Thursday, July 31, 2008

The biter bit

Arthur Smith has had quite the correspondence with the Discount Viscount. His detailed review of Monckton's article can be found on alteenergyaction. Here is Arthur Smith's chronology. More in the comments.

Hmm, any suggestions for doing this more publicly? :-) By the way, despite the fact that they did indeed take down the "rebuttal" page (the PDF file still seems to be accessible though), I received yet another letter from M. this afternoon. Here's a summary of our correspondence thus far:

1. Wednesday July 23, 6:06 pm EDT - My "response" manuscript sent to Physics and Society, with a cc to Hafemeister and Monckton and to the Forum's current president (Zwicker). This was after a week's worth of collecting notes and a couple of days of discussion with a colleague in preparing my response.

2. Wednesday, July 23, 8:55 PM: Hafemeister responds, strongly objecting to being lumped in with Monckton in my comments (I didn't lump much, but really, Hafemeister and Schwartz could have done a better job).

3. Thursday, July 24, 10:49 AM: Monckton responds with the "rebuttal" article, as he posted to his website and Eli linked to above, with my article included in full, and a prefatory statement that it was from "Dr. Arthur Smith, American Physical Society", which was not in the original.

4. Thursday, July 24, 1:07 PM: I respond to Monckton and all the original recipients of my article, suggesting he read my comments a bit more carefully and addressing the following points and stating clearly at the end that I was *not* writing as a representative of the American Physical Society... :

* the definition of equilibrium climate sensitivity used by the IPCC is the "equilibrium global mean surface temperature change following a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration" (8.6.1), or "equilibrium globally averaged surface air temperature change for a doubling of CO2 for the atmosphere coupled to a non-dynamic slab ocean," (10.3) - this says nothing about whether the emissions are anthropogenic or natural, and also nothing about changes in any other atmospheric constituents; only CO2 is doubled (and then held fixed, allowing for no CO2 feedback) in these definitions. If you want to reproduce the IPCC analysis, you need to follow their definitions.

* the probability distribution function of estimates for this sensitivity is not normal (see IPCC AR4 WG1 Box 10.2), and the "central tendency" or midpoint of the IPCC range is different from the IPCC's "best estimate". Because of the inverse nature of the feedback relationship, using central estimates for the feedback parameters will mathematically give a lower "best estimate" than the "central tendency" of the full range. But this is a minor point anyway.

* I was not advocating for a larger value of the no-feedback response; I was merely wondering why you hadn't included an obvious instance of yet another (larger) value in your table 2, obtainable by much simpler analysis than you apply to the others. Bony's 0.31 is fine with me.

* If "we may divide any one of the three factors by 3" and obtain the same result, then do a little more work to find out precisely where the IPCC was wrong by a factor of 3. Your original article attributed this to the forcing, but evidently you now have second thoughts. Be precise. Is it the no-feedback response? Feedbacks? Where is this mysterious factor of 3?

* If you want to quote private communications with Lindzen, McKitrick and Michaels, I suggest you invite them as co-authors of your "rebuttal", so that we know they explicitly sanction your representations of their views. Otherwise the claims are essentially meaningless.

* Urban heat island effects are adjusted for in the GISS and CRU temperature records; this has been studied and documented in peer reviewed papers such as: Parker, David E. (2004), “Large-scale warming is not urban”, Nature 432 (7015): 290 and David E. Parker (2006). "A demonstration that large-scale warming is not urban". Journal of Climate 19: 2882–2895. Furthermore, satellite measurements which should have no UHI effect show temperature trends that track very closely with the land-ocean measurements, since the start of the satellite
record in the late 1970s. As to McKitrick not getting a response - I am in fact not sure what McKitrick paper you are talking about - the citation in your article matches the title of a paper by McKitrick and Michaels, not just by McKitrick, but your article states it is "in press". If it is the McKitrick/Michaels paper (J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S09) it appears to indeed have been ignored so far. Stating that all temperature records are off by a factor of 2 is an extraordinary claim that in the normal course of science would require substantial additional evidence beyond their statistical correlation argument, before being accepted.
Also, please note that I write completely in my personal capacity as a long-time member of the Forum and I am not authorized nor do I speak in any way as a representative of the American Physical Society, where I happen to work (this email was prepared over lunch).

5. Thursday, July 24, 6:21 PM, Monckton responds with a letter claiming that all my points are minor (while acknowledging them one way or another), and ending with the slightly pathetic:
"On the whole, since I am not well and can only expend limited energy on these things, I am inclined to let my original draft stand."

6. Friday, July 25, roughly 4:00 PM. The inevitable happened - somebody notified one of the executive officers of the society that I had written a critique of Monckton. I was visited, and informed that I needed to be very clear that I was not authorized to represent APS in my comments. I explained that I had attempted not to make that claim, but had, as was my custom, used my email address to send the article. I was told to switch to an non-APS address for future correspondence on the matter, so that it was clear this was completely unrelated to my employment or association with APS. This I have done.

7. Wednesday, July 30 at 6:11 PM I received a note from a colleague that Monckton had posted his rebuttal on his SPPI website. I visited the site, and sure enough found highlighted an article titled "Chuck it Smith" with the above link to the text of Monckton's rebuttal, including the complete text of my comments, and with Monckton's prefatory claim of my relationship with APS added. He had additionally, in the post, falsely claimed I was a "paid official" of the society, and implied some sort of conspiracy against him.

8. Wednesday, July 30, 9:15 PM I sent the above letter concerning the copyright violation, copying again the Physics and Society editors and Forum president.

9. Thursday, July 31, 12:57 AM I received a letter from Monckton demanding that I persuade the APS to remove the "offensive disclaimer" from above his paper. He also attacked me as a "political campaigner and paid official" and claimed I had widely circulated my draft (I had not, sending a copy only to the people listed above). On the other hand, he appears to have widely circulated his response, his false claims about my status with the society, and my original text, to an even wider degree than I was aware last night, having done some google searching on it today. Needless to say, he refused to remove his posting.

(10) Thursday, July 31, 7:01 AM - I responded to Monckton and again copied all the others, but this time included Bob Ferguson of Monckton's SPPI in the email, and I specifically threatened legal action for his violation of copyright and his repeated knowing false statements about my relationship with the American Physical Society.

(11) Thursday July 31, 8:03 AM. Ferguson wrote asking me to call. I did, and we agreed that if his web person completely removed the offending article from the SPPI website I would find that acceptable. I'm not sure they've completely followed through (the PDF is still there), but at least the html page "Chuck it, Smith" is gone.

(12) Thursday, July 31, 1:12 PM. Monckton writes again with a 12-point list of claims, mostly gripes against the APS that have no bearing on my article, and then accuses me of "entrapment". He apparently plans the following:

"My patience with the American Physical Society and its myrmidons is at an end. I am proposing to arrange, therefore, that your letter of purported rebuttal and my letter "compellingly" refuting your rebuttal will be read into the record of proceedings of the US Senate, which - for the avoidance of doubt - are covered by absolute privilige. I shall then be free to arrange for websites all round the world to report the relevant extract from the proceedings of the US Senate in full. In this manner, as it seems to me, what appears to have been an attempt at deliberate entrapment of me on the part of the American Physical Society will have been thwarted."

Hmm, perhaps I have been guilty of entrapment - that sounds like an excellent way to proceed :-)
To which we can add Round 2
One addition - Bob Ferguson of SPPI just called me at my house (where I had called him this morning). He accused me of lying to him. I had said almost nothing in our verbal conversation this morning, and he admitted that, but then said I had made false statements in the email I had cc'ed him on. I told him if he thought so, he should email me back pointing out what he thought was false. He said "you have really disappointed me". I replied, "you too".

Beyond copyright violation, they're building a case against themselves for defamation - this has gone beyond amusement to a degree of mental agitation...
Eli would only point out that as long as the Adobe Acrobat file remains on the SPPI web site the copyright violation remains. Although not a lawyer, the bunny seems to recall that at least for trademarks you have notify people when you know of a violation lest you lose your rights. Methinks also that Monckton had let loose on Mssr. Ferguson.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You too could be Richard Courtney, Expert Peer Reviewer

One of the jokes of the ages are those who place great stock in their having been "Expert Peer Reviewers" of the IPCC TAR and AR4 as evidence of their expertise on climate matters. Anyone with a room temperature IQ knows that the IPCC accepted comments from every Tom, Dick and Richard (even a Vincent Gray or two) who sent them in, and even, sometimes with a bit a exasperation, sometimes with a lot of exasperation, dealt with them all.

Now, all those who missed their chance can be "Expert Reviewers", ok commentators, on the Unified Synthesis Product on Global Climate Change in the United States.

To be considered, your comments must be submitted by e-mail, by Close of Business on 14 August 2008, referencing "Comments on USP draft" with your surname in the subject line (e.g., Comments on USP draft: Smith). Please re-label your comments file attachment with your surname to help with the collation process
More seriously, you know where the chaff is going to come from. Do the right thing. Mom Rabett will be proud

Lord Voldemort bleats

We have become used to the stuck pig act that Viscount Monckton of Brenchley uses to try and beat down opponents. As responses were sure to follow his confused jottings in the Forum on Physics and Society, Eli is not surprised at the latest display.

UPDATE: Arthur Smith's detailed review of Monckton's article can be found on alteenergyaction. More in the comments.

Arthur Smith, who undressed Gerlich and Tscheuschner without their noticing the cloth falling away, has essayed this act, only to be met by a blat from Brenchley. Actually two blats, the second (chronologically the first) being aimed at Gavin Schmidt. Art must have cut deep. Now Arthur is a nice guy, and writing in comments at Climate Progress, he notes that

For what it’s worth, I sent Marque and Saperstein a science-based response to their July issue; I’m sure they have a few others to select among. I cc’ed Monckton and received a quick and extraordinarily detailed “rebuttal”, complete with personal attacks of several sorts. There are a few issues he clearly doesn’t understand, a few issues where he seems to be relying on “experts” like Lindzen and McKitrick (and over-generously interpreting the ambiguous things they typically say) and others where he just wants to be contentious. Whatever. I was surprised at the speed and vigor of the response, at least. Not sure what to make of it - is it the only one he was cc’ed on?
but foolishly thinks that he can deal with Brenchley without confronting him
Well, he might have cobbled together answers he’s prepared on one or two of the issues I raised, but for the most part, it was really very specific to my comments (the personal attacks were certainly quite specific!) I don’t feel at liberty to quote the whole thing,
Ah, but Arthur, Brenchley was more than happy to provide the entire text of your letter addressed to another. Of course, if Eli were you, I would check that he had not altered anything, and for giggles you might send him a message about printing the work of others.

UPDATE: In the comments Arthur Smith kindly provides the complete text of the letter he DID write to Brenchley. Rabett Run, where you read it before it happens. . .

However, young bunnies, let us imagine Arthur wrote a Brenchley letter written to Brenchley :

TO: Viscount Monckton of Brenchley
Carie Rannoch

FROM: Arthur Smith
Selden, NY

Recently, in keeping with the request of the editors at the Forum on Physics and Society to provide reasoned rebuttals to an article appearing under your name and another by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, I provided a submission for consideration as to publication in the Forum. You have recently published my work on a public web site without my permission embedded into a detailed diatribe which casts numerous aspersions upon me, my scientific competence and ethics.

Primo, complete publication of another's work violates copyright. You should immediately remove, or see that my work is removed.

Secundo, publication of another's work that has been submitted for publication before editorial review is complete is a major ethical transgression as well as being a violation of copyright, may adversely affect the chances for publication and cause me professional damage. This is actionable. I expect a written and fulsome apology from you on this matter.

Teatro, doing so with a document that was sent to others and, I assume, passed to you for comment, is again questionable.

Further, your constant mischaracterization of my argument as being ad hominem is deeply offensive, and obviously wrong as any reader of my letter which you copied in full without permission can tell. Your bland assertion of my letter being ad hominem in light of the editors appeals for comments that are scientific in nature is an unacceptable attempt to prejudice whether my letter should be published. Such an attempt from someone, such as yourself, who is so quick to take offense speaks not well of your intent.

Please immediately remove the text of my letter from your documents published by you at the Science and Public Policy Institute website and elsewhere. If my letter was sent to you for confidential review or comment by the editors of the Forum on Physics, you should immediately remove every part of the document, nor quote from it, nor comment on it, until my letter is published or you receive permission from me but in no case should you publish the entire text, and you should endeavor to see that these documents are removed from other sites. Should you not be able to do so, as the one who put this confidential document into the public sphere, you will bear full responsibility for any adverse consequences accruing to me.

Please send me the name of all web sites and documents in which you have published my letter or commented on it together with all comments.

Please send me the name or names of those who have forwarded my letter to you and the conditions, if any, on your handling of the documents. Also provide me with the names of anyone to whom you showed or discussed my letter in full or in part before you published your reply, and their comments and communications to you. Please also provide their qualifications, funding, the names of their wives and children and pets.

Having regard to the circumstances, surely you owe me an apology?
Well, anyhow, that's what Brenchley would have done. A bunny can dream

UPDATE: Act two, in which Brenchley replies, Arthur replies, Brenchley replies, Arthur replies and more

Friday, July 25, 2008

Darth Entropy eats the Space Cadets' lunch

The Breakdown Institute is quite famous for wanting us to wait for pie in the sky by and by, and indeed, their link to the Space Cadets of the Marshall institute is the Manchurian Senior Fellow Marty Hoffert whose reason for existing is space based power generation. The Marshall Institute likes this because there is a great deal of dual use technology linking space based power generation with Star Wars.

Darth Entropy, in the person of Eric Chaisson (arguably an opponent of Star Wars) points out that space based power generation is not a free lunch and he is not even talking about the cost of setting the system up. As he writes in a recent edition of EOS (the house journal of the American Geophysical Union. Join already, it's a bargain), power density in the universe has been increasing since the year dot, and a lot more since thee and me arrived on the scene.

As all young bunnies know, power in is soon reduced to heat out. If we get our power from the sun, then it comes in as thermal, goes out as thermal and we glom a bit of it off to do useful work. According to Chaisson, our prehistorical ancestors used about 0.05 kilowatts each, agriculture raised that by a factor of 10 and the average person on earth today uses about 2.5 KW. OTOH USAian bunnies use about another factor of five more, or 12.5 KW each.

The sun shines about 120,000 terrawatts on the Earth, and today we use about 18 TW(~0.015% of solar), but if you assume that everyone will reach the US standard usage and that population will grow to 9 billion, and throw a bit of growth of usage from 12.5 KW in you get about 100 TW (~0.08% of solar) for global power demand in the not so far future, say 2100. Any sources of energy except solar thus will contribute an extra heat load, which will raise the global temperature as surely as increasing CO2 would. The major difference would be that the CO2 heat load accumulates, e.g. once injected imposes a significant forcing over centuries, while the power dissipation heat load goes away as soon as civilization collapses from heat stroke or a bit longer as the satellites fall out of the sky on a new generation of hunter gatherers.

The addition of heat from fossil fuel derived, nuclear and fusion energy can be thought about in a straightforward manner. Space derived energy OTOH heats the Earth by effectively raising the amount of solar insolation. This, of course, is one of the things that has held back construction of Dyson spheres, where do you dump the heat load?

It takes about 4800 TW to raise the temperature of the Earth ~3 K (these are Chaisson's numbers, Eli is too lazy to calculate his own). Assuming energy equality at the high end reached by the mid-2100s and 1% growth in power needs thereafter, there would be a 3 K rise in global temperature in about three centuries or, thanks to the power of compound interest and economics, a 10 K rise in 450 years. It goes a lot faster, of course, if you are simultaneously raising the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

As in most such things, assumptions about growth are driving this, still anyone claiming to think big and long should take it into account.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Must do list

Go read Maribo on coral reefs and follow the links

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Who paid for that?

One of the things you learn when dealing with clowns, is they will accuse you of moppery, things you never imagined and certainly never did. This is a sure sign they are doing it, thus the claims that scientists who support the consensus on climate change are on teh take.

A few months ago Eli pointed out that the Exxon CORPORATION was directly funding the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, and broadly thought that it might be to fund some of the folk over there who were churning out denialism on the half shell. The accountants here at Bunny Labs had even read a bunch of tax returns to figure out that Dr. Baliunas had received a bunch of $$ ($52K) from the Marshall Institute just before the original OISM petition came out (for which she co-authored the red herring), and the Oregon Institute of Deception and Malarky got an extra $200K in the year that they first committed climate deception. Very interesting, Mr. Smart.

Today, Eli got confirmation that indeed his nasty thoughts were true and that . .

. . support from Exxon Mobil Corporation for scientific research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). Our records reflect the following:
2005 – Amount Received - $105,000
  • Dr. Willie Soon, “Understanding the Solar Influence on Arctic Climate Change and Other Environmental Impact Issues”
  • Dr. Sallie Baliunas, “The Millennial Sun”
2006 – Amount Received - $155,000
  • Dr. Sallie Baliunas, “The Millennial Sun”
  • Dr. Willie Soon, “Understanding the Solar Influence on Arctic Climate Change and Other Environmental Impact Issues”
2007 – Amount Received - $55,000
  • - Dr. Sallie Baliunas, “The Millennial Sun”
However, to repeat our SPQR, RTFR, all he had to do was go read the work product
  • W. Soon, “Variable solar irradiance as a plausible agent for multidecadal variations in the Arctic-wide surface air temperature record of the past 130 years”, Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi.10.1029/2005GL023429 (2005).
  • M. Dyck, W. Soon, R. K. Baydack, D. R. Legates, S. Baliunas, T. F. Ball, L. O. Hancock, “Polar Bears of Western Hudson Bay and Climate Change: Warming Spring Air Temperatures as the `Ultimate' Survival Control Factor?” Ecological Complexity, 4, 73-84 (2007).
  • W. Soon “Implications of the secondary role of carbon dioxide and methane forcing in climate change: Past, present, and future”, Physical Geography, 28, 97-125 (2007).
  • -M. Dyck, W. Soon, R. K. Baydack, D. R. Legates, S. Baliunas, T. F. Ball, L. O. Hancock, “Response to Dyck et al. (2007) on polar bears and climate change in western Hudson Bay by Stirling et al. (2008)”, Ecological Complexity, in press (2008).
  • J. S. Armstrong, K. C. Green, W. Soon “Polar bear population forecasts: A public-policy forecasting audit”, Interfaces, in press (2008).
  • J. Liu, B. Wang, Q. Ding, X. Kuang, W. Soon, E. Zorita “Centennial variations of the global monsoon precipitation in the last millennium: Results from ECHO-G model”, Journal of Climate, submitted (2008).
  • Dr. Baliunas has manuscripts in preparation (no coauthors) in the area of Ca II chromospheric surface magnetic activity and variability in F-G dwarfs and subgiants in M67.
to see acknowledgments to Exxon and the Koch boys, right wingnut rich oil guys.
This scientific research was supported by generous grants from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, American Petroleum Institute, and Exxon-Mobil Corporation. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author and are independent of sources providing support.

PS: Baliunas may have seen the handwriting on the wall
I’m looking for the millennial scale of solar variability,” said astronomer Sallie Baliunas, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. She added that “the records do show variability,” such as changes in radioactive carbon-14 abundance and a beryllium isotope in sediment that suggest changes in solar output. “Did the sun cause what we see on the ground?” she asked. “It doesn’t seem so. But there is some fuzziness in the data, which suggests it could go either way. The answer isn’t known at this time.”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The NW Passage Prize.

Eli has noted that there are not enough entries in his when the NW passage opens contest probably because the prize was only a foam blue bunny to place on your antenna. In order to encourage the laggards he now offers a genuine NASA Triana sticker, never used (sort of like the satellite).

We will follow Alastair

Since I get to choose I will propose this chart which is updated daily:

When there is a clear passage in pink from the Beaufort Sea to the Baffin Bay then we declare the NW Passage open. Otherwise we may have to wait for ESA to produce a report which the Telegraph picks up and then four weeks later appears in Wikipedia.
In case of a tie, carrots at ten paces. Eli only got one of these. Don't complain, enter and it may be yours.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eli Calls Rabett Droppings

UPDATE: Thinking assignment: Eli, has well, been thinking. NF3 has a lot of advantages for semiconductor manufacturers which outweigh its cost. It is replacing CF4, which in addition to leaving carbon residues, requiring more energy and other problems is produced almost unavoidably in Aluminum manufacture. OTOH, CF4 used in plasma etching is to some extent destroyed. Should we insist on continuing to use CF4 in plama etching to destroy some fraction of it?

: click read more at the bottom

BEGIN READING HERE: Well, actually something much stronger, but this is a family blog and the bunnies are, well they have long ears and good memories. The story starts with a piece of cow dung dropped into Geophysical Research Letters by the tag team of Michael Prather and Juno Hsu. Let us first read the abstract

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) can be called the missing greenhouse gas: It is a synthetic chemical produced in industrial quantities; it is not included in the Kyoto basket of greenhouse gases or in national reporting under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and there are no observations documenting its atmospheric abundance. Current publications report a long lifetime of 740 yr and a global warming potential (GWP), which in the Kyoto basket is second only to SF6. We re-examine the atmospheric chemistry of NF3 and calculate a shorter lifetime of 550 yr, but still far beyond any societal time frames. With 2008 production equivalent to 67 million metric tons of CO2, NF3 has a potential greenhouse impact larger than that of the industrialized nations' emissions of PFCs or SF6, or even that of the world's largest coal-fired power plants. If released, annual production would increase the lower atmospheric abundance by 0.4 ppt, and it is urgent to document NF3 emissions through atmospheric observations.
Pay careful attention to that last sentence which Eli has conveniently bolded while we explore what NF3 is used for and why there is no chance in hell that even 1% of the annual production would ever be released to the atmosphere including in case of nuclear war. NF3 is used for plasma etching and high temperature thermal cleaning in the electronics industry.

That means that NF3 is run into RF/microwave/electron discharges (plasmas) or into systems held at very high temperatures (thermal cleaning), which decompose the molecule, leaving principally nitrogen and fluorine atoms or molecules, and various small radical species such as NF. The very aggressive reactants etch surfaces in the production of electronics or clean out an apparatus that has been used for some process. NF3 IS DESTROYED IN ALL OF THESE PROCESSES.

The Press Association figured out what NF3 is used for
Nitrogen trifluoride, or NF3, is used in the electronics industry mainly to flush out the by-products of chemical vapour deposition. This is the process by which thin films are deposited for liquid crystal displays (LCDs) - used in flat screen TVs - or silicon chips.
but did not realize the implications, that NF3 is DESTROYED in the process. They went on to note that

Ironically Air Products' developed NF3 as an alternative to perfluorocarbons (PFCs), greenhouse gases which are subject to the Kyoto protocol.

The protocol covers six man-made greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, PFCs and sulphur hexafluoride. NF3 was one of more than a dozen less prominent greenhouse gases that were excluded when the protocol was agreed.

The Telegraph, predictably screwed the pooch, seeing the word plasma, they thought that it referred to plasma screen TVs, and predictably people panicked thinking that their new plasma TV had nasty chemicals (actually NF3 is, as these things go, easy to handle and not terribly dangerous, not nearly as dangerous as NH3, ammonia, for example) and the web spread the fertilizer.

Eli, who dabbles in materials science, pretty much knew this was crap the minute he read it, but surely he said, someone has thought of this issue before, and sure enough, if you google NF3 and cleaning, you toss up "Environmentally friendly wafer production: NF3 remote microwave plasma for chamber cleaning" by H. Reichardt, A. Frenzela, and K. Schoberb in Microelectronic Engineering 56 (2001) 73–76, and you don't even have to read the paper, the abstract is enough
For NF3 remote microwave plasma chamber cleaning, compared with CF4 cleaning processes, a reduction of emission of gases relevant to global warming is observed. At the same time a reduction of operating costs for the abatement is possible. The presented data show a very high destruction and removal efficiency for NF3 and its major decomposition product F2 in an ESCAPE abatement system.
which describes how what NF3 survives the plasma process can be scrubbed. It damn well better be because F2 and its atmospheric decomposition product HF are no walk in the park, not as greenhouse gases, but as aggressive toxic gases. Any fab using NF3, is scrubbing the effluent.

If Prather and Hsu had honestly read this paper, even the introduction, they would have reported something like
with new production lines being build newer — generally more severe— environmental statutes apply. On top of that, there is the world-wide goal of PFC emission reduction. Regarding the consumption of PFC etch gases, chamber cleaning processes are the major contributor. Since usually the utilisation of etch gas in these processes is less than 50%, the remaining gas has to be destroyed and removed by a waste gas abatement system. Generally, for CVD and etch processes, waste gas abatement is necessary for three reasons:

· Environmental concern and legal restrictions on emissions.
· Safety within the fabrication area.
· To prevent corrosion or clogging of exhaust lines and thus to guarantee process up-times.

Recently, the use of NF3 as an etch gas for chamber cleaning processes is reported to give promising results. Besides less wear of the tool, gas consumption is lower, since the utilisation of NF3 is very high (85–99%). At the same time NF3 has a much lower atmospheric lifetime (740 years) than standard etch gases like CF4 and C2F6 (estimated atmospheric lifetimes of 50 000 and 10 000 years, respectively).
MOREOVER in 2001 Reichardt, Frenzela, and Schoberb showed that with proper scrubbing NF3 and F2 emissions were BELOW the detection limits of 3 and 1 ppm respectively. It also takes a lot less energy to decompose NF3 rather than SF6 or CF4, so there are considerable energy, and even greenhouse emission savings.

Eli was busy last week and only was able to sneak a comment about this nonsense into Real Climate. About the only blog that got this right is Physical Insights (prop. Luke Weston)
I must say, this looks like more biased “You’ve got a TV? You’re guilty of climate change!” baloney from the “green” fanatics in the press who like spinning scientific papers out of context.
Who also spotted the Reichardt et al. paper

Whilst these inorganic fluorine compounds and perfluorocarbons have large global warming potentials, which make for dramatic media headlines, their atmospheric abundances and mixing ratios are very small, and hence their contributions to radiative forcing in the atmosphere and hence to anthropogenic forcing of climate processes are very small by comparison to carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor.

Carbon dioxide is responsible for an increased radiative forcing term of 1.66 W/m2, according to up-to-date IPCC data, along with 0.5 W/m2 for methane and 0.16 W/m2 for nitrous oxide. For comparison, sulfur hexafluoride is associated with a far smaller increased radiative forcing term of 0.002 W/m2, along with 0.001 W/m2 for perfluoroethane. We can reasonably expect that the contribution from nitrogen trifluoride is similar, at around 0.001 to 0.002 W/m2. Whilst nitrogen trifluoride is certainly worthy of inclusion under the Kyoto protocol, along with perfluorocarbons and the like, especially as worldwide consumption of the gas grows, it is however nothing worth making a huge irrational fuss in the media about.

and the Wikipedia which fairly quickly pretty much got this right (ear tip to Wm)

Eli thinks that Prather and Hsu should be turned over to Dr. Motl in the operating room with the rusty machete.

UPDATE: So anyhow Eli went and RTFR and RTFRR and. . .

and what do you think he saw. Well in Prather and Hsu, you see the conclusion:
[10] Current production, if released, would add about 0.4 ppt (picomoles per mole) of NF3 to the lower atmosphere annually. There appear to be no reported atmospheric measurements in the peer-reviewed literature [Harnisch et al., 2000], and it is important to document the rise in atmospheric NF3 that is almost certainly occurring today.
If you read "Revised IR spectrum, radiative efficiency and global warming potential
of nitrogen trifluoride" J. I. Robson, L. K. Gohar, M. D. Hurley, K. P. Shine, and T. J. Wallington GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L10817 you get a reasonable conclusion:
NF3 is a potent greenhouse gas. The upper limit of atmospheric concentration of NF3 is estimated to be 0.10 pptv and its contribution to radiative forcing of climate change is negligible (<10^4>preceded by an reasonable estimate of what is happening

Some PFCs and SF6 are included in the Kyoto Protocol and have been used extensively within the semiconductor industry as plasma etchants. In the plasma, the etching gas decomposes to give F atoms which react with the semiconductor surface. A proportion of the etching gas is not converted and is vented to the atmosphere. . . .

One motivation for the industry’s increasing interest in NF3 as a source of fluorine, as opposed to the PFCs or SF6, is that for NF3 there is a higher percentage conversion to fluorine in the cleaning processes (greater than 90–95% breakdown) [e.g., Rink et al., 2005]. Hence, emissions of NF3 are expected to be smaller than for alternative sources of fluorine, such as PFCs. The semiconductor industry’s usage of NF3 has therefore increased in recent years. . . .

The current atmospheric concentration of NF3 is probably at a level which is below that which can be detected. We provide a rough estimate of current concentrations based on industry figures (P. J. Maroulis, personal communication, 2006) but stress that data on actual usage and emissions is very uncertain. Current global production levels are believed to be about 2300 metric tonnes per year. An estimated 85% of these 2300 metric tonnes are used in processes which release an upper limit of 2% to the atmosphere. The remaining 15% are used in processes which release an estimated 30% to the atmosphere. However, these latter processes are currently being phased out. Using these values, the current day emission is then estimated to be 140 metric tonnes per year. Assuming these emissions have been sustained for 10 years and using the MWM lifetime of 740 years, yields an upper limit of the current mixing ratio of 0.10 pptv. Despite the large GWP of NF3, the amount currently in the atmosphere is so small that the contribution of this molecule to overall radiative forcing is very minor (<10^4>
Interestingly, it appears that the fraction of NF3 that remains undecomposed in a plasma can be reduced to practically zilch by operating at high RF voltage "Rf discharge dissociative mode in NF3 and SiH4 V Lisovskiy, J-P Booth, K Landry, D Douai, V Cassagne and V Yegorenkov J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys. 40 (2007) 6631–6640
This new dissociative δ-mode is characterized by a high dissociation degree of gas molecules (actually up to 100% in NF3 and up to 70% in SiH4), higher resistivity and a large discharge current.At rather high rf voltage when a sufficiently large number of high energy electrons appear in the discharge, an intense dissociation of gas molecules via electron impact begins, and the discharge experiences a transition to the dissociative δ-mode. The dissociation products of NF3 and SiH4 molecules possess lower ionization potentials, and they form an easily ionized admixture to the main gas.
Prather and Hsu play the old three card monte:
[7] While NF3 is ostensibly destroyed during the manufacture of flat screen displays,
apologies from the bunny to the Telegraph, Prather clearly planted the seed about killer flat screens. They continue by showing the queen
this destruction cannot be complete. We expect that some fraction of the NF3 produced will escape to the atmosphere during production, transport, use, or disposal.
without, of course, estimating the size of emissions as Robson did and then they spring the trap
The maximum potential release of NF3, assumed here to be its production, is equivalent to approximately 67 MMTCO2 (million metric tons of CO2, see Table 2). Thus, in terms of climate change, annual production of NF3 is now larger than emissions of PFCs or SF6 reported by the developed nations (Annex I) for 2005. (See Table 2; note that these emissions are generally decreasing since 1990.)
They are comparing the TOTAL PRODUCTION OF NF3 to the EMISSIONS of SF6 and the perflurocarbons. Comparing apples and baseballs as it were. A better comparison might be production of NF3 to the production of SF6 and PFC, but that would still overestimate the emissions of NF3, because SF6 and PFCs have uses and are produced in processes where they are not being destroyed. For example CF4 is produced in making aluminum and SF6 is used to prevent arcs in large electrical switches. Prather justifies this on the basis that
Experience with the ozone-depleting gas CFC-12 [Rowland et al., 1982] has shown that emission inventories from the chemical industry cannot be relied upon. Once released to the atmosphere, gases like CFC-12 and NF3 will take centuries to clean out. Given this potential, the production of high-GWP, long-lived, greenhouse gases like NF3 should be included in the national greenhouse gas inventories once global usage exceeds a threshold, e.g., 5 MMTCO2, no matter what the claim for containment.
Prather needs to make a case on emissions which he has not made rather than trying to scare the kids.

ZUPDATE: But wait, if we RTFR we see that in 1982 Rowland and friends attempted to fit estimates of emissions to observations of emissions and CFC-12 production. They concluded that
The CMA (Chemical Manufacturers Association) estimated atmospheric release of CCl2F2 (CFC-12) for the period 1976-1979 is 1.46 megatons, with an accuracy stated as +/- 5%. However, patterns A, B and D all exceed this estimate by 0.5 megatons, corresponding to an excess release of about 35% for this four year period.
One of the useful things one can do is to search forward by looking at papers that cite a paper. If you do this you come across (eventually) "Releases of refrigerant gases (CFC-12, HCFC-22 and HFC-134a) to the atmosphere" by Archie McCulloch, Pauline M. Midgley, and Paul Ashford Atmospheric Environment 37 (2003) 889–902 which has a neat table of CFC 12 emissions from 1930, where we read that the emissions in metric tons (tonnes) were

1974 435,100
1975 423,700
1976 413,600
1977 401,300
1978 376,700
1979 375,900
1980 379,900

and the total between 1976 and 1979 was 1.57 megatonnes). Now we have the issue of whether Sherry Rowland was being a good scientist and using SI (megatonnes) or casual tons. If he was being a bad boy that would make the CMA estimate 1.33 megatonnes with a difference of about 0.24 megatonnes between them. If he were doing right that would make the difference 0.11 megatonnes (e.g. a 7 or 8% difference or about twice that if Rowland used customary units), but curiously while emphasizing the Rowland et al. result as a sign of the perfidious CMA, Prather and Hsu ignore
McCullocha and friends (who have several similar articles).

Eli would say that continued monitoring is a good place to start before having a panic.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Box seat at the train wreck

Tokyo Tom has been writing some very good stuff lately. Eli made his acquaintance at the late Prometheus before RP Jr. swept out the bar-room floor and made everyone drink the Kool Aid if they wanted to post. As well as anyone, Tom works hard at trying to reconcile an economic libertarian view with the reality of man made climate change. Eli thinks that this is a job for the sorcerer's apprentice because of the time scales (gotta do something now to have any effect thirty years from now), the global nature of the problem (multi-player prisoner's dilemma), but that's for another post.

Lubos has gone off his meds again. Tom has the play by play and the prologue.

UPDATE: There is more and more and knowing Lubos, there is sure to be more.

The cost of electrons

The Research Information Network has published a detailed study on the costs of scientific publishing. Although focussed on the UK, there is much surprising information, the first being that a major cost is the value of time that employed scientists spend reading the stuff (the time of the unemployed and retired, but Eli repeats himself, having lesser value), £34bn, other free labor that has a real cost is £1.9bn for unpaid peer reviews.

They ran the numbers and found that the cost of printing, distribution and access, including print and electrons is about £25bn.

The largest component in the costs of the process (£16.46 bn) are accounted for by users’ costs in searching for and printing the articles they need. Publishing and distribution costs c£6.4 bn, and libraries’ costs (excluding the costs of subscriptions) in providing access to journals amount to £2.1 bn.
Fans of electrons should be interested to know that wiping out printed journals would save only £1.08bn (12%), but this would be partially offset by by old guys like Eli printing everything out (+£93m)

Another contest

The Union of Concerned Scientist is having a science cartoon contest. One of the entries is to the left. Vote early, vote often

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The iceman leaveth

Eli and Stoat have been going back and forth, with Stoat bleating (what IS the cry of the Bellette?) on who will emerge triumphant and marginally richer when the fat iceberg sings. Stoat points to the graph of Arctic sea ice anomaly which is lagging behind last years, however it is clear that this year will at a minimum be the second lowest year, if not the lowest. E & S are now haggling about the 2009 bet. Given the strength of the pound vs. the dollar, Eli is holding out for equal amounts of the appropriate national currency. Given Stoats view of Brunn, this may be a twofer for him.

Anyhow, looking todays sea ice maps at the University of Bremen, something evil comes this way.
It is clear, even now that the 2008 minimum will have a different pattern then that in 2007.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

India's plan to combat climate change

Today the G8 came out with a consensus statement on how to combat climate change but, dear bunnies, Eli looks at a India's National Action Plan on Climate Change. It is short as such things go, a mere 6 pages with a more technical annex of 43 pages. It starts by stating somewhat plainly that

India is faced with the challenge of sustaining its rapid economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. This threat emanates from accumulated greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, anthropogenically generated through long term and intensive industrial growth and high consumption lifestyles in developed countries. While engaged with the international community to collectively and cooperatively deal with this threat, India needs a national strategy to firstly, adapt to climate change and secondly, to further enhance the ecological sustainability of India's development path.
The NAPCC emphasized carbon mitigation through sustainable development which protects the poor, demand management and use of appropriate technologies. There are eight national missions:
  • Increased use of solar energy
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Increased recycling
  • Integrated water resource management
  • Understanding and preserving Himalayan ecosystems especially water resources
  • Increasing forests
  • Sustainable agriculture
  • Increased climate research including research on impacts and new technology development
The government has created an advisory council chaired by the Prime Minister which puts this effort at the highest level. Obviously India takes man made climate change seriously. The technical annex starts by looking at the IPCC AR4
The Fourth Assessment report of the IPCC concluded from direct observations of changes in temperature, sea level, and snow cover in the northern hemisphere during 1850 to the present that the warming of the earth's climate system is unequivocal. The global atmospheric concentrations of CO2 has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. Multi-model averages show that the temperature increases during 2090-2099 relative to 1980-1999 may range from 1.1 to 6.4 D and sea level rise from 0.18 to 0.59 meters. These could lead to impacts on freshwater availability, oceanic acidification, food production, flooding of coastal areas and increased burden of vector borne and water borne diseases associated with extreme weather events.
They look for strategies which aid development simultaneously
It is imperative to identify measures that promote our development objectives while also yielding co-benefits for addressing climate change effects. Cost-effective energy efficiency and energy conservation measures are of particular importance in this connection. Similarly , development of clean energy technologies, though primarily designed to promote energy security, can also generate large benefits in terms of reducing carbon emissions. many health related local pollution controls can also generate significant co benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This document identifies specific opportunities to simultaneously advance India's development and climate related objectives of adaptation and GHG mitigation

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Of course

Brian Schmidt has recently seen a copy of the Heartland Institute's "Environment & Climate News". As he says

It's a 20-page tabloid-sized publication that resembles a news-packed summary of everything climate-related. Someone's paying them good money to write and produce it.
and sure enough, somewhere in the middle is a claim that environmental tobacco smoke is harmless, published by a heart doc, one Jerome C Arnett. Brian started by pointing out that
It's well documented that tobacco companies are promoting climate change denialism and then latching on to the distrust of science they've created to assist their own denial of the link between second-hand smoke and cancer
but innocent that he is Brian finishes with
Anyway, I didn't expect to see the tobacco-climate connection be so blatant
Brian, Brian, Brian, didn't you see JPANDS, the denialists second famous journal, on the Google search for this guy? Jerry is an all arounder, tobacco denial, ddt denial, climate change denial. As Eli pointed out many moons ago, its a very thin bench at denial central. The least they could do is bring on new moles to whack.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Who deserves the credit, who deserves the blame, Naomi Oreskes is the name

Now sensible bunnies that you are you may wonder what Eli is going on about and what the connection between an eminent academic (Naomi Oreskes) on the left and a comic character in an old TV show, (Hogan's Heros) on the right has to do with anything at all.

As you may recall, Oreskes, in an article in Science pointed out that the denialists had nothing, nothing, and that Sgt. Schultz when confronted with reality knew nothing, nothing.

Our good denialist buddies have set out to remedy that situation but in doing so they are producing strange fruit. Because climate science is firmly rooted in basic physics and chemistry (even biogeo), to rip, for example, the greenhouse effect down, you have to take a fair amount of physics and chemistry with, and this produces grotesck results, such as we have recently seen from Gerlich and Tscheusner, Miskolczi, the relatives Robinson and Soon, and many more, soon to appear in such well known journals as Energy and Environment, JPANDs and the true journal of last resort, the Journal of Scientific Exploration. Indeed this is the point (and it is one that Michael Tobis has spent many posts on- give us a good link Michael), climate research depends on basic physics and chemistry, to deny the first is to cast out the second, and then indeed, you are left claiming that you know nothing, nothing. Which in the case of the denialists and delusionists, is probably right.

And who is to blame for this state of affairs, why Prof. (soon to be Provost) Naomi Oreskes. If she had not shown that there really was a scientific consensus on climate change, why none of this would have happened

Thursday, July 03, 2008

What's the earliest the NW Passage ever opened?

When will it open this year? Enter the Bunny Labs office pool first prize is a blue bunny. . .

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Breakdown Institute's Nightmare Visions

In last week's New Yorker, Elizabeth Kolbert described how the Danish island of Samsø has transitioned to wind electrical generation, biomass (aka straw and such) and other available technologies. Samsø's carbon footprint is essentially zero, with offshore electrical generation excess to the island's needs displacing fossil fuel used for transportation.

Bunnies are encouraged to read the article, what caught Eli's eye was Kolbert's description of why this happened:

For the past decade or so, Samsø has been the site of an unlikely social movement. When it began, in the late nineteen-nineties, the island’s forty-three hundred inhabitants had what might be described as a conventional attitude toward energy. . . .

Then, quite deliberately, the residents of the island set about changing this. They formed energy coöperatives and organized seminars on wind power. They removed their furnaces and replaced them with heat pumps. By 2001, fossil-fuel use on Samsø had been cut in half. By 2003, instead of importing electricity, the island was exporting it, and by 2005 it was producing from renewable sources more energy than it was using.

The residents of Samsø that I spoke to were clearly proud of their accomplishment. All the same, they insisted on their ordinariness. They were, they noted, not wealthy, nor were they especially well educated or idealistic. They weren’t even terribly adventuresome. “We are a conservative farming community” is how one Samsinger put it. “We are only normal people,” Tranberg told me. “We are not some special people.”

This was a SOCIAL movement, not an economic nor scientific one. Not so long ago Eli reported how plastic bags disappeared in a flash in Ireland as a result of social pressure and regulation. Just a week or so ago, Samuel Bowles wrote in Science about the mis-match between morals and economics
High-performance organizations and economies work on the basis not only of material interests but also of Adam Smith's "moral sentiments." Well-designed laws and public policies can harness self-interest for the common good. However, incentives that appeal to self-interest may fail when they undermine the moral values that lead people to act altruistically or in other public-spirited ways. Behavioral experiments reviewed here suggest that economic incentives may be counterproductive when they signal that selfishness is an appropriate response; constitute a learning environment through which over time people come to adopt more self-interested motivations; compromise the individual's sense of self-determination and thereby degrade intrinsic motivations; or convey a message of distrust, disrespect, and unfair intent. Many of these unintended effects of incentives occur because people act not only to acquire economic goods and services but also to constitute themselves as dignified, autonomous, and moral individuals. Good organizational and institutional design can channel the material interests for the achievement of social goals while also enhancing the contribution of the moral sentiments to the same ends.
Although one is tempted to First Kill the Economists, a sentiment argued for in The Dismal Science How Thinking Like an Economist Undermines Community by Stephen A. Marglin and not much favored by economists like E. Roy Weintraub, perhaps one need not go so far, but it is clear that we need a better way of valuing common needs.

Samsø demonstrates that we have the technology needed to decarbonize energy generation. The second part of Kolbert's article describes the 2,000 Watt Society, somewhere between a vision and a program to reduce energy consumption in the developed world while maintaining a first world lifestyle. This Swiss organization is building buildings and systems to reduce energy intensity. Although they have not reached their goal they have demonstrated technologies that can carry us a far way towards that goal.
. . . a group of Swiss scientists who were working on similar issues performed a thought experiment. The scientists, all of whom were affiliated with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, asked themselves what level of energy use would be sustainable, not just for an island or a small European nation but for the entire world. The answer they came up with—two thousand watts per person—furnished the name for a new project: the 2,000-Watt Society.

“What it’s important, I think, to know is that the 2,000-Watt Society is not a program of hard life,” the director of the project, Roland Stulz, told me when I went to speak to him at his office, in the Zurich suburb of Dübendorf. “It is not what we call Gürtel enger schnallen”—belt tightening—“it’s not starving, it’s not having less comfort or fun. It’s a creative approach to the future.”

The technology exists to reach this goal
The cantons of Geneva and Basel-Stadt and the city of Zurich subsequently endorsed the aims of the 2,000-Watt Society, as did the Swiss Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy, and Communications. “At first glance, the objective of a two-thousand-watt society appears unrealistic,” Moritz Leuenberger, the head of the federal department, has said. “But the necessary technology already exists.”
and is already being used

In Switzerland, I visited several other buildings that, like the EAWAG Center, had been specifically designed to maximize efficiency. One was an upscale apartment building in Basel. The apartments have eighteen-inch-thick walls filled with insulation, triple-paned windows coated with a special reflective film, and a heat-recovery system that captures eighty per cent of the energy normally lost through ventilation. Instead of a boiler, it has a geothermal heat pump, which essentially sucks energy out of the groundwater. In the summer, the same system is used for cooling. (In compliance with Swiss building codes, the building also contains a bomb shelter.)

The bottom line is simple

“It usually makes sense to become more intelligent in any human activity,” Stulz told me. “As the former Saudi Arabian oil minister Sheikh Yamani once said, the Stone Age didn’t end because there were no more stones. It ended because people became more intelligent. ”

There is some doubt that this will work a second time.