GHCNV4 September Temperature is either 0.93C or 0.70C

My calculation uses  a 3D integration of GHCNV4 and HadSST3  temperature data.  If I use GHCN V4C (corrected data) I get 0.93C for September,  whereas if instead I use the uncorrected V4U I get 0.70C. In the first case 2020 is the warmest September ever recorded, while the uncorrected data shows 2016 to be just a bit warmer.

Comparison of the corrected and uncorrected temperatures.

Here are the annual temperature comparisons, where 2020 is simply the average of the first 9 months.

Annual temperatures where 2020 covers the first 9 months

2020 is on track to be the warmest year although only marginally so for the uncorrected data. The values though have reduced slightly since August.

Finally here are the spatial distributions for the Northern and Southern Hemispheres

Spatial temperatures for October 2020

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Lockdown effect on UK electricity demand

Covid restriction measures began in the UK on March 16th, which were then followed by a full lockdown lasting from March 22nd until finally being eased on July 4th. People were asked to work from home “wherever possible”.  Shops, Pubs, restaurants etc. were closed. What effect did that have on electricity demand ?

I have compared 2020 with the same period from 2019 and 2018. For direct comparison I simply shifted 2018 by two years so that it overlaps 2020. Likewise I duplicated 2020 shifted backwards one year so that it overlaps 2019.

Comparison of peak power demand (6pm) of 2020 and 2018/2019

Peak electricity demand fell by about 5GW during lockdown or by 15%.

Winter demand in 2019/2020 was also lower than the two previous years by a similar amount. The Met Office confirms the probable reason: 2019/2020 was a mild & wet winter.

The winter was notably milder than average, and broadly unsettled, though with a few interludes of quieter weather. February was particularly wet and stormy, and included three named storms, with widespread high rainfall totals and associated impacts. Frosts were fewer than average, and, although there were some snowfalls in certain areas, these were of limited severity. Overall this was the fifth mildest winter in a series from 1884, and the fifth wettest since 1862.

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2019/20 GB Peak Power Demand

Which energy sources currently meet Great Britain’s peak electricity demand?  Peak demand occurs at ~6pm on weekdays, and the mix of “fuels” as more Wind Power comes on-line is constantly changing. On average today Wind and Nuclear are currently providing roughly equal contributions. However gas  provides by far the most power to the grid and has  become the essential  to balance the increasingly stochastic nature of wind. Randomly occurring wind lulls continue to require a fast ramping up of Gas, while  in emergency situations we  still rely on firing up those dirty  Coal stations to keep the lights on.

Contributions from each energy source at peak demand (6pm). Weekends show up as regular saw teeth. Click on image to see full detail. 

The results shown here are based on a continuous monitoring of the national grid  every hour via the Elexon interface. Peak demand (day)  used in all plots typically occurs at 6pm. This can also be  compared to lowest demand at typically occurring at 3am (night). Shown below are the overall relative fuel type results averaged over the full 13 month period from August 2019 until 7 October 2020.

Average contribution to peak power demand (day) and to lowest demand (night)

The net contribution of wind and nuclear are about equal. Gas is by far the dominant contribution while coal has almost been eliminated as an energy source,  but not quite because it is still needed when wind collapses during peak demand – August 2020. The only zero carbon source that can replace coal is nuclear.  Solar energy makes a small contribution to peak demand mainly because in winter it is dark at 6pm, while in summer the sun’s angle is low at 6pm.

Let’s look a bit more detail at the stochastic nature of wind energy on supply. Remember that if instantaneous power demand cannot be met on then  grid then currently  blackouts will ensue. This already happened in November 2019 when the national grid miscalculated wind output leading to a sudden loss of “inertia”.  A future “smart grid” may  instead decide to avoid this problem by switching off power hungry users or even household systems  unless another energy source other than gas can balance wind power lulls.

Gas is currently used to balance wind energy. The swings in supply can be enormous as highlighted.

Every rise and dip in wind power is matched by a ramp up or down in gas output, aided by accurate weather forecasting. This balancing act is how the grid has managed to absorb a large increase in wind capacity. However, if the UK seriously wants to reach a zero carbon grid by 2040 then somehow we need to stop using gas and find some alternative to balance the inherent stochastic nature if wind energy. Doubling the number of off shore wind farms will only make the balancing worse.

Green energy is all going to end in tears without a solid  nuclear base to run basic basic infrastructure.

Note: This analysis only covers GB since the balancing mechanism does not include Northern Ireland

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