Climate change change. From now on it is getting colder except in areas that are getting drier.

What is the long term trend for temperature? It depends on where you are. This is ocean temperature at 500 m depth in the Makassar Strait.

The Makassar strait is located at the equator, an ideal checking point for long term ocean temperature trends. It shows an accelerating downward trend, now exceeding 1 C per millenium.

Yes, the ocean temperatures are slowly decreasing near the equator. Hoe are temperatures doing around the poles? For this we go to the temperature record of the ice cores taken on Greenland

The Greenland ice temperature is decreasing at about 1 C per 2000 years.

How are temperatures at the South Pole? We have really good global data for over 60 years. The Amundsen Scott – South Pole weather station, the average temperature of Winter season 2021 (April 2021 – September 2021) reached only -61,0°C / -78°F, and at this temperature CO2 is the dominant greenhouse gas is by more than a factor of ten more important than water vapor. We have reliable measurements for the temperature change at the South Pole since 1957. During this time CO2 gas increased 31% to 413ppm, Methane increased 16% to 1.85 ppm. With CO2 increasing by 31% and water vapor negligible one would expect a temperature rise over 64 years of 0.65 C, or one degree Celsius warmer per century according to extrapolated lab measurements. Instead, this is the observed trend:

With 2021 value included the temperature trend is two degrees Celsius cooler per century!

At the South Pole snowfall is negligible in the winter, and for the whole year is only 1.3 inches. No model would have predicted the cooling trend, so there must be other factors that are are more important than rising CO2 levels, since real measurements beat models every time.

Are there any areas that display rising temperatures? You bet. Take a look at temperature statistics for Phoenix, Arizona:

The Phoenix population has more than ten-folded in the last 100 years, so some of the temperature increase can be explained by the urban heat island effect:

The people living in Phoenix now are experiencing the rising temperatures and hear many times a day in NPR that whatever the subject is that it is because of climate change one disaster after another are about to happen. Right now the tier 2 Colorado River drought emergency was declared, and Arizona is to lose 1 million acre-feet a year from the Colorado river.

A better example for changing temperature can be found in the Grand Canyon.

It clearly shows there is no temperature trend at all until the Glen Canyon dam was built in the 1960’s damming up the Colorado River. After that it shows a sharp rise until present. The cool river flow was replaced with warm lake water from Lake Powell. The extra evaporation from Lake Powell means less water for all the states downstream. How is the temperature trend away from the Colorado river? Here is temperature statistics for the state of Colorado:

Present global temperature trend is rising for we are still recovering from the little ice age. The continental US temp is the average of the temperatures from all 50 states. The Colorado variability is about twice as large as the average from all states. And so it is. The American Southwest is having more than twice the temperature rise compared to the eastern states. It is clear that there is something much more important then rising CO2 levels that cause temperature rise. Notice the falling temperatures at the South Pole, where CO2 is the by far dominant greenhouse gas. It turns out that CO2 contributes to global warming 95% less than most models forecast, see elaboration here.

So what is the major contributor to climate change? It can be summarized in two words, water management.

In the eastern half of the U.S. water rights comes with the land, and since rainfall can lead to floods, water rights are also water responsibilities. When a land owner disturbs the soil he must first put up a retaining sausage to stop erosion. Then he has to build a retaining pond or stormwater basin to compensate for rain-off from roofs and hardened surfaces, so the water will be retained on the property as much as possible. This will lessen floods. The farmers have to build shallow ditches adjacent to creeks and rivers to prevent agricultural runoffs. And fertilizing is only allowed when no thunderstorms or rains are expected. This is sound environmental policy.

In the dry American southwest it is all about water rights. Land without water rights is often worthless. If a homeowner without water rights get caught putting a bucket under his downspout and uses the rain to water a newly planted tree, he can be fined. All water must be purchased. This is wrong. The water that rains on a piece of land belongs to the land and should return to the aquifer. The springs belong to the river and cannot be dammed. When an aquifer is tapped more than the corresponding rainfall it will result in springs drying up and seeping hillsides no longer seep and river flows diminish until the land is dried up and erosion destroys the soil. So to let the rain be absorbed in the soil where it rained will help restore the aquifers, but the river flows will stay diminished until the aquifers are restored, which may take a century. So before the water rights question can be addressed and the aquifers restored we must help refill the rivers.

North America has great rivers, none greater than the mighty Mississippi. It used to be a meandering river with frequent floods that deposited the silt over large areas and fertilized the land. The Indians living by the river moved to its new location after the water receded, and they could use the newly fertilized land. After the Louisiana purchase river traffic grew rapidly, but shifting sandbars and the excessively winding river became a problem, so the Mississippi river was converted to be the main transportation artery of the middle USA, the river banks were reinforced and the course of the river was straightened. This meant that more of the silt was transported out into the Mexican Gulf, some of the silt that used to fertilize the soil instead fertilizes the Mexican gulf. In addition, the Mississippi river used to be very polluted, but is now clean enough that it can be used for drinking water after treatment all the way down into Louisiana. There remains elevated concentration of nitrogen compounds so the Mexican Gulf suffers from excessive algae blooms and even red tide from time to time. This leads to more cloud formation and more rain in the Eastern states. The American Southwest on the other hand can expect more frequent and longer droughts, since there is no amplification from the relatively cool and clean Pacific ocean, and the long term temperature trend is cooling.

Something has to be done to reverse the desertification of the American Southwest. Lake Mead and Lake Powell are drying up, San Carlos Lake has never delivered what was promised and is frequently empty during the peak of the growing season, the aquifers all over are being depleted and the ensuing temperature rise make matters irreversible.

Unless we provide more water to the thirsty Southwest. My proposal is to

Build a TransContinental Aqueduct.

This will solve the water needs for the upper Western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, lower California, Mexico and the Lower Colorado River basin, and then

Build a Trans-Rocky Mountain aqueduct. This will solve some of the water needs for Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, upper New Mexico and the Upper Colorado river basin. To complete trying to save the aquifers we also need to

Build a South Platte River aqueduct. This will solve the water needs for the greater Denver ares and help preserve the northern Ogallala aquifer.

The rise in CO2 is on balance positive, it has already helped to keep 2 billion people from starvation. With food famine coming the very worst thing we can do is declare a climate emergency and unilaterally reduce our electric supply eliminating much of our fossil fuel source to produce electricity and at the same time push electric cars.

This cannot be solved unless there will be a deep commitment to Nuclear power, streamline government permit processes and let private industry find the best solutions without government playing favorites and slowing down the process. Regular U235 power is not sufficient for this, Only Thorium power will do, and there are many reasons for it. Here are 30 of them:

 1. A million year supply of Thorium available worldwide.

 2. Thorium already mined, ready to be extracted.

 3. Thorium based nuclear power produces 0.012 percent as much TRansUranium waste products as traditional nuclear power.

 4. Thorium based nuclear power will produce Plutonium-238, needed for space exploration.

 5. Thorium nuclear power is only realistic solution to power space colonies.

 6. Radioactive waste from an Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor decays down to background radiation in 300 years compared to a million years for U-235 based reactors. A Limerick.

 7. Thorium based nuclear power is not suited for making nuclear bombs.

 8. Produces isotopes that helps treat and maybe cure certain cancers.

 9. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors are earthquake safe, only gravity needed for safe shutdown.

10. Molten Salt Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors cannot have a meltdown, the fuel is already molten, and it is a continuous process. No need for refueling shutdowns.

11. Molten Salt Nuclear Reactors have a very high negative temperature coefficient leading to a safe and stable control.

12. Atmospheric pressure operating conditions, no risk for explosions. Much safer and simpler design.

13. Virtually no spent fuel problem, very little on site storage or transport.

14. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Nuclear reactors scale beautifully from small portable generators to full size power plants.

15. No need for evacuation zones, Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors can be placed near urban areas.

16. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will work both as Base Load and Load Following power plants.

17. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors will lessen the need for an expanded national grid.

18. Russia has an active Thorium program.

19. India is having an ambitious Thorium program, planning to meet 30% of its electricity demand via Thorium based reactors by 2050.

 20. China is having a massive Thorium program.

21. United States used to be the leader in Thorium usage. What happened?

22. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like the Three Mile Island disaster will not happen.

23. With a Molten Salt Reactor, accidents like Chernobyl are impossible.

24. With Molten Salt Reactors, a catastrophe like Fukushima cannot happen.

25. Will produce electrical energy at about 4 cents per kWh.

26. Can deplete most of the existing radioactive waste and nuclear weapons stockpiles.

27. With electric cars and trucks replacing combustion engine cars, only Thorium Nuclear power is the rational solution to provide the extra electric power needed.

28. The race for space colonies is on. Only Molten Salt Thorium Nuclear reactors can fit the bill.

29. President Donald J. Trump on Jan. 5 2021 issued an Executive Order on Promoting Small Modular Reactors for National Defense and Space Exploration. Only Liquid fluoride thorium reactors can meet all the needs.

30. We have to switch from Uranium to Thorium as nuclear feed-stock. We are running out of domestic Uranium.

My favorite Thorium power plant would be a 100 MW Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR). It is also called a Small Modular Reactor (SMR). It is small enough that all core elements will fit in three standard truck containers and be made on an assembly line. It can be constructed many ways, one is a normal fast breeder reactor, another is adapted to burn nuclear waste. The cost for these reactors, when built on an assembly line will be less than $2 per Watt. They can be placed anywhere, since they are inherently safe, no need for an evacuation zone. Since they are operating at 500C temperature with either gas or liquid lead as heat transfer media there is no need for water as a cooling medium. When mass produced it will be able to produce electricity at 5 c per kWh and the mining to produce the materials is a fraction of what is needed for solar, and wind power, especially when taking into account the intermittent nature of these power sources.The only thing better would be fusion power, but that is at least 20 years away as a power producing source, but it is coming. These are exciting times!

Published by

lenbilen

Retired engineer, graduated from Chalmers Technical University a long time ago with a degree in Technical Physics. Career in Aerospace, Analytical Chemistry, computer chip manufacturing and finally adjunct faculty at Pennsylvania State University, taught just one course in Computer Engineering, the Capstone Course.

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