Supreme irony: wind farms can cause atmospheric warming, finds a new study?

What is it about GW that brings out such levels of stupidity in so many people?

Lets start with the easy bit. There’s a paper Impacts of wind farms on land surface temperature by Zhou et al.. It isn’t very exciting, but it made into Nature Climate Change, probably because of the inevitable stupidity it would arouse. What it says is Our results show a significant warming trend of up to 0.72 °C per decade, particularly at night-time, over wind farms relative to nearby non-wind-farm regions. This isn’t ironic or even particularly surprising: the effect is due to mixing down of warmer air on nights with an inversion. At least, that’s what I expect, not having read the paper, and its what Black of the Beeb wrote, having talked to Zhou: At night, air above ground level tends to be warmer than the ground. Dr Zhou and his colleagues believe the turbine blades are simply stirring up the air, mixing warm and cold, and bringing some of the warmth down to ground level.

But if you’re silly, like the Torygraph, you find yourself obliged to headline your story Wind farms can cause climate change, finds new study. The actual article itself isn’t too bad – it correctly notes this is a local effect, largely night-time only, and it permits itself a little speculation that if done on a large enough scale this might just be noticeable regionally. And, being generous, you could call this “climate change” – though to most people, “climate change” will mean global climate change, which this isn’t.

However, you then get people who really should know better repeating Windmills cause climate change! Timmy manages the oh-how-I-wish-it-was unusual feat of having nothing useful to say, whilst quoting the worst bits of the article and suppressing the useful bits. This is global cooling come again – people just can’t resist the “counter intuitive” stuff. He has another go at Forbes but gets it even wronger there – now its explicitly become Wind Farms Cause Global Warming!

But the funny thing is to look at the comments. Like:

I had a good laugh about that, it’s fairly obvious really you convert kinetic energy into electricity and get heat as a bi product. Silly eco mentalists


Think it through & you’ll realise there’s no climate warming effect whatsoever. The energy is in the wind. The bird shredders remove some of the energy as electricity but the process of doing so isn’t 100% efficient so it also creates heat

These are wrong – they are fairly typical of the “I know nothing about climatology, but rather than trying to find something out I’ll just speculate and call it truth” sort of commentator. But they have absolutely no excuse for being wrong, because even the Torygraph got it right, in the first few paragraphs of its article: “Usually at night the air closer to the ground becomes colder when the sun goes down and the earth cools. But on huge wind farms the motion of the turbines mixes the air higher in the atmosphere that is warmer, pushing up the overall temperature.”

Since its Timmy’s blog, and he is often rude to people, I get to call him and his commentators idiots. Which he (in this instance) and they (oh so often) richly deserve. Which brings me neatly on to…

WUWT, which is where I stole my headline from. That too reports the same study, and in the same sensationalist terms. What is, again, funny is that the commentators there completely miss the point and run off down the same inefficient-conversion-leads-to-heat rabbit-hole (and they even find some new ones), even though Watts has half-said it in the very top paragraph. I tell them the truth, but they aren’t grateful. In fact Watts is very ungrateful indeed – but that is after the inevitable degeneration of the dicussion into a pointless demonstration of their lack of knowledge of wikipedia.


* Potential Climatic Impacts and Reliability of Very Large Scale Wind Farms – Chien Wang and Ronald Prinn

RP Sr is a tosser

I haven’t had a tosser for a while, but I think its time for a new one. The evidence is all at Open Mind, that increasingly valuable resource who has done such a good job of shredding so many thoughtless folk. And RP Sr’s 7-fold updated post neatly puts him into that category. But what wins RP the coveted award is outing Tamino (whose name isn’t exactly a secret anyway) under the guise of “professional courtesy”. Well done, Wodger.

Junk from von S

A tedious detail in the fall-out from the latest Lovelock nonsense. If you’re not following, our favourite electron-capturing emeritus has recanted, or perhaps not, who knows.

[2021: it looks like Lovelock has another book to sell, and so has recanted again. Or perhaps he’s senile enough that he’s forgotten his previous recant?]

Klimazwiebel has a thread in which, clearly over-awed by his early reputation, they delicately tip-toe around the fact that he has been talking nonsense for years. Apparently we are to believe that But Lovelock is unique in his self-critical attitude. Twaddle. Lovelock knows precious little about climate science, and is merely flip-flopping around, lost.

I pointed this out to von S, and got a pile of garbage in return. Is von S lost too? Seems so. Hopefully he’ll recover; he hasn’t dared reply to my reply.

I had the temerity to suggest that Lovelock’s stuff was the toothless mumblings of an old man by the fire bemoaning the evil of the younger generation and that was too much; its fallen down the memory hole. Of course von S – well, its his blog – allows himself to tell me that I’m the gatekeeper for climate issues at Wikipedia, right?. So I think von S has suffered a certain amount of Curry-like “capture”, though not nearly as far down as her.

Ha ha, it gets better. this comment (which was a simple link to this post) has been deleted, as has this comment (which was a complaint that they’d been lying about me and didn’t much seem to care). That enough for me: Klimazwiebel is off my watchlist and von S is forgotten.

[Update: BS points out that he, and Tim Lambert, also called out Lovelock ages ago:

I’ll just parachute in here to mention that in addition to scientists like Connolley and Annan, the non-scientist climate hawk bloggers also called out Lovelock in ’06 as being full of it. See, e.g., me:
“exaggerations like his just get the environmentalists in trouble, even the people who don’t exaggerate. How do we rein him in? Is it through a bet offer?”

also Tim Lambert:

You believe your lies and we will believe ours?

From a comment at Forbes, found by R. I found it hard to believe that anyone would say such, but indeed its true:

Mr. Zwick you believe your lies and we will believe ours. The sun controls the climate not man. Our earth was more polluted back when there were very few humans roaming the earth that it is today. And that is fact. When the day comes that everyone of your believers gives up their cars, their mansions, shuts off all electricity and ceases all the dirty destructive habits you claim humans impart on the earth is the day many of us might take you seriously. Really. How can we believe a word Al Gore and any of you say when your so called ” carbon footprint” is bigger than most 100 hundred people rolled together. Al Gore is the biggest liar on the face of this earth. And he is getting very rich off the lie. As are many other of the believers. Yes most of us will be dead and gone in 10-20 years but I truly hope you and your children are still around to eat your words. You demand we live like monks while you and your faithful live like Kings…

This is by karenbracken, a fairly std content-free septic ditto head (notice that she continues with an argument that, classically, is classified as the “Al Gore is fat” fallacy). But I think she has somewhat let the cat out of the bag, in a way reminiscent of The New Aristotelians. She doesn’t care about the truth, or the science – to her its just a fight, with no respect for truth – or perhaps, being more generous, that she “knows” the truth, in some vague sense, but can’t be bothered to find out or understand any actual facts, and somehow believes everyone else do the same.

[If you want to find the comment for yourself, its on page 31 of 32 (currently). The Forbes comment system appears to be somewhat broken; this is a nominal direct link, but it doesn’t work.]

After a pause for thought

I’ve realised that I shouldn’t be so literal. Its a great failing of mine. By “lies” she doesn’t really mean lies – at least, I assume she doesn’t really think she is lying (few people think that) or believing other people’s lies (even fewer do that).

What she really means is something like “foundational myths”, or “memes”, or “well-known truths”, or “common talking points”, or “things assumed to be true”, or even “things that need to be true in order for my world view to hold up”. And in that sense, all she is doing is expressing the tendency of people to talk past each other, which you’ll see so often – especially in places like the comments in WUWT. Rather than listen to or answer anyone’s arguments, people just revert to “ah, but temperature isn’t rising” or somesuch (or, to give the “warmist” example, “ah, but GW will destroy our ecosystems”). There is no value in such stuff; you’ve all heard it many times before, so has everyone else; its just ritual chanting to drown out the noises you uneasily sense coming from outside the circle.


* The Uncertainty Monster Swallows the Magic Sky Dragon

I'm famous

You knew that, obviously, or you wouldn’t be here. I have an entry on Conservapedia, you don’t get much more famous than that. Compare that with so-called climate “scientists” like James Annan – even his tippling great-uncle only gets a few lines (and no invective, how dull). I see that a while ago I mocked Conservapedia for being dumb but said that, whilst nearly fact free, it was “not really even very funny”. I’m pleased to see that they’ve corrected that: now Global warming is the liberal hoax[2][3] that… and so on. Conservapedia is so risible that no-one (not even the WUWT folks) would dream of using it for a reference. In the comparatively unimportant world of science I’m a has-been, of course, and (as I thought when I left but kept blogging) I find it harder to keep up with the real science. Fortunately lots of other people do and I can read them.

If you’re wondering where this is going: well, my world-spanning fame has taken a minor boost from WUWT having a go at me, though like so many his ability to spell my name is limited.

A few people there seemed to have a desire to talk, though I rather suspect they won’t step up to the plate. So! This post is for them to comment and ask questions, if they want to. To my regulars: please be kind to any that do come over; I will heavily moderate any comments that are too discouraging, though of course you’re welcome to post fact-filled rebuttals of anything they might say. To any WUWT folk who have come over: Welcome! Please feel free to ask your (preferably science based) questions. Though if you’re puzzled by how wiki works you can ask that too. Be aware that I have a comment policy which I’ve just recently updated.


* Who am I?. Lawrence Solomon’s “The opinionator” story containing the glorious quote “Next to Al Gore, William Connolley may be the world’s most influential person in the global warming debate”. The link seems to have expired now, but the wayback machine still has it.


I’ve given up calling it “yet yet more misc” as I’ve forgotten where I’ve got to. So, in no particular order:

In war you will generally find that the enemy has at any time three courses of action open to him. Of those three, he will invariably choose the fourth

via Schneier. Which reminds me of We don’t even know how many legs he’s got.

The Policy Lass is sick of arguing with stupid people. Anyone who has been to WUWT and the comment threads there will empathise. It is all a hopeless morass of nonsense; it cannot be fixed, only risen above. And indeed (as I’ve tried to tell them) the science just goes on without them. But I’ll still visit occaisionally in case there is anyone there who wants to listen.

DA notes another court case in Mann’s favour; weird stuff indeed over there. Will America be brought down by the weight of parasitic lawyers? You’re heading that way.

Its fun to know that hobbyists are playing with our old chips. Thats very hard to do without the specs, which of course aren’t public.

RC has a post about the dangers of extrapolating from PIOMASS, concluding Until then, we believe, we need to let science run its course and let previous model-based predictions of somewhere between “2040 and 2100″ stand. Which reminds me its about time to look at the ice again; not that I have any new ideas.

Then there was the wildly exciting Shakun stuff, about CO2/T lead-lags during the last deglaciation. This wound the Watties up no end (there was a whole tedious series of posts) because it is an article of faith with them that (a) T preceeds CO2 and (b) this actually matters. (a) is the interesting science, but (b) is wrong, if you mean in anything but a rhetorical sense. But we’re back to arguing with stupid people, so lets not.

But inevitably that’s where news is. “Dr” Roy Spencer isn’t stupid, but some of his ideas are. Most notably, his idea that all his ideas are wonderful, but the Giant Global Climate Conspiracy is conspiring to prevent publication, so he’ll just put it on blogs instead with no review. Which is a really bad idea. His latest is yet another retread of the-temperature-record-is-all-wrong (actually he seems to have two incompatible versions, each incompatible with his own satellite record, but this doesn’t trouble him). No-one seems to care enough to rip it apart properly; NS has a go.

Tamino looks at some more stats and finds them woefully bad. I remember doing Fourier analysis and being surprised by the statistical properties of the spectrum. But I did at least get it right before publishing.

Well. Bill Gray. As he says, “Frozen in Time”. His Homage to the Heartland Institute is weird, srsly Weird. I assume it must be ghost-written, but still its got his name on: We should all be grateful for the Heartland Institute and for its Nobel Mission to bring enlightenment and truth to the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) question. “Nobel Mission”? Does he mean “noble mission”? Or are they on a mission to get a Noble prize – that would be so far beyond a joke as to be incomprehensible. And why the caps? Well, its probably just a doddery old man being swindled by the septics; sad.

And DA has some nice quotes re the shallowness of the likes of Dyson when they try to talk about climate science.


* Rapid coupling of Antarctic temperature and atmospheric CO2 during deglaciation
* HadCRAP4

Craig Loehle is sad

You can read about his sadness at great length in Scientist’s rebuttal of Michael Mann’s “denier”and other unsavory labels in his book (note how CL, like “Dr” Roy Spencer, wears his PhD on his sleeve). CL is sad because Mann has been cwuel to him, or about him, in his book. Though this seems to have been more exciting for CL than Mann, since he doesn’t make it in until p 187, and its just about CL’s rubbish temperature reconstruction (see-also Tamino on the “vindication” version).

But the centerpiece of CL’s recent post, which conclusively demonstrates how Mann is wrong and… well, you get the idea, is the one I’ve inlined here. Its from which isn’t a good source. I wondered what the data sources were for the figure, and what “Current Warm Period” (CWP) might be, exactly. No-one seemed to be able to find an answer; a person calling themselves Richard S Courtney was pretty sure it meant 1998 (actually very un-pretty, but never mind), but that makes no sense – the ice cores don’t go up to 1998, in general (I’m assuming there are some ice cores in there, though with no info as to the sources, its hard to say). Its likely that CWP means something like 20th-century average, but as far as I can tell it isn’t possible to be sure; I think they are being deliberately vague. They claim to have 5 proxies showing the MWP was more than 3 oC warmer than the “CWP”, but that doesn’t seem very likely, and since they don’t say what those studies are, I’m not taking it on faith.

In the usual way at WUWT, no-one was interested in querying the basis for a figure, as long as it supported what they wanted to see.

Update: in the comments, PS has found some of the studies with high MWP’s.]

Brighton, again

DSCN2479-james-and-w_crop The follow-up to Amsterdam and Brighton part 1. Again, if you lack interest in running, the answer is 3:54.28.

The photo is me and James Edgoose after the finish. By this point we’ve gone through the phases of collapsed in a heap for a bit, drunk some water, eaten a banana, just about got up, walked a bit, sat down again, got up and are capable of smiling… well you get the idea. And I can only speak for my own collapse, James finished 15+ mins ahead of me so may have been all sparkly at the finish for all I know.

This year was much better than Brighton last year, but only a bit (3 mins) better than Amsterdam. I’m a bit disappointed by that, but not much; over the last couple of months there has been too much rowing and stuff for me to really concentrate on the running properly. More long runs are required. I came 2068th, of about 8900 finishers, which is well in the top 25%. James, at 3:37 was 1205th.

I’ll put up the graph of the GPS track at some point, but broadly… the first 21k followed the 5:15 (=1:50) plan from Amsterdam, then the rest tapers, a bit more gradually, and didn’t fall quite so far down around 35k. So the plan for sub-3:45 has to be holding 5:15 up to 30k, perhaps, and then stopping the fall-off from going to 6:15. At least that’s what I hope for. James E ran a far more steady race than me, and came past me at about 22k; the 3:45 pacers came past at about 25k,and while I kept them in sight for a while I lost them at maybe 28k and certainly didn’t have the heart to try to keep up. From 21k to mid-30’s I had a pain in my lower left calf that was worryingly-possibly like the beginnings of a strain, so formed an excuse to not push which I gladly seized on. I used up 5 energy gels during the race, and drank some-of 3 energy-drink bottles that they had at the stops. My stomach got a bit queasy at one point – settled by sipping some gel.

DSCN2477-dino-box Brighton is a funny old town: fairly downmarket though I’d say. Last year Mike (doing his one-marathon-before-I-die) stayed in a decent-ish hotel, but near the seafront, and commented next day that it was quite noisy at night, due to drunken stag-party types along the front. This year I stayed in a low dive hostel (St Christopher’s) just near the pier – oh, how convenient I thought – and I too was disturbed by traffic noise in the small hours. Until about 3 am that is, when I was woken up by the stag party people who were sharing my dormitory room, just returning from a night at a strip club looking at “cludge”, oh what joy. Next year I’m going to stay inland a bit.

Here (update) is the promised graph:


Weeelll… yes. More work required!

DSCN2478-alice-dreams Other stuff.

* This year, the water at the stops was in little plastic bags that you just had to squeeze, and in small quantity. This was much better than the usual water bottles, or plastic cups.
* The goody bags were rubbish.
* There still weren’t nearly enough loos.
* They completely stuffed up labelling the start areas, but I got a good start anyway.
* Other pix I took, on Flickr.
* The winners, taken by someone else.

All Scottish coal plants to use carbon capture by 2025?

Or so says reuters and a whole host of others repeating the same story. The source is draft ELECTRICITY GENERATION POLICY STATEMENT from the shouty Scottish government. You won’t be surprised to hear that I don’t believe a word of it (I’ve been pretty sniffy before), but lets read on. Oh, but first, why so sniffy? Because, its not economic (if it was, we’d all be doing it, der). Nor do I see any sign of it becoming economic in the next 10-15-20 years. But who knows, I could be wrong. Lets read on…

They say: The Scottish Government’s policy on electricity generation [nd: this is indeed about electricity generation, not all fuel use; there is stuff in there about other use, but I’ll ignore that -W] is that Scotland’s generation mix should deliver: (1) a secure source of electricity supply; (2) at an affordable cost to consumers; (3) which can be largely decarbonised by 2030; (4) and which achieves the greatest possible economic benefit and competitive advantage for Scotland including opportunities for community ownership and community benefits. These are in conflict, how will they balance them? Some bits seem confused (delivering the equivalent of at least 100% of gross electricity consumption from renewables by 2020 as part of a wider, balanced electricity mix, with thermal generation playing an important role though a minimum of 2.5 GW of thermal generation progressively fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS); – this appears to confuse renewables with carbon-neutral; and there should be a particularly strong role for CCS, where Scotland has the natural advantages and resources which could enable it to become a world leader. is pretty weird, too (oh, they mean they have offshore places to dump the CO2. Maybe). Also, they say No Nooks, but I’m not going to rant about that here) but never mind that; what about demonstrating carbon capture and storage (CCS) at commercial scale in Scotland by 2020, with full retrofit across conventional power stations thereafter by 2025-30?

So I’m trying to talk about CCS here, but along the way I find Our analysis demonstrates that while renewable energy will play the predominant role in electricity supply in Scotland by 2020, the Scottish electricity generation mix cannot currently, or in the foreseeable future, operate without baseload and balancing services provided by thermal electricity generation which I find hard to make sense of. Presumably 2020 is within the “foreseeable future”, so by 2020 renewables will be predominant, and yet thermal generation will still be providing the baseload? Don’t understand. I think its just a kind of lead-in para to the CCS discussion, and doesn’t really have any meaning. Some of the CCS is to be propped up by the UK’s stupid “carbon price floor” (just say No! Instead, Carbon Tax Now!). The Scottish Government has never intended to support unabated new coal plants in Scotland, as this would be wholly inconsistent with our climate change objectives. We have made it absolutely clear that any new power station in Scotland must be fitted with a minimum CCS on 300 MWe of its generation from day one of operation. OK, so much for good intentions. But how will the economics work out? Ah, but before that, note If CCS is not proven to be technically or financially viable then we will consider low carbon alternatives which would have an equivalent effect. So, imagine you want to build a new coal fired plant in Scotland (the policy only applies to coal, not oil or gas). You’re going to have to build in CCS. But, CCS may not be viable – the govt itself admits this – but you’re going to have to build it in anyway. I think the answer to that will be that no-one will want to build new coal plants in Scotland. Maybe that is what they want, anyway.

Oh. That seems to be it. I was expecting them to go on an analyse CCS and work out what carbon price they needed to make it viable, and so on. But they don’t. They just re-iterate CCS is a promising low carbon technology that is still in the early stages of realising its large scale development potential. In the event of CCS being found not to be financially or technically viable, consideration will be given to other emission reduction measures. So, I think this is all motherhood-and-apple-pie. They want de-carbonised energy, because people like the idea, and stuff like that. But they aren’t going to trouble themselves about the costs just yet, so this is just politicians making airy gestures. It is meaningless until the hard choices that they are pretending don’t exist come into play.


* Rabbit pie pushing
* Geoengineering Politics and again.