Author Topic: Deciding the Weather Machine  (Read 389 times)

xairbusdriver

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Deciding the Weather Machine
« on: April 19, 2018, 01:07:33 AM »
Currently on Nova. Don’t expect all the answers! ;)

elagache

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That's "DECODING the Weather Machine!!" (Re: . . . Weather Machine)
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2018, 11:36:10 PM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat users with fingers that have a mind of their own.

Currently on Nova. Don’t expect all the answers! ;)

Sorry to report but the program episode is: "Decoding the Weather Machine."  Our TiVo has already recorded it and we'll get to it when we have a chance.  Agreed I'm not very optimistic on this sort of episode from NOVA.  I still remember enough from my getting my bachelors in Physics from U.C. Berkeley to understand how difficult understanding the atmosphere actually is.  Sadly a lot of rancor we are experiencing over the status of climate really boils down a failure to understand the limitations of science to comprehend a chaotic system like our atmosphere.  The experts are desperate not to admit it, but they simply cannot make the predictions we really want to have in hand - anymore than they can predict earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.

Cheers, Edouard

xairbusdriver

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2018, 01:13:29 AM »
Apparently, you recorded a different program! Mine was defiantly "Deciding"... I meen "Decording"... oh well, if we wait long enough the spelling will change, just like the weather... I can only blame my haste and an over-zealous spel chequer. That's my story and I'm stickin t0 it! [blush]

The much more interesting program was the one following the two hour Nova; "Bill Nye the Science Guy". There is an interesting side of his life many of us never knew.

elagache

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I knew we couldn't decode it! (Re: Deciding the Weather Machine)
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2018, 11:57:35 PM »
Dear X-Air and WeatherCat users who occasional give-in to da' boob tube, . .

Apparently, you recorded a different program! Mine was defiantly "Deciding"... I meen "Decording"... oh well, if we wait long enough the spelling will change, just like the weather... I can only blame my haste and an over-zealous spel chequer. That's my story and I'm stickin t0 it! [blush]

 [wink] . . . . Oh sure!  Another one of those cases of: "To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer!" . . . .  lol(1)

Well, I'll have you know that I have definitive proof that NOVA could not decode the Weather Machine!  We only got a partial recording!  It seems at about an 1 hour and 45 minutes our local PBS station got out of sync with either Comcast or our TiVo and the end was nothing but gibberish!  I'll try to record it again tonight.

The much more interesting program was the one following the two hour Nova; "Bill Nye the Science Guy". There is an interesting side of his life many of us never knew.

Okay, I'll check into that!  [tup]

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

elagache

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Dear WeatherCat PBS documentary fans,

It took me 4 tries, but I finally got a working recording of this NOVA documentary.  It is a 2 hour show and we only got through about 45 minutes of it, but so far, I was surprisingly pleased with how they handled the topic.  For starters, one of their main narrators is a TV meteorologist from the Midwest.  He is in a conservative bible-belt part of the country and such people are going to be skeptical about such science by nature.  Rather than attacking such people, the program explained their point of view with respect and dignity.  The scientists were also on their best behavior instead of being patronizing and talking down to the public.

The program started by explaining the history of the science behind greenhouse gases.  That was interesting in its own right and also made it clear human's came to understand the problem.  Human's didn't: "get a warning from God and ignored it."  Some of the physics could have been handled better.  They make a claim that we can identify the carbon which is the result of human activity.  This could have easily explained by making a reference to Carbon-14 radiation dating.  There was another reference to the temperature of seawater resulting in differences in the ratio of Oxygen 16 to Oxygen 18.  Sorry, I took a course in nuclear physics at U.C. Berkeley, there is no obvious mechanism why the Oxygen nucleus should be effected by water temperature.  An explanation was really needed there.

Still, the producers of NOVA did a really good job in trying to defuse the climate change battle and respect both sides.  We've still got over an hour and I'm concerned about what will proposed as remedies.  The science of Economics should be included in that analysis and might not be.  However, so far so good!  [tup]

Cheers, Edouard  [cheers1]

xairbusdriver

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2018, 11:51:44 PM »
It's been several weeks since I saw the show, so my memory is probably lacking. Truth be told, I often forget what the topic is in the middle of my very erudite reply.  [goofy]So, what are you talking about? ...

Oh, yeah, your concerns about any coming 'sermon' and a call to action! Actually, I don't remember the mentioning of any specific action we "must" take. I think they are letting the facts speak for themselves. I know that is a rare tactic in this political climate, but 'facts' are rarely relevant and often 'slippery' in that area, anyway. [rolleyes2] As you said, the subject was handled with respect and as many scientific opinions as possible were presented.

elagache

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Dear X-Air and WeatherCat climate watchers,

Oh, yeah, your concerns about any coming 'sermon' and a call to action! Actually, I don't remember the mentioning of any specific action we "must" take. I think they are letting the facts speak for themselves. I know that is a rare tactic in this political climate, but 'facts' are rarely relevant and often 'slippery' in that area, anyway. [rolleyes2] As you said, the subject was handled with respect and as many scientific opinions as possible were presented.

Overall, the show did a very good job of keeping an even keel and avoiding anything more than admitting great controversy existed.  The show also seemed to present a much more honest and humble assessment of what the scientific tools reveal about the future.  Still, there was the usual focus on the old predictions like sea level rising.  What wasn't mentioned is worth nothing.  For example, current climate models appear to have very little to say about how drought-prone regions should respond.  Obviously, areas like the Western United States and South Africa desperately need some idea of what is coming in order to decide on things like whether to allow populations to continue growing or instead encourage people to leave.

The section of the show that left me extremely disappointed was the "dog and pony" show of potential solutions.  While the premise was that we have alternative energy solutions available, what was demonstrated was precisely the opposite.  All that exists is nascent technologies that cannot even begin to replace more than a small fraction of our energy infrastructure.  Worse still, there is a lot of work in progress.  So existing solar panels where touted even as new research was shown that could completely change how we generate electricity from the sun.  So should we continue to use existing silicon solar panels or wait for this new technology to come on line?

What is clear is that the crisis is much more dire than it has been represented in the past.  The experts are now admitting we are "beyond the tipping point" and must not simply throttle our greenhouse gas emissions as aggressively as possible, but we really need to work at getting the those gases out of the atmosphere as much as is humanly possible.  Once more they provide to very small examples (one household garden and one farm) without providing any suggestion of how effective this could be scaled or what its global effect could be if implemented across the world.

Finally there was one agent conspicuously left out of the discussion: the global economy.  It is certainly no secret that economic output has been ailing probably starting as far back as the 1970s.  The changes being proposed are extremely expensive and will provide very little economic return.  After all, the goal is to replace the existing energy infrastructure with an alternative one that minimizes greenhouse gas emissions.  Unless that new infrastructure produces energy at a substantially lower cost than the present one, the economy must swallow the costs of the conversion with no return on the investment.  Considering the hard economic times to be found all over the world - there is a considerable risk that the operation intended to save the patient from the disease of climate change - could kill the patient instead.  Severe economic hardship could easily bring down modern civilization, leaving the few survivors forced to attempt to exist in the wild with all the woes of greenhouse gases still effecting the climate.

Nonetheless, the program was still refreshing and there was some honestly that I haven't seen in a long time.  There was even the uttering of that utter politically incorrect "N" word: nuclear power.    Clearly the political establishment has been forced to do some soul-searching in the face of the data being presented here.  Still, my instincts as an engineer leave me to believe there is too great a rush to half-baked solutions that aren't ready to shoulder the burden of modern civilizations.  The California government is already warning the public that we are at risk once more from rotating power blackouts this summer.  I know enough to strongly suspect that an excessive reliance on renewal energy sources that are out of sync with the electrical demand is partly to blame. 

This program provided a lot of the fact we all need to know, but utterly failed to convey the seriousness of the matter or the extreme difficulty facing humankind.  The task before us is to completely reinvent our modern world - something that has never been done.  This isn't the sort of thing that either the voters or the politicians can be expected to do.  In the face of this herculean challenge, academics are sitting on their hands insisting: "the problem isn't part of their scientific discipline."  Considering this has never been done before, just exactly - who - can be expected to a specialist in reinventing the modern world?  It is times like this when great intellects are separated from great egos and . . . . the great intellects appear to be in desperately short supply.

Edouard

Blicj11

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2018, 01:04:12 AM »
Haven't seen the program but California, starting in 2020, will require solar panels on every new home built in the state (California's population accounts for about one out of every eight Americans). I recently priced out a solar panel for my water heater and learned that the pay back period for the investment is just shy of 40 years. Residential solar power is an interesting dilemma at the minute because, at least in the States, you don't invest in solar energy to save money; you do so to make a statement about doing your part for the environment. Same holds true for electric vehicles. It will be interesting to see what impact this solar requirement has on the already out of control real estate market in the Golden State. Perhaps solar panels will be like backyard swimming pools; you pay for the pool installation and enjoy it, but you generally do not recoup the pool installation investment when you sell. You essentially donate the costs to build the pool to the next owner.

On one hand, I admire the forward thinking regulators in California. At least they are doing something. On the other hand, it is the most regulated (many would say over-regulated) state in the nation. Perhaps the state agencies are attempting to encourage their denizens to move elsewhere.

The truth is that no one, least of all state or federal agencies, has any idea where required solar panels will lead or what impact they will have on the cost of living. But for those who can afford it, they will have an alternative energy source. I know that something has to be done, and someone has to take the first step. We'll see how this turns out. But personally, I worry more about drought and the lack of attention being paid to it. Stay tuned.
Blick


xairbusdriver

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2018, 03:08:48 AM »
You might want to visit TED and search for "Printable, flexible solar panels". Maybe an investment opportunity, also.

elagache

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2018, 10:35:43 PM »
Dear Blick, X-Air and WeatherCat observers of the changing climate,

Haven't seen the program but California, starting in 2020, will require solar panels on every new home built in the state (California's population accounts for about one out of every eight Americans). I recently priced out a solar panel for my water heater and learned that the pay back period for the investment is just shy of 40 years.

 . . . .

On one hand, I admire the forward thinking regulators in California.
 . . . .

Unfortunately, what seems forward thinking is in fact contributing to an ever growing problem.  It is described in this Sacramento Bee editorial:

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article210886434.html

As described in the editorial, residential solar is among the most expensive ways to implement solar.  Dedicated solar farms are cheaper.  So new homeowners are facing an unreasonable burden.  Worse still, there is already a glut of solar power at the peak of solar radiation: 12 noon to 1 pm.  Utility companies are already unable to sell the electricity being generated at this time, while power needs later in the day must be filled by other means.  If there isn't any other renewable energy source, that means fossil fuels get burnt because nothing else is available.

I documented this problem on an earlier post, but I can't find it right now.  I'm literally waiting at Costco for new tires to be put on Coquette, our junior Buick.  However, if you just look at a graph of solar radiation you'll see the problem.  The solar energy output varies drastically while our energy consumption has a different diurnal curve.  At the moment only two solutions are possible: battery technology on a scale many orders of magnitude larger than ever attempted before, or conventional power plants. 

This is precisely the sort "half-baked" energy solutions that leave me extremely frustrated.  Modern life depends on the power grid in ways which we don't notice but absolutely depend on.  Before introducing alternative energy systems, plans should have been in place to maintain grid stability and such plans should have been tested in small scale communities instead of inflicting uncertain energy policies on the most populous state in the union.  The effects of rolling blackouts are extremely serious on the economy and could even cost the lives of people.  Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a goal we all should strive for, but I don't want to become a guinea pig for an electrical system that nobody is sure can work for all Californians 24/7.

Oh well, . . . . Edouard

Sent from Panoramix using Tapatalk HD

xairbusdriver

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2018, 11:03:30 PM »
Quote
Before introducing alternative energy systems, plans should have been in place to maintain grid stability and such plans should have been tested in small scale communities instead of inflicting uncertain energy policies on the most populous state in the union.
I assume you are not pointing a finger at us non-CA residents. As I understand the new-homes-must-include-solar-panel-law comes from the California government. I suspect that Sac B article included the thought that the CA Senators could have created laws to build solar farms (regardless of the lack of current energy storage options). I have seen several options for storage that don't rely on batteries. Frankly, until we can create a real (non-fake) need for more and better storage options and infrastructure, we can only count on the risk taken by companies that are able to avoid the "quarterly ROI" mania.

Randall75

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2018, 12:09:01 AM »
Hi Edouard, Blick, and all WC solar friends
 I priced solar to do my whole house and get away from the electric company.
It would cost me $23,000 to do this and take me 13 years to break even.
My average electric bill is $150.00 per month sometime more and sometimes less
That's if the batteries and solar panels and inverters would last that long.
I have a backup generator that kicks on if that power goes out and runs off propane since I'm out in the country and it likes to eat it very much at an average of $16 per day I went 8 and 1/2 days once when hurricane made it all the way up here about 13 years ago and I payed $2900 for the generator.
So for solar to work our government would have to step in and help pay for it.


cheers


just my 2 cents worth

xairbusdriver

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Re: Deciding the Weather Machine
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2018, 01:13:19 AM »

elagache

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Dear Randall, X-Air, and WeatherCat users concerned about global warming,

I priced solar to do my whole house and get away from the electric company.
It would cost me $23,000 to do this and take me 13 years to break even.
My average electric bill is $150.00 per month sometime more and sometimes less
That's if the batteries and solar panels and inverters would last that long.

That is one of the reasons why the California legislature’s actions are really unfair.  Effectively, they are forcing purchasers of new homes to pay the cost of solar whether or not it makes any sense.  It is a kind of tax imposed on people who simply might not be able to afford a home with that extra expense.

However, there is a more serious issue which is what I was alluding to and I hoped I could find my old posting that explained it.  Alas, try for all I'm worth I can't find it.  So I'll recreate it.  Solar can be used in one of two ways: 1.) with batteries to provide a self-contained system or 2.) to provide power to supplement the public power grid.  Option-1 is rare outside of specialized applications like RVs.   Option-2 has a serious problem that is reported in the Sacramento Bee article mentioned above.  Here is the solar radiation output from October 10, 2016:



By October trees block the sun so the morning data is missing.  However, it is the afternoon data that is important.  At 1pm (effective noon under daylight savings,) the solar radiation is almost 1000 Watts/meter2.  By 2pm it is under 800 Watts/meter2 and by 3:30 pm it is under 600 Watts/meter2.  The reason for this is that some of the solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere, so the shorter the path taken by those rays the more radiation reaches your solar panels.  As the afternoon progresses the sun's ray travel through more atmosphere and arrive weaker at your panels.  By 3:30 the same solar panels would generate 40% less power.

Here is the electrical demand for the same day October 10, 2016 from the California ISO:



These graphs have been made available since California's first electrical power crisis around 2001 and can be viewed on this web page:

http://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/default.aspx

As you can see, when solar power is waning, user demand is growing.  So there is a limit of how much solar power can be practically used on a power grid.  It turns out California is already close to that limit.   Quoting once more from the Sacramento Bee article:

http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article210886434.html

"Even at the utility-scale cost of 5 to 6 cents a kilowatt hour, there is growing concern that the massive commitment to solar in California is creating such a glut of mid-day electricity that prices during the day are plunging, and sometimes below zero. We are literally paying people to consume electricity during some midday hours.

Electricity system operators say they will increasingly have to curtail these large, inexpensive, solar producers because we have too much mid-day power. The Energy Commission mandate will pile even more expensive power onto that excess. Costs for society will go up, and the value received will go down."


Without some sort of battery system, California is producing already too much solar power at noon, but doesn't have the solar power it needs at the end of the day when demand is highest.  There simply isn't any other sort of renewable power source that can be counted upon to fill that gap.  So most the power that is produced at peak demand isn't renewable.  Since California has very little nuclear power, most of the electricity is producing greenhouse gases, including the power being used to recharge electric cars in the evening.

The political rush to force utilities to accept renewable energy hasn't had the effect intended.  Because there wasn't a comprehensive plan, solar isn't being used effectively and it appears there is insufficient generating capacity for the evening hours.  As a result the state has warned us about rotating blackouts.  This is precisely what can be expected when politicians meddle with complex technologies like the power grid.  You wouldn't let your legislator tell your doctor what do to.  Why are the public allowing legislators to tell power engineers how to operate the power grid?

TED - A printable, flexible, organic solar cell Turn ON subtitles. ;)

This is the final injury which really deserves careful consideration.  Is existing solar technology adequate or should we wait for some of the newer solar technology that is in development but looks very promising.

There is a lot of very angry debate insisting that action must be taken on global warming.  However, this very debate fails to grasp the seriousness of the situation.  As Randall points out, renewable energy is extremely expensive and the global economy is very fragile.  We absolutely cannot afford to make large investments in one technology only to have to scrap it and switch to something else.  We need a very carefully crafted plan that take into account as many of the issues as possible in one pass.  As the trendy saying goes: "failure is not an option."  At the moment there isn't even a coordinated attempt to succeed.  As another trendy saying goes: "None of us are as stupid as all of us put together."  Perhaps it is time that humanity make a concerted effort to earn it's scientific name: Homo Sapien (Wise Man.)

Edouard