Archive for July, 2010

Moist Enthalpy

July 22, 2010

Moist enthalpy is the energy stored in 1 kg of moist air; many scientists (like Prof. Roger Pielke, from Colorado State University) think that moist enthalpy is a way better measure to quantify climate warming thant the simple air temperature. I wrote a short article on how to compute moist enthalpy H from dry temperature, relative humidity and air pressure; this was published as a guest post on Prof. Pielke’s blog “Climate Science”. (pdf version here)

I added to the near-live graphs 2 graphs of the variation of that moist enthalpy in Diekirch; this was not too difficult to do,  as GNUPLOT is such a wonderful tool. The following figure shows the 7 days graph, with comments added:

Coming Climate Crisis?

July 11, 2010

I am reaching the end reading this very unusual but highly interesting book. The author Claire L. Parkinson is a researcher (ex-researcher?) at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, specializing in sea-ice problems. She is an IPCC co-author and certainly can not be labeled a “skeptic”. Calling her “alarmist” also would be wrong. She very strongly defends the skeptics rights and raison d’être, even if she does not agree with many of their opinions.

Her (may be muted, but nevertheless very outspoken) sympathy for skeptical minds is “rewarded” by a rather strange foreword of Prof.  Lonnie G. Thomson, who dissociates herself from the author’s too liberal (= consensus critical) penchant.
It is a big book of ca. 300 pages, covering a very broad range of subjects. The author starts by a large part relating the evolution of earth’s climate and it’s often abrupt changes. There is nothing new here, but the presentation is very readable. I especially liked her chapter on the skeptics (like Lindzen, Singer, Spencer) and on the problems of climate modeling. She deplores the rough handling most skeptics get by the mainstream scientists (comfortably nested in their cosy consensus club);  she also gets angry when these people are declared stooges of the oil industry, revealing that  mainstream scientists can get (and get) whatever funding from these industries without anybody of the consensus crew taking concern.
Her chapter on the problems and pitfalls of modelling is extremely interesting to read, as she begins by a personal experience (modeling polnyas) which showed how hasty conclusions from models can be way out of the mark. She also deplores the rushing into print of partial research results, which often are again faulted a couple of months later.

The book was intended as a warning not to embark in grandiose geo-engineering projects, as there are so many lessons of the past showing how awfully wrong such schemes may go. These warnings, with illustrative examples, are talked about up and again, but I appreciate that they only make a small part of this book.
I am not in line with everything the author writes or thinks; but this book is such a refreshing and surprising venture coming from a community were liberal minds are not always welcome. To be recommended!

The Real Global Warming Disaster

July 9, 2010

Some times ago I read with great pleasure the book “Scared to Death” written by R. North an C. Booker; in this book a lot of scares were studied, and Global Warming was just one among many. Now Booker, who is a regular contributor to “The Sunday Telegraph” concentrates on the big climate scare. He writes a very agreeable English, with polished sentences, and makes reading the  book (368 pages) a delight. The book is a chronology starting in 1972 and stopping just before the Climategate scandal. But even if this latter is missing, it makes exciting reading. I especially admire Booker when he tells us how blindly, puerile and naive politicians and enviro-groups embark on grandiose “green energy” schemes; they are incapable to make a simple computation showing that these schemes are impossible to realize in the proposed magnitude and short time spans (wind energy in the UK is a prime candidate).

Every chapter closes by very extensive references.

I think the book was somewhat rushed into print, as there are a couple of silly blunders (example:  misspelling of Prof. Lindzen name) that a more thorough second reading would have checked. Nevertheless I heartily recommend this book, which takes you for  a thrilling ride through the labyrinth of politicized climatology.