Climate clippings 181

1. Solar delivers cheapest electricity ‘ever, anywhere, by any technology’

Half the price of coal!

    In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.

2. World’s largest wind farm to be built in the UK

    The U.K. government on Tuesday approved phase two of the world’s largest wind farm, adding 300 turbines to a project 55 miles off England’s shore, in the North Sea.

    The Hornsea Two project will provide 1.8 gigawatts of generating power, in addition to the first phase’s 1.2 gigawatts. In all, the 3 gigawatts provided by Hornsea is enough to power 2.5 million average (U.S.) households. At that size, the combined project is roughly equivalent to a nuclear power plant.

3. Larsen C about to go

A 6,000 square kilometre chunk of ice is threatening to break off the Larsen C Ice Shelf of the Antarctic Peninsula:

larsen C_rift-map_600

The crack has grown 22 kilometres since the beginning of the Arctic winter, when it was last seen, and is now about 350 metres wide.

Ice shelves float so there will be no impact on sea level rise as such. However, ice shelves buttress ice piled up on land, so the calving of this humungous iceberg is part of ice sheet decay.

I believe it’s area is about the same size as Brisbane.

4. Sea level rise to accelerate

John Fasullo and colleagues predict that satellites will detect accelerating sea level rise within the next decade.

Satellites have provided super accurate measurements of sea level rise only since 1993. It’s too early to definitely identify a trend, but they think sea level rise will accelerate in coming decades.

I don’t think it will all come in a rush, not just yet, but give it another 50 years or so and all bets are off. During Meltwater Pulse 1A about 14k years ago it rose roughly a metre per 20 years for 400-500 years.

5. Keeping global warming to 1.5℃ rather than 2℃ makes a crucial difference

The Climate Institute commissioned Climate Analytics to examine the impacts on Australia of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and 2°C and to look at the carbon budgets involved.

The report is here. One of the authors, Niklas Roming, has an article at RenewEconomy, but the crux of it is this, from a discussion piece at The Conversation:

    The report predicts that half of the world’s identified tipping points – such as the collapse of polar ice sheets and the drying out of the Amazon rainforest – would be crossed under 2℃ warming, compared with 20% of them at 1.5℃.

If we go to 2℃, we will have a very different climate and there is a good chance we won’t be able to stabilise there.

The bad news is that if we just carry on we’ll reach 1.5℃ by 2024, and 2℃ by 2036.

What the report is telling us, says Giles Parkinson, is that if we don’t update our 2030 targets, we’ll have just a further five years at that point to reach zero emissions.

6. Range of electric cars is increasing

    At least 98% of the cars used daily on US roads could be replaced by electric cars on a single charge, according to new research.

The 2013 Nissan Leaf had a battery capacity of 24 kilowatt hours (kWh) and a published range of 70-80 miles. That covered 87% of US daily travel.

More recent Leaf models already have a larger 30kWh battery.

    Similarly, the 2017 Volkswagen e-Golf will have a 39kWh battery, compared to 24kWh for the current model. The 2017 Chevy Bolt will have a 60kWh battery, similar to that rumoured for the Tesla Model 3, and a 90kWh Tesla Model S is now on the market.

    These larger battery sizes will push the share of cars on the road that could be replaced with an electric model on a single charge from 87% to around 98% for the 60kWh Bolt and, perhaps, 99% for the 90kWh Tesla.

7. Global warming started in 1830

A new study shows that some parts of the globe began to warm as early as 1830.

    Our findings show that warming did not develop at the same time across the planet. The tropical oceans and the Arctic were the first regions to begin warming, in the 1830s. Europe, North America and Asia followed roughly two decades later.

    Surprisingly, the results show that the southern hemisphere began warming much later, with Australasia and South America starting to warm from the early 20th century. This continental-scale time lag is still evident today: while some parts of Antarctica have begun to warm, a clear warming signal over the entire continent is still not detectable.

    The warming in most regions reversed what would otherwise have been a cooling trend related to high volcanic activity during the preceding centuries.

12 thoughts on “Climate clippings 181”

  1. We told you so: we told you so; …. The Poms, ever open to a money making deal, are putting in a huge windfarm off their coast, while we are still humming-&-haaring about the value of windfarms and of solar power stations in Australia’s vast sunny deserts.

    The Flat Earth Society (of the “Columbus didn’t go to the New World” fame/notoriety) have opened another chapter around here to cater for the increased membership. Don’t try reason and evidence to counter their claims – wonder if magic or theology might convince them? “The Arctic and Antarctic are getting colder”. Yeah, right ….

  2. My favorite conspiracy of recent months was that alien lizards were taking over the world. Lizards tend to like warmth because they have cold blood so it is reasonable to suggest that lizards will be supporting climate scepticism even though they know this will lead to a warmer world.
    Inspired by this conspiracy I have started taking a closer look at the politicians who are against climate action. It is a bit scary.

  3. zoot
    It was from a ” real life ” wag, not an internet wag.
    I could ask for her to repeat it and get full audio visual and sign a stat dec, would that suffice ?

  4. If you were the only commenter I requested cites from (you’re not), it would be because you’re the only commenter making statements that require supporting evidence (you’re not).

  5. I seem to remember somewhere that the Arctic ocean was not covered by ice during the last ice age. The big build-up in ice on northern countries was the result of evaporation from the arctic contributing to high snow falls that didn’t have time to melt in the summer.

  6. Or right back into an ice age.

    The term “ice age” usually refers to the whole planet freezing, not just North America and Western Europe.

  7. On climate change and earthquakes, the basic facts are that the earth’s diameter is 12,756 km, the oceans are on average 3.6 km deep, Mt Everest is 8.8 km high and the earth’s crust is 20 to 30 km thick. I can’t see that CO2 or sea level in the short term would make much difference, but the weight of water and ice on land is clearly an issue.

    There is a claim that the Three Gorges Dam in China has been associated with a 30-fold increase in seismic activity.

    John D, I’d always assumed that the North Atlantic would have been frozen solid in the last ice age. Seems not. This article says:

    The Arctic Ocean between the huge ice sheets of America and Eurasia was not frozen throughout, but like today probably was only covered by relatively shallow ice, subject to seasonal changes and riddled with icebergs calving from the surrounding ice sheets. According to the sediment composition retrieved from deep-sea cores there must even have been times of seasonally open waters.

    This article says:

    Remarkably, the results show that in the last ice age, from about 50,000 to 11,000 years ago, the central Arctic Basin between 1,000 and 2,500 m water depth was occupied by water that was generally 1–2 °C warmer than in the modern Arctic.

    I think it’s too late in the evening for me to make sense as to why, but it seems that

    A reduced influx of freshwater to the Arctic Ocean acted to deepen the halocline and push the warm Atlantic Layer downward.

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