Tuesday, August 02, 2011

British weathermen discover that they were wrong about big storms and basic theory for the last 90 years

"This research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us". So could they be wrong about global warming too? OF COURSE NOT! That's not falsifiable

Researchers found that our basic understanding of "low pressure systems" has been flawed for more than 90 years. Scientists from the University of Manchester contradicted traditional understanding of how low pressure systems evolve.

The Norwegian model in use since the 1920s is that when a storm occludes, it will automatically weaken.

Writing in the journal Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, they found that the Great Storm of October 1987 and the Burns’ Day storm of January 1990 did not fit the model.

Dr David Schultz, from the university’s School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, who led the study, said that while both were occluded (evolving), but still deadly. He said scientists know that the deepening of a low pressure system is not dependent on when a cyclone occludes.

Dr Schultz said: “The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. "What we teach students in school needs to be changed. And forecasters need to be retrained to have this latest information.

“I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms. Yet, this research shows how much more remains for us to learn about the weather around us." He added: "With this new interpretation of the occlusion process we can explain why not all low pressure systems occlude – the winds are not strong enough to wrap up the storm.

“The Norwegian model of low pressure systems served us well for many years, but it’s time to move on. "This new model is better than the Norwegian model at explaining the available observations of the structure and evolution of occluded low pressure systems."

Dr Schultz added: “I hope that this model will help people understand the particular weather conditions associated with these potentially hazardous storms."


NAACP and EPA Inflict Heat Prostration and Death

From New York, Washington and Atlanta to Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas, America is baking in a furnace. As millions swelter and gasp, they thank their lucky stars for air-conditioned cars, homes, offices and other places of refuge. And for the reliable, affordable electricity that makes AC possible.

Previous generations weren’t so fortunate. When a record heat wave slammed the nation in July 1936, Midwest temperatures hit 100-107 for a week. With most homes and businesses lacking even fans in this pre-AC era, millions suffered heat prostration. In Wisconsin, 449 died. Nationwide, thousands perished.

Now the EPA and NAACP want to send America back to the “good old days.” Under a perverse notion of “environmental justice,” they are promoting tough new air quality rules that would shut down dozens of coal-fired power plants that make affordable AC possible for millions of poor and minority families.

According to them, coal-based electricity is “racist.” Minorities are more at risk because they often live near “dangerous,” older, more polluting power plants.

There is no excuse for the ridiculous “racism” and “justice” rhetoric, or the way EPA used cherry-picked data and computer models to conjure up health risks and benefits that exist only in virtual worlds. (Visit www.AffordablePowerAlliance.org for details.) Worse, the agency refused to consider the disastrous effects its draconian regulations will impose on families and businesses, due to skyrocketing electricity prices.

EPA’s rules will reduce electricity availability and send costs soaring 12% to 60% by 2015 – especially in the 26 states that depend on coal for 48-98% of their electricity. Families and businesses in those states currently pay less than half as much per kilowatt hour as those in low-coal, high-tax, hyper-regulated states. That means jobs, profits, balanced budgets – and protection against life-threatening heat and cold.

Under EPA/NAACP rules, all that would end. Power plant closures will cause deadly electricity shortages during periods of peak demand. Millions of poor and minority families will be unable to afford air conditioning when electricity is available. Our elderly will be particularly at risk, especially in inner cities, because energy costs hit them disproportionately and they are least able to survive heat and heatstroke.

This summer’s blistering heat wave is a forecast for what lies ahead. Dozens have already died, including a Kansas man who had air conditioning but was concerned about paying his electricity bill, and so didn’t turn it on. How many more will face this life-or-death choice, after the EPA and NAACP succeed in closing power plants and driving electricity prices through the roof, no one can say. But in Chicago, a 1995 heat wave killed 700 people – and local papers predict a 40-60% price hike by 2015.

Shops, restaurants, groceries, dry cleaners and bakeries will see electric bills soar by thousands a year. Hospitals, school districts, internet providers, hotels and factories will be forced to pay tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions in added electricity costs. Factories that now pay $1 million for electricity could see an extra $600,000 added to their annual operating costs.

Each $30,000 increment is equal to another entry-level job that won’t be “created or saved.”

Chicago public schools will need an extra $2.7 million a year for electricity by 2014, the Chicago Tribune has reported. That translates into dozens of terminated sports programs, teachers and administrators.

Steel and paper mills, aluminum and petroleum refineries, car and aircraft factories will see annual electricity costs soar by millions of dollars. That could mean massive layoffs and entire operations shuttered or moved overseas. Management Information Services calculates that EPA’s rules will cost six Midwestern manufacturing states a combined 3.5 million jobs and $42-82 billion in annual GDP.

Do the EPA and NAACP suppose their rules will end heat waves? Or that unemployed workers and their families will be better able to afford air conditioning the next time temperatures climb above 100 degrees? Or that newly impoverished state and local governments will be better able to provide energy welfare – perhaps via another $1 trillion in federal debt?

Power plant emissions have been falling for decades. They have hardly morphed into a health-threatening crisis that suddenly justifies this EPA power grab and power plant shutdown. There is no basis for imposing stratospheric electricity costs that will kill millions more jobs – and put millions more people at risk from heat stroke and other ravages of government-inflicted poverty.

It would be nice if we could wave a magic wand and find billions of dollars to tear down and replace older power plants – or retrofit them with new pollution control and monitoring equipment, cover the extra annual operating and maintenance expenses, pay for “stranded investments” from facilities that will be shuttered long before the end of their useful life, and build or upgrade transmission lines from new power plants, wind farms and solar arrays.

It would be wonderful if wind and solar facilities could actually replace the NAACP and EPA’s detested coal-burning power plants – without needing billions in federal subsidies, duplicative gas-fired backup generators, thousands of miles of new transmission lines, hundreds of thousands of acres, and millions of tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earth metals.

It would be fabulous if they actually generated electricity anywhere near their rated capacity and worked 24/7/365, instead of maybe 8/5/300 – and their electricity didn’t cost three times the coal-based alternative.

It would be incredible if EPA permit quagmires and environmentalist lawsuits did not stymie virtually every proposal for new coal, gas and nuclear power plants, transmission lines, natural gas drilling, and even wind farms and photovoltaic arrays, to replace coal-fired generators.

But that is not the world we live in. Instead, we remain bogged down in an interminable recession, with intractable unemployment. We have incurred monumental debt. We have created a morass of legislation, regulation and litigation that ensures old power plants will be gone, replacements won’t be built anytime soon, and “smart meters” will let bureaucrats shut off AC power anytime electricity demand exceeds supply. We are killing jobs, businesses, investment and innovation – and will soon be killing our own citizens.

America’s workers, poor and minorities now face the prospect of skyrocketing energy prices and even more unemployment – accompanied by recurrent blackouts, rolling brownouts, misery, heatstroke, and unnecessary deaths during future heat waves.

One shudders to think that NAACP is so misguided, so ideologically hidebound, so beholden to government grants that it cannot recognize this – or realize it is the NAACP and EPA that are inflicting “energy racism” and “environmental injustice” on our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

Reliable, affordable energy is the foundation for jobs, modern living standards, health, opportunity and civil rights progress. The NAACP needs to join the Affordable Power Alliance and Congress of Racial Equality in protecting Americans against further job losses and future heat waves.


Horror! Farmland prevents rare plants from getting pollinated

So farmland must be CUT BACK, is the implicit message

A study has challenged the idea that areas such as farmland provide pollinating insects with a "corridor" between fragmented habitats. Researchers suggested that the pollinators in their survey were "fickle foragers" and would concentrate on areas rich in pollen and nectar.

The team warned that these behaviour could have an impact on rare native plants that are pollinated by insects. The findings have been published in the journal Current Biology.

The team of researchers from Oxford University and Earthwatch UK said their findings were a surprise, as the result challenged the long-held assumption that areas that were rich in resources would encourage the movement of pollinators from one group of native trees to another.

However, they added, it actually created a barrier effect for non-specialist feeders. "Looked at from an insect's point of view, it makes sense," explained co-author David Boshier. "These insects are not trying to pollinate a particular species of tree, they are just foraging. So if they leave a patch of native forest and fly across farmland which happens to be rich in resources, they are likely to collect pollen and nectar there rather than carry on to another patch of native forest."

However, Dr Boshier added: "Conversely, areas of sparse resources - such as (conifer) plantations - have less to offer so the pollinators are more likely to continue their journey and reach other patch of the native forest."

Pollination patterns

The researchers focused their attention on the pollination of Gomortega keule, an endangered species of tree whose natural stands only survive in patches of native forest in central Chile.
Gomortega keule, listed as Endangered (Image: Tonya Lander) The study warns disruption to pollinators' behaviour could threaten Gomortega keule's long-term survival

The trees' primary pollinators are hoverflies. By sampling seeds, the team was able to develop an understanding of how pollen was transported across the study area.

"If you can imagine about 900 trees, and all of the potential connections between those trees, then you end up with a lot of data regarding where pollinators are moving or not moving," explained co-author Dr Tonya Lander.

"We used that data to build a model and, on average, these look like the patterns that are emerging," she told BBC News. "In general, there was more pollination happening when trees are separated by tree plantations, and less pollination happening when the trees were separated by agricultural land."

The team explained that they decided to call this effect the Circe Principle, after a nymph in Homer's Odyssey who seduced Odysseus on his journey home from his adventures.

Another member of the team, Dan Bebber from Earthwatch, said: "This study shows that new landscape models need to take into account the positive contributions and benefits of landscapes defined as 'non-habitat', as well as how best they can be managed. "Our results identify possible actions to improve the interactions of landscapes of endangered species such as G. keule, and other species pollinated by common insects."

The team now hope to carry out further studies to test whether the Circe Principle applies to other environments.


UK faces green agenda backlash as energy prices rise

The British government faces a public backlash against its green energy agenda as consumers are unwilling to spend more on power and gas bills to pay for investment in low-carbon forms of energy, a parliamentary committee warned on Monday.

"Our evidence points to the danger of a backlash against the government's green agenda if it means rising bills for consumers," the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee said in a report.

It urged the government and the energy industry to better engage with the public to explain underlying factors that create higher energy prices.

Three of Britain's six major energy suppliers have announced double-digit increases in power and gas tariffs from this summer, raising fears about consumer price inflation.

An opinion poll published by utility Centrica last month showed only one quarter of respondents thought the government should stick to its plans for a greener economy if it means higher energy price.

"I don't think there is enough understanding of the charges that are there and which are coming through, and that is why we want much greater clarity on people's bills," Energy Minister Charles Hendry told the committee in a hearing last month.

The group of parliamentarians also said energy providers should not wait for government or regulator action to make energy tariffs more simple.

UK consumers currently have to choose from 400 different tariffs, a complex system which the minister said also got him confused.

"I went on line to compare my tariffs and I was so confused by the options that I decided to stick where I was, and I think I am probably not untypical in that respect," he said at the hearing.

Britain's energy regulator Ofgem proposed last month to impose mandatory auctions on the UK's large power producers to give access to alternative suppliers.

The proposal is part of a wider regulatory review of Britain's energy retail market, details of which are expected later this year.


Green targets 'could force companies to leave Britain'

Industry faces energy price increases of up to 70 per cent as a result of new 'green taxes' imposed by the Government.

Studies by the Energy Intensive Users Group, which represents industries such as chemicals and steel, show that the extra costs are so high that many companies may be tempted to move to countries that do not have such extreme environmental laws.

The group fears that a study by the Department of Energy into the impact of climate-change laws on energy prices for industry will attempt to downplay the impact of the new taxes. The DoE study is due to be published in the autumn.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne last week boasted that no other country had binding environmental targets as ambitious as Britain. 'In 15 years, our net emissions will be half what they were in 1990,' he said.

The Department of Energy last year admitted that environmental policies had already increased average costs for non-domestic users by 20 per cent. This will rise to 28 per cent by 2015 and 43 per cent by 2020. But those figures do not take into account environmental measures that are in the pipeline.

Business pays proportionately more for its electricity because it is subject to tax through the climate change levy.

Jeremy Nicholson, director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, warned that the Government's estimates for the effect of their policies on domestic fuel bills were highly unrealistic and 'need to be taken with a bucket full of salt'.

He said the figures were unreliable as they made 'utterly implausible assumptions' about the benefits of energy efficiency measures such as lagging.


Official British Price Estimates Dubious: 'DECC Has Massaged Green Energy Costs'

Britain’s policies to curb emissions and spur investment into nuclear and wind to secure power supplies may raise electricity prices for factories by as much as 58 percent by 2030, according to a government study.

The U.K.’s Department of Energy and Climate Change published today an initial estimate of the costs of its policies on so-called energy-intensive users such as steel factories, cement works and paper mills. The biggest rise would come a scenario whereby natural-gas prices fall, the analysis on the government website shows. Price rises would be curbed to as little as 7 percent should gas prices remain unchanged, according to the analysis.

Natural gas is used to produce about half Britain’s electricity, so its cost is used as a proxy for power prices. The government is overhauling the electricity market and studying measures such as long-term contracts to give price certainty and help attract funds for offshore wind turbines, nuclear reactors and carbon capture and storage projects. A tax on emissions from fossil fuels, under the so-called carbon floor, is planned from 2013 as well as programs to drive energy efficiency such as its Carbon Reduction Commitment.

“There are some wholly implausible assumptions about the pass-through of carbon and renewable subsidy costs,” Jeremy Nicholson, London-based director of the Energy Intensive Users Group, said by telephone. “The analysis confirms that significant compensation would be needed to offset the impact of these policies. Our suspicion is that DECC has massaged the figures to make the impacts look less severe.”

Large industrial users faced electricity price increases of 45 percent from 2007 to 2009, according to the analysis. Government policy is aimed at cutting power sector emissions and the U.K.’s dependence on fossil fuels, according to the report.



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