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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Dang Parasites

Willis Eschenbach had a post recently at Watts Up With That on Parasitic Losses or Parasitic Loads depending on your point of view.  Parasitic Loads are things that don't directly contribute to the desired product but make the production more enjoyable or tolerable, like A/C in your car or power brakes/steering which require energy from your engine and rob some fuel mileage where if you had large rock hard tires, no brakes and never turned, you would get great mileage once or twice but not many would enjoy the ride.

I included "rock hard tires" because soft tires with good road grip and a nice cushy suspension also reduce fuel mileage a touch and are more like like parasitic losses than loads.  Energy is knowingly diverted to produce the A/C, power brakes and steering but not the suspension or the aerodynamics of the vehicle which are designed to reduce frictional loss while acknowledging creature comfort, manufacturing cost and sex (sales) appeal.   This is one of the problems with the 100 mile per gallon car, people wouldn't buy one.  There is a trade off between efficiency and sex appeal.

Willis described latent and sensible cooling as "parasitic" losses in a typical one dimensional evaluation of a complex climate system evaluated through a radiant energy only perspective.   Possibly a better way would be a radiant efficiency perspective.  At whatever is the actual top of the atmosphere, the climate system has close to 100% radiant efficiency and in the depths of the oceans nearly 0% radiant efficiency.  If you consider the ocean surface to be "the" surface then with a temperature of 20C, input energy of 200 Wm-2, latent/sensible combined cooling of 100 Wm-2 you have a couple of choices for defining your radiant efficiency.  At first blush, 100 Wm-2 of "parasitic" loss with 200 Wm-2 input would indicate 50% radiant efficiency.  However, 20C would have a radiant energy of 418 Wm-2, which with the 200 input and 100 output leaves 118 Wm-2 of interacting energy.  That energy can be stored or returned by the atmosphere.  Since the 100 Wm-2 latent/sensible cooling decreases the actual "surface" temperature, the effective temperature of the "surface" is 518 Wm-2, so you could consider the radiant efficiency to be 418/518 or 81% efficient in only the simplistic up/down perspective. You could also consider the input 200 Wm-2 against the effective temperature and get 200/518 or 38.6% efficient which is more reasonable with respect to Carnot efficiency.  This may seem confusing, but if the temperature is stable, then the output has to equal the input meaning the selected "surface" is less efficient at losing energy which is the whole premise of the Greenhouse effect (GHE).

Then if you consider the "imbalance" of about 0.5 Wm-2, the GHE imbalance is 0.5/518 or 0.9% which is pretty much exactly where we stand.  There is a small imbalance due to the changing composition of the atmosphere and albedo changes at the "surface" or stratosphere or anywhere you would like to look for small changes.  Pick a different "surface" you get different results.  That is pretty much the GHE game, find the "surface" with the most sex appeal for your side of the argument.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Our Power Grid is Secure and Fishing is Fine

Jody our fearless Florida Keys Electric Cooperative representative fights a grin as I photograph the new 1 plus inch bullet resistant customer service barrier. 

Joey shows off his Yellow Jack dinner for two.

Life on shore,

You feel like you are in an aquarium.

On the aquarium, you feel like you are alive.

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. 

In case you are wondering, the new destroyer of life as we know it, the POLAR VORTEX, descended on the Keys and made fishing yesterday mighty sloppy.  Hey, the bite was slow but there was a bite of sorts that was worth the effort according to Mike and Brian suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous vacation fortune with a bluster day on the water.  According to windfinder since the Sombrero Key lighthouse wind meter is out of order, the winds were in the mid twenties, (knots that is) with gusts that seemed a tad stronger.  We almost had a chance to do some serious angling but with the wind shifting and freshening we were force to tuck tail and hide behind Pigeon Key where the combination of gusty winds and cheeky terns made out trip more comical than productive.

Stripper fishermen brave much worse and have less success at times, but in the Keys yesterday was a fine drinking day.  Today Brian and Mike are fishing with Captain Zack while I lick my wounds and prepare for better weather on Sunday when the POLAR VORTEX hobbles over to Europe or some other destination.

In the 1970s, the POLAR VORTEX caused quite a stir with some thinking it signaled the start of a new Ice Age.  This time around it is causing quite a stir with some it is signaling GLOBAL WARMING is worse than any thought imaginable.  Considering the state of the art security required for FKEC employees, I think the real signal is that someone's cheese has slipped off their cracker.

Perhaps mine has, but come Electrical Terrorism Threat or POLAR VORTEX elongation I am still ready to fish if you are. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Basic Climate Model Resolution for the New Year

New Years resolution are great!  No one, even yourself actually expects you to keep them so you can start your year out on a nice warm and fuzzy rationalization note.  Nothing quite as comforting as a rationalization.

Since I started the "Trash" Blog, which is just a place to post thoughts and crazy ideas, I have been pondering what is the minimum required for a reasonable climate model.  Now that I have a better idea of what that requires it is just as good a time as any to jot those thoughts down.

My minimum requires three meridional zones, 90S-42S, 42S-42N and 42N-90N, with the actual pole limit realistically closer to 75 ot 85 N/S due to issues with past instrumentation.  For the atmosphere there needs to be at least three vertical zones, Sea Level, Atmospheric Boundary Layer (-3000 meters) and Stratopause (~50km) each with the three meridional zones.  These need to be match with three ocean zone, 42S-42N theromcline (~15 to 20 C degrees or the 100m bulk layer), second thermocline (~8C or the 100m-700m ocean layer) and the third thermocline (~4C or the 700m to 2000m ocean layer).; 

That would be a fairly complex model with 9 atmospheric boxes and 9 ocean boxes.  The biggest problem would be the ocean boxes which have very poor coverage and a high margin of error.  
These layers don't change very quickly so that can possibly be worked around.

The final model would be very similar to the last version of the Static Model that seems to have gotten close to predicting the impact of the Stratospheric Brewer-Dobson Circulation impact.  Now that I am more familiar with the "Climate" jargon stolen from weather guys and made up on the fly, I may even be able to communicate with some of those guys.

The biggest stumbling block has been latent and sensible heat transfer which always has to option of heating to space, land or returning to the oceans.  The choice of zones is partially based on that problem.  Since 42S-90S and 42N-90N have a huge difference in land/ocean ratio, teasing out some of the latent/sensible transfer destination might be simplified using SST and Tmin versus Tmax.  Tave appears to be close to useless without considering the maximum and minimum components.

This 18 box model will be far from the final version.  It will need to be expanded zonally requiring 36 to 54 zones which I think could be a great resolution for next year. 

Now that I have that out of the way, don't expect much because this is just a resolution which no one ever really keeps :)