I follow a website called Watts Up With That, self-proclaimed as the world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change. Anthony Watts is a weatherman, as we used to call them, now formally known as meteorologists. His website is lively and fun, generally offering up ten or more new posts per day. Last I checked, it had accumulated 440,845,347 hits in its lifetime. That kind of traffic makes POM seem like a wart on an elephant.
Most recently, curious about what had transpired in Texas, I went to WUWT to see what Anthony had posted. I came across A Closer Look at What Happened in Texas During the Deep Freeze, a very long and complex piece by Chris Martz, whose blog is his namesake, and which is tagged “Weather and climate for the curious and open-minded.” He is described as an “aspiring meteorologist.” To keep it simple (for my sake!), I am going to focus on two things, how so much cold air made its way to Texas, and what happened and why.
I am going to borrow some graphics from the Martz post, as I think they are public property. I have no way of contacting him, as I do not use either Facebook or Twitter, his only public contacts. I’ll gladly remove anything below that is proprietary.
The first is an illustration (Waugh et al 2017) of what are called the stratospheric and tropospheric solar vortexes. See below.
As I grasp this, the SPV is relatively stable, while the TPV, strongest in winter, can be sometimes erratic. Winds that we call “counterclockwise” can be slowed down, even reversed, by a sudden stratospheric warming event (SSW), which can cause the SPV to split off in two, even three separate vortexes. This happened in January. The fallout generally happens within two weeks, and was predicted by meteorologist Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics. But he was not taken seriously because he “rejects climate science,” the rough translation of that – he is an actual climate scientist. Bastardi correctly predicted the “winter equivalent of a CAT 5 hurricane.” Below is a clip from an interview by Pat Robertson of CBN – I’ll take what I can get. Bastardi is emphatic, and the accompanying footage is great.
Anyway, that’s what happened. It’s not the first time Texas has endured a winter blast of this strength, but things are a bit different now than in the past, as shown by the pie chart below.
“Gas CC” is natural gas used to fire a combined cycle plant, which increases the output, so that fully 46% of Texas energy comes from natural gas. Wind power is at 23%, but only due to one factor, subsidy. Over $80 billion has been funneled into corporations and local governments to advance wind power. Otherwise, those ugly bird-killing turbines would not exist except to run wells on dry and poached ranches. All the other energy outputs except solar are self-funded. This is why Texas was not prepared for the polar vortex.
“On Tuesday, February 9, temperatures began to plummet across northern and western Texas, and as the temperature cooled to the dew point at the surface, condensation formed on various surfaces, including the turbine blades. As temperatures continued to drop like a brick, the condensation froze, particularly on the leading edges of the blades, which are specifically designed to direct wind around the blades allowing them to spin. When covered with thick coatings of ice, the blades become significantly heavier and there isn’t enough lift to spin them. Nearly half of Texas’ wind energy supply went offline as a result. This would’ve been much more disastrous if the heavy snow and freezing rain had impacted that part of the state.”
Gas to the rescue. The brown line below is is natural gas energy output, while green is wind power.
In our topsy-turvy world, natural gas is used as a backup when wind and solar fail, rather than a primary source of energy. Generally, natural gas energy is available on demand, while coal depends on supplies available when needed, and wind and solar are erratic.
Natural gas, however, had its own problems, says Martz. “Thanks to the frigid temperatures and snow, the wells closed up and gathering lines froze due to a lack of insulation around them, while the pumps stopped working due to power outages, inhibiting the gas from reaching the Earth’s surface that could then be supplied to the plants by pipeline.” To avoid a full-on blackout, natural gas suppliers initiated rolling blackouts until the situation calmed down.
The situation was avoidable – one, had anyone paid attention to Bastardi, preparations could have been made to mitigate the situation, primarily by assuring adequate coal supplies to back up natural gas. Had Texas not gone whole-hog into wind power, they would have had been able to avoid or mitigate the financial disaster that was caused by reliance on wind power, a political product not justified by engineering. Texas can blame the climate change crowd for much of the billions in losses it suffered.
But, of course, being a climate change alarmist means never admitting error. Here is a sampling of news headlines supplied by Martz:
One would think that a polar vortex like the one just experienced, and which happen with regularity and which have not been either caused or affected by “climate change” would dampen the enthusiasm of climate change alarmists. Perhaps one or two might even admit error, perhaps even confess ignorance.
But that never happens. I the world I live in, lies are common currency traded by everyone with access to the media. I cannot imagine making my way through life by means of lying all day every day. I’ve told my share of lies, but I am not good at it and people easily see through me. Those who do so professionally, the so-called climate warriors, seem unfettered by conscience, living in moral turpitude, feeding on each other and ignoring, even reviling, honest science and scientists. They are slime, and I’ve been around enough to see how when a puddle forms around oil, the slime is on the surface.
Welcome to planet Earth, run by lies and lying liars, where even Diogenes might say “That’s it. I give up. I’m out of here.”