The Day the Dinosaurs Died

by Douglas Preston, April 8, 2019 in TheNewYorker


One of the central mysteries of paleontology is the so-called “three-­metre problem.” In a century and a half of assiduous searching, almost no dinosaur remains have been found in the layers three metres, or about nine feet, below the KT boundary, a depth representing many thousands of years. Consequently, numerous paleontologists have argued that the dinosaurs were on the way to extinction long before the asteroid struck, owing perhaps to the volcanic eruptions and climate change. Other scientists have countered that the three-metre problem merely reflects how hard it is to find fossils. Sooner or later, they’ve contended, a scientist will discover dinosaurs much closer to the moment of destruction.

Locked in the KT boundary are the answers to our questions about one of the most significant events in the history of life on the planet. If one looks at the Earth as a kind of living organism, as many biologists do, you could say that it was shot by a bullet and almost died. Deciphering what happened on the day of destruction is crucial not only to solving the three-­metre problem but also to explaining our own genesis as a species.

Methane warming exaggerated by 400%

by Barry Brill, March 30, 2019 in WUWT

The IPCC’s AR5 estimated the global warming caused by a tonne of livestock methane would be 28 times that of a tonne of carbon dioxide. New research destroys that estimate.

The war on meat has been gathering pace amongst our Western elites. The Economist makes a detailed case for “plant-based food” in the interests of quelling climate change –

The FAO calculates that cattle generate up to two-thirds of the greenhouse gases from livestock, and are the world’s fifth largest source of methane. If cows were a country, the United Herds of Earth would be the planet’s third largest greenhouse-gas emitter.

These calculations are based on figures supplied by the IPCC’s AR5, which contends that the global warming potential (GWP) of methane over 100 years is no less than 28 times the global warming it expects to be caused by an equivalent weight of carbon dioxide. This estimate is up from the GWP of 21 put forward in the IPCC’s previous report.

All this is now challenged by a new and authoritative research paper, Allen et al (2017): “A solution to the misrepresentations of CO2-equivalent emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, under ambitious mitigation”. This paper finds that conventional GWPs misrepresent the impact of short-lived gases (such as methane) on global temperature – and recommends the adoption of a new metric, denoted as GWP*.

New Coal Power Projects Declining In India?

by P. Homewood, March 30, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

Anybody expecting that retirements will start outstripping new builds soon will be severely disappointed however.

As we know, the UK has already shut many coal plants, and the ones left are generating very little power. Other EU nations are following suit, so there will soon be little scope for further retirements.

Meanwhile Germany and several eastern European countries, such as Poland have no intention of moving away from coal for many years to come.

In the US, coal power generation has fallen by 39% in the last decade, principally due to low gas prices. It now only accounts for 13% of global coal generation.

Worldwide, there is 574 GW of coal power in the pipeline, including 281 GW outside of China and India. Whatever the US and EU do will scarcely make a dent in that lot.


Deep-water circulation changes lead North Atlantic climate during deglaciation

by F. Muschitiello et al., March 20, 2019 in Nature


Constraining the response time of the climate system to changes in North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) formation is fundamental to improving climate and Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation predictability. Here we report a new synchronization of terrestrial, marine, and ice-core records, which allows the first quantitative determination of the response time of North Atlantic climate to changes in high-latitude NADW formation rate during the last deglaciation. Using a continuous record of deep water ventilation from the Nordic Seas, we identify a 400-year lead of changes in high-latitude NADW formation ahead of abrupt climate changes recorded in Greenland ice cores at the onset and end of the Younger Dryas stadial, which likely occurred in response to gradual changes in temperature- and wind-driven freshwater transport. We suggest that variations in Nordic Seas deep-water circulation are precursors to abrupt climate changes and that future model studies should address this phasing.

Indications Point To Upcoming Solar Cycle 25 Being Among The Weakest In 200 Years

by F. Bosse and F. Vahrenholt, March 29, 2019 in NoTricksZone

The sun was also very sub-normally active in February. Although we are in the middle of the minimum, the sunspot number of 0.8 for the 123rd month into the cycle is very low. On 26 days of the month no spots were visible, only on 2 days was there a little, symmetrically distributed over both solar hemispheres.The only exciting question currently: When will the minimum be finished and will solar cycle 25 begin? Although 6 spots of the new cycle were already visible in February with a significantly higher resolution, estimates are difficult.March again was dominated by some spots of the “old” SC24.  The rule: “weaker cycles often last longer than stronger cycles” could hold.

Figure 2: The strength of the sunspot activity of each cycle in comparison. The numbers in the diagram are obtained by adding up the monthly deviations between the observed values and the mean value (blue in Fig.1) up to the current 123rd cycle month.

Figure 2 shows that five cycles (No. 8, 15, 16, 18, 22) did not have a month 123 at all. Instead the following cycle started. In this respect, the picture is now somewhat distorted towards the end of the cycle.

See also here in GWPF

66-million-year-old deathbed linked to dinosaur-killing meteor

by U. of California – Berkeley, March 29, 2019 in ScienceDaily

Paleontologists have found a fossil site in North Dakota that contains animals and plants killed and buried within an hour of the meteor impact that killed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. This is the richest K-T boundary site ever found, incorporating insects, fish, mammals, dinosaurs and plants living at the end of the Cretaceous, mixed with tektites and rock created and scattered by the impact. The find shows that dinosaurs survived until the impact.

EU consumption results in high carbon emissions from tropical deforestation, studies show

by Charles the moderator, March 29, 2019 in WUWT

Chalmers University of Technology

A sixth of all emissions resulting from the typical diet of an EU citizen can be directly linked to deforestation of tropical forests. Two new studies, from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shed new light on this impact, by combining satellite imagery of the rainforest, global land use statistics and data of international trade patterns.

“In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year. If the EU really wants to achieve its climate goals, it must set harder environmental demands on those who export food to the EU,” says Martin Persson from Chalmers, one of the researchers behind the studies.

The link between production of certain foods and deforestation has been known before. But what Martin Persson and Chalmers colleague Florence Pendrill have now investigated is the extent to which deforestation in the tropics is linked to food production, and then where those foods are eventually consumed. In the first study, they focused on how the expansion of cropland, pastures, and forestry plantations has taken place at the expense of the rainforest.


Emissions sources for deforestation-related carbon dioxide emissions are diverse and vary by region. Emissions embodied in production are shown for each commodity group within each region. A region’s width on the x-axis corresponds to the embodied emissions produced in that region, while the y-axis shows the share of emission attributed to each commodity group within each region, implying that the rectangles within the plot are scaled according to the emissions embodied in each region-commodity combination. The percentages within the rectangles indicate the share of the total embodied emissions; 2.6?gigatonnes of carbon dioxide due to tropical deforestation during the period 2010-2014.
Credit: Florence Pendrill, Chalmers University of Technology


Wildfires Declining In Southern Europe

by P. Homewood, March 28, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

1. Introduction Fires are an integral component of ecosystem dynamics in European landscapes. However, uncontrolled fires cause large environmental and economic damages, especially in the Mediterranean region. On average, about 65000 fires occur in Europe every year, burning approximately half a million ha of wildland and forest areas; most of the burnt area, over 85%, is in the European Mediterranean region. Trends in number of fires and burnt areas in the Mediterranean region are presented in Fig. 1. Recent analyses of the available data in the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show that over 95% of the fires in Europe are human-induced. The split of causes shows that most of them are due to misuse of traditional practices of straw burning of shrub-burning to recover areas for cattle feeding. Although European countries have collected information on forest fires since 1970s, the lack of harmonized information at the European level has prevented a holistic approach for forest fire prevention in the Region. The European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) has been developed jointly by the European Commission (EC) services (Directorate General Environment and the Joint Research Centre) and the relevant fires services in the countries (forest fires and civil protection services) in response to the needs of European bodies such as the Monitoring and Information Centre of Civil Protection, the European Commission Services and the European Parliament. EFFIS is a comprehensive system covering the full cycle of forest fire management, from forest fire prevention and preparedness to post-fire damage analysis (see Fig. 2). The system is providing information to over 30 countries in the European and Mediterranean regions, and receives detailed information of forest fire events from 22 European countries. It supports forest fire prevention and forest fire fighting in Europe through the provision of timely and reliable information on forest fires.

La transition électrique européenne, une impasse?

by J.P. Schaeken Willemaers, 29 mars 2019 in ScienceClimatEnergie

La transition énergétique est abondamment traitée dans les médias, souvent de manière univoque (ce que d’aucuns appellent le débat confisqué) en ignorant les conséquences socio-économiques. Dans ce papier, nous nous limiterons à sa composante électrique.
Rappelons tout d’abord que la finalité première d’un système électrique est d’assurer l’adéquation entre la production et la consommation d’électricité.

Il va de soi, quoique ce ne soit pas évident pour tout le monde, qu’il faut anticiper les adaptations nécessaires du système avant de procéder à la mise en œuvre du changement. Dans ce processus, l’analyse de l’impact sur la transmission et la distribution d’électricité et sur la continuité des services ainsi que la réalisation des travaux correspondants requis, sont prioritaires. Or aucun gouvernement ayant décidé de réduire drastiquement les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES), ne s’est soucié des conséquences de leurs décisions. Ceci explique les déboires des pays qui se sont précipités dans une stratégie de pénétration accélérée de production d’électricité renouvelable intermittente.

Again Reality Goes In Opposite Direction Of Climate Models…”Confidence In Models Correspondingly Low”

by P. Gosselin, March 27, 2019 in NoTricksZone

Real vegetation development in southern Africa takes a very different course than claimed by climate models

By Die kalte Sonne
(German translated by P Gosselin)

Climate models provide answers to all conceivable questions about the future. Political decision-makers are grateful for this information because they can make their plans accordingly.

But are the forecasts derived from models correct at all?

A research team led by Timm Hoffman has now compared the model projections with real vegetation development in southern Africa using historical photos. The sobering result: Nature has mostly developed quite differently than assumed by the models. In contrast to the model assumptions, no significant long-term trend in precipitation could be observed. Vegetation belts, which were supposed to shrink, ended up expanding. Confidence in the models is correspondingly low.

Political planning or even CO2 damage calculations based on the simulations are not possible. Here is the abstract of the work published in the journal Anthropocene in March 2019:

Southern Africa vegetation expanding, images show. Source: here.

China boosts coal mining capacity despite climate pledges

by M. Xu  & D. Patton, March 26, 2019 in Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) – China added 194 million tonnes of coal mining capacity in 2018, data from the energy bureau showed on Tuesday, despite vows to eliminate excess capacity in the sector and to reduce fossil fuel consumption.

Total coal mining capacity in the country was at 3.53 billion tonnes per year by the end of 2018, according to a statement from the National Energy Administration (NEA). That compares to 3.34 billion tonnes at the end of 2017.

INFO-SCE: 5% d’augmentation de production d’électricité en Chine : cela fait quoi?

by Science,  Climat et Energie, 27 mars 2019

Selon le dernier rapport de l’IEA, la consommation d’énergie mondiale a augmenté de 2,3% en 2018 ce qui représente la plus forte augmentation des dix dernières années. Le gaz naturel fut le plus consommé et représente 45% de l’augmentation de la consommation totale d’énergie.

Suite à cette augmentation de consommation d’énergie les émissions de CO2 se sont accrues de 1,7% pour atteindre 33,1 Gt en 2018. Près d’un tiers de ces émissions provient des centrales de charbon, surtout celles de la Chine.

Il faut noter que les émissions de CO2 en Chine ont augmenté de 2,5%, ou 230 Mt, pour atteindre 9,5 Gt. Un bond de plus de 5% de la production d’électricité à partir de centrales au charbon a entraîné une augmentation des émissions de 250 Mt, ce qui a plus que compensé l’impact de la baisse de l’utilisation du charbon en dehors du secteur de l’énergie.

Pour comparer…la Belgique émet 115 Mt de CO2.

DONC…l’augmentation des émissions en Chine dues au charbon en 2018 représente plus du double de toutes les émissions de CO2 de la Belgique.

Report : The “New Energy Economy”: An Exercise in Magical Thinking

by Mark P. Mills, March 26, 2019 in ManhattanInstitute


A movement has been growing for decades to replace hydrocarbons, which collectively supply 84% of the world’s energy. It began with the fear that we were running out of oil. That fear has since migrated to the belief that, because of climate change and other environmental concerns, society can no longer tolerate burning oil, natural gas, and coal—all of which have turned out to be abundant.

So far, wind, solar, and batteries—the favored alternatives to hydrocarbons—provide about 2% of the world’s energy and 3% of America’s. Nonetheless, a bold new claim has gained popularity: that we’re on the cusp of a tech-driven energy revolution that not only can, but inevitably will, rapidly replace all hydrocarbons.

This “new energy economy” rests on the belief—a centerpiece of the Green New Deal and other similar proposals both here and in Europe—that the technologies of wind and solar power and battery storage are undergoing the kind of disruption experienced in computing and communications, dramatically lowering costs and increasing efficiency. But this core analogy glosses over profound differences, grounded in physics, between systems that produce energy and those that produce information.

In the world of people, cars, planes, and factories, increases in consumption, speed, or carrying capacity cause hardware to expand, not shrink. The energy needed to move a ton of people, heat a ton of steel or silicon, or grow a ton of food is determined by properties of nature whose boundaries are set by laws of gravity, inertia, friction, mass, and thermodynamics—not clever software.

This paper highlights the physics of energy to illustrate why there is no possibility that the world is undergoing—or can undergo—a near-term transition to a “new energy economy.”

Among the reasons:

In 2018, U.S. coal exports were the highest in five years

by EIA, March 27, 2019

While U.S. coal consumption has generally declined since its 2008 peak, EIA expects that U.S. coal exports reached 116 million short tons (MMst) in 2018, the highest level in five years, based on foreign trade data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Exports of coal from the United States have increased since 2016 as international prices have made it more economic for U.S. producers to sell coal overseas.

In 2018, the United States exported 15% of its coal, and the remaining 85% was sold to end-use markets, primarily power sector and industrial customers. Coal exports have increased during the past two years, driven by increasing international coal demand, and in 2018 accounted for the largest share of total U.S. coal disposition on record. The United States exported 54 MMst of steam coal and 62 MMst of metallurgical coal in 2018, based on export data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Global CO2 Emissions Rose By 1.7% Last Year, As Energy Demand Climbs

by P. Homewood, March 26, 2019 in NotaLotofPeopleKnowThat

Energy demand worldwide grew by 2.3% last year, its fastest pace this decade, an exceptional performance driven by a robust global economy and stronger heating and cooling needs in some regions. Natural gas emerged as the fuel of choice, posting the biggest gains and accounting for 45% of the rise in energy consumption. Gas demand growth was especially strong in the United States and China.

Demand for all fuels increased, with fossil fuels meeting nearly 70% of the growth for the second year running. Solar and wind generation grew at double-digit pace, with solar alone increasing by 31%. Still, that was not fast enough to meet higher electricity demand around the world that also drove up coal use.

As a result, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7% to 33 Gigatonnes (Gt) in 2018. Coal use in power generation alone surpassed 10 Gt, accounting for a third of the total increase. Most of that came from a young fleet of coal power plants in developing Asia. The majority of coal-fired generation capacity today is found in Asia, with 12-year-old plants on average, decades short of average lifetimes of around 50 years.