Newly discovered planet may have water on its surface

Newly discovered planet may have water on its surface. Anthony Watts pastes in a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa press release about a newly discovered planet that appears to be in the “Goldilocks Zone” where liquid water can exist. If you want to learn more that Anthony’s “Look! A pony!” post, try Bad Astronomy.

Although its merely 20 light years away it’s calculated to be at least three times the Earth’s mass. So not a good fall-back position if we take Anthony’s word that global warming isn’t bad (and also isn’t happening).

Potential breakthrough: electrical power from waste heat generated at the quantum level

Potential breakthrough: electrical power from waste heat generated at the quantum level. Anthony Watts has found a press release from the University of Arizona that says physicists have discovered a new way of harvesting waste heat and turning it into electrical power.

We’re saved! Thermocouples to the rescue! Who cares about Global Warming now?

Like Anthony I hope that some unexpected technological development solves our energy needs. But I’m not willing to bet on it, nor am I willing to dismiss the environmental consequences.

Wood fired power plants help reduce climate change

Wood fired power plants help reduce climate change. Anthony Watts has read a press release from the University of Manchester titled How heating our homes could help reduce climate change and thinks we can burn our way to a lower CO2 emissions. No need to change anything else to solve Global Warming. Which isn’t happening.

Um, this is really a report of biomass-fueled district heating concepts. Biomass sequesters and then releases carbon in a repeating cycle, so it’s inherently “neutral” in climate terms if processing, transport and power generation are efficient enough.

“Fossil” fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas were sequestered millions of years ago and completely removed from the natural carbon cycle. When they are extracted and consumed their carbon, in the form of CO2 is released back into the environment with what a “consensus” of scientists would describe as pronounced and measurable impacts on the Earth’s climate.

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines

NASA discovery: solar storms don’t always travel in straight lines. Anthony Watts posts another NASA news report, Solar Storms can Change Directions, Surprising Forecasters. A 2008 coronal mass ejection (CME) was observed by NASA’s STEREO-A and STEREO–B spacecraft. The researchers speculate that CME’s follow the sun’s curving magnetic field until they get swept up by the solar wind. The paper by Byrne et al, Propagation of an Earth-directed coronal mass ejection in three dimensions, is in the Sept. 21, 2010 issue of Nature Communications.

The Dec. 12, 2008 coronal mass ejection observed by STEREO. Source: NASA.

I guess Anthony thinks this report is helpful in suggesting that a) we don’t know anything about that big fiery ball in the sky, and b) them scientists are going to change their minds anyway, so don’t bother listening to them.

Where the particulates are (and aren’t)

Where the particulates are (and aren’t). NASA posts a press release (New Map Offers a Global View of Health-Sapping Air Pollution) about an estimate of the global distribution of fine particulate matter, and talks about efforts to assess the health risks these particles pose. Anthony Watts decides it’s all just dust (natural!).

Global Particulate Matter (<2.5μm) Distribution

Satellite-derived map of particulate matter (<2.5μm) distribution averaged over 2001-2006. Source: Dalhousie University.

Donkelaar and Randall Martin published Global Estimates of Ambient Fine Particulate Matter Concentrations from Satellite-Based Aerosol Optical Depth: Development and Application in Environmental Health Perspectives. They combined data from the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) on NASA’s Terra satellite and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on both NASA’s Aqua and Terra satellites.

Why the random grousing about random NASA research, Anthony? Just some kind of reflexive urge? The commenters join in with a chorus of “scare tactics!”

Ocean cooling contributed to mid-20th century global warming hiatus (and so did the PDO)

Ocean cooling contributed to mid-20th century global warming hiatus (and so did the PDO). Poor Anthony Watts seems in a foul mood here. Muttering about news story that doesn’t give him access to all the data, references to “public money”, particularly asinine comments about press release photos (where on earth does “grinning like a banshee” come from?), etc. You’d think he’d be clutching at a report about oceanic cooling with both hands…

Maybe he’s irritated that Dr. Phil Jones, who the denialists tried to bring down with the false “Climategate” controversy is publishing science again? Or is it that the paper discusses cooling, which the lying climatologists supposedly never talk about and he has no idea how to react.

So the paper in question is being published as a Letter in Nature titled An abrupt drop in Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature around 1970 (here’s the abstract). It says that “the hiatus of global warming in the Northern Hemisphere during the mid-20th century may have been due to an abrupt cooling event centered over the North Atlantic around 1970, rather than the cooling effects of tropospheric pollution.” Don’t you just hate it when scientists observe things and try to understand them?

Anthony spots professor David W.J. Thompson "grinning like a banshee".

The planet Mercury has a comet like tail

The planet Mercury has a comet like tail. Anthony Watts posts a random Eurekalert press release, a Boston University Center for Space Physics paper about Mercury, to prove that he’s a well-rounded lover of knowledge. His value-added insight? Not a single word. Aside from dropping the dash from “comet-like”.

Hey, monkeys have tails too! Compare and contrast.

Nice tail, Mercury! Source - NASA/STEREO.

Boom-de-ah-da, Boom-de-ah-da.

New carbon dioxide emissions model: “carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to around zero by the end of the century”

New carbon dioxide emissions model: “carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to around zero by the end of the century”. How dare those Europeans tell Anthony Watts what to do! Wait, the copied-and-pasted  Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science press release is simply saying this:

Meteorologists have determined exactly how much carbon dioxide humans can emit into the atmosphere while ensuring that the earth does not heat up by more than two degrees.

CO2 emissions calculated by the model (left, in gigatons carbon/year) and the temporal development of the global mean annual temperature (right). For long-term stabilisation of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, fossil carbon dioxide emissions must be reduced to around zero by the end of the century. Black lines represent the observed values. Source: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

The practical truth is that if we want to limit the global temperature increase to the 2°C rise that has been agreed is a wise target, we’re going to have to start acting now. There is a significant “inertia” to our climate’s response to inputs such as CO2 emissions, it’s not as if we can just “turn off the tap” when it suits us.

Anthony leaves the wise observations that we’d “better stop breathing” and howls about taxation, socialist vegetarian conspiracies and population control to flourish uncorrected in the comments.

Botanist claims to overturn established ocean phytoplankton theory – cites global warming as a concern for new theory

Botanist claims to overturn established ocean phytoplankton theory – cites global warming as a concern for new theory. Whew. Anthony Watts can sleep again. Global warming has been disproved! Again. Somehow. In a paper by an Oregon State University botanist (Abandoning Sverdrup’s critical depth hypothesis on phytoplankton blooms). So Anthony instinctively copies and pastes the press release.


Eurekalert has a press release about Dr. Behrenfeld’s research, which suggests that phytoplankton blooms occur at a greater range of depths and seasonal than previously recognized. Well that settles it!

Uh oh, Anthony didn’t even understand the for-dummies press release:

The critical depth hypothesis would suggest that a warmer climate would increase ocean productivity. Behrenfeld’s new hypothesis suggests the opposite.

From DMSP munching microbes to global climate

From DMSP munching microbes to global climate. Anthony Watts has found a press release about a paper by Justin Seymour of The University of Technology Sydney. Did you know that “Observations show that microorganisms display a behaviour characteristic of larger animals.”? Dimethylsulfide (DMSP) helps marine microorganisms find food (or prey on those microorganisms)!

Seymour’s paper seems trivial from a climate science perspective, but this post seems to be just an opportunity to encourage commenters to rubbish a scientific paper that happens to mention climate change impacts.