Site: Science of Doom

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Recent Articles

Science of Doom: Impacts – XII – Rainfall 2

I probably should have started a separate series on rainfall and then woven the results back into the Impacts series. It might take a few articles working through the underlying physics and how models and observations of current and past climate compare before being able to consider impacts. There are a number of different ways to look at rainfall

2017-05-18 02:29   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts XI – Rainfall 1

If we want to assess forecasts of floods, droughts and crop yields then we will need to know rainfall. We will also need to know temperature of course. The forte of climate models is temperature. Rainfall is more problematic. Before we get to model predictions about the future we need to review observations and the ability of

2017-05-08 03:17   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – X – Sea Level Rise 5 – Bangladesh

FitzGerald et al 2008: Sea-level rise (SLR) poses a particularly ominous threat because 10% of the world’s population (634 million people) lives in low-lying coastal regions within 10 m elevation of sea level (McGranahan et al. 2007). Much of this population resides in portions of 17 of the world’s 30 largest cities, including Mumbai, India;

2017-05-04 08:05   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – IX – Sea Level 4 – Sinking Megacities

In Impacts – VIII – Sea level 3 – USA I suggested this conclusion: So the cost of sea level rise for 2100 in the US seems to be a close to zero cost problem. Probably the provocative way I wrote the conclusion confused some people. I should have said that it was a very expensive problem. But that

2017-05-02 08:30   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Models, On – and Off – the Catwalk – Part Five – More on Tuning & the Magic Behind the Scenes

[I started writing this some time ago and got side-tracked, initially because aerosol interaction in clouds and rainfall is quite fascinating with lots of current research and then because there are many papers on higher resolution simulations of convection that also looked interesting.. so decided to post it less than complete because it will be some time before

2017-02-21 02:22   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – VIII – Sea level 3 – USA

In Parts VI and VII we looked at past and projected sea level rise. It is clear that the sea level has risen over the last hundred years, and it’s clear that with more warming sea level will rise some more. The uncertainties (given a specific global temperature increase) are more around how much more ice

2017-02-19 08:26   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – VII – Sea Level 2 – Uncertainty

In Part VI we looked at past and projected sea level rise. There is significant uncertainty in future sea level rise, even assuming we know the future global temperature change. The uncertainty results from “how much ice will melt?” We can be reasonably sure of sea level rise from thermal expansion (so long as we know the

2017-02-17 06:07   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – VI – Sea Level Rise 1

In Part V we looked at the IPCC, an outlier organization, that claimed floods, droughts and storms had not changed in a measurable way globally in the last 50 -100 years (of course, some regions have seen increases and some have seen decreases, some decades have been bad, some decades have been good). This puts

2017-02-16 05:11   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – V – Climate change is already causing worsening storms, floods and droughts

I generally try and avoid the media as much as possible (although the 2016 Circus did suck me in) but it’s still impossible to miss claims like the following: Climate change is already causing worsening storms, floods and droughts Before looking at predictions for the future I thought it was worth reviewing this claim, seeing as it

2017-02-12 05:57   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – IV – Temperature Projections and Probabilities

In Impacts – II – GHG Emissions Projections: SRES and RCP we looked at projections of emissions under various scenarios with the resulting CO2 (and other GHG) concentrations and resulting radiative forcing. Why do we need these scenarios? Because even if climate models were perfect and could accurately calculate the temperature 100 years from now, we wouldn’t know how much

2017-02-07 03:17   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – III – Population in 2100

In Part II we looked at various scenarios for emissions. One important determinant is how the world population will change through this century and with a few comments on that topic I thought it worth digging a little. Here is Lutz, Sanderson & Scherbov, Nature (2001): The median value of our projections reaches a peak around 2070 at

2017-02-06 04:39   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – II – GHG Emissions Projections: SRES and RCP

In one of the iconic climate model tests, CO2 is doubled from a pre-industrial level of 280ppm to 560ppm “overnight” and we find the new steady state surface temperature. The change in CO2 is an input to the climate model, also known as a “forcing” because it is from outside. That is, humans create more CO2

2017-02-05 00:16   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Impacts – I – Introduction

A long time ago, in About this Blog I wrote: Opinions Opinions are often interesting and sometimes entertaining. But what do we learn from opinions? It’s more useful to understand the science behind the subject. What is this particular theory built on? How long has the theory been “established”? What lines of evidence support this

2017-02-02 04:28   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Basics – Emissivity and the Stefan Boltzmann Equation

In Planck, Stefan-Boltzmann, Kirchhoff and LTE one of our commenters asked a question about emissivity. The first part of that article is worth reading as a primer in the basics for this article. I don’t want to repeat all the basics, except to say that if a body is a “black body” it emits radiation according

2017-02-01 03:01   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XVIII – Demand Management & Levelized Cost

About 100 years ago I wrote Renewables XVII – Demand Management 1 and promised to examine the subject more in a subsequent article. As with many of my blog promises (“non-core promises”) I have failed to do anything in what could be even charitably described as a “timely manner”. I got diverted by my startup. However, in a

2017-01-31 04:45   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Ghosts of Climates Past – Twenty – Note on EMICs

The subject of EMICs – Earth Models of Intermediate Complexity – came up in recent comments on Ghosts of Climates Past – Eleven – End of the Last Ice age. I promised to write something about EMICs, in part because of my memory of a more recent paper on EMICs. This article will just be short as I

2016-01-26 22:55   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XVII – Demand Management 1

The respected Gratton Institute in Australia hosted a discussion of energy insiders – grid operators, distributors, the regulator. It’s well worth reading for many reasons. When I was thinking about this article I remembered the discussion. Here are a few extracts: MIKE: Andrew, one of the elements in the room here is the growth in

2015-12-19 00:10   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XVI – JP Morgan advises

A while back, I had a chat to Cory Budischak, lead author of the paper we looked at in XIV – Minimized Cost of 99.9% Renewable Study. He recommended a very recent JP Morgan document for investors in renewable energy – Our annual energy paper: the deep de-carbonization of electricity grids. And it is excellent. Best to read the

2015-12-17 05:30   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XV – Offshore Wind Costs

In a number of earlier articles we looked at onshore wind because it is currently the lowest cost method of generating renewable electricity. The installed onshore wind capacity (nameplate) in Europe at the start of 2015 was 121 GW. By comparison the offshore wind capacity (nameplate) by comparison was 8 GW. (Both figures from EWEA).

2015-11-18 09:22   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XIV – Minimized Cost of 99.9% Renewable Study

Budischak et al (2013) is a very interesting paper (and free). Here is the question they pose: What would the electric system look like if based primarily on renewable energy sources whose output varies with weather and sunlight? Today’s electric system strives to meet three requirements: very high reliability, low cost, and, increasingly since the

2015-10-20 03:45   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XIII – One of Wind’s Hidden Costs

In earlier articles we looked at wind power, what it costs, what it does to the grid, and what to do when the wind is not blowing. Now a frequent comment – which conceals more than it reveals – is: “the wind always blows somewhere”. This is true – if you have lots of wind

2015-10-07 02:34   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XII – Windpower as Baseload and SuperGrids

Recap In Part I and IV – Wind, Forecast Horizon & Backups we looked at a few basics, including capacity credit which is basically how much “credit” the grid operator gives you for being there. If you are a 1GW coal-fired power station you probably get around 850MW – 900MW capacity credit. This reflects the availability that your power

2015-09-19 07:51   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables XI – Cost of Gas Plants vs Wind Farms

In IX – Onshore Wind Costs we looked at the capital and O&M costs of building onshore wind power. We stayed away from converting the numbers into “Levelized Cost of Energy”, or LCOE, because it obscures too much – instead we just tried to get a rough idea of the costs. The data presented in the article was

2015-09-13 10:29   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables X – Nationalism vs Inter-Nationalism

In 2014, Germany produced 56 TWh of electricity by wind power (BP Statistical Review of World Energy June 2015). Over the last 10 years Germany produced 422 TWh by wind power. At the end of 2014, the country had 39.2GW installed nameplate capacity (EWEA: Wind in power 2014 European statistics), which looks like a capacity factor

2015-09-10 00:58   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables IX – Onshore Wind Costs

Onshore wind seems to be the lowest cost renewable energy source (perhaps excluding hydro – I haven’t looked into the costs of hydro because it is mostly “tapped out” in developed countries). Wind power (onshore) is a mature technology – when you buy a wind turbine and install it, you know it’s going to work,

2015-09-07 09:08   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables VIII – Transmission Costs And Outsourcing Renewable Generation

Electric Power Systems -dc2

2015-09-01 04:43   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables VII – Feasibility and Reality – Geothermal example

In Renewables VI – Report says.. 100% Renewables by 2030 or 2050 we looked at a feasibility study for 100% renewables in Australia by 2030 and 2050. Many people see feasibility studies and say “look, it’s achievable and not expensive, what are we waiting for? Giddy up“. In fact, it was such an optimistic comment

2015-08-30 11:03   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables VI – Report says.. 100% Renewables by 2030 or 2050

Regular readers are probably used to the lack of clear direction as we progress through a series (and switch to a new series, and back to an old series). Better series would have a theme, an outline, an overall direction, basically some kind of plan. Instead, we have part VI. As I was reading the

2015-08-28 02:45   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables V – Grid Stability As Wind Power Penetration Increases

This field is changing rapidly and so some of these issues may be better resolved than appears from some of the extracts. But it is useful to understand that currently there are limits to the penetration of some kinds of renewable energy on the electricity grid and it is still an area of international research.

2015-08-22 05:00   Click to comment

Science of Doom: Renewables IV – Wind, Forecast Horizon & Backups

For some countries – cold, windy ones like England – wind power appears to offer the best opportunity for displacing GHG-emitting electricity generation. In most developed countries renewable electricity generation from hydro is “tapped out” – i.e., there is no opportunity for developing further hydroelectric power. There’s a lot of confusion about wind power. Some…

2015-08-10 08:21   Click to comment


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