Evan Mills Response to My Critique of the Grid Outage Chart

A month or two ago, after Kevin Drum (a leftish supporter of strong AGW theory) posted a chart on his site that looked like BS to me.  I posted my quick reactions to the chart here, and then after talking to the data owner in Washington followed up here.

The gist of my comments were that the trend in the data didn’t make any sense, and upon checking with the data owner, it turns out much of the trend is due to changes in the data collection process.  I stick by that conclusion, though not some of the other suppositions in those posts.

I was excited to see Dr. Mills response (thanks to reader Charlie Allen for the heads up).  I will quote much of it, but to make sure I can’t be accused of cherry-picking, here is his whole post here.  I would comment there, but alas, unlike this site, Dr. Mills chooses not to allow comments.

So here we go:

Two blog entries [1-online | PDF] [2-online | PDF] [Accessed June 18, 2009] mischaracterize analysis in a new report entitled Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The blogger (a self-admitted “amateur”) created a straw man argument by asserting that the chart was presented as evidence of global climate change and was not verified with the primary source. The blog’s errors have been propagated to other web sites without further fact checking or due diligence. (The use of profanity in the title of the first entry is additionally unprofessional.)

Uh, oh, the dreaded “amateur.”  Mea Culpa.  I am a trained physicist and engineer.  I don’t remember many colleges handing out “climate” degrees in 1984, so I try not to overstate my knowledge.  As to using “bullsh*t” in the title, the initial post was “I am calling bullsh*t on this chart.”  Sorry, I don’t feel bad about that given the original post was a response to a post on a political blog.

The underlying database—created by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration—contains approximately 930 grid-disruption events taking place between 1992 and 2008, affecting 135 million electric customers.

As noted in the caption to the figure on page 58 of our report (shown above)—which was masked in the blogger’s critique—

First, I am happy to admit errors where I make them (I wonder if that is why I am still an “amateur”).   It was wrong of me to post the chart without the caption. My only defense was that I copied the chart from, and was responding to its use on, Kevin Drum’s site and he too omitted the caption. I really was not trying to hide what was there.   I am on the road and don’t have the original but here it is from Dr. Mills’ post.

grid-disturbances-chart

grid-disturbances-text

Anyway, to continue…

As noted in the caption to the figure on page 58 of our report (shown above)—which was masked in the blogger’s critique—we expressly state a quite different finding than that imputed by the blogger, noting with care that we do not attribute these events to anthropogenic climate change, but do consider the grid vulnerable to extreme weather today and increasingly so as climate change progresses, i.e.:

“Although the figure does not demonstrate a cause-effect relationship between climate change and grid disruption, it does suggest that weather and climate extremes often have important effects on grid disruptions.”

The associated text in the report states the following, citing a major peer-reviewed federal study on the energy sector’s vulnerability to climate change:

“The electricity grid is also vulnerable to climate change effects, from temperature changes to severe weather events.”

To Dr. Mills’ point that I misinterpreted him — if all he wanted to say was that the electrical grid could be disturbed by weather or was vulnerable to climate change, fine.  I mean, duh.  If there are more tornadoes knocking about, more electrical lines will come down.  But if that was Dr. Mills ONLY point, then why did he write (emphasis added):

The number of incidents caused by extreme weather has increased tenfold since 1992.  The portion of all events that are caused by weather-related phenomena has more than tripled from about 20 percent in the early 1990s to about 65 percent in recent years.  The weather-related events are more severe…

He is saying flat out that the grid IS being disturbed 10x more often and more severely by weather.  It doesn’t even say “reported” incidents or “may have” — it is quite definitive.  So which one of us is trying to create a straw man?   It is these statements that I previously claimed the data did not support, and I stand by my analysis on that.

And it’s not like there is some conspiracy of skeptics to mis-interpret Mr. Mills.  Kevin Drum, a  huge cheerleader for catastrophic AGW, said about this chart:

So here’s your chart of the day: a 15-year history of electrical grid problems caused by increasingly extreme weather.

I will skip the next bit, wherein it appears that Dr. Mills is agreeing with my point that aging and increased capacity utilization on the grid could potentially increase weather-related grid outages without any actual change in the weather  (just from the grid being more sensitive or vulnerable)

OK, so next is where Mr. Mills weighs in on the key issue of the data set being a poor proxy, given the fact that most of the increase in the chart are due to better reporting rather than changes in the underlying phenomenon:

The potential for sampling bias was in fact identified early-on within the author team and—contrary to the blogger’s accusation—contact was in fact made with the person responsible for the data collection project at the US Energy Information Administration on June 10, 2008 (and with the same individual the blogger claims to have spoken to). At that time the material was discussed for an hour with the EIA official, who affirmed the relative growth was in weather-related events and that it could not be construed as an artifact of data collection changes, etc. That, and other points in this response, were re-affirmed through a follow up discussion in June 2009.

In fact, the analysis understates the scale of weather-related events in at least three ways:

  • EIA noted that there are probably a higher proportion of weather events missing from their time series than non-weather ones (due to minimum threshold impacts required for inclusion, and under-reporting in thunderstorm-prone regions of the heartland).
  • There was at least one change in EIA’s methodology that would have over-stated the growth in non-weather events, i.e., they added cyber attacks and islanding in 2001, which are both “non-weather-related”.
  • Many of the events are described in ways that could be weather-related (e.g. “transmission interruption”) but not enough information is provided. We code such events as non-weather-related.

Dr. Mills does not like me using the “BS” word, so I will just say this is the purest caca. I want a single disinterested scientist to defend what Dr. Mills is saying. Remember:

  • Prior to 1998, just about all the data is missing. There were pushes in 2001 and 2008 to try to fix under reporting.  Far from denying this, Dr. Mills reports the same facts.  So no matter how much dancing he does, much of the trend here is driven by increased reporting, not the underlying phenomenon.  Again, the underlying phenomenon may exist, but it certainly is not a 10x increase as reported in the caption.
  • The fact that a higher proportion of the missing data is weather-related just underlines the point that the historic weather-related outage data is a nearly meaningless source of trend data for weather-related outages.
  • His bullet points are written as if the totals matter, but the point of the chart was never totals.  I never said he was overstating weather related outages today.   The numbers in 2008 may still be (and probably are) understated.  And I have no idea even if 50 or 80 is high or low,  so absolute values have no meaning to me anyway.  The chart was designed to portray a trend — remember that first line of the caption “The number of incidents caused by extreme weather has increased tenfold since 1992. ” — not a point on absolute values.   What matters is therefore not how much is missing, but how much is missing in the early years as compared to the later years.
  • In my original post I wrote, as Dr. Mills does, that the EIA data owner thinks there is a weather trend in the data if you really had quality data.  Fine.  But it is way, way less of a trend than shown in this chart.  And besides, when did the standards of “peer reviewed science” stoop to include estimates of government data analysts as to what the trend in the data would be if the data weren’t corrupted so badly.   (Also, the data analyst was only familiar with the data back to 1998 — the chart started in 1992.
  • Dr. Mills was aware that the data had huge gaps before publication.  Where was the disclosure?  I didn’t see any disclosure.  I wonder if there was such disclosure in the peer reviewed study that used this data (my understanding is that there must have been one, because the rules of this report is that everything had to come from peer-reviewed sources).
  • I don’t think any reasonable person could use this data set in a serious study knowing what the authors knew.  But reasonable people can disagree, though I will say that I think there is no ethical way anyone could have talked to the EIA in detail about this data and then used the 1992-1997 data.

Onward:

Thanks to the efforts of EIA, after they took over the responsibility of running the Department of Energy (DOE) data-collection process around 1997, it became more effective. Efforts were made in subsequent years to increase the response rate and upgrade the reporting form.

Thanks, you just proved my point about the trend being driven by changes in reporting and data collection intensity.

To adjust for potential response-rate biases, we have separated weather- and non-weather-related trends into indices and found an upward trend only in the weather-related time series.

As confirmed by EIA, if there were a systematic bias one would expect it to be reflected in both data series (especially since any given reporting site would report both types of events).

As an additional precaution, we focused on trends in the number of events (rather than customers affected) to avoid fortuitous differences caused by the population density where events occur. This, however, has the effect of understating the weather impacts because of EIA definitions (see survey methodology notes below).

Well, its possible this is true, though unhappily, this analysis was not published in the original report and was not published in this post.   I presume this means he has a non-weather time series that is flat for this period.  Love to see it, but this is not how the EIA portrayed the data to me.  But it really doesn’t matter – I think the fact that there is more data missing in the early years than the later years is indisputable, and this one fact drives a false trend.

But here is what I think is really funny- — the above analysis does not matter, because he is assuming a reporting bias symmetry, but just  a few paragraphs earlier he stated that there was actually an asymmetry.  Let me quote him again:

EIA noted that there are probably a higher proportion of weather events missing from their time series than non-weather ones (due to minimum threshold impacts required for inclusion, and under-reporting in thunderstorm-prone regions of the heartland).

Look Dr. Mills, I don’t have an axe to grind here.  This is one chart out of bazillions making a minor point.  But the data set you are using is garbage, so why do you stand by it with such tenacity?  Can’t anyone just admit “you know, on thinking about it, there are way to many problems with this data set to declare a trend exists.  Hopefully the EIA has it cleaned up now and we can watch it going forward.”  But I guess only “amateurs” make that kind of statement.

The blogger also speculated that many of the “extreme temperature” events were during cold periods, stating “if this is proof of global warming, why is the damage from cold and ice increasing as fast as other severe weather causes?” The statement is erroneous.

This was pure supposition in my first reaction to the chart.  I later admitted that I was wrong.  Most of the “temperature” effects are higher temperature.  But I will admit it again here – that supposition was incorrect.  He has a nice monthly distribution of the data to prove his point.

I am ready to leave this behind, though I will admit that Dr. Mills response leaves me more rather than less worried about the quality of the science here.  But to summarize, everything is minor compared to this point:  The caption says “The number of incidents caused by extreme weather has increased tenfold since 1992.”  I don’t think anyone, knowing about the huge underreporting in early years, and better reporting in later years, thinks that statement is correct.  Dr. Mills should be willing to admit it was incorrect.

Update: In case I am not explaining the issue well, here is a conceptual drawing of what is going on:

trend

Update #2: One other thing I meant to post.  I want to thank Dr. Mills — this is the first time in quite a while I have received a critique of one of my posts without a single ad hominem attack, question about my source of funding, hypothesized links to evil forces, etc.  Also I am sorry I wrote “Mr.” rather than “Dr.” Mills.  Correction has been made.

  • braddles

    If that’s the standard of argument we get from the so-called professionals, give me ‘amateur’ analysis any day.

    The data presented is totally inadequate to demonstrate any upward trend. Funny thing, even if the trend is upward, it still proves nothing about climate change. It’s like those figures for increasing hurricane damage: it’s all about people building in places where hurricanes hit, not about the numbers of hurricanes.

  • Anonymous

    An additional matter is whether we think that a coal/nuclear power plant is more or less likely to be put out of action or damaged by a bad storm than a windpower plant. It would be interesting to see the exact breakdown of the wind damage to power installations – i’d expect that it would largely be wind/sun plants which were being damaged, precisely the ones which have exploded in use over the past 10/20 years.

  • Sean

    Would you mind getting a comment from the EIA guy you spoke with on the following?

    At that time the material was discussed for an hour with the EIA official, who affirmed the relative growth was in weather-related events and that it could not be construed as an artifact of data collection changes, etc.

    Ask him to clarify that in light of the statement “The number of incidents caused by extreme weather has increased tenfold since 1992.”

    I don’t even know why I’m not surprised Mills can’t see the issue you brought up.

  • Fred from Canuckistan . . .

    You are wasting your time trying to use common sense, logic and mathematics on members of the Warmonger Cult.

    They believe what they want and interpret everything through their Gaia Good/Humanity Bad filter.

    They do, however, provide a never ending round of guffaws and belly laughs. It will be so sad when they finally have their “You mean there really isn’t a Santa Claus” moment.

    Tick tock, the time is coming.

  • Mike

    Is there any way to normalize the data to account for the increased reporting trend? For instance (and this is only an example; I doubt it holds), if the increases were due to more reporting stations, one might normalize by dividing by the number of stations in each year’s sample.

  • Can you imagine if somebody touted a stock with a chart like that? And a claim that revenues had increased tenfold? The SEC would be all over that person like white on rice.

    My opinion only.

  • Great job putting this together. I suggested to my readers to come to your site and read this as well. (http://globalwarming-factorfiction.com/2009/07/31/author-refutes-review/).

    Your article leads one to wonder if there is a better source of data for understanding power outages over time? Is there a reputable source that keeps track of disturbances in the system? Of course there is! One company that makes a living out of providing real-time information on the health of the utility industry is Genscape. I don’t know how far back Genscape’s data is gathered but you would think the government would make efforts to use a better source – unless of course the government doesn’t like the conclusions that real data will lead to!

  • tim maguire

    On the issue of Mill’s separating weather related and non-weather related reports in an effort to create a control group to minimize the effect of increased reporting in the overall trend (see above, “To adjust for potential response-rate biases…”), I note that in earlier data collection, if an outage report did not give enough information to categorize it “(e.g., transmission interruption)…[w]e code such events as non-weather-related.”

    Meaning that better reporting will tend to exaggerate the weather trend as outages that in an earlier time would have been categorized as non-weather-related, are now moved over into the weather-related column.

    If he didn’t pick up on this bit of data-corruption, then how can we trust any of his analysis?

  • Mike

    These disruptions also have to be seen as “outages per…” For example: “Outages per population” or “outages per KWh” produced. The problem with these numbers is, they don’t take into account an increased population. Remember, one of the reasons hurricanes do more damage in a dollar amount is simply because more people live near the ocean than any time in history. I’m sure the damage in a monetary sense is about the same in Cuba as it has always been.

  • AnonyMoose

    I expect that the omission of outage reporting in thunderstorm-frequented areas is quite significant. In large areas of the country, thunderstorms are both numerous and widespread. I can imagine that it was treated as routine cleanup when crews followed the force of nature across the landscape, and not much worth reporting because it was both routine and unstoppable.

    On the other hand, thunderstorms have also been studied a lot. There are probably both academic studies and accounting reports which estimate the quantity and expense of thunderstorms. It probably is not hard to find estimates of the effects of thunderstorms. The harder part is finding or making an estimate of the effects which meet the criteria for what is now reported.

    If such an estimate can be found, I strongly suspect that it would be much larger than the historically reported events, and would cast great doubt upon any use of the historical weather event data.

  • A-Nony-Mouse

    I have not delved deeply into this particular argument – a lot of information to absorb – but it sees to follow some scary technical trends I’ve noticed for quite some time.

    As someone holding a PhD in geophysics (electromagnetic earth, not atmospheric) and degrees in electronics engineering specializing in environmental-type instrumentation, I don’t think I qualify as an “amateur” (but is a dedicated amateur less knowledgeable than a “professional” that has entered the management ranks or some other less-technical aspect of the field?). I have noticed a trend over the past decade or two – maybe as far back as 1988/9? – in designing environmental instrumentation on the basis that accuracy in the front-end is not important because “the errors will be corrected by software” downstream in the instrument.

    I think they stopped teaching GIGO quite a while ago.

    I suppose I shouldn’t be cynical enough to point out that it’s cheaper to be sloppy – designing a high accuracy front-end to an instrument already intended to measure very small and subtle signals is not trivial or cheap.

    Excuse me for getting fairly technical (and simplistic) here:
    As a rough estimate, a 10-bit conversion represents an accuracy of 0.1% – 1 part in 1024. Although modern analog-digital converters can achieve accuracies much better than this, is the necessary effort expended to assure equivalent accuracy in the support/environment of the instrument itself? Keep in mind that these converters convert *anything* at the input – good or bad. How much of these subtle trends is due to interpreting noise as valid signal? I once observed an “interpretation” of a data set generated by a random noise generator. The interpretation group was not aware of the data source but the presentation of the interpreted results was quite impressive. They were not pleased when informed later of the data source.

    As a very simplistic example, consider a 10-bit ADC having a full voltage range of 1V – a least-significant-bit is equivalent to 976uV. A printed circuit board contact may have a resistance of 0.1 Ohm. If a 10mA current passes through that contact, Ohms Law (V = IR) shows a voltage of 1 mV across that contact. This represents more than 1LSB error. It is desirable to keep ADC errors to less than 1/2 or 1/4 LSB. In addition, if the instrument is not designed properly, this 1 mV “error” could be on the order of the signal being measured – and end up being part of the signal. Many newer instruments – particularly those intended for remote operation – are working on 3.3 or 1.8V power supplies (the older ones may use 5 or 12V)

    I believe that more often than not the effort is made to create accurate instrumentation, but I have much experience with many small companies where this effort represents “excess” cost and loss of profit. After all, “the software can correct for these errors”. Then we get to the macro level where “we” can “compensate” for “bad” data points (or in at least one specific case I have direct knowledge of, just cut and paste the data file because the original data didn’t fit the management presentation to the funding agency…a possible loss of face and future funding.)

    The quality standards we held to in this profession in the 70s and 80s seem to have disappeared…into the world of corporate-speak of “six-sigma quality” – and first-to-market – and protect the funding at *all* costs.

    As the trend seems to be for “small business” to take over these type of projects, the operating margins shrink due to reduced funding and sometimes mandatory overhead costs (do people realize that an SBIR Phase 1 funding level is only $70,000? This is nothing in today’s world – it barely pays the cost of writing the proposal). The projects generally aren’t cost effective for large firms

    I have also noticed a trend that seems to provide funding only for projects that propose a desired outcome before the project funding has been awarded or the “research” performed (“research” being an examination into the unknown). Supporting these projects seems to be the path to a “successful” science management career. It is not acceptable in today’s world to propose research in environmental projects that may contradict political correctness. Man is bad; technology is bad; Americans are the worst – and American society should be stomped out of existence. But we can solve the problem in 5 minutes: everyone all together now – hold your breath.

    Warren, thank you for taking the time, effort, and expense to support this blog. Has it expanded beyond your original expectations? This web site hits one of my hot soapbox issues and ties into others; I’ll get down now.

  • It’s like those figures for increasing hurricane damage: it’s all about people building in places where hurricanes hit, not about the numbers of hurricanes.

    I know this a completely subjective response, but I just had a thought. The press used to be all over this issue. Probably since the 70s, though I have nothing to support that now but my own recollections. Every year, as hurricane season would come upon us, there would be reporters on the beach, showing the beautiful homes just waiting to get creamed by the next big storm. And of course, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this!” would invariably be the punch-line. “Stop the people from building in dangerous places! It’s costing us/the government more and more money every year to clean up the mess!”

    But the accepted premise was that the increase in damage (and resulting cleanup costs and insurance payouts) was due to the increased development in hurricane-prone parts of the U.S.

    Not any more. Not as far as I can tell. The only people still making that point are bloggers and commenters. The press has swallowed the AGW argument so completely, that they have literally suppressed (again, as far as I can tell) the over-development argument in favor of the increased-power-and-frequency argument. It’s still Man’s fault. Just in a different and more devastating way.

  • It’s like those figures for increasing hurricane damage: it’s all about people building in places where hurricanes hit, not about the numbers of hurricanes.

    I know this a completely subjective response, but I just had a thought. The press used to be all over this issue. Probably since the 70s, though I have nothing to support that now but my own recollections. Every year, as hurricane season would come upon us, there would be reporters on the beach, showing the beautiful homes just waiting to get creamed by the next big storm. And of course, “Why doesn’t somebody do something about this!” would invariably be the punch-line. “Stop the people from building in dangerous places! It’s costing us/the government more and more money every year to clean up the mess!”

    But the accepted premise was that the increase in damage (and resulting cleanup costs and insurance payouts) was due to the increased development in hurricane-prone parts of the U.S.

    Not any more. Not as far as I can tell. The only people still making that point are bloggers and commenters. The press has swallowed the AGW argument so completely, that they have literally suppressed (again, as far as I can tell) the over-development argument in favor of the increased-power-and-frequency argument. It’s still Man’s fault. Just in a different and more devastating way.

  • Damn. Double-clicked by accident. Go ahead and yank the second one if you wish.

  • Andrew

    So Mills’ point is…you are correct, but petty? So what? Lot’s of people are petty. Hell, Issac Newton was petty. But you weren’t even being petty toward him, you were actually being petty towards Drum. Just like the alarmed to take something like that personally-hysterical.

  • Rathtyen

    I thought the original post on the outage graph was very clear and straightforward. To rebut it, all that was necessary for Dr Mills to do was to either confirm the data collection has in fact been even throughout the period, or justify a means by which past unrecorded outages have been estimated. He did neither, and as noted in this post, acknowledged past missing outages in the records.

    I got the impression Dr Mills missed the point entirely.

    I still get absolutely astounded at the poor quality of data that is regularly used to “prove” global warming. The terms “Climate Science” and “Accountability” simply do not go together.

    Congratulations on a thorough and polite response, and for your comment that Dr Mills (notwithstanding having a poor concept of the need for appropriate data, or suitably qualified data, before drawing conclusions) was at least civil and to the point. It is possible to debate politely, as you have done.

  • ron from Texas

    I’m just a dumb electrician from Texas. There are a few reasons more outages are reported since 1992. Modernly, there are better outage detection monitors. Second, the news and other reporting agencies pay more attention to it. And the most important reason, there is more downstream developement and electrical usage. For example, a neighborhood might have a radial tap can capable of approx. 94,000 volts. Off that radial tap can they can set any number of distribution ground mounted transformers that will either knock it down to 480 V 3 phase for commercial or 240 volt single phase for houses. If a storm hits and knocks out power, in 1992, there may have been nothing and now, you have a whole neighborhood. That is, the extent to which the grid has expanded to meet the needs of people is what it makes it vulnerable. In 1776, there were no electrical power outages due to storms. It’s the same effect as saying Katrina was the most destructive storm in history and not take into account the mass move during the last 20 years to live on the coast. I think this corrupts whatever dataset led the author to think that outages were up tenfold. It would have been more accurate to say that development was up 10 fold, creating a greater likelihood that standard weather in the area has more electrical targets to impact.

    But there is description of how the dataset is acquired and how these things I have mentioned relate to it.

  • ron from Texas

    typo, I meant to say there is no description of how the data set was achieved and how the factors of grid expansion relate to it.

  • rxc

    “An additional matter is whether we think that a coal/nuclear power plant is more or less likely to be put out of action or damaged by a bad storm than a windpower plant.”

    A nuclear plant can be shutdown by a bad storm that knocks out the supporting electrical grid infrastructure. Nuclear plants are not intended to operate without grid connections. In fact, when hurricanes are predicted to pass over/near a nuclear plant, they are usually shutdown early to avoid a loss of the grid that would cause a transient in the plant. The plants can physically withstand direct hits by hurricanes and tornadoes, and all of the debris that gets thrown up during those events, and there are documented instances of this happening. The operators just sit there with the diesel generators running, and the plant staying in standby, till the event passes, and they can clean up, reconnect, and restart generation. There have recently been some concerns that the current state of the grid (overloaded) might make more nuclear plants susceptable to grid degradation from whatever source, including bad weather.

    I don’t know for certain, but I would think that wind turbines in hurricane areas should be able to withstand at least the smaller hurricanes. A large nasty hurricane, on the other hand, would probably do some serious damage to an off-shore wind farm. Tornadoes, however, are another matter, but I would think that the footprint of a tornado will not take out much wind capacity, because it is so small.

  • Elliot

    It might be worth putting the point in a different way. You could draw up a chart showing that the number of babies born each year is growing without bothering to “normalize” for the increasing number of people/families moving into these coastal areas. It would give the same impression, “Those poor girls, all those new babies, how can they manage?” They’d need an airlift for Huggies.

    Remember, it’s a Little knowledge that’s a dangeraous thing. Thanks for keeping up with the fight.

    E

  • Esox Lucius

    Caca? That seriously cracked me up. Almost choked on my yogurt.

  • Graphite

    This cracked me up…
    “The use of profanity in the title of the first entry is additionally unprofessional”

    From Merriam-Webster http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/profane

    Main Entry:1pro·fane
    Pronunciation:\prō-ˈfān, prə-\
    Function:transitive verb
    Inflected Form(s):pro·faned; pro·fan·ing
    Etymology:Middle English prophanen, from Anglo-French prophaner, from Latin profanare, from profanus
    Date:14th century
    1 : to treat (something sacred) with abuse, irreverence, or contempt : desecrate

    LOL

    Excellent work – keep it up! – and THANKS for helping keep many of the rest of us sane!

  • Steve H.

    I tried to contact the site in order to provide a site that in my opinion shows that there may be a problem with the supposition that we are headed for disasterous long tem high and dry temperatures in the near and distant future. If you are interested please go to “www.iceagenow.com”. I’m not sure if I believe the obvious conclusion presented by the site name but the temperatures reported are very interesting and it shows that in a large area of the US July of this year has resulted in many low records for the entire month (the hottest month of the year. I am going to tag this site to see how August compares.

    What brought me to this site to begin with was In 1982 (or 1980) one of those years as I remember my wife’s missery during one of our two childrens gestation periods (I’m pretty sure it was 1982 as this child was born in Aug. but I degress. My point is that in Hobbs New Mexico A record was set that still holds and that is 90 consecutive day of 100 degree or better temperatures. I think that the CO2 levels have risen considerably since then.

  • Steve H.

    Here is an interesting article “What if global-warming fears are overblown” from fortune magazines (last updated May 14, 2009 from cnnmoney.com) May issue (I think).

  • commieBob

    Burt Rutan has come out as a climate skeptic. Burt is the guy who is building the spaceship/aircraft/thingie that will take tourists into space (he won the Ansari prize for getting above the atmosphere twice in two weeks). He is an aeronautical engineer with a very long list of accomplishments. Check out his
    wiki article.

    Although Burt makes no claim to be a climate scientist, he is expert at analyzing data. He has looked at some of the ‘popular’ global warming propaganda and found mis-analysis that is nearly/completely fraudulent. That won’t come as a surprise to anyone here. The point is that Burt commands a lot of respect; he really does have friends in high places. (I wonder how many more people like Burt, and how much more evidence we need, before the global warming alarmists come to their senses.) Here’s a link to Burt’s powerpoint presentation.

    P.S. A-Nony-Mouse is right about designing instruments. The A/D converter design mistakes he talks about; been there, done that. Having said that, I still teach GIGO (garbage in garbage out, for you whippersnappers that are too young to know). In fact, I spend a lot of time on the appropriate use of equations. Equations are models. Every equation has an appropriate domain. Within its domain, the accuracy of an equation is well known and adequate for its intended purpose. Sometimes you can get more accuracy with a more sophisticated equation/model; sometimes you can’t. By definition, using an equation outside its safe domain will produce erroneous results. (No climate model has a safe domain where it has demonstrated the ability to correctly predict results outside the historical data set with which it was calibrated.) Reality always trumps theory.

    P.P.S. I am dismayed that political affiliation and attitude to global warming are so closely correlated. Most of my fellow ‘lefties’ seem to have drunk the global warming kool-aid. Too bad people can’t uncouple themselves from dogma and just go with what works. Universal medical care works (ask almost any Canadian), global warming (and the crazy remedies for it) doesn’t work. Sigh!

  • Did they also count the number of times a power line was taken out by a vehicle skidding off the road in bad weather? While I can’t say much about conditions in the USA or anywhere else outside of Canada, I have seen massive growth in our major cities over the past 20 years, more in the past 10. If weather knocked out a power grid 30 years ago a town of 15,000 people would be in an outage. If that same storm knocked out that same grid point today, it would, conceivably, affect 45-60,000. Couple that to the increased number of grid points and it adds up. Previous comments about people building in known storm regions are spot on as far as I can observe.

    Also, the current North American power gid system is old and not up to the challenge that we place on it. During seriously bad weather, most people tend to hole up indoors, placing a higher draw on the grid, this can also lead to outages or at least brown-outs.

  • Ed Fix

    It’s probably too late to put a comment here that anyone might actually read, so I’ll keep it brief.

    About reporting bias, it occurred to me that in the early, vastly underreported days, it is much more likely to get reports of non-weather-caused outages, rather than weather events. A hardware or infrastructure event (inadequate connections, components, etc.) is something you can do something about, and someone else can check to prevent a recurrence–weather isn’t. So those events would be reported most faithfully.

    Another question is what counts as a weather event? Does a tree branch being blown over onto a line count as a weather event (the wind blew the tree over) or as a tree-being-too-close-to-the-line event (inadequate maintenance)?

    Ed

  • FollowFacts

    Graphite did us a service by posting the definition of “profane”. Indeed, it would be profane to an acolyte of Gaia.
    On the other hand, if Dr. Mills does not worship Gaia, then he should have used “scatological”.
    Warren Meyer can keep them hopping by ringing the changes with “excrement”, drek and so forth.