Monday, February 28, 2022

"What If Russia Loses?"

Unexploded Russian bomb at children's playground in Ukraine
While I am not a foreign policy expert by any means, I think some thoughts are worth passing along:

This brief essay, What If Russia Loses?, is well worth your time. An assessment of the current military situation is here

It is highly encouraging to me that the West and freedom-loving nations all over the world have clamped tough sanctions on Russia even without a strong American president. I'm pretty confident that Putin did not anticipate that reaction and it is why we need to make sure that Putin has a face-saving way out so that he can declare 'victory,' get out as quickly as possible with as little damage to Ukraine as possible, and let back to normal or, better still, be overthrown in a coup. 

There are three winners, maybe:

  • Taiwan. I fully expected China to make a move on Taiwan, maybe very soon. Given the world's reaction to Russia's attack on Taiwan, I think the Chinese will reconsider. If all of these nations -- especially Switzerland, which even stayed neutral through WWII -- have come down on Russia, they know they will get the same treatment...or even stronger. 
  • American farmers. Wheat futures are way up and, if Mother Nature will give us some rain in the winter wheat belt, our farmers will get a badly-needed chance at decent incomes after several poor years. 
  • Climate Sanity. The cartoon below is, I believe, an accurate assessment of the mood of people who are tired of exaggerations of the urgency of the global warming issue and of windmills as the solution.

Germany has announced that it will reactivate three nuclear reactors scheduled for retirement. Several other nations have made similar announcements. 

Today, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report. Those who are regular readers of the blog know that I have respected the IPCC and have referenced the reports -- favorably -- on a number of occasions. However, today's is vastly over-the-top yet and it receiving criticism from others who have previously been fans. 

While CNN, BBC and the usual suspects have followed Big Climate's  
narrative, I think this report is so over-the-top that it will backfire. It will also be difficult to sustain the "we need to panic over global warming" narrative when Putin is threatening to use nuclear weapons (per the Biden Administration, remember to wear masks and keep social distancing when in the bomb shelter!).

While I continue to believe there are many good reasons for decarbonizing energy, I believe that nuclear and hydro will get a boost from current events and windmills will be the "loser." 

Big Climate DOES NOT Want to Solve Global Warming XXXIV

I can hardly keep up with all of the examples of Big Climate going out of its way to defeat progress pertaining to decarbonization and global warming. Our latest example comes from Florida.
If you read the story, the nuclear power plant had a new license granted to keep it operating until -- you guessed it -- environmental groups intervened. The license renewal is now withdrawn and the process will be started over.

And, it isn't just Florida, environmental groups have gotten the Biden Administration to withdraw a license renewal for a nuke in Pennsylvania.
If President Biden and Big Climate wanted to solve global warming they would not be petitioning to reverse nuclear plant license renewals; instead, they would be expediting the construction of new plants. 
Ex-President Obama has two mansions on the ocean within a few feet of sea level.  Biden's "climate czar" John Kerry travels everywhere in a large private jet. 

Not only are they hypocrites, Big Climate does not want to solve the global warming issue. Period. They want to have the issue for fundraising and other political purposes. 

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Sunday Fun: "The Big Bang Theory" in Real Life

While this is unfortunate, it is good to know budding collegiate scientists still have curiosity. No one was hurt so I find this amusing. 
Reminds me of an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Updated: We're Doomed!!

We're doomed. We really are. The 'leaders' of the West are so stupid, so unserious. So clueless. Four Five Six Seven examples. 

We'll begin with #6, posted at 2:45pm Sunday. It is a quote from President Joe Biden,

Original posting #1.

Britain's MI6 = America's CIA.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense.

And, Germany is providing the Ukrainian Army combat helmets but will have to stop fighting and go pick them up. 🙄

[Addition: the fifth] Evidently, to Trudeau, Canadian truckers deserve punishment but Russia does not.
These people should be ashamed of themselves!

#7. And then there is the utterly useless Department of Homeland Security. Here is their advice in case Russia lobs a nuclear weapon in our direction. 
So, if a nuke goes off in your town, we need to worry because it will add to the "stress" of COVID. Social distancing? Our government is insane. Utterly insane. 

The people of the Ukraine are fighting for their very lives: women, as well as men. The photo below is four women who had just been trained to use their just-issued rifles to kill Russians. One is crying. 
There aren't enough words to describe the level of cluelessness in the West's "leadership."

With Tornado Season Beginning II

This is an inexpensive ebook that explains how things went so very wrong in Joplin in 2010 and how to make sure your family protects itself from violent weather regardless of whether you are at home, work or school.

Friday, February 25, 2022

With Tornado Season Just Beginning....

Jock Elliot has a great primer on NOAA Weather Radio

Remember: it is vital that you have at least two independent sources of storm warnings. 

NOAA weather radio is a good choice. Here are two others:

Make sure you have WEA storm warnings activated on your smartphone. On the iPhone, go to "Notifications" and scroll down all the way to the bottom.
You'll want to turn on "Emergency Alerts" for storm warnings. "Public Safety Alerts" is politicians or other local officials along with test warnings. You can find more information here

The AccuWeather App is another good source for storm warnings. 

NOW is the time to get prepared for tornado season as it looks like March could be a very active month. 

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Europe at War -- What To Do Now?

On October 6, I published a piece about getting ready for winter. I predicted there would be shortages. The direct shortages have been a bit less than I thought but the indirect shortages via inflation has been worse. The geopolitical problems have been worse than I thought that have culminated in Russia's invasion of Ukraine and what I believe is a serious risk of China making a move against Taiwan.

There are a number of genuine experts who believe Putin will not stop with Ukraine (one, who has a credible record of predictions over the years is here). If he attacks a NATO nation, the U.S. will be in a direct war. And, given the weaknesses of the Biden Administration and Putin's fecklessness, there is a chance we could blunder into war accidentally. 

Finally, the weather. More than half of the nation will have colder than average weather until the first of the week. That will have the effect of keeping energy bills high in a period of extreme inflation (most recent producer price index up 9.7%!). Here is the 8-14 day outlook.
While it indicates some improvement, the combination of above normal precipitation and cold in the northwest means more snow and ice and the likelihood of transportation delays. 

Between and war and the weather, we are seeing headlines like this:
As of 9:55am, take a look at US gold and oil:
There is little doubt that gas is headed for $4+/gallon in many parts of the nation and $5/gal. in high-priced markets. Our idiotic energy policies are making this worse. Gold is headed for $2,000/ounce. Both mean more inflation and, perhaps, more shortages (prices rise when supplies are tight).
Purchasing non-perishables now is a way of hedging against increased costs.

What Do I Recommend?
  • Make sure you have at least one two week's supply of everything you need at all times for the near future. More supplies if you can afford it. Keep prescriptions current. Buy non-perishable canned goods, etc. Here's why: We live in an era of "just-in-time" inventory. When I was a kid, every grocery store had a mini-warehouse in back. That's no longer true. Very few have more than 72 hours worth of goods in stock any more. Remember a manual can opener.
  • Donate now to your local food pantry so they can stock up for people in difficult economic situations.
  • If you can afford it and are inclined, now would be a great time to get a generator that can power heating for your home and other crucial items. Adding solar may be a good option for your home if you live in an area conducive to solar. While I am against utility solar, it can work for your home. 
  • Emergency lightning other than candles (they started a number of fires in Texas during its 2021 cold wave) such as a Coleman battery lantern or one of several other options. 
  • First aid kit.
  • Powerful flashlight with extra batteries.
  • Extra water and/or water purification supplies. 
  • Make sure your outdoor hoses are disconnected. 
  • Fire extinguisher, at least one. I recommend them in the bedroom and kitchen. 
  • Manual can opener.
  • Carbon monoxide detector.
  • Baby supplies, especially disposable diapers. 
  • Plenty of extra cash. Credit cards don't work in power failures. 
  • Keep your electric car as charged as possible or your gasoline tank always above 1/2 tank. Fill up before a major cold front or forecast blizzard or ice storm (it is still winter).
  • Keep your laptop and phone charged. 
  • Paper plates, cups, etc. 
  • Ice melt. 
  • Ice scraper for your car.
  • Kitty litter for traction. 
  • Weather Radio and/or other methods for receiving storm warnings (I'll have more on that tomorrow on the blog). Tornado, hurricane and flood seasons are approaching -- which makes it wise to have extra supplies on hand regardless of the world's geopolitical situation. 
There may be things I am missing. Remember, if I am wrong, all of these things will come in handy at some point in the future. 

Why There is So Much Vaccine Hesitancy

This cogent, well-done, piece was written before then FDA more or less admitted that myocarditis is an issue with the vaccines when administered to children. 

I wish to clarify again: I am triple vaccinated and am a fan of adults getting the vaccine after checking with one's physician. Personally, I would not give the vaccine to a child under 20 because they are low risk when it comes to COVID and the, admittedly small, risk of heart issues. However, your pediatrician may have a different opinion and parents should check with their children's physician. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Calm Winds = No Wind Power = Texas Power Shortage

This still photo of a Texas wind farm represents 
the stationary blades tomorrow morning.
[kut radio]
Texas is the #1 state for wind energy. So, when the winds calm -- as they usually do when it is extremely hot and cold -- the state runs short of electricity.

Sure enough. ERCOT, Texas' energy regulator, says power is going to run short tonight and "until further notice." They are asking that air pollution rules be temporarily waived so that all possible fossil fuel generation can be used. 

Here is ERCOT's forecast for wind power (blue) through the night. Texas wind capacity of 33.13 Mw. It will be 6% of capacity when it is coldest tomorrow morning. Of course, there will be no solar at that time (darkness).
For what the state has spent on wind, they could have built a reliable -- and carbon free -- nuclear power plant.  

Most of Texas' wind energy is in the northwest part of the state. Keeping in mind the wind has to be between 6 and 26 mph for the turbines to turn, winds are going to be below that in the northwest part of the state. 
You could triple the number of turbines and it would not matter -- calm is calm. There would still be a shortage. 

Temperatures will, by Texas standards, be quite cold tonight -- with a few areas in the single digits.
So, we learn this lesson over and over. Wind energy is highly unreliable and is most likely to fail when it is needed the most. 

And, If We Keep Installing Windmills....

Yesterday, I discussed how Big Climate and Democrats really don't want to solve global warming. 

Yesterday, environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg wrote about how ineffective windmills are and how our current course of action is incredibly expensive

What we are doing now is just stupid. There is no other word for it. The only people benefiting are Big Climate and wind and solar manufacturers. Wind and solar energy produce few jobs and they do not pay as well as the traditional energy jobs they replace. 

As climate scientist Dr. Judith Curry puts it:
The biggest risk from a rapid transition away from fossil fuels is arguably an opportunity cost – we are at risk of squandering our resources on effort that may not change the climate in a meaningful way, so that we do not have resources available for better solutions that improve human well-being in both the short and long terms.  Further, we are ignoring other risks that are arguably more important to near-term human well being that could be more productively addressed with the same resources.

This is an election year. Please let your representatives know your position on these issues. 

Major Ice Storm in Progress

A major ice storm is in progress in the Ozarks and southern Great Plains. It is moving northeast. The radar time is 10am. Thunder sleet was occurring in Norman at 10:10am.
This is a sleet drift in Yukon, which is just west of Oklahoma City. 

Below is the forecast radar for 3pm. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Incredibly Low Price for "Warnings"

Ethan's Book Barn via Amazon is selling new copies of Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather for $12.01! That's the lowest price I've ever seen. 

Ethan's has 5-Star ratings, so the offer is legitimate. 

Now is a great chance to buy a great book!

Ice Storm in the South; Heavy Snow Northeast

Ice Storm
The Sperry-Piltz Index indicates the potential for power failures in northern Arkansas. 
In that area, it is possible that power failures could last a couple of days. 

Below is the amount of ice forecasted to accumulate. 

Separately, an ice storm warning is in effect for a small portion of northern Michigan (purple).
Orange is a winding-down blizzard in the Dakotas. Pink is a winter storm warning. Green is a flood watch and purple is a winter weather advisory. 

Heavy Snow
In the Northeast, heavy snow of more than a foot is likely with this storm. 
The areas most affected are likely to be Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and southern Maine. 

Please keep up on the weather in these localities. 

Big Climate Does NOT Want to Solve Global Warming

Big Climate talks a lot about global warming but, when it counts, it keeps demonstrating it does not want to solve the problem. The latest example is from Colorado.
Colorado is so short of electricity that the National Center for Atmospheric Research had to install its supercomputer in Wyoming. The bill would have created a study on new generation nuclear power and its potential deployment in Colorado. New generation nukes are extremely safe and, when mass produced, will be economical. Remember: this was just to study nuclear energy. 

As expected, all of the Democrats voted against it and the bill failed. 

This happens over and over again. The Democrats and Big Climate would rather have the political issue rather than solving the problem. 

It is impossible to solve global warming with windmills and solar panels on roofs. 

As Glenn Reynolds puts it, I'll believe global warming is a crisis when the people who keep telling me its a crisis start acting like its a crisis. 

5-Day Precipitation Forecast

Here is the forecast precipitation for the next five days. 

Monday, February 21, 2022

Update on the Tornado and Flash Flood Threat

Let's begin with the flash flood threat. The green areas are under flash flood watches. 
The blue area is a winter storm watch. 

Below is the rainfall amount forecast for the next five days. The bright orange = 5" or more. 

Tornado Threat

The brown area has a significant threat of a tornado after 6pm and into the overnight hours. 

As of 2:39pm, a few thunderstorms are starting to form in west Texas. These will start to move northeast and will increase in number during the afternoon. However, the main severe thunderstorm (hail and high winds) and tornado threat will be this evening and overnight. 

Today's Tornado and Flood Risk

The brown area has a significant tornado risk late this afternoon and tonight. There is a chance of nighttime tornadoes which are especially dangerous. 

Please keep up on local weather information at the first sign thunderstorms are forming in your area.

A flash flood watch has been issued for the area in green. 
Remember: Never cross flooded areas by foot or by car. 

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Sunday Fun: Pecos Hank's "Tornadoes of 2021"

Pecos Hank is a legendary storm chaser who publishes his movies in an interesting and artistic manner. Here is his summary of the tornadoes of 2021. If you wish to go straight to the action, advance to 1:45. 

His YouTube Channel is filled with great videos. My favorite is Drive Under the Moon.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Finally! The Role of 'Green' Energy in Destablizing the Grid is Being Recognized

What does the Wall Street Journal have to say? Because it is politically incorrect to criticize green energy, I have translated by putting comments within brackets. 

“That resiliency [of the grid] needs to be further enhanced, because the solutions to climate change [green energy] are going to put more challenges on the grid,” Mr. Izzo said. “Those are the kinds of things that really keep you awake at night.”

The historic shift to new sources of energy has created another challenge. A decade ago, coal, nuclear and gas-fired power plants—which can produce power around the clock or fire up when needed—supplied the bulk of the nation’s electricity. Since then, wind and solar farms, whose output depends on weather and time of day, have become some of the most substantial sources of power in the U.S., second only to natural gas.

Grid operators around the country have recently raised concerns that the intermittence [unreliability] of some electricity sources [wind and solar] is making it harder for them to balance supply and demand, and could result in more shortages. When demand threatens to exceed supply, as it has during severe hot and cold spells in Texas and California in recent years, grid operators may call on utilities to initiate rolling blackouts, or brief intentional outages over a region to spread the pain among everyone and prevent the wider grid from a total failure.

Take a look at this graph of actual energy production from the Northwest United States for 2022 through yesterday. Three GW of wind is never 3GW of wind. And, a great deal of time, one GW of nuclear is more than 3GW of wind. The extremely variable nature of wind is clearly visible. 
If we want to de-carbonize energy -- and I certainly do -- nuclear is the only choice except in areas where hydroelectric power can be added. 

Bottom line: if the grid is straining, and occasionally failing, now -- think what it will be like if we add millions of electric cars? The laws of physics are clear. We need to stop all new utility-level wind and solar installations. Otherwise, we will end up with third-world electric reliability.