Friday, July 10, 2009

Climate: Global Warming, Local Anomaly or Normal?


Now in my fourth year as owner of a photovoltaic array, I've noticed this year is the brightest to date.
And, not by just a little bit.

As of June 30, 2009 had generated 56% of my annual estimate, versus the second highest year [2006] mid-year total of 51.3%.
Since a bright, sunny day equates to about 0.5% of my annual estimate, that means 2009 is now over 9 bright sunny days ahead of 2006.

Both 2007 and 2008 were less bright, and equated to about 9 sunny days behind 2006, and 18 sunny days behind this year.

A comparison of year-end totals might be more telling, but it's too early to know what 2009 will produce.
But, looking at 2006 versus 2007 and 2008 is also instructive.
The year 2006 was about 14% ahead of both years.

What does all this mean?
Probably not much, except that it may be just as likely for 2009 to represent evidence of global warming, as for the years 2007 and 2008 to represent global cooling.

Better yet, normal variations between years are just that - normal.
But, that's just an educated guess, knowing how fickle the weather patterns can be around these parts.

I am glad that more PV solar arrays are being put into service every year.

Not long ago, I received an e-mail from friends in our old San Francisco neighborhood which advised that an organization known as OBOG [One Block Off the Grid] was soliciting interest in having PV arrays installed in the Bay area.
It seems if an aggregate of 100 mega-watts can be committed to, then special pricing and permitting can be obtained, thus saving substantial investment costs.
That is a creative solution which I hope succeeds.

More locally, this announcement appeared of a plan to construct a major PV power generation facility near Cle Elum in Kittitas County.
Now, that would be a breakthrough of major proportions!