climate science

The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification

A rather worrisome paper has just been published in Science magazine. The authors conclude:

[T]he current rate of (mainly fossil fuel) CO2 release stands out as capable of driving a combination and magnitude of ocean geochemical changes potentially unparalleled in at least the last ~300 [million years] of Earth history, raising the possibility that we are entering an unknown territory of marine ecosystem change.

An excellent summary is available on Ars Technica (which is where I first read about this paper).  The paper is B. Hönisch et al, ‘The Geological Record of Ocean Acidification’, Science, vol. 335, no. 6072, pp. 1058–1063, Mar. 2012. DOI: 10.1126/science.1208277.

On the plus side, reading about this research has given me more enthusiasm to finish insulating our bedrooms this weekend!

Why bother to reduce energy consumption

This blog entry is part of a series of posts introducing the topic of smart meter disaggregation.  This specific post looks at the wider reasons for reducing energy consumption.  In other words, this post explains some of the reasons which keep me up at night when I'm not distracted by work! The reasons for reducing energy consumption typically fall into one of two categories: financial and environmental.  We'll focus mostly on the consumption of electricity but the arguments are mostly applicable to the consumption of all sorts of energy.

Financial reasons

There's been a lot of coverage in the press recently about high energy prices.  In January 2012, for example, the Citizens' Advice Bureau stated that 43% of people are worried that they can't afford their next fuel bill.  The following plot shows average annual domestic electricity prices in the UK from 1994 to 2011 (data from DECC, 2011).

Average annual domestic electricity prices in the UK.Average annual domestic electricity prices in the UK.

Electricity prices have risen from 2004 to today; but, when compared to data from the 1990s, today's prices are not quite as earth-shatteringly high as some news papers would have us believe.

What has caused the 35% price rise (in real terms) from 2003 to 2011?  I'm no expert but let's discuss two datasets which shed some light on what's going on.

Using school physics to calculate oceans warming rate

I've been - er - discussing AGW with sceptics again. One intelligent chap is making the argument that "we are chosing timeframes MASSIVELY too short for this sort of science..." His point is that the paleo record suggests that CO2-forced warmings take millions of years, not decades. This is my attempt to answer:

OK. So we need to talk about rates. Physics is good at this. To approximate the rate at which the planet warms, we need to:

Another reponse to James Delingpole

(this response hasn't been posted either as of yet...[edit - it has now been published on the telegraph blogs comments section])

Frank fisher wrote: "That’s all you’re left with? How about natural greenhouse gasses..."

Measured and tracked:

A response to commenters on James Delingpole's blog

(it looks like this might be moderated out so I'm posting it here for now


That statement seems somewhat at odds to the evidence:

My response to "The climate debate isn’t over" by Amanda Baillieu

Amanda Baillieu is the editor of "Building Design" magazine.  Her last two editorials have argued - to quote her twitter feed - that "Basically believing in man made climate change is a bit like hoping that fairies live at the bottom of the garden." I wrote the following response to her last editorial "The Climate Debate Isn't Over", published 13th Nov 2009.

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