There are far more interesting things going on in the thread below, but this is just way too insane not to publish.  It’s by Steve Goddard, on the algae based biofuel scam.  As Air Vent readers know, algae biofuel is a complete scam.   If you have money in it, plan to get out early.  Of course with government in charge, there is always the possibility that you will get paid 63 million dollars to make 150,000 gallons.  The disgusting thing about it is that this money was for our troops to fight war, not for throwing down a toilet.  Basing a fleet on this is dangerous and stupid and our people deserve better, wars are to be won not to be screwed around with.

Read the article at Steve Goddards blog – link on big title, and be sure to read the the main article.  I pray it’s bad information.


It Costs $424 Per Gallon, It Ruins Your Engine, But It Is Green!

US navy completes successful test on boat powered by algae

The experimental boat, intended for use in rivers and marshes and eventually destined for oil installations in the Middle East, operated on a 50/50 mix of algae-based fuel and diesel.

All Cost, for No Benefit

As we head into elections, liberals are going ahead with ever more government and ever more regulation as though there is no bottom to the cash they can print.  To solve global warming, they are now proposing regulations on semi trucks to limit fuel usage.  Semi’s already limit fuel usage in an extreme of course as it is one of the primary costs in their business, but nope more government can always help in some peoples minds.

All for a rarified gas which can be measured in parts per million, which nobody knows how much warming it will cause, nobody knows if the warming will cause any problems at all, and the people who make the rules don’t understand one thing about the engineering, science or business.  Of course the voters don’t either.  We are a brilliant bunch of monkeys us.


By Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor

Two federal agencies have proposed first-ever national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy trucks. The complementary proposals, announced Monday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, will establish a new way to measure truck fuel efficiency and emissions.

Instead of miles per gallon, trucks will be measured in terms of gallons per ton-mile. And emissions will be measured in terms of grams of carbon dioxide per ton-mile. The agencies adopted this approach in order to account for the work the truck is doing, rather than just the fuel efficiency of the engine.

Weight of Water and Wind, Hurricane Pro’s Weigh in.

An email from Dr. Kerry Emanuel reproduced with permission from him and George Bryan.  It took a little while to get permission, but this is what I was receiving behind the scenes during the recent wind scuffle.  It sent me down another multi-hour adventure of reading.


Kerry Emanuel:

All:  The neglect of the mass sink owing to condensation has a long history. There are a great many approximations made in models, some of which are less justifiable than others, and after they were first introduced (often in the early days of modeling), people tend to forget about them. (The neglect of the internal heat of condensed water is another, and one of my own pet peeves is the almost ubiquitous neglect of dissipative heating, which is really important to such phenomena as hurricanes.) There are two papers that I know about in the meteorological literature that examine this particular approximation:
Continue reading “Weight of Water and Wind, Hurricane Pro’s Weigh in.”

Remarkable Heretic

Guest post Dr. Judith Curry.  I asked permission to repost this here in it entirety because it is a perfect description of the current climato-political situation.   There is so much nuance and reality in it I promise that you will be impressed, unless you are TCO.

Honesty and reality all balled up in a single post, total Air Vent material.

Check out her thread for commentary here.


The narrative

Why am I being singled out here?  Richard Lindzen and Roger Pielke Sr. have been making far more critical statements about the IPCC and climate science for a longer period than I have.  And both score higher than me in the academic pecking order  (in terms of number of publications and citations and external peer recognition).

The answer must be in the narrative of my transition from a “high priestess of global warming” to engagement with skeptics and a critic of the IPCC.  The “high priestess of global warming” narrative (I used to see this term fairly frequently in the blogosphere, can’t spot it now) arose from my association with the hurricane and global warming issue, which at the time was the most alarming issue associated with global warming.

The overall evolution of my thinking on global warming is described in the Q&A at collide-a-scape (the relevant statements are appended at the end of this post.) My thinking and evolution on this issue since 11/19/09 deserves further clarification.  When I first started reading the CRU emails, my reaction was a visceral one.  While my colleagues seemed focused on protecting the reputations of the scientists involved and assuring people that the “science hadn’t changed,” I immediately realized that this could bring down the IPCC.  I became concerned about the integrity of our entire field: both the actual integrity and its public perception.  When  I saw how the IPCC was responding and began investigating the broader allegations against the IPCC, I became critical of the IPCC and tried to make suggestions for improving the IPCC.  As glaring errors were uncovered (especially the Himalayan glaciers) and the IPCC failed to respond, I started to question whether it was possible to salvage the IPCC and whether it should be salvaged.   In the meantime, the establishment institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere were mostly silent on the topic.

Continue reading “Remarkable Heretic”


M10 linked again here, starts with the following equation.

dQ = CvdT + PdV  + L dλ   — Eq 1, from first law of Thermo.

From this equation many on and offline comments were sent to me which claimed heat release was a far greater concern, gavin placed one here although his latent heat number is not correct, in fact it’s kind of all over the place. We’ve learned that several climate models assume exactly this fact though so I tried to improve on Gavin’s calculation below.

Continue reading “Independence”

Scientific World

Scientific American on Judith Curry.

Climate Heretic: Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues

Certainly, it’s not surprising that media is not making money these days, they blame the internet but check out that gorgeous title for an otherwise reasonable article.

For most of her career, Curry, who heads the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has been known for her work on hurricanes, Arctic ice dynamics and other climate-related topics. But over the past year or so she has become better known for something that annoys, even infuriates, many of her scientific colleagues. Curry has been engaging actively with the climate change skeptic community, largely by participating on outsider blogs such as Climate Audit, the Air Vent and the Black­board. Along the way, she has come to question how climatologists react to those who question the science, no matter how well established it is. Although many of the skeptics recycle critiques that have long since been disproved, others, she believes, bring up valid points—and by lumping the good with the bad, climate researchers not only miss out on a chance to improve their science, they come across to the public as haughty. “Yes, there’s a lot of crankology out there,” Curry says. “But not all of it is. If only 1 percent of it or 10 percent of what the skeptics say is right, that is time well spent because we have just been too encumbered by groupthink.”

The Air Vent got a mention in what I consider some pretty good company. The article still has that smell of ever-left wing media but compared to what you’re used to, it is nothing.   They do attempt to paint Judith into a particular corner to which she does not belong, but in the end it isn’t a bad read. As one of the first to link to Judith’s new blog, I have to say that she hasn’t overdone the middle ground on topics.  So far it’s just reasoned opinion, which is what science blogging should be.   Discussions like our recent threads here remind me of university hallways, labs.  I’m enough of a gearhead that unique exciting problems that mean nothing to others keep me up all night, it’s good to see yet another blog which appreciates the open discussion.

Thanks to the heads up from steveta_uk.

Skeptics Poll

Die Klimazwiebel posted the results of their poll of skeptics.  I’m amazed that the Air Vent isn’t listed on it as a frequent referencer.  Considering that it took them a month to collect 600 skeptics, and I linked to it from here, that’s a little surprising.   We could probably do that in a day but anyway the interpretation of answers needs a little clarification.

Anyway, check it out and clarify for them if you’re interested.

h/t Roman M

Winning and Losing

I need a break from reading model papers.  Tom fuller recently made the point that skeptics are winning the AGW discussion, at least temporarily.  It’s an interesting concept, victory in science by those who question.

__What is won?

__What was lost?

I’m sure that some will agree, that on average through history skeptics never win,

Or is it that on average skeptics always win?

As each scientifically contested point is demonstrated by reason,

_____and people become convinced,

___________is that a win for a skeptic or someone else?

Is it just the nature of humanity or is it the nature of logical biology?

What if models are perfect, then who won?  What if they have error, who won then?

What if the theory of relativity is proven, or what if it is dis-proven, who won?, the one who believed from the beginning or the one who asked a question?

Jeff, you’re boring me,  if nothing can be won or lost then who ever loses the questions.

the altruist.

Maybe Tom is right……..

Modeling the Basics, A mathematical summary of condensation in climate models.

An important point often made by critics of climate models is that they often represent our best guess at specific phenomena.  One of the biggest uncertainties in climate models is in proper modeling of atmospheric moisture.  Considering that H2O is widely accepted to be the strongest of all greenhouse gasses, water is fairly important component of climate models.  As is often the case at tAV, I’m not the guy who figured this out but am the one who will attempt to translate the deficiency in models as I currently understand it.

Based on Makarieva et al. recent multi-author paper (M10) on the driving force behind winds several here at the Air Vent have discovered that the climate model CAM3.0 linked here doesn’t include precipitation condensation based pressure loss in its cloud parametrization. The model doesn’t even attempt a simulation for what I believe will soon be accepted as the primary driver of most winds including tornadoes and hurricanes, not just globally on earth but solar system wide.  Jupiter’s red spot, bands in Saturn, all of it powered by condensation based pressure changes.   Why is that so important? Because the additional energy stored in water vapor which translates into lower than modeled pressure and higher than modeled windspeeds in hadley cell updrafts.

Ask yourself to explain what powers a tornado, and soon you’ll find yourself describing strong temperature inversions where the hot surface air breaks through the cold upper air or something of that sort.  In fact, that is what we’ve all been taught since junior high.  M10 teaches that there is a component of basic gas physics missing from this explanatoin — condensation.

The water vapor component of saturated air at 30C has a Water vapor is about 0.6PSI where as standard air pressure at sea level is 14.7 PSI.  When the vapor condenses, it no longer contributes to the gas pressure in the region of condensation much as it takes up nearly zero volume at that point.  The air pressure in the saturated volume would drop by the vapor pressure amount when condensed.  The pressure doesn’t sound like much but remember, we already have a model which creates some convection without it and 0.6PSI over a square yard is 780 lbs of additional upward force.  That’s not all though, the heat release during condensation creates an additional pressure loss warming the surrounding air reducing the air pressure even further.  The net effect is all toward powerful amplification of updrafts in a condensation environment.

I’m not intending to do the calculations any further here, because it is basic knowledge.  None of what I’ve written above is in any way new and all of it has been known longer and more completely than we have known about CO2 absorbing infrared radiation.  In fact, 20 years ago in my undergraduate thermodynamics class we were forced to calculate all of these factors for a variety of mixed gasses.  So when I first read Anastassia’s paper on what powers hurricanes, it made perfect sense to me.  Except for the part where she claimed it wasn’t part of mainstream literature.

Nick Stokes, who takes too much criticism some times, summed it up best, brackets are mine.

I have to say that it’s still not clear to me where condensation comes in in 3.3.6. However, I remain sure that they haven’t just forgotten about it. This stuff [models] has been around for thirty years, reviewed by thousands.

For some background reading  Nick linked to the Zhang paper from which the cloud parametrization for CAM3.0 was adopted. Paper here and he also pointed out some very similar equations to M10 right from the CAM model there is a difference though.

From the CAM3.0 global climate model, chapter 3.3.2 paraphrased style, it’s not a direct quote and I’m not the original author 😉

The conservation of total air mass using $ \pi$ as the prognostic variable can be written as

$\displaystyle \frac{\partial }{\partial t}\pi +\nabla \cdot \left(\overrightarrow{V}\pi \right) =0 ,$
Eq 3.365

Similarly, the mass conservation law for tracer species (or water vapor) can be written as

$\displaystyle \frac{\partial }{\partial t}(\pi q)+\nabla \cdot \left(\overrightarrow{V}\pi q\right) =0 ,$
Eq 3.366


There is no “law” of conservation of water vapor to my knowledge.  Water vapor can condense, especially when V can be in the vertical direction toward lower pressure.  This is clearly a simplification of the situation as mass of water vapor is obviously not conserved during condensation in an air volume.

Continue reading “Modeling the Basics, A mathematical summary of condensation in climate models.”

Momentary Lapse of Reason

Read the following with caution but this is potentially the most important story the Air Vent has carried.  A paper for open review by Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G., Sheil D., Nobre A.D., Li B.-L. in open discussion here, has revealed what appears to be a gaping hole in climate models.  In previous discussions here it has been stated that the pressure loss by condensation simply didn’t exist in models, but I’ve never checked it myself — until this morning.  Nick Stokes pointed us to the relevant page of CCSM3.  The model is a parametrized version of the physics which leaves out the key factor of pressure drop caused when water vapor condenses.

Now I’m not an expert in models, but I can read math.  The model page linked above indicates the thought process that went into the parametrization and from that, pressure loss from the energy of various components of condensing gas is simply not included.  During the parametrization process, basic physical properties are identified such that you get the right answers without extra calculation.  Skip a step in the simplification and you get the wrong parameter.  What it means is that you can get your mass and energy balance without recalculating pressure.

This is not a SMALL change.  But it is more than one model, what I understand according to Dr.Makarieva it apparently is accepted consensus science!  If true, this physically represents the need for a major change to climate models in general.

As an engineer, you imagine using the basic flow equations, the basic energy content equations, the basic mass equations to calculate pressure and flow which is then linearized for finite element analysis.  The models do all that but are not that detailed in the end.  They apparently skip a  step, a very big one – air pressure change due to condensation.

I know it seems preposterous, but in Meteorology, condensation is still considered by some to increase pressure.  From an anonymous reviewer of the hurricane paper by Anastassia Makarieva:

Continue reading “Momentary Lapse of Reason”

Circular Reasoning Explained

Dr. Roy Spencer has in interesting explanation regarding CO2 as the only real driver of greenhouse warming.

Does CO2 Drive the Earth’s Climate System? Comments on the Latest NASA GISS Paper

There was a very clever paper published in Science this past week by Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, and Ruedy that uses the GISS climate model (ModelE) in an attempt to prove that carbon dioxide is the main driver of the climate system.

This paper admits that its goal is to counter the oft-quoted claim that water vapor is the main greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. (They provide a 1991 Lindzen reference as an example of that claim).

Denying the Catastrophe

A very nice essay by Warren Meyer is linked below.  In context is Hegerl’s recent talk highlighted on Bishop Hill where she is quoted as saying:

…What is frustrating to me as a scientist is that the objections raised by the skeptics groups are scientifically so stupid often…it would be really much more fun to fight really interesting assertions.  But it’s often things that often ring reasonable to people who have not background in this but that are scientifically totally with out value. I would find it more interesting to discuss if the sceptics would raise better questions.

To which I of course reply [snip]….

Warren sums it nicely.


Denying the Catastrophe: The Science of the Climate Skeptic’s Position


In last week’s column, I lamented the devolution of the climate debate into dueling ad hominem attacks, which has led in almost a straight line to the incredible totalitarian vision of the 10:10 climate group’s recent film showing school kids getting blown up for not adhering to the global warming alarmists’ position.

In writing that column, it struck me that it was not surprising that many average folks may be unfamiliar with the science behind the climate skeptic’s position, since it almost never appears anywhere in the press. This week I want to give a necessarily brief summary of the skeptic’s case. There is not space here to include all the charts and numbers; for those interested, this video and slide presentation provides much of the analytical backup.

It is important to begin by emphasizing that few skeptics doubt or deny that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas or that it and other greenhouse gasses (water vapor being the most important) help to warm the surface of the Earth. Further, few skeptics deny that man is probably contributing to higher CO2 levels through his burning of fossil fuels, though remember we are talking about a maximum total change in atmospheric CO2 concentration due to man of about 0.01% over the last 100 years.


Click the title in the article  for the rest of his essay.


I continue to learn new details of paleoclimate.  The Ljungqvist proxies have been great fun so far.  I can’t plot them individually because some are confidentially revealed but I can average them.  One surprise I had was when I took all tree proxies and all non-tree proxies and created nearly identical reconstructions.  I mean these things are as noisy as any proxy series I’ve ever encountered but the average keeps coming out the same!

I ran a test today where I randomly selected series from the Ljungqvist series and created non correlation sorted composite plus scale reconstructions from them.  This non-sorted CPS scales proxies according to their entire series length and averages.  Basically it is a process which cannot create the ‘calibration period’ distortions encountered in Mannian regress-o-matic stuff.  If you are non-mathematical, think of the following plots as reasonable averages of subsets of the data.

My previous Ljungqvist replication is here:

In the past, we’ve seen other’s math create hockey sticks from random data with no signal.  Ljungqvist’s math and the following will create a statistically flat line from a truly random dataset whereas correlation sorted data or regression will create a hockeystick.  The following is reasonable math with Ljungqvist temperature proxies.

Continue reading “Robust?”

Where do winds come from?

Discussion continued at this post:

Again, some very important (and simple) confirmation of condensation driven winds.  When you see the top of clouds forming or evaporating, it should make you think.  The paper is open for scientific commentary there and blog commentary here.


Anastassia Makarieva
Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapor condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics

Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G., Sheil D., Nobre A.D., Li B.-L.

now up for public discussion at ACPD:

According to the Economist , the biotic pump theory stating that natural forests drive winds to sustain the water cycle on land has caused “a stir” in Western academia. Indeed, last time it was in the end of the 17th century (see Halley 1686) that a physical driver of winds was proposed. That time it was differential heating (the statement that the warm air rises being lighter than cold air). It formed the basis of a consensus regarding the causes of atmospheric motion, a consensus that is now over three hundred years old. However, this consensus had formed long before the kinetic theory of gases was formulated. This fundamental theory revealed that gas pressure depends not only on temperature, but also on the number of gas molecules in a unit volume. Phase transitions of water (condensation and evaporation) namely change this number. Thus, spatial gradients of the intensity of condensation/evaporation are to be associated with air pressure gradients that cause the air to move. (By consequence, natural forests known for their high evaporation potential become a major player in atmospheric circulation .)
Continue reading “Where do winds come from?”