Archive for the ‘Blog Article’ Category

After Hurricane Ian: No Trend in Florida Landfalls, Global Activity Trending Down

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

Hurricane Ian approaches SW Florida on 28 September 2022.

With Hurricane Ian (now a tropical storm) exiting the east coast of Florida, there is no shortage of news reports tying this storm to climate change. Even if those claims actually include data to support their case, those data are usually for cherry-picked regions and time periods. If global warming is causing a change in tropical cyclone activity, it should show up in global statistics.

The latest peer-reviewed study (March 2022, here) of the accumulated wind energy in tropical cyclones since 1990 (when we started have sufficient global data) showed a decrease in hurricane activity. There was an increase in Atlantic activity, but this was matched by an even larger decrease in Pacific activity, due to a shift from El Nino to La Nina conditions during that time.

So, yes, there is climate change involved in the uptick in Atlantic activity in recent decades. But it’s natural.

Looking at just the numbers of global hurricanes since 1980, we see no obvious trends.

Global hurricane activity counts by year during 1980-2021.

Even if we did see an increase, the improvements in global satellite monitoring would be responsible for some of that. It is impossible to talk about meaningful global statistics (especially trends) before the 1980s due to a lack of satellite data. Ships of opportunity are insufficient for trend calculations, especially since ships try to avoid storms, not sample them.

A document-based study of hurricanes impacting the Lesser Antilles since the late 1600s found a downward trend (not statistically significant) in hurricane activity during 1690-2007.

In my 2017 Kindle book Inevitable Disaster: Why Hurricanes Can’t Be Blamed on Global Warming, I looked at major hurricane landfalls in Florida, which showed no trends. With Hurricane Ian and Michael (2018) added to the dataset, there is still no statistically significant trends in either intensity or frequency of landfalling major hurricanes in Florida.

Major hurricane landfalls in Florida over the last 120 years.

Of course hurricane damages have increased dramatically during the same period, but this is due to the explosive growth in coastal infrastructure there. Miami had only 444 residents in 1896, and now the metro area has over 6,000,000 population. As seen in the following plot, Florida population has increased by a factor of over 40 since 1900.

Yearly population of Florida, 1900 through 2021.

Given that hurricanes will always be with us, what is the best defense against them? Wealth. Hurricane Ian came ashore with 150 mph sustained winds, but warnings from modern instrumentation and forecast tools led to mass evacuations. At this writing, only 5 deaths have been reported (I’m sure that will rise). Modern building codes help reduce wind damage. I watched storm chaser Reed Timmer live reporting from the eyewall of Hurricane Ian as it made landfall, and I didn’t see any roofs coming off the houses (but I’m sure there were some that did). Damage from storm surge flooding, however, will be extensive and costly.

 

UAH Global Temperature Update for August, 2022: +0.28 deg. C

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for August, 2022 was +0.28 deg. C, down from the July, 2022 value of +0.36 deg. C.

The linear warming trend since January, 1979 still stands at +0.13 C/decade (+0.11 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).

Various regional LT departures from the 30-year (1991-2020) average for the last 20 months are:

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPIC USA48 ARCTIC AUST 
2021 01 0.12 0.34 -0.09 -0.08 0.36 0.50 -0.52
2021 02 0.20 0.32 0.08 -0.14 -0.66 0.07 -0.27
2021 03 -0.01 0.13 -0.14 -0.29 0.59 -0.78 -0.79
2021 04 -0.05 0.05 -0.15 -0.28 -0.02 0.02 0.29
2021 05 0.08 0.14 0.03 0.06 -0.41 -0.04 0.02
2021 06 -0.01 0.30 -0.32 -0.14 1.44 0.63 -0.76
2021 07 0.20 0.33 0.07 0.13 0.58 0.43 0.80
2021 08 0.17 0.26 0.08 0.07 0.32 0.83 -0.02
2021 09 0.25 0.18 0.33 0.09 0.67 0.02 0.37
2021 10 0.37 0.46 0.27 0.33 0.84 0.63 0.06
2021 11 0.08 0.11 0.06 0.14 0.50 -0.43 -0.29
2021 12 0.21 0.27 0.15 0.03 1.63 0.01 -0.06
2022 01 0.03 0.06 0.00 -0.24 -0.13 0.68 0.09
2022 02 -0.00 0.01 -0.02 -0.24 -0.05 -0.31 -0.50
2022 03 0.15 0.27 0.02 -0.08 0.22 0.74 0.02
2022 04 0.26 0.35 0.18 -0.04 -0.26 0.45 0.60
2022 05 0.17 0.24 0.10 0.01 0.59 0.23 0.19
2022 06 0.06 0.07 0.04 -0.36 0.46 0.33 0.11
2022 07 0.36 0.37 0.35 0.13 0.84 0.55 0.65
2022 08 0.28 0.31 0.24 -0.04 0.59 0.50 -0.01

The full UAH Global Temperature Report, along with the LT global gridpoint anomaly image for August, 2022 should be available within the next several days here.

The global and regional monthly anomalies for the various atmospheric layers we monitor should be available in the next few days at the following locations:

Lower Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/uahncdc_lt_6.0.txt
Mid-Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tmt/uahncdc_mt_6.0.txt
Tropopause: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/ttp/uahncdc_tp_6.0.txt
Lower Stratosphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tls/uahncdc_ls_6.0.txt

Lake Mead Low Water Levels, Part 2: Colorado River Inflow Variations and Trend

Friday, August 26th, 2022

Key Points

  • Contrary to claims that drought is causing Lake Mead water levels to fall, the Colorado River natural flows into Lake Mead show no long-term trend since 1930.
  • Decadal time scale variations in river flow do occur, though, related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).
  • Since about 2000, use of Lake Mead water has exceeded river inflow, causing water levels to drop. The negative phase of the PDO since that time has exacerbated the problem.

Natural Water Flows into Lake Mead: No Long-Term Trend

Record low water levels in Lake Mead are widely blamed on drought, although what “drought” means is seldom specified. The public perception is that lower precipitation amounts have reduced water supply to Lake Mead (which comes from the Colorado River), usually attributed to human-caused climate change, and that this is why water levels are falling.

But data from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) show that there has been no long-term trend in natural Colorado River flow into Lake Mead:

Fig. 1. Yearly “natural” water flows into Lake Mead, corrected for local human-induced changes in water flow upstream. Details of those corrections are described here. Data source here.

The flows in Fig. 1 have been slightly adjusted for local human-caused changes to the flows upstream, and provide our best answer to the question of whether long-term global climate change is responsible for a decrease of river water flow into Lake Mead.

The answer is “no”.

Does Climate Change Theory Even Predict Reduced Precipitation? No

The next question is, does climate change even predict future reductions of precipitation over the Colorado River watershed? The following plot shows an average of 183 climate model simulations of average yearly precipitation in an area approximating the Colorado River watershed. The models suggest a slight increase in total precipitation with warming.

Fig. 2. CMIP6 model average yearly precipitation 1930-2050 over an area approximating the upper Colorado River watershed. Data source here.

Most of the water entering Lake Mead is from snowmelt in the mountains; little of the water falling on lower elevations tends to be used by local vegetation with little runoff reaching the Colorado River. Fig. 3 shows there has been no long-term trend in the snowpack measurements in the upper Colorado River watershed.

Fig. 3. April snowpack measurements in the upper Colorado River watershed, 1938-2022.

So, not only has there been no observed long-term reduction in water flow into Lake Mead, or reduction in the watershed snowpack, climate change theory doesn’t even support such a change up to the current time (or even to 2050).

So, Why are Lake Mead Water Levels Falling?

What has changed since Hoover Dam was constructed in the 1930s is the amount of water being removed from Lake Mead. Since about 2000, that water use has exceeded the water input into the lake. This is the most recent available demonstration of that fact, published in 2012:

Fig. 4. The Colorado River basin water supply exceeded demand up until the year 2000 or so, and since then Lake Mead water levels have fallen due to overuse.

As long as water use exceeds supply, Lake Mead water levels will continue to fall. (This is somewhat dependent upon the regulated releases from Lake Powell, upstream. There is a “Fill Mead First” initiative that would draw down Lake Powell in an attempt to raise Lake Mead, based upon calculations that net natural water losses from combined evaporation and bank seepage from Mead and Powell would be reduced.)

The Role of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) in the Current Problem

While the major problem with Lake Mead is overuse, there are multi-decadal fluctuations in Colorado River flows which have made matters worse since approximately 2000. If we take the river flow data in Fig. 1 and compute the accumulated departures from the long-term average flow (because this is how a reservoir like Lake Mead responds), we find that there have been periods of lesser and greater flows.

Fig. 5. As in Fig. 1, except time-accumulated departures-from-average Colorado River flows into Lake Mead.

Before the 1980s, there was somewhat reduced river flow into Lake Mead, but it made little difference because water use (Fig. 4) was still low.

Then from the 1982-83 super El Nino year to approximately 2000 there were above average flows, so Lake Mead could handle the increasing water usage. In fact, the lake reached near full-pool status.

But as usage peaked around 2000, river input to the lake was reduced once again. This put Lake Mead into an unsustainable state where more water was being extracted than the Colorado River could replenish it.

It has been long known (e.g. here) that precipitation in this region is affected by El Nino (more precip) and La Nina (less precip). Also, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), which is basically a low-frequency manifestation of El Nino and La Nina activity is related to precipitation in this area.

I computed the cumulative average departures from the long-term mean of both the PDO index and the MEI (Multivariate ENSO Index). The PDO is somewhat higher correlated (r=0.52) with the cumulative river flow data in Fig. 5. As Fig. 6 shows, positive PDO periods are generally associated with higher stream flows, and negative PDO with lower stream flows. Most notably, the period since 2000 has seen more negative PDO activity, which is worsening the problem with Lake Mead not getting enough water. Of course, this will eventually reverse when the PDO flips back into its positive phase.

Fig. 6. Cumulative departures of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation index from its long term mean, which is r=0.52 correlated to cumulative streamflow into Lake Mead from the Colorado River (Fig. 5.)

Conclusions

The popular narrative that drought due to climate change is causing Lake Mead to have less water available to it is incorrect. Since 1930, there has been no long-term change in the Colorado River flow upstream of what is now Lake Mead.

The latest climate models do not even predict a reduction in precipitation in the upper Colorado River watershed.

Multi-decadal changes in river flow do occur, though, and are related to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, a natural fluctuation in weather patterns over the northeast Pacific. Recent record-low water levels in Lake Mead are primarily due to record high water demand from the lake, since approximately 2000. The problem is being made somewhat worse by the negative phase of the PDO, also since approximately 2000.

Lake Mead Low Water Levels: Overuse, Not Climate Change

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022
UPDATED: Fixed Bureau of Reclamation study link, added Colorado River basin snowpack graph and discussion.

In today’s news is yet another article claiming the record-low water levels in Lake Mead (a manmade water reservoir) are due to human-caused climate change. In fact, to make the problem even more sinister, the Mafia is also part of the story:

Climate change is uncovering gruesome mafia secrets in this Las Vegas lake

While it is true that recent years have seen somewhat less water available from the Colorado River basin watershed (which supplies 97% of Lake Mead’s water), this is after years of above-average water inflow from mountain snowpack. Those decadal time-scale changes are mostly the result of stronger El Nino years (more mountain snows) giving way to stronger La Nina years (less snow).

The result is record-low water levels:

Lake Mead water levels since the construction of Hoover Dam (source: NBC News)

But the real problem isn’t natural water availability. It’s water use.

The following graph shows the fundamental problem (click for full resolution). Since approximately 2000, water use by 25 million people (who like to live in a semi-desert area where the sun shines almost every day) has increased to the point that more water is now being taken out of the Lake Mead reservoir than nature can re-supply it.

This figure is from a detailed study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. As long as that blue line (water supply) stayed above the red line (water use), there was more than enough water to please everyone.

But now, excessive demand for water means Lake Mead water levels will probably continue to decline unless water use is restricted in some way. The study’s projection for the future in the above figure, which includes climate model projections, shows little future change in water supply compared to natural variability over the last century.

The real problem is that too much water is being taken out of the reservoir.

As long as the red line stays above the blue line, Lake Mead water levels will continue to fall.

But to blame this on climate change, whether natural or anthropogenic, ignores the thirsty elephant in the room.

UPDATE: Since it was pointed out in comments (below) that the latest Bureau of Reclamation study is rather dated (2012), and supposedly the drought has worsened since then, here’s a plot of the Colorado River basin April (peak month) snowpack, which provides about 50% of the water to Lake Mead. The rest is provided in the non-mountainous areas of the river basin, which should be highly correlated with the mountainous regions. I see no evidence for reduced snowpack due to “climate change”… maybe the recent drought conditions are where the demand by 25 million water consumers originates from, causing higher demand?

April snowpack in the Colorado River basin, the greatest source of water input to Lake Mead (data from https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/WCIS/AWS_PLOTS/basinCharts/POR/WTEQ/assocHUCco_8/colorado_headwaters.html)

 

ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate

Tuesday, August 9th, 2022

SUMMARY: A simple time-dependent CO2 budget model shows that yearly anthropogenic emissions compared to Mauna Loa CO2 measurements gives a declining CO2 sink rate, which if continued would increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and presumably anthropogenic climate change. But accounting for ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) activity during 1959-2021 removes the decline. This is contrary to multiple previous studies that claimed to account for ENSO. A preprint of my paper (not yet peer reviewed) describing the details is at ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate | Earth and Space Science Open Archive (essoar.org).

UPDATE: The CO2 model, with inputs and outputs, is in an Excel spreadsheet here: CO2-budget-model-with-EIA-growth-cases.

I decided that the CO2 model I developed a few years ago, and recently reported on here, was worthy of publication, so I started going through the published literature on the subject. This is a necessary first step if you want to publish a paper and not be embarrassed by reinventing the wheel or claiming something others have already “disproved”.

The first thing I found was that my idea that Nature each year removes a set fraction of the difference between the observed CO2 concentration and some baseline value is not new. That idea was first published in 2013 (see my preprint link above for details), and it’s called the “CO2 sink rate”.

The second thing I found was that the sink rate has (reportedly) been declining, by as much as 0.54% (relative) per year, even after accounting for ENSO activity. But I only get -0.33% per year (1959-2021) before accounting for ENSO activity, and — importantly — 0.0% per year after accounting for ENSO.

This last finding will surely be controversial, because it could mean CO2 in the atmosphere will not rise as much as global carbon cycle modelers say it will. So, I am posting the model and the datasets used along with the paper preprint at ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate | Earth and Space Science Open Archive (essoar.org). The analysis is quite simple and I believe defensible. The 2019 paper that got -0.54% per year decline in the sink rate uses complex statistical gymnastics, with a professional statistician as a primary author. My analysis is much simpler, easier to understand, and (I believe) at least as defensible.

The paper will be submitted to Geophysical Research Letters for peer review in the next couple days. In the meantime, I will be inviting the researchers who live and breathe this stuff to poke holes in my analysis.

UAH Global Temperature Update for July, 2022: +0.36 deg. C

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for July, 2022 was +0.36 deg. C, up from the June, 2022 value of +0.06 deg. C.

 

The linear warming trend since January, 1979 still stands at +0.13 C/decade (+0.11 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).

Various regional LT departures from the 30-year (1991-2020) average for the last 19 months are:

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPIC USA48 ARCTIC AUST 
2021 01 0.12 0.34 -0.09 -0.08 0.36 0.50 -0.52
2021 02 0.20 0.32 0.08 -0.14 -0.66 0.07 -0.27
2021 03 -0.01 0.13 -0.14 -0.29 0.59 -0.78 -0.79
2021 04 -0.05 0.05 -0.15 -0.28 -0.02 0.02 0.29
2021 05 0.08 0.14 0.03 0.06 -0.41 -0.04 0.02
2021 06 -0.01 0.30 -0.32 -0.14 1.44 0.63 -0.76
2021 07 0.20 0.33 0.07 0.13 0.58 0.43 0.80
2021 08 0.17 0.26 0.08 0.07 0.32 0.83 -0.02
2021 09 0.25 0.18 0.33 0.09 0.67 0.02 0.37
2021 10 0.37 0.46 0.27 0.33 0.84 0.63 0.06
2021 11 0.08 0.11 0.06 0.14 0.50 -0.43 -0.29
2021 12 0.21 0.27 0.15 0.03 1.63 0.01 -0.06
2022 01 0.03 0.06 0.00 -0.24 -0.13 0.68 0.09
2022 02 -0.00 0.01 -0.02 -0.24 -0.05 -0.31 -0.50
2022 03 0.15 0.27 0.02 -0.08 0.22 0.74 0.02
2022 04 0.26 0.35 0.18 -0.04 -0.26 0.45 0.60
2022 05 0.17 0.24 0.10 0.01 0.59 0.23 0.19
2022 06 0.06 0.07 0.04 -0.36 0.46 0.33 0.11
2022 07 0.36 0.37 0.35 0.13 0.70 0.55 0.65

The full UAH Global Temperature Report, along with the LT global gridpoint anomaly image for July, 2022 should be available within the next several days here.

The global and regional monthly anomalies for the various atmospheric layers we monitor should be available in the next few days at the following locations:

Lower Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/uahncdc_lt_6.0.txt
Mid-Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tmt/uahncdc_mt_6.0.txt
Tropopause: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/ttp/uahncdc_tp_6.0.txt
Lower Stratosphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tls/uahncdc_ls_6.0.txt

Updated Atmospheric CO2 Concentration Forecast through 2050 and Beyond

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Summary

The simple CO2 budget model I introduced in 2019 is updated with the latest Mauna Loa measurements of atmospheric CO2 and with new Energy Information Administration estimates of global CO2 emissions through 2050. The model suggests that atmospheric CO2 will barely double pre-industrial levels by 2100, with a total radiative forcing of the climate system well below the most extreme scenario (RCP8.5) used in alarmist literature (and the U.S. national climate assessment), with the closest match to RCP4.5. The model also clearly shows the CO2 reducing effect of the Mt. Pinatubo eruption of 1991.

The Model

As described here, the simple CO2 budget model uses yearly sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 to compute how much the atmospheric CO2 concentration changes from one year to the next.

The sink (removal) of “excess” atmospheric CO2 assumes that all of the biological and geophysical processes that remove CO2 from the atmosphere do so at a net rate proportional to the excess of the CO2 value above some ‘equilibrium’ value. When the model is calibrated with the yearly Mauna Loa CO2 data from 1959 through 2021, this rate of removal is 2.02% of the atmospheric excess above 294 ppm. So, for example, at the current CO2 concentration of 417 ppm, the biological and geophysical removal processes are removing 0.0202 x [417 – 294] = 2.48 ppm per year for 2022 (preliminary estimate).

The long-term source of CO2 increase is assumed to be anthropogenic. There are various estimates of yearly CO2 emissions, some from energy use alone, some including cement production and land use. I’ve used the Boden et al. (2017) and Our World in Data yearly estimates for 1750 through 2009, and EIA.gov estimates of yearly emissions growth rates from 2010 to 2050, and then assumed their 2050 growth rate is constant to 2100.

I also have included an ENSO term (El Nino and La Nina) to empirically account for CO2 rising during El Nino and decreasing during La Nina. This term amounts to 0.45 times the Multivariate Enso Index (MEI) value averaged from May of the previous year through April of the current year. For example, the latest yearly-average MEI value is -1.29 (La Nina conditions), so 0.45 x [-1.29] =  -0.58 ppm CO2 decrease in 2022 from La Nina activity. 

The model is initialized in 1750. The MEI data are included starting in 1958-59.

Results

The model fit to Mauna Loa CO2 data is shown in Fig. 1. Note that the largest discrepancies between model and observations are due to major volcanic eruptions, especially Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.

Fig. 1. Model versus observed CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa, HI.

Contrary to popular perception, these eruptions actually remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This is likely due to increased photosynthesis due to a large increase in diffuse solar radiation from the sky, from sunlight scattered by volcanic aerosols, which can penetrate deeper into vegetation canopies.

When we run the model using 2021 EIA estimates of yearly CO2 emissions increases from 2010 through 2050, and then assuming the 2050 increase remains the same to 2100, the resulting atmospheric CO2 scenario is closest to the IPCC RCP4.5 scenario. The model CO2 concentration barely reaches the 2XCO2 level, a doubling of the pre-industrial CO2 level.

Fig. 2. As in Fig. 1, but extended to 2100, with the various IPCC radiative forcing scenarios used in recent IPCC reports.

Note the model is well below the RCP8.5 scenario, which is the one most often used to promote alarmist projections of sea level rise, temperature increase, etc. The weaker the future radiative forcing from increasing CO2, the weaker resulting climate change will be.

Discussion

Climate model projections depend critically upon how much atmospheric CO2 will rise in the future. That, in turn, depends upon (1) future anthropogenic emissions, and (2) how fast nature removes “excess” CO2 from the atmosphere.

A simple budget model of the atmospheric CO2 concentration very accurately matches the Mauna Loa CO2 data during 1959-2021 using yearly estimates of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions as a CO2 source, and the observed average rate of removal of CO2 by biological and physical processes, which is proportional to the “excess” of atmospheric CO2 over a baseline of 295 ppm as a sink. An empirical factor to account for El Nino and La Nina activity is also included, which mostly affects year-to-year fluctuations in CO2.

The resulting model projection produces atmospheric CO2 concentrations late this century well below the IPCC RCP8.5 scenario, and even below the RCP6.0 scenario. This suggests that the most dire climate change impacts the public hears about will not happen. Note that this likely reduction in future global warming impacts is in addition to the evidence that the climate system is not as sensitive to increasing CO2 as is claimed by the IPCC. In other words, future climate change will likely be much weaker than projected due not only to (1) lower climate sensitivity, but also (2) weaker anthropogenic forcing, and it is the combination of the two that determines the outcome.

James Webb Space Telescope 1st Image: It Blows Hubble Space Telescope Away

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

There was no way to tell from yesterday’s White House press conference release of the first JWST “sea of galaxies” image whether it was any better or different from Hubble Space Telescope (HST) views of the same region.

In my opinion, this was a missed opportunity to wow the public.

But since then, amateur astronomer Nicholas Eggleston has stepped up with an overlay of the two telescopes’ images, aligned to view the same region. We all know how wonderful the HST views have been, even resolving individual stars in the distant Andromeda galaxy. Well, the James Webb Space Telescope (in addition to being infrared) has now demonstrated its resolution blows HST away. Check out the light arcs due to gravitational lensing (click on his page link so you can use the slider functionality, which probably won’t work on smart phones):

http://www.nicholaseggleston.com/JamesWebbHubble/index.htm

If you cannot see the 2 images with a slider separating them, here is an animated GIF I put together:

Comparison of first Webb Space Telescope image to Hubble Space Telescope view of the same region.

If you want higher resolution, right-click the animated GIF and download it (“Save image as…”) to your desktop. Then you can view it at full resolution.

UAH Global Temperature Update for June 2022: +0.06 deg. C

Friday, July 1st, 2022

The Version 6.0 global average lower tropospheric temperature (LT) anomaly for June, 2022 was +0.06 deg. C, down (again) from the May, 2022 value of +0.17 deg. C.

Tropical Coolness

The tropical (20N-20S) anomaly for June was -0.36 deg. C, which is the coolest monthly anomaly in over 10 years, the coolest June in 22 years, and the 9th coolest June in the 44 year satellite record.

The linear warming trend since January, 1979 still stands at +0.13 C/decade (+0.11 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).

Various regional LT departures from the 30-year (1991-2020) average for the last 18 months are:

YEAR MO GLOBE NHEM. SHEM. TROPIC USA48 ARCTIC AUST 
2021 01 0.12 0.34 -0.09 -0.08 0.36 0.50 -0.52
2021 02 0.20 0.32 0.08 -0.14 -0.66 0.07 -0.27
2021 03 -0.01 0.13 -0.14 -0.29 0.59 -0.78 -0.79
2021 04 -0.05 0.05 -0.15 -0.28 -0.02 0.02 0.29
2021 05 0.08 0.14 0.03 0.06 -0.41 -0.04 0.02
2021 06 -0.01 0.30 -0.32 -0.14 1.44 0.63 -0.76
2021 07 0.20 0.33 0.07 0.13 0.58 0.43 0.80
2021 08 0.17 0.26 0.08 0.07 0.32 0.83 -0.02
2021 09 0.25 0.18 0.33 0.09 0.67 0.02 0.37
2021 10 0.37 0.46 0.27 0.33 0.84 0.63 0.06
2021 11 0.08 0.11 0.06 0.14 0.50 -0.43 -0.29
2021 12 0.21 0.27 0.15 0.03 1.63 0.01 -0.06
2022 01 0.03 0.06 0.00 -0.24 -0.13 0.68 0.09
2022 02 -0.00 0.01 -0.02 -0.24 -0.05 -0.31 -0.50
2022 03 0.15 0.27 0.02 -0.08 0.22 0.74 0.02
2022 04 0.26 0.35 0.18 -0.04 -0.26 0.45 0.60
2022 05 0.17 0.24 0.10 0.01 0.59 0.23 0.19
2022 06 0.06 0.07 0.04 -0.36 0.46 0.33 0.11

The full UAH Global Temperature Report, along with the LT global gridpoint anomaly image for June, 2022 should be available within the next several days here.

The global and regional monthly anomalies for the various atmospheric layers we monitor should be available in the next few days at the following locations:

Lower Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tlt/uahncdc_lt_6.0.txt
Mid-Troposphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tmt/uahncdc_mt_6.0.txt
Tropopause: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/ttp/uahncdc_tp_6.0.txt
Lower Stratosphere: http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/v6.0/tls/uahncdc_ls_6.0.txt

EV’s Fossil Fuel Economy No Better than ICE Vehicles

Friday, June 17th, 2022

…But the price per mile of EVs energy use is cheaper for the time being ($2 per gallon of gas equivalent)

Photo credit: Insideevs.com.

Most of the electricity generated in the U.S. continues to come from fossil fuels (61% in 2021). This is not likely to change much in the future as electricity demand is increasing faster than renewables (20% of total in 2020 and 20.1% of total in 2021) can close the gap versus fossil fuels. Given that fact, it is interesting to ask the question:

Which uses fossil fuels more efficiently, an EV or ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle?

Most of what you will read about EVs versus ICE vehicles discuss how EVs are more efficient at converting the energy they carry into motion (e.g. here, and here , and here, and here, etc.) but this is only part of the equation. The generation, transmission, and battery storage of electricity is very inefficient compared to the refining and transport of gasoline, and those inefficiencies each year add up to more than all of the gasoline consumed in the U.S.

EV Energy Usage per Mile

The average energy consumption of an EV vehicle is about 0.35 kWh per mile. At the U.S. average electricity price of $0.145 per kWh in June 2022, and assuming the 2021 average new car fuel economy of 39 mpg, this makes the ICE-equivalent fuel price of an EV $1.98 per gallon of gasoline. With the U.S. average price of gas now over $5.00 a gallon, this by itself (ignoring the many other considerations, discussed below) makes the EV attractive for month-to-month savings on fuel purchases.

But since most of this electricity still comes from fossil fuels, we must factor in the efficiency with which electricity is generated and transmitted and stored in the EV’s battery. This is how we can answer the question, Which uses fossil fuels more efficiently, an EV or ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle?

The generation of electricity is pretty inefficient with efficiencies ranging 33% from coal and 42% from natural gas. As we continue to transition away from coal to natural gas, I will use the 42% number. Next, at least 6.5% is lost in transmission and distribution. Finally, 12% of the electricity is lost in charging of the EV battery. Taken together, these losses add up to the 0.35 kWh per mile energy efficiency of an EV increasing to 1.0 kWh per mile in terms of fossil energy being used.

ICE Energy Usage per Mile

How does the internal combustion engine stack up against the EV in terms of efficiency of fossil fueled energy use?

A gallon of gas contains 33.7 kWh of energy. But like the generation of electricity, it takes energy to extract that gallon of gas from petroleum. However, the refining process is very energy efficient (about 90%), so it takes (33.7/0.9=) 37.44 kWh of energy to obtain that 33.7 kWh of energy is a gallon of gas. At the 39 mpg gas mileage of 2021 cars, this gives an energy economy number of 0.96 kWh per mile driven, which is just below the 1.0 kWh fossil fuel energy usage of an EV. With advertised fuel economy of 48 to 60 mpg, hybrid vehicles (which are gasoline powered) would thus have an advantage over EVs.

Other Considerations

Of course, the main reason EVs are being pushed on the American people (through subsidies and stringent CAFE standards) is the reduction in CO2 emissions that will occur, assuming more of our electricity comes from non-fossil fuel sources in the future. I personally have no interest in owning one because I want the flexibility of travelling long distances in a single day.

There is also the issue of the large amount of additional natural resources, and associated pollution, required to make millions of EV batteries.

Furthermore, the electrical grid will need to be expanded to provide the increase in electricity needed. This greater electricity demand, along with the high cost of wind and solar energy, might well make the fuel cost advantage of the EV disappear in the coming years.

Finally, a portion of the true price of a new EV is hidden through subsides (which the taxpayer pays for) and high CAFE fuel economy regulations, which require auto manufacturers not meeting the standard to pay companies like Tesla, a cost which is passed on to the consumer through higher prices on ICE cars and (especially) trucks.