Thursday, 13 August 2020

We own land, give us money!

Emailed in by Lola, from The Telegraph:

Landlords, shops and restaurants have joined forces to ask the Government to step in and pay commercial rents to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade bodies have been in talks with ministers about proposals that would see the Government fund up to 50pc of rent and services charges owed by businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. These “Property Bounce Back” grants would be targeted at businesses worst affected by lockdown.

It is estimated that about £3bn of rent owed to commercial property landlords for the six months to September will not have been paid, laying bare the acute pressures faced by landlords and tenants.


His comment was "Aaarrghh!" Not much I can add to that.
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Spotted by Mombers at HPC, a question at Property118:

Reluctant landlord (wot?): I note that the LHA rates have been increased from 1st April 2020 – March 2021. A couple of questions…

2. Are any landlords now upping their rents in light of this LHA increase going forward?


PT: If like me, you have tenants on LHA rates, which previously was on average 20-30% below private rental rates, then I see no harm in increasing the rents where the increase will be picked up by the benefit system... It also brings the rents inline with what the property should rent for.

WP: Just thought of another question - if a rent increase will not effect the tenant at all in regard to any top ups (they currently do not pay anyway) - can I notify HB/DWP myself direct? If it is not for the benefit of my tenants, asking them to contact the department about the rent increase will fall on deaf ears....

TBH adds "If you ever needed reassurance that we are on the right side, this thread is ideal." Again, there's not much I can add to that.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Daily energy budget for 1 m2 dry land

This has taken me several months to understand and work out, but here it is. The total of the three main forms of energy in the atmosphere above every 1 m2 of dry land, the thermal energy stored rocks/soil that warm up and cool down every day is in the order of 3.5 billion (to the nearest half a billion).

That dwarfs the incoming solar radiation of 21 million Joules, or the net 10.5 million Joules which are absorbed every day and re-emitted again every night. The daily "flow" is 0.3% of the total "stock".

Click to enlarge:



This whole exercise was prompted by the IPCC 'global energy budget' which is a) flawed at worst and b) misleading at best.

a) The most obvious flaw is averaging incoming radiation over a 24-hour period rather than splitting it up and doing two charts, one for the 12 hours of the day (all the radiation) and one for 12 hours of the night (none of it). Average surface temperatures are largely dictated by peak day time incoming radiation - Earth rotates quite fast so it doesn't have time to cool down much at night.

b) So they then mislead by sticking in a balancing figure for extra "back radiation" plucked - almost literally - out of thin air to boost day time temperatures back up to what they actually are (or would be, had they not stripped out half of day time solar radiation by the crude averaging).

Monday, 10 August 2020

Can you spot which country had a lock down and which one didn't?

From Worldometers.info:

To make a fair comparison, population of UK is about seven times as much as population of Sweden, so Sweden peak 100 daily deaths is genuinely lower than the UK peak of 1,000.

Total deaths per million population is Sweden - 570 (sixth worst of all large countries) and UK - 686 (second worst, only Belgium is worse with 851).

It also appears that Sweden messed up old age care homes as badly as the UK did.



Sunday, 9 August 2020

Why I love Skeptical Science

Here's their supposed debunk:

Climate Myth: CO2 lags temperature

"An article in Science magazine illustrated that a rise in carbon dioxide did not precede a rise in temperatures, but actually lagged behind temperature rises by 200 to 1000 years. A rise in carbon dioxide levels could not have caused a rise in temperature if it followed the temperature." (Joe Barton, US House of Representatives (Texas) 1985-2019"

What the science says:

CO2 didn't initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming. In fact, about 90% of the global warming followed the CO2 increase.


The article is the usual contortions, they discuss cause and effect in a circular sort of fashion, convincing nobody but their Disciples.

But to really shoot themselves in the foot, they include this chart. Click to enlarge:



That shows a clear correlation between temperature and CO2 levels, doesn't it?

Historically, yes. But actually... NO!

Look at the right and left hand scales. In case it's not obvious, I have cut and pasted the chart into Excel, extended the scales, and extended the blue CO2 line to indicate current CO2 levels.

(The current high CO2 levels are almost certainly due to us burning fossil fuels over the last two centuries, so we can rule out current levels as being caused by higher temperatures, whether or not that was true in the past.)

Handily, this extrapolation also rules out CO2 as a cause of higher temperatures, or else current temperatures would (or will) be about 18 degrees hotter than they are now. In which case humanity would (or will be) pretty much buggered and we might as well throw in the towel. Click to enlarge:


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Sometimes I wonder whether Skeptical Science isn't actually a sophisticated Big Oil-funded counter-propaganda exercise?

Taken at face value, Skeptical Science is an endless series of appallingly cack-handed own goals and unforced errors, all in apparent sincerity.

Proper Alarmists would have left off the left hand scale on the first chart and then included a "close up" chart of CO2 vs temperature for the last century as well, which would also show a very close correlation and quite possibly have fooled a lot of people.



You'd have to look closely to spot that in the first chart 80 ppm = 9 degrees (and 0 degrees is set at 260 ppm); and in the second chart 80 ppm = 0.8 degrees (and 0 degrees is set at 340 ppm), i.e. if second chart is correct, temperatures would be about 0.2 degrees warmer than they are now (which I am sure we can cope with).

I thought that the "science was settled"? So can they not tell us whether temperatures will be 18 degrees higher or 0.2 degrees higher? That's out by a factor of a hundred.

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Ned and Karl on The Moon

Figures and chart taken from the snappily titled On the average temperature of airless spherical bodies and the magnitude of Earth’s atmospheric thermal effect by Ned Nikolov and Karl Zeller, who are "climate contrarians", to put it mildly.
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I have been having an email spat with an Alarmist and a Lukewarmer over what is the best way to estimate a planet's surface temperature (i.e. calculate the Effective Temperature).

1. The IPCC approach is to take incoming solar radiation per m2 (adjusted for albedo) on the day side and average over the whole planet at once, then do the usual calc's.

2. The scientific approach is to take the incoming solar radiation (adjusted for albedo) on the day side, then do the usual calc's to find day-side temperature; then work out how quickly it cools on the night side to find out average night-side temperature; and then average the two.

Each approach has some arguments in favour and against, but surely the tie-breaker is "which result matches actual observations more closely?" and then we use that approach in future.
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The Moon has no atmosphere (or clouds or oceans) to confuse things, so let's use it as an example. The article includes the following diagram (click to enlarge):



Agreed facts - peak incoming solar radiation overhead at equator at noon = 1,370, albedo 0.05*= 1,300 W/m2 which affect the temperature of the surface.

* The official figure is 0.12, but at the Equator, sunlight is less likely to bounce off than if it hits the surface at a flat angle near the Poles.
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1. The IPCC approach is, 1 m2 at the equator gets an average of half the peak value during the day = 650 W/m2 and during the night it gets none at all, so on average over a whole lunar day it gets 325 W/m2. Divide by 5.67, times by 10^8, take the fourth root = effective temperature 275 K.

That's clearly wildly out. The actual average is 213K.
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2. The scientific approach is:

a) Peak day-time temp = (1,300 ÷ 5.67 x 10^8)^0.25 = 389K. That's an excellent match.

b) Average day-time temp (based on average radiation during the day i.e. half of 1,300 W/m2*)
= (650 ÷ 5.67 x 10^)^0.25 = 327K. That's quite close to the temperature at afternoon-evening (Lunar Hour 3) and in the mid-morning (Lunar Hour 21).

(* It would be better to calculate the temp for every hour and average those, but that's a right old faff and adds little by way of accuracy, and that is not the point of this post).

c) Average night-time temp has nothing to do with incoming solar radiation (there is none!), you have to work out the "stock" of thermal energy at sunset and work out how quickly it radiates away, the "flow".

The temp at sunset = 120K (by looking at the chart), which falls to 93K just before sunrise. 22% of it's "stock" has "flowed away" during the night. Average temp 107K. We know the answers, we just have to make sense of them and put them in context:

Let's assume it's the top 6" which warms up and cools down (like on Earth).
For each m2, that's about 340 kg mass (not 'weight'!) of rock.
Let's assume specific heat capacity of lunar rock is the same as Earth rocks at very low temperatures = 1,000 J/kg/K.
(these variables are to illustrate the point, I had to guesstimate)
The temp at sunset = 120K
So the "stock" of heat at sunset per m2 = 340kg x 1,000 J/kg/K x 120K = 41 million Joules.

During the night, it is emitting 107K^4 ÷ 10^8 x 5.67 = 7.4 W/m2 (same calculation as above, just in reverse).
Over two Earth weeks, it loses 7.4/m2 x 3,600 secs/hour x 336 hours = 9 million Joules.
That's the "flow".

Check: 9 million divided by 41 million = 22%, job done.

d) We then average the day-time average from b) and the night-time average from c) and get 217K, which is pretty close to the mathematical average 213K.

So... which is the better method - the IPCC approach or the scientific approach?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments).

Thursday, 6 August 2020

Pupil B recants, or maybe not.

Pupil B's homework was ripped to shreds by a warmist and a lukewarmist.

Highlight: "[Having calculated the effective temperature of the cloud-free hard surface on the basis of incoming solar radiation] would he now say the following for night time hard surface? Hard surface is easy, 0 W /m2 = 0 K?

Pupil B is not a total idiot and would never say anything of the sort, but can't resist rising to the bait one last time.
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Total incoming solar radiation in 12 hours on the day side for each m2 (to keep the numbers manageable) = 685 W/m2 x 3,600 seconds per hour x 12 hours = 30 million Joules (1 Watt = 1 Joule per second).

Less 40% reflected by clouds, hard surface and ocean (weighted average albedo) = 18 million Joules.

Using James Hansen's leaky bucket analogy (a lousy physics analogy, but mathematically sound), that means that about 18 million Joules must be radiated away again in 12 hours on the night side.
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OK, that's the daily +/- flow. What's the average "stock" of energy per m2?

1. There are 10,000 kilos of air for each m2 of surface, warmest at the hard surface, coldest at the tropopause, average about 255K. The specific heat capacity of air is 1,005 J/kg/K = 2.6 billion Joules of stored energy per m2 of surface.

[The Warmists call this "trapped" energy when referring to radiation. In the words of the song, "You can keep her lovin'... like you keep the sunshine in your hands..." Clue: you can't, you can't "store" or "trap" radiation. You could hold some warm air in your hands, but it wouldn't be a good song lyric.]

2. Ball park, it's the top 1m of the ocean surface which exchanges heat with the air every day (warms up or cools down) and is roughly the same temperature (cooler by day, warmer at night).

That's 1,000 kg of water at 288 K, specific heat capacity of water 4,200/J/kg/K = 4.2 billion Joules.

The ocean is only two-thirds of the surface = 0.8 billion Joules.

3. Hard surface is tricky, it's only the top 25cm or something which warms or cools every day, its specific heat capacity is much lower than water, and it's only one-third of the surface, let's just call it a token 0.1 billion Joules so that it doesn't feel left out.

That gives us a "stock" of energy of 3.5 billion Joules for every m2 and a daily gain/loss of 18 million.
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That means a daily gain/loss of 0.5%.

The other way of guesstimating this would be to look at a vertical slice and compare day and night temperatures all the way up. The diurnal range at the ocean surface is about 5 degrees; in the desert it can be as much as 30 degrees, but the higher up you go, the smaller the diurnal range (which is why you can get temperature inversions overnight, the land cools down more than the air above it), if it's 2 or 3 degrees overall, that means a total cooling of about 1%.

Either way, that is such a small figure that it doesn't matter how far out we are and what assumptions we make, it's somewhere between 0.5% and 1%.

While the daily gain/loss is interesting in itself, it is a side-show, it tells us nothing about how the stock of energy is distributed within and between the atmosphere, the hard surface and the top bit of the ocean (let alone between the top bit and the ocean depths), or what forms that energy takes, how - or why - it converts from one form to another. That is all well-known and based on good old fashioned physics and long, hard number crunching.
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But Pupil B knows it is far too late for recanting, has written off the Physics GCSE and signed up for an NVQ in carpentry at the new school instead and so doesn't really care.

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Greenhouse Effect, what Greenhouse Effect?

It's homework time at Science Academy. Teacher has explained to the class about solar radiation, albedo, Stefan-Boltzmann constant, all that stuff.

Teacher sets a homework: how do you reconcile incoming solar radiation (1,370 W/m2 overhead at the Equator) with the observed average temperature of the hard surface and ocean surface of the planet Earth (288 K or 15C)?

Pupil A

Pupil A makes all manner of short cuts and simplifications and knocks out this calculation on the 'bus on the way into school:

"Solar radiation averaged over surface of Earth in a 24-hour period = 342 W/m2; less light reflected (1 minus albedo 0.3 x 342 W/m2) = 240 W/m2, divide that by the S-B constant; take the fourth root of that = 255 K."

Bugger, thinks Pupil A, I'm out by 33 degrees. Not to worry, too late to re-work it, scribble something about Greenhouse Gases to make up the difference. Job done, hand it in a few seconds before the deadline.

Pupil B

Pupil B takes it a bit more seriously, and splits things up into day and night; cloud cover, land and ocean with their different altitudes and albedos; takes the mid-point of all the variables you can find on the inter-web; finds out about latent heat of evaporation; Googles some weather forecasting sites as a reality check; looks up how quickly air, rock and water cool down at night; and then calculates the weighted average:

a. On the sunlit side, average incoming solar radiation is 684 W/m2.

b. Clouds have an albedo of 0.6; they absorb 684 W/m2 x 40%; divide by S-B constant (5.67 x 10^-8); take the fourth root = 263K.

c. Clouds are at a typical altitude of 4 km above sea-level (average of low-lying fog, proper clouds and con-trails). If their actual temperature is 263 K (-10 C), then their potential temperature is about 289 K; i.e. to be in a neutral equilibrium, the air at sea-level beneath them must be about 4km x 6.5 K/km lapse rate warmer = 289 K.

d. Incoming solar radiation which hits the ocean surface = 684 W/m2; albedo 0.1; so deduct 10% reflected = 616 W/m2; about one-quarter of that doesn't go in to warming, it is 'lost' as Latent Heat of Condensation to reappear elsewhere and higher up (150g water evaporates every hour for each m2 of ocean surface, seems reasonable); [calculate as before] = 299 K.

e. Hard surface is easy, 684 W/m2 less 30% reflected [calculate as before] = 302 K.

f. Pupil B then weights this one-half cloud cover, one-third cloud-free ocean and one-sixth cloud-free land to calculate a weighted average day-time maximum for the whole surface of 294 K.

g. That's just the daytime maximum temperature. It's four in the morning by now, so Pupil B decides that the night time low is about ten or fifteen degrees lower than that based on a joyous experience of partying until dawn and a bitter experience of missing the last 'bus home (and pops head out of window just to check); and calls it 282 K for the night-time low.

h. Pupil B then takes the simple average of 294 K and 282 K = 288 K; heaves a sigh of relief; uploads the file to the school portal; turns off the computer and collapses into bed.

The results?

Pupil A gets an A* grade and a photo in the local newspaper.

Pupil B and Pupil B's parents are called into the Head of Physics' office. Pupil B is painfully aware that all the variables used were mid-points and that there was some reverse-engineering to get the required answer (but if you are asked to reconcile something you can work in either direction, can't you?); sticking your head out of the window is no substitute for proper measurements; and that a proper calculation would have run to several hundred pages; but hey, it was only a first term homework. Maybe a retake or something?

It's far worse. Head of Physics asks the parents why the Hell they are pumping their child full of this Climate Science Denier Bullshit; suggests that Pupil B "might prefer attending a local school which offers vocational qualifications" and shoves the signed-off transfer papers over the desk.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (481)

I might have done this before, but it's worth repeating.

The KLNs go something like this, "The future LVT would be capitalised into a one-off tax hit on current landowners or home-owners, it's unfair to single out one asset classs [etc]" and "House prices would fall, people's savings would be destroyed [and banks would go bankrupt etc etc]"

OK, maybe the first KLN is true, but the flip-side is, having taken this on the chin, current landowners and home-owners wouldn't have a future LVT liability. You can count the NPV of the future LVT or you can see it as a series of future payments. Not both.

For example - if you have a mortgage of £100,000, you'll have to make regular, monthly payments for the next few years or decades. The NPV of those payments is £100,000. You can't add the two ways of measuring the amount of the mortgage together to make a mortgage of £200,000. That's Home-Owner-Ist maths, not real maths.

The second KLN says that house prices would fall by the NPV of the future LVT. So the best way of measuring the NPV of the future LVT is by looking at how much house prices would fall, which also addresses the first KLN.

And how much would that fall be? I actually see little reason to assume that house prices, in nominal terms, would change much.

House prices are dictated by how much purchasers are willing to pay i.e. borrow to buy them (or how much tenants are prepared to pay to rent them, and the landlord then borrows on the back of that). If the LVT on each home were approx. 3% of its current selling price and taxes on output and earnings (not to mention minor crap like Council Tax, SDLT, Inheritance tax and so on) reduced accordingly, then average working households' disposable earnings (after tax) would be £10,000 to £15,000 higher each year, year in, year out.

So working owner-occupiers would be laughing anyway (the average LVT bill would only be half the VAT and NIC reductions), and less likely to want to sell (unless they want to trade up). Even if landlords 'pass on' the LVT, tenants will still be a lot better off (again, the average LVT bill would only be half as much as the average NIC and VAT reductions) and pensioners will either pay it or roll up and defer. So there would not be a flood of homes put up for sale (even if there were, where are all those seller going to live? They'd have to buy or rent somewhere else, so there's be an equally large flood or buyers and tenants. Some of them will trade down, but just as many others will want to trade up.)

Likely buyers (and tenants) are prepared to commit a certain fraction of their net earnings (after tax) towards housing costs (SDLT, Council Tax, mortgage payments; or Council Tax and rent). This fraction is around 40% across the UK (higher in London, lower in lower wage areas). The amount which purchasers (or tenants) are willing to pay would go up (40% of a larger number is greater than 40% of a smaller number), the annual LVT comes off that first and the balance would go on mortgage payments.

You can muck about with spreadsheets to your heart's content (and I have done), but by and large, what people are prepared to pay towards a mortgage wouldn't change much, therefore, house prices wouldn't change much (and if there were the slightest risk that they would fall, then the government could just cap mortgage interest rates at 2% or something).

So on closer inspection, the KLN's melt away (as they usually do). The NPV of the future LVT hit would be plus/minus nothing. Even if prices fell, would a rational person accept a fall in the selling price of their home if it meant a massive increase in net pay and it made trading up a lot cheaper? Surely yes, provided the fall in the selling price weren't too horrific and you had intended to down size and bank the difference.

But the future tax reduction on output and earnings is real and can be enjoyed every year for the rest of your life, or the rest of your working life at least. The NPV of that is massive. After that, you can just roll up and defer if you'd rather spend it. There's no particular need to "Leave the house to the children" because they will have bought their own homes long before you shuffle off.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Joined up government - a waitress speaks.

Her Indoors and I ventured out for breakfast yesterday.

The waitress asked us to download their chain's app so that we could make our orders online. She returned a few minutes later with her notepad to take our orders anyway. Which was a good start.

She also asked one of us to do the track-and-trace nonsense. Her Indoors duly did it (and entered her real name and address, duh), but that was pointless too because the waitress didn't actually ask for confirmation that either of us had.

I showed the waitress the other apps which Playstore recommended after I'd downloaded the restaurant's app, which were all stuff like "how to count your calories", "fitness tracker" and so on, which I found quite chucklesome.

She said that nothing made sense any more. Her restaurant was doing the "eat out to help out" offer, starting today (i.e. tomorrow at the time this happened) but at the same time, the government was telling people not to socialise too much and doing the usual anti-obesity propaganda, the latest iteration being telling fat people that they are more likely to die if they catch covid-19.

I agreed of course, and gave her the counter example of long distance flyers being hit with higher Air Passenger Duty but getting money off alcohol and tobacco in the duty free shops before they board.

(I then deleted their app again, seeing as I didn't need it.)

A survivor from a parallel apocalyptic universe speaks...

From the BBC:

A new campaign called "Badvertising" is demanding an immediate end to adverts for large polluting cars...

Andrew Simms, one author, said: "We ended tobacco advertising when we understood the threat from smoking to public health. Now that we know the human health and climate damage done by car pollution, it’s time to stop adverts making the problem worse. There’s adverts, and then there’s badverts, promoting the biggest, worst emitting SUVs is like up-selling pollution, and we need to stop."


I've no sympathy with people who drive unnecessarily large vehicles (whether gas guzzler or SUV, it's all just conspicuous consumption and a pain in the arse for pedestrians and people in sensibly sized cars), but I doubt that an advertising ban is going to make the slightest bit of difference.

The car manufacturers probably won't care too much. The main purpose of advertising is to retain market share and not increase the size of the overall market. So it's an arms race and an advertising ban is a straight cost-saving.

But it gets funnier. The Stigler, on Twitter, asked:

Andrew Simms? The bloke from NEF who was saying we only have 100 months to save the planet from irreversible climate change back in 2008?

Presumably.