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Bruce Peachey, P.Eng., MCIC President, New Paradigm Engineering Ltd. U of A - Chem Eng Student Night March 23, 2004. Water Balances and Climate Change. Areas to Cover. Chemical Engineers and Climate Change Global Water Balance North American Water Use and Impacts

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Bruce Peachey, P.Eng., MCICPresident, New Paradigm Engineering Ltd.U of A - Chem Eng Student NightMarch 23, 2004

Water Balances and Climate Change

Areas to cover
Areas to Cover

  • Chemical Engineers and Climate Change

  • Global Water Balance

  • North American Water Use and Impacts

  • Evidence for Regional Water Impacts

  • Evidence for Local Water Impacts

  • Our Role for the Future

Chemical engineers climate change
Chemical Engineers & Climate Change

  • Edmonton Section meetings on Climate Change

    • Jan, 1998 - Kyoto impacts discussed

    • May, 2000 - Proposed 7 potential sources of climate change

    • Feb, 2002 - New IPCC data review supported Human Enhanced Water Evaporation (HEWE) as the most likely

  • 2002 Discussion Paper Circulated

  • Dec, 2003 Presentation to CMOS

Water balances and climate change
Water Balances and Climate Change

  • Familiar to chemical engineers

  • Climate changes mainly water and energy

    • Air can’t carry much energy without water

  • Proposed that Human Enhanced Water Evaporation (HEWE) rather than GHG Warming is the main cause of Climate Change

  • Water Balances can potentially be used to prove which theory is correct

Global water cycle km 3 x 10 3 yr tt yr
Global Water Cycle (km3 x 103/yr = Tt/yr)

Source: Global Warming – The Complete Briefing – John Houghton









Latest data indicates
Latest Data Indicates

  • Globally atmospheric GHGs are up

  • Globally average temperatures are higher

    • Northern Hemisphere higher especially last 10 years

    • Night-time lows increasing more than day-time highs

    • More over land than over oceans.

    • Cooling in some areas of southern hemisphere and Antarctica

  • Growing Season – Increase by 1 to 4 days per decade in northern hemisphere

Latest data indicates1
Latest Data Indicates

  • Precipitation increases (5-10%) over most land areas in mid to high latitudes of Northern Hemisphere

    • No observed increase in southern hemisphere

    • Correlated to increases in clouds and extreme weather.

  • Heavy precipitation events increased in northern latitudes

    • Likely a 2 to 4% increase in the frequency of heavy precipitation events in last 50 years in Northern Hemisphere

Latest data indicates2
Latest Data Indicates

  • Atmospheric Water Vapour Increased in Northern Hemisphere by several percent per decade

  • Cloud cover in Northern Hemisphere increased by 2%

    • Positively correlated with decrease in diurnal temperature range (night-time warming)

Latest data indicates3
Latest Data Indicates

  • Sea-Ice in Northern Hemisphere decreasing

    • No trends in Antarctic sea ice apparent.

  • Non-polar glaciers – Widespread retreat except in coastal areas.

  • El Nino Events – More frequent, persistent and intense over the last 30 years

The big question
The Big Question?

  • Where did all the extra water come from???????

    • GHG Warming of Oceans?

    • HEWE on Land?

    • Somewhere else???

Water balance just ghg warming
Water Balance just GHG Warming?

+42 - 38











Oceans should be

affected the most


Closing the balance with hewe
Closing the Balance with HEWE










Land should be

affected the most


World Precipitation Trend = +2% avg since 1900;

= +2000 Gt/yr avg over 100 years

Source: IPCC Scientific Report

Annual global water withdrawals
Annual Global Water Withdrawals

Source: Scientific American – February 2001 – Peter H. Gleick

=+2% Increase avg precip

over the last 100 years

Original Chart showed cubic miles x 4.6 to get cubic kilometers

Northern Hemisphere Mid-Latitude Water Vapour Concentrations1981-1994 Oltmans and Hoffman, Nature, 375 (1995)

How does hewe theory fit the facts
How Does HEWE Theory Fit the Facts?

  • Source is anthropogenic and increasing

  • Should cause increased warming in cold areas.

  • Should cause increased rainfall and severity of storms  Unusual patterns

  • Increases night time low temperatures due to day/night cycling as dew point is raised










World Water Withdrawals = 3414 Gt/yr + 25% evap. from dams

Source: World Resources Institute 2003

Feeding antarctic ice loss antarctic peninsula sciam dec 02
Feeding Antarctic Ice Loss?Antarctic Peninsula - Sciam Dec’02

“The only part of Antarctica certain to have been affected by global warming”

Irrigation In SA

  • Feeding energy and water onto the peninsula?

  • Only 1000km and carried by prevailing winds and ocean currents

No Effect - Stable for 15 million years

Ice sheet has disappeared at least once in 600,00 yrs

North american water use
North American Water Use

  • Mainly Used for Power Generation in the U.S. and Canada; followed by Irrigation

  • Patterns of water use vary by region

  • Amount of Natural Renewable Water Resource Withdrawals

    • Canada - 1.4%

    • United States - 25.6%

    • Mexico - 18.1%

    • (NB Not including water reservoir evaporation)

U s water use 1995 total 556 gt yr 12 of world use
U.S. Water Use - 1995Total = 556 Gt/yr = 12% of World Use

Regional indicators of water impacts
Regional Indicators of Water Impacts

  • Weekend rainfall (Cerveny and Balling 1998)

    • Rainfall 22% higher on Saturdays on East Coast

    • Lowest on Sunday to Tuesday

  • Workweek temperature effects (Forster and Solomon 2003)

    • Diurnal Temperature Ranges weekly variations

  • Three days after 9/11 - Lower night time temperatures

    • Attributed to radiative impacts of airplane contrails

    • However, other things were also not happening

The heat pipe effect
The Heat Pipe Effect

Day/Night Cycles

Water gives

Up Heat and Falls

In Cold Areas

Water Transport

Water added in Hot Dry Areas

Workweek effects forster and solomon sciam september 16 2003
Workweek Effects - Forster and SolomonSciam September 16, 2003

Red - Night-time temperatures lower on weekdays

Blue - Night-time temperatures lower on weekends

Air can travel

1000’s km/day.

Water molecule

on average spends

10 days in the air

Work Week Water Pulse?

Time delay in the heat pipe?

Canadian water use 1996 total 44 72 gt yr 1 4 of supply
Canadian Water Use - 1996Total = 44.72 Gt/yr = 1.4% of Supply

NB Hydroelectric supplies 62% of energy demand

Water withdrawals by province gt yr











Water Withdrawals by Province (Gt/yr)

NB Does not include evaporation

from hydroelectric reservoirs

Feeding energy to melt the glaciers warm dry out the prairies




Feeding Energy to Melt the Glaciers & Warm/Dry Out the Prairies?

N.B. 44% of Alberta’s and 30% of B.C.’s water use on an annual basis is for

Irrigation - But all of it is emitted in the summer months! 5 Gt/yr

Alberta Water Balance? tonnes of snow or ice


= 337 Gt/yr


= 261 Gt/yr

  • Alta Water Use:

  • 9.4 Gt/yr + res evap

  • 16+% of Avail

  • 80% of Avail in North

  • <20% of use is in North

  • Alta uses 50% of water

  • In S. Saskatchewan River

Net Surface

Runoff Added

= 61 Gt/yr

River Flows In

= 70 Gt/yr

River Flows Out

= 131 Gt/yr

Source: Alta Env David Trew

March 22, 2004

*Groundwater Recharge????

= 15 Gt/yr

Local effects lightning bright sky dirty city sciam may 2001
Local Effects? - Lightning “Bright Sky, Dirty City?” Sciam May 2001

  • Increased lightning in areas centered on large refining complexes.

  • Attributed to pollution seeding cloud formation

  • But…Largest emission from refineries is water vapour

This is definitely water
This is definitely water! Sciam May 2001

Do nuclear plants cause lightning as well?

The balance of evidence says
The Balance of Evidence - Says... Sciam May 2001

  • Human Enhanced Water Evaporation (HEWE) SHOULD BE THE major factor in Climate Change Equation

  • GHG impacts may still be a concern and are an indicator of energy waste so should still be reduced by reducing energy use

  • Finding the right solutions means addressing the right problem.

Hewe implications
HEWE – Implications Sciam May 2001

  • Agriculture Industry

    • Improvements needed in irrigation practices

    • Select crops that suit the local climate

  • Electrical Power Industry

    • Reduce power use; S/D nuclear (206 vs. 140 l/kw-hr)

    • Increase efficiency from 40% to 80% with cogen

    • Reduce Water Use

  • Some responses to GHG make HEWE worse

    • Dams, water transfers south, biomass energy, nuclear power

Does it matter which theory is right
Does It Matter Which Theory is Right? Sciam May 2001

  • Likely no theory is entirely right.

  • Best strategy is to find “Robust Solutions” which:

    • Minimize Water added to atmosphere

    • Reduce Energy Waste  Fossil Fuel Consumption  Reduce GHG emissions

    • Create Wealth (improve standard of living - current and future)

New paradigms not really
New Paradigms? Not Really Sciam May 2001

  • Sustainable Development is based on:

  • Reduce

    • Waste of energy, water and other resources on trivial wants so they are there when future generations need them.

  • Reuse – Resources more than once

  • Recycle – If you can’t do the first two.

  • Replace – Feel good placebo in last place. Wasting “Renewable” Power is still a waste of resources

    • Is it really green?

The challenge for cheme s
The Challenge for ChemE’s Sciam May 2001

  • Lobby to get someone studying Human Enhanced Water Evaporation impacts on climate and local weather (CMOS?)

  • Encourage discussing HEWE in public forums or with governments

  • Ensure the right actions are taken rather than the politically correct or expedient ones

  • "Difference of opinion leads to inquiry, and inquiry leads to truth" - Thomas Jefferson

Contact information
Contact Information Sciam May 2001

New Paradigm Engineering Ltd.

10444 - 20 Avenue

Edmonton, Alberta

Canada T6J 5A2

tel: 780.448-9195

email: [email protected]