Right now parts of California are experiencing planned power-outages. The state’s leaders are telling us it’s because of the winds (which are very gusty in some locations), the electrical power lines, and the trees/foliage adjacent the lines. It is true, if a random spark from the swaying lines were to come in contact with dry vegetation, a fire could instantly flare up.
Sadly, our major electrical provider in northern California, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), has suddenly become the bad guy in all of this. Blame is also being cast upon you and me for our consumption of fossil fuels and the (supposed) associated effects of global warming.
It’s a shame that the real culprits have escaped judgement. I’m referring to the environmentalists.
First a brief lesson in climate. Throughout the recorded history of California, exceptionally strong, dry winds and scorching temperatures are a common atmospheric occurrence in September and October. The reason for this has to do with the state’s unique geographical location: cool ocean waters hug California’s 780-mile long Pacific coast, while a variety of mountain ranges stretch up and down the state. Interspersed are broad swaths of natural desert.
In the northern half of the state, coastal cities such as San Francisco and Oakland receive 20-inches of rain a year, on the average. Inland, San Jose typically sees 14.5 inches. The state’s capital city, Sacramento, located in the Central Valley, gets 18 inches of rain. To the south, Los Angeles and San Diego generally experience about a foot of rain annually. The averages haven’t notably changed since records began being kept in the 1800s. Historically, the rainy season begins in mid-late October and ends by early June.
To put these rainfall amounts into perspective, east of the Rocky Mountains most cities in the United States receive 40 to 60 inches of precipitation annually.
However, California’s blessing has been its large mountain ranges (bordering Nevada and Oregon), where precipitation mostly falls in the form winter snow. Up there the annual precipitation totals are impressive: 60 to 80 inches of precipable water is common, depending on the range. The incredible amount of rain/snow in the mountains feeds streams, rivers, lakes, and dams, which provide the irrigatable water necessary to grow abundant fruit and vegetable crops in the state’s arid regions.
Because of the mountain precipitation (and the brilliant use of artificial dams), farming remains California’s top grossing industry. In fact, the state leads all others in farm income. It’s positioned as the agricultural powerhouse of the United States.
California grows over 200 different crops, some grown nowhere else in the nation. It produces almost all of the country’s almonds, apricots, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nectarines, olives, pistachios, prunes, and walnuts. It also leads in the production of avocados, grapes, lemons, melons, peaches, plums, and strawberries. Only Florida produces more oranges, and only Texas more cotton.
On a side note, shamefully, environmentalists loath the human-made dams and have been successful in getting many torn down.
More on the climate: the prevailing winds in California blow west to east. Commencing in mid/late October storms begin to blow in from the Pacific. As their moist air confronts the mountain ranges, it rushes up the sides of the mountains doing something known as “orographic uplift.” As such, as the air strikes the windward side, it is uplifted, cooled, and forces precipitation to occur. This is why windward slopes of mountains tend to be the wet sides while the other side of the range (the “leeward side”) is dry. This is also why Nevada (directly east of California) is a complete desert—it’s located in California’s “rain shadow.”
Now, about the fire danger presently effecting California.
I’m penning this post on October 27. This is the time of the year when the atmosphere is transitioning from summer to winter. As this changeover occurs the wind patterns temporarily begin to blow more east to west, opposite the norm. Another part of the transition includes an increase in something called the “pressure gradient.” Long story short, this increase causes the winds to blow harder, as they are today. So, the winds right now are blowing downthe slopes of the mountains and toward the ocean and as the air is pushed down the mountainsides it totally dries out, dropping the humidity levels to zero, thus naturally creating an increase fire danger. If there’s a spark (from a power line, barbecue, car accident, etc.), the wind can cause a fire to grow into a monster in no time.
This has nothing to do with human-caused global warming or climate change. This condition has always been a noteworthy aspect of California’s overall climate.
As for the current fire danger, don’t blame northern California’s major energy provider, PG&E—blame the environmentalists.
One of my best friends, Mike, has been a linesman with PG&E for 40 years; prior to that his dad worked the powerlines for decades as well. Between these two men, they’ve literally traversed nearly all the powerlines in the entire state.
Mike tells me that a couple decades ago the rule was that PG&E cleared away any foliage from the power lines to the tune of ten feet on each side. However, at the insistence of the environmentalists, that amount of clearage was reduced to four feet.
Four feet is hardly enough. Indeed many plants and trees can easily grow that much in a single season. To gain more clearance PG&E needs environmental approval, which is nearly impossible without a court order. The environmental policies in California have created a fire danger in association with the lines!
Then there are the various county, state, and federal laws that have hampered efforts to properly thin our forests. I’ve been hiking a part of Nevada County (in the Sierra Mountains, near Truckee) for decades. Twenty years ago I used to be able to literally walk through the forest to my destination (the original railroad tracks built in the 1800’s) sans a path or trail. Now the forest is so overgrown and dense that my only choice is a well-worn trail. The area has become a major fire waiting to happen.
Again, don’t blame this unnecessary power shortage on PG&E or climate change. Blame it on the environmental agenda that has been instituted by the politicians and bureaucrats who run California, and their willing accomplices in the media who are carrying their water.
Here’s the real story: the environmentalists believe humans are the planet’s invasive species. All of the rules, regulations, and laws they put forward are designed to instill a reduced population—by fire if necessary.
It’s obvious that the establishment media has been tireless in their rabid effort to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.
Thank God for Twitter.
Trump’s unprecedented use of Twitter as a means of presidential communication serves him well as a mechanism to get his thoughts/messages out to the American public.
About 20 percent of all adults in America follow President Trump on Twitter. However, most Twitter followers don’t read his tweets word for word. Instead, Trump’s tweets reach Americans because the news and social media gatekeepers propagate, rebroadcast and incorporate them into news and social media streams. I’m sure that most establishment outlets would prefer not to retell Trumps tweets, but it’s hard to avoid them when he hammers a topic over and over and over. And that’s why he does it–to break through the left’s information blockade.
In many ways, Trump uses Twitter like an old-fashioned press release. Few Americans see or read his tweets directly, but many ultimately hear about them via media coverage or other means. This is why he also spends hours each week informally addressing the press outside the White House while on his way to events. Especially in those situations he’s able to literally takeover the airwaves while hammering away.
Trump is a media genius–and he always has been. Prior to running for office, he was always one phone call away from any news organization or talk show personality–they’d do anything to get them on their shows. He was also a sought-after public speaker and, let’s not forget, hosted The Apprentice–an eleven-year top-billing reality TV show.
Were it not for Donald Trump’s media savvy and Twitter usage, he would end up being a one-term president.
Dumb and Dumber. That best describes San Jose’s City Council and their mayor, Sam Liccardo. These scientifically illiterate fools have decided that–in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions–they must institute a decree that will mandate that all new residential housing projects ban the use of natural gas appliances and employ electric devices instead.
Here’s the story:
(Reuters) – San Jose, the 10th most populous U.S. city and political center of Silicon Valley, on Tuesday moved to ban natural gas in most new residential buildings beginning next year.
With a unanimous vote by the 10-member city council and Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Jose became the largest U.S. city so far to seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by favoring appliances that run on renewable electricity sources over those powered by natural gas.
As expected, the city council adopted new building codes that favor electrification over natural gas during a meeting broadcast on San Jose’s official website.
But the vote also required the council to return next month with an ordinance that would go further by banning natural gas in most new homes. Mayor Liccardo had pushed for the stricter rules in recent days.
The move by San Jose and others comes amid rising local and state opposition to the use of natural gas in buildings because of the fossil fuel’s contribution to climate-warming emissions.
Here’s the truth:
47 percent of the electricity generated in California is done so by burning natural gas (according to the California Energy Commission). Additionally, 9 percent is generated via nuclear power. Large hydro-electic power (generated by dams–another sworn enemy of the environmentalists) makes up 11 percent of the electricity mix. As for natural gas –
- When burned, natural gas releases up to 50% less CO2 than coal and 20-30% less than oil;
- When used in power generation, natural gas emits as much as 50% less CO2 than coal, results in negligible emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), mercury (Hg), and particulates compared with other fuels.
By the way, the solar and wind industries respond as clever marketers often do when faced with environmental problems: they insist there really isn’t a problem.
Such claims are misleading. House cats kill small, common birds like robins and sparrows, not large, endangered and threatened birds like eagles. And, experts agree, it’s not profitable to recycle solar panels because purchasing fresh materials is cheaper.
It’s been another lackluster hurricane season, with the exception of the hurricane currently teasing the east coast, Dorian.
Nonetheless, the global whiners are using this storm to tout their (failed) theory of human-caused climate change.
Here’s a snippet from my bestselling book, Climategate:
If you want to observe a branch of meteorology where there is virtual consensus regarding global warming, look no farther than to those who actually study and forecast hurricanes. This community of scientists knows Gore is prancing about au naturel.
Re-enter Dr. William Gray, unquestionably the world’s foremost hurricane forecaster. He founded the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University in the 1960s, where he developed the fine art of forecasting hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin, including the Gulf of Mexico. Numerous times Dr. Gray has told my radio audience, “I am of the opinion that global warming is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people.”
Gray’s opinion is not based on a gut feeling—it’s based on the science. And he is not alone.
“All my colleagues that have been around a long time—I think if you go to ask the last four or five directors of the National Hurricane Center—we all don’t think this is human-induced global warming,” says Dr. Gray.
Indeed, another pioneer in hurricane research, and a thirteen-year Director of the National Hurricane Center, Dr. Neil Frank, told the Washington Post,“It’s a hoax.”
When asked if he thought increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could actually be a good thing he replied, “Exactly! Maybe we’re living in a carbon dioxide-starved world. We don’t know.”
When the Gulf of Mexico coastline took its direct hit from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a columnist for the Boston Globeblamed the storm on global warming. “The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming,” he wrote.
Actually, if the buffoonish columnist wanted to accurately name Katrina, he would have taken off his tin-foil cap and called the storm “normal weather.”
Hurricanes are the fascinating grand dames of earth’s natural weather machine. To pin their frequency and intensity on global warming is foolish, but to the uniformed, it’s a sexy sell.
In 2004 and 2005, the global whiners received costly gifts from the global warming gods. The 2004 hurricane season saw a near record six hurricanes striking U.S. soil. Of those, a record three were classified as major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher). In 2005, six hurricanes also made landfall in the United States, with a new mark of four reaching major status—the most devastating, of course, being Katrina.
While it may seem compelling to link these natural disasters to global warming, recall from Chapter Three that 2005 was the 16thhottest year on record, and 2004 didn’t crack the top 20. Historically, these two devastating hurricane seasons need to be placed in proper perspective:
|Total Hurricanes Striking United States
6 1916, 1985, 2004, 2005
5 1893, 1909, 1933
4 1869, 1880, 1887, 1888
3 31 years have 3 strikes
|Major Hurricanes Striking U.S.
3 1893, 1909, 1933, 1954,
2 1879, 1886, 1915, 1916,
1926, 1944, 1950, 1955,
The left half of this chart indicates that 2004 and 2005 both experienced six hurricanes strikes in the United States. If global warming was to blame for those busy seasons, how do you explain the equal number of hurricanes that came ashore in 1916, one of the colder years on record? And could the record sevenstrikes in 1886 caused by man’s burning of fossil fuels? Obviously not; it was nearly as cold as 1916.
The right side of the chart indicates that 2005 holds the record of four major hurricanes hitting our shores. However, one must ask if an unnatural increase in CO2is to blame. What was driving the three major storms that hit the U.S. in 1893 and 1909? Again these were very chilly, post-Little Ice Age years that have no link to carbon dioxide. Admittedly, 1954 was a hotty, but our proof-by-association exercise is running out of gas.
It should also be noted that despite the frequency and intensity of the hurricanes during the 2004-05 period, the following two hurricane seasons were tame. Nohurricanes touched U.S. soil in 2006, and 2007 would also have been hurricane-free were it not for the last gasps of Humberto, which limped into Texas with winds of 90 mph. All told, 2006 produced a mere five hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin (the lowest since 1997) and 2007 only six—kind of a bummer if you’re in the hurricane research biz, and even more so if your using hurricanes to raise money to fight global warming. The year 2008 was a bit more active with 8 hurricanes, and only one hitting Galveston as a Cat-2.
“But, Brian,” the worldly global whiner might interrupt, “you’re so Yankee-focused. How can you judge the hurricane seasons based on how many storms hit the United States? The Atlantic Ocean and surrounding waters are a huge breeding ground for hurricanes.”
Well, let’s check the stats:
|Hurricanes in Atlantic Basin
11 1887, 1916, 1950, 1995
10 1870, 1878, 1886, 1893,
9 1880, 1955, 1980, 1996,
|Major Hurricanes in Atlantic Basin
7 1961, 2005
6 1916, 1926, 1955, 1964,
5 1893, 1933, 1951, 1958,
1969, 1995, 1999
To the left, we see that 2005 was an anomaly with a record 15 hurricanes forming in the Atlantic. The Summer of Love experienced the second greatest number (and no, you can’t blame it on what was smoked at Woodstock, nor can it blamed on temperature—1969 was cool year). Following those records, we see many years with a significant number of hurricanes, half of which occurred in the 1800s.
The right side of the chart illustrates that 1950 (another cool year) holds the record for the most powerful storms, with eight major hurricanes. Beyond that, we see a smattering of years with intense storms, most having played out prior to 1960.
Again, to try pin frequency and intensity on global warming is folly. Like all kinds of weather, hurricanes simply happen. On average, close to seven hurricanes every four years (1.8 per year) strike the United States, while about two major hurricanes cross the U.S. coast every three years.
Consider some other noteworthy hurricanes, noneof which occurred in particularly hot years:
Deadliest Hurricane: More than 8,000 people perished September 8, 1900, when a Category 4 hurricane barreled into Galveston, Texas. The storm surges exceeded 15 feet and winds howled at 130 mph, destroying more than half of the city’s homes.
Most Intense Hurricane: An unnamed storm slammed into the Florida Keys during Labor Day, 1935. Researchers estimated sustained winds reached 150-200 mph with higher gusts. The storm killed an estimated 408 people.
Greatest Storm Surge: In 1969, Hurricane Camille produced a 25-foot storm surge in Mississippi. Camille, a Category 5 storm, was the strongest storm of any kind to ever strike mainland America. When the eye hit Mississippi, winds gusted up to 200 mph. The hurricane caused the deaths of 143 people along the coast from Alabama into Louisianaand led to another 113 deaths as the weakening storm moved inland.
Earliest and latest hurricanes: The hurricane season is defined as June 1 through November 30. The earliest observed hurricane in the Atlantic was on March 7, 1908, while the latest observed hurricane was on December 31, 1954. The earliest hurricane to strike the United States was Alma, which struck northwest Florida on June 9, 1966. The latest hurricane to strike the United States was on November 30, 1925, near Tampa, Florida.
Hurricanes, one of the favorite proofs that advocates of anthropogenic global warming use to validate their claims, have become earth’s biggest bogeyman.
Reporters can call names, Senators can make unfounded pronouncements, the Terminator can pump his biceps, and the U.N. can hold conferences on impending doom, but the only consensus regarding the connection of hurricanes and global warming is that there is no connection between the two.
However, like slick slip-and-fall lawyers, the Marxist elites pushing their social engineering agenda are not about to let a few facts thwart their plans. There’s too much wealth at stake that needs to be spread around.
Interview with Dr. William Gray on KSFO, San Francisco, April 7, 2007
Joel Achenbach. “The Tempest,” Washington Post, Sunday, May 28, 2006.
Ross Gelbspan, “Katrina’s real name,” Boston Globe, August 30, 2005