A Trip Round Swansea Bay

During his recent visit to Swansea David Cameron was quoted as saying: “From the moment I heard about the (Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon) project I have always been personally very keen on really examining it because it seems to me it has real transformational potential for Swansea — there’s obviously the energy side of it, the clean, green energy, but also the recreational transformation and economic transformation. I am excited by projects that can really transform.”

Tide power is a technology that Energy Matters hasn’t looked into in any detail, so here I will briefly review its potential as an energy source (I ignore its recreational benefits) using Swansea Bay and the “pipeline” of larger tidal lagoon projects that are scheduled to follow it as examples of the approach that tide power in the UK seems destined to follow. Is this approach really transformational? Or is it just another green pipe dream going nowhere?


Tidal Lagoon Swansea Bay (credit Renewable Energy World)

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Blowout week 73

Building on the recent interest in energy storage and the potential for going off-grid, this week we feature the latest offering from the fertile imaginations of the sustainable living enthusiasts – the Ecocapsule:

Engadget:  The Ecocapsule – a pint-sized solar and wind-powered micro home

Ecocapsule is a small, egg-shaped abode that could be the perfect home for someone who wants to let it all go like Elsa and live off the grid. Its roof is decked with 600W solar cells and a built-in 750W wind turbine that store the energy they harness into a high-power battery. The structure’s shape also allows its inhabitant to collect rainwater by placing containers around it. Since it measures just 14.6 feet long by 7.4 feet wide by 8.4 feet tall, anyone who isn’t into tiny houses (and we do mean tiny houses) might feel more than a bit claustrophobic inside. Its designers, Nice Architects from Slovakia, made good use of every inch of interior space, though, fitting in a folding bed, a small kitchen, a dining area, a shower and flushable toilet, and even some storage space.

Stories below the fold on the Ferrybridge closure, Scotland demanding a veto over UK energy decisions, NOPEC – a rival for OPEC, Saudi Arabia to become a renewables powerhouse, nuclear in South Africa and China, coal in India, the Large Hadron Collider sets a new energy record, job losses in the European renewables industry, conflicting views on melting Antarctic ice, how climate change threatens football and immediately following, an interesting contrast in the way two media outlets report what the CEO of Shell said last week:
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The Loch Ness Monster of Energy Storage

The UK had splendid weather in April. With high pressure over the North Sea we had 8 days of splendid weather at the beginning of the month (2nd to 9th of April) and 9 days of splendid sunshine during the second half (15th to 24th April) (Figure 1). This of course left our massive fleet of wind power stations idling. 12 GW of installed capacity produced less than 1 GW for much of that time and less than 0.2GW for some of the time. This affords the opportunity to put some numbers on the energy storage requirements to survive lulls such as these.

Our standard unit of currency is going to be the proposed Coire Glas (CG) pumped hydro storage scheme [1] which has capacity to store 30 GWh and to release that energy over a two day period. As described below, the first lull requires about 347 GWh or 12 CGs. The second requires 339 GWh or 11 CGs but there is insuficient surplus wind between the lulls to recharge the magazines (Figure 1). A single Coire Glas is environmentally sensitive. Contemplating storage as a solution to intermittent wind must therefore be an exercise in vanity. Not quite! Enter the Strath Dearn (SD) Pumped Hydro Storage concept [2] beside Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. The SD will be our second unit of storage where 1SD = 227 CGs. With a capacity to store 6800 GWh it could easily have spanned the April 2015 lulls with room to spare. But as always there is more than one catch.

Figure 1 UK electricity demand and wind production as recorded by BM reports and reported by Gridwatch [3]. Demand left hand scale, wind generation right hand scale. The storage required to span lulls is based on a 3 GW target for median wind output. In other words, when over 3 GW is being generated the surplus is used to pump water. Click chart for large version.

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A Potential Solution to the Problem of Storing Solar Energy – Don’t Store It.

In How Much Battery Storage Does a Solar PV System Need? I assumed that the rooftop PV system would generate just enough power to fill annual domestic demand and that the surplus power generated in summer would be stored for re-use in the winter in Tesla batteries. The result was an across-the board generation cost of around $35/kWh. Clearly the Tesla battery storage option isn’t economically viable, or at least not under the scenario I chose.

As Phil Chapman and others pointed out in comments, however, this is not the only way a domestic solar PV system can generate enough year-round power to allow a household to go off-grid. Another is to overdesign the system so that it’s large enough to fill demand in winter when solar output is at a minimum and simply curtail the excess power generated in summer. How does this “no storage” option pan out?
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Blowout week 72

This week we focus on the squabble between the UK and Austria over Hinkley Point, which could have far-reaching effects on UK energy security and on the future of nuclear power in Europe. Certainly if an EU member state can delay or stop construction of a nuclear plant in another EU member state simply because it doesn’t like nuclear then the future of nuclear in the EU is gloomy indeed (h/t to Hugh Sharman for the links):

Power Engineering:  Austrian PM confirms Hinkley lawsuit to be filed shortly

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has confirmed that his country will be registering its lawsuit against the European Commission for its approval of a subsidy deal to finance the Hinkley Point nuclear plant, within ‘a few weeks.’ The news will be a bitter blow to British plans to build the plant, with a legal counsel for the Austrian government earlier this week stating that the action will automatically stall development of the nuclear power plant for between five and eight years. “We have the suit ready and will bring it in a couple of weeks before the European Court. We are complaining against the European Commission’s decision to allow the UK state to finance the costly expansion of a nuclear power plant.” Faymann told Austria magazine he would not be intimidated by … threats. “It may well be that David Cameron, if he is re-elected next week, would have us in some form or difficulties. But we Austrians are known for our perspective on nuclear power. We have long been the Gauls in Europe who have fought alone against nuclear power – and we will now continue to fight against an incorrigible cynic like David Cameron holding inflammatory speeches in favour of nuclear power plants, we will now proceed with lawsuits.”

Power Engineering:  UK threatens diplomatic war on Austria over nuclear power lawsuit

A diplomatic cable indicating repercussions for Austria if it doesn’t drop its opposition to the UK’s nuclear power project at Hinkley Point has been leaked to the mainstream media. UK ministers are warning their Austrian counterparts retaliatory messages will be instigated if Vienna goes ahead with plans to challenge an EU state aid decision approving subsidies for new nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset. David Cameron’s government is applying pressure in the knowledge that an Austrian legal objection could prove very damaging for the country’s energy plan. Lawyers say that an appeal by Austria could take between three and four years, almost certainly delaying plans for the nuclear plant to produce 7 per cent of the nation’s electricity by 2023. Initial measures would include: a complaint to the European Court about Austrian electricity labelling rules, pressure for Austria to contribute more to EU effort – sharing funds when it does not accept nuclear power as a “sustainable energy source”, and an investigation into whether Austria’s suit violated the Euratom treaty. “Further steps and escalation cannot be excluded after the complaint has been submitted,” the cable says.

Stories below on oil, gas and fracking, Indonesia to rejoin OPEC, bladeless wind turbines, disintegrating Antarctic Ice sheets, virtual power plants in Germany, more Russian gas for UK, wind power doing badly in California, Pacific islands keeping pace with rising sea levels, the 2015 El Niño, Swansea Bay, coal plant shutdowns in US and how climate change makes pot more potent.

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What’s Really Wrong With the Global Surface Temperature Record

Recently there has been much discussion as to whether the homogeneity adjustments applied to raw surface air temperature records by GISS, NCDC, CRU and BEST might not have manufactured a lot of the global warming allegedly caused by man-made greenhouse gases. Here I look briefly into this question, but more deeply into into the question of whether the published “surface temperature” time series that are presently used to evaluate global warming, such as HadCRUT4, GISS LOTI and NCDC land & ocean, are fit for purpose. And without further ado here are the conclusions I have reached based on an analysis of HadCRUT4, the most commonly-used of the published “surface temperature” series:

    1. The homogeneity adjustments applied to the raw surface air temperature records are suspect but have little impact on HadCRUT4.
    2. The bias adjustments applied to the raw sea surface temperature records are equally suspect and have a larger impact. They don’t add warming (they actually apply a net cooling adjustment between 1880 and the present) but they significantly change the shape of HadCRUT4.
    3. HadCRUT4 combines surface air temperatures and sea surface temperatures that show quite different trends into an apples-and-oranges average that does not provide meaningful results. Consequently HadCRUT4, along with its sister GISS, NCDC and BEST combined land and ocean “surface temperature” series, must be deemed unfit for purpose, particularly when the purpose is to quantify global warming and to guide the world’s multi-trillion-dollar efforts to combat it.
    4. When surface air and sea surface temperatures are considered separately – which is the way they should be evaluated – we find that climate models do a generally good job of hindcasting surface air temperatures but a conspicuously poor job of hindcasting sea surface temperatures.

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The Thermodynamic and Economic Realities of Audi’s E Diesel

A couple of weeks ago Audi made an announcement claiming to have invented a process that manufactured diesel solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable energy sources. This new sustainable diesel was christened e diesel. Former Oil Drum colleague Robert Rapier (RR) has already run some energy and cost numbers on the process to reveal it in its true colours. Robert I feel was rather conservative in his analysis. In this post I use Robert’s back of envelope calculations as a starting point to expose some of the harsh thermodynamic, economic and social realities.

In summary:

  • Using European electricity prices, the energy cost of e diesel at the refinery gate would be of the order €1.8 litre – excluding manpower, capex, profit, distribution costs and taxes. Adding in the latter might easily take the price to €3 / litre, much higher than Audi’s estimate of €1 to 1.5 € per liter. This compares with a refinery gate price for FF diesel of the order €0.65 per liter. e diesel may cost 2.7 to 4.5 times as much as traditional diesel.
  • The energy return on energy invested (ERoEI) for the process is at best 0.5. For every BTU of e diesel produced about 2 BTUs of electricity are consumed. E diesel is an energy sink or energy conversion where at least 50% of the energy is lost along the way.
  • To convert Europe to run on e diesel would require a 12 fold increase in todays “new renewable” infrastructure and would result in a doubling of the energy consumed in the transport sector.

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How Much Battery Storage Does a Solar PV System Need?

Blowout Week 70 featured Tesla’s new 7 kWh and 10 kWh lithium-ion battery storage units. Will they allow households with rooftop solar PV systems to store enough surplus solar power to fill domestic demand throughout the year without the need to import grid power when the sun isn’t shining?  It all depends on how much storage is needed and how much it costs, and in this post I present ball-park estimates of storage requirements and costs for domestic rooftop solar installations calculated using the following simplifying assumptions:

  1. Household consumption is 5,000 kWh/year. (About right for Western Europe, low for the US, high for most of the rest of the world.)
  2. Household demand is constant through the year at 13.7 kWh/day, or 0.57 kWh/hour.
  3. The impacts of changes in cloud cover are ignored.
  4. The storage requirements generated by diurnal fluctuations in solar output are insignificant relative to the storage requirements generated by seasonal fluctuations.
  5. The storage batteries are 100% efficient, with no conversion losses and no charge/discharge restrictions.
  6. Solar panels are inclined south at the optimum angle for maximum annual generation.

Four rooftop solar cases are considered: at the Equator, at latitude 20 north, at latitude 40 north and at latitude 60 north. To generate 5,000 kWh in a year we need 3.8 kW of installed PV capacity on the Equator (load factor 15%), 3.4 kW at latitude 20N (load factor 17%), 3.6 kW at latitude 40N (load factor 16%) and 5.7 kW at latitude 60N (load factor 10%). The load factors are from the Estimating global solar PV load factors post.

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Blowout Week 71

This week we give OPEC a rest and focus – inevitably – on the UK election and its potential impacts on UK energy policy:

Business Green:  Save onshore wind farms, renewables industry begs new Tory government

The UK’s renewable energy sector has issued a desperate plea for the new Conservative government to show early support for the low carbon economy, warning tens of thousands of jobs rely on the British onshore wind power industry the party has pledged to block. During the past year, the wind power industry had raised repeated concerns over a Tory manifesto pledge to “halt the spread of onshore wind farms” by ending subsidies for new projects and changing the law so local people have the final say on wind farm applications. The manifesto argued that while onshore wind now makes a “meaningful contribution to our energy mix”, wind farms “often fail to win public support” and are “unable by themselves to provide the firm capacity that a stable energy system requires”.

More post-election predictions and perspectives below the fold, plus German coal causing air pollution in France, US coal is either dead or it isn’t, rationing UK internet use to keep the lights on, Scotland’s green energy vision, a record trade deficit in Canada, Australia squabbles over renewables targets, Iran determined to sell more oil, jet fuel from fungus, CO2 exceeds 400ppm, how Americans can fight global warming by eating insects and the US Army promises not to invade Texas.

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Understanding the Scottish Landslide

Scotland has over 50% of the UK’s installed wind capacity, virtually all the installed hydro capacity and still produces most of the UK’s oil and gas and is home to future large oil and gas developments like Clair, Lagan and Mariner. Without Scotland, England’s energy security drains away. Its is therefore imperative for the rest of the UK and for those Scots who want to remain in The Union that Cameron understands the underlying causes of the fault lines in the UK’s political landscape. The explanation is rooted in history.

In the May 7th election the political map of Scotland was completely redrawn as the SNP won 56 of 59 seats almost sweeping the Liberal Democrats and Scottish Labour off the board all together. Map from the BBC.

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UK to be Ruled by English Conservative Party

I have been in Brussels this week, visiting the Zeebrugge LNG import terminal and giving a talk at a commercial energy storage conference. Since getting home yesterday I have been rather distracted by the UK election. The political landscape has changed completely  while barely changing at all. Conservatives in control at Westminster is nothing new. The Scottish National Party winning 56 of 59 Scottish seats is. Constitutional change is now inevitable.

Will Ed Davey be missed by the Department of Energy and Climate Change?

Rarely have we witnessed three party leaders resigning so swiftly in the wake of an election. Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage and Ed Milliband have all fallen on their swords. In his resignation speech Nick Clegg mentioned how green the Lib Dems were several times, but clearly this is not a huge draw for most Brits. The Green Party won a single seat. Former Secretary of State for Energy, Ed Davey lost his seat – good riddance to that anti capitalist Green. But the green state of the British mind is not so simple to analyse. The SNP have the most progressive renewable energy policy of any party anywhere. And UKIP, with perhaps the most sensible energy policy won only a single seat. I think its fair to say that affordable and secure energy supplies were not uppermost in voters’ minds yesterday. Nor was re-writing the constitution of the UK, but that is what we have got.

So what will the new government be doing on energy policy? The Tory energy manifesto is reproduced below the fold.

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Global Production Up One Million bpd in March

The main oil production changes from February to March are:

  • World total liquids up 1,000,000 bpd
  • OPEC up 890,000 bpd
  • N America up 80,000 bpd
  • Russia and FSU up 40,000 bpd
  • UK and Norway down 50,000 bpd (compared with March 2014)
  • Asia up 60,000 bpd
  1. Global oil production rose sharply in March by 1 Mbpd and we have a new peak in global total liquids production of 95.24Mbpd. But with the oil price currently resilient, it seems likely that surge in production may have reversed.
  2. The plunge in US oil rig count has resumed. Oil plus gas rig count stood at 905 on May 1, just above the low point reached in the post financial crash period.
  3. I anticipate that the price bottom may be in but that price will bounce sideways along bottom for several months until we see significant falls in OECD production. There is as yet little sign of a significant drop in US production.
  4. The current action appears to be demand driven, the low price raising demand more than it is suppressing supplies.

Figure 1 Daily Brent and WTI prices from the EIA, updated to 27 April 2015. It is difficult to see the detail of recent action at this scale, so an expanded X-axis chart is given below the fold.

This is the May 2015 edition of Oil Production Vital Statistics. The April 2015 Vital Statistics is here. EIA oil price and Baker Hughes rig count charts are updated to end April 2015, the remaining oil production charts are updated to March 2015 using the IEA OMR data.

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Blowout Week 70

This week we feature Tesla and its new energy storage battery. Is it a game changer, or just another battery?

WSJ: Will Tesla’s newest battery pan out?

Tesla announced Thursday that it is repackaging the lithium ion batteries it now uses in its electric cars to sell them as electricity-storage devices for homes, businesses and utilities. The battery packs are meant to absorb electricity when it is cheap and plentiful—during a sunny afternoon for a house with rooftop solar panels, for example—and release the power when electricity is expensive or scarce. So far the market for electricity storage remains small, though growing quickly; last year about $128 million worth of such batteries were installed around the country, mostly at utilities, according to GTM Research, which tracks the renewable energy industry. Just 1% of the capacity was installed at homes. Tesla plans to change all that. At an event to formally announce the battery products, Elon Musk, the company’s chief executive, said it is “trying to change the fundamental energy infrastructure of the world.”

The Ecologist: Tesla’s battery just killed fossil and nuclear power

Tesla Energy’s new mains power battery has just transformed the energy market – giving a huge boost to small scale renewable energy and killing off both fossil fuelled and nuclear power in the process. The announcement of its two domestic-scale lithium batteries, rated at 7kWh and 10kWh of energy storage was widely trailed. But what no one expected was the price – which came in at a half to a quarter of market expectations: “Tesla’s selling price to installers is $3,500 for 10kWh and $3,000 for 7kWh. (Price excludes inverter and installation.) And according to energy analyst Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education, that equates to a life-cycle cost of about $0,02 per kWh stored and released, or a little over 1p in UK money. And that is transformational. With grid power prices typically 14p / kWh in the UK, or $0.12 in the US, it’s just a fraction of the cost of buying power in – for the first making it economic for small scale generators to ‘save and re-use’ their power surpluses.

More below the fold, including a predicted oil price rebound, OPEC’s civil war in Yemen, Luxembourg and Austria to file suit against Hinkley, the EOn/Uniper spinoff, German miners march, the Church of England puts coal in the sin bin, a solar powered aircraft that flies when the wind isn’t blowing, Richard Muller on the need for temperature adjustments and how climate change triggered the Nepal earthquake.
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Record Arctic Warmth – in 1937

In this post I take a look at the GHCN V2 records for 32 stations in the Arctic and sub-Arctic areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the adjacent part of Russia (Figure 3). The data throw up some surprising results.

  • Despite coming from 4 different countries, these are among the most congruous time temperature series I’ve seen, i.e. the temperatures go up and down together across the region, with quite substantial oscillations of ±2˚C (Figure 1).
  • Averaging the data reveals that 1937 (and 1938) were the warmest years in this area (Figure 7).
  • At the end of the Little Ice Age, 1881, 1888, 1893 and 1902 were anomalous cold years. This cold start to the time-temperature series creates the inevitability that a regression through the data will have a positive slope (Figure 3). Had the thermometers not been deployed until 1920, then the regression would have been virtually flat (Figure 9).
  • Once again we have essentially a flat rangebound series with three main legs to the data. Warming until 1938, cooling until 1968 and then warming to the present. It was just as warm in this part of the Arctic and sub-Arctic in the 1930s as it is today.
  • The structure of the data is similar to the North Atlantic Oscillation suggesting that this climatic feature has played a role in modulating temperatures in this part of the Arctic. The temperature response is often 1 and sometimes 2 years delayed.
  • The structure of the data is also quite similar to a compilation of 21 records centred on Olenek in East Siberia.

Figure 1 dT spaghetti for the 32 station records using the station average as a base for calculating dT. There is a high congruity between all records suggesting that this quite large area that extends to Bjørnøya in the Barents Sea responds as a single congruous climatic zone.

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Untangling UK Wind power production

Cross posted from Clive Best. Clive is a physicist of some distinction and a climate and energy blogger with coding skills that go beyond the norm. In this post he explains the portion of UK wind power generation that is metered by BM reports and that portion that is not. This is vital to the understanding of load factors, economics and the efficiency of UK wind power.

There are currently 6044 operational wind turbines in the UK with a total capacity of 12.133 GW. Do we know how much electrical power they generate? The answer is not simple. These 6044 turbines are installed in over 700 sites, some of which are very large while others are only a single turbine.  There are 3 ways to connect them to the Grid.

1. Direct transmission line to the Grid. This is suitable only for large wind farms especially off-shore. The output of such wind farms is metered through the ‘balancing mechanism’, from which Gridwatch and this site get their live updates. A full list of these directly connected wind farms are given below.

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GWPF Launches Enquiry into Integrity of Temperature Data

The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), Lord Lawson’s London based climate change think tank, has launched an enquiry into the integrity of data used to reconstruct global time-temperature series. These time-temperature reconstructions provide the core evidence that Earth’s lower troposphere is warming in response to rising CO2 levels.

The backdrop to this enquiry begins with UK climate and energy blogger Paul Homewood’s timely reminder of how temperature records may be adjusted to supposedly correct for non-climatic artefacts, a correction procedure commonly known as homogenisation. This was picked up by Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker who published a story levelling an accusation of one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time that drew a large amount of public interest.

The inquiry is to be led by Professor Terence Kealey, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham. Professor Kealey’s background is in medical sciences and he has published a book questioning the role of government funding of science. At first glance he may appear to be a curious choice. But on reflection, appointing an eminent scientist equipped with all the analytical skills required to assess the relevant data from outside the highly controversial sphere of climate science is exactly what is required.

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Blowout week 69

The oil just keeps on coming:

ARAMCO oil refinery, Dahran, Saudi Arabia

Bloomberg:  Saudi Arabia’s Solution to Global Oil Glut: Pump Even More Crude

The world’s biggest oil exporter, having abandoned last year its role of keeping global markets in balance, now has incentive to maximize output and undermine rival producers by using its reserve capacity, according to Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG. Just meeting its own domestic demand this summer will require a lot more fuel, others estimate. The increase — a snub to fellow OPEC members calling on the kingdom to cut production — will heighten tensions when the organization meets in June. Oil plunged to a six-year low near $45 a barrel in January, six weeks after the Saudis overcame opposition within the group to keep up output despite surging U.S. shale supplies. “Increasing production and exports is the clear implication of Saudi’s new oil policy,” Seth Kleinman, head of European energy research at Citigroup in London, said by e-mail. “If you want to pressure high cost producers, why hold oil back on spare capacity? Use it all and use it now.”

More on the oil glut below the fold, plus fracking and earthquakes in the US, grass-to-gas conversion in UK, Drax pellet demand, nuclear in Japan and China, coal miners march in protest in Germany, Pakistan bans wind and solar, the Yellowstone “supervolcano”, the zero-carbon airliner of the future (complete with CO2 scrubber), the GWPF launches an enquiry into adjustments to temperature records (h/t A.C. Osborn) and how the tragic deaths in the Mediterranean are precisely in line with the predictions of climate security analysts.

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Averaging Temperature Averages

I sent a link to my recent post The Hunt For Global Warming: Southern Hemisphere Summary to Professor Richard Muller at Berkeley drawing attention to the gulf between Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) for southern hemisphere land and the compilations produced by Roger Andrews and I (Figure 1) in the hope that he or his group may help us to understand where the discrepancies may lie. He passed this on to Steven Mosher to respond and we exchanged several emails. Most of this correspondence shall remain confidential but suffice to say that Mr Mosher pointed out that they have verified and tested BEST and since neither I nor Roger had documented verification of our methods the onus was on us to do so.

In summary, Roger Andrews’ (RA) compilation for Southern Hemisphere land has good geographic cover and uses 369 records. My compilation (EM) to date uses 174 records and is specifically designed to sample low population areas. It nevertheless gave a result very similar to RA. Since 1882 BEST runs at about 0.7˚C per century warmer than either RA or EM (Figure 1). RA and EM are using GHCN V2 records that are “unadjusted”. A handful of spot checks in Australia show that these are the same records as unadjusted BEST. BEST is however using their own homogenisation algorithim to supposedly correct for non-climatic artefacts. Roger has compared BEST adjusted with unadjusted records in South America and found a large positive bias in the homogenised set (Figure 2).

Figure 1 Comparison of RA, EM and BEST. BEST series based on monthly data downloaded from their site and recalculated to the equivalent metANN employed by GHCN (DJFMAMJJASON). RA series begins in 1882 hence this is used as the start point. All three series adjusted so that 1882 = zero. There is a reasonably high degree of congruity between EM and BEST, i.e. the peaks and troughs rise and fall together. Note how similar the BEST 1976 feature is to EM. But the gradients are totally different. 1880 to 2011 EM = +0.18˚C per century; BEST = +0.91˚C per century.

In this post I report on three simple tests to the methodology I employed  to see how robust it is. This includes 1) summing the gradients of 5 individual records and 9 groups of records and comparing these with the gradient of the average of dT determined on the same record stacks; 2) filling blanks with average data for a region and comparing this with unfilled data; 3) decimating data by removing 20% and 50% of the records.

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Blowout Week 68

A somewhat abbreviated and late Blowout this week owing to pressure of other events. Readers are encouraged to link to any interesting articles the newsroom staff may have missed.

This week we feature the forthcoming UK general election. How might the results impact future UK energy policy?

Carbon Brief:  What the general election means for UK climate and energy policy

In three weeks, the UK will go to the polls in one of the closest-fought and least predictable elections in a generation. Carbon Brief has already pored over the political parties’ manifesto views on climate and energy. But the chance of a multi-party coalition make it hard to extrapolate pre-election commitments into future government action. Carbon Brief asked a range of experts for their views on the May 7 poll’s implications, in particular:

• What are the key climate and energy dividing lines for the election?
• How do you see potential election outcomes affecting climate and energy policy, post-election and in the run-up to Paris?

Here’s what they had to say ……

More below the fold, including the latest pronouncements of OPEC, oil prices and the US Fed, layoffs at Schlumberger, yet more problems for Hinkley Point, the California drought, the EU to sue Gazprom, US tree exports to Europe and how global warming will cause giant super-fast spiders.
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US Oil Production Forecast Scenario

Readers are keen to know when US oil production will begin to fall. This is not an easy question to answer but in the comments to last week’s rig count update some interesting links were posted. Among them I came across a link to an Energy Information Agency (EIA) report into US drilling efficiency that sought to link future production to drilling activity and this seemed an interesting avenue to explore. The analysis presented here is jam packed with multiple lines of uncertainty, but a simple analysis based on many assumptions suggests that US production may actually increase further by about 1 Mbpd, due to an estimated 18 month time lag between drilling and first production, improved drilling efficiency and a growing backlog of drilled but idle wells. US oil production may not actually begin to fall in earnest until the middle of 2016.

Figure 1 US oil production (RHS) and total rig count from Baker Hughes (LHS). While we feel instinctively there should be a connection between drilling and production, it is not at all obvious from this chart. The production spike down in 2008, whilst coincident with the financial crash and plunge in drilling, is I believe linked to a hurricane. The essence of this post links production decline in 2010 to the drilling decline of 2008/09.

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