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Messages - Revillo

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Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: July 23, 2019, 09:29:38 PM »
These are some of the biggest fires on the planet, with a few appearing to be larger than 100,000 hectares (380 square miles)," Smith said. "The amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emitted from Arctic Circle fires in June 2019 is larger than all of the CO2 released from Arctic Circle fires in the same month from 2010 through to 2018 put together.

Arctic sea ice / Re: FireStorm in Siberia
« on: July 22, 2019, 04:56:48 PM »

Arctic sea ice / Re: I'm updating the ASIG next week. Any tips?
« on: January 06, 2017, 05:23:30 AM »

Mind you, I prefer links to graphs that are automatically updated (so they're updated on the ASIG as well), not static images that change extension, as I don't know how to write scripts to automatically update those on the ASIG.

If you are able to attach javascript files (which should be easy if you can edit the html) I'll happily write the scripts for you for any urls that need to change daily.

Developers Corner / Re: Daily Extent, Area and Volume Data
« on: May 29, 2016, 06:23:24 AM »
Here's my first attempt at a visualization, please allow a moment for it to load. A browser supporting WebGL is also required (nearly all current browsers do):

Please let me know if anyone finds this sort of thing useful or if they have any suggestions on how to improve it, or if you have an idea for a similar project.

If you also want to include Northern Hemisphere snow area, you can get weekly data from Rutgers University and then interpolate values for daily snow area.

Thanks Tealight, I'll think about a way to incorporate snow cover.

Developers Corner / Re: Daily Extent, Area and Volume Data
« on: May 27, 2016, 09:25:09 AM »
Oh Thanks Neven, had missed that panel entirely.
It looks like my best bet would be to use the monthly values for extent and area from NSIDC, and then average the PIOMAS values for each month.

In your opinion, would there be any value in using these in concert with PIOMAS volume? Or would you consider the data sets too distinct?

Developers Corner / Daily Extent, Area and Volume Data
« on: May 27, 2016, 08:42:29 AM »
I'm interested in making some interactive visualizations that simultaneously include daily (Arctic) area, extent and volume figures for as far back as they're available.

So far I've found NSIDC extent values 1979-2014:

And PIOMAS daily volume 1979-2016 here:

I can't seem to find the IJIS data for area/extent, or another area dataset. I understand that these datasets aren't perfectly intercompatible but I'd like to get the rough idea across. Does anyone happn to have all this data in a format that's ready to go or know where I can find it? Thanks!

The rest / Re: Human Stupidity
« on: May 23, 2016, 06:49:51 AM »
I just don't see the point in villifying oil companies. Maybe it will satisfy our bloodlust to attack Exxon for hiding evidence of climate change, but all the evidence and science was a matter of public record well before the 1980s. The fact that they had a patent for a contraption to lower emissions that was prohibitively expensive isn't exactly a scandal.

Climate change isn't a problem caused by a few oil companies and corrupt politicians. Neither is it a problem caused by capitalism. If you're gonna blame anything, it's really industrialization and combustion engines and our own cleverness. China doesn't use coal because it's corrupt or beholdent to lobbyists or in admiration of capitalistic ideals - they use it because it's an abundant and accessible source of energy necessary to run their economy and fulfill their very human aspirations. It's tragic that the consequences of industrialization on the environment are so severe (global warming just being one example, and perhaps not even the worst), but we lived on farms for thousands of years, and change was inevitable.

It'd be better in these conversations to bridge the gap between energy engineers, politicians and climate scientists, unfortunately, most of the discourse is mud slinging and name calling. And a lot of it is born out of ignorance. You might be the world's foremost mind on the physics of cascading ice cliff failures, but if you think solar panels and lithium ion batteries are going to replace fossil fuels in some timely matter, you are ignorant of the relevant science that could stand to do anything about it.

Even Elon Musk doesn't sound too hopeful about our ability to adapt fast enough. He might have some bright ideas and his products may make a little dent, but his solar panel company is fairing poorly because solar panels aren't very productive, and the supply of batteries for his cars are in doubt because lithium and other metals are pricey and environmentally destructive to obtain and process.

Ultimately, if we come together, we can embrace the science on both sides and stop fighting. As for solutions to the predicament, well, I for one encourage the use of contraceptives indiscriminately among all populations, and suggest we may wish to reduce our fears over nuclear power and try to find safe and economical means of deploying it, as well as keep our minds open to researching geoengineering.
But if all that fails, we should prepare ourselves emotionally and spiritually for our fate.

The rest / Re: Human Stupidity
« on: May 20, 2016, 11:17:05 PM »
Tempted as we may be to place blame on stupidity or greed or avarice, or to a particular institution or individual, the reality is that fossil fuels have a set of properties which make them exceptionally useful compared with other sources of energy, and substitutes are not readily available.

Climate scientist and environmentalists may be quick to jump on claims that an evil or incompetent bunch has stifled and distorted progress on alternatives to fossil fuels,  but it is simple physics which thwarts us, and thoughtful, calm, rational men and women are wracking their brains out without much gratitude over a problem more tragic than wicked.

The rest / Re: Human Stupidity
« on: May 19, 2016, 05:59:57 AM »
The IPCC reports are inevitably conservative given that the governments of all 120 participating countries approve of its every word, a number of which derive their funding largely from the sale of fossil fuels.

One must also not forget that the report compiled in 2013 was on the tail end of the so called "hiatus" that many climate models were under fire for not accurately forecasting, and was also when oil was trading at an attractive $100+/bbl range.

The fact that the report paints such a bleak picture in spite of these facts demonstrates how irrefutable the science has become. Still, the summary for policy makers is a political necessity as much a scientific text - not derived from a comprehensive, objective assesment of our situation but offering at least a few plausible scenarios for how member states could transition away from fossil fuels, given assumptions that the technology necessary to remove CO2 from the air, power economies without emissions, cool the planet, etc, will become available.

If such technologies existed, perhaps the panel could afford to be more aggressive. Keep in mind, everything in the report is qualified by terms like "likely" and "with medium confidence," as if a 66% chance of avoiding "dangerous" and "irreversible" warming was a prudent objective.

The rest / Re: Human Stupidity
« on: May 19, 2016, 12:23:06 AM »
I'd be curious to know if anyone here believes we can
avoid the 2C target. I think it was just a randomly selected number that policy makers have put forward to sound like they're making some sort of progress and appease activists.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016 melting season
« on: May 13, 2016, 08:40:02 AM »
Pardon my noobishness (and inability to speak Polish in spite of my Polish heritage) but could Friv or anyone please help explain the figures on that animation? Is that saying Normal / Average as in base period / current and then the anomaly is the difference?

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016 melting season
« on: May 06, 2016, 10:23:27 PM »
Some good news today. The NSIDC extent graphs are updating again, though the data is uncalibrated and subject to change.

NSIDC has obtained data from the DMSP F-18 satellite and is in the process of intercalibrating the F-18 data with F-17 data. Intercalibration addresses differences between the series of sensors, in order to provide a long-term, consistent sea ice record. While this work continues, we are displaying the uncalibrated F-18 data in the daily extent image. The daily time series graph shows F-17 data through March 31, and F-18 data from April 1 forward. Initial evaluation of the uncalibrated F-18 data indicates reasonable agreement with F-17, but the data should be considered provisional and quantitative comparisons with other data should not be done at this time.

But we've got some sort of tentative graph for April and May that I can oggle over morning coffee again.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016 melting season
« on: April 28, 2016, 08:58:34 AM »
It's not you. The ice images changed on June 6 2013, so they don't line up with most of the other layers. They plan to "eventually" re-project the older images, but I'm not holding my breath."

Ah that makes a lot of sense, I was wondering why 2013 looked so different form the others... I would take it down for the shame but perhaps it'll serve as a warning to others looking at the old worldview data.

Anyway, take a look at this gfs projection for May 3rd. Looks like siberia's gone ice fishing with a hook of high temperatures swirling into the arctic basin. Will the ice manage to avoid the bait and survive another season, or will our hero meet its untimely doom at the hands of anthropogenic warming and usher in a new clima(c)tic era for the denizens of earth? Stay tuned!

Yeah, i'm just here for the drama and pretty pictures.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016 melting season
« on: April 23, 2016, 10:19:29 AM »
Ran into a hitch because it seems the worldview photos don't export correctly for the 2013 and earlier data so I cropped it from a screen shot. And good catch - it was also one day off. I've reuploaded it.

Arctic sea ice / Re: The 2016 melting season
« on: April 23, 2016, 09:44:52 AM »
Here's the same spot over the beaufort for today's date, 2013-2016.

Consequences / Re: 2015/16 El Niño, the aftermath
« on: April 21, 2016, 06:22:40 AM »

"This is, by far, the worst bleaching they’ve seen on the Great Barrier Reef."

I remember visiting the great barrier reef and scuba diving through its corals about 10 years ago. The threat of bleaching was discussed at an exhibit at the Townsville Aquarium, with samples of corals withering and dying for us tourists to gawk at. Back then, they weren't really talking about climate change. I was hearing more talk about pollution and fertilizer runoff and pesky tourists dumping who knows what overboard. They were so strict that if you dropped anything off the boat they made you eat a spoonful of vegemite as punishment.

It's clear now that heat both from el nino and global warming seems to play the biggest role in bleaching, and the reef might recover somewhat until the next heatwave, and then who knows. I have to wonder if I'll be among the last generation to have seen a living reef.

The forum / Re: Firefox is blocking the Arctic Sea Ice Forum
« on: March 18, 2016, 05:02:21 AM »
The security error notice would go away for everyone if the link to the forum from the sea ice graphs page was changed from:


It would be nice if neven, or whever maintains it, could get around to repairing the link.

Now that's something I can do. Thanks for the tip. Good idea.

You're most welcome, and thanks for patching it.

The forum / Re: Firefox is blocking the Arctic Sea Ice Forum
« on: March 17, 2016, 08:12:02 PM »
The security error notice would go away for everyone if the link to the forum from the sea ice graphs page was changed from:


It would be nice if neven, or whever maintains it, could get around to repairing the link.

The forum / Re: Arctic Sea Ice Forum Humor
« on: July 26, 2015, 04:48:09 AM »
Grim news today. Looks like the shows over folks. Been a pleasure ;)

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: April 01, 2015, 11:42:57 PM »
Fire and fatalities at Gulf oil rig.

Mexican state-run oil company Pemex said at least four people died after a fire broke out on a production platform in the Gulf of Mexico early on Wednesday, sparking the evacuation of around 300 workers.

Local emergency services said as many as 45 people were injured in the blaze, which erupted overnight on the Abkatun Permanente platform in the oil-rich Bay of Campeche.

Policy and solutions / Re: Geoengineering, another rush for money?
« on: March 14, 2015, 04:26:08 AM »
Looking at the Mauna Loa CO2 curve today, I noticed something interesting with regards to CO2 rise and volcanic activity:

In 1992, average mean CO2 rise was 0.48ppm. This is astonishingly low in a period when global mean CO2 rise was and is typically between 1.5-2.5ppm. This unusual year coincides with a global cooling of ~half a degree commonly associated with the eruption of Mount Pinatubo (SO2 aerosols). Contrast this with the sharp annual mean increase of 2.93ppm witnessed in 1998, after the intense el niño of that year led to record warming.

Considering that anthropogenic emissions did not change significantly between these years, it's safe to say that the extra CO2 ended up in the oceans. This makes sense, as CO2 concentrations in water increase with decreasing temperature. (I'm not an expert in this so by all means help me fill in the details here).

Since CO2 leads to carbonic acid in water, would it be safe to assume then, that any efforts to cool the Earth by albedo modification would increase the acidity of the oceans considerably by directing and excess of atmospheric carbon into the oceans? Of course, sulfate aerosols in particular would precipitate out as sulfuric acid and compound the effect.

Scientists often refer to albedo modification as an option with "winners and losers" but I fail to see how anyone could be a winner in a world of a rapidly acidifying ocean, unless you happen to be a jellyfish. We depend on the health of the ocean ecosystem more than we care to admit, and there's plenty of research extrapolating ocean acidification to a dire future. Speeding this process along could very well lead to more severe results than our steady warming.

Arctic sea ice / Re: 2015 sea ice area and extent data
« on: March 07, 2015, 04:13:25 PM »
Forgive me if I'm way off the mark, but I haven't seen this trend explicitly mentioned and I'm wondering if others think it holds any weight.

It would seem that there is a tight relationship between el niño events and arc sea ice extent response. The first year following an el niño, we tend to see very low winter maximums (2006, 2011), followed by a significant but unexceptional melt season. Two years after, we see an increase in maximum (2007, 2012) followed by a summer blowout with catastrophic melting. I'm guessing this would be due to predictable circulation of ocean currents transporting warm water from the Pacific into the Arctic.

While 2014 was not officially an el niño year, there was an enormous swath of positive temp anomalies throughout the Pacific that could very well lead to the same results with regards to the Arctic, and so I believe 2015 can be compared to the 2006 / 2011 seasons, and therefore I do not predict a  major blowout to come until next summer. 

Interestingly, the PDO activity happening now looks like a different beast than other recent el niños in that, while not exceptionally pronounced, is steadier and longer lasting. Others have suggested a phase change has occurred in the PDO towards sustained release of heat for the next decade or two.
If the heat keeps up, we could see seasons both with record low maximums and minimums starting as early as next year and continuing for quite some time...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: March 04, 2015, 07:06:03 PM »
Shell to start drilling for oil in the Chukchi sea in 2015

Add to this potential nightmare scenario another little fact: Shell has garnered a well-deserved reputation as “the company with the spottiest Arctic record.” In September 2012, it initiated exploration drilling in U.S. Arctic waters with a conditional permit from the Obama administration, only to end a disastrous year in which one of its two drill rigs, the Kulluk, was grounded in the Gulf of Alaska on New Year’s Eve. The other ship, Noble Discoverer, suffered damage after catching fire, while both were fined by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act, and the contractor Noble Drilling pleaded guilty in 2014 to all eight felony charges leveled against it for environmental violations and agreed to ante up $12.2 million in fines and community service payments. Because of the damage to its rigs, Shell was forced to give up its 2013 drilling plans. A court ruling in January 2014 in favor of local Iñupiat tribes and environmentalists forced the company not to drill that summer either.

Since then, the price of oil has plunged, sending a shock wave across the oil industry and deep-sixing all sorts of prospective plans planet-wide to drill in Arctic waters: Norway’s Statoil shelved its 2015 drilling plan in the Barents Sea off that country’s northern coast and handed back the three leases it had purchased in the Baffin Bay off the west coast of Greenland. Chevron put its plan to drill in Canada’s Beaufort Sea on indefinite hold. Following the Ukraine crisis and American sanctions on Russia, ExxonMobil wasprohibited from working with the oil company Rosneft on a joint plan to drill in the Kara Sea in the Russian Arctic. Even had those sanctions not been in place, the low price of oil would have made such exploration a far less appetizing prospect for the moment.

“It is up to Shell then to keep the oil industry’s Arctic dreams alive,” one journalist suggested and indeed, on January 29th, that company announced that, after a two-year hiatus, it would drill this summer in the Chukchi Sea. Two weeks later, the Obama administration issued its final supplemental environmental impact statement on the site where the drilling would take place, the controversial Chukchi Lease Sale 193, bringing Shell’s plan one step closer to reality.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: February 09, 2015, 12:52:24 AM »
I can assure you the rest of the letters are the same as well.

LED lights and LED-backlit displays rely on the same principles of semiconductor lighting (Light Emitting Diode). These are an improvement on the older, less efficient CFL lightbulbs and CCFL backlit displays which were in turn more efficient than incandescent lights (or the CRT in the case of displays). Are there some differences between lamp and tv models, sure, do they "use entirely different technologies?" Hardly, except that you put a cloth lampshade over your lightbulbs and you put an LCD panel over your tv.

There are plenty of examples. Say I save money on gas by buying a hybrid car powered by a lithium-ion battery. What am I going to spend the extra money on? Who knows, but if I buy a smart phone or tablet or laptop, or any sort of portable electronic device, chances are I'll find a lithium ion battery inside it.

Which is all just to say that new technologies that improve efficiency often have widespread impacts on an economy. You save money on the old improved stuff, and you spend money on the new stuff. IMHO, Studies conducted by the IEA or ACEE are just not going to be able to measure these things complexities with any precision.

I do understand your point about energy and economy not being necessarily tied together. A culture is free to assign value to whatever it pleases. I wonder though, how many countries sitting on large reserves of untapped resources can really afford to take Bhutan's approach.

And more generally, scatter plots of GDP per capita vs Energy consumption per capita reveal a linear trend.

My training is in engineering, not economics, so I really can't speak for what the 'Economic Profession' makes of Garrett's work. I think it is relevant, even if hypothetically, we could live in a world where it was untrue. In our globalized, capitalistic, industrial madhouse I think it's unfortunately undeniable that energy and wealth are related.

I don't mean to come off as confrontational, I believe this topic to perhaps present one of the most important "paradoxes" in the climate/energy debate, and I love to hear opinions about it.

It's right up there with "Does it cause more CO2 pollution to drive to work or ride a bicycle?" The answer it turns out, depends entirely on what you ate for breakfast.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: February 08, 2015, 10:20:59 PM »
The misapplication of the Jevon's Paradox

Consider the following:

High efficient residential lighting has produced significant energy efficiencies
the amount of energy saved per household square foot of space is significantly less than what the bulbs should have produced.
it turns out that many homes have purchased new, large high tech flat screened T.V.s

The misapplication of Jevon's Paradox is to say that the new lightbulbs somehow facilitated the purchase of the T.V.s 

The reality is that the T.V.s were part of a technological transformation and a result of behavior and market effects, completely independent of the meager $10.00 per month of electricity savings produced by the bulbs.

It's curious you should use this example, given that the technology which went into the development energy efficient lightbulbs (LED) is the same as that which facilitated the development of large, flat screen televisions. If that's not a perfect example of Jevon's I don't know what is.

For the sake of the discussion, it's also a pretty good example of how rebound effects and Jevon's are closely related, when one zooms out just a wee bit.

Welcome, Revillo.  You make the logical point that developing countries have the potential to add significantly to the world's consumption of energy as they modernize. 

First, however:  Most energy today is consumed by developed countries.  And the IEA shows that efficiency has resulted in absolute reductions of Total Final Consumption (TFC) over the last decade for the 18 countries studied, "larger than the total 2011 TFC for the European Union from all energy sources combined." 

Jevons paradox for a given civilization simply does not apply. 

Of course this rests on your definition of "developed" which could conceivably indicate a country which uses a lot of energy.. and is therefore self evident that developed countries would be energy hogs.

Today the world's largest consumer of energy is China, it is also the country where energy consumption per capita is rising at the sharpest rate whereas in "developed" countries it is typically decreasing (although we'll see what happens in the wake of lower oil/gas prices).
Gains in energy efficiency directly facilitate the growth of so-called emerging economies.

You add that, should these gains be made with solar power instead of fossil fuels, then emissions would decrease. To that I would emphatically agree: we should stop increasing the efficiency of gas-powered cars and coal plants and boilers immediately in order to cap the value of these resources and encourage the adoption of alternatives.
The development of new non-fossil fuel energy sources is probably the only thing we can have hope for, *not* efficiency increases of the predominant hydrocarbon technologies (I'm looking at you, Prius).

Of course if your efficiency gains work hand in hand with solar, improving batteries, manufacturing techniques, efficient appliances, then the solar-panel-to-LED-light seems like a rosy scenario that does in fact reduce an individual's dependence of fossil fuels.

Ultimately though I consider myself to be in Tim Garrett's camp, which states that we can basically always find ways to use more energy to do work and make money, and that efficiency on its own usually increases our energy consumption overall, and in nearly all cases, there will be environmental consequences. Resource limitations are just about the only thing holding humanity back from self-immolation and unfortunately, it doesn't look like they are quite strict enough.

Policy and solutions / Re: Energy Efficiency: The “First Fuel”
« on: February 08, 2015, 07:41:45 PM »
Hey folks - I'm a lurker and I rarely post but few topics inspire as much fascination in me as this one so I feel compelled to throw in my 2 cents.

Jai's argument appears to rest on the fact that there are limits to consumption and growth, and that therefore people will peak consumption when their needs are met without turning around and consuming more. If my house is fully heated, for example, I will reach a point where I need no more coal regardless of how cheap it gets (assuming I'm in no rush to increase the size of my house).

Commonly this scenario may indeed play out as described, but the flaw in the logic here is neglecting the globalized, "free market" context in which it takes place. There is likely no short supply of poor, cold people the world over who would be quite happy to burn coal for free in order to heat their meager homes. The more efficient and therefore inexpensive the process, the broader an impact it can have in the market.

Dismissing Jevon's paradox is tantamount to saying that, at a certain point, humanity will peak energy usage because it has become so efficient, it simply doesn't need any more energy to carry out its needs. Nothing in our history, or in projections of the future (which include the rapid industrialization of nations such as China, Brazil, and India) could support such a claim. Quite the contrary, improvements in efficiency of some process are often more important then the development of the process in the first place in terms of making the technology economically feasible and therefore accessible to ever-broader markets.

If such an energy-saturation point really is met, even a with static population level, the fact that energy efficiency often reaches important physical limitations (there is only so much energy to be extracted from a gallon of oil) suggests that the energy usage would still be astronomical, unsustainable, and no great victory.

Fueling the machine of global industry with more efficient fuels only helps the damn thing burn longer.

Arctic sea ice / Arctic Sea Ice and the Keeling CO2 curve?
« on: September 12, 2013, 10:09:40 PM »
Annual fluctuations in the Keeling Curve ( are officially attributed to photosynthetic cycles among the Northern Hemisphere's vegetation. Apparently the evidence for this is that fluctuations are more pronounced on the Northern Hemisphere than in the South.

I'm not a scientist, but something about this has been bothering me every time I read it in the literature. Would you really expect to see such even sinusoidal CO2 releases from seasonal plants?

Evidence suggests that these cycles in the CO2 curve have also gotten larger, leading some scientists to conclude that vegetation is increasing in the northern hemisphere, which I find absurd given all of the deforestation, floods, forest fires, droughts etc.

What if these annual fluctuations are really the result of Arctic Sea Ice melting? The loss of ice cover means a greater interface between air and sea, in which CO2 molecules can be absorbed by the oceans. This would coincide with a recent study stating that ocean acidification is most pronounced in Arctic waters.

Before I try to defend this any further, it would be nice to hear from an expert, so I thought I'd ask here. Thanks!

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