Tuesday, 1 December 2020

This year's Xmas CD cover

We brainstormed over dinner and I ended up using Her Indoors' suggestion.

Friday, 27 November 2020

How much radiation can 1kg of CO2 'trap'?

Further to my previous post, I shall continue my merry trolling of AGW theory.

Here's a graphic to illustrate the point. The AGW theory is that if CO2 is above a certain concentration (about 0.5g/m3) then radiation (at certain frequencies) emitted below that altitude cannot escape to space and warms the atmosphere, oceans and land. If CO2 levels increased by 50% above current levels, the effective emitting altitude (for certain wavelengths) would go up from 5 km to 9.5 km. As a result, everything below that altitude warms by about 1.5 degrees. All figures expressed in terms of a 10km high column of air with a 1m2 cross-section.
In round figures:

1. The amount of energy required to heat such a column of air by 1.5 degrees is about 15 million Joules.

2. The additional CO2 in each such column which has this effect is the amount above the dashed line and between the orange and yellow lines, which looks to be about 1.5 kg.

3. Therefore, each kg of extra CO2 above the line must be able to 'trap' about 10 million Joules, or about 12 hours' worth of all the radiation from each m2 of Earth's effective emitting surface (which is two-thirds clouds).

4. In case you're wondering, that is a huge number. The biggest number in this context is the latent heat of evaporation of water, which is 2.256 million Joules/kg. Remember, the additional energy required to get boiling water to turn to water vapour (i.e. 'dry' steam rather than visible steam, which is a mix of water vapour and water droplets) is five times as much as the energy required to get water from just above freezing point to boiling point. So it is a huge amount of energy.

5. Or to put it another way, if 1 kg CO2 could absorb 10 million Joules and convert it all to thermal energy without being able to cool down, it would be about 10,000 degrees (difficult to estimate, as specific heat capacity is higher the hotter you go). "That's hot", as Paris Hilton would say. To put it another way, if you did CO2 capture from the air, collected one-third of it, heated it to 10,000 degrees, released it back into the atmosphere and let it mix again, the average temperature of the whole atmosphere would go up by about 1.5 degrees. Clearly, that is a silly analogy, but would lead to the same result.

This just does not seem plausible, does it? Especially as this extra energy seems to be both radiation (electro-magnetic energy, which has no particular temperature) and warmth (thermal energy, which is not electro-magnetic energy on the large scale) at the same time. That's never made clear is it? Is it one or t'other? Or would we need double that amount of Joules, which flip constantly back and forth between the two forms?

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

CO2 and the effective emitting altitude

From The Motherlode:

This is how the Greenhouse Effect works. The Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and water vapour absorb most [yes, they say 'most', so let's run with it] of the heat radiation leaving the Earth's surface. Then their concentration determines how much heat escapes from the top of the atmosphere to space. It is the change in what happens at the top of the atmosphere that matters, not what happens down here near the surface.

So how does changing the concentration of a Greenhouse gas change how much heat escapes from the upper atmosphere? As we climb higher in the atmosphere the air gets thinner. There is less of all gases, including the greenhouse gases. Eventually the air becomes thin enough that any heat radiated by the air can escape all the way to Space. How much heat escapes to space from this altitude then depends on how cold the air is at that height. The colder the air, the less heat it radiates.

So if we add more greenhouse gases the air needs to be thinner before heat radiation is able to escape to space. So this can only happen higher in the atmosphere. Where it is colder. So the amount of heat escaping is reduced. By adding greenhouse gases, we force the radiation to space to come from higher, colder air, reducing the flow of radiation to space. And there is still a lot of scope for more greenhouse gases to push 'the action' higher and higher, into colder and colder air, restricting the rate of radiation to space even further.


Let's follow their logic and see where it takes us...

Here's a chart showing approx. current CO2 levels at altitudes up to 12 km (vertical axis) in orange, and what they would be if they went up by 50% in yellow. The current effective emitting altitude is at about 5km, where the average temperature is about 255K and CO2 is about 0.5 grams/m3. So we assume that if there is less than 0.5 grams/m3, the atmosphere is no longer opaque to infra red radiation and radiation emitted at that altitude can escape to space.
According to them, the new effective emitting altitude would be wherever CO2/m3 is 0.5 grams/m3, i.e. at about 9.5 km. The average temperature at that altitude is 226 K. If you calculate the amount of W/m2 radiated, it would go down from 239 W/m2 to 148 W/m2, a complete imbalance and not plausible.

The more sophisticated Alarmists say that the temperature of the new, higher effective emitting layer - and everything beneath it - will increase to whatever it needs to be to emit 239 W/m2 and reinstate the equilibrium between incoming solar and outgoing infra red. Sounds plausible until you realise that would require a temperature increase of nearly 30 degrees all the way up, which is also completely implausible* and ten times as much as the most pessimistic predictions, before we treble it for the 'positive feedback of water vapour' (to the extent it exists, which it doesn't). As a matter of fact, CO2 levels have gone up by about 50% since the end of the Little Ice Age pre-industrial levels and temperatures have gone up by 1.5 degrees at most.

If you get nonsense answers, you can safely assume that the logic is nonsense!

* To make it make sense, you could assume that CO2 only absorbs/re-emits about 5% (one-twentieth) of infra red, very much at the low end of most estimates. In which case, we can divide the 30 degree potential warming by twenty to get 1.5 degrees observed warming (the other 95% is unaffected). If they explained it like that, then I'd have to accept the explanation as plausible and at least internally consistent. There's no such thing as "warm" or "cold" radiation of course, it doesn't have a temperature, it is just a form of energy (like potential energy or electrical energy which don't have a temperature either), so that part of the explanation is still flimsy.

For a more nuanced version of all this, see Clive Best, who thinks there would be a very small increase in temperature of about 0.3 degrees.

Monday, 23 November 2020

What missing radiation?

From The Motherlode:


The red area shows radiation emitted from Earth's surface, assuming average temperature 288K (total 390 W/m2). The green area shows actual outgoing radiation measured from space (total 240 W/m2). Their argument is that the red area that is not overlapped by green shows the missing radiation that is 'trapped' by CO2. Game, set and match to the Alarmists!

Here's a simplified version to illustrate the point they are trying to make: the surface emits 390 W/m2 but only 240 W/m2 gets to space. How do we explain the missing radiation? The usual suspect, CO2?

Having given this some thought, it strikes me that this way of looking at things is a massive fudge and ignores the full picture.

Let's go back to the beginning and look at incoming solar radiation. On average it's 685 W/m2 during the day. One-third reaches the land or ocean surface, which reflects 10%. Two-thirds hits clouds, which reflect 40%. Overall, 30% is reflected (i.e. Earth's albedo is 0.3), so 480 W/m2 is absorbed during 12 hours of daylight. Temperatures (and outgoing radiation) don't change much by day and night, so let's assume that a steady 240 W/m2 is radiated back to space by day and by night. So it's all in equilibrium. 480 W/m2 x 12 hours incoming = 240 W/m2 x 24 hours outgoing. (Clouds and the surface beneath them have their own separate equilibrium, which need not concern us further).


Outgoing radiation is the reverse process. We treat clouds as part of the surface when calculating albedo, net incoming radiation and effective temperature, so we also have to treat them as part of the surface when looking at outgoing radiation (or else we get nonsensical answers).

One-third of the surface, land/oceans is 288K (effective temperature as adjusted for gravito-thermal effect and latent heat of evaporation/condensation aka "the lapse rate") and they emit 390 W/m2 (they are close to behaving like a 'black body'). Two-thirds of the effective surface, clouds, emit 165 W/m2*, so the weighted average is 240 W/m2. So there is no missing radiation to explain away in the first place!**


* The calculation for clouds is as follows. Average altitude of clouds/emitting layer = 6 km. At 6 km, the temperature is about 250K, i.e. surface temperature 288K minus 6 x 6.5K for the lapse rate. If they behaved like 'black bodies' with emissivity of 100%, they would be emitting (250^4) ÷ 10^8 x 5.67 = 220 W/m2. But clouds' emissivity is only 75%, so they actually only emit three-quarters of that = 165 W/m2. Emissivity is a bit like 'albedo' but in reverse, look it up.

Clearly, "two-thirds", "6 km", "250K" and "75% emissivity" are arbitrarily chosen reasonable mid-estimates to illustrate the point - you get the same effect if clouds are lower (hence warmer) and with a lower emissivity; or they are higher and emissivity is higher. Nobody really knows what these variables (cloud cover, height etc) are as they change constantly and they largely cancel each other out.

** OK, I accept that the 'missing' radiation appears to be in the wavelengths absorbed and emitted by CO2. They are saying that CO2 absorbs but doesn't re-emit? Or are they saing that CO2 does emit radiation to space, but if there is more CO2, it emits less radiation? You can never pin them down.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

Another Official Property Scam

Recently there was a piece on Radio 4 about "shared ownership", which is buying a house on the never never, but with the added joy of paying a mortgage on the part that you "own".

As far as I can see this is yet another "initiative" to try to blow some air into the housing bubble and get round the rules on lenders designed to stop borrowers reducing themselves to penury whist they desperately try to get access to the magic money tree that is housing in the UK. It combines the worst aspects of renting - it's not your house to do what you want with - with the worst aspects of buying - the properties are leasehold and, so long as you only own a small percentage, your share is almost unsaleable, so you are stuck with it.

It has all the makings of a mis-selling scandal of the future, I expect the ambulance chasers are already gearing up.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Car hits house

Article and photo at the BBC.

How on earth did he manage to get the front door of the house lodged in his windscreen at that angle, all without totally wrecking the front of the car? The angle suggests that the door flew in from above and behind.

The photo appears to have been taken from here.

"Rishi Sunak to reform anti-Northern spending bias"

From the BBC:

Part of what will change is the Treasury's Green Book - a set of rules it uses to determine the value generated by government schemes. It will mean - as the first portions of £600bn in planned public investment are delivered - the process of ranking transport, energy, schools or hospital investment will be widened beyond a narrow definition of benefit compared to cost.

Those calculations, the Treasury now acknowledges, have inherently favoured the government investing continuously in the South East of England and London. That's because the values of economic return are influenced by existing high property prices in those regions. For example, a transport link between London and Reading would always have ranked as better value for money for the taxpayer than linking two northern cities.


I'm reading between the lines a bit here, but I assume what they mean is that if spending £X billion on better transport links increases economic activity in an area by Y per cent, then it is better to spend it in a densely populated = high wage = high land price area.

On a national level, that makes sense. It would be pointless spending umpteen billion on bridges connecting sparsely populated Scottish islands.

The real issue is not where the money is spent, the issue is who benefits from the spending. Under current rules, it is mainly people who own homes or business premises in the South East, so a double slap in the face for people and businesses in other areas, who have to pay their share of the cost via taxation. Or indeed tenants in the South East who end up paying more tax and higher rents.

If LVT were a major source of revenue, then money would still be spent on whatever things in whatever areas where the extra LVT exceeds the cost, but instead of all the benefits going to landowners there, everybody in every area of the country would benefit because that surplus LVT would be used to reduce taxes on output and earnings for everybody. Like people who pay £100 for a front row seat subsidising people in the back row who only have to pay £10. If the theatre charged a flat £50 on a first-come first-served basis, they'd only fill half their seats and the back rows would be empty.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

"Sainsbury’s defends Christmas advert as customers threaten to boycott store for featuring black family"

From The Metro

Since it was first aired, the advert has received controversial feedback online, with some slamming the commercial for ‘not representing them’.

Others went as far as to say they were boycotting Sainsbury’s because of their ad. One shopper tweeted: ‘Isn’t the UK supposed to be all about Diversity and Inclusion? Don’t see any of that here. Virtual signalling if ever I’ve seen it!’


I have some sympathy for Sainsbury's here. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. Clearly, the UK is a 'white' country and 95% of the population consider themselves 'White British'. So if supermarkets always just featured a median family in their adverts, they would all be all white. Which, while fairly accurate, would be a bit boring. And they'd get grief from the virtue signallers (who are all white, rather ironically).

If all supermarkets just used the median family, then we would only see white families, which might be a fair reflection of many parts of the country, but completely out of kilter with larger cities. So a lot of them cop out by having a mixed race family with one white and one non-white* parent.

But, even though I am half of a mixed race couple with mixed race kids, I find this really irritating. It's the least representative kind of family, that's basic maths. Even if every single non-white person married a white person, that's still only one-in-ten families. Clearly they don't, so in truth is more like one-in-a-hundred.

So Sainsbury's marketing team thought "Fuck it, this is all too complicated. We'll never improve on plugboy. Whatever else we do will offend somebody, so for a change let's have an all-black family."

And good for them, to be honest. If a supermarket did an Xmas advert featuring a family of green CGI Martians, would anybody bat an eyelid?

* You're not allowed to say 'coloured' any more (as Greg Clarke found out to his cost, seriously, you can lose your job for this). Hilariously enough we did a 'racial sensitivity' nonsense course at work a couple of years ago and the lecturer insisted that we say 'people of colour', or 'BIPOC', completely made-up phrases which were deemed to be offensive a few weeks ago. 'Black' is the preferred term again for Afro-Caribbeans (they've always described to themselves as 'black' AFAIAA). You have to keep up to date with these things!

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Buy now while stocks last!

From the BBC:

Ban on new petrol and diesel cars in UK from 2030 under PM's green plan

New cars and vans powered wholly by petrol and diesel will not be sold in the UK from 2030, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said. But some hybrids would still be allowed, he confirmed.

It is part of what Mr Johnson calls a "green industrial revolution" to tackle climate change and create jobs in industries such as nuclear energy. Critics say the £4bn allocated to implement the 10-point plan is far too small for the scale of the challenge.


We'll end up like Cuba, where everybody's driving round in lovingly maintained classics.

Monday, 16 November 2020

Mr Rashford's Property Portfolio

 From the Daily Mail

Campaigning football star Marcus Rashford has bought five luxury homes worth at least £2 million, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The striker, 23, has ploughed an estimated £1.5 million into three houses on a new estate in Wilmslow, Cheshire, as well as buying a house and flat in Macclesfield.

I could get into how awful it is that a productive footballer and nice guy, becomes a parasitic landlord, but he probably hasn't thought too much about that. But, I think this is a bad investment.

Our host has explained a few times about the relationship of commuting time and rents, that the closer you are to the office, the more your rent rises, and that particularly applies to Wilmslow.

I know Wilmslow quite well. I spent a few months working in Wythenshawe, which is like Syria on a bad day, so I chose to stay in Wilmslow. It's also not far from Manchester Airport and a 20 minute rail commute from Manchester Piccadilly, the main rail station.

If you compare the prices in Wilmslow and Congleton, it's around £450K for a 3 bed semi vs £300K in Congleton. Congleton is 50 minutes from Manchester by train.

But the value of being 30 minutes closer to the office is going to diminish if you're only doing it 2 days a week rather than 5. Instead of there being a £150K difference over Congleton to someone doing that, it's more like a 60K difference. OK, not everyone is going to be doing this post-Covid, but most of those people are office workers in the centre of Manchester and the effect is going to be big there.

This is why London rents have fallen anything from 3% to 7% on a year ago (depending on who you ask) while other rents have risen. If you aren't going into the office, or not that often, you don't need to be in Hammersmith, you can be in Slough, or Swindon.

I think the whole of this is going to take time to work out. Much of it will come as people move. Home owners near to the centre of cities are going to think this is a short-term blip or gully, and hold out, not selling as the prices continue to fall rather than bailing out.