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Posts Tagged ‘Climate’

BEGIN EDIT: I think I misread the Britannica part. Netherlands has half of it’s area highly developed and half of that highly developed area is low lying, so a quarter of the total. END EDIT

The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level where 60% of its population lives and 65% of its Gross National Product (GNP) is produced

IPCC AR4 Working group II Chapter 12.2.3.

If this too is wrong, you bet the WG1 people are pissed off.  (WG1 is the scientific basis, WG2 the effects and WG3 is the mitigation ways working group of IPCC.)

But it seems Britannica has information in similar vein:

The Netherlands is bounded by the North Sea to the north and west, Germany to the east, and Belgium to the south. If the Netherlands were to lose the protection of its dunes and dikes, the most densely populated part of the country would be inundated (largely by the sea but also in part by the rivers). This highly developed part of the Netherlands, which generally does not lie higher than about three feet (one metre) above sea level, covers more than half the total area of the country. About half of this area (more than one-fourth of the total area of the country) actually lies below sea level.

So, the question becomes tides and how sea level is measured: if it’s the mean sea level, then even low stuff over sea level is unlivable because of the tides (unless you put dikes and pump it dry of course).

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Robert Grumbine examines them in many of his recent posts. This might be good for engineers and physicists from other fields trying to get the basics.

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I just updated the blog title and again just watched the page and the blurb.

It’s when we start working together that the real healing takes place, … It’s when we start spilling our sweat, and not our blood.

It’s a quote of David Hume, my favorite philosopher. I haven’t read his books though. I was reading a Finnish translation of one but it seemed so tedious with the language that I couldn’t bother. So me favouring him is based on the works of others about him.

The quote reminded me of the conflicts that I’m witnessing. The subject line matter needs to be done. At the moment many parts of climate software seem to be science software – written by people in a hurry with little planning, and code that has seen different people adding bits and pieces here and there, making it a big mess. Fortran and supercomputers and all that. Well, most software is a mess. Twenty man years, said MT. That’s a small amount of money considering how much is at stake and even compared to the amount of huffing and puffing efforts around the subject. I am available.

What else needs healing and sweat spilling? Well, quite many things. Including stuff in my personal life.

There are lots of old (sometimes Fortran) code packages hanging around. Nuclear stuff, rocket trajectory calculations, rocket engine chemical/thermodynamics performance… You name it, anything a young man is interested in seems to depend on these archaic pieces of software. So there’s a lot of potential work here but it seems so big for just a lone person to do much on their own free time.

The blog title picture is just some hinge flapped NACA foils simulated with the vortex lattice method in QFLR5. That actually IS a free software project, mostly by Andre Deperrois and uses Mark Drela’s XFOIL for 2D calcs. In the picture, the front wing has NACA 4415 with 6 m span, 1 m chord, 25% chord 15 degree full span flap, and the tail is a NACA 0012 with 2 m span 0.5 m chord, 40% flap or elevator at -15 degrees. Flying at 5 degrees AoA (plus 4 deg to the front wing) and 18.9 m/s, lifting about 2000 N. Absolutely no guarantees about the results.

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A project you can partake here. Rewriting some NASA GISS temperature record code in Python at first.

I’d go further and say things like these should not be volunteer efforts… government codes for something important like this should be open (and GISS is) with people being paid to update and keep them in good shape. Hopefully they can take things like these as templates.

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Hack and get some climate researchers’ emails. Then point to some pretty reasonable stuff as evidence of a conspiracy if taken out of context.

It seems there are a few cases certain people latch onto.

There was a certain lousy paper pushed for publication in the journal called Climate Research. It was crap – the claims in the paper conclusions could not be justified by the data or methods presented in it. It was also written by known fossil industry funded frauds. It went through anyway because of a bad reviewer and editor, and actually was pushed as support for policy. Like pushing creation science somewhere in a weak journal so you can cite it as “peer reviewed”. Many other editors for the journal quit as a result. Read the story here, where “Clare Goodess explains the circumstances behind the resignation of half of the editorial board of the journal Climate Research”.

I do hope for more openness on the data and algorithms front. Of course if you’re a climate researcher and get your data only with personal agreements (from the data collecting scientists and institutions who might work under lots of constraints – these might not be the same people who make models or the temperature reconstructions from the data).

I don’t know about the FOIA (government information) requests… It seems bad that things have been withheld. On the other hand if you get so much FOIA requests just for posturing’s sake from certain people that you’re swamped by them, that’s unreasonable as well.

Then there’s the alleged “trick” to hide some cooling. AFAIK, this is just a known proxy issue where they are in error at some point and thus when you make some plots you don’t use that period but “hide” it.

Quite weird arguments.  The FOI one is the most serious looking to me, and others seem just fake.

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Finland is enacting laws that lead to building some more wind power. Like some professionals in the Finnish wind power association, Suomen tuulivoimayhdistys, have told me, perhaps the most important thing about wind power is that you have to be smart about what and where you build.

The wastelands of dead windmills in the California deserts are a result of subsidizing the building of very immature technology, with little concern for actual electricity production.

Wind power can be useful for energy production and CO2 emissions reduction, but it must be built with operation in mind. Finland and the whole Nordpool market operates with a power generation mix that includes possibilities of reducing CO2 emissions by just injecting wind power to the market when there is wind.

If Finland is serious about deploying large amounts of wind power, offshore is the way. The winter sea ice is a hard problem. Lighthouses have washed away in the fifties because of moving thick sea ice. It is even possible that  wind power in icy sea conditions is simply not profitable in the near term, even with high subsidies. It also might be that because of the very high cost of the foundations per mill, the optimal unit size is far bigger than in warmer waters. This all would require a methodical approach with multi-year testing programs of different foundations and possibly different turbine paradigms. (Sort of how the current wind turbines enjoy the methodical research programs and various large prototypes of the nineties.) So a decade perhaps from start to deployment, at rapid pace, starting immediately.

The other thing, like the major parties have been saying, is nuclear power. In an energy mix, this can push out the fossils out, approaching from the bottom instead of the top like wind power. If current trends continue, there will be a few more nukes soon. If I recall correctly Mauri Pekkarinen, the trade and industry minister from the center party commented how the next nuclear power plants would replace, roughly one each, electricity imports (from Russia), old nukes (that have to be retired in the future decades), and fossil fuel plants. Perhaps that is not entirely correct and gives little possibility for energy conservation or renewables, but I actually view it as a rough and dim picture of a not worst possible future.

So, in summary: be careful about how you encourage and where you build big wind – otherwise it’s just a nuisance – and also, build some nukes (keep the regulatory body in good control of them).

I am a fan of wind power – correctly built wind power. And so are the people at Tuulivoimayhdistys – they are professionals after all. Lawmakers should listen to them very carefully, when deciding what kind of subsidies to make.

I’ve seen some talk how in USA the Democrats that currently hold power are proposing methods of CO2 cuts completely based on renewables. This seems unrealistic to me. Too bad the Republicans, when they were in power, did nothing to make CO2 cuts. Now they can just complain about the methods.

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Michael Tobis, a climate scientist, thinks climate modeling is progressing too slowly and might have even reached a plateau of sorts. There still aren’t very good regional precipitation predictions for example.

And he thinks, far simplified, that the disorganized mess of patching the old fortran codes is the reason – the climatology community should take a new example from the commercial sector which succesfully develops complex distributed software. Like Google.

(more…)

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