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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Climate Change and Fishing Summit - Solar and Sensitivity

Dynamic systems are interesting critters. From personal experience in HVAC, systems can be described by system performance curves. Under certain conditions you can expect certain performance. A fan curve is a very simple representation of a dynamic system.

Ideally, a fan follows the rules so that more RPM means more CFM which produces a squared increase in static pressure requiring a cubed increase in break horsepower. That is the fan laws. Centrifugal airfoil fans are high efficiency fans that use airfoil shaped blades to take advantage on the same physics that allow airplanes to fly.

Not to pick on this fan design, they work great, but they tend to have unstable operating regions. Unstable operating regions are areas where very small changes in static pressure produces a much larger change in delivered airflow. In a simple installation, the fan speed or air distribution system can be adjusted for the correct flows and energy efficiency. With a little more complex system design, controlled air distribution devices, Variable Air Volume and Controlled Constant Volume devices adjust to maintain their desired adjustment changing the static pressure or the performance curve of the fan system. This can cause unwanted feedback creating strange and awe inspiring oscillations in the system where the ceiling start falling out, roofs blow off, doors and window slam shut and open. Generally, the customer is not particularly happy when this kinda stuff happens, but it can be entertaining. The point to take from that little real world example, is non-linear dynamics can make small changes cause big deals in a heartbeat.

Our climate system is a nonlinear dynamic system. As such, under certain situations, small changes, like solar variation, can make big changes.

The correlation of solar intensity to climate conditions is an indication of the impact of solar variation on climate. It is not a perfect correlation and it should not be in a non-linear dynamic system. There are numerous feedbacks that at different times would have different impacts. When a few of these feedbacks get together or synchronize, the impact is much greater than some would expect.

A good rule of thumb in a non-linear dynamic system is that any feedback can have twice its normal impact. Two feedbacks synchronized would also have twice their expected impact.

Climate Scientists seem to think that there is A climate sensitivity, which basically proves that they have no clue what they are doing. This is a sad reality, the guys in charge of saving the world from ourselves are clueless if they do not recognize the role of non-linear dynamics. Which is all too obvious, because increased CO2 changes the dynamics of the system, producing a shift in the range of sensitivity, not a specific new sensitivity. That is why the Antarctic is not warming and the Arctic is warming like a bitch.

Some call non-linear dynamic systems chaotic. Most of the more clueless climate scientists don't like the term chaotic, because it implies they placed their bets on the wrong theoretical horse. They did, if they are expecting any linearity in a climate system.

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