Interesting Charts


By Bob Shapiro

Here are two charts, both relating to Climate, that I find very interesting.

NOAA collects US temperature data from over 1000 stations across the country. They’ve been doing this every day (mostly) for years and years. They go through the data as it comes in to correct mistakes – the usual QA process. But in recent years, they have started historical adjustments – 5 major adjustments over a recent 6 year period.

This first chart is one which shows the sum total of adjustments to the already QAed raw data. It shows about a 1 degree Celsius bias over the last century and a quarter, where you would expect a neutral overall adjustment. Somebody needs to investigate this and lock up the fraudsters.

The historical temperature record has been used to justify (among other things) subsidies for solar power. Even with the subsidies, it is a long payback period, and the non-dispatchable electricity coming out has been destabilizing for the grid. The higher the percent solar, the greater the risk of the solar generated electricity crashing the system.

The subsidies are spread throughout the country so that every state can feed at the trough. But, the sun doesn’t shine the same throughout the country. Clouds get in the way, and lower altitudes (compared to sea level) present more atmosphere for the sun to get through to reach the ground.

The second chart shows how much sun arrives at the surface (insolation) across the US.

The length of the day varies from summer to winter, and that variance is greater the farther north you go in the continental US. Winter up north is a time when the short days give less opportunity to collect solar rays to convert into less electricity.

The average insolation over the whole year (more in summer and less in winter) ranges from about 4 Kilowatt Hours per square Meter per Day up to about 7. It would seem that Arizona and New Mexico should be better places for solar, compared to Massachusetts (my home state) and the rest of the green area on the map. The green areas are giving up around 1/3 of the possible electricity they could generate, just to get the local subsidies.

Solar in Arizona and New Mexico may be able to pay for itself – or maybe not. But choosing anywhere else in the US is downright STUPID!




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