HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Science » Science (Group) » The Decade's 1st Reading ...

Sun Jan 12, 2020, 11:31 AM

The Decade's 1st Reading at the Mauna Loa CO2 Observatory, +3.45 ppm over 2019; 25.16 ppm over 2010.

The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory which measures the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste in the atmosphere daily, keeps a record of yearly increases and posts them on its website, both graphically and in a text menu on the right of the page where the data is recorded. The "official" yearly increase for a year generally is reported in February of the following year.

Annual Mean Growth Rate for Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

The record for all years since the Observatory opened in 1958 is 3.00 ppm over the previous year, recorded in 2016 over 2015.

The observatory also posts on its website - it can be found on the "data" page - a record of all weekly averages going back to 1976.

Somewhat obsessively I keep a spreadsheet of the weekly data, which I use to do calculations to record the dying of our atmosphere, a triumph of fear, dogma and ignorance that did not have to be, but nonetheless is. I note, with sadness and regret, that we on the left are not free of such fear ignorance and dogma, although I wish we were. We cannot, with justice, attribute this outcome to Ronald Reagan, George Bush the first and second, and Donald Trump. We bear responsibility, no matter how much we pat ourselves on the back for our insane, and frankly, delusional worship of so called "renewable energy."

So called "renewable energy" did not work, is not working, and will not work to address climate change. That's a fact.

Facts matter.

Here, in fact, is the first weekly data point recorded in the 2020's from the observatory:

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa:

Week beginning on January 5, 2020: 413.37 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 409.94 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 388.21 ppm
Last updated: January 12, 2020


The reading, if you have not joined Greenpeace and thus can do simple arithmetic calculations, is 3.43 ppm higher than that recorded one year ago, and a somewhat startling 25.16 ppm higher than the weekly data point recorded in 2010.

This morning, I used the spreadsheet to calculate the average reading for all weekly data for 2019. It is 411.57 ppm. The same average, calculated in 2019 for 2018 was 408.56.

The Mauna Loa observatory calculates the "official" yearly increase figure using an average of the last weeks of the previous year and the first weeks of the following year. However, were they to use the average of all weekly readings, recorded throughout each year, this would mean that 2019 would set a new record, being the second year to reach the 3.00 ppm milestone at 3.01 ppm.

This data, although it constantly and monotonically is increasing owing to the accumulation of dangerous fossil fuel waste, is very much subject to a certain amount of statistical "noise" owing to the state of the biome. For example, until 2016 which came in at 3.00 ppm), 1998 was a record year at 2.98 ppm over 1997, owing to the South East Asian fires going out of control in a dry (in SE Asia) El Nino year. Many that went out of controlwere set to clear rain forest to plant palm oil plantations to meet the German demand for "renewable" biodiesel. Overall however, the average yearly increases in the 20th century were 1.54 ppm/year. In the 21st century, they are, thus far, averaging 2.41 ppm/year through 2018. The "official" 2019 figure will surely raise this average.

I pretty much expected, for much of this year, where "only" 5 of the weekly year to year increases were in the top 50 to come in among the 2,292 data points available at the Mauna Loa website, somewhere around 2.7 ppm, still an appalling figure, but not near 3.0. (2016 had 20 such readings that regrettably so qualified.) I think the recent surge for the 2019 figure is probably related to the Australian fires, which is not to say that things are "better than we think." These fires are examples of the feedback loop that is related to the accumulation of dangerous fossil fuel waste. Wait until "protecting the economy" strikes the Brazilian rain forest.

At the current rate represented by the 10 year figure for this week's reading of roughly 2.5 ppm/year (25.16/10) - I expect these figures will get worse, not better - we will reach 450 ppm by 2035. I'm sure that Bill McKibben, an advocate of the "renewable energy will save us" scheme, over at "350.org" will be very concerned. Maybe he should buy a "plug in" Prius. Electric cars will do nothing to save the world, but saving the world is not what counts. It's the thought that counts.

We have many things about which we should regard the Trump administration with absolute contempt: Ignorance, racism, incompetence, corruption, nepotism, blank and open immorality, disrespect for women, disrespect for the United States Constitution, betraying his country to Russian interests, war mongering, etc.

However, one reads criticisms of him for abandoning and criticizing so called "renewable energy." Again, it wouldn't matter if he supported with the same enthusiasm as the governing board of the Sierra club, which in a century's time has moved away from John Muir's establishing goal for the club, protecting wild spaces from development for things like "renewable energy" - in his time it was the lost goal of protecting Hetch Hetchy valley from the still existing Hetch Hetchy dam - to a policy of turning them into industrial parks for wind farms, solar thermal plants and the like, all of which will be rotting hulks requiring massive fleets of diesel trucks or diesel ships to haul them away in about 20 years time. So called "renewable energy" is a chimera.

If you don't believe me, don't worry, be happy.

As I remarked in my last post on this depressing and dire Mauna Loa data:

Don't worry. Be happy. Head on over to the E&E forum here and read all the joy expressed there for the German nuclear phase out.

I personally consider such talk to be abysmally ignorant, of course, and an obvious statement that the people expressing such points are completely disinterested in the environmental issue of climate change as compared to their fear and ignorance connected with nuclear energy, but that's not my forum. I'm a scientist, not a cheerleader for the steel, aluminum, lanthanide and copper mining industries, nor the gas industry, industries on which so called "renewable energy" depends for its tortured (and hopefully short) existence.

Nuclear energy was, is, and always will be the only tool available to humanity capable of addressing climate change.

My impression is that I've been hearing all about how rapidly bird and bat grinding wind turbines are being installed, mostly written by simpleton anti-nukes, since I began writing here in 2002, when the reading on April 21, 2002 was 375.42 ppm.

All this jawboning about the wonderful growth of so called "renewable energy" has had no effect on climate change, is having no effect on climate change, and won't have any effect on climate change, but it's not climate change that counts: It's all that wonderful marketing showing pictures giant sleek wind turbines on steel posts that counts.

The reality - and I regret reference to reality in these times of triumph of the unreal - of what is happening is this:

In this century, world energy demand grew by 179.15 exajoules to 599.34 exajoules.

In this century, world gas demand grew by 50.33 exajoules to 137.03 exajoules.

In this century, the use of petroleum grew by 34.79 exajoules to 188.45 exajoules.

In this century, the use of coal grew by 63.22 exajoules to 159.98 exajoules.

In this century, the solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy on which people so cheerfully have bet the entire planetary atmosphere, stealing the future from all future generations, grew by 9.76 exajoules to 12.27 exajoules.

12.27 exajoules is slightly over 2% of the world energy demand.

Source: 2019 Edition of the World Energy Outlook Table 1.1 Page 38] (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

Don't worry; be happy. It's not your problem. It's the problem of every living thing that comes after us, including but not limited to human beings. We obviously couldn't care less.


Have a nice Sunday afternoon.

18 replies, 1182 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread

Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Jan 12, 2020, 12:31 PM

1. LOL!!122


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sun Jan 12, 2020, 02:31 PM

2. Greetings NNadir: Valar Morghulis

Seriously, scientist, believing it or not: On the 7th day He found it--whatever/however that was-- good and rested, whatever block of time that represented at the beginning of everything! Humans screwed it up!

I found your post to be almost satirical, i.e. a double negative "couldn't care less." You don't deny the increasing ppm nor a consequent personal participation in "climate change." Is it the worry over the measurable numbers, or mankind's "marketing" of those various and albeit expensive ways this planet's humans might TRY to adapt to the consequences of their own numbers or in not being logical and reasonable in not wanting what you seem to so clearly state, that nuclear power is the BEST WAY of preserving/conserving the planet's resources? Having lived in a relatively stable Richter-wise 10-mile zone I'm not similarly convinced that's best for the entire world even in light of humans being irradiated one way or the other in any case (by the planetary solar kind of radiation).

Happy Sunday back at you, and stop the daily obsessing in your inevitable personal fear, dogma, and ignorance devoid of the politics; that can drive one crazy; however, I get that's what drives professional scientific observers for good, for income, and for testing hypotheses that offer many and different opportunities to live without fear, in truth (facts) and certain knowledge in this post's title. To value wisdom armed with what is real is a purpose to be valued, indeed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Original post)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 03:11 AM

3. Observations...

Do you ever compare this observatory's reading to the observatories located:

1) at South Pole,
2) in American Samoa, or
3) at Point Barrow?


I has been a long time since I have even glanced at any of those values.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 06:58 AM

4. Very rarely, and then only when they appear in the scientific literature.

Mauna Loa is convenient, has a nice format, and the figures are those which more or less stick in my mind.

It was, as I recall, a fair amount of work to set up the spreadsheets I set up from the Mauna data pages, which are actually in the form of *.txt files, although I did this many years ago, probably 30 or 40 ppm of CO2 ago.

There is noise in the readings, clearly, but over the years, enough atmospheric mixing takes place that it really doesn't matter. It's a decent reference point.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 14, 2020, 05:32 PM

5. I was just curious...

With the circumpolar vortex, it would seem like there might be some lag time between Pole and the other latitudes - Point Barrow's position relative to the northern vortex's "position" is unknown to me. (I am totally discounting whatever the 3-D structure of the vortices actually is. Perhaps they serve as no kind of meaningful boundary to diffusion. I am not a climate scientist, so I claim ignorance on these topics.)

Also, I have not been following the stability of the vortices...etc.

Could you perhaps please suggest any good books that might discuss atmospheric diffusion of CO2 vis-a-vis the vortices if that discussion can even be accomplished? (I realize that there may be several levels of computation between what I am asking and the diffusion equation (as discussed at the end of Reif's Stat. Mech.), but, in my ignorance, I thought I would ask anyway.

Thanks is advance for this discussion - with predominance of tweets in the news over the last several years, it is nice to remember that regular discussions exist on the internet, too.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 16, 2020, 12:58 AM

6. The topic you want to discuss is geophysical fluid dynamics, which is a broad topic.

In general this topic also covers marine systems, lacustrine, riverine and subterranean fluids, but atmospheric systems are an often discussed subset.

In the case of carbon dioxide, there are also chemical considerations that play an important role.

The best understandings are derived from computationally complex manipulations, but some ready generalizations are possible, I think.

You are making a distinction between kinetic metastable states and equilibrium states. There is no true equilibrium state on the planet, as you imply, because of chemical, thermal, and source related gradients, which is why Mauna Loa reports carbon dioxide trends rather than global absolute concentrations.

Geophysical fluid dynamics is a fairly complex topic, but there are a number of monographs that address it. I downloaded five or ten of them this evening to poke through briefly to make suggestions for reading if you are truly interested.

While I can share some comments with you on this topic, and suggest some readings, I'm pretty run down right now, and hope to get to it this weekend. I am not an expert in the topic, but I've worked with some concepts that are relevant to the point, I think.

Thanks for your patience.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 17, 2020, 03:36 AM

7. Thank you. I am interested...

but please don't make too much of a project of finding a reference. The broad outlines are what are interesting to me. A general, proper discussion of geophysical fluid dynamics would be computationally too intense.

At Pole around March 2000, I believe the measured values were around 387 ppm - I could not comment on the trend from memory (upwards no doubt). The change would be really slow, I think it was +1-2 ppm per year. Seldom do I see anyone mentioning such measurements. I saw your post and was looking to contextualize my memories. That's why I asked if you looked at the other data sets.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 17, 2020, 04:02 AM

8. Finding a reference is NEVER a "project" for me.

My general impression is that your impression about mechanism is wrong in the sense that being a vortex has little to do with the carbon dioxide concentration gradients - although I happen to know such gradients do exist - but the question itself is excellent, because it makes one think.

As it happens, I have been reflecting recently a great deal on fluid dynamics, which is an area where I feel pain over my weakness, and the mere practice of downloading a few books on the topic of macroscopic fluid dynamics actually helped me focus my thinking. In the process of downloading one of them, I came across a beautiful description of vortexes, and vortexes have important industrial application for a particular set of industrial devices known as cyclones, which I have also been thinking about.

So...thanks for the fascinating question.

So too, it's no bother. I'll try to get to talking about these carbon dioxide gradients this weekend.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 17, 2020, 04:18 AM

9. Cool. No problem. The discussion is a good thing. You have me thinking, too.

One of the reasons that I wondered about the potential isolation of the CO2 is that (to some extent) the ozone that exists in the atmosphere at Pole (and over Antarctica) is depleted due to its isolation by the vortex around Antarctica. At least, that is the reasoning that was given to me. The concentration of ozone dips in the winter and recovers in the summer. That is reflected in the NOAA data.

To be honest, it has been a while since I have thought of these things.

So, upon reflection, that is why I thought the effect might extend to CO2. If the ozone can be so isolated when the vortices are their strongest, it may also be that CO2 is similarly isolated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 19, 2020, 01:32 PM

11. Again, I'd really like to thank you for asking this question.

It was really stimulating to look into an answer to it, and I have learned a great deal. It caused me to look into certain environmental problems, particularly related to climate change and the unfortunate decisions we have made to address it, as well as the epidemiological and environmental considerations that these useless approaches entail that had not occurred to me.

It also diverted my attention from focusing on some issues in engineering that are not immediately relevant to my personal professional life to some that are. (I am working on a project that involves the flow and distribution of particles in a fluid that is involved with issues in a pharmaceutical formulation.)

I have learned so much that I would like in the future to make a full post on it, rather than discuss the details in a post in a thread.

Let me say this:

The things I've learned in looking into your question, have some interesting implications for an industry I personally detest, the wind industry, and it opened an avenue to discuss a paper of which I've long been aware, but on which I have not previously, to the best of my recollection, commented online, written by that awful fool anti-nuke Professor Mark Z. Jacobson of Stanford University, this one:

Taming hurricanes with arrays of offshore wind turbines (Mark Z. Jacobson, Cristina L. Archer & Willett Kempton, Nature Climate Change volume 4, pages 195–200 (2014))

Of course, whenever someone criticizes Dr. Jacobson on the grounds that his science is "out to lunch," one risks being subject to a lawsuit.

It turns out that some of Dr. Jacobson's less stupid writings - some of which involve fluid dynamics - have epidemiological implications, particularly in the area of a very serious health risk that garners no attention at all: Deaths from air pollution, especially it's most deadly component, particulates. I would note that at least one of these implications has bearing on the very dangerous decision to shut the Vermont Yankee Nuclear plant while seeking to replace them with wind turbines - something that in any case will not work - since Vermont is something of a particulate matter pollution hot spot because of the combustion of "renewable" biomass there by its citizens.

You asked about the diffusion equation and whether I could supply some references, so at the very least, I can do that for now, as I have been leafing through a number of texts on the fluid mechanics of the atmosphere and hydrosphere, again, geophysical fluid dynamics. While I haven't seen that many that refer specifically to the polar vortex and concentrations of carbon dioxide explicitly, many give insight to the question.

The particular equation that is relevant to the topic is not specifically linked to Fick's law of diffusion, to which I believe you referred, but a modification of it, the Diffusion-Advection Equation. This equation apparently must be solved numerically, a paper on the topic, which I have not as yet picked up, is here:

A non‐iterative implicit algorithm for the solution of advection–diffusion equation on a sphere. (Skiba, Int. J. Numer. Methods Fluids 78(5), 257–282 (2015))

This comes from a monograph by the same author, this one, which I have picked up:

Mathematical Problems of the Dynamics of Incompressible Fluid on a Rotating Sphere

Since it referrs to imcompressible fluids, it applies to liquids, not gases, but the general concepts should be the same.

A fairly mathematically rigorous discussion of fluid dynamics which involves differential topology, a subject I have not studied personally at all but which I have encouraged my son to study, albeit with no real success, is this one:

Barriers and Transport in Unsteady Flows: A Melnikov Approach This book discusses an important issue, the distinction between laminar flows (in Newtonian Fluids) and turbulent flows (in non newtonian fluids).

An epigraph in this book has this amusing quotation:

I’ve always been more comfortable sinking while clutching a good theory, than swimming with an ugly fact.
—David Mamet


For the flavor of this work, which would involve, for me, a lot of work to get around, here's a representative graphic object obtained from it:



Depending on your mathematical sophistication, you may or may not want to go there. Regrettably, I strongly suspect that I won't find the time in the short remaining period of my life to do so.

Here's another text, involving less mathematical formalism, and accessible with a generalized understanding of calculus and physics is this one:

[link:The Fluid Dynamics of Climate|The Fluid Dynamics of Climate]

My feeling is that the chapter which may be most relevant to your interest may be this one: Climate dynamics on global scale: resilience, hysteresis and attribution of change.

Here is an excerpt:

1 Introduction Common methods of climate model analysis are sensitivity experiments to determine the response to small variations of the external forcing, supposed the system is in a steady state. But such analyses would be misleading when the system has a few steady states. In fact, a small change in the forcing (for example around a CO2 threshold) could lead to a dramatic change in the steady state so that the analysis would not be able to capture the complexity of the system’s responses. Therefore, in this contribution to the fluid dynamics of climate we like to extend the traditional sensitivity studies of the climate system analyzing the problem of no return to a fixed forcing and provide a systematic evaluation of two types of forcing change, abrupt and cyclic.

The aim of this chapter1 is to present – in a comprehensive way – results and novel interpretations of climate dynamics on global scale, that is on resilience, hysteresis and attribution of change; we are focusing on the present day snowball Earth tipping point as it is obtained by changes of greenhouse gas forcing (as described by Bordi et al., 2012, 2013; Fraedrich, 2012). First, the global climate system is introduced as an energy balance model (EBM, Section 2). Here it should be noted that, when long time scales are analyzed, its chaotic nature is averaged out (Held et al., 2010) and only residuals emerge. In this case, a simple model of the surface energy budget can account for most of the responses. Secondly, two characteristic response experiments are conducted and evaluated, both of which affect the greenhouse feedback of the climate system (Section 3); that is, the responses to abrupt and to transient-cyclic changes of the greenhouse forcing. A systematic analysis of the dynamical system reveals three classes of hysteresis: static, dynamic and memory hysteresis. The loop of the latter can be interpreted as a novel phenomenon associated with a dynamic interpretation of resilience, when the system is not affected by tipping points. 1A


No matter how one models these things, it is important to note that localized carbon dioxide gradients such as those that may exist in places like the polar vortex are themselves functions of chemical, physico-chemical, and physical dynamics. For example, reflecting on the poles, the solubility of carbon dioxide is much higher in cold water than in warm water. If the arctic ice melts in the North, the water is still cold, and the increased surface area allows for much more transport from air to seawater. This would tend to decrease carbon dioxide concentrations locally. Proximity to a source may also affect gradients; carbon dioxide concentrations are probably higher near China's coast than they are in Mali's deserts. The Australian fires are almost certainly producing a gradient.

Some governing equations are distribution equations such as the Maxwell-Boltzmann equation and the related barometric distribution equation, the latter being very much involved in the location of the Mauna Loa observatory at altitude.

Any single observatory will almost certainly not produce a global representation or even approximate a global average, but any single site in our atmosphere, a fluid on a partially fluid sphere, is sufficient, I think, to represent trends.

It is the trends at Mauna Loa that I report in this space, and it is very clear to my mind that these trends clearly show, unambiguously that whatever we think we're doing isn't working to address climate change. In fact things are getting worse, not better.

Thanks again for your stimulating question. I have a tendency to go overboard on things like this, but overall, I very much enjoy looking into stuff like this. I hope you find my response useful.

Have a nice Sunday afternoon.










Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #11)

Mon Jan 20, 2020, 06:38 AM

12. Wow! I appreciate your extensive response.

It is going to take me a bit to carefully read through it.

In the interim, though, I just want to acknowledge it.

Thank you.

I will post again after I have done so.

One short note as an afterthought, though: the NOAA observatories are very remotely located, so they would indicate (I imagine) approximate global minimum values. Mauna Loa and Pole are at relatively high altitude - the atmospheric pressure at Pole varies significantly. Point Barrow and American Samoa would be fairly close to sea level, I think.

Have a nice Monday.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 23, 2020, 09:33 AM

13. Yes, the barometric distribution is probably...

...the most profound gradient.

This said, as you have motivated me to think, I wonder if that isn't just more than a blind assumption.

As noted previously, the proximity to open water and the temperature of that water, as well as its (perhaps diffusion/advection driven) pH.

I have long reflected on the fact that the major ozone depleting gases, as well as ozone itself, are all heavier than air gases. Most of them have only radiation as a sink.

This is an argument for exposing those fission products which retain the radioactivity and generate heat to the atmosphere, to reduce air pollution by destroying ground level ozone and ozone depleting agents before the migrate to the upper atmosphere where we need ozone.

The heat would maintain a constant flow through convection.

Regrettably we probably don't have enough used nuclear fuel at this point to make a huge impact but every little bit helps.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 02:45 AM

14. It has taken me a bit to take a semi-serious look over...

the links that you posted. It was only semi-serious in the sense that I am just exploring what is out there - no equations were harmed/solved during the following of your links.

On the lighter side of things, here is an amusing problem that I found buried in a larger document - you might find it interesting. Please see (sugar in coffee), "2. Advective Diffusion Equation", page 10, at https://ceprofs.civil.tamu.edu/ssocolofsky/cven489/Downloads/Book/Ch2.pdf . The other examples are short and interesting.

"The Fluid Dynamics of Climate" edited by Provenzale, Palazzi and Fraedrich does look like a good place to start. Thanks for the recommendation. Its first article "Understanding Climate Variability using Dynamical Systems Theory" by Dijkstra looks like a nice overview.

"Mathematical Problems of the Dynamics of Incompressible Fluid on a Rotating Sphere" by Skiba looks interesting, too.

Here is a pdf of a course, "Kinetic Theory" by Tong that talks about the diffusion equation as presented in Reif and more - https://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/tong/kintheory/kt.pdf.

These are all interesting. If I have time to get into this, which I will not for a while, it will be after an general overview and then into the particulars. My overview at the moment probably entails revisiting linear algebra, differential equations, math methods, statistical mechanics and then fluid mechanics. (A while is a severe underestimate....)

I looked at the other links that you noted. Tens of thousands of wind turbines seems to be quite a large project. Looking at current wind farms, 7,000 wind turbines seems to be the largest that is currently being aimed for: https://www.power-technology.com/features/feature-biggest-wind-farms-in-the-world-texas/. Offshore wind turbines would seem to be a much more significant challenge, but that is just my guess. It seems unfeasible to try to position a wind farm to mitigate a hurricane. Here is a review I found that discusses some of the paper that you mentioned: https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/taming-hurricanes-with-wind-turbines.html .

Lastly and roughly, in the spirit of Monty Python and Fick's Law, (I spell check what I post. That's the source of this. Perhaps, there should be formulated an "Adjective Diffusion Equation". The spellchecker favors it, at any rate.

{(adjectives per word of subject - adjectives per word of predicate) / (sentence length in words)}

* {(font body height in points) / (sentence length in points)} * (a unitless constant of relative inflection)

* (the number of verbs in words - the number of participles in words) )^2

* (sentence duration in seconds)^(-1) = (adjective diffusion rate in words per second)...






Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #13)

Fri Jan 24, 2020, 03:04 AM

15. I must admit...

...that I am unclear on the considerations you make regarding radiation and radioactivity. "...Exposing fission products which retain the radioactivity..." is very unclear to me.

To what sort of situation do you refer?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #15)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 08:58 AM

16. There is a wide distribution of elements in used nuclear fuel.

Here is a graphic of the yield of nuclides in the fast fission of Pu-239:



Many of these fission products are radioactive, but not all are.

Consider the element cerium. It's main stable isotope has a mass number of 140. The total yield of all elements having a mass number of 140 is 5.29%. All of the decay precursors, via beta emission, are radioactive, all of its radioactive precursors are short lived, the longest lived being barium-140, which has a half-life of 12.75 days. This means that most of the barium-140 in the reactor will decay during the reactor's operation to cerium-140, which is not radioactive. Cerium-140 is widely distributed throughout the world, most prominently in self-cleaning ovens, since it is a naturally occurring isotope.

Barium-140 is the longest lived radioactive isotope of the element in used nuclear fuel. Thus it is possible to isolate barium from used nuclear fuel after a month or two of cooling and use it in any application requiring barium with no fear of its radioactivity, since it will no longer be radioactive.

Cerium however, will be mixed with the isotope Ce-144, which has a half-life of roughly 285 days. Thus, assuming that we don't use the residual radioactivity of cerium to our advantage, which I would I argue we should, we would need to wait ten years or so before we could start putting in ovens or use it's marvelous catalytic properties.

The most interesting of all residual fission product elements is the element cesium and its 137 isotope, a fission product, which, in equilibrium with its very short lived decay product Ba-137m is a powerful emitter of gamma radiation on the order of 0.6 MeV. Cesium is readily incorporated into titanium oxide to form cesium titanates, which are insoluble and very stable. Titanium oxides are well known photocatalysts. Cs-137 has a half-life on 30.23 years

Suppose we were to expose radioactive cesium titanate to air a sea level, where the concentration of chlorofluorocarbons is the highest because of the barometric distribution. These would generate the same free radicals that UV radiation from the sun generates in the ionosphere and stratosphere. Because of the higher density of air at sea level, there would be considerably more water available to interact with these radicals, and thus the CFC's would be destroyed at a faster rate. Secondly, ozone is essential in the upper atmosphere but in the lower atmosphere it is a constituent of air pollution which is responsible for hundreds of thousands of the more than six million air pollution deaths taking place each year.

Because the Cs-137 puts out thermal heat, natural convection would make for a constant flow over its surface.

This is an argument for locating radiocesium titanate sources in severely polluted cities.

Regrettably, humanity seems to focus on the idea of burying the stuff, considering it "waste," which is just plain stupid.

I note that the utility of this system would also be useful for dealing with the increasingly disturbing accumulation of perfluoroalkanoic and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates in our water supplies.

Regrettably however, because of the inordinate rise of fear and ignorance, there isn't all that much cesium-137 available.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Reply #16)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 11:11 PM

17. Thanks for the interesting post...

I will again have to take some time to read it carefully.

I recall Cs-137. It was the source used for Compton scattering.

Have a nice weekend.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to xocet (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 26, 2020, 07:14 AM

18. There is an upper limit, because of the Bateman equilibrium, to how much Cs-137 can accumulate...

...at a given nuclear power production level.

Because of appeals to fear and ignorance, the growth of nuclear energy essentially stopped around the turn of the century, reaching only 28-29 exajoules per year, where it has remained essentially constant, although there was a slight growth, a fraction of an exajoule, in the period between 2017 and 2018. Nevertheless the number of lives that could be saved using Cs-137 in the way I suggested is relatively small.

I have done some crude calculations utilizing simplifying assumptions, of how much could accumulate in a world where nuclear energy was operating at a power level of 600 exajoules/year, which would essentially eliminate all energy mining for centuries, but it would take many centuries to approach equilibrium, which is only approached asymptotically in any case. There is a point wherein the accumulation of new Cs-137 would be increasing at the order of grams per year.

The Bateman equilibrium is a function of the fact that the amount of nuclear decays, dN, in a time element, dt, is proportional to the amount of material in it. Integrating this expression, dN = Ndt of course, gives the straight up old fashion radioactive decay law.

The full Bateman equation accounts for a number of more subtle issues, such as transmutation, and decay during formation, etc.

For many years it was solved numerically, and it is the driving force behind many of the modeling equations in nuclear engineering, going back to the original versions of ORIGEN. (The early nuclear engineers solved it using slide rules; Fermi probably did it in his head.)

There is a report of an exact solution, although I'm not sure it is widely utilized. It may be; I don't know; I'm not a nuclear professional:

General solution of Bateman equations for nuclear transmutations (Cetnar, Annals of Nuclear Energy 33 (2006) 640–645). I see that the paper has been widely cited, at least for a nuclear paper.

There are many slideshows on the internet from nuclear engineering classes around the world discussing this equation at various levels of sophistication.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to NNadir (Original post)

Sat Jan 18, 2020, 02:47 AM

10. Hi NNadir

Although I don't personally believe we will do this but the "If only" side of me says if we learn to live with 1/10 the energy and then 5X the renewal effort we would be there. I believe that movements can happen to make sweeping change but the "be realistic" side of me says we are toast and past the point of no return. And your right its those after us that pays the biggest price.
-Airplane

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread