Archive for the ‘Blog Article’ Category

The Ivanpah Solar Energy Plant

Friday, July 11th, 2014

After attending Heartland’s 9th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, we drove into the Ivanpah solar generating facility near the Mojave Desert in southern California.

Here’s a Google Earth view, with the location I drove to for a couple of photos:

Ivanpah solar generating plant as depicted by Google Earth, and the location where I took photos from.

Ivanpah solar generating plant as depicted by Google Earth, and the location where I took photos from.

With over 170,000 mirror assemblies reflecting sunlight onto 3 steam generating units, the plant is advertised to generate a peak power level of 390 MW.

There were storms in the area, and some of the surrounding land was actually flooded. Only one of the 3 solar arrays was illuminated through a break in the clouds when I was there, seen in this zoom photo:

Northernmost Ivanpah generating tower, surrounded by partly sunlit mirrors.

Northernmost Ivanpah generating tower, surrounded by partly sunlit mirrors.

This wider-angle photo now shows better solar illumination of the far tower, which is accompanied by concentrated sunlight scattered by aerosols in the air around the tower:

Two of the 3 Ivanpah units, with the far unit being illuminated by the sun.

Two of the 3 Ivanpah units, with the far unit being illuminated by the sun.

The facility cost $2.2 billion, and Google was even a partial supporter early in the project. It would be interesting to hear how much energy the facility actually generated after a year of operation.

ICCC9: Familar Faces in Las Vegas

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

The 9th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9), organized by the Heartland Institute, is just getting started in Las Vegas, at the beautiful and sprawling Mandalay Bay hotel, casino, and conference center:

Mandalay Bay Hotel, Casino, and Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Mandalay Bay Hotel, Casino, and Conference Center in Las Vegas.

Follow me…it’s a loooong walk…
ICCC9-follow-me

Roy Spencer, Bill Gray, and Marc Morano

Roy Spencer, Bill Gray, and Marc Morano

Weather Channel co-founders John Coleman and Joe D'Aleo

Weather Channel co-founders John Coleman and Joe D’Aleo

Heartland Institute president Joe Bast opens the conference.

Heartland Institute president Joe Bast opens the conference.

WeatherBell's Joe Bastardi and Cato's Pat Michaels

WeatherBell’s Joe Bastardi and Cato’s Pat Michaels

Austrian rapper Kilez More.

Austrian rapper Kilez More.

The EPA Now Trying to Garnish Citizens’ Wages

Friday, July 4th, 2014

stop-the-EPA
On the day we celebrate our liberties, it is ironic — and troubling — that the EPA is attempting to get the authority to garnish the wages of citizens if they are fined for violating EPA regulations.

As described in this article, just the building of a pond on your property that did not get approval from all of the federal agencies who want to interfere with your personal property rights could lead to the government garnishing your wages. No appeal or due process if you want to challenge the EPA’s decision.

It doesn’t matter if the local wildlife loves your new pond. The government can demand you destroy it…or else.

Happy 4th of July.

Hurricane Arthur: Latest Satellite & Radar

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Refresh the page for the latest:

Latest radar loop:

Our Hurricane Arthur page at Weatherstreet.com.

UAH Global Temperature Update for June, 2014: +0.30 deg. C

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

The Version 5.6 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2014 is +0.30 deg. C, down slightly from May (click for full size version):
UAH_LT_1979_thru_June_2014_v5

The global, hemispheric, and tropical LT anomalies from the 30-year (1981-2010) average for the last 18 months are:

YR MON GLOBAL NH SH TROPICS
2013 1 +0.497 +0.517 +0.478 +0.386
2013 2 +0.203 +0.372 +0.033 +0.195
2013 3 +0.200 +0.333 +0.067 +0.243
2013 4 +0.114 +0.128 +0.101 +0.165
2013 5 +0.082 +0.180 -0.015 +0.112
2013 6 +0.295 +0.335 +0.255 +0.220
2013 7 +0.173 +0.134 +0.211 +0.074
2013 8 +0.158 +0.111 +0.206 +0.009
2013 9 +0.365 +0.339 +0.390 +0.190
2013 10 +0.290 +0.331 +0.249 +0.031
2013 11 +0.193 +0.160 +0.226 +0.020
2013 12 +0.266 +0.272 +0.260 +0.057
2014 1 +0.291 +0.387 +0.194 -0.029
2014 2 +0.170 +0.320 +0.020 -0.103
2014 3 +0.170 +0.338 +0.002 -0.001
2014 4 +0.190 +0.358 +0.022 +0.092
2014 5 +0.327 +0.325 +0.328 +0.175
2014 6 +0.303 +0.315 +0.290 +0.509

The global image for June should be available in the next day or so here.

Popular monthly data files (these might take a few days to update):

uahncdc_lt_5.6.txt (Lower Troposphere)
uahncdc_mt_5.6.txt (Mid-Troposphere)
uahncdc_ls_5.6.txt (Lower Stratosphere)

Lake Superior Water Level Sees Fastest Rise in 98 Years

Monday, June 30th, 2014

As a result of unusually heavy precipitation, the water level in Lake Superior has increased rapidly in the last year, by about 14 inches (based upon 3 month averages). This rate of rise is the fastest 12-month increase ending in April-May-June average levels since 1916, and the 2nd fastest since records began in 1860 (154 years ago). An Excel spreadsheet with the data is here.

Here’s a plot of monthly departures from the long-term average (deseasonalized):

Monthly departures from average of Lake Superior water levels between 1860 and June 2014.

Monthly departures from average of Lake Superior water levels between 1860 and June 2014.

As a result of the high lake levels, water flow out of Superior through the St. Marys river in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, has been increased by increasing the number of gates open.

As discussed by Steve Hayward today, this rise in lake levels was totally unexpected by climate scientists, who have been anticipating declining lake levels in response to global warming-induced drought.

Of course, those scientists will no doubt claim they will eventually be proved correct. Except that climate models they rely upon are notoriously poor at predicting regional changes in climate…even worse than predicting changes in global-average conditions.

Las Vegas Temperatures: The Plot Thickens

Friday, June 27th, 2014

This is my third post on Las Vegas temperatures. Not that I wanted to do 3 posts…but I keep running into “issues” regarding the thermometer data available from NCDC.

In yesterday’s post I thought I was providing the “official” USHCN temperatures for Las Vegas, as downloaded from an NCDC web page.

But there are 2 new problems:

1) that NCDC page seems to be buggy…it gives exactly the same data for maximum, minimum, and average temperatures.

2) Las Vegas is not a USHCN station anyway.

The point of my original post was to examine Las Vegas temperatures as perceived by the public. We all know it’s hot there in July, and as my two previous posts indicated, the McCarran Airport temperatures exhibit a strong urban heat island (UHI) warming signal over time (much more warming at night than during the day). The same is probably true of the North Las Vegas airport, which is where the NWS currently reports temperatures from.

So, if a record high temperature is reported on any given day in Las Vegas, it will likely be for these unadjusted, UHI-influenced temperatures…not from NCDC-adjusted USHCN temperatures (which don’t include these stations anyway).

Since there is a strong UHI warming effect there, such record setting temperatures are pretty meaningless in a climate context. With an increasing UHI effect, we expect the frequency of temperature records broken to increase over time. (Without a spurious UHI warming effect, and no global warming, we would expect the frequency of broken records to decrease over time…with 2 years of data, there’s a 50% chance of breaking a high temperature record, with 3 years, a 33% chance, etc.)

So, the bottom line remains the same. The UHI effect has probably hopelessly corrupted urban stations like Las Vegas (as Anthony Watts also concluded in his post from yesterday). Inferring anything about global warming from new temperature records set at these stations is impossible.

Las Vegas: Poster Child for the Urban Heat Island Effect (updated & corrected)

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

(This post supercedes yesterday’s post, in which I used the unadjusted USHCN temperature data. The conclusion remains the same with the adjusted USHCN data…the official Las Vegas temperature record contains a large urban heat island warming effect which is spurious to the climate signal.)

As many of you are aware, Heartland’s 9th International Conference on Climate Change (aka the “skeptics conference”) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada during July 7-9, 2014.

Anthony Watts has already posted some July temperature statistics for Las Vegas…basically, it’s really hot there in July.

What is notable about the “official” surface temperature record there is the strong urban heat island (UHI) effect which still remains in the USHCN data.

This can been seen from the raw temperature data, which shows that daytime warming has been modest and nighttime warming has been strong (over 3 deg. F since 1973), whereas the official, adjusted USHCN Tmax and Tmin trends are even warmer than the raw temperature trends, even at night, and are equal to each other:

Fig. 1. Las Vegas temperature trends during 1973-2013 (all months) from raw 3-hrly temperatures versus USHCN adjusted temperatures. Shading represent nighttime hours

Fig. 1. Las Vegas temperature trends during 1973-2013 (all months) from raw 3-hrly temperatures versus USHCN adjusted temperatures. Shading represent nighttime hours.

No matter what instrumentation changes occurred in the raw temperature record, there is no way they cause a nighttime bias that large compared to the daytime (speaking as a former certified aviation weather observer). The USHCN plot provided by Anthony shows 10 deg. F (!) of nighttime warming since the late 1930s, which is simply not a credible representation of the non-urban environment.

The most logical explanation for the raw 3-hourly temperature differences between day and night is related to the dramatic growth Las Vegas has experienced in the last 40 years. The number of visitors has skyrocketed from 8 million in 1973 to about 40 million today, a factor of 5 increase. The population has increased by a factor of about 6 or 7.

All of this translates into more waste heat from air conditioning, plus more artificial surfaces which warm faster than natural surfaces. If you doubt this for even the natural desert surrounding Las Vegas, look at the Landsat IR thermal imager data in this report.

During the day, the extra heat can mix convectively through a pretty deep layer of the atmosphere, which limits the daytime warming. But at night, the nocturnal inversion traps heat, magnifying the UHI effect.

If we just focus on the month of July, the results are roughly similar to the full-year results:

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but just for July.

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but just for July.

It appears that the “homogenization” adjustment performed on the USHCN data has inadvertently used the spurious nighttime warming as truth, and made the daytime warming match it. Given what we know about how urban environments retain heat at night, the exact opposite should have happened. In fact, given that there should also be an urban warming signal during the day, it might well be there has been no real climate-related warming in Las Vegas in the last 40 years.

The net result is that the official (adjusted USHCN) Las Vegas warming trends appear to be dominated by local urban heat island effects.

Las Vegas: Poster Child for the Urban Heat Island Effect

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

(This post is being superceded, as John Christy has pointed out I used the unadjusted USHCN data for this.)

As many of you are aware, Heartland’s 9th International Conference on Climate Change (aka the “skeptics conference”) will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada during July 7-9, 2014.

Anthony Watts has already posted some July temperature statistics for Las Vegas…basically, it’s really hot there in July.

What is notable about the “official” surface temperature record there is the strong urban heat island (UHI) effect which still remains in the USHCN data. Daytime warming has been modest, but nighttime warming has been spectacular….10 deg. F or more since the 1940s.

How does something like this spurious warming still remain in the USHCN data? The “homogenization” adjustment procedure that NOAA uses in USHCN apparently does not effectively remove the spurious warming. Anthony has posted extensive evidence regarding this issue in the past.

I examined the raw 3-hourly temperatures (from NOAA Integrated Surface Hourly [ISH] data) collected at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, as well as at Nellis Air Force Base, since 1973. It clearly shows how nighttime temperatures have increased in the last 40 years compared to the daytime temperatures:

Fig. 1. Las Vegas temperature trends 1973-2013 as a function of time of day (dark shading is approx. nighttime hours).

Las Vegas temperature trends 1973-2013 as a function of time of day (dark shading is approx. nighttime hours).

What is rather remarkable, though, is that the USHCN temperature trends for the same period (1973-2013, the red stars), while agreeing with the ISH 3-hourly data for Tmax, are twice as warm as the ISH data for Tmin.

How can this be?? How can the USHCN adjustment procedures actually magnify the nighttime warming, rather than reduce it? I have no explanation for this. (Nellis AFB data are not available in the USHCN data after 1970 for some reason).

If we just focus on the month of July, the results are roughly similar to the full-year results:

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but for the month of July.

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but for the month of July.

Las Vegas has seen dramatic growth over the time period represented above. The number of visitors has skyrocketed from 8 million in 1973 to about 40 million today, a factor of 5 increase. The population has increased by a factor of about 6 or 7.

All of this translates into more waste heat from air conditioning, plus more artificial surfaces which warm faster than natural surfaces. If you doubt this for even the natural desert surrounding Las Vegas, look at the Landsat IR thermal imager data in this report.

During the day, the extra heat can mix convectively through a pretty deep layer of the atmosphere, which limits the daytime warming. But at night, the nocturnal inversion traps heat, magnifying the UHI effect.

The bottom line is that the USHCN data still seems to contain significant UHI effects, which are inflating warming trends, possibly even in the daytime. So, at this point, I don’t think we know if there has been any “global warming” experienced in Las Vegas.

And when it comes to the UHI effect, I doubt that the old adage “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” applies.

Snow Piles Still in Michigan, June 16

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

We visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by boat on June 16, 2014, and there was still unmelted ice and snow piles in the shadows of the rock cliffs, just above the Lake Superior waterline.

This particular pile was about 30-40 feet long and looked to be about 6 feet thick:

Large pile of snow and ice, Pictured Rocks, Michigan, June 16, 2014.

Large pile of snow and ice, Pictured Rocks, Michigan, June 16, 2014.

For those wondering about “Icezilla“, it appears from MODIS satellite imagery to have been beached by strong winds on the southeast shore of Michigan Island, in Michigan’s Apostle Islands in western Lake Superior.