Saturday, November 7, 2015

Another US Nuclear Plant to Close

Subtitle:  Nuclear Cannot Compete

The FitzPatrick nuclear plant owned by Entergy will close due to previous and continuous heavy financial losses.  see link to story.    This is exactly as described here on SLB, many nuclear plants simply cannot compete in the low-price utility market that is dominated by natural gas, coal, and wind energy.   see link  "Nuclear Power Plants Cannot Compete." 

It is interesting to note that the company whines that nuclear power could compete if only the carbon-free aspect was rewarded in the marketplace.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved

Sunday, September 13, 2015

US NRC Stops Study of Cancer Risks near Reactors

Subtitle: $8 Million Is Too Costly to Study Nuclear-Caused Cancer

The NRC has cancelled an $8 million study that would have determined, then published, the statistics on greater-than-normal incidences of diseases among persons, especially children, living within close distances of nuclear power plants.   The technology and data is available for the study, but NRC chose not to allocate funding to the study.  Predictably, nuclear advocates cheered, and nuclear opponents are disappointed.  see link to the article.   
An earlier (1991) study of health effects near nuclear plants was fatally flawed by design, and its results are not surprising.   

Quoting the article: "Among the 1991 study’s many problems, according to scientists who were designing the new probe:

•"It tracked mortality rates based on where people died, rather than where they lived before getting cancer. That makes it hard to determine true lifetime exposure.

• "It tracked deaths, rather than total cancer cases. That may downplay the full health impact of living near a reactor, since many cancer patients survive.

• "It used countywide data to reach conclusions – a blunt instrument that may again downplay the impact on those living closest to a reactor. Residents in La Habra and San Clemente live in the same county – but few would argue that they had the same exposure to San Onofre.  (Note, San Clemente is only a few miles from SONGS, while La Habra is approximately 40 miles away.)

"To remedy all that, the NRC asked the NAS (National Academy of Science) to evaluate cancer diagnosis rates, not just cancer deaths; and to explore how to divide the areas around nuclear facilities into geographical units smaller than counties. The NAS made no bones about the effort being difficult and time-consuming, but said it could be done."   

This is certainly an area where citizen volunteers - qualified and motivated - should step forward to perform this study pro-bono.   However, it is a shame that the US government cannot find the $8 million to perform the initial study of 7 reactors.   In an era where government spending, and borrowing, is full of studies for irrelevant issues, this one is certainly deserving of funding.

See this link for a more detailed article on nuclear power and radiation health effects. 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
Copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Arctic Sea Ice for 2015 Summer Minimum

Subtitle:  Arctic Ice Still Here and Still Growing
Arctic sea ice extent for recent years

The graphic shows the Arctic sea ice extent for 2015 and recent years.  It is noteworthy for not disappearing at all, as some warmists claimed would happen.  It is also noteworthy for reaching the minimum several days earlier than in recent years.   The graph's source is at this link, from the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI), which was established in 1872.   The data shows ice concentrations of 15 percent or greater.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell all rights reserved

Monday, September 7, 2015

US In A Cooling Trend - Winters Much Colder

Subtitle: USCRN Temperatures Are Declining Rapidly 


An analysis of atmospheric temperature data from 55 pristine United States locations show a pronounced annual cooling trend of minus 2.68 degrees Celsius per century over the ten-year period 2005-2014.   The Winter cooling trend for the 55 locations is much greater at minus 10.86 degrees Celsius per century.   The region with the most rapid Winter cooling is the MidWest and Northern Plains at minus 23.1 degrees Celsius per century.  All regions have a cooling for Winter months.  All regions but one, the West and Mountains, also have a pronounced annual cooling.  

Data Source

Data for this study were obtained from United States Climate Reference Network, USCRN   see link .   This is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Climate Data Center. 

Map of USCRN Stations and view of a typical station
From NOAA’s website:  “The U.S. Climate Reference Network (USCRN) is a system of climate observing stations developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The USCRN's primary goal is to provide long-term temperature, precipitation, and soil moisture and temperature observations that are of high quality and are taken in stable settings.”  At this time, “the network consists of 114 commissioned stations in the contiguous United States, 16 stations in Alaska (with a plan to eventually have a total of 29), and 2 stations in Hawaii.”  As an aside, there are a surprising number of stations located in Alabama, with 20 at this time.   Meanwhile, Mississippi has only two, and Arkansas has only one station.  Tennessee has one station.   One wonders what could possibly justify placing 20 stations in Alabama.   Also, there are 24 stations in New Mexico, and again one wonders what could be the justification.   Utah has 19 stations, while Wisconsin has only one.  

By “stable settings,” NOAA means that the locations are far from human warming influences such as cities, airports, and industries, and are expected to not have their present conditions change over the next several decades.    The stations have automatic sensors, redundancy, and automatic data upload to computer databases.   The intent is to have reliable, unbiased data without gaps and relocation issues.
The oldest station began operating in July, 2001 in Asheville, North Carolina.   The next-oldest station began operating in January, 2002 in Kingston, Rhode Island.    By December of 2004, 60 stations were operating.  Of those, 55 stations were selected for this study.  


Data from United States Climate Reference Network, USCRN, for the decade beginning January, 2005 and ending December, 2014 were analyzed for overall and regional temperature trends.  Monthly average temperatures were used.  The monthly averages were themselves averaged to obtain annual averages.   Annual linear trends were calculated.  Only 55 locations were used in this analysis, because no additional USCRN stations had records extending to or before January, 2005.  Where duplicate stations exist at the same site, only one station of each pair was chosen.   One state, Colorado, has 5 stations of suitable length but these were considered too many for the state’s size.  Therefore, only two of the stations were included in the data set.

In addition to the annual trends, averages and linear trends were determined for Winter months of December, January, and February.  This required obtaining data for December, 2004 for all 55 locations.   Therefore, the span of the data in this analysis is December, 2004 through and including December, 2014. 

Averages and trends for regions were also determined.   Four regions were defined as 1) MidWest and North, 2) South and Southwest, 3) Atlantic, and 4) West and Mountain.  

The intent of the analysis was to look at the data for a recent decade during which other temperature datasets show no increase in global average temperature.  However, other datasets suffer from inclusion of data from urban areas with known urban heat island effects that produce an artificial warming trend.   In contrast, the USCRN stations are purposely located far from such urban heat influences.   It was expected that one of three possible outcomes would emerge: 1) no trend at all, 2) a warming trend, or 3) a cooling trend.    A result showing no trend would be consistent with datasets mentioned above.  A result showing a warming trend would be consistent with the widely-discussed carbon-dioxide Greenhouse Gas hypothesis that allegedly creates an overall warming, or global warming.  (see e.g. the International Panel on Climate Change reports, IPCC)   A result showing a cooling trend would be consistent with falsifying the carbon-dioxide Greenhouse Gas hypothesis, and confirming the impact of natural cycles on global temperatures.  

Results for annual, and Winter months are shown below (see Table 1).  The annual cooling trend for all 55 stations is minus 2.68 degrees C per century.   The trend for Winter months is minus 10.86 degrees C per Century.  A graphical result is shown in Figure 1, above. 

    Annual Average Trend
    Degrees Celsius / Century

Winter Months Trend
Degrees Celsius / Century 
All Stations  55
MW and N 15
SO and SW 12
ATL  10
W and MT  18

Table 1  Summary of Results 2005-2014

It is not surprising that temperature trends from non-urban data show a cooling, when other datasets that include urban areas show no trend over the same period.  It is logical that a zero trend is the result of some data with a warming trend, and off-setting data with a cooling trend.  These USCRN stations show the cooling trend that many have long suspected.
Among these 55 data points, none have exactly zero trend, although Goodwell, OK, is close at minus 0.04 degrees C per Century.    There are five stations, approximately ten percent of the total, that have a trend of less than 1 degree C per Century, positive or negative. Those five stations are located in South Carolina, North Carolina, Washington state, Oklahoma, and upstate New York.  It is noteworthy that none of the almost-zero trend stations are located in the rapidly-cooling North and MidWest region.  

Regional trends 

N and MW Region Winter Trend
The most eye-catching result is the rapid cooling trend for the North and MidWest region, Winter months, of minus 23.1 degrees C per century (see Table 1, and graph).  The annual trend for the same region is also a rapid cooling of minus 11.24 degrees C per century.     The severity of such cooling would be alarming, if the trend were to continue.  The North and MidWest parts of the US are vital to the economy, especially in agriculture and cattle.   Colder and longer winters would prevent farmers from producing the usual crops and yields.   Furthermore, such cooling would prevent snow from melting each Summer, leading to frozen ground and glaciers.   Year-round snow acts to increase the reflection of solar energy, or increased albedo, which leads to cooler temperatures and yet more snow. 

Stations with the most rapidly-cooling trends include:

Sioux Falls, South Dakota  minus 32 degrees C per century
Medorah, North Dakota      minus 31 degrees C per century
Goodridge, Minnesota        minus 30 degrees C per century
Buffalo, South Dakota        minus 28 degrees C per century
Wolf Point, Montana           minus 24 degrees C per century


Critics might point out that not all the available data was used in the analysis, as if that might make the conclusions invalid.   However, it must be understood that over-inclusion of data leads to erroneous conclusions.    For example, including 5 stations for Colorado, but only 3 for California would skew the results in favor of Colorado.  

Another criticism might be the choice of data to replace missing data points.  In this dataset, there were relatively few missing data points.  However, almost every station had one missing data point, with some stations missing two or three data points.   Care was taken to examine the data graphically to ensure the replacement data fell along a smooth curve.  

Critics might also point out that conclusions based on a 10-year analysis of climate temperature data is almost meaningless since climate changes slowly over several decades and centuries.   The author’s response is that valid conclusions can be drawn from a 10-year analysis, especially if the major conclusion is that a serious problem may develop soon, or may already be occurring.   From this analysis, it certainly would be prudent to observe closely the winters for the next few years, especially in the North and MidWest region.  However, all the regions encompassed in this study show a cooling trend for the Winter months of Dec-Jan-Feb.   Only the Atlantic region has a modest Winter cooling trend, which might be due to having only a few stations in that region for this analysis. 

Also, all regions except the West and Mountains show an annual cooling trend.  It is likely that the recent multi-year drought in the West and Mountains are responsible for the slight warming trend.   


The long-term temperature datasets have several known deficiencies, among those are the inclusion of urban heat islands such as large cities.  Those datasets are also adjusted repeatedly, with each new report with adjusted data claimed to be accurate.   In addition, those datasets suffer from many missing data records that require some means to insert data.  They also suffer from disjointed data due to station moves to different locations.   The USCRN data is intended to provide data with none of those deficiencies, being located far from human influences, using state-of-the-art electronic measurement devices, redundant devices, automated data collection and uploading to computers, and not being moved around every few years.    
Goodridge, California temperatures sorted by population

An earlier analysis by James Goodridge found that essentially zero warming occurred in California counties with low population, over an 85-year period from 1909 to 1994.  Yet, counties with high populations experienced warming of almost 2 degrees Celsius per century.   (Goodridge, J.D. (1996) Comments on “Regional Simulations of Greenhouse Warming including Natural Variability” . Bull, Amer. Meteorological Society 77:1588-1599.)   See chart at right (Urban Heat Island Effect)  for the results.

What this present analysis of the USCRN 55 stations shows is that not only are pristine locations not warming, they are actually cooling. 

Regional trends also show substantial cooling.   

While the time period of this study is necessarily short by climate research standards, it is prudent to pay close attention to the northern tier of states in the US, especially the next few winters.   

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell all rights reserved

Monday, August 31, 2015

Preparations for Global Cooling

Subtitle: Military Prepares for Multiple Threats - So Should We

A recent post (see link) discussed Dr. S. Fred Singer's article on global cooling and what can be done to prepare for that.    Dr. Singer also has two recommendations to prevent, or at least mitigate, the global cooling: 1) place black soot on summer snowfields to melt them, and 2) inject water vapor at high altitudes to form ice crystals.  The ice crystals would (his words) "create regions of strong greenhouse forcing." 

I wrote on this, and made a speech on this (see link) in May, 2012 to the Southern California Chapter of AIChE, American Institute of Chemical Engineers.   (Warmists are Wrong, Cooling is Coming).    A short excerpt from that speech follows, noting that the audience was comprised of chemical engineers.  (aside, that article on Warmists are Wrong is the number one, most viewed of all posts on SLB) 

From the Warmists Are Wrong, Cooling is Coming speech:

"Now, what are the implications of global cooling? Well, we all know that unless you're a snowboarder or a skier, cold is bad.  The experiences we had as a society back in the Little Ice Age were very brutal and grim.   People died.  Animals died.  Crops failed.  The bright spot is the winter resorts are going to love it.  If you can imagine, there will be several feet of snow or worse for many months for the entire United States anywhere north of Nebraska.  The Rocky Mountains will likely be impassable due to snow and ice and avalanches.   Chicago will probably become a ghost town. 

"So, for what are engineers needed to help in all this?  Everything.   Let me ask a question of the audience:  how many years of stored up food does Earth have? [answer:] One year? [another answer] A little less than one? Anybody else?  Is it two or three, or seven years like in the Bible? Well, I was astonished when I went to look this up.  It is less than three months, depending on which grain you look at.  You can go to the USDA website, where there is a world analysis.  They keep track of how much food is out there.  This make sense in a way, because we are a modern society and we know how to grow things and we know how to store things.   We have not stored too much; maybe the food doesn't taste as good or some of it spoils.  We have become a just-in-time society, but that may be a bad plan right about now.  Depending on which grain, we have anywhere from one month to three months.  That is a serious point.   Can engineers help on the food side? I don't know.

"Are there better fertilizers? Are there ways to grow crops that can use your talents? Possibly. Somebody asked me once, and she was not an engineer, and she asked can’t we just grow them all under greenhouses?  I thought well, that will take a lot of material to make the greenhouses. So, maybe.  Perhaps there is some polymer science needed.   What are we to do about hail storms?  Again, maybe there's some polymer science application.  Can we design a polymer so that the hail bounces instead of  breaking through? 

"Clothing:  we will need a lot more warm clothing.  This means synthetic fibers. 

"Shelter:  almost all of what has been built in the last 70 years or so was during the warm climate. Much of it is not insulated to handle the type of cold that is coming.  I foresee a booming insulation business.  The flat roofs on buildings, not necessarily in California but in the rest of the world and in the northern part of the United States, may not be adequate.  We may need to have some different type of roofs installed.  The roofs must shed snow.

"Medical supplies and health services: I believe we will be overwhelmed. Look at the relative death rates from hunger and cold, comparing heat to cold periods.  More people get sick and more people die in the cold winters.

"Transportation and industrial output:  this will be huge.  We do not move barges over frozen rivers.  We know this.  When a river is frozen for many months out of the year, how can you get your materials moved?  What about trains or heavy ground transportation; will they work? Probably not. The train is going to cross the Rockies’ grades in the snow and ice?   Likely not.

"Industrial output: how does one move materials around?  How do we get raw materials into the factories and the products out?  If we have seen big trucks trying to go up even a small incline during an ice storm, well, they don't.  We can not get trucks to go up or down the Grapevine incline here just north of Los Angeles when a little snow falls.  Multiply this 1000 times across the northern tier of the United States.

"Communications and infrastructure: we know what happens when ice storms or big snowstorms occur.   The system fails.  Why does it fail?  It is due to ice on the lines or tree limbs falling on the lines.  Can you imagine this on the scale something like the Little Ice Age?  We’re going to need serious reconsideration of infrastructure.

"Water supply: what does one do for water when everything around you is frozen? Well, you melt the ice.  But, what do you do for heat?  What if you need that heat just to keep the house warm?

"Here's another one, population migration: it is entirely possible that some of the northern cities, talking about New York, Chicago, those type of places, where people give up and become what we call permanent snowbirds. They are moving south.  The implications there are huge. It is okay if one hundred thousand people migrate every winter, but what if we have multiple millions on a permanent basis?  We are not equipped to handle this.

"Waste disposal: what will we be doing in the wintertime month after month after month when trucks cannot collect the garbage?  Where do we take it?   I don't really know. As engineers, I hope we can help solve these problems.  It probably will require many disciplines and cooperation between disciplines."

Preparedness Is Required

One might question the wisdom of preparing for Global Cooling when so many scientists claim that global warming is what we must expect.  As Dr. Singer wrote in his article, Global Cooling is reasonably sure, while Global Warming is iffy. (meaning highly uncertain).  

It is reasonable to examine how other areas of society prepare for various uncertain outcomes.   In the military, one prepares for each enemy, not just one.  In agriculture, many areas have great variations in rainfall that cause floods and also droughts.   Both conditions, flood and drought, destroy crops and can lead to population starvation.   It would be stupid, indeed, to install only irrigation capability to sustain crops through droughts, perhaps by transporting water from a distant region.   To ignore the floods, to not install dams to hold back the flood waters, would be incredibly stupid.     In investing in the securities markets, a wise strategy is to be prepared for several market sectors to perform at different levels.  

Therefore, Dr. Singer is absolutely correct, that "there is little doubt that a near-term cooling is among the major calamities facing the population on our planet; concern about global warming is entirely misplaced. A Little Ice Age . . . may arrive within decades—perhaps much sooner. The end of our warm Holocene inter-glacial is rapidly approaching. There is no time to lose in preparing for survival. A paradigm change is essential."

Our United States, and other nations of the world, should heed those words.  Preparing for only one outcome, global warming, is stupid, idiotic, even suicidal when a second and far worse calamity, global cooling, is looming.  (note, these are my words, not those of Dr. Singer). 

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell all rights reserved

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Imminent Scientist Agrees on Global Cooling

A few weeks ago, an important article was written by Dr. S. Fred Singer on the subject of being prepared for global cooling.  The article is "A Paradigm Change: Re-directing Public Concern from Global Warming to Global Cooling"  see link  and also published in American Thinker.  

Dr. Singer writes, "My main argument relies on the fact, backed by historical evidence, that cooling, even on a regional or local scale, is much more damaging than warming. The key threat is to agriculture, leading to failure of harvests, followed by famine, starvation, disease, and mass deaths."  

He also writes, "But (increasing atmospheric) CO2 is not the answer (to preventing global cooling); its atmospheric lifetime is too long and its distribution is global—a poor match to what is required. In addition, CO2 effectiveness is questionable—or at least controversial—judging by the current temperature plateau (a.k.a. ‘pause’ or ‘hiatus’) that has lasted nearly 20 years—and perhaps even much longer."

All of this matches neatly with my 2012 speech, and SLB article (see link) on Warmists are Wrong, Cooling is Coming. 

I also find Dr. Singer's suggested coping mechanism very interesting, as it is the identical method we were taught in 1963 in grade school - dropping black powder (i.e. charcoal) on stubborn ice or snow fields that refuse to melt in the summer.  The sun's rays will melt the snow or ice.   One hopes there is sufficient black soot, charcoal, or perhaps even coal will suffice since the US has lost it's mind and is trying to make coal-burning for power generation too burdensome to continue.  

I highly recommend Dr. Singer's article for reading and discussion.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell all rights reserved

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nuclear Plant News for August 23 2015

Subtitle: Plenty of News and All of it Bad

As readers of SLB will know, the Truth About Nuclear Power series of articles included statements that modern nuclear power plants cost far more than $4,000 per kW, also that nuclear power plants do not have a 60 year useful life, unplanned shutdowns occur frequently, and nuclear plants require massive subsidies.   Several articles in the press this past week provide yet more evidence to support the TANP articles.  (see link to the Truth About Nuclear Power articles).

First, the Chinese are building a nuclear plant in Pakistan for approximately $9,900 per kW.  The announced cost is likely too low, and the final cost will likely be several billion more than quoted.  

"KARACHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today (20 August 2015) inaugurated construction work on a China-backed $10 billion nuclear power plant here.   The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant II (Kanupp II) with the capacity to produce 1,100 MW electricity is being built with the assistance of China."  -  see link

Second, a nuclear plant in Switzerland is the subject of calls to shut it down due to it being the oldest operating commercial nuclear plant in the world, and not designed for the earthquake risk in that location.   The plant has been operating for 46 years, many years short of 60 that nuclear advocates claim.    see link 

Third, yet another unplanned shutdown of a US nuclear plant occurred on Saturday, 22 August 2015 when the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant shut down without warning at around 4:30 pm local time.   see link 

Fourth and finally, Exelon continues to cry to the government for subsidies to keep its nuclear plants operating.   Once again, the Quad Cities nuclear plant could not win a bid to supply electricity to the grid.  It is a candidate for closure.  see link

Roger E. Sowell, Esq. 
Marina del Rey, California
copyright (c) 2015 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved