Tokyo Gas building Japan’s first big offshore wind farm…as a start

Tokyo Gas Co. plans to develop one of Japan’s largest offshore wind projects as the nation looks to a major expansion of the technology to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The 600-megawatt facility — about 30 times larger than the nation’s existing capacity — is planned to be built off the coast of Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, if it gains approval from the government, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. Tokyo Gas joined a consortium with Shizen Energy Inc. and Canada’s Northland Power Inc. in order to develop the project…

Offshore wind developments are key to Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge for Japan to become emissions neutral by the middle of the century, and the government has thrown its support behind developing a number of offshore blocks. Tokyo Gas is one of just a handful of Japanese utilities that have committed to a net-zero emissions target…

Capacity in offshore wind in Japan may reach 10 gigawatts by 2030 and 30 gigawatts by 2040, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The nation currently has just 20 megawatts of capacity.

Once you get rolling, aside from whatever is your nation’s style in useless bureaucrats, wind power is sensible and easy to grow. I’m not talking about political sleaze or budget weenies. Just the technology.

Uh-oh! More climate change news…

In the last 10 years, warming in the Arctic has outpaced projections so rapidly that scientists are now suggesting that the poles are warming four times faster than the rest of the globe. This has led to glacier melt and permafrost thaw levels that weren’t forecast to happen until 2050 or later. In Siberia and northern Canada, this abrupt thaw has created sunken landforms, known as thermokarst, where the oldest and deepest permafrost is exposed to the warm air for the first time in hundreds or even thousands of years.

As the global climate continues to warm, many questions remain about the periglacial environment. Among them: as water infiltration increases, will permafrost thaw more rapidly? And, if so, what long-frozen organisms might “wake up”?

Zombie viruses, walking mosquito mutants, the possibilities are endless…and the stuff of sci-fi “B Movies” for the next decade or so.

You think YOUR weather report sucks?

Weekend forecast for Australia

New South Wales residents should also be on alert for funnel web spiders, according to Australia’s Reptile Park, which issued a warning that the wet weather conditions and warm temperatures create “perfect conditions” for the deadly spiders to breed and “thrive” in gardens and homes in Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast.

Meanwhile, in Western Australia, the weather bureau issued a catastrophic fire warning for the state’s interior state on Thursday, while the risk level in the East Pilbara was extreme…

…Jake Meney, a reptiles and spider keeper at the Australian Reptile Park, said cool, damp places including laundry, clothes and shoes will attract funnel web spiders…

Meney also encouraged anyone who can safely catch a funnel web spider to donate it to the reptile park, so it can be milked and antivenom produced ahead of a summer of warm and wet weather – conditions which draw male funnel webs out in search of a mate to breed with…

The impact of La Niña on Australia’s wildlife is also being considered by shark experts, as they look to explain predatory behaviour that has seen more Australians killed in unprovoked shark attacks this year than in any year since 1934.

And please, please, keep your eyes open for irukandji jellyfish and eastern brown snakes.

Thanks, Honeyman.

Every home in the UK could get their electricity from wind-power within this decade

In a speech Tuesday (Oct 6th), Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged that the United Kingdom would generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every UK home within a decade.

The UK government also unveiled a new target for floating offshore wind to deliver 1 Gigawatt of energy by 2030. That’s more than 15 times as much power as floating offshore wind currently generates worldwide, it said. The government promised £160 million ($207 million) to upgrade ports and infrastructure…

Britain must “build back greener” from the coronavirus pandemic in order to accelerate progress towards a legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, Johnson said…

While I’m not convinced Boris Johnson and his Tories are best capable of leading this task, he’s got the science and technology right for a change. Unlike his peers here in the GOUSA. At least the Left and Right in Great Britain appear capable of uniting on a plan to make the switch to renewables for generating electricity…and leave “stupid and spooky” behind.

Sunglider high altitude test flight

HAPSMobile Inc…successfully reached an altitude of more than 60,000 feet above sea level during a 20-hour test flight of the Sunglider™ solar-powered high-altitude platform station (HAPS) at Spaceport America. This is the second successful test flight of the Sunglider at Spaceport America since the company began operations at the site in May 2020.

The test flight began on September 21 at 5:16am (MT) and concluded just after 1:00am (MT) on September 22 following the successful achievement of a series of major test objectives and maneuvers. Sunglider reached an altitude of 62,500 feet (approximately 19 kilometers) and demonstrated the world’s first successful delivery of LTE connectivity from a fixed-wing HAPS autonomous aircraft in the stratosphere. The success of this stratospheric test flight is a major step forward for HAPSMobile as it continues to pursue its mission of bridging the digital divide by building its business in the stratosphere, a new frontier for humankind. HAPSMobile will continue to work to revolutionize mobile networks by leveraging HAPS.

Known as a “cell-tower in the sky,” Sunglider aims to provide better communications to under-served areas, including rural communities. The success of this stratospheric test flight is a major step forward in this mission.

Check out the video up top. This solar-powered drone flew on battery-electric power, recharging from solar panel wing surfaces. Way cool. A classic New Mexico test project. 🙂


Earlier testing in July

Air quality and sunset


Caja del Rio just after sunset

Sunsets – along with sunrise and every other reason for looking to the horizon – have been crap for weeks. Tonight was different.

The smoke from wildfires has been persistent and often oppressive. Key fires here in New Mexico have been out for a little while; but, about 50 square miles of Colorado is still burning. So said the morning news. Air quality indications on my iPhone’s weather app have been moderately unsafe at best…usually “unhealthy for sensitive groups”…like human beings.

Most of this week, I’ve worn a cloth mask to keep the crud away from my lungs.

But, tonight, on my last exercise lap walking our fenceline, I glanced East towards the road and realized there were a few lovely red clouds in the sky and I could see the Sangre de Cristos East of Santa Fe clearly as evening approached. Most of this week, I could barely see there was a mountain range there – not that many miles away.

I turned and looked back at the mesa across our valley and the sky was smoke-free, clouds colored by the sun which set several minutes earlier. And grabbed a quick photo.

After I took the picture, I brought up the weather app. I hadn’t worn the mask tonight and the app confirmed my opinion. Air Quality was “good”. Hope it stays so…through the weekend and on into autumn.

World Leaders commit to Pledge for Nature, Environmental Recovery

Worldwide, the natural environment is straining under the weight of a myriad of threats, and time is quickly running out to stem the damage before it becomes irreversible. The urgency of the situation prompted leaders from 64 countries around the world to sign a Pledge for Nature on Sept. 28, committing to work together to put ecosystems—land, ocean, and freshwater—on a path toward sustainability. The group released the pledge ahead of the Sept. 30 United Nations Summit on Biodiversity, which will bring together heads of state and other government representatives under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Can you guess which “advanced” nation hasn’t yet decided if it should sign on to such a radical proposal?

Towering infernos are already here in The West

42,000-foot plumes of ash. 143-mph firenadoes. 1,500-degree heat. These wildfires are a new kind of hell on earth, and scientists are racing to learn its rules...

By the time California’s 2018 fire season was over, it had burned more than 1.6 million acres to become the most destructive on record—a title it maintained for slightly less than 20 months, when it was overtaken not by the 2020 fire season but by a mere four weeks in late summer 2020, during which an estimated 3 million acres burned. But that’s not the truly worrisome part. In making sense of Western wildfires, total acres burned are far less important than the increasingly capricious violence of our most extreme blazes. It is as if we’ve crossed some threshold of climate and fire fuel into an era of uncontrollable conflagrations.

“Not only is the size and severity increasing, but the nature of fire is changing,” says David Saah, director of Pyregence, a group of fire-science labs and researchers collaborating on the problem. Still more concerning, given the trend toward fires dramatically more catastrophic than anything we’ve yet seen: The physics of large-scale wildfires remain so poorly understood that fire-modeling software is often effectively powerless to predict where they will next occur, much less how they will unfold once they do. If there is any good news, it is that, as Saah puts it, “the science for a lot of this stuff is under way.”

If you’re interested in how a large portion of this nation is being destroyed in a war between nature and nature management that hasn’t kept up with reality…better read this article. If you live out here in the West – as I do – you should read it for a better chance at survival.

What makes hurricanes stall?

A lot can go wrong when hurricanes stall. Their destructive winds last longer. The storm surge can stay high. And the rain keeps falling

Research shows that stalling has become more common for tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic since the mid-20th century and that their average forward speed has also slowed.

The Arctic has been warming about twice as fast as the mid-latitudes, where most of the U.S. is located. That’s changing the distribution, or gradient, of temperature between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes. And that can affect the steering currents, such as those associated with the Bermuda high.

On average, the forward speed of hurricanes has been slowing down. Simulations of tropical storm behavior have suggested that this slowing will continue as average global temperatures warm, particularly in the mid-latitudes…

A warmer atmosphere also means storms can tap into more moisture. As temperature increases, it’s easier for water to evaporate into vapor…If a storm slows, and if it has access to more moisture, it can dump more rain and produce a greater storm surge due to the slow motion.

RTFA. Even more interesting, mostly unnerving, factors affecting the course of hurricanes to come.