By Andy May
Popular accounts of shale oil and gas reservoirs are often riddled with errors and, even when technically correct, often misleading. As a shale petrophysicist, retired from Devon Energy, I thought I would try and explain, in a non-technical way, how these reservoirs work and why they have been so successful. Continue reading
By Andy May
We have been told that the phytoplankton population is declining rapidly around the world and, of course, the cause is climate change. Phytoplankton is the base of the ocean food chain and it accounts for about half of global primary productivity or organic matter creation (Boyce, Lewis and Worm 2010). Phytoplankton is the major consumer of carbon dioxide, the dreaded demon trace gas, and the major producer of oxygen. So, first question, is the estimated decline in phytoplankton accurate, significant or unusual? Second question, if the decline is real, are the measurements long term enough to show it is not a natural occurrence? What is the natural variability and how do we know man-made climate change is to blame? Let’s investigate this. Continue reading
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.”
The IPCC lowered their estimate of the impact of solar variability on the Earth’s climate from the already low value of 0.12 W/m2 (Watts per square-meter) given in their fourth report (AR4), to a still lower value of 0.05 W/m2 in the 2013 fifth report (AR5), the new value is illustrated in Figure 1. These are long term values, estimated for the 261-year period 1750-2011 and they apply to the “baseline” of the Schwabe ~11-year solar (or sunspot) cycle, which we will simply call the “solar cycle” in this post. The baseline of the solar cycle is the issue since the peaks are known to vary. The Sun’s output (total solar irradiance or “TSI”) is known to vary at all time scales (Kopp 2016), the question is by how much. The magnitude of short-term changes, less than 11 years, in solar output are known relatively accurately, to better than ±0.1 W/m2. But, the magnitude of solar variability over longer periods of time is poorly understood. Yet, small changes in solar output over long periods of time can affect the Earth’s climate in significant ways (Eddy 1976) and (Eddy 2009). Continue reading
By Andy May
After I posted my series on the great climate debate between Dr. William Happer and Dr. David Karoly, hosted by TheBestSchools.org, I received several requests to pull the series together into one pdf. This is now done, and the pdf can be downloaded here.
Since the series was posted, we have found out that Dr. William Happer has joined the White House as a top advisor. Dr. Happer is 79 years old and has confirmed that he began serving on the National Security Council, under National Security Advisor John Bolton on Tuesday, September 4. Congratulations Will! Read the details by Hannah Northey here.
Update: I’ve created an epub format edition of the report. It can be downloaded here. Due to restrictions on my website, I had to zip the file. After downloading, unzip the file and then open the epub file with Internet Explorer, Nook, or some other ebook reader.
By Andy May
Some have speculated that the distribution of relative humidity would remain roughly constant as climate changes (Allen and Ingram 2002). Specific humidity can be thought of as “absolute” humidity or the total amount of water vapor in the atmosphere. We will call this amount “TPW” or total precipitable water with units of kg/m2. As temperatures rise, the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship states that the equilibrium vapor pressure above the oceans should increase and thus, if relative humidity stays the same, the total water vapor or specific humidity will increase. The precise relationship between specific humidity and temperature in the real world is unknown but is estimated to be between 0.6 to 18% (10-90%ile range) per degree Celsius from global climate model results (Allen and Ingram 2002).
Carl Mears and colleagues (Mears, et al. 2018) have recently published a satellite microwave brightness record of TPW from 1988 to 2017 showing TPW, over the world’s ice-free oceans, increasing in lockstep with global mean temperature. This surprised me since Benestad (Benestad 2016), (Partridge, Arking and Pook 2009), (Miskolczi 2014) and (Miskolczi 2010) have previously reported that TPW, as computed from weather balloon data, has gone down recently, although their time periods were earlier and longer than the record shown in Mears, et al. Continue reading
By Andy May
The following is a quote from my book Climate Catastrophe! Science or Science Fiction?
“99.9 percent of the Earth’s surface heat capacity is in the oceans and less than 0.1 percent is in the atmosphere. Further, CO2 is only 0.04 percent of the atmosphere. It beggars belief that a trace gas (CO2), in an atmosphere that itself contains only a trace amount of the total thermal energy on the surface of the Earth, can control the climate of the Earth. This is not the tail wagging the dog, this is a flea on the tail of the dog wagging the dog.”
One would think that this is clear, but to some it clearly is not. A commenter on Amazon.com named “Stephen” thinks it is “Scientific gibberish” and explains as follows: