Methane again

All over the world (my path: Timmy -> Torygraph -> google -> Nude scientist -> JOGMEC press release -> JOGMEC) there is excitement about “Japan cracks seabed ‘ice gas’ in dramatic leap for global energy”. Which is indeed interesting, but not quite as dramatic as suggested. Because as the pic of the flare makes clear, this is a very small flow. If you read the press release, is clear this is still experimental:

Methane hydrate (*1) receives attention as one of the unconventional gas resources in the future. During the period from FY2001 to FY2008, which is Phase 1 of the “Japan’s Methane Hydrate R&D Program” (*2) (Program), seismic surveys and exploitation drillings were conducted at the eastern Nankai trough, off the coast from Shizuoka-pref. to Wakayama-pref., as the model area, where a considerable amount of methane hydrate deposits is confirmed (*3).In Phase 2 of the Program starting from FY2009, aiming to develop a technology to extract natural gas through dissociation of methane hydrate, this is the first offshore test ever conducted (*4).The first offshore production test is planned over a span of two years.

In February and March last year, the preparatory works including drilling a production well and two monitoring wells were conducted. From
June to July, the pressured core samples were acquired from methane hydrate layers. In this operation, a flow test through dissociation of methane hydrate is conducted after the preparatory works including drilling and installing equipments for the flow test.

Preparatory drilling started: February 15, 2012
Came back to Shimizu Port: March 26, 2012
Operation to acquire pressured core samples: from June 29 to July 7, 2012
Started the operation at the test site: January 28, 2013
Started the flow test and confirmed gas production: March 12, 2013

Ending the flow test, retrieving test equipments: until end of March
Retrieving remained equipments from the site: August, 2013

Although the first offshore production test is not a commercial production and is an experimental operation as an activity in research, it will be a big progress in research and development of methane hydrate as a resource since precious data including dissociation behavior of methane hydrate under the sea floor, impact to the surrounding environment, and so on, would be obtained once this test ends in success. Based on accomplishment of the production test, it is also planned to proceed with the second offshore production test scheduled in Phase 2 and establishing the technological platform toward future commercial production in Phase 3 which is scheduled from FY2016 until FY2018.

So, an important step but not yet commercial or even close (NS says “could start as early as 2018”).

Sweetly, JOGMEC cares about your safety:

Since this is a flow test of flammables, please do not approach to the site because of the safety reason.


* Arctic Methane Emergency Group?

Girding my loins: sea ice

This is not the sea ice post you were looking for. However, it is a placeholder for putting comments, including linking to previous comments.

If I’m feeling energetic I may even make the linkages myself.

The pic shows seaice at “normal” ish; but that means little, as 2012 was also “normal” at this time of year. PIOMASS might be more interesting (thanks CR) but a month of more will make that clearer.

Early update: Oh well, since its there, Open Mind’s Arctic Sea Ice Loss, part 1 is worth a look, esp. figs 2 and then fig 6 (though I don’t think the quadratic fit is meaningful. Unless you can bring yourself to believe that the implied long-term-trend was an increase in the early 80’s).

A Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years?

Well, no-one has said what I wanted to say about this, so I thought I should. Click on the image for P3’s take. This is about Shaun A. Marcott, Jeremy D. Shakun, Peter U. Clark, Alan C. Mix‘s latest in Science. If you want to read some stupid things said about it, try Curry (surprise) or if you prefer your stupidity super-sized, then WUWT. And indeed, if you want to read drivel, why bother with watered down gruel?

The abstract has something for everyone:

Surface temperature reconstructions of the past 1500 years suggest that recent warming is unprecedented in that time. Here we provide a broader perspective by reconstructing regional and global temperature anomalies for the past 11,300 years from 73 globally distributed records. Early Holocene (10,000 to 5000 years ago) warmth is followed by ~0.7°C cooling through the middle to late Holocene (<5000 years ago), culminating in the coolest temperatures of the Holocene during the Little Ice Age, about 200 years ago. This cooling is largely associated with ~2°C change in the North Atlantic. Current global temperatures of the past decade have not yet exceeded peak interglacial values but are warmer than during ~75% of the Holocene temperature history. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model projections for 2100 exceed the full distribution of Holocene temperature under all plausible greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

If you’re the GWPF, then your headline is Earth cooler today than 28% of the past 11,300 years. If you’re Timmy getting climate wrong as usual, its What Excellent News: Earth Warmer Than in Most of the Past 11,300 Years. I’d probably go with RC’s take What If from 2005. But I’ll continue anyway.

Marcott The first thing that strikes me is that the error estimates look insanely tight, and constant. In fact they aren’t really error estimates, I think they are The gray shading [50% Jackknife (Jack50)] represents the 1s envelope when randomly leaving 50% of the records out during each Monte Carlo mean calculation. however I think people are inevitably going to interpret them as error estimates. And yet they don’t include sampling bias or any systematic problems with the datasets.

The second is the sparsity of sites, compared to Mann et al. I’d also whinge about the latitudinal bias of the the sites, too, except as the figure shows that also applies to Mann et al. too.

Point three would be caution in using figure S3, as EW does. That’s not all the records stacked together, as it rather looks like at first (it would be astonishing if it were, far far too tight; compare this).

I’d also read Michael Mann’s comments in Andy Revkin’s piece, in conjunction with pondering figure 2 I/J/K. Is the warmth biased by Northern high latitudes? I don’t know.

That wasn’t a terribly insightful analysis, was it? Well, its early days yet. That was mostly what I wanted to say: don’t over-interpret this picture or paper. I’m sure there’s a lot of more informed comment to come.

I cannot leave you without presenting what may become one of my favourite oh-dear-the-poor-darlings comments, from WUWT of course:

Although a list of sources of the data from the 73 sites is provided in an appendix, nowhere is any real data presented, so assessing the validity or accuracy of the original data is not possible without digging out all of the source papers.

If you need that interpreted, you’re lost, so I won’t try.


* Global Temperature Change — the Big Picture
* The Tick – Tamino again

How To Tell The Birds From The Flowers: A Manual of Flornithology for Beginners

From the bizarre discoveries file:

The Plover and the Clover can be told apart with ease,
By paying close attention to the habits of the Bees,
For en-to-molo-gists aver, the Bee can be in Clover,
While ety-molo-gists concur, there is no B in Plover.

and this is by Robert Wood, who did early work on the Theory of the Greenhouse.

1970s cooling, again

pcf-fig Just when you thought this tripe was dead, it comes round again. Well, its winter at least in this hemisphere, and a bit chilly, so perhaps it seems plausible – the septics usually have trouble telling weather from climate.

Anyway, your reference is We’re number 1! which provises you a handy link to The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus – the paper that the denialists are too scared to address. Ta da. I’ve helpfully cut out a nice figure from that paper, which rather summarises the situation.

And maybe now is a good time to say, if I haven’t before, how grateful I am to Tom Peterson for picking up my hobby (look at that link, if you haven’t before; loadsa good stuff down there) and turning it into a proper paper, and John Fleck who skilz turned into a far more readable paper.

So much for the science history. But AW is interested in the popular media (a familiar story). Indeed, he’s just recycling someone else’s lists. Neither is honest enough to link to the science. My usual answer to that has always been “I’m a scientist; I’m not responsible for the media; yes there is any amount of tripe in the media”. That was in the old days, when I was a scientist. But with that corrected, I’d still give much the same answer, and continue: there’s nothing very useful you can do with that list. You’ve got no idea of the balance of warming vs cooling publications; the warming ones, then, have been deliberately omitted.

AW’s point appears to be that there was as much stuff about cooling, then, as there is warming, now. That’s false, obviously: you just have to do a google news search to find more stories about GW in the past month than AW managed to find for a decade.


* Global cooling awareness in the 60′s?
* Klotzbach Revisited, by Jos Hagelaars chez Bart
* Video by Frank Capra


I’m referring to the fools trying to p*ss around with how banks pay their staff. It am all over de noos, and to spare the blushes of some of my more delicate readers I won’t refer you to Timmy, you can have the Graun instead: Don’t cap bank bonuses, scrap them. The EU’s plan to cap bonuses sounds like good news – but it may simply lead to banks jacking up salaries. Yes, you idiot, that’s exactly what will happen. And notice the follow-on idiocy: capping bonuses leads to increases in basic pay, so lets cut bonuses entirely! That will surely lead to… yes, that’s right, yet more increases in basic pay.

The basic problem here is there is a fair segment of the population / chatterati that are really really jealous of people being paid more than them for what they think of as little work. In fact they are completely wrong: its a lot of work (at least the only guy I know in banking regularly leaves the house before his kids get up and gets back after they are in bed). So they want bankers to be paid less. But being utterly ignorant of basic economics, they don’t seem to realise that the bankers are not being paid because the banks like throwing money away; they’re being paid because the banks think they need to (banking isn’t easy, its fiercely competitive, you do it wrong with not-quite-top-grade people and you get stuffed). So if you restrict bonuses, then basic salaries go up (aside: if you’re an I-hate-bankers type person this has one good consequence: in bad times, staff have to be fired, because their basic salaries are high. When they had low-basic and most of they renumeration via bonus, they could be kept on with just basic in bad times).

The correct solution to all this is for the State not to be intervening in private enterprise if it doesn’t need to. This is almost entirely lead by jealousy and stupid pols trying to make a name.

[Late addendum 2013/03/09, added for my own benefit after reading the Economist, but it just highlights something I thought already: the reason that all this I-hate-bankers is being spread by the pols is because, well, its great to have scapegoats. So no-one, or at least certainly no pol, is willing to stand up and defend them. For which, ter be ‘onest, they’ve really only got themselves to blame – they’ve been content to rake in the money, and feel non-accountable and hidden -W]


* Osborne fights to limit bonus cap fallout
* Diplomatic fallout from EU bonus cap
* Solving The Principal Agent Problem: Apple Insists That Executives Must Hold Company Stock
* Hating on the Libertarian
* Where banks really make money on IPOs