Leckner’s Curves


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Cold . . . Hot . . . Why I Prefer Hot

At one time in my life I lived in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. I worked for some bad people (really, I’m not being “clever” here, but it isn’t currently relevant). The site where I worked was near Carmacks. The year was 1997. This is how I know cold. As you can see from here:


It was COLD. If anyone wonders what -50C is like, let me tell you. . . You can’t imagine it. I’ve been outside at -40 a lot in my life. It aint too bad, particularly if you have a sauna. But -50 is a whole new level of cold . . . And it is bad ass cold.

I’ve spent most of my life in Timmins, Ontario. There, -40 is almost assured every winter. But it was in Timmins that I experienced Hot. I clearly remember a summer from my youth. And the data is there to read.


Now I know that in the greater scheme of temperatures, +38.9C is not comparable to -50C for cold. But it is still pretty hot. Not like the hottest day in Scottsdale Arizona at 48.3, (http://www.weather.com/weather/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USAZ0207) but it is still hot.

Hot is definitely much, MUCH more preferable to cold. An unprotected human would be dead in minutes at -50. They would be thirsty and maybe sun burnt at +50.

So John. WTF is your point here. My point is: The human race would be much MUCH better adjusted to an excessively warm planet then an excessively cold planet. If there is a climate we need to avoid, it is a cold climate. Bad things happen in the cold. Glaciers form. Water dries up (yes really). Plants don’t grow. Tasty (and not so tasty) animals die. Cold is very very hard to live in. Warm is not. Warm is easy to live in.

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Seeing as people are actually reading my blog today, I assume because of my posts at Watt’s Up With That, I’ve made a list of my favourite posts.

The Path Length Approximation
The Denier
390 ppm Atmospheric CO2, A Little or a Lot?

And one for Steve Mosher
How Well Do You Understand Radiant Heat Transfer?

If you are coming here to see what I’m on about regarding the cartoon at WUWT, please, please read

The Path Length Approximation
THIS is why I think it is critical to accept that we CAN estimate the temperature impact of CO2. Because the temperature impact of CO2 AT THE LEVELS IN OUR ATMOSPHERE, is similar to the odds of winning the lottery. Not quite 0. Never quite 0. But close enough to 0 that we can use 0 in all of our calculations. So David Hoffer and friends. WTF? Are you saying I’m wrong? Prove it. Use emperical, tested methods. And show me how to balance a blast furnace based on your “science”.

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Human Achievement Hour

Following up on the post about earth hour, I celebrate Human Achievement Hour. For those who wonder why, look at the photos of earth at night here:


In particular, look for North Korea, compared to South Korea and Zimbabwe compared to South Africa. Two sets of nations that were at equal points in advancement at the end of the second world war. In both instances, the first suffers grinding poverty, no freedom and a short life span (and not coincidentally, a low carbon footprint). The second has embraced a free market approach to society and has reaped the benefits (and also not coincidentally, a high carbon footprint). Though one can talk about the lot of blacks in South Africa, they are better off than if they lived in Zimbabwe and now that they have the real human rights of speech and rule of law, their lot is improving fast.

Energy use and the necessary high carbon footprint is THE indicator of a society that does not suffer the ravages of poverty. One cannot have true freedom while enforcing a low carbon footprint.

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Earth Hour

Today is March 31, 2012. During the first period of the hockey game, I am going to turn on all of my lights, microwave some popcorn, self clean my oven, freeze 10 trays of ice cubes, do two loads of laundry and vacuum the house. All things that are possible because of electricty.

I’ve an opinion on Earth Hour. However, Ross McKitrick has already expressed a similar view. Some would state that his saying women have been able to leave the house to work is sexist. That may be, though I doubt it. What is not sexist is that electricity has made it possible for there to be two income houses. Women have always been able to leave the home, IF they were very rich and had servants. Anyway, here is Ross’s answer about earth hour:

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

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Sky Dragons

Just came across a book about slaying dragons, greenhouse gases, yada yada yada. Then I read Dr. Spencer’s post (http://www.drroyspencer.com/2012/03/slaying-the-slayers-with-the-alabama-two-step/) and the comments in it. Just one question for the CO2 can’t absorb energy crowd. How pray tell can I balance the heat in a blast furnace and come up with the right mass of coking coal to add without this absorption? Because without it, my theoretical carbon balance does not match the real carbon balance. Please show your math in the comment. Well Ok. Provide a link to the math. Last time I did one of those balances it took 6 pages of foolscap.

For a bit on the actual math, from a CO2 absorption point of view see:

For why the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is actually a lot of CO2 see:

I won’t even get into some of the more esoteric stuff like “you can’t add gas to the atmosphere” which would fall under the category of arguing with fools.

Radiant heat absorption by CO2 is a well known phenomenon. It is essential in many many areas besides climate. To deny it exists in climate is to deny it exists in all of the myriad of other fields that must take it into account. That is OK, if you can provide another explanation for the reduction in radiant heat loss that occurs as the proportion of CO2 increases in the intervening gas.

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Methane that is sequestered in permafrost and deep sea clathrates has been alleged to be (a) potential serious source of positive feedback from global warming. Accepting this, I propose that we start a program immediately to mine these clathrates and burn them to CO2 and water, hence reducing the potential impact. There is very little methane in the atmosphere, hence small increases in methane will have a major impact on climate. There is a lot of CO2 in the atmosphere, hence large increases in CO2 are required to have any impact on climate.

Yes, yes, this post is short on links to sources. Google is your friend. Don’t take my word for any of this.

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