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Messages - Sigmetnow

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Alaska just reported one of the most extreme snowfall rates on record: 10 inches [254 mm] per hour
Imagine going into a movie theater to check out the latest science fiction flick and there is not a single flake of snow on the ground. A couple hours later, as the credits start to roll, you mosey outside and are stunned to find your car buried in more than a foot of snow.

Perhaps you’d wonder if you were still watching a movie.

Well that’s kind of what happened Wednesday at Alaska’s Thompson Pass, just outside of the town of Valdez, when an incredible 10 inches of snow piled up in one hour — around 1.7 inches every 10 minutes. This is an absolutely incredible snowfall rate. ...

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: Today at 03:15:03 AM »
#ThomasFire in #Ventura and #SantaBarbara counties now over 200,000 acres and still rapidly growing. Given extreme dryness of vegetation, persistent #SantaAna winds, & recent record warmth, could ultimately become largest fire in California history.  In December. #CAwx #CAfire

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: December 10, 2017, 10:37:12 PM »
My understanding is that odd-numbered jet stream loop patterns, like we have currently, are particularly stable.  Doesn’t look like much change for the immediate future.

Images: the atmosphere...
From top to bottom:  10, 250 and 500hPa
And the 6-10 day outlook at the surface (of North America).

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 10, 2017, 09:55:03 PM »
Brief video at the link shows what they are up against. :'(

#ThomasFire- Fire engines parked in front of homes at Cate School in Carpinteria. In the field are off-loaded Fire dozer transports. The dozers and operators are out making nearby fire breaks.

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 10, 2017, 08:42:13 PM »
Well, that didn’t take long.

Kuwait Says Global Oil Cuts Can Halt If Market Balances by June
OPEC and its global allies including Russia may end their production cuts before 2019 if the crude market re-balances by June, Kuwait’s oil minister said.

Russia is keen to end the output-capping deal as early as possible, Issam Almarzooq told Bloomberg on Sunday in Kuwait City. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries will study an exit strategy from the global cuts accord at its next meeting in June, he told reporters later.
OPEC and its partners agreed on Nov. 30 to keep curbing production until the end of next year, in a bid to drain oversupplied world markets and prop up prices. Crude dropped in the week after their decision to extend the cuts as investors turned attention to expanding U.S. oil production and gasoline stockpiles. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 10, 2017, 08:03:08 PM »
University campuses seem like a perfect place to install microgrids.  Love the solar over the parking lot!

Tesla wins contract to build 4 MWh Powerpack system at UMass Amherst campus
... It’s a 1 megawatt/4 megawatt-hour lithium-ion battery storage system using Tesla’s Powerpacks to reduce peak energy demand and help optimize how the campus integrates its current mix of power generation.

UMass already has several solar assets and they plan to use Tesla’s batteries to reduce their reliance on the grid and get more out of their solar arrays.

They have 7 solar installations on rooftops and parking lot canopies – totalling 5.3 MW of capacity: ...

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 10, 2017, 07:50:16 PM »
“Latest CA fire outlook:
–Offshore winds locked in until at least Friday (a streak of 13 days in a row).
–No rain in Southern California until at least Dec. 26th (16 days from now.)
–Temperatures remain ~10°F above normal for foreseeable future.
Not good. ... “

• Thomas fire is the first megafire in recorded California history in the month of December.
• That the fires are happening when the rainy season is normally already in full swing is one thing, but the extent and unpredictability of the flames continue to astound officials tasked with stopping their spread.

#ThomasFire now the 10th largest fire in California state history. And it's happening in December.
Article and photo at the link.

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 10, 2017, 05:30:20 PM »
Here's a history of annual predictions of how fast solar would grow (colored ~horizontal lines) vs. the actual rate of growth (black line shooting toward the stars).

 ;D  Much like these new-fangled and frivolous inventions:

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 10, 2017, 04:48:29 PM »
Apple is growing the brains for self-driving cars.

Apple’s AI director on advances in machine learning for its self-driving car project
Training cars to recognize the world around them

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 10, 2017, 04:39:38 PM »
CALFIRE map.  The Thomas fire is upper left.

U.S.:  The ALEC group is becoming too extreme for even some Republicans and oil companies.

Koch-Backed Business Group Splinters in Climate-Change Dispute
A business-backed group that rose to prominence by prodding state legislatures to cut taxes, environmental regulations and gun restrictions, now finds itself at a crossroads amid declining membership and a bitter dispute over climate change.

The battle at the American Legislative Exchange Council erupted at the group’s winter meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, this week as members scrapped a measure declaring that climate change is not a risk after opposition from Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

"It was corporate blackmail," said Steve Milloy, a policy adviser for the Heartland Institute, a group critical of climate science. "They basically said, ‘We’re going to leave.’ "

The dispute over the climate provisions highlights the internal discord for the Arlington, Virginia-based group, which gained fame fighting President Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda. Over the past five years, more than 100 businesses left the organization, illustrating corporate concerns that the group may be going too far.

ALEC, which has been funded by companies like Koch Industries Inc. and coal giant Peabody Energy Corp., has 2,000 mostly Republican state legislator members, which it pairs with representatives from corporations and free-market interest groups. In recent years it debated model measures for state legislatures that take aim at state renewable energy requirements, set stricter voter identification requirements and would have U.S. senators appointed by state legislatures, not elected. ...

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 10, 2017, 04:26:51 PM »
Santa Barbara County coastal towns under siege as Thomas fire rages
The Santa Barbara County coastal towns of Carpinteria and Montecito were under siege from the Thomas fire Sunday morning as the destructive blaze again raged out of control.
The Thomas fire has burned 155,000 acres and forced 88,000 people to flee their homes. Official estimates have put the cost of combating the fire at $25 million. ...

From earlier:
In all, there are six wildfires burning in Southern California. About 8,500 firefighters are battling the fires, which have collectively burned 175,000 acres.

“We’re facing a new reality in this state, where fires threatened people’s lives, their properties, their neighborhoods and billions and billions of dollars. So we have to have the resources to combat the fires,” [California Gov. Jerry] Brown told reporters at a news conference at the Ventura County Fairgrounds.

The governor thanked firefighters for their efforts and expressed sympathy for residents who had lost their homes and animals, calling it a “horror” and “terrible tragedy for so many people.”

Brown added that climate change may exacerbate the weather conditions that caused the wildfires to explode.

“This is the new normal, and this could be something that happens every year or every few years,” he said. “We’re about to have a firefighting Christmas.” ...

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 10, 2017, 02:58:21 AM »
“According to his own aides Trump watches 4-8 hours of TV every day, regularly fails to show up for work by 9-930 even after urging from both of his Chiefs of Staff, and spends many days golfing.
     That would get most Americans fired from their jobs.”

NYT article:    Inside Trump’s Hour-by-Hour Battle for Self-Preservation

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:48:47 PM »
I agree that when they are ready to buy new school buses, they will likely go electric.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:46:50 PM »
New monocrystalline black solar panels from LG have 20% efficiency.
(Meaning they look better, and require less space on your roof.)

Flagship residential solar panel from LG breaks 21% efficiency, goes all black

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 09, 2017, 06:33:56 PM »
While all forms of electrical transportation make good sense, some make more sense than others.

The fixed routes followed by garbage trucks, local buses, and school buses may make them ideal for batteries. Mileage between charging is knowable, quiet operation is important, and the fleets are often owned by governmental entities that qualify for low interest funding.

These vehicles return to base daily and in house charging can be integrated into their daily schedule.

The long haul freight trucks will come, but why not start with the much easier, and equally important, local fixed route vehicles?

Capitalism!  Sadly, vehicle manufacturers won’t succeed simply by making trucks for the most logical customers — you must also consider the size of the market, and expected demand. 

Garbage trucks require special doohickeys (technical term) to deal with garbage, making them useless for most other hauling tasks.  And although school buses seem like the perfect fit, they are purchased mostly (in the U.S.) by public school municipalities who do not have the money to spare to buy the latest big tech.  Even if it would save them money in the long run, in the short run they have to get approval from boards struggling to pay teachers and buy computers and food for lunches. 

But delivery trucks are ubiquitous.  Make the best new delivery truck, price it right, and you’ll have more demand than you can handle!

Policy and solutions / Re: Coal
« on: December 09, 2017, 02:39:35 PM »
‘Death spiral’: half of Europe’s coal plants are losing money
Air pollution and climate change policies are pushing coal-fired electricity stations to the brink, says a new report. Closing them would avoid €22bn in losses by 2030
Supporters of renewables reject the charge that renewables are unreliable, pointing out the lack of blackouts despite the fast rising proportions of green energy on grids and plunging coal use, and also the dropping cost of battery storage. The UK, where coal use will end by 2025, has gone from 40% of coal-fired electricity to 2% since 2012. The EU’s emission trading scheme has been criticised for providing far too many carbon permits, meaning the carbon price is low.

The expected coal use across the globe in coming decades, particularly in Asia, has fallen sharply recently. In 2013, the International Energy Agency expected world-wide coal-burning to grow by 40% by 2040 – it now anticipates just 1% growth.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: December 09, 2017, 01:54:04 AM »
As Rachel Maddow often says, we are all tired of all the Russia entanglements, the corruption, the ineptitude, the stupid tweets — things that in any other administration would long ago have led to impeachment and/or resignations.  The danger is that because it keeps happening, and keeps happening, and keeps happening... that we are no longer shocked.  Like a repetitive beating, we get dulled to it.  But we MUST keep learning more about it, keep reminding ourselves that this cluster of an administration Is Not Normal.  We can’t afford to feel too tired to not listen, to not care any more — because then evil wins.  And democracy is lost.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 09, 2017, 01:30:00 AM »
Not that this will actually happen – – I’ll believe it when I see it – – but the White House at least recognizes the increasing concern about the president’s health.

Trump will undergo a physical and release details early next year

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 08, 2017, 10:08:32 PM »
Further to the discussion in this thread around November 16 about the number of electric buses in China:

Kees van der Leun: While London is proud of its 120 electric buses, China brings 120,000 on the road every year now. Quite an electrification!
Original image at the link.

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 08, 2017, 09:58:53 PM »
China market: GCL SIT automates PV module production
Nuying Huang, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES [Friday 8 December 2017]
China-based PV module maker GCL System Integration Technology (GCL SIT) has fully automated one of its PV module factories in Zhangjiagang, which will have an annual production capacity of 200MWp, according to media report in China.

Becoming a smart dark factory via full automation, the PV module factory has managed to reduce the number of its workers from 52 to eight and also lowered its defect rate by 0.1pp, said the report. ...

Electrek says:  “On one side of the building they have pallets coming in, on the other side they have pallets leaving – drivers manage the product. They shut the lights off inside the building. The only people employed are engineers, robot technicians, and those needed to secure the site. This is the future of manufacturing as a whole, but it’s hitting the solar power industry hard as there is a need to scale quickly and economically.”

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:58:15 PM »
How Fossil Fuel Donors Shaped the Anti-Climate Agenda of a Powerful Congressional Committee
Rep. Lamar Smith has led a strategic attack on climate science using the committee he chairs. Back in Texas, his constituents face the effects of global warming.
Sixteen-term Republican Lamar Smith has used his power as chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee for the past five years to do battle on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. Embracing the arguments of a small group of climate contrarians, Smith acknowledges that warming is happening but says more research is needed to determine the amount and causes, and whether it does more good than harm. ...

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:42:43 PM »
Congress Questions Pruitt on Industry's Growing Influence in EPA
In his first oversight hearing, the environment agency chief said he would replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan and challenge a key finding with a 'red team' exercise.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 08, 2017, 08:35:26 PM »
California's Climate Emergency
Fires continue to burn Southern California, and climate scientists have warned us for years that the region was entering a year-round fire regime
For years, climate scientists have warned us that California was entering a year-round fire regime. For years, climate campaigners have been wondering what it would take to get people to wake up to the urgency of cutting fossil fuel emissions. For years, we've been tip-toeing as a civilization towards a point of no return.

That time is now.

The advent of uncontrollable wintertime megafires in California is a turning point in America's struggle to contain the impacts of a rapidly changing climate. Conditions that led to the Thomas fire won't happen every year, but the fact that they're happening at all should shock us. ...

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 08, 2017, 01:27:35 PM »
Is Donald Trump's mental health becoming dangerous? Medical experts weigh in.
Medicine is an equalizer, and the president may find that he cannot outrun his own condition.
”Simply put, Trump has already exceeded our usual threshold for evaluation. Just some of the signs that have raised red flags include: verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and the taunting of hostile nations with nuclear power. Specific traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality and poor understanding of consequences, a lack of empathy and belligerence toward others, rage reactions and a constant need to demonstrate power. Such traits interfere with the ability to think rationally, to take in needed information or advice, to weigh consequences and to make sound, logical decisions based on reality.”

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: December 08, 2017, 01:47:51 AM »
EPA Chief Pruitt asked mining industry to tell Trump to pull out of Paris Accord.

EPA watchdog to investigate Pruitt meeting with industry group
Pruitt met with the mining group in April and reportedly urged association members to tell President Trump to pull the United States out of the Paris climate deal.

Critics of the meeting, including Democrats and liberal groups, say a request like that from a Cabinet member violates anti-lobbying laws for government officials. They want the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to provide a legal opinion on that question, and they asked the inspector general to first “develop a comprehensive factual record" for use in such an analysis. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 07, 2017, 08:59:58 PM »
Looks like the Tesla production snags may have been worked out.

Tesla Model 3 customer deliveries are reportedly starting next week
We have received reports that some of the first Tesla Model 3 reservation holders who don’t have access to the employee priority delivery are being scheduled deliveries as soon as next week.

We are talking about deliveries to people who are not Tesla employees, family members of an employee, or company insiders. Those people had access to the first Model 3 vehicles that Tesla delivered since the launch of the production version in July. But now Tesla is finally moving to what we have been referring to as “regular customer deliveries.”

Of course, they are technically behind schedule on that since Tesla first aimed for regular customer deliveries in October before announcing some production issues last month and delayed the Model 3 production ramp. But the company finally started opening up Model 3 orders to regular reservation holders on November 21.

At that point, Tesla was talking about 4 weeks for the first deliveries, but after going through the process and being assigned new VINs, customers are being confirmed deliveries as soon as next week. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 07, 2017, 08:36:48 PM »
“...the price of energy storage, in a survey of large buyers, had hit $209/kWh. Down 24% in a year.”

This is what happened to the price of solar- grade silicon when PV took off. It spiked, providing the investment signal, then fell back lower than where it started. Same will happen with lithium, cobalt, etc.
Image below.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 07, 2017, 08:23:46 PM »
London’s new electric [with range-extender] black cabs hit the road – a classic reborn
The vehicle has an all-electric range of 80 miles (~129 km) on a single charge and is equipped with a 1.5 litre petrol range extender.

The first few units are now on the road and the company plans to significantly increase production volume over the next few years to have over 9,000 electric taxis by 2021.

In order to support this fleet, LEVC is planning a large charging infrastructure network – starting at Circus West Village

“The entire site has been designed to futureproof for a mass adoption of electric vehicles with the infrastructure for almost 1,000 electric charging points planned and the flexibility to increase that. The first 57 charging points are now available for use at Circus West Village. The Grade II* listed Power Station building and its surrounding areas is being transformed into a community of homes, shops, offices, restaurants and public space – a vibrant, new town centre for Londoners.”

They plan to add 75 DC fast-charging stations to help support the effort. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Oil and Gas Issues
« on: December 07, 2017, 08:09:49 PM »
GE to Cut 12,000 Jobs in Its Power Business, citing drop in demand for fossil fuel-based power
General Electric Co. plans to cut 12,000 jobs in its power business as the company’s new leaders look to slash costs and stabilize the beleaguered manufacturer.

The reductions, accounting for about 18 percent of GE Power’s workforce, include both professional and production employees, the company said Thursday in a statement. The world’s largest maker of gas turbines said the unit needs to become leaner as customers turn away from fossil fuel-based energy sources
Demand is flagging for GE’s power-generation equipment because of overcapacity, lower utilization, fewer outages and the growth in renewable energy, said Stifel Financial Corp. analyst Robert McCarthy.

“Given the challenges within the global power market, today’s announcement represents an obvious next step in reducing headcount and footprint in order to improve margins and cash flow within the struggling business,” McCarthy said in a note to clients. “Traditional power markets including gas and coal have softened and volumes are down significantly.”
GE has been hit hard by weakening demand for new gas-fired electricity generators as the costs of renewables slide. Competitors such as Siemens AG are contending with similar pressures. The Munich-based company last month announced a plan to eliminate about 6,900 positions worldwide and close factories, amid a sharp drop in orders for power-plant equipment.

Science / Re: Trump Administration Assaults on Science
« on: December 07, 2017, 06:59:14 PM »
Let’s review.

Trump science job nominees missing advanced science degrees
WASHINGTON (AP) — When it comes to filling jobs dealing with complex science, environment and health issues, the Trump administration is nominating people with fewer science academic credentials than their Obama predecessors. And it’s moving slower as well.

Of 43 Trump administration nominees in science-related positions — including two for Health and Human Services secretary — almost 60 percent did not have a master’s degree or a doctorate in a science or health field, according to an Associated Press analysis. For their immediate predecessors in the Obama administration, it was almost the opposite: more than 60 percent had advanced science degrees.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:45:12 PM »
Tesla Semi will deliver beer – Budweiser orders 40 electric trucks
The list of companies placing orders for Tesla Semi electric trucks keeps growing weeks after the unveiling event last month.

Now Anheuser-Busch, the brewer behind Budweiser, announced that it ordered 40 Tesla Semi trucks.
The brewer says that it will include the electric trucks in its distribution network as part of its commitment to reduce its operational carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2025.

Considering the size of their distribution network, they say that it would be the equivalent of removing nearly 500,000 cars from the road globally each year. ...

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:08:31 PM »
Thomas Fire almost surrounds Ojai, California
Wednesday night the fire spread further up the coast toward Carpinteria

Ludicrous Fire Weather predicted in Southern California through Saturday

Below: Map of the Thomas Fire. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite in the 12 hours before 2 a.m. PST December 7. The red line was the perimeter 24 hours before, and the yellow line was about 48 hours before.

Policy and solutions / Re: Bitcoin mining and other computing energy costs
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:52:16 PM »
This is nuts.

LONDON, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Bitcoin rocketed above $15,000 for the first time ever on Thursday, up more than 10 percent on the day, after adding more than $2,000 to its price in fewer than 12 hours.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:11:58 PM »
New uses for technology in our increasingly dangerous climate-changed world.

This Is How California Officials Alerted Hundreds Of Thousands As Wildfires Approached Their Homes
In a rare move, California officials sent sweeping emergency alerts to hundreds of thousands of people as wildfires continued to rage.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:52:43 AM »
Our dry air mass (orange/red colors) seen on water vapor satellite this afternoon is about to get reinforcement. More dry air forming in NV will be here by Thu, combining with strong #SantaAnaWinds in most LA and Ventura Co. valleys and mountains. #LAWeather
Photo below; GIF at the link.

Extremely critical fire weather conditions tonight-Thursday as strong and damaging #SantaAnaWinds combine with single digit humidities. Very rapid fire spread, long range spotting, and extreme fire behavior likely. #LAwind #LAWeather #cawx
Photo below.

Scary quote from Cal Fire re: forecast tomorrow: "There will be no ability to fight fires in these kinds of winds." (80+ mph expected)

Literally off the charts fire danger in LA on Thursday. 162 and above = extreme

Tomorrow there will be 4% humidity and a Brush Burning index of 296. "This is the highest number I've ever seen in my career," said L.A. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas.
More on the index here:

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 06, 2017, 09:26:04 PM »
Ford announces major expansion of electric car plans in China with 15 new models
While 15 new EVs is a significant commitment, it’s still fewer new models than the 35 gas-powered cars that they plan to introduce in the market by 2025.
Nonetheless, those EV plans in China are significant and represent the latest example of China’s strong zero-emission vehicle mandate working great so far.

Automakers need zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) to represent 10% of new car sales as soon as in 2019 and 12% by 2020. They recently removed the requirement for 2018, but the plan is still more aggressive than any major country. ...

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2017
« on: December 06, 2017, 09:14:59 PM »
Tesla deploys 6 battery projects in order to power two islands in Puerto Rico, more to come
As part of Tesla’s continuous effort to deploy energy storage systems in Puerto Rico following their power issues after being ravaged by hurricanes, the local government has now announced that the company will deploy 6 new battery projects on two Puerto Rican islands.

Several additional larger scale projects are also reportedly in the works.
Tesla will combine its Powerpack systems with existing solar arrays on the islands of Vieques and Culebra in order to run microgrids until the main grid connected with underwater cables comes back online.

Tesla was apparently able to quickly deploy the batteries with full inverter and Powerpack systems on Vieques, like the one seen on a trailer [below].

The battery systems are being deployed at critical locations, like a sanitary sewer treatment plant, the Arcadia water pumping station, the Ciudad Dorada elderly community, the Susan Centeno hospital, and the Boys and Girls Club of Vieques. ...

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 06, 2017, 08:18:39 PM »
Star Trek Foundation funds WARP solar water purification system in Puerto Rico
Puerto Ricans in the coastal town of Loíza have looked to an MIT invention to get their water supply flowing again. Serving 600 Puerto Ricans, the solar plus water purification system produces 850 gallons of clean drinking water daily, with rooftop rain barrels as storage.

The solar panels used are a rollable thin-film product. ...

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 08:02:12 PM »
Thick smoke streamed from several fires in southern California when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured this natural-color image in the afternoon on December 5, 2017.

The largest of the blazes—the fast-moving Thomas fire in Ventura County—had charred more than 65,000 acres (24,000 hectares or 94 square miles), according to Cal Fire. Smaller smoke plumes from the Creek and Rye fires are also visible.

Image below; more at the link.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 06:46:01 PM »
#SkirballFire UPDATE: The 405 Fwy is now CLOSED in both directions between the 101 Fwy and 10 Fwy as the 50-acre brush fire near the Getty Center continues to rage. ...

Can’t help but think that Elon Musk’s planned tunnel, parallel to the 405, would still be a safe mode of transport in situations like this — unlike road or rail.  And such situations will certainly continue to happen in the future.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:18:10 PM »
Climate context for the horrific #ThomasFire:
–Temperatures in the 80s all week, +15 above normal
–Just 0.11" of rain since Oct 1 in L.A., 94% below normal
–Exceptional Santa Ana event, with wind gusts near hurricane force

This paper proposes a link between climate change and stronger Santa Ana winds:
Identification of two distinct fire regimes in Southern California: implications for economic impact and future change

Flames leaping near the 405 in Los Angeles this morning.
Can you *imagine* if this was your commute to work?
Brief video at the link.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:02:22 PM »
Use caution on U/S 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara. Fire is burning on both sides of the highway. Expect intermittent closures and/or CHP escorts through the area. #ThomasFire #sheriffvc
First photo below.

STUNNING: Pacific Ocean glows with reflection of the Thomas Fire after the wildfire jumps Highway 101 between Ventura and Santa Barbara.
Second photo below.

My friend Jim Bob Barnett took this photo last night from Ortega Hill in Summerland. Stay safe everyone!  #ThomasFire
Third photo below.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 04:27:49 AM »
“About a dozen people at the fairgrounds shared similar stories: smelling and then seeing a roaring red gleam approaching so quickly that they barely had time to grab belongings— a task made even more difficult because of power outages.”

More Than 150,000 Ordered To Flee As Wildfires Torch Homes In Southern California
Strong winds caused multiple fires to explode Monday night and Tuesday morning, forcing more than 150,000 people to evacuate and prompting the California governor to declare a state of emergency.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 04:10:26 AM »
Bruce Steele wrote:  “We expect fires during Santa Ana conditions.“

People can see the increase in dry vegetation and address the elevated danger in their back yards, so to speak... but I imagine it’s difficult to foresee Santa Ana conditions which are suddenly stronger, and last longer, than has been the norm up to now.

Policy and solutions / Re: Cars, cars and more cars. And trucks, and....
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:51:46 AM »
“Planning an extinction isn’t easy.”

California will ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2040 if upcoming bill passes
California Assemblymember Phil Ting, a Democrat who is chairman of the chamber’s budget committee, said he plans to introduce a bill that, starting in 2040, would allow the state’s motor vehicles department to register only “clean” vehicles that emit no carbon dioxide, such as battery-electric or hydrogen fuel-cell cars.

“Until you set a deadline, nothing gets done,” Ting, who represents much of San Francisco, said in a phone interview Tuesday. “It’s responsible for us to set a deadline 23 years in advance.” ...

Adoption of new technology these days happens much faster than even the “experts” expect.  If nothing else, this will get people thinking.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 05, 2017, 10:03:45 PM »
So far in 2017, wildfires have scorched some 1,700 square miles [4,400 sq km ] in California, an area larger than the state of Rhode Island. 
[Data: ]

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 05, 2017, 09:56:07 PM »
The southern California wildfire showing up nearly as bright if not as bright as the city lights of Los Angeles.

Nighttime satellite imagery clearly highlights the explosive growth of the #ThomasFire in #SoCal (comparison from the night before). Latest estimates have it at 31,000 acres. #CAFire #cawx

Policy and solutions / Re: Renewable Energy
« on: December 05, 2017, 08:26:07 PM »
Bitcoin doesn’t require governments to issue currency, or banks to process payments.  What it does require is energy — a lot of it.

Bitcoin could cost us our clean-energy future
Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge — an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

That sort of electricity use is pulling energy from grids all over the world, where it could be charging electric vehicles and powering homes, to bitcoin-mining farms. In Venezuela, where rampant hyperinflation and subsidized electricity has led to a boom in bitcoin mining, rogue operations are now occasionally causing blackouts across the country. The world’s largest bitcoin mines are in China, where they siphon energy from huge hydroelectric dams, some of the cheapest sources of carbon-free energy in the world. One enterprising Tesla owner even attempted to rig up a mining operation in his car, to make use of free electricity at a public charging station.
By July 2019, the bitcoin network will require more electricity than the entire United States currently uses. By February 2020, it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2017
« on: December 05, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
Tropical Storm Ockhi is undergoing extratropical transition; “will be watched carefully for signs of regeneration.”

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