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Fergus Brown

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  • Gender
  • Location
    North Yorkshire
  • Interests
    Climate science, philosophy, people, communication, business, renewable energy, everything else in the entirety of human knowledge.
  • Weather Preferences
    Extended Mediterranean heatwaves
  1. Useful live blog: http://live.aljazeera.com/Event/Weather_4 The main news site also has some footage. One report says gusts to 360 kph!
  2. If it hadn't been for the ridiculous inflation of the PV market due to original Feed in Tariff, people in the UK might have gone for solar thermal, which IMO is a much better technology for this country, since it supports cheaper heating, rather than relatively inefficient energy generation. That guy had it worked out!
  3. Yes, that argument is often used. The reality is that Renewables compete on an unfair playing field, where fossil fuels - specifically Coal - are more heavily subsidised. But Coal is the cheapest way to generate large amounts of energy, if you don't take into account the environmental cost. Since it is hard to put a price on this, the end effect is that utilities are under no pressure to change their energy mix. The real issue with renewables in the UK is that the most efficient and cost effective - onshore wind - is the most politically and personally divisive. On a fair comparison, it comp
  4. Changing the subject (but still more or less on theme); I'd appreciate feedback/opinion/derision on a new(ish) idea I am developing at the moment about the communication of environment issues: http://whogoeswithfergus.blogspot.co.uk/ All (literally, all) and any thoughts very much welcomed...
  5. It is also a strange notion - that science is no more than 'ideas which are dressed up as facts'. Yes, science requires hypothesis, but this is only a part of what science does. The really important bits include measurement, observation and analysis, which are facts, aren't they? It is healthy to be cautious about placing too much trust in speculative science - this is real skepticism. But generally speaking, most of the speculation comes from the media mis-reporting of science, rather than the work itself. It is risky for a scientist to indulge in unfounded speculation so this tends to be
  6. This is not strictly about the topic of this thread - it's about the bigger picture (e.g, the sort of thing Tamara and I agree matters). It's not very long and it is not about AGW: http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/10/science-says-revolt
  7. Keith's baseline concept - that there is more CO2 in the global system budget than we put there, is a fact. The conclusions from this fact are, however, open to challenge. What is relevant is not how much there is, but how much more there is - in other words, the systemic imbalance of the atmospheric CO2 budget. Which is what accounts for recent temperature changes. Side note; the article estimates that a certain type of subsea volcanic activity, which might produce around 2.5 -5.5 million tonnes of CO2 a year, is not otherwise accounted for in the global budget of subsea volcanic acti
  8. This is interesting: http://www.glaciology.net/Home/Miscellaneous-Debris/comparisonofsealevelprojections
  9. GW, Had a look into the most recent work on this. There are two different scenarios to consider: first, the steady, increasing, semi-permanent and persistent increase of CH4 in the atmosphere. Under this scenario, there would be an increasing contribution to warming on certain timescales, but the amount is still relatively lower than the contribution of CO2. The other scenario, which is also considered in the AR5, is the 'methane burst' situation. The suggestion is that, under some circumstances, it might be possible that an exceptionally large amount of methane is emitted into the atmosp
  10. It sounds very much like what matters here then is the Equlibrium Climate Sensitivity (the net balance of all know positive and negative forcings, and their uncertainties, in the event of a doubling of CO2). You are right to point out that this is one of the key 'open topics' in the assessment of the impacts of AGW. There are a number of studies, and a broad range of agreement, but the resulting estimates (and they must, to date, be estimates) do vary quite widely. What I can not find is a credible study which estimates ECS as nothing, or negative. But this is a really important thing to get
  11. I agree with you that there are powerful reasons to act on certain things, like deforestation, which are definitively negative. The double benefit of this kind of action is that it produces a positive outcome irrespective of the AGW debate, but also, in the event that AGW turns out to be true, also acts to mitigate on this, so it's a global win-win. It's a bit trickier with ocean acidification. This looks pretty much sure to be the consequence of CO2 emissions. Given enough time, the oceans would probably rebalance, but that would be over hundreds of years or more. As things stand, we have
  12. Its not a personalised post Devonian. It is a general overview in terms of appraising ALL the forcings that could contribute to climate variation. There is research into both yes, but the gist of what i said is that much more equanimity and open mindedness is required in bringing balance of opinion Hi Tamara, IMO, the chapter of the AR5 which deals with Attribution shows a considered, balanced approach to all the potential forcings. I'd like to claim that the conclusions are all unequivocal but this would be untrue - within the assessment there are considerable variables which matter. Wh
  13. Hi all. The IPCC report is a SYNTHESIS . The lead scientists and principal scientists on each section are highly-respected, experienced and competent specialists whose reputations are founded on a track record of sound, meaningful science. These people review THOUSANDS of papers from thousands of other scientists and present their findings to nearly 200 political representatives of governments, who then argue the toss about the wording or detail of pretty much every line, until everyone is satisfied with all of it. The scientists who make contributions to the various chapters are g
  14. Is it really not possible to actually have a conversation about this subject with someone who has a different opinion without it declining into farce? This is an important issue, and understanding it (or at least, wanting/trying to) is worthwhile and fairly normal. Is there anyone who reads these threads who actually believes they don't know for certain what to think, or is everyone talking into a void of other people's certainty? Grrrr
  15. I'm guessing that Scotland is not geologically suited to cost-effective fracking. It's easy for politicians to decide not to do something that probably won't be done anyway. Could be wrong, haven't checked.
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