The different responses to hurricane Katrina and Harvey.

The hurricane Katrina was our costliest hurricane this far. Not the deadliest, that was the 1900 Galveston hurricane that killed 6 to 12,000 people. At that time it had passed through the Florida Strait as a tropical storm, so the Galveston people didn’t take it seriously, after all they had an 8 foot seawall. It entered as a category 4 hurricane, the storm surge was 15 feet, topped the seawall and wiped out the city like a tsunami.

I have always been fascinated by hurricanes, the enormous energy they disperse and how beautiful they appear from space. So  it was on Aug 27, 2005 that I watched the press conference with the Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco reassuring the people “I believe we are prepared,” she said in Jefferson Parish. “That’s the one thing that I’ve always been able to brag about.”

Though experts had warned it would take 48 hours to evacuate New Orleans, Blanco did not order a mandatory evacuation that Saturday.

“We’re going to pray that the impact will soften,” she said.

 

Later the same day in city Hall she is still trying to decide when or if to reverse flow on the highways, she has still no clue on how severe the situation is and refuses to hear the warnings from NHC that warned more or less that an unprecedented catastrophe is coming. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin agreed that he would take care of his people.

The next day the hurricane had grown to category 5 and everybody that could started to evacuate with or without an evacuation order, but it wasn’t until 20 hours before landfall that she ordered mandatory evacuation and reversed direction on all the exit highways. Everybody that could evacuate had already started, so the coaches were picked up by the hotels to evacuate the tourists. The traffic  jams were enormous since everybody tried to get out at the same time. They more or less knew the levies would be topped, but even then Mayor Nagin refused to use the school buses to evacuate. He claimed “My people will not be bused in  school buses, they deserve coaches.

The U.S. government begged repeatedly that the governor would call in  the national guard, but she refused. The Federal government considered calling in the U.S. military, but decided against it, since it is against the law unless the governor authorizes it.

It had landfall as a category 3 hurricane east of New Orleans so the major storm surge, 26 feet high, hit Mississippi and wiped out casinos and other structures at the coast, and hurricane winds affected an area the size of England. New Orleans was on the west side of the path, so New Orleans was spared an over topping of the levees. That is, until the next morning one levee gave way due to incorrect secured footing and New Orleans got flooded.

FEMA was still busy cleaning up from earlier hurricanes, so new people needed to be hired or transferred to other department, but to work for FEMA you needed at least 3 days extra of sensitivity training, so  FEMA paperwork got delayed another week.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but President Bush is still getting blamed for it.

Image result for hurricane Katrina

Not so with Hurricane Harvey. It also grew very rapidly from a tropical disturbance to a major hurricane and was still growing at landfall as a category 4 hurricane. It looked like it was going to get inland fast and follow the normal path and rain out while moving rapidly, but instead it got blocked by two high pressures and decided to stall after rainfall, move back into the gulf, picking up more rain and then rain out over Houston and surrounding areas. The wind damage and storm surge was normal for a category 4 hurricane, but the staying in place for a long time made it the rainiest hurricane ever hitting the U.S. mainland, with some areas around Houston getting over 50 inches of rain.

Yet the hurricane response has been nothing short of excellent. The Governor of Texas acted early in cooperation with the Federal Government to pre-stage national guard and supplies in conjunction with local government. But the thing that made the biggest difference has been the volunteer response from thousands of people with high clearance trucks and boats evacuating thousands of people. About he only thing going wrong was the mayor of Houston discouraging early evacuation when he knew the rains were going to be horrendous.

It is going to be the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, but without the volunteer response and excellent cooperation between all levels of government it could have been so much worse.

The American spirit is alive and well in Texas, as is the Trump leadership

A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 7 (of 16) Will a tech breakthrough help us?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change. This Climate realist added his answer.

 Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

Answers to Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

Answers to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

Justin Gillis answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.

As more companies, governments and researchers devote themselves to the problem, the chances of big technological advances are improving. But even many experts who are optimistic about technological solutions warn that current efforts are not enough. For instance, spending on basic energy research is only a quarter to a third of the level that several in-depth reports have recommended. And public spending on agricultural research has stagnated even though climate change poses growing risks to the food supply. People like Bill Gates have argued that crossing our fingers and hoping for technological miracles is not a strategy — we have to spend the money that would make these things more likely to happen.

My answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

The CO2 increase is already showing its benefits by increasing harvests, forest growth and especially greening grasslands by more than 11%. The greening of the earth is real. See fig:In addition plants use less water to perform photosynthesis as CO2 levels increase.

But we need technological breakthrough to clean up our environment and  provide enough water for a thirsty planet, especially in the 10/40 window. Nearly all large cities in that area suffer a shortage of water. In Teheran the water table is sinking by 6 feet a year, and in Mexico City things ate just as bad. Southern California and Las Vegas depend to a large extent on water from Lake Mead, and unless checked Lake Mead is being drained at an alarming rate, (this winter being an exception).

Making clean water and cleaning up the environment takes a lot of energy, so it would be good to check from where the world gets its energy.

More than three quarter of all energy comes from fossil fuel, less than 0.1% comes from solar panels. To tenfold solar panels will not help much, hydropower is limited, ethanol competes with the food supply, only drastic action will change the situation. May I suggest to switch all electricity production now generated by coal and oil to nuclear power, but not any nuclear power, switch to Thorium based nuclear power generation. Until that is done it makes no sense to use electric automobiles and trucks except in special circumstances. There is a million year supply of Thorium, and Thorium based nuclear energy has only 0.01% of the long term nuclear waste of Uranium based nuclear energy.

Don’t believe me? Check out https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/  and https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-more-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-as-nuclear-fuel/

Then we can tackle the real problems, such as real (not “carbon”) pollution, water, energy distribution, electrification of the developing world, all worthwhile endeavors.

Answers to Question 8. How much will the seas rise?

Answers to Question 9. Are the predictions reliable?

Answers to Question 10. Why do people question climate change?

Answers to Question 11. Is crazy weather tied to climate change?

Answers to Question 12. Will anyone benefit from global warming?

Answers to Question 13. Is there any reason for hope?

Answers to Question 14. How does agriculture affect climate change?

Answers to Question 15. Will the seas rise evenly across the planet?

Answers to Question 16. Is it really all about carbon?

 

The Moffat tunnel, Continental theft of water. A Limerick

What flows through the tunnel of Moffat?

It’s water for Denver’s own profit.

When South-West tries to sue.

Will they win, get their due?

I never was much of a prophet.

The Moffat tunnel in Colorado, built in 1928 is a six mile railroad and water  tunnel that goes under the continental divide. The water tunnel carries up to 105 acre-feet of water per hour to the City of Denver. The water is taken from the Colorado river watershed, which leaves the South Western states with nearly one million acre-feet less water per year.

When the tunnel was built this was not much of a problem, Nevada had less than 100, 000 inhabitants, Arizona less than 350,000 and California about 3.5 million people. Now Nevada has 25 times as many people, Arizona 15 times as many , and California 10 times as many people, all thirsty for more water.

It is time to stop robbing the South-west of water. Yes Denver has its own water problem, but the South West has much greater problem.

Lake Mead water level is now 140 feet below full capacity, and has been dropping about 10 feet per year, and will run dry unless drastic measures are taken. The Moffat tunnel takes away about 6 feet a year from the filling of Lake Mead.

Yes, thanks to this year’s rain, Lake Mead has recovered somewhat, but the long trend is still ominous.

And by the way, this has nothing to do with Climate Change.

Dihydrogen Monoxide, the main source of greenhouse gases. A Limerick.

UN climate kooks want to cripple US economy and ban H2O.

Some people will sign anything that includes phrases like, ”global effort,” “international community,” and “planetary.”

Such was the case at COP 16, this year’s United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico.

This year, CFACT students created two mock-petitions to test U.N. Delegates. The first asked participants to help destabilize the United States economy, the second to ban water. The first project, entitled “Petition to Set a Global Standard” sought to isolate and punish the United States of America for defying the international community, by refusing to bite, hook, line and sinker on the bait that is the Kyoto Protocol.

The petition went so far as to encourage the United Nations to impose tariffs and trade restrictions on the U.S. in a scheme to destabilize the nation’s economy. Specifically, the scheme seeks to lower the U.S. GDP by 6% over a ten-year period, unless the U.S. signs a U.N. treaty on global warming. This would be an extremely radical move by the United Nations. Even so, radical left-wing environmentalists from around the world scrambled eagerly to sign.

The second project was as successful as the first. It was euphemistically entitled “Petition to Ban the Use of Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO)” (translation water). It was designed to show that if official U.N. delegates could be duped by college students into banning water, that they could essentially fall for anything, including pseudo-scientific studies which claim to show that global warming is man-caused. Despite the apparently not-so-obvious reference to H2O, almost every delegate that collegian students approached signed their petition to ban that all too dangerous substance, which contributes to the greenhouse effect, is the major substance in acid rain, and is fatal if inhaled.

Perhaps together, the footage associated with these two projects will illustrate to mainstream America the radical lengths many current U.N. delegates are willing to go to carry out an agenda no more ethical, plausible or practical than the banning water.

And now for the Limerick.

Dihydrogen monoxide must now be banned

The thought of its use must forever be canned

So the delegates spoke

in Cancun, what a joke.

It wasn’t exactly what Watt once had planned.

Save the Chesapeake Bay. A Limerick.

Last September we went down to Virginia Beach for four spectacular days. The weather was perfect, the surf was building day by day and I swam with the Dolphins! They came within 30 feet of me, a school of more than a dozen. Above the Blue Angels trained, first two, then four, then all six in perfect formation. The approaching hurricane Igor slowed down to 7 mph instead of the predicted 14 which gave the people of Bermuda one more day to prepare, and by then it will have gone down in energy one more level.  As we (my wife and I) do every year we take a look at the status of the Chesapeake Bay on the way down and up. To the most casual observer it seems that the deterioration has stopped  and a slow recovery is in place. To be an environmentalist means you take a regional approach to a problem and attack it as a regional matter. The solution for Chesapeake Bay is quite different from the Everglades, the Bayous or the water needs of the West.  Then on the news comes this insane call to arms: Global Climate Disruption.

All I can do is make another Limerick:

We’re trying to save our Chesapeake Bay.

Why Climate Disruption? And Global? No way!

It’s all about land use,

And water and refuse.

The Ice Age and Warm Period, they went away.

Water, the real climate challenge, much bigger than CO2.

The safe, clean water essential to all life is rapidly running out in much of the world. Yet the politicians are concentrating on air pollution in the form of CO2 and methane as if a catastrophe is about to hit us. The world has gotten colder the last 11 years, and the future trend is down, unless the sun does something quite unexpected. In the meantime much of the world’s safe water supply is disappearing. The western US, much of the 10-40 corridor, Australia and western South America are using up its safe water much faster than it is replenished. In addition, what is left is getting polluted.Let me give you an anecdotal example.

A few years ago I was part of a team that made wet processing equipment for making  computer chip wafers. It involved cleaning and etching using isopropyl alcohol, hydrocloric, sulphuric, and hydrofluoric acid as well as Ozone, all potent stuff. To collect the used chemicals we had designed a 5-way output port, so the chemicals could be collected separately. The equipment was made and shipped off to South Korea. It was assembled in a brand new, state of the art positive air pressure clean room facility. The processing equipment was installed, and under the 5-way port was a large funnel, going  to the drain and directly out in the sewer.

A couple of years before, in the US we had a leaking valve, so a small amount of hydrofluoric acid got discharged into the sewage. This poisoned the sewage processing plant, and a large fine was levied. No such worry in Asia. The sewage goes directly out in the ocean to be diluted.

In China many of these facilities are inland, so large water aquifers get poisoned for centuries to come. These are the people we entrust with our future production of just about everything, since we will have to cut down on our energy use thanks to an administration  hostile to energy development, while China is exempt, building dirty coal-fired plants as fast as they can.They install scrubbers, but scrubbers cost money to run, so they are frequently out of service ( being “serviced”). This results in a large brown upper atmosphere smog extending from China to Pakistan acting as a giant heat sink.