The Surface Energy Budget

Guest post by Wim Röst


The energy budget for the surface is different from Earth’s energy budget. A look at the surface energy budget reveals that radiation is not the main factor in cooling the surface. The dominant factor in surface cooling is convection, responsible for the removal of more than three quarters of the surface’s energy.

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A Critique of Bill Gates’ New Book

By Andy May

Bill Gates just published a new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. He begins his book with the assertion that “To stop the warming and avoid the worst effects of climate change—and these effects will be very bad—humans need to stop adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.” He continues that every country will need to change its ways and every activity in the modern lifestyle involves releasing greenhouse houses, so every person must change. He then warns us that if we keep on living the way we do, the impact of all of this will be catastrophic.

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The Texas Energy Disaster

By Andy May

I live in Texas and write about climate science and energy, so I get a lot of questions about the recent problems. My wife and I are OK, we have a natural gas powered generator and did not lose power like most people did earlier this week. We also had a broken pipe, but it was outside the house, and I was eventually able to cap it, with the help of a neighbor, after the normal (for me) three trips to the hardware store and two failed attempts.

As usual these days, discussions of natural events quickly devolve into useless political arguments about who or what is to blame. Little thought is put into the technical or scientific issues, instead everything is viewed through the prism of Democrat or Republican political agendas. Ideology trumps common sense. Thus, we have Democrats blaming natural gas shortages and coal downtime and Republicans blaming the wind power collapse. What really happened?

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Global Warming and Extreme Weather

By Andy May

In this post, the sixth of seven, we will discuss the connection between climate change and extreme weather. In previous posts, we’ve discussed whether humans are harming the environment, whether our population is growing too fast, the cost of global warming, are species extinctions increasing, and climate related mortality.

In the IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, page 52, they list the following risks of climate change, among others:

“Virtually certain that, in most places, there will be more hot and fewer cold temperature extremes as global mean temperatures increase, for events defined as extremes on both daily and seasonal time scales.”

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The Government Corruption of Science

Opinion by Andy May

I wrote my latest book, Politics and Climate Change: A History, because I recognized that government funding of scientific research was corrupting science. We were warned this might happen by President Eisenhower in his farewell address to the public, where he said:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocation, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.” (Eisenhower, 1961)

How right he was.

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Food Prices and Ethanol Mandates

By Andy May

This post is a follow up to my previous post on biofuels, here we discuss the impact of biofuels on food prices in more detail. Ethanol has been produced in large quantities in the United States for fuel since 1978. That was the year the Congress passed the Energy Tax Act (Tyner 2008) which provided for a 40 cent per ethanol gallon exemption to the gasoline excise tax. This tax exemption for ethanol was increased to fifty cents in 1982.

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#biofuels, #food-prices

Climate-related Deaths and Insecurity

By Andy May

In the cartoon the guy being tortured is saying “OKAY! I believe mankind causes global warming!”  The priest is saying “Very well… give the heretic back his research funds.”  The cartoon is by Cox and Forkum (2007)

In this post we will discuss the assertion that there will be more climate-related deaths due to man-made global warming. This is the fifth post in a series of seven. Continue reading

Adaptation is more profitable than mitigation has just issued a nice press release about the idea of preparing to adapt to climate changes, rather than the more controversial idea of destroying the fossil fuel industry in the hope that reducing CO2 emissions will somehow make the climate better.

So far we have been unable to measure the influence of additional CO2 on the climate, although some think the impact is somewhere between 1.5 degrees and 4.5 degrees per doubling of the CO2 concentration. We cannot even be sure of that, because there are credible estimates that are less than one degree.

So, it seems reasonable to spend our hard-earned money adapting to whatever happens. Adaptation works if the changes are natural or man-made. The article is by Guus Berkhour and Marcel Crok of The Netherlands, where they understand adaptation better than most countries. Their dikes have a flooding probability of 1 time in 10,000 years.

Read the press release here.

Population Growth and the food supply

By Andy May

This is the second of seven posts on the potential costs and hazards of human-caused global warming and the impact of humans on the environment. The first post is on humans and the environment (here). The IPCC WGII AR5 Technical Summary, defines “hazards” as follows on page 39:

“The potential occurrence of a natural or human-induced physical event or trend or physical impact that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems, and environmental resources. In this report, the term hazard usually refers to climate-related physical events or trends or their physical impacts.”

The IPCC WGII AR5 report only deals with population growth tangentially, but it has a lot of information on the world’s food supply. The WGII AR5 technical summary states:

“For the major crops (wheat, rice, and maize) in tropical and temperate regions, climate change without adaptation is projected to negatively impact aggregate production for local temperature increases of 2°C or more above late-20th-century levels, although individual locations may benefit (medium confidence).”

As we will show below, there is no indication of a change in the rate of increase in crop yields in the United Nations FAO data. Continue reading

#population, #welcomeandrea

Glaciers and Sea Level Rise

By Andy May

This is the seventh and last post in my series on the hazards of climate change. In this post we examine the effects of climate change on glaciers and sea level rise. The first six examined the effect of humans on the environment, the effect of the growing human population, climate change and the food supply, the cost of global warming, the effect of man and climate change on extinctions, climate (or weather) related deaths, and extreme weather and climate change. Continue reading