Saturday, April 25, 2015

Sea Level Rise: Impact on Energy Infrastructure

Fort Calhoun's Flood Threat
Storms, river flooding, and dam collapse are types of climate driven events which present an intermittent present danger to "Energy Infrastructure."

By Energy Infrastructure I mean, at least, nuclear power facilities, hydropower dams, coal, oil, and gas burning power plants, wind farms, and solar power plants.

But, that term also applies to the other additional parts of infrastructure (e.g. roads, ports, power lines, pipelines, etc.) necessary for their operation and distribution of electricity to customers.

Those intermittent threats are not as much of a danger as sea level rise (SLR) is, because SLR presents a relentless, ongoing, consistent, and increasing threat to Energy Infrastructure in coastal, tidal areas:
Based on peer-­‐reviewed research, Climate Central’s March 2012 report, Surging Seas (, made local sea level rise and coastal flood risk projections at 55 water-­‐level stations distributed around the lower 48 states. At the majority of these sites and across the U.S., according to the projections, climate change more than doubles the odds of near-­‐term extreme flooding, compared to a hypothetical world without warming. Across sites, median odds for floods reaching at least 4 feet above local high-­‐tide lines are 55 percent by 2030. Median odds for floods exceeding 5 feet are 41 percent by 2050. Odds vary regionally, but generally rank highest along the Gulf of Mexico. However, warming multiplies odds the most along the Pacific and then Atlantic
Energy Infrastructure Example
coasts. Numbers are detailed in Table 2 of Surging Seas.

A great number of coastal energy facilities lay below these elevations, exposed to increasing risk of floods. This analysis identifies 287 facilities less than 4 feet above the high-­‐tide line, spread throughout the 22 coastal states of the lower 48. More than half of these are in Louisiana, mainly natural gas facilities. Florida, California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey each have 10-­‐to-­‐30 exposed sites, mainly for electricity in the first three states, and for oil and gas in the last two. All told, this brief catalogs 130 natural gas, 96 electric, and 56 oil and gas facilities built on land below the 4-­‐foot line. Below the 5-­‐foot line, the total jumps to 328 facilities with similar geographic and type distribution.
(Climate Central, emphasis added; PDF). The use of the word "floods" means ocean water flooding coastal facilities as SLR takes place.

Which also means that flooding will impact customers far inland who are attached to the power grid, but who do not live on the coast.

For obvious reasons, such as the Fukushima example, coastal nuclear power plants
Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)
present a greater danger than the other types of power plants (East Coast Nuclear Plants, PDF, Coastal Nuclear Power Plants, Rising Seas Could Sink Nuclear Plants, Nuclear Plants Threatened).

The large unknown is not that SLR is coming, or that it is a grave danger (SLR has already risen a foot near New York City), no, the large unknown is a matter of exactly when it is coming in amounts that are catastrophic to energy infrastructure.

The graph at Fig. 1 shows the principle of Dr. Hansen's Doubling (The Evolution of Models - 7) taken down to a three year doubling:
Year, Non-Polar, Antarctica, Greenland, Combined
2029, 0.139301, 0.711537, 1.19659, 2.04742
2030, 0.157139, 0.775676, 1.25892, 2.19174
2031, 0.177784, 0.855849, 1.3425, 2.37613
2032, 0.192817, 0.919988, 1.40484, 2.51764
2033, 0.210655, 0.984126, 1.46717, 2.66195
2034, 0.2313, 1.0643, 1.55075, 2.84635
2035, 0.255552, 1.13806, 1.61589, 3.0095
2036, 0.279805, 1.21182, 1.68103, 3.17265
2037, 0.304057, 1.28558, 1.74617, 3.33581
2038, 0.329111, 1.36335, 1.82254, 3.51499
2039, 0.353363, 1.4371, 1.88768, 3.67815
2040, 0.383549, 1.51888, 1.94167, 3.8441
2041, 0.414856, 1.60707, 2.00417, 4.0261
(Fig. 2: Dredd Blog SLR software print out in feet, emphasis added). This projection assumes continued acceleration of the rate of SLR, which already doubled in the real world in five years between 2009 and 2014 (Will This Float Your Boat - 5).

In the case of New York City, which has a foot of SLR already, the projected 2029 additional 2 ft. (see Fig. 2) indicates catastrophic problems for NYC from that time forward (if not sooner).

Fourteen years is not a long time, at least when it comes to large port and energy infrastructure projects (The Agnotology of Sea Level Rise Via Ice Melt, What Do You Mean - World Civilization? - 2).

Time to finish this post.

As it is written on the quote page: "One thing is for sure on the subject of global warming induced climate change: if there was ever a time to err on the safe side, it was long ago" (Quotes).

You are here. Anybody here?

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Evolution of Models - 7

Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)
You will be glad to hear that this is the last post in this series.

I have now accomplished all I wanted to in sea level rise (SLR) calculation software program.

After jettisoning the Potsdam Institute hypothesis (reasons here), I have  settled on Dr. James Hansen's "doubling logic" and implemented it because it is just another way of saying "acceleration."

What I am talking about is the dynamics at play with his statement:
The increasing Greenland mass loss ... can be fit just as well by exponentially increasing annual mass loss, a behavior that Hansen (2005, 2007) argues could occur because of multiple amplifying feedbacks as an ice sheet begins to disintegrate. A 10-year doubling time would lead to 1 meter sea level rise by 2067 ... 2045 ... for 5-year doubling time and 2055 ... for a 7-year doubling time.
(Hansen on SLR, emphasis added). Fig. 1 is a graph generated from data set to simulate the 10 year doubling, Fig. 2 is the 7 year doubling, and Fig. 3 is the 5 year doubling:
(5-yr doubling)

Year, Non-Polar, Antarctica, Greenland, Combined
2044, 0.342175, 1.2416, 1.38612, 2.96989
2045, 0.367532, 1.30524, 1.4234, 3.09617
2046, 0.390356, 1.36424, 1.45572, 3.21032
2047, 0.414552, 1.42324, 1.48805, 3.32584

(7-yr doubling)

Year, Non-Polar, Antarctica, Greenland, Combined
2054, 0.415827, 1.31789, 1.20701, 2.94072
2055, 0.435562, 1.36373, 1.22946, 3.02875
2056, 0.456725, 1.41347, 1.25455, 3.12474
2057, 0.47646, 1.4593, 1.27701, 3.21277

(10-yr doubling)

Year, Non-Polar, Antarctica, Greenland, Combined
2066, 0.496188, 1.38763, 1.06151, 2.94533
2067, 0.508463, 1.42316, 1.07847, 3.0101
2068, 0.523848, 1.45869, 1.09543, 3.07797
2069, 0.539233, 1.49422, 1.11239, 3.14585
The software still simulates the delays, lags, the zones, acceleration, and uses the data
Fig. 2 (click to enlarge)
file to determine that performance.

For those who think Dr. Hansen is too conservative with his estimations about when the 1 m / 3 ft. SLR will take place, simple adjustments to acceleration rates in the data will generate a different .csv file and graph.

Likewise, for those like Cato The Wise who are paid to think Dr. Hansen is exaggerating, or exhibiting hubris, simple adjustments to the data will generate a different .csv file and graph that would make even the High Priest of Denial ooze self-righteousness.

Fig. 3 (click to enlarge)
The point is that I reached the flexibility I was initially shooting for, and now I can get back to tracking the Cryosat-2 and GRACE data as it is published.

My bet is that Dr. Hansen will prove to be the most aware of what is going on.

BTW, the Dredd Blog SLR software I have developed in this series is going to be placed under a Creative Commons, or similar licensing grant, so that anyone interested in SLR can use it freely.

All I have to do is write the user manual, and then I can move on back to harassing gummit officials who deny climate change.

Regular reader Tom provided a link to a documentary, which I am embedding below with today's post.

Have a good weekend.

The previous post in this series is here.

Hopium, Inc. does some secular praying, forgetting to mention that the cheap way out is to leave the fossil fuels in the ground:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Question Is: How Much Acceleration Is Involved In SLR? - 3

In the post The Evolution of Models - 2 I quoted  from a paper by the Potsdam Institute (Potsdam).

That Potsdam paper hypothesized that for every 1 deg. C that global average temperature (GAT) increased, there would be a resulting 2.3 m of global sea level rise (SLR) to follow.

The problem I now have with them is that, since they indicate that it could take an inordinate amount of time for that to manifest, now I wonder where their evidence really is.

So the quest for a workable figure for ongoing acceleration continues, because they give no useful way of testing their hypothesis by observation in the here and now (especially when they imply that their scope involves hundreds of years).

For example, if we take the current increase in global GAT of about .85 deg. C since 1750, then apply the Postsdam ratio to it, we derive:
2015 − 1750 = 265 yrs.
the observed amount of SLR since 1750 is 0.21 m (21 cm)
that is 0.000792453 m yr (0.21 ÷ 265)
the temperature rise since 1750 is about 0.85 deg. C
Potsdam suggested: 0.85 deg. C x 2.3 m = 1.955 m
that is 0.007377358 m yr (1.955 ÷ 265)
Their work is, by itself, useless in practical terms because it has no significant meaning in the relevant time frames of 85 years (from now until 2100).

And its application is off by an order of magnitude from the observed (.007 vs. .0007), so it is impractical on its own, in the sense of not having been intended to be timely.

So, when I fused it with the 4.25 deg. C temperature increase by 2100 anticipated by IPCC, to derive 32.1 ft. of SLR by 2100 (4.25 x 2.3 = 9.775 m = 32.1 ft.), it was a hypothetical exercise.

I did a compromised acceleration rate, because acceleration is the key:
The increasing Greenland mass loss ... can be fit just as well by exponentially increasing annual mass loss, a behavior that Hansen (2005, 2007) argues could occur because of multiple amplifying feedbacks as an ice sheet begins to disintegrate. A 10-year doubling time would lead to 1 meter sea level rise by 2067 ... 2045 ... for 5-year doubling time and 2055 ... for a 7-year doubling time.
(The Question Is: How Much Acceleration Is Involved In SLR? - 2). The issue of doubling (acceleration) has been shown to be an observable reality.

This I already discussed in the context of new satellite data:
Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat mission have been used to map the height of the huge ice sheets that blanket Greenland and Antarctica and show how they are changing. New results reveal combined ice volume loss at an unprecedented rate of 500 cubic kilometres a year.
The resulting maps reveal that Greenland alone is reducing in volume by about 375 cubic kilometres a year.
The researchers say the ice sheets’ annual contribution to sea-level rise has doubled since 2009.

Glaciologist Angelika Humbert, another of the study’s authors, added, “Since 2009, the volume loss in Greenland has increased by a factor of about two and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by a factor of three."
(Will This Float Your Boat - 5). Thus, the doubling which Cato The Wise criticized as hubris, when spoken by James Hansen, is not a myth, no, the doubling (acceleration) is scientific fact.

The only question remaining is: "will the current observed doubling hold up, go away, or will it even double itself ?"

It is clear that Cato The Wise is not influential with scientists who work with public works professionals on practical problems, because practical scientists (unlike bought off Cato The Wise hacks) see the SLR catastrophe approaching and realize it is quite serious (ibid).

Thus, as this series asks in its title, "How Much Acceleration Is Involved In SLR", acceleration is the nitty gritty essence to grok SLR (Will This Float Your Boat - 5).

Our grandpa, father, and big brother's science textbooks had no notion of acceleration.

Like Cato The Wise and the IPCC did or still do.

The comprehensions of the past were based on linear projections which are now known to be scientific myth:
As global temperatures increase, the melting of the massive ice sheets that blanket Antarctica and Greenland has accelerated, making a significant contribution to sea-level rise.

Before 2000, indications were that these two ice sheets were generally stable, at least in their interiors. However, it is now known that the ice caps are melting at their base, caused by warming oceans.
(Ice Sheets, Cryosat-2, emphasis added). This is a very recent satellite effort, which makes me wonder why, why, why, now.

I mean, we have been warned of polar ice melt danger since Dr. James Hansen warned of it in 1988 during an open appearance before congress.

Thus, the quest to find uber accurate ice sheet melt acceleration data continues unabated by Dredd Blog.

The previous post in this series is here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Evolution of Models - 6

Fig. 1 (click to enlarge)
I. Background

In this series I have intended to chronicle the development of software that makes attempts to project how the oceans of the globe will rise (SLR) in response to global warming (The Evolution of Models, 2, 3, 4, 5).

From a technical standpoint, I pointed out that the delay from initial emission of excessive CO2 into the environment, until the temperature rises in response to that excess, is the first phase of the exercise.

II. Wrestling With Lags and Delays

I went on to point out that there are two added hoops to jump through when carrying out the duties of an SLR software architect.

Those two hoops are simulating the second and third delays.

The second delay is the lag between the initial temperature rise, until it has increased enough to cause ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, and the like, to begin to melt (Ice Caps, Ice Sheets, and Ice Shelves: What's the Difference?).

The third delay problem is the fact that there are zones in the relevant locations (Antarctica, Greenland, and Non-polar areas) where the temperature rise will impact the ice sequentially.

That is, coastal areas will melt first.

Next will be lower altitude inland ice.

After that, more elevated areas with ice will see melt.

And so on.

The software solution I crafted deals with SLR in that sequential fashion, because simulating reality is going to be supported by the ability to observe and collect real data (e.g. see "II. Don't Zone Out" here).

III. Educated Guesses and/or Projections

The exercise of educated guessing, a widespread practice among professionals and laypeople alike, cannot be escaped from when dealing with the future.

The secret to better results is better practices, while the secret to best results is utilizing best practices.

In fact, one of the fundamentals of the scientific method is to predict something in a hypothesis.

If that hypothetical something "comes true" or "pans out" in testing, as a result the hypothesis can move on and be called a theory.

Then later, upon conclusive, extensive testing, the theory can be called a "law" (like the law of gravity).

We don't call it "the hypothesis of gravity," or "the theory of gravity," because it has been conclusively tested  (in good nomenclature two different words can not mean the same thing - e.g Good Nomenclature: A Matter of Life and Death).

IV. The Useful Data

A. IPCC Data

I chose to use IPCC data that had made hypothetical projections about future CO2 and temperature levels that proved true years later (now IPCC projects ~4.25 deg. C increase by 2100, and projects an avg. of ~750 ppm CO2 by 2100).

However, I chose not to use the IPCC SLR data because that hypothesis did not pan out.

Instead, it habitually underestimated SLR because they used a linear increase hypothesis.

With their successful hypotheses, and data, one can visualize a basic progression, with acceleration, that will be taking place out to 2100 and beyond.

B. SLR Data

The inaccuracy of the IPCC SLR data meant taking a look at another report source, which ended up being the Potsdam Institute (cf. PNAS), as mentioned in the second post of this series.

The main data point is their calculation of 2.3 m of SLR per 1 deg. C of temperature rise.

Putting that with the IPCC projection of 4.25 deg. C temperature increase by 2100, and the following emerged:
4.25 deg. C x 2.3 m = 9.775 m
9.775 x 3.280839895 (ft. per m) = 32.1 ft.
32.1 ÷ 85 (yrs. to 2100) = 0.37647059 ft. of SLR per year
Which leads to the next issue, which was not solved by the Potsdam Institute's report.

C. Lag / Delay Data

That issue is "when does the 32.1 feet of SLR manifest?" which is a function of delay
Fig. 2 Hypothetical Types of lag: early, uniform, late
and lag as pointed out above.

I begin with the quickest manifestation, which is 32.1 ft. of SLR by 2100.

Which means 0.37647059 ft. of SLR per year, since 85 years is the time frame of the 4.25 deg. C temperature rise.

Next, I look at a recent paper which challenged the traditional 40 yr. lag or delay between emissions of green house gases (GHG) and the subsequent noticeable impact on the climate system (Max Warming About One Decade After CO2 Emission, cf. Fig. 2).

This was discussed in the Dredd Blog post Time Keeps on Slippin' Slippin' Slippin' In From The Past.

V. Putting It All Together In A Software Program

I mentioned in an earlier post that some climate system software has to have millions of lines of code.

That is not so for SLR software, because the problem is far less complicated, with far fewer moving parts, in terms of lines of code and degree of difficulty.

The things that matter are orders of magnitude less difficult than all the issues which full-on climate-system software has to deal with.

The main issues with SLR software are: 1) how much CO2, 2) will generate how much average global temperature increase, 3) over what span of time, 4) with how much delay / lag between each significant event, and 5) when will all that cause (in Antarctica, Greenland, and Non-Polar global locations) ice melt and/or ice flow from land into the sea.

The graph at Fig. 1 is a result of manifestation of the datasets derived from the scientific papers mentioned above (includes the 21 cm. SLR since  1750).

And that data now-having-been-incorporated into software.

Software that projects the results implied by that data out into the future.

VI. What Is The Most Important SLR Issue To Resolve?

This was discussed in a previous Dredd Blog post:
1) knowing the SLR potential
2) knowing key active melt zones
3) focusing on acceleration of melt
4) knowing how much SLR is catastrophic
(The Agnotology of Sea Level Rise Via Ice Melt).  In the previous post we took seriously the report of some scientists and public works department people from California who did not mince words:
The reason for focusing only on SLR software in a simplified way is underscored by 1 study in 1 city in 1 country, out of 196 countries with more than 4,764 ports (World Port Source):
2.4 Resources Threatened by Sea Level Rise

In any given area, rising seas pose a threat to many different types of resources. Among the vulnerable coastal systems are transportation facilities such as roadways, airports, bridges, and mass transit systems; electric utility systems and power plants; stormwater systems and wastewater treatment plants and outfalls; groundwater aquifers; wetlands and fisheries; and many other human and natural systems from homes to schools, hospitals, and industry. Any impacts on resources within the affected area may lead to secondary impacts elsewhere.
3,2 ... Facilities At Risk [@ 1 m/3 ft. SLR]

Schools ... 60 ... Healthcare facilities ... 29 ... Fire stations ... 10 ... Police stations ... 8 ... hazardous material sites ... 208 ... buildings ... 49,000 ... lives ... 220,000

3.4.2 Ports
Our assessment of future flood risk with sea level rise shows significant flooding is possible at the Port of Oakland. The San Francisco and Oakland airports are also vulnerable to flooding with sea level rise. In addition to directly affecting port operations, sea level rise may cause other interruptions to goods movement at ports. Sea level rise can reduce bridge clearance, thereby reducing the size of ships able to pass or restricting their movements to times of low tide. Higher seas may cause ships to sit higher in the water, possibly resulting in less efficient port operations (National Research Council 1987). These impacts are highly site specific, and somewhat speculative, requiring detailed local study. We also note the connection between possible direct impacts of sea level rise on the ports themselves and possible flooding of transportation (rail and road) corridors to and from the ports.
4.1 Conclusions

Rising sea levels will be among the most significant impacts of climate change ...

We estimate that sea level rise will put 220,000 [people at risk] ... with a 1.0 m ... rise in sea levels ... A wide range of critical infrastructure, such as roads, hospitals, schools, emergency facilities, wastewater treatment plants, power plants, and wetlands is also vulnerable. In addition ... property is at risk ... with a 1.0 ... m rise in sea levels ...
(Impact of SLR - San Francisco Bay, emphasis added; PDF). The real difficulty is not "being able to see" what is coming (it is easy to see what is coming).

(TEST: multiply the individuals in that 1 area who must move, by the number of ports ... 220,000 × 4,764 = 1,048,080,000 ... if moving over a billion people does not convince us, then multiply each of those figures, for each item, schools, healthcare facilities, fire stations, police stations, hazardous material sites, and buildings, etc., by 4,764).

The real difficulty is being able to do something about the impact of SLR.
(The Evolution of Models - 5). Writing software that makes the hair stand up on the back of one's neck is not difficult.

Dealing with what is causing the rapidly approaching catastrophe is the real difficulty.

VII. Conclusion

The ~3ft. / ~1 meter SLR is coming much faster than previous SLR software, in its erroneous linear projections, has contemplated.

Note: lag is the reason the graph in Fig. 1 does not reach the 32.1 ft. level, because lag and delay put about 13% of it past the year 2100 (the graph only goes up to ~2100).

Nevertheless, the ~3ft. / ~1m. catastrophe level is the crucial factor to keep in mind, because it is the early catastrophic SLR rise.

Many more people will be driven insane during those episodes.

More governments will faint and panic too.

Nevertheless, grass roots people can hopefully extend their lives, the lives of their children, and the lives of their fellow citizens by "going local."

Local power generation, local food production, local industries, and local social endeavors of all sorts are good ideas to live by and implement.

Not because of selfishness, isolationism, or any of those types of social dynamics.

But, rather, because the international civilization is going to be torn asunder by its own folly.

Civilization's grave mistake was to get a blood transfusion from renewable resources to fossil fuels (The Fleets & Terrorism Follow The Oil, The Universal Smedley - 2).

Fossil fuels are the death knell of civilization as we know it (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Not comprehensively reporting that our civilization is addicted to fossil fuels, as well as the consequences for that addiction, are discussed as a major failure of journalism by The Guardian (The biggest story in the world: inside the Guardian's climate change campaign).

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.