Tuesday, June 04, 2019

India weather: Temperature passes 50C Celsius in northern India

The 50 degree reading appears to be from one place in Rajasthan.  But Rajasthan is mainly a big desert and extraordinary readings from such places are routine.  Australia's Marble Bar is similar.  The late Monsoon is probably behind a lot of the heat.  And the Monsoon is often not on time.

Perhaps of particular interest is the following quote from an academic journal article published by the Royal Meteorological society (My caps.):

"Rainfall and temperature data during the period 1901–1982 are studied for the northwest Indian region consisting of the meteorological subdivisions of Punjab, Haryana, west Rajasthan, east Rajasthan and west Madhya Pradesh. The results indicate a DECREASING trend in the mean annual surface air temperature"

So the recent high temperatures are probably part of a long term oscillation.  It doesn't take much research to blow Greenie misrepresentations out of the water

Temperatures passed 50 degrees Celsius in northern India as an unrelenting heatwave triggered warnings of water shortages and heatstroke.

The thermometer hit 50.6 degrees Celsius in the Rajasthan desert city of Churu over the weekend, the weather department said.

All of Rajasthan suffered in severe heat with several cities hitting maximum temperatures above 47 Celsius.

In May 2016, Phalodi in Rajasthan recorded India’s highest-ever temperature of 51 Celsius.

The Indian Meteorological Department said severe heat could stay for up to a week across Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh states.

Several deaths from heatstroke have already been recorded.

About 200 million people live in northern India.

A red alert severe heat warning has been issued in the capital New Delhi as temperatures passed 46 Celsius, and residents were advised not to go out during the hottest hours of the day.

Even in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh, where many wealthy Indians go to escape the summer heat, temperatures reached 44.9 Celsius in Una.

Several major cities, led by Chennai, have reported fears of water shortages as lakes and rivers start to dry up.

In the western state of Maharashtra, farmers struggled to find water for thirsty animals and crops.

“We have to source water tankers from nearby villages as water reserves, lakes and rivers have dried up,” said Rajesh Chandrakant, a resident of Beed, one of the worst-hit districts.

“Farmers only get water every three days for their livestock.” Raghunath Tonde, a farmer with a family of seven, said the area has suffered worsening shortages for five years. “There is no drinking water available for days on end and we get one tanker every three days for the entire village,” Tonde told AFP. “We are scared for our lives and livelihood,” he added.

The Hindustan Times newspaper said many Beed residents had stopped washing and cleaning clothes due to the water shortage.

More than 40 per cent of India faces drought this year, experts from Gandhinagar city’s Indian Institute of Technology, warned last month.

The annual monsoon — which normally brings much needed rain to South Asia — is running a week behind schedule and is only expected to hit India’s southern tip on June 6, the weather department said.

And private forecaster Skymet has said there will be less rain than average this year.

The Indian peninsula has seen a drastic change in rainfall patterns over the past decade, marked by frequent droughts, floods and sudden storms.


Climate change is a political loser

When voters catch on to being insulted and scorned

First came Donald Trump’s stunning victory in 2016, after a campaign in which he rejected the “scientific consensus” on catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW), and proved true to his rhetoric by withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accords. Then a few years later, France was rocked by the “yellow vests” movement that started with protests against a tax on fuel that President Emmanuel Macron, in true globalist technocratic fashion, proposed as a way to “nudge” the masses into using less of the carbon-based energy allegedly heating the planet. And now comes Australia, where contrary to the predictions of the globalist elite, the anti-carbon progressive who had proposed job-killing regulations to cut carbon emissions in half by 2030, failed to defeat the conservative incumbent who would rather save jobs than “save the planet.”

Climate change is looking like a losing election issue.

The global technocrats, for whom Climate Change has been one of those “crises” that progressives “never let go to waste,” no doubt are wishing they could “dissolve the people” rather than change the government through democratic elections. Persuading free citizens with arguments based on fact, or with appeals to their interests, is difficult when your “crisis” is nothing more than a politicized hypothesis based on appeals to authority, rigged computer simulations, and apocalyptic predictions laced with insults to the skeptics’ intelligence and morals.

The politicians should have seen the signs of global warming’s declining utility as an electoral scare-tactic. In the U.S., “climate change” for years has ranked low on the list of issues voters are concerned about. Before last year’s midterm elections, in a Gallup Poll “climate change” ranked next to last of 12 issues that voters judged “extremely/very important,” just above investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. Of course, people will tell a pollster they’re “concerned” and think “something should be done” about climate change, because they’ve been told that’s what the “right” people think. But when it comes to election day, most will vote for a growing economy, wage increases, more jobs, lower taxes, and fewer federal Nurse Ratcheds trying to cram more social or environmental “justice” pills down their throats.

Moreover, we’ve had decades now of hysterical predictions followed by “never mind” when they are belied by facts, along with the vicious demonization and ostracization of scientists who question the dominant narrative of CAGW. The hypocrisy of this very unscientific demand for unquestioned obeisance not to a scientific fact, but to a working hypothesis has now become blatantly obvious. Real science, which is usually reluctant to claim it’s “settled,” works quite the opposite. As philosopher Karl Popper defined it, “The method of science is the method of bold conjectures and ingenious and severe attempts to refute them.”

Has the CAGW crowd ever displayed this skeptical zeal that is fundamental to the progress of science? Or demonstrated what theoretical physicist Richard Feynman called “a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty—a kind of leaning over backwards . . . to report everything that you think might make it invalid—not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked—to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.” How does this principle of scientific ethics and integrity square with calling sceptics “deniers,” a despicable comparison to Holocaust denial? Or with bogus stats like “97% of scientists” agree with anthropogenic global warming, a factoid redolent of television ads, and exploded numerous times?

Even a layman with practical wisdom can see that the purveyors of “climate change” who make such ad hominem attacks and invent a “consensus” are up to no good. There’s also the hinky marketing decision to switch “global warming” to “climate change” ––a substitution forced by the two-decades hiatus in significant rises in temperatures even as emissions of CO2  increased by gigatons. Or there’s the implicit claim that CO2, which makes up 0.04% of the atmosphere, can override the sun as the prime factor in global climate change. Selling that is going to require a much more definite and complete, truly scientific, not “sciency,” explanation of how global climate, with its numerous systems and sub-systems and intricate feedback-loops, works before we gouge the world’s economy for trillions of dollars.

The fact is, too much of global warming science is still speculative and provisional, while the gaps in knowledge, such as the precise role of water vapor, are filled with assumptions that when plugged into a computer simulation, just happen always to confirm the CAGW hypothesis. Other questionable practices, from manipulated weather-station data, to graphs designed to “hide the decline” in temperatures over time, are more evidence that something other than real science is at work. So too does the media’s silencing of  counter-arguments and contrary evidence that challenge the CAGW orthodoxy.

For example, climatologist Judith Curry, chair emerita of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has questioned the narrative that CO2 increases consistently track with temperature increases. As City Journal’s Guy Sorman reports, Curry “tells me, for example, that between 1910 and 1940, the planet warmed during a climatic episode that resembles our own, down to the degree. The warming can’t be blamed on industry, she argues, because back then, most of the carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels were small. In fact, Curry says, ‘almost half of the warming observed in the twentieth century came about in the first half of the century, before carbon-dioxide emissions became large.’”

If we had an honest media reporting both sides of the debate instead of shilling for one, we would hear more about such challenges to the consensus, and more reexamination of the empirical evidence presented as support for its claims. Instead, the executive summaries––i.e. selectively edited––of research from the International Panel on Climate Change are widely and breathlessly reported, despite the long record of computer-model projections of future temperatures being out of line with actual temperature data.

Finally, the most damning evidence of CAGW’s duplicity is that even if it was correct, all the expensive solutions to the problem ballyhooed at Global Warming, Inc. conventions like the Paris Climate Accords would not even begin to solve the problem. As environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg points out in the Wall Street Journal:

The IPCC says carbon emissions need to peak right now and fall rapidly to avert catastrophe. Models actually reveal that to achieve the 2.7-degree goal the world must stop all fossil fuel use in less than four years. Yet the International Energy Agency estimates that in 2040 fossil fuels will still meet three-quarters of world energy needs, even if the Paris agreement is fully implemented. The U.N. body responsible for the accord estimates that if every country fulfills every pledge by 2030, CO2 emissions will be cut by 60 billion tons by 2030. That’s less than 1% of what is needed to keep temperature rises below 2.7 degrees. And achieving even that fraction would be vastly expensive—reducing world-wide growth $1 trillion to $2 trillion each year by 2030.

Indeed, the weaknesses of the CAGW consensus suggests not a scientific activity, but a nature-worship cult attached to a lucrative scam that is worth billions in research grants and green-energy pork ($359 billion in 2014). Or maybe a mental illness, as geologist Dr. Norman Page surmises:

A very large majority of establishment academic climate scientists have succumbed to a virulent infectious disease – the CO2 Derangement Syndrome. Those afflicted by this syndrome present with a spectrum of symptoms. The first is an almost total inability to recognize the most obvious Millennial and 60 year emergent patterns which are trivially obvious in solar activity and global temperature data.

In other words, focused as they are on the “Satanic mills” of the industrial age, the wicked destroyer of the planet for the last 150 years, they ignore the longer patterns of climate change associated with the sun.

The political operatives of the technocratic global elite might think average voters are “smelly Wal-Mart shoppers,” “irredeemable deplorables,” “bitter clingers,” or as one Australian journalist said of the voters who rejected the left’s anti-carbon proposals, “morons.” But after several decades of global warming hype and hysteria, voters can see the hypocrisy of champagne socialists supporting polices that they can easily afford, but will hurt the poor and working class, and devastate the developing world that needs cheap energy for its economies to flourish and provide their peoples with the basic comforts of life like electricity. They see the King-Kong carbon footprints left behind by global elites, and the clean-energy taxes, subsidies, and regulations that harm the economy and take money out of their wallets. And more important, the people know when they are being insulted and scorned because they dare to question their “bright” betters about “settled science.”

Perhaps these recent elections signal that people across the globe have had enough of our internationalist self-appointed Platonic “Guardians” and their “noble lies.” Perhaps citizen autonomy and self-rule are making a comeback. Let’s hope so.


The myth of the green wave

No, the EU elections were not a huge boost for environmentalism.

The EU elections last week produced an apparent surge of support for greens across Europe. Parties from the Greens-European Free Alliance (EFA), the EU grouping the UK Green Party belongs to, increased their vote share across the continent by 3.1 percentage points to 10.8 per cent, taking 69 seats in the European Parliament.

This was a ‘response to the accelerating climate crisis that was the same in the UK and right across Europe’, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas told the Guardian. But perhaps the organic champagne had gone to her head. Lucas’s psephology is no better than her grasp of climate science.

It is true that the centre of gravity of EU politics is shifting away from the centre-left, represented by the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), and the dominant centre-right, represented by the European People’s Party (EPP). These two groups have long held the balance of power, but failed collectively to secure over 50 per cent of the vote this time around.

But the main beneficiaries of this shift have been the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group, which increased its vote share by four percentage points and gained an extra 38 seats, and the right-wing Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group, which came from nothing to gain 8.7 per cent of the vote and 58 seats. In the context of these continued gains, green progress seems somewhat modest.

Moreover, EFA gains masked losses in Sweden, Spain and Austria, and its total loss of seats in Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia leaves the EFA without representatives from 12 of the 28 member states of the EU. Far from reflecting voters concerns from ‘right across Europe’, then, the EFA’s truly remarkable successes in Germany (an increase of nine seats), France (an increase of six seats) and the UK (an increase of five seats) actually reflect a marked geographic split on climate issues within the EU. It seems environmentalism is a north-west European preoccupation.

What’s more, there are deep divisions within these more green nations. This is summed up by one of the slogans of the gilets jaunes, who have been protesting against French president Emmanuel Macron and his burdensome green taxes for six months now: ‘The government talks about the end of the world – we are worried about the end of the month.’ Greens tend to be drawn from wealthier constituencies, in which substantial increases in the cost of living, caused by green policies, are yet to dent disposable incomes. Scepticism of economic growth comes very easily to wealthier people.

Similarly, in Germany, the spectacular expense of the country’s ambitious Energiewende project – aimed at transitioning the country to a low-cost, low-carbon energy supply – is matched only by its spectacular failure. More than 340,000 German households are now disconnected from the electricity supply annually as rising prices push families into ‘energy poverty’. Once a pioneer of climate policies, German politicians are now looking to put the brakes on Wende.

In the UK, unlike France, climate policy has had little to do with our own deepening political crisis. But the indifference that mainstream politicians show to rising energy costs probably hasn’t helped. Regardless, the longstanding cross-party consensus on climate change looks set to persist. Recently, MPs stated their intention to make the UK a ‘net-zero carbon’ economy by 2050. The only opposition to this came from greens, who characteristically said it did not go far enough.

Green MEP Molly Scott Cato backed the Extinction Rebellion protest movement at the end of last year. She argued that direct action was now needed because a ‘powerful alliance of wealthy individuals and multinational corporations, backed by complicit politicians, has subverted the political process and blocked action’. But climate-change orthodoxy has held sway over UK politics for years, with each party claiming that their rivals do not go far enough, thereby depriving voters of a meaningful choice on climate issues. In this sense, hardline greens, despite claiming to rage against the establishment, are just the sharp end of establishment politics.

Where more radical green policies have failed to get off the ground, it is because they have collided with political reality. No doubt Extinction Rebellion protesters and unhinged Green MEPs are sincere in their convictions, but they have failed to convince everyone else. Eliminating CO2 emissions by 2025 – as greens demand – would require a transformation of the economy and people’s lifestyles so radical it is inconceivable that it could be achieved without guns and tanks on Britain’s streets. The backlash would be cataclysmic. Greens fail to acknowledge how unpopular eco-austerity is, but the mainstream is being made to take notice.

This isn’t just happening in Europe. Across the world, it appears that extreme green policies simply cannot survive contact with democracy. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s much-hyped ‘Green New Deal’ is not popular with most US voters. In Australia, the Labor Party just fought and lost a General Election on the issue of climate change. Canada looks set to throw out prime minister Justin Traudeau and his green agenda at its General Election in October.

None of this is to say that climate change is off the agenda. Politicians across the West still seem keen on pursuing a form of eco-austerity. But national governments, hit by crises of legitimacy, are at least being made to think twice. The pursuit of environmentalist policies has always been done via supranational institutions beyond democratic control. But now those policies and those institutions are being called into question. They have placed burdens on ordinary people, and environmentalism has started to become a political liability in certain places.

As a result, the green vote seems to have decoupled from the mainstream. As political leaders have had to deal more and more with the protests of agitated voters, greens have become increasingly frustrated and extreme. Mainstream EU politics cannot sustain the demands of the greens if it is to head off assaults from increasingly Eurosceptic nationalist movements. Political leaders must bring the business of politics back to the needs and wants of ordinary people, not the lofty utopian notions of environmentalists.


Tesla’s horror year continues as another car mysteriously catches fire< /b>

Tesla’s horror year has gone from bad to worse with images of another one of its electric cars charred following a fire — this time while apparently plugged in to one of the electric car maker’s own high-powered charging stations in Belgium.

Belgian media have published images and are reported on the latest fire involving a Model S, one that required a 24-hour water bath to tame the heat and ensure no flare-ups from the potent lithium-ion battery packs.

The fire reportedly happened in Antwerp on Saturday night, resulting in a severely damaged car and a Supercharger station that was partially melted.

It is the latest high profile fire involving Tesla, which has previously argued its cars are less likely than petrol-fuelled vehicles to catch fire.

The Belgium Tesla fire comes as the company’s shares slumped to a two-and-a-half-year low, the dropping market capitalisation slashing billions off boss Elon Musk’s personal wealth.

Tesla’s share price is less than half the US$420 Elon Musk tweeted the company could be taken over at in August 2018, a tweet that led to a US$20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission, which deemed his statement was “false and misleading”.

There has been a number of unexplained Tesla fires.
There has been a number of unexplained Tesla fires.Source:Supplied

It continues a long-running stock market trend of the electric car maker dropping in value, with repeated massive losses — and subsequent capital raising exercises — taking their toll on investor confidence.

Tesla has also come under fire for its ambitious autonomous vehicle claims and a questionable business model that many investors are now feeling nervous about.

While some analysts still have strong buy recommendations on Tesla stock, more are running for the exit doors, suggesting owners sell up, presumably before things get worse.


In the war on waste, could the hanky be making a comeback?

As a long-term handkerchief user, I rather warm to this idea

In the year 2019, nothing puts one at risk of an audible "tut tut" quite like the public presentation of a single-use product.

Whether it's the rustle of a thin plastic bag on the street ("Do they buy their asparagus at some sort of back alley supermarket?"), to the guilty possession of a disposable coffee cup ("Why haven't they brought a keep cup? Or fashioned a mug out of their bare hands?"), there is a uniquely modern tinge of shame – call it Reucassel Regret – that now comes with failing to make a sustainable choice.

Jokes aside, moving towards reusable items is, of course, good for the planet. So, one can hardly begrudge the early flickers of a trend that is sure to make your gran quite happy: the resurgence of the handkerchief.

As cold and flu season hits, more people seem to be carrying hankies. Before you ask: No, I have no data to back this up. I haven't been papping snotty-nosed strangers in cafes, or polling people in doctors' waiting rooms. But, I am just saying that it seems like hankies are happening. They are around. People are using them.

And, those people are onto something. Used tissues are not recyclable, and facial tissues made out of recycled materials are pretty rare because it can be difficult to make them soft enough (unlike toilet paper and paper towel, of which there are recycled varieties a plenty). It has been estimated that Australians use 273,000 tonnes of tissue product (including toilet paper) each year.

    Hanky use is a natural progression from other 'cool' sustainability movements which require a committed laundry schedule.

While there are some more sustainable options out there – cheeky toilet paper subscription service Who Gives a Crap sells "forest-friendly" tissues made from bamboo, and (if you were feeling particularly diligent) you could also compost your old snotty nose napkins – the reality is that most tissues end up in landfill, where they will take an extremely long time to biodegrade because of the additives used to make them stronger. Hence, hankies.

But will this cool behaviour actually just leave you with a cold? With nine million cases of the cold and flu in Australia each year, you have to wonder if hankies are as hygienic as tissues.

Dr Kirsty Short, influenza virologist at the University of Queensland, says she is not aware of any research directly comparing the germiness of tissues and handkerchiefs, but warns the influenza virus can survive on both for 12 hours.

"Probably the most important thing is washing your hands after using a tissue or hanky to ensure you don't spread the virus to other surfaces," she says, adding that, once transferred onto a plastic surface, for example, the virus can survive for up to 48 hours.

Dr Harry Nespolon, president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, says he has not personally noticed any uptake in handkerchief use among his patients. He would generally recommend people with a cold or flu use tissues.

"There's no doubt tissues are the preferred way to go because you do dispose of them after you use them," he says. "But there's a question about disposing of them properly; just leaving them on a table or desk is not the right way to dispose of them, putting them in the bin is the right thing to do."

However, Dr Nespolon says the main issue for the spread of bugs is what happens after you blow your nose, adding there is no reason why rubbing a used hanky rather than a fresh tissue on the nose would prolong an infection.

To reduce the chance of giving your cold to someone else, Dr Nespolon recommends measures such as washing your hands after you've blown your nose (ideally with disinfectant), covering your mouth when you cough, staying away from work when you're sick, and not keeping used tissues or hankies in a pocket with other items, like your mobile phone.



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