Guest essay by Eric Worrall
It is predictable that climate alarmists like Michael Mann are quick to see anthropogenic influence in high profile extreme weather events, like Hurricane Harvey. But Mann’s message about Harvey has interesting implications for the Texan wind power industry.
It’s a fact: climate change made Hurricane Harvey more deadly
Michael E Mann
Tuesday 29 August 2017 00.07 AEST
What can we say about the role of climate change in the unprecedented disaster that is unfolding in Houston with Hurricane Harvey? There are certain climate change-related factors that we can, with great confidence, say worsened the flooding.
What we know so far about tropical storm Harvey
Sea level rise attributable to climate change – some of which is due to coastal subsidence caused by human disturbance such as oil drilling – is more than half a foot (15cm) over the past few decades (see here for a decent discussion). That means the storm surge was half a foot higher than it would have been just decades ago, meaning far more flooding and destruction.
Finally, the more tenuous but potentially relevant climate factors: part of what has made Harvey such a devastating storm is the way it has stalled near the coast. It continues to pummel Houston and surrounding regions with a seemingly endless deluge, which will likely top out at nearly 4ft (1.22m) of rainfall over a days-long period before it is done.
The stalling is due to very weak prevailing winds, which are failing to steer the storm off to sea, allowing it to spin around and wobble back and forth. This pattern, in turn, is associated with a greatly expanded subtropical high pressure system over much of the US at the moment, with the jet stream pushed well to the north. This pattern of subtropical expansion is predicted in model simulations of human-caused climate change.
More tenuous, but possibly relevant still, is the fact that very persistent, nearly “stationary” summer weather patterns of this sort, where weather anomalies (both high-pressure dry hot regions and low-pressure stormy/rainy regions) stay locked in place for many days at a time, appears to be favoured by human-caused climate change. We recently published a paper in the academic journal Scientific Reports on this phenomenon.
Back in 2011, climate scientists were predicting global warming would lead to stronger winds.
If Mann is right, if large scale stationary weather patterns are to become more frequent – days, maybe weeks of low wind speeds, potentially coupled with cloudy conditions which prevent solar systems from working, in my opinion the renewable energy business model in regions affected by this phenomenon is well and truly broken.
No plausible backup power regime other than fossil fuels or nuclear power could cope with such prolonged outages.
Original article h/t Willie Soon