Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Alarmists Gone Wild: “Alarmist CO2 Headlines Create Confusion”… Particularly When Accompanied by Sea Level Alarmism.

May 16, 2017

Real Clear Science and Real Clear Energy are great aggregators of science and energy articles.  But, invariably, there is always at least one article that merits lampooning, if not outright ridicule… And today was no exception.

Tuesday, May 16

“Alarmist CO2 Headlines Create Confusion”… Yes they do.  Earth has been setting CO2 records since 1809, but it never became headline news before we crossed 387 ppm.

Why you should take hyperventilating headlines about CO2 with a grain of salt — but still be quite concerned

By Tom Yulsman | May 15, 2017


This graph shows carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere as measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The last four complete years of the record plus the current year are shown. The dashed red line red line shows monthly mean values, and reveals a natural, up-and-down season cycle. The black line shows the trend after correcting for the average seasonal cycle. (Source: NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory)

Back in late April, there was a spate of hyperventilating headlines and news reports about the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

This one in particular, from Think Progress, should have made its author so light-headed that she passed out:

The Earth just reached a CO2 level not seen in 3 million years

Levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide hit record concentrations.

That story and others were prompted by measurements at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory showing that the concentration of heat-trapping CO2 in the atmosphere had exceeded 410 parts per million.

Some of you might be thinking this: Since rising levels of greenhouse gases are causing global warming, and myriad climate changes like melting ice sheets and glaciers, then this really was big news story.

And the highest CO2 level in 3 million years? WOW! That certainly justifies the hyperventilating hed, right?

I don’t think so. That’s because the headline is inaccurate, and the story hypes the crossing of a purely artificial CO2 threshold.


Discover Magazine

While Mr. Yulsman is spot-on in his characterization of alarmist CO2 headlines (“hed” is journalistic shorthand), he then veers right off into alarmist prattle about sea level:

My point is not that we shouldn’t be concerned about continuing to use the atmosphere as a dumping ground for the byproducts of fossil fuel burning. Quite the opposite. We should be moving more aggressively to do something about it. If you have any doubts, check out the trend in sea level since 1880:


Cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of long-term tide gauge measurements and recent satellite measurements. (Source: EPA.)

Moreover, sea level rise isn’t something that only future generations will have to deal with. It’s already causing significant challenges. If you doubt that, check out what’s happening in Miami right now.

So yes, we absolutely should be concerned about the rising tide of CO2 in the atmosphere, and doing something over the long run to transition away from fossil fuels.


But slapping an inaccurate, hyperventilating headline on a non-story to rile up readers is no way to do it.

Discover Magazine

I love irony.  If “slapping an inaccurate, hyperventilating headline on a non-story to rile up readers is no way to do it,” what’s the point in “slapping an inaccurate, hyperventilating” comment about sea level rise?  Mr. Yulsman linked to this article about “what’s happening in Miami right now”…

Miami Beach spends millions to hold back the sea

The city is installing powerful storm water pumps and raising some public streets by an average of two feet.

Sea levels in South Florida could rise up to two feet over the next four decades. That puts Miami Beach – an island three miles off the Florida coast – at risk.

The city is already experiencing sunny day flooding – days when there’s no rain, but high tides push water up through storm drains and flood city streets.


Yale Climate Connections

“Sea levels in South Florida could rise up to two feet over the next four decades”… No they can’t and this is not happening right now.

For sea level to rise “two feet over the next four decades,” it would have to accelerate to the pace of the Holocene Transgression:


Projected sea level rise through 2100 AD. Two feet of sea level rise over the next four decades would require a pace even faster than that required for 1 meter (~3 feet) of sea level rise by the end of this century.

It would take an average rate of sea level rise nearly twice that of the Holocene Transgression for sea level to rise more than 1.5 meters (~5 feet) over the remainder of this century.

Sea level isn’t behaving any differently than it has throughout the Holocene.

sl6_zps417bba83 Sea level was 1-2 meters higher than it currently is during the Holocene Highstand. All of the sea level rise since 1700 is insignificant relative to the natural variability of Holocene sea levels.

Sea level rise in the Miami area is not accelerating and it is rising at a rate of about 1 foot per century.


The mean sea level trend is 2.39 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.43 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1931 to 1981 which is equivalent to a change of 0.78 feet in 100 years.


The mean sea level trend is 2.40 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.15 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1913 to 2016 which is equivalent to a change of 0.79 feet in 100 years.


The mean sea level trend is 3.63 millimeters/year with a 95% confidence interval of +/- 0.48 mm/yr based on monthly mean sea level data from 1971 to 2016 which is equivalent to a change of 1.19 feet in 100 years.

The satellite data indicate virtually no statistically significant sea level rise in the Miami area:

I intentionally retained the “seasonal terms and mean” and did not smooth the data because the seasonal variability is real and at least 10 times the magnitude of any secular trends in sea level.

To the extent that there is a trend (R² = 0.0945), the rate of sea level rise in the Miami area is about 3 mm/yr.  This would lead to about 5.5 inches of sea level rise over the next four decades.


Miami FL Area Sea Surface Height (cm). Data from CU Sea Level Research Group University of Colorado.

A review of USGS topographic maps reveals very little in the way of inundation by rising seas:


Miami Beach, Florida topographic maps from 1950 and 1994.(USGS).


Miami Beach topographic maps for 1950 and 1994. Note that the 5′ elevation contour has not shifted (USGS).


Miami Beach, Florida topographic maps for 1994 and 2012. The 2012 map has no 5′ contour because it has a 10′ contour interval. However, it is abundantly obvious that Florida is not being inundated.

Miami Xsect

Topographic profile A-A’. The NOAA sea level trend has been plotted at.the same vertical scale.


Kudos to Mr. Yulsman for raising the alarm about alarmist CO2 headlines and ironically including alarmist prattle about sea level rise in his article.  I’ve been looking for a reason to break out the Miami Beach topo maps and profile and use them in a WUWT post.



Bard, E., B. Hamelin, M. Arnold, L. Montaggioni, G. Cabioch, G. Faure & F. Rougerie. Deglacial sea-level record from Tahiti corals and the timing of global meltwater discharge.Nature 382, 241 – 244 (18 July 1996); doi:10.1038/382241a0

Blum, M.D., A.E. Carter,T. Zayac, and R. Goble. Middle Holocene Sea-Level and Evolution of The Gulf of Mexico Coast (USA). Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 36, 2002.

Jameson, J., C. Strohmenger. Late Pleistocene to Holocene Sea-Level History of Qatar: Implications for Eustasy and Tectonics. AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90142 © 2012 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, April 22-25, 2012, Long Beach, California.

Jevrejeva, S., J. C. Moore, A. Grinsted, and P. L. Woodworth (2008).  Recent global sea level acceleration started over 200 years ago? Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L08715, doi:10.1029/2008GL033611.:

Nerem, R.S., D.P. Chambers, C. Choe & G.T. Mitchum. Estimating Mean Sea Level Change from the TOPEX and Jason Altimeter Missions. Marine Geodesy. Volume 33, Issue S1, 2010, pages 435- 446 Available online: 09 Aug 2010 DOI: 10.1080/01490419.2010.491031.

Arctic Methane Seeps Slow Global Warming

May 9, 2017

Are methane seeps in the Arctic slowing global warming?

This article raises several questions:

Why are climate “scientists” always surprised when it turns out to not be worse than previously expected?

Was this discovery so inconvenient that it justified doubling up on “in isolated spots in the Arctic” in the same sentence?

If CH4 is so much worse than CO2… Why do “scientists know relatively little about its role in the global carbon cycle,” while seeming to know everything there is to know about CO2?

Does this mean that a controlled program of methane hydrate dislocation would help alleviate Gorebal Warming, Chicken Little of the Sea and hypoxia?

When combined with other data—sudden drops in water temperature, along with increases in dissolved oxygen and pH at the surface—the lower COlevels were telltale signs of bottom water upwelling and photosynthesis, Pohlman says.

Based on this economic analysis, methane hydrate production would be uneconomic…

The following shows the result of a calculation performed on the production costs.




The Gorebal Warming Flashlight

May 8, 2017


JC at the National Press Club

Table 1.1. Net Generation by Energy Source: Total (All Sectors), 2007-February 2017
(Thousand Megawatthours)
Generation at Utility Scale Facilities Small Scale Generation
Coal Natural Gas Nuclear Hydroelectric Solar Solar PV Total Solar
2014 1,581,710 1,126,609 797,166 259,367 17,691 11,233 28,924
2015 1,352,398 1,333,482 797,178 249,080 24,893 14,139 39,032
2016 1,240,108 1,380,295 805,327 265,829 36,754 19,467 56,221

Solar Perspectivefear_zpsaupkou1q

Alarmists Gone Wild: Saving the Arctic Sea Ice from Oblivion With… Windmills!

May 3, 2017


Leave it to a researcher who studies icy moons in the outer solar system to come up with an out-there scheme to restore vanishing sea ice in the Arctic.

Ice is a good insulator, says Steven Desch, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University in Tempe. That’s why moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and Saturn’s Enceladus, among others, may be able to maintain liquid oceans beneath their thick icy surfaces. On Earth, sea ice is much thinner, but the physics is the same. Ice grows on the bottom surface of floating floes. As the water freezes, it releases heat that must make its way up through the ice before escaping into the air. The thicker the ice, the more heat gets trapped, which slows down ice formation. That’s bad news for the Arctic, where ice helps keep the planet cool but global warming is causing ice to melt faster than it can be replaced.

The answer to making thicker ice more quickly? Suck up near-freezing water from under the ice and pump it directly onto the ice’s surface during the long polar winter. There, the water would freeze more quickly than underneath the ice, where it usually forms.

In theory, Desch says, the pumps used for this top-down approach to ice growth could be driven by technology no more sophisticated than the windmills that have long provided water to farms and ranches on the Great Plains.

Desch and colleagues envision putting such pumps on millions of buoys throughout the Arctic. During winter, each pump would be capable of building an additional layer of sea ice up to 1 meter thick over an area of about 100,000 square meters…


Now is the time to begin detailed designs and build prototypes, Desch says. The Arctic Ocean’s end-of-summer sea ice coverage has decreased, on average, more than 13 percent per decade since 1979. “There’ll be a time, 10 to 15 years from now, when Arctic sea ice will be accelerating to oblivion, and there’ll be political will to do something about climate change,” Desch says. “We need to have this figured out by the time people are ready to do something.”


Science News

Professor Desch and his colleagues estimate that each ice-making buoy would cost $50,000 (including shipping and handling).  They estimate that it would cost $500 billion to cover 10% of the Arctic Ocean with ice-making buoys…

Ice grows on the bottom surface of floating floes. As the water freezes, it releases heat that must make its way up through the ice before escaping into the air. The thicker the ice, the more heat gets trapped, which slows down ice formation. That’s bad news for the Arctic, where ice helps keep the planet cool but global warming is causing ice to melt faster than it can be replaced.

So… Thicker ice traps more heat (insulation), causing the ice to melt faster, preventing the ice from keeping the planet cool (high albedo).  Makes perfect sense.

“There’ll be a time, 10 to 15 years from now, when Arctic sea ice will be accelerating to oblivion, and there’ll be political will to do something about climate change.  We need to have this figured out by the time people are ready to do something.”

“Accelerating to oblivion”?  Oblivion?


Since we know that the current Arctic sea ice extent is much larger than that of most of the Holocene, “oblivion” is probably not the place to which Arctic sea ice is heading.  If anything, it is returning to normal.  So, I don’t think these ice-making buoys would be the best place to “invest” $500 billion.

The Arctic was probably ice-free during summer for most of the Holocene up until about 1,000 years ago.  McKay et al., 2008 demonstrated that the modern Arctic sea ice cover is anomalously high and the Arctic summer sea surface temperature is anomalously low relative to the rest of the Holocene.



Figure 1. “Modern sea-ice cover in the study area, expressed here as the number of months/year with >50% coverage, averages 10.6 ±1.2 months/year… Present day SST and SSS in August are 1.1 ± 2.4 8C and 28.5 ±1.3, respectively… In the Holocene record of core HLY0501-05, sea-ice cover has ranged between 5.5 and 9 months/year, summer SSS has varied between 22 and 30, and summer SST has ranged from 3 to 7.5 8C (Fig. 7). (McKay et al., 2008)

Microsoft Word - Arctic sea ice -QSR revised

Figure 2.  Annual mean sea ice thickness for the three different simulations (Panel a) compared with results from published paleo-sea ice studies (Panel b). Black curve: constant surface albedo; red curve: dynamic surface albedo parameterization. The simulation implemented with a dynamic surface albedo parameterization was run from present time and backwards to address the importance of the initial state of the sea ice cover. The annual mean sea ice thickness from this simulation (orange curve) reveals a hysteresis of ∼1000 years. The annual mean insolation at 80°N shown with a stippled curve is based on the algorithm presented by Berger (1978). To compare the results from different paleo-sea ice studies a scale of sea ice concentration was inferred using the approach by Jakobsson et al. (2010). This scale must be considered as highly qualitative because none of the paleo-sea ice proxies provide absolute measures of past sea ice concentrations. The number preceding each bar representing the result of a paleo-sea ice study corresponds to the following references: 1: Hanslik et al. (2010); 2: Cronin et al. (2010); 3: de Vernal et al. (2005); 4: England et al. (2008); 5: Funder et al. (2011); 6: Bennike (2004); 7: Dyke et al. (1996); 8: Vare et al. (2009); 9: Belt et al. (2010); 10: Müller et al. (2012). MY = Multi Year; LF = Land Fast Ice. (Stranne et al., 2013)


Modern day Arctic sea ice extent is more comparable to that of the last Pleistocene glacial stage than to that of the Holocene Climatic Optimum (9,000-5,000 years before present).



Figure 3.  The Little Ice Age was one of the two coldest phases of the Holocene in the Arctic.

Funny thing…


Figure 4. “The Ice Age Cometh.” (Science News, March 1, 1975)

From March 1975 to May 2017, Science News has gone from “the Ice Age cometh” to “Arctic sea ice… accelerating to oblivion”… Ohhhhhh Noooooooo!!!


Figure 5. Ohhhhhh Noooooooo!!!


Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

Desch, S.  et al. Arctic ice management. Earth’s Future. Vol. 5, January 24, 2017, p. 107. doi: 10.1002/2016EF000410.

McKay, J.L., A. de Vernal, C. Hillaire-Marcel, C. Not, L. Polyak, and D. Darby. 2008. Holocene fluctuations in Arctic sea-ice cover: dinocyst-based reconstructions for the eastern Chukchi Sea. Can. J. Earth Sci. 45: 1377–1397

Stranne C, Jakobsson M, Björk G, 2014 Arctic Ocean perennial sea ice breakdown during the Early Holocene Insolation Maximum. Quaternary Science Reviews 92: 123132.

Featured Image

Coral Reef Odds & Ends

May 2, 2017

Coral reefs can handle “highly acidic ocean waters”…

Pacific Mystery: Coral Reefs Are Thriving, But How?

Jun 5, 2015

A College of Geosciences researcher and her colleagues have found healthy coral reefs in highly acidic ocean waters. “The reefs appear to be thriving, and we want to understand why,” says Kathryn Shamberger, assistant professor of oceanography.

The team examined eight coral reefs in the Palauan archipelago and found high levels of acidification within the lagoons and inlets of the Palau Rock Islands. But despite the high levels, the Rock Island coral reefs appear to be extremely healthy.

“Based on lab experiments and other studies, this is the opposite of what we expected,” says Barkley, the lead author.


The team says that the acidification process in Palau is a natural one, due to a combination of biological activity and the slow flushing of water through the Rock Island lagoons that allows acidification levels to build up over time.


Sediment lade waters…

Coral reef thriving in sediment-laden waters

Rapid rates of coral reef growth have been identified in sediment-laden marine environments, conditions previously believed to be detrimental to reef growth.
A new study has established that Middle Reef – part of Australia’s iconic Great Barrier Reef – has grown more rapidly than many other reefs in areas with lower levels of sediment stress.


Rising seas (AKA deeper water)…

Great Barrier Reef found to have thriving deep water coral
Updated 2:23 AM ET, Fri October 26, 2012

A recent survey of the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef has found coral flourishing in deep waters, a stark contrast to the shallower reefs that have seen a drastic decline over the last few decades.

The healthy coral populations were discovered to be below 30 meters — beyond the usual reach of most scuba divers — and even found at depths of 80 meters, according to the Catlin Seaview Survey.


Glacial cycles…

Rottnest’s tropical corals found to thrive
July 9, 2015 by Kerry Faulkner

Researchers are surprised at thriving coral growth at Rottnest Island, predicting its smaller coral communities could grow into a reef similar to the one that existed there in the Last Interglacial, approximately 130,000 years ago.



Hong Kong coral reef thrives despite pollution
Amid major developments, territory’s scientists make unexpectedly pleasant underwater discovery.
08 Oct 2015

Marine life is thriving despite major developments at Hong Kong’s busy harbour.

Like any other marine environment around the world, this region is feeling the impacts of climate change and development.

Nevertheless, the stronger types of coral species are holding on despite the unrelenting conditions and scientists are now trying to establish how they survive.


Ocean zoning…

Scientific Assessment Of Curaçao’s Coastal Waters Show Healthy And Thriving Coral And Fish Populations

WILLEMSTAD – A recent two-week long scientific assessment surveyed over 150 dive sites of Curaçao’s shallow water reef sites and found signs of healthy coral and fish populations around the island, particularly in Oostpunt. The scientific assessment was a critical step in Blue Halo Curaçao and its comprehensive, science-based approach to ocean zoning.


A lack of data…

For marine biologists, the destruction of the reefs has proven to be as frustrating as it is heartbreaking. Because reef habitats are so complex, and because worldwide reef monitoring and mapping efforts only began a little over a decade ago, scientists simply do not have enough information to keep tabs on the destruction of the reefs, let alone come up with an effective solution. At the rate the reefs are disappearing, they may be beyond repair by the time a comprehensive plan to save reefs can be put into place…

Harsh intertidal zones…

A Diverse Assemblage of Reef Corals Thriving in a Dynamic Intertidal Reef Setting (Bonaparte Archipelago, Kimberley, Australia)

The susceptibility of reef-building corals to climatic anomalies is well documented and a cause of great concern for the future of coral reefs. Reef corals are normally considered to tolerate only a narrow range of climatic conditions with only a small number of species considered heat-tolerant. Occasionally however, corals can be seen thriving in unusually harsh reef settings and these are cause for some optimism about the future of coral reefs. Here we document for the first time a diverse assemblage of 225 species of hard corals occurring in the intertidal zone of the Bonaparte Archipelago, north western Australia.


Bad news about other ocean habitats…

Crown Jewel of Cuba’s Coral Reefs
Jardines de la Reina, a vibrant marine preserve, is thriving even as other ocean habitats decline.

JULY 13, 2015


The sharks are a tourist attraction — at two of the many diving spots in the Gardens, they are fed to ensure larger numbers — but to scientists like Dr. Pina and Dr. Kritzer, their very presence here is an indicator of the coral reef’s robustness.

Research has linked the health of reefs to habitation by large fish, and the absence of sharks and other top predators is often a sign of a reef in decline.


The resilience of this coral reef seems beyond question. The waters inside the preserve hold 10 times as many sharks as outside, Dr. Pina said, and goliath grouper, rare in many places, are often seen here.



Glass sponge reefs thought to be extinct are discovered to be thriving in ocean depths

Mummies, they’re called, these strange shapes that form one of the largest structures ever to exist on Earth. Stretching some 2900 kilometers from Spain to Romania, the long, sinuous curve of millions of mummies—once-living, vase-shaped animals—is a fossil reef. In its heyday in the Jurassic, the reef dwarfed today’s Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s northeastern coast. Now it is visible only in rock outcrops dotted across a vast area of central and southern Spain, southwestern Germany, central Poland, southeastern France, Switzerland, and eastern Romania near the Black Sea. The ancient reef was made up not of corals but of deep-sea sponges called hexactinellids.

Hexactinellids, or glass sponges, use silica dissolved in seawater to manufacture a skeleton of four- or six-pointed siliceous spicules. Individual glass sponges, such as the beautiful Venus’s flower-basket sponge (Euplectella aspergillum), are still found in the deep sea but are a different genus and species from the Jurassic reef-builders. Reef-building glass sponges, known only from fossilized remains, are thought to have gone extinct 100 million years ago, driven out by competition from newly arrived diatoms.


The surprise find

The darkness beneath British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia, Hecate Strait, and Queen Charlotte Sound concealed the next chapter in an eons-old tale. For decades, hints of something alive—something no one had seen before—washed up on the shores of Galiano Island in the Strait of Georgia. Walking along a beach on the island, long-time resident Elizabeth McClelland found pieces of an unidentified object in the tide line. “Every so often, I’d come across bits of flotsam that were very delicate but very sharp,” says McClelland. “My granddaughter once found a fairly large piece of these unknown gifts from the sea.”

Then came an odd clue at the bottom of Hecate Strait. During a 1984 seafloor mapping expedition, scientists from the Geological Survey of Canada, using sonar imaging, saw mounds over huge areas of the seafloor—areas that should have been completely flat. Similar acoustic anomalies, as geological survey scientists Kim Conway and Vaughn Barrie referred to them, were observed again in 1986 during a survey of Queen Charlotte Sound.

Reef-building glass sponges gave up their secret to Conway and Vaughn in 1987: underwater photography in Hecate Strait captured the sponges on film. Far from extinct, the sponges were thriving in the depths off British Columbia.


BioScience (2008) 58 (4): 288-294. doi: 10.1641/B580403


An absence of scuba divers…

Corals in Musandam are thriving, report finds

MUSANDAM // A survey of the peninsula by an expedition of marine scientists and volunteer divers has found that its coral reefs are thriving.


For Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, an expedition member and one of the authors of the report, said when it came to the health of corals, the sites were in better condition than many locations famous for being scuba-diving haunts.

“It is an outstanding location,” said Dr Solandt, senior biodiversity policy officer at the Marine Conservation Society. “The coral health is excellent.”


The healthy Musandam reefs could well be a source of population recovery for reefs in the Arabian Gulf, where physical and man-made factors combine to create an environment that is more challenging for corals.

Many of the sites hosted very large colonies of the genus Porites. Some of the colonies, said Dr Solandt, were “the size of small houses”, indicating they could well be more than 400 years old.

This also most likely meant that no significant damaging events had occurred within this timeframe, said the report.


I’ve noticed that scuba divers tend to whine more than other groups about Gorebal Warming and Ocean Neutralization killing coral reefs. I have also noticed variations of this in several articles…

[W]hen it came to the health of corals, the sites were in better condition than many locations famous for being scuba-diving haunts…

Maybe coral reefs don’t like scuba divers???

More sea level rise and deeper waters…

Deep-Water Coral Reefs Thriving Off Puerto Rico

Jan 14, 2011

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As the ocean floor plunges off southwestern Puerto Rico, it reveals coral reefs dotted with bright-blue sea squirts and a multitude of other organisms whose existence has given hope to scientists who strive to save the island’s threatened ecosystems.

The organisms are an integral part of a group of reefs discovered to be thriving near an area where most shallow coral reefs and the fish that depend on them are in poor health overall.

The reefs – at a depth of up to 500 feet (152 meters) in an area 12 miles (19 kilometers) across – were recently discovered as part of a federally funded mission to conduct research on deep-water corals, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“We stumbled across this area,” Richard Appeldoorn, a professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Mayaguez who was involved in the mission, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Divers enrolled in a one-year training course to depths of up to 100 feet (31 meters) noticed the thriving reefs and large predators lurking nearby, said Appeldoorn, who oversees the university’s fisheries, biology and coral reef studies program.



A Bright Spot for Coral Reefs

Air Date: Week of January 11, 2013


[C]orals in American Samoa are actually thriving despite the heat. At least that’s what researchers at Stanford University reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. Steve Palumbi is a professor of Marine Science at Stanford University and a lead author on the research. He explained how corals bleach and otherwise react to the stresses of heat.


More heat…

Diversity of Corals, Algae in Warm Indian Ocean Suggests Resilience to Future Global Warming

12 February 2010

Penn State researchers and their international collaborators have discovered a diversity of corals harboring unusual species of symbiotic algae in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea in the northeastern Indian Ocean. “The existence of so many novel coral symbioses thriving in a place that is too warm for most corals gives us hope that coral reefs and the ecosystems they support may persist — at least in some places — in the face of global warming,” said the team’s leader, Penn State Assistant Professor of Biology Todd LaJeunesse.


Coral reefs can even handle numerous predictions of their imminent demise…

December 19, 2013
Coral reefs, the great survivors
By Viv Forbes

For at least fifty years, agitated academics have been predicting the end of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Now international “experts” are also sprouting coral calamity. But despite the alarms, the reef is still there.


Corals are among the greatest survivors on Earth and have been here for about 500 million years. Many of the types of corals found on reefs today were present in similar forms on reefs 50 million years ago.

Since corals first appeared there have been five mass extinctions when over 50% of all life forms on land and in the seas died.


Corals also survived several deadly ice ages when sea levels fell so low that many coral reefs left their skeletons stranded as limestone hills on dry land. But always some colonisers followed the retreating seas and survived.

Then came the hot climate eras when the great ice sheets melted and sea levels rose dramatically. Some coral reefs drowned, but others just built on top of the old drowned corals forming the beautiful coral atolls we see today. Corals flourish in gently rising seas such as we have today – it gives them room to refresh and grow vertically.

And if the water gets too warm, coral larvae just drift into cooler waters closer to the poles. The Great Barrier Reef would move slowly south.

Corals have outlasted the dinosaurs, the mammoths and the sabre-toothed tiger. Captain Cook’s ship was almost disembowelled by the sturdy corals of the Great Barrier Reef in 1770. If Cook came back today, he would be unable to detect any changes in the Reef.


No matter what the future holds, corals are more likely than humans to survive the next major extinction.

In the event of yet another Ice Age we must hope that reef alarmists have not denied us the things we will need to survive – food, energy, chemicals, shelter, concrete and steel generated by carbon fuels.

Read more:…#ixzz3vEkoWpx5
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Atomic bombs…

Coral flourishing at Bikini Atoll atomic test site
Tue Apr 15, 2008

By Rob Taylor

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Coral is again flourishing in the crater left by the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated by the United States, 54 years after the blast on Bikini Atoll, marine scientists said on Tuesday.

A team of research divers visited Bravo crater, ground zero for the test of a thermonuclear weapon in the remote Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954, and found large numbers of fish and coral growing, although some species appeared locally extinct. “I didn’t know what to expect, some kind of moonscape perhaps. But it was incredible,” Zoe Richards, from Australia’s James Cook University, told Reuters about the team’s trip to the atoll in the south Pacific.

“We saw communities not too far from any coral reef, with plenty of fish, corals and action going on, some really striking individual colonies,” she said.


Chicken Little of the Sea doesn’t even bother them…

Coral Reefs
March 2013, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 305-314
First online: 22 November 2012
Ocean acidification does not affect the physiology of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera during a 5-week experiment
A. Takahashi, H. Kurihara

The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration, which has resulted from the burning of fossil fuels, is being absorbed by the oceans and is causing ocean acidification. Ocean acidification involves the decrease of both the pH and the calcium carbonate saturation state. Ocean acidification is predicted to impact the physiology of marine organisms and reduce the calcification rates of corals. In the present study, we measured the rates of calcification, respiration, photosynthesis, and zooxanthellae density of the tropical coral Acropora digitifera under near-natural summertime temperature and sunlight for a 5-week period. We found that these key physiological parameters were not affected…


Additionally, there was no significant correlation between calcification rate and seawater aragonite saturation (Ωarag). These results suggest that the impacts of ocean acidification on corals physiology may be more complex than have been previously proposed.….338-012-0979-8

Offshore oil & gas drilling…

Spectacular reef awaits divers off coast of Galveston

KHOU Staff,
Jun 11, 2014

GALVESTON, Texas — When you think about Galveston, you probably picture sun and surf, maybe the Pleasure Pier or sometimes seaweed, but you probably don t think about great diving.


The sanctuary actually encompasses three separate areas, underwater salt domes that stand higher than the surrounding ocean floor. Snapper and grouper fishermen who saw the colorful sponges and other marine life under their boats are credited with discovering the ecological wonder in the late 19th century. The area was designated as a national marine sanctuary in 1992 and it s now managed under the direction of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


At a time when coral reefs around the world are in decline, Flower Garden Banks is thriving largely because it s so remote it attracts comparatively few divers.


I’m really beginning to think that the only thing coral reefs can’t handle are too many scuba divers.

Coral reefs are amazingly undaunted by “a trend of widespread decline in coral reefs across the Caribbean”…

Scientists explore secret of Little Cayman’s coral reef success
30 December, 2014
By: James Whittaker |

What is so special about Little Cayman’s reefs? That’s the question a new $140,000 scientific study at the Central Caribbean Marine Institute will seek to answer.

Scientists want to determine why reefs around the remote island are thriving and whether there are lessons that can be adapted to help protect and maintain vital coral reef systems around the world.

The new study will look specifically at rare and endangered coral species around Little Cayman and attempt to determine why they are bucking a trend of widespread decline in coral reefs across the Caribbean.

An earlier study by CCMI showed that coral cover had been increasing around Little Cayman over the past five years.


What is so special about Little Cayman’s reefs?

Here’s a SWAG… They are REMOTE.

Coral reefs even handled the much warmer Eemian (Sangamonian) interglacial stage…

Sangamon Interglacial: Paleoclimatology
and Future Climate Implications


Daniel Call


Recent ‘extreme’ weather events, rising carbon dioxide levels and the growing evidence of retreating glaciers have increasingly become the subjects of much debate in the popular press and numerous fields of scientific research. Driving these discussions are questions aimed at discerning what drives the climate on Earth. Several have been noted in previous research: Milankovitch cycles, solar output, continental configurations and the most recent and controversial, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas atmospheric concentrations (Hambrey 2004). In order to understand what we should expect, both from a climate change perspective and from a changing biogeographical perspective during our current interglacial phase, scientists have looked to the last interglacial period in the geologic record, the Sangamon Stage (or the Eemian, as it appears in European literature) approximately 114,000 – 130,000 years ago for answers.


Similarly, the limestones deposited in coral reef complexes near Bermuda, the Florida Keys and part of the Miami Limestone had to have been formed in seas that are anywhere from 6 to 19 meters higher than current sea level with most sea level estimates being placed at 6 – 10 meters higher than today. These values represent data gathered during 2 of the lower sea stands during the Sangamon with the 3rd being much higher than the others based on ?O18 minimums obtained from oxygen isotope data of deep sea cores (USGS).

The implications of such a high sea level suggests that massive changes in a number of the elements that factor into establishing a particular global climate regime had to have occurred. Looking at Milankovitch cycles, the Northern Hemisphere, during the Sangamon, would have received higher insolation rates (solar radiation received on a surface during a unit of time) than today and a large portion of Greenland’s Ice Sheet and significant portions of the West Antarctic Ice sheet would have had to melt to produce the sea level rise necessary for coral reef derived limestone formations to have been generated at the elevations that they are present at today (Koerner).

Carbon dioxide concentrations weren’t as high in the Sangamon as they are today, but they were still much higher than any of the previous or following glacial periods. This combination of high CO2 and increased insolation due to Milankovitch cycle parameters would have altered the climate regimes around the globe. Global temperatures were thought to be 5-7 °C (9-13 °F) higher than the current interglacial period according to North Atlantic oceanic sediment cores with South Pacific oceanic cores showing a rise of only 3-5 °C (5.4-9 °F).


Across the majority of Europe, general scientific consensus was that the Eemian climate was much warmer and wetter than today’s environment. This resulted in the development of vast temperate forests and the rapid expansion of species, most notably Carpinus across the area (Turner 2000). Although the Eemian was consistently much warmer, evidence has been building that a large scale late Eemian arid ‘pulse’ dominated central Europe resulting in the widespread takeover of ecological niches by various grasses and shrubby bushes before returning to a warm, somewhat more moist climate dominated by temperate forests just before the most recent glacial stadial (Sirocko, et al. 2005).


Coupled with the climatic discrepancies are the discrepancies with analyzing how life will respond to the changing environment. As Smith and Buddemeier explained, looking at oceanic chemistry and a number of other factors, a rise in sea level could actually benefit most coral reef complexes if sea level and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations rise at anticipated rates within the next 100 years. The net effect would cause a drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide as more of this greenhouse gas gets incorporated as CaCO3 as various reef complexes grow. Overall, Smith and Buddemeier make a valid point when they explain that the number of factors affecting coral reef health and viability, coupled with the modest changes expected from various climate change simulations indicate that on a global scale, coral reefs are unlikely to be adversely affected by projected climate change. It is only on the local scale that coral reef communities could be at risk.…call3/sang.htm

Fortunately for coral reefs, there were no scuba divers 130,000 years ago.

More deep water and even more surprised scientists…

Science Features – Discoveries of the Deep—The Surprising Undersea World at Pulley Ridge

In the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 250 km west of Cape Sable, Florida, and 70 km west of the Dry Tortugas, are a series of drowned barrier islands known as Pulley Ridge. The ridge was found in 1950, but it wasn’t until recent years that scientists discovered something extraordinary.

The southern portion of the ridge is a thriving coral reef, a pristine habitat teeming with life and color. Here, more than 60 species of fish swim in predominantly clear, warm water. An abundance of algae sprinkles the seascape in vibrant reds and greens. Brilliant blue-purple corals stretch across the sea floor like giant plates. Octocorals, with tiny featherlike tendrils and colors that vary per colony, reach out with sometimes light and delicate and sometimes bright and knobby arms. And in the soft light that filters down from the distant surface, luxuriant fields of the leafy algae Anadyomene menziesii rise from the sea floor like patches of lettuce at dusk.

The reef was discovered in 1999, as scientists and graduate students from the USGS Center for Coastal & Watershed Studies and the University of South Florida (USF) boarded the research vessel Bellows and set sail for the Pulley ridge area, where a bathymetric map of the ocean floor showed a mysterious bump.


Why does it always shock the “scientists” when they discover healthy, thriving coral reefs?

It seems as if every newly discovered reef is healthy and thriving… particularly if it is in a remote area and not frequented by scuba divers?

How are these remote reefs miraculously immune to Gorebal Warming and Ocean Neutralization?

Coral reefs can even handle being denigrated as endangered species…

Hybrid Corals: Sex Gone Awry or Saving Grace?
As the full moons of late summer and fall rise, so too, does the libido of threatened staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals.

By Marah J. Hardt on September 25, 2014

As the full moons of late summer and fall rise, so too, does the libido of threatened staghorn (Acropora cervicornis) and elkhorn (Acropora palmata) corals. Awakened from a year of sexual slumber, each species shakes off the shackles of celibacy to engage in a mass-spawning a few days after the brightest nights. Facing declines of up to 97 percent in the past 30 years, these two species have been beaten back by disease, pollution, overfishing and climate change. Their yearly spawning should be a time of celebration. But after millions of years of successful group sex, the very act of reproduction may now be contributing to their ultimate demise.

A report this summer adds to a growing body of evidence that another coral, Acropora prolifera, may be overtaking reef real estate formerly occupied by elkhorns and staghorns. Far from a foreign invader, genetic tests show this coral is in fact the offspring of an elkhorn and staghorn cross. A. prolifera is a hybrid. And its apparent rise is an indication of coral sex gone awry.


If Acropora cervicornis and Acropora palmata can interbreed to produce genetically viable offspring (Acropora prolifera), they are not distinct species and should not be listed as endangered species. Acropora is not endangered, prolifera should be a big, fat clue.

Coral reefs appear to be adapting quite well to climate change and Chicken Little of the Sea, if not adapting so well to scuba divers, snorkelers, agricultural runoff and fishing with dynamite.

Coral reefs really do seem to like warm water and lots of CO2 in their diets…

GBR calcification rates from:

De’ath, G., J.M. Lough, and K.E. Fabricius. 2009.
Declining coral calcification on the Great Barrier Reef.
Science, Vol. 323, pp. 116 – 119, 2 January 2009.

(Previously discussed here.)

According to Byrn et al., 2010, “Global ocean acidification is a prominent, inexorable change associated with rising levels of atmospheric CO2…”

The boron 10/11 ratio from Flinders Reef (GBR) demonstrates that seawater pH around the reef has generally ignored atmospheric CO2 over the past 250 years and that the coral has easily adapted to 0.2 pH unit swings every 50-60 years…


Declining pH has been “associated with rising levels of atmospheric CO2” since about 1990. Prior to 1990, rising and falling pH levels weren’t associated with rising or falling levels of CO2. (Station Aloha discussed here.)

However, the rising and falling pH appears to be inversely correlated with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)…


That’s really funny… Because the PDO supposedly can’t drive anything.  It’s just an index of North Pacific sea surface temperatures and Flinders Reef is in the Coral Sea.  The PDO and Flinders Reef are on opposite sides of the equator.

Note to Electric Vehicle and Renewable Energy Enthusiasts: Total SA & “Big Oil” Are Not Synonymous!

May 1, 2017

Alarmists Gone Wild: Greenland losing 400 1 cubic km ice cubes per year!!!

May 1, 2017



The thaw is happening far faster than once expected. Over the past three decades the area of sea ice in the Arctic has fallen by more than half and its volume has plummeted by three-quarters (see map). SWIPA estimates that the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer by 2040. Scientists previously suggested this would not occur until 2070. The thickness of ice in the central Arctic ocean declined by 65% between 1975 and 2012; record lows in the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice occurred in March.


The most worrying changes are happening in Greenland, which lost an average of 375bn tonnes of ice per year between 2011 and 2014—almost twice the rate at which it disappeared between 2003 and 2008 (see chart). This is the equivalent of over 400 massive icebergs measuring 1km on each side disappearing each year. The shrinkage is all the more perturbing because its dynamics are not well understood. Working out what is going on in, around and underneath a supposedly frigid ice sheet is crucial to understanding how it will respond to further warming and the implications of its demise for rising global sea levels (see article).


The Economist

375 billion tonnes per year… Oh my!

400 massive icebergs measuring 1km on each side disappearing each year… Oh no!!!

Wait a second… Those sound like big numbers… But how big are they compared to the Greenland ice sheet?

The USGS says that the volume of the Greenland ice sheet was 2,600,000 km3  at the beginning of the 21st century.

According to the “ice sheet goeth” graph, since 2001, Greenland lost about 3,600 gigatonnes of ice or about 3,840 km3 … That equates  to a 16 km x 16 km x 16 km cube of ice (3√ 3,840 = 15.66).  That’s YUGE!  Right? Not really.

It’s not even a tiny nick when spread out over roughly 1.7 million square kilometers of ice surface.  That works out a sheet of ice less about 2 meters thick… Not even a rounding error compared to the average thickness of the Greenland ice sheet.

  • 2,600,000 km3 / 1,700,000 km2 = 1.53 km

The average thickness of the Greenland ice sheet is approximately 1.5 km (1,500 meters).  2 meters is about 0.15% of 1,500 meters.


Isopach map of the Greenland ice sheet. The first contour inside the white area represents an ice thickness of 1,000 meters. Source: Eric Gaba (Wikimedia Commons user Sting) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

The thickness of the Greenland ice sheet is truly apparent on this radar cross section:


A really cool radar cross section of the Greenland ice sheet.   Source:


From a thickness perspective, 2 meters looks like this:


The top panel is zoomed in on the box in the lower panel.  Each square on the graph paper image represents 5 vertical meters.  


Using The Economist ratio of 400 km3 to 375 gigatonnes, 2,600,000 km3  works out to 2,437,500 gigatonnes.  When some actual perspective is applied, it is obvious that “the ice sheet goeth” nowhere:


The ice sheet goeth nowhere.

Despite all of the warming since the end of Neoglaciation, the Greenland ice sheet still retains more than 99% of its 1900 AD ice mass.



Can the U.S. Become the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?

April 28, 2017


The Department of Energy gave a Texas-based energy company permission Tuesday to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to countries with which the U.S. does not have free trade agreements.

Golden Pass Products will build an LNG export terminal capable of shipping 2.21 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas around the world. It’s the first LNG export terminal approved by the Trump administration, adding to the already 19.2 Bcf/d of exports approved by the Obama administration.

The export facility will create an estimated 45,000 direct and indirect jobs over the next five years, according to Golden Pass. The company estimates the construction operation of the facility will generate up to $3.6 billion in federal and state tax revenues.

The Trump administration said the terminal’s approval would help make the U.S. a “dominant” energy force in the world.

“This announcement is another example of President Trump’s leadership in making the United States an energy dominant force,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a press statement. “This is not only good for our economy and American jobs but also assists other countries with their energy security.”

U.S. energy ascendancy will have political implications in Europe where about half the continent’s natural gas supply comes from state-owned Russian companies. Foreign policy experts see U.S. gas exports as a way to undermine Russia’s energy dominance in the region.


U.S. consumers would deal with minimal costs to export LNG and it would lead to huge economic benefits, according to a study published in December 2015 by the DOE. The study found exporting American LNG would provide huge environmental benefits as well. The report states exporting LNG will help “address a variety of environmental concerns in the power‐generation sector.”

Exporting natural gas is likely to be a growth industry, as global demand for natural gas is expected to be 50 percent higher by 2035 than it is now, according to the International Energy Agency. Demand for imports of LNG increased 27 percent in the United Kingdom last year alone.
Read more:



The shale revolution enabled U.S. natural gas production to surge out a 30-yr  doldrum:


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Figure 1.  U.S. natural gas production (Bcf).  Source: EIA


The surge in production has been accompanied by a surge in exports:

chart (2)

Figure 2. U.S. Natural gas exports (mmcf).  Source: EIA

LNG exports are expected to be the driving force in the U.S. natural gas business over the next 30 years.

EIA: LNG exports expected to drive growth in U.S. natural gas trade


WASHINGTON, DC — The United States is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018, according to the recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case. The transition to net exporter is driven by declining pipeline imports, growing pipeline exports, and increasing exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In most AEO2017 cases, the United States is also projected to become a net exporter of total energy in the 2020s in large part because of increasing natural gas exports.


The growth of natural gas exports, especially from new LNG terminals, sustains continued growth in U.S. natural gas production. In the Reference case, natural gas production is projected to grow through 2020 at about the same rate (3.6% annual average) as it has since 2005, when production of natural gas from shale formations began to grow rapidly. After 2020, natural gas production grows at a lower rate (1.0% annual average) in the Reference case as net export growth moderates, energy efficiencies increase, and natural gas prices slowly rise.

Natural gas production and trade vary with different assumptions for resources and technology, macroeconomic growth, and world oil prices. In the High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case, larger natural gas resource estimates and improved drilling technology lead to higher domestic natural gas production, lower U.S. natural gas prices, and therefore, greater natural gas exports. Most of the increase in natural gas trade is from LNG exports, which grow to 8.4 Tcf (23 Bcfgd) in 2040.

However, LNG exports are highest in a case with high world oil prices. In the High Oil Price case, when consumers move away from petroleum products when other energy sources become economically favorable, global LNG demand increases and U.S. LNG exports reach 9.2 Tcf, or 25 Bcfgd. Compared with other LNG suppliers, U.S. LNG has the advantage of domestic spot prices that are less sensitive to global oil prices.

Conversely, in a scenario with more pessimistic assumptions for oil and gas resources and technology or a scenario with low world oil prices, LNG exports still increase, but remain below Reference case levels through 2040.

World Oil

The EIA’s base case projection would make the U.S. a dominant player in the global LNG market.


Figure 3.  EIA forecast of U.S. natural gas exports.  7 Tcf/yr = 19.2 Bcf/d          Source: EIA via World Oil

  • 19.2 Bcf/d = 3.4 mmBOE/d
  • Canada exported  3.2 million bbl/d of crude oil in 2013.

The EIA reference case would make the U.S. the “Canada” of natural gas exports.  It would also make our natural gas exports comparable to Russia’s at ~7 Tcf/yr.


Figure 4.  EIA forecast of U.S. natural gas production and consumption.           Source: EIA via World Oil


Figure 5.  EIA forecast range of U.S. LNG exports.   Source: EIA via World Oil

  • 26 Bcf/d = 4.6 mmBOE/d
  • Russia exported  4.9 million bbl/d of crude oil in 2013.

The “High Oil Price” scenario would make the U.S. the “Russia” of natural gas exports.

U.S. exports of LNG are ramping up rapidly.

100th LNG Cargo Shipped from Sabine Pass Liquefaction Facility

Cheniere Energy announced today the 100th cargo of liquefied natural left the company’s Sabine Pass liquefaction facility on Saturday, April 1st, 2017. Including the 100th cargo, Cheniere has delivered cargoes to 18 countries on five continents since the first shipment on February 24, 2016.  “This milestone for Cheniere is a testament to the global demand for American LNG, the hard work and dedication of Cheniere’s workforce, and our unique business model that enables customers large and small to access this fuel,” said Jack Fusco, Cheniere’s President and CEO. “Our entire workforce shares in this milestone and in Cheniere’s future success.”

In February 2016, Cheniere became the first company to ship LNG from the contiguous United States in over 50 years.


LNG Global

By the end of 2018, the U.S. will be a net exporter of natural gas:

COMMODITIES | Wed Mar 29, 2017 | 6:38am EDT

After six decades, U.S. set to turn natgas exporter amid LNG boom

By Scott DiSavino

The last time the United States was a net exporter of natural gas was in 1957, when Dwight Eisenhower was president. That should change in 2018 when the country is expected to become the world’s third-largest exporter of liquefied natural gas (LNG).

By the end of next year, U.S. LNG export capacity in the lower 48 states will top 6 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), or 8 percent of the country’s domestic consumption, up from zero at the beginning of 2016. Six bcfd of gas can fuel about 30 million U.S. homes, or almost every house in California, Texas and Florida combined.

That growth in U.S. LNG exports is set to transform world energy markets. Just a decade ago, before the shale revolution, the United States was expected to become a growing LNG importer, not an exporter, likely dependent on Russian, Middle East and North African gas, much as it has for decades depended on foreign crude.



There are currently two LNG export terminals operating in the U.S.  Kenai AK, ConocoPhillips, has been in operation since 1969.  It has a capacity of 0.2 Bcf/d.  Sabine LA (Cheniere) has only been in operation for about 1 year.   It has a capacity of 1.4 Bdf/d.


Figure 6. Existing LNG terminals.  Source: FERC



Figure 7.  Approved LNG export terminals.  Source: FERC



Figure 8.  Proposed LNG terminals.  Source: FERC



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Figure 9. U.S. natural gas production, imports, exports and LNG export capacity,                    Source EIA and FERC


Figure 9.  U.S. natural gas production, imports, exports and LNG export capacity.                  Source: EIA and FERC

  • 16,111 Bcf/yr = 44 Bcf/d
  • 44 Bcf/d = 7.8 mmBOE/d
  • Saudi Arabia exported  7.4 million bbl/d of crude oil in 2013.

If all of the approved and proposed LNG export terminals are built and operate at full capacity, the U.S. would become

Can we “get there from here”?  Is there enough natural gas in the ground for the U.S. to become the “Saudi Arabia” of natural gas.


Reserves and Resources

To answer that question, we have to get a handle on the size of the resource base.

Proved Reserves

Proved reserves are those quantities of petroleum which, by analysis of geological and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable, from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under current economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations.

If deterministic methods are used, the term reasonable certainty is intended to express a high degree of confidence that the quantities will be recovered. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 90% probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimate.


Proved reserves are often referred to a “P90” or 1P.  There is a 90% probability that this much gas will be produced.  People often make the mistake of thinking that proved reserves are a fixed number, which will go down with production.  In fact, proved reserves represent the minimum volume that is expected to be produced.  Proved reserves can move up and down simply dud to changes in product prices.

Probable Reserves

Probable reserves are those unproved reserves which analysis of geological and engineering data suggests are more likely than not to be recoverable. In this context, when probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50% probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of estimated proved plus probable reserves.

In general, probable reserves may include (1) reserves anticipated to be proved by normal step-out drilling where sub-surface control is inadequate to classify these reserves as proved, (2) reserves in formations that appear to be productive based on well log characteristics but lack core data or definitive tests and which are not analogous to producing or proved reservoirs in the area, (3) incremental reserves attributable to infill drilling that could have been classified as proved if closer statutory spacing had been approved at the time of the estimate, (4) reserves attributable to improved recovery methods that have been established by repeated commercially successful applications when (a) a project or pilot is planned but not in operation and (b) rock, fluid, and reservoir characteristics appear favorable for commercial application, (5) reserves in an area of the formation that appears to be separated from the proved area by faulting and the geologic interpretation indicates the subject area is structurally higher than the proved area, (6) reserves attributable to a future workover, treatment, re-treatment, change of equipment, or other mechanical procedures, where such procedure has not been proved successful in wells which exhibit similar behavior in analogous reservoirs, and (7) incremental reserves in proved reservoirs where an alternative interpretation of performance or volumetric data indicates more reserves than can be classified as proved.


Probable reserves are often referred to a “P50” or “2P.”  There is a 90% probability that this much gas will be produced.  “2P” is also used as a connotation for “proved plus probable.”  Probable reserves are one of the mechanisms by which proved reserves can grow without additional drilling.  2P reflects the most likely volume that will be produced.

Possible Reserves

Possible reserves are those unproved reserves which analysis of geological and engineering data suggests are less likely to be recoverable than probable reserves. In this context, when probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 10% probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of estimated proved plus probable plus possible reserves.


Technically these are resources, not reserves.  Referred to as “P10” or “3P,” this represents the maximum volume that will be produced.  3P generally refers to “proved plus probable plus possible.”

SEC regulations only require publicly traded oil & gas companies to report proved reserves.  Although probable reserves can also be reported for valuation purposes.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration compiles proved reserve data, which can be accessed through their website.

In order to become the “Saudi Arabia” of natural gas, the U.S. would need to produce about 70% more gas than it currently does.  Do we have the gas resource base to “get there from here”?

The answer is: Yes.

Natural Gas01

Figure 10.  U.S. natural gas proved reserves, proved reserves – production and production (Bcf).  Source: EIA

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Figure 11.  U.S. natural gas proved reserves in years of production.  Source: EIA

Proved reserves are only a fraction of the resource base.


Figure 12. U.S. natural gas resources.  Source: NGSA


P50 probable reserves (1P+2P) are nearly three times that of P90 proved reserves.

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Figure 13.  U.S. natural gas proved & probable reserves and resources (Bcf). Source: EIA and NGSA

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Figure  14.  U.S. natural gas proved & probable reserves and possible resources in years of production.  Source: EIA and NGSA


What Stands in the Way of the U.S. Becoming the Saudi Arabia of Natural Gas?  Natural Gas Prices

Low natural gas prices in the U.S. are the primary reason that proved natural gas reserves declined in 2015.

chart (3)

Figure 15.  U.S. natural gas wellhead price ($/mcf).  Source: EIA



Figure 16.  “Breakeven” prices ($/mcf) for major U.S. shale gas plays.

With U.S. natural gas prices currently around $3.30/mcf, typical shale gas wells are not breaking even, much less yielding a decent return.

To yield a 10% unleveraged return, the shale plays require gas prices of $4.50 to $5.50/mcf.

For natural gas, the dry Marcellus would require a NYMEX gas price of at least $4.55 to generate a 10% unleveraged return, said KLR. The region’s low capital intensity is partly offset by a lower gas price realization.

KLR NYMEX Gas Breakevens

The Fayetteville requires a NYMEX-normalized natural gas price of about $5.50 per Mcfe to generate a 10% return, making it the most expensive natural gas play among those examined by KLR. The Fayetteville was the only basin in last week’s Baker Hughes rig count to show zero activity as low prices continue to make the region uneconomical for new production.

Oil 360

While low U.S. natural gas prices are currently a drag on production and reserve growth, the also provide an advantage to domestic gas producers.  U.S. natural gas is extremely competitive in the global market.

JAN 31, 2016

The U.S. and Australian Race to Export Liquefied Natural Gas

Jude Clemente , CONTRIBUTOR
I cover oil, gas, power, LNG markets, linking to human development

Free market economies Australia and the U.S. will be in competition for the export of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). Since 2010, Australia’s gas demand has increased 10%, but its gas production has increased 35%, compared to an 8% increase for use and 38% gain in production for the U.S. Per BP data, Australia and the U.S. have netted 75% of the 260 Tcf gain in proven global gas reserves since 2005.

In fact, through 2020, the two countries are expected to account for 90% or more new LNG exports. Overall, the global LNG market is set to increase by 50% between 2015 and 2020, nearly 20 Bcf/day. This year alone will see a 2.6 Bcf/day increase in LNG supply

Australia could add six new LNG export terminals by 2020, tripling its liquefaction capacity to over 13 Bcf/day. Although Cheniere Energy’s U.S. LNG export facility at Sabine Pass, the first of its kind in the continental U.S., was delayed until late-February or so, the country could be exporting 10 Bcf/day by 2020, almost equaling current global leader Qatar.


This year’s expansion of the Panama Canal will up competition in the U.S. to ship LNG to Asia, where over 70% of the world’s LNG is consumed. The U.S. has lower production costs and lower capital costs for new infrastructure, namely liquefaction facilities. Bolstered by the “shale revolution,” for instance, the more difficult Gulf of Mexico now produces just 5% of U.S. natural gas, versus over 25% 20 years ago

 This is in contrast to the expensive offshore gas projects in Australia, now responsible for over 50% of all floating liquefaction capacity under construction. Over 90% of Australia’s traditional gas resources reside in the harder-to-develop North West Shelf offshore.
Escalating labor costs have been a key factor in Australia’s drastic LNG cost overruns. In Australia, oil and gas workers can make $165,000, 30-35% more than in the U.S. and double the world’s average. One Harvard expert finds that “Australian LNG seems to be the worst business case globally,” with costs range being 2-3 times higher than in the U.S. (see here).


Daniel Yergin just said that the Saudi’s “will not destroy the US shale industry…It takes $10bn and five to ten years to launch a deep-water project. It takes $10m and just 20 days to drill for shale.” U.S. gas production is rising by 1.5% per year, three times faster than consumption (projections here).

Thus, U.S. gas prices will remain lower than in other markets, and arbitrage opportunities for companies to ship LNG will remain. North America’s gas prices are mostly set at liquid trading hubs, more linked to supply and demand fundamentals.

The key importing nations are not expected to be producing much more gas, so the internationally traded market will increase its current share of 30% of total gas consumed, closer to the 60% of oil demand that is traded internationally. Making gas more of a global commodity like oil, LNG now accounts for about 33% of all traded gas and 10-12% of total gas demand. The LNG market is just another example of the obvious: the world continues to become more connected, not less.






U.S. gas producers can undercut the price of the competition.  Outside of North America, LNG is currently trading at $5-6/mcf, 50-60% above the breakeven price of the shale plays.

LNG Prices

Figure 17. Global LNG prices ($/mmBtu).  Source: FERC

Natural gas demand rising, particularly in non-OECD nations:


Figure 18. Projected world natural gas consumption (Tcf). Source: EIA


With most export markets currently paying more than $5.50/mmBtu, global natural gas demand on the rise and most of the rest of the world paralyzed by an irrational fear of fracking (no arguments about the spelling, please), the U.S. could easily become the “Canada” of natural gas and clearly has the potential to become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

U.S. LNG Export Potential

Proposed LNG Capacity    7,799,490
EIA High Oil Price Case    4,594,200
EIA Base Case    3,388,767


Top 10 Crude Oil Exporters

1 SAUDI ARABIA 7,416,000 2013 EST.
2 RUSSIA 4,888,000 2013 EST.
3 CANADA 3,210,000 2015 EST.
4 UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 2,637,000 2013 EST.
5 IRAQ 2,462,000 2013 EST.
6 NIGERIA 2,231,000 2013 EST.
7 ANGOLA 1,745,000 2013 EST.
8 KUWAIT 1,711,000 2013 EST.
9 VENEZUELA 1,548,000 2013 EST.
10 KAZAKHSTAN 1,466,000 2013 EST.

Source: CIA World Fact Book


Further Reading

EIA Annual Energy Outlook 2017

Featured Image

Cheniere Energy


Mammoth Steppe

April 28, 2017


April 25, 2017


The push to save U.S. nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support for the bread and butter of clean power: wind and solar.

New York and Illinois have already approved as much as $10 billion in subsidies to keep struggling reactors open for the next decade as part of a plan to limit fossil fuel consumption. Lawmakers in Ohio, Connecticut and New Jersey are debatingwhether to do the same.

The reactors, which are being squeezed by low natural gas prices, offer a singular advantage in the fight against global warming because they produce round-the-clock electricity without emitting greenhouse gases. Yet renewable energy operators including NRG Energy Inc. and Invenergy LLC say keeping nuclear plants open will leave grids awash with excess power, leaving little demand for new wind and solar farms.

“It’s the wrong policy — and whether it proliferates or not is going to be a really big factor,” Invenergy Chief Operating Officer Jim Murphy said during a panel discussion at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance conference in New York Monday.



“Renewable energy operators say keeping nuclear plants open will leave grids awash with excess power, leaving little demand for new wind and solar farms.”


Keeping the “grids awash with excess power” is the only way to handle bellwether events without having to rely on brownouts and blackouts.  Solar and wind can neither provide base-load nor flexible response to bellwether events.  Increasing reliance on these resources make it imperative that we keep the “grids awash with excess power.”

Getting back to the Bloomberg article, there appears to be a lot of whining about subsidies for nuclear power… With the renewables crowd doing all of the whining:


Nuclear’s economic woes comes as wind and solar are starting to show they’re cheap enough to compete with traditional generators, after years of help from subsidies. The push to aid reactors began last year after Exelon Corp. successfully argued in New York and Illinois that since nuclear does not contribute to global warming, its plants should receive a premium to help level the playing field with wind and solar.

“The fossil generators sell electricity with air pollution,” Joseph Dominguez, an Exelon executive vice president, said in an interview. “We sell electricity without air pollution — and that’s a different product.”

There are key differences between wind and solar subsidies and those for nuclear, according to clean-energy developers. Renewable energy credits have spurred an emerging industry, whereas nuclear subsidies are to preserve aging plants. And while wind and solar developers compete against each other for subsidies, those for nuclear benefit a single technology.

Market Rules

“The renewables industry has been playing by competitive market rules that have helped to produce good prices,” Amy Francetic, an Invenergy senior vice president, said in an interview. “This is picking and winners and losers in a way that’s troubling.”


Nuclear power absolutely is the leader of the pack at reducing so-called “greenhouse” gas emissions:


Figure 1. Nuclear and gas kick @$$, wind breaks even and solar is a loser.


“The renewables industry has been playing by competitive market rules that have helped to produce good prices,” Amy Francetic, an Invenergy senior vice president, said in an interview. “This is picking and winners and losers in a way that’s troubling.”

Really?  Ms. Francetic, *government* always picks “winners and losers in a way that’s troubling.”

As far as the renewables industry “playing by competitive market rules that have helped to produce good prices”…


Figure 2. Ms. Francetic, Data is laughing at you.

The most recent U.S. Energy Information Administration report on energy subsidies reveals the following:


Solar and wind power are insignificant sources of energy.

Energy Subsidies1

Figure 3a. U.S. Energy production by source 2010 & 2013 (trillion Btu), U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Figure 3b. U.S. primary energy production 1981-2015 (million tonnes of oil equivalent), BP 2016 Statistical Review of World Energy.


Solar and wind power receive massive Federal subsidies.

Energy 2

Figure 4. Federal subsidies by energy source 2010 and 2013 (million 2013 US dollars), U.S. Energy Information Administration.


The solar and wind subsidies are truly massive in $/Btu.

Energy Subsidies3

Figure 5. Subsidies per unit of energy by source ($/mmBtu), U.S. Energy Information Administration.


The true folly of solar power is most apparent in subsidies per kilowatt-hour of electricity generation.  At 23¢/kWh, the solar subsidies in 2013 were nearly twice the average U.S. residential retail electricity rate.

Energy Subsidies4

Figure 6. Subsidies per kilowatt-hour of electricity generation, U.S. Energy Information Administration.


Solar and wind subsidies are weighted toward direct expenditures of tax dollars.

Energy Subsidies5

Figure 7. Subsidies by type for wind, solar, nuclear, coal and natural gas & petroleum liquids, U.S. Energy Information Administration.  Table ES2.


Federal solar and wind subsidies were 3-4 times that of nuclear power in 2013.  Only 2% of the nuclear power subsidies consisted of direct expenditures, compared to 72% and 56% for solar and wind power respectively… And the renewables industry has the gall to complain about New York and Illinois kicking in $500 and $235 million per year in extra subsidies to keep nuclear power plants running in their States.  Really?

Most of the Federal subsidies for oil & gas (96%), coal (71%) and nuclear power (67%) consist of tax breaks.  The subsidies for oil & gas aren’t really even subsidies.  These are standard tax deductions and depreciation of assets.

Solar power simply can’t work without massive subsidies.  While the economics of wind power are improving, renewables are still extremely expensive relative to existing coal and nuclear power plants.







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