JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


Handbooks


Advertising


Australian Speakers Agency



GoldNerds

The nerds have the numbers on precious metals investments on the ASX



The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

Climate Money Paper



Archives

Books

Kamala Harris would like to criminalize climate dissent

Kamala Harris is running to be the next US President. In case anyone hasn’t heard, rumors are that Joe Biden health is iffy and he is the temporary filler to get over the line, and if so, the VP then becomes The P. It’s not just a fringe idea. In a Rasmussen poll,  59% of voters say “it’s likely.”

So, the pocket guide to Kamala Harris for skeptics is that according to Progressive Punch, she’s further left than Bernie Sanders which is quite the feat. Appropriately she has a $10 Trillion dollar plan to get better weather, and “aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2045″ — which would be five years quicker than the famous Green New Deal.

How extreme is Kamala Harris? Pretty extreme says Kyle Smith, National Review

There are various measures for these things, but according to Progressive Punch (“Leading with the Left”), Kamala Harris is the fourth farthest-left of any senator with a score of 96.76 percent out of 100 on “crucial votes,” despite moderating very slightly in the period when she was running for president. Elizabeth Warren is fifth, Kirsten Gillibrand is sixth, and Bernie Sanders is tenth. Here is a portion of the chart.

Put another way, there are 100 Senators in the US Congress and apparently only 3 were more radical.

Kamala Harris was a state attorney general who abused her position to try to silence skeptics.

On Kamala Harris

Kevin D Williamson

Harris was a leader in the junta of Democratic state attorneys general that attempted to criminalize dissent in the matter of global warming, using her office’s investigatory powers to target and harass non-profit policy groups while she and her counterpart in New York attempted to shake down Exxon on phony fraud cases.

Until she was stopped by a federal court, Harris was laying subpoenas on organizations such as the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, a conservative-leaning group that is critical of Democratic global-warming proposals. She demanded private information that the organizations were not legally obliged to disclose, including financial information and donor lists, in order to be able to subject the supporters of right-leaning groups to legal and financial harassment. This was, as a federal judge confirmed, an obvious and unquestionable violation of the First Amendment. It was also a serious abuse of power.

Why does any of this matter in far distant Oz? In a world of Sino sabre-rattling the leader of the planet’s largest military force has a certain gravitational pull on policies overseas. Any nation that hopes to share the umbrella will feel reluctant to walk a wildly different path.

Eighty two days to go.

 

Contradictions abound in the Rasmussen poll. The VP may be President one day, but more than half of the voters don’t care who Biden picks. And more than half the country say they won’t vote for Trump, but aren’t interested in who they will vote for. Welcome to 2020 politics:

… only 45% of all voters say Biden’s choice of a running mate is important to their vote this fall, including 23% who say it’s Very Important. This compares to 76% who say generally speaking that a candidate’s vice presidential nominee is important to their vote, with 34% who feel it’s Very Important.

But then just over half of voters continue to say they’re likely to vote against President Trump this fall, and a sizable majority of those voters don’t seem to care who runs against him.

Greenpeace has a handy list of all the legislation she has introduced or co-sponsored in order to stop storms:

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.4/10 (7 votes cast)

Australians wiped out the flu and avoided 50,000 other cases of sickness and disease

Lessons from Coronavirus

Lockdowns and border closures mean many diseases have been prevented

It’s peak season for flu here in Australia and there’s almost no sign of it.  As Chris Gillham wrote here back in May, we know lockdowns stop viruses, because flu cases are 85% down.  Now he shows that this extends to other diseases too, and Chris has used data from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System to calculate that just shy of 200,000 fewer Australians contracted any of the notifiable diseases in the first seven months of 2020 compared to the first seven months of 2019.

Is some of that disease burden just the price of holiday-makers bringing back diseases from overseas each year?

No one wants to stop the planes returning to the skies, but it begs the question — do we have to accept the onslaught of winter germs every year?

The answer may lie with other things we’ve discovered in the Covid pandemic too — that sick people should stay home from work and school, and that we have a lot of anti-viral tools we can use. Perhaps it’s time that travellers considered taking preemptive anti-virals, which might improve their holidays and also reduce the disease burden back at home.

The huge suppression of influenza and other non-COVID diseases also adds a new perspective to the pandemic sick leave funding in Victoria that compensates low-income earners in particular who have run out of annual sick days and are showing up to work despite feeling ill because they fear for their jobs and their earnings. Should such funding always be available nationally to counter the possible long-term suppression of not only COVID-19 but all communicable diseases, some potentially deadly, with resultant public health cost savings?

A reduction in so many diseases is surely a productivity boon to both employers and the population at large.

Influenza

Lockdowns have almost wiped out influenza

Notably the reduction includes other diseases like syphilis and salmonella which are not respiratory diseases (see the graph below).

Influenza

Covid restrictions have restricted a lot of other diseases too.

Here’s the last four months of influenza from a global perspective — almost 97% down and this is across ten countries, not just Australia, with their most recent updates to the WHO FluNet:

 

WHO, Graph, Influenza 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

 

Near the peak of the flu seasons in the southern hemisphere, the WHO chart below shows all subtypes of influenza have all but disappeared. The 2019 Flu season was a bumper year in Australia, far above the norm. But there has never been a flu season like this one.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 32, 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

Here’s all the data on all the notifiable diseases.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 28, 2020.

WHO, Graph, Influenza Week 31, 2020.

Fewer infections could mean lower immunity, but antivirals and biotech can make up for that

We stand on the cusp of a biotech revolution. Like the point computers were at 40 years ago, and medicine was post- WWII with antibiotics and mass vaccines. We have the code for living things. We can do mass arrays, mass testing. People can sequencing their genes “for fun” for a couple of hundred dollars to find ancestors, and risky nucleotides. We are starting to customize and personalize treatment like never before. (What’s your APOE risk?)

UPDATE: To get a taste of the speed of the biotech revolution ponder that in 1990 the Human Genome Project was projected to cost $3 billion and take 15 years, instead it came in faster than expected and far under budget. Today you can get your whole genome sequenced in full for $1,000 and more than a million people have already done it.

Reducing the scourge of disease potentially puts us at a higher risk from novel viruses, but that can be more than offset through the rapidly growing supply of antivirals, CRISPR, monoclonal antibodies, stem cells, RNAi, and new RNA and Recombinant vector vaccines. (Why have antivirals been so ignored for so many years?)

In any case, the threat of newer and darker bioweapons makes the need to beat viruses more urgent than ever. Catching more strains of the flu isn’t going to save us from a Nipah virus or hemorrhagic fever.

We already have major policy programs that reduce infections but increase the future disease risk

Vaccines, so far, can’t elicit the same long term protection that viruses do.  Natural influenza infections produce life long immunity to that particular strain of influenza and partial immunity to related strains, but at the price of some deaths, and much morbidity. Vaccines try to mimic the viruses, but protection is often short lived.

So influenza vaccines improve short term immunity but they also leave people exposed to worse cases of influenza in future years, as was found with Swine flu and possibly also temporarily at an increased risk of common cold.

The US CDC admits that vaccination only reduces the risk of flu by 40 – 60% and that’s in good years where the flu strains are not new. There’s plenty of scope to use the Covid pandemic to rethink and improve the way we deal with infectious disease.

Perhaps just using masks when sick, staying home, having antivirals ready and Over-the-counter, along with better handwashing and hygiene will become normal business and social ettiquette and we can spend more of our lives being healthy.

Chris Gillham, who did the graphs is a part of the unofficial BOM audit team here normally crunching data on temperatures and rainfall. 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (44 votes cast)

Tuesday Open Thread

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (8 votes cast)

Younger Dryas caused by a volcano after all?

One of the most abrupt climate change events in human existence was the Younger Dryas period about 13,000 years ago, and even though it was so sharp, and so severe, and so recent (geologically speaking) we still don’t know what caused it. A new paper argues that it is likely it was a volcano. But previously researchers have said “asteroid”.

The Earth was warming out of the last ice age, when it suddenly cooled, and stayed cold for twelve centuries, then warmed again, just as abruptly. This is what real climate change looks like, something we mere mortals are unprepared for and apparently have no way of predicting.

Spare a thought for the people alive at the time. They were subject to a fall of three degrees Celsius, apparently in the space of just one year, perhaps triggered by volcanic dust that darkened the sky.  What is still far from explained, whether it was by volcano or falling rock, was why the coldness continued so long then so suddenly ended. The snap  change wiped out some species, like possibly the last mammoths, and in some locations camels and horses.

The volcanic dust is thought to have fallen out within a few years. Presumably, the spreading reflective snow and ice locked in a cold era that would last 50 generations, but we don’t really know. If only we had scientific climate models that worked?

UPDATE: Coming soon, a better more likely explanation involving the sun. This volcano theory is really an excuse to remind us of what real climate change is like, and how little we know.

When is the next big volcano due, and is anyone prepared for that?

Younger Dryas, Climate Change

GISP

Cooling of Earth caused by eruptions, not meteors

Ancient sediment found in a central Texas cave appears to solve the mystery of why the Earth cooled suddenly about 13,000 years ago, according to a research study co-authored by a Texas A&M University professor.

Michael Waters, director of The Center for The Study of the First Americans and Distinguished Professor at Texas A&M University, and colleagues from Baylor University and the University of Houston have had their work published in Science Advances.

Some researchers believed the event – which cooled the Earth by about 3 degrees Centigrade, a huge amount – was caused by an extraterrestrial impact with the Earth, such as a meteor collision.

But Waters and the team found that the evidence left in layers of sediment in Hall’s Cave were almost certainly the result of volcanic eruptions.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.2/10 (61 votes cast)

Around the world seismic measurements were quieter during lockdown

Something that marks how strange times are, was that in March and April, a group of seismologists found seismic activity fell by 50% at 185 stations around the world (at least in certain high frequency bands from 4 – 14 Hz). For example the three graphs below show seismic activity in Brussels, Barbados and New Zealand. A slight downturn happens at Christmas but the lockdown period fell far below that.

For the first time seismologists could identify small quake signals they had missed before.

Co-author Dr Stephen Hicks, from Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering, said: “This quiet period is likely the longest and largest dampening of human-caused seismic noise since we started monitoring the Earth in detail using vast monitoring networks of seismometers.

Who knows what they might figure out now they have a handle on human background “noise”.

Siesmic noise quietened during lockdown.

(B) Lockdown effects in hiFSAN compared with audible environmental noise and independent mobility data in Brussels, Belgium. (C) Lockdown effect in Barbados compared to noise levels in the last decade (in gray) and correlation with local flight data at the Grantley Adams International Airport (TBPB) (24). (D) Lockdown noise reduction recorded on borehole seismometers in Auckland, New Zealand.   (Click to enlarge).

For the record, there will be an array of other frequencies that aren’t listed here because they didn’t change much.

It’s just a bit of Covid trivia, but as an opportunity for experiments, 2020 is surely a researchers dream.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (33 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.6/10 (11 votes cast)

Farewell to Roy Hogue

Sadly, long time commenter and moderator Roy Hogue passed away this week.

People may not realize Roy spent countless hours moderating as “AZ”. Many thanks to him for his patience  — and likewise to all the moderators who make it possible for the conversation to continue here.

After 12,535 comments he will be missed.

Roy’s first comment was in November 2009. As a “computer science type” who lectured at college level, Roy said:

At a lecture for students on AGW the best a pair of professors could come up with to support their alarmism was Al Gore’s movie and the usual statements that it’s a done deal, no more debate, etc., etc., ad nauseam.

Our students have no means of protecting themselves from this proof by authority. 

Commiserations to his lovely wife Catharine and family. I know he was much loved.

A good man to the end.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (103 votes cast)

Countries that use Hydroxychloroquine may have 80% lower Covid death rates

The  scandal from the Swamp: Too rich to get a cheap drug?

Poor countries all over the world are using Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and it appears to be very useful.

The new HCQTrial suggests that despite the billion dollar budgets and expert staff, people in wealthier countries are dying from Coronavirus at far higher rates than people are in lands where HCQ is being used. And the effect of HCQ apparently holds even after researchers correct for patients being older, heavier, with higher blood pressure, living in high density apartment towers, or with getting tested more.

If word ever gets out that the Politico-Academic-Corporate-Swamp buried useful drugs because they were unprofitable and out of patent, there will be hell to pay.

The HCQTrial was done anonymously by @CovidAnalysis – who say they are PhD researchers, scientists.

You can find our research in journals like Science and Nature. For examples of why we can’t be more specific search for “raoult death threats” or “simone gold fired”. We have little interest in adding to our publication lists, being in the news, or being on TV (we have done all of these things before but feel there are more important things in life now).

It’s a mark of the times when people do a lot of work but don’t want credit. They just want to get the answers out there. When the main tool of public argument is ad hominem, this is sometimes how it has to be.

Hydroxychloroquine use, country by country, graph. Death rate. Mortality.

Hydroxychloroquine use, country by country, graph. Death rate. Mortality.

It’s not often a trial announces they put 2 billion people into the treatment group. But they literally included the world, then found 5 billion exceptions — some nations chopped and changed drug policy, some took up masks, and others isolated too soon to get really sick (New Zealand and Australia).  They were all ruled out. Some countries were too young or too small to be included. So they found nations that either did or didn’t use HCQ and stuck with the policy and followed them through to see what happened.

The raw data shows mortality rates are 87% lower, but when adjusted for confounders (like the age of the population) the mortality rates were only 79% lower. “Only”.

The low death nations include Cuba, India, Turkey, Indonesia, Algeria, Greece, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Russia, Morocco and Israel. Not all of which are poor.

The list itself may be a shock — for people in the West to find out that so many countries are using it.

Hydroxychloroquine is a 60 year old drug used by millions of people around the world. The wholesale cost is about $5US for a whole month of treatment in Africa. In the US HCQ (Hydroxycholoroquine) was approved in 1955, and there are about 5 million prescriptions for it every year for things like Malaria, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. About 15 years ago it was shown to work against SARS the close-cousin to Covid-19-WuFlu. It’s one of the most prescribed drugs in the world and people sometimes take it for years.  The side effects and risks are well known, and doctors already know who shouldn’t take it. The “dangerous” drug is mainly dangerous to Corporate profits. It threatens Big Pharma which has taken some breathtaking punts on new drugs and new vaccines.

Take the 80% figure with some skepticism. Country by country comparisons are the lowest grade of medical studies — hunting for answers under a hill of confounding factors — but this is a well thought out, respectable study. It isn’t a prospective placebo controlled trial, and other factors may be influencing this result– like levels of sunlight or Vitamin D status (which isn’t mentioned). Genetics may also confound the results — things like blood groups, ACE2 expression, immune factors, past infections — all these things may affect wealthy Western nations differently.  As far as Vitamin D goes, cold Russia is in the low death camp, along with sunny Cuba — suggesting that there is no simple “high sunlight” rule.

A month ago the Ford study suggested HCQ might have reduced mortality by 50%.

South Korea has been recommending we use this drug since February 13th. Curiously, they were ruled out of this study, by the way, because they took up wearing masks too quickly, which the authors said reduced both infections and mortality.

Why is the West banning this drug?

There may be a good reason, but why isn’t the question the top priority in the highest corridors of politics? If we don’t have enough HCQ, then isn’t it time to discuss a plan to manufacture it ourselves? Shouldn’t we give our health care workers the option to use it?

The biggest treatment group in the world:

 2.0 billion people were assigned to the treatment group, and 663 million to the control group. As of August 6, 2020, an average of 38.5/million in the treatment group have died, and 440.2/million in the control group, relative risk 0.087. After adjustments, treatment and control deaths become 79.6/million and 630.0/million, relative risk 0.13.

The adjusted data (graphed below), which is also modeled out for 90 days, is where the 80% lower mortality rate is estimated from.

Hydroxychloroquine use, country by country, graph. Death rate. Mortality.

Hydroxychloroquine use, country by country, adjusted for demographic factors and extended out for 90 days.

People, like Sydney Morning Herald writers are being willingly fooled by badly done studies which start the drug too late when patients are already in a severe state and use it without the cofactors — zinc and an antibiotic. Some studies are so badly designed, it’s almost like they were not meant to succeed.

ABSTRACT

Many countries either adopted or declined early treatment with HCQ, forming a large country-randomized controlled trial. 2.0 billion people were assigned to the treatment group, and 663 million to the control group. As of August 6, 2020, an average of 38.5/million in the treatment group have died, and 440.2/million in the control group, relative risk 0.087. After adjustments, treatment and control deaths become 79.6/million and 630.0/million, relative risk 0.13. Confounding factors affect this estimate, including varying degrees of spread between countries. Accounting for predicted changes in spread, we estimate a relative risk of 0.21. The treatment group has 79.1% lower chance of death. We examined diabetes, obesity, hypertension, life expectancy, population density, urbanization, testing level, and intervention level, which do not account for the effect observed.

The final word from the FAQ:

Why should we trust @CovidAnalysis?
There is no need to. We provide organization and analysis, but all sources are public and you can easily verify everything. For the country-based analysis, all data is public and the analysis is simple to replicate. We also note that many equally qualified experts report contradictory conclusions. If you don’t like our analysis, you can use our database to locate information you may have missed for your own research.

h/t Dave B.

REFERENCE

Early treatment with hydroxychloroquine: a country-randomized controlled trial, Covid Analysis, August 5, 2020

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.6/10 (97 votes cast)

Major report by MPs in UK found Open Border was a ‘serious mistake’

Do 10,000 extra infections matter?

JoNova — cheaper and faster than a Parliamentary Report — said two months ago that it was baffling that the UK locked everyone down, but kept flying in the virus. Now British MP’s are saying the same.

UPDATE: Given Boris Johnson suddenly changed policy on flights from Spain last week, immediately adding a mandatory quarantine, what’s the bet someone told him this report was coming?

No 10′s ‘inexplicable’ decision to lift quarantine at height of pandemic: MPs’ damning report condemns ‘serious mistake’ that allowed 10,000 infected people into the UK

David Barett, DailyMail

Delaying quarantine measures at the border was a ‘serious mistake’ that allowed 10,000 infected people into the UK accelerated the virus spread, a major report by MPs says.

The cross-party inquiry is highly critical of the Government’s ‘inexplicable’ decision to lift its initial quarantine measures in mid-March, ten days before lockdown.

Experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calculated that up to 10,000 infected people, largely from Spain, France and Italy, imported the virus into the UK.

Viruses can only survive in people temporarily, so to beat a rogue chemical code, we just stop feeding it new bodies. The cheapest, natural gap between networked, gregarious humans is at international borders. Every smaller border partition is harder, more complicated and more expensive. If state borders are a headache, suburban borders are a migraine. And when they fail we have to put a border around every single house.

Crush the Curve, Coronavirus, Graph. Close borders.

More flights speeds up the peak… and the death toll.

The sheer size of the UK air traffic is something to behold:

Arrivals by air to the UK totalled 7 million in January, 6.8 million in February and 3.8 million in March before falling to just 112,000 in April, the report says.

Nearly every other nation in the world closed borders. Haiti, Cuba, Nigeria, Eritrea. Pick a country, nearly any country. They almost all closed borders.

A hard border is the first lesson in baby epidemiology classes. But somehow the two greatest nations on Earth both failed to get this right. Which brings me to my Swamp hypothesis — namely that the two oldest, strongest democracies on Earth also have the most mature Swamps. They have the most red tape, the most complex incentives, and the deepest well of conflicts of interest. All of which makes possible, the dumbest decisions.

Keep reading  →

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.5/10 (56 votes cast)

Wind Power failure: on average every 3 days, there is a 500MW fail

On average, every 3 days, wind farms generating as much as one coal fired unit, fail on the Australian grid

The faith in Wind Power. It's like a religion.TonyfromOz exposes a failure rate so common it’s hidden in plain view. Wind “Farm” intermittency is even worse than we thought.

On average, every three days within a one hour period there’s a sudden failure of 500 MW of wind generation — equal to one industrial coal turbine. That’s four full wind farms or about 250 spinning turbines that stopped spinning.

Every time a coal plant trips out, it’s reported as a problem of relying on our “old coal fleet”. But when the same power output fails from wind, it’s the new clean green future at work (!) , and a sign we need to spend another $20 billion to “upgrade the grid” with interconnectors we don’t need, and Hydro schemes we don’t want.

A few wind farms are bad for the grid. More windfarms are worse.

100 times a year we get a 500MW outage

TonyfromOz (Anton Lang) laboriously finds and documents two different kinds of failure. The largest and longest outages are when wind farms are becalmed. But there are many more short sharp and very sudden failures in high wind conditions where wind farms cut out.

The sharpest power cuts are happening in between the high pressure cells. As the wind picks up, production maximizes, only to crash as turbines hit their safety cut off points and drop out of production suddenly. About 50 times a year generation across the entire Australian wind farm grid falls by 500MW or more within one hour or less.

On the other hand, when large cell weather patterns traverse Australia whole windfarm regions are becalmed, and rendered useless within hours. This sort of failure can be as large as 2 to 4 GW of power disappearing in less than nine hours. This is like a whole coal power plant or even two (with 8 different units) producing virtually nothing. It never happens with coal but it happens about twenty times a year with wind power.

Those long term losses are happening with every High Pressure system crossing SA and Victoria from West to East, and they last around one a week . Some pass more quickly than others and some hang around for up to a couple of days.

Building more towers in the same area makes the intermittency worse –not better.

Baseload generation must sit idling ready-to-go to pick up the slack. Or the giant Snowy Hydro scheme must sit in reserve, assuming it has enough water to release. In either case, great capital infrastructure is being used inefficiently as a bandaid for a fickle unreliable and expensive generator. And we wonder why electricity costs have risen inexorably?

_______________________________________________________

Wind Power Generation Intermittency – It’s Worse Than You Think It Is – Part One

By Anton Lang, edited by Jo Nova

Introduction

Intermittency on every scale is a large problem, and constructing more of those wind plants is making the problem worse.

For four years I have been collecting data on wind power generation in Australia. After looking at this data on a daily basis for so long, I could see many variations, but I was not seeing the long term trends of the scale of that intermittency, how big it was, how suddenly generation would fall, how sustained the losses could be, and the quite large sizes of the falls.

Over the last three months, I went back over more than 730 days of data, and collated all the falls for wind generation. Strikingly, there were a lot of sudden falls, and there were a lot of sustained falls. To assess the frequency of the falls I needed to set some parameters. For generation losses I selected 500MW because it is around the average for a single large scale coal fired turbine (or “Unit”). Australia has 16 coal fired power plants, and there are 48 separate Units in toto at all of those plants. The total Nameplate is 23,000MW, so the average size of those Units is 480MW. So, the loss of 500MW of power in a short space of time is equivalent of one of those large scale coal fired Units going off line, something that renewable power supporters tell us is proof somehow that coal fired power is unreliable. Secondly 500MW equates to around four or more wind plants or “farms” of turbines as they are known. The total Nameplate for wind power is currently 7,728MW and there are 64 wind plants, so the average is 120MW and a 500MW fall in power is similar to four wind plants stopping. Those power losses are significant — not just a few towers here and there — a 500MW loss is like 250 to 270 of those individual wind towers stopping.

I divided the sudden losses into five different time frames.  I assessed the number of times this happened and also the range of the power losses that occurred. All these separate failures occurred in the last two years and two months or 800 days.

Time Frame Number of Incidences  Range of power losses
Short
Power losses in less than one hour (0 – 55 minutes)  53 500MW to 1340MW
Power losses in One Hour (56-60 minutes)  54 500MW to 980MW
Power losses between one and three hours  (65 – 180 mins)  52 630MW to 1570MW
Long
Power loss between three and eight and a half hours (3 – 8.5 hours)  42 1240MW to 2490MW
 .. Power loss over sustained long period of time (9 hours or greater)  64 1500MW to 3670MW. (with 10 times over 3000MW)

 

As each of the time frames increased, I looked for larger power losses which would challenge the system. There were also many smaller sub 500MW incidents over the longer period which I did not include.

Keep in mind here that there were 265 occasions in the last 800 days where the power loss exceeded 500MW.

As often as I look at all this data, something that I did not see earlier has became more obvious –  nearly all of those losses in the short time frames were when power generation was already quite high, and again, this is a further reason I have split all of this into those two areas, the three short time frame ones, and the two long time frame ones.

With all the images on this page, if you click on the image, it will open on a new page and at a much larger size, so you can better see the detail.

Wind Generation Sustained Power Loss

The longer and large losses are due to large High Pressure cells sitting over the Eastern states

I was already aware that when it comes to those long time frame power losses, it was apparent it was related to the weather. Every time one of those large High pressure weather systems came into an area in the South of the Country, then wind generation would fall away by a large amount. An example of that is shown in the image at the right, and here, you can see that power generation fell away from the high of 4500MW just after Midnight to that indicated low around 850MW, a loss of 3650MW across that time frame of 20 hours. So, what we have here is that the greatest percentage of all the data that I was recording was coming from that same area where those High pressure systems would pass over. This was the South Eastern area of South Australia, and the Central West area of Victoria. Now, that particular area is where the largest number of those wind plants are located. Australia has (now) got a total Nameplate for wind power of 7728MW. However, in that area I have mentioned here there is now a total Nameplate of 4916MW, and that is 64% of ALL the total wind plant Nameplate in the Country, two thirds of it all, just in those two States alone.

The shorter sharp losses are due to high wind cut offs

The short time frame power losses are related to the weather as well. We have been told often enough that these wind towers only operate between specific wind ranges. When the wind gets too high, then the wind towers automatically turn off, and the same happens when the wind is too low, they also turn off automatically.

Short Term Large Power Loss Wind Generation

So, what is happening here for those short time frame power losses is that between the occurrence of those large High pressure weather systems over that area, moving as they do from West to East, the isobars are closer together, and because of that, the wind is high, and so, there is high wind power generation. However if the wind gets too high, then the turbines turn off.

An example of this is shown in the image at right, where power was already relatively high at the indicated high of 3558MW, and it quite suddenly fell 1340MW in 45 minutes. On that same image, you can also see that this happened earlier in the day twice, just after 2AM, and again just before 6AM, where, both times, it fell by more than 400MW, and then fell around 1500MW in a sustained period of more than seven hours.

A 500 MW fall shows that in a short space of time, a large number of towers turn off in high wind situations.

Yet again, the problem we have with the intermittency being supposedly resolved by constructing more of them, has in this case, also been made worse, as now there are more wind towers in that area, as more plants are constructed in that area, and now they are more susceptible to large scale losses in shorter time frames when the wind gets too high.

When this survey started back in May 2018 the total Nameplate for Wind Power was below 5000MW. In the 26 Months since then, the Nameplate for wind power has increased by almost 3000MW. This represents probably around 20 or more new wind plants, a lot of which has been in South Australia and Victoria.

This data I have collected here shows that the intermittency problem is getting worse, as there are more occurrences of power losses, and those losses in power generation are becoming larger.

In the next two Posts I will detail those losses, show you the tables of the scale of those losses, and explain them with respect to using three images for each time frame period across the 800 days of this data gathering task.

*****

Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.

 

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (77 votes cast)

Windfarms threaten peat bogs and turn them into carbon emitters

More ironies.  One fifth of all soil carbon is stored in peat bogs.  Unfortunately when industrial wind turbines are built on them, the damage turns them from carbon sinks to carbon sources thus neutralizing the point of building the wind farm.

The headline evokes some supernatural power:

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

As if the magical whirly totem stick loses the gift of weather control when placed on a peat bog?

But the real damage is not just to wallets for another pointless windfarm. Peat bogs are so much more than carbon sinks — they are also an archive of paleohistory and the  ancient climate. Indeed, even though cattle, wind and rain can damage the bogs, the researchers now say the wind farms now pose the “most serious risk” of all. Apparently the vehicle access tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat. The drainage changes are pervasive and “affect the whole peatland” not just the part near the track.

The “blanket bogs” are rare, but occur from Spain to Norway in Europe as well as in Canada, New Zealand and Korea.

The paper is a thinly disguised plea from bog experts to save the peat wilderness from industrial development. Sadly, they seem to think the headline “carbon emissions” will attract more help than the intrinsic scientific and biological value of the peat, which says something very screwed up about environmentalists.

Wind farms, on peat bogs.

Wind farms damage peat bogs.

Wind farms built on carbon-rich peat bogs lose their ability to fight climate change

Guaduneth Chico, Ben Clutterbuck, Nicholas Midgley, The Conversation

In our recent study, we found that wind farms in Spain are being built on rare peat bogs that store vast quantities of planet-warming carbon. Because these habitats are so poorly mapped, there’s a good chance that this mistake is being replicated in many other places throughout Europe, including the UK.

Peatlands are a natural carbon sink and, despite covering less than 3% of the Earth’s land surface, they contain 20% of all the carbon stored in soils worldwide.

Although peat is naturally eroded by wind, rain and ice, blanket bogs grazed by livestock can lose four to six times more carbon than protected bogs. But the most serious risk to these habitats today is wind farms. Unprotected blanket bogs often cover mountain peaks, where there is also great potential for generating wind energy. During wind farm construction, vegetation that helps to trap the carbon is removed to create turbine bases and vehicle access tracks. These tracks create artificial streams that drain the peat and reshape the terrain.

This release can be so significant that the climate benefit of generating clean energy is likely to be neutralised.

REFERENCE

Chico et al (2020) Geo‐hydromorphological assessment of Europe’s southernmost blanket bogs, https://doi.org/10.1002/esp.4927

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (50 votes cast)

Unthreaded Explosions

An open thread, with remarkable footage and terrible state of affairs in Lebanon. Pray for the people of Beirut.

Apparently someone didn’t think much about storing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer in one spot in a city for six long ticking years. Two tons of the same was used to kill 168 people in the Oklahoma terrorist bombing. In this case, the worst “terrorist” appears to be bureaucratic negligence. Lebanon is in a dire state, with hyperinflation ruining life savings, and coronavirus accelerating.

Chatter suggests the explosion was set off by workers welding the doors to stop thieves?

Because there was a smaller fire, many cameras were on when the second explosion started.

Phenomenal footage and news on #BeirutBlast

Afterwards

The danger of uncontrolled chemistry.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.9/10 (35 votes cast)

China now has half of the worlds coal power fleet

ABC, Public Broadcaster, news, media, alternate logo, AustraliaThe global economy has been sucker punched by a world wide pandemic, but ABC propaganda writers don’t miss the chance to push their ultimate fantasy, that coal has turned a magical point in a terminal decline. Global coal fired capacity fell by an awesome 0.14 percent for the “First Time On Record”. Hyperbole knows no bounds.

How excited can someone get over a decline of one sixth of one percent? This much:

The world is now shutting down coal plants faster than it’s opening them

by James Purtill, ABC

The world’s combined coal power capacity has fallen for the first time on record as the closure of generators outstripped stations being commissioned. That’s good news for global emissions.

Note the numbers:

Coal power capacity fell by 2.9 gigawatt in the first half of 2020 — a small though significant drop of about 0.14 per cent, according to US research group Global Energy Monitor, which monitors fossil fuel developments.

By comparison, the global coal fleet had grown by an average of 25GW every six months over the previous two decades, from 2000-2019.

In a nutshell, or just a nut, coal power grew by 50GW every year for 20 years, but “coincidentally” fell by 3GW during a pandemic and therefore this is the start of the spiral of doom? Oh Yessity:

The reported drop confirms 2020 will be a “pivot point” for global electricity supply and mark the long-term decline of coal-fired generation, said Tim Buckley, from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. [IEEFA]

“It’s unbelievable watching this space, it’s moving so bloody fast,” he told Hack.

“So bloody fast” sayth Tim from the IEEFA which is an institute whose “mission is to accelerate the transition”. Not that the ABC tells us that he is an industry hack paid to promote unreliable energy.

The ABC advertising copywriter could have interviewed a coal industry analyst but it was against his religion.

The only other person interviewed was Christine Shearer from the group that wrote the report. That’s GEM or the Global Energy Monitor which is an NGO activist group “in support of fossil fuel phase out”. How’s that for balance? Two anti-coal activists get taxpayer funded free adverts, no hard questions asked.

She gushes too:

India has also shrunk its coal-fired capacity in 2020, “an unthinkable prospect just a few years ago,” Ms Shearer said.

They do concede that the pandemic might have something to do with the decline:

“The decline is not entirely to do with the technological obsolescence of coal — the pandemic is definitely a major factor,” Mr Buckley said.

Spot the long term trend in Indian emissions:

Is that red line a meaningless pandemic blip or a real long term trend?

India coal use, emissions, graph

Indian coal use is in sudden decline?

The little detail about global industrial might is quietly buried:

Green Dragon, China.At the same time, China has boosted its coal generating capacity — in the first half of 2020 it built 86 per cent of new coal generation.

“These shifts mean China is for the first time now home to half the world’s operating coal fleet,” Ms Shearer said.

Right. All the rest-of-the-world’s coal fired electricity generation combined is now less than China’s. The CCP controls most of the cheapest source of electricity in the world. Maybe that matters?

Symbol China Map.

Author: China map User:DrRandomFactor  and  Dragon: Nyo.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (83 votes cast)

Freedom and hard borders are 96% popular — a third of West Australians want to secede

A telling incident in Western democracies about borders

Western Australia, WA. Map.The electoral power of strong borders is vastly underestimated.

Western Australia has hard borders at the moment, and no coronavirus — other than a few cases getting caught in the mandatory quarantine. That’s 2.5 million people who are almost living a normal life.  This is not to boast (we wish you could be here), but to point out how politically popular closed borders are in the current pandemic. The Premier is wildly popular, polling close to 90%. To all the people who said “states can’t close borders” the message is that it’s bonkers not to close borders. When the Commonwealth government joined the bizarre High Court push to force them open, the pushback was ferocious. A poll today showed that West Australians are fed up. The West Australian collected 245,000 signatories to a petition supporting the border closure.

Not only do 96% say the borders should stay shut, but when asked, a whopping 34% of Western Australians said the state should secede. How fast did it come to that?

Never, have I seen such vitriol towards the Commonwealth from WA. …the Commonwealth’s decision to effectively join hands with Palmer in the Federal and High courts risked making Morrison and the Federal Liberals public enemy No.1 here in WA. It beggars belief that the Morrison Government would ever let it get to this point, that the Federal Government would ever be part of any legal action to force WA to open its borders.

– Joe Spagnolo, Columnist, The West Australian (Paywalled)

Presumably that anger will be lower now that the Commonwealth has pulled out of one of the most stupid cases they were ever involved in.

WAxit: Exclusive new survey results show one in three West Australians wish to secede from the nation

The West Australian

Exclusive polling conducted by The West Australian showed 34 per cent of the 837 people surveyed this week support the move for WA to become a separate nation.

Close to three quarters of West Australians said that since the COVID-19 pandemic the Federal Government has put the needs of the eastern states ahead of West Australians. More than 35 per cent of those canvassed by Painted Dog Research strongly agreed with the statement that Canberra is too focused on the needs of the eastern states which has been to the detriment of WA.

Only last week Scott Morrison was saying he was sure WA would lose in the High Court and he had some mealy mouth words about doing it to protect us. But faced with a Liberal Party wipe out coming in WA elections, and the growing debacle of “open borders” on the East Coast, where infections are spreading, he finally backed down. The question is, what was he thinking in the first place?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Commonwealth will no longer participate in Clive Palmer’s court fight to open WA border

In a stunning development, the Prime Minister informed Premier Mark McGowan by letter that the Commonwealth would not continue to participate in Mr Palmer’s court fight to force WA to open up its interstate border.

“Having taken into account the changed state of the pandemic that has worsened since these matters were first brought to the High Court, the high level of concern regarding public health in the Western Australian community, and our desire to work with you cooperatively on a constitutionally sustainable way forward, I consider, on balance, that we must set aside the normal convention in these circumstances and not continue the Commonwealth’s participation in this case.”

For the record, every other state attorney general sided with WA (bar NSW which stayed neutral).

To understand what a huge backdown this was — consider that only a few days ago Morrison was using weasel words, strawmen and intimating he might withhold the Australian defense force:

Prime Minister Scott Morrison warns WA is in ‘weakened state’ due to hard border stance

Thursday July 30th, The West Australian.

Scott Morrison has warned the McGowan Government’s stance on WA’s border has opened it up to being put in a “weakened state” against the coronavirus.

He said WA needed to abide by the Constitution if it wanted to make the most of national resources like Australian Defence Force personnel. 

“It is the Commonwealth Government, in response to the request from the WA Premier is providing ADF resources to bolster their (WA’s) hotel quarantine,” he said. “The Constitution doesn’t provide for unilateral decisions to close borders, without there being a proper basis of advice. That’s our state of mind.”

Mr Morrison said the WA Government needed to open its border up to States like South Australia where “incidence of cases is lower than it is in Western Australia”.

Every single case in WA is an incoming traveller in hotel Quarantine — doesn’t Scott Morrison know anything?

Here’s a table that matters:

Let’s hope the debacles in NSW and Victoria haven’t send cases across the borders to spread in all the other states.

WA represents a peak case of border anger. It is more isolated, and has fewer divided families split across state lines. It’s not dependent on tourism dollars the way Queensland or Florida or Spain would be. It’s also easier to block the border when there aren’t twin towns straddling the line as there are on Vic-NSW-Qld borders. To put this is perspective, WA has an 1,874 km state line, but only two sealed roads across it. There are a few dirt tracks, but nothing a spotter plane couldn’t cover.

Meanwhile forty percent of the WA economy is made up of mining and gas extraction and that’s making a fortune at the moment as competitors are forced to close mining due to the virus.

For baffled foreign baffled readers, Clive Palmer was the theoretical-billionaire-coal-miner and politician who suddenly befriended Al Gore in 2014. He helped create the legal back-door for an Emissions Trading Scheme when Tony Abbott axed the Carbon tax.  Supposedly Palmer got knocked back when he asked to cross the border into WA, and enraged, he took his battle to the High Court, saying that closing borders was unconstitutional. But it now turns out Palmer didn’t even put in a serious application to enter WA. The three applications by his pilot were so dodgy, claiming Carlo Fingergi was a female, and with fake entries for his wife, the officials dismissed them as a hoax. McGowan has asked Palmer to listen to the people and dump the case.

Why did Scott Morrison push to help Palmer? Paul Murray, columnist in The West Australian thinks it probably has something to do with Palmer spending $60m on the last Federal Election, mostly against the Labor Party.

“No one had ever spent that much to influence an Australian election but political pundits remain unsure of its real effect.”

“While Palmer’s United Australia Party was singularly unsuccessful at the election, its preferences went 65.14 per cent to the Coalition, in contrast to just 54 per cent as the Palmer United Party in 2013 when he also favoured Coalition candidates in every seat.”

One of the reasons Western Australia isn’t opening borders to SA, the NT, Tas or QLD is only because it can’t be sure the others will maintain their walls. No one wants to outsource border management.

ADDENDUM: As a last sorry note to the saga, McGowan now unnecessarily claims he knocked back Palmer because he was going to come to support hydroxychoroquine “which was dangerous”. If so, McGowan’s kicking an own-goal. Palmer has bought millions of hydroxycholoroquine doses and donated them to a national stockpile. To disallow Palmer for this reason is a free speech failure on a grand scale (what was he thinking?) and also scientifically pathetic,  because there are many studies showing HCQ is almost certainly useful, especially if used early and in combination with zinc. There are also thousands of doctors who want to use it and swear by it.

“He’s accepted the Donald Trump view of hydroxychloroquine, which no-one with a medical degree, as far as I’m aware, accepts.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.9/10 (55 votes cast)

Weekend Unthreaded

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.9/10 (18 votes cast)