California Drought Report #85: Centennial Reservoir Project EIS

I sent to the following to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in response to their request for comments on the Proposed Centennial Reservoir Project EIS, SPK–2016–00030

I was born in Nevada County in 1938, and a have lived there most recently from 1980 to 2015. I am a retired Air Force Officer Lt/Col, returning to Nevada County in 1980. I wanted my wife and four daughters to know the joy of living in the tall trees, swimming in the rushing rivers and ski the snow-covered mountains. Over time I became very interested in the climate, the impacts of climate change on the County, the State and eventually the Region.

Climate Change

As your engineering teams evaluate climate change issues, it is important they consider the long-term historical droughts in the region. Please see the attached graphic. There have been clusters of drought periods, interspersed with wet years. We can expect to experience similar droughts in the future. Our most recent five-year drought was broken by a very wet year, an almost cataclysmic flood year. If history is our guide, we will experience some additional drought years following this wet spell, which could last multiple years, as the El Niño weather pattern returns to the Pacific.

My point. We need to have additional water storage to capture the water generated during the wet years to carry us through the coming dry years.

One more comment. Climate history has proven that climate models have limited skill to forecast future temperatures and should not be relied on during your analysis of the future impact on the Bear River Watershed. History is a better indicator as it is driven by solar cycles and Central Pacific water temperatures, the La Niña and El Niño climate cycles.

The biggest impact of increased CO2 has been the greening of the Sierra, with little effect on temperatures, when measured by satellites. Land based temperatures have been compromised by urban expansion surrounding weather measuring stations and questionable adjustments to historical databases to put a chill on past readings, creating the image of rising temperatures, when temperature increases over the last 18 year have been flat.

My point. Claims of anthropogenic climate impacts on the Bear River Watershed should be considered with some scientific skepticism, and only accepted when claims are supported by extraordinary evidence. Climate models are not evidence; they are the product of the designer and computer programmer, nothing more! See Attached graphic.

Thank you for your time and consideration of my point of view. We need more water storage to survive the coming drought years.

Russell Steele

Attached Graphicssac_river_900_2100



Posted in California, Climate Change, Drought | Leave a comment

Green Screen Review # 24: Tech Giants Moving In

The BI Intelligence, Business Insider, attended the Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s largest global gathering. Here are some of their insights to the evolving VR and AR markets.

VR Response

The virtual reality (VR) market is expanding and improving. While the VR market is still in its early days, companies that have already established themselves in the space and other tech giants looking to jump on the bandwagon are tweaking their strategies and launching new products. This was on full display at MWC this year, where there was a steady trickle of VR-related updates.

Qualcomm announced a new VR development kit and head-mounted display (HMD) developer program to facilitate VR development.

Oculus slashed the prices of its hardware to better align it with consumer price points.

Samsung announced that the Gear VR will soon get a companion controller to better enable consumers to interact with their virtual surroundings.

Samsung is also letting select users test a prototype of a stand-alone VR headset, or one that doesn’t rely on a smartphone or a PC to power the VR experience, according to PCWorld. Stand-alone VR headsets have so far been tricky to produce, because the processing power required to power a truly immersive VR experience is difficult to put into a VR visor. Samsung leveraged its top-of-the-line Exynos chip to power the headset, and reportedly wants other VR companies to leverage its Exynos 9 chip to make headsets.

The Green Screen Institute will have to run at near light speed to keep up with the big players in the VR marketplace. Elsewhere in the report, it notes that Facebook and Google remain the major software players in both the VR and AI marketplaces. Let’s hope that GSI can grab on to one of these coattails and succeed despite their minuscule footprint in the
VR marketplace.

Posted in Green Screen | 2 Comments

Green Screen Review: How America Gave Up on Change

Harvard Business Review interviewed Tyler Cowen about his latest book, on how America has given up on change.

“In his last book, economist Tyler Cowen wrote about how machine intelligence could change the world. In his new book, The Complacent Class, he writes about the forces that prevent change from happening. In particular, he argues that America has become more averse to change in recent decades and that this has transformed our work, our leisure, and our neighborhoods.”   More HERE.

As I read through the Cowen’s interview, I was resistant to the idea that I was adverse to change, being an early adopter of technology for my age group. Some of my favorite reading is about complexity, tomorrow’s technology, the historical impact of technology and social change and of course climate change. Then on reflection, I realized that we had lived in a community that fights change at every flex point where any change is proposed.

In Nevada County there are tribes which fought the introduction of corporate stores, “big box” stores, the widening of SR-49, Loma Rica Ranch Village, parking structures in downtown Grass Valley, the development of the old sawmill site on the southern edge of Grass Valley, to illustrate a few of the battles against change.

Reviewing the fierce fights to prevent a change in Western Nevada County, I realized that Tyler Cowen was a better social observer than I was willing to admit. I have been working on a book project, off and on, for many years on the creativity that generated the Western Nevada County technology cluster, sparked by the arrival of Charles Litton in the 1950s. Historically, Nevada County has been a very creative place, with an extensive list of accomplishments, from Pelton wheel power plants to birth of the cartridge gaming industry starting with the Atari 2600, and of course, Grass Valley Groups video switching and editing innovations, to mention a few.

In the 1990s and 2000s, the Economic Resource Council struggled to stimulate local creativity, to find another Grass Valley Group, to expand the technology clusters that was the envy of communities throughout the Sierra. Some cities are spending millions to develop their version of the Western Nevada County technology cluster and failing. The Green Screen Institute is the latest Economic Resource Council effort to jump start a new technology cluster to capture the rising wind of Virtual and Augmented Reality.

Initially, I resisted VR, unable to come to grips with the idea that millions of people would be stumbling around with their eyes covered with a headset that removed them from the real world, to place them in a virtual world. My resistance to change was preventing me from seeing the potential of mixed virtual reality, the enhancement of our real world with information transmission devices described in The Fourth Transformations by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, subtitled How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Change Everything.

“The lenses of smart glasses will look a lot like simple eyeglasses. People who have optical prescriptions will be able to get them with MR capability. These will contain tiny nano-technological screens that will appear as 90-inch TV screens six feet in front of you, creating an image density eight times greater than HDTV.”

OK, I now want a pair of the AR eyeglass described by Scoble and Isreal. I am ready for some augmented reality. The question is, does Western Nevada County want those augmented reality glasses? Is Tyler Cowen right, does the resistance to change inhibiting the development of new things, new processes, and new tools for living a more productive life? Are local citizens fighting change inhibiting the creativity of our current generation of VR and AR inventors and builders?

Your thoughts? Is Nevada County resistance to change damaging economic development initiatives?

Posted in Analysis, Economics, History, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Where Will You Be On August 21, 2017?

Millions of Americans will witness the moon moving in between the Earth and the sun to create a total solar eclipse.


The 67-mile wide path of the moon’s umbral shadow will begin in the northern Pacific and cross the U.S. from west to east through parts of the following states: Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and South Carolina. It will pass directly over cities such as Salem, Ore., Idaho Falls, Lincoln, Neb., Kansas City, Nashville, and Columbia and Charleston, S.C. Places within a one- or two-hour drive of the eclipse include Portland, Ore., Boise, Cheyenne, Rapid City, Omaha, Neb., Topeka, St. Louis, Louisville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, Atlanta and Charlotte. At any given location, the total eclipse will last for around 2 or 3 minutes turning day into a dark twilight. Even some stars may become visible during this event which will take about three hours from start to finish. The moon’s penumbral shadow produces a partial eclipse visible from a much larger region covering most of North America. In Philadelphia, about 80% of totality will be reached with a little more than that in DC and a little bit less in the NYC metro region.

H/T to Vencore Weather for this information.


Posted in Solar, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

California Drought Report #84: “End-Time Cultism” Calamity

David Cole, writing at Taki’s Magazine. This is a shorter segment of a longer article HERE.

If spending is the equivalent of prayer to a leftist, “climate change” is the equivalent of Christian “end-time” cultism. Let me share with you a very recent, and very relevant, example. Over the past week, we here in sunny insane California have faced the prospect of a major calamity as three merciless months of near-nonstop rainfall have led to the possibility of a massive failure at the tallest dam in the U.S., in Oroville, near Sacramento. It’s a big deal; 188,000 people have been evacuated. Concerns about how the aging Oroville Dam would fare in the face of record rainfall were raised years ago, but the state and the feds ignored them.

The story has been amply reported locally and nationally. But what the press conveniently leaves out of its coverage is the underlining theory behind the dam inaction: climate-change apocalyptics had convinced the Silly Putty-brained California powers-that-be that rain was never returning to the state. Quite literally, new dams, and improvements on old ones, were rejected because a doomsday cult had convinced politicians that water was “over,” that the drought that began in 2012 was not a passing thing but an “era,” something that would last decades if not a century. And why build new dams if there’ll be no water for them to hold? Why refurbish old ones if there’s no chance they’ll ever be filled again?

From the L.A. Times, July 2015:

Dams are a relic of the Industrial Age…. They’re particularly ill-suited to the era of extremes—heat waves, floods and droughts—that climate change has brought on.

The New Republic, April 2015:

The Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick said: “Even if we built a couple of dams, we don’t have water to fill them. We’re tapped out. The traditional answer of building more reservoirs won’t solve our problems.” Building additional reservoirs does little when there’s no snow or rain to fill them.

California governor Jerry Brown in August 2015, responding to calls from GOP presidential candidates to build new dams and renovate old ones:

I’ve never heard of such utter ignorance. Building a dam won’t do a damn thing about fires or climate change or the absence of moisture in the air and ground of California. If they want to run for president, they had better do eighth grade science before they made such utterances.

The Sacramento Bee summed it up succinctly: “Questions loom about the value of such projects in an era of scarcity.” Because indeed, leftist voodoo practitioners had brainwashed the state into believing this was an “era of scarcity.” We were told that Mother Earth was punishing us for our CO2 sins by withholding her precious water, and rainfall would only return once we submitted to cap and trade and international climate-change treaties. And anyone who dared suggest that the drought was a passing thing, that weather was not permanent but fluctuating, was ridiculed for not knowing “eighth grade science.”

Witch doctors in white coats who study tree stumps like gypsies read tea leaves told The San Jose Mercury News in 2014 that the drought might last over one hundred, maybe even one thousand, years. If you Google “California,” “drought,” and “will last” or “may last,” you’ll see endless links to left-certified “scientific” snake-handlers who claimed, right up until a few months ago, that the drought may last hundreds of years, or thousands of years, or “forever.”

Yet here we are in February 2017, with the drought completely over in Northern Cal and close to being over in the South. The rainfall of the past few months has shattered all records. The last “abnormal” California winter, 1982/1983, saw rainfall that was 88% higher than the 30-year average. Winter 2016/2017? 120% higher. Cities like Long Beach have seen rainfall at levels never before recorded. The end-time apocalyptic cultists were wrong, but you won’t hear any of them admit it. Just as Christian doomsday cultists never apologize when their Rapture clock turns out to be broken, so too do the macumba practitioners of the “IFL Science” left feel no need to explain themselves. Because the members of their parish—the smug Rachel Maddow-watching, NPR-listening atheist Democrat soft-skulls—demand no explanation. Again, it’s a matter of faith. If the Rapture doesn’t happen as prophesied, it’s not because Pastor Looneybird was wrong in his calculations. It’s because God changed His mind at the last minute and rescheduled the blessed event, and now we must double our faith in our beloved pastor as he attempts to figure out the time and place of the new Rapture.
And if the tree-ring-circus necromancers of the left got the duration of the California drought wrong, it’s not because their models and methodologies were faulty; it’s because Mother Earth cried tears of sympathy on our state to buy us a little more time to confiscate asthma inhalers so that we may regain her favor.

That last sentence may seem a bit over-the-top, but it isn’t. Never forget that the voodoo priests of the left banned the most effective types of asthma inhalers because they were “killing the earth,” even as leftist billionaires were allowed to continue flying private jets all over the world in order to play golf and screw fashion models and conduct similarly important business. There is no way this is any saner than the faith healing and tongue-speaking of the charismatics and evangelicals. Indeed, it’s worse, because it’s way more invasive, way more intrusive, in the lives of bystanders. No right-wing Christian ever forced me to anoint with oil. But leftist charlatans posing as scientists banned the only type of inhaler that helped my elderly mom’s asthma, because the act of her going “puff puff” so she wouldn’t die was bringing about the end of days, while Al Gore’s totally unnecessary private jet oddly had no effect on the environment.

That’s science? No, that’s an Indian rain dance.

The Full Article is HERE.

I suffer from asthma and miss the inhaler that helped me cope when the cold air shuts down my lungs. We move to a much warmer place to avoid the winter cold. It pisses me off every time I read about Al Gore flying off somewhere to sell his climate change snake oil, and on a really cold day when it hard to breathe it pisses me off even more.

Posted in California, Climate, Climate Change, Drought

California Drought Report #83: California Drought History

In seeking more information on the potential for more drought following the current floods, I ran across some additional drought information in this study:

Klamath/San Joaquin/Sacramento Hydroclimatic Reconstructions from Tree Rings, February 7, 2014, David M. Meko, Connie A. Woodhouse, and Ramzi Touchan

The reconstructed flows in the Klamath, Sacramento, and San Joaquin basins allow an assessment of the instrumental period of record, in terms of drought duration and severity, in a long-term context, The longest run of below median flow years extends to 21 consecutive years in the Klamath River reconstruction, 10 years in the Sacramento and 13 years in the San Joaquin Two intervals of 10 years are indicated in the Sacramento: late 1200s and in the 1920s-1930s. In the San Joaquin, the 13-yr run occurs in the late 1400s. The 21-yr run in the Klamath occurs in the mid- to late 1600s. Numerous periods of low flows of four years and more are evident in all three series.


Reconstructions for the Sacramento and San Joaquin flag 1580 an exceptionally dry single year – far drier than any experienced in the instrumental period. On the Sacramento, the reconstructed flow for 1580 is only 45% of that of the reconstructed flow in 1924, the second driest year of the reconstruction. The relative severity of low flow in 1580 is almost as great on the San Joaquin, where flow in 1580 is reconstructed at 54% of the flow in 1924. The single-year intensity of tree-ring reconstructed drought in 1580 has been noted previously (Meko et al. 2001). Our results suggest that the drought beginning in the 1570s and including 1580 was of shorter duration in the San Joaquin Basin than in the Sacramento Basin. The 1470s are also a key period of low flow in both basins. At decadal and longer time scales, pre-20th century low flow extremes are dominated by periods in the mid- to late-1100s in the Sacramento basin, while the second half of the 15th century appears to have been more severe in the San Joaquin basin (however, prolonged drought is evident for both of these periods in both basins).


While you are here, look at the period between 1100 and 1200 and note the extensive number of closely spaced drought periods from about 1125 to 1165 This is the period when the Arizona Cliff Dwellers abandoned their historic homes and went in search of a more agreeable climate, a place with water and weather that would allow them to plant and harvest grains, corn, and squash.

Posted in Analysis, Climate, Drought, Weather

California Drought Report #82: More Drought Coming?

Yes, I know Northern California has more water than it can store and the potential for flooding vast areas are of concern to all who live near river flood plains. Climate is cyclical, what happened in past will happen again in the future. Following the Megaflood of 1861-62 was a severe drought. Here is a historical account from 1890 by J. M. Guinn; in an excerpt from Exceptional Years: A History of California Floods and Drought.

“The great flood of 1861-62 was the Noachain deluge of California floods. During the months of December, 1861, and January, according to a record kept at San Francisco, 35 inches of rain fell, the fall for the season footed up nearly 50 inches {average is 24 inches/year}. As in Noah’s the windows of heaven were opened, and the waters prevailed exceedingly on the face of the earth.

“The valley of the Sacramento vast inland sea; the city of Sacramento was submerged and almost ruined. Relief boats on their errands of mercy, leaving the channels of the rivers, sailed over inundated ranches, past floating houses, wrecks of barns, through vast flotsams, made up of farm products farming implements, and the carcasses of horses, sheep and cattle, drifting out to sea.

“…To the affrighted vaqueros, who had sought safety on the hills, it did seem as if the fountains of the great deep really been broken up, and that the freshet had filled the Pacific to overflowing. The Arroyo Seco, swollen to a mighty river, brought down from the mountains and canons great rafts of drift-wood …{that} furnished fuel to poor people of the city for several years.

“It began raining on December 24, 1861, and continued for thirty days, with but two slight interruptions. The Star published the following local: ‘A Phenomenon – Tuesday last the sun made its appearance. The phenomenon lasted several minutes and was witnessed by a great number of persons.’

“…After the deluge, what? The drought. It began in the fall of 1862, and lasted to the winter of 1864-65. The rainfall for the season of 1862-63 did not exceed four inches, and in the fall of 1863 a few showers fell, but not enough to start the grass. No more fell until March. The cattle were of gaunt, skeleton-like forms, moved slowly of food. Here and there, singly or in small weak to move on, stood motionless with of starvation. It was a pitiful sight. …

“The loss of cattle was fearful. The plains were strewn with their carcasses. In marshy places …the ground was covered with their skeletons, and the traveler for years afterward was often startled by coming suddenly on a veritable Golgotha — a place of skulls — the long horns standing out in defiant attitude, as if protecting the fleshless bones. …The great drought of 1863-64 put an end to cattle raising as the distinctive industry of Southern California.”

While we have enough water now, it will be prudent to save all we can, as it will be needed once the current the flood has soaked into the ground or flowed out to the sea.

More on the MegaFlood and Future Floods can be found at the Fabius Maximus webpage.

Posted in California, Climate, Drought, Weather