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The image of GA in the media: Commuting by plane causes media hype

Weather forecasting and climate predictions are two quite different things and as it has been said, the former is more challenging than the latter.

However, climate modelling is as good as the base data it gets. One of the rather massive problems in that is, that serious weather observation which also is available only started in the 1750’ties or so, most of the former data as I understand it comes out of forensic climatology.

The base for the thesis that mankind is responsible almost fully for the current temperature rise comes from the comparison of pre-industrialized climate as opposed to what happened since industrialisation. Out of all this and out of a load of data which are too complex to even contemplate, most models today reach the same conclusion when it comes to why we see a relatively quick rise in temperature.

It is however a valid concern that most of the published findings are worst case scenarios as opposed to best case, but even then the “best case” is not really described other than it refers to the Paris climate accord and it’s target of a 2 degree warming by 2060 or so. The question I have not been able to get an answer out of the people I asked is what about the influence of measures already implemented? And what happens, if the values of problematic gasses are maintained at a current level? All Scenarios I’ve seen so far either take a unchanged increase or a radical decrease, nothing in between?

One interesting tidbit of information I saw the other day is for instance the Krakatoa Eruption. It was modelled and calculated what kind of influence it had on the weather and temperature. Only, if you look into the data, it is visible but by far not so pronounced. So were the models wrong? Or the measurements? Or both?

Fact is, only those of us who will live to 2060 will know how good the models really were….

LSZH, Switzerland
Thought experiment. Take a pan of water and put it on a gas stove, set to burn at a certain rate.

“Weather” is trying to predict where each eddy and bubble will form in the next 10 seconds.

“Climate” is predicting that the water will be X degrees warmer in 100 seconds.

A more correct analogy is climate is how the water moves and changes temperature. In addition there is heating at random places, cooling at random places, and it all changes over time. The pan is also being moved around slowly, and there are solid stuff at random places effecting the slow movement of water. Weather is simply the effect the water has on the air above it. The average temperature of the water changes only a few thousands of a degree, and that is what causes the weather to change.

ENVA ENOP ENMO, Norway

Let’s not forget the great prediction from the 70’s:

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

The wildest statements usually get the most attention and airtime. The more moderate possibly more accurate voices can be overlooked.

Off_Field wrote:

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

You know what, there are cities which have become exactly that and why? Maybe because in certain places on the earth they did not listen to anything of the sort. Which does not make those predictions on a global scale any better, but I remember when certain cities in Eastern Europe were like that… after they got all the handed down cars from central Europe, this changed a lot. But look at the smog capitals of the world… Bejing is pretty much that dystropic vision. Simply these are singular cases and not global ones.

Off_Field wrote:

The wildest statements usually get the most attention and airtime. The more moderate possibly more accurate voices can be overlooked.

That is the problem I have with the current debate.

The thing is: It is DESIRABLE that we do something to improve our climate but it should be done in a similar way as previous such things, when e.g. we changed our cars for models with cathalysors, when all of a sudden we found that sprays and fridges can work without damaging gasses, and so on. And it will not work on a scare basis where people will simply start ignoring the doomsday sayers and even elect presidents who outright deny that something happens, but it WILL work when people want change because it improves their life. A lot of potential is in solar energy on houses, which then reduces the demand on electrical power, which may reduce coal plants e.t.c., I suppose a lot of potential are in other fields.

But it is quite interesting that often enough people who fly all of a sudden get pretty excited when one of their peers gets attacked by green sociopaths. All I can say, whoever feels he has to stop flying, having kids or even living because of climate change is free to do so.

LSZH, Switzerland

Off_Field wrote:

Let’s not forget the great prediction from the 70’s:

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….”

The wildest statements usually get the most attention and airtime. The more moderate possibly more accurate voices can be overlooked.

Well, of course the predictions were made with the assumption that we didn’t do anything about the problem! But we did. It is the same thing with the climate issues. The predictions are based on specific assumption.

It is like the discussions of the software “Y2K bug”. Lots of people say it was bogus because essentially nothing happened at the turn of the century. Of course the reason that nothing happened is that people had spent an enormous effort for several years fixing any Y2K bugs in time.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Mooney_Driver wrote:

The thing is: It is DESIRABLE that we do something to improve our climate but it should be done in a similar way as previous such things, when e.g. we changed our cars for models with cathalysors, when all of a sudden we found that sprays and fridges can work without damaging gasses, and so on. And it will not work on a scare basis where people will simply start ignoring the doomsday sayers and even elect presidents who outright deny that something happens, but it WILL work when people want change because it improves their life. A lot of potential is in solar energy on houses, which then reduces the demand on electrical power, which may reduce coal plants e.t.c., I suppose a lot of potential are in other fields.

Broadly I agree,

sensible substitutions where reasonable can be remarkably effective.

I think the argument for solar is a bad one though. Generally it takes a huge amount of space to produce a significant amount. and it does not provide a steady load. I believe it tends to be that coal or gas plants often have to be increased in usage whenever there is large scale renewables of the sort as they are more easily throttled to fill in the gaps.

I’d rather see large scale nuclear power, then use the excess energy to reform hydrocarbons thus making combustion engines “carbon neutral” pretty much.

Off_Field wrote:

Generally it takes a huge amount of space to produce a significant amount.

what I am seeing is that it works quite well for small consumers such as one family homes e.t.c. who use the roof for solar tiles. The effect can be quite remarkable. I was at a friend’s house yesterday who has a photovoltic set up on his roof. It was snowing and really bad yesterday here yet he still had remarkable electricity generation. Basically he sais that on sunny days he is feeding energy back to the net, on cloudy days he tops off from the net, yet his electricity consumption of external energy has reduced by 70% since he has the setup.

Now multiply that by imagining whole suburbs full of one family homes doing that. It may be a drop per house on a stone but if you get enough drops you can fill a bucket too.

I wonder why not all electric cars have their roof full of voltaic cells. Park it in the sun, get charged? Maybe only a drop again, but as I said… a car parked outside the whole day, if it chagres up to 10-15 km worth of power, it’s enough to drive home? Sure is in most cases.

Or on an even more primitive level: Loads of folks in a country not too far away have put black painted boilers on top of their roofs because they can’t afford hot water boilers from electricity. Works April to October full time, in Winter intermittedly. Crude, but effective. There may be over a million of those installations there. If each one would consume 3-4 kw a day to heat up the conventional way? Anyone with more patience then me in maths can calculate how many kw that saves over a season.

And what makes that attractive is: Everyone who has this can see what is in it for him. MASSIVE reduction in electricity payments, maybe even money back.

Off_Field wrote:

I’d rather see large scale nuclear power,

That is the obvious solution… but since Fukushima it is no longer possible to “sell” this to the public.

Here we have a few powerplants which actually give heating energy for free for the whole communities they are located at. But still the green lobby wants them gone tomorrow. Even though they are climate neutral in most parts.

Last Edited by Mooney_Driver at 05 Apr 12:23
LSZH, Switzerland

what is the difference between climate change and evolution?

this is my answer usually when the hippie brigade questions me on the need to fly my own airplane.

Having children is the most destructive thing a person can to do to the environment, according to a new study. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden found having one fewer child per family can save “an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year”. Eating meat, driving a car and travelling by aeroplane made up the list of the most polluting things people can do to the planet. But having children was top, according to the new study, published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. “A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives,” it said. “For example, living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of C02 equivalent per year, while eating a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of C02 equivalent a year.”
The paper, which studied analysed 39-peer reviewed journals studying the environmental policies of several major economies, found most governments focused on incremental changes which have “much smaller potential to reduce emissions”.

Last Edited by LFHNflightstudent at 05 Apr 14:08
LFHN - Bellegarde - Vouvray France

Mooney_Driver wrote:

The thing is: It is DESIRABLE that we do something to improve our climate but it should be done in a similar way as previous such things, when e.g. we changed our cars for models with cathalysors, when all of a sudden we found that sprays and fridges can work without damaging gasses, and so on

As far as I know, given predicted population change and increasing living standards, there is no model using current or predicted technology that would make this possible – it’s a fantasy, even if you believe man is influencing the climate substantially now. I think the real issue is growing energy demand worldwide and the inevitable political conflict that will result unless energy supply is increased.

Mooney_Driver wrote:

I wonder why not all electric cars have their roof full of voltaic cells. Park it in the sun, get charged? Maybe only a drop again, but as I said… a car parked outside the whole day, if it chagres up to 10-15 km worth of power, it’s enough to drive home? Sure is in most cases.

1 sq meter might collect 200 W and over 8 hrs that is 1.6 KW-hr. If it takes 20 minutes to drive home, the average power during the drive therefore needs to less than 4.8 KW or 6.4 HP…. In other words, you won’t get far (or go fast) in that 20 minute drive.

LFHNflightstudent wrote:

A US family who chooses to have one fewer child would provide the same level of emissions reductions as 684 teenagers who choose to adopt comprehensive recycling for the rest of their lives

Great stuff, but a lot of people really, truly don’t like facing the facts as opposed to ethereal but less direct issues. Politics is the process gaining power by selling palatable and/or attractive ideas to the largest possible number of people.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 05 Apr 14:44

Mooney_Driver wrote:

I wonder why not all electric cars have their roof full of voltaic cells. Park it in the sun, get charged? Maybe only a drop again, but as I said… a car parked outside the whole day, if it chagres up to 10-15 km worth of power, it’s enough to drive home? Sure is in most cases.

Cars are unbelievably energy profligate. Even my not-thirsty-at-all Honda Civic needs 6.7L/100km (at 34MJ per litre, that’s 228 MJ/100km, and with a 0.25 efficiency factor, about 57 MJ/100km at the wheel). It has enough space for it as Silvaire says for about 200 watts worth of solar panels (and a solar panel will only make its rated power when the sun is precisely perpendicular to it, and there’s no haze or cloud). At most we can probably expect an average of 100 watts during a sunny workday of 8 hours, so 100 joules per second * 3600 * 8 joules, or 2.88 megajoules.

Assuming a 90% efficient electric drive system, that means effectively 2.6MJ at the wheel from a day of being parked in a very sunny place. With 57MJ needed at the wheel to go 100km, then we’d get about 4.5 kilometers out of it (this is assuming absolutely ideal conditions). In reality, at least where I live, the sun will never be perpendicular to a car roof and there’s always some high cirrus. I’ve measured the output from solar panels, and high cirrus even with strong shadows on the ground will reduce the output of the panel by at least 50%.

It’s much easier and cheaper to just ride a bicycle instead!

Solar panels on house roofs are a lot better use for solar panels – there’s an awful lot more space on a house roof, and anyone with a pitched roof that faces south will likely get a decent amount of power from it.

Last Edited by alioth at 05 Apr 15:37
Andreas IOM
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