Friday, 27 November 2009

What makes the wind blow? + Update

Late Edit - Peregrine was on the water tower on our shortened Patch 1 teatime walk - will it still be there at 10.00pm and 07.00am tomorrow morning.
Still no Patch 1 visits yet but the safari was out on the windswept sea wall at first light this morning. Sadly no White/Black Bellied Petrels, Frigate Birds or Masked Boobies to challenge our ID skills, just several Common Gulls going south to the nearby beach as it became uncovered by the receding tide.
What’s slightly more worrying is that the safari has been faffing around with statistics again…”Oh no not more pseudo-scientific drivel”; I hear you moan.
Here at the Solaris Centre we have been open exactly 5 years and we have a full five years worth of electrical generation data from our wind turbines.

Somewhat bizarrely our ‘wind generation profile’ correlates fairly well with the recent el Niño/la Niña sequences.
After a the very hot summer of 2003 el Niña flipped to la Niño in autumn 2004 just as our turbines came on line. Our chart shows a steadily increasing output from the generators. There was another el Niño from September 06 to April 07. Since then, through most of 2008 and into 2009 la Niña has been dominant. Three grotty summers on the trot for us up here. There has certainly been a drop in average daily maximum and minimum temperatures since mid 2007 (in Blackpool at least). Only three months have been 2°C warmer than the average daily maximum, two have even been almost 2°C cooler – unprecedented in recent years, and only four months have shown an average daily minimum temperature of 2°C over the long term average. In the last few months the la Niña has started to wane and el Niño is in the ascendancy. I think this fits with the observed peaking and now tailing off in our electricity generation. What is going to happen next? I’ll get back to you in about 50 years time and let you know…was it all supposition and looking for patterns when there aren’t really any there…or…did I really suss out the correlation that early?

We had our last hot summer spell (topping 30°+ C for several days) in 2006 - 25°C was hot day when I was a lad. With el Niño back in charge, depending on how strong it is or how long it lasts, will we finally see 40°+ C here in the UK? With la Nina and a bit of PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation – although the PDO cannot directly explain global temperature variations) masking the ongoing warming anything is possible. Get your sunscreen supplies in Warren – it could well be in your neck of the woods when it happens.

Out on Patch 2 at lunchtime the tide was out and thankfully the wind had dropped considerably. It was unusual to note that the most numerous species of gull on the beach was in fact the Common Gull, out-numbering the other species put together…which is weird!
The recent heavy weather has made the beach change considerably and there are channels and sandbanks in odd patterns. This obviously suits the local Redshanks as there were 17 of them. Turnstones hit a count of 8 and a single Ringed Plover buzzed about on stop-start twinkling legs between them. Nothing of any particular note out to sea…apart from, briefly…the SUN, right in our eyes…bloody typical.
Where to next? Better get some Christmas shopping in soon, but not tomorrow as it is Buy Nothing Day 2009 – possibly my favourite day of the year, not that I buy much any day of the year – mother-in-law doesn’t call me Frugal McDougal for nothing!
In the meantime let us know if the rain has stopped and the sun is shining in your outback.

Apologies for lack of wildlife photos - again...


Warren Baker said...

No sun down here this year Dave! I don't like it too hot anyway!

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Don't mind 40C myself - provided I don't have to work in it. Dipped Black Stork in Derbyshire a few years ago and Poland last summer - due to floods!!!...doh