Wasted watts: Are we heating the Earth too much – with heat?

Powerplant

Guest post by Ron House

As readers will know, I have been thinking about the hullabaloo about CO2 and global warming and I quickly concluded that CO2 is no threat, won’t do any significant warming (which would be good anyway), and is in fact 100% good for the planet. But someone said to me, if CO2 is no danger, that doesn’t mean that humans are not causing a danger in some other way. Of course I agreed with this, because there are lots of things humans are doing wrongly and thereby causing terrible damage to our world (and the CO2 storm in a teacup is distracting us all from fixing those real problems).

My friend then went on, however, to propose that the danger was still global warming and that the mechanism was, instead of CO2 greenhouse warming, the mere fact that human technology gives off heat. All the power used by all the machines and transport and so on eventually ends up as waste heat. Maybe that is in itself enough to cause us serious warming trouble? So I did some calculations.

According to the laws of thermodynamics, the process of doing useful work must necessarily lose some of the energy from the fuel in the form of waste heat; and that heat, well, heats. In other words, because of the huge extra amount of useful work we do, we create excess heat that would not have been here otherwise, and that heat has to either be dissipated somehow, or else raise the temperature.

The factors that have caused the ice ages, as we saw, are primarily small changes in insolation (heating) by the Sun. The changes can happen because the Sun’s energy output changes or because of cyclic changes in the Earth’s orbit and inclination, etc., changing the amount of heat that actually arrives on the surface. Changes in the Earth’s orbit are believed to be the triggers for the onset of ice ages, and the changes in heating caused by those changes are thought to be quite small compared to the total power output of the Sun. This might lead us to suspect that human-caused changes in the amount of heat at the surface might indeed have a significant effect on the climate.

To answer this question, we need to compare the amount of variation due to the Sun with the amount of heat emitted by industrial civilisation. if the latter is ‘in the same ballpark’ as the former, then human civilisation might be holding off the onset of a new ice age.

Although there is much dispute about the exact mechanism that causes the onset of ice ages, much of it doesn’t concern us right now because one basic fact is clear: somehow or other, the responsibility lies with changes in the amount of heat received from the Sun.

One theory is that the cause is Northern Hemisphere summer cooling. At our current stage in geological history, the North Pole is surrounded by land masses, which are snowed under every winter. If the summers became just a bit colder, then some of that winter snow would remain on the ground throughout summer, and would then turn to ice. The ice will reflect sunlight much better than green plants or dirt or even liquid water, so the cooling will accelerate and the next summer will be even colder and leave even more ice lying around. And so the planet falls into an ice age. Retained heat in the oceans slows down the changes and ‘smooths over’ short-term effects, but once the process starts, the killing ice eventually reclaims its deathly kingdom.

Dr David Archibald suggests that a key measure of this process is the amount of insolation at 65° north latitude. The power of the Sun at 65°N is about 476 Watts per square metre. That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. When summer sun at this latitude is sufficient to melt the winter snowfall, all is well. Other factors in this calculation are the length of summer (because, for example, a longer, but slightly cooler summer might melt more ice than a shorter warmer one) and how high in the sky the Sun is in mid summer. And the higher it is in summer, the deeper and colder the long winter ‘night’ will be. The factors are complex and researchers disagree as to how exactly they should be combined in order to make good predictions, but some combination of these factors decides whether we bask in life-giving warmth or flee the deadly cold. We cannot hope to make predictions from the kind of short overview we are doing here, but we can get an idea of the magnitudes involved.

How much radiant energy the Sun has in the past or will in the future shine upon the Earth at this latitude can be reliably calculated from basic physical and astronomical properties of the way the Earth orbits the Sun and how that orbit changes with time. This is not an uncertain thing like the forecasts of climate models; it is not exactly easy to calculate, but it depends only upon the extremely well verified equations of Newtonian physics (or, if you prefer a few thousands of a percent more accuracy, relativity). If we didn’t know how to do these calculations, we could never have landed men on the Moon or flown discovery missions past Saturn and on to Uranus and Neptune. Yes, we do know how to make these calculations and we know it very reliably.

When the calculations are done, we find that at the depth of the last ice age, around 22,000 years ago, the Sun’s power (again at 65°N) was around 463Wm-2. On the other hand, at the height of our own interglacial, the Holocene, which occurred about 11,000 years ago (yes, we have been on the downward slope ever since—though you would never guess it from the hairy scary stories about warming in the media) the summer insolation at 65°N was about 527Wm-2. In other words, we have:

What When Sun’s Power
Previous Ice Age 22,000 years ago 463Wm-2
Holocene Peak 11,000 years ago 527Wm-2
The Perfect Time Now 476Wm-2

From these figures, we may make the following inferences:

  • The difference between peak warmth and deepest cold was around 55Wm-2;
  • The current value, being only 13Wm-2 above the value at the depth of the ice age, is almost all the way back to ‘cold conditions’; it may be that only stored ocean heat is keeping us out of an ice age (for now).

Moving on, how do these power figures compare with human energy output (mainly by burning fossil fuels)?

Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules. This translates to an average power usage of 15.56 terawatts each second (divide by the number of seconds in a year). To compare this with the Sun’s power as discussed above, we need to average this over the entire planet. The Earth’s surface area is 510 million sq. km., which gives 30,500 W per sq. km, or 0.03Wm-2. One final adjustment is needed to allow us to do the comparison: the Sun’s insolation given above was as received at noon, whereas this figure is an average over the whole planet. Since the planet’s area is four times the areas of a circle of the same radius, we must multiply by four, giving about 0.12Wm-2 as our final figure for comparison.

The human energy output of about 0.12Wm-2 is clearly overpowered by even the smallest of the numbers we have looked at so far. The 13Wm-2 difference between ice age conditions and today is at least a hundred times larger than human energy output. We might delay a killer ice age slightly, but our heating of the planet is nowhere near large enough to save us.

Are we heating the Earth too much – with heat?

As readers will know, I have been thinking about the hullabaloo about CO2 and global warming and I quickly concluded that CO2 is no threat, won’t do any significant warming (which would be good anyway), and is in fact 100% good for the planet. But someone said to me, if CO2 is no danger, that doesn’t mean that humans are not causing a danger in some other way. Of course I agreed with this, because there are lots of things humans are doing wrongly and thereby causing terrible damage to our world (and the CO2 storm in a teacup is distracting us all from fixing those real problems).

My friend then went on, however, to propose that the danger was still global warming and that the mechanism was, instead of CO2 greenhouse warming, the mere fact that human technology gives off heat. All the power used by all the machines and transport and so on eventually ends up as waste heat. Maybe that is in itself enough to cause us serious warming trouble? So I did some calculations.

According to the laws of thermodynamics, the process of doing useful work must necessarily lose some of the energy from the fuel in the form of waste heat; and that heat, well, heats. In other words, because of the huge extra amount of useful work we do, we create excess heat that would not have been here otherwise, and that heat has to either be dissipated somehow, or else raise the temperature.

The factors that have caused the ice ages, as we saw, are primarily small changes in insolation (heating) by the Sun. The changes can happen because the Sun’s energy output changes or because of cyclic changes in the Earth’s orbit and inclination, etc., changing the amount of heat that actually arrives on the surface. Changes in the Earth’s orbit are believed to be the triggers for the onset of ice ages, and the changes in heating caused by those changes are thought to be quite small compared to the total power output of the Sun. This might lead us to suspect that human-caused changes in the amount of heat at the surface might indeed have a significant effect on the climate.

To answer this question, we need to compare the amount of variation due to the Sun with the amount of heat emitted by industrial civilisation. if the latter is ‘in the same ballpark’ as the former, then human civilisation might be holding off the onset of a new ice age.

Although there is much dispute about the exact mechanism that causes the onset of ice ages, much of it doesn’t concern us right now because one basic fact is clear: somehow or other, the responsibility lies with changes in the amount of heat received from the Sun.

One theory is that the cause is Northern Hemisphere summer cooling. At our current stage in geological history, the North Pole is surrounded by land masses, which are snowed under every winter. If the summers became just a bit colder, then some of that winter snow would remain on the ground throughout summer, and would then turn to ice. The ice will reflect sunlight much better than green plants or dirt or even liquid water, so the cooling will accelerate and the next summer will be even colder and leave even more ice lying around. And so the planet falls into an ice age. Retained heat in the oceans slows down the changes and ‘smooths over’ short-term effects, but once the process starts, the killing ice eventually reclaims its deathly kingdom.

Dr David Archibald suggests that a key measure of this process is the amount of insolation at 65° north latitude. The power of the Sun at 65°N is about 476 Watts per square metre. That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. When summer sun at this latitude is sufficient to melt the winter snowfall, all is well. Other factors in this calculation are the length of summer (because, for example, a longer, but slightly cooler summer might melt more ice than a shorter warmer one) and how high in the sky the Sun is in mid summer. And the higher it is in summer, the deeper and colder the long winter ‘night’ will be. The factors are complex and researchers disagree as to how exactly they should be combined in order to make good predictions, but some combination of these factors decides whether we bask in life-giving warmth or flee the deadly cold. We cannot hope to make predictions from the kind of short overview we are doing here, but we can get an idea of the magnitudes involved.

How much radiant energy the Sun has in the past or will in the future shine upon the Earth at this latitude can be reliably calculated from basic physical and astronomical properties of the way the Earth orbits the Sun and how that orbit changes with time. This is not an uncertain thing like the forecasts of climate models; it is not exactly easy to calculate, but it depends only upon the extremely well verified equations of Newtonian physics (or, if you prefer a few thousands of a percent more accuracy, relativity). If we didn’t know how to do these calculations, we could never have landed men on the Moon or flown discovery missions past Saturn and on to Uranus and Neptune. Yes, we do know how to make these calculations and we know it very reliably.

When the calculations are done, we find that at the depth of the last ice age, around 22,000 years ago, the Sun’s power (again at 65°N) was around 463Wm-2. On the other hand, at the height of our own interglacial, the Holocene, which occurred about 11,000 years ago (yes, we have been on the downward slope ever since—though you would never guess it from the hairy scary stories about warming in the media) the summer insolation at 65°N was about 527Wm-2. In other words, we have:

What When Sun’s Power
Previous Ice Age 22,000 years ago 463Wm-2
Holocene Peak 11,000 years ago 527Wm-2
The Perfect Time Now 476Wm-2

From these figures, we may make the following inferences:

    • The difference between peak warmth and deepest cold was around 55Wm-2;
    • The current value, being only 13Wm-2 above the value at the depth of the ice age, is almost all the way back to ‘cold conditions’; it may be that only stored ocean heat is keeping us out of an ice age (for now).

Moving on, how do these power figures compare with human energy output (mainly by burning fossil fuels)?

Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules. This translates to an average power usage of 15.56 terawatts each second (divide by the number of seconds in a year). To compare this with the Sun’s power as discussed above, we need to average this over the entire planet. The Earth’s surface area is 510 million sq. km., which gives 30,500 W per sq. km, or 0.03Wm-2. One final adjustment is needed to allow us to do the comparison: the Sun’s insolation given above was as received at noon, whereas this figure is an average over the whole planet. Since the planet’s area is four times the areas of a circle of the same radius, we must multiply by four, giving about 0.12Wm-2 as our final figure for comparison.

The human energy output of about 0.12Wm-2 is clearly overpowered by even the smallest of the numbers we have looked at so far. The 13Wm-2 difference between ice age conditions and today is at least a hundred times larger than human energy output. We might delay a killer ice age slightly, but our heating of the planet is nowhere near large enough to save us.

Are we heating the Earth too much – with heat?

Ron House June 3, 2010As readers will know, I have been thinking about the hullabaloo about CO2 and global warming and I quickly concluded that CO2 is no threat, won’t do any significant warming (which would be good anyway), and is in fact 100% good for the planet. But someone said to me, if CO2 is no danger, that doesn’t mean that humans are not causing a danger in some other way. Of course I agreed with this, because there are lots of things humans are doing wrongly and thereby causing terrible damage to our world (and the CO2 storm in a teacup is distracting us all from fixing those real problems).

My friend then went on, however, to propose that the danger was still global warming and that the mechanism was, instead of CO2 greenhouse warming, the mere fact that human technology gives off heat. All the power used by all the machines and transport and so on eventually ends up as waste heat. Maybe that is in itself enough to cause us serious warming trouble? So I did some calculations.

According to the laws of thermodynamics, the process of doing useful work must necessarily lose some of the energy from the fuel in the form of waste heat; and that heat, well, heats. In other words, because of the huge extra amount of useful work we do, we create excess heat that would not have been here otherwise, and that heat has to either be dissipated somehow, or else raise the temperature.

The factors that have caused the ice ages, as we saw, are primarily small changes in insolation (heating) by the Sun. The changes can happen because the Sun’s energy output changes or because of cyclic changes in the Earth’s orbit and inclination, etc., changing the amount of heat that actually arrives on the surface. Changes in the Earth’s orbit are believed to be the triggers for the onset of ice ages, and the changes in heating caused by those changes are thought to be quite small compared to the total power output of the Sun. This might lead us to suspect that human-caused changes in the amount of heat at the surface might indeed have a significant effect on the climate.

To answer this question, we need to compare the amount of variation due to the Sun with the amount of heat emitted by industrial civilisation. if the latter is ‘in the same ballpark’ as the former, then human civilisation might be holding off the onset of a new ice age.

Although there is much dispute about the exact mechanism that causes the onset of ice ages, much of it doesn’t concern us right now because one basic fact is clear: somehow or other, the responsibility lies with changes in the amount of heat received from the Sun.

One theory is that the cause is Northern Hemisphere summer cooling. At our current stage in geological history, the North Pole is surrounded by land masses, which are snowed under every winter. If the summers became just a bit colder, then some of that winter snow would remain on the ground throughout summer, and would then turn to ice. The ice will reflect sunlight much better than green plants or dirt or even liquid water, so the cooling will accelerate and the next summer will be even colder and leave even more ice lying around. And so the planet falls into an ice age. Retained heat in the oceans slows down the changes and ‘smooths over’ short-term effects, but once the process starts, the killing ice eventually reclaims its deathly kingdom.

Dr David Archibald suggests that a key measure of this process is the amount of insolation at 65° north latitude. The power of the Sun at 65°N is about 476 Watts per square metre. That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. When summer sun at this latitude is sufficient to melt the winter snowfall, all is well. Other factors in this calculation are the length of summer (because, for example, a longer, but slightly cooler summer might melt more ice than a shorter warmer one) and how high in the sky the Sun is in mid summer. And the higher it is in summer, the deeper and colder the long winter ‘night’ will be. The factors are complex and researchers disagree as to how exactly they should be combined in order to make good predictions, but some combination of these factors decides whether we bask in life-giving warmth or flee the deadly cold. We cannot hope to make predictions from the kind of short overview we are doing here, but we can get an idea of the magnitudes involved.

How much radiant energy the Sun has in the past or will in the future shine upon the Earth at this latitude can be reliably calculated from basic physical and astronomical properties of the way the Earth orbits the Sun and how that orbit changes with time. This is not an uncertain thing like the forecasts of climate models; it is not exactly easy to calculate, but it depends only upon the extremely well verified equations of Newtonian physics (or, if you prefer a few thousands of a percent more accuracy, relativity). If we didn’t know how to do these calculations, we could never have landed men on the Moon or flown discovery missions past Saturn and on to Uranus and Neptune. Yes, we do know how to make these calculations and we know it very reliably.

When the calculations are done, we find that at the depth of the last ice age, around 22,000 years ago, the Sun’s power (again at 65°N) was around 463Wm-2. On the other hand, at the height of our own interglacial, the Holocene, which occurred about 11,000 years ago (yes, we have been on the downward slope ever since—though you would never guess it from the hairy scary stories about warming in the media) the summer insolation at 65°N was about 527Wm-2. In other words, we have:

What When Sun’s Power
Previous Ice Age 22,000 years ago 463Wm-2
Holocene Peak 11,000 years ago 527Wm-2
The Perfect Time Now 476Wm-2

From these figures, we may make the following inferences:

    • The difference between peak warmth and deepest cold was around 55Wm-2;
    • The current value, being only 13Wm-2 above the value at the depth of the ice age, is almost all the way back to ‘cold conditions’; it may be that only stored ocean heat is keeping us out of an ice age (for now).

Moving on, how do these power figures compare with human energy output (mainly by burning fossil fuels)?

Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules. This translates to an average power usage of 15.56 terawatts each second (divide by the number of seconds in a year). To compare this with the Sun’s power as discussed above, we need to average this over the entire planet. The Earth’s surface area is 510 million sq. km., which gives 30,500 W per sq. km, or 0.03Wm-2. One final adjustment is needed to allow us to do the comparison: the Sun’s insolation given above was as received at noon, whereas this figure is an average over the whole planet. Since the planet’s area is four times the areas of a circle of the same radius, we must multiply by four, giving about 0.12Wm-2 as our final figure for comparison.

The human energy output of about 0.12Wm-2 is clearly overpowered by even the smallest of the numbers we have looked at so far. The 13Wm-2 difference between ice age conditions and today is at least a hundred times larger than human energy output. We might delay a killer ice age slightly, but our heating of the planet is nowhere near large enough to save us.

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155 thoughts on “Wasted watts: Are we heating the Earth too much – with heat?

  1. Jeez, as a heating consultant, I’ve been saying this for years though! I thought it was just me – you release heat energy into the atmosphere and it has to go somewhere…into the atmosphere! I have never known the actual figure we give off, and whether or not it’s doing anything, but I’ve wondered if it was coincidence that it’s Northern Hemispheric.

  2. We’re busy doing almost all of our human activities on the 14.5% of the earth’s surface that is useful to us, but still there are those convinced we’re “ruining” the planet. Go figure.

  3. There are a couple of flaws in that argument, although the conclusion is probably correct.
    1. The start of the argument talks about feedback caused by the ice on the poles. Feedback is the big unknown.
    2. It appears to assume that the heat generated is dissipated. If most human heat is generated at ground level is it not possible that more will be retained? A true greenhouse effect where convection is stopped in a power factory or home retaining the heat at the surface.
    3. My understanding was that most of the heat island effect was due to land use changes – roads and buildings rather than direct fuel burning . suppression of wind and reduction of reflected heat. I thought the argument for mankind stopping the last ice age was based on land use changes for farming.

  4. Lets have another bit of perspective.
    The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake produced the equivalent of : 370 years of energy use in the United States at 2005 levels of 1.08×1020 J. (yes I know – attributed to Wikipedia)
    Every day there are hundreds of earthquakes over the earths surface. Total daily anthropogenic energy output is dwarfed by just a few of those natural events.

  5. Excellent analysis Ron. Nothing like numbers to put things into perspective. Is the biggest difference the obliquity of the ecliptic allowing more heat north of 65°N during this interglacial period?

  6. I always thought that there should be at least some impact on global temperatures by the simple fact of our technology creating heat that was not present previously. While I understand it is likely a small impact, I thought that the actual ‘observed’ temperature change was also small, and the large number of factors could include something as simple as hundreds of millions of automobiles generating heat. Steve M. thought it was an extremely minute impact, but there was a paper by Bo Nordell and Bruno Gervet a year or so ago that tried to calculate what the thermal impact of our technology might be. This is complicated stuff, and I am still of the belief that there could easily be a measurable impact of our generating heat with our technology, just like there could easily be a measurable impact due to the change in land use.

  7. So, set against a ~3.7Wm-2 for a doubling of CO2 concentration from pre-industrial times, hmmm … that’s non-trivial.

  8. Perhaps there are a number of positive feedback factors related to the increased reflectivity of ice-covered land and the higher altitude at the top of the glacial surface to make the Earth sensitive to relatively small reductions of solar energy.
    There would also be increased absorption of CO2 back into the ocean as it cooled. I have been told that there is evidence of plant CO2 starvation during the glacial periods.

  9. What about the heat energy radiated by humans?
    What about the heat energy provided by the respiration of humans?
    Sweat? There are lots of BTUs to be had there.
    I suspect that a more relevant calculation would be how much heating of the first 1 km of atmosphere is due to human activity. See urban heat island effect.
    Remember all heat transfer is not radiation.

  10. This calculation isn’t good news for the planet and certainly not good news for the climate change folks. (those arguing warming anyway.) I begin to wonder why there hasn’t been this kind of study put forth before. With the implications of this calculation it would seem that we need to perfect better carbon fuel usage and also alternate fuel/energy sources. (I think nuclear is the only viable option.) Hopefully our scientific community will step up and end the madness and begin to prepare us for the cold to come. The current picture isn’t very pretty.’
    Concerning the oil spill in the gulf. I wonder what would happen if all the unemployed fishermen were to be paid $80.00/barell for any oil they could recover from the surface of the gulf. I think there would be many innovative methods discovered to reduce the area of the spill and the thickness of the layer.
    Bill Derryberry

  11. “John Mason says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:37 am
    We are but a blip on our planets journey towards it’s ultimate engulfment by our giant Red sun on our universe’s ultimate drive towards maximum entropy.”
    Yes, what you say may be correct but it most likely will not occur today!

  12. UHI really is caused by humans so it should be called AUHI (anthropogenic), and if we look closer, it is caused by human digestion, and in turn, increased LWR from human ingestion is caused by garbage food (aka.”fast food”); then, by all means, one of the greatest polluters is non other than the “prophet” himself, best known as “El Gordo”, “the fat one”.
    Have you perceived, when riding a public transportation vehicle, that some people, emit more IRR?, those are the GWRs.: They are the ones to be blamed!
    Now, being more serious, our atmosphere, the AIR around us, ya know, can´t hold too much warm, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic cemtimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
    Then, only if the “prophet” goes to the beach and he takes a bath, we´ll be in trouble, otherwise we don´t.
    Just imagine what will happend if tomorrow the sun does not comes out from the east…so, don´t let them fool you: It is and it always has been THE SUN!
    Be praised our sole life giving star!

  13. By all means, let’s stop the next ice age.
    If it’s all about melting ice and snow in the Northern Hemisphere, soot should help.

  14. BTW Our advice for you, living in that self-denominated “developed world”, you better begin worrying about your economy, about reality: Only those who produce goods for selling know, they will eat tomorrow, so….

  15. Steve in SC…
    The energy radiated by humans and all living creatures comes almost exclusively from the sun (captured and converted to chemical energy through photosynthesis), so to do as you suggest would be double-counting. The contribution of chemotrophs (which extract energy from chemicals and minerals, rather than the sun) is almost certainly inconsequential.
    In fact, although it doesn’t matter in this perspective, the energy we are getting from fossil fuels is also, in fact, chemically sequestered energy from the sun (converted the hydrocarbons by photosynthesis hundreds of millions of years ago). So every time you drive your car, you are using ancient solar power.
    The main point stands, however, that actual heat generation by the burning of fossil fuels is inconsequential as compared to most other factors (albedo changes, solar insolation changes, and GHG effects, to name a few).

  16. Regarding UHI, the globe’s population is of course highly concentrated in cities. So all the heat output is concentrated in a very small area near ground level. At that level it certainly does beging to make a difference.

  17. “According to the laws of thermodynamics, the process of doing useful work …”
    Anthony, you forget the green-red alliance don’t want to work. They want to sit around selling personal carbon credits to working people while they express themselves artistically in green paradise. That’s the day job anyway. At night it is forming alliances with Islamists over the internet so they can bring down “capitalism” and those evil Jews.

  18. One only has to fly from Sydney to Singapore and cross the vast uninhabited wilderness of North Western Australia to realise that there is still plenty of wild lands and oceans about in which humans have had no impact at all. While a city might throw off a lot of heat, cities are but a flea on the dogs back of wilderness that most of the globe encompasses.

  19. Re Larry 5.27am. Heat can’t be retained in a house or factory once equilibrium is reached when all the heat generated in the house is lost to the surroundings. If you turn up the central heating and burn more gas, the surface temperature of the house rises until the heat being lost once again equals that generated.

  20. Well, actually the amount of heat we pump into the air really does not figure into the equation as you demonstrated. Back in Highschool ( like 15 years ago now ) I was worried about Global warming and went about trying to understand it so I did the same math you just did and realized that man really has a hard time effecting the temperature of the planet directly or indirectly. I would suggest that the major factor in changing temperature if not CO2 however ( it does affect it a little as physics would suggest ) but again no where near the feared amounts advocated by ‘Climatologists’.
    Land, water, crop usage should have a much larger impact on temperature then CO2 or fuel usage. But since we need large tracts of land for food and water is naturally occurring I believe these have been ignored by people who believe in CO2 induced Warming. We are going on two and a half decades of lost time examining a trace element that has little to do with the warming/cooling cycles of the earth, one that is actually beneficial to the biosphere and had become a sequestered natural resource and to what end? Even if the world does warm because of CO2 it does not mean it is a bad thing which is of course the real kicker.

  21. Wasted time I would say. Here is where the logic falls apart:
    “The changes can happen because the Sun’s energy output changes or because of cyclic changes in the Earth’s orbit and inclination, etc., changing the amount of heat that actually arrives on the surface. Changes in the Earth’s orbit are believed to be the triggers for the onset of ice ages, and the changes in heating caused by those changes are thought to be quite small compared to the total power output of the Sun.”
    The solar wind velocity varies between say 250kms to 980kps, today it is running at about 1 million mph. Daily changes can be huge. These changes correlate extremely well to short term changes in surface temperatures, which as we know, add up to the longer term picture.
    The Cause of the Earth’s Climate Change Is the Sun by Dr Jeffrey Glassman is on the right track:
    http://sc25.com/index.php?id=188&linkbox=true

  22. I like Ron’s calculations – they bring a bit of perspective to it all. But I think Larry raises some interesting questions. Feedback is one big issue. As far as I understand, no-one can model it, so it’s dangerous to build into your assumptions. And as we know, if you can’t get the assumptions right, everything else goes out the window. But still, a nice bit of commentary from both Ron and Larry. Can we see some direct debate on the issues they both bring forward? C’mon guys – you both have interesting things to say.

  23. Thinking outside the square, is a good exercise, and I have no doubt that there will be new energy sources, and better conservation of heat in homes, and perhaps a migration to deep underground chasing that inner warmth. But we don’t want to get hysterical and start beating our breasts, after all we are just doing what humans do, try and get the best for us. If we cut off our noses to spite ourselves for being rotten energy guzzling humans, and consume less, turn our earth heat down, or live near the ice, we might save something for the oncoming eons.
    But then again on the balance of probabilities, the sun might give out, an asteroid may strike the earth, gravity might fail, the poles flip, or the magnetic force wain, and on top of that microbes multiply and kill us. Best we just go on being humans and get the best, while we can..

  24. Hmmnn
    Watts for dinner tonight dear – cave mushrooms – again, Lichen soup, not that bluey green stuff I hope! what meat in the soup!! wheres Fido!! (just to keep our spirits up and prepare for the future)!!

  25. There remains the question as to whether the warming is truly global or widespread local.

  26. This comparison appears to me to be comparing the current, averaged human energy output on the earth over a year with a value of 0.12 watts per meter squared to the value of the difference of insolation at 65 degrees north in the summer between two years, now and the previous ice age, with a value of 13 watts per meter squared.
    I don’t like comparing the average value with a not-average value. I think that knowing the difference of value of the average insolation over the entire earth from the two periods, current and previous ice age, would be a better value to use for a comparison.

  27. Regarding Bill in Vigo’s 5:52 am comment: That’s a brilliant bit if thinking. But that kind of policy is antithetical to the agenda of our current Powers-that-be.
    I sometimes wonder if a solution for our energy problem isn’t right under our noses, a solution that might also help us better survive the cooling of the planet. A focused aim to find a viable, sustainable method for dealing with the problems of nuclear energy production, on the level of a Manhattan Project or the race to the moon, certainly seems a better use of our efforts than the B.S. involved in our current “alternative energy” research.

  28. fredb says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:34 am
    So, set against a ~3.7Wm-2 for a doubling of CO2 concentration from pre-industrial times, hmmm … that’s non-trivial.
    3.7 Wm/2 divided by 64 Wm/2 (Solar change) = 5.8%. It’s not only trivial, it’s comical. Maybe we’ll postpone the next ice age by a few years.

  29. Anthony,
    There exists some scientific literature about waste heat and its climate effect (urban climatology; its contributes to the Urban Heat Island). For a short discussion of this issue, see here:
    A.T.J. de Laat, Current Climate Impact of Heating From Energy Usage, EOS transactions FORUM, Vol. 89, No. 51, doi: 10.1029/2008EO510005, 16 December 2008.
    http://www.agu.org/journals/eo/eo0851/2008EO510005.pdf (subscription required)
    http://www.knmi.nl/~laatdej/EOS2008.pdf
    More can be found on the weblog of Roger Pielke Sr.
    A few quick remarks and thoughts.
    1) global average energy consumption – and thus waste heat production – is small compared to for example the CO2 forcing (0.01% of 3.7 W/m2).
    2) on a regional scale, waste heat production can be quite large. My home country, The Netherlands, consumes on average about 4 W/m2. That is by no means insignificant anymore.
    3) on a local scale (megacities and smaller) the waste heat flux can be tens to hundreds of W/m2. That is a lot and surely important for understanding Urban climate.
    4) Although the current wast heat production is small on a global scale, energy consumption is expected to grow the coming decades. Moreover, if humanity were to find some real cheap sustainable clean new energy source (something completely new and currently non-existent) energy consumption could increase quite rapidly and reach levels where the global mean waste heat flux could become dominant and quite important as a climate factor. That is not unimaginable. On the other hand, having so much cheap energy available could mean humanity is prospering and therefore waste heat might not be considered a real big issue anymore.
    Cheers, Jos.

  30. I am not yet completely convinced by the estimate of 0.12 given for human influence. What if there is a cumulative effect? In other words, you must also count the energy released by all the bombs and atomic bombs exploded during wars and tests, & all satelites put into orbit, etc. etc. for the past centuries. You just cannot go by fuel usage for one year only.
    Note that it is mostly snow that reflects light very effectively and that could put earth back into an ice age. Global cooling is possibly prevented by humans because for an ice age to get hold of earth again, large landmasses must be kept under snow blankets as well as the surrounding seas must freeze up and the snow must cover these. That will not happen easily because:
    1) Houses & buildings in populated areas are kept warm, which melts the snow (on the roof), + they put salt on the roads and try to melt the snow everywhere as asap
    2) A lot of salts (mainly from detergents and other human activities) is released into the rivers that end up in the surrounding seas which prevents them from freezing up.
    3) Carbon dioxide forms carbonates in water (i.e. more salts)
    So I suspect that humans do affect the climate but it seems mostly in a positive way!!

  31. There are also heat reductions caused by human activity. Irrigating fields of the great plains has reduced the reflected heat from the formerly great American desert. Some that solar energy that was heating the ground has been absorbed by the plants and used to photo synthesize food. Through irrigation and evapotranspiration, humidity has increased and thus increased cloud formation. What does it all mean? I don’t know, but since it appears that the waste heat generated is less than 1% of the 13Wm-2, I don’t think it matters either.
    Matt

  32. Dave
    June 3, 2010 at 6:39 am
    Dang, you beat me to it! I know, lets move the earth farther away from the sun!

  33. If not anthropogenic then what about geogenic?. Is it geothermic energy produced indirectly by the sun or is it produced “locally”?.
    Sphaerica says:
    June 3, 2010 at 6:16 am
    Steve in SC…
    The energy radiated by humans and all living creatures comes almost exclusively from the sun

    Sphaerica is “roundly” right as also the fossil fuels’ energy came from the Sun…so our earth it is just a “transformer”.

  34. This is why we close the doors of our houses in winter… so not to let the heat escape and heat the Earth.

  35. Steve in SC says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:40 am
    The amount of GHG given off by termites, just one species of insects, exceeds all the GHG given off by humans’ and ruminants’ bodies, combined. Just a little factoid.

  36. OK, but if you are going to do a full study of human heat impact you need to look at both sides of the ledger. How much cooling is produced by human activity? For example:
    Blocking of sunlight by human produced smoke and smog.
    Reflection of heat by human structures.
    Blocking of sunlight by human artefacts e.g. satellites, airplanes and balloons.
    Altering of evaporation and precipitation patterns by such things as cities, reservoirs and irrigation.
    Release of or trapping of subterranean heat by human activity

  37. @Ron House
    I can (barely) believe a figure as large as 0.1 watts per square meter from human heat generation.
    But you forgot about positive feedbacks! You see, as the CAGW folks would have us believe, every bit of extra heat generates even more extra heat. Just so, that tenth of watt will cause some extra water vapor in the atmosphere and that in turn is the primary greenhouse gas which will cause an extra tenth of a watt of sunlight to be absorbed which, in turn creates even more water vapor which adds more greenhouse gas, and so on ad infinitum. Meanwhile, the ocean is warming up and releasing CO2 like a warm can of beer which adds more greenhouse and the warmer water melts methane ice at the bottom and well, you know, methane is like an uber-power greenhouse gas.
    Near as I can figure just the act of lighting up a single cigarette is enough to tip the delicate energy balance of the earth into a runaway greenhouse until we become like Venus where lead melts on the surface. Talk about your butterfly effects…

  38. It is funny: Say whatever you wish, make all the calculations you want, you’ll be penalized anyway for heating up the Earth. Remember when the Roman emperors turned the thumb down?
    It’s too late now! You are nobody to spoil big daddy’s business!

  39. Tom Bauch says:
    “I always thought that there should be at least some impact on global temperatures by the simple fact of our technology creating heat that was not present previously. ”
    Steve in SC says:
    “What about the heat energy radiated by humans?
    What about the heat energy provided by the respiration of humans?
    Sweat? There are lots of BTUs to be had there.”
    ALL of the heat energy being liberated in present times by combustion and other chemical means was always HERE and stored by plants and microbes over the previous 1 to 2 billion years from the original ALL CO2 atmosphere. The source of that energy was and always will be the Sun. Now heat being liberated by human caused nuclear reaction(in the illustrative photo above) might be another issue to calculate.

  40. What a mess.
    How intelligent are people that can be convinced that warming is bad and
    we are actually smart enough to model it….
    …both at the same time

  41. I think it’s all computers fault! Back in the early days of climate alarmism, we were worried about getting too cold. Then along came IBM, Apple, and Bill Gates. We started with simple little processors, running along at a simple and slow hz rate. But, as humans are, we always want the “bigger, faster, better” stuff. So, we went to the faster hz rates! Finally we broke the Ghz landmark! We moved on to even higher and hotter processors! Even still, it wasn’t enough to satisfy the average PC user! We started with duo-core processors. Now quad-cores are standard! If you don’t believe they generate much heat, just touch a processor with your bare hand after firing up a PC.(Not the heat sink, the processor itself) It’ll definitely leave a mark! See! Its the computers! Ted Kaczynski could have been right after all!

  42. The concept that humans would eventually overheat their environment through energy utilization was proposed by that liberal pessimist Buckminster Fuller back in the 60’s or 70’s.
    I always assumed he was being facetious.

  43. Enneagram says: June 3, 2010 at 7:47 am It is funny: Say whatever you wish, make all the calculations you want, you’ll be penalized anyway for heating up the Earth. Remember when the Roman emperors turned the thumb down?
    I believe we have inverted the Roman’s gesture, thumbs down meant stick the sword in the ground, thumbs up meant deliver a fatal stabbing.

  44. Bill Berryderry said “I wonder what would happen if all the unemployed fishermen were to be paid $80.00/barell for any oil they could recover from the surface of the gulf. I think there would be many innovative methods discovered to reduce the area of the spill and the thickness of the layer.”
    That seems like an outstanding idea. Get the fishermen to catch oil instead of fish. At $80 per barrel 100 barrels would be worth $8000. Seems like a good catch!

  45. It’s worse than we thought!
    Each Carbon molecule consumes 2 Oxygen molecules when burned.
    The hydrogen molecules also consume Oxygen.
    By my cipherin’ we are consuming 40,000 billion lbs of Oxygen every year.
    There is only enough left for 127,000 years. But we can only survive at ~15% Oxygen. Therefore we should run out about uuugh…..

  46. Looks like we can’t hold back the ice when it comes. And there is no hope that carbon dioxide can save us either because the vaunted anthropogenic global warming has never been observed. Not even by Hansen himself when he testified in 1988 that warming had come because that was a lie. Temperature curves were already cooked when he spoke as I have proved. But that statement about the oceans’ heat smoothing things over is very important for us today. That is because Arctic warming, which is the only real warming active today, is caused by warm currents reaching the Arctic and melting the ice. It all started at the turn of the twentieth century, after a two thousand year cooling trend. The start of warming was sudden, it was interrupted in mid-century from 1940 to 1960, then resumed, and continues today. It’s cause is a rearrangement of the North Atlantic current system at the turn of the century that set the Gulf Stream on its present northerly course. A smaller amount of warm water enters the Arctic through the Bering Strait. Thanks to winds in 2007 more than the usual amount entered that way and created a large pool of open water just to the north of the strait while the Gulf Stream side hardly changed. For details read “What Warming?” available on Amazon.com.
    REPLY: Carbon might again be the answer, in the form of soot. – Anthony

  47. These calculatons assume that all of the energy use by humans is creating heat, but there is real work being done by some of this energy. The actual heat going into the envirinment is something less than 100% of this number.

  48. Patrick Davis says:
    June 3, 2010 at 8:17 am
    The article you cited was about James Hansen saying this year is 0.66 degrees warmer than the rolling 12-month average. I think, since it is Hansen, we can safely conclude that it is at least 0.66 degrees colder today.
    The icebergs in southern waters is an interesting situation. I read recently that Aussie govt. is claiming icebergs are closer to Australia than ever before, so ice must melting and glaciers breaking off icebergs faster. Think about that. Icebergs are lasting longer today, allowing them to migrate further, indicating that the sea is colder and they are staying as ice longer!
    The warm-earthers seem to stand on their heads to think, I can conclude by this. They claim that more blood to the brain is better, but they are verging on passing out.
    Although in Australia, are people normally inverted anyway? Sorry for this confusion.

  49. Enneagram says:
    June 3, 2010 at 6:14 am
    BTW Our advice for you, living in that self-denominated “developed world”, you better begin worrying about your economy, about reality: Only those who produce goods for selling know, they will eat tomorrow, so….
    ________________________________________________________________________
    Boy have you got that right. The idiots in the US government have been busy exporting US manufacturing or selling it off for quite a while.
    In the USA our population has about tripled since 1970, government employees had doubled by 1996 while education and manufacturing jobs fell. Government jobs and welfare are now at least triple that of the manufacturing jobs that support them. During the Clinton/Gore era the format of the statistical records changed so comparison is no longer easy to former years. Gee I wonder why.
    Here is a very rough chart:
    US Census figures – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1970 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1996/2006
    Total Population – – – – – – – – – 137,085,000 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 304,059,724
    labor – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 82,771,000 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 133,662,000
    government – – – – – – – – – – – – – 12,320,637 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 22,543,000
    Manufacturing – – – – – – – – – – 19,864,209 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 13,632,000 (1996)
    Education – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 6,079,968 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 3,215,000 (1996)
    2002 – welfare/SS assistance – – – – – ??? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 11,667,994
    2002 – Over 64 years – – – – – – – – – – ???? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 1,995,284
    Over the 1970 to present time period LEVERAGED BUYOUTS:
    wiped out many of the well funded, successful businesses who had no debt since they would be ripe targets for hostile takeovers.
    Once the feeding frenzy of the eighties was over, what US business was left has been sold off: Statistics (courtesy of Bridgewater) showed in 1990, before WTO was ratified, Foreign ownership of U.S. assets amounted to 33% of U.S. GDP. By 2002 this had increased to over 70% of U.S. GDP. http://www.fame.org/HTM/greg%20Pickup%201%2010%2003%20report.htm
    THAT is the reality that the US government has been busy hiding all these years.

  50. Dave Springer says:
    June 3, 2010 at 7:45 am

    You just invented the perpetual motion machine!..Just apply a little of feedbacks to your wallet and it will grow bigger and bigger…Have you wondered that it is THE SAME ILUSSION AS PRINTING MONEY?

  51. Here is that chart again. (preview would be so nice)
    US Census figures – – – – – – – – – – 1970 – – – – – – – – – 1996/2006
    Total Population – – – – – – – 137,085,000 – – – -– – – – 304,059,724
    labor – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 82,771,000 – – – – – – – 133,662,000
    government – – – – – – – — – – – 12,320,637 – – – – – – – – 22,543,000
    Manufacturing – – – – – – 19,864,209 – – – – – – – – 13,632,000 (1996)
    Education – – – – – – – – – – –- – – 6,079,968 – – – – – – – – – 3,215,000 (1996)
    2002 – welfare/SS assistance – – – – ??? – – – – – – – – – – 11,667,994
    2002 – Over 64 years – – – – – – – – – ???? – – – – – – – – – – 1,995,284

  52. Steve Keohane says: Thanks for the information. My Hollywood history was wrong. It happends that we use thumbs up for joyful meaning.

  53. You see, as summer draws near, you’ll be assaulted and stalked by AGW propaganda. Here in the SH those ads are either paid by banks (very curious, isn’t it?) or by NGO’s. Just a few minutes ago I was hearing the following through the radio: Do you know that by using electricity you are damaging the world?…This is a message of XXX Bank to raise conscience on conservation of our earth.
    What are banks so worried about?

  54. If we keep cooling (losing energy) as those numbers indicate we have for the last 11,000 years we will be back to what the conditions that prevailed at the depth of the last ice age in 3019 years.

  55. @ Gail Combs
    From a story at Fox today,
    “The claims figures come a day before the Labor Department is scheduled to release the May jobs report. Analysts expect that report to show the economy added 513,000 jobs, the most in 26 years. But at least 300,000 of those positions are likely to be temporary Census workers. ”
    If that doesn’t say it all, I don’t know what does. No one teaches how a nation creates wealth anymore. It’s maddening! That small paragraph should send chills down every U.S. citizen’s back! It doesn’t. Some would even characterize it as good news. It’s not. It cripples our economy and endangers our society. We’re still printing money.

  56. That is very important topic discuss here because today’s everyone talk about global warming, I really take interest in these type of researches.

  57. Oh, I saw those reactors, and a thought; Yes, WUWT is gonna show us how many liters of hot water that is pouring out of the nuclear reactors , and at what temperature!
    And set up a table, and roughly calculate how many nano-degrees it will heat up the oceans.
    Just to sort that out, I mean. But that was not to be.
    Because this is, as far as I can see, the only energy not coming from the sun. But how much (or little) is it? Cannot do it myself, it steal too much of my time. The government is already stealing half my life via taxes.

  58. “bubbagyro says:
    June 3, 2010 at 8:39 am ”
    Channel 7, Sunday, 7:30pm. Icebergs “landing” closer to Australia (Implied in the tralier) never happened before, apparently. The movement in support of CAGW via releases on GHG’s, CO2 etc, through human activities in Australia is ramping up. KRudd747 has to save himself from losing thise year’s election. So far, he’s lost all credability (Phnurk! Like pollies have “credability – sheesh). On this site I predicted the KRudd747 Govn’t would be a one-term-wonder. So far, his “administration” seems to be folloing the politically suicidal path of longer term administrations, like the UK Labour party for instance.
    I for one do not care as I know the “Govn’t Machine” has nothing to do with the party/politician that is voted for. And the Mad Monk, is just as slimy.

  59. Gail Combs says:
    June 3, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Interesting figures. Many people around the world think at least computers are manufactured in the US but they are not. A few days ago we knew through the news that there was a chinese factory where there have recently been up to ten workers suicides; owners from Taiwan said that the problem was being fixed by installing screens on workers room windows to avoid workers jumping outside. It happends that these workers earn an avg. of US$300 per month and have one day a week rest and live next to the factory. There is where IPADS come from. Doesn’t it remember “A Brave New World” gammas’ life?

  60. It might be of some interest though to calculate the energy contibution over the inhabited land area (a figure which is considerably smaller than the whole surface area of the globe).
    This must be at least part of the UHI effect and could form a basis for a calculation of its magnitude.

  61. There’s another issue with using “energy consumption” and equating it with “heat produced.”
    Effectively it boils down into: converting energy into another form doesn’t always necessitate conversion of all of the energy to heat. Nearly always there’s a noticeable slice that is converted into waste heat – and for lots of activities the answer is indeed ‘all of it’ ends up as waste heat. But it isn’t everything by any means, and some of the big offenders happen to be methods of storing energy as opposed to methods of converting useful energy to waste heat.
    Trivial example:
    Lifting a rock to the top of a hill. Yes, there was friction involved. Perhaps even a lot of friction. But the vast majority of energy spent on any sensible approach to getting the rock to the top of the hill is actually converted into gravitational potential energy – not waste heat.
    The electricity spent in the aluminum industry is almost entirely devoted to effectively reversing the thermite reaction – the most exothermic simple reaction known. Which is why recycling aluminum is the most sensible of recycling efforts. Remelting metallic aluminum requires a trivial amount of energy compared to the the amount required to convert bauxite to metallic aluminum. And thus all the aluminum we see is “stored energy.” (And, actually, -lots- of stored energy.)

  62. So, we see, that economy follows the same rules of thermodynamics. Now you are becoming conscious that your four cylinder car’s engine is working with just one cylinder. In order to fix it you have to tune it. That means to proportionate “gas” to “oxygen”. Either you do it or it will stop working at all.
    But don’t worry, if you do it rapidly, from one day to the other, it will be easier, and things will be back to normal in, say six or twelve months.

  63. VicV says:
    June 3, 2010 at 7:25 am
    Regarding Bill in Vigo’s 5:52 am comment: That’s a brilliant bit if thinking. But that kind of policy is antithetical to the agenda of our current Powers-that-be.
    I sometimes wonder if a solution for our energy problem isn’t right under our noses, a solution that might also help us better survive the cooling of the planet. A focused aim to find a viable, sustainable method for dealing with the problems of nuclear energy production, on the level of a Manhattan Project or the race to the moon, certainly seems a better use of our efforts than the B.S. involved in our current “alternative energy” research.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    The US government has made it very clear they are not interested in sustaining the lives of humans. On the contrary they want to promote the death or sterilization of a whole bunch of us.
    1974 Kissinger population growth memo
    Forced Sterilization for Population Control, 2008

    “There are already too many people living on Planet Earth, according to one of most influential science advisors in the US government.”

    John Holdren, Obama’s Science Czar, says: Forced abortions and mass sterilization needed to save the planet in a book he co-authored.
    USDA helps finance Spermicidal Corn research
    Do not forget Eric Pianka’s Speech
    60,000 Americans coercively sterilized , and between 1963 and 1965 more than 400,000 Colombian women were sterilized in a program funded by the Rockefeller Foundation…
    I double checked this a year ago against some UN population studies and found, in Africa, a unexpected “decrease” in fertility reported by a puzzled researcher.
    I wonder if government health care will eventually require implanted RFID tags and DNA testing followed by mandatory sterilization of those with “defective” DNA? Some hospitals are already DNA testing newborns

  64. “Enneagram says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:30 am
    Gail Combs says:
    June 3, 2010 at 8:54 am
    Interesting figures. Many people around the world think at least computers are manufactured in the US but they are not. A few days ago we knew through the news that there was a chinese factory where there have recently been up to ten workers suicides; owners from Taiwan said that the problem was being fixed by installing screens on workers room windows to avoid workers jumping outside. It happends that these workers earn an avg. of US$300 per month and have one day a week rest and live next to the factory. There is where IPADS come from. Doesn’t it remember “A Brave New World” gammas’ life?”
    Basically the Victorian Era Work Ethic, it has never changed, it has just been exported (Economies with minimu wage export jobs. UK, Ireland, US, Australia etc etc etc). In Victorian times, in the UK, Manchester, it was textiles. That “industry” was exported in search of expanding the profit base (Or in other words, exploiting a cheaper labour base) . Now it’s gadget consumables, iPod and all the other crud gadgets we’re expected to buy, and then buy the version 2 of the same thing. It permiates across all industries, even food. Where does your food come from?

  65. We CONSUME 15 terawatts a year.
    Most of that energy is bound to (in)organic materials.
    Based on the solar constant the surface of the earth absorbs about 170 W/m2 continously.
    We are not ‘adding’ any significant heat in relation to that.

  66. Enneagram says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:03 am
    You see, as summer draws near, you’ll be assaulted and stalked by AGW propaganda. Here in the SH those ads are either paid by banks (very curious, isn’t it?) or by NGO’s. Just a few minutes ago I was hearing the following through the radio: Do you know that by using electricity you are damaging the world?…This is a message of XXX Bank to raise conscience on conservation of our earth.
    What are banks so worried about?
    ___________________________________________________________________
    The whole AGW scam originated with the bankers in the first place. Check out Maurice Strong, David Rockefeller, the World Bank, Greenpeace and WWF. They are all interrelated if you follow the money (and power games)

  67. Anthony – Soot was already suggested in the seventies when there was a brief ice age scare but was not taken seriously. It sounds like a logical geoengineering step but where do we go with it? In either case, it is our descendants who will have to deal with specifics if they decide to do it. Unless, of course, someone invents a longevity pill very soon!

  68. Gail Combs says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    That’s another sophism. There are calculations that show, instead, that the whole population of the earth could live and eat adequately in an area equal to Texas state.
    Just look through a window of a plane when flying: Not only population but organic life on earth is quite scarce. BTW I live in a country having about 30 millions inhabitants and with a similar area as the whole Europe. Those “nice” guys lie or they are just simply stupid, like the guy of a “balanced earth”.

  69. John Mason says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:37 am
    But, what if we slow the rotation of our planet with all the windmills we are building – hmmmmmmm?

    John, I think we’re OK. You see the deforestation of the equatorial rainforests will offset the windmills we’re building at higher latitudes. Kind of like when a figure skater is spinning and they move their arms from straight out at their sides to straight up above their head.
    Charlie K

  70. Wasted watts???
    Sounds like Anthony mixed NyQuil with scotch to treat his recent illness. ;>)

  71. #
    #
    James Sexton says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:14 am
    “….That small paragraph should send chills down every U.S. citizen’s back! It doesn’t. Some would even characterize it as good news. It’s not. It cripples our economy and endangers our society. We’re still printing money.”
    ________________________________________________________________________
    That is why I have done a lot of research on the Federal Reserve, fractional reserve banking and the economy. What I see scare the bejeze out of me.
    Back in the eighties Peter Drucker stated in a seminar that one worker supported 10 office personel. Think what that means today. No wonder the USA is close to bankruptcy! Stewart Dougherty, a specialist in inferential analysis, stated, it is now “it will be statistically impossible for the United States to pay its obligations unless it repudiates them in large measure, or the dollar is sacrificed on the altar of searing, society-altering inflation. “ Unfortunately the USA can no longer tell the central bankers where to go as the Icelanders did. Obama just signed on to the “Financial Stability Board” and an International Economic Union that would control all financial institutions around the globe. This includes the U.S. Obama also doubled the money supply and that allows the central bankers to “print” US dollars at will because US banks are already operating free of any reserve constraints.
    In other words the central bankers now have tighter control of this and other countries.

  72. Patrick Davis says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:59 am
    “….Basically the Victorian Era Work Ethic, it has never changed, it has just been exported (Economies with minimu wage export jobs. UK, Ireland, US, Australia etc etc etc). In Victorian times, in the UK, Manchester, it was textiles. That “industry” was exported in search of expanding the profit base (Or in other words, exploiting a cheaper labour base) . Now it’s gadget consumables, iPod and all the other crud gadgets we’re expected to buy, and then buy the version 2 of the same thing. It permiates across all industries, even food. Where does your food come from?”
    _______________________________________________________________________
    Actually I think of it as a return to feudalism, masters and serfs.
    “Where does your food come from?” Seems you find the sticky fingers of the World Bank/IMF in that area too.
    “Balancing national budgets can be done by raising taxes, which the IMF frowns upon, or by cutting government spending, which it definitely recommends. As a result, SAPs often result in deep cuts in programmes like education, health and social care, and the removal of subsidies designed to control the price of basics such as food and milk. So SAPs hurt the poor most, because they depend heavily on these services and subsidies.
    SAPs encourage countries to focus on the production and export of primary commodities such as cocoa and coffee to earn foreign exchange. But these commodities have notoriously erratic prices subject to the whims of global markets which can depress prices just when countries have invested in these so-called ‘cash crops’.
    By devaluing the currency and simultaneously removing price controls, the immediate effect of a SAP is generally to hike prices up three or four times, increasing poverty to such an extent that riots are a frequent result. “
    http://www.whirledbank.org/development/sap.html

  73. On a more serious note it is interesting to see the values of energy received from the sun during hot and cold times, and to see that compared to the energy used by us.


    From what I remember a heating contractor saying you can assume a person will release about 300W when sitting in a room. Using that 300W, and 6 billion people on earth and 510 million km2 I came out with 0.0035Wm-2 energy just from the number of living people on the earth today. Tiny even compared to the 0.12Wm-2 of energy used to power the earth.
    BTW, I’m not positive on that 300W, so if anyone else has a better number or can verify feel free to correct or verify my numbers.

  74. Isn’t the effective surface area receiving light for the purpose of calculating watts per square meter simply the area inside the circumference of the earth, not half it’s spherical surface area? A square meter at the limb gets almost no Watts per meter squared relative to a square meter with the sun overhead. The maximum amount of sun the earth can get is the area of it’s silhouette.
    Also, did you account for the reflection off of water where the sun is at a low angle where its index of refraction bounces almost all of the light?

  75. Sorry I balled up that last post. I was attempting to blockquote Steve from SC before I did the calculation. Ended up quoting myself and leaving Steve’s comment out.
    To recap, the energy added by humans is ~300W per person and results in about 0.0035Wm-2 when dividing by the area of the earth.

    Steve in SC says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:40 am
    What about the heat energy radiated by humans?
    What about the heat energy provided by the respiration of humans?

  76. Be it the earth’s energy budget or any other budget, all you need is inputs and outputs balanced, or best a little more input than output, if you don’t you’ll face an “ice age” and no one, none, nothing, can stop it. Think this way: Not even God himself could make 2+2 to equal more than 4, it would destroy his creation and himself.
    Though some little “devils” think they can. …In medicine those little devils are called cancer cells.

  77. Arno Arrak says:
    June 3, 2010 at 8:27 am
    Looks like we can’t hold back the ice when it comes.
    There is geo engineering that should be studied for the case of a return of the ice age. It will not be simple and very serious studies must be carried out before something is applied. Instead billions of dollars have been wasted in bad studies of the effects of a trace gas.
    If we are talking of 30 watts/m^2 differences in solar input, mirrors in space focusing sunlight to earth where it would make a difference to the freezing, could do that , considering that at the top the strength of the sun is 1300watts/m^2 or so. These mirrors would have the advantage of being controllable according to need.

  78. “15.56 terawatts each second”.
    Please, change this to 15.56 teraJoules each second.
    1 Watt = 1 Joule per second.
    “Watt each second” makes no sense.

  79. The fossil fuels we now burn came from photosynthesis millions of years ago, most likely formed when the landmass was near the tropics, and geologically carried away toward the poles. Or, the fossil fuels are from a more ‘tropical’ Earth. In either case, the energy came from the Sun and is stored here. Had plant life not captured it, I am willing to bet that energy from the Sun would most likely have ‘blackbodied’ off the planet. Life has already caused climate change, by tranforming the primordial Earth.
    The paradox here is that we have used a relatively warm climate to expand human population and longevity.
    If we plunge toward an Ice Age, which seems likely given the cyclic nature of the last million years, then we shall need those fossil fuels to survive at elevated populations.
    Our problem then would be “Wasted Watts”. And we do some seriously heavy wasting of precious fossil fuels.
    10% of all electricity consumed is to light the Planet at night. Get that # down. Efficiency is key.
    A major wastage is the Global Trade, which seeks to transport the production of whole countries to as far away as possible, in the name of bigger profits. Before the economic downturn, the pressure was on bunker fuel and diesel, as there was not enough of the former and it had to be supplemented with the latter.
    Land haulage is by convenience, not efficiency, as semi is put in front of rail.
    Work is not close enough to where we live, in general.
    Manufacturing is not well distributed.
    These are behavioral and planning problems, all solvable.
    We need to prepare for an eventual Ice Age return, and we are as vulnerable as we could possibly be.
    During the Little Ice Age, stripping of the countryside of fuels took place, as people needed extra warmth to survive, and that should be a warning.
    The failure of any warming signal outside of UHI effects (as in rural areas) is another warning sign, that even the burning of massive amounts of fossil fuels is no match for natural blackbody loss.

  80. Alex says:
    June 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm
    “Watt each second” makes no sense.

    It does, or you would expect this blog to be called WhathappenedwithJoule instead?
    Watts are watts!.

  81. interesting.
    still, even a trivial increase in convection will overcome any man-made warming irrespective of the source.

  82. All I see these days are constantly moving goal posts. Clearly the argument of AGW has failed.

  83. A lot of people carry around with them a bothering thought in the back of their minds. How can all other monitored solar bodies as the moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn’s moons warm over the last decades without the Earth to also warming in parallel.
    If the Martian polar caps melted (or more properly decreased) as we here on Earth experienced the same polar ice decrease phenomena, won’t we not have to wait until the Martian polar caps regain their former ice area before we can say anything about Earth’s polar ice area?
    Keep your eyes on Mars’s polar ice caps.
    If they rebound, the moon and other monitored solar bodies cool, and Earth does not respond in parallel, then even I would have to admit that then we really have something to talk about in the tenths of a degree.
    Also, thank you Ron for an very interesting post, it helps to keep one’s mind in motion!
    (accidentally posted to the wrong thread, so, repeating here where it should be)

  84. “”” Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules. This translates to an average power usage of 15.56 terawatts each second (divide by the number of seconds in a year). “””
    Average power would simply be in Watts. I’m sure I’m the hundredth who said that.
    But hang on a minute there; not so fast to condemn us Humans who use energy.
    So how much of OUR energy use is renewables. Hydroelectric, wood peat, cow dung you name it. All that energy came from the sun; and as it rattles down the food chain (not the cow dung) it slowly converts all that crap, into heat; and it does that whether we use any of that energy or not.
    So please confine your finger pointing to just the fossil fuels; much of which (the coal) is also energy the sun stored here eons ago. Well yes it didn’t dissipate years ago; so it is available for now use; and adds to your zigaWatt total.
    But a big chunk of our energy usage would turn into waste heat even if we didn’t use it.
    And so long as we exhaust it at a high enough temperature; then it will radiate away somewhat faster.
    Of course that will lower the Carnot efficiency any way; but usually we design our systems ot not do that and we still get high temperature waste; like from our car exhausts for example.
    So we ain’t nearly as bad off as you think Mate; we are just using what would have gone up in smoke anyway (cept the fossils).

  85. One point: Most of human activity releases heat into the atmosphere. (Nuclear power plants warm nearby lakes, but they are a tiny part of the total) Air has far less heat capacity, so it will warm up more than land or oceans. It’s still trivial.
    I worry more about the deforestation causes by government paperwork. And while it isn’t totally paper, printing money has to consume vast resources. Think of all those poor trees that will never attain ‘hockey stick’ status.

  86. Tim Clark says:
    June 3, 2010 at 7:28 am

    fredb says:
    June 3, 2010 at 5:34 am
    So, set against a ~3.7Wm-2 for a doubling of CO2 concentration from pre-industrial times, hmmm … that’s non-trivial.


    3.7 Wm/2 divided by 64 Wm/2 (Solar change) = 5.8%. It’s not only trivial, it’s comical. Maybe we’ll postpone the next ice age by a few years.
    You’re not comparing like with like. The 64 w/m2 solar change refers to the difference at noon at midday in mid-summer . See the article where it says
    That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs.
    The ~3.7 w/m2 CO2 forcing operates day and night all year round. The solar forcing does not. It doesn’t look as though albedo has been considered either. The annual mean change in solar forcing between the LGM and the holocene will be much less than 64 w/m2.

  87. “”” That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. “””
    Not true. The sun puts out at best clear sky sun at zenith; about 1000 Watts per Square metre on a flat surface.
    No way you are likely to achieve that with five light bulbs. Even if they are 200 Watt light bulbs, and we assume that what they don’t put out in Lumens, they put out in radiant Watts ; so we have a total radiated power of 1000 Watts, including visible and thermal. Good luck on collecting all of that on a square metere of flat surface.
    I doubt that it is doable even if you had five 1 kW lamps.
    To even attempt it you would have to design special non-imaging concentrator Optics to arrange 4 pi steradians of energy from five bulbs all on to a single flat surface of 1 m square.

  88. Re: My earlier post
    John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm
    The link below has the mean annual and monthy insolation figures for a selection of European cities. Note the latitude of Oslo is ~60 deg N and it ‘s mean annual insolation is ~95 w/m2. I’ve checked out some figures for Reykjavik (~64 deg N) and the annula insolation there comes out at ~84 w/m2. That’s less than 20% of the noon on mid summer day peak which suggests that the mean difference between now and the Last Ice Age is only about 3 w/m2. Remember that global temperatures were around 5-6 deg lower than to-day. The expected forcing from a doubling of CO2 doesn’t seem quite so harmless after all.
    http://lightbucket.wordpress.com/2008/02/24/insolation-and-a-solar-panels-true-power-output/

  89. George E. Smith says:
    June 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm
    “”” That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. “””
    Not true. The sun puts out at best clear sky sun at zenith; about 1000 Watts per Square metre on a flat surface.

    What’s that got to do with Reykjavik?

  90. “”” John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm
    George E. Smith says:
    June 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm
    “”” That means that at midday in mid-summer at, say, Reykjavik (at 64°N, almost the only significant city anywhere close to 65°N), the Sun has about the power of five old-style incandescent light bulbs. “””
    Not true. The sun puts out at best clear sky sun at zenith; about 1000 Watts per Square metre on a flat surface.
    What’s that got to do with Reykjavik? “””
    Well the sun still puts out 1000 W/m^2 on a flat surface perpendicular to the sun. OK so at Reykjavik at say 64 North the solstice sun would be at 26 above the horizon; or at midsummer sun it will be 49.5 above the horizon; so a bit more atmosphere to churn through taking cosine of 40.5 deg gives me 0.76, so air mass about 1.3. Still got to be over 800 Wa/m^2 perpendicular to sun angle.
    So you can try to spread say 800 Watts from 5 160 W bulbs over that square metre, or you can lay it on the ground and then try to spread 800 Watts over 1.3 squ metres; your choice. Still can’t do it. Probably can’t do it anywhere because if you can’t do at equatorial noon , you aren’t going to do it with the increased surface area at some high latitude; that is match the sun with 5 light bulbs which was the test. Even at Reykjavik.

  91. If CO2 protects us from an ice age, that’s great. However, here’s something to consider….
    According to one theory of how ice ages start (e.g. http://www.iceagenow.com/Ocean_Warming.htm and http://www.amazon.com/Not-Fire-but-Ice-Dinosaurs/dp/0964874687) it begins with ocean heating from underwater volcanoes. This leads to massively excess evaporation, which leads to massively excess precipitation, which in winter is massively excess snow. Once all that snow falls, it doesn’t melt the next summer, because of albedo.
    If this theory is correct, a little CO2 more or less in the atmosphere isn’t going to make a whole lot of difference.

  92. BTW, I seem to recall reading that ice-ages did not begin until after North and South America came into contact, and thus blocked a strong, semi-global warm tropical current that may have kept the Antarctic climate relatively temperate as it flowed south around Africa.

  93. Enneagram says:
    June 3, 2010 at 6:09 am
    “Then, only if the “prophet” goes to the beach and he takes a bath, we´ll be in trouble”
    The oceans could conceivably rise 2-3m right there.

  94. Patrick Davis
    Save your nastiness for websites that applaud the use of such vitriol.He is not the “mad monk”,his name is Tony Abbott.
    If it wasn’t for him we would be implementing an ETS,whatever his reasons,he came down on the side of rational thinking.

  95. Larry says:
    There are a couple of flaws in that argument, although the conclusion is probably correct.
    1. The start of the argument talks about feedback caused by the ice on the poles. Feedback is the big unknown.
    2. It appears to assume that the heat generated is dissipated. If most human heat is generated at ground level is it not possible that more will be retained?…
    3. My understanding was that most of the heat island effect was due to land use changes – roads and buildings rather than direct fuel burning . suppression of wind and reduction of reflected heat.

    Hi Larry,
    (1) True, it is the unknown, which is why I concentrated on the relative magnitudes of natural vs anthropogenic factors. If our stuff is a small proportion, we cannot be the major influence.
    (2) The infrared surface radiation that is supposed to be the cause of global warming is also at ground level, and the received solar radiation (which was divided by 2 to account for the proportion stopped before reaching the surface, is also at ground level – so all factors are commensurable.
    (3) I was discussing extra emitted heat, land use is another question, to which I do not at present know the answer. But a small anecdote: the university where I until recently worked had a 40-year celebration, in which they showed photographs of the same scene (looking towards town from the uni) taken 40 years apart. 40 years ago, the uni was surrounded by farm land, and now it is swallowed by townscape. But the views were surprising. The old one showed a flat brown, burned plain with few trees (most likely taken during a drought, but droughts do happen). The modern one showed nothing but foliage! People had planted shrubs and trees all around their new suburban blocks and made the whole lot much greener than it was before. So I don’t know whether bare land use changes, as opposed to putting machinery etc on that land, is the cause of urban warming.

  96. Steve Keohane says:
    Excellent analysis Ron. Nothing like numbers to put things into perspective. Is the biggest difference the obliquity of the ecliptic allowing more heat north of 65°N during this interglacial period?

    In the early part of the Pleistocene until 1 million years ago, the ice ages were on a 41,000-year cycle, which corresponds to oscillation in the tilt of the Earth’s axis (the obliquity). Since then, ice ages have been on a 100,000-year cycle, which corresponds to precession of the Earth’s orbit, meaning that the axis of the Earth’s elliptical orbit slowly advances around the Sun. My understanding is that no one really knows why first one, then the other, influence took the dominant role in timing the ice ages.
    That does not mean we cannot explain the effect. For example, the orbital precession means that at different times, the northern hemisphere will have its summer when the Earth is closer to the Sun than at others (and vice versa for the south, of course). Likewise, the obliquity will determine relative intensities of summer and winter by the extremity of the tilt. I avoided looking at all the uncertainties in that by merely considering the relative magnitudes of the natural and the anthropogenic factors. Since the latter is two orders of magnitude smaller than the former, it is very unlikely that the latter is making a critical change to the natural development of the ice age cycles.

  97. Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules
    I believe this figure is seriously wrong.
    The world mines 5.9*10^12 kilograms of coal each year. If we assume that all that is lignite and all of it is burnt we get pretty close to 490 exajoules. Just from coal. Of course not all is lignite and not all is burnt, but the figure is surprisingly close.
    Then we add our oil and gas usage on top. Wood and other renewables.
    I reckon the 491 exajoules is a calculation of how much we use at the end point, in our homes and factories.
    I would guess we actually warm the earth by an order of magnitude more than that. At which point our efforts stop being insignificant (considering that we are only talking about a small change to an already naturally warming climate).
    For example the “output” of a nuclear power station is not even close to a measure of how much it warms the earth. Watts Bar Plant produces 10,050 GW·h a year. But it doesn’t run close to 100% efficient. Even the most modern plant cannot hope for 50% conversion. The rest is “lost” as direct heating of the environment. Then we lose much of the electricity generated in transmission. To heat.
    There are 150 nuclear power plants on ships that are currently heating the world but don’t even get entered into calculations of how much energy we use.
    I would think the actual heat generated by humans needs to be calculated from scratch. Working out how much coal is burned each year, not how much is burned in a useful way. How much heat nuclear energy creates, not how much useful electricity is generated.
    Then add in albedo changes due to cropping etc. And we might find our efforts aren’t so puny after all.

  98. John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Re: My earlier post
    John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm
    The link below has the mean annual and monthy insolation figures for a selection of European cities. Note the latitude of Oslo is ~60 deg N and it ‘s mean annual insolation is ~95 w/m2. I’ve checked out some figures for Reykjavik (~64 deg N) and the annula insolation there comes out at ~84 w/m2. That’s less than 20% of the noon on mid summer day peak which suggests that the mean difference between now and the Last Ice Age is only about 3 w/m2. Remember that global temperatures were around 5-6 deg lower than to-day. The expected forcing from a doubling of CO2 doesn’t seem quite so harmless after all.

    ???
    From the black body formula and the 10K degree difference seen in the ice core anomalies ( and presumed to reflect world anomalies) the watts/m^2 now is the often quoted 390 ( assuming average temperature 15C). For 5C the radiation is 338.7 watts/m^2.
    This is a difference over 50 in watts/m^2, overall average in the year and globe.
    If one accepts the 3.7 watts/m^2 of the IPCC this is still less than 10%, and if one takes the effect without computer model feedbacks , much less.

  99. Warren in Minnesota says:
    This comparison appears to me to be comparing the current, averaged human energy output on the earth over a year with a value of 0.12 watts per meter squared to the value of the difference of insolation at 65 degrees north in the summer between two years, now and the previous ice age, with a value of 13 watts per meter squared.
    I don’t like comparing the average value with a not-average value. I think that knowing the difference of value of the average insolation over the entire earth from the two periods, current and previous ice age, would be a better value to use for a comparison.

    The .12 figure is four times the average over the entire earth (.03) because the 476 figure represents sunlight received at noon – but then the planet rotates and the power drops. You could divide the 476 by four if you like, or you could use 683Wm-2, which is the direct sunlight for a point at which the sun is directly overhead (direct solar power is 1366Wm-2, but only about half gets to the surface). The exactly best comparison would be the subject of detailed debate, but the fact that the figures for solar insolation changes are two orders of magnitude greater than the figure for human energy output, that won’t change.

  100. Dave Springer says:
    But you forgot about positive feedbacks! You see, as the CAGW folks would have us believe, every bit of extra heat generates even more extra heat. Just so, that tenth of watt will cause some extra water vapor in the atmosphere and that in turn is the primary greenhouse gas which will cause an extra tenth of a watt of sunlight to be absorbed which, in turn creates even more water vapor which adds more greenhouse gas, and so on ad infinitum. Meanwhile, the ocean is warming up and releasing CO2 like a warm can of beer which adds more greenhouse and the warmer water melts methane ice at the bottom and well, you know, methane is like an uber-power greenhouse gas.
    Near as I can figure just the act of lighting up a single cigarette is enough to tip the delicate energy balance of the earth into a runaway greenhouse until we become like Venus where lead melts on the surface. Talk about your butterfly effects…

    Excellent analysis! I have wondered if any of them could answer a simple challenge: write a simple computer program that generates the magnitude of positive feedback they allege and which doesn’t cause a runaway if you replay it with events like the nearby explosion of a supernova, the cretaceous asteroid, the Deccan traps eruptions, etc. I don’t believe they could do it, yet the real earth must have avoided runaway because all those things have happened and yet here we are.

  101. Mooloo says:
    Human energy usage in 2006 was 491 exajoules
    I believe this figure is seriously wrong.

    The figure came from: http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf16.html
    It may be you are right that this is a post-wastage figure. If so, doubling it should fix the problem. OTOH, I have been generous to the opposing case in all the rest of the assumptions. For example, if indeed it is the figure at 65N that matters, then almost none of the human energy budget gets emitted at anywhere near that latitude – divide by ten or a hundred. If a whole of earth calculation is done instead, then we have to bump up the solar figure also. But the two figures are in such different ballparks that it doesn’t change the outcome.

  102. Another perspective: 0.03 W/m2 human energy consumption compares with the 1 W/m2 at top-of-atmosphere measured for the solar cycle. When factored for Earth’s area and albedo, that’s about a third of a W/m2 at the surface, or ten times the human energy consumption.
    AGW types estimate that the global temperature variation due to this solar-cycle change amounts to only about 0.1 deg C over the 11+/- year cycle. If you run a statistical analysis of temperature vs. CO2, AMO, ENSO, sunspots and other factors, that analysis roughly agrees with this 0.1 C contribution by sunspots. So we can approximate the human energy consumption contribution as 1/10th of this or 0.01 deg C, once and done.
    House raises Milankovitch forcings. He says (and I will agree) insolation at 65N latitude was
    463W/m2 at -22kyr; 527 W/m2 at -11kyr; 476 W/m2 today.
    So M forcing is almost as low as it was before the ice age started to end. Why then are we not in an extremely cool spell right now? Why has the globe NOT cooled significantly in the last 10,000 years, and has in fact been warming for the last 30 to 100?
    House glosses over this by speculating that it could be the heat from the oceans. I think we can rule this out easily. If the heat from the oceans has been keeping us at near Holocene optimum conditions for the last 10kyr in spite of near-ice-age insolation at 65N, then its thermal inertia should also have kept all that ice from going away as rapidly as it did, should it not? Also, the ocean does not GENERATE heat. Once the M-forcing began to fall, the oceans should have cooled along with it and should have been cooling for the last 10kyr. We see cooling in the records, but only about 1deg C since the peak 8000 years ago. That 8000 year cooling has been nearly wiped out in only the last 150 years.
    Instead, one factor that has kept the Earth from cooling at today’s low 65N insulation level is ice cover. There are no great northern continental ice sheets to reflect solar energy back into space.
    You will not like to hear this, but another factor is CO2. It had been bouncing between 220 and 180 ppm in the last 40,000 years of the ice age and then shot up into the 260-280ppm range, and stayed there (until we kicked it up to the 380s). The Milankovitch forcing has to go a little extra lower to kick off ice sheets when CO2 is up. (Once the ice begins to grow, invariably CO2 begins to fall, reinforcing the ice growth.)
    Nobody is sure exactly how Milankovitch forcings trigger ice ages and their terminations (the 65N insolation is not a perfect fit), but the above two are regarded as contributing factors.
    The latest hypothesis (months old) of what triggers the ice age ending is the size of the ice sheets. It takes almost 100,000 years for the ice to grow to its maximum. Prior to the peak ice, most swings in insolation are simply reflected off the ice and don’t trigger a big melt. However, once the ice pushes far south enough and to a high enough altitude, it then becomes sensitive to the Milankovitch swings. A Milankovitch forcing that wasn’t enough to matter when the ice only extended to 50 deg N matters when the ice has finally reached 40 deg N. The insolation at 40N begins to increase sharply, causing ice there to melt rapidly, dumping vast amounts of fresh water into the ocean, which alters ocean circulation, causing accumulated CO2 to be pumped out of the deep ocean, leading to the runaway feedback loop of ice retreat, albedo decrease, CO2 increase, temperature/humidity increase, and GH warming, kicking the world from “ice house” mode to “green house” mode. It is the increased size of the ice sheet that creates the “trigger point”. As the ice sheet grows, the insolation required to trigger a big melt decreases until the trigger finally gets switched. (It was probably in Science sometime in the last 3 months.)
    It is also worth noting that the Milankovitch forcing is currently bottoming out and very close to a minimum. For the next 50,000 years, it will be higher than it is today, helping to keep the next ice age away, along with a 50,000 year-long low value for orbital eccentricity. We are very fortunate that we have developed our technological achievements at this time in planetary history. We still have 50,000 years to figure out how to end the ice age cycle to keep us nice and toasty.

  103. Spector says:
    June 3, 2010 at 9:37 pm
    So, after the joining of N & S America, all that may be needed is for the Antarctic Sea Ice to connect with S America, cutting the flow off from Pacific to Atlantic. Lost in current thinking of 10,000 years overdue for Ice Age is the Younger Dryas, which halted and reversed the warming out of the last Ice Age. Not knowing what caused the Younger Dryas, a gigantic hole in the theoretical process is stuffed with an Epicycle called AGW. The net effect of AGW, being a humongously dogma-centric theory, is to put the thinking process into deep freeze.
    Time to wake the sleepyheads up.

  104. Ref – Enneagram says:
    June 3, 2010 at 7:47 am
    “It is funny: Say whatever you wish, make all the calculations you want, you’ll be penalized anyway for heating up the Earth. Remember when the Roman emperors turned the thumb down? It’s too late now! You are nobody to spoil big daddy’s business!”
    _______________________________
    People “think” they are weak, therefore they are! Not even lemmings are as dumb as people, the myth of lemmings racing over cliffs into the crashing, boiling sea to their doom makes for a great cartoon, but says more about us than of our lowly little relatives. Please don’t amplify the lie of Big Daddy. We The People made this mess and no one else is responsible and no one else can make it right.

  105. Jbar says:
    June 4, 2010 at 4:21 am
    House raises Milankovitch forcings. He says (and I will agree) insolation at 65N latitude was
    463W/m2 at -22kyr; 527 W/m2 at -11kyr; 476 W/m2 today.

    From your numbres we are closer to to 463 than to going to 527
    Being an optimist is an evolutionary advantage, up to a point.
    Isn’t the following contradictory?
    It is also worth noting that the Milankovitch forcing is currently bottoming out and very close to a minimum. For the next 50,000 years, it will be higher than it is today
    How do you think we will avoid the dip which we have neared and coast to the next ice age? The ice core records say that we are on borrowed time, and the drop in temperatures from the beginning of the holocene agrees also.

  106. Some years back I made some calculations to get an indication of whether anthropogenic energy may be heating the planet and causing global warming. My thermodynamics made me arrive to the conclusion that the temperature rise due to energy used by us humans, be it oil, coal, gas or nuclear is INSIGNIFICANT. And I did not include any losses due to radiation to space.
    My workings were based on the weight of the atmosphere, specific heat value of air, global energy budget, and utilising thermodynamic’s law that all energy will eventually result in a temperature rise.
    Furthermore, I assumed that none of this temperature rise would migrate to the oceans but would remain locked in the atmosphere. Since the oceans have a mass thousands of times of the atmosphere, the fact that the oceans would eventually absorb some of this energy, would turn this insignificant temperature rise into a nothingness.
    I feel sorry for the warmer who would like to see the planet burning up, but it won’t. Is he an arsonist?
    To expand, what I had done, through googling I got the following data:
    Total oil extracted per annum and assume that it is all burnt up in one way or another
    Same for coal
    Same for gas
    Calorific values of these three Hydrocarbon fuels
    Total MWH genrated by means of nuclear energy
    Got the total mass of the atmosphere, specific heat value
    Churned up all the data in the following way:
    Sum of all energy from coal, oil, gas and nuclear in one whole year = Mass of atmosphere x specific heat of air x Temp rise during one year.
    Assume that no energy loss due to this is lost to space or oceans and you get the temp rise for one whole year. IT GETS TO A VERY LOW VALUE OF A FRACTION OF A DEGREE.
    When I got to this I just stopped from further iterations because it was just not worth the time.
    But if one consideres that energy is continuously lost to space ON A DAILY BASIS, and I lumped ALL THE ENERGY INTO ONE WHOLE YEAR, this insignificant rise in temp turns into an irrelevance.
    I would be glad if someone checks me out, maybe I m wrong after all.

  107. One wee little problem with your calculation Mr. House, the bulk of human activity is below 64 N concentrated over land, i.e. 30% of earth’s surface at most. The concentrated waste heat energy merely adds to the peak in isolated geographic areas of dense population (cities) and thus is dissipated harmlessly in an increased rate of heat transfer as hot air rises and expands in the upper atmosphere. Other than that your thinking is sound, the ice ages start at the polar regions where cold fronts originate and moved by the jet stream.
    Here’s a thought for everyone to consider, ice ages are a cyclical event “averaging” 80k years. When you look at the timing as we know it of ice age on set and decline, EVERY ice age begins without fail when the obliquity (41k year cycle) of the earth progresses BELOW 23.5 degrees towards the low point of 22.1 degrees. Most but not all ice ages end when earth’s obliquity approaches 24 degrees, but not always, sometimes the ice and snow doesn’t melt enough to sustain the warming trend. We are now below 23.5 degrees. I challenge everyone to look at the obliquity charts and examine for yourselves the timing of the cycle to ice age onset. At this point even if the sun didn’t go into a slumber period as it seems is happening now, the decline in obliquity still would cause an ice age. The last 400k years conclusively proves this. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/03_1.shtml

  108. It is remarkable how similar this discussion here is to the climatic change discussion in the 1970s.
    Back then there seemed to be general agreement that the human effect on climate was through aerosol pollution, which probably had a net cooling effect, and then warming by the generation of heat itself, and of CO2 when generating this heat by burning dug-up carbon. There seemed to be general agreement (Lamb in UK, Mitchell in USA and Budyko in Russia) that the effects were currently insignificant, and anyway they cancelled each other out.
    But there was concern for the future. We should not forget the original hockey sticks of this time. Population, urbanisation, energy production, nuclear weapons…this was the real basis for environmental alarmism that Borg Lomborg has shown has since been replaced by fantasy.
    In the early 1970s the Russian climatologist, Budyko, noted that pollution controls were starting to reduce aerosol production. If pollution reduction continued, and the energy production hockey stick continued, then in the short term, warming might become a problem (in the long term it would work to oppose the decline to the next ice age). For him, the direct heating effect is as significant as C02, and he was concerned that it might be more so, if we continue to drive up the hockey stick of energy production, not on fossil fuels, which would be impossible, but by expanding (think: it would be explosive expansion) of nuclear power.
    From the beginning of interest in recent and prospective global climate change (from the 1920s and 30s) the direct heating effect of human civilisation was alway a consideration — if only in the problem of avoiding distortion by urban and industrial heat production.
    While Budyko was early with concern (even alarm) for warming, his concern seems reasonable enough to me, and it was moderated by the likes of Hubert Lamb (the founder of CRU) pointing to the feedback mechanisms (such as clouds) that could moderate the slight increases in global temp we were indeed directly affecting.
    We seem to find ourselves isolated from this discussion because during the 1980s alarmist grab the media’s attention with their fearful senarios, and a new and immensely expanded funding cycle was driven by this fear. In the rush that followed, the moderated debate between Lamb and Budyko and others was trampled and almost forgotten.

  109. bubbagyro says:
    June 3, 2010 at 7:42 am
    The amount of GHG given off by termites, just one species of insects, exceeds all the GHG given off by humans’ and ruminants’ bodies, combined. Just a little factoid.
    __________________________________________________________________
    bubbagyro, do you have the reference for that?

  110. Jbar says:
    AGW types estimate that the global temperature variation due to this solar-cycle change amounts to only about 0.1 deg C over the 11+/- year cycle. If you run a statistical analysis of temperature vs. CO2, AMO, ENSO, sunspots and other factors, that analysis roughly agrees with this 0.1 C contribution by sunspots. So we can approximate the human energy consumption contribution as 1/10th of this or 0.01 deg C, once and done.

    Yes. IF the solar cycle changes in mere insolation (as opposed to more subtle effects like exposure to cosmic rays etc.) is causing things like the Little Ice Age, then it is unlikely, but just barely possible, that human heat might have an effect on that level. But since the AGWers and most of us agree that this level of mere heating does not make the difference, then human heat certainly doesn’t.

    House raises Milankovitch forcings. He says (and I will agree) insolation at 65N latitude was 463W/m2 at -22kyr; 527 W/m2 at -11kyr; 476 W/m2 today.
    So M forcing is almost as low as it was before the ice age started to end. Why then are we not in an extremely cool spell right now? Why has the globe NOT cooled significantly in the last 10,000 years, and has in fact been warming for the last 30 to 100?
    House glosses over this by speculating that it could be the heat from the oceans. I think we can rule this out easily.

    You may be correct, but I didn’t gloss over it, because speculation on that point is not crucial to my argument. What exactly it is that holds off or promotes an ice age doesn’t change the insignificance of the human heat contribution.

    That 8000 year cooling has been nearly wiped out in only the last 150 years.

    Now we might have ‘bought’ that a year ago, but no reasonable person is going to believe the temperature datasets are anything but fantasy today. Just as with Darwin on WUWT a little while ago, one can pick any station one pleases and look at the raw data, and if one avoids growing urban areas and airports, one finds the same thing: flat overall or nearly so, with short-term ups and downs. I did it with my local station (treating where I live as a place picked at random) and got the same result.
    As for the latest theory you mention, I remain unconvinced. CO2, for all sorts of reasons, doesn’t have a significant greenhouse effect, not the least being that the air is opaque at a range of ten feet to a photon in the CO2 absorption band, and we know from the simplest of observations that convective cells are far, far bigger than that, making convection the dominant heat transport mechanism. That doesn’t mean that ice sheet size isn’t involved as a trigger, of course, merely that I don’t buy that CO2 has anything at all to do with it.

  111. dscott says:
    One wee little problem with your calculation Mr. House, the bulk of human activity is below 64 N concentrated over land, i.e. 30% of earth’s surface at most.

    That’s not a problem, that is a big factor that reinforces my argument, but which I didn’t include so as to be ultra-conservative in my conclusion. If I tell you you are in no danger of death from being hit by a pillow, then it is no objection to my conclusion to point out that you are being hit by a feather, not a whole pillow.

    Here’s a thought for everyone to consider, ice ages are a cyclical event “averaging” 80k years. When you look at the timing as we know it of ice age on set and decline, EVERY ice age begins without fail when the obliquity (41k year cycle) of the earth progresses BELOW 23.5 degrees towards the low point of 22.1 degrees. Most but not all ice ages end when earth’s obliquity approaches 24 degrees, but not always, sometimes the ice and snow doesn’t melt enough to sustain the warming trend. We are now below 23.5 degrees. I challenge everyone to look at the obliquity charts and examine for yourselves the timing of the cycle to ice age onset. At this point even if the sun didn’t go into a slumber period as it seems is happening now, the decline in obliquity still would cause an ice age. The last 400k years conclusively proves this. http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/virtualmuseum/climatechange2/03_1.shtml

    Yes, I haven’t gone through that site in depth but it looks very interesting. Such data is problematic when we don’t really know what the specific mechanism of the trigger is, only the grab bag of factors involved. A repeated happening is suggestive, but we still don’t know what is coincidence and what is causative.

  112. berniel says:
    It is remarkable how similar this discussion here is to the climatic change discussion in the 1970s.

    We seem to find ourselves isolated from this discussion because during the 1980s alarmist grab the media’s attention with their fearful senarios, and a new and immensely expanded funding cycle was driven by this fear. In the rush that followed, the moderated debate between Lamb and Budyko and others was trampled and almost forgotten.

    Thanks for that explanation, it is certainly food for thought.

  113. If human beings are responsible for any delay in the next glaciation in this ice age, the mechanism will be soot.
    Nothing else makes sense. Heat pollution may have localized fleeting effects especially when local bodies of water in Northern regions are used for cooling. Once you flicked the switch the UHI would disappear almost instantly except where heat pushed the frost line up in the soil. Then you are talking days to normalize. Insignificant.

  114. Younger Dryas is thought to have been caused by the rapid discharge of an ENORMOUS fresh water glacial lake into the Arctic Ocean over some months to a year. (Probably caused by the sudden collapse of an ice dam holding the water back.) It stopped ocean thermohaline circulation (eg. Gulf Stream) from transporting warm water to the arctic. Eventually the THC restarted and the Younger Dryas ended.
    There was what seemed like a pretty conclusive research report published on this in the last few months. It’s buried somewhere in a pile of such reports in my den. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t recall the details.

  115. Jbar says:
    June 4, 2010 at 7:39 pm
    Younger Dryas is thought to have been caused by the rapid discharge of an ENORMOUS fresh water glacial lake into the Arctic Ocean over some months to a year. (Probably caused by the sudden collapse of an ice dam holding the water back.) It stopped ocean thermohaline circulation (eg. Gulf Stream) from transporting warm water to the arctic. Eventually the THC restarted and the Younger Dryas ended.
    There was what seemed like a pretty conclusive research report published on this in the last few months. It’s buried somewhere in a pile of such reports in my den. There’s more to it than that, but I don’t recall the details.
    ___________________________________________________________________________
    There seem to be alternative explanations. Actually the rapid discharge of fresh water AND the comet/what ever collision could both be correct. What a way to break an ice dam….
    ——————-
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    May 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm t
    …..For an alternate explanation of the Younger Dryas event, we have, no kidding, diamonds
    Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas Boundary Sediment Layer
    D. J. Kennett,1* J. P. Kennett,2 A. West,3 C. Mercer,4 S. S. Que Hee,5 L. Bement,6 T. E. Bunch,7 M. Sellers,7 W. S. Wolbach8
    We report abundant nanodiamonds in sediments dating to 12.9 ± 0.1 thousand calendar years before the present at multiple locations across North America. Selected area electron diffraction patterns reveal two diamond allotropes in this boundary layer but not above or below that interval. Cubic diamonds form under high temperature-pressure regimes, and n-diamonds also require extraordinary conditions, well outside the range of Earth’s typical surficial processes but common to cosmic impacts. N-diamond concentrations range from 10 to 3700 parts per billion by weight, comparable to amounts found in known impact layers. These diamonds provide strong evidence for Earth’s collision with a rare swarm of carbonaceous chondrites or comets at the onset of the Younger Dryas cool interval, producing multiple airbursts and possible surface impacts, with severe repercussions for plants, animals, and humans in North America.

    —————–
    Duster says:
    May 26, 2010 at 10:42 pm
    Willis,
    The “dip” following the “hump” actually marks the Younger Dryas. What your chart shows is that the onset of the Holocene was interrupted by the YD and actually delayed by about two thousand years. That period is problematic to paleontologists and archaeologists for several reasons. Massive extinctions are taking place. As Firestone and some others have observed there is a “nanodiamond” horizon marking the beginning of the event, but what is less commonly discussed is that the YD is also marked by an enormous C-14 anomaly which collapses near 2,000 years into an apparent 500 or so. So, in addition to Firestone’s possible extraterrestrial strike there is also a phenomenal radiation event with a large increase in cosmic rays to trigger the formation of excess C-14. The event was apparently very short in duration as well. I have yet to see any convincing hypothesis for the cause.
    ——————
    Bruce of Newcastle says:
    May 27, 2010 at 1:13 am
    Concerning the Younger Dryas dip, there’s a good article on ‘Clovis culture’ in Wikipedia. Has the nanodiamonds and even “high levels of metal and magnetic spherules found deep inside the tusks and skulls of mammoths”.

  116. Thing is though, most of the “human waste heat” is released in urban areas which of course contributes to the UHI effect, and hence may have a disproportionate influence on the thermometer record

  117. Anna V-
    Not sure I understand your questions.
    How will we avoid the dip? If you mean “how will it stay warm for 50,000 years”? I think this is the paper that brought this to light: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/297/5585/1287 They point out that orbital eccentricity will be uncharacteristically low for the next 50kyr falling close to zero in 27kyr (which means that there’s less variation between summers and winters). They have a nice expanded plot of Milankovitch forcings from -200kyr to +200 kyr that more clearly shows 65N forcing than the plots covering MMs of years that you typically find on the web. 65N forcing will be above today’s value for the next 47kyr (with a small dip in around 15kyr). Using a climate model to predict ice, they came up with 50kyr interglacial. It ends in 50kyr EVEN IF we raise CO2 to 750 ppm. It ends earlier (in about 15 kyr at the little dip) for a case where they simulated 210ppm CO2.
    There is also a precedent. One of the interglacials in the last 1MM years lasted almost 50kyr. Don’t remember which one. There’s a paper on that buried somewhere in a pile or disk folder. Those authors also indicated that the north pole went ice free during summer toward the end of that period. [Don’t ask how the polar bears survived it. Fossil and genetic data suggest that polar bears have only existed for less than 200,000 years. Very recent paper.]

  118. Alex the skeptic-
    AGW proponents are not suggesting that human energy production directly heats the planet through waste heat.
    I think Ron House is simply answering a question that came up in a recent earlier thread on WUWT and illustrating how one can estimate these things for oneself. Also, he says that a friend of his posed this question.

  119. anna v says:
    June 4, 2010 at 1:08 am

    John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm
    Re: My earlier post
    John Finn says:
    June 3, 2010 at 3:51 pm


    ???
    From the black body formula and the 10K degree difference seen in the ice core anomalies ( and presumed to reflect world anomalies) the watts/m^2 now is the often quoted 390 ( assuming average temperature 15C). For 5C the radiation is 338.7 watts/m^2.
    This is a difference over 50 in watts/m^2, overall average in the year and globe.

    Quite – but you seem to be asuming that all 50 w/m2 can be attributable to solar forcing. Not so – if Ron House’s figures are to be believed. From the above table we have
    Previous Ice Age 22,000 years ago 463Wm-2
    The Perfect Time Now 476Wm-2
    i.e. only 13 w/m2 difference at peak insolation on midsummers day (noon) . Averaged over a day it’s consideravble less – and over a year less still. The majority of the 50 w/m2 reduction you mention must have come from somewhere else. Fewer GHGs perhaps?
    If one accepts the 3.7 watts/m^2 of the IPCC this is still less than 10%, and if one takes the effect without computer model feedbacks , much less.
    Could you start by explaining how a -13 w/m2 solar forcing at peak insolation could kick start an ice age unless there were considerable feedbacks involved. As you rightly state ice age temperatures imply a 50 w/m2 reduction in energy emitted from the surface.

  120. Ron House said “the air is opaque at a range of ten feet to a photon in the CO2 absorption band”
    Whoa Ron, where did you get that data point from?? It is a VAST overstatement of the absorptive powers of CO2.
    I just ran 3, 30, 300 and 3000 meters thickness of 389 ppm of CO2 on spectralcalc.com (which anyone can do, although they have made it obnoxiously difficult to get results out for free). Ten feet (3 meters) of atmosphere DOES completely absorb some wavelengths of infrared in the CO2 bands, but over an EXTREMELY NARROW range. Per Spectralcalc:
    0-10% transmittance from 14.95 to 14.99 microns in 3 meters of atmosphere
    0-10% transmittance from 4.19 to 4.35 microns in 3 meters of atmosphere
    This is an extremely narrow window of complete absorption only 0.022 microns wide at 14.97 microns, the main absorption band! In 3 meters depth, most of CO2’s absorption spectrum has better than 98 or 99% transmittance. To see how this one 14.97 micron “curtain” of absorption broadens with atmospheric depth:

                    3 meters deep,  0.022 microns wide "complete" absorption
                 30 meters,  0.45 microns wide
              300 meters, 1.59 microns wide
           3000 meters, 2.75 microns wide  (0.377 atmospheres, actual depth 0 to 3480 meters altitude)

    You can plainly see from that data that 10 feet of atmosphere absorbs very little of the full effect of the CO2 bands. It takes hundreds if not thousands of meters of atmosphere to feel the full effect of CO2.
    You might argue that the effect of changes in the breadth of the 100% absorbance range will be felt within 10 feet of the ground, but the broadening of the absorption lines with increasing CO2 concentration (and the energy absorbed) will still be felt throughout the lower troposphere.

  121. I have said again and again: Global warming ad infinitum and global cooling as such, is impossible. If you have not figured out yet why, then go take a long bath, immerse yourself completely, come up out of the water, watch the water fall off from your skin and say to yourself: EUREKA
    (Hints: 70% of surface is water, so at some stage earth must start acting like a giant water cooling plant & people are like ants – they just have to remove snow where ever they find it. Once they find out it is the cause of global cooling they will quickly do something about that too)
    So now, everyone, please stop worrying about the carbon dioxide, we need more of it, not less. If you want to know why, ask me.

  122. Anthony – Soot…
    How much soot will we need to thaw some of the snow? The drawback is you will have to repeat the procedure every year.
    Perhaps we should try it out now somewhere in siberia.

  123. John Finn
    June 5, 2010 at 5:52 am
    All the IPCC numbers depend on using the black body formula.
    The logic is that at a given temperature, energy input equals energy output for steady state. Energy input comes only from the sun ( if we ignore vulcanism and gravity). Energy output is black body radiation all said and done. Thus I do not have to trust anybody’s regional tables ( as the numbers you are quoting) if I am comparing global values, as the 3.9 watts/m^2 are global average for CO2 doubling.
    The delay in releasing the energy that CO2 is supposed to induce, just affects the time from going from one steady state to the other, not the total energy inputted and outputted.

  124. p.s.
    I do not have a model for the start of the ice ages to compete with the suggestions of Archibald and House. The feedback of albedo is easy to cook up once the trend starts.
    My calculation tries to put into context the global CO2 claim of IPCC with the global energetics of ice age versus holocene optimum.

  125. anna v says:
    June 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm
    p.s.
    I do not have a model for the start of the ice ages to compete with the suggestions of Archibald and House. The feedback of albedo is easy to cook up once the trend starts.
    My calculation tries to put into context the global CO2 claim of IPCC with the global energetics of ice age versus holocene optimum

    Ok – look again at the numbers in the article posted, i.e. 476 w/m2 NOW vs 463 w/m2 durng the LGM. This is a difference of ~13 w/m2 which represents a change of 2%-3%. If we assume that this change was uniform across the globe (day/night, winter/summer) then the average 240 w/m2 would be reduced by ~6.5 w/m2. This equates to a temperature (black body) decline of ~1.7 deg. Clearly, if these numbers are right (I am questioning them??) the feedback (albedo & ghgs) must have been at least twice that of the primary (solar) forcing.
    Also if a 6-7 w/m2 reduction in solar forcing brings on an ice age then a 3.7 w/m2 (CO2) increase could well be more significant than many of us are prepared to admit. Basically, this thread post by Ron House supports a strong positive feedback.

  126. “It may be you are right that this is a post-wastage figure. If so, doubling it should fix the problem.”
    Doubling isn’t close to correct. We burn a lot of stuff that never gets near the electricity grid or “energy supply”. Nor are any electricity plants close to 50% efficient.
    Assume that no energy loss due to this is lost to space or oceans and you get the temp rise for one whole year. IT GETS TO A VERY LOW VALUE OF A FRACTION OF A DEGREE.
    But even the warmists only reckon that we are warming at 0.02 degrees a year. An warming of 0.01°C is significant.
    It’s no good saying that our efforts are insignificant if they are what tip the balance. You have to show that the system will cope, and I don’t reckon you can do that. Just as I don’t reckon the warmists can show that that CO2 is what is making the difference.
    A company that makes a 1% profit and a company that makes a 1% loss a year only have a difference of 2% of the companies output. One will be soon gone though, because sometimes a small difference is all it takes sometimes.

  127. Jbar says:
    Ron House said “the air is opaque at a range of ten feet to a photon in the CO2 absorption band”
    Whoa Ron, where did you get that data point from?? It is a VAST overstatement of the absorptive powers of CO2.

    3 meters deep, 0.022 microns wide “complete” absorption
    30 meters, 0.45 microns wide
    300 meters, 1.59 microns wide
    3000 meters, 2.75 microns wide (0.377 atmospheres, actual depth 0 to 3480 meters altitude)

    Thanks for pulling those figures out. I have tried that site and I can’t even find the magic formula for running a calculation. That said, I think you are looking at this from a confusing viewpoint.
    Absorption bands, theoretically, are narrow, and are widened by temperature and other factors. The point about your 30, 300, and 3000 metre figures is that these represent very minor amounts of the energy absorbed by the CO2. If you invert your figures in order to see absorption rate at a given line width, we see that in the centre of the band, absorption is as I said, and at 0.45 microns, absorption is already down to 1/10th of the absorption in the centre and at 1.59 microns it is down to 1%. For every band of every absorber, it will be possible to find widths that give any result you like for absorption rate, because the bands have no definite edges, the absorption just gets weaker and weaker.
    The question is, what part of the complete effect is that responsible for? If CO2 only had, say 300-metre absorption in the centre of its absorption band, and if that were being reduced to 150 metres by a doubling, then even then, it would be very doubtful that this would have a significant effect on temperature because convective cells can easily be that big. I watched two eagles soaring on one just yesterday. So what we observe is that at least 99% of CO2’s greenhouse effectiveness occurs on a distance scale easily overwhelmed by convective effects. Doubling it merely tinkers with the left-over 1%. That is why I, for one, even entertain a doubt that the claimed logarithmic increase in temperature as CO2 increases is a small enough statement of the greenhouse effect.

  128. John Finn says:
    June 5, 2010 at 5:29 pm
    Ok – look again at the numbers in the article posted, i.e. 476 w/m2 NOW vs 463 w/m2 durng the LGM. This is a difference of ~13 w/m2 which represents a change of 2%-3%. If we assume that this change was uniform across the globe (day/night, winter/summer) then the average 240 w/m2 would be reduced by ~6.5 w/m2. This equates to a temperature (black body) decline of ~1.7 deg. Clearly, if these numbers are right (I am questioning them??) the feedback (albedo & ghgs) must have been at least twice that of the primary (solar) forcing.
    Well, I do not think that they assume that. The model examines this specific region with specific suppositions of available energy and that that is the region crucial for starting an ice age. Those are regional numbers and you would need to have sunlight inclination angles etc to integrate over the globe. One cannot just take percentages.

  129. John Finn wondered – “If we assume that this change was uniform across the globe”
    It’s not uniform. Most of this effect is due to precession of Earth’s axis, so when insolation is down at 65 deg N, it is up at 65 deg S latitude. The effect of insolation variation is dampened in the S hemisphere because the Antarctic land mass is permanently snow-covered. (Except for periods when it may get warm enough to destabilize the west Antarctic ice sheet, much of which is grounded below sea level.)

  130. Mooloo said – “But even the warmists only reckon that we are warming at 0.02 degrees a year. An warming of 0.01°C [due to direct heating from energy production] is significant.”
    Except that the warmist warming is every year, each one adding to the previous one over time, whereas the energy production warming is one-time-and-done. Once energy production raises the globe by 0.01C, the globe is radiatively in balance with that extra heat until we increase our annual energy use more.

  131. Not sure what you’re trying to say. It’s not quite clicking.
    Also, not sure that doubling CO2 will reduce the total-absorption depth by half. Would need to do a bit of math.
    I will illustrate what I am trying to say with the following in more detail.
    Radiation absorption is multiplicative (or “logarithmic”). Say you have an amount of CO2 that absorbs 50% at wavelength X. 100% going in, 50% coming out.
    If you then add an equal amount of CO2, you could think of it like stacking one equal layer on top of the other. The first layer works like the above. The second layer absorbs 50% of the radiation coming into IT, and allows 25% of the source radiation to pass.
    If you triple the CO2, or “add a 3rd layer”, then the 3rd layer absorbs 50% of the 25% coming into it, letting only 12.5% of the source radiation to pass. And so on.
    So in the end, the transmittance at ‘y’ ppm equals the transmittance at 1ppm raised to the ‘y’ power.
    Now say you have a range of wavelengths each with a different transmittance. What happens when you double CO2?
    1% –> 1% * 1% = 0.1%
    10% –> 10% * 10% = 1%
    20% –> 4%
    31.6% –> 10%
    50% –> 25%
    70.7% –> 50%
    86.6% — 75%
    95% –> 90.25%
    99% –> 98.01%
    This illustrates that when you double CO2, the increase in the energy absorbed is distributed throughout the atmosphere, not just in the first 10 feet or 100 feet. However I agree generally that the greatest amount of increase in energy absorbed is closer to the surface than not. Calculating the function of energy absorbed vs altitude is beyond my time limit or perhaps ability, and we are already way off topic of the thread. (Don’t tell Willis!)
    Your thread says that direct human contribution to warming via waste heat is too small to worry about. I’m convinced. Well done!

  132. hi guys, going thru all what was mentioned all of the above, i have a small point of view to share which is back to the basics of human activity. not limited to oxygen consumption but resources consumption that generates heat, bi-products and toxicity. if we could only effectively consume natural sources which a relative amount of wastage close to zero (impossible!) together with recycling, i think nature wont fast forward this natural catastrophy “global warming” that has been everybody’s nightmare. technology speaks for itself the essence of the word is derived from the basic word consume (opinionwise).

  133. howdee guys, going thru all what was mentioned all of the above, i have a small point of view to share which is back to the basics of human activity. not limited to oxygen consumption but resources consumption that generates heat, bi-products and toxicity. if we could only effectively consume natural sources which a relative amount of wastage close to zero (impossible!) together with recycling, i think nature wont fast forward this natural catastrophy “global warming” that has been everybody’s nightmare. technology speaks for itself the essence of the word is derived from the basic word consume (opinionwise).

  134. Jbar says:
    Not sure what you’re trying to say. It’s not quite clicking.
    Also, not sure that doubling CO2 will reduce the total-absorption depth by half. Would need to do a bit of math.

    OK, second point first. A photon is absorbed when it encounters a CO2 molecule (in the correct orientation, with the correct energy levels, etc etc.), which is the molecule’s cross-section. Absorption is ‘total’ (meaning to within some small amount of 100%) when enough molecules are present to reduce the probability of the photon’s having an uninterrupted path to sufficiently close to zero. From simple geometric considerations, if this happens at distance X for concentration C, then it must occur at distance X/2 for concentration 2C, since in both cases will a photon ‘run interference’ from the same number of CO2 molecules.
    Your first point: You went on to show how the energy is distributed throughout the atmosphere, which is exactly correct (except the first line which should read 0.01%). Your explanation after that is pretty much what I was trying to get at, except you have explained it much better. Here is another attempt to say the same thing:
    Imagine an absorption line in a spectrum. It has a characteristic shape like a little cutout from the spectrum with rounded edges. We can’t draw it here, but I am sure you know what I mean. Now the total greenhouse effect of that molecule is caused by the total energy absorption of that entire absorption line. It represents a ‘piece cut out’ of the transmitted energy. Now the claim is that greenhouse gases are responsible for about 30C of the Earth’s temperature. I am not sure what amount of that is expected to be CO2 alone, but let’s say all of it, to be on the safe side, even though we know H2O is a much greater absorber than CO2. Another conservative assumption I’ll make to keep things simple is to forget that the Stephan Boltzmann equations tell us that radiant flux is proportional to T^4, and simply regard a temperature drop as being proportional to the energy ‘cut out’. This is a stupendously huge assumption that makes my argument much harder to win.
    (A note to non-scientific readers: anyone can get personal insight into scientific matters. The method is this: use your intuition to decide which way the truth lies, then simplify everything until you can see it plainly without the need for calculations. But every simplification you make must be ‘against’ your intuitive suspicion. Then, if the outcome is that your suspicion is confirmed, you can be very sure indeed that a detailed calculation would be even more in favour of your suspicion. If, on the other hand, your suspicion is not confirmed, then you know that a more in-depth investigation is needed. But if your intuition is good, you’ll often get a positive result that you have seen for yourself through your own insight, and not because you had to choose “whose climate science to buy” as one foolish warmist put it.)
    So let’s now imagine that cutout shape of the absorption line. The energy absorbed is the area under the curve. The bulk of the energy and hence the temperature effect is due to the high central peak, and only very little is due to the extended edges. If we know that the entire central section from, say, 1/30th of maximum absorption on the left to the same point on the right is effectively ‘maxed out’, then it is only changes in the left and right tails of the absorption band that can have an effective influence on temperature. But by their very nature as the tiny tails, they are only a minor part of the total effect of CO2. Any change we make to them is a change in a very small proportion of the total temperature influence. And absorption bands do not get wider in proportion to concentration, they widen less the more CO2 there is. This would account for why a logarithmic effect, not a proportional one, is predicted by those who have done the complete calculation.

  135. Henry@Ron&Jbar
    I don’t know how we got onto CO2 again, but here is something that I wrote some time ago, which might interest you guys.
    here is the famous paper that confirms to me that CO2 is (also) cooling the atmosphere by re-radiating sunshine:
    http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec
    they measured this radiation as it bounced back to earth from the moon. Follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um.
    This paper here shows that there is absorption of CO2 at between 0.21 and 0.19 um (close to 202 nm):
    http://www.nat.vu.nl/en/sec/atom/Publications/pdf/DUV-CO2.pdf
    There are other papers that I can look for again that will show that there are also absorptions of CO2 at between 0.18 and 0.135 um and between 0.125 and 0.12 um.
    We already know from the normal IR spectra that CO2 has big absorption between 4 and 5 um.
    So, to sum it up, we know that CO2 has absorption in the 14-15 um range causing some warming (by re-radiating earthshine) but as shown and proved above it also has a number of absorptions in the 0-5 um range causing cooling (by re-radiating sunshine). This cooling happens at all levels where the sunshine hits on the carbon dioxide same as the earthshine. The way from the bottom to the top is the same as from top to the bottom. So, my question is: how much cooling and how much warming is caused by the CO2? How was the experiment done to determine this and where are the test results? (I am afraid that simple heat retention testing might not work here, we have to use real sunshine and real earthshine to determine the effect in W/m3 [0.03%- 0.06%]CO2/m2/24hours). I am also doubtful of the analysis of the spectral data, as some of the UV absorptions of CO2 have only been discovered recently. Also, I think the actual heat caused by the sun’s IR at 4-5 maybe underestimated, e.g. the radiation of the sun between 4 and 5 maybe only 1% but how many watts/m2 does it cause? Here in Africa you can not stand in the sun for longer that 10 minutes, just because of the heat of the sun on your skin.
    Anyway, with so much at stake, surely, you actually have to come up with some empirical testing? You cannot rely on calculations only.What the IPCC did is weighting (comparing global warming & concentrations of CO2 and other gases with that of 1750 =pre-industrial). Personnally, I could find no proper results from actual experiments!
    If this research has not been done, why don’t we just sue the oil companies to do this?? It is their product afterall.
    I am going to state it here quite categorically again that if no one has got these results, then how do we know for sure that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Maybe the cooling properties are (more or less) equal to the warming properties.
    We know that Svante Arrhenius’ formula has long been proven wrong. If it had been right earth should have been a lot warmer. So I am asking: what is the correct formula? If you people are convinced that CO2 causes warming, then surely you must ask yourself the same question as I have been asking??
    I think it also very important that the experiments must be conducted in the relevant concentration range, i.e. 0.03% – 0.06%. You cannot use 100% CO2 in a test, and present that to me as a test result. Any good chemist knows that different concentration ranges in solutions may give different results in properties. In any case, those people who presented those 100% CO2 tests and results to their pupils used a simple globe lamp (representing the sun) and totally forgot about the cooling properties of CO2 (like I am claiming above here)

  136. It seems to me that the weather guys, with their weather computer models, have much of what we are discussing built into their models. Obviously, convection carries a great deal of heat from near the surface to the rest of the atmosphere. Also obvious, the sun provides way over 99% of our current energy input, with geothermal (natural nuclear) and tidal (moon and sun) being next in importance. The most important moderators of solar are solar output (marked by sunspots) and cloud albedo, and in ice ages snow albedo is also important.
    After that, changes in absorption by volcanoes, vegetation putting sulfur compounds in the air, and ocean currents. That would make human activity about eleventh in importance, with paving causing a decrease in evaporation probably the most important, and changes in evaporation by tilling the soil next. Finally, thirteenth and fourteenth are human CO2 and human heating via fossil fuels and nuclear.
    Most of these we can quantify via the weather computers.
    1. Solar (and solar fluctuations)
    2. Water vapor albedo
    3. Ocean currents
    4. Evaporation
    5. Snow albedo
    6. Atmospheric absorption
    7. Air convection
    8. Tidal energy
    9. Other geothermal (radioactivity, gravity)
    10. Volcanoes
    11. Non-human related biological activity (methane, sulfur, CO2)
    12. Paving
    13. Tilling
    14. Other human activity (heating, transportation, CO2)
    Note that this also changes the focus from “Global Warming” to Northern Hemisphere Polar winter warming, Southern Hemisphere winter nighttime warming, equatorial lower troposphere daytime spring warming, etc. But, of course, that doesn’t have the ego involvement that “Anthropogenic Global Warming” seems to have.
    Of course, I may have the order wrong. If so, I’m sure that someone here will notice.

  137. Of course, there have also been some continuously burning gas/oilfields for the last 40 odd years..some longer! Check out these monster flaming holes!!
    Russia –
    “Darvaz: The Door to Hell”
    http://englishrussia.com/index.php/2008/03/25/darvaz-the-door-to-hell/
    USA -Pennsylvania
    http://atlasobscura.com/place/centralia
    Germany – (sorry about the WIKI reference)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brennender_Berg
    This one has been burning since before 1700.
    Then there was the burning oilfields from the Gulf wars ..
    I wonder what extra heat has been added to the budget from that?
    I’d love to see the UHI-style heat bubble around these areas on some charts..

  138. Ron House,
    said “From simple geometric considerations, if this happens at distance X for concentration C, then it must occur at distance X/2 for concentration 2C, ”
    I don’t like to rely on simple geometric considerations, so I actually did the math for a reality check (it was easier than I thought with formula in hand), and the math proves you are right. Doubling the concentration reduces by half the depth it takes to absorb a particular amount of radiation. (Incidentally, here’s a handy basic physics reference site: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/ligcon.html#c1 and their summary on absorption: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/phyopt/absorb.html#c1 )
    I also agree completely as I said before with your original point that waste heat generated by energy production causes only an insignificant rise in planetary temperature.

  139. As I said before, I am not yet completely convinced by the estimate of 0.12 given for human influence. What if there is a cumulative effect? In other words, you must also count the energy released by all the bombs and atomic bombs exploded during wars and tests, & all the satelites put into orbit, etc. etc. for the past century. You just cannot go by fuel usage for one year only. Also, what about the heat from veldfires (bush fires)? What about all the people here (in Africa) burning wood (4 barbecues) ? What about cooling plants? (used for cooling processes). What about cooling at Nuclear plants? etc. etc. etc. There is no also widespread collection of heat from the sun, which must also be taken into account.
    No, I don’t think you have even come near to making an accurate estimate of man made heat, surely.

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