Reframing Attribution

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 7:04 AM GMT on March 26, 2011

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Reframing Attribution:

It the previous entry I wrote about the perils and pitfalls of event attribution. In this entry I want to untangle a few issues and, then, ultimately reframe attribution. Reframe? This is in the spirit of psychology and sociology, a different way to look at something. In this case, take the word, “attribution” and think about the meaning of this word, say, from the point of view of scientists, journalists, politicians ….

To be concrete, start with this scenario.

1) There is an extreme weather event, perhaps a hurricane submerges New Orleans, or a heat wave kills 1000s in Moscow.
2) Advocates say that the event is global warming.
3) Politicians say that the event is global warming.
4) Scientists suggest that the circumstances of the event are consistent with global warming.
5) Journalists ask if the extreme event is natural or global warming.
6) Different groups of scientists hurry to investigate the event. It takes a while.
7) The scientists publish their papers and because the event was newsworthy, the journalists follow up and ask again: Was the event natural or was it global warming?

There is in this scenario entanglement. We have scientists, journalists, and politicians. I have explicitly used the plural form to suggest that there are many perspectives, many points of view, many purposes represented. Because of the presence of political interests, the question is being asked in a social environment that is more political than it is scientific.

In the previous entry, I wrote, “It is hard to see how playing the game of defining extreme events and then attributing that event to ‘climate change’ can ever be won. In fact, it seems like it is a game that necessarily leads to controversy, and controversy is the fuel of talk radio, blogs propagating around the world, and the maintenance of doubt.” The game to which I refer is described above: event, fast public attribution of the event to climate change, scientific investigation and deliberation, scientific conclusion that the event is not wholly-and-solely due to climate change. In the formal and informal media, this game devolves to:

“This event is the proof of global warming,” followed some months later by, “No it is not.”

You can read the previous entry on why I maintain trying to attribute a single event to climate change with a yes-or-no answer or to split our weather into natural-and-changed is not scientifically sensible. That does not mean, however, that we should not study extreme events and place them into context with history, a warming climate, and how they inform our future. In fact, I have maintained that one of the most important tasks for climate scientists to take on is the quantification of variability that is “short-term” compared with the “long-term” normally associated with climate. (See Some Jobs for Modelers, and Ocean, Atmosphere, Ice and Land) Which brings me to “attribution.”

In the discourse described above, amongst the politicians, journalists, and scientists, “attribution” has risen to mean, “Can this event be attributed to climate change?” Sometimes it is worth going back to basics. From the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language attribute is “to relate to a particular cause or source.” And from the Glossary of Terms of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“Detection and Attribution: Climate varies continually on all time scales. Detection of climate change is the process of demonstrating that climate has changed in some defined statistical sense, without providing a reason for that change. Attribution of causes of climate change is the process of establishing the most likely causes for the detected change with some defined level of confidence.”

In fact, neither of these definitions require a yes-or-no, wholly-and-solely answer that a particular event was “caused” by the warming of the planet by increasing greenhouse gases. That requirement has risen from the quagmire of the public discourse.

In the piece Some Jobs for Modelers I talk about “forecast busts.” These are well known to weather buffs, when weather forecasts fail. It is worst when severe weather shows up unexpectedly. In December of 1999 there was a series of Atlantic storms that hit France which were badly forecast. Detailed examination of the observations, the forecast model, and the ability of model to utilize those observations, revealed that there was adequate information to provide a better forecast. Specific failures in the forecast system were identified. (A complicated paper on those storms: Dee et al. 2001) When I think of attribution and a single extreme event, then I think of the detailed scientific investigation of the processes that come together at the occurrence of that event.

There are many reasons to pose such a study. A basic reason is to understand the physical processes. For example, in a historic heat wave, what is the impact of regional changes in the forest, agriculture, and the urban environment? What are the specifics of the atmospheric flow that allow the development of a period of persistent heat? A perfectly legitimate question is whether or not changes in our environment related to greenhouse gases have had a discernible influence on the event.

So that becomes the question. In the complex mix of processes that are responsible for determining the temperature and winds and rain of an extreme event, is there a discernible contribution that can accounted against, attributed to, climate change? To make it more challenging, climate change is not a simple, unrelenting, uniform warming of the surface. Therefore, if there is to be a discernible signal, then it has to rise above the variability, the noise, that is implied by the complexity described in the previous paragraphs. It is not a question of whether or not an extreme event is caused by climate change, it is what influence might be attributed to the increase of greenhouse gases.

That said, there are many reasons to investigate which processes, which causes, are responsible for an extreme event. A fundamental one is to improve the ability to predict the event. Another reason is to understand the impact of the event, assess the risk associated with such events in the future, and, if warranted, develop the ways to better prepare for such events.

I want to return to the my previous blog, which was motivated by a story that originated in the Green Blog by John Rudolf on the New York Times website (March 9, 2011) about the Russian heat wave in the summer of 2010. The news story reported on a paper by Randy Dole and co-authors. Within hours the Dole et al. paper was headlined on both news sites and in blogs that the paper said that the 2010 Russian heat wave had no relation to global warming. It is a source of continuing and intensifying controversy. ( from Climate Progress, recall that above, I deliberately used the plural of scientist.)

Here is the link to the abstract of Dole et al., Was There a Basis for Anticipating the 2010 Russian Heat Wave? Dole et al. take an approach to the problem that is process-based, in the spirit of the process-based approach to a busted forecast. They search for the signal over the noise, and for the 2010 event cannot state definitively that the signal related to the increase of greenhouse gases exceeds the noise. I want to quote, however, two sentences from the “Concluding Remarks” of Dole et al.

“The results suggest that we may be on the cusp of a period in which the probability of such events increases rapidly, due primarily to the influence of projected increases in greenhouse gas concentrations.”

And looking forward.

“However, as is the case of the 2010 Russian heat waves, events will also occur that are not readily anticipated from knowledge of either prior climate trends or specific climate forcings, and for which advance warning may thus be limited.”

The Dole et al. paper does not state in any way that global warming is unreal. Quite the contrary, they work in a rigorous physics-based approach and investigate this region, at this time, for this event, and ask in the context of a forecasting problem, can a discernible contribution be attributed to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions? Their method, their analysis, their conclusions - that for some highly particular reasons - the climate change signal has not popped out of the natural variability. But as they say, it has in other places, for other phenomena.

Dole et al. provide one scientific approach to the problem of event attribution. There are other approaches. (see Barriopedro et al. The Hot Summer of 2010: Redrawing the Temperature Map of Europe) The conclusions from these results are likely to be different, and that difference may appear inconsequential to some and enormous to others. And while these differences might appear as important to scientists, my point is that this process of event attribution is a place where the scientific investigation of the climate interfaces, strongly,with the media. Therefore, it is also a place where, by definition, scientific investigation interfaces with the political argument. Politically or in terms of informing the public, a primary result of this process is to build, amplify and maintain doubt. Here, I have tried to reframe attribution. Next, on reframing the dialogue.

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Previous blogs on the disruptions and communications of climate science. (or how can climate scientists contribute to political discrediting of science.)

Strength in Many Peers

“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?”

What to Do? What to Do?

If Lady Chatterley’s Lover, then …

Faceted Search of Blogs at climateknowledge.org

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290. cyclonebuster
12:56 PM GMT on April 11, 2011

Gulfstream Kinetic Energy prevents cooling system failures!

One month on, Japan rattled by big aftershock
Cooling system at stricken nuke plant goes offline for nearly an hour

A strong aftershock rattled Japan on Monday — the one-month anniversary of the massive earthquake and deadly tsunami that devastated the country — briefly knocking out cooling systems to reactors at the stricken FukushiA warning was issued for a 3-foot tsunami, the same as after a 7.1 aftershock that shook the northeast coast last week. However, like last week, Monday's warning was later withdrawn.

The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the very shallow quake was centered 14 miles southwest of Iwaki, south of the nuclear plant.

NBC News said there were reports that four people might be trapped in a house that collapsed in Iwaki.

Japan's meteorological agency measured the aftershock at a magnitude of 7.0, while the USGS out it at 6.6.
ma Dai-ichi nuclear plant.Power company TEPCO said the quake stopped the offsite power used to pump water to cool the crippled No. 1, 2 and 3 reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex. The utility later said pumping had resumed.

"It (pumping of water) was stopped for about 50 minutes ... safety issues are unlikely to have occurred from this," a senior official with Japan's Nuclear Safety Agency, Hidehiko Nishiyama, said.
Nuke workers evacuated
Workers at the plant were evacuated during the tsunami warning so there was no one there to manually spray water to cool the reactors using fire truck pumps, Tepco officials told a press conference, according to NBC News.

Tokyo's main international airport also closed both of its runways for a short time following the quake.

In Sendai, people at a large electronics store screamed and ran outside when it struck, though the shaking made it hard to move around.

Mothers grabbed their children, and windows shook. After a minute or two, people returned to the store.



Link
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289. cyclonebuster
12:52 PM GMT on April 11, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy eliminate evacuations!


Japan to evacuate more towns around crippled nuclear plant

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japan's government Monday called for evacuations for several towns beyond the danger zone already declared around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, warning that residents could receive high doses of radiation over the coming months.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the municipalities are likely to see long-term radiation levels that exceed international safety standards, and he warned that the month-old crisis at Fukushima Daiichi was not yet over.

"Things are relatively more stable, and things are stabilizing," he said. "However, we need to be ready for the possibility that things may turn for the worse."

And minutes after he spoke, a fresh earthquake rattled the country, forcing workers to evacuate the plant and knocking out power to the three damaged reactors for about 40 minutes, said the plant's owner, the Tokyo Electric Power Company. The magnitude-6.6 tremor came a month to the day after the magnitude-9 quake and tsunami that knocked out the plant's cooling systems and followed one of the same size Thursday night.

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288. cyclonebuster
2:51 AM GMT on April 11, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy is no lie!


Is it China syndrome or Japan syndrome? Tell me lies sweet little lies tell me lies.

Link


Link


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287. cyclonebuster
2:09 AM GMT on April 11, 2011
So it took a month to do this? WOW! Sugar coating to the MAX!


Flying drone peers into Japan's damaged reactors

Tokyo (CNN) -- Engineers used a flying drone to peer into the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Sunday as the crisis spurred more than 2,000 people to march against nuclear energy in Tokyo.

"I was just a couch potato critic, but here we are today with friends for the first time, and I'm sure it's the first time for a lot of people today," said Karima Asuma Stickan, one of the protesters.

Monday marks a full month in the battle to prevent a worse disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, which was battered by the earthquake and resulting tsunami that struck northern Japan on March 11. Japan's largest utility, Tokyo Electric Power Company, has been struggling to cool down three damaged reactors and prevent a wider release of radioactivity than has already occurred.

Improvisation, frustration in week four of crisis


A camera was mounted on a remote-controlled helicopter to get pictures of the damaged reactors from above Sunday in hopes of getting a better look at the damaged housings of the No. 1, 3 and 4 reactors and hopefully the pools of spent fuel inside, company spokesman Junichi Matsumoto said. The drone hovered over the plant for 28 minutes at an altitude of about 150 meters (492 feet), he said.

The T-Hawk drone, built by the U.S. company Honeywell, can transmit ordinary pictures as well as infrared images, Matsumoto told reporters. Images captured by the drone are expected to be released Monday, he said.

In addition, the company is now using remote-controlled heavy machinery to clear away debris outside the plant and has begun the process of laying new pipes to start pumping radioactive water out of the flooded basements of the turbine plants behind units 1 through 3.

Driving into Japan's radiation zone

One worker fell ill during the work on Sunday, the company said. The man, in his 30s, was placing hoses for collecting the contaminated water from reactor No. 2 when he became ill, nearly two hours into his shift.



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285. sirmaelstrom
12:05 AM GMT on April 11, 2011
Concerning MichaelSTL's quote:

"Sorry [perjorative redacted], hockey stick gets longer, stronger: Earth hotter now than in past 2,000 years"


Using a graph from the second link that MichaelSTL gave in № 282:


This graph will show one of the problems I have with the interpretation of temperature proxies. I'll ignore problems with the proxies themselves for the moment. I'll submit that this graph here doesn't show that recent temperatures are unprecedented at all. In fact, let's say I interpret the graph as showing temperatures at the far right (around year 1990-95 or so) as being an anomaly of about -0.15°C--the lowest point of the grey area representing the 2s margin of error. Let's say that I interpret the temperature anomaly of ca.1260 as being about +0.15°C--the highest point of the grey area. This interpretation would give the result that temperatures at the end of the graph were -0.3°C lower than those of 1260.

Is this an invalid interpretation? No, it isn't since it is within the margin of error. As an aside, this margin of error is only what arises from the uncertainty in comparing proxy estimates with the temperature record over the available time period in which they overlap; the true margin of error that would take into account errors in measuring the proxies, global distribution of the proxies, uncertainties in the correlation of the proxies to temperature etc. are likely not included here: the caption accompanying the graph only states that the margin of error shown is due to correlation with the validation period.

Anyhow ignoring that for now in the spirit of brevity, even within the margin of error shown on the graph, the interpretation that temperatures at the end of graph are unprecedented is inconclusive at best, since the opposite interpretation is also within the margin of error.

Another quick point...a lot of people would like to append the surface temperature record to the end of the proxy average in the graph and show that as evidence of how high temperatures are in relation to past points. This is misleading as well. To be within the margin of error, the surface temperature line could just as easily be appended somewhere at the lowest point of the grey area just as easily as one of the highest points of the grey area and not be any more right or wrong. In fact, the temperature data could be applied at anywhere within the overlapping margins of error of both the temperature data as well the proxy data and still be valid. Additionally, since a 39-year filter was used to make the proxy graph, a temperature graph would need to be smoothed similarly to maintain context. Every graph I have seen that has temperature readings appended to a temperature proxy graph seems to ignore these points entirely.

Of course, I could probably write several more paragraphs about the precision of the proxies themselves but I'm going to leave that for now...

As always, the opinion above is my opinion, and goes to try to present my point of view of why I am unconvinced of statements such the initial one I quoted.

* * *

№ 281@TomTaylor

I'm going to refrain from quoting it here, as this is already going to be a long post. You bring up a lot of good points here. I definitely agree that it is very difficult to say that human haven't contributed to warming at all; it is simply to easy to list ways in which we have. The UHI (Urban Heat Island) effect is one that I find interesting. I suspect that there is a significant UHI signal in the surface temperature myself, even though they try to adjust for it using an automated algorithm based on night-time illumination. Many studies that I have seen seem to suggest that the UHI is relatively small, even if it weren't compensated for; but I can't say that I am convinced. Of course, it's overall contribution to actual warming, and not just the warming measurements, is interesting as well.

I do agree that even if one doubts the accuracy of the surface temperature record, there are many other empirical ways to verify general warming over the last 100 years or so, as well as a significant period of warming in the ca.1975-2000 period as well.

* * *

Concerning but not replying to № 283:

I guess what MichaelSTL means when he says that the Aqua temperatures have a "cold bias" compared to UAH temperatures is that Aqua temperatures are consistently colder than UAH temperatures; interesting way to put it, but true if this is what he is saying. What he doesn't realize (at least, in my opinion) is that the Aqua Ch.5 temperatures and the UAH lower tropospheric are not representing the same thing. As can be seen in the link that I gave at the end of № 265, the Aqua Ch.5 temperatures are representative of middle tropospheric temperatures while the UAH are representative of lower tropospheric temperatures (The UAH are derived from Aqua data, as the link explains). Given this, it only makes sense that the Aqua Ch.5 data is cooler than the UAH LT data.

* * *

Whew! That might be my longest post ever, but I hate making several posts in a row; my experience has been that many message boards frown upon double and triple posting (or quintuple,sextuple...a la Cyclonebuster). LOL...just ribbing Cyclonebuster a bit; I don't have any problem with him...he has generally at least been respectful to me even though we typically disagree.

Edited from original
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284. sirmaelstrom
11:47 PM GMT on April 10, 2011
LOL...The "Modify Comment" process ate my quote post. Anyway, good thing I keep everything copied to my clipboard. First three rules of computing: 1-Backup, 2-Backup, and 3-Backup. Original post will be reposted as № 285. Looks like I'll be double-posting anyway...
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281. TomTaylor
7:21 PM GMT on April 10, 2011
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Never mind the laws of thermal dynamics!

Yes, never mind them. I can prove to you we are causing warming without co2.

Every asphalt road we lay down decreases the albedo over that surface area of the earth creating a warmer environment.

Ever heard of the urban heat effect? Guess what, it's all part of the global atmosphere.

That's a significant impact right there, and even if we only layed one 1 mille asphalt road down, we would be having an impact on the climate and therefore be partially responsible for global warming. Just one. That's all it takes to be partially responsible.

The effects of that one road would be ridiculously small, but an impact nonetheless.

Now multiply that times a few million to get the total urban heat affect, add in the other greenhouse gasses which we are adding to, and you might see a noteworthy impact.
Quoting RMuller:


The only thing that is a hoax, if you visit the site I posted previously, is the hockey-stick graph using tree rings as data. My question is why would so-called "scientists" take the chance of deliberately manipulating data to demonstrate something that is provably false? They must be receiving some sort of large compensation for not worrying about their reputations or worse.

That's the problem, the earth hasn't been proven to be cooling.

If you don't trust the scientists, I suggest you head to the artic and see ice levels retreat for yourself, or greenland. Or even Antarctica.

If you really think scientists are lying to you, why don't you go out and do your own research instead of spitting out what some website told you.

It makes zero sense that you trust some random website on the internet over all the scientists and present data available.

Quoting martinitony:


Yes true, but let me state a skeptics view because I am a skeptic. Suppose the climate varies from its average from time to time and we decide that the average is the last 5,000 years of history because there is written history, tree rings etc.
Now the question is to what extent do the controllable factors affect that change. For example if I assumed that the Earth's position relative to the sun, solar system and even itself, its axis, accounted for 95% of those variances from the norm and if I assumed that mans activities could only be controlled to affect 50% of its contribution, then controlling mans activities might only affect the variance to the extent of 2.5%. These numbers are only for example. You might argue that mans activities account for 95% of the variances from the average.

I would argue that too much of whats been going on in climate science and the "green" economy is about money. That part of the argument interferes with the truth, what the science really tells us. Both sides argue that the other is influenced by money and I'm pretty sure both sides are right about that. So, where does that leave us?
I agree the sun has a much bigger play on temps here on earth than humans do. But the solar input on our planet has not risen like temperatures have, so there is zero correlation.


And of course the green economy is about money. You can't expect this to be all non profit organizations. When it comes to business, someone will always be making the money.

The reason why a "green" economy hasn't fully taken over is that oil is still far more profitable. Hence, there is more money in fossil fuels right now.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
280. martinitony
5:39 PM GMT on April 10, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
Good job making another account.

Climategate is a hoax itself. I really don't understand why people refuse to accept the fact that our earth is warming or that we are at least partially responsible for a warm up.

Everything that makes up earth's system has an effect on temperature. EVERYTHING. we are partially responsible by the law of common sense


Yes true, but let me state a skeptics view because I am a skeptic. Suppose the climate varies from its average from time to time and we decide that the average is the last 5,000 years of history because there is written history, tree rings etc.
Now the question is to what extent do the controllable factors affect that change. For example if I assumed that the Earth's position relative to the sun, solar system and even itself, its axis, accounted for 95% of those variances from the norm and if I assumed that mans activities could only be controlled to affect 50% of its contribution, then controlling mans activities might only affect the variance to the extent of 2.5%. These numbers are only for example. You might argue that mans activities account for 95% of the variances from the average.

I would argue that too much of whats been going on in climate science and the "green" economy is about money. That part of the argument interferes with the truth, what the science really tells us. Both sides argue that the other is influenced by money and I'm pretty sure both sides are right about that. So, where does that leave us?
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279. cyclonebuster
2:47 PM GMT on April 10, 2011
Quoting RMuller:


The only thing that is a hoax, if you visit the site I posted previously, is the hockey-stick graph using tree rings as data. My question is why would so-called "scientists" take the chance of deliberately manipulating data to demonstrate something that is provably false? They must be receiving some sort of large compensation for not worrying about their reputations or worse.


This correlates to tree ring data also. NOAA's Hockey Stick is even worse. What about that? But then again Gulfstream Kinetic Energy can change all that!


800,000 Year Record of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Concentrations

Over the last 800,000 years, natural factors have caused the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration to vary within a range of about 170 to 300 parts per million (ppm). The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by roughly 35 percent since the start of the industrial revolution. Globally, over the past several decades, about 80 percent of human-induced CO2 emissions came from the burning of fossil fuels, while about 20 percent resulted from deforestation and associated agricultural practices. In the absence of strong control measures, emissions projected for this century would result in the CO2 concentration increasing to a level that is roughly 2 to 3 times the highest level occurring over the glacial-interglacial era that spans the last 800,000 or more years.





Carbon dioxide concentration (parts per million) for the last 800,000 years, measured from trapped bubbles of air in an Antarctic ice core. More information: Climate Change Impacts on the U.

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
277. cyclonebuster
5:14 AM GMT on April 10, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy keeps Earths energy in Equilibrium!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
276. cyclonebuster
5:06 AM GMT on April 10, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
Good job making another account.

Climategate is a hoax itself. I really don't understand why people refuse to accept the fact that our earth is warming or that we are at least partially responsible for a warm up.

Everything that makes up earth's system has an effect on temperature. EVERYTHING. we are partially responsible by the law of common sense


Never mind the laws of thermal dynamics!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
275. TomTaylor
2:25 AM GMT on April 10, 2011
Quoting RMuller:
Check out the newest Climategate subversion. Link
Good job making another account.

Climategate is a hoax itself. I really don't understand why people refuse to accept the fact that our earth is warming or that we are at least partially responsible for a warm up.

Everything that makes up earth's system has an effect on temperature. EVERYTHING. we are partially responsible by the law of common sense
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
273. cyclonebuster
8:59 PM GMT on April 09, 2011
Tapping GULFSTREAM KINETIC ENERGY can be completed before this task is completed.


End to Japan nuke crisis is years, a fortune away

TOKYO – Once Japan's leaky nuclear complex stops spewing radiation and its reactors cool down, making the site safe and removing the ruined equipment is going to be a messy ordeal that could take decades and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Radiation has covered the area around the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant and blanketed parts of the complex, making the job of "decommissioning" the plant — rendering it safe so it doesn't threaten public health and the environment — a bigger task than usual.

Toshiba Corp., which supplied four of Fukushima's six reactors, including two on which General Electric Co. collaborated, submitted a roadmap this past week to the plant's operator for decommissioning the crippled reactors. The study, done with three other companies, projects that it would take about 10 years to remove the fuel rods and the reactors and contain other radioactivity at the site, said Keisuke Omori of Toshiba.

That timeline is far faster than those for other nuclear accidents and contains a big caveat: The reactors must first be stabilized and cooled, goals that have eluded emergency teams struggling with cascading problems in the month since the devastating tsunami damaged their cooling systems. Omori said the extent of damage to the reactors and other problems still need to be assessed.

"Of course decommissioning the four reactors would be more challenging than retiring one from an ordinary operation. We still have a lot to examine," Omori said. He declined to provide details on the costs and the timeframe, citing business confidentiality.

Getting a quick resolution to the Fukushima crisis would give a boost to a nation trying to recover from the severe disasters and to the tens of thousands forced to evacuate communities near the plant and already wearying of living in shelters with no prospects of returning home.

"It could take decades. We will all have to move away," said 36-year-old Hitomi Motouchi, who left a home on the fringe of the evacuation zone and is living in a gymnasium in Fukushima city. Unlike the tsunami refugees who may return to rebuilt communities, "it's different for us, because this disaster may never end," Motouchi said.

Decommissioning usually takes three forms: dismantling or decontaminating parts of the reactors so the land can be used; safely sealing off and monitoring the nuclear plant while the radiation inside decays; and entombing radioactive parts in concrete and steel.

With so much radiation spread about, experts said a combination of these is likely to be used at Fukushima. Once the reactors cool, heavily contaminated areas could be entombed by pouring concrete on top and tunneling underneath to insert a slab to prevent seepage. Other tainted areas could be locked down. That would allow the radiation to decay naturally but put on hold usual tasks like dismantling parts of the complex.

"The best solution is to entomb the site for 40, 50, 60 years," said Arnold Gundersen, who wrote part of the Energy Department manual on decommissioning and runs the U.S.-based environmental consulting company Fairewinds Associates.

A Fairewinds study cited cost estimates for decommissioning the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, whose boiling water reactors are similar to Fukushima's but have fewer problems, that ran as high as $950 million last year and would likely exceed $1 billion next year. Gundersen said the tab for the Japanese plant may end up being many times that amount.

Hidehiko Nishiyama, chief spokesman for Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, has said ideally the Fukushima complex eventually will be returned to "flat land," meaning the facility is dismantled and removed.

Though an avid user of nuclear power with 54 plants, Japan has little experience in decommissioning and none involving problematic reactors. The first, the Tokai Power Station's No. 1 reactor, is 13 years into a 22-year process. Its fuel rods have been removed, and its turbines and other equipment are being dismantled while the reactor is isolated, its vents and ducts closed.

Decommissioning troubled reactors tends to be more drawn-out. Parts of Ukraine are still uninhabitable 25 years after the Chernobyl nuclear plant's No. 4 reactor exploded, while neighboring Belarus began allowing some people to move into its no-go zone last year.

The dun-colored cooling tower and rounded dome of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant's Unit 2 still loom over central Pennsylvania 32 years after its cooling system malfunctioned, causing a partial meltdown and sending up plumes of radioactive gas. Its final decommission date is two decades away at a cost, as estimated by the U.S. nuclear regulatory agency, of over $850 million.

"It's like a funeral where the pallbearers have to stand around for decades," said Eric Epstein, who runs the monitoring group TMI Alert. The region was long known for plain-living Amish farmers, the Hershey Co. chocolate factory and the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg, he said, but is now stigmatized in the public mind by the United States' worst nuclear accident.

Unlike Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, where problems were confined to one reactor each, Fukushima has three active reactors that are not cooling properly and at least one of which may be leaking, and four storage pools for spent fuel which have overheated, some to dangerous levels.

"This is going to be inevitably a much more challenging decommissioning than we have experience with," said Peter Bradford, a former commissioner on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Explosions in the first few days of the crisis at Fukushima showered debris over the site and highly radioactive water has inundated trenches, tunnels and ducts not normally exposed to radiation. Plutonium, which lingers for decades and may cause cancers at high levels of exposure, has been found on site and other highly radioactive elements like cobalt are likely there.

Cesium-137, another long-lingerer linked to cancer, has been detected 15 to 35 miles (25 to 60 kilometers) away from the plant in amounts the scientific journal Nature said this past week suggests that the areas may not be fit for food production for decades, as was the case with Chernobyl.

Once the extent of contamination is known, the Japanese government may have to decide whether a faster expensive cleanup — that is, one undertaken before much radiation decays — is feasible or preferable to sealing off wide areas to let the radiation decay, as was done in Chernobyl.

Another speedy solution suggested by some experts is to pour concrete or sand over the overheated reactors, not waiting until they cool. The tactic has been dismissed by Japan's nuclear safety agency and other experts have called it risky as the nuclear fuel may melt through the container.

The Toshiba plan — developed with its Westinghouse Electric Co. unit, the energy company Babcock & Wilcox Co. and the Shaw Group, which specializes in civil engineering — was worked on by 100 specialists and looks at Three Mile Island for lessons, said Omori, the company spokesman.

It predicts that the reactors will be stabilized in several months and envisions moving ahead on multiple tasks simultaneously. Fuel removal could begin late this year while radioactive debris would be cleared and less contaminated equipment outside the reactors demolished, Omori said.

That's a faster timetable than Three Mile Island, where fuel removal began six years after the accident and took another six years to complete.

Whatever the method, Fukushima's four problematic units, 1, 2, 3 and 4, will be scrapped. But a final decommissioning may depend on whether the operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., keeps Units 5 and 6 running. At Three Mile Island, nuclear fuel from the damaged Unit 2 reactor has been shipped to Idaho and contaminated water has evaporated. But it cannot be fully dismantled and decommissioned until after its adjacent Unit 1 is shut down in 2034.

Link

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
272. cyclonebuster
8:54 PM GMT on April 09, 2011
GULFSTREAM KINETIC ENERGY HAS THIS BEAT ALSO!



Geothermal Energy Use on the Rise in U.S.

Geothermal energy is essentially free heat that comes from under your feet, and according to the annual report by the Geothermal Energy Association, the United States is using more of it.

"Very basically, it's heat from the Earth that's caused by radioactive decay, volcanism, all that hot source from the center of the Earth," says John Lund, Principal Engineer of the Geothermal Program for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory,

In a recent statement on this renewable energy source, the GEA wrote, "In 2011, the geothermal industry is producing clean power in nine states and developing projects across 15 states... with the total number of geothermal projects... increasing 12%." Additionally, the generation of geothermal energy in the U.S. is enough to power over two million homes.

Dr. Lund is not only one of the nation's foremost geothermal experts, he uses it to power his home. "To heat my house, my hot water, my hot tub, everything, (for) ten dollars a month." Lund uses what's known as a geothermal exchange pump, buried several hundred feet below ground in his backyard for his home. Pumps are a localized system that uses the heat of the ground water, through an assemblage of pipes to bring up the extreme warmth of what's beneath the surface. They can be used anywhere in the world.

"Right now," says Al Wallace, president of the Energy Environmental Corporation, "ground source heat pumps is the fastest growing form of heating and cooling in the United States." The central part of the country is already pretty familiar with geothermal pumps, but because of the initial investment and lack of understanding by homeowners, it takes some educating for other folks to come on board. "I think the reason people don't buy ground source heat pumps is they're...(not) familiar with the technology and implementing systems that they're comfortable with, which is basically the same technology we've had since the 1950's or 60's."

Additionally, Wallace says, in comparison to the most energy efficient traditional home furnaces, geothermal exchange's power blows the competition away. "For most furnaces or gas appliances, the most efficiency is 98 to 99 percent. That means for every one kilowatt or every dollar you pay in energy you get 98 cents back. With a ground source heat pump...for every dollar you spend on heating or cooling you get five dollars worth of heating or cooling in the heating pump."

Link
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
271. sirmaelstrom
5:05 AM GMT on April 09, 2011
Concerning but not replying to № 267:

Well, he's talking to TomTaylor, but he's referring to me, so I'm going to address a couple of things...

Blockquotes are from MichaelSTL.

"You can obviously tell that he is a [perjorative redacted], regardless of what he or others have said, because he fails to mention this (which, BTW, is 70% represented by the ocean itself, curious too that the RSS map here shows negative anomalies over the ocean where it is actually warmer at the surface):"


I can see the RSS map, but I have no idea what he wants to compare it to. If I were going to compare it a GISS map (is it even available for March yet?) I would remember to change the base period to one that coincides with the RSS map. I would also make sure to use the 250km resolution to show only areas that actually have measurements. Whatever...I'm really not sure what point he was trying to make here.

"So I guess they are subtracting the PDO from itself (according to the [perjorative redacted] anyway). Why is there a residual signal then?"


This is related to the PDO being detrended from the overall warming. "Subtracting the PDO from itself"? Again, I have no idea what he is inferring. The overall increase in global temperatures is what is subtracted out. "Why is there a residual signal then?"...Yeah, my question exactly.

* * *

Well, that's all I have time for...If you're still there, have a good night TomTaylor.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
270. sirmaelstrom
4:37 AM GMT on April 09, 2011
№ 266

Quoting TomTaylor:
I don't know how you're reading that graph, but when I looked at it, the last 15 years are certainly warmer than the first 15. Yet the PDO graph




clearly shows that it has been dropping since the 1980s, besides a peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s (likely due to El Nino). Yet temperatures according to your graph



are not doing that.

So now, not only does correlation =/= causation, but there is no correlation in the first place.


The correlation I see between the PDO and global temperatures is as follows. When the PDO is in a primarily positive period, say a significantly positive value according to smoothed average line in the PDO graph you posted, global temperatures seem to be increasing during that time. When the PDO is in a primarily negative period, temperatures decreased. The decreases certainly do not balance out the increases, and part of the reason for this is that there is a warming signal due to CO₂ level changes that contributes as well--but there is a marked difference in the behavior of temperatures when the PDO is in a positive phase as opposed to a negative one.

Note that times when the smoothed PDO is near zero (particularly around 1945, 1975, and 2000-present) seem to correlate well with times that temperatures went from warming to cooling and vice versa. Now the last ten year period is still subject to debate because we haven't seen any decrease in temperatures to be sure, but it does seem clear that the rate of increase over the ca.1975-2000 period was much greater than the ca.2000-2010 period. You can compare respective El Niño and La Niña peaks/troughs to see this. Obviously you have to try to select similar ENSO conditions at the start/end points of any time period in order to estimate--i.e. Just as it is wrong to select a 1998-2008 and claim that there has been cooling, it's just as wrong to select a 2000-2010 period and claim significant warming.

Of course, as you say, correlation != causation, but it is at least interesting when there is a correlation. As I noted previously (and I see MichaelSTL noted in № 267) the PDO is detrended from the overall warming signal, thus there is no reason for it to correlate at all. The fact that there is a correlation is at least interesting...Well, at least to me.

All of the above is just my take of course...


Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
266. TomTaylor
2:16 AM GMT on April 09, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:

[Emphasis on the last phrase is mine]

Not exactly...the PDO index is detrended from the overall warming signal; the fact that there is still a correlation with the smoothed index and warming/cooling periods is at least interesting and indicative of the idea that some natural variation could be partially responsible for the warming we've seen over the last 30-40 years.

The PDO has entered an almost neutral state over the 10-15 years, and may be entering a negative state. Temperatures in the satellite record have not increased significantly over this period, as can be seen below:


From here.

The GISS graph shows this as well, to a degree. The 2000 La Ni%uFFFDa minimum wasn't really was all that much lower than the 2008 minimum, but since the 2000 was much longer in duration, it shows up lower on the GISS graph which has the 1-year average. The 5-year smoothing hides the recent trend even more.

There is a valid argument to be made that fifteen years is too short to consider the more recent trend to be indicative of a change in the longer warming trend, but it is at least interesting that it is occurring, and that it is occurring at a time when the PDO has been entering what it likely another negative period similar to that of the ca.1945-1975 period. It will be even more interesting to see what the global temperature response will be if both the PDO and AMO enter long-term (ie. ca.30 year or so) negative periods.

I don't know how you're reading that graph, but when I looked at it, the last 15 years are certainly warmer than the first 15. Yet the PDO graph




clearly shows that it has been dropping since the 1980s, besides a peak in the late 1990s and early 2000s (likely due to El Nino). Yet temperatures according to your graph



are not doing that.

So now, not only does correlation =/= causation, but there is no correlation in the first place.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
265. sirmaelstrom
9:56 PM GMT on April 08, 2011
Concerning but not replying to № 262:

Quoting MichaelSTL:"...never mind that the Aqua satellite has a cold bias..."


What...?

Nothing in the link MichaelSTL gives shows any evidence that the Aqua Satellite has a "cold bias". I'm not even sure what he is talking about. Maybe he meant to say that the UAH lower tropospheric temperatures have a cold bias compared to the raw Aqua data, at least that is the impression that I got based on the link he gave. Even that is unfounded though; I don't think MichaelSTL understands how the UAH lower tropospheric temperatures are derived. He won't see it, since I'm sure he has me on ignore, but for anyone else who would like the information I am giving Dr.Spencer's explanation below.

How the UAH Global Temperatures Are Produced

Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
261. sirmaelstrom
8:29 PM GMT on April 08, 2011
Quoting TomTaylor:
LOL JB

Did nothing to disprove that CO2 has an affect on our earth's temps. Simply tried to make CO2 seem soo small it can't do anything.

At any rate, here are the cycles:

PDO



ENSO

SOI

ENSOI



Neither match up to the graph:



PDO does a little, but not over the last 20 years. And, correlation =/= causation. And PDO is a measure of the SSTs over a large area in the Pacific...it's part of the temp graph itself. It would only make sense for the PDO to follow the temp graph.

[Emphasis on the last phrase is mine]

Not exactly...the PDO index is detrended from the overall warming signal; the fact that there is still a correlation with the smoothed index and warming/cooling periods is at least interesting and indicative of the idea that some natural variation could be partially responsible for the warming we've seen over the last 30-40 years.

The PDO has entered an almost neutral state over the 10-15 years, and may be entering a negative state. Temperatures in the satellite record have not increased significantly over this period, as can be seen below:


From here.

The GISS graph shows this as well, to a degree. The 2000 La Niña minimum wasn't really was all that much lower than the 2008 minimum, but since the 2000 was much longer in duration, it shows up lower on the GISS graph which has the 1-year average. The 5-year smoothing hides the recent trend even more.

There is a valid argument to be made that fifteen years is too short to consider the more recent trend to be indicative of a change in the longer warming trend, but it is at least interesting that it is occurring, and that it is occurring at a time when the PDO has been entering what it likely another negative period similar to that of the ca.1945-1975 period. It will be even more interesting to see what the global temperature response will be if both the PDO and AMO enter long-term (ie. ca.30 year or so) negative periods.

Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
260. TomTaylor
7:44 PM GMT on April 08, 2011
Quoting Patrap:
One from the Chief Ding-Dong @ weatherbell



"When it Comes to Climate, The Ocean, not Co2 is the Hand that Rocks the Cradle"
LOL JB

Did nothing to disprove that CO2 has an affect on our earth's temps. Simply tried to make CO2 seem soo small it can't do anything.

At any rate, here are the cycles:

PDO



ENSO

SOI

ENSOI



Neither match up to the graph:



PDO does a little, but not over the last 20 years. And, correlation =/= causation. And PDO is a measure of the SSTs over a large area in the Pacific...it's part of the temp graph itself. It would only make sense for the PDO to follow the temp graph.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
259. Patrap
5:59 PM GMT on April 08, 2011
One from the Chief Ding-Dong @ weatherbell



"When it Comes to Climate, The Ocean, not Co2 is the Hand that Rocks the Cradle"
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 426 Comments: 129093
257. cyclonebuster
9:10 PM GMT on April 07, 2011
Gulfstream Kinetic Energy or Nuclear power. Which one
is cleaner? LOL!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
256. TomTaylor
6:47 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
Quoting InconceivableF6:

That kinda makes sense.

You seem really cool. I've had the chance to review some of the previous posts of this blog and I like your intelligence and also your demeanor and disposition. At least with your writing anyway, as I don't know you in person! lol.

There is a girl or guy on here,,I think it's MichalStl or something and he/she was very mean when trying to make the point over climate change. At least I just the impression of a very cold, harsh, demeanor.

But climate change is about keeping a broad view on things. Thnx for the cool reply. :-)

Regards,
Ainslee.

No problem, bud

And keep in mind that although that's what most meteorologists, like Dr. Masters, predict, it doesn't mean it will come true.

It's no different than the weather guy on TV; he's usually correct for the most part give or take a few degrees, but occasionally he misses something.
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Yeah Taylor's a good guy. We'll occasionally have a beer together in Master's blog. We usual don't see eye to eye with respect to climate change, but he always makes the attempt to lay it out for you and doesn't attack.

Yea we have beers together, but cat5 does the drinking :)
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358
255. cyclonebuster
5:38 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:
№ 249



That is Atlantic ACE only, not global, and 2010 isn't shown since the graph was made before then. Atlantic has been generally high during the ca.1995-2010 period but it's no secret as to why this is--it's due to the AMO.

№ 250



OK. I had to look up "hypercane"...From Wikipedia:


"A hypercane is a hypothetical class of extreme tropical cyclone that could form if ocean temperatures reached around 50 °C (122 °F), which is 15 °C (27.0 °F) warmer than the warmest ocean temperature ever recorded."


This will simply not happen from an increase in greenhouse gases alone. Some extreme event well beyond our control such as a asteroid impact would be required, so I wouldn't worry about it.


How do you know that? Heat is heat isn't it?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
254. sirmaelstrom
4:34 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
Concerning the BEST temperature project:

There's been a lot of talk about this, especially since the findings are still in the very early stages.

The official findings are here. As is explained in the official findings, even the 2% of data that has been compiled has yet to be corrected for urban heat effects, varying time of observation etc. Bottom line is that it's still too early too make any definitive conclusions. BEST very well may end up vindicating existing temperature reconstructions but to say that it has already done so is premature and misleading. There seems to be a significant effort by some to shape the results before they are official. I would wait until the analysis is done and draw conclusions then. Even if doesn't end up being significantly different than other reconstructions, I thinks it's good to have the BEST record as an alternate going forward simply due to the level of openness that is expected as well as the more balanced makeup of the people involved.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
253. sirmaelstrom
4:15 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
№ 249

Quoting cyclonebuster:


Really!



That is Atlantic ACE only, not global, and 2010 isn't shown since the graph was made before then. Atlantic has been generally high during the ca.1995-2010 period but it's no secret as to why this is--it's due to the AMO.

№ 250

Quoting cyclonebuster:


At what ACE do we get Hypercanes?


OK. I had to look up "hypercane"...From Wikipedia:

"A hypercane is a hypothetical class of extreme tropical cyclone that could form if ocean temperatures reached around 50 °C (122 °F), which is 15 °C (27.0 °F) warmer than the warmest ocean temperature ever recorded."


This will simply not happen from an increase in greenhouse gases alone. Some extreme event well beyond our control such as a asteroid impact would be required, so I wouldn't worry about it.
Member Since: February 19, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 580
250. cyclonebuster
12:25 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Well...I'm sure Cyclonebuster was simply looking for an opening to talk about how his tunnels can allegedly lower ACE (among other things)...

But yeah, I think the most recent idea based on computer modelling is that AGW will lead to fewer overall storms, but an increase in Category 4 and 5 storms. Of course, any errors of the computer models to correctly simulate climactic processes presently will of course be greatly exacerbated the further in the future you go, so who knows.

Honestly, I don't remember who was saying what in 2004/5; I would have to research it just to make an informed comment. But suffice to say, as today, I'm sure a lot of people were saying a lot of things which weren't necessarily scientifically supported but did facilitate whatever propaganda they were intending to push.


At what ACE do we get Hypercanes?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
249. cyclonebuster
12:22 PM GMT on April 06, 2011
Quoting sirmaelstrom:


Well if you're speaking globally...

According to Dr.Master's global ACE last year was at it's lowest level since the late 1970s, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say this year will have a higher ACE than last year globally.


Really!

Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20417
246. iceagecoming
5:02 AM GMT on April 06, 2011
There is an estimate of 150 million mammoth remains in Russia's Siberian permafrost

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammoth
Link



Methane Causes Vicious Cycle In Global Warming

Link

Methane gas comes from all sorts of sources including wetlands, rice paddies, cow tummies, coal mines, garbage dumps and even termites. Drew Shindell, at NASA's Goddard Institute in New York, says, "It's gone up by 150 percent since the pre-industrial period. So that's an enormous increase. CO2, by contrast, has gone up by something like 30 percent."
Link

I wonder if the plant eaters moved humans out of the
last ice age? Not likely.
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 24 Comments: 1081
245. TomTaylor
3:11 AM GMT on April 06, 2011
Quoting InconceivableF6:

Is that what they are using now claim AGW? Lower storms, but more intense, right. I remember back just a couple years ago in the wake of the 2004 and 2005 season that it was more storms.

Predicting the future effects and implications of a warmer climate is very hard.

With that said, as far as tropical cyclone formation goes, latest evidence points out that in a warmer global climate the poles will experience greater warming than the tropics. The entire purpose of a tropical cyclone is to attempt to work out some of the temperature imbalance between the tropics and the poles by transporting some of the heat of the tropics toward the poles. When the difference in temperatures decreases between the poles and the tropics, as it would under a warmer climate, the need for tropical cyclones declines.

Therefore, it is predicted that under a warmer climate there would be fewer storms. Additionally, however, under a warmer climate, the oceans will be warmer providing more "fuel" for hurricanes. Which is why they predict stronger storms in the future. Of course that's just a prediction. It's not a statement of truth. So if it doesn't come true, don't be surprised.



Like sirmaelstrom said, the idea the thought that we would experience more storms was probably more propaganda than anything. It is scientifically supported since warmer SSTs are more conducive for tc formation. But SSTs are not the only factor involved in tc genesis.

So the prevailing idea is that in the long term future is more intense storms but fewer total storms. Once again, keep in mind this is only a prediction. Should it come true, or false, has nothing to do with the validity of the earth warming or humans contributing to the warming.
Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 19 Comments: 4358

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.