A “bomb cyclone” is battering California

A “bomb cyclone” in the Pacific is dumping extreme rain and several feet of snow on California. The wild weather follows a summer of extreme drought and wildfires, and it could bring flooding, mudslides and debris flow to the parched and wildfire-scarred Golden State.

The term “bomb cyclone” refers to the rapid intensification process — “bombogenesis” — that forms it. Such storms occur when pressure in the central region of the storm descend by at least 24 millibars…in 24 hours, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…

The National Weather Service in Sacramento issued numerous warnings on Sunday concerning extreme rainfall, flooding and debris flows. In some regions, rainfall may reach into the double digits in inches.

RTFA because you should add it to that database of info about climate change that’s beginning to form up there in your cerebral cortex. We’re all sort of weather freaks here at Lot 4…for one reason or another. So, this gave rise to discussion how and when this event references climate change.

The only point I raised in the discussion I need to offer here, too. Climate is governed by what is called flywheel effect. Look it up if you want to learn about the physics involved. What it means is that fixing all the problems needing to be fixed, answering all the questions asked, might stop the cause-and-effect relationships that bring about events like this…maybe, just maybe, in a couple decades. Even if you succeeded making those changes in a week or two.

Which ain’t happening, either.

Disruptive weather in a warming world

The summer of 2021 was a glaring example of what disruptive weather will look like in a warming world. In mid-July, storms in western Germany and Belgium dropped up to eight inches of rain in two days. Floodwaters ripped buildings apart and propelled them through village streets. A week later a year’s worth of rain—more than two feet—fell in China’s Henan province in just three days. Hundreds of thousands of people fled rivers that had burst their banks.,,In mid-August a sharp kink in the jet stream brought torrential storms to Tennessee that dropped an incredible 17 inches of rain in just 24 hours; catastrophic flooding killed at least 20 people. None of these storm systems were hurricanes or tropical depressions.

Soon enough, though, Hurricane Ida swirled into the Gulf of Mexico, the ninth named tropical storm in the year’s busy North Atlantic season. On August 28 it was a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour. Less than 24 hours later Ida exploded to Category 4, whipped up at nearly twice the rate that the National Hurricane Center uses to define a rapidly intensifying storm. It hit the Louisiana coast with winds of 150 miles an hour, leaving more than a million people without power and more than 600,000 without water for days. Ida’s wrath continued into the Northeast, where it delivered a record-breaking 3.15 inches of rain in one hour in New York City. The storm killed at least 80 people and devastated a swath of communities in the eastern U.S.

What all these destructive events have in common is water vapor—lots of it. Water vapor—the gaseous form of H2O—is playing an outsized role in fueling destructive storms and accelerating climate change. As the oceans and atmosphere warm, additional water evaporates into the air. Warmer air, in turn, can hold more of that vapor before it condenses into cloud droplets that can create flooding rains. The amount of vapor in the atmosphere has increased about 4 percent globally just since the mid-1990s. That may not sound like much, but it is a big deal to the climate system. A juicier atmosphere provides extra energy and moisture for storms of all kinds, including summertime thunderstorms, nor’easters along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, hurricanes and even snowstorms…

Fascinating – and dangerous – forecasting. Even here in the desert Southwest, we can look forward to drought and unusual cloudbursts. The scariest part being rapid intensification – with circumstances changing dramatically in a matter of hours. Not only an interesting read. Something needing to be added to our understanding of changing weather systems in our future – for simple self-preservation.

North American Battery Supply Chain Emerging

Despite having all of the critical ingredients for lithium-ion batteries — nickel, cobalt, lithium, graphite — Canada doesn’t have any EV cell or component manufacturing; and it has only about 10% of the battery demand of the U.S. Combined with a lack of government support for the battery supply chain, it had seemed that Canada was destined to lose the value-add of its raw materials as they are exported to countries that had invested in battery production…

Despite the promising foundations for Canada to be a cornerstone of the North American battery supply chain, until recently it had appeared that there was a lack of support at the government/policy level to attract the industry. This is no longer the case, in just the last two weeks two cell manufacturers have been enticed to set up shop in Canada, with plans to build gigawatt-hour scale cell manufacturing facilities in the country.

Once a country has cell manufacturing capacity, the rest of the component manufacturing industry tends to follow as suppliers move close to their customers. So, Canada is now on course to create a strong domestic battery supply chain…

As EV growth continues in North America, a new supply chain super-hub is growing to challenge the dominance of China, and it is quickly catching up with the growing industry in Europe.

Since the GOUSA is the earliest, potentially-growing EV market, we may wake up some morning and learn the folks smart enough to bankroll electric cars and trucks have decided it’s worthwhile playing in every portion of this 21st Century marketplace.

Plug-in cars are the future. The grid isn’t ready, yet.

By 2035, the chief automakers will have turned away from the internal combustion engine. It’ll be up to the grid to fuel all those new cars, trucks and buses.

Converting the nation’s fleet of automobiles and trucks to electric power is a critical piece of the battle against climate change. The Biden administration wants to see them account for half of all sales by 2030, and New York state has enacted a ban on the sale of internal combustion cars and trucks starting in 2035.

But making America’s cars go electric is no longer primarily a story about building the cars. Against this ambitious backdrop, America’s electric grid will be sorely challenged by the need to deliver clean power to those cars. Today, though, it barely functions in times of ordinary stress, and fails altogether too often for comfort, as widespread blackouts in California, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere have shown.

By 2030, according to one study, the nation will need to invest as much as $125 billion in the grid to allow it to handle electric vehicles. The current infrastructure bill before Congress puts about $5 billion toward transmission line construction and upgrades.

Sorry, Will. My immediate reaction to your article – necessary as it is to light a fire under the butts of what passes for politicians in the GOUSA – are three rather commonplace aspects of what you fear that aren’t especially scary after all.

First, $125 billion over 9 years or so averages out to less than $14 billion/year. Less than production costs of several F-35s. Not counting cost of flying and maintaining our military pets.

Second, the cost per mile traveled by this conversion from infernal combustion to electric vehicles looks to be continuing to decline over this period – counter to the existing tab for fuel-burners. A cost divided between private and public bill payers.

Third, is my favorite because hardly anyone recognizes that, in practice, most folks will be trickle-charging overnight for next-day use. The lowest possible increase in grid-load. Especially compared to past crashes worrying the author. Most all resulting from millions of folks turning on the least efficient use of electricity there could be. Running air conditioners.

Researchers pave the way for roads that recharge electric vehicles

The state of Michigan, which coincidentally is home to the first paved road in the country, may also become home to the first wireless electric vehicle “charging” road in the country. Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced the new initiative to develop the country’s first wireless charging infrastructure on a public road. The charging road will help advance state goals for more electric vehicle adoption and environmental sustainability in the state, hopefully creating more clean energy based jobs and reaching carbon neutrality by 2050…

Michigan’s Inductive Vehicle Charging Pilot, a collaboration between the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, includes plans to deploy the electrified roadway system that “allows electric buses, shuttles and vehicles to charge while driving, enabling electric vehicles to operate continuously without stopping to charge.”

An electrified road would save electric vehicle owners and public transportation agencies the need to stop vehicles from charging constantly, and would support transit in parts of the country with little to no electric vehicle charging stations like the Midwest…

“[Michigan is in the] midst of the most significant shift in the automotive industry since the Model T rolled off the assembly line more than a century ago,” said Trevor Pawl, chief mobility officer at the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification in a press release. “This electrified roadway has the potential to accelerate autonomous vehicles at scale and turn our streets into safe, sustainable, accessible and shared transportation platforms.”

I’ll second that emotion.

The World wants Greenland’s minerals. Greenlanders say maybe; but…

This huge, remote and barely habited island is known for frozen landscapes, remote fjords and glaciers that heave giant sheets of ice into the sea.

But increasingly Greenland is known for something else: rare minerals. It’s all because of climate change and the world’s mad dash to accelerate the development of green technology.

As global warming melts the ice that covers 80 percent of the island, it has spurred demand for Greenland’s potentially abundant reserves of hard-to-find minerals with names like neodymium and dysprosium. These so-called rare earths, used in wind turbines, electric motors and many other electronic devices, are essential raw materials as the world tries to break its addiction to fossil fuels…

Global superpowers are jostling for influence. Billionaire investors are making big bets. Mining companies have staked claims throughout the island in a quest that also includes nickel, cobalt, titanium and, yes, gold. But those expecting to exploit the island’s riches will have to contend with Mariane Paviasen and the predominantly Indigenous residents of the village of Narsaq…

…The rocky heights above Narsaq, population about 1,700…contain what may be some of the richest concentrations of rare minerals anywhere. The lodestone attracted an Australian company backed by Chinese investors that had hoped to blast an open-pit mine — until it ran into Ms. Paviasen.

RTFA. No surprise to anyone who’s even spent reasonable time in any North country. The requirements for staying alive in a severe, cold climate seem to produce a consistent breed of political activist who cares about quality of life more than quantities of money.