Waste heat – a bigger climate effect than once thought

Earth at night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Heat Has Large-scale Climate Effects

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

Guang Zhang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

###

Here is another press release from NCAR:

January 27, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Distinct from urban heat island effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the article

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

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

Publication: Nature Climate Change, January 27, 2013

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

The Paper:

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

Guang J. Zhang, Ming Cai, & Aixue Hu

Abstract:

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

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

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

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

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though Zhang said drawing power from renewable sources such as solar or wind provides a societal benefit in that it does not add net energy into the atmosphere.
Not true. Solar panels have a very low albedo. Increasing solar energy capture at the surface.
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/solar-at-home/2009/10/27/the-albedo-effect/

ShrNfr

The rate of energy consumption is in watts. The total is in watt hours. Watt’s Up With That??

Don Keiller

So we have “black carbon”, natural cycles, aerosols not lowering temperatures by as much as the computers said and now UHI warming “rural” areas over 1000 miles away.
Please tell me what CO2’s role is?

Gary

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

Arno Arrak

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

Peter Hannan

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

The Disney World parking lot is over 160 acres. Now, in that lot you have space for over 11,000 rather efficient solar heaters. The sun shines on the roof and through the glass of those cars, it is not shaded, it is open asphalt. How many watts per square meter of sunlight is being converted to heat with those? And for every one of them where a window is left cracked to keep the inside from overheating and the dash from melting (and I have actually had my dash melt from being parked in the sun) there is an even more efficient transfer of heat from solar radiation to atmospheric heat. Actually building a solar heater the size and efficiency of a car would take a bit of money and materials. 11,000 of them could generate quite a bit of heat. There are around a billion cars on the planet.
I am very sincere in my belief that simply having about a billion cars parked out in the sun every single day all across the globe warms the atmosphere considerably. People might poo-poo the idea but if every single one of these cars is added up, I believe it is more of a “greenhouse effect” than the atmospheric CO2. It would also result in a much greater delta in temperature caused by clouds. Shade the sun a bit and you have millions of cars slow down their heat production a bit.
Simply providing shaded parking might have a measurable impact on urban heat island impacts.

Bill

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

Doug Huffman

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

talldave2

It’s funny how the piece never mentions the fact this means the warming since LIA is less due to CO2 than previously thought.
I bet the authors will even dispute that interpretation. The state of climate science is always “worse than we thought.”

NZ Willy

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

tgmccoy

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

“unexplained winter warming over northern Asia” You’re talking about Siberia? Getting too warm there in winter, I’d like to see the data.

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

File under Duh.

polistra

Affecting the jet stream … makes sense, given that cities on the west coast of both North and South America are not warming.
http://polistrasmill.blogspot.com/2013/01/west-coast-is-not-part-of-globe.html
You have to be downstream of cities to get the warming.

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

Lawrie Ayres

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

David, UK

We identify the plausible climate impacts of energy consumption using a global climate model.
They added that this effect helps explain the disparity between actual observed warming in the last half-century and the amount of warming that computer models have been able to account for.
Using a computer model of the atmosphere, the authors found that the influence of this waste heat can widen the jet stream.
The authors also contend that the urban heat effect accounts for the discrepancy between observed warming and winter warming simulated in the models used by the climate science community for analysis and prediction of climate.
They suggest that the influence of energy consumption accompany heat-trapping gases and aerosols as necessary variables in computer models.

Truly model behaviour.

Ed MacAulay

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

Box of Rocks

Oh please.
Not all energy is created equal….

LazyTeenager

It seems his observations were spot-on, as this new paper just published in Nature Climate Change tells us. From the University of San Diego:
—-
Not exactly.
It’s the USA versus the world. The average global temps are not affected signicantly by this effect.
This effect has only regional consequences that can be both up and down in temperatures.
Might cause a slight uptick in trends in some highly urbanised counties and a slight downtick in trends in other highly urbanised countries. It all depends on where countries are situated with respect to weather patterns.
There is a slight chance it might bias global average temp trends but which way has to be determined.

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

Jeff Norman

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

john robertson

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

Surfer Dave

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

LazyTeenager

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

bones

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

joeldshore

Arno Arrak says:

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

Yes…It has occurred to them. And, this calculation is easy enough that I have led introductory physics students through it. However, the number on a global scale is very small. Roy Spencer has derived a much bigger number by comparing the energy intensity in W/m^2 just over the U.S. to the global radiative forcing from CO2. If he had looked at the world energy consumption and divided by the total surface area of the Earth, the value he would have gotten would have been only about 0.03 W/m^2, or more than a factor of 10 smaller than what he calculated…and almost a factor of 50 smaller than the radiative forcing due to CO2.
However, the fact that this can affect temperatures on a local scale (along with other factors that lead to the well-known and not at all controversial urban heat island effect is well-known). What apparently is new to this paper is the effect it can have on global weather patterns.

Lady Life Grows

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

Macha

How about the radiant heat from people? Compare that to biomass from age of dinosaurs too

RockyRoad

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

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

I guess I’m more the “hard core” skeptic than most. I’m looking at this thinking “More crap from models being fed fantasy ideas and predicting warming.” Sure the model finds effects. They find effects from anything. In the real world, that hotter air would convect heat to altitude leaving only low levels of UHI like “delta enough to make convection go faster”. How may TW come from the sun directly each day? How “big” is this in proportion? Yeah, its not…
I have no doubt you get a warm plume off of NYC. I have a lot of doubt that it changes Siberia…

LazyTeenager

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

LazyTeenager

Lady Life Grows
Warming would be GOOD. We need to harp on that reality a whole lot more.
——–
Depends whether you are situated in an area of desert or not and whether changes in weather patterns make your situation better or worse.
Short term we see increased greening on a global scale but the effect is not uniform. Over the longer term its not clear what is going to happen.

Please NOTE:
With the MINOR exception of LIGHT (visible) escaping directly to SPACE..and the TRIVIAL amount of RF radiation going into space…(both amounting to about 5% of our “energy use”) EVERY bit of energy, elsewise, goes to HEAT.
Yes, the turning of the wheels, the turning of a fan, the pumping of water….it all ends up as HEAT.
I’m rather sure that a simple application of the Stephan/Boltzman law will show a net upward adjustment of about 0.1 degree C will MATCH the “energy release” of all mechanisms on Earth.

Birdieshooter

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

This study has some interesting ideas, though I’m not sure they can be of much pragmatic use.
It is fairly obvious cities must have an effect downstream. After all, even a butterfly flapping its wing can have an effect downstream.
We small mortals like to think we have power. A pebble can start an avalanche. (For you Dr. Suess fans: One little “Who” going “Yopp!” can let others besides “Horton the Elephant” hear.)
The absurdity enters in when people become afraid to budge a pebble, (or utter the word “Yopp!”) because they are afraid they will bring about the end of all life as we know it.
Butterflies are flapping their wings all over the place. There is no need to ban them, just because they “might” or “could” have an effect.

DesertYote

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

Martin Rey

Someboy mus calculate how many watts /m2 produce an human body, and his breath
The pobulation of earth cuadruplicated in the last century..
Maybe the antropogenic warming is a reality.

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

u.k.(us)

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

Chris Edwards

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

OssQss

Caleb says:
January 27, 2013 at 5:49 pm
I hear ya on that butterfly thing 🙂
I wonder if anyone has done a study on the SubUrban Heat Islands. How do septic tanks impact the climate? Just sayin, it must in some way……..

davidmhoffer

Martin Rey says:
January 27, 2013 at 5:51 pm
Someboy mus calculate how many watts /m2 produce an human body, and his breath
The pobulation of earth cuadruplicated in the last century..
Maybe the antropogenic warming is a reality.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Skin temperature ~ 20 C
Via SB Law = 418 w/m2
Average area of skin per person ~ 1.8 m2
Population 7 billion
418*1.8*7000000000= 5.3*10^12
Area of earth = 5.1*10^14
(5.3*10^12)/(5.1*10^14)= 0.01 w/m2
via SB Law, assuming an average earth temperature of 15 C, temps would increase to:
15.002 C
awg might be real, but not due to human beings radiating from their skin.

Here is one. Ive seen a couple others.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL036465/abstract
folks should take care when comparing US numbers to global numbers.
Any way.. small figure globally in terms of extra watts. bigger numbers for various regions. hey its not uniform.. duh.

thingadonta

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

Catcracking

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

Waste heat probably started climbing even more as more jet aircraft were used for transportation.
One study (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/airports/acaps/7471sec6.pdf), shows that on takeoff, a 747 put out temps as high as 140 degrees, felt as far back as 50 ft – and 85 degrees as far back as 550 ft (see page 11 of the reference).
These jets first saw commercial use in 1970 (Pan Am), and there were about 1200 or so made (can’t find exact numbers because of the various models). Their effect would have been even more localized, because it took special runways (length and runway bearing strength) to accommodate the aircraft.
And location does matter – for example, O’Hare airport, from 1989 to end of 2012, saw 20,773,461 take-offs and landings (divide by half for number of flights).

u.k.(us)

Steven Mosher says:
January 27, 2013 at 6:46 pm
Here is one. Ive seen a couple others.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL036465/abstract
folks should take care when comparing US numbers to global numbers.
Any way.. small figure globally in terms of extra watts. bigger numbers for various regions. hey its not uniform.. duh.
=========
Your lack of effort, in writing, wastes my time.
Duh.

Wayne d

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