Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Don't laugh

"Excessively high temperatures" are "already" harming public health nationwide, Pres. Obama declared on Nov. 1, 2013, two months before today's assault by record low temperatures.

In his executive order on climate change, Obama warned that too much rain - and not enough rain - also dictated that executive action against climate fluctuations:

"The impacts of climate change -- including an increase in prolonged periods of excessively high temperatures, more heavy downpours, an increase in wildfires, more severe droughts, permafrost thawing, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise -- are already affecting communities, natural resources, ecosystems, economies, and public health across the Nation. These impacts are often most significant for communities that already face economic or health-related challenges, and for species and habitats that are already facing other pressures."

What's more, climate control "requires" action "by the Federal Government" (as opposed to the federal government), Obama declared:

"Managing these risks requires deliberate preparation, close cooperation, and coordinated planning by the Federal Government, as well as by stakeholders, to facilitate Federal, State, local, tribal, private-sector, and nonprofit-sector efforts to improve climate preparedness and resilience; help safeguard our economy, infrastructure, environment, and natural resources; and provide for the continuity of executive department and agency (agency) operations, services, and programs."


Princeton Physicist Dr. Will Happer on Polar vortices

Award-winning Princeton University Physicist Dr. Will Happer rejected the media and some scientists' claims that the record U.S. cold is due to man-made global warming. Happer, explained the science in an exclusive interview with Climate Depot.

“Polar vortices  have been around forever. They have almost nothing to do with more CO2 in the atmosphere,” Happer said in an exclusive interview with Climate Depot.

Happer continued: “Here is a thumbnail sketch of the physics.  The  poles have little sunshine even in summer,  but especially in winter,  like now in the Arctic.   So the air over the poles rapidly gets bitterly cold because of radiation to dark space, with negligible replenishment of heat from sunlight.  The sinking cold air is replaced by warmer air flowing in from the south at high altitudes.  Since the earth is rotating,  the air flowing in from the south has to start rotating faster to the west, just like a figure skater rotates faster if she pulls in her arms.  This forms the polar vortex. The extremely cold air at the bottom of the vortex can be carried south by meanders of the jet stream at the edge of the vortex.  We will have to live with polar vortices as long as the sun shines and the earth rotates.

Like any fluid system at “high Reynolds number,”  the jet stream is highly unstable, and from time to time it develops meanders to low latitudes, like the one we have had the past few days.  About this time  of year in 1777, just before the Battle of Princeton, there was a similar sequence.

On January 2, Cornwallis’s men marched south from New York City through cold rain and muddy roads to try to trap George Washington and his little Continental Army in Trenton. On the night of January 2-3, a polar vortex swept across New Jersey,  with snow and a very hard freeze. Aided by the extremely cold weather, Washington was able to evacuate his troops and artillery over newly frozen roads  and to avoid Cornwallis’s encirclement.

Reaching Princeton on the viciously cold morning of January 3,  Washington won another battle against the British and escaped to winter quarters in Morristown. Thank you polar vortex!


Windmill gearboxes falling apart

I first came across this shocking industrial wind turbine (IWT) gearbox problem some time back and posted about it (Here) and originally (Here). The basis of these posts was this article (Here)

This long running problem is so serious that since 2007, the US Government has been coordinating research into it through the NREL. (More on that further down.)

By the looks of it nothing has got better, although there is a lot of industry spin claiming the fix is just over the hill. Some of it quite recent  (See Here)

So what is the problem and why is it kept so quiet?

Industrial Wind turbines (IWT's) have a generic, long standing and apparently intractible problem with gearbox reliability.

Many gearboxes need a rebuild within 5 -7 years instead of lasting 25 years as designed. Many suffer catastrophic failure within the 5-7 period or even earlier. Depending on the age of the turbine, a gear box failure may effectively write it off. Even when repaired, these gearbox failures are highly expensive and often take out the turbine for months.

Replacing the gearbox adds massively to the overall cost of the IWT. Manufacturers increase the cost to cover warranty repairs in the first 5 years. When out of warranty, the cost of a maintenance contract sky-rockets, eventually to a point where the operation of the IWT becomes untenable.

Why does this matter? After all it is the operators/manufacturers problem isn't it?

It matters because IWT's are capital intensive. That means that most of their operating cost is mostly soaked up in purchasing the thing - and maintaining it. If the IWT has a much shorter life (or a much higher maintenance cost) and so produces less money than anticipated, their ability to ever live without massive government subsidy becomes an even bigger illusion than it already is.

So, you may say, "It is only a technical glitch 'll all come right in the end."

Well, maybe. But first of all this is a glitch that has lasted since the 1980's

Unfortunately the evidence suggests that nobody actually knows what to fix yet let alone how too fix it. So possibly the answer is - maybe not.

We need to get an idea of how bad this problem is but for obvious reasons the wind industry isn't telling and they are certainly not releasing any meaningful figures

But there are a number of alarming markers out there.

The  US Government (in association with the wind industry) formed a little known group called the "Gearbox Reliability Collective" (GRC) (See Here)  The GRC is no less than a section of the USA government NREL. (That National Renewable Energy Laboratory).

In other words the problem is so bad the US Government is having to tackle the problem.

The leading sentence on the GRC website blandly states... "Premature gearbox failures have a significant impact on the cost of wind farm operations."

To quote from the latest finding report from GRC testing... "Despite reasonable adherence to these accepted design practices, many wind turbine gearboxes do not achieve their design life goals of 20 years—most systems still require significant repair or overhaul well before the intended life is reached."

These guys in the NRC are (to put it mildly) clever people. But they have been at this since 2007 and so far they are still, by all appearances, quantifying the problem. In otherwords on a scale of ten, the intractibility of the gearbox issue probably rates a nine.

The NREL does not allocate such significant resources lightly. This is a bad problem.

The GRC are trying to build a failure database as well as running a series of tests on prototype gearboxes. Unfortunately this failure database is not for public consumption and is subject to a strict NDA so we will probably never know the full facts.

Manufacturing members of the GRC can (and mostly do) remain anonymous. One exception is Vestas. While I have little time for any wind industry company at least Vestas appear to be willing to stand up and be identified rather than just pretend their is no problem like the rest.

Of course, while we do not have full access to the database we do have some access to data held within it from the research papers published by GRC

For example, from an early sample set from 2010 and This Paper  covering 37 failures we have this:

Notice that while this early table covers 37 failures there were many more problems found in the strip downs. It looks like the problem is poorly localised and is probably caused by a number of different issues.

So what is the point of this post?

Simply to show that the current fleet of IWTs (yes - whole fleet ) are really not fit for a production environment. They are still suffering intractible and major operational problems and are highly unlikely to ever be able to operate without a huge government subsidy. To suggest they have a lifespan of 25 years is laughable.

This is bad enough for land based turbines.

But anyone who suggests that we can successfully and economically place these things out in the North Sea and English Channel for long term energy generation, is in need of medication.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Some wisdom from the year 2007

All the supercomputers in the world won't generate accurate predictions if you are riding a dud theory.  And accurate predictions are the test of a scientific theory.  A real scientist abandons theories that generate inaccurate predictions

Scientists in the US have presented one of the most dramatic forecasts yet for the disappearance of Arctic sea ice. Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.

Professor Wieslaw Maslowski told an American Geophysical Union meeting that previous projections had underestimated the processes now driving ice loss. Summer melting this year reduced the ice cover to 4.13 million sq km, the smallest ever extent in modern times.

Remarkably, this stunning low point was not even incorporated into the model runs of Professor Maslowski and his team, which used data sets from 1979 to 2004 to constrain their future projections.

"Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007," the researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, explained to the BBC.  "So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative."

Using supercomputers to crunch through possible future outcomes has become a standard part of climate science in recent years.
Professor Maslowski's group, which includes co-workers at Nasa and the Institute of Oceanology, Polish Academy of Sciences (PAS), is well known for producing modelled dates that are in advance of other teams.

These other teams have variously produced dates for an open summer ocean that, broadly speaking, go out from about 2040 to 2100. But the Monterey researcher believes these models have seriously underestimated some key melting processes. In particular, Professor Maslowski is adamant that models need to incorporate more realistic representations of the way warm water is moving into the Arctic basin from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

"My claim is that the global climate models underestimate the amount of heat delivered to the sea ice by oceanic advection," Professor Maslowski said.  "The reason is that their low spatial resolution actually limits them from seeing important detailed factors. "We use a high-resolution regional model for the Arctic Ocean and sea ice forced with realistic atmospheric data. This way, we get much more realistic forcing, from above by the atmosphere and from the bottom by the ocean."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN-led body which assesses the state of the Earth's climate system, uses an averaged group of models to forecast ice loss in the Arctic.  But it is has become apparent in recent years that the real, observed rate of summer ice melting is now starting to run well ahead of the models.

The minimum ice extent reached in September 2007 shattered the previous record for ice withdrawal set in 2005, of 5.32 million square km.

The long-term average minimum, based on data from 1979 to 2000, is 6.74 million square km. In comparison, 2007 was lower by 2.61 million square km, an area approximately equal to the size of Alaska and Texas combined, or the size of 10 United Kingdoms.

Diminishing returns

Professor Peter Wadhams from Cambridge University, UK, is an expert on Arctic ice. He has used sonar data collected by Royal Navy submarines to show that the volume loss is outstripping even area withdrawal, which is in agreement with the model result of Professor Maslowski.

"Some models have not been taking proper account of the physical processes that go on," he commented.  "The ice is thinning faster than it is shrinking; and some modellers have been assuming the ice was a rather thick slab.  "Wieslaw's model is more efficient because it works with data and it takes account of processes that happen internally in the ice."


EPA's Next Target: Wood Burning Stoves

As the country tries to survive sub-zero temperatures and a "polar vortex," the Environmental Protection Agency is focused on regulating wood burning stoves.

 The federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed new standards for wood stoves that would reduce the maximum amount of fine particulate emissions allowed for new stoves sold in 2015 and 2019.

Maximum emissions would be reduced by one-third next year and by 80 percent in five years, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
Wood burning stoves are typically used to keep homes warm, but more importantly, they're key to surviving in a freezing environment without electricity. Ironically, they're also a source of renewable energy, gas stoves are not.

The silver lining? The new regulations will only apply to new wood burning stoves.


Warmists Use Magic to Create the Illusion of Science

Yesterday I wrote about how increasingly frustrated global warming alarmists were, practically throwing tantrums as real-time data shows that global warming models do not accurately model temperatures.

Their illusions, in other words, are being increasingly shown as delusions.  Here’s how:

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently been forced to concede that a whole raft of predictions they’ve made have been incorrect. Global temperatures have risen to only 25% as high as predicted according to the IPCC models; as recently as the late Middle Ages, the earth enjoyed a period of approximately 300 years which were as warm if not warmer than today; and the IPCC is at a loss to explain why an Arctic sea ice is accumulating rather than shrinking as they had predicted.

In Australia’s New South Wales, the state government has ordered municipal governments to ignore IPCC estimates of sea rise that when measured against historical records, have been off by as much as 90%.

Some municipalities have taken aggressive action based on the too-aggressive forecasts by the IPCC writes The Australian.

“The scientific delusion, the religion behind the climate crusade,” says Maurice Newman, a business advisor to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, “is crumbling. Global temperatures have gone nowhere for 17 years. Now, credible German scientists claim that ‘the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the little ice age of 1870’.”

The German scientists have recently released a research that purportedly shows that temperature is determined by the solar cycles, along with Atlantic/Pacific oscillations (AMO/PDO) of 65-year time spans.

“The solar activity agrees well with the terrestrial climate,” say Prof. H. Luedecke and C.O. Weiss. “It clearly shows in particular all historic temperature minima. Thus the future temperatures can be predicted from the activities – as far as they are determined by the sun (the AMO/PDO is not determined by the sun).”


Indeed, as seen in the chart above the German scientists are predicting that global temperatures will decline for the next 80 years based on a 200-year solar cycle.

But that’s not stopping the alarmists, who continue to make prediction about the next two-hundred years even though they haven’t gotten the last two-hundred years right, yet alone the last two decades.

New models cranked out almost daily by them show that, “oh, no! global warming will be even worse in the future than we had predicted!”

And there’s a sale at Penny’s.

One such report by the University of New South Wales and the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, alleges that warming will be twice as high as the average alarmist predicts currently.

“Climate sceptics like to criticise climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit they are not perfect, but what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models which predict less warming, not those that predict more,” said Professor Sherwood, lead author of the report according to the Guardian.

That’s because as Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee explained to King Arthur:

"Yes, a genuine expert can always foretell a thing that is five hundred years away easier than he can a thing that's only five hundred seconds off."

It’s magic, which of course, you wouldn’t understand.  It's too mighty for you.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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