Waste heat – a bigger climate effect than once thought

Earth at night

This composite image shows a global view of Earth at night, compiled from over 400 satellite images. New research shows that major cities, which generally correspond with the nighttime lights in this image, can have a far-reaching impact on temperatures. (Image courtesy NASA and NOAA.)

Dr. Roy Spencer recently opined about this issue (which is different from UHI) in: Waste Heat as a Contributor to Observed Warming

If we divide that by the surface area of the U.S. in meters, we get 0.33 watts per sq. meter.

Now, compare that the the total radiative forcing from increasing greenhouse gas concentrations supposedly operating today, which (according to the IPCC) is somewhere around 1.6 W/m2.

…waste heat from our use of energy keeps getting generated, no matter how much our surroundings have warmed. So, with this correction, we now see that waste heat generation (0.33) becomes more like 50% of the remaining radiative imbalance (0.6) from anthropogenic GHG production.

Waste Heat is Mostly Released in the Lowest 10% of the Atmosphere

It seems his observations were spot-on, as this new paper just published in Nature Climate Change tells us. From the University of San Diego:

Urban Heat Has Large-scale Climate Effects

Researchers find that heat given off by metropolitan areas is enough to influence winter warming

Guang Zhang

The heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas has a significant enough warming effect to influence the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems during winter months, according to a trio of climate researchers.

Led by Guang Zhang, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, the scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that the extra heat given off by Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of warming in winter. They added that this effect helps explain the disparity between actual observed warming in the last half-century and the amount of warming that computer models have been able to account for.

“What we found is that energy use from multiple urban areas collectively can warm the atmosphere remotely, thousands of miles away from the energy consumption regions,” said Zhang. “This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change.”

The study, “Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America,” appears in online editions of the journal Jan. 27. The National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, and NOAA supported the research.

Zhang, along with Ming Cai of Florida State University and Aixue Hu of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., considered the energy consumption – from heating buildings to powering vehicles – that generates waste heat release. The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was 16 terawatts (one terawatt equals 1 trillion watts). Of that, 6.7 TW were consumed in 86 metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

The release of waste heat is different from energy that is naturally distributed in the atmosphere, the researchers noted. The largest source of heat, solar energy, warms Earth’s surface and atmospheric circulations distribute that energy from one region to another. Human energy consumption distributes energy that had lain dormant and sequestered for millions of years, mostly in the form of oil or coal. Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, many of those urban areas lie directly under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams.

Zhang said the effect his team studied is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect, an increase in the warmth of cities compared to unpopulated areas caused by human activities.

The authors report that the influence of urban heat can widen the jet stream and strengthens atmospheric flows at mid-latitudes. They add that the warming is not uniform. Partially counterbalancing it, the changes in major atmospheric systems cool areas of Europe by as much as 1 degree C, with much of the temperature decrease occurring in the fall.

Overall, these changes have a noticeable but slight effect on global temperatures, increasing them worldwide by an average of about 0.1 degree C.

The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns or plays a role in accelerating global warming, though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.

The authors also contend that the urban heat effect accounts for the discrepancy between observed warming and winter warming simulated in the models used by the climate science community for analysis and prediction of climate. They suggest that the influence of energy consumption accompany heat-trapping gases and aerosols as necessary variables in computer models.

###

Here is another press release from NCAR:

January 27, 2013

BOULDER—Even if you live more than 1,000 miles from the nearest large city, it could be affecting your weather.

In a new study that shows the extent to which human activities are influencing the atmosphere, scientists have concluded that the heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas alters the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems. This affects temperatures across thousands of miles, significantly warming some areas and cooling others, according to the study this week in Nature Climate Change.

The extra “waste heat” generated from buildings, cars, and other sources in major Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes winter warming across large areas of northern North America and northern Asia. Temperatures in some remote areas increase by as much as 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the research by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; University of California, San Diego; Florida State University; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

At the same time, the changes to atmospheric circulation caused by the waste heat cool areas of Europe by as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F), with much of the temperature decrease occurring in the fall.

The net effect on global mean temperatures is nearly negligible—an average increase worldwide of just 0.01 degrees C (about 0.02 degrees F). This is because the total human-produced waste heat is only about 0.3 percent of the heat transported across higher latitudes by atmospheric and oceanic circulations.

However, the noticeable impact on regional temperatures may explain why some regions are experiencing more winter warming than projected by climate computer models, the researchers conclude. They suggest that models be adjusted to take the influence of waste heat into account.

“The burning of fossil fuel not only emits greenhouse gases but also directly affects temperatures because of heat that escapes from sources like buildings and cars,” says NCAR scientist Aixue Hu, a co-author of the study. “Although much of this waste heat is concentrated in large cities, it can change atmospheric patterns in a way that raises or lowers temperatures across considerable distances.”

Distinct from urban heat island effect

The researchers stressed that the effect of waste heat is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect. Such islands are mainly a function of the heat collected and re-radiated by pavement, buildings, and other urban features, whereas the new study examines the heat produced directly through transportation, heating and cooling units, and other activities.

The study, “Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America,” appeared online yesterday. It was funded by the National Science Foundation, NCAR’s sponsor, as well as the Department of Energy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hu, along with lead author Guang Zhang of Scripps and Ming Cai of Florida State University, analyzed the energy consumption—from heating buildings to powering vehicles—that generates waste heat release. The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was equivalent to a constant-use rate of 16 terawatts (1 terawatt, or TW, equals 1 trillion watts). Of that, an average rate of 6.7 TW was consumed in 86 metropolitan areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

Using a computer model of the atmosphere, the authors found that the influence of this waste heat can widen the jet stream.

“What we found is that energy use from multiple urban areas collectively can warm the atmosphere remotely, thousands of miles away from the energy consumption regions,” Zhang says. “This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change.”

The release of waste heat is different from energy that is naturally distributed in the atmosphere, the researchers noted. The largest source of heat, solar energy, warms Earth’s surface and atmospheric circulations redistribute that energy from one region to another. Human energy consumption distributes energy that had lain dormant and sequestered for millions of years, mostly in the form of oil or coal.

Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, many of those urban areas lie directly under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams.

“The world’s most populated and energy-intensive metropolitan areas are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents, underneath the most prominent atmospheric circulation troughs and ridges,” Cai says. “The release of this concentrated waste energy causes the noticeable interruption to the normal atmospheric circulation systems above, leading to remote surface temperature changes far away from the regions where waste heat is generated.”

About the article

Title: Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America

Authors: Ghang J. Zhang, Ming Cai, and Aixue Hu

Publication: Nature Climate Change, January 27, 2013

===============================================================

The Paper:

Energy consumption and the unexplained winter warming over northern Asia and North America

Guang J. Zhang, Ming Cai, & Aixue Hu

Abstract:

The worldwide energy consumption in 2006 was close to 498 exajoules. This is equivalent to an energy convergence of 15.8 TW into the populated regions, where energy is consumed and dissipated into the atmosphere as heat. Although energy consumption is sparsely distributed over the vast Earth surface and is only about 0.3% of the total energy transport to the extratropics by atmospheric and oceanic circulations, this anthropogenic heating could disrupt the normal atmospheric circulation pattern and produce a far-reaching effect on surface air temperature. We identify the plausible climate impacts of energy consumption using a global climate model. The results show that the inclusion of energy use at 86 model grid points where it exceeds 0.4 W m−2 can lead to remote surface temperature changes by as much as 1 K in mid- and high latitudes in winter and autumn over North America and Eurasia. These regions correspond well to areas with large differences in surface temperature trends between observations and global warming simulations forced by all natural and anthropogenic forcings1. We conclude that energy consumption is probably a missing forcing for the additional winter warming trends in observations.

The supplementary Information (SI) for this paper is here, and well worth reading:

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/extref/nclimate1803-s1.pdf

I’ll have updates to this in follow up stories – Anthony

138 thoughts on “Waste heat – a bigger climate effect than once thought

  1. So we have “black carbon”, natural cycles, aerosols not lowering temperatures by as much as the computers said and now UHI warming “rural” areas over 1000 miles away.

    Please tell me what CO2’s role is?

  2. May explain some of the higher warming rate in the northeast found by Watts et al. 2012 where the concentration of cities is high.

  3. Interesting. Apparently it had not occurred to the high-powered climate scientists that burning fossil fuels actually releases heat. It should be easy enough for them to calculate how much heat is released when a ton of carbon dioxide is produced. It is not surprising that it is concentrated in the cities because that is where most of the fuel is burned.

  4. Slight technical note: watt is a measure of power, joule / second, not energy, so it’s unclear what the expression ‘The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was 16 terawatts’ means.

  5. The Disney World parking lot is over 160 acres. Now, in that lot you have space for over 11,000 rather efficient solar heaters. The sun shines on the roof and through the glass of those cars, it is not shaded, it is open asphalt. How many watts per square meter of sunlight is being converted to heat with those? And for every one of them where a window is left cracked to keep the inside from overheating and the dash from melting (and I have actually had my dash melt from being parked in the sun) there is an even more efficient transfer of heat from solar radiation to atmospheric heat. Actually building a solar heater the size and efficiency of a car would take a bit of money and materials. 11,000 of them could generate quite a bit of heat. There are around a billion cars on the planet.

    I am very sincere in my belief that simply having about a billion cars parked out in the sun every single day all across the globe warms the atmosphere considerably. People might poo-poo the idea but if every single one of these cars is added up, I believe it is more of a “greenhouse effect” than the atmospheric CO2. It would also result in a much greater delta in temperature caused by clouds. Shade the sun a bit and you have millions of cars slow down their heat production a bit.

    Simply providing shaded parking might have a measurable impact on urban heat island impacts.

  6. If I read it correctly, the first press release says it contributes 0.1 degrees to global warming but the NCAR report says 0.01 degrees.
    Which is correct?

  7. Well, ya gotta admit, this time they’ve got US. We can’t escape Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot’s lessons on thermodynamics. It’s back to the caves for US. IIRC, Carnot Efficiency is the ratio of system high temperature to system low temperature, the difference is waste heat.

  8. It’s funny how the piece never mentions the fact this means the warming since LIA is less due to CO2 than previously thought.

    I bet the authors will even dispute that interpretation. The state of climate science is always “worse than we thought.”

  9. Convection is what it’s about, but the word is strangely missing from the article. This paper adds convective heat to the atmospheric pot.

  10. Interesting. I’ve in held where I live in a town of 12000 is affected in cold weather by the prescience of five physical plants running 24/7 all withing 5 blocks or less. we are a full climate
    zone (should be USDA 5 but is more like 6) warmer here than the rest of the Town .
    The airport runs -5c less as a rule in the winter…-Sometimes more…

  11. Does the estimated 0.1 degree increase attributed take into consideration the impact the waste heat may have on recorded temperatures within a 1,000 mile radius, or, is the study just saying overall the planet is warmed by an estimated 0.1 degrees as a result of the waste heat….there is a significant difference between the two. I don’t think the study considered that…

  12. Given the ‘efficiency’ of machines one can only assume that a substantial proportion of all energy consumed is not converted to ‘useful work’ but to waste heat instead.
    Then consider that much energy consumed is dedicated to the actual production of heat as in central heating (or the transference of heat as in cooling) and you get a scenario where…yes CO2 is definitely heating the planet…only not in the way the Warmists would have us believe.
    The recent 46.4 temperature ‘record’ in Sydney probably had more to do with the couple of million air conditioners in that city which were blasting out heat at the time than ‘Global Warming’ per se!

  13. I lived in the Hunter Valley area of NSW that had 20 large coal mines within 25 miles. All were open cut and at least one was using over 100 thousand litres of diesel per day for haul trucks and diggers. We also have two large coal fired power stations, one 2400 MW the other 2000 MW, within that area. Anecdotally farmers would comment on the lack of frosts compared to the sixties when much of the development commenced. Frosty nights are calm so the heat from the 24 hour operations would form a blanket over the valley until the sun came and dispersed it so it’s believable that we were warmed by the mining activity.

  14. We identify the plausible climate impacts of energy consumption using a global climate model.

    They added that this effect helps explain the disparity between actual observed warming in the last half-century and the amount of warming that computer models have been able to account for.

    Using a computer model of the atmosphere, the authors found that the influence of this waste heat can widen the jet stream.

    The authors also contend that the urban heat effect accounts for the discrepancy between observed warming and winter warming simulated in the models used by the climate science community for analysis and prediction of climate.

    They suggest that the influence of energy consumption accompany heat-trapping gases and aerosols as necessary variables in computer models.

    Truly model behaviour.

  15. Fossil fuels are not the only source of heat.
    So the turbines at Niagara Falls slow the water down and convert the kinetic energy to electrical energy. Now the householder in Buffalo turns his baseboard heater up, and plugs the car in for the night. Thus some of that kinetic energy is converted into heat that is lost to the atmosphere unless the house has perfect insulation.

  16. It seems his observations were spot-on, as this new paper just published in Nature Climate Change tells us. From the University of San Diego:
    —-
    Not exactly.

    It’s the USA versus the world. The average global temps are not affected signicantly by this effect.

    This effect has only regional consequences that can be both up and down in temperatures.

    Might cause a slight uptick in trends in some highly urbanised counties and a slight downtick in trends in other highly urbanised countries. It all depends on where countries are situated with respect to weather patterns.

    There is a slight chance it might bias global average temp trends but which way has to be determined.

    REPLY:
    Your opinion is meritless, without citation, and posted from behind the cloak of anonymity with a juvenile self descriptive label . In laymans terms: crap. If you want it to be taken seriously, show some citations and have the courage to stand behind your words. I tire of your predictable cowardly noise, as do others. My best advice is to elevate your status from this level if you wish to contribute something useful. – Anthony

  17. But it isn’t spread over the area of the United States, it’s concentrated in a much smaller area, usually with one or two thermometers close by.

  18. The UN is going to love this, I can see it now.
    “Our models show that inappropriately sited cities have caused the world climate to go astray.
    Its true our models prove it.
    We must act, whole cities must be torn down and relocated to more climate friendly sites.”
    Now there is a scam bureaucrats can feast on for generations.

  19. I have, from a naive perspective, been saying this for decades. Back in the early ’90s I lived in Switzerland and would occasionally watch the weather satellite loop on cable TV late in the winter nights. I noticed that what seemed like large weather systems coming from the north west would be completely halted by the Europe continental land mass, and it was clear this was not just the Alps topographic effect. I figured there was a permanent high pressure system generated by the waste heat from large scale industry, from large power plants and from the central heating in every building and that this high pressure system was have a direct effect on the movement of the weather systems.
    I also saw the nuclear power plants on cold clear winter mornings sending massive plumes of warm moist air thousands of metres in the air. It was clear to me that human activity on this scale directly influences weather.

  20. Arno Arrak says:
    January 27, 2013 at 3:33 pm
    Interesting. Apparently it had not occurred to the high-powered climate scientists that burning fossil fuels actually releases heat. It should be easy enough for them to calculate how much heat is released when a ton of carbon dioxide is produced. It is not surprising that it is concentrated in the cities because that is where most of the fuel is burned.
    —————-
    Apparently it has not occurred to you that these results were produced by “high powered climate scientists”. They have done all the calculations you suggested because they are obvious. Since you have not calculated it it was clearly not obvious to you.

    You need to reread the article again several times because you have not understood it.

  21. While 0.33 watt/m^2 may be a lot for the continental U.S., the 16 TW used worldwide, spread over the earth surface is only 0.03 watt/m^2.

  22. Arno Arrak says:

    Interesting. Apparently it had not occurred to the high-powered climate scientists that burning fossil fuels actually releases heat. It should be easy enough for them to calculate how much heat is released when a ton of carbon dioxide is produced.

    Yes…It has occurred to them. And, this calculation is easy enough that I have led introductory physics students through it. However, the number on a global scale is very small. Roy Spencer has derived a much bigger number by comparing the energy intensity in W/m^2 just over the U.S. to the global radiative forcing from CO2. If he had looked at the world energy consumption and divided by the total surface area of the Earth, the value he would have gotten would have been only about 0.03 W/m^2, or more than a factor of 10 smaller than what he calculated…and almost a factor of 50 smaller than the radiative forcing due to CO2.

    However, the fact that this can affect temperatures on a local scale (along with other factors that lead to the well-known and not at all controversial urban heat island effect is well-known). What apparently is new to this paper is the effect it can have on global weather patterns.

  23. Once again, we have cold and preventing warming as a benefit .
    WHEN will these people (and even WUWT subscribers) take a LOOK??? It is the tropics, not the Arctic where we find “paradise” and the greatest biodiversity. The average temperature globally is 12 C, which is 54F. That is COLD. For hundreds of millions of years the global average temperature was 72F, or exactly room temperature (assuming paleoclimatologists are correct in their estimates).

    Warming would be GOOD. We need to harp on that reality a whole lot more.

  24. LazyTeenager says:
    January 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    You might consider changing your name to “UnLazy Teenager” then act appropriately.

  25. I guess I’m more the “hard core” skeptic than most. I’m looking at this thinking “More crap from models being fed fantasy ideas and predicting warming.” Sure the model finds effects. They find effects from anything. In the real world, that hotter air would convect heat to altitude leaving only low levels of UHI like “delta enough to make convection go faster”. How may TW come from the sun directly each day? How “big” is this in proportion? Yeah, its not…

    I have no doubt you get a warm plume off of NYC. I have a lot of doubt that it changes Siberia…

  26. Charles Gerard Nelson says:
    January 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm
    Given the ‘efficiency’ of machines one can only assume that a substantial proportion of all energy consumed is not converted to ‘useful work’ but to waste heat instead.
    ———–
    All of it ends up as heat eventually. In the long run its 100% efficient conversion to heat.

  27. Lady Life Grows
    Warming would be GOOD. We need to harp on that reality a whole lot more.
    ——–
    Depends whether you are situated in an area of desert or not and whether changes in weather patterns make your situation better or worse.

    Short term we see increased greening on a global scale but the effect is not uniform. Over the longer term its not clear what is going to happen.

  28. Please NOTE:

    With the MINOR exception of LIGHT (visible) escaping directly to SPACE..and the TRIVIAL amount of RF radiation going into space…(both amounting to about 5% of our “energy use”) EVERY bit of energy, elsewise, goes to HEAT.

    Yes, the turning of the wheels, the turning of a fan, the pumping of water….it all ends up as HEAT.

    I’m rather sure that a simple application of the Stephan/Boltzman law will show a net upward adjustment of about 0.1 degree C will MATCH the “energy release” of all mechanisms on Earth.

  29. A very unscientific observation. Whether winter or summer, when I drive through a nearby urban area, my car thermometer pops up by 1 or 2 degrees, every single time I pass thru and then drops to the original reading as I get back into the rural area, All this occurs in a matter of 7 or 8 minutes. Common sense sometimes makes sense.

  30. This study has some interesting ideas, though I’m not sure they can be of much pragmatic use.

    It is fairly obvious cities must have an effect downstream. After all, even a butterfly flapping its wing can have an effect downstream.

    We small mortals like to think we have power. A pebble can start an avalanche. (For you Dr. Suess fans: One little “Who” going “Yopp!” can let others besides “Horton the Elephant” hear.)

    The absurdity enters in when people become afraid to budge a pebble, (or utter the word “Yopp!”) because they are afraid they will bring about the end of all life as we know it.

    Butterflies are flapping their wings all over the place. There is no need to ban them, just because they “might” or “could” have an effect.

  31. If the waste heat gets bad enough, we probably should start thinking of moving the earth a little farther from the sun.

  32. Someboy mus calculate how many watts /m2 produce an human body, and his breath
    The pobulation of earth cuadruplicated in the last century..

    Maybe the antropogenic warming is a reality.

  33. “If I read it correctly, the first press release says it contributes 0.1 degrees to global warming but the NCAR report says 0.01 degrees.
    Which is correct?
    #####################
    .01degrees. There is another study on the contribution of waste heat to global warming, basically nothing. google is your friend.

  34. Even if I knew it was all my fault, my saying so (here) would only excerbate the problem.
    So, in the intrest of grandkids everywhere, please delete this comment to ensure the jet streams return to their former benevolent positions.

  35. As I see it there are two results from burning fossil fuel other than the required benefit we burned it for! first there will be oxygen used and then on one way or another heat will be given off. How this heat compares with natural heat like volcanos and wildfires? but how is the 20 odd percent of oxygen holding up?

  36. Caleb says:
    January 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    I hear ya on that butterfly thing :-)

    I wonder if anyone has done a study on the SubUrban Heat Islands. How do septic tanks impact the climate? Just sayin, it must in some way……..

  37. Martin Rey says:
    January 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm
    Someboy mus calculate how many watts /m2 produce an human body, and his breath
    The pobulation of earth cuadruplicated in the last century..
    Maybe the antropogenic warming is a reality.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Skin temperature ~ 20 C
    Via SB Law = 418 w/m2
    Average area of skin per person ~ 1.8 m2
    Population 7 billion
    418*1.8*7000000000= 5.3*10^12
    Area of earth = 5.1*10^14
    (5.3*10^12)/(5.1*10^14)= 0.01 w/m2
    via SB Law, assuming an average earth temperature of 15 C, temps would increase to:

    15.002 C

    awg might be real, but not due to human beings radiating from their skin.

  38. Perhaps they will curb urban heat emissions.

    Sounds like the Matrix to me “for the longest time i wouldn’t believe it, and then I saw the fields for myself, there are fields Neo, where humans are not born, they are grown……the machines had found all the energy they would ever need”.

  39. “The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns or plays a role in accelerating global warming, though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net
    energy into the atmosphere.”
    I’m having a lot of skepticism about this claim since according to the report, what seems to matter is the concentration of heat where the energy is released; i.e. the urban waste heat effect. By trapping more energy at a solar panel (a portion of which would otherwise be radiated into outer space in the evening at the remote location) or gererating windmill powered electricity and shipping the energy to heat a building or what ever at an urban location seems to be little different than shipping natural gas to heat a building or gasoline to power a car or electricity for the building.
    Does it really matter that much where the urban energy came from ? All of it ends up as heat anyway concentrated at the point of use!
    This article inserted the above comment to fool the warmists or as the mandatory requirement to get published. It is not that simple.

  40. Waste heat probably started climbing even more as more jet aircraft were used for transportation.

    One study (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/7471sec6.pdf), shows that on takeoff, a 747 put out temps as high as 140 degrees, felt as far back as 50 ft – and 85 degrees as far back as 550 ft (see page 11 of the reference).

    These jets first saw commercial use in 1970 (Pan Am), and there were about 1200 or so made (can’t find exact numbers because of the various models). Their effect would have been even more localized, because it took special runways (length and runway bearing strength) to accommodate the aircraft.

    And location does matter – for example, O’Hare airport, from 1989 to end of 2012, saw 20,773,461 take-offs and landings (divide by half for number of flights).

  41. though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.
    ?????????????????????????
    No matter what the energy source is, there is always heat produced since nothing is 100 percent efficient. If you use solar panels or wind turbines to heat your water there is heat produced in generating the electricity, in transmitting it, using it, and from the heated water discharged to the sewers. ANY work done produces heat, even if you use horses. Get used to it.

  42. This smacks of something that I have seen batted around lately. In the end both sides of the argument will probably be both right and both wrong in degrees (no pun intended). Each side being able to claim – legitimately – that the other side was wrong.

    The tragedy would be that both sides had some meaningful contributions to the changing climate puzzle but neither was willing to listen to the other because of stubborn pride. Some man-made, some natural.

    Poetry and irony. I think Shakespeare would love it.

  43. Wayne d says:

    No matter what the energy source is, there is always heat produced since nothing is 100 percent efficient. If you use solar panels or wind turbines to heat your water there is heat produced in generating the electricity, in transmitting it, using it, and from the heated water discharged to the sewers. ANY work done produces heat, even if you use horses. Get used to it.

    You miss the point. It is not that this energy from solar power does not end up as heat (or, more properly, thermal energy). Rather, it is that (at least much of) it would have ended up as thermal energy in the Earth-atmosphere system anyway had we not harnessed it. (I say “at least much of it” because if the use of solar panels were to decrease the Earth’s albedo, one could be producing thermal energy from solar energy that would have otherwise been reflected back into space.) The thing about fossil fuels is that were they to remain buried in the ground, the chemical energy stored in them would not get converted to thermal energy (at least at anything remotely close to the rate they are now).

  44. LazyTeenager says:
    January 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm
    Charles Gerard Nelson says:
    January 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm
    Given the ‘efficiency’ of machines one can only assume that a substantial proportion of all energy consumed is not converted to ‘useful work’ but to waste heat instead.
    ———–
    All of it ends up as heat eventually. In the long run its 100% efficient conversion to heat.

    Dear Lazy Teenager.
    Straighten us out here with your scientific wisdom.
    Example. A diesel powered elevator is used to lift one ton of rock 500 feet, from the bottom of a quarry to the top. In the process produces ‘waste heat’ and performs ‘work’.
    Could you explain what you mean when you say…
    ‘all of it ends up as heat eventually. In the long run its (sic) 100% efficient conversion to heat.’
    How does one ton of rock sitting 500 feet above its former resting place ‘end up’ as ‘heat’?

    Are all Warmists as dumb as you?

  45. “Nearly all energy used for human purposes is dissipated as heat within Earth’s land–atmosphere system. Thermal energy released from non-renewable sources is therefore a climate forcing term. Averaged globally, this forcing is only +0.028 W m−2, but over the continental United States and western Europe, it is +0.39 and +0.68 W m−2, respectively. Here, present and future global inventories of anthropogenic heat flux (AHF) are developed, and parameterizations derived for seasonal and diurnal flux cycles. Equilibrium climate experiments show statistically-significant continental-scale surface warming (0.4–0.9°C) produced by one 2100 AHF scenario, but not by current or 2040 estimates. However, significant increases in annual-mean temperature and planetary boundary layer (PBL) height occur over gridcells where present-day AHF exceeds 3.0 W m−2. PBL expansion leads to a slight, but significant increase in atmospheric residence time of aerosols emitted from large-AHF regions. Hence, AHF may influence regional climate projections and contemporary chemistry-climate studies.”

    This is a 2009 article. Things to Note.

    1. Roy spencers estimate for the US is close, but 3 years late.
    2. The global number is much smaller.. . 028Watts
    3. .028Watts, will get you .01C to .03C of warming UNLESS you assume a very sensitive climate
    4. In 2009 it was thought that AHF could make a difference in regional projections.
    5. The new paper shows one of these REGIONAL effects.

  46. Underground coal seam fires are increasing. They cannot be extinguished in most cases. Certainly they are very large contributors to waste heat; it is estimated that up to 3% of all coal burning is from uncontrolled, underground coal seams:

    http://www.sapient-horizons.com/Sapient/Underground_Fires.html

    [Disregard the article’s CO2 nonsense, since CO2 has no measurable effect at current concentrations.]

    People are worried about urban waste heat, when cities cover much less than 3% of the planet?? “Waste heat” seems to me to be just another scare story.

  47. Chris Edwards says:
    January 27, 2013 at 6:19 pm
    but how is the 20 odd percent of oxygen holding up?
    If CO2 went from 0.03% to 0.04%, then oxygen may have gone down from 20.96% to 20.95%. It is a bit more complicated than that since some of the CO2 gets absorbed into the ocean, but whatever the exact number is, it is not something to lose sleep over.

  48. I have noticed two times in the last year when conditions were very near the rain, snow, or ice threshold, the precipitation has been snow all around Fargo ND but Fargo itself had rain or ice. Don’t know if its UHI effect, or just coincidence. Or it could even be a mistake on the radar. I don’t think radar actually detects rain, snow etc, but the various weather services, intellicast, accuweather or whatever use algorithms to have their radars show the type of precipitation based on atmospheric conditions. I know, its totally unscientific to conclude its UHI base on noticing it two times. I plan to try to look at the radar more often when temps are near 32 F. Still, a proper scientific study would have to be done to determine if its statistically significant. One could look at the entire nation, not just where one lives too. I wasn’t trying to do any such study. Just looking at my local radar. Take it for what its worth, which is probably nothing :-)

  49. The electrical power generating capacity of the US is approx. a million megawatts or 1×10^12 W (1TW) which corresponds to 1×10^12 Joules (1TJ) per second of energy. You have to add energy for cars, planes, heating and other uses. So I am assuming 16TW implies the consumption rate which means we consume energy at the rate of 16TJ per second. Multiply that by the number of seconds in a year (~3.2 x 10^7 seconds) and you get ~3.2 x 16 x 10^19 J of energy per year…

  50. I’ll have to see if I can track it down, but sometime in the last year I remember having a vehement disagreement with someone regarding a study of waste heat and its effect on global temperatures. The paper essentially blamed the lion’s share of global warming on the direct heat transferred to the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and constrained the effect of GHG’s to less than 50%(?) of any global warming.

    I think what this type of research clearly demonstrates is that even if there has been 0.8C of warming in the past 100 years, it’s divided between so many factors, natural and anthropogenic, that no single cause can be considered of great significance. Even if the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the largest contributor to a warmer world, once you account for the effects of land use changes, water diversion, urbanization, and increased heat from combustion, the remaining temperature increase attributable to GHG’s is a fraction of that 0.8C (which really isn’t a worrisome increase to begin with).

    Gee, maybe civilization isn’t in danger after all…

  51. To put this in perspective, the paper estimates global human power generation at 16 TW or 0.0314 w/m2 over the earth’s surface. The estimated power generated by radioactive decay in the earths core is 44TW or 0.0863 w/m2, nearly 3 times as great.

    http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/2011/jul/19/radioactive-decay-accounts-for-half-of-earths-heat

    Both sources have a negligible effect on GLOBAL temperatures or climate. On the other hand, it seems plausible that waste heat could cause a small but potentially measurable localized increase in surface temperatures, particularly at night and during winter. However, even localized heating will probably be very difficult to attribute specifically to waste heat rather than other effects. E.g., if we take Dr. Spencer’s estimate of 0.33w/m2 for the US and assume the wast heat is concentrated in just 5% of the land area we get localized generation of 6.6 w/m2. This is less than 4% of the 164 w/m2 average global insolation so the wast heat effect will be hard to separate from small changes in albedo due to land use.

    My take away is that if anything, the paper casts just a bit more doubt on the utility of the land surface temperature record and the reliable classification of thermometers as “rural”.

  52. We are in the midst of the experiment, yet measurements are being changed to reflect a precoceived notion.
    Data be damned, the funding points to the future.

    Prove me wrong, please.

  53. Lady Life Grows says:
    January 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm
    For hundreds of millions of years the global average temperature was 72F, or exactly room temperature (assuming paleoclimatologists are correct in their estimates).
    Warming would be GOOD. We need to harp on that reality a whole lot more.
    ===========
    Agreed. Human being cannot survive sustained temperatures below those of the tropical jungles without technology. In contrast there is no place on earth too hot for humans so long as there is water.

    Most of the change has been in raising low temperatures, not in raising high temperatures, which holds virtually no risk to humans, so using the average is highly misleading.

    How is it a bad thing to raise low temperatures while leaving high temperatures relatively unchanged? This simply makes the climate more moderate, which should reduce costs and risks in the long term.

  54. D.B. Stealey says:
    January 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm
    People are worried about urban waste heat, when cities cover much less than 3% of the planet??
    ===========
    land only covers 30% of the earth. 40% of that is used for argriculture. The rest of the land is ice, rock, mountains and deserts. 150 years ago we used 4% of the land for agriculture. About the same amount as we now use for cities.

  55. davidmhoffer says:

    Skin temperature ~ 20 C
    Via SB Law = 418 w/m2
    Average area of skin per person ~ 1.8 m2
    Population 7 billion
    418*1.8*7000000000= 5.3*10^12
    Area of earth = 5.1*10^14
    (5.3*10^12)/(5.1*10^14)= 0.01 w/m2
    via SB Law, assuming an average earth temperature of 15 C, temps would increase to:

    15.002 C

    awg might be real, but not due to human beings radiating from their skin.

    Up front, I’m kidding you David. Don’t take it personally.

    But how many times have I told you not to forget the “back radiation”? You of all people on that subject (igloo warming via “back radiation”). See why I always calculate NET radiation? Huh? Prevents simple slips. 98.6F is 310K. 70F is 294K. Take 5.67E-08‹W/m²/K^4› ∙ (310‹K›^4 – 294‹K›^4) to give 100 W/m2 (that’s documented) time 1.5 m² of skin that the average person’s skin radiates about 150 W, not 418 W.

    So rock back your impact from human’s heat on global temperature back to about 15 C + 0.0007 C.

    Now try exactly that same calculation you performed using the 16 TW given in the articles, the total global energy used.

    I get +0.03 W/m2, not 0.33 W/m2. I get 15 C + 0.005 C for all energy used by man (2006). How about you? You check me this time.

    Of course all of this relies on Earth’s ability to spread about energy. LOL.

  56. While 0.33 watt/m^2 may be a lot for the continental U.S., the 16 TW used worldwide, spread over the earth surface is only 0.03 watt/m^2.
    =================

    Assuming that cities cover about 3% of the land, and land covers 30% of the planet, this means that cities cover about 1/100 of the earth.

    Multiply 0.03 watt/m^2 by 100 = 3.0 watt/m^2 . Which means that in cities the waste heat is double the 1.6 W/ms GHG effect cited by the IPCC.

  57. Well, ya gotta admit, this time they’ve got US. We can’t escape Nicolas Léonard Sadi Carnot’s lessons on thermodynamics. It’s back to the caves for US. IIRC, Carnot Efficiency is the ratio of system high temperature to system low temperature, the difference is waste heat.

    Carnot is the best you can do. Reality is worse. Sometimes much worse. (Electric heating vs natural gas).

  58. pyeatte says:
    January 27, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    The electrical power generating capacity of the US is approx. a million megawatts or 1×10^12 W (1TW) which corresponds to 1×10^12 Joules (1TJ) per second of energy. You have to add energy for cars, planes, heating and other uses. So I am assuming 16TW implies the consumption rate which means we consume energy at the rate of 16TJ per second. Multiply that by the number of seconds in a year (~3.2 x 10^7 seconds) and you get ~3.2 x 16 x 10^19 J of energy per year…
    ——————————————
    -total generating capacity is [irrelevant]. Total capacity of an electrical system needs to be at least 115% of max peak load to prevent catastrophic failure. Actual average production is much less.
    -The idea that energy is consumed at a continuous rate every second of the year is just silly.
    -When I see wrong units used I do not even consider the information. How can you take a study seriously when the author does not [understand] high school physics? The same applies to Mosher’s Watts per Square Metre. It is totally meaningless. Is it average for a year? Peak for a second? Minimum? Why not say? Why not use the correct units? I can’t see for the smoke.

  59. And on another note Polywell Fusion, TriAlpha Energy, and Focus Fusion – all designs which could do direct conversion of the energy produced (reversed particle accelerator) vs ITER’s steam plant – are getting a pittance of what ITER does for development.

    In addition if Polywell works we will have access to asteroid belt material. The end of resource constraints for quite some time – likely millions of years. At minimum 100K years. Enough time to figure out what to do next.

    Polywell and the rest are low neutron radiation devices. ITER is a high neutron radiation device.

    So what are the alternates getting? Millions. What is ITER getting? Billions.

    I don’t get it.

  60. D.B. Stealey says:“Waste heat” seems to me to be just another scare story.
    More of a misnomer than anything else because almost all of the energy we use from any source ultimately ends up as heat. (If we use enough maybe we can stave off the next ice age?)

  61. And location does matter – for example, O’Hare airport, from 1989 to end of 2012, saw 20,773,461 take-offs and landings (divide by half for number of flights).

    Odd number 20,773,461. I take it there was a crash. And the plane was scrapped?

  62. OK, the abstract says ‘498 exajoules’, which is energy, which comes out as about 16 Terawatt-seconds per year.

  63. Two pearls:

    “The authors report that the influence of urban heat can widen the jet stream and strengthens atmospheric flows at mid-latitudes.”
    And
    “The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns…”
    1) Not at one contradiction obviously…

    “Though the amount of human-generated energy is a small portion of that transported by nature, it is highly concentrated in urban areas. In the Northern Hemisphere, many of those urban areas lie directly under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams.”

    2) LOL Please O “climatologists”, tell us WHERE to build cities that are not under major atmospheric troughs and jet streams?

  64. Jean says:
    January 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    How do you separate the waste heat from the unmixed CO2 plumes these urban areas certainly generate?

    I doubt they have tried, Jean. And I doubt that they will try, either.

  65. “Boy, do I hate being right all the time!” – Jeff Goldblum, alias Dr. Ian Malcolm, in “Jurassic Park”

    No kidding: For years I am assuming already that the heat, which is constantly generated through energy-production, MUST have a substantial effect on “AGW” i.e. since I grew up in the shadows of the enormous steam-plumes generated by four (FOUR!) coal-fired power-plants built in a line in the Rhineland, Germany.

    We are talking – how much? Like 10 Gigatons of carbon-based fuels burned per year, right?

    So the heat generated by that MUST have an effect on the atmosphere!

    Told ‘ya so!

    Boy, do these climatologists EVER leave their offices an go out into the real world?

  66. I heard of a research project that said this years ago but the author of it could get funding for a PhD while a conventional thinking applicant from a far lower rated university with the same class of degree got his funding. That is on top of three similar ones where I personally knew those involved.
    I could not find any attempt when talking about the record temperatures in Australia to allow for the bush fires which given they covered thousands of square miles and were hot enough to make car roofs sag surely must have been very significant. bush fires on that scale are unprecedented as they previously did not have any lobby preventing the creation of the fire breaks for environmental reasons.
    Sadly this is the expected norm for climate science standards.

  67. Peter Hannan says:
    January 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

    OK, the abstract says ’498 exajoules’, which is energy, which comes out as about 16 Terawatt-seconds per year.
    ————————-
    Abstract:
    The worldwide energy consumption in 2006 was close to 498 exajoules. This is equivalent to an energy convergence of 15.8 TW into the populated regions, where energy —–
    TW is not Terawatt-seconds per year. The statement is clearly wrong. Bafflegab. Used car salesman science. What is “convergence”? I know it as an artillery term. Why change to a wrong unit mid statement? Did the authors lift the data without understanding it or is it intended to mislead?

  68. Charles Gerard Nelson says

    All of it ends up as heat eventually. In the long run its 100% efficient conversion to heat.

    Dear Lazy Teenager.
    Straighten us out here with your scientific wisdom.
    Example. A diesel powered elevator is used to lift one ton of rock 500 feet, from the bottom of a quarry to the top. In the process produces ‘waste heat’ and performs ‘work’.
    Could you explain what you mean when you say…
    ‘all of it ends up as heat eventually. In the long run its (sic) 100% efficient conversion to heat.’
    How does one ton of rock sitting 500 feet above its former resting place ‘end up’ as ‘heat’?

    Are all Warmists as dumb as you?

    In this case I am in the very unusual position of having to agree with “Lazy Teenager”. All energy eventually ends up as heat. The operative word is “eventually”. When the energy is used to make e. g. steel or aluminium the heat is liberated when the metal oxidizes, decades or centuries later. In the case of the rock mentioned above it happens when the rock (or the material in it) falls or sinks back to the original level. True, it might take a couple of hundred thousand (or a few million) years before erosion takes its course, but it’s gonna happen someday!

  69. “Odd number 20,773,461. I take it there was a crash. And the plane was scrapped?”

    Nope, just one aircraft more (or less) on the ground at the end of 2012 than at the beginning of 1989.

  70. J. Philip Peterson says:
    January 27, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    “unexplained winter warming over northern Asia” You’re talking about Siberia? Getting too warm there in winter, I’d like to see the data.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    I rather suppose, they mean Bejing. Bejing lies close to the northern border of China – as is explained by it’s name, already, because Bejing means “Northern Capital” in Han.

  71. Gotta love that “unexplained winter warming”. Here is a CET record per seasons:

    There are many short-term winter season warmings of exactly the same magnitude like in 1985-2000, all placed on steady warming trend since the bottom of LIA.

  72. Trying to separate waste heat from UHI effects seems to have more of a political than scientific purpose. The map shown could be easily mistaken for a map of surface stations reporting to WMO. Waste heat which is part of UHI does infinity more damage to “Climate Science” than it could to the real climate.

    Trying to use waste heat as an excuse to justify wind turbine subsidy farms will not work either. Extracting 16 Terawatts from the horizontal kinetic energy of the atmosphere with wind turbines all placed in high wind areas will have a far more serious consequences for the climate than the distributed release of waste heat.

    As selling the old AGW hoax that adding radiative gases to the atmosphere reduces its ability to radiativly cool becomes unworkable we will sadly see more studies like this. The “waste heat” plan will work no better than the “black carbon” plan. The developing world is already creating much of the “problem”. It won’t justify wealth redistributed under a framework of UN Global governance. They will just have to try harder. No one gets to slink away to “biocrisis” or “sustainability” if the “warming” thing totally fails.

  73. it would be interesting to see how much ‘waste heat’ is related to UHI. I’d assume it prolongs its effect.

    Also without waste heat a lot of bad placement of thermometers wouldn’t have been so dramatic in impact. Perhaps waste height has a lot to answer for?

  74. Any forcing element that seeks to make the vertical temperature profile diverge from that set by gravity and pressure will result in a circulation adjustment.

    The circulation adjustment is a negative system response that restores and maintains top of atmosphere thermal equilibrium unless one also changes atmospheric mass, the strength of the gravitational field or the total amount of energy coming in from outside the atmosphere.

    That principle applies whether the forcing element is natural or anthropogenic.

    The most important fact, though, is that solar and oceanic variations with chaotic variability superimposed on all timescales are so vast in comparison that our efforts count for nothing.

    I have long been saying that if CO2 has any effect then the system response will be a miniscule circulation change and that such a change alters the rate of energy throughput so as to keep the top of the atmosphere in thermal equilibrium.

    At least this paper now explicity recognises a link between forcing elements and circulation adjustments.

  75. Soot, waste heat, lowered warming projections……………what next? But, we can’t think of anything else so it must be co2.

    I think climate scientists should call a large conference and honestly re-examine their previous assumptions, re-programe their computer models too.

  76. The sentence .” The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was 16 terawatts … ” not surprisngly has confused some of the commenters, as TW is am unit of power not energy and the as the sentence as stands is just garbage, a not really uncommon attribute of CS press releases . However the NCAR press release is somewhat clearer about this as it says ” The world’s total energy consumption in 2006 was equivalent to a constant-use rate of 16 terawatts..”. And the abstract states 498 exajoules as total world energy consumption for that year. Now converting 498 exajoule ( 10^18 ws ) to TWh comes out as 138,333 TWh , dividing that number by 24 (hours/day)x 365.2425 ( avg.days per year) then gives 15.78 TW that is rounded up to first 15.8 TW in the papers abstract some and called energy convergence ( head scratch ??? ) , then rounded up further to 16 TW in both press releases, so I reckon what is meant is that the world energy consumption in 2006 was ~ 16 TW-years ( equivalent to 16 TW of Power use , 24/7 for the whole year ).

  77. Jean says:
    January 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    How do you separate the waste heat from the unmixed CO2 plumes these urban areas certainly generate?….
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    What unmixed CO2 plumes? These? map

    Remember the first conjecture of CAGW is that CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere. Of course plants gobble down the CO2 dragging the concentration in their area down to ~300 ppm within minutes of the sun rising. (I have the links if someone wants them)

  78. Still going on about GHG’s? Dr Spencer would do well to devote some time to reading Joseph E. Postma’s papers published on his web site http://www.climateofsophistry.com these put GHG’s into the rubbish bin of 2nd law violations. He also explains why the thinking behind the introduction of the GHG theory is confused and not based on reality or even empirical measurement.

  79. ” Such islands are mainly a function of the heat collected and re-radiated by pavement, buildings, and other urban features, whereas the new study examines the heat produced directly through transportation, heating and cooling units, and other activities.”

    Since when? I thought the definition of Urban Heat Island was just a description of the urban area being warmer than surrounding rural areas. I’ve NEVER heard anyone of TV mention that it’s +4 degrees warmer in town due solely to pavement, and they don’t know how much heat is being contributed by energy usage.

    t(UHI) = t(town) – t(rural)

    That said, it’s not saying anything that wasn’t obvious before. When heat is generated within the system it’s no different than energy being added to the system via solar input. It has to go someplace. Nice to see them admitting it, even though the science is settled.

    Of course, the pessimist in me is just seeing this as an excuse to initiate the CO2 tax based on how many therms we’re adding to the system instead of CO2… this way even if CO2 proves negligible, they still get their energy-crushing taxes and control.

  80. About the only benefit that entire study demonstrated in the end, it was really just a commercial for solar panels. When one takes into consideration the heat in the deserts, the volcanic eruptions and the heat from bare earth in the middle of summer that can and does melt the sole of your shoes, then what really are they saying. The Planet has been dealing with those variations for a long time. So what else is really new ?

  81. Can we nudge the Green movement into a sane direction, maybe? Preserve the planet – build future cities in space.

  82. ” Nice to see them admitting it, even though the science is settled.”

    Now that I think of it though, we’re we explicitly told that energy usage was negligible compared to the solar input of the sun, and therefore ignored?

  83. So we are accounting for winter warming by the city heat output. Question. Do they also account for some portion of environmental heating during the summer the same way? Let’s face it, A/C units do nothing but turn all electricity used in them into heat, thus I would have to assume that the city heat output would effect summer climate more than winter climate, where at least part of the heat remains, more or less, inside, heating the structures, although I would guess that also effects the winter climate. Looks like yet another line of attack on using carbon based fuels for tthe etterment of mankind, thus we still need to have carbon trading, etc., to save the planet.

  84. From the original:

    Led by Guang Zhang, a research meteorologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, the scientists report in the journal Nature Climate Change that the extra heat given off by Northern Hemisphere urban areas causes as much as 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of warming in winter.

    First and foremost: Name for me one downside of this. As someone who grew up and lives in a winter climate, explain to me how our -40C lows changed to -39C could possibly, in any way shape or form, be a bad thing. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    Second, claiming that this alleged 1C warming (which, incidentally, is not physically possible… are they claiming the ENTIRE Northern Hemisphere is 1C warmer than it would be if we weren’t using energy???) could possibly be altering something as far outside of our ability to control as the jet streams is nothing short of DELUSIONAL. The jet streams, typically tens of thousands of feet above ground, don’t change course based on anything as trivial as spot heat that isn’t even a measurable fraction of a percent of the naturally occurring heat in the atmosphere.

    Third, the claim that “waste heat” is “different” from any other sort of heat is nothing short of Junk Science. Heat is heat.

    Fourth, excess heat is conveniently radiated out to space at night, and nights are LONG in the North during winter.

    There is nothing of value in this “study”. Nothing.

  85. The important but never-asked question is: given the wide swings of temperature in the past million years, just what is the optimum temperature? Are we above it and the present trend is harmful, or are we below it and the present trend is beneficial?

  86. Haven’t time to read it again more thoroughly – but I will offer comment that these people talk of tiny amounts of heat energy (0.4w/m2 IIRC) and reckon this IS significant but these same climate science people think that 0.1% variation in TSI = 1.36 w/m2 is NOT significant? I wish they would make their friggin minds up!

  87. By now, with Al Gore exiting stage left, it is pretty obvious that ‘Global Warming’ has lost its high panic factor and the climb down is in progress. However the need for a ‘Crisis to Unite Us’ and a reason to implement Agenda 21 Sustainability and Global Governance still remains. We have been wondering what the next hobgoblin would be. This paper looks like it hit a bulls eye.

    “The heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas has a significant enough warming effect to influence the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems during winter months, according to a trio of climate researchers.”

    That is the money quote along with:

    “Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.”

    This effectively kills nuclear power as an option too, so that leaves Agenda 21 and The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, that is the herding of humans into enclaves where they can not harm GAIA the only option. SEE MAP

    With nuclear it could be business as usual and that is not what is wanted. list of bills, laws and treaties

    The excess heat from western civilization affecting the jet stream is the absolutely perfect hobgoblin for them. We KNOW the jets have changed from zonal to a meridional pattern in response to the changes in the sun and oceans. We KNOW a meridional pattern results in ‘wilder’ weather patterns, blocking highs, extremes in heat and cold, drought and rain. Even more perfect it is different weather pattern compared to the last thirty years and most do not remember the weather of the 1960’s and 1970’s, so the perfect hobgoblin.

    Even better just like the IPCCs “CO2 causes the temperature to rise”, it is darn hard to prove/disprove just what causes the shifts in the jets from zonal to a meridional.

    POLITICAL BACKGROUND
    We are all aware that grants are awarded based on political utility. ( SEE:Massive climate funding exposed and The climate industry wall of money ) So I ask what is the political utility of this paper?

    We have all seen the political message morph from Global Warming to Climate Change to Weather Weirding. We have seen the political utility of tropical storm/hurricane Sandy.
    I am going to steal a few quotes from C3Headlines (It is worth reading the rest of the quotes.)

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” ~ H.L. Mencken

    In other words create a crisis to order to implement Diocletian’s Problem-Reaction-Solution

    “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.” ~ H.L. Mencken

    The Club of Rome put this concept in another form:
    “In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill….All these dangers are caused by human intervention….and thus the “real enemy, then, is humanity itself….believe humanity requires a common motivation, namely a common adversary in order to realize world government. It does not matter if this common enemy is “a real one or….one invented for the purpose.”

    The UN put the concept into practice. The IPCC mandate states:

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant for the understanding of human induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation.

    http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/

    The IPCC was never about finding out what factors were responsible for controlling the climate. Instead humans were tried and found guilty BEFORE the IPCC ever looked at a scientific fact. The IPCC mandate is not to figure out what factors effect the climate but to dig up the facts needed to hang the human race.

    Pascal Lamy takes ‘Practical Politics’ the next step, by telling us the “new enemy to unite us” is needed to create Legitimacy, one of the three legs needed to implement a global government… It gives me great pleasure to be here today to participate in this thematic debate on the United Nations in global governance, an issue of the utmost importance given the urgency of the global challenges we are facing… As for legitimacy, I see two avenues to strengthen it. First, domestically, by increasing the visibility of international issues and giving citizens a greater say There sure as heck is no greater threat for uniting citizens together then the threat of ‘catastrophic climate change’. is there?

    He also indicates that an European Union like super state has been the goal since the 1930s.

    To govern this globalized world, writes World Trade Organization Director-General Pascal Lamy, existing institutions will need to be reformed
    In the same way, climate change negotiations are not just about the global environment but global economics as well — the way that technology, costs and growth are to be distributed and shared…
    Can we balance the need for a sustainable planet with the need to provide billions with decent living standards? Can we do that without questioning radically the Western way of life? …

    Countries claim the right to use national resources as they see fit. But the byproduct can be greenhouse gases or disappearing fish stocks or raw material shortages — which impact the interconnected world we share….

    This raises a final challenge: How to provide global leadership? Mobilizing collective purpose is more difficult when we no longer face one common enemy, but thousands of complex problems
    The reality is that, so far, we have largely failed to articulate a clear and compelling vision of why a new global order matters — and where the world should be headed….

    All had lived through the chaos of the 1930s …including the defeated powers, agreed that the road to peace lay with building a new international order — and an approach to international relations that questioned the Westphalian, sacrosanct principle of sovereignty — rooted in freedom, openness, prosperity and interdependence.

    Lamy sure hits a lot of the environmental panic buttons doesn’t he?

  88. Climate clowns continue to look for arguments creating the notion of a problem that isn’t a problem at all. When their scheme started it was interesting. Now it’s extremely boring.

  89. Very skeptical about this. Radiation out to space can be considerable at night and the jet stream is a POWERFUL entity that probably does not feel the tiny affects of escaping heat to its height at all. Plus the looping nature of that jet stream does not guarantee it will be anywhere near where it needs to be to face that escaping heat day after day. This seems a study in one discipline not schooled in a necessary secondary discipline to climate science: meteorology.

  90. So In summary they have found that

    1. People use energy to heat their homes and businesses
    2. cities are places with a large number and density of buildings
    3. So they get warmer as they are heated.

    Or am I missing some profound truth here?

    Surely if people use re-newable energy to do work and heat their homes in cities, this will still cause the cities to warm? Is that not the whole point?

  91. “The heat generated by everyday activities in metropolitan areas has a significant enough warming effect to influence the character of the jet stream and other major atmospheric systems during winter months, according to a trio of climate researchers.”
    “The authors report that the influence of urban heat can widen the jet stream and strengthens atmospheric flows at mid-latitudes.”
    ““This is accomplished through atmospheric circulation change.”
    =================================
    “Using a computer model of the atmosphere, the authors found that the influence of this waste heat can widen the jet stream.”

  92. Let’s not forget that these “scientists” and even some real scientists often cannot tell the difference between radiant energy (IR) and air temperature (which comprises heat). All of the radiant energy goes largely to space. Only the warm air has the local effect which would be felt down wind, and not in all directions from a city.

  93. The important but never-asked question is: given the wide swings of temperature in the past million years, just what is the optimum temperature? Are we above it and the present trend is harmful, or are we below it and the present trend is beneficial?

    The current temperature is the optimal one because it…and probably more importantly, the current sea level…is the one that our societies are currently adapted to. Furthermore, it is the one that the flora and fauna are currently adapted to. And, such flora and fauna are already under stress from other environmental issues (such as habitat loss and fragmentation, overfishing and hunting, …)

    If the change were to happen very slowly over a long period of time, flora, fauna, and societies might not have so much trouble adapting. However, a century-scale change of the magnitude projected is very fast, relatively speaking.

  94. Kevin-in-UK says:

    these people talk of tiny amounts of heat energy (0.4w/m2 IIRC) and reckon this IS significant but these same climate science people think that 0.1% variation in TSI = 1.36 w/m2 is NOT significant?

    First of all, you are comparing apples and oranges. The ~4 W/m^2 that will occur due to a doubling of CO2 is per meter squared of the Earth’s surface. The 1.36 W/m^2 that comes from a variation in TSI is per meter squared of an imaginary surface centered about the sun at a radius of the Earth. There is a geometric factor of 4 difference between them (Earth’ surface are = 4*pi*r^2) whereas the Earth’s geometric cross-section presented to the sun is a circle of radius r and area pi*r^2. In other words, you need to divide the 1.36 W/m^2 by 4 to get 0.34 W/m^2.

    Second of all, nobody is claiming that the variability of the TSI of the sun between the peak of the sunspot cycle and the minimum has no effect on global or regional temperature. However, its effect on global temperatures should be at least a factor of 10 less than doubling CO2 (0.34 W/m^2 vs 4 W/m^2) plus the fact that the sunspot cycle is rapid enough that the climate system does not have time to completely respond to the change.

  95. “All of the radiant energy goes largely to space.” Yes and anything above absolute zero radiates energy so 99.99% of our total energy from our fossil fuel / nuclear use PLUS what comes here from the sun, etc. ultimately ends up as heat or light and ultimately goes out to space. Some paths take a little longer than others though. (Deja vu? Did I mention “man made galactic warming” a while back or was it someone else?)

    There’s really nothing to worry about. Okay there’s entropy but there’s also a lot of black holes to make sure nothing is “wasted”.

  96. joeldshore,

    Actually, that’s largely untrue — most flora and fauna would do much better at higher temps, and biodiversity will be higher. Also, we’ve seen lots of evidence that bigger faster swings in temps happen naturally. And sea level takes thousands of years to equilibrate to temp, so it’s hardly worth being concerned about, as least as a function of temperature, as we’re seeing little evidence of acceleration.

  97. joelshore says:

    “If the change were to happen very slowly over a long period of time, flora, fauna, and societies might not have so much trouble adapting. However, a century-scale change of the magnitude projected is very fast, relatively speaking.”

    Wrong.

    That is just more nonsense from Mr Politics. The fact is that the past century and a half has been unusually benign. In the past, temperatures have changed by tens of degrees over short, decadal time scales. But since the industrial revolution began, global temperatures have hardly changed at all.

    So Planet Earth once again falsifies Shore’s globaloney nonsense. There is nothing unusual or unprecedented occurring. The mendacious alarmist crowd is just trying to stir up irrational fear to serve their own ends — which is taxing the hell out of honest, productive citizens, based on a false alarm.

  98. Even NBC News has a story on this. Perhaps the wall is beginning to crumble?

    http://science.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/01/27/16702236-bingo-wasted-energy-from-cities-explains-a-global-warming-mystery?lite

    And waste heat is going to exist even in an all electric society. Even if all the electricity is generated from wind turbines and solar panels. When all the alarmists give up their smart phones, computers, iPods, TV’s toaster ovens and hot showers then I will believe they are serious.

    Will Obama ban Pop Tarts, Eggos and Toaster Strudels to combat climate change?

  99. Waste heat has skewed the temperature record upwards. Wow, stop the presses. This is just more of Alarmists digging ratholes for themselves. Skeptics have only been telling them this for how many years now? Next, they’ll be telling us that the sun has more of an effect on temperatures than they thought. Oh, wait, they did. Sort of, anyway.

  100. I find it rather implausible that this has not always been a component of previous efforts to model AGW! Granted, the money has mostly been dumped in Goracle-based consensus-building as a “working” definition of science.

  101. lallatin:

    At January 28, 2013 at 9:03 am you write

    I find it rather implausible that this has not always been a component of previous efforts to model AGW! Granted, the money has mostly been dumped in Goracle-based consensus-building as a “working” definition of science.
    You find that “rather implausible”?

    Clearly, you have no understanding of how the climate models are constructed. I respectfully suggest that you search the WUWT archives for discussions of climate models. I think you will be shocked at what the models do and don’t include.

    Richard

  102. The paper is too flawed to comment on, really.

    [Please provide a valid email address. — mod.]

  103. Sad-But-True-Its-You:

    Your entire post at January 28, 2013 at 10:17 am says

    The paper is too flawed to comment on, really.

    Allow me to tell you what I read your post to say; viz.
    You cannot find any flaw in the paper so you cite none, but you are so upset at what the paper reports that you felt compelled to say you reject it because you imagine it must be flawed somehow.

    Richard

  104. talldave2 says:

    Actually, that’s largely untrue — most flora and fauna would do much better at higher temps, and biodiversity will be higher.

    I don’t think you would find a lot of biologists that would agree with you that rapid changes in climate would be good for most flora and fauna. There may be some winners (like flora in Siberia), but lots of increased stress overall.

    And sea level takes thousands of years to equilibrate to temp, so it’s hardly worth being concerned about, as least as a function of temperature, as we’re seeing little evidence of acceleration.

    Actually, I believe the data show that rises in sea level can occur at quite a rapid rate…of 1 m or more per century. It may be true that it takes a long time for sea level to completely equilibrate, but a significant part of the rise can occur on centennial scales. Of course, because of the fact that it does continue for a long time, IPCC predictions of the sea level rise by 2100 significantly understate the eventual sea level rise. (And, in IPCC AR4, it is generally accepted that the sea level rise estimates by 2100 were too conservative because they simply did not include ice sheet dynamics effects that they are only beginning to be able to model reasonably.

  105. In addition to the increase in heat due to albedo effect of solar panels, the energy they produce may also be transported from sunny dry areas to humid or cloudy areas where the energy that is dissipated as heat, will not be radiated as quickly into space.

  106. This may be an unitelligent or non-scientific approach.

    While the world’s total energy output as cited in Roy’s post looks impressive, how does that compare to the total energy in the weather systems. It strikes me that one Cat 4 hurricane = a greta deal of power, far more than man can generate. Of course man can influence local climate b ut to have a measurable impact on the system overall?

    Regards

    Paul

  107. Paul Maynard:

    At January 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm you ask

    This may be an unitelligent or non-scientific approach.

    While the world’s total energy output as cited in Roy’s post looks impressive, how does that compare to the total energy in the weather systems. It strikes me that one Cat 4 hurricane = a greta deal of power, far more than man can generate. Of course man can influence local climate b ut to have a measurable impact on the system overall?

    Your question is good.

    Whether or not urban waste heat affects the climate system overall, the report says waste heat does affect temperature measurements. Therefore, waste heat affects measurements of global temperature (which are compiled from temperature measurements) and as energy use increases so does the affect on the measurements.

    The article addresses both the issues when it says

    Overall, these changes have a noticeable but slight effect on global temperatures, increasing them worldwide by an average of about 0.1 degree C.

    The study does not address whether the urban heating effect disrupts atmospheric weather patterns or plays a role in accelerating global warming, though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.

    Richard

  108. joeldshore says:
    January 28, 2013 at 11:15 am
    “I don’t think you would find a lot of biologists that would agree with you that rapid changes in climate would be good for most flora and fauna. There may be some winners (like flora in Siberia), but lots of increased stress overall.”

    Surviving Climate Change by migrating meters… or even millimeters…

    http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/2011/jun/14jun2011a4.html

    “Suggitt et al. (2011) indicate that “most multi-cellular terrestrial organisms experience climate at scales of millimeters to meters,” yet they say that “most species-climate associations are analyzed at resolutions of kilometers or more,” in what is “commonly known as the ‘bioclimate approach’ or ‘climate envelope’ modeling.” However, they go on to say that “because individuals experience heterogeneous microclimates in the landscape, species sometimes survive where the average background climate appears unsuitable,” which phenomenon is something that the vast majority of bioclimate studies do not consider in their analyses. “

  109. I don’t understand how Dr. Spencer can compare an amount averaged over the US surface area with an amount averaged across the global surface area. Since the US is only a few percent of the Earth’s surface, he should divide his 0.33 number by about 20 before comparing with the 1.6 number. What he is doing seems apples to oranges, to me.

  110. DirkH,

    Thanks for pointing out that, once again, joelshore is wrong. In fact, the planetary climate has been extremely benign for the past century and a half. It would be hard to find a comparable time frame in which global temperatures remained almost perfectly flat.

  111. To Richard Courteny

    Thanks, so the effect is in fact the UHI. So temps ex UHI affected sites are hardly affected in a measurable way?

    P

  112. D.B. Stealey says:January 27, 2013 at 7:49 pm
    Underground coal seam fires are increasing.[..]

    We have quite a few in Garfield County, Colorado. Sometimes they flare up and start surface fires, and from the report below often have surface temperatures that are quite warm. Some folks are talking about using it as a heat source. There have been many failed attempts to extinguish them.

    http://mining.state.co.us/pdfFiles/fire_report_3garfield_pt1.pdf

  113. joeldshore says: And, such flora and fauna are already under stress from other environmental issues (such as habitat loss and fragmentation, overfishing and hunting, …)

    Do you have a clue what things would be like right now if coal didn’t exist or was never discovered/exploited? Ditto crude oil? First off there would be no trees left, (talk about habitat loss…) because we would use every one of them for building houses and trying to keep warm in the winter. (Do you have any idea how much more pollution per BTU there is from a wood stove versus a natural gas fired boiler?) There’d be few if any whales left for lamp oil. There would be a far less population because we would be lucky to feed even 1/5 the number we do today just in the USA without powered farming equipment and processed fertilizer, (and most us would be working hard labor on a farm). We would be in a constant state of war and surely NOBODY in such circumstances would gives rat’s rear end about species extinctions let alone know about them. Life expectancy would be stuck at what is was over 250 years ago (under 30) and cities would stink in the summer from your horse’s dung, (sorry, no coal= no mass steel = no mass transit via RR), plus no way to escape from it or the staggering heat into a closed A/C building.

    I wish there was a way to send people like you back that far in time with proof of what things are like now and see how well you fare trying to convince people that they really shouldn’t start using fossil fuel and have any desire for a more peaceful, cleaner and longer lifespan for their great great great grandchildren because it will ‘hurt the planet’ – followed a little later getting my best laugh seeing you trying to stop them from cutting down that last tree or killing that last whale, etc.

    Our exploitation of fossil fuels was the ESSENTIAL step in our history that made environmentalism possible in the first place!

    I had more to say but it was about to get religious …

  114. Is there any good research out there on the contribution to heat island effect from albedo changes due to all of the black asphalt highways and roofs?

  115. Paul Maynard:

    At January 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm you say to me.

    Thanks, so the effect is in fact the UHI. So temps ex UHI affected sites are hardly affected in a measurable way?

    Thankyou. You clearly have a knack for asking the salient questions. Please keep doing it because it helps us all to clarify our understandings and to have our stated misunderstandings corrected.

    The effect is similar to UHI but according to the above article is much more widespread. Indeed, it is suggested in the NCAR press release quoted in the article that a climate model says an effect of waste heat is to disturb climate systems such that regional temperatures are changed. The press release includes this:

    The world’s most populated and energy-intensive metropolitan areas are along the east and west coasts of the North American and Eurasian continents, underneath the most prominent atmospheric circulation troughs and ridges,” Cai says. “The release of this concentrated waste energy causes the noticeable interruption to the normal atmospheric circulation systems above, leading to remote surface temperature changes far away from the regions where waste heat is generated.

    This may be correct, but the suggestion is merely from altered behaviour of a climate model. I will remain sceptical of the suggestion until the effect is observed in the real atmosphere. My scepticism is because other changes (e.g. land use changes) also alter local climates, and it is not generally accepted that this causes “noticeable interruption to the normal atmospheric circulation systems”.

    Richard

  116. Will we see future the alarmists and bed wetters demanding big cities to be demolished to save us from catastrophic climate change. Maybe Al Whore, the Sultan of Qatar, will spot an opportunity and sell NYC to the Emirates?

  117. “the effect of waste heat is distinct from the so-called urban heat island effect. ”

    Oh, yeah. Urban waste heat does not touch ground based thermometers in metro areas. That is one of the clear conclusions of the paper. So, Anthony’s pictures of air conditioners and barbeque pits sitting next to NOAA thermometers show good siting principles, and the wast heat does not affect the temperature.

    NCAR has it backwards. The data accounts for the heat. The models are measured against the data, not the other way around. The waste heat IS being measured by ground based thermometers, and some of it reaches upper levels of the atmosphere accounting for an astonishing amount of the warming the global warming once attributed to CO2.

  118. Don Keiller says:
    January 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    So we have “black carbon”, natural cycles, aerosols not lowering temperatures by as much as the computers said and now UHI warming “rural” areas over 1000 miles away.

    Please tell me what CO2′s role is?

    CO2 seems to be a marker of human activity. The actual activity – driving cars, operating a steel mill, etc – is the causal factor in the observations of temperature. They are blaming the marker as the causal agent.

    Kinda like if one happened upon a succession of campsites that were accompanied by some sort of disturbance like a bunch of trees were cut down or the remnants of animals were found indicating a reduction in the local population of this or that critter. Now suppose that piles of poop were found at all of these camp sites, that they cleaned up most of the direct evidence of the presence of humans except for these piles of poop. I think these warmers would say the poop was responsible for cutting down the trees and over hunting the animals.

  119. “Overall, these changes have a noticeable but slight effect on global temperatures, increasing them worldwide by an average of about 0.1 degree C.”

    This may be correct for satellite data that uses all surfaces, but incorrect for the surface global data sets GISS and HADCRUT. These use mainly surface stations that have a energy intake up to 1c. Therefore worldwide temperatures are certainly above this 0.1c claimed for surface data. This explains why Arctic station temperatures are no different from the 1930’s and 1940’s compared today, but if we were to believe the global surface station data sets there is a difference of around. (0.3/0.4c)

    This difference in value can easily be explained by using a high percentage of stations that fit into the generated heat categories. This is a important observation because only the two surface records have data that go back to the 1930’s or earlier. The biggest error concern’s regarding data sets have not been so much over recent decades, but especially since comparing recent decades with many back in the past.

  120. Lady Life Grows says:
    January 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Warming would be GOOD. We need to harp on that reality a whole lot more.

    Quite right!

    The bogus argument that warmer conditions are worse for humans (than cooler conditions) is the sine qua non of the entire CAGW scam.

    However, with so many overweight and obese Americans, it probably hasn’t been a tough sell to convince people that its just “too darn hot.”

    In my experience, many of these portly folks are always too hot, and prefer the proverbial “meat locker” conditions. As a result, many businesses are cooled to a degree I find very uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. (Disclaimer: I ride a bike, and I’m thin, with a BMI around 21. Your view, and weight, may vary)

  121. Excellent. Releasing trapped heat and CO2 which plants have laid down for eons. That’s what Gaia evolved us to do!

  122. tgmccoy says:
    January 27, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Interesting. I’ve in held where I live in a town

    The rest of that post is equally incomprehensible. Care to try again on something besides a crappy little mobile?

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