Soot And The Arctic Ice – A Win-Win Policy Based On Chinese Coal Fired Power Plants

Via Roger Pielke Senior’s new and improved Climate Science Blog:

Kiminori Itoh of Yokohama National University has prepared a guest weblog for us. It is titled:

“Soot And The Arctic Ice – A Win-Win Policy Based On Chinese Coal Fired Power Plants”.

Yuhuan, China’s most advanced coal-fired power plant

Yuhuan, China’s most advanced coal-fired power plant, boasts a record-breaking efficiency of 45 %—thanks to ultra-supercritical steam turbines supplied by Siemens. Image courtesy Siemens.

As you saw in a recent weblog in Climate Science, China appears to be modifying the global climate through aerosol emission from a large number of coal fired power plants: August 12, 2009, New Paper “Increase In Background Stratospheric Aerosol Observed With Lidar” By Hofmann Et Al 2009.  This paper gave me an idea that soot from China may be responsible for the recent reduction of the Arctic ice, which finally leads me to a Win-Win policy on coal fired power plants in China, as you see below.

The target of the paper of Hofmann et al was  sulfate aerosol transported into stratosphere. Thus, its main effect on the global climate is cooling of the troposphere and warming of  the stratosphere similar to volcanic eruptions. In fact, this paper was introduced in Science (24 July 2009, p. 373) with the title of “China’s Human Volcano.”

The Chinese aerosol, however, can have another effect on the climate. That is, a possible influence of soot on the Arctic ice. It seems to me that Hofmann et al.’s paper, together with other recent findings, gives evidence for this possibility as follows:

1) Hofmann et al’s paper shows that stratospheric haze became densest in 2007 and declined a little after that. According to their claim, this is associated with the changes in sulfate emissions from China. This fact reminds me that the ice extent in the Arctic sea was significantly reduced in the 2007 summer and recovered after that. Since the amount soot should be proportional to that of sulfate, also the amount soot transported to the Arctic may have a peak in 2007, and may explain the dramatic reduction of the sea ice extent; the soot deposited onto the ice surfaces absorbs sun light of Arctic summer, gives heat to the ice, and lets it melt. This process should be particularly effective during summer of the Arctic when the sun does not set.

2) About half of the recent temperature increase in the Arctic region is reportedly due to aerosols (combination effects of sulfate and soot) (D. Shindell and G. Faluvegi, Nature Geosci. 2, 294-300 (2009)); this result convinces one that the influence of soot on the Arctic environment does exist.

3) There are other recent papers on soot: e. g., “Atmospheric brown clouds: Hemispherical and regional variations in long-range transport, absorption, and radiative forcing,” V. Ramanathan et al., J. Geophys. Res. vol. 112, D22S21, doi:10.1029/2006JD008124, 2007.

From these results, I suspect that the soot from China is responsible for the recent reduction of sea ice in the Arctic summer. To verify this, detailed chemical analyses, such as carbon allotropes, should be made if the soot can be sampled from the ice (this may be an interesting project).

Thus, I can claim that the influence of the soot is likely large. Then, according to the spirit of the precautionary principle, the soot from China should be reduced even if  the scientific basis is not sufficient. The precautionary principle should be applied not just to CO2, but to other primary factors of climate changes. If this is not possible just because there is no statement on soot in the FCCC (Framework of Convention of Climate Change), we need another convention (or protocol) which enables us to treat soot properly. Otherwise, countermeasures on climate change will be useless.

Now, I want to point out that the reduction of the Chinese soot can become a Win-Win policy for China as well as for other countries. About 80% of the Chinese electricity comes from coal fired power plants. The CO2 emission from China in 2004 was about 2.27 billion metric tons, which was 8.6% of the world emissions (26.3 billion metric tons). But, their efficiency of energy production is still low (34.6% as an average), and emissions other than CO2 and aerosol (i. e., mainly SOx, NOx and mercury) bring heavy health problems as well. In fact, resultant atmospheric pollution causes 300 thousands to 400 thousands of deaths a year.

If countries like Japan, which has advanced technologies of coal fired power plants (e. g., energy production efficiency being 41.1% in Japan), can cooperate with China to increase the efficiency of energy production and to decrease all kinds of emissions, this will become a true Win-Win policy. China can save a lot of human lives and working hours, can reduce the influence of the aerosol on the global climate, and in addition, can reduce CO2 emission. The other countries also benefit from this policy, including economical ones and a reduction of transboundary pollution.

This Win-Win policy actually will reduce the emission of CO2. Just from this aspect, it is much better than the cap-and-trade policy which in fact will increase the CO2 emissions. Moreover, and importantly, when considering a large capacity of coal reserves, this is a reasonable tactics in near future.

With this kind of Win-Win policies, developing countries like China can agree with developed countries on their energy policies. There will be no progress in the negotiation between them if the developing countries can participate in the climate policies only through the reduction of CO2. We need flexible approaches for complicated issues like the climate changes.

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61 thoughts on “Soot And The Arctic Ice – A Win-Win Policy Based On Chinese Coal Fired Power Plants

  1. See, this makes sense. Soot is actually harmful whether it causes warming or not-and it can be substantially reduced with technology and not energy rationing. Win-win? Absolutely.

  2. Secretary Clinton should immediately start negotiations with China but it is doubtful that the Obama administration would approve as they believe CO2 is the path to control. Of course we should also be investing in this technology but the U.S. is stymied by the Obama idea to drive coal from our energy future.

  3. TerryBixler (16:32:47) : SO2 scrubbers already take care of most of our soot. It isn’t our issue, it’s an issue for places like Eastern Europe (brown coal anyone?) China, India, and Africa.

  4. A most worthwhile post. I couldn’t emphasise enough the need to better understand the effects of soot on climate, and especially these effects at the higher latitudes.

    Best regards, suricat.

  5. This article brings several thoughts to mind:

    1. I read in the news recently that China is building so many coal-fired plants partly to replace old, inefficient, more-polluting power plants with modern ones.

    2. Westerners who block the construction of new domestic coal power plants are probably (unintentionally) extending the working life of older less efficient coal-burning installations.

    3. I remember reading some time ago on RealClimate that the tropical troposphere “hot spot” could be the signature of either “greenhouse gas” (GHG) warming or solar warming, but a cooling stratosphere signified GHG warming–and the stratosphere is cooling. Kiminori Itoh seems to be saying that the stratosphere is warming?

    Note: I take everything on RealClimate with a pinch of salt.

  6. Were it a large issue, the increasing Chinese soot should be continuing to give lower and lower minimum ice extents. Instead, we see the short term trend of Arctic Ice recovering. Is the soot effect analogous in this way to the CO2 effect: CO2 is too weak a greenhouse gas to keep the earth warm when it decides to cool, and soot is too weak a melting agent to continue melting ice when the Arctic decides to freeze up.

    Both of these decisions made by the oceanic oscillations and other natural cycles, perhaps ultimately decided by the sun.
    ==================================

  7. What a brilliant proposal by Professor Kiminori Itoh-san. This is what “caring for Earth’s environment and its people” used to be like; this proposal represents the values that all environmental organizations that my family contributed to over the years believed and advertised — until they were taken over by religious zealots and marxists.

    Thanks for posting this, Anthony, and thanks to Mike Smith for a clear experiment with soot and albedo. Let the religious zealots go back to church and leave Earth alone, and let the marxists go back to Russia and China. Oh, woops! R and C no longer practice marxism because it failed to make them productive and creative. It is now left to the suckers who are too ignorant to understand its crushing effect on the human mind, spirit, and inventiveness. (And this does not mean that I am against government activity and intervention — in its proper place.)

  8. This is a very worthwhile approach, but don’t just stop at coal-fired power. Also look at diesel.

    When China has power shortages (as in 2004) its factories turn to their backup diesel generators. These are inefficient, expensive to run, and very polluting, but they do have the advantage that they are on-site, so the factory’s operation can’t be affected by electricity rationing, as it would be if it was depending on the local grid.

    I have seen the effect of this in Hong Kong, which is just across the border from Guangdong, one of China’s manufacturing bases. There are lots of other things going on – e.g. Hong Kong’s own efforts to control vehicle pollution, Guangdong’s move up the value chain to less polluting manufacturing – and this is purely anecdotal – my personal experience of looking out of the window in 2004/2005 and thinking that the air was terrible and this was no place to raise children.

    However, what I can say – again purely anecdotally – is that the air improved shortly thereafter, and those improvements seemed to coincide with China sorting out its power shortages. Those power shortages ended by China getting more big coal-fired power stations online, so that factories could moth-ball their diesel generators.

  9. There is no question that soot has local/regional dangerous affects. I am not so sure about its affect on Arctic ice. Do the Greenland ice cores demonstrate contamination with soot? The other consideration is that there is no long term ice in the Arctic. Soot or not, it all melts eventually and gets recycled. Show me layers of soot in the multi-year ice. Than we should talk. To me, the people of China are the ones that should be demonstrating against the Chinese government for all the city pollution they inhale into their lungs.

  10. Durn. Just when it seemed that common sense had departed the earth forever. Gotta stop forecasting.

  11. Joel Upchurch (17:12:40) :
    Most US coal electric plants don’t have scrubbers
    I´m sure you know how SO2 or CO2 is scrubbed, it is REALLY FUNNY:
    To do it you wash gases with Milk of Lima, and that means calcining lime (Calcium Carbonate-chalk-) using fossil fuels to decompos it in CaO and CO2…just nuts!
    Better suggest all those green crazy folks to stop fooling around, they are about to achieve the destruction of the biggest and most (up to now) admired country in the world. They, believe me, will be more effective than all Jihadist taken together.
    I tell you once and again this, because I grew up believing in all what america represented for the world, since the days of WWII. Don´t throw all that to the sewage!

  12. Joel Upchurch (17:12:40) : That’s what I, uh, meant to say.

    Well, I know that we used some kind of thing like that. The point is, we have solved our soot issues-technologically-if China could afford to, they could to.

  13. Soot might have been a factor, but it does not obviate the wind patterns that summer blowing much sea ice to lower latitudes, a bolus of warm water pumped into the Arctic basin by the NAO, and even some submarine volcanic activity and hot water plumes. It is handy to look at soot, but, as the solar intensity at the peak of summer is only 3%, and less or zero the rests of the year, this may be a small factor. Warm water floating under the ice would be a very efficient melting effect and ice leaving the area is very effective.

  14. Except reducing soot is not win-win. It is win-lose. The earth is cooling, not warming, and the danger is cooling, not warming. If soot has been keeping the planet warmer than it would otherwise be then the evidence for natural cooling and the magnitude of natural cooling are even greater.

    That makes soot on the northern hemisphere snow cover advantageous for its mitigating effect on cooling, even as it is bad for breathing. The best solution may be plants that can go from clean burning in the summer to sooty burning in the winter, as I discuss in this on my Error Theory blog (scroll down to “another freebie”).

  15. The big problem in China isnt so much the coal plants, as the unscrubbed soot and sulfates coming from underground coal fires that have been raging for years. If the nations of the world made a concentrated effort to put out these coal seam fires, CO2 emissions, soot emissions, and sulfate emissions would be seriously decreased and we could reach kyoto goals without impacting the economy negatively

  16. The arctic ice looks pretty white. I think any soot effect is greatly modified by snowfall in winter when there aren’t much in the way of southerly breezes and the jet stream is in the temperate zone. I, too, would like to see some of this sooty banding or analyses of ice cores.

  17. It is correct that black carbon aerosols heat up the atmosphere when airborne, and cause warming and hence melting of ice when it falls on ice.

    The main sources of black carbon are partial burning of most hydrocarbon material, such as crop residue burning; forest fires; residential burning of coal, wood, dung, what have you; diesel emissions, especially older diesels, on and off road; and industrial (hence relatively uncontrolled) burning of coal.

    It was a real shock to me to find that power plants, even in India and China, emit virtually no black carbon (but create lots of sulfate through their emissions of sulfur dioxide).

    Bond et al (2004), Table 15, shows that about 1 part per 8000 of black carbon emissions, worldwide, is from coal power plants, including China. Yes, this produces cognitive dissonance, but that’s what the research says.

    We need to look at trends in other sources of black carbon from east Asia, to see how those trends fit with Arctic sea ice levels. It seems to me that there is a connection during the last 2 decades, but probably more to generally increased industrialization (more coal for steel making in China during this period) and traffic (lots more diesels) in China.

    Here’s the Bond et al (2004) reference:

    Bond, T.C. et al. “A technology-based global inventory of black and organic carbon emissions from combustion”, J. Geophys. Res. 2004, 109, D14203, doi:10.1029/2003JD003697.

    You can google it and download the study free of charge; then just go to Table 15.

  18. “To verify this, detailed chemical analyses, such as carbon allotropes, should be made if the soot can be sampled from the ice (this may be an interesting project).”

    Sign me up! I can be packed and on my way in 20 minutes! I’ll even loan the use of my power post hole auger! One proviso; I get paid to fish, four hours a day. Dibs on the heated socks!

  19. Years ago the US was out front on the technology of cleaning power plant emissions. If we had stayed on top of that technology instead of putting all our R&D funding into useless plans to bury CO2, which only succeeded in burying large amounts of dollars, we’d be positioned to recoup some of our massive trade deficit with China by selling them our tech and in the process doing more good for the environment than any CO2 sequestration scheme could hope to accomplish, even if any of them actually worked.

  20. Alec Rawls (19:43:11) : “Except reducing soot is not win-win. It is win-lose. The earth is cooling, not warming, and the danger is cooling, not warming. If soot has been keeping the planet warmer than it would otherwise be then the evidence for natural cooling and the magnitude of natural cooling are even greater. ”

    I may be wrong, but I don’t think soot is healthy anywhere, anytime. Better to have to deal with cooling than soot pollution. Ask the Chinese. So far a warmer ocean, especially in the higher latitudes, and winds affecting Arctic ice seem the strongest candidates for ice melt — perhaps also underwater volcanoes. Keep the studies coming; continue to lessen/control real pollution. I agree with Dave Wendt, “if we had stayed on top of that technology [cleaning power plant emissions] instead of putting all our R&D funding into useless plans to bury CO2….” Oh, my, what a bunch of idiots.

  21. The soot factor is pretty significant in the Arctic and Subarctic. We’re looking at a most (90%) of the ice thinning of the past 150 years resulting from soot. Combined with ground-level ozone (also anthropogenic) the combined *OBSERVED* effect outweighs the modeled effect from CO2.

    As for China, they are not the only culprit in the Arctic thaw, but because of trade winds and their dirty phase of industrialization, are the largest current contributor to Arctic and glacial ice loss.

    As it travels, decreasing remnants of the Asian brown cloud ultimately causes many phenomena: Regional droughts, warming over the vast Indian and Pacific oceans, the US West Coast, glacier loss in the Rockies, marine storm seeding during winter (which in turn lofts the soot into the boreal and polar latitudes) and ultimately both atmospheric (brown cloud) and ice loss (darkened ice) toward the pole and even Greenland.

    The good news is that soot is readily abated and has an atmospheric half life of 2 weeks. Total diesel emissions of soot are to be curtailed under legislation promoted by the Bush Administration. Ozone is less readily abated b/c it is associated with electric generation, but I suspect there may be a way to mitigate point source. Whether the advent of widespread electric car use poses a significant impact remains to be seen.

  22. The aerosols (due to the diffused light that origínate) increase photosynthesis, most current clean global atmosphere can be one of the reasons for the CO2 increase

  23. Gary Hladik (17:00:41) :

    3. I remember reading some time ago on RealClimate that the tropical troposphere “hot spot” could be the signature of either “greenhouse gas” (GHG) warming or solar warming, but a cooling stratosphere signified GHG warming–and the stratosphere is cooling.

    The first point is moot as there is no troposphere hot spot and thus no signature to explain.

    A cooling stratosphere signifies global cooling, whatever the processes involved. Obviously this also indicates the GHG are not warming the planet.

    Note: I take everything on RealClimate with a pinch of salt.

    Block of salt?

  24. As for Asian industries, for every unit of production transferred to Asia from the West, CO2 emissions increase by an average of 40 percent (for now…). Paradoxically, if carbon taxes in the West lend to increased offshored production to Asia, those carbon taxes have functionally led to a net INCREASE of carbon emissions worldwide.

    If the new super-clean coal-fired plants also scrub sulfates along with soot, the sun-reflecting benefits of aerosol emissions will be diminished relative to any warming effect from CO2. The curiosity here is that under UNEP rules, carbon credit selling countries (like India & China) which generate more than half their electricity from coal are to get financial assistance from the West to build super-clean coal plants. But according the IPCC’s own published research, this would speed global warming, not slow it.

    Actually sulfates are partial culprits with soot, as the sulfates reflect near-IR into heating soot particulate even more than direct solar heating. If the soot were mitigated but the sulfates were not, the idea is that any serious climate change challenge posed by AGW could be forestalled by two decades.

    see my old blog …

    http://www.scientificblogging.com/the_soot_files/fixing_soot_gains_20_years_against_global_warming

  25. The (very few) Catlin ice bores made were to get a “solid hole” (not a smoothly-sided, concisely-oriented ice bore sample) through the ice so they could estimate the ice thickness.

    Takes a different kind of drill, borer, sample retrieval (vice simply dumping ice chips on the surface) and a way to get the samples labeled, stored, and shipped back home.

    The Catlin team was unable to do any of that – they were simply duped spectators and zealots out to make publicity. And leave oil drums on the ice.

  26. I am a little lost on the entire story.

    The best operational coal plant in the world is found in China.

    It seems to me that the soot problem is solving it’s self and the Chinese will provide us with clean tech in the near future, not the other way around.
    They have their own strong incentives (like public health) to clean up their environment.
    We don’t need any Kyoto or Copenhagen Treaties that block our development and keep people poor.

    Besides that I think the entire subject of industrial soot covering the Arctic, just like the hoax problem of CO2, has ballooned compared to the natural soot from forest wild fires, dust storms and volcanic activity.

    Have a look at the NASA EART OBSERVATORY website to watch the incredible amount (and scale) of wild fires, the gigantic dust storms and the recent volcanic eruptions in the NH to bring the industrial soot emissions into perspective.

    Human kind is doing fine.

    Only our politicians suck.

  27. P.s., in regard to the proposed win win policies!

    China, besides cars, planes and containers full of cheap rubbish, currently is flooding the Western markets with solar panels, 30% under price.
    It won’t take much time before they become the biggest producer of wind energy.

    Say bye bye to the proposed win win policies and say bye bye Obama’s hoax of “Green Jobs”.

    If we don’t wake up soon and turn the economy back on track, the next export product from China will be a new US President and a mandatory course to learn the Chinese Language.

  28. Mike Lorrey (21:05:04) :

    “The big problem in China isnt so much the coal plants, as the unscrubbed soot and sulfates coming from underground coal fires that have been raging for years. If the nations of the world made a concentrated effort to put out these coal seam fires, CO2 emissions, soot emissions, and sulfate emissions would be seriously decreased and we could reach kyoto goals without impacting the economy negatively”.

    Right Mike,
    The open coal fires, raging for thousands of years now are not only limited to China.
    They are happening almost everywhere.

    The soot measurement (fine dust) in the European Cities (obligatory under European Rule) taking place for several years now showed that 65% of the fine dust originates from the Sahara, which is a natural source.

    Mother Earth can cope with it and we don’t need any Kyoto Treaty.

    All we need is prosperity.

    Despite the alarming numbers of casualties 300.000 to 400.000 Chinese that are killed by pollution (or smoking), the average age of the Chinese has been rising sharply since the industrialization.

    In my opinion the facts simply don’t add up and the arguments are flawed.

    Only if the Chinese develop a healthy and financially strong Middle Class, the pollution problems will be tackled.

    Shutting down the economy because of CO2 is the equivalent of MASS MURDER.

    I respect Dr. Pielke for his scientific knowledge and his views but I am convinced
    that the current environmental policies of the West are simply devastating, that it is too late for the west to create a win win situation with the Chinese and the positive effects of their industrial policies outways the current negative effects which will be solve in time (quicker as we think).

    If the West dos not focus on maintaining a healthy economy and a healthy middle class, we are doomed.

  29. Richard111 (00:40:24) :

    “Did the Catlin expedition report any soot in the Arctic?”

    Nah. They were in their tents most of the time. Too cold, dont’cha ya know, and besides, the ice was all melted anyway ;o)

  30. Let’s not scrub out all the SO2. Corn and other cash crops need sulfer as much as they need CO2 and nitrogen, potash, and potassium. If it isn’t available from deposition ( out of the air) then it must be produced from oil shipped and plowed in with the other fertilizers, thereby raising the input costs of farming. Since we are using massive quantities of corn for ethanol; well draw your own conclusions.

  31. Dave Wendt (22:16:27) :

    “Years ago the US was out front on the technology of cleaning power plant emissions. If we had stayed on top of that technology instead of putting all our R&D funding into useless plans to bury CO2”

    Dave, the US is still out front (along with Germany). Power plants in the US produce 30 million metric tons of synthetic gypsum (Calcium Sulphate hemihydrate – the stuff used to make plaster and wallboard – in fact they sell 8 million tons of it for this purpose). The wet limestone scrubbing process also removes particulates (carbon soot, ash etc, which along with the gypsum amounts to 130 million tons total a year). The US and EU have the most stringent power plant environmental regs in the world and they run clean. Those with access to western coal that is very low in sulphur don’t have to scrub with limestone but they do have to remove particulates. Synthetic gypsum is also used as a set retarder for cement and plants recover a fair proportion of costs with the sale of gypsum. Visit:

    http://www.acaa-usa.org

  32. Older ice would tend to be dirtier, having a longer time to gather soot. This would have the effects of both decreasing the overall age and thickness of the sea ice, while Arctic haze, when it occurs would affect all ice. The industrial ramp up, particularly of countries like China and India certainly could explain an increasing amount of soot in the arctic, and thus some of the increased melting of 2007. Additionally, the huge drop in industrial activity due to the worldwide economic slump last year could explain some of the recovery of arctic sea ice extent, in addition to the fact that, after the big melting of 2007 much of the ice was (and still is) younger, with less soot. More studies certainly need to be done to determine just how much of an effect soot has, though.
    Ironically, the warmsters like to focus on “carbon” as evil, but by doing so, they actually increase the likelihood of increased levels of black carbon and other real pollutants being emitted, which have damaging effects on people’s health (especially poorer people), contributing to higher mortality rates, and having damaging effects on the environment. The warmsters and climate doom-mongers, in addition to being anti-human are actually anti-environmentalists, despite their claims to be attempting to “save the planet”.

  33. Richard111

    They couldn’t tell. The windex they used to clean their rose coloured sunglasses had frozen on day one. They attempted to use urine but that froze “in the tube”. Trying to look at the ice without the glasses was too disconcerting, so they were reduced to merely wandered blind.

  34. Darn… That should have been … merely wandering blind.

    Too early… no coffee…

    Would a kindly moderator care to edit the error?

  35. In a related story:
    Newfoundland’s first helicopter plummeted to the ground today on it’s maiden voyage. The pilot, Weeb Mackinaw, was listed in a Gander hospital as “severely wrecked”. When asked how the crash occurred he said; “When I was on the ground it was really hot in there! But as soon as I got in the air it got really chilly, so I turned off the big overhead fan.”

  36. I’ve flown at about 38,000 ft across Greenland and the North Atlantic arctic/subarctic about ten times this summer and a dark grey streak in the lower stratosphere has been very noticeable on each flight in the direction looking north (but not as noticeable looking south). I’d assumed it was from the Kuril Island volcano. It would be interesting to know where it is actually coming from.

  37. Small point: China isn’t developing clean technology, they are buying it. From Germany. Siemens supplied the high-efficiency parts of the power plant.

  38. JaneHM (07:58:26) :

    I’ve flown at about 38,000 ft across Greenland and the North Atlantic arctic/subarctic about ten times this summer and a dark grey streak in the lower stratosphere has been very noticeable on each flight in the direction looking north (but not as noticeable looking south). I’d assumed it was from the Kuril Island volcano. It would be interesting to know where it is actually coming from.

    JaneHM,

    The bulk of the emissions are caused by the June 12th eruption of Sarychev Peak:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=38985

    Before that is was Mt. redoubt.

  39. Soot was noticed in the Arctic as far back as 1850 and it was traced to the emerging American economy and that of Europe. It seems to have less of an effect now than it did back then and how much actual melting it caused in practice remains debatable.

    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:JtsYDPOX6w0J:www.ess.uci.edu/~esaltzma/pub_pdfs/AlleySciencecommentonMcConnelletal.pdf+arctic+soot+1850&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    Abstract;
    Changes in absorbed solar radiation are unimportant in the dark Arctic winter, and peak during early summer, beforeseasonal snow melts away to reveal darker surfaces less affected by soot. Focusing on that most sensitive season, McConnell et al. estimate an average Arctic warming effectfrom soot of more than 1 W/m2between 1850 and 1951, peaking in 1906 to 1910 at more than 3 W/m2—eight times the natural forcing. For comparison, the globally and annually averaged forcing from the total anthropogenic CO2increase in the year 2006 was 1.7 W/m

    Tonyb

  40. Gary Hladik (17:00:41) :

    “3. . . . a cooling stratosphere signified GHG warming–and the stratosphere is cooling. ”

    I do not believe that the stratospheric trend has a simple answer, and an accurate answer may need to include ozone. However, the stratosphere has NOT been cooling for the past 15 years. Stratospheric temperatures in 2009 are higher than what they were in 1995. Definitely the stratosphere cooled from 1979 to 1994. However, the trend is more characterized by plateaus rather than a downhill trend. After major volcanic activity, the stratospheric temperature temporarily spiked, and then sunk to a lower plateau. This process was repeated three times, and the stratosphere has been relatively flat since the last time. I believe this website has the raw data: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t4/uahncdc.ls

  41. A natural experiment suggests itself.

    1. China cut back significantly on emissions in the weeks leading up to and during the olympic games.
    2. Chinese emissions fell abruptly and drastically following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, and remained depressed for several months before recovering in the spring of this year.

    Both events have well-defined start and end points. Can any effect on arctic ice a few weeks later be correlated to them?

  42. “The open coal fires, raging for thousands of years now are not only limited to China.
    They are happening almost everywhere.”

    Maybe we could spare some of our excess CO2 to put these fires out? Not so much because I think it will mitigate CO2 emission. We’ll want to burn that coal ourselves some day!

  43. How much of the “brown cloud” from China passes over the USSR ?
    Any mention of acid rain ?
    Re: stratospheric cooling, what chance CO2 getting up there and no rain to wash it out ?

  44. Ron de Haan (04:28:21) :
    Mother Earth can cope with it and we don’t need any Kyoto Treaty.

    All we need is prosperity.
    You are right once more.
    Trouble is that the whole world is bombarded with sophisms like:
    “Be green”….but this equals =”Be poor”
    just one example:
    Recycle once=Lose twice, but why? will somebody ask, and we´ll answer:
    Every turn of recycling decreases by the double commercial transactions and industrial production=less jobs.
    Every time you recycle you poison the environment: This happened when in europe some “green sage” thought that recycling cattle bones and organs for feeding cattle was just great. What did it happen: The “Mad cows” decease.(because of prions reinforcement)
    Recycle everything and you´ll really eat your excreta.
    Nature processes are OPEN and should remain as such. Doing the contrary is like endogamy, like getting marriage among brothers through several generations.
    Nature, to be healthy, needs heterogamy.
    This is like the other fallacy: “Share richness”
    Every time you share you make the other poorer. Got it?
    This happens because every time will be less to share, as simple as that.
    (Go visit Cuba or North Korea and you will see it directly)
    The objective of these IDEOLOGIES, is to achieve the control of humanity by a few.
    Let us free of these malign ideologies!

  45. Retired Engineer (08:04:52) :

    “Small point: China isn’t developing clean technology, they are buying it. From Germany. Siemens supplied the high-efficiency parts of the power plant.”

    They buy, they steel and they copy.

    A German producer of medium and small sized cranes build a factory in China.

    After a few months he found out that his entire factory was copied, producing exactly the same products only two blocks away.

  46. Great idea but how does this work out for lots more tax money to over-reaching governments?

    That is the main goal and your solution does not help that.

  47. Interesting pic. That’s a state-of-the-art coal-fired plant. One major piece of equipment I don’t see are sulfur scrubbers — they’d take up almost as much space as the rest of the plant.

    Given the advanced design, I assume there’s electrostatic precipitators for the boilers in there somewhere…

  48. Hmm, looking at that pic, I swear I can’t see electrostatic precipitators. They’d be between the boiler structures (the semi-open structures w/visible steel girders) and the stacks. Granted, they’d be behind the boilers from this frontal view, but generally are nearly the same size as the boiler enclosure & should be visible.

  49. The idea that soot ahs been driving the majority of melting events worldwide is so obvious, the lack of attention paid to it by the AGW community is another very good piece of evidence about that non-scientific nature of that community.
    The billions wasted on meeting and studies and grants to promote AGW could have brought about worldwide, effective clean up of soot by now.
    But as we saw in the ethanlo debacle, AGW is not really about solving problems.
    AGW, like all extremist movements, rejects the achievable good for the unachievable delusion.

  50. beng (08:11:49) :

    The caption doesn’t say “clean”, it says “efficient”. Not quite the same. Precipitators and scrubbers cost money and do not generate power. Who needs them?

    Efficient does help a bit, less coal in for the same power out. And no wasted energy on those expensive accessories.

    Friends who went to China for the Olympics last year said the air was nothing to jump up and down about. Better than the test event several months earlier, but still bad by any standard in this country.

  51. Spend any time at all reading controlled studies of soot in ice core samples and you learn quickly that the peak has passed. It was during the early part of the 1900’s that soot was present in relatively larger quantities. When compared to weather at the time, it was also suggested that the soot came from natural forest fires in the US and Canada. The presence of soot at that time could not be correlated well with Arctic melt due to a paucity of data other than occasional anecdotal data of clear ship passage.

    As it stands now, weather pattern variations that could transport soot out of China do not indicate the soot would land in the Arctic Circle.

  52. Pamela Gray

    I have repeated the post I made here a couple of days ago as the data agrees with your comment.

    “Soot was noticed in the Arctic as far back as 1850 and it was traced to the emerging American economy and that of Europe. It seems to have less of an effect now than it did back then and how much actual melting it caused in practice remains debatable.

    http://209.85.229.132/search?q=cache:JtsYDPOX6w0J:www.ess.uci.edu/~esaltzma/pub_pdfs/AlleySciencecommentonMcConnelletal.pdf+arctic+soot+1850&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

    Abstract;
    Changes in absorbed solar radiation are unimportant in the dark Arctic winter, and peak during early summer, beforeseasonal snow melts away to reveal darker surfaces less affected by soot. Focusing on that most sensitive season, McConnell et al. estimate an average Arctic warming effect from soot of more than 1 W/m2between 1850 and 1951, peaking in 1906 to 1910 at more than 3 W/m2—eight times the natural forcing. For comparison, the globally and annually averaged forcing from the total anthropogenic CO2 increase in the year 2006 was 1.7 W/m.”

    By the way Pamela, have you any links to jet stream information? Some time ago I mentioned to you an article that Lamb wrote that seemed to show its importance during the MWP. I wondered if you had come to any firm conclusion as to the jet streams overall importance in the great scheme of (climate) things?

    tonyb

  53. *********
    Retired Engineer (10:04:33) :

    beng (08:11:49) :

    The caption doesn’t say “clean”, it says “efficient”. Not quite the same. Precipitators and scrubbers cost money and do not generate power. Who needs them?
    *********

    As an old power-plant engineer (in the US), I agree. The parasitic auxilliary power, operating, maintenance & capital costs of scrubbers and precipitators greatly increase electricity costs, by 50% in some cases.

    IMHO tho, some means of flyash collection should be standard w/coal plants. One of the units I worked on was late 50’s vintage, but even it had orginally been built w/old-style, cyclone mechanical flyash collectors, which weren’t very efficient, but removed about 50%-60%. In the late 70’s electrostatic precips were added, which remove 95%-99%.

    The costs of an electrostatic precip today in the US is prb’ly 10x what it was back in the 70s.

  54. Don’t forget over 1 million heavy duty diesel engine truck running around US giving out soot constantly

    Isn’t the earth is round? Chinese soot is upstream of the Arctic ice, not American soot?

    China and India will not buy the AGW crap, enjoy the cap-and-trade yourself though

  55. If Chinese soot can influence Arctic ice, then presumably Himalayan glaciers would be affected more?

    The retreat of glaciers is seen as one of the main pieces of evidence of global warming. Is it possible that the retreat of glaciers has less to do with temperature and more to do with albedo.?

    C.

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