Steven Koonin & Unsettled: Cooking oil

Koonin who was chief scientist for BP, barely touches the elephant in the room (significant global oil depletion) in his anti-climate science diatribe “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters“. Checking Google Books for references to oil, it started out promising, thinking he would discuss why renewable energy was important, independent of any climate change considerations:

Page 3

Instead he discusses cooking oil, spread over several pages, in reference to a Richard Feynman parable on deceptive advertising.

Page 7
Page 10
Page 24

On page 33, a mention of crude (not cooking) oil, although the context is missing, perhaps referring to methane concentrations?

Page 33

But then back to cooking oil! Twice!

Page 119
Page 172

After 200 some pages, a few factual statements on supply and demand for fossil fuels and the difficulty of carbon capture.

Page 227
Page 243

That’s it. The book’s index only points to page 243 relevant to oil, which is consistent with Google Book’s search.

Index

The book is a smokescreen, with the intention of smearing climate science so as to avoid discussing the obvious No Regrets strategy for addressing rapidly declining oil reserves. No discussion of this on Rogan’s podcast with Koonin either. Oil companies do not want this discussed so they can continue to squeeze investment $$$ to find the meager and scant remaining reserves.

Koonin’s book is a bait and switch, which is to put the emphasis on the least existential crisis. Today we are globally using over 35 billion barrels of oil per year, but discovering less than 5 billion per year. That’s equivalent to having an annual income of $5,000 while spending as if you earn $35,000 — not close to sustainable after the savings you have runs out.

QBO Aliased Harmonics

In Chapter 12, we described the model of QBO generated by modulating the draconic (or nodal) lunar forcing with a hemispherical annual impulse that reinforces that effect. This generates the following predicted frequency response peaks:

From section 11.1.1 Harmonics

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th peaks listed (at 2.423, 1.423, and 0.423) are readily observed in the power spectra of the QBO time-series. When the spectra are averaged over each of the time series, the precisely matched peaks emerge more cleanly above the red noise envelope — see the bottom panel in the figure below (click to expand).

Power spectra of QBO time-series — the average is calculated by normalizing the peaks at 0.423/year.
Each set of peaks is separated by a 1/year interval.

The inset shows what these harmonics provide — essentially the jagged stairstep structure of the semi-annual impulse lag integrated against the draconic modulation.

It is important to note that these harmonics are not the traditional harmonics of a high-Q resonance behavior, where the higher orders are integral multiples of the fundamental frequency — in this case at 0.423 cycles/year. Instead, these are clear substantiation of a forcing response that maintains the frequency spectrum of an input stimulus, thus excluding the possibility that the QBO behavior is a natural resonance phenomena. At best, there may be a 2nd-order response that may selectively amplify parts of the frequency spectrum.

See my latest submission to the ESD Ideas issue : ESDD – ESD Ideas: Long-period tidal forcing in geophysics – application to ENSO, QBO, and Chandler wobble (copernicus.org)

The SAO and Annual Disturbances

In Chapter 11 of the book Mathematical GeoEnergy, we model the QBO of equatorial stratospheric winds, but only touch on the related cycle at even higher altitudes, the semi-annual oscillation (SAO). The figure at the top of a recent post geometrically explains the difference between SAO and QBO — the basic idea is that the SAO follows the solar tide and not the lunar tide because of a lower atmospheric density at higher altitudes. Thus, the heat-based solar tide overrides the gravitational lunar+solar tide and the resulting oscillation is primarily a harmonic of the annual cycle.

Figure 1 : The SAO modeled with the GEM software fit to 1 hPa data along the equator
Continue reading

Why couldn’t Lindzen figure out QBO?

Background: see Chapter 11 of the book.

In research articles published ~50 years ago, Richard Lindzen made these assertions:

“For oscillations of tidal periods, the nature of the forcing is clear”

Lindzen, Richard S. “Planetary waves on beta-planes.” Mon. Wea. Rev 95.7 (1967): 441-451.

and

5. Lunar semidiurnal tide

One rationale for studying tides is that they are motion systems for which we know the periods perfectly, and the forcing almost as well (this is certainly the case for gravitational tides). Thus, it is relatively easy to isolate tidal phenomena in the data, to calculate tidal responses in the atmosphere, and to compare the two. Briefly, conditions for comparing theory and observation are relatively ideal. Moreover, if theory is incapable of explaining observations for such a simple system, we may plausibly be concerned with our ability to explain more complicated systems.

Lunar tides are especially well suited to such studies since it is unlikely that lunar periods could be produced by anything other than the lunar tidal potential.

Lindzen, R.S. and Hong, S.S., 1974. “Effects of mean winds and horizontal temperature gradients on solar and lunar semidiurnal tides in the atmosphere“. Journal of the atmospheric sciences31(5), pp.1421-1446.
Continue reading

EGU 2020 Notes

Notes from the EGU 2020 meeting from last week. The following list of presentation pages are those those that I have commented on, with responses from authors or from chat sessions included. What’s useful about this kind of virtual meeting is that the exchange is concrete and there’s none of the ambiguity in paraphrasing one-on-one discussions that take place at an on-site gathering.

Continue reading

The Oil Shock Model and Compartmental Models

Chapter 5 of the book describes a model of the production of oil based on discoveries followed by a sequence of lags relating to decisions made and physical constraints governing the flow of that oil. As it turns out, this so-named Oil Shock Model is mathematically similar to the compartmental models used to model contagion growth in epidemiology, pharmaceutical/drug deliver systems, and other applications as demonstrated in Appendix E of the book.

One aspect of the 2020 pandemic is that everyone with any math acumen is becoming aware of contagion models such as the SIR compartmental model, where S I R stands for Susceptible, Infectious, and Recovered individuals. The Infectious part of the time progression within a population resembles a bell curve that peaks at a particular point indicating maximum contagiousness. The hope is that this either peaks quickly or that it doesn’t peak at too high a level.

Continue reading

Wind Energy Dispersion

In Chapter 11 of the book, we derive the distribution of wind speeds and show what role the concept of maximum entropy plays into the formulation. It’s a simple derivation and one that can be extended by layering more dispersion on the variability, in effect superposing more uncertainty on the Rayleigh or Weibull distribution that is typically used to quantify wind speed distribution. This is often referred to as superstatistics, first described by Beck, C., & Cohen, E. (2003) in Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and Its Applications, 322, 267–275.

A recent article uploaded to arXiv [1] gives an alternate treatment to the one we described. This follows Beck’s original approach more than our simplified formulation but each is an important contribution to understanding and applying the math of wind variability. The introduction to their article is valuable in providing a rationale for doing the analysis.

“Mitigating climate change demands a transition towards renewable electricity generation, with wind power being a particularly promising technology. Long periods either of high or of low wind therefore essentially define the necessary amount of storage to balance the power system. While the general statistics of wind velocities have been studied extensively, persistence (waiting) time statistics of wind is far from well understood. Here, we investigate the statistics of both high- and low-wind persistence. We find heavy tails and explain them as a superposition of different wind conditions, requiring q-exponential distributions instead of exponential distributions. Persistent wind conditions are not necessarily caused by stationary atmospheric circulation patterns nor by recurring individual weather types but may emerge as a combination of multiple weather types and circulation patterns. Understanding wind persistence statistically and synoptically, may help to ensure a reliable and economically feasible future energy system, which uses a high share of wind generation. “

[1]Weber, J. et al. “Wind Power Persistence is Governed by Superstatistics”. arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.06391 (2019).

SSAO and MSAO

In Chapter 11 of the book, we concentrated on the mechanism behind the QBO of stratospheric equatorial winds. In a related topic (but only briefly touched on in the book), there is interesting data from a presentation on the equatorial-only Semi-Annual Oscillation (SAO) of the upper stratosphere and lower mesosphere wind pattern [1]. The distinction between QBO and the SAO is that the QBO has a longer periodic cycle and exists at altitudes lower in the stratosphere than the SAO.

[1] T. Hirooka, T. Ohata, and N. Eguchi, “Modulation of the Semiannual Oscillation Induced by Sudden Stratospheric Warming Events,” in ISWA2016, Tokyo, Japan, 2016, p. 16.

— presentation slides from International Symposium on the Whole Atmosphere

What’s interesting at the core fundamental level is that the SAO is understood by consensus to be forced by a semi-annual cycle (a resonant condition happening to match 1/2 year is just too coincidental) whereas there is no consensus behind the mechanism behind the QBO period (the tidal connection is only available from Chapter 12). To make the mathematical connection, the following shows how the SAO draws from the QBO tidal model.

Continue reading

Peak Oil Barrel

The first part of our book Mathematical GeoEnergy deals with the mathematics behind the depletion of fossil fuels, and specifically crude oil. One of the co-authors, Dennis, helps maintain and moderate the Peak Oil Barrel blog. Recently, Dennis posted a blog entry on Oil Shock model scenarios, which is based partly on the mathematics described in Chapter 5 (and elsewhere in the book, as the shock model is a fundamental aspect of modeling oil depletion).

There’s lots of commentary on the POB blog, including climate science topics on the Non-Petroleum comment threads, so worthwhile to have it bookmarked.