Tag Archives: CO2

Blowout Week 151

We begin with the Wolfcamp shale oil play in Texas and continue with the requisite dose of Trump articles, following up with Obama’s ban on Arctic drilling, Russia makes $6 billion simply by talking to OPEC, the North Sea O&G industry pleads for support, fossil fuel era “far from over”, Vietnam cans a nuclear plant, the Chernobyl Arch is moving, Asia to underpin coal demand, France to shut down coal, the Marrakech Climate Conference, global CO2 emissions not growing, vegetation slows atmospheric CO2 increase, the EU to introduce capacity mechanisms, the UK’s carbon price floor, tidal power generation in Scotland, the renewables threat to grid stability, large wind farms reduce wind speeds, a hot North Pole and a cold Siberia, UK research institute accused of misconduct and fraud, lithium from geothermal brines and what Donald Trump thinks of Scotland. Continue reading

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Does carbon capture & storage have a future in the UK?

A UK Parliamentary Advisory Group (PAG) recently published a report in which it claimed that carbon capture and storage was “critical” if the UK is to meet its CO2 emissions targets. The PAG is correct in so far as something needs to be done, but whether CCS is it is open to question. Accordingly, this post addresses the subject of whether CCS offers potential for emissions reductions on the necessary scale in the UK and concludes, as others have concluded before, that it doesn’t. Continue reading

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide – a tale of two timescales

One of the most controversial topics in understanding the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the question of timescales – the effect of the build-up depends not only on the amounts being released by human(-related) activities but also on how long the gas stays in the atmosphere.

In fact much of the controversy/confusion stems from the fact that there are two relevant timescales, one which determines how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere equilibrates with other reservoirs (notably physical exchange with the oceans, and biological exchange via photosynthesis and respiration), and another which determines the exchange of carbon atoms. Continue reading

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Bond Cycles and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Climate

Bond cycles are defined by petrological tracers from core samples in the N Atlantic that link to the pattern of drift ice distribution. They provide a record of shifting ocean currents and winds, in particular periodic weakening of the North Atlantic current and strengthening of the Labrador current. These cycles shape what we perceive as climate change in the circum North Atlantic realm, for example the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period. These cycles MAY NOT leave a significant mark on global average temperatures since cooling one place may be compensated by warming elsewhere. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 115

There seems to be a growing consensus that the oil price slump is finally nearing an end. Plus Obama’s plan to cut methane omissions, lawsuits threaten Japan’s nuclear revival, South Africa wants nuclear plant bids, France to close Fessenheim, Indonesia running out of coal, Hinkley finance chief quits, Britain’s “smart energy revolution”, the UK, Ireland and France still lagging on EU renewable targets, the Big Six losing even more money, tidal power from the Shetlands, US considers prosecuting “climate deniers” and the perilous state of the Mosul dam. Continue reading

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CO2 – The View From Space – update

A good starting point is to look at a map for a 52 week average of data and compare this with global forest cover. The 52 week average is understood to provide a picture of net sources and sinks of CO2 (upper map). Many of the net sources appear to correlate with global forest cover (lower map) which is counter to intuition that global forests have acted as a net sink for anthropogenic CO2. Continue reading

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Obama’s CO2 Deception

President Obama presented his plan to reduce CO2 emissions from US power generation by 32% by 2030 compared with 2005 levels. Sounds great? Not really since this was already achieved by 2013 – depending on how you slice EIA statistics. So Obama’s ambition is for the USA to achieve nothing in the next 15 years? Continue reading

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Decarbonizing UK Electricity Generation – Five Options That Will Work

Here I present five future energy options that employ nuclear, gas and variable amounts of wind to achieve large reductions in CO2 emissions while at the same time meeting UK demand in a typical winter month. Continue reading

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Forging Arctic Heat

Arctic warming is still very much in the news and there is on-going concern that this may cause accelerated melting of permafrost, release of even more CO2 and methane and a form of runaway warming. A little known “fact” is that many parts of the Arctic were just as warm around 1940 as they are today. This is a theme I will return to shortly with a few more comprehensive data sets. In this short post I simply want to take another look at the two records close to Yamal – Ostrov Dikson and Salehard – that I mentioned in my recent post on the Yamal “vent”. Continue reading

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Northern Hemisphere Snow Cover

In summary, for the six months September to February snow area has actually been increasing 1967 to 2014! That has to be a surprise. And for the six months March to August snow area has been decreasing. The trends are generally very gradual and barely significant. But what the data show is that the northern hemisphere is getting snowier winters accompanied by more rapid melt in spring and summer. The latter is not surprising since we know that the lower troposphere is warming (at least we think we know that to be the case). Continue reading

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NASA Satellite Climatology Data

The data from the Vostok ice core shows clearly that temperature controls atmospheric CO2 levels. That is not to say that CO2 has no impact on temperature, but its impact is modest. NASA satellite derived measurements of troposphere temperatures shows a slowly warming trend of about 1.4˚C per century. A significant part of that will be down to natural warming, some of it down to elevated CO2. The satellite data are consistent with a transient climate response less than 1.5˚C. Satellite data on global cloud cover are inversely correlated with surface temperature, no big surprise. The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project provides unique insight to global climate change, that is mainly natural, but the data are to large extent ignored. Continue reading

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CO2 – the View from Space

NASA has a new satellite called the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) that is measuring CO2 levels in the atmosphere from space and the first results are in for October 1 to November 11 2014. Continue reading

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The Vostok Ice Core: Temperature, CO2 and CH4

In their seminal paper on the Vostok Ice Core, Petit et al (1999) [1] note that CO2 lags temperature during the onset of glaciations by several thousand years but offer no explanation. They also observe that CH4 and CO2 are not perfectly aligned with each other but offer no explanation. The significance of these observations are therefore ignored. At the onset of glaciations temperature drops to glacial values before CO2 begins to fall suggesting that CO2 has little influence on temperature modulation at these times. Continue reading

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The terrestrial biosphere – a growing carbon sink

Over the course of time CO2 emitted to the atmosphere is sequestered in carbon sinks. There are two places it can go:
* Into the ocean sink, or
* Into the terrestrial biosphere sink (vegetation, soils etc.)
How much goes into each? Continue reading

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The Carbon Cycle: a geologist’s view

Since the beginning of the industrial revolution a total of 240GtC from human emissions have accumulated in the atmosphere while a similar amount has been sequestered by the non-permanent reservoirs of the deep ocean and terrestrial biomass, soils and biodetritus. What will be the fate of the emissions C in these non-permanent reservoirs and of that which remains in the atmosphere? Continue reading

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Cycling Coal to Balance Electricity Grids

And so the question is if a coal fired power station is “switched off” when demand for coal fired electricity goes down are the furnaces extinguished thus eliminating CO2 emissions or are they kept burning, perhaps at reduced levels?

I have always felt the best way to tackle both emissions and energy scarcity was to improve energy efficiency at every level of society. The current strategy appears to be taking us in the opposite direction. Continue reading

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Sequestration of ocean surface water by the Gulf Stream

The Gulf Stream transports nearly four billion cubic feet of water per second, an amount greater than that carried by all of the world’s rivers combined. That is one BIG number. The calculation below the fold suggests that the Gulf Stream sequesters the equivalent of the surface waters (333m layer) of the whole Atlantic Ocean once every decade. Continue reading

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What’s up with the Bomb Model?

In this post I present a simple ocean surface water mixing model that explains why 14C cannot be used to predict the sequestration rate of CO2. Each year the ocean inhales about 92Gt of carbon from the atmosphere that is tagged with 14C. This inhaled CO2 mixes with the 1020 Gt carbon in surface ocean water before about 90 Gt is exhaled. The CO2 exhaled is not the same CO2 that was inhaled and is depleted in 14C. Continue reading

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What’s up with the Bern Model?

Modelling the CO2 evolution of the atmosphere by looking at what is sequestered provides insight to what is actually going on. I believe it is impossible to have an appropriate model that works by looking at residual CO2 that remains in the atmosphere. Continue reading

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The Half Life of CO2 in Earth’s Atmosphere – Part 1

The fact that both single exponential decline and multi-time constant models of emissions can be made to fit atmospheric evolution of CO2 means that this approach does not provide proof of process. Either or neither of these models may be correct. But combined, both of these models do provide clues as to the rate of the CO2 sequestration processes. Continue reading

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