The 5-3-1 Analysis Frame

If you’ve read much of this weblog, it should be clear that the traditional way of looking at energy consumption hasn’t been extremely useful.

It doesn’t break out simply, such as OECD vs. non-OECD nations. There are huge differences within those groupings that have led those who do meta-analysis into some strange territory.

So I’m going to offer something different. Let’s imagine a new way of looking at the world–hopefully a way that better corresponds to reality.

I intend to group nations into buckets based on estimated future growth of energy consumption. For the moment, I will label those buckets 5%, 3% and 1%, although I may refine them later.

The 1% bucket will consist of those European  nations that are reclining, if not declining, in population and other criteria that drive consumption. They will be joined by some countries, mostly in Africa, that would otherwise be called Failure to Launch. This may be the African Century yet, but this subset of countries haven’t heard the news.

The second group is important, mostly because it includes the U.S., the largest economy and second-largest energy consumer in the world. It will be joined by a number of countries that might be called the Balanced Set–those that will grow, but moderately. They will be the 3% club.

And then there will be the 5% group of hard chargers–the Chinas, Indias and Indonesias of the world, in a hurry to develop and fight their way to the top.

I’m hoping that analyzing future energy consumption will be not only easier this way–I’m hoping that it will have a very natural flow to it, as if we’re swimming with the current when we look at the numbers, as opposed to fighting upstream to make sense of it all.

I hope you stick around for the ride.

2 responses to “The 5-3-1 Analysis Frame

  1. Tom,
    I look forward to learning more about your take on this. You are always creative and always post with integrity.

  2. Why is there so much talk about energy budgets? Consider the following …

    Climatologists love to talk about energy being trapped by carbon dioxide and thus not exiting at the top of the atmosphere (TOA.)

    It is nowhere near as simple as that. All the radiation gets to space sooner or later. Carbon dioxide just scatters it on its way so you don’t see radiation in those bandwidths at TOA. The energy still gets out, and you have no proof that it doesn’t, because you don’t have the necessary simultaneous measurements made all over the world.

    In the hemisphere that is cooling at night there is far more getting out, whereas in the hemisphere in the sunlight there is far more coming in. This is obvious.

    When I placed a wide necked vacuum flask filled with water in the sun yesterday (with the lid off) the temperature of the water rose from 19.5 deg.C at 5:08am to 29.1 deg.C at 1:53pm while the air around it rose from 19.0 to 31.9 deg.C.

    What did the backradiation do at night? Well from 9:15pm till 12:05am the water cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 23.4 deg.C while the air cooled from 24.2 deg.C to 22.7 deg.C.

    According to those energy diagrams the backradiation, even at night, is about half the solar radiation during the day. Well, maybe it is, but it does not have anything like half the effect on the temperature as you can confirm in your own backyard.

    This is because, when radiation from a cooler atmosphere strikes a warmer surface it undergoes “resonant scattering” (sometimes called pseudo-scattering) and this means its energy is not converted to thermal energy. This is the reason that heat does not transfer from cold to hot. If it did the universe would go crazy.

    When opposing radiation is scattered, its own energy replaces energy which the warmer body would have radiated from its own thermal energy supply.

    You can imagine it as if you are just about to pay for fuel at a gas station when a friend travelling with you offers you cash for the right amount. It’s quicker and easier for you to just pay with the cash, rather than going through the longer process of using a credit card to pay from your own account. So it is with radiation. The warmer body cools more slowly as a result because a ready source of energy from incident radiation is quicker to just “reflect” back into the atmosphere, rather than have to convert its own thermal energy to radiated energy.

    The ramifications are this:

    Not all radiation from the atmosphere is the same. That from cooler regions has less effect. Also, that with fewer frequencies under its Planck curve has less effect again.

    Each carbon dioxide molecule thus has far less effect than each water vapour molecule because the latter can radiate with more frequencies which “oppose” the frequencies being emitted by the surface, especially the oceans.

    Furthermore, it is only the radiative cooling process of the surface which is slowed down. There are other processes like evaporative cooling and diffusion followed by convection which cannot be affected by backradiation, and which will tend to compensate for any slowing of the radiation.

    This is why, at night, the water in the flask cools nearly as fast as the air around it. The net effect on the rate of cooling is totally negligible.

    The backradiation does not affect temperatures anywhere near as much as solar radiation, even though its “W/m^2” is probably about half as much.

    And there are other reasons also why it all balances out and climate follows natural cycles without any anthropogenic effect. This is explained in detail in my peer-reviewed publication now being further reviewed by dozens of scientists.

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