The cooling down in the Antarctic has led to the largest ice sheet in many years for this day. Check the chart: In only four years out of the last 43 has there been more ice.
So, how are the northern polar region shaping up?
The ice in the Arctic will stay
In Greenland it snowed every day
New white snow, what a sight!
Reflects back all the light
No climate change here, this i say.
Back in 2012 the Greenland ice sheet had an unprecedented melt, and the prediction was that all the Arctic ice would be melted in September of 2015, having reached the Climate tipping point from which there is no return to a normal climate unless we reorganized the whole planet into a new totalitarian global governance society.
Well, the tipping point didn’t happen, so hopefully global governance will not happen either, even though many are trying.
These are the latest charts for arctic temperatures, ice and snow for August 26:
While still below average, it is the most ice for this day in the last ten years.
The ice-pack on Greenland has been melting much less than normal during the melting season
And yesterday’s snowfall over Greenland
Remember, H2O is a condensing gas, when cooled off it condenses into clouds. Clouds sometimes gives rain, and without rain life on land will cease to exist. In the Arctic, instead of rain it snows all times of the year, especially in Greenland. It rains for a month on the coast, but over 2000 feet it is all snow all the time when there is precipitation.
Clouds cool by day and warm by night, a one percent difference in cloud cover means more than the increase in CO2.
The only place where cloud cooling doesn’t work is in deserts. There is an Arab proverb: “All sunshine makes a desert.” The climate change danger is not more CO2, but making more deserts. The American South-west is in danger of being “desertified” unless we restore the fragile water balance in the region. To solve the problem I am proposing a Transcontinental Aqueduct, from the Mississippi river to the Colorado river, using a lot of power, but also producing a lot of peak power and hydro-power storage facilities on the way, and i so doing tripling tht hydro-power ccapacity of the whole nation.
The American Southwest has always been subject to drought cycles, some worse than the one that is now devastating the area. Below is a very interesting presentation from ASU about a previous civilization in the Phoenix area, thriving and then gone.
Will it happen again?
Lake Mead will be emptied in less than 10 years with the current usage pattern. Then what?
The hydroelectric power from Lake Mead (and Lake Powell) is diminishing as the lakes are emptied.
the aquifers in Arizona, especially in the Phoenix and Tucson area, and to some extent New Mexico and the dry part of Texas are being drawn down and are at risk of being exhausted.
The Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley of California is maybe the most polluted lake in all of U.S.A. It is even dangerous to breathe the air around it sometimes. The area contains maybe the largest Lithium deposit in the world.
The Colorado River water is too salty for good irrigation .
The Colorado river no longer reaches the Gulf of California. Fishing and shrimp harvesting around the Colorado River Delta is no more.
40 million people depend on the Colorado River for drinking water. The population is still rising rapidly in the West. Will they have water in the future?
Except for California there is not much pumped Hydro-power storage in the American Southwest.
Texas has plenty of wind power, but no pumped hydro-power storage. This makes it difficult to provide peak power when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Nuclear power is of no help, it provides base power only. Peak power has to come from coal and natural gas plants.
New Mexico has some ideal spots for solar panels, but no water is available for pumped storage.
Arizona has a surging population, wind and solar power locations are abundant, but no pumped hydro-power storage.
Build a transcontinental aqueduct from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River capable of transporting 15 million acre-ft of water yearly through Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. It will be built similar to the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, supplying water from the Colorado river to the Phoenix and Tucson area, but this aqueduct will be carrying seven times more water over five times the distance and raise the water more than twice as high before returning to near sea level. The original Central Arizona Project cost $4.7 billion in 1980’s money, the Transcontinental Aqueduct will cost around $340 Billion in 2021 money applying simple scaling up principles.
The Mississippi River has a bad reputation for having polluted water, but since the clean water act the water quality has improved drastically. Fecal coli-form bacteria is down by a factor of more than 100, the water is now used all the way down to New Orleans for drinking water after treatment. The lead levels are down by a factor of 1000 or more since 1979. Plastic pollution and pharmaceutical pollution is still a problem, as is the case with most rivers. The Ph is back to around 8 and salt content is negligible. Mississippi water is good for irrigation, and usable for drinking water after treatment.
But the aqueduct will do more than provide sweet Mississippi water to the thirsty South-west, it will make possible to provide peak power to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. In fact, it is so big it will nearly triple the pumped Hydro-power storage for the nation, from 23 GW for 5 hours a day to up to 66 GW.
The extra pumped hydro-power storage will come from a number of dams built as part of the aqueduct or very adjacent to it. The water will be pumped from surplus wind and solar power generators when available. This will provide up to 20 GW of power for 5 hours a day. If not enough extra power has been generated during the 19 pumping hours, sometimes power will be purchased from the regular grid. The other source of pumped hydro-power storage is virtual. There will be more than 230 MW LFTR (Liquid Fluoride salt Thorium Rector) power stations strategically stationed along the waterway providing pumping of water for 19 hours and providing virtual hydro-power output.
These 43 GW of hydro-power capacity will be as follows: Louisiana, 0.4 GW; Texas, 18,5 GW (right now, Texas has no hydro-power storage, but plenty of wind power); New Mexico, 10.5 GW; Arizona 13.6 GW. In Addition, when the Transcontinental Aqueduct is fully built out, the Hoover dam can provide a true 2.2 GW hydro-power storage by pumping water back from Lake Mojave; a 3 billion dollar existing proposal is waiting to be realized once Lake Mead is saved.
The amount of installed hydroelectric power storage is:
Most hydroelectric pumped storage was installed in the 70’s. Now natural gas plants provide most of the peak power. This aqueduct will double, triple the U.S. pumped peak storage if virtual peak storage is included. By being pumped from surplus wind and solar energy as well as nuclear energy it is true “Green power”. Some people like that.
What follows is a description of each leg of the aqueduct. Each leg except legs 9 and 10 ends in a dam, which holds enough water to make each leg free to operate to best use of available electricity and provide peak power on demand.
Leg 1: Atchafalaya river (Mississippi river bypass) to Aquilla lake, a distance of 360 miles.
Leg 2: Aquilla lake to Brad reservoir (to be built), a distance of 100 miles.
Leg 3: Brad reservoir to North of Baird dams. (to be constructed), a distance of 60 miles
Leg 4: North of Baird dams (to be constructed) to East of Sweetwater dam (to be built), a distance of 60 miles.
Leg 5: East of Sweetwater dam (to be constructed) to Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made), a distance of 50 miles.
Leg 6: Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made) to White Oaks Canyon Lake (to be made), a distance of 110 miles.
Leg 7: White Oaks Canyon Lake (to be made) to the Arch Lewis Canyon Lake via a 20 mile tunnel under the Guadaloupe Mountains in New Mexico.
Leg 8: Arch Lewis Canyon Lake to Martin Tank Lake, a distance of 50 miles.
Leg 9: Martin Tank Lake to Poppy Canyon Reservoir, a distance of 210 miles.
Leg 10: The Poppy Canyon Upper and Lower Reservoir. A Hydro-power storage peak power plant.
Leg 10, alternate solution: Poppy Canyon Reservoir to Cove Tank Reservoir, a distance of 13 miles.
Leg 11: Poppy Canyon Reservoir to San Carlos Lake, a distance of 80 miles.
Leg 12: San Carlos Lake to the Colorado river following the Gila river, a distance of 280 miles.
Stage 12 is a true delivery of water on demand aqueduct. The San Carlos lake has a storage capacity of a million acre-ft, the ideal buffer from the peak power demand driven uphill stages to the major delivery stage. San Carlos lake is now mostly empty, but will be normally filled to 85% of capacity, slightly less in advance of the winter snow melt. The Lake would look like this:
The Coolidge dam is now decommissioned, the lake is too often empty and the dam suffered damage in the power plant and it was no longer economical to produce power. The retrofitted dam will have a power generation capacity of up to 19,000 cfs the top of the dam is at 2535 ft, the typical water level is at 2500 ft and the drop is 215 feet, giving a maximum power output of 315 MW.
From there the stream follows the Gila River all the way to the Colorado River with the following drop-offs:
Where the Arizona central project waterway crosses the Gila river it will deliver up to 500 cfs to Tucson
Where the Gila river meets the Salt river it can deliver up to 1,500 cfs to the Phoenix-Scottsdale metropolitan area.
To the Martinez lake it can deliver up to 15,155 cfs, the design capacity of the All American canal. This will of course be nearly always far less, dependent on the need for water for irrigation, but we dimension the aqueduct to accommodate maximum flow. The Martinez lake is puny, and would easily be overwhelmed by surges in the water flow. To accommodate this, the Senator Wash Reservoir will have to be upgraded to be able to pump up or down at least twice as much water as is it’s present capacity. Lake Martinez is at about 180 feet elevation, and Senator Wash Reservoir is at a maximum elevation of 240 feet.
The rest of the Transcontinental Aqueduct empties out where the Gila river joins the remainder of the Colorado river a few miles downstream. It will be able to carry up to 6, 000 cfs of water to accommodate the needs of Mexico and also provide a modest amount of water to assure the Colorado river again reaches the ocean, maybe restoring some shrimp fishing in the ocean.
The 1944 water treaty with Mexico provides Mexico with 1.5 million acre-ft per year, more or less dependent of drought or surplus. It will be increased only on condition that when the Transcontinental aqueduct is finished, the New River in Mexicali will be cut off at the border, and Mexico will have to do their own complete waste water treatment.
There will be water allocated to the Salton Sea. Proposed will be the world’s largest Lithium mine, mining the deep brine, rich in Lithium. (about a third of the world supply according to one estimate). This requires water, and as a minimum to allow mining in the Salton Sea the water needs to be cleaned. This requires further investigation, but the area around the Salton Sea is maybe the most unhealthy in the United States.
The maximum power generating drop during this last leg will be (2500 – 190 – 2.2X 280) = 1694 feet. With an average flow of 14,000 cfs this will generate 1.8 GW of power, but the realized power output will be determined by the actual water demands.
Stage 10 was a true pumped hydro-storage peak power stage, producing up to 11.0 GW electric power for up to 5 hours a day. In stage 11 the flow will be a maximum flow of up to 25,000 cfs, but with periods of less flow during low electricity demand, all to accommodate both water needs and power demands.
The power generating drop is on average (4320 – 2510 – 80×2.2) = 1,634 feet. This stage is capable of generating maximum 2.4 GW of power during all times.
San_Carlos_Lake is located within the 3,000-square-mile (7,800 km2) San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, and is thus subject to tribal regulations. It has been full only three times, in 1993 it overflowed the spillway and about 35,000 cfs of water caused erosion damage to natural gas pipelines. The lake contains now (April 6,2021) less than 100 acre-ft of water. All fish is dead.
When the Transcontinental aqueduct is built the lake will always be nearly filled, level will be at 2510 feet with flood control nearly automatic, it will never overflow, and it will look like this:
The Coolidge dam will have to be retrofitted for a 25,000 cfs water flow
Stage 9 ended up near the Poppy Canyon Reservoir. It continues directly to stage 11 without a reservoir, but has a diversion point to deliver water to stage 10 to cpmpensate for evaporation and seepage. The Poppy Canyon Reservoir is 400 feet high and will top out at 5360 feet with a maximum water level at 5350 feet. This is the western high point in the Transcontinental aqueduct. This stage can deliver peak energy only 5 hours a day, or deliver the day’s worth of peak energy whenever called for. To make this possible there will be a tunnel and pumping station capable of delivering up to 95,000 cfs when called for. The drop is maximum (5410 – 3690 – 13×2.2) = 1702 feet and minimum (5300 – 4000 -13×2.2) = 1272 feet with an average of 1500 feet, delivering 11.0 GW of pumped hydro-storage peak power for 5 hours a day for a total of 55 GWh/day For the remaining 19 hours water will be pumped up using thirty-one 100 MW MFTR reactors requiring 59 GWh/day. These 31 MW are available for 5 hours a day as extra peak power.
The tunnel to the Cove Tank reservoir is 13 miles long and the power station is somewhere in the tunnel’s path. 80% of the pumps are not reversible, the remaining 20% are, and pump up water for up to 19 hours. The Cove Tank Reservoir dam is 1 mile wide and 250 feet high, containing 60,000 acre-ft of water, enough for 7.5 hrs of filling it at 95,000 cfs, or maximum flow capacity of this stage.
Stage 9 ended up near the Poppy Canyon Lower dam. The aqueduct will release water to the dams when necessary to compensate for evaporation and seepage losses, but it will otherwise be independent of the aqueduct. The upper dam is 400 feet high and will top out at 5360 feet with a maximum water level at 5350 feet. The lower dam is 480 feet high, and the water tops out at 4670 feet. This stage can deliver peak energy only 5 hours a day, or deliver the day’s worth of peak energy whenever called for. To make this possible there will be a tunnel and pumping station capable of delivering up to 95,000 cfs when called for. The drop is maximum (5360 – 4200) = 1160 feet and minimum (4950– 4670) = 280 feet with an average of 720 feet, delivering 5.3 GW of pumped hydro-storage peak power for 5 hours a day for a total of 26.5 GWh. For the other 19 hours a day water will be pumped up from the lower dam to the upper dam, requiring sixteen 100 MW LFTR power stations, or 30 GWh. the difference is because of the 93 percent efficiency in the turbines and generators. But for 5 hours a day the 16 LFTR’s will produce 1.6 GW of virtual peak power.
Here as always, the preferable power to lift the water will be produced by excess solar and wind power. But when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. the power has to be available. When excess power is available these LFTR plants are free to produce hydrogen, to be stored and used for more peak power
Stage 8 went from Arch Lewis Canyon Lake to Martin Tank Lake. The Martin Tank Lake dam is 22260 feet wide and 230 feet high. The Lake will contain about 30,000 Acre-ft when full, about eighteen hours worth of storage.
plus The elevation at the Martin Tank lake will top out at 4620 feet with maximum water level at 4610 feet. The aqueduct will first descend to 3980 feet, as it crosses the Rio Grande in La Mesa, a distance of 50 miles. The elevation difference is (4620 – 3980 – 50 X 2.2) feet = 530 feet. Releasing 24,000 cfs of water 530 feet will generate 1 GW of energy for 19 hrs/day. From La Mesa it will climb to the Poppy Canyon lower Reservoir. The dam is 480 feet high and will top out at 4680 feet with a maximum water level at 4650 feet. The Poppy Canyon is special and will be described more in Leg 10. The total lift of the water in stage 9 is (4320 – 3980 + 160×2.2) feet = 692 ft. To lift 24,000 cubic feet per second 692 feet requires five 100 MW LFTR nuclear reactors, plus the energy generated from the early decrease in altitude. The Poppy Canyon Reservoir will look like this:
Stage 7 ended in Arch Lewis Canyon Reservoir. It will be filled mostly during the 5 hours of peak power generation. During the other 19 hours the fill rate will be very low leading to lowering water levels.
It has a 3000 feet wide and up to 480 feet high dam, topping out at 4620 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 60,000 acre-ft of water.
From the Arch Lewis Lake dam to the Martin Tank Lake the distance is 60 miles the way the aqueduct takes. It will first descend to 3720 feet before rising to 5190 feet. The descending drop is (4620 – 3720 – 2.2 x 9), or up to 890 feet. The Martin Canyon Lake will top out at 5200 feet with maximum water level at 5190 feet. The total lift of the water in this stage is (5190 – 3720 + 51×2.2) feet = 1582 ft. To lift 25,000 cubic feet per second (1582 x 1.07 – 890 x 0.93) = 865 feet requires eighteen 100 MW LFTR nuclear reactors. The Martin Tank Lake dam is 22260 feet wide and 230 feet high. It will contain about 30,000 Acre-ft when full, about eighteen hours worth of storage. For 5 hours per day the eighteen reactors can provide 1.8 GW of peak power to the grid.
Dam 1 is the White Oaks Canyon Lake. It has a 2000 feet wide and up to 400 feet high dam, topping out at 5000 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 80,000 acre-ft of water.
Dam 2 dams the Last Chance Canyon Lake. It has a 2200 feet wide and up to 380 feet high dam, topping out at 5680 feet, and the lake holds a water volume of up to 35,000 acre-ft.
The Stage 7 is a tunnel, starting at 4600 feet and ending at 4492 feet maximum levels. The 20 mile long tunnel will drop 44 feet as it passes under the mountain.
Dam 3 dams the Upper Canyon reservoir. It has a 1600 feet wide and up to 240 feet high dam, topping out at 5200 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 15,000 acre-ft of water.
Dam 4 dams the Arch Lewis Canyon Reservoir. It has a 3000 feet wide and up to 480 feet high dam, topping out at 4600 feet, and the lake holds a volume of up to 60,000 acre-ft of water.
Up to now all stages have pumped water up the mountains. This stage releases the hydroelectric water storage, and it does so even during peak power, so the water flows all 24 hours with peak electricity creation during peak usage. By now, the average flow is down to 19000 cfs , 24 hours a day. During off peak hours, 19000 cfs flows down the tunnel, the power generated is coming from Dam 1 with a water level of between 4980 feet and 4700 feet with an average of 4940 feet. The maximum output level of the water is 4640 feet, so a drop of 300 feet will generate a minimum of 440 MW of power, or 10.5 GWh/day. Part of this energy will be used to pump up the water to Dam 2 and 3. Dam 2 will pump 13,000 cfs of water from 4630 feet to between 5820 feet ans 5520 feet, (average 5760) for 19 hours, an average lift of 1,060 feet. This required a total of 23 GWh of energy per day , or 1.2 GW pf power. Dam 3 will pump 6,000 cfs of water from 4630 feet to between 5200 feet and 4930 feet, (average 5120) for 19 hours, an average lift of 520 feet. This required a total of 5.2 GWh of energy per day , or 270 MW pf power.
The net electricity needed during 19 off peak hours is 3.0 GW on average. This requires thirty 100 MW LFTR power stations. Normally the pumping power will come from excess wind and solar power, but the power plants will still have to be there when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t burn. When there is excess power available the LFTR’s can make hydrogen for use for extra peak power. The electricity generated during the 5 peak hours is 49,000 cfs at a drop of 1060 feet, or 4.0 GW, from dam 2. From dam 3 it will be 22,800 cfs at a drop of 520 feet, or 900 MW. From the 2 dams , total electricity is 4.9 GW. Total electricity generated during these 5 hours is 24.5 GWh. This assumes a 93% efficiency of the reversible pumps from Dam 2 and 3 (you lose 7% both in the pumping and the generation phase.) The generators from Dam 1 are not reversible.
The tunnel capacity between Dam 1 and Dam 2 outlets is 19,000 cfs, between Dam 2 and 3 it is 49,000 cfs, and from Dam 3 to its exit in Dam 4 it is 71,800 cfs.
The fifth stage was from East of Sweetwater dam (to be constructed) to Grassland Canyon Lake (to be made). The sixth stage is big! The aqueduct travels from South of Lubbock, Texas to the Guadaloupe Mountains in New Mexico, a distance of 110 miles.
The elevation at the Grasslands Canyon lake will top out at 2800 feet with maximum water level at 2790 feet. The White Oaks Canyon dam is 400 feet high and will top out at 5000 feet with a maximum water level at 4950 feet. The total lift of the water in stage 6 is (4950 – 2790 + 110×2.2) feet = 2402 ft. To lift 25,000 cubic feet per second 2402 feet requires fifty-three 100 MW LFTR nuclear reactors, thirteen on the Texas Grid and forty on the Western national grid. The White oaks Canyon Lake will contain about 130,000 Acre-ft of water when full, about three days of storage. For 5 hours per day these fifty-three reactors used in this stage can provide 5.3 GW of peak power to the grid instead of pumping water, thus acting as a virtual hydroelectric peak power storage. 1.3 GW of this will be used by the Texas Power Grid, and 4.0 GW by the Western U.S. Power grid, and they have to be coordinated. One alternative is that this grid can be connected to either the Texas grid or the Western Grid dependent on who needs the peak power. The White Oaks dam will look like this: