NCAR’s dirty little secret

by Anthony Watts

WUWT readers of course have heard about the Met Office and their giant new supercomputer called “deep black” that they use for climate simulation and short term forecasts.

Not to be outdone, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO has commissioned a new supercomputer project of their own: The NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) shown in artist rendering below.

click for a larger image

In the initial press release they state the location and purpose:

January 23, 2007

BOULDER—The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and its managing organization, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), announced today that they will form a partnership with the University of Wyoming, the State of Wyoming, and the University of Colorado at Boulder to build a new supercomputing data center for scientific research in Cheyenne. The center will house some of the world’s most powerful supercomputers in order to advance understanding of climate, weather, and other Earth and atmospheric processes.

The center’s supercomputers, which will be upgraded regularly, will initially achieve speeds of hundreds of teraflops (trillion floating-point operations per second).

The Met Office wrote in their initial press release:

By 2011, the total system is anticipated to have a total peak performance approaching 1 PetaFlop — equivalent to over 100,000 PCs and over 30 times more powerful than what is in place today.

We found out later that the Met Office supercomputer would have an electrical power consumption of 1.2 megawatts.

So with that it mind, we’d expect the new NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC) to have some similar sort of power consumption. Right?

On the masthead of the NWSC page they say they are all about energy efficiency.

The NWSC project encompasses the design and construction of a world class center for high performance scientific computing in the atmospheric and related geosciences. Consistent with its mission, the facility will be a leader in energy efficiency, incorporating the newest and most efficient designs and technologies available. The center will provide new space to enable the advancement of scientific knowledge, education, and service through high-performance computing.

And on the right sidebar:

Focus on Sustainability

Maximum energy efficiency, LEED certification, and achievement of the smallest possible carbon footprint are all goals of the NWSC project. In the coming weeks and months, check this section of the site for updates on project sustainability efforts and outcomes.

That’s great, I’m all for sustainability and energy efficiency, even the “smallest possible carbon footprint” doesn’t sound too bad. Surely it will be more energy efficient and “greener” than the Met Office Supercomputer, right?

There’s an interesting unanswered question though. Why put this new facility in Wyoming rather than “green” Colorado? Isn’t Boulder, where NCAR is headquartered, the greenest of Colorado cities, and in the US top five too?

In the initial press release announcing the project, there’s this bit of political feel good prose:

“Having an NCAR supercomputing facility in Wyoming will be transformative for the University of Wyoming, will represent a significant step forward in the state’s economic development, and will provide exceptional opportunities for NCAR to make positive contributions to the educational infrastructure of an entire state,” says William Gern, the university’s vice president for research and economic development.

Gosh, what an opportunity for Wyoming. But why give the opportunity away? Colorado doesn’t want this opportunity? None of the politicians in Colorado want to be able to say to their constituents that they brought “economic development” and “positive contributions to the educational infrastructure of an entire state”? That doesn’t seem right.

The answer may very well lie in economics, but not the kind they mention in feel good press releases.

You see as we know from supercomputers, they need a lot of energy to operate. And because they operate in enclosed spaces, a lot of energy to keep them cooled so they don’t burn up from the waste heat they generate.

For all their sophistication, without power for operation and cooling, a supercomputer is just dead weight and space.

Electricity is king.

Interestingly, in the press releases and web pages,  NCAR provides no answers (at least none that were easy to find) to how much electricity the new supercomputer might use for operation and cooling. They also provide no explanation as to why Colorado let this opportunity go to another state. I had to dig into NCAR’s  interoffice staff notes to find the answer.

The answer is: electricity.

Measuring 108,000 square feet in total with 15,000-20,000 square feet of raised floor, it will be built for 8 megawatts of power, with 4-5 megawatts for computing and 3-4 for cooling.

8 megawatts! Yowza.

It’s really about economics. Electricity is getting expensive, and likely to be more expensive in the future. Candidate Obama said that under his leadership, “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket“. Clearly NCAR is planning for a more expensive energy future.

In the interoffice staff notes, NCAR outlines its decision logic.

NCAR considered partnerships for the data center with a number of organizations along the Front Range, giving CU-Boulder and the University of Wyoming particularly close scrutiny. NCAR also looked into leasing space and retrofitting an existing data center.

With support from NSF and the UCAR Board of Trustees, NCAR chose to locate the center in Wyoming after a rigorous evaluation, concluding that this partnership would facilitate getting the greatest computing capability for the regional and national scientific community at the earliest possible time.

“The Wyoming offer provides more computing power, sooner, and at lower cost,” Tim explained during an all-staff town hall meeting on January 31. “We’ve secured the future of NCAR’s role in leadership computing.”

The Wyoming offer consists of a 24-acre “shovel-ready” site for construction in the North Range Business Park in Cheyenne near the intersection of I-80 and I-25, along with physical infra- structure for fiber optics and guaranteed power transmission of 24 megawatts. The University of Wyoming will provide $20 million in endowment funds for construction, as well as $1 million annually for operations. NCAR will utilize the State of Wyoming’s bond program to fund construction, with the state treasurer purchasing bonds that will be paid off by NCAR.

Although CU-Boulder’s offer would have given the new center greater proximity to other NCAR facilities, it would have left NCAR with a mortgage of $50 million rather than $40 million and less long-term financial savings. The Cheyenne site offers cheaper construction costs and lends itself to future expansion. It also brings a transformative partnership to a state that has traditionally lacked opportunities in technology and research.

Indeed according to the latest figures from the Energy Information Adminsitration and Department of Energy (EIA/DOE) electricity is significantly cheaper in Wyoming.

click for source data

So besides the fact that NCAR abandoned “green” Colorado for it’s cheaper electricity rates and bond program, what’s the “dirty little secret?

Coal, the “dirtiest of fuels”, some say.

According to Sourcewatch, Wyoming is quite something when it comes to coal. Emphasis mine.

Wyoming is the nation’s highest coal producer, with over 400 million tons of coal produced in the state each year. In 2006, Wyoming’s coal production accounted for almost 40% of the nation’s coal.[1] Currently Wyoming coal comes from four of the State’s ten major coal fields. The Powder River Coal Field has the largest production in the world – in 2007, it produced over 436 million short tons.[2]

Wyoming coal is shipped to 35 other states. The coal is highly desirable because of its low sulfur levels.[3] On average Wyoming coal contains 0.35 percent sulfur by weight, compared with 1.59 percent for Kentucky coal and 3 to 5 percent for other eastern coals. Although Wyoming coal may have less sulfur, it also a lower “heat rate” or fewer Btu’s of energy. On average Wyoming coal has 8600 Btu’s of energy per pound, while Eastern coal has heat rates of over 12,000 Btu’s per pound, meaning that plants have to burn 50 percent more Wyoming coal to equal the power output from Eastern coal.[4]

Coal-fired power plants produce almost 95% of the electricity generated in Wyoming. Wyoming’s average retail price of electricity is 5.27 cents per kilowatt hour, the 2nd lowest rate in the nation[5]

It’s so bad, that Wyoming’s coal plants earned the coveted “Coal Swarm” badge on that page.

Gosh.

But not to worry, NCAR has a plan to “clean up” that dirty coal use to power their supercomputer climate modeling system.

Again from the interoffice staff notes

The new center will be the first NCAR facility to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for its design, construction, and operation. Measuring 108,000 square feet in total with 15,000-20,000 square feet of raised floor, it will be built for 8 megawatts of power, with 4-5 megawatts for computing and 3-4 for cooling. The power will be generated primarily from “clean” coal (coal that has been chemically scrubbed to reduce emissions of harmful pollutants) via Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power. NCAR is also aggressively working to secure the provision of alternative energy (wind and solar) for the facility, hoping to attain an initial level of 10%.

“We’re going to push for environmentally friendly solutions,” Tim says.

Clean Coal? Hmmm. NASA GISS’ Dr. Jim Hansen says Clean Coal is a decade away:

James Hansen, one of the world’s best-known global warming researchers and a recent vocal advocate of proposed coal plants, says clean coal technology used on a full-scale coal-fired plant could be at least a decade away. He expressed the sentiment in a media briefing organized by clean energy group RE-AMP, arguing against a proposed coal plant in Marshalltown, Iowa.

Hansen also said that:

“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species – its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.”

hansen_coal_death_train1

Don’t worry, the University of Wyoming in Cheyenne, where the new NCAR supercomputing center will be, is already on top of the situation. This is from their press release May 26th, 2008:

The University of Wyoming is ready to research clean coal and wants proposals from both academic and industry organizations. With the help of the Wyoming state government, they’ve arranged for up to $4.5 million in research funds — which can be matched by non-state funds.

And, Wyoming already has their hand out to Presdient Obama:

From CBS in Denver:

Colorado, Utah, Wyoming Seek Clean Coal Funding

DENVER (AP) ―

The governors of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are asking President Barack Obama to fund the development of clean-coal technologies in the West.

Yup, clean coal will power that new NCAR supercomputer any day now, and we’ll be paying for it.

In the meantime:

I’m sure NCAR will let us know how those wind turbines work out for that other 10% of the power.

h/t to Steve Goddard in comments

About these ads

175 thoughts on “NCAR’s dirty little secret

  1. The wind turbines are already nearby and way excess unused wind… former Wyoming resident… enough wind, in fact to blow the whole thing clear to Nebraska if they don’t nail it down.

  2. WUWT – ‘James Hansen, one of the world’s best-known global warming researchers and a recent vocal advocate of proposed coal plants’ i don’t think you meant advocate? typo?

    REPLY: That’s from the article he advocates “clean coal” apparently….- A

  3. I don’t see the barbecue in the pic, but I’m sure there will be one. Maybe the vast open pit coal mines sort of overwhelm that factor.

    In a related matter, Jane “NOAA” Lysenko is attempting to swing funds to her home base in Oregon, but she is meeting resistance. Isn’t slush another name for rotten snow? The irony would be delicious if it wasn’t so expensive!

    Washington state delegation tries again to delay NOAA base in Newport

    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2010/01/washington_state_delegation_tr.html

    Newport, Oregon – Led by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Washington’s congressional delegation is again wielding its power to try to stop the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from relocating its Pacific fleet to Newport [Oregon].

    The letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Under Secretary Jane Lubchenco questions NOAA’s “rush” to move the fleet.

    Chief among delegation’s requests is that NOAA instruct Newport to stop spending public funds until a review process requested by the Government Accountability Office is completed. …

    The letter also calls for a “full-blown” environmental impact statement, and an Endangered Species Act biological opinion on the facility because Newport is located in an officially designated critical habitat for the ESA-listed green sturgeon…

  4. Apart from the monster truck of course but that is offset by the Volvo and the (BMW) Mini in the car park.

  5. I love it. It’s so emblematic. The models are so uncertain they have to burn coal by the trainload to try to see if they can get them to work right.

  6. The city of Boulder, Colorado has a goal to comply with the Kyoto protocol, but alas cannot seem to reduce GHG emissions. (The city even sent a delegation to the COP meeting in Copenhagen.) AGW protests outside Xcel’s Valmont (coal) power station located at the Eastern edge of the city are regular occurrences. The activists want to close that plant or have it converted to a wood-fired plant. They’ve made numerous attempts to get the city to revoke its operating license. So far, rationality has prevailed. Even the liberal city council sees the value of electricity.

    For NCAR, it’s probably better for them politically to “hide” their hypocrisy.

  7. Weren’t Democrats like Barrack Obama touting against clean-coal technology in their campaigns, whereas the Republicans were for it? I guess in the end, money talks. In exchange for building/powering a computing monstrosity to “show” that AGW is real, Wyoming and its coal businesses get a handout.

    The leech called government grows ever larger.

    This article is an excellent example of good journalism by the way.

  8. You build a facility that has two conventional reactors and a reprocessing plant. A small amount of plutonium is brought to the site to start the processing breeder. At that point you bring in nothing but natural uranium or “depleted” uranium to make fuel in the breeder for the conventional reactors. After the initial load of plutonium, no dangerous highly radioactive nuclear materials need to be transported to the site again.

    From that point on the fuel is used and reprocessed. Waste that is produced after the recycling process decays in a few hundred years, can be stored on-site (we know how to build things that can last a few hundred years), and requires about 10% of the volume that current waste storage requires. Nothing requires transport off-site. No hazardous materials require transport to the site after the initial breeder seed load.

    End result: Wyoming has a large amount of power for a very long time.

    See SciAm December 2005 “Smarter Use of Nuclear Waste”.

  9. The climate models don’t work – they are far too simplistic – I thought we had finally had a clear demonstration of that.

    As my Daddy used to say, “Son, if you are trying to do something, and it isn’t working, there is no point in trying to do the same thing harder”.

    8MW is a lot of power, and we might just wish that we had access to that power later, when we get deeper into the coming ice age.

  10. Sweeeet:
    “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death. When I testified against the proposed Kingsnorth power plant, I estimated that in its lifetime it would be responsible for the extermination of about 400 species – its proportionate contribution to the number that would be committed to extinction if carbon dioxide rose another 100 ppm.

    Who said it?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/15/james-hansen-power-plants-coal

    Hansen! Yay!

    REPLY: Thanks for the reminder! I’ve added WUWT’s previous coverage of this event to the article. – A

  11. (apologies to Douglas Adams) I look forward the to Multiple Analysis Research Variability Integration Normalizer being put to work on the project.

    I’m sure that MARVIN’s results will be as cheerful as its namesake.

  12. Since we’ve finally stumbled in to something I’m finally very familiar with…

    This is about average to above average size for a single use data center. What’s not mentioned is in addition to the 8 MW incoming power from coal there will be at least 10 MW back up power from diesel generator – probably four 2.5 MW generators. These will run at least once a week unloaded and once a month fully loaded for about an hour. Fuel rate fully loaded for all four … 600 to 750 gallons per hour.

    This is one reason why new data centers are located away from cities … too many emission restrictions. Even CDC in Atlanta has limits on testing their emergency power system.

  13. Lets just put a small nuke plant by the technology park. It’ll answer all the green questions and power everything in the park.

    Of course, that nuke will mean that everyone in the park will be glowing… ;)

  14. Personally, I find the seaweed nailed to my fence to be more reliable than the Met Office’s mega-bloater. What’s more it’s carbon footprint is a big fat zero…

  15. /snark on
    What no windmills? No solar panels? No earthquake producing geothermal sites?How can this be? We were told that this was all ready to go and would produce all those “green” jobs. By not using “green” power sources and costing us all those new green jobs, NCAR must be un-American and they must be funded by the nasty Big Oil and Coal companies. Well we know what that means nothing they produce can be trusted since their Supercomputer benefits Big Coal.
    /snarkoff

  16. If a model doesn’t work then you can throw as many resources as you like at it, it still won’t work.

    Incidentally, love the ‘Death Train’ picture detail. Priceless.

  17. They need 8 megawatts like a hole in the head. Is it possible they invented that ridiculous spec to justify the move?

  18. Its nice to see a contribution (even if it is only a tip) from Steve Goddard. I hope that previous history can be moved-on-from, and we can see more activity from Steve.

  19. When the day comes that nobody will “buy” the output of their models, NCAR and CRU can set their computers to playing thousands of simultaneous chess games against each other. Or a million solitaire games alone.

  20. ” Clawga (12:19:16) :”

    I am also familiar with data centers and power consumption. “Back in the day”, bandwidth was the limiting factor to growth and your biggest financial constraint. These days bandwidth is cheap, it is power that is the constraint. A data center might have plenty of available floor space but it is “out of power”. This is why Google, for example, wants to become a power company. It has nothing to do with “green” this or that. It has to do with them buying power wholesale or being power operators themselves in order to get the power they need for their data centers.

    Data center operators are deploying some interesting concepts to reduce power requirements. For every watt brought into that data center in electricity, a watt must be removed from the building in heat. Often, air handling capacity is the constraint on how much power you can bring in. If your climate control can only remove 10MW of heat, you are only going to bring in 10MW of power. So they are doing interesting things these days such as when the temperature outside is cooler than the desired data center temperature, you shut down your air handler and flood the data center with outside air.

    Places like Wyoming have more days that are below the data center temperature than above. The average high temperature in Cheyenne is above optimum data center temperatures for only 3 months out of 12 and average nighttime lows are low enough year-round to use outside air. If the center is designed well, this can be leveraged to greatly reduce the amount of power overhead required to cool the data center.

    Reference:

    http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Wyoming/Cheyenne/

  21. ““deep black” that they use for climate simulation and short term forecasts.”

    and they can’t get either one right

    So what’s the point?

  22. Are we to believe there is enough weather data to keep that monster busy for more than a couple of seconds per day?

    (sarcasm on)
    I sure hope they can find other uses for all that computng power to justify its existence. Hey, maybe they could use it to keep track of the comings and goings of all the deniers and instigating troublemakers. Yeah, I bet they haven’t thought of that. Who should I contact? Maybe they could put one in each state as sort of a stimulus thing.
    (sarcasm off)
    A side benefit would be sending the Met a daily forcast so they won’t be caught with their pants down again, regarding the weather, that is.

    Dave

  23. If I remember correctly , coal production in Wyoming has led to a major financial boom , and has brought jobs to the state which suffered an economic downturn after the expected oil shale boom went bust in the early eighties . No surprise to see that they rely on coal power .

  24. Coal powered electric is fine. It is theft to force people to pay extra twice for wind. Once by subsidizing the construction and the other when each Killowatt is subsidized. I stopped and waited for a coal train last night. Ummm cheap power. Boulder is also high for real estate prices and taxes. I often enjoy boulder but Wyoming is a superior choice.
    My daughter is an architectural engineer. She has over a billion dollars construction crossing her desk. The cooling costs are the big deal. Her take on one data center they did lines up with this choice. This should be cost driven and not political driven.

  25. Hundreds of teraflops will be able to generate wrong answers much faster than we are presently capable of doing. It’s called progress, and I’m proud to be a part of (funding) it. Well, actually we’re funding it by borrowing money from the Chinese who are building coal fired plants like the dickens, but at least our grandchildren will be proud of funding it.

    By the time they get it built, you should be able to plug three Nintendo’s into a USB 3.0 hub and get a teraflop.
    .

    Another Mike D (12:12:23) :
    I’m sure that MARVIN’s results will be as cheerful as its namesake.

    We’re doomed.

  26. The unholy alliance of politicians and scientists includes:

    a.) Scientists using politicians to get research funds.

    b.) Politicians using scientists to justify “pork” projects like the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC).

    c.) The public paying taxes to get misinformation.

    What a scam!
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  27. This is so wrong on so many levels.

    Being generous to NCAR — their super dooper computer will operate in the hundreds of teraFLOPS range, while the UK’s toy hopes to hit a more impressive target of a petaFLOPS. And NCAR’s unit will use four times the energy to operate (4-5 MW) than the UK’s more powerful unit (1.2 MW).

    That’s a mighty impressive waste processing center NCAR’s aiming for in Wyoming.

  28. I note with interest that the BBC news website has the ever so slightest hint of a “chilling” [:o)] to their usual warming diatribe in this little ditty regarding the Met Office and their annual predictions.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8462890.stm

    The spin is losing kinetic energy – only a matter of time before the coin lands on heads.

  29. Another location could be West Virginia. They could use electric from Mountain top coal. Folks this rush to wind power is going to fizzle. It is laced with kickbacks, inneficiency and gubment welfare. If a company wants a power contract, they can defeat wind electric by forcing lowest bid rules.
    Parts of California allow the consumer to choose the source of power and wind source is higher. Even most municipals refuse to go with wind. Money is tight.

  30. greg2213 (12:21:40) :

    Lets just put a small nuke plant by the technology park. It’ll answer all the green questions and power everything in the park.

    Of course, that nuke will mean that everyone in the park will be glowing… ;)

    But at least they will be glowing green.

  31. The Met offices supercomputer is from IBM :

    https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/mydeveloperworks/blogs/SOA_Off_the_Record/entry/did_you_know_governments_leveraging?lang=en

    Didn’t find out what system will be used by NCAR but it will surely beat the Met – Petaflops targeted:

    http://www.gcn.com/Articles/2008/11/12/NCAR-installs-major-storage-upgrade.aspx?Page=2

    ‘The 40-year-old Mesa Laboratory computing facility is rapidly becoming obsolete,’ NCAR said. ‘CISL continues to pursue the goal of building a new data center in Wyoming,’ the NCAR Supercomputing Center, ‘which will enable development of petascale systems that will soon be required by the atmospheric and related science communities.’

    Anything else wouldn’t make sense. New systems in general beat older systems. Especially when they suck more power.

  32. As a resident of the Peoples’ Republic of Boulder, I too read the initial announcement of the Wyoming winning proposal with a smile. Cheap power, power-friendly gummint, Dick Cheney – what could be more ironic? Oh, and the state has a persistent surplus!

    Boulder has a Climate Action Plan tied to Kyoto measures and a Smart Grid – interactive meters that show real-time power consumption (Hey kids, let’s gather ’round and watch the Smart Grid meter!). If NCAR had won the supercomputer competition, imagine the fun of watching the meter whirl at an 8-megawatt clip!

    As noted above by R Shearer, the eeeko-types are whining about our local coal-fired power plant that is franchised by the city. Shut it down! Put up solar panels! Put up windmills! (actually, put those icky things somewhere else!)

    We just survived a very cold, snowy December that allowed darn little solar and even less wind-power generation. These folk don’t understand base-load.

    Now, if we took all the runners, bikers, triathletes, and dogs in Boulder and put them on treadmills 24/7, and harnessed the hot air from a typical city council meeting, we just might be able to meet those Kyoto goals!

  33. The NSA is locating their new supercomputing center in Utah for similar reasons.

    Why have they not yet found a way to reclaim the unwanted heat to generate electricity or heat greenhouses or something else productive?

  34. Pure arrogance. They think this will improve accuracy? Will just make their screwy assumptions more expensive.

    And this is what they are going to spend your money on, after they create a carbon tax?

    I think it’s time to BAN climate science. What a bunch of tools!

  35. AleaJactaEst (13:15:28)

    The spin is losing kinetic energy – only a matter of time before the coin lands on heads.

    Thanks for the link. I read the article and was astounded at absurdity of Professor Stephen Mobbs’ comments regarding the Met’s failed predictions:

    “All models have biases and these are very small. It may be, as the Met Office suggests, that the observations are wrong, not the model.”

    All that snow on the ground and biting cold weather is merely an observational error or perhaps mass hallucination? It is amazing to witness how these scientists have become so invested in their models that they are forced deny reality even when it bites them in the back side.

  36. NCAR is also using their supercomputing power to simulate sunspots:

    http://gcn.com/articles/2009/06/24/sunspot-model.aspx?sc_lang=en

    For all those who think that this enormous new supercomputer will bide its time computing flawed climate models. This is typical; you use the money that flows into the scare scenario of the day to build a computing facility that you might also use for doing real research. Of course you advertise the project with the doomsday scenario de jour but it’s a universal computing system in the end.

  37. Lot’s of coal making lots of heat
    Lot’s of chocolate for me to eat
    Warm face, warm hands, warm feet
    Oh, wouldn’t it be loverly!

  38. The clever bit is that they can put a temperature station next to it to help the models get the right answer.

  39. Given that the evidence from Piers Corbyn’s Pc and the Met Office deep black is that the forecast accuracy is inversely proportional to the computer power, then extrapolating to the NCAR supercomputers suggests that the forecasts will be truly awesomely bad.

  40. “Why have they not yet found a way to reclaim the unwanted heat to generate electricity or heat greenhouses or something else productive?”

    Have you ever spent a summer in Laurel, MD? There is plenty of heat available from other sources … day and night. I suppose there would be a possibility of using it for greenhouses but installations like that tend to be on a very secure compound. Who is going to work the greenhouses? This isn’t like a commercial building. This place will likely be in an area that regular people can’t just go in and out of.

  41. They’ll probably need the 4MW to keep the white elephant warm when the big freeze comes… Or is it a white mammoth? Doesn’t matter – it won’t work either way…

  42. Maybe they will locate a temperature sensor on the roof next to the airconditioners, surrounded by black asphalt and use this sensor for all of Wyoming to show how much the state has warmed…

  43. BTW, the Met Office justifies the carbon footprint of their IBM machine with the enormous fuel savings airlines can make using the Met’s very very good wind forecasts.

    “For example, the Met’s global aviation forecasts allow airlines to save fuel by using the wind to aid their flight to their destination. The Met Office has estimated that this alone helps save approximately 20 million tonnes of CO2 each year through increased efficiency.”

    That makes sense (if you buy into the CO2 religion). Maybe they even get this type of forecast right sometimes. The quote is from this article – it’s so full of bravado it’s funny:

    http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2009/10/27/238307/case-study-how-the-met-office-supercomputer-offsets-its-carbon.htm

    It’s fun to examine the wicked ways these people choose to justify or condemn things – like a tribe with bizarre rituals.

  44. what to makes of this piece, which the Times puts in their arts and entertainment section?

    17 Jan: UK Times: Steven Swinford: BBC forecast for Met Office: changeable
    BUFFETED by complaints about its inaccurate weather forecasts, the Met Office now faces being dumped by the BBC after almost 90 years.
    The Met Office contract with the BBC expires in April and the broadcaster has begun talks with Metra, the national forecaster for New Zealand, as a possible alternative…
    By contrast, many commercial rivals got their predictions for winter right. They benefit from weather forecasts produced by a panel of six different data providers, including the Met Office.
    Despite criticism, staff at the Met Office are still in line to share a bonus pot of more than £1m. Seasonal forecasts, such as the one made in September, are not included in its performance targets…
    Metra already produces graphics for the BBC, including its 3-D weather map which made some viewers feel sick.

    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article6991064.ece

  45. just found the debate on bbc uk . what a load of crap they think we are stupid. i live in the uk and due to tax im in bed where i can keep warm. we have been taxed for everthing. we are forced to drive small cars forced to pay .£5.50 for a gallon of gas. road tax. heating fuel tax. food tax .house tax. there is a tax for every thing we do or buy we are told how to live . how to bring up our childen we are told that immigrants should be put before english. 60% of london is non white we are being wiped out there will be a war on our steets if we keep being lied to. its not just climate change we are no longer free to live our life here. and i hear the usa is going to be just like us told how to live our parliament is a joke lisbon treaty where we asked no we could not be trusted as we are so stupid to understand why we needed to be in the eu i know why so they can take our money and spend it on destoying life and freedom as we know it. i wish i never had kids what have i done, what sort of life will they have? i tell you what they will have tax tax taxed till you die from being cold or no food to eat you know why they put all the cameras on all our road network so they can tax by the mile sory for the rant just had to work up a sweat to keep warm here is the link to the bbc http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/629/629/7074601.stm

  46. This whole thing reminded me of my unhappy involvement years ago in development of a radically new power turbine. After several miserable performance failures, one of the bright boys from the lab blurted out in a technical review meeting, “Maybe a really, really big one would work!”

    CH

  47. A crystal ball is much more energy efficient and just as reliable at forecasting the weather years in advance.

  48. Crosspatch -

    Places like Wyoming have more days that are below the data center temperature than above. The average high temperature in Cheyenne is above optimum data center temperatures for only 3 months out of 12 and average nighttime lows are low enough year-round to use outside air. If the center is designed well, this can be leveraged to greatly reduce the amount of power overhead required to cool the data center.

    very good point

  49. I was thinking the same thing, Nick:

    “Costly energy makes jobs fly away to places with reasonably priced energy. QED.”

    This story proves that even the government isn’t too dense to realize that energy costs make a huge difference in decisions like this. At least when their own budget is involved.

    Yet, when President Obama blithely announces that he intends to make the cost of electricity skyrocket, he seems clueless about the same concept. Where does he think that industry, and their factories, and their JOBS, are going to go? To the state next door?

    What if the state next door isn’t a state but another country, because all the states inside our borders have become prohibitively expensive? So the incentive to relocate to China will be made infinitely larger because they’re not so foolish. How is that going to help us or anyone in the world really? All it does is shift prosperity somewhere else while aiding the environment not a whit.

  50. If they can’t walk the walk, why should they expect me to? I value my electric reliability just as much as they value theirs, which I’m sure is why they are locating in Wyoming. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  51. Luke Lea (14:17:22) :

    Could you calculate the number of coal cars per year it will take to run that supercomputer?

    Well without showing my work but that’s OK since this is related to climate science, I get
    66 per year just for that data center. Estimating coal at 2.0 KW-H/Kg and 120 tons/car

  52. Dr. Hansen surely must be aware of the relationship between fossil fuels, CO2 and atmospheric temperature. If not, he should consider the following:
    a) The atmosphere contains 750 Gt of carbon.
    b) There are about 4,000 Gt of known fossil fuel reserves.
    c) If every Gt of fossil fuel reserves were burned, atmospheric CO2 would increase from the present 390 to 2,470 ppm.
    d) This would result in a logarithmic temperature increase of about 1.4C.
    e) For the last 600 million years the temperature has varied from 12C to 22C
    26% of the time at 22C and 6% of the time at 12C. We are presently at 14.5C.
    (Scotese)
    f) After burning all the fossil fuel, the temperature would increase to 15.9C, about 39% off the bottom of the historical range.
    g) We are much closer to the “tipping point” of 90 ppm wherein photosynthesis would cease and turn the Earth into a plantless snowball.
    h) 550 million years ago CO2 was 7,000 ppm, when there were no coal-fired power plants (Berner).

  53. This article appeared in the Rockhampton (Queensland Australia) morning Bulletin on 22.12.09.

    The Editor

    The Morning Bulletin.

    I have sat by for a number of years frustrated at the rubbish being put forth about carbon dioxide emissions, thermal coal fired power stations and renewable energy and the ridiculous Emissions Trading Scheme.

    Frustration at the lies told (particularly during the election) about global pollution. Using Power Station cooling towers for an example. The condensation coming from those cooling towers is as pure as that that comes out of any kettle.

    Frustration about the so called incorrectly named man made ‘carbon emissions’ which of course is Carbon Dioxide emissions and what it is supposedly doing to our planet.

    Frustration about the lies told about renewable energy and the deliberate distortion of renewable energy and its ability to replace fossil fuel energy generation. And frustration at the ridiculous carbon credit programme which is beyond comprehension.

    And further frustration at some members of the public who have not got a clue about thermal Power Stations or Renewable Energy. Quoting ridiculous figures about something they clearly have little or no knowledge of.

    First coal fired power stations do NOT send 60 to 70% of the energy up the chimney. The boilers of modern power station are 96% efficient and the exhaust heat is captured by the economisers and reheaters and heat the air and water before entering the boilers.

    The very slight amount exiting the stack is moist as in condensation and CO2. There is virtually no fly ash because this is removed by the precipitators or bagging plant that are 99.98% efficient. The 4% lost is heat through boiler wall convection.

    Coal fired Power Stations are highly efficient with very little heat loss and can generate massive amount of energy for our needs. They can generate power at efficiency of less than 10,000 b.t.u. per kilowatt and cost wise that is very low.

    The percentage cost of mining and freight is very low. The total cost of fuel is 8% of total generation cost and does NOT constitute a major production cost.

    As for being laughed out of the country, China is building multitudes of coal fired power stations because they are the most efficient for bulk power generation.

    We have, like, the USA, coal fired power stations because we HAVE the raw materials and are VERY fortunate to have them. Believe me no one is laughing at Australia – exactly the reverse, they are very envious of our raw materials and independence.

    The major percentage of power in Europe and U.K. is nuclear because they don’t have the coal supply for the future.

    Yes it would be very nice to have clean, quiet, cheap energy in bulk supply. Everyone agrees that it would be ideal. You don’t have to be a genius to work that out. But there is only one problem—It doesn’t exist.

    Yes – there are wind and solar generators being built all over the world but they only add a small amount to the overall power demand.

    The maximum size wind generator is 3 Megawatts, which can rarely be attained on a continuous basis because it requires substantial forces of wind. And for the same reason only generate when there is sufficient wind to drive them. This of course depends where they are located but usually they only run for 45% -65% of the time, mostly well below maximum capacity. They cannot be relied for a ‘base load’ because they are too variable. And they certainly could not be used for load control.

    The peak load demand for electricity in Australia is approximately 50,000 Megawatts and only small part of this comes from the Snowy Hydro Electric System (The ultimate power Generation) because it is only available when water is there from snow melt or rain. And yes they can pump it back but it cost to do that. (Long Story).

    Tasmania is very fortunate in that they have mostly hydro electric generation because of their high amounts of snow and rainfall. They also have wind generators (located in the roaring forties) but that is only a small amount of total power generated.

    Based on a average generating output of 1.5 megawatts (of unreliable power) you would require over 33,300 wind generators.

    As for solar power generation much research has been done over the decades and there are two types. Solar thermal generation and Solar Electric generation but in each case they cannot generate large amounts of electricity.

    Any clean, cheap energy is obviously welcomed but they would NEVER have the capability of replacing Thermal power generation. So get your heads out of the clouds, do some basic mathematics and look at the facts not going off with the fairies (or some would say the extreme greenies.)

    We are all greenies in one form or another and care very much about our planet. The difference is most of us are realistic. Not in some idyllic utopia where everything can be made perfect by standing around holding a banner and being a general pain in the backside.

    Here are some facts that will show how ridiculous this financial madness the government is following. Do the simple maths and see for yourselves.

    According to the ‘believers’ the CO2 in air has risen from .034% to .038% in air over the last 50 years.

    To put the percentage of Carbon Dioxide in air in a clearer perspective;

    If you had a room 12 ft x 12 ft x 7 ft or 3.7 mtrs x 3.7 mtrs x 2.1 mtrs, the area carbon dioxide would occupy in that room would be .25m x .25m x .17m or the size of a large packet of cereal.

    Australia emits 1 percent of the world’s total carbon Dioxide and the government wants to reduce this by twenty percent or reduce emissions by .2 percent of the world’s total CO2 emissions.

    What effect will this have on existing CO2 levels?

    By their own figures they state the CO2 in air has risen from .034% to .038% in 50 years.

    Assuming this is correct, the world CO2 has increased in 50 years by .004 percent.

    Per year that is .004 divided by 50 = .00008 percent. (Getting confusing -but stay with me).

    Of that because we only contribute 1% our emissions would cause CO2 to rise .00008 divided by 100 = .0000008 percent.

    Of that 1%, we supposedly emit, the governments wants to reduce it by 20% which is 1/5th of .0000008 = .00000016 percent effect per year they would have on the world CO2 emissions based on their own figures.

    That would equate to a area in the same room, as the size of a small pin.!!!

    For that they have gone crazy with the ridiculous trading schemes, Solar and roofing installations, Clean coal technology. Renewable energy, etc, etc.

    How ridiculous is that.

    The cost to the general public and industry will be enormous. Cripple and even closing some smaller business.

    T.L. Cardwell

    To the Editor I thought I should clarify. I spent 25 years in the Electricity Commission of NSW working, commissioning and operating the various power units. My last was the 4 X 350 MW Munmorah Power Station near Newcastle. I would be pleased to supply you any information you may require.

  54. maybe they’ve chosen Cheyenne because it will be protected by 150 Minuteman III intercontinental missiles at the nearby Warren Air Force Base! :)

  55. AleaJactaEst (13:15:28) :
    Piers Corbyn, the independent weather forecaster, predicted the winter cold many months ago, to the surprise of many meteorologists. He says the Met Office failed to warn of extreme events in their seasonal forecasts because they are employing a computer model based on the assumption of man-made climate change.

    IMO this is the best part

  56. Speaking of cars, that architect’s rendering of the new center has a couple of vehicles in it. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

    Driving by the shiny new center is a compact white sedan, probably some locals just passing by to admire the latest stimulus to the Wyoming economy. “Look honey, because of that there building we don’t have to sell the double-wide and move to Nevada like we were a-feared! And Granny can get her new teeth this year!”

    Parked out front, there’s a Cooper Mini, a Volvo station wagon, and what looks to be a blue Subura Outback, all very CC (climately-correct) and surely belonging to Ph.D.s on research staff. There’s also a red, sporty number next to the Mini, possibly a Porsche, which I’ll assume is the center director’s sweet, sweet ride.

    And finally, there’s a big ‘ol, gas-swilling, American-made TRUCK (with extended cab) parked right beneath the Stars and Stripes!

    Priceless!

  57. Beyond cost, the Colorado front range is rapidly running out of electricity. Sebelius, when she was the Governor of Kansas, unconstitutionally tried to deep-six the expansion of the coal-fired Holcomb generating station in far western Kansas. Speculation was rife at the time it was to give her “bona fides” with the Obama camp as a real environmentalist. Maybe it worked too. Anyway – they utility people I know in Colorado are adamant – if they can’t find an additional two thousand megawatts there will be California style rolling blackouts this coming decade along the front range. It’s not merely cost – it is availability – they can’t add that type of load to the grid up at Boulder.

  58. New computers huh?

    10 terry flops and peta flops…wowee.

    Coding by Harry?

    10 Print: “input data”
    20 Input A$
    30 Input B$
    40 Input C$
    50 CLS
    60 Print: “Data indicates”
    70 Print: “A definite”
    80 Print: “Warming”
    90 Goto 70

  59. Perhaps NCAR could look to the private sector for help in site selection.

    “Giant IT companies with giant energy needs—Microsoft and Google are great examples—have been looking for low-cost, low-polluting ways of powering their massive server farms for years. In fact, both firms built server farms along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon in order to take advantage of some of the cheapest hydro-power in the country.”

    http://cleanenergysector.com/2009/10/microsoft-google-british-wind-power/

  60. Quote:
    “We found out later that the Met Office supercomputer would have an electrical power consumption of 1.2 megawatts.”

    Lets see, approximately 50% of electrical power is generated by coal burning plants.
    Now that’s a carbon footprint to be proud of!

  61. Speaking of coal, Terence Cardwell spent 25 years in the Electricity Commission of NSW (Australia) working, commissioning and operating the various power units, lastly at the 4 X 350 MW Munmorah Power Station near Newcastle. His letter appears in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin where he lifts the lid on carbon dioxide emissions. http://thesixtyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cardwell-letter.pdf – More about Terry here: http://thesixtyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cardwell.pdf

  62. Every where I go they tell me that the science is settled, the debate is over, etc. and it’s time for action, blah, blah, blah. If so, one would think think that jumbo mega-computers dedicated to “climate research” would not be needed, wouldn’t one?

    Paul

  63. I believe Anthony Watts should include a “by line” in his articles, just as Steve McIntyre does. Posting the articles without a “by line” is a little too modest by half. Sometimes folks print or copy an article including the headline, and such prints and copies leave no clue as to the author.

  64. I still want to comment on the Climategate book.

    Perhaps the movie version could be made as an updated version of this movie.

    All The Climategates Men
    Mosher and Fuller are like Woodward and Bernstein.
    Quick, Someone use this video and remake a trailer out of it titled, All the Climategates Men

    All the Presidents Men Movie Trailer HQ

  65. It’s simple. Let them be an example of green technology by erecting 5 wind turbines to power the computers, and when the wind does not blow or blows too low… well they wont be able to make bad predictions.

  66. “Nigel S (11:49:16) :

    Apart from the monster truck of course but that is offset by the Volvo and the (BMW) Mini in the car park.”

    Monster truck? That looks like your typical Chevy Silverado 1/2-ton crew-cab pickup. Here in farm ‘n ranch country that’s almost a compact truck. Trucks like that fill probably one-third of your average parking lot. If they are going to build the facility in Cheyenne they had better plan for large parking spots. Unless only climate scientists work there…Prius’s don’t need large spaces.

    I don’t live in Wyoming but it is one of my favorite states to visit. Wide open spaces and beautiful scenery. Even better, a Wyoming “liberal” would be considered a right-wing wacko on the east or west coast.

  67. ‘…..with the state treasurer purchasing bonds that will be paid off by NCAR.’
    Question? What is NCAR selling to earn money to pay off the State of Wyoming’s bond program? Computer time?

  68. Many years ago….

    Many years ago, Walter Orr Roberts gave me a tour of NCAR. I did not comprehend: the Crays.

    I do not comprehend, today.

    Roberts, who would be disgusted by what’s happening today, studied “greenhouse glasnost” in the 1980′s, a non-problem, he decided then.

    This is not science.

  69. Just think, soon with all this enormous computing power, we won’t need reality at all! ~”Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we’re free at last.”

  70. Colorado pays a premium for electricity to get wind energy generated in Wyoming.

    Meanwhile, Wyoming uses cheap, coal-fired power.


  71. Sharon (15:09:07) :

    Parked out front, there’s a Cooper Mini, a Volvo station wagon, and what looks to be a blue Subura Outback, all very CC (climately-correct) and surely belonging to Ph.D.s on research staff. There’s also a red, sporty number next to the Mini, possibly a Porsche, which I’ll assume is the center director’s sweet, sweet ride.

    I’ve got to think that Climate ‘Research staff’ will still reside in Colorado; this isn’t 1985 where you have to your TI 911 Terminal within 50′ (20 m) of your TI 990 minicomputer (or within RS-232 cable range of your VAX 11/780).

    The tile, “NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center (NWSC)” should give it away (as it is not titled “NCAR-Wyoming Research Center (NWRC)).

    From _Jim; who remembers seeing one of the earlier Crays while touring the NCAR facility yrs back …

    One wonders if this facility will be available for other computationally intensive research applications (e.g. maybe fuels research, DOE research programs, code-breaking sessions, etc).
    .
    .

  72. Coal+Power Plant+Supercomputer=Climate Model

    Climate Model+Politician=no Coal-fired Power Plant

    Attention Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power- these guys are not your friends.

  73. TomTurner in SF (15:47:51) :

    I believe Anthony Watts should include a “by line” in his articles, just as Steve McIntyre does. Posting the articles without a “by line” is a little too modest by half. Sometimes folks print or copy an article including the headline, and such prints and copies leave no clue as to the author.

    I’ve been saying the same thing too. Maybe you’ll get through to him.

  74. Obviously, they should be required to power the super computer by windmills and without connection to the evil power grid. That way the computer center works which ever way the wind blows but not when the wind doesn’t blow.

  75. OFF TOPIC:

    My apologies for butting in here with an OT post.

    It seems that Richard North (www.eurefendum.blogspot.com) and Christopher Booker may have been cheated out of credit for the great work they’ve been doing investigating the financial dealings of the Pachauri Gang by the Telegraph and had it given to some hack called Robert Mendick.

    Last week’s intended publication of their story in this esteemed organ was unexpectedly delayed. Maybe now we can see why. Is this yet another instance of the MSM doing the dirty on bloggers, even though it agreed to accept their article? Does it want the credit for itself?

    I don’t know, but if it is, the Telegraph needs its throat ripped out.

    See http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2010/01/pachauri-sunday-telegraph-part-1.html

  76. PaulH (15:44:20) :

    Every where I go they tell me that the science is settled, the debate is over, etc. and it’s time for action, blah, blah, blah. If so, one would think think that jumbo mega-computers dedicated to “climate research” would not be needed, wouldn’t one?

    You need to supercompute the Global Warming causes next Ice Age scare, because the present scare is coming apart at the seams. They will go on a massive 20 year hunt to cherry pick the evidence to fit thier newest concoction. See, they were right in the first place. The oceans will now drop, stranding shipping everywhere. The glaciers will cut off water supplies. And it’s all due to C02.
    Why do you think Gore bought shorline property?
    Gravy Train.

  77. I think I’ll search for a site where you can place bets on the weather predictions. Just bet opposite to the Met’s predictions and we should be on a sure winner most of the time.

  78. I still don’t understand, why is all this money being spent on research and new supercomputers? Seems an awful lot of trouble and wasted resources to expend for an area of science which is “settled”. Since it’s all been worked out and there is no questioning AGW “science” the logical thing to do would be re-purpose all these research locations, computing power and scientists to other areas of research. The “science” is done and the remediation plan was put in place in Copenhagen it looks like this whole thing has been wrapped up and we needn’t expend anymore time and effort on it.

  79. Let’s see: 8Mw x 8000 hrs per year = 64 million kwh
    2 kwh/kg = 32 million kg/year (coal)
    100 tonnes (long) per car = 320 cars per year
    We use that much in Colorado Springs every few weeks
    A bargain. And it might keep Cheyenne a bit warmer.

    I don’t think we have Minutemen any more. Not that
    work. SALT and such. Certainly not near the city.

  80. And when it is all done, a handful of people will be sitting around with their home pcs and have to re-examine all of the data and re-analyze the results.

  81. I’m an electronic engineer, in so far as I design electronic doo-hickeys, not that I am, myself, electronic. I salivate at the thought of an eight mega-watt computer :-)

  82. Ya gotta love this business plan: Keep dropping the stations and keep adding the Petaflops. Soon, they will be able to achieve division by zero.

  83. There are two other issues that probably are very significant players in this decision.

    Boulder is a very expensive place to build, and it is a nightmare to get new construction permitted in Boulder due to their long standing “controlled growth” agenda. For example they intentionally make parking difficult to encourage folks not to use cars in downtown Boulder. During peak shopping hours, it is a royal pain to find parking anywhere near the core downtown Boulder area. You end up driving in circles for 10-15 minutes to find a close in parking spot or park in the neighborhoods and hoof it 1/2 a mile to do any business in the core city area.

    It is so bad even though I am a very short drive from Boulder, I never go shopping in down town Boulder unless there is no alternative. I have probably go there once every 5 years for 20-30 years.

    I only go there when that is the only place I can buy stuff, or I must meet someone there, and with internet shopping that is becoming very rare.

    The Colorado power grid is also barely able to handle peak electrical loads during peak summer temps as it is, since we have not built any new large power plants for many years. The influx of folks from out of state that insist on residential AC has built up a peak cooling energy load that the local grid was not designed to carry.
    Until the mid 1980′s residential AC was very rare here.

    Due to our high altitude and dry air, you really only need residential AC about 2 days a year if you are smart enough to open the windows at night and close them in the day time, and have a window fan.

    Even though I have AC in the apartment complex I live in, I almost never use it,I usually turn the air handling system off completely from mid June to mid Sept, as it is simply not needed.

    During heat waves over the last couple decades, they have to ask people to delay peak power loads and cut back power to commercial customers that use lots of power and agree to minimize power demands during peak load to get reduced power rates. Otherwise they risk brown outs and blown transformers.

    Larry

  84. Thanks to this excellent article the coal industry now knows who they have to boycott for maximum effect.

    How is the energy for the Whitehouse and the Hill generated?

  85. RE Hansen’s “Death trains” this is what a real one looks like:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_train

    Not some coal train in Wyoming,or Appalachia, being ran by hard working,people
    with coal that was mined by hard working people-to keep the what’s left of the economy going and the lights on.
    BTW my late father in law was in the Liberation of Dachau.If he were alive,I’m sure he’d love to give Mr. Hansen a little “tour” of Dachau, with a good pair of Army boots-just to move it along….

  86. JCAkin (17:18:06) :

    You have a point.  We should all write our respective elected officials and demand that they stop funding research into settled areas.  :-)

    Mike Ramsey

  87. Crosspatch:

    “Places like Wyoming have more days that are below the data center temperature than above. The average high temperature in Cheyenne is above optimum data center temperatures for only 3 months out of 12 and average nighttime lows are low enough year-round to use outside air. If the center is designed well, this can be leveraged to greatly reduce the amount of power overhead required to cool the data center.”

    Let me guess, just beside the outside datacenter air outlet will be where they site the thermometer…

  88. Now that this site is pushing 40 MegaWattsUpWithThat, let’s not get too carried away with the much smaller, government funded efforts!
    My interpretation of a Flop is a failed attempt. I’m still waiting for WUWT to hit one Flop. Any more than one flop, to me, is not something to be proud of!

  89. rbateman (17:41:59) :

    Ya gotta love this business plan: Keep dropping the stations and keep adding the Petaflops. Soon, they will be able to achieve division by zero.

    —–

    Reply: But sir, you don’t need petaflops to solve that equation, or fewer weather stations, either. Division by zero, just like their climate models, is indeterminate.

  90. Classic example of do as I say not as I do. It’s not their carbon foot print that is destroying the world, it’s ours.

  91. Somewhat O.T. but I do not know a better way of passing this on.

    Following on from the extreme cold conditions in the northern hemisphere I found this comment regarding New Zealand interesting http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/stories/2010/01/17/1247ec574543 . Considering that N.Z. is in the middle of summer it should be warm, not up to 10C colder than normal, somewhat in line with N.H. temperatures. Global Warming, what global warming.

    p.s. N.Z. time is currently 13 hours ahead of GMT.

  92. The computer takes 8 megawatts??!!!

    Let’s put that in perspective,

    “I‟m holding a Denver Post article that tells the story of an 8.2 MW solar-power plant built on 82 acres in Colorado. The Post proudly hails it “America‟s most productive utility-scale solar electricity plant”. But when you account for the fact that the sun doesn‟t always shine….”

    From : http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/14/now-thats-a-commencement-speech/

    Folks, that’s 82+ acres of solar power to run this computer!!!!

  93. My first job as a mining engineer was modeling coal deposits in the Powder River Basin for Morrison Knudsen back in ’80. We were using a VAX 11/780 which was rated at 1 MIPS and it was shared by 32 users on terminals. Ah, those were the days. Of course, it took all night to generate your models and they were pretty imprecise–simply a top surface and a bottom surface of the coal seam and the thickness was calculated by subtracting the two.

    If anything, all that “Deep Black” computer power should be put to better use–for example, optimizing utilization of our coal resources. Why, the name is absolutely appropriate, don’t you think? Along with that, the government should immediately fund research into super clean coal production and power generation. That way, when they try to phase out coal production because it isn’t clean enough, the coal industry can show them that the problem is solved. The government will find they’re been hoisted with their own petard. How deliciously appropriate!

    I’m reminded of the environmentalists back in the late ’70′s and early ’80s that thought they could shut coal operations down because of the environmental destruction. Then some enterprising engineers pointed out that the first pit dug left a long and narrow refuse pile that, when shaped and covered with dirt and planted with a variety of greenery, made excellent habitat for deer, elk, and all manner of wildlife. Mining moves to the next pit adjacent to the first, filling in the first, and this process is continued until mining ceases. The last pit is a long, low trench that, when appropriately lined with clay, generally fills with water and, you guessed it, becomes excellent habitat for fish, ducks, geese, thirsty elk and deer. The intervening area between the first and last pits is leveled and covered with topsoil and now readily supports vegetation of all kinds, particularly trees and brush that can now grow there because of the broken subsurface material. This area also provides habitat for even more animals.

    This novel way of adapting the “ruins of mining” to spectacular improvement in habitat was something the environmentalists had difficulty accepting. They screamed loud and long that this was simply unfair. But after a while coal mining was viewed in a completely different light–boaters, hunters and fishermen benefitted along with all that wildlife.

  94. Galen Haugh (18:28:08) :

    I was going to go for getting to zero by dividing by 2 starting with 1.
    Or pose the question of how many Petaflops does it take to screw in a light bulb.

  95. A facility such as this would buy electical power under ‘Industrial’ rates.
    I recommend highlighting the Industrial rates for Colrado and Wyoming.

  96. I need to say that again.

    82 plus arces of solar panals….

    the entire output of the largest state-of-the-art solar power station in the US… 8 megawatts…

    to run a climate modeling program,

    which any programmer knows is, Garbage in Garbage out…

    to “prove” global warming.

  97. r (19:02:53) :

    We should congratulate them for solving Global Warming for 82 acres.
    Eventually, they will be able to replace Carbon-based life with Silicon-based artificial intelligence.

  98. The first easy thing to audit in climate models coming out of NCAR is if they factor in the heat island spot above their supercomputer and the facilities that burn the coal.

  99. @John

    “Myths about Coal up in Smoke”, by Terence Cardwell

    http://thesixtyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/cardwell-letter.pdf

    Quote: “First, coal-fired power stations do NOT send 60 to 70% of the energy up the chimney. The boilers of modern power stations are 96% efficient and the exhaust heat is captured by the economisers and reheaters and heat the air and water before entering the boilers.”
    [and]
    “They can generate power at efficiency of less than 10000b.t.u. per kilowatt and cost-wise that is very low.”

    I’m having difficulty reconciling these two apparently conflicting statements.
    The second statement obviously contains an error in units since a btu cannot be converted to kilowatts. The correct units are:
    1 btu/hr = 2.93297 EE-04 kW
    or
    1 btu = 2.93297 EE-04 kWH

    At 100% efficiency, 10,000 btu converts to 2.93297 kWH.
    The figure stated in the latter statement of the article calculates at [greater than] 34.1% efficiency, or a loss of [less than] 65.9%., a far cry from the 96% efficiency claimed in the former statement.

    Where is the [less than] 1.93297 kWH per 10,000 btu going, if not up the chimney as heat? My guess is the printing of a typographical error in the 2nd statement, but due to my not being familiar with the design of these plants, am unsure of the correct explanation for the discrepancy.

  100. @Ron de Haan (17:48:27) :

    “How is the energy for the Whitehouse and the Hill generated?”

    Hot air turbines powered from the mouths of politicans.

  101. More CO2 = tipping point = runaway temps.

    So, next to this supradupra puter, they build a huge bio-dome, fill it up with water vapour, toss in some co2 and watch the temp go up. Use the rising temp to power generator. Cheap electricity.

    They believe in tipping points, maybe they’ll believe the above.

  102. Besides the hot air generated by politicians, part of the energy comes from the massive page count of bills incinerated, plus the Coal-fired plant (that Hansen stood out in front of in a blizzard last year urging protesters to mob the place).

  103. Anyone compare the cost/flop of this center to that provided by Amazon?

    My guess is that Amazon can do it for one-tenth the cost.

    Just saying.

  104. Yes Toyotawhizguy I am bemused too. 19.29.53.

    For high pressure steam production I doubt you could reach 95% boiler efficiency with oil firing let alone coal.

    Based on British figures roughly overall efficiency in terms of electricity output for thermal input using steam turbines and coal steadily rose from about 25% in the 1930′s to around 33% by the 1970s and perhaps 35% today. In part this steady improvement came from better design, notably of turbine blade profiles, and larger scale: so alternator sizes increased from the 50MW set of the 1920′s to the 500 Mw sets of the 1970′s.

    By the 1970′s the then UK Central Electricity Generating Board [CEGB]reckoned its overall efficiency in coal fired stations at 33% but this included older stations and was averaged over winter to summer, the then chief engineer at the new station, Drax, told me he reckoned on between 33% in the summer and 37% in the winter due to ambient temperature change, and thus cooling tower effectiveness, and his was a massive base load station. Still is.

    In theory the Leroy mercury topper cycle could also achieve this in much smaller stations but it never became a significant commercial design.

    The CEGB, partly because it had a brief to build big and remote coal fired stations, and partly because it did not like sacrificing electric output to provide district heating effectually stymied such projects in the 1970′s and 80′s.

    But the Germans amongst others have had considerable success with this in recent years using small local coal fired stations for combined heat and power. It seems these manage an overall efficiency of around 60% more or less, half as electricity and half district heating.

    If of course you have cheap and abundant natural gas you can employ dual gas/steam cycle plant which has enormous advantages. Compared to coal or even oil it can respond far more quickly to load changes reducing spinning reserve, it is quick and cheap to build with capital costs and build times perhaps a half to a third that of coal plant and although the gas turbines are not ideal, being based on aerospace designs, actual maintenance cost is cheaper too. Best of all you get efficiencies close to 50% and with no need or use for a ULP steam turbine stage can do district heating too.

    For the USA which has due to modern gas extraction techniques has huge reserves this is the logical way to go: which does not mean it will happen.

    For Australia which has enormous coal reserves then coal is the way to go.

    What the UK will do heaven only knows but given our politicians I suspect they may be a bit baffled up there too.

    Kindest Regards

  105. The Anthropogenicus Circus Warmicus will never end – as long as the Fed. Mints continue to be powered up.

  106. If the U.K. Met Office has ”deep black”, why then of course NCAR has to try and go one (or 2 or 3) better over on this side of the pond. After all, it’s only taxpayer dollars. . . .

    FOOTNOTE: Good post by a jones @ 20:52:35 on efficiencies of various technologies. And right about USA having massive recoverable gas reserves; but also correct about political will to allow access lacking or at best weak, among the politicians currently in power. And don’t forget Generation-III+ and Generation-IV high-efficiency nuclear plants; which if the powers to be had any sense we would be building right now.

  107. I half wonder if this project will actually get built because it involves sweeteners in the form of state money and its beginning to look like circular financing. Anyway, if one is going to build this device, despite all indications that more computing power will not bring a jot of wisdom to one side of this debate, there are a couple of advantages to putting it in Cheyenne besides power rates, power reliability, and reasonable environmental temperatures.

    First, there is already enough wind energy just on the outskirts of Cheyenne to run the darned thing, except when it is really cold, or in summer, when the wind hardly blows. We’d make as much as 250,000MW here by wind, precisely at the times when no one needs it, except there is no transmission capacity to handle what we have now–and the 100,000 windmills needed would convince the most sparkle-headed watermelon of the menace of sustainable energy. Second, 8MW is nothing as you all know. We have a 4500 MW plant west of here that burns coal, of course, and sends the power to the greenies in California. Third, there is all the communications bandwidth in the world running east-west and north-south through Cheyenne. If you surf the internet or watch TV its a sure bet the data passed through this town.

    The best part of the project, if it ever comes to pass, is that the research staff will stay in Boulder.

  108. rbateman (19:13:37) :

    I was going to go for getting to zero by dividing by 2 starting with 1.
    Or pose the question of how many Petaflops does it take to screw in a light bulb

    In theory, only two. But how did the Petaflops get INTO the light bulb?

  109. Lady in Red (16:13:36) :
    Many years ago, Walter Orr Roberts gave me a tour of NCAR. I did not comprehend: the Crays.

    Even more years ago, Walter and I [and colleagues] were studying possible Sun-Weather connections [e.g. Science. 1973 Apr 13; 180(4082):185-186. Solar Magnetic Sector Structure: Relation to Circulation of the Earth's Atmosphere. Wilcox JM, Scherrer PH, Svalgaard L, Roberts WO, Olson RH.
    "The solar magnetic sector structure appears to be related to the average area of high positive vorticity centers (low-pressure troughs) observed during winter in the Northern Hemisphere at the 300-millibar level. The average area of high vorticity decreases (low-pressure troughs become less intense) during a few days near the times at which sector boundaries are carried past the earth by the solar wind. The amplitude of the effect is about 10 percent." - later on it seemed the effect went away...].
    We used the NCAR CDC7600 [the supercomputer of its day; designed by Seymour Cray before he started his own company] running all night to process all archived weather data up until then. Walter was very aware of the role computers could play [if used for something meaningful].

  110. “a jones (20:52:35) :

    For Australia which has enormous coal reserves then coal is the way to go. ”

    There’s a shedload of gas here too however, it’s practically being given away to China.

  111. Methow Ken (21:19:50) :
    If the U.K. Met Office has ”deep black”, why then of course NCAR has to try and go one (or 2 or 3)

    They can call it Deep InfraRed…

  112. NCAR’s dirty little secret

    I thought we (in the USA) were getting a change to transparency in government?

  113. Excuse me for being stupid but … isn’t the weather and therefore the climate system mathematically chaotic? Isn’t the main premise of chatotic behaviour that it is unpredictable ? isn’t it mathematically proven that you cannot predict chaotic system’s behaviour and therefore isn’t it futile to build bigger computers to try to predict it’s behaviour?

  114. Part of Wyoming’s offer to NCAR was that the site on which the supercomputer is to be built would have “guaranteed power transmission of 24 megawatts”. That suggests NCAR expects that it’s machine or its successor machines will draw considerably more juice that the 8 megawatts that are initially required.

    To put the present and future power requirements in perspective, the total electric power draw for the entire City of Boulder currently comes to about 100 megawatts.

    The probable reason why electric power is cheaper in Wyoming than Colorado is that Colorado utilities use a substantial amount of natural gas to generate electricity, whereas Wyoming utilities use almost none. According to figures from the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, in 2007, Wyoming generated 43.1 million megawatt hours of electricity with coal and 594,000 megawatt hours with natural gas. Colorado generated 35.9 million megawatt hours with coal and 15 million megawatt hours with natural gas. Both states get small amounts of electricity from wind. In 2007, Colorado actually got more electricity from wind than Wyoming did (1.29 million megawatt hours for Colorado vs 754, 000 for Wyoming), but this may have changed by now.

    Wyoming coal from the Powder River Basin costs $8.40 a ton, the cheapest in the US. No one else comes close. A ton of Powder River Basin coal contains about 17.6 million BTUs of energy. To get a similar amount of energy from natural gas, you would have to buy about 17,000 cubic feet of the stuff. The price of natural gas got down to $3 per 1,000 cubic feet earlier this year but it is currently around twice that. Either way, the difference in cost is pretty striking.

    Personally, I don’t much care where NCAR chooses to locate its computing center, but I do think that its decision to power it with electricity from cheap Power River Basin coal makes a mockery of the public policy prescriptions its scientists have been making. If the folks warning of impending catastrophe aren’t prepared to change their life style to avert it, why should anyone take them seriously?

  115. 8MW does not mean much to the public.

    What is the average total energy consumption of the average American family? i.e. How many average US families can be powered using 8MW?

  116. Jim Cole (13:37:28) :

    As a resident of the Peoples’ Republic of Boulder, I too read the initial announcement of the Wyoming winning proposal with a smile. Cheap power, power-friendly gummint, Dick Cheney – what could be more ironic? Oh, and the state has a persistent surplus!

    Boulder has a Climate Action Plan tied to Kyoto measures and a Smart Grid – interactive meters that show real-time power consumption (Hey kids, let’s gather ’round and watch the Smart Grid meter!). If NCAR had won the supercomputer competition, imagine the fun of watching the meter whirl at an 8-megawatt clip!

    As noted above by R Shearer, the eeeko-types are whining about our local coal-fired power plant that is franchised by the city. Shut it down! Put up solar panels! Put up windmills! (actually, put those icky things somewhere else!)

    We just survived a very cold, snowy December that allowed darn little solar and even less wind-power generation. These folk don’t understand base-load.

    Now, if we took all the runners, bikers, triathletes, and dogs in Boulder and put them on treadmills 24/7, and harnessed the hot air from a typical city council meeting, we just might be able to meet those Kyoto goals!

    Jim,

    A couple of years ago, my wife and I attended a concert at the Colorado Symphony. It featured a visiting conductor.

    He said Boulder was a very interesting city. Sort of a Berkley on thin air. That got a lot of laughs.

    A few years ago I worked at IBM in Niwot. Always enjoyed going through Boulder on the way to work. Still enjoy driving through there on the way to Estes Park.

    But, I don’t think I would fit in very well if I lived there.

    One comedian said he was pulled over by the Boulder police because he was eating a sandwich containing meat. The cop said they were going to bust him, just as soon as they solved the JonBenét Patricia Ramsey case. He figures he’s got about ten years before they come after him.

    You were right about the very cold December we had here. I really would like to see Boulder get rid of their power plant and get by on alternatives.

    Jack “Cutthroat Native”

  117. The IPCC may be Eating More Crow soon…

    The Times, January 17, 2010

    World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6991177.ece

    Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings

    A WARNING that climate change will melt most of the Himalayan glaciers by 2035 is likely to be retracted after a series of scientific blunders by the United Nations body that issued it.

    Two years ago the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a benchmark report that was claimed to incorporate the latest and most detailed research into the impact of global warming. A central claim was the world’s glaciers were melting so fast that those in the Himalayas could vanish by 2035.

    In the past few days the scientists behind the warning have admitted that it was based on a news story in the New Scientist, a popular science journal, published eight years before the IPCC’s 2007 report.

    It has also emerged that the New Scientist report was itself based on a short telephone interview with Syed Hasnain, a little-known Indian scientist then based at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.

    Hasnain has since admitted that the claim was “speculation” and was not supported by any formal research. If confirmed it would be one of the most serious failures yet seen in climate research. The IPCC was set up precisely to ensure that world leaders had the best possible scientific advice on climate change.

    Professor Murari Lal, who oversaw the chapter on glaciers in the IPCC report, said he would recommend that the claim about glaciers be dropped: “If Hasnain says officially that he never asserted this, or that it is a wrong presumption, than I will recommend that the assertion about Himalayan glaciers be removed from future IPCC assessments.”

    The IPCC’s reliance on Hasnain’s 1999 interview has been highlighted by Fred Pearce, the journalist who carried out the original interview for the New Scientist. Pearce said he rang Hasnain in India in 1999 after spotting his claims in an Indian magazine. Pearce said: “Hasnain told me then that he was bringing a report containing those numbers to Britain. The report had not been peer reviewed or formally published in a scientific journal and it had no formal status so I reported his work on that basis. Since then I have obtained a copy and it does not say what Hasnain said. In other words it does not mention 2035 as a date by which any Himalayan glaciers will melt. However, he did make clear that his comments related only to part of the Himalayan glaciers. not the whole massif.”

    The New Scientist report was apparently forgotten until 2005 when WWF cited it in a report called An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China. The report credited Hasnain’s 1999 interview with the New Scientist. But it was a campaigning report rather than an academic paper so it was not subjected to any formal scientific review. Despite this it rapidly became a key source for the IPCC when Lal and his colleagues came to write the section on the Himalayas.

    When finally published, the IPCC report did give its source as the WWF study but went further, suggesting the likelihood of the glaciers melting was “very high”. The IPCC defines this as having a probability of greater than 90%. The report read: “Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate.”

    However, glaciologists find such figures inherently ludicrous, pointing out that most Himalayan glaciers are hundreds of feet thick and could not melt fast enough to vanish by 2035 unless there was a huge global temperature rise. The maximum rate of decline in thickness seen in glaciers at the moment is 2-3 feet a year and most are far lower.

    Professor Julian Dowdeswell, director of the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University, said: “Even a small glacier such as the Dokriani glacier is up to 120 meters [394ft] thick. A big one would be several hundred meters thick and tens of kilometers long. The average is 300 meters thick so to melt one even at 5 meters a year would take 60 years. That is a lot faster than anything we are seeing now so the idea of losing it all by 2035 is unrealistically high.”

    Some scientists have questioned how the IPCC could have allowed such a mistake into print. Perhaps the most likely reason was lack of expertise. Lal himself admits he knows little about glaciers. “I am not an expert on glaciers.and I have not visited the region so I have to rely on credible published research. The comments in the WWF report were made by a respected Indian scientist and it was reasonable to assume he knew what he was talking about,” he said.

    Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, has previously dismissed criticism of the Himalayas claim as “voodoo science”. Last week the IPCC refused to comment so it has yet to explain how someone who admits to little expertise on glaciers was overseeing such a report. Perhaps its one consolation is that the blunder was spotted by climate scientists who quickly made it public.

    The lead role in that process was played by Graham Cogley, a geographer from Trent University in Ontario, Canada, who had long been unhappy with the IPCC’s finding. He traced the IPCC claim back to the New Scientist and then contacted Pearce. Pearce then re-interviewed Hasnain, who confirmed that his 1999 comments had been “speculative”, and published the update in the New Scientist.

    Cogley said: “The reality, that the glaciers are wasting away, is bad enough. But they are not wasting away at the rate suggested by this speculative remark and the IPCC report. The problem is that nobody who studied this material bothered chasing the trail back to the original point when the claim first arose. It is ultimately a trail that leads back to a magazine article and that is not the sort of thing you want to end up in an IPCC report.”

    Pearce said the IPCC’s reliance on the WWF was “immensely lazy” and the organisation need to explain itself or back up its prediction with another scientific source. Hasnain could not be reached for comment.

    The revelation is the latest crack to appear in the scientific consensus over climate change. It follows the climate-gate scandal, where British scientists apparently tried to prevent other researchers from accessing key date. Last week another row broke out when the Met Office criticised suggestions that sea levels were likely to rise 1.9m by 2100, suggesting much lower increases were likely.

    ***************************************************************************

    Climate change experts clash over sea-rise ‘apocalypse’

    Critics say an influential prediction of a 6ft rise in sea levels is flawed

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6982299.ece

    Jonathan Leake

    Climate science faces a new controversy after the Met Office denounced research from the Copenhagen summit which suggested that global warming could raise sea levels by 6ft by 2100.

    The research, published by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, created headline news during the United Nations summit on climate change in Denmark last month. It predicted an apocalyptic century in which rising seas could threaten coastal communities from England to Bangladesh and was the latest in a series of studies from Potsdam that has gained wide acceptance among governments and environmental campaigners.

    Besides underpinning the Copenhagen talks, the research is also likely to be included in the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. This would elevate it to the level of global policy-making.

    However, the studies, led by Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of ocean physics at Potsdam, have caused growing concern among other experts. They say his methods are flawed and that the real increase in sea levels by 2100 is likely to be far lower than he predicts.

    Jason Lowe, a leading Met Office climate researcher, said: “These predictions of a rise in sea level potentially exceeding 6ft have got a huge amount of attention, but we think such a big rise by 2100 is actually incredibly unlikely. The mathematical approach used to calculate the rise is simplistic and unsatisfactory.”

    The row comes just weeks after the so-called climategate affair when emails leaked from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit revealed how scientists tried to withhold data from public scrutiny.

    The new controversy, which has no connection with Climategate, dates back to January 2007, when Science magazine published a research paper by Rahmstorf linking the 7in rise in sea levels from 1881-2001 with a 0.7ºC rise in global temperature over the same period.

    Most scientists accept those data and agree that sea levels will continue to rise. However, Rahmstorf then parted company from colleagues by extrapolating the findings to 2100 — when the world is projected to have warmed by up to 6.4ºC unless greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced. Based on the 7 inch increase in 1881-2001, Rahmstorf calculated that such a spike in temperature would raise sea levels by up to 74 inches — a jump that stunned other experts.

    They say it is unsafe to use the relatively small increases in sea levels seen in the 19th and 20th centuries to predict such extreme changes in future. Another critic is Simon Holgate, a sea-level expert at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Merseyside. He has written to Science magazine, attacking Rahmstorf’s work as “simplistic”.

    “Rahmstorf is very good at publishing extreme papers just before big conferences like Copenhagen when they are guaranteed attention,” said Holgate. “The problem is that his methods are biased to generate large numbers for sea-level rise which cannot be justified but which attract headlines.”

    One key problem cited by Holgate is that much of the 1881-2001 sea-level rise came from small glaciers melting in regions such as the Alps and Himalayas. Such glaciers are, however, disappearing fast and will be largely gone by 2050. It means further rises in sea levels would have to come from increased melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets.

    These hold enough water to raise global sea levels by more than 200ft, but their recent contribution to sea-level rise has been negligible. Jonathan Gregory, a sea-level specialist at the Met Office, said: “We do not know enough about the physics of large ice sheets to predict how global temperature rise will affect them. My concern about these extreme predictions is that they could discredit the whole process because they are not backed up by solid science and that is vital in such a political area of research.”

    Rahmstorf said he accepted the criticisms but his work was “the best system we have got”. He added: “I agree that there has been too little research into the behaviour of ice sheets but that is exactly why I did this research. It uses simple measurements of historic changes in the real world to show a direct relationship between temperature rise and sea level increase and it works stunningly well.”

    Rahmstorf said the last decade had, however, seen preliminary evidence suggesting that the ice sheets of Greenland and West Antarctica were becoming unstable. He said: “In my heart I hope my critics are right because a rise of the kind my work predicts would be catastrophic,” he said. “But as a scientist I have to look at the evidence . . . my figures for sea-level rise are likely to be an underestimate of what the world will face by 2100.”

  118. Could that heat be used to warm the building?

    Is there a way to make cool super computers? I appreciate you jam as many processors into boxes as possible to make them take up less space and communicate with each other as quickly as possible. Could they be more spread out, accepting a slower rate of communication between processors but by not having such a large cost for cooling, deploy more processors instead? Somewhere between traditional super computing and distributed computing.

  119. Nigel S (11:45:21) :
    The circular tiled building on the left looks a lot like CRU at UEA too!

    My eyes are bleary, and, at first, I read that as “the circular *file* building on the left looks a lot like CRU at UEA too!” — and I’m wondering how much data may actually be going into the circular file in both locations…

  120. “Gareth (06:11:47) :
    Is there a way to make cool super computers?”

    …Yes. Google has relocated some of their hardware to Iceland to reduce their air conditioning bill. And much of the “Cloud’s” computing is also cooled by Iceland’s naturally cold air.

  121. Dear MB,

    NCAR’s supercomputer will be8 Megawatts:

    “I‟m holding a Denver Post article that tells the story of an 8.2 MW solar-power plant built on 82 acres in Colorado. The Post proudly hails it “America‟s most productive utility-scale solar electricity plant”. But when you account for the fact that the sun doesn‟t always shine….”

    From : http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/14/now-thats-a-commencement-speech/

    That’s 82+ acres of solar power to run this computer!!!!

    That is the entire output of the largest state-of-the-art solar power station in the US… 8 megawatts…

    to run a climate modeling program,

    which any programmer knows is, Garbage in Garbage out…

    to “prove” global warming.

  122. “Kate (05:48:06) :

    The IPCC may be Eating More Crow soon…

    The Times, January 17, 2010

    World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown”

    Ah well they’re slow. A rogue element inside Gordon’s propaganda machine (a.k.a. BBC) already leaked it on Dec 05 2009:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8387737.stm

    Guess they sent him to re-education…

  123. Anthony, don’t have time to read the other comments this a.m. so I am certain that I am repeating ….. Excellent, excellent investigative reporting. Deserving of the Pulitzer. What our now corporate-owned-and-corrupted “mainstream media” used to do at least some of the time.

    More subscriptions should be coming your way.

  124. Gareth (06:11:47) :

    With 4 and 8 core processors, the heat load is spread out over the chip die, and advances in shrinking the process makes for more gigaflops, but in the end, you still have to supply the power to the things, which are very hungry.
    Spreading out the computers only leads to latency (increasing the time bewteen request and reply), which is why they shrink the die and put more processors on the same die…to overcome latency.
    The more power you use, the more heat must be dissapated due to friction and leakage.
    In the end, one must ask why burn all that power to study something that stopped happening 10 years ago. No matter how much power your apply to stupidity, it fails to make it any smarter. Fools rush in faster than previously imagined.

  125. It’s a good thing this supercomputer was not built to run on nuclear power from the state (I believe it is Connecticut) as priced in this graph: 19 cents per kWh – data from 2007 and EIA. Operating costs would be almost 4 times greater had they done so.

    This graph (generated by me) is included in my post on Nuclear Nuts – which was argued at some length on WUWT several months ago.

    I find it fascinating that the new nuclear project that is closest to reality, in the USA, is South Texas Nuclear Project expansion; and the prospective project owners have filed lawsuits against each other. Not a happy camp, nor happy campers.

    The need of society for electric power continues to increase, and that need will be met by natural gas. Natural gas power is cheap and clean, the plants are easy to permit and quick to construct with essentially zero delays and zero cost over-runs. And no toxic byproducts left behind.

  126. DirkH (07:02:12) :

    Yes, you are correct. And look at the date…Before Copenhagen.

    The India Times has also got “Glacier Wars” going back about two years, but most of the MSM are ignoring the subject and only report the most ludicrous assertions from alarmists with vested interests.

  127. Number one consideration for running large compute clusters is availability of power. The second consideration for running large compute clusters is availability of cooling, either air or water.

    The other considerations like price of land and manpower are all secondary. These compute clusters are a huge deal for power companies because they put a huge load on the electrical grid and the power supply needs to be extremely reliable.

    Any anomalous blip may cause huge problems across the compute systems and could result in losing upwards of weeks of work.

  128. From Kate (05:48:06) :

    [And what I think Kate is doing - thank you, Kate - is the same kind of thing Kate is showing other people doing, and is the same kind of thing Christina Hoff Sommers did in her book, "Who Stole Feminism", where she chased down the, eventually absent, basis for various claims the "gender feminist", Feminazis were making about "domestic violence" and the "Patriarchy". It's a common, purposeful "Progressive" propaganda m.o. to essentially just make things up and throw in some "references" which don't support what is claimed.]

    The problem is that nobody who studied this material [on Himalayan Glaciers] bothered chasing the trail back to the original point when the claim first arose. It is ultimately a trail that leads back to a magazine article and that is not the sort of thing you want to end up in an IPCC report.”

    In practice, by now I simply dismiss everything the ipcc says as “fact” because they are not proceeding scientifically in the first place, and they did in fact ~”want this sort of thing to end up in an ipcc report”; and because it’s going to be much easier to just start over from “scratch” in analyzing the “climate”, as opposed to giving the ipcc any credit whatsoever in having contributed a net useful piece of work.

    The ipcc didn’t intend to do real science to begin with, and they even admit it. Their idea was to disasterize what human activity could possibly do in respect of “harm”, totally unbalanced by any counter argument, science, or fact. That ain’t Science.

    For the ipcc, the possible automatically becomes the actual, then automatically even an epidemic which we must do something really stupid about, or “we’re all gonna die”.

    Whopeeee! So now we can save the World either by committing suicide or else by becoming slaves! The Islamofascists are actually on the leading edge of progress!

  129. This is OT, but the rate for Colorado electricity seems off to me, or there must be a great range of electricity prices in Colorado. On the western slope, with Holy Cross Energy, the residential rate is 8¢/Kw. This is only 75% of the cost in the chart above, from my latest monthly statement, and it has been the same price for over two years.


  130. TanGeng (09:13:23) :

    Any anomalous blip may cause huge problems across the compute systems and could result in losing upwards of weeks of work.

    Pls; Don’t over-sell it.

    Battery plants and standby generators mitigate interruptions, since, there is _no_ such thing as 100% reliability in electric power! (At this point one starts referring to the number of ‘nines’ in the reliability factor: 99.99% 99.999% etc reliability)

    Our co. even had a FAILURE of the DC bus in the mass-storage bldg from the batt plant and that is NEVER supposed to happen.

    And another thing, in a properly run facility NO ONE loses ‘weeks of work’ – incremental daily backups and weekly full backups were a way of life even in lowly distributed compute centers running the TI/990 and DEC/VAX minicomputers in the 80′s (never mind the IBM iron in the CIC).

    .
    .

  131. Eight megawatts of electricity from a coal fired power plant will produce about 59, 000 tons of CO2 per year. In the interests of moral purity, this will doubtless require the purchase of “offsetting carbon credits”, thus adding another cost item to the ledger.

  132. I am an engineer of the University of Wyoming. We love our coal. We burn coal to heat the campus at our central energy plant. You can’t beat coal. The NCAR facility deal was done during the last boom, when we could offer all kinds of sweetheart deals to NCAR that Boulder couldn’t match.

  133. J.H. Models could perfectly run in an XT personal computer with 640K RAM running Basic, it´s just CO2 vs. temperature and a convenient adjustment, that´s all.

  134. “JonesII (16:07:26) :

    J.H. Models could perfectly run in an XT personal computer with 640K RAM running Basic, it´s just CO2 vs. temperature and a convenient adjustment, that´s all.”

    What? You can’t produce pretty pictures and animations on one of these, even with 4 colour VGA graphics.

  135. catmman (12:39:49) :

    I Lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming for three years.

    Why put a supercomputer in Wyoming?

    Why indeed.

    Kevin Kilty (21:31:53) :

    (snip) Third, there is all the communications bandwidth in the world running east-west and north-south through Cheyenne. If you surf the internet or watch TV its a sure bet the data passed through this town.

    The best part of the project, if it ever comes to pass, is that the research staff will stay in Boulder.

    My reply;
    Where else are they going to store the original RAW data, and process it with new programs that don’t have to rely on the crap found on line every where else?

    Before you can control the spin, you have to know where the center really is, keeping it separate will help, keeping the “climate” researchers out, will allow them to forecast weather un encumbered.

    With all of the internet infrastructure passing through town, any left over idle time can be used to keep up with all of the bloggers, and their subscribers.

    Label it NOAA or anything else it is still Guberment computer time being used for whatever “they think” it needs to be used for.

  136. Maybe they don’t mention it, but Boulder is a very difficult place to build anything. The city intentionally keeps itself small with aggressive bans on development and city planning. I can see that the greenfield site plus easier permitting in Wyoming would be attractive.

    Plus, Cheyenne is a bit cooler than Boulder, so the amount of energy consumed to dissipate the waste heat should be smaller.

    “Clean coal” is variously defined as anything from “EPA-approved modern scrubbed coal” to “the only clean coal is the coal that stays in the ground.” It is kind of like “smart grid” in that regard – everybody wants it, but nobody knows what it is. Possibly relatedly, Boulder has a very expensive new smart grid system that may mean even higher local power rates than the state average.

  137. Roger Knights (11:39:08) :

    Who’s a merry old soul?

    Well, this man is certainly smiling.

    http://www.ucar.edu/communications/staffnotes/0311/fellow.html

    Tom Wigley has been at NCAR, Boulder, since 1993, and he was appointed a senior scientist one year later. But before coming here to Colorado, he was, of course, the director of the Climatic Research Unit in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom, from 1978-1993. He was succeeded by Phil Jones.

    The CRU data base, as Patrick Michaels reminds us in “The Dog Ate Global Warming” http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10578 “is known in the trade as the ‘Jones and Wigley’ record for its authors, Phil Jones and Tom Wigley. The data deletion practices recently described by Jones, and allegedly necessitated by computer storage limitations, were probably started by Wigley during the 80′s. Remember, in “Dog…” that when Roger Pielke, Jr. asked for raw data from CRU, Jones’ now-famous reply was

    Since the 1980s, we have merged the data we have received into existing series or begun new ones, so it is impossible to say if all stations within a particular country or if all of an individual record should be freely available. Data storage availability in the 1980s meant that we were not able to keep the multiple sources for some sites, only the station series after adjustment for homogeneity issues. We, therefore, do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (i.e., quality controlled and homogenized) data.

    Old King Cole = Tom Wigley.

  138. In fairness, at least a significant percentage of the cores in the NCAR cluster are reputed to be either Opteron Istanbul CPUs or “Coolthreads” SPARC CPUs. Both are pretty good in the energy department. No link, this is “street knowledge.”

Comments are closed.