Global Temperatures so far (March 2021)

HadSST3 has finally been updated for February and March so I can calculate global temperatures based on spherical triangulation.

So far 2021 is running much cooler that 2020. The temperatures for the first 3 months of the year are:

Jan 0.65C (down 0.01C from Dec 2020 and 0.31 from Nov 2020)
Feb 0.52C (further drop of 0.16C)
Mar 0.65C (rise of 0.13C)

Monthly Global temperatures

Based on the first 3 months there has also been a large drop in the “annual” temperature of ~0.3C compared to 2020,  back to levels seen 15 years ago (2005).

Annual global temperatures 2021 is based on just the first 3 months.

Here is a spatial distributions for March.

Much of the Southern Hemisphere temperatures are actually even lower than the 1961-1990 average temperature.

I may convert to  HadSST4 once HadCRUT5 becomes operational. However this update yet again increases warming trends (surprised?)

Posted in AGW, Hadley, UK Met Office | 1 Comment

Imperial’s Pessimistic Model

Boris has clearly been spooked by a new gloomy modelling study by the Imperial Group which puts his road map to normality in jeopardy. How is this possible when the UK’s case rate is falling and ~ 50% of the population are vaccinated ?

Well you can trace everything back to one crucial  parameter Imperial are using in their model.

We assume the vaccines prevents to a certain extent, an infected person who is vaccinated from transmitting the virus (optimistic, although only assumed in 1 sensitivity analysis). 30% after 2 jabs and 0% after 1 dose.

So according to Imperial, vaccination only has a minor effect on transmissibility. You can still get infected even if you have been vaccinated and then infect other people without ever noticing. If this were actually true then the pandemic would never end and we would remain in permanent semi-lockdown. If instead vaccinated people can’t catch covid and don’t transmit infection to others then the pandemic will soon be over, once 75% of the population are vaccinated. That is because they assume the Kent variant is now dominant with an R0 = 4. So once  3 out of 4 people are immune R falls below 1 permanently without any social distancing restrictions. This is Herd Immunity !

So where does their low value of 30% reduction in transmission come from? It is all based on this study of  care home workers and their family members:

Effect of vaccination on transmission of COVID-19: an observational study in healthcare workers and their households

The samples from that study were as follows :

194,362 Household members : 3,123 COVID cases
144,525 Healthcare workers : 4,343 COVID cases

The healthcare workers fell into two groups A) those vaccinated = 113,253  and B) those unvaccinated = 31,272

The study found: Household members of vaccinated healthcare workers had a lower risk of COVID-19 case compared to household members of unvaccinated healthcare worker (rate per 100 person-years 9·40 versus 5·93; HR 0·70, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0·63 to 0·78).   I make that a 37% reduction in infections in households with a vaccinated healthcare worker.  Imperial use this result as direct input to their model i.e. assuming that vaccination reduces transmission by just 30% but only after the 2nd dose, and 0% after the first dose of the vaccine ! There are 12 weeks between the 1st and second doses in the UK so this makes a huge difference on Reff.

The basic assumption Imperial makes is that health care workers alone can bring Covid home and then infect others within their household. Yet this is obvious nonsense because their partners and other household members also have jobs, go shopping, and attend school etc. Perhaps some of them even work as care home staff. Imperial ignores the fact that they can catch COVID from hundreds of other people outside the household. In early February 1 in 60 people had COVID in the community and infection rates were high everywhere. So in that context a 30% net reduction in household infection really is an impressively large effect.

We can also check this. The paper was published on March 21 so the data must have been collected over a period ending a couple of weeks earlier. ONS data shows that infection rates fell from  1 in 50 to about 1 in 200 by the end of February so a fair average over January to February would be ~1.0 %.

Therefore you would expect up to 2000 cases from community infection alone in Household members. So a 30% total reduction now translates into a  78% reduction in direct  healthcare worker transmission.

If you remove this baseline of community infections then the correct figure should be more like a 60% reduction in transmission by healthcare workers after the first dose and an 80%  reduction after the second dose. If they use these figures then their gloomy predictions disappear !

 

Posted in Covid-19 | 2 Comments

Net Zero by 2050

The 2008 Climate Change Act introduced by Ed Milliband committed the UK in law to cut CO2 emissions by 80% in 2050. This target was already difficult to achieve, but since then Theresa May went one better in the weeks before she left office, by enshrining  in law a commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Neither she nor Ed Milliband had really any idea just how to achieve such lofty moral goals, but in 2050 they would both be long retired, and their short term political legacy clearly benefited them. The  Climate Change Committee (CCC) with Lord Debben as long term chairman now smugly define our  allowed 5-yearly “carbon budgets”.

The UK acting alone makes no sense unless the rest of the world follows our example, and that is very unlikely to happen while the developing world strive to improve their living standards and population increases. So how feasible is it for the UK to reach net zero emissions and what are the implications?  A group of academics have been looking into exactly that question. How do you stop emitting any CO2?

Firstly everything has to be electrified – heating, transport, trade, food. Secondly we  have to somehow rely mainly on Renewable energy (an  expansion of Nuclear Power is not considered). This means drastically reducing our net per capita energy consumption and adapting  to living instead with variable seasonal power sources.  Thirdly we also have to decarbonise agriculture, industry and international trade. This means new steel production in blast furnaces is out, and only recycling scrap steel is allowed. Cement production is out because it generates large amounts of CO2. Aviation is out since  electrifying planes is not feasible any time soon. Likewise shipping, fishing and international trade is out because they depend on burning oil

“Key Message: In addition to reducing our energy demand, delivering zero emissions with today’s technologies requires the phasing out of flying, shipping, lamb and beef, blast-furnace steel and cement.”

The problem is that  shipping is currently crucial to our well-being – we import 50% of our food, and we don’t know how to build new buildings or install renewables without cement. Here is their roadmap

Click to expand

I am sure that if the UK public were made aware of all what is planned for their future there would be a public uproar.

  • No Flying after 2030 (except VIPs of course)
  • No gas central heating within ~12 years.  Heat pumps only allowed and colder houses.
  • Only electric cars post 2030 and a 40% reduction in traffic.
  • Vegetarian only diet and no imported food.
  • Shutdown of international trade and reduction in living standards
  • International travel curbed except by train.

Perhaps COVID lockdowns are simply preparing us for something far worse – what the Climate Scientists and Greenpeace all have in store for us to save the “climate”.

Boris says we must be led by the science, but such  stupidity could well lead us all down an infinite rabbit hole!

Posted in Uncategorized | 18 Comments