Month: February 2017

SpaceX Moon mission extends Elon Musk’s ambitions

SpaceX Moon mission extends Elon Musk’s ambitions

via Current News – Principia Scientific Internationalhttp://principia-scientific.org

Elon Musk, it seems, loves nothing more than to spin plates. When most of us might be looking to lighten the load, he’s piling on the ambition.
The serial entrepreneur’s latest gambit is to fly people around the Moon. Two wealthy individuals have apparently lodged significant deposits with his SpaceX company to make this journey. We have no idea who they are, just that these space tourists…

Click title above to read the full article

via Current News – Principia Scientific International http://ift.tt/1kjWLPW

February 28, 2017 at 09:15AM

Opportunity: NASA is seeking science advisory members

Opportunity: NASA is seeking science advisory members

via Watts Up With That?http://ift.tt/1Viafi3

NASA is seeking members for four new advisory committees: Astrophysics Advisory Committee (APAC) Earth Science Advisory Committee (ESAC) Heliophysics Advisory Committee (HPAC) Planetary Science Advisory Committee (PAC) Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in the past, people who are not part of the Global Warming establishment may not be “qualified”: The following qualifications/experience are highly desirable in […]

via Watts Up With That? http://ift.tt/1Viafi3

February 28, 2017 at 08:05AM

The timing of interglacials

The timing of interglacials

via Watts Up With That?http://ift.tt/1Viafi3

By Andy May

P. C. Tzedakis and co-authors have just published a new paper in the February 23, 2017 issue of Nature entitled “A simple rule to determine which insolation cycles lead to interglacials.” The paper introduces new rules for defining interglacial periods in the geological record. They come up with the same interglacial periods that Javier identified in his post Nature Unbound I: The Glacial Cycle.

The Earth has been in an ice age for the last 2.6 million years, Javier defined an ice age as:

“… any period when there are extensive ice sheets over vast land regions, as we see now.”

Tzedakis, et al. note that

“The fundamental property that underlies the concept of an interglacial is high sea-level.”

The higher sea-level is a result of melting a significant amount of land-ice during the interglacial. We are currently in the “Quaternary Ice Age,” which is either the coldest or the second coldest period in the last 500 million years as can be seen in figures 1 and 2. These are the most popular temperature reconstructions of the past 540 million years. Ice ages (or a collection of closely spaced continental glacial periods) have occurred in the geological record roughly every 150 million years in the Phanerozoic. The cause of these cold periods is not known, but we are clearly in one now.

Figure 1, source Veizer, et al., 1999 and Wikipedia

Figure 2, Phanerozoic temperatures, source Geocraft

The current (Quaternary) ice age is punctuated by warm periods, called interglacials. These warm periods are identified in the geological record by rising sea level. They persist for about 15,000 years on average and are typically 4° to 5°C warmer than the preceding glacial period, with the difference much larger at the poles than at the equator. Glacial periods are much longer than interglacials, and are the norm for the Quaternary, the warm interglacials are the anomaly. As discussed in Nature Unbound I and in Tzedakis, et al., 2017, we have had 13 interglacial periods in the past one million years. These are identified with red bars in Figure 3 (Javier’s figure 12).

Figure 3, Orbital obliquity increases, which correlate to July insolation peaks at 65°N, are colored. Red identifies successful interglacials and blue identifies a failure. The labels are MIS numbers. Low late-glacial temperatures (red circles below the blue dashed line) stimulate interglacials. High insolation at 65°N, the green circles above the green dashed line also stimulate interglacials. MIS 13 is an anomaly. Source Nature Unbound I.

The same interglacials are identified, with slightly different nomenclature, in figure 2 (our figure 4) of Tzedakis et al. The numbers in figure 3 and across the top of figure 4 are the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) number, the odd numbers refer to “interstadials” which are warmer periods, separating the even numbered “stadials” or cooler periods. Notice that both Tzedakis et al. and Javier find more than one interglacial in MIS 7 and 15. We are currently living in MIS 1. Some interstadials are significant enough (as judged by the rise in sea level) to be labeled interglacials and some are not. One of the problems in Quaternary geology is how to objectively tell a true interglacial period from a common interstadial. Javier and Tzedakis, et al. have different criteria, but come to very similar conclusions.

Figure 4, Obliquity peaks are shaded in gray, the black line is the caloric summer half-year insolation at 65°N, the red circles are insolation maxima nearest the onset of interglacials, black diamonds are continued interglacials, light blue triangles are failed interstadials. The orange line is the δ18O stack representing temperature. The upper numbers are MIS numbers for interglacials and the lower are kyrs (thousands of years) before present or the number of a continued interglacial or a failed interstadial. The “Mid-Pleistocene Transition” toward lower-frequency higher-amplitude glacial cycles is apparent near MIS 38/37. Source Tzedakis, et al., Nature, 2017.

Javier’s methodology for identifying interglacials begins with locating every period of rising obliquity which creates a window that can initiate an interglacial. Fewer than half of these periods results in an interglacial. Next, he looks for the periods where summer insolation at 65°N exceeds 550 W/m2 and where the temperature of the preceding glacial period is below 4.55 0/00 δ18O. δ18O is a common proxy for atmospheric temperature because the colder it gets, the less 18O is found in glacier ice . The boundaries and the resulting classification are shown in figure 3.

Tzedakis (2017) uses a different methodology that results in the same set of interglacials for the past one million years. The methodology is summarized in figure 5.

Figure 5: Temperature peaks for the last 2.6 million years separated into successful interglacials (red dots), failed interglacials (blue diamonds), continued interglacials (black diamonds) and uncertain assignments (open symbols). The dashed black line separates successful interglacials from unsuccessful interstadials with only two misclassifications (59 and 63). The ramp in the dashed line is the “mid-Pleistocene transition.” Source: Tzedakis, et al., 2017.

Figure 5 plots effective energy required to cause an interglacial versus time. As can be seen more effective energy is required to initiate an interglacial over the past 600,000 years than before 1.5 million years. In figure 4, interglacials (red dots) were more frequent and more regular before 1.5 million years ago, when they corresponded to the obliquity cycle of 41,000 years. Peak summer solstice insolation at 65°N is a function of the 21,000-year precession cycle. But, rising obliquity enhances the “caloric half-year insolation at 65°N” which is more relevant to ice loss. Prior to 1.5 million years ago, every other insolation peak at 65°N was boosted by increasing obliquity and an interglacial would occur. The idea of “caloric summer half-year insolation” originated with Milanković.

More recent interglacials occur about 100,000 years apart, meaning more insolation peaks are skipped now than before 1.5 million years ago. Thus, recent glacial periods are longer now and average ice volume is larger today than in the past. The ramp between the two horizontal lines is the mid-Pleistocene transition (MPT). Effective energy is computed using equation one from Tzedakis, et al., 2017. It is computed using the caloric summer half-year insolation peak at 65°N in (GJ/m2) and the time since the previous interglacial period. Tzedakis, et al. explain including the time since the previous interglacial in terms of ice stability. That is, the longer the ice has existed and the thicker it is the more unstable it is.

Why current interglacials require more effective energy to initiate is not known. Tzedakis, et al. list several possible reasons, but do not offer a preferred theory. Why current glacial periods are more severe today than prior to 1.5 million years ago, is also not known.

Clark, et al. 2006 have noted that the severity of glacial periods and the total land-ice volume increased dramatically after the mid-Pleistocene transition. The additional land-ice present now, versus before the MPT, represents a decrease of 50 meters of sea-level equivalent. While land-ice volume increased after the MPT, the area covered with ice did not, suggesting that average land-ice thickness increased. Clark, et al. (2006) also estimate a decrease in in global deep-water ocean temperature of 1.2°C currently, relative to the pre-MPT period of 41,000 year glaciations. Thus, we are not only in a major ice-age, we are also in the coldest part of the current ice age.

So, although Javier and Tzedakis, et al. used different criteria they did identify the same interglacials for the past million years. Tzedakis et al.’s method is able to classify all but two interglacials correctly for the past 2.6 million years and their method only uses orbital forcing and elapsed time as input. This last point is important as they found no need to incorporate either CO2 concentration or δ18O records. This suggests that glaciations are caused solely by astronomical forcing, although the reason for the MPT is unclear. Tzedakis, et al. is also important because they seem to have resolved most, if not all, outstanding problems with the original Milanković theory.

via Watts Up With That? http://ift.tt/1Viafi3

February 28, 2017 at 07:01AM

German Electricity Price Projected To Quadruple By 2020, To Over 40 Cents Per Kilowatt-Hour!

German Electricity Price Projected To Quadruple By 2020, To Over 40 Cents Per Kilowatt-Hour!

via NoTricksZonehttp://notrickszone.com

Once ballyhooed as a cheap source of energy (“The sun doesn’t send an electric bill”), Germany’s attempted transition to wind and solar energy is rapidly heading towards a full-blown central planning folly of historic dimensions.

The German electricity consumer advocacy group NAEB projects that Germany’s electric power rates will continue to soar, possibly reaching an industry back-breaking 45 euro cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020, and even higher over the years that follow.

NAEB power price projections for 2020. Note that the horizontal scale changes at the year 2010 in order to condense the chart. The upper curve shows German electricity prices in euro-cents per kilowatt-hour, the middle curve shows the price for France and the lower curve for the USA. Source: NAEB.

Currently German power costs about 30 euro-cents per kilowatt-hour, and so are among the highest worldwide. The price is projected to soar another 50% rise to 45 cents by 2020. That would make German power 4 times more expensive than US power, and more than double that of France. This poses a real threat to German economic competitiveness.

Although the growth in German electricity prices have slowed some since 2015, the gap between German prices and other competing countries is as gaping as ever, with no relief in sight. In fact USA’s prices could even soon begin to ease off.

The NAEB writes:

For the Germany curve, one clearly sees the effects of market liberalization starting in the mid 1990s. Since 2000 the Energiewende mercilessly went into action! In 2015 we updated the estimates.”

The trend bodes ill for Germany’s energy-intensive sectors such as chemicals, glass and cement. The growing chasm compared to prices in USA and France risks a severe erosion of Germany’s domestic industry and long-term economic growth.

 

via NoTricksZone http://notrickszone.com

February 28, 2017 at 05:39AM