Recent Storm Over Europe Exposes The Lies Of The Energiewende…Is A Stable Grid A Thing Of The Past?

Fred F. Mueller at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) here writes about how the storm that swept across Europe in late March exposed the lies of the German Energiewende (transition to renewable energies).

With the current rate of growth in renewable energy installations, Mueller writes that it’s just a question of time before the grid gets overloaded just by the renewable energies under certain weather conditions and that it will no longer be possible to dump the surplus  uncontrollably fed in power into neighboring power markets.

Mueller writes how at the end of March Germany saw a combination of high winds and lots of sunshine. During the recent storm there was lots of wind energy production accompanied by lots of solar power production due to large gaps in cloud cover.

According to German flagship national daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) the surplus energy led to massive costs to power consumers and double digit million costs for the power grid operators, who naturally will simply pass these costs along to the consumers. The situation in late March was so precarious that hundreds of wind turbines were ordered switched off.

The FAZ reports that a record amount of power was fed into the grid due to the strong winds and abundant sunshine: At 2:15 pm a total of 44 gigawatts of sun and wind energy were fed in, which equals the power output of 31 nuclear power plants.

EIKE author Rolf Schuster has compiled the data on installed solar/wind capacity in Germany as of the end of February 2015: a total of 78 gigawatts of capacity that comprises 40 gigawatts of wind and 38 gigwatts of solar. Had the storm hit later in the spring, the situation would have been even worse because more solar power would have been produced, probably another 10 gigawatts.

Rolf Schuster compiled the results of the storm in Table 1: Datum = date; Stunde = hour; Preis = exchange price; Menge = amount; Summe1 = sum 1; Summe2 = sum 2.

Table 1: The nominal exchange losses stemming from the negative prices on 29 – 30 March. Note: Every figure under 50 €/ MWh in reality means that most conventional power plants had to incur losses (Figures from EEX: Table Rolf Schuster)

According to the data in the hours leading up to the storm, power with a market value of almost 3 million euros had to be “given away for free” to foreign markets at negative prices. However, Mueller writes, that was only a small part of the costs. Grid operators wound up losing anywhere from 10 million to 60 million euros during a three day period. According to the FAZ, a total of 20.3 gigawatts of reserve capacity had to be used in order to stabilize the power supply in south Germany. Moreover hundreds of wind turbines had to be taken offline. Yet the affected windpark operators still got paid for the power they did not produce – as is required by Germany’s renewable energy feed-in act. These costs eventually get paid by the consumer.

This time the power grid withstood the overloading from the storm. But Mueller writes that whoever believes the worse is now behind and we all can sit back and relax with the knowledge the power grid can withstand anything, they are being terribly naïve. In Germany within the scope of the Energiewende, it is planned to install approximately 330 gigawatts of wind capacity and possibly 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2050.

The result, Mueller writes, is that already on moderately windy and sunny days the grids will become overloaded with “green power” because there is still no storage technology available. The physics is clear: this will inevitably lead to a “collapse in the power supply”. Here so-called “power autobahns” (major cross-country transmission lines), which certain profiteers of the Energiewende are trying to sell us as the wonder cure against the consequences of their own politics, aren’t going to help.

What Caused the Global Warming Pause or Why Hate the Hiatus?

Depending on which global temperature data one looks at, temperatures have not increased in the last 18 or so years. The reasons proposed have been various, ranging from natural cycles to increased aerosols, to heat escaping to space or the deep ocean.

Perhaps there are some other reasons that have not been considered. The following is a simple list, with illustrations. The list is divided into two sub-lists. Things that are natural and things that are anthropogenic or man made.

SOME NATURAL REASONS

 1. It’s The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO)

AMO
The AMO has been at the top of it’s warm phase since 1998. The index doesn’t get much higher than it is now. It can only go down from here. It was at a similar peak during the warm 1930s through the 1960s. It was negative during the cool 1970s. The peaks of the AMO tend to be flat for a couple of decades before flipping cool. We don’t know what drives the AMO. Data here.

2. It’s The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

PDO
The PDO has been trending down since the early 1980s. It also was up during the 1930s and negative during the 1970s. The AMO and the PDO are the natural ocean cycles that climate scientists talk about. The PDO reached a peak in the 1980s and has been declining since. This index is volatile. The PDO has a huge effect on weather on the Pacific Coast of North America. Data here.

 3. It’s The AMO and PDO together

AMO+PDO
They are sometimes roughly added together. (Even though they are not measuring the same thing.) If one adds them together, it can be seen why the late 1930s were warm and the 1970s cool. The sum (green trace) reached a peak in 2000 and is now declining because of the declining PDO. (Computed by author.)

4. It’s the sun

SSN Average

The sunspot number (SSN) average has declined since the mid-1990s. One can see a cause for the 1970s cooling in the SSN, but not for the 1930s warming. The early 20th century cooling may have been caused by the low SSN around the turn of the century. The sun is excused for the recent pause because the total solar index (TSI) changes only by a fraction of a Watt/m2 over large changes in SSN. But other factors may be in play. (Source: WDC-SILSO, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels.)

Oulu Neutron Count

5. It’s cosmic rays

The neutron count is an indicator of the cosmic ray flux at the top of the atmosphere. Here is the neutron count at Oulu, Finland since 1965. It is thought that cosmic rays seed cloud formation. Therefore high recent count is providing cooling clouds. Graphic downloaded from here, the Sodankyla Geophysical Observatory, University of Oulu, Finland.

SST & Albedo

6. It’s clouds and earth’s albedo

Albedo and cloud cover reached a peak in the 1998-2000 era, at the beginning of the pause. Clouds, especially high clouds, reflect solar energy. Each 1% of albedo change translates to 1 W/m2. There is another graphic of albedo from the EarthShine project, here. All the albedo data show a significant rise in albedo after 1998. The cosmic ray/neutron count may not match the albedo/cloud cover, but cloud cover really did increase. Graphic used by permission of Dr. J. Floor Anthoni, and seen here.

PAUSE IS ANTHROPOGENIC

I mean by anthropogenic that man may have caused the pause by manipulating the temperature data. These manipulations seem to enhance the warming trend in support of politics, though the stated intent for many was to enhance accuracy. Here are some examples:

TOBs adjustments

7. It’s the time of observation (TOBs) adjustment

Observing times have been gradually changed from afternoon to morning hours. The bias from this adjustment was about 0.2°C for TMax and 0.25°C for TMin. This impacts the historic data, but also, this adjustment is now finished. Most measurement sites now use morning observing times and no more changes will be made, hence the pause. No more warming will come from this source. The TOBs adjustment is clearly visible in the DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RAW AND FINAL USHCN DATA SETS graphic below, though it is only half of the total. Figure from here.

Difference between raw and final

8. It’s all adjustments including TOBs

This graphic shows the result of all adjustments: homogenization, sensor changes (CRS vs MMTS), and TOBs. Note also that the warming due to all these changes is about 0.5°C, much of the warming that is supposed to have taken place since 1950. Note that these changes went flat during the 1990s decade.  Note the similar shaped curve to the TOBs adjustment with a flat shape in recent times. There should be no more warming from this source. Figure from NOAA/NCDC here.

9. It’s the number of stations

Number of stations

Since 1980, the number of stations reporting temperature data has declined by half. Some of the decline was due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. This resulted in loss of data from the Russian high arctic and Siberia, among the coldest land stations in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of these stations have resumed reporting in recent years, but most have not.

Other stations in Africa and Asia were closed by newly independent former colonies. World-wide, many stations closed instead of being upgraded. On average the remaining stations are at lower elevations and in warmer, populated areas. This situation has now stabilized. Figure from NASAGISS here. A discussion of this problem is here.

These are nine possible reasons for the pause. One or two are sufficient. Nine is overkill.

 

Easter Blackout! Cologne Area And ‘Phantasia’ Amusement Park Lose Power 3 Times In 24 Hours! Green Energy To Blame?

If there is anything that I can say about the German power grid, it is that power outages have been very rare since I’ve been here. But lately the ones that do occur seem to be doing so far more frequently, and there’s been a lot of talk about grid operators having to constantly intervene to prevent blackouts – something they rarely had to do 10 years ago.

Today T-Online news site here reports that areas near Cologne, Germany blacked out over the Easter weekend. Amusement park Phantasialand lost power three times – in 24 hours!

Hat-tip: DirkH

T-Online writes of “power chaos” as electricity went out for 45 minutes on Sunday and blacked out twice yesterday.

The cause of the outages is being attributed to “technical faults” and a “power supply error”. Parts of the Cologne area, for example the city of Bruhl where the power utility is located, also lost power.

There’s no indication that the erratic green energies such as wind and sun are behind the Easter weekend blackout. My guess is that in this case they are not because the weather conditions were quite stable and saw no spikes of any kind. Yet German blackouts seem to be occurring more frequently as the capacity of sun and wind increases.

Blackouts beoming more common

In 2005 a late November snowstorm across northern Germany caused power transmission towers to collapse under the weight of snow and ice, knocking out power for hours and even days in some regions.

In November 2006 a large part of Western Europe was blacked out as power giant E.on miscalculated on how to handle 10,000 megawatts of wind energy flowing through the power grid. The English Wikipedia page fails to mention anything about the wind energy.

In November 2012 the power in parts of Munich went out due to “a defective line”.  Also read more here. Later a city utility spokesman said, “It is suspected to be a power spike that somehow got through.

Last year again in Munich during the busy Friday morning rush hour the power for 20,000 households went out because of a blown transformer station.

Germany’s power supply has become far more erratic and uncontrollable lately. The power chart for the last two weeks shows the tremendous power spikes that Germany’s power grid had to endure during recent stormy weather.

Agora MarApr 2015

Source: Agora

The above chart shows a major and sudden power spike occurring on March 29 and a super spike that went off the chart on March 31 when a massive 76 gigawatts of wind power got uncontrollably fed in at 1 p.m. How the grid operators went about handling this may be the topic of a later post.

One thing is clear: the situation on Germany’s power grid has gotten far more unstable. German center-left/green weekly Die Zeit here conducted an interview with power expert Frank Umbach. When asked the question of how reliable the German power grid is, Umbach told Die Zeit:

The situation has gotten considerably worse. […] All risk assessments on supply stability show a worsening.”

Moreover Umbach tells Die Zeit that Germany narrowly missed “widespread outages” three times since the country shut down 8 nuclear power plants in 2011 and increased dependency on wind and solar power.

 

Greens Humiliated! Whopping 92% Of Swiss Vote ‘No’ To Non-Renewable Energy Tax …”Historic Debacle”

Here’s the story the major mainstream media would prefer not to mention at all.

Hat-tip: Die kalte Sonne site here.

At the online finanznachrichten.de there’s a short report about a recent Swiss vote on a Greens-Liberals energy tax initiative. The result:

92 percent voted against the initiative that would tax the consumption of non-renewable energies such as oil, gas, coal and uranium instead of having a value added tax. According to the Greens-Liberals it would be an effective instrument for reducing energy consumption and for promoting renewable energies.”

In summary on a few fringe activists in Switzerland are interested in taxing reliable and still affordable fossil and nuclear energy.

The Swiss Blick.ch called the result “an historic debacle” and “the most massive slap up beside the head ever” that a citizens’ initiative has ever suffered in Switzerland. Blick.ch writes:

The failure was historic – no initiative has ever gotten a result of less than 10 percent.”

Die kalte Sonne comments on the result, reminding us that it was…:

…the most clear rejection by the citizens since the founding of the modern Swiss federal state in 1848. It is also notable that the parties who supported the petition for a referendum, “The Green-Liberals” and “The Greens”, were not even able to convince many of their own voters. Both parties together represent 13.8% of all voters.”

Die kalte Sonne also comments on the lopsidedness of the result, claiming that it is the sort that one is accustomed to seeing in “hardcore communist states”. Only this time the vote was free and offered a choice.

 

HAPPY EASTER!

No blogging today. Just want to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

Thanks for all the kind words in yesterday’s post. It really means a lot to me and encourages me to keep blogging.

Climate Science And Energy Policy News From Germany Site ‘NoTricksZone’ Turns 5! Thank You, Readers!

A couple of days ago NoTricksZone turned 5. The first post was published on April 2, 2010.

This blog was inspired by Donna Laframboise of No Frakking Consensus after I had been part of a group of volunteers who helped her check the literature on which the conclusions of the IPCC 4th Assessment Report were based on. Those results rocked the IPCC.

The beginnings of NoTricksZone were humble, and my expectations were to perhaps reach a few hundred readers per day after a year or so. I didn’t even have any social media buttons. Yet within a few weeks traffic started coming in, in large part thanks to the big sites like Marc Morano Climate Depot, Anthony Watts WUWT and Tom Nelson who linked to NTZ stories. A year later the site reached 1 million views. Now, 5 years later, the 10 million views has been surpassed. Not bad for something that is a hobby on the side for me.

I’m also proud of having been mentioned by Justin Gillis in The New York Times, getting a link at Drudge, being on the Who’s Who List of Climate denialists” and having worked helped out Dr Sebastian Lüning and Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt’s climate science critical book Die kalte Sonne (The Neglected Sun), which shook the German climate science establishment.

The main idea behind this blog is to get stories from Germany and Europe that the world would otherwise never hear about out to the broader public. The progress of Germany’s Energiewende is an important issue and other countries worldwide need to get all the information about it before they uncritically accept its rosy, utopian promises. Germany’s Energiewende arguably has become a debacle of immense dimensions. See the side bar under Alternative Energies.

The German Energiewende has even reached my home state of Vermont, and the consequences are catastrophic to the scenic region where I was born and raised. Entire mountain tops have been permanently blasted, disfigured and deforested to make way for industrial wind turbines that now stand more as monuments to a pathological obsession with a computer-generated fictitious climate Armageddon than they do as a real solution. The damage in northern Vermont is irreversible. It’s going to take the ice sheets of the next ice age (that was the scare 40 years ago) to grind off the scars left behind by Vermont’s green eco-madness.

My hope is that others will take a more serious, unemotional look at the real situation in Germany (as well as Spain and Great Britain) and not repeat the German blunders.

The focus of NoTricksZone is also to keep readers up-to-date on what is going on at the prestigious German institutes such as the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology or the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Both are highly influential, but in my view highly irresponsible for having adopted a dangerously ideological position that is completely foreign to the discipline of science. Today they are practicing activist-science in its purest and most virulent form.

NoTricksZone will also continue providing stories brought up by EIKE, DkS and Science Skeptical and many other German sites. The main focus of NoTricksZone will be to continue writing about climate news in Germany and Europe so that people can get stories and insights that they might not otherwise see.

Also thanks to the guest writers who contributed, namely Ed Caryl (I know I’m missing a person or two here, so please forgive me) and all the readers for dropping by regularly. Readers are always welcome to contribute as guest writers.

As a final note, this blog is strictly voluntary and has not received any money at all from Big Oil and industry – not a penny. But of course antagonists are more than welcome to waste their time looking for any links.

 

Germany’s Leading Daily Calls For An End To Green Energy Subsidies! Calls Green Promises “A Fairy Tale”

Germany’s leading daily in terms of circulation Bild recently featured an op-ed piece that harshly criticizes Germany’s Energiewende (transisition to renewable energies).

Clearly the Energiewende is not even coming close to living up to what is was originally billed to deliver. Despite adding more than 70 gigawatts of wind and solar capacity that will cost consumers some $200 billion, German CO2 emissions have not decreased to speak of. Coal-fired power has actually risen.

In summary German electricity prices have skyrocketed and poor consumers are being hit hard. Energy-intensive industries are off-shoring operations – and jobs!

A number of experts are calling the Energiewende the greatest wealth redistribution from poor to rich scheme in Germany’s history as wealthy property owners cash in with subsidized zero-risk wind and solar installations. The poor consumers are forced to cough up the money.

“Enough with green power!”

So it’s little wonder that major German media outlets are beginning to express doubts. Bild features an opinion piece titled: “Enough with green power!

The popular German daily calls the promises of cheap power from wind and sun “a fairy tale”. It writes:

Indeed the truth is: The price of power continues to climb. Just in the past five years the power price exploded 29 percent.

The reason is simple: In the energy market, central planning rules and not the free market.”

Disfigured market

Today there is so much installed capacity, Bild writes, that “on days with lots of sunshine and wind, the green power has to be sold to foreign countries” – even if they don’t need it. When that happens the highly subsidized power gets sold at negative prices. The result? Huge losses for power companies. This is how disfigured the electric power market has become.

In summary Bild concludes that the price of power is much more expensive than it needs to be and that it is a product that needs to remain affordable. Germany’s energy policy is on the wrong path.

Unfortunately there are no signs things will change anytime soon in Germany, which now has the world’s second highest electricity prices in the world after Denmark.

 

Cooling Europe! Temperature & Vegetation Data Show Central European Springs Starting Later!

Yesterday I wrote here about how parts of Europe woke up to snow! Global warming alarmists have been telling us that winters would get milder and that spring would arrive earlier and earlier each year.

For example just two years ago Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) scientist Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe told German ZDF television that spring would be arriving earlier and earlier – because of global warming.

Unfortunately this is turning out not to be the case. The opposite is in fact happening.

Josef Kowatsch and Stefan Kämpfe at the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE) write that spring in Central Europe has been cooling for almost 30 years now – and not warming – and it’s been arriving later and later.

To determine the spring trends, Kowatsch and Kämpfe looked at the mean temperature for February in Germany, which is a country that is ideally situated in Central Europe. Cold and snow at the end of February have a considerable impact on when vegetation starts to blossom. What follows is a chart depicting the February mean temperature for Germany over the last 28 years.

Figure 1: Data from the DWD German Weather Service show that the February trend has been cooling more than 0.5°C per decade over the last 28 years.

Figure 1 does not show any signs of spring coming earlier in Central Europe. The next chart looks at the Germany February trend for the last 22 years:

Figure 2: The 22-year February trend for Germany also shows a marked decline in temperature. Cold weather naturally acts to delay the onset of spring.

Kowatsch and Kämpfe write that if it were not for urban sprawl, the cooling trend would be even more pronounced:

Without population growth, industrialization and urbanization, the temperature measured today in Germany would be about 1°C cooler because almost every weather station is sited near the edge of a city or even in the city or airports. They are benefitting from various warming effects, which we will not look into in this article.”

The Germany February temperature trend for the last 17 years also shows a stark cooling:

Figure 3: Germany February temperature trend over the last 17 years.

Okay, February is only a single month that is crucial in determining how quickly spring in Central Europe gets started. Kowatsch and Kämpfe also posted the DJF winter temperature trend. Here we also see no warming over the last 28 years:

Figure 4: Winter mean temperature trend for Germany. Data taken from the DWD German Weather Service. We should be calling it cooling, and not warming!

How often do the German media show the above charts? Never. Kowatsch and Kämpfe write that the media have been warming-brainwashed, and the data clearly show that “spring has been starting later and later over the past 30 years“.

Not only do the temperature data show spring coming later and later, but so does the vegetation. Kowatsch and Kämpfe at EIKE provide the following chart:

Figure 5: Between 1990 and 2015 the budding of wild goose berries is now happening about 10 days later because the high winter months January and February (blue) have cooled. The green curve shows when the wild goose berries began to blossom, example in 2013 they did not blossom until after 1 April.

An analysis of the month of March in Germany also shows a cooling trend, Kowatsch and Kämpfe have determined:

 Figure 6: March mean temperature for Germany has fallen more than a degree Celsius over the last 27 years.

This year February and March have been relatively mild, but Kowatsch and Kämpfe write that they have been near the mean of the last 30 years. They also write that behavior of various animal species also show spring coming later.

They summarize:

Winter and pre-spring have gotten somewhat cooler since the late 1980s, especially February. The temperature trend lines are negative. Therefore the start of spring is currently being delayed and is coming later than the relatively warm 1990s.

Overall the start of spring 2015 is at the mean of the last 120 years and corresponds to claims made in the biological literature, spring literature, and in German spring songs.

After almost 30 years of winter cooling we see: In the open unbuilt areas of Germany, where today there are no longer any weather stations, the following remains valid: Spring awakens in March.

Spring awakens in March as it did 150 years ago at the end of the Little Ice Age.”

CO2 Emissions And Ocean Flux: Long-Term CO2 Increase Due To Emissions, Not Ocean Temperature

If you take the annual CO2 atmospheric content, and differentiate it, that is calculate the year-to-year change, then you get a plot that looks a lot like the ocean temperature. This has led many people to think that the ocean is the source of the additional CO2. This is not the case.

The additional CO2 is from about one-half of our emissions. The year-to-year “noise” is from the year-to-year change in ocean temperature riding on the change from our emissions. Changes in our emissions are somewhat filtered by the time constant of CO2 biosphere absorption. Here is what happens.

Many of you will be familiar with the concept of “half-life” from radioactive decay. For a radioactive element, half of the radioactivity will decay in a certain period of time, then half again in the next period, and so on until the radioactivity can no longer be detected. The same principle applies to absorption. Half of a compound will be absorbed in a certain period, then another half in the next period, then another half, and so on. Here is the curve for a pulse of CO2 absorbed into the biosphere.

CO2 Fraction Absorbed

Figure 1 is the absorption curve for a single pulse of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere. The half-life of that pulse is a bit over 8 months. It is undetectable after about six years.

Imagine that you have just taken a deep breath, held it until the maximum CO2 has been exchanged, then exhaled. Half of the CO2 in that puff will be gone from the atmosphere in 8 months, 33% will remain in a year, only 11% will be around in 2 years, and so on. The series is actually 1/3, 1/9, 1/27, 1/81… Now add up all breathing for many years, or all the fossil fuel emissions.

Summation Half-Lives

In Figure 2 above the top gold trace is the summation of all the individual annual half-life traces. For instance, year one is the sum of the remainders from year -4 to year zero. It is the sum of 1/243 + 1/81 + 1/27 + 1/9 + 1/3 = very close to 1/2. The CO2 fraction that we observe is close to 0.5. If emissions completely ceased in year six, the extra CO2 added to the atmosphere would be nearly zero in year 10.

Annual Emissions and Remainder

Figure 3 is a plot of annual fossil fuel emissions and the amount of those emissions that annually remain in the atmosphere. The remainder plot has been corrected for half-life.

Remaining Fraction Compared

Figure 4 is a plot of the fraction of emissions that remain in the atmosphere, the ocean temperature anomaly (from UHA satellite data), and the change (delta) in emissions with the data corrected for half-life using the fraction change data. (The half-life has been decreasing over time by 2.8% per decade). The left scale is for both the remaining fraction and temperature anomaly. The right scale applies to the delta emissions (the annual change in added emissions). This is scaled to match the fraction change. On a year-to-year basis the ocean temperature changes overwhelm the emission changes, but not the emissions themselves.

SST Change CO2 Change

Figure 5 is a plot of  change: SST, CO2, and annual emissions added since 1980. This is the annual delta (differential) of all three. The Mt. Pinatubo cooling and the 1998 and 2010 El Niño warming is clearly visible in the CO2 data. It looks like the CO2 increase is due to ocean temperature, but this is an illusion. The annually added emissions are much larger than the ocean temperature CO2 flux change.

CO2 vs UAH SST

Figure 6 is a scatter plot of CO2 and SST anomaly with a linear trend applied. The trend is 17,239 million metric tonnes of CO2 emitted per degree C of SST change. Now look back at Figure 6. The long term change in temperature is about 0.3°C. This would be equivalent to about 5 billion tonnes of CO2. But the increase in CO2 over that time period was 483 billion tonnes, about 100 times that amount. The long-term CO2 increase is due to emissions, not ocean temperature. Temperature drives only the short-term changes.

About half of fossil carbon emissions appear to be responsible for the atmospheric CO2 rise, and that fraction is decreasing. The year-to-year changes in the CO2 rise are mostly due to ocean temperature changes, but those changes should be considered weather.

 

No April Fool’s Prank! Parts Of Europe Wake Up To Snow! Minus 40°C At 5000 Meters Elevation! Snow For Easter

There’s no doubt Europe’s 2014/15 winter was a mild one, which was welcome as the continent had reeled from a string of 5 consecutive colder than normal winters in a row, from 2008 to 2013.

Unfortunately we cannot say the same for spring this year, at least so far. A blast of cold air is now gripping much of the continent and people in many areas this morning are waking up to snow (see here).

This is no April Fool’s prank

Worse, the cold snap is expected to continue through Easter. This morning the online Pforzheimer Zeitung (Pforzheim Newspaper) writes that Good Friday will see “snowfall down to the flatlands” as cold polar air refrigerates Europe. “At 5 kilometers elevation in the atmosphere, -40°C will prevail…”. (Obviously the extra CO2 won’t be trapping a whole lot of heat up there.)

At Twitter Swiss meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann this morning reminded followers and mocked how just two weeks ago a number of weather experts had predicted a warm spring for March, April, May”. Kachelmann is a noted harsh skeptic on long-term seasonal forecasts, claiming they are hardly worth the paper they are printed on.

On the other hand Joe Bastardi in an earlier Saturday Summary predicted weeks ago that cold would grip Europe at the end of March, early April. Dead on!

German WDR public broadcasting this morning reported “numerous car accidents” due to “snow and ice” on streets and motorways in the state of North Rhine Westphalia. The Schwäbische.de here reports of snowfall causing problems in Bavaria, southern Germany. The online Stuttgarter Nachrichten writes that the month of April has started with snow for Germany’s southwestern state of Baden Wurttemberg.

Wetter.de has posted an animation of the air flow across Europe over the next five days. A large high off the coast in the Atlantic in combination with a powerful low over eastern Scandinavia will be pumping masses of polar air through Europe. By Sunday, one sees that a white Easter is a real possibility – an event that rarely occurs in Central Europe. German DWD Weather Service forecasts snow at higher elevations over Easter, with nighttime temperatures falling to as low as -4°C, reports web.de.

The snow and cold fly in the face of global warming alarmists predictions of springtime arriving earlier and earlier. Climate alarmist Potsdam Institute scientist Friedrich-Wilhelm Gerstengarbe told German ZDF television two years ago that spring would be arriving earlier and earlier – because of global warming.

Of course the cold is due to the prevailing weather patterns, just as was the case for the mild winter. It has nothing to do with climate change, as global warming alarmists often would have us believe.

Vahrenholt Blasts Der Spiegel’s Print Doomsday Article: “Extremely Poorly Researched”…”Half Truth”

Some weeks ago the print edition of Der Spiegel presented the latest in its decade’s long series of climate scares, read background here and here.

Last month leading German climate science critic Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt sent a deservedly harsh letter to Spiegel, blasting the news weekly’s poor journalistic quality. That letter has now been published at his Die kalte Sonne site. Here’s the letter translated in English:

From: Fritz Vahrenholt
To: Spiegel
Sent: 25. February 2015
Re: Reader’s Letter on “Der verheizte Planet” in Spiegel 9/2015

LETTER

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen

The article ‘verheizte Planet’ [Heated planet] is an extremely poorly researched article that does not hold up to scientific review. As the basis for the temperature development, the time period of 1950 – 1980 was used. This was a period of cooling. Der Spiegel in its issue no. 33/1974 even carried the title ‘Is a new ice age approaching?’ In the latest article the period before 1950 in the graphic was cut out; it had been some 0.3°C warmer – a sign of natural cycles, which was completely hidden in the article. It is thus little wonder that the fact global mean temperature has not risen significantly over the past 16 years despite the constantly climbing CO2 emissions went unmentioned. Numerous recently published scientific publications show that more than 50% of the temperature rise from 1975 to 2000 is due to natural factors (solar influence, cyclic oceanic currents).

Also on the part looking at catastrophes, only the half-truth is reported. The rise shown by the EM-Dat databank from von 1970 to 2000 is owing to the fact that the databank was first set up in 1988. It is also questionable that the time period before 1970 was cut off by Spiegel because the data are close to zero as back then there were no systematic reporting. Overall the EM-Dat also records earthquakes and cold disasters. The fact that natural disaster have declined considerably since 2000 of course does not fit well with the narrative. Even the IPCC itself writes in its last report of 2013 that there is no real evidence of an increase in hurricanes, droughts, flooding, hail and storms. The Sahara is also not expanding, as the article describes, rather it is getting greener. This is shown by satellite data. Such a thing should not happen at Spiegel.

Sincerely

Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt
Author ‘The Neglected Sun – How the sun precludes climate catastrophe’
Sole Director
German Wildlife Foundation
Hamburg”

 

It’s Official: Most Efficient Gas-Fired Power Plant To Be Shut Down Due To Losses Stemming From “Energiewende”

It’s official. Germany’s Irsching power plant in Bavaria will be shutting down its recently built Block 4 and 5 gas-fired turbines. Both combined put out approximately 1.4 gigawatts of power. Online Spiegel here reports that its operators say it is no longer worth operating due to Germany’s Energiewende (transition to renewable energy).

The sporadic supply of solar and wind power into the grid means that the gas-turbines run only part-time, and often within a range that is inefficient. Two weeks ago I reported on this here. Now it’s official.

The Irsching Blocks 4 & 5 are the ultimate in gas-turbine engineering – reaching an efficiency of 60.75%. But its operators, among them energy giant E.on, announced that they are shutting down the turbines effective April 1, 2016. Spiegel writes the reason is “the lack of opportunity for economical operation“.

E.on and the other partner operators will need to obtain the shut-down approval from the Germany regulatory authorities.

Energiewende has thrown the energy market in turmoil

Spiegel adds:

Gas-fired power plants are currently under massive pressure due to the Energiewende and the plunge of power prices on the trading markets. ‘The growing amounts of subsidized power from renewable energies and the low wholesale prices for electricity no longer allow operation on the market,’ the four [Irsching] operators declared.”

Spiegel writes that the legal and political situation is also set to potentially become really messy. Already as “ultima ratio”, legal action is being threatened should German regulatory officials turn down E.on’s and its partner operators’ request to shut down the plant, something that German Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said the authorities would not allow to happen as the German power grid has become too precarious.

Supply problems are set to become far more critical as Germany will be forced by law to shut down its remaining nuclear power plants by 2022. Currently the German state of Bavaria is also blocking the construction of two major power transmission lines which would deliver power from large-scale wind parks in the North and Baltic seas.

With power transmission lines blocked, nuclear power slated to be decommissioned and gas power plants being shut down, the south German states are rapidly being maneuvered into a position where they will soon be confronted by huge power supply bottlenecks. Large power consumers are becoming wary.

Spiegel writes that E.on’s Irsching shut-down announcement jacks up the pressure on politicians.

Unless all the green madness ends quickly, soon there may be no more lights left to switch off in Bavaria on “Earth Day'”.

 

CO2 Emissions Have Been Flat For Four Years. What Does This Mean For The Future?

The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing since regular measurements began at the Mauna Loa Observatory. This increase is partially driven by fossil fuel use but the year to year rate of increase is driven by ocean temperature. This was discussed in October 2012 here.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) tracks fossil fuel use and has reported here that emissions due to fossil fuels have flatlined for the last two years. Actually, it has nearly flatlined for the last four years according to their own figures. The increase from 2011 to 2012 was less than 0.5%, and from 2012 to 2013 it decreased by 0.03%.

Total Emissions

Figure 1 is a plot of annual world fossil fuel CO2 emissions since 1980 from IEA.

In that time, CO2 in the atmosphere has grown from 338 parts per million (ppm) to 398 ppm. In the next figure, that quantity has been converted to metric tonnage.

Acumalated Emissions and CO2

Figure 2 is the accumulated emissions compared to accumulated CO2. 

Note that only about half the emissions have stayed in the atmosphere. The remainder has been absorbed somewhere else.

Annual emissions, uptake, & CO2

Figure 3 is a plot of annual Carbon Dioxide emissions, the annual uptake by the biosphere, and the resulting atmospheric CO2 concentration, with projections of each into the future.

Global Greening

Figure 4. Estimated changes in vegetative cover due to CO2 fertilization between 1982 and 2010 (Donohue et al., 2013 GRL). For a discussion of this image and other similar images see Roy Spencer here.

The “somewhere else” is the biosphere, the “greening” of global photosynthetic life along with absorption by the oceans. Each year, on average, those sinks take up 251.35 million extra metric tonnes of CO2 as the biosphere pulls things back into balance. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that the atmosphere contains more than 3 trillion tonnes of CO2, land based vegetation about 4 trillion tonnes, the surface ocean something like 5 trillion tonnes, and the deep ocean 150 trillion tonnes. The total annual flux from atmosphere to the biosphere and back is about 400 billion tonnes. So that annual difference is only about 0.5%. (I am using the American counting system: 106 is a million, 109 a billion, 1012 a trillion. I’m also using the weight of CO2, not just the carbon atoms.)

The uptake decreases with increasing temperature. The downward spike in uptake in 1998 was due to the El Niño of that year. The increase in uptake in 1992 and 1993 was due to the Mount Pinatubo cooling. The uptake also increases with increasing CO2. On average, the uptake is increasing. Over the last 35 years, it has increased by 251.35 million extra tonnes per year.

If this increase holds, and the global fossil fuel emissions remain constant at the same level as the last four years, the uptake will equal the emissions late in this century, in about 2083. At that time, CO2 in the atmosphere will reach a maximum at about 475 ppm and begin to decrease. In my humble opinion, this projection is pessimistic. If emissions are reduced below the current level, the date and level of the maximum will be earlier and lower. If ocean temperatures decrease, the same thing will happen. If warming occurs, and/or emissions increase, the date of the maximum will be pushed toward 2100, and the maximum level will be slightly higher. Ocean temperature is a positive feedback on CO2 increase and a negative feedback on CO2 uptake. A cooler ocean takes up more CO2, a warmer ocean less.

The current policies in most developed countries are toward lowering emissions. To date, these policies have been successful in holding emissions at the current level for the last four years. If governments allow the development of nuclear power, other renewables increase in a non-destructive fashion, and if natural gas continues to replace coal-fired power plants, carbon dioxide emissions will likely fall below the current level. This will pull the CO2 peak to an earlier date and a lower level. That date is where emissions cross the uptake trend line. Here is my optimistic view: If emissions fall back to the level of the year 2000 by 2050, looking at Figure 3, one can imagine that the CO2 level will peak at about 450 ppm near that year and fall after that.

What will this do to global warming? The slight increase in CO2 induced warming might just offset the coming sun-induced cooling. Perhaps we will have a century of constant temperature.

Debacle: As Germany Adds 70 Gigawatts Of Green Electricity, Its Fossil Fuel Capacity Reaches New Record High!

The Fraunhofer Institute has an excellent page for monitoring Germany’s installed electrical energy production capacity.

Examining the charts, we see a stunning result for Germany: Despite the almost monster 70 gigawatts of renewable energy coming online since 2002, Germany’s fossil fuel capacity has risen and reached their highest level ever in 2014!

The following chart shows Germany’s installed renewable energy capacity (wind, solar, hydro and biomass) since 2012:

Germany installed renewable energy

Figure 1: blue = hydro; green = biomass: gray = wind, cream = solar. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

From the above chart we that in 2002 Germany had just under 20 gigawatts of installed green capacity. Then came the renewable energy boom and that figure ballooned to almost 90 gigawatts – an amount that is enough to power the whole country on an average day.

You’d think with so much green energy capacity coming online since 2002 (close to 70 gigawatts), lots of fossil fuel capacity would get scaled back, i.e. replaced. But amazingly fossil fuel capacity has not dropped at all. To the contrary, it has reached a record high!

The next chart shows Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity (gas, lignite, black coal), which we would have expected to drop massively due to all the green energy coming online:

Germany installed fossil energy capacity

Figure 2: Germany’s installed fossil fuel capacity for electricity generation. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

Clearly that has not been the case. Here we see that 2010 had seen a record high with 76.70 gigawatts of installed capacity. But that mark was surpassed just last year, which saw 77.50 gigawatts of installed FOSSIL FUEL capacity – a record. The paradox is that as more green energy capacity came online, so did the unwanted, CO2-emitting fossil fuels!

Of course some of that had to do with Germany’s 2011 knee-jerk reaction of shutting down a number of its nuclear power plants in the wake of Fukushima accident, which meant fossil fuels had to jump in (because green energies are too volatile to fill in). From Figure 2 one also sees that coal capacity has been rising since 2011.

So what does this all mean? Green energies have not replaced any fossil fuel capacity in Germany. It means that consumers have gotten zero-climate protection for the 200 billion or so euros committed so far to green energies. All that money – for nothing!

Finally, the following chart shows all sources of Germany’s installed capacity:

Germany total installed capacity

Figure 3: Germany’s total installed capacity has skyrocketed to 177.14 gigawatts. But the demand for electricity averages only about 80 gigawatts and that has not risen at all over the past 13 years. Source: https://energy-charts.de/power_inst_de.htm

Clearly we see skyrocketing overall capacity when the overall demand for electricity remains steady. Today Germany has a total installed capacity of a whopping 177 gigawatts. The country’s average demand, however, is around just 80 gigawatts. This is an economics folly, and one that is on track to get even far more insane unless political leaders sober up quickly.

As Germany keeps bringing more and more green energy capacity on line, the more and more fossil capacity will need to be added for days when the wind and sun don’t show up.

 

Meet Germany’s “Sustainable” Transportation Of The Future (Worse Than The Communist East German Trabant)!

Boy I’m glad lived in the time that I’ve lived in so far: a postwar period when we saw relative peace, prosperity, free markets, spreading democracy and freedom, and immense technical progress. Those days now seem to be going in reverse.

Germany's car of the future

Germany’s vision for the future family car: The new family “pedelec”, big enough for 2 kids,and flowers from the garden center. Source: German Ministry of Environment.

I’m worried about my kids. I fear they will be living in a world that will be less democratic, one where the citizens will be enslaved by technology and live in markets that will be firmly under the control of a faceless, unaccountable technocracy run by so-called self-anointed master central planners. This is what is taking hold in today’s Germany.

Let them ride electric bikes

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment (UBA) has just released a publication on one of the key components it envisions for the country’s future mobility scheme for the masses: electric bicycles, or pedelecs, see above for an example variant.

The reports abstract tells us:

As part of an integrated transport planning scheme, pedelecs are an important component of sustainable mobility in cities, but also, most notably, in rural areas. From an environmental perspective, this type of electric vehicle should be embraced, actively promoted and encouraged in order to make pedelecs appealing to more user groups as an attractive, inexpensive and environmentally sound form of transport that constitutes an alternative to private motorized transport.”

The aim, of course, so they say, is to rescue the climate by reducing the emissions of “pollutant” CO2, especially by cars. And to do this, central planning by masterminds is the only way. The green trend is one that is taking us back to bad old days of notoriously inefficient communist-style central planning. One only needs to look at Germany’s “Energiewende” to realize just how bad the inefficiency is getting.

I don’t have anything against people buying e-bikes, of course, but I do have serious reservations about governments punishing us out of our dependable, safe, and efficient cars and throwing us a dog treat every time we move or behave in a way they feel is best.

I’ve looked at e-bikes, but found them far too expensive for the real benefit they offer.

Will replace few cars

Unfortunately the grand scheme of the e-bike will end up having a similar result as the renewable energies. The German government has so far committed 200 billion euros to expanding green energies by some 80 gigawatts, but they have yet to reduce the consumption of coal and gas fired electricity by any significant amount. More on that tomorrow. The result will be similar with e-bikes…few cars will get replaced.

Germany mobilty of the future

Weather for e-bikes. Unfortunately such days are rare in Germany and generally confined to tourism pamphlets. Source: German Ministry of Environment.

Utopian fantasy

One problem is the that the e-bike has become a utopian fantasy for the UBA. To illustrate this, just look at the photos it uses in its report. The powerful government agency would like us to think that the weather in Germany is like the weather in Phoenix, Arizona – in November, and year-round – where temperatures and conditions are very agreeable. The truth is that German weather is often very lousy, cold, wet, windy, and so traveling by e-bike is often far from pleasurable or practical.

People will still need to buy and own cars for bad weather and for most trips over 10 kilometers, or trips involving a passenger. E-bikes will replace very few cars – unless it gets forced. Nothing offers flexibility, comfort, speed and convenience like the automobile, and few people will be willing to give it up.

Cargo cycles, pedelecs for business trips

In its recommendation part of the report, the UBA urges political decision makers provide “ample financial and human resources for the development of bike-friendly infrastructure” and that businesses implement pedelecs in commercial traffic and employ “cargo cycles” and for transport tasks. It also recommends pedelecs for business trips and commuter journeys to work premises. “Many car and compact van trips can instead be made using pedelecs or bikes,” the UBA writes.

To me an e-bike sounds like a good way to limit the freedom and mobility of women who stay home to care for the family.