hcubed's WunderBlog

Hours to go before millions die...

By: hcubed, 10:26 PM GMT on December 31, 2011

Over 4.5 Billion people could die from Global Warming-related causes by 2012

Yep, you read it right.

According to this article (dated Dec 31, 2011), 4.5 billion people have only hours to live - and Global Warming is responsible.

"...Runaway Global Warming promises to literally burn-up agricultural areas into dust worldwide by 2012, causing global famine, anarchy, diseases, and war on a global scale as military powers including the U.S., Russia, and China, fight for control of the Earth's remaining resources.

Over 4.5 billion people could die from Global Warming related causes by 2012, as planet Earth accelarates into a greed-driven horrific catastrophe..."

And it's only gonna get worse - much worse...

Hey, I'm only posting the kinds of articles that the majority of the posters here want to see - doom and gloom caused by man.

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Too early to say if tornados getting worse due to climate change.

By: hcubed, 8:21 PM GMT on December 29, 2011

According to some, it's too early to tell if there's a connection between climate change and tornado's.

PBS Newshour

TRANSCRIPT:

JEFFREY BROWN: The storm in Joplin was preceded by a series of tornadoes this spring that has brought devastation to the South and Midwest. All together, it’s been the deadliest season since 1950, with more than 520 people killed so far.

All of this has led to many questions about what’s behind this — what is happening this year.

Judy Woodruff explores the science.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, how unusual are the tornadoes and other weather we have been seeing in the U.S. this spring, and what might explain it?

For that, we turn to two weather specialists. Jeff Masters is co-founder and director of meteorology of the Weather Underground, a weather-tracking website. Katharine Hayhoe is a professor and climate scientist at Texas Tech University. She was a member of the review team that studied the work of the U.N. Panel on Climate Change.

And we thank you both for being with us.

Jeff Masters, let me begin with you.

You have been studying meteorology for over 30 years. Just how much more severe are the storms, the tornadoes, we have been seeing this year than in the past?

JEFF MASTERS, Weather Underground: We have never seen a year like this before.

It started off in mid-April, on the 14th. We had a swarm of tornadoes hit the South and then the Southeast. Over a three-day period, we had 162 tornadoes. And that was an all-time record for most tornadoes in a tornado outbreak. We have only ever seen one outbreak similar. Back in 1974, we had 148 tornadoes in one outbreak.

So, that outbreak was followed just two weeks later by the most incredible outbreak we have ever seen: 362 tornadoes in a four-day span, including the Tuscaloosa-Birmingham tornado, which was probably the most damaging tornado of all time — so, more than double the previous record, which was set just two weeks before that.

And on top of this, these storms dump tremendous amounts of rainfall, the heaviest rains ever recorded in April over the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, which helped contribute to the Mississippi River floods we’re seeing.

And then, after those two outbreaks…

I’m sorry. Go ahead, Judy.

JUDY WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, you said there’s been a string of these severe incidents, the death toll higher than it’s been in a very long time.

Is there a consensus among meteorologists about why this is happening?

JEFF MASTERS: As far as the death toll goes, we just got unlucky. We do see incredibly violent tornadoes fairly regularly. Every few years, we see an EF-5 tornado with 200-mile-an-hour winds. But if one of those storms happens to track over a populated area, then we see some of these incredible death tolls.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Katharine Hayhoe, let me bring you in here.

There’s been a lot of question about — questioning about whether the severe weather, these records that are set have a connection to climate change. How do you see that, as somebody who had studied climate change?

KATHARINE HAYHOE, Texas Tech University: Whenever we see a season like we’re having right now, it’s a natural part of being human to say, is there a pattern to it?

And so, of course, that’s what we’re asking right now: Is there a pattern to all of the weird weather that we have been seeing this spring? Unfortunately, at least for those of us who want a pattern immediately, we can’t tie any one event or even one season to climate change.

Climate is the average statistics of weather over at least 30 years. But what we can do is, we can add this season to the books, and we can start looking at whether we see any trends in heavy rainfall events, in droughts and in tornadoes.

When we do that, we do see trends in some things. We see trends in heat wave frequency and severity in many places around the world. We also see increases in heavy rainfall events across the entire U.S., especially in the Midwest and the Northeast.

But when we look at the tornado record, we don’t see any conclusive trends in tornado numbers or severity yet. So, we don’t know if, as Jeff said himself, if this is a fluke this year or if it’s the beginning of a new trend. It’s too early to say.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Jeff Masters, what about that possible connection to climate change? Is it too early to say?

JEFF MASTERS: Well, absolutely.

And we have a problem with the tornado record. It’s very hard to measure tornadoes. We can’t put wind measurement instruments into them. So we have to indirectly infer their strength by if they happen to hit a building and knock it down. Then you can say, well, this tornado probably had 200-mile-an-hour winds — so, very tough to measure and very tough to figure out if tornadoes are changing with time. And our measurements only go back about 60 years, which really isn’t long enough to see if there’s a climate trend or not.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Katharine Hayhoe, what about all the flooding we have seen in the Midwest, the South, the Mississippi River, and that entire basin? A connection there? Questions are also being raised about that, you know, the warm air, excess moisture. Possible connection to climate change or not?

KATHARINE HAYHOE: Again, we can’t tell what’s happening in the Mississippi Basin specifically to climate change.

One event or one region is not enough.
But we can look around the whole U.S., and we can look around the whole world. And when we do that we see that we have experienced a significant increase in heavy rainfall events that often do lead to flooding.

This is happening not just here in the U.S., but around the world. Not only that, but that increase has been connected, quite definitely, to climate change. In other words, we wouldn’t be seeing an increase as big as we have over the last 50, 100 years if it wasn’t for climate change.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So, draw that line for us. What is the connection?

KATHARINE HAYHOE: As it gets warmer, the air can hold more water vapor. So whenever a storm comes through, there’s more water available to that storm, whether it’s rainfall in the summer or even snowfall in the winter.

We’re also seeing shifts in our weather patterns and circulation patterns. So, some places that are already quite dry are getting dryer. Other places that are already quite wet are getting wetter. And some places can even experience increases in heavy rainfall events and droughts at the same time, because if a lot of the water vapor comes down in a few storms then you have a longer dry period in between before you get the next one.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Jeff Masters, as somebody, again, who watches this closely, what would you add to that? And what are you most curious about as you look at these patterns of severe storms and unusually heavy flooding?

JEFF MASTERS: The thing to think about with flooding is that, yes precipitation has increased by 5 percent or more over the last 50 years in the U.S., but flood heights are getting higher not just because of higher precipitation. They’re also getting higher because of human-caused changes to floodplains.

We’re draining more floodplains. We’re putting more water behind levees. We’re engineering the levee systems so that we can improve navigation. But those little improvements we do cause the flood heights to go even higher.

So, we need to give the rivers room to expand. We need to have more of these safeguards where you can let the river out through some of these spillways, like we have had to do this year. That was a very smart idea, to open these three spillways that helped the Mississippi go out and not be such at high flood levels.

So, we need to give the river more room. We have got to stop developing our floodplains and putting people in harm’s way.


JUDY WOODRUFF: And on that note, we thank you both, Jeff Masters and Katharine Hayhoe.

We appreciate it.

JEFF MASTERS: You’re welcome.

KATHARINE HAYHOE: Thank you, Judy.

———————

So, again, thanks to Dr Masters for stating that there's just not enough information to tie the current outbreak in tornadoes and flooding to just Catastrophic Man-Made Climate Disruption (formerly known as Global Warming).

As man spreads out, as man tries to control natural paths, man gets in the way of natures path.

People want to see trends, and forget the past. Those who see the severe weather now, forget the severe outbreaks in the past. They want to blame CO2 for the current disasters, and forget the past disasters (when CO2 was lower).

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The newest 'here's how bad it is, send us money' website.

By: hcubed, 3:40 AM GMT on December 28, 2011

This one is from the official-sounding National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and their website here:

NRDC "extreme weather" map

To start, they say "...Climate change increases the risk of record-breaking extreme weather events that threaten communities across the country. In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken by extreme events that struck communities in the US..."

Starting with their numbers, let's go to one source, the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC, website here: NCDC extremes/records).

Looking at their totals give us this:

1. hi max 1160
2. hi min 1860
3. lo max 470
4. lo min 370
5. precip 1338
6. snow 722

Using a calculator shows that according to the NCDC, there were a total of 5920 records set in 2011. So far, it appears, the National Resources Defense Council is right - there were AT LEAST 2,941 records set. They were only off by 2979 (more than half).

Of course, they're only showing, according to them "...Check out the interactive map below to find out what events hit your area from January to October 2011..."

Maybe some of those missing 2979 records were for November and December.

Exactly what site did they use, or what criteria was used to consider "extreme"?

On their website, they have a little information bubble by their "record temperature" setting. It says:

"Record temperature" means monthly highest maximum temperature or monthly highest minimum temperature values exceeded the previous records set, at one or more stations within the county shown".

Ok, that means they only used two of the four TEMP categories (hi max and hi min). They ignored the lo max and low min records, taking off a total of 840 records from their listings. Only high temps can be considered extreme.

Yet, their website goes into detail about what can be considered extreme:

"..."Record-breaking" was defined as exceeding the monthly maximum for each event type over the past 30 years..."

Well, that would clear out a lot of records. They only looked at the past 30 years, and only called it record-breaking if it exceeds the MAXIMUM - not if it exceeds a MINIMUM.

"...We included two different types of weather event information to build the "Extreme Weather Map 2011": (1) specific record-breaking weather events linked to a meteorological station location (i.e., point events with latitude and longitude);..."

Had to have come from the official weather site. If some place in the center of town got 10 inches of rain, but the official weather station at an airport outside of town, or if the official weather station is on higher ground and recorded less than 10 inches, then the station record stands.

This also probably cleared out a few "extreme" events.

"...and (2) record-breaking events that covered larger, multi-state areas and that were notable for their large geographic extent, unusual intensity, or that generated significant damage costs that have already been estimated at over $1 billion..."

Here's where we see some breakdown.

Let's find an event that applies to this criteria, yet not recorded by them as "extreme" such as these:

For example, the January 21st 2011 record cold event in Minnesota and Wisconsin, caused these records:

"...The lowest temperatures recorded in the NWS Duluth county warning area were -46 degrees at both International Falls, MN (ASOS) and Babbitt, MN (CO-OP).

The -46 degree low was tied for the 5th lowest on record at International Falls. Temperature records date back to 1897. The record is -55 degrees which was recorded on January 6, 1909.

The -46 degree low was tied for the lowest on record at the International Falls Airport. The official observing station was moved to the airport in 1939. This is tied with the -46 degree reading from January 6, 1968.

The -25 degree low at Duluth is tied for the 5th lowest minimum temperature in the last decade (since 2000). The lowest minimum temperature of the 2000s thus far has been -30 on January 29, 2004.

The state record low temperature in Minnesota was recorded at Tower, Minnesota on February 2, 1996. The low was -60 degrees. That was also the coldest temperature ever recorded east of the Mississippi River.

The state record low temperature in Wisconsin was recorded at Couderay on February 2nd and February 4th of 1996. The temperatures dipped down to -55 degrees both nights..."

According to a little side column, they mention that Minnsota has experienced so far in 2011:

Record-breaking heat in 13 counties and a total of 16 broken heat records
Record-breaking rainfall in 19 counties and a total of 31 broken rainfall records
Record-breaking snow in 16 counties and a total of 21 broken snowfall records.

No mention of the record cold.

And for Wisconsin:

Wisconsin has experienced so far in 2011:

Record-breaking heat in 10 counties and a total of 17 broken heat records
Record-breaking rainfall in 15 counties and a total of 19 broken rainfall records
Record-breaking snow in 23 counties and a total of 32 broken snowfall records

No mention of record cold. Maybe they missed that one.

Or this one (from Reuters):

Record low temperatures in Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas

"...CHICAGO | Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:45pm EST

(Reuters) - Oklahoma recorded its coldest temperature in state history on Thursday morning and records fell in cities in Missouri and Texas as a deep freeze gripped most of the nation.

Nowata, Oklahoma in the northeast part of the state recorded 31 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. The previous lowest temperature in state history in Oklahoma was 27 degrees below zero in 1930 and 1905, said Gary McManus, associate state climatologist with the Oklahoma Climatological Survey.

The cold came on top of two major snow falls, one Tuesday night, which brought up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the state, and one during last week's blizzard, which brought 8 to 20 inches.

"We just had a very cold arctic air mass and a heavy snow pack and that allowed the temperatures to plummet when the wind died down," said McManus. "We got much colder temperatures than anyone thought would occur."

Cold temperature records which have stood for nearly 80 years also fell across the Plains Thursday morning, including Springfield, Missouri and Corpus Christi, Texas, according to weather.com.

But states hit by the cold are expecting a thaw soon. McManus said temperatures in Oklahoma should rise to the 60s over the weekend and the 70s next week.

In the Midwest, Grand Forks, North Dakota will see a rise from 4 degrees Thursday to 20 degrees Friday, while Milwaukee will see a rise over the same period from 12 degrees to 26 degrees, said National Weather Service spokesman Pat Slattery.

There could be some light lake effect snow in the Great Lakes area, with a few spots in northern and western Michigan getting up to six inches, Slattery said.

The South is coping with an unusual cover of snow and cold, as up to two inches of snow fell in eastern North Carolina, central South Carolina and east-central Georgia Thursday morning, according to weather.com.

Nashville-area highways were still clogged Thursday with abandoned vehicles, after a snowy commute Wednesday night that took some commuters up to six hours.

The majority of the Northeast is experiencing dry and cold weather, with highs ranging from the 10s and lower 20s in northern New England, upstate New York and western Pennsylvania, according to weather.com. A band of cold air blowing across Lake Ontario could produce snow across western New York, the web site said..."

Seems to fall under the "record-breaking events that covered larger, multi-state areas and that were notable for their large geographic extent".

Did they catch that event?

Look at that side column again, for Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas.

Nothing listed.

As a matter of fact, out of that column, showing extreme weather records set state-by-state, not a single low temp record is listed. NONE!

One more (that hopefully, they'll add when they get the Nov records added) - Alaska’s record breaking event, -40F record cold (story from the Washington Post):

"...Record smashing cold in interior Alaska, Fairbanks
By Jason Samenow

A frigid Arctic air mass, unusual even by Alaska standards, is dropping the mercury in the state’s interior to unheard of levels in mid-November. Stunningly low temperatures in the -35 to -50 range have gripped the region since Tuesday. These temperatures are some 25 to 40 degrees colder than average..."

Extreme, isn't it?

"...This morning, Fairbanks airport dropped to 40 below zero, breaking the old record of 39 below. That’s after setting a record low of 35 below Tuesday morning, breaking the old record of 33 below from 1956. Wednesday’s low of -39 just missed 1969’s record of -41.

Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks dropped to an incredible 42 below Wednesday morning, shattering the old record of 37 below set in 1956. This morning, it dropped to 42 below again, setting another new record low. The average low is -7.

A diifficult to imagine -49 degree reading was measured unofficially at UAF Smith Lake Wednesday, and, according to the National Weather Service (NWS), infrared satellite imagery sensed 50 below readings in the coldest valley locations.

As cold as low temperatures have been, high temperatures haven’t been much warmer. Fairbanks only gets about six hours of daylight this time of year, limiting the opportunity for the sun to moderate temperatures in the aptly named “Land of the Midnight Sun”. Yesterday’s high at the airport was just -28 compared to an average high of 10..."

Ok, so it wasn't multi-state, but it was of "unusual intensity".

Their report says more, I'll cover that later...

Updated: 3:13 AM GMT on December 29, 2011

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Where's global warming when you really need it?

By: hcubed, 11:18 PM GMT on December 26, 2011

Global warming, according to experts, is supposed to be causing massive ice melt-off in Antarctica. So it comes as a surprise that too much ice is a problem.

December 26th, 2011 09:35 AM ET

"...A research ship has arrived to help rescue a Russian fishing vessel that struck ice and became stuck in the frozen waters off of Antarctica 10 days ago, officials in New Zealand said.

The Sparta hit underwater ice December 16, leaving a one-foot hole in the ship's hull, according to the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center.

The ship has been stranded in an area about 2,000 miles from New Zealand, where the ice has been so thick that rescue ships have had difficulty getting close.

Since becoming stuck, 32 crew members have been working with rescuers to try to patch up the hole to keep the ship from sinking. They had been given tools dropped by a New Zealand Air Force plane, helping them pump out freezing water that was rushing into the ship.

But it has been difficult for the crew to both patch up the hole and pump out water, an official said.

"They are having difficulty in trying to fix a patch to the damaged part of the hull because they need to stop one of the pumps to do this, and then the water level creeps up again," Search and Rescue Mission Coordinator Neville Blakemore told the New Zealand Herald.

The research vessel Araon is beginning to pump fuel into the damaged ship in hopes of lifting the bow out of the water enough to expose the damaged area of the hull, search and rescue mission coordinator Mike Roberts said.

Once the ship's hull is out of the water, officials hope that they can weld metal plates to both the inside and outside of the damaged area.

"If successful, the repair is expected to render Sparta seaworthy and able to be escorted by Araon out of the sea ice to open water," the New Zealand Rescue Coordination Center said..."

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More loss from the solar field.

By: hcubed, 12:47 AM GMT on December 22, 2011

BP Solar Business Exit Counters Trend by Google, Buffett

By Marc Roca and Ehren Goossens - Dec 21, 2011 6:34 AM CT

BP to Exit Solar Business After 40 Years on Profit Outlook

BP Plc , Europe’s second-largest oil company will shut its solar power unit and quit the business after 40 years because it’s become unprofitable.

BP Plc is exiting the solar business after 40 years, countering a trend led by Google Inc., Warren Buffett and Total SA of investing in the industry just as competition drives down the cost of sun-based power.

Europe’s second-largest oil company will wind down the unit over several months because it has become unprofitable, BP Solar Chief Executive Officer Mike Petrucci told staff in an internal letter last week. About 100 employees will be affected.

BP Solar is withdrawing from an industry that’s facing oversupply and price pressures after Chinese competitors increased production. Total, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, Buffett and Google have entered the industry with investments over the last six months to take advantage of attractive tax breaks, declining costs and a source of power hedged against high fossil-fuel prices.

BP’s move is an anomaly with more companies trying to get involved than are getting out, said Paul Leming, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities LLC analyst in New York.

“Two of the biggest oil companies have taken the opposite approaches,” Leming said in a phone interview. “The move toward alternative energy continues to be a well-recognized megatrend.”

BP’s solar equipment venture in India with Tata Power Co. is conducting “business as usual,” K. Subramanya, chief executive of Tata BP Solar India Ltd., said today by phone. BP owns 51 percent of India’s third-biggest cell and panel maker. Tata Power, the utility arm of the industrial company that owns Corus Group and Jaguar Land Rover, declined to comment.

“I can’t speak on behalf of my shareholders,” Subramanya said from Bangalore. “All I can say is we continue to conduct our business capably and actively.”

BP, an early entrant into the business, found it difficult compete against newer rivals, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a note to clients today.

“Manufacturing is looking pretty dire for everyone, and BP was outpaced by faster moving pure-plays years ago,” the London-based researcher said. While its move to diversify from manufacturing into building plants was more successful, “BP had no obvious competitive advantage apart from access to finance,” it said.

Panel prices plunged 48 percent this year, helping tip three U.S. makers including Solyndra LLC into bankruptcy. Solon SE, Germany’s first listed solar company, filed for insolvency last week.

“The continuing global economic challenges have significantly impacted the solar industry, making it difficult to sustain long-term returns for the company,” Petrucci said in the letter to staff.

BP Solar stopped most of its manufacturing in early 2009, closing several factories in Spain and shedding 480 jobs after the Spanish market froze, triggering the solar industry’s first period of strong oversupply. Tata BP’s Subramanya declined to say at what capacity the India plants are producing equipment.

In July, BP Solar decided to quit manufacturing entirely and focus on developing large projects. It no longer has manufacturing plants, Robert Wine, a spokesman for the London- based parent, said today by phone.

BP Solar plans to sell its stakes in the more than 158 megawatts of projects it’s developed with local partners in countries including Italy, Spain, Germany, Britain and the U.S. The decision will not affect BP’s other renewable energy units, which include wind power and biofuels, Wine said.
SunPower, Buffett

Paris-based Total bought a 60 percent stake in SunPower Corp., which makes panels, in April as high natural-gas prices in Europe and increasing concerns about nuclear power sparked interest in clean energy.

Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings agreed this month to buy a $2 billion solar project under development in California and a 49 percent stake in a $1.8 billion plant in Arizona. Generous solar tax credits valid to 2015 may have lured the billionaire investor, who already owns wind farms, into his first solar foray, Gerard Reid, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd., said on Dec. 7.

Google announced an agreement yesterday with the private equity firm KKR & Co. to invest in four California solar plants, bringing the owner of the most popular Internet search engine’s total investment in clean-energy projects to $915 million, according to a statement.

Global investment in renewable energy was $195 billion in 2010 and is expected to more than double to $395 billion in 2020, according to BNEF.

To contact the reporters on this story: Marc Roca in London at mroca6@bloomberg.net; Ehren Goossens in New York at egoossens1@bloomberg.net

*** Something not mentioned is a link between Tata BP Solar India Ltd and the current IPCC chief, Dr. Pachauri (PhD In Industrial Engineering and PhD in Economics), the UN’s “top climate scientist”:

"...In 1974, the Tata Group provided the financial resources to found the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI), a policy organization headquartered in New Delhi, India, of which Pachauri has been chairman since the group was formed.

Continued business ties between TERI and Tata are demonstrated by a press announcement on the TERI website dated Feb. 4 in which Jairam Ramesh, the Indian minister of state for commerce and industry as well as minister of state for power, announced a joint venture with TERI and Tata power to extract and use carbon dioxide for the propagation of microalgae..."

U.N. climate chief cashes in on carbon

So, TATA makes money, and provides more funding for TERI, and Pachauri as Director-General gets a share.

Just in case you're not believing that Pachauri is linked, it's shown here:

TERI Staff

And, according to some, "...And you can stop with the tired conspiracy of climate scientists chasing money. If climate scientists really wanted big bucks they'd leave university/publicly funded positions and go work in the fossil fuel industry. You don't get rich by being a climate researcher..."

Sounds like Dr. Pachauri (PhD In Industrial Engineering and PhD in Economics), the UN’s “top climate scientist” has learned just where the money comes from.

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Peer-reviewed paper: prepare for the cold.

By: hcubed, 1:41 PM GMT on December 16, 2011

According to a new peer-reviewed paper, three scientists are using solar cycle length to predict climate.

Solar activity and Svalbard temperatures

Abstract:

"...The long temperature series at Svalbard (Longyearbyen) show large variations, and a positive trend since its start in 1912. During this period solar activity has increased, as indicated by shorter solar cycles. The temperature at Svalbard is negatively correlated with the length of the solar cycle. The strongest negative correlation is found with lags 10-12 years.

The relations between the length of a solar cycle and the mean temperature in the following cycle, is used to model Svalbard annual mean temperature, and seasonal temperature variations. Residuals from the annual and winter models show no autocorrelations on the 5 per cent level, which indicates that no additional parameters are needed to explain the temperature variations with 95 per cent significance. These models show that 60 per cent of the annual and winter temperature variations are explained by solar activity. For the spring, summer and fall temperatures autocorrelations in the residuals exists, and additional variables may contribute to the variations.

These models can be applied as forecasting models. We predict an annual mean temperature decrease for Svalbard of 3.5C from solar cycle 23 to solar cycle 24 (2009-20) and a decrease in the winter temperature of approx 6C..."

Wait - did I read that right? A decrease in winter temps of 6 degrees C?

We're talking Ice Age Temps - within the next 9 years.

Of course, after the scientists have been scrutinized, and the journal has been checked, and the "it's not the sun" crowd joins in, or the funding is checked to find some small tie-in to Big Oil, maybe the data can be looked at to see if it is a valid study.

I mean, after all, we've been told that the evil CO2 is overriding the natural variations, and we're going to be burning up by the year 2100.

Well, now we can see if CAGW and GHG really can override natural variation.

Either way, it's gonna get worse - much worse...

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Another "green" company is circling the drain...

By: hcubed, 4:58 PM GMT on December 14, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Shares in solar power company First Solar fell over 20% in early trading Wednesday after the firm lowered its sales forecast for 2011.

The Arizona based company, which is a leading maker of thin-film solar panels and also a developer of solar power projects, predicted net sales in 2011 of $2.8 to $2.9 billion. That's down from earlier projections of $3.0 to $3.3 billion.

The company said the lower sales were due to delays in its projects caused by weather and "other factors," but predicted a healthy 2012.

"Our diverse business model and robust project pipeline will help First Solar generate a significant amount of cash in 2012 while improving operational efficiencies," Mike Ahearn, Chairman and Interim CEO of First Solar, said in a statement Wednesday.

Solar power bankruptcies loom as prices collapse
The company, which has been steadily growing in profitability since 2007, is expecting its earnings per share to range between $3.75 and $4.25 in 20102 [sic].

Thin film solar panels are less efficient than traditional silicon-based solar panels but have historically been cheaper to produce.

Like all solar panel makers, shares in First Solar have been battered this year as a huge oversupply and slack demand caused the price of silicon solar panels to plummet. First Solar shares are down over 70% since January.

Dozens of solar panel makers are expected to go bankrupt this year as the depressed prices prune weaker companies from the market.

The most visible victim of the price collapse so far has been Solyndra, a maker of advanced but pricey solar panels that went bankrupt after receiving a half-billion dollar loan backed by the U.S. government.

First Solar does not have any government-backed loans.

*** Well, that's something good to hear. I guess nobody there donated to any political party. Or donated to the wrong party...***

Jesse Pichel, an analyst at the investment bank Jefferies & Co., maintained a hold rating on First Solar stock earlier this week even in anticipatiinon of the lowered sales figures.

Still, Pichel said the company has to work on lowering costs.

"First Solar has projects which are profitable and is not a bankruptcy risk near term in our view," he said. "But the future of the company will be determined by its ability to lower module costs and increase efficiency."

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New extreme weather record set, expected to increase

By: hcubed, 1:35 PM GMT on December 06, 2011

As of December 6, 2011 it will have been 2,234 days since Hurricane Wilma made landfall along the Gulf coast as a category 3 storm back in 2005. That number of days broke the existing record of days between major US hurricane landfalls, which previously was between 8 Sept 1900 (the great Galveston Hurricane) and 19 Oct 1906. Since there won’t be any intense hurricanes before next summer, the record will be shattered, with the days between intense hurricane landfalls likely to exceed 2,500 days.

So another unprecedented weather extreme event record is set, breaking one set in the early 1900's.

And it's only gonna get worse...

According to the Oscar-award winning documentary created by the eminent expert, Al Gore:

"...Scientists have been using evermore accurate computer models that long ago predicted a much higher range of ocean temperatures as a result of man-made global warming. The actual ocean temperatures are completely consistent with what has been predicted, and they're way above the range of natural variability.

As the oceans get warmer, storms get stronger. In 2004, Florida was hit by 4 unusually powerful hurricanes. That same year, Japan set an all-time record for typhoons. The previous record was 7. In 2004, 10 typhoons hit Japan.

The emerging consensus links global warming to increasingly destructive power of hurricanes, increasing the strength of the average hurricane a full half-step on the well-known 5-step scale. As water temperatures go up, wind velocity goes up. One major study came out less than a month before Hurricane Katrina hit.

When Katrina first hit, it was only a category 1 storm. Then, it passed over the unusually warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico [and became category 5].

Source: An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore, p. 78-94 May 26, 2006..."

Or, again here:

"...Published on Monday, September 12, 2005 by CommonDreams.org

On Katrina, Global Warming; Speech given by Al Gore

Here's what I think we here understand about Hurricane Katrina and global warming. Yes, it is true that no single hurricane can be blamed on global warming. Hurricanes have come for a long time, and will continue to come in the future. Yes, it is true that the science does not definitively tell us that global warming increases the frequency of hurricanes - because yes, it is true there is a multi-decadal cycle, twenty to forty years that profoundly affects the number of hurricanes that come in any single hurricane season. But it is also true that the science is extremely clear now, that warmer oceans make the average hurricane stronger, not only makes the winds stronger, but dramatically increases the moisture from the oceans evaporating into the storm - thus magnifying its destructive power - makes the duration, as well as the intensity of the hurricane, stronger..."

So, in all this "warmer, stronger, more frequent, longer duration" discussion, how does this record stand?

How is it possible that one standard, the ACE (Accumulated cyclone energy) number shows something different?

Example 1. When you look at the top 13 seasons in the Pacific (those expressed as above average, with an ACE value above 135 or 117% of the median), only one was in the decade of the 2000's (2006).

The majority was in the 90's (6), with the 80's (4) and the 70's (2) following.

We're supposed to have gotten worse since 2005.

So what about the Atlantic?

Example 2. The top 13 in the Atlantic database are all listed as hyperactive (using a different weighting different weighting algorithm which places more weight on major hurricanes, but typically equating to an ACE of about 153 or 171% of the current median).

Here we see that the 2000's and the 90's are tied with 4 apiece, followed by the 60's with three, and the 50's with two. Considering that this new algorithm was mentioned in a paper from 2001, then the ACE of the 90's, 60's and 50's seasons had to have been calculated using historic data.

So what about the "above active" seasons (again, using the 2001 algorithm)?

Example 3. 14 seasons fell into the above active categories, broken down as follows:

2000's - four.
1950's - four.
1980's - three.
1960's - three.

Again, only three of those seasons wold have used data gathered AFTER that paper in 2001,.

So, if you want to total the above averages, you get:

2000's - eight.
1990's, - four.
1980's - seven.
1970's - two.
1960's - six.
1950's - six.

Next, we'll look at someone else who is calculating ACE.

From Ryan N. Maue, Center for Ocean and Atmosphere Studies, Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA

"...Tropical cyclone accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) has exhibited strikingly large global interannual variability during the past 40-years. In the pentad since 2006, Northern Hemisphere and global tropical cyclone ACE has decreased dramatically to the lowest levels since the late 1970s. Additionally, the global frequency of tropical cyclones has reached a historical low. Here evidence is presented demonstrating that considerable variability in tropical cyclone ACE is associated with the evolution of the character of observed large-scale climate mechanisms including the El Niño Southern Oscillation and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. In contrast to record quiet North Pacific tropical cyclone activity in 2010, the North Atlantic basin remained very active by contributing almost one-third of the overall calendar year global ACE..."

Yes, peer-reviewed: Link

Then again, so was the other paper: Link

Seems there is still some discussion out there...

Updated: 4:22 AM GMT on December 07, 2011

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"More than 100 percent of current warming caused by man"

By: hcubed, 9:12 PM GMT on December 05, 2011

...or so says Dr. Mann. We'll leave his past papers about the "hockey stick" aside, and just center on this statement.

He's modifying the statement made in this paper (Link) which attributes only 75 percent of the current warming to man.

"...Natural climate variability is extremely unlikely to have contributed more than about one-quarter of the temperature rise observed in the past 60 years, reports a pair of Swiss climate modelers in a paper published online December 4. Most of the observed warming—at least 74 percent—is almost certainly due to human activity, they write in Nature Geoscience..."

OK, during the past 60 years, man is "almost certainly" responsible for 74 percent of the warming.

And they didn't say ther was NO variability, but that what variation there was may have caused 26 percent of the warming.

So, in the article, they state that "...Since 1950, the average global surface air temperature has increased by more than 0.5 degree Celsius....", so man is "almost certainly" responsible for .37 degrees Celsius of warming (.061 degrees/decade).

It's nice to see that some scientists are willing to state that there is SOME amount of natural variability involved, while Dr Mann says there's no natural variability involved.

He didn't say that directly, but that's the assumption one can make from his statement - that all .5 degrees of warming or more("more than 100 percent of current warming") is man's fault, and that nature has absolutely no role in any warming in the past 60 years.

A question, then - how much did man contribute to the El Nino of 1998? I believe that was natural...

Well, according to NCDC, natural variations caused those "unprecedented" warm temps in 1998 - "...Global temperatures in 1998 were the warmest in the past 119 years, since reliable instrument records began. The previous record was set in 1997. The global mean temperature in 1998 was 1.20F (0.66C) above the long-term average value of 56.9F (13.8C). This was the 20th consecutive year with an annual global mean surface temperature that exceeded the long-term average. A persistent El Nino in the first half of the year and the unprecedented warmth of the Indian Ocean contributed to this record warm year.

"More than 100 percent of current warming caused by man"? Needs to read the papers, he does...

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US coal-fired power plants showing less pollution

By: hcubed, 10:00 PM GMT on December 03, 2011

Bad news - pollution from US coal-fired power plants is going down.

NASA Satellite Confirms Sharp Decline in Pollution from U.S. Coal Power Plants

"...The scientists, led by an Environment Canada researcher, have shown that sulfur dioxide levels in the vicinity of major coal power plants have fallen by nearly half since 2005. The new findings, the first satellite observations of this type, confirm ground-based measurements of declining sulfur dioxide levels and demonstrate that scientists can potentially measure levels of harmful emissions throughout the world, even in places where ground monitoring is not extensive or does not exist. About two-thirds of sulfur dioxide pollution in American air comes from coal power plants..."

So why is less pollution from coal-fired power plants bad news? Because it takes away one of the arguments that the CAGW people use to try and shut down US coal plants. To them, the US plants are more dangerous than the Chinese ones.

I mean, if we can't believe such top scientists as NASA's James Hansen, who can we believe? Remember his "death trains" remark?

"...“Coal will determine whether we continue to increase climate change or slow the human impact. Increased fossil fuel CO2 in the air today, compared to the pre-industrial atmosphere, is due 50% to coal, 35% to oil and 15% to gas. As oil resources peak, coal will determine future CO2 levels. Recently, after giving a high school commencement talk in my hometown, Denison, Iowa, I drove from Denison to Dunlap, where my parents are buried. For most of 20 miles there were trains parked, engine to caboose, half of the cars being filled with coal. If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains – no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species..."

The trains haven't stopped, yet the pollution levels (in the US) have decreased. Must really hurt that it was NASA that found the evidence.

What drove this change? "...The scientists attribute the decline in sulfur dioxide to the Clean Air Interstate Rule, a rule passed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2005 that called for deep cuts in sulfur dioxide emissions. In response to that rule, many power plants in the United States have installed desulfurization devices and taken other steps that limit the release of sulfur dioxide. The rule put a cap on emissions, but left it up to power companies to determine how to reduce emissions and allowed companies to trade pollution credits..."

A variation of "cap-and-trade", it appears.

"...The scientists observed major declines in sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia by comparing levels of the pollutant for an average of the period 2005 to 2007 with another average from 2008 to 2010..."

What I'd like to see is the level of emissions from other areas - like China.

"..."Now that we’ve confirmed that the technique works, the next step is to use it for other parts of the world that don’t have ground-based sensors," said Krotkov. "The real beauty of using satellites is that we can apply the same technique to the entire globe in a consistent way." In addition, the team plans to use a similar technique to monitor other important pollutants that coal power plants release, such as nitrogen dioxide, a precursor to ozone..."

Can't wait for that data to confirm what the rest of the world already knows - China's coal-fired power plants are much dirtier that the US plants.

I hear they've got "death trains" over there, too...

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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

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