Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Daily Beast Features a Story on North Dakota -- One Ranch Overlooks Thousands of Wells


December 15, 2012: I assume this document would have been too much for the writer of the article linked below to understand. If you have the time, look at the graphs on page 16 and 17 of this document which shows the spring temperature change in the ND-SD-MT-WY / West North Central Region of the United States. The first graph, from 1895 to 2007, shows the average spring temperature to be 42 degrees. In 1895, it was about 41 degrees; in 2007, it was about 43 degrees.  The second graph is even more interesting. It is from 1991 - 2005. This graph shows the average spring temperatures in the same region (ND-SD-MT-WY): the temperature trend is actually ... drum roll ... DOWN. 

By the way, the best line in the document, and I paraphrase: "without greenhouse gases, the average temperature in the West North Central Region would be 60 degrees colder."  Again, "60 degrees colder." The temperature would not be 60 degrees without greenhouse gases; the temperature would average about 60 degrees COLDER without greenhouse gases.

Again, the global warmers have never been able to tell me the "correct" temperature for the earth, and who set the global thermostat in the first place. And, of course, manmade CO2 accounts for three (3) percent of all greenhouse gases. Water vapor is the number one greenhouse gas, and water vapor is the by-product of fuel cells. I can't make this stuff up.

Original Post

Link here. A huge thanks to a reader for sending me this article.

A lot of anxiety by the writer of the article at the link, but somewhat interesting to scan through.

Some of the writing is beyond the pale, to say the least:
Already, a mere 1 degree Fahrenheit of global temperature rise over the past 50 years has caused a 5.5 percent decline in wheat production, according to David Lobell, a professor at Stanford University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment. 
A mere one (1) degree Fahrenheit of global temperature rise over the past 50 years has resulted in a 5.5 percent decline ... oh, really? ... 5.5 percent? Is one not sure that it's more like 5.4% or 5.6%? A degree Fahrenheit::a degree Celsius, by the way is about 9:5. A degree Fahrenheit is about half-a-degree Celsius, the usual way scientists measure temperature. A half-degree over 50 years. Okay.

And if you read a bit farther down, one finds that a slightly warmer temperature will actually increase wheat production. I can't make this stuff up.

Then this:
“We stressed our farm crops this year pretty strongly, and many of them almost folded,” says Jay Fuhrer, a U.S. Department of Agriculture extension agent in North Dakota. “Does that concern you as a consumer? It should.”
  • Sugar beets: "The crop appears to be fairly strong right now," Schweitzer said. "It's why we were able to start so early."
  • Corn: there's so much of it, the US government mandates more corn by turned into ethanol to be burned in SUVs.
  • Durum wheat: hit badly this year by the drought ... but blaming it on man-made global warming seems to be a bit of a stretch. Let's see what next year brings.
But it's not all bad:
In the short term, hotter temperatures might actually boost wheat yields, at least in some places. [Again, we are talking half-a-degree Celsius over 50 years.] A study of western Australia, a key wheat exporter, found that, up to a 3.6˚F rise in temperature, yields increased. But a coauthor of the study, Prof. Senthold Asseng of the University of Florida, cautioned that this result might not hold true in locations closer to the equator, such as India, the world’s second-largest producer and consumer of non-durum wheat after China.
One rancher in North Dakota can see "thousands of wells outside his backyard":
Teddy Roosevelt, the godfather of American conservationism, used to hunt big-horned elk on these prairies. Now his former ranch overlooks land that is dotted with thousands of oil wells and enough pipes flaring natural gas that, like giant torches, the flares are visible from outer space.
His ranch must have quite an "overlook." The most dense (densest) area in North Dakota for oil wells is probably the Beaver Lodge field. I count 15 wells in one section (640 acres). It would take a lot of sections for a ranch to "overlook" to see thousands of wells. See Vern Whitten photography to see how "crowded" the Bakken is with wells.

But perhaps the best:
For North Dakota, the Bakken boom has been both blessing and curse. It has helped lower unemployment to 2 percent and generated enough tax revenue to give the state a $1.6 billion budget surplus. However, it has also upended the state’s traditional lifestyle and transformed a remote, ruggedly beautiful place into a sprawling, get-rich-quick industrial zone.
Check out Vern Whitten photography and see if you see the same thing. 

Williston is an industrial zone. Williams County can brag about being an industrial zone. But North Dakota is hardly an industrial zone. The oil patch in North Dakota, for all practical purposes, touches about six western counties. The oil patch barely extends to the center (if one wants to call Minot the center), and doesn't even come close to the capital (Bismark) or Devils Lake or Grand Forks or the big industrial city in North Dakota: Fargo.

Ah, yes, blogging. It doesn't get any better than The Daily Beast


  1. Hmmmmmmmm....

    how about I put on my "grand wizard" hat and change this forum to full
    moderation so that the only posts that appear are those that I want to
    appear -- like happens on other websites which you probably visit?
    That way there there will never be any disputes about what is
    political because I will stop whatever I think is political from every

    That would fix the problem and that way no one could ever post a reply
    that I don't like -- which other sites seem to enjoy doing.

    1. I had to chuckle, also, when I saw that (the comment above).

      For newbies: the above comment is a "cut and paste" from a "discussion group" that has very, very strict rules about what can be posted.

      When I stumbled across that comment, I read the thread it was in to figure out what it referenced: three comments immediately before the comment above had been deleted and I have no idea what the comment was in reply to, but I can imagine.

      I can't make this stuff up.

  2. It's helpful to look into the identity of the author, Mark Hertsgaard. His own site calls his latest book "a father's cry against climate change." He lives in San Francisco. It would be natural to glibly call the entirety of North Dakota an industrial zone if you'd never traveled around the state.

    1. Thank you.

      Yes, I thought that was most laughable: even in the oil patch, only a relatively small geographical area is actually an "industrial zone."

  3. The pathetic thing about this article is it is passed off as some kind of higher thought among the arrogant elitist crowd who think they are having a discussion on a higher plain than the commoner.

    I notice very little sourcing when figures are stated but I guess that is unimportant when they are having a arrogant elitist discussion.

    1. Agree completely.

      I still can't get over the one-half Celsius degree over 50 years. That's incredible.

  4. Morning Bruce,
    While sitting in the waiting room at hospital in Fargo, ND I picked up the Tuesday issue of Fargo Forum...article about cow tails falling off in herds located in oil patch...Believe it was Tues issue, but may have been Monday.
    Thought you may be interested.

  5. I saw the article (about tails falling off cows) and made the smart decision not to post it. Some stories are so "beyond the pale" even I can't bear to link them.