GSM NEWS –
At time of broadcast:
A powerful Pacific storm hit southern California on February 2 and 3, 2019, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. During the peak of the storm, coastal and valley areas received up to 25 mm (1 inch) of rain per hour. Key highways were shut down as mud and water rushed down from wildfire burn areas. 6 people died during the storm and at least 9 others were injured.
The system brought more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rain at lower elevations and several feet of snow and road-closing whiteout conditions in the mountains. The strongest wind gust was measured in Santa Barbara County – 128 km/h (80 mph), downing trees and power lines across the region. Over 33 000 customers were left without power.
California rains are weakening but Monday could bring flooding, debris flows @USATODAY
Southern Californians can expect rain through Tuesday, but the National Weather Service said showers will be much weaker than Saturday’s storm that triggered mudslides, road closures and power outages.
A steady but light-to-moderate rain will move across the area through Tuesday, said meteorologist Keily Delerne with the Los Angeles forecast office.
Rain rates will stay below half an inch per hour, the office forecast, so shallower minor debris flows may be possible in the Woolsey and Hill fire burn areas. The high ground saturation from the heavy rains the past couple days, Delerne said, poses more risk than the intensity.
Deadly highway collapse after heavy rain hits La Paz, Bolivia
A part of a highway northwest of capital La Paz, Bolivia collapsed on February 2, 2019, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 20. The incident happened around 07:50 local time near a spot known as El Choro in Puente Armas after several days of heavy rain.
According to a statement released by Bolivia’s Defence Ministry, the event occurred Saturday morning when a large block of earth collapsed under the highway affecting several vehicles. Public Works chief Oscar Coca said the bodies were found in two cars that were swept some 200 m (650 feet) down a canyon.
Major flooding in Queensland: Townsville dam spillway gates fully open as extreme rainfall continues, Australia
A vigorous, slow-moving monsoon trough over northern Queensland, Australia is extending from Townsville to Gregory Springs into a deep, semi-stationary tropical low, located about 200 km (124 miles) north of Mount Isa. It will remain active this week, with further heavy and intense rainfall expected for already saturated catchments. Exceptional and record-breaking rainfall has already flooded the region and the potential for significant and dangerous flash flooding will continue for areas between Ingham and Bowen, possibly extending as far south as Mackay from Monday, February 4, 2019.
The region has already received extreme amounts of rain over the past 9 to 10 days, dropping as much as 500 mm (19.6 inches) in 24 hours on January 26 on parts of Douglas Shire. In some places, 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain fell in just 6 hours. In 48 hours to January 27, the area received more than 620 mm (24.4 inches).
Snow closes schools, cuts power, snarls traffic around Puget Sound
Winter Storm Lucian to Spread Snow and Ice From the West to Midwest and Interior Northeast Full Story: @weather.com
At a Glance
- Winter Storm Lucian is entering the West Coast.
- Snow has already fallen at very low elevations in the Pacific Northwest, including in Seattle.
- Feet of snow and blizzard conditions are possible in the Sierra Nevada.
- Snow and ice will also affect parts of the northern Plains, Midwest and interior Northeast.
University of Alabama scientists: ‘No evidence’ climate change causes extreme cold
Full Story @ Washington Times
Numerous media outlets cited last week’s polar vortex as an example of extreme weather caused by climate change, but it turns out such cold snaps are actually on the decline.
Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, posted a graphic of November-March cold waves in the East and Midwest dating back to 1895 that flies in the face of the “global warming causes extreme cold” argument.
The theory has it that the decline of Arctic sea ice, which has dropped by about 15 percent over the last 40 years, has disrupted the polar vortex, causing it to move southward, but the data assembled by Mr. Spencer and UAH professor of atmospheric science John Christy showed otherwise.
“As can be seen in the plot below, there is no evidence in the data supporting the claim that decreasing Arctic sea ice in recent decades is causing more frequent displacement of cold winter air masses into the eastern U.S., at least through the winter of 2017-18,” Mr. Spencer said Thursday on his Global Warming blog.
Scientist who rejects warming named to advisory board
The Earth will benefit from burning more fossil fuels and regulations on greenhouse gases must be challenged, one of EPA’s newest science advisers said yesterday.
John Christy, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Alabama, Hunstville, was one of the first to push the federal government to conduct a “red team, blue team” debate on climate science. That was a decade ago. Now he wants to use his new perch on the agency’s Science Advisory Board to challenge climate science consensus.
“There’s a benefit, not a cost, to producing energy from carbon,” Christy said in an interview yesterday, after EPA announced his membership on the board.
Christy, who is a frequent critic of EPA regulations, said he will use his position on the 45-member board to question the results of climate models. He’s a frequent speaker at conservative think tanks that promote the notion that worldwide temperature increases are largely unrelated to human activity.
So how did Christy get a seat on the board?
EPA officials asked him to apply, he said.
“In a fair, open, and transparent fashion, EPA reviewed hundreds of qualified applicants nominated for this committee,” acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement. “Members who will be appointed or reappointed include experts from a wide variety of scientific disciplines who reflect the geographic diversity needed to represent all ten EPA regions.”
When asked what his first priority would be as a member of the SAB, Christy said he would try to convince his colleagues that nature is responsible for rising temperatures, not people.
“I think it would be to demonstrate to the board what we know about climate and its variability and what’s really going on,” Christy said. “And secondly is our inability to characterize it well with our models.”
The Trump administration has been stacking EPA’s science advisory boards with researchers and consultants whose work is often funded or promoted by industry. It has reached out to critics of climate science and air pollution regulations to serve on the boards.
Most climate scientists would say that Christy is wrong when he asserts that climate models overestimate warming. The models match up well with real-world observations, said Gavin Schmidt, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Christy and other critics have focused on a particular version of climate satellite data when arguing that planetary warming is less severe than scientists have stated, Schmidt said. An examination of surface temperature data, ocean heat content, sea ice trends, sea levels and more shows that the Earth is warming at a rapid pace and setting historical records, he said.
In earlier research, Christy and a colleague claimed that the Earth was cooling. That’s been proved false. In fact, the past four years have been the warmest on record.
Christy said he wants EPA to revoke regulations related to greenhouse gases. He described the endangerment finding, which is the scientific underpinning for the agency’s climate rules, as being scientifically flawed.
“I think the endangerment finding is one that doesn’t stand on the best science that we have out there, mainly because the best science is expressing tremendous uncertainties we have on this issue,” Christy said. “The overconfidence we have on the climate issue in the climate community is incredibly large, and we need to pull back on that.”
Challenging the endangerment finding would require a mountain of alternative climate science. The Trump administration has so far shown no desire to take that on, even as prominent opponents to climate regulations have pushed for a court battle.
That’s because the endangerment finding is bulletproof, Schmidt said.
“If they want to waste their time going after the endangerment finding, they’re just wasting their time, and better that they waste their time than they do something actually destructive,” he said.
A brutal example of why 100% renewables can’t work
The brutal cold wave that just struck America provides a stark example of why 100% renewables cannot possibly work. Once the massive high pressure system was in place there was almost no wind, so no significant wind power. And the coldest temperatures by far were at night or early morning, when there was no solar power either.
For example, take the Mid Atlantic region overseen by the PJM regional transmission organization. PJM coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. They also monitor system reliability.
At 8 am on January 31, PJM was in the deep freeze. Total electric power usage was reported to be roughly a whopping 140,000 MW. Of that wind provided just over 1,000 MW (next to nothing) and solar provided nothing at all. There was basically no wind power and no solar. Nor would there have been no matter how much wind and solar generating capacity was built, because the wind was not blowing and the sun was not yet shining. Freezing to death in the dark comes to mind. Fortunately reliable coal, gas and nuclear did the trick.
It is obvious that under these sorts of severe conditions, which are by no means rare, renewables are useless. Protracted high pressure cold or hot waves occur every few years almost everywhere in America.
The 100% renewables people (including Green New Dealers) claim to have two solutions to this deep intermittency problem, but both solutions are fantasies.
The first is what I call the super grid. Here the idea is that the wind must be blowing someplace, so all we have to do is generate the power there and wire it in. The killer problem is that these high pressure systems are truly monstrous. In the present case PJM might have been able to get some wind power out of the Rockies, but over half of the country is in between and it would have been in line for juice too. (Plus there is no solar anywhere at night.)
But the western states are also subject to monster hot and cold high pressure systems that cause peak need for electricity. So to make the super grid work we would need enough wind generating capacity to supply the entire country replicated several times, perhaps in each of the four corners of the lower 48. We would also need a transmission system that got the power from each corner to the entire country. This is the super grid.
I doubt that this much reliable wind potential is even there, but it does not matter, because the cost of this monstrosity would be fantastic. Powering New York from Denver, and then Denver from New York, and so on for all possible cross country combinations, is absurd.
The second fantasy solution to deep intermittency is called storage, which mostly means batteries. Here the cost is if anything greater than the super grid, plus we are dealing with huge quantities of toxic chemicals.
We are in fact installing utility scale battery arrays with some major solar generating systems, so this may be fooling people into thinking that batteries can overcome intermittency. But these battery systems are for dealing with short term fluctuations, for grid stabilization. Despite costing hundreds of millions of dollars, they store less than an hour’s generator output and 200 MW is a big system.
Having enough batteries to serve just PJM with wind and solar would probably cost several trillion dollars, if it could be made to work. Once again the cost for making America 100% renewable powered would be astronomical.
If these fantastical so-called solutions to deep intermittency were paid for by electricity users then only the rich could afford the juice. Doing it with carbon taxes would be even more regressive. Then too, these monster solutions are probably infeasible from an engineering point of view as well, not to mention unbuildable.
None of this impossibility bothers the politicians, including the Green New Dealers. The people, or at least the Democrats among them, have been sold a pack of green fantasies, which they now want delivered. Stay tuned.