Sorry, Texas Tribune, Texas Is Not Suffering Extreme Weather Because of Climate Change

Reposted from ClimateREALISM

By Linnea Lueken

A search of Google news for phrase “climate change” found an article in the Texas Tribune in which the writer, Erin Douglas, repeats the tired claim that scientists agree human caused climate change is causing increases in extreme weather. This claim is doubly false. First, there has been no increasing trend in hurricane strength, droughts, or that a warmer climate is causing colder winters. Second, there is no consensus among scientists that climate change will necessarily make the weather worse.

In the Texas Tribune article, titled “A year after the electric grid failed, Texas focuses on reliability, not climate change,” its author rightly points out that there are issues with renewable power sources like wind and solar, due to their dependence on weather and consequent unreliability. Despite these drawbacks, Douglas maintains greater reliance on these sources are necessary due to anthropogenic climate change and its alleged effect on extreme weather events.

Douglas writes:

If climate change does not slow, scientists agree that the severe weather that’s already straining the Texas grid is likely to become worse: Climate scientists project increased frequency and severity of droughts, stronger hurricanes and rising overall temperatures, among other effects in Texas.

Emerging science also suggests that climate change may swing cold air much farther south than it might have previously, contributing to severe and long-lasting cold snaps such as last year’s winter storm.

In fact, data show that there is no increasing trend in hurricane frequency or intensity, especially in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says there is “only low confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences.” The IPCC’s admission is confirmed by the Hurricane data presented in the graphic below.

Figure 1: Graph showing global hurricane frequency since 1970

Climate alarmists often argue that the modest warming of the oceans will “supercharge” hurricanes in the Gulf, but they ignore the effect of increased wind shear also associated with warming. As discussed in in Climate at a Glance: Hurricanes, scientists have learned that global warming is likely to cause more wind shear in places where hurricanes form and intensify. Wind shear tends to dissipate and disrupt the formation and continuation of tropical cyclones.

Contrary to Douglas’ assertion, the IPCC is makes clear scientists don’t agree that droughts have been or will increase due to climate change. In its most recent Climate Assessment Report, AR6, the IPCC distinguishes four categories of drought: hydrological, meteorological, ecological, and agricultural. According to the IPCC, there is limited evidence climate change has increased the number, duration, or intensity of hydrological or meteorological droughts, and it has only medium confidence it has “contributed to changes in agricultural and ecological droughts and has led to an increase in the overall affected land area.”

For ecological and agricultural droughts the data is a mixed bag. The IPCC divides the world into 47 separate regions of study when analyzing drought trends, and its data suggest ecological and agricultural drought may have increased during the period of modest warming in 12 of those 47 regions. However, in only two of those regions does the IPCC have even “medium confidence” for any human role in the observed increase. For the remaining regions experiencing a possible increase in droughts, the IPCC has low confidence human activities have had any discernible impact.

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also debunks the claim that climate change is causing cold air to dip further south, resulting in record cold. NOAA tracks state-by-state temperature records, and  the data for Texas reveals no real increasing trend in cold snaps as suggested by fallible computer models.

Figure from https://statesummaries.ncics.org/chapter/tx/

The debate continues as to what effect modest warming may have on weather patterns, but the available data makes evident there is no strong trend of increasing weather extremes that would necessitate abandoning the reliable natural-gas dominated grid of Texas. Indeed, if weather extremes were becoming more likely, making the electric grid even more dependent on weather being predictable and consistent, as Douglas endorses, would almost certainly result in more frequent and prolonged power failures, like Texans experienced last winter, rather than fewer blackouts. The best way to secure any power grid is to reduce the weather’s ability to affect it. That means maintaining existing reliable electric power sources like coal, natural gas, and nuclear facilities, and building more of them to ensure sufficient electric power for a growing state population.

Linking extreme weather events to climate change is fearmongering, preying on peoples’ natural and reasonable fear of the power and destruction these events display. The data, by contrast, make clear humans are less vulnerable to climate extremes than ever before. Let’s not reverse course now, by giving uncontrollable weather a greater ability to impact our power and transportation systems.

Linnea Lueken

https://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/linnea-lueken

Linnea Lueken is a Research Fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy. While she was an intern with The Heartland Institute in 2018, she co-authored a Heartland Institute Policy Brief “Debunking Four Persistent Myths About Hydraulic Fracturing.”

4.9 19 votes
Article Rating
34 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tom Halla
February 17, 2022 6:30 pm

Wind turbines do not perform well in several days of freezing rain and still air. Texas went from having some thirty percent of it’s base load being wind to less than five.
Weather dependent sources are just that, weather dependent. Wind making conventional sources less financially viable due to subsidies and mandatory purchase requirements distorted the market.
I would suggest that allowing unreliable sources on a grid is going to lead to failure, and the current pricing system is perverse.

griff
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 18, 2022 1:23 am

but it was the failure of the gas plant which took out the grid.

Are you telling me that Texas never experienced a drop in wind power from 30 to 5 % or hadn’t planned for it?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 1:49 am

“but it was the failure of the gas plant which took out the grid.”

So you say. Got any evidence to back that up?

Alarmists have a bad habit of thinking assertions are the same thing as facts.

Duane
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 18, 2022 7:09 am

Reality. All of the power generating infrastructure in Texas failed due to failure to properly cold weather protect their systems. This was reported by the State of Texas itself, as well as all the major media at the time. Plus, as also well understood, Texas completely insulates itself from the regional power grid, thus when own generating capacity failed, Texas was unable to sustain power on the grid by accepting excess power from its neighbors.

The Texas grid failure was not because of wind power.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Duane
February 18, 2022 8:33 am

None of the regional grids had excess power to sell.

YallaYPoora Kid
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 3:13 am

Now you are in denial. It has been explained in detail many times on this site and others what exactly and the sequence of the failures that happened during this event. Your continued erroneous claims only prove you are blinded by wishful thinking or a lack of comprehension.

Tony Sullivan
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 4:19 am

This assertion has been debunked so many times that the batteries in my calculator died trying to add them up.

Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 6:03 am

It was a week below freezing that took out parts of the power grid.

The week before the freeze, wind accounted for 30% or ERCOT’s generation…

During the freeze, wind dropped to 8% of a much higher total load…

Wind failed right as the temperatures began to plunge…

Natural gas ramped up until Sunday, February 14, when we hit the coldest 3-day stretch ever recorded in North Texas. The freezing conditions forced the shut down of one of the reactors at the South Texas Nuclear Generating Station, near Corpus Christi, disrupted parts of the natural gas distribution system and some coal and natural gas power plants. The ensuing power failures further disrupted the natural gas distribution system. However, natural gas power generation was the only reason most of the state didn’t lose power.

Wind actually failed over the entire mid-continent (MISO, SWPP and ERCOT)…

There were failures in every segment of the power generation system… Due to the coldest stretch of weather on record in North Texas. While there have been individual days that were colder, this Arctic blast was essentially unprecedented…

Oklahoma City set a record for its longest straight period of temperatures at or below 20 degrees: 210 hours between Feb. 9 and 17 beat its previous record in 1983. The temperature dipped to minus-14 degrees on Feb. 16, the city’s lowest since 1899.

Dallas experienced its second-longest streak of temperatures at or below freezing and at or below 20 degrees, and reached its third-coldest temperature on record: minus-2 degrees.

Houston, which was placed under its first wind chill warning, observed a wind chill of 1 degree, its lowest since at least 1990, according to meteorologist Alex Lamers. Its high temperature of 25 degrees was its fourth coldest on record.

Kansas City set a record for the longest stretch with temperatures at or below 15 degrees, at 10 days.

Washington Post

February 16 was actually tied for the second lowest DFW temperature on record.

Coldest temp in over 70 years and the 2nd coldest temp ever recorded in the D-FW area
On Feb. 16 the temperature dropped to -2°.

This ties the 2nd coldest temp ever recorded.

On Jan. 31, 1949 the temperature also dropped to -2°.

The only time it has been colder was -8° back on February 12, 1899.

3 days in a row of record lows
Feb. 14, 15, and 16 all observed record low temps.

Feb. 14 the low was 9°, which shattered the old record of 15° set in 1936.

Feb. 15 the low was 4°, which shattered the old record of 15° set in 1909.

Feb. 16 the low was -2°, which shattered the old record of 12° set in 1903.

3 days of record cold high temperatures
From Feb. 14 to 16, all three days observed record cold high temperatures.

This means the afternoon was the coldest on that date that is ever been observed.

Feb. 14 the high was 22°. This breaks the old record of 27° set in 1951.

Feb. 15 the high was 14°, which shattered the old record of 31° set in 1909.

Feb. 16 the high was 18°, which breaks the old record of 21° set in 1903.

WFAA

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/25/wind-was-operating-almost-as-well-as-expected-a-texas-sized-energy-lie/
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/03/01/texas-wind-was-operating-almost-as-well-as-expected-part-deux/

While this year’s winter storm wasn’t nearly as severe, the grid shrugged it off because wind didn’t fail…

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=51278

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2022 8:27 am

Interesting graphs, would be really interesting to compare this in detail to the1899 freeze. Minimums (11-13th) from -20F in the panhandle to +20F almost in Mexico,10F on the central coast, 0F in the middle. Every one different, it covered Mexico. Small point, the S Texas Nuclear Plant is half way to to Houston, nearest town of any size Palacios. Windmills back then more reliable, but wind died after this last one, beautiful days on the slick bays.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 7:49 am

The failure of unreliable a caused most of the gas failures. Multiple points of failure are not good and proper planning by competent engineers would have prevented this. Regulatory interference in the “system” is the real cause!

Duane
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 18, 2022 7:05 am

Well, actually, the passage of a cold front causes wind to increase, a LOT.

The issue in Texas was lack of weather proofing of both wind turbines and natural gas compressor stations, both of which failed during the cold snap. Plus the State of Texas, by State law, divorced itself with the rest of the power grid in the surrounding states, purposefully eliminating any resiliency that comes with a fully connected and integrated regional power grid.

It had nothing to do with the natural variability of wind.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Duane
February 18, 2022 9:39 am

“Well, actually, the passage of a cold front causes wind to increase, a LOT“

Two key words there are “passage” and “lot”. The passing through of a front is both transitory and typically produces much more wind than a wind turbine can safely handle, resulting in a temporary disengagement of the turbine’s transmission. Subsequently, the high pressure building behind the passed front typically causes results in very calm conditions.

Reply to  Duane
February 18, 2022 6:30 pm

Wind actually failed over the entire mid-continent (MISO, SWPP and ERCOT), from Texas to the Canadian border…

Spetzer86
February 17, 2022 7:00 pm

I’m just going to guess that the effect of millions of new Texas residents (citizens and not) are the primary source of the Texas grid strain. Shift the population back about 10 years, remove all the RE, and Texas is probably just fine.

Bob
February 17, 2022 7:11 pm

I smell “the summary for policy makers”. Ms. Leuken stated that the IPCC has low to moderate confidence humans have caused more hurricanes, more severe weather, more droughts and more floods. I assume she got her information directly from the IPCC reports. My feeling is that journalists and others crying about CAGW are using the information included in the summary for policy makers. The summary is not the same as the actual report most people don’t understand this. Great liberties are taken by the summaries authors to the point that information in the summaries may even contradict the actual report. This charade must stop, the summary authors need to be exposed and held to account for misrepresenting the report.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Bob
February 18, 2022 9:45 am

The fact that the “report” authors don’t publicly call out the “summary” authors tells me they all need to be held to account.

Paul Johnson
February 17, 2022 7:11 pm

This article suggests that the root cause of the Texas grid failure was that heavily subsidized wind and solar have driven down the profitability of reliable power providers and there was no financial incentive for them to weatherize. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ef4d3472489c155a4924aa7/t/61e9821ca6b8f94a75af70a1/1642693149678/TX+Study+FINAL.pdf

griff
Reply to  Paul Johnson
February 18, 2022 1:24 am

Utter nonsense.

How many times had the issue been flagged up to them?

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 1:52 am

Probably as many times as they ignored it.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 6:26 am

ERCOT’s market design failed to align the price of heavily subsidized non-dispatchable power to the system-wide value of such power, i.e., displaced fuel cost. This rippled through the system over a decade as closures of un-subsidized dispatchable power.

larry brown
Reply to  griff
February 24, 2022 2:04 pm

Griff – as I understand it, the grid depended on the wind farms to keep the natural gas valves working in cold weather – the wind died and the valves froze – someone wiser than me stated “Blaming natural gas for the February 2021 disaster is like welfare recipients blaming taxpayers for not earning enough money to cover their welfare benefits”.
 

Joao Martins
Reply to  Paul Johnson
February 18, 2022 6:41 am

Perhaps better would be subsidize the wind and the Sun trying to bargain with then some timetable for their activity, so that the windmills and the PV panels would become profitable…

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Joao Martins
February 18, 2022 8:55 am

Perhaps better is Governor Abbott encouraging crypto mining to absorb excess intermittent power yet be readily shed when power reserves run low.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Paul Johnson
February 18, 2022 10:31 am

“heavily subsidized wind and solar have driven down the profitability of reliable power providers and there was no financial incentive for them to weatherize”

I would agree with this, but didn’t find words to that effect in the linked article.

Mike Dubrasich
February 17, 2022 10:28 pm

Excellent summary, great job Linnea! The alleged increase in “extreme weather” is a canard unsupported by real world data. The extreme Left’s desire to huddle the masses in the cold and dark will not change the weather either, for better or worse.

Rod Evans
February 18, 2022 1:03 am

The Statue of Liberty send out a repeat message, directed at California and New York.

Give me your cold, your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores (sic)”

Last edited 4 months ago by Rod Evans
griff
February 18, 2022 1:22 am

Yes it is!

and so is the rest of the USA.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 1:56 am

More unsubstantiated assertions from Griff.

If alarmists didn’t have unsubstantiated assertions, they wouldn’t have anything at all. It’s all they do. It’s pathetic.

LdB
Reply to  griff
February 18, 2022 7:07 am

ROFL and griff with the comedy relief 🙂

He is like a spruiker … roll up, roll up, get you global warming

Last edited 4 months ago by LdB
Tom Abbott
February 18, 2022 1:45 am

Just because the IPCC has some level of confidence in something doesn’t mean that we should have similar confidence.

“Low confidence”, “medium confidence” and “high confidence” are not scientific. It’s better described as “guesswork”.

observa
February 18, 2022 5:25 am

More settled science coming in-
Ice core data research flips drought risk (msn.com)

The IPO controls drought and flood risk across eastern Australia over periods of about a decade, switching between negative values that cause a wetter climate, and positive values that cause a drier climate.

Nothing to see here folks with the dreaded plant food apart from the usual- It’s worse than we thought! Moving right along.

Bruce Cobb
February 18, 2022 7:27 am

Emerging science also suggests that “climate change” is a bunch of hooey whose sole purpose is to frighten people.

Robert of Texas
February 18, 2022 2:03 pm

The debate continues as to what effect modest warming may have on weather patterns…”

What debate? I haven’t heard any climate activist debate any of their predictions in 20 years or more. Their belief system cannot survive scrutiny by any factual science-minded person.

Texas did manage to learn some lessons in last year’s Freeze-ageddon. They are working to prevent natural gas lines and well-heads from freezing and are requiring more fuel be stored locally at power plants. These are practical upgrades.

Then there are the nut cases who unfortunately also still live in Texas. Their solution is to build more wind turbines and solar farms. During Freeze-ageddon about 50% of all wind turbines were inoperative due to ice (and the kind of ice that formed is not easily solved for). The winds stopped blowing right after the crisis began so the remaining wind turbines produced very little energy. And until the sun started shining days later the solar farms were useless. How building more stuff that fails to work fixes anything is beyond me…but it does make a few people richer.

%d bloggers like this: