctic sea ice loss matters. Five reasons why the speed of Arctic sea ice loss matters

    So anyway - as I understand it at present - in case of Antarctica, then the amount of sea ice cover doesn't matter much - I suppose because it's in the middle of a huge ocean and the continent is so large anyway, and there are no humans living anywhere close to be impacted, and nothing similar to the Arctic tundra or houses built on permafrost foundations or such like to be bothered by the changes.

    But in case of Arctic then sea ice does matter a lot.

    In case of Arctic then land ice does matter - mainly over Greenland - and there, that's for similar reasons to Antarctica.


    With the Antarctic ice, the research I read and referred to before said that future ice loss is irreversible. It didn't say that ice loss is accelerating, so that's a different thing. And was by research scientists rather than journalists. So I think clear that it's a different thing.

    More links about it: from University of Washington: West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse is under way

    Scientific paper Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Under Way for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West Antarctica

    To summarize, if I understand it right, they say that the glacier they studied, the Thwaites glacier, has only moderate ice loss right now. The onset of rapid ice loss for the Thwaites glacier in Antactica could happen any time between 200 and 900 years from now - but is almost inevitable even if we stop global warming in its tracks.

    It's relevant because it shows how things we do right now can have implications for centuries into the future, so that, if we can stop global warming over next few decades for instance, it's not just us who will be affected, but our great great grandchildren may live in a very different world as a result - if the models are right of course.


    My introduction to cost effective renewables is solar thermal. Two of my sisters have them already and I now have it on my house also, was a requirement indeed when it was built, to have some form of renewables as part of the construction. Don't know about US but housing regulation here in the UK is strongly weighted towards CO2 neutral - extra thermal insulation now required, and some renewable component of the heating for the house before you get permission to build - either that or extremely well insulated.

    Anyway - that is amazingly effective, given that I live in the N. of Scotland - it's just a small panel on the S. gable and provides just about all the hot water from late spring to early autumn. 

    I think it will be a while before solar electric is cost effective except with grants - the UK government has grants for solar power - phasing to lower levels as t the scheme continues - so again two of my sisters have solar electric as do many of their neighbours - just look out of their windows and you see several other houses with solar electric  so is getting quite a bit of up take here in the UK. 

    In Australia the solar electric has already reached break even with return on investment, that happened a year or two ago, without need for incentives. It's not yet economic for them to have a solar plant supply the energy to the grid but because you eliminate the costs of distribution, it makes financial sense already to the end user to install domestic solar power.
    In places like Spain and the Sahara desert it is already economic to do solar power at the supply side of things.

    Don't really see why, as costs of panels come down, we couldn't get to the point where, on average, much of the domestic power is supplied by solar - they also can feed power back to the grid. 

    Yes reliability is important - but this also is improving.

    Solar panels - as far as I can tell - have little by way of environmental impact depending on where they are sited. Don't have to be raised on masts like wind turbines. When it comes to power stations - then they can be sited anywhere with clear skies - and again don't need to be sited, e.g. in places with strong winds which can make the wind turbines a hazard to wild life and impact visually on the landscape.

    When prices go right down, I expect solar panels to be incorporated automatically in things like windows, roofs, even walls of houses - parking lots - and eventually road surfaces also. When that happens we might get a lot of our power in daytime from solar power. And then the thing is can we do load balancing, - and if by then we have electric cars, can use their batteries for that.

    And solar panels are made from a wide variety of different materials - so is true that some of the types of solar panel could not be used in a widespread way - if they use scarce materials - but others use little more than e.g. silicon, widely available.

    Yes same here thanks for a thoughtful discussion also!

    I don't have access to PNAS, so I can only read the abstract, so I can't really comment on whether I think their work is convincing to me or not. But, after doing some basic calculations based on the water albedo paper I referenced their 6.5 W/sq m works out to ~4% of the outgoing radiation (~5 GJ/yr/m2).  Personally I've thought for a while open arctic acts as a cooling system. Plus there's a prediction for above normal min-ice extent for 2014.

    Now, the West Antarctic ice sheet. Models could not predict that surface temps were going to remain flat, I have no confidence that they can predict the loss of the WAIS 200-900 years from now, which requires not only a accurate GCM, it has to be coupled to an accurate Ocean temp/circulation since the WAIS is melting from below. I also find it hard to believe we can determine when it started melting from below, for all we know it's been melting since the end of the MWP.

    It seems that almost all catastrophes depend on models, I don't think I linked these for you before, Now NASA seems to trivialize these issues, but to me they are nearly fatal(at least to place any trust in them for policy purposes).
    Never is a long time.
    Interesting article. I'm all for investigating the potential of new technologies and ideas. Besides the uninterrupted renewable energy potential, the idea of generating clean drinking water is very exciting. But I'm dismayed by your "climate change" zealotry in the follow-up comments. I find it intriguing that you normally post on space issues but in all your lengthy climate information there is no mention of the effects of the sun on Earth's climate.

    Well, in the follow up comments I'm just posting what the Met office here in the UK say and the Environment Protection agency in the US, and scientists studying Antarctica, and the direct evidence of receding ice in Peru, melting ice in the polar regions, rising sea levels, and so on. 

    I'm surprised anyone finds it controversial at all. It's mainstream science at any rate and not fringe or extreme in any way.

    Consensus of thousands of scientists world wide now. Look in Nature for instance, doubt if you'll find a single climate skeptic paper - though a couple of decades ago there were respected scientific climate skeptics. Do correct me if I'm wrong, if you know of a respected scientist who publishes, e.g. in Nature or similar journal who is still skeptical about climate change.
    I'm optimistic that we can do something about it. Potential for renewable energy is vast, solar power here could supply all our energy, as costs go down and panels can be made of cheaper and more environmentally friendly materials - or solar satellites, or these ocean current technology and so on.

    But - well I do think that if we continue to use oil and gas, and if it's done without carbon capture or some such technology to make sure it doesn't contribute to global warming - that we might be in for pretty rough times in the future.  And that is the consensus of just about all scientists also.
    I respect your NON-climate related writings!

    Your imaginations about energy production technologies, however, leaves me sadly concernered. I advice you that there actually does not exist any global warming. And that some sub water rotors won't change that. Please employ your great brain in some more useful way than this, please!

    Okay I had no idea that there were so many people here who are convinced that global warming does not exist. It's a complete surprise, knew that there were climate skeptics of course, but didn't realize quite how many or how strongly they feel that global warming does not exist.

    This is a recent poll, finds that 54% of Europeans consider climate change to be a major threat to their country, while only 40% of Americans do - and only 22% of Republicans in the US.

    It really does seem to have polarized opinion doesn't it!

    - but - you may not like me to say it, and may feel that what I'm saying is dead wrong - but - I was just saying what most scientific papers on the subject say - and the Met office - and articles in Nature - and the Environmental protection Agency in the US are saying - and indeed the majority of the general public also here in the UK. It's certainly not an extreme view I presented here.
    I recommend you to have a look at sites like this:

    One has to actively search for critical points of view in order to find them. Tax money and old media exclusively finance doomsday news, because they have been order to supply that stuff by the politicians who want to use the coming doomsday as for dictatorship where they loot all wealth creating activities of the human race and kill almost everyone.

    You see, even now that we know that an increase of CO2 from 0.03% to 0.04% did not affect temperatures at all, the political ideology still lives on in the anti-scientific propaganda. The political actions to abolish energy, industry, transports, trade, agriculture, spaceflight remain unaffected of the scientifically verified very good news that CO2 emissions exclusively have good consequenses for life on Earth, and no negative effects at all. The global warmiosts vision of the future is where a fraction of todays humanity tries to survive by hard manual labour in the local agriculture in a soiciety where no artefacts can be produced. The aim to kill almost everyone and to starve the rest remains unchanged regardless of scientific or ecnomic fact Because those political psycopaths hope to loot themselves rich in the process and they care about nothing else.

    Well most of the scientists aren't connected to any political party - especially e.g. the Met Office here in UK has no connection with US politics. Or Japan, Australia both countries with large populations with majority convinced of climate change.
    In Australia for instance they've already seen severe drought, probably caused by climate change, and destruction of the great barrier reef community of corals is something likely to happen at a fairly early stage in global warming so is natural for them to be concerned about it, and opinion polls show that many of them are.

    Asia also - again - why would people in Bangladesh or Vietnam be influenced by US political campaigns? I really don't think it's anything to do with that.
    And why was Bangladesh and the small ocean countries of the Pacific so very concerned about effects of climate change in the last negotiations. Again I'm sure they are not influenced by US politics, but rather by their own direct experience of flooding, with many people in Bangladesh for instance losing their homes and livelihood due to floods that many think are caused by global warming and resulting from the CO2 emissions of the "developed" countries - and stand to be one of the countries with most to lose from sea level rises. I'm sure that's why they are concerned, not because they have any axe to grind in US domestic politics - which the average person in Bangladesh probably knows almost nothing about.

    Plus in the other direction, then there's an obvious benefit to the Oil and Gas industries, to promote the idea that climate change is not going to happen because they won't need to do carbon capture or curtail their drilling if they can convince everyone else that CO2 release has no effect on climate. 

    And there are lots of dollars in oil and gas to finance their point of view on the matter. 

    To make it clear, I'm not saying that the climate skeptics are being funded to promote their point of view. Just oil funded publicity influencing public opinion rather than influencing the scientists, I think mainly in the US, not noticed anything like that here.
    Followed your link just want to comment on that Chaos theory article, from maths point of view - though I don't know details about climate modelling - you get chaos theory a lot in the solar system so good idea of how it works there.

    So - chaos theory does show that certain things can't be predicted. For instance the long term orbits of the planets can't be predicted - first of all the position of a planet in its orbit - and then very long term - then the orbit of Mercury is so unpredictable it could exit from the solar system completely, or hit Mars or Earth or the Sun - low probability - due to resonances of its orbit with Jupiter.

    Similarly the spin of Hyperion is chaotic and can't be predicted.

    But at the same time many things can be predicted. So for instance the orbit of Jupiter - nothing in our solar system can change that. The spin of Hyperion is chaotic over even a short period of time but it's orbit is not. The orbit of Mercury is chaotic but only on very long timescales. The position of planets in their orbits is chaotic in the very long term - and there's an element of chaos also - for instance in the changing axial tilt of Mars, also its changing eccentricity - but there is much that is not.

    With climate change models - then they fully acknowledge chaos. And deal with that by doing many different runs. Even with all the details of the model kept unchanged, then different runs with slightly different starting parameters will lead to different results several decades down the road.

    So - you can see what things are stable - like the orbits of the planets - and don't depend on initial conditions. E.g. if all the models show extreme weather increasing in frequency - you can predict that there will be more extreme weather events with a fair degree of confidence. But some may have hurricanes hitting the US in one month, some in another, some may say, e..g that 2018 is the worst year for hurricanes in this decade while another says 2019 is or whatever - so you expect that because of Chaos theory and there is nothing you can do about that.

    But then if they all predict sea level rises no matter how many times you run them - and same for acidification of the oceans - and same also for extreme weather and e.g. in all the runs the northern parts of the US get wetter and the southern parts of the US get drier - then even though the weather is chaotic, everyone knows that - still - you can give good long term climate change predictions.

    That's why climate modellers don't just throw in the towel because of chaos theory but have learnt to work with it. This is basic science nowadays - I'm astonished to see a scientist climate skeptic bringing up chaos in climate  change as an objection without spelling this out first. You could say that chaos is not adequately treated - say for instance - that they don't do enough runs - or have missed out some fundamental feature in their model that would introduce chaotic effects they haven't accounted for, you can argue about the details - but just pointing to chaos theory really advances the debate not at all as everyone agrees that the weather is chaotic and it is taken account of in all the models.

    Quick summary of this:
    There's the rub, the problem. Nearly by definition, a "respected" scientist is not a climate "skeptic" and is published where non-consensus views are not accepted as scientific. Consensus is not science. Science is a history of overturned consensus. Every scientist should have room for skepticism in all things. Additionally, being a climate skeptic does not mean disagreeing with everything the consensus side supports. Off the top of my head, here are a couple of skeptics.
    - Swedish meteorologist Lennart Bengtsson was recently in the news regarding group (consensus) pressure against him for expressing skeptical views about climate science.
    - Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, previously a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

    Okay that's interesting. Yes of course science isn't by consensus, you don't vote for a new physical theory like voting for a new president :). And yes from time to time, minority views do turn out to be correct. 
    E.g. the idea of transfer of life between planets and even possibly between stars during a close encounter, was an extreme minority view a few decades ago, and now, most scientists in the field think it's possible though not yet proven.
    I wonder then - how do they think the models should be changed to give more accurate predictions?
    If you think that global warming is not caused by the CO2 rise, and yet our models based on taking account of the human created CO2 rise predict global warming - then - must be some other effect that compensates for the extra warming of the CO2. It is a greenhouse gas after all, no question about that.

    Is anyone doing detailed models that include the increasing levels of CO2 that don't predict global warming? Or are they just saying "there must be something wrong with these models, but I don't know what yet"?

    It is a striking image his one here

    But - all it shows is that the temperatures so far remain within the range of historical variation of temperature. 

    After all we started, in 1900, at rather low temperatures compared with the medieval warm period - and - it is still icy in Greenland so not as warm, there at least, as it was for the Vikings when they colonized in the medieval times.

    So the graph is also just what you'd expect from global warming starting from a climate that was rather cold compared with historical temperatures.

    Anyway - interesting to know, yes thanks for the information. I guess, will find out in another - say next five or ten years if it still stays more or less level, they will have to find a way to modify their models to explain why. While if it fits their models, and increases rapidly again (only by a fraction of a degree of course) as it goes over to the next phase in the decadal climate oscillation - presumably that would win over many of the skeptics also?

    But - all it shows is that the temperatures so far remain within the range of historical variation of temperature.

    Yes, all without any increases of Co2 (prior to the middle of the 20th century).
    Never is a long time.
    Yes, well of course, everyone agrees on that. There are many things changing the climate all the time. On long timescales ice ages. On shorter timescales mini ice ages.
    The main difference with human global warming is
    • If it is human caused, we can do something about it.
    • It is already having an impact on many people in the world - naturally they want to do something about it. Such as the melting ice in Peru, floods in Bangladesh, increasing numbers of hurricanes and typhoons, the cold snap in the US last winter and the floods here in the UK
    Doesn't matter if you could get similar effects from natural variation - if this time it's caused by us and we can do something about it.
    So, big question is:

    Will stopping the rise in CO2 levels help prevent  future problems of human hardship and ecosystem unbalance? 

    If so then we should do what we can to stop it. 

    Indeed even if it was natural variation, well in a world like the one we inhabit now, with billions of people, well we might need to do something about natural variation also, if it's too rapid, some time in the future. Like, whatever is the cause, we still need to look to the future and find out what we can do.

    If the climate change skeptics are right and CO2 reductions won't help - then what is their solution to the problems of global warming? What should we do instead of CO2 reduction?
    If the climate change skeptics are right and CO2 reductions won't help - then what is their solution to the problems of global warming? What should we do instead of CO2 reduction?

    If it's mostly natural, we are at or near the peak temps now, we wait. We can in the mean while do things that make sense, advanced nuclear energy, fission, then fusion, invest in mitigation as required. With what we know now, nothing else makes sense.
    I do find curious that if the warmists are really concerned with CO2, Why did it take 20 years for even a few to want to increase the amount of energy we get from nuclear?
    Never is a long time.
    Okay, so you think that the climate is now as warm as it will get and is going to start cooling?
    Is your skepticism mainly based on this long period of temperatures more or less stable?

    I'm expecting a jump in average temperature over next few years as the warm water deposited over the last decade in the ocean depths returns to the surface of our oceans - based on those studies - if that happens, will you then agree that climate change is really happening, or a good chance that it is?

    Personally, I was not at all keen on fission for a long time because of the issue of radioactive wastes with extremely long half-lives - of tens of thousands of years, quite likely to outlast our civilization. But now that there are methods of burning the longest lived wastes, then - think fission may be okay - with well designed reactors - also with alternatives too like the thorium reactors.

    Fusion definitely myself think we should invest in it - not just the big mega versions but also the smaller ones like the Polywell, because - the pay off would be so huge if they work, and the chance of success is - hard to evaluate but surely far from zero.

    But - I think solar power and renewables do have great promise. There's so much energy in the sunlight, and - just 1/18 of the area of the Sahara desert able to provide all the power requirements of the world. That's a large area indeed, but spread out across all the deserts, combined with solar arrays on roofs, houses, roads even - I wouldn't be surprised if it turns out to be a large part of our energy mix. 

    Then if you add in solar energy from space - well that has potential easily to supply all our energy and more - especially if we can make the panels in space, or ultra lightweight thin film panels and reduce cost of export from Earth. 

    BTW just because I wrote the article doesn't give me any special authority here :). Just putting my own views in these comments.
    Thor Russell
    Upvote to Robert from the silent majority. 
    Thor Russell
    Thanks! I'm really surprised at this response actually, had no idea, thought it was only politicians that were skeptics nowadays. But is interesting to know there is still a vigorous climate skeptic group of scientists!
    Just been searching for Lennart Bengtsson  interview here and good quote:
     I believe the whole climate consensus debate is silly. There is not a single well educated scientist that question that greenhouse gases do affect climate. However, this is not the issue but rather how much and how fast. Here there is no consensus as you can see from the IPCC report where climate sensitivity varies with a factor of three! Based on observational data climate sensitivity is clearly rather small and much smaller that the majority of models. Here I intend to stick to Karl Popper in highlighting the need for proper validation
    Lennart Bengtsson speaks out

    I  can relate to that - if you say that human caused CO2 has no effect then wonder where that's coming from, doesn't seem to make scientific sense to me as it is clearly a warming gas, just a question of how much, or if there is anything compensating for it.

    But to say that the models vary in their prediction and it might have much less effect than most think - can relate to that.
    Science says that human CO2 emissions have a good effect!

    If CO2 emissions had had a warming effect, which is nowadays known that it hasn't, then the good effects would've been even better! More CO2 and higher temperature. That's why people build greenhouses, in order to create more life!

    What you think is bad, is actually good.

    What is REALLY the main claimed problem with us humans creating industry and transportation by recycling fossil coal to the atmosphere where it once originated? It is the problem of how the real estate business will plan to very slowly gradually move their beach front buildings so that they adapt to new sea levels!!!

    Wow, jeez. What a problem! Would it help the real estate investors if everyone was forc ed to stop using stuff like MACHINES? If so, we are of course all willing to sacrifies our lives (by stop having anything to eat oince nothing iu s allowed to be produced) in order to safeguard the future profits of real estate firms who insist on investing in buildings near any coasts. Them adapting to the reality would be an absurd policy, Instead everyone else must pay by simply not having anything. Obama and POutin are both very concerned with their beach houses on Vanuatu maybe being flooding in 50 years, so therefor they want to instead starve billions of poor people to death by forbidding rational energy production.

    Building a rotor on the bottom of the sea is at the same time the most expensive and least useful energy investment ever proposed. But other than those two major failures, well I have no comments.

    Also just want to say I've enjoyed this debate everyone, and learnt a lot from it, thanks!
    Update on the article, the project didn't get funded, as expected, but he plans to launch a new kickstarter - as you are permitted to do - you can relaunch the same project as many times as you like and can contact all your old backers to help get the new version off to a good start. 
    So maybe it will work better next time around with more preparation and with experience about how kickstarters work behind them.
    Project updates here.

    What impact would the tidal impact of a hurricane have on this generating system?

    Okay, seems a good point to me!
    Searching, seems, damaging effects of hurricane extend about 300 feet below the surface.  So - I think that means they'd need to site their turbines more than 300 feet down, or 100 meters approx.

    "Damaging currents can extend down to at least 300 feet below the surface, capable of dismantling coral reefs, relocating ship wrecks, breaking oil pipelines, and displacing huge volumes of sand on the seabed."
    What Happens Underwater During a Hurricane? 
    They are talking about large turbines when it gets to production scale, 30 meters across or more. Doesn't say how deep they are. But sounds like they'd need to have them 130 meters down or more to allow for safety from hurricanes + size of the turbine.
    I wonder if they could use the technology with ocean surface turbines and advanced battery storage to mitigate the effects of a hurricane?

    Oh, really interesting link, thanks!
    "In the computer model, by the time Hurricane Katrina reached land, its simulated wind speeds had decreased by 36-44 meters per second (between 80 and 98 mph) and the storm surge had decreased by up to 79 percent.

    "For Hurricane Sandy, the model projected a wind speed reduction by 35-39 meters per second (between 78 and 87 mph) and as much as 34 percent decrease in storm surge.

    "...Current turbines can withstand wind speeds of up to 112 mph, which is in the range of a category 2 to 3 hurricane, Jacobson said. His study suggests that the presence of massive turbine arrays will likely prevent hurricane winds from reaching those speeds."

    Report: Offshore wind farms could tame hurricanes before they reach land
    So - you protect the cities, and get power as well - if the idea works out

    Add a comment

    The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
    • Allowed HTML tags: <span> <sup> <sub> <a> <em> <strong> <center> <cite><TH><ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img> <br> <p> <blockquote> <strike> <object> <param> <embed> <del> <pre> <b> <i> <table> <tbody> <div> <tr> <td> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <hr> <iframe><u><font>
    • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
    If you register, you will never be bothered to prove you are human again. And you get a real editor toolbar to use instead of this HTML thing that wards off spam bots.