What About Peak Coal?

November 22, 2010 2 Comments

Over the weekend, I was a bit conflicted. I had forecast the correct conditions (at least 5 days in advance), but the conditions were not all that great for the opening weekend of the hunting season. It was a bit cold on Saturday (as forecast), and we had some freezing drizzle and rain on Sunday (as forecast) which caused a little less hunting activity. A lot of hunters I know got a little damp and cashed it in early to go watch the Packer game. The hunting group I was with ended up harvesting 3 deer – which is about what we hope for during the opening weekend. What did you think about the weekend weather? 1. Wasn’t very nice. 2. Not so bad because I was prepared (thanks to StormTrak9 – wink).

Now it looks like some messy weather will follow us into the work week. Much of the area will experience rain and drizzle today but temps will be cold enough to the north and west for some sleet and freezing rain to mix in with the precipitation. A FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY is in effect for Taylor county through 6pm today and a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY is in effect for Price, Iron, and Ashland counties through this evening. Not too much snow is expected, perhaps an inch or two in the WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY area. What could be of more importance is another storm that could bring a wintry mix of precipitation late Wednesday into Thursday morning. If you are traveling during this time frame be sure to allow some extra time as the roads could get a bit slippery. As far as flying goes, the airport most likely to experience delays on Wednesday and Thursday will be Minneapolis. After the messy precipitation is over on Thanksgiving morning, it looks like gusty cold winds will move in and make it feel more like winter in the afternoon. Black Friday will also be quite cold with high temperatures only hitting the low 20s. The good news is that the weather should be dry from Thursday afternoon all the way through Sunday of the upcoming weekend. Therefore, traveling home from long weekend family get-togethers should be much better than traveling to “Grandma’s Place”.

In other news, I often follow the interrelated stories of advancing technology, AGW, and Peak Oil because all three will have a major impact on how we percieve and act in the present day and how we will evolve into the future. It is unfortunate that most discussion of these three topics are done in isolation, because this can lead to illogical predictions. One might ask how we can destroy the planet with carbon emmissions while at the same time oil is running out. One might ask how AGW will destroy the planet when the technology of clean energy continues to advance rapidly. One of these questions popped into my head again today while reading this article about Peak Coal. Not only is there concern over Peak Oil and Peak Phosphorus, but Peak Coal as well. One thing about the article, at least I see people starting to acknowledge that if we have Peak (name your fossil fuel) in the next decade or two, this will have an affect on climate forecasts. In the past it was assumed (in climate models) that we would have “business as usual” fossil fuel usage through the end of this century. Increasingly, this does not look to be the case, and I hope the climate modellers at the IPCC will incorporate at least some more realistic scenarios in the future.

Have a good Monday! Meteorologist Justin Loew.

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  1. Dave Kimble says:

    Is fossil fuel production peaking going to change the extent of global warming ? Yes, according to a number of scientific sources, particularly “Validity of the fossil fuel production outlooks in the IPCC Emission Scenarios”, Mikael Höök, Anders Sivertsson, and Kjell Aleklett (2010), Natural Resources Research 19: 63-81.


    Anthropogenic global warming caused by CO2 emissions is strongly and fundamentally linked to future energy production. The Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) from 2000 contains 40 scenarios for future fossil fuel production and is used by the IPCC to assess future climate change. Previous scenarios were withdrawn after exaggerating one or several trends. This study investigates underlying assumptions on resource availability and future production expectations to determine whether exaggerations can be found in the present set of emission scenarios as well. It is found that the SRES unnecessarily takes an overoptimistic stance and that future production expectations are leaning toward spectacular increases from present output levels. In summary, we can only encourage the IPCC to involve more resource experts and natural science in future emission scenarios. The current set, SRES, is biased toward exaggerated resource availability and unrealistic expectations on future production outputs from fossil fuels.

  2. jloew says:

    Thanks for the paper reference Dave. I talk a little more about it in today’s blog entry.

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