Friday, December 14, 2018

The Long Dry: Why the world's water supplies are shrinking (?)

Uni NSW has now released a slightly more scholarly version -- in part below -- of their implausible claim that the world is drying out.  But it still makes no sense.  They now admit that it sounds crazy to say a warmer world would be dryer amid increased rainfall but still say it will be.

Their basic datum is reduced flows in many rivers and they say that is because the soils are sucking up more of the rain than they used to.  That's still pretty crazy.  They are saying that soils will be dryer in a rainier world.  There's a bridge in Brooklyn they might like to buy.

There's a blindingly obvious explanation for reduced river flows: Diversion of water for human and animal use, particularly irrigation. Farmers worldwide are always putting in dams and diversions. Prof. Sharma sounds Indian so let me tell him how it's done in Australia.

When rains are good and river flows are up, farmers lucky enough to have a river nearby dig a big hole in their land and cut a channel from the river to that hole.  The hole fills up, the channel is blocked and that hole becomes a dam which can supply water next year when the rains fail.  There are dams like that all along Australia's inland rivers.  See Cubbie station for a large scale example.

And every one of those dams will reduce river flow.  They really will!  Need I go on?

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like conditions will become the new normal, especially in regions that are already dry.

The study – the most exhaustive global analysis of rainfall and rivers – was conducted by a team led by Prof Ashish Sharma at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney. It relied on actual data from 43,000 rainfall stations and 5,300 river monitoring sites in 160 countries, instead of basing its findings on model simulations of a future climate, which can be uncertain and at times questionable.

Large rivers drying out

“This is something that has been missed,” said Sharma, an ARC Future Fellow at UNSW’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “We expected rainfall to increase, since warmer air stores more moisture – and that is what climate models predicted too. What we did not expect is that, despite all the extra rain everywhere in the world, is that the large rivers are drying out.

“We believe the cause is the drying of soils in our catchments. Where once these were moist before a storm event – allowing excess rainfall to run-off into rivers – they are now drier and soak up more of the rain, so less water makes it as flow.

“Less water into our rivers means less water for cities and farms. And drier soils means farmers need more water to grow the same crops. Worse, this pattern is repeated all over the world, assuming serious proportions in places that were already dry. It is extremely concerning,” he added.

'Blue water' vs 'green water'

For every 100 raindrops that fall on land, only 36 drops are ‘blue water’ – the rainfall that enters lakes, rivers and aquifers – and therefore, all the water extracted for human needs. The remaining two thirds of rainfall is mostly retained as soil moisture – known as ‘green water’ – and used by the landscape and the ecosystem.

As warming temperatures cause more water to evaporate from soils, those dry soils are absorbing more of the rainfall when it does occur – leaving less ‘blue water’ for human use.

“It’s a double whammy,” said Sharma. “Less water is ending up where we can store it for later use. At the same time, more rain is overwhelming drainage infrastructure in towns and cities, leading to more urban flooding.”

Media release: CONTACT Prof Ashish Sharma  +61 425 332 304 |

Spotsylvania, Va., Residents Outraged Over Massive Solar Plant Proposal, About Half the Size of Manhattan

More than 300 residents of rural Spotsylvania County, Virginia gathered at the Spotsylvania Courthouse on Dec. 5 to protest plans for a massive solar energy plant – half the size of Manhattan -- which would be built close to residential areas and the historic sites of three Civil War battlefields.

The public hearing at the Spotsylvania Courthouse, where Utah-based solar power company sPower attempted to secure permit approval for its 500-megawatt facility, lasted several hours due to a flood of comments from the community.

Kevin McCarthy, a resident of Spotsylvania and member of the grassroots group Concerned Citizens of Spotsylvania County (Concerned Citizens), which opposes the proposal, said the plant is “extraordinarily incompatible” with the county’s “aura and history.”

“The biggest objection we have to this thing is that it’s totally out of character for this county, whose comprehensive plan calls for maintaining the rural, agricultural, and residential nature of this county,” McCarthy said. “Yet this proposal is going to consume the largest tract of designated forest in the entire county.”

“They call it a solar ‘farm,’” he said. “That’s real smart marketing because it’s not a farm. It is a massive industrial-scale power plant.”

At about 10 square miles, or roughly half the area of Manhattan, the facility would be the fifth largest solar plant in the United States. It would require the clearing of 6,500 acres of forest to make way for 1.8 million solar panels that would help power Microsoft, Apple, and the University of Richmond.

It would also be the only U.S. solar plant located close to residential areas or farmlands; according to McCarthy, the distance of the plant from some residents’ yards would only be 50 feet, while the average distance of most other large U.S. solar plants from residential areas is eight miles.

According to sPower, the project would benefit the county and the State of Virginia by creating “green” jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, generating electricity through “clean, renewable technology,” increasing tax revenues, and stimulating the local economy during the project’s construction.

“This is the future,” said Charlie Payne, an attorney for sPower, in an interview with NBC4. “And look who our partners are at the table. It’s Microsoft. It’s Apple. There’s some real opportunity for this area, for Spotsylvania County, and I’m looking forward to seeing it happen.”

Many Spotsylvania residents, however, have serious reservations about the plant. On its website, Concerned Citizens says taxes and the price of electricity would go up, and property values would go down if the plant is built.

In addition, none of the energy from the plant would go to the Spotsylvania community.

Residents are also worried that the plant’s construction could seriously damage the aquifer that supplies water to their homes. The clearing of forested land could cause soil erosion and runoff that could “devastate” streams and wetlands in the area, and the potential leakage of cadmium, a carcinogen, from solar panels could increase health problems among residents.

The Spotsylvania County Planning Commission will hold a follow-up hearing on the proposal on January 2.


University of Washington climate scientist Cliff Mass pushes against attacks from faculty and students

Climate scientist Cliff Mass is speaking out against “academic political bullying” from University of Washington faculty and students, stemming from Mass’s rejection of a carbon tax initiative favored by activists.

“Science can only flourish when there is tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints and ideas,” Mass told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Name calling and politicization of science are toxic to the scientific enterprise, and undermines our credibility in the general community.”

“I am hopeful that the exposure of such intolerance will lead to an improved working environment in my department and among others in my discipline,” Mass said via email Wednesday.

Climate scientist Judith Curry detailed in a blog post Wednesday the actions UW and student activists have taken against Mass in recent months. Curry said Mass was a “victim of academic political bullying.”

There are clearly UW faculty “that don’t like Cliff Mass,” including, his department chair, and “most fundamentally, they seem to dislike that his blog is getting in the way of their own political advocacy,” Curry wrote.

Mass joined UW’s Atmospheric Sciences Department in 1982 where he specializes in numerical weather modeling and weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest. Mass also publishes a science blog and has a popular weekly radio show.

Mass is no global warming “denier” as many critics try to label him. Mass has repeatedly called global warming a serious threat and supported policies, including carbon taxes, to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Despite his agreement with the climate consensus, Mass has increasingly come under fire from activists for not toeing the alarmist line when it comes to blaming extreme weather events on global warming.

What seems to have driven Mass’s critics over the edge this time was the atmospheric scientist’s public opposition to a Washington state carbon tax ballot initiative, called I-1631. In particular, critics went after a blog post Mass wrote in mid-October detailing why he opposed I-1631. Voters overwhelmingly rejected the carbon tax measure in November, despite support from Gov. Jay Inslee and other Democrats.

“I-1631 will be a trough of billions of dollars of cash for left-leaning social action and ‘progressive’ groups, and dealing with climate change will be a secondary priority,” Mass wrote in a blog post with a picture of pigs feeding at a trough. The picture has since been removed.

The imagery of pigs feeding at a trough has long been used to describe special interest groups trying to syphon off government spending. State spending seen as wasteful or geared toward a special interest is often called “pork” or “pork barrel” spending. However, UW students and climate activists claimed it was “racist.”

I-1631 campaigner Izzy Goodman tweeted in October that “this alone proves that he is a blatant racist (which is probably why his climate policies are too!).” She later added, “[UW] you going to stand for this?”

When Mass tried to reason with her, UW philosophy Ph.D. candidate Alex Lenferna tweeted, “Calling you racist for saying racist things is not name calling, it’s an accurate description.” The post showed Mass’s “small [government], racist, anti-working class view,” tweeted Lenferna, who also campaigned for I-1631.

Student activists didn’t stop at Twitter insults. Curry, who spoke at length with Mass about the events, wrote, “The attacks ramped up when a group of students complained to the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”

Curry said the students accused Mass of “deception, being on the payroll of oil companies, purposely obfuscating with multiple twitter accounts, racism, misogyny, tokenism, Trumpism.”

“Rather than meet with Cliff Mass to discuss, the Assistant Dean sent a mass email to the faculty of the Atmospheric Sciences Department” echoing student complaints,” Curry wrote. The assistant dean’s email claimed the blog had “imagery and text that was racially insensitive and caused offense to a significant number of members in the departmental community.”

The assistant dean made no attempt to contact Mass or try to “understand that there was no racism evident or intended, and that the image in question was quickly removed from the blog post,” Curry wrote.

The matter didn’t end there, however, and Atmospheric Sciences Department Chair Dale Durran “sent a mass email to the Department faculty including the link to Lenferna’s post, and voicing concern about Mass’ behavior and ‘racism,'” Curry noted.

Durran held a faculty-wide meeting on Dec. 4. Durran reportedly took control of the meeting and even prevented Mass from finishing his opening remarks.

Durran “hectored Mass throughout the meeting,” Curry wrote. “The activist students were true to form, hurling all kinds of insulting, personal and inappropriate remarks” as Mass sat through the inquisition.

Duran was an ardent supporter of I-1631. Durran got 21 of his colleagues to sign a public letter, published in The Seattle Times in late October, endorsing the carbon tax ballot measure.

“Now is the time to take a big step to kick our carbon habit,” Durran and his colleagues wrote. However, Curry reported that “several faculty members felt uncomfortable signing this,” including one who told her they actually voted against the measure.


Calif. bureaucacy Fails To Enforce New Law That Could Have Prevented Wildfires

A new report revealed that incompetent state regulators in California failed to implement plans required by state law that could have prevented the devastating California wildfires.

Senate Bill 1028 required the three big California power companies, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, to provide detailed strategies for reducing fire threats, according to The San Diego Tribune.

The California Public Utilities Commission was responsible for reviewing the filings, making comments on the material and ensuring that the plans were being followed.

Well, it turns out the government regulators completely failed to issue directives to the power companies, and it’s been more than two years since the law was passed.

The government agency’s utter incompetence is finally getting attention now that dozens of lives have been lost and an entire town has been completely destroyed in the wildfires.

A spokesman for Edison, one of the power companies, put the blame on the regulators. “At the time SB 901 was enacted, no CPUC rulemaking on prior legislation had been established,” the spokesman said.

“While the commission delayed enforcing the new law, wildfires suspected of being caused by overhead powerlines and other utility equipment killed at least 125 people,” the Tribune reported. “They also destroyed 18,000 buildings and charred hundreds of square miles of the California landscape.”

State Sen. Jerry Hill, the San Mateo Democrat who introduced SB 1028, expressed frustration with the government utility regulators. “They have done absolutely nothing in those two years,” Hill said.

Hill also admitted that state lawmakers should have given the regulators a deadline. “The unfortunate thing is we gave them that authority but we did not put a timeline on it,” Hill said.

This situation is just another example in a long list of government failure and incompetence.

“We assumed it would be prioritized, but sadly it takes a tragedy to realign priorities — and that’s what we’ve seen — tragedy and devastation,” Hill said.

Some believe the wildfires could have been prevented through proper forest management, but California’s state government failed on that front as well.

In August, Zinke said the “overload of dead and diseased timber in the forests makes the fires worse and more deadly.”

If the government is unable to follow through to prevent the loss of life and destruction of property from wildfires, why would anybody want the government to have control over something like health care?

When the government is in charge of something, it typically ends in disaster.


Are the Australian Greens a party of sex pests and predators?

Internal chaos has struck the NSW Greens after upper house MP Jeremy Buckingham was asked to step down by the party’s state delegate council in light of claims made by Greens MP Jenny Leong in NSW parliament accusing him of committing an “act of sexual violence” against party aide Ella Buckland in 2011.

Buckingham responded, accusing the Greens of being “corrupt and rotten” while fellow Greens MP Cate Faehrmann declared herself “beyond appalled” and described the vote as being the result of her party having been “infiltrated by extreme left forces”.

This is only the latest in a long line of embarrassing revelations for what is widely seen as one of Australia’s most pro-feminist political parties. In the recent Victorian State election it was revealed one candidate Angus McAlpine seemed to have endorsed date rape, drink spiking and domestic violence while another candidate Dominic Phillips was stood down over an actual accusation of rape.

In NSW self-proclaimed Anarchist, power broker for the Left Renewal faction and candidate for the inner city seat of Summer Hill Tom Raue had to try and explain exactly why he endorsed, and even campaigned for the legalisation of bestiality and necrophilia. He said it was a lark from his student days, which considering that his student days also included getting banned from campus for attacking Julie Bishop and getting sued for $50,000 by the very board of the student council that he was Vice President of seems scarily plausible.

That came only months after it was revealed that former Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber paid out a $56,000 settlement with a female staff member over sexual discrimination and bullying allegations, and that he quit politics two days after the claims were aired within his party. Mr Barber was also alleged to have regularly referred to female left wing activists as “hairy-legged feminists” and “fat, hairy lesbians” behind their backs.

Less hilariously and slightly more seriously it was also suggested that the incident was kept as quiet as possible due to Barber’s status as brother-in-law of Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale.

Similar allegations of cover up, “victim blaming” and a complete unwillingness to take seriously the complaints of female staffers and volunteers about the inappropriate and sometimes criminal behaviour of elected male representatives and staff members have been made in Victoria, NSW and the ACT.

The ABC reported that Lawyer Rory Markham is suing the party on behalf of a former Greens volunteer who alleges she was sexually assaulted by another volunteer in the back of a car in Canberra on the night of the 2016 federal election campaign. She has asked not to be identified.

“That perpetrator cornered her, forced her, by placing his hands on her shoulders into the side of the car and whispered into her ear that he hated her and then started to digitally penetrate her,” Mr Markham said.

“She was speechless. She couldn’t scream out. She immediately got out of the car and was shaking.”

Holly Brooke also a member of the extremist “Left Renewal” faction also says the party ignored her complaints after a male party member tried to force his hand down her pants against her wishes while she was co-convenor of the NSW Young Greens in 2017.

Journalist Lauren Ingram claims she was violently raped by a Greens staffer in 2015 after he invited her over to his apartment in Sydney’s eastern suburbs for pizza. The photos of her bruises and the story she tells are horrific. In her case the Greens party apparatus faced with such an obvious wrongdoing leapt into action (after around six months)… and suspended the member in question.

That’ll show him.

If this was happening inside any party on the right, if this was happening inside the Liberals, One Nation, the Australian Conservatives or the Katter Australia Party then that party would not only be a public laughing stock but would probably (in the case of the minor parties) have been driven out of politics. There would be endless jeers from the commentariat, endless cartoons in the newspapers, endless stand-up routines poking fun at any party of the right that so publicly preaches virtue while privately covering up vice. Hell even the ALP would have trouble escaping the smell of repeated revelations such as these.

But the Greens? Well they’re the party overwhelmingly favoured by the people who write for the newspapers, the people who book the stand-up comedy acts, the people who produce the programs for the ABC and SBS. They’re the feminist party, the progressive party, the party that preaches every moral virtue dictated by the pulpits of modern academia.

They’re the “good” guys. Except it seems some of the guys aren’t so good.

Funny that.



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.  

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