All wars have one thing in common. People stop attempting to compromise. They cease trying to understand, and instead enforce their own understanding in a sort of, “Understand this, buckaroo,” manner.
The odd war the United States now finds itself plunged into is no different. The current war may be a war like no other, but it holds the same unwillingness to talk. The people attempting to create a new order, a new “reset”, have their minds made up and have no desire to hear how they may be mistaken, nor how there may be a far Better Way. They are convinced their solution is best, just as Hitler was convinced his “final solution” was best, and they are utterly and completely committed to their cause. They may pretend to be non-violent and intellectual, but their behavior is in fact as insane as that of a Viking berserker, with eyes rolling and tongue out and spittle flecking beards (or mascara.)
Such behavior always comes as something of a surprise to spiritual societies. The attack always is a sort of Pearl Harbor. Spiritual people understand peace is far better, and therefore the idea of ending-peace is such a stupidity they can’t imagine any would be stupid enough to pursue it. Yet some do. Peace threatens them in some way. So, they imagine there is no alternative but war.
How could peace be threatening? Well, peace is not a static thing. Peace is not, as some believe, a sort of stagnation. Rather it is rich, and full of newness, like sunrise or springtime or healing. After a long night, few greet the dawn by saying, “it’s the same old dawn.” After a long winter, few are so cynical that they greet the spring by saying, “it’s the same old spring.” And, after time at death’s door, few are so ungrateful that they greet healing by saying, “it’s the same old healing.” And in like manner, peace is so full of creativity that you can’t say, “it’s the same old peace.”
Peace is threatening to those whose idea of progress is to have more and more of the same. Some so-called progressives are stuck in the mud. For example, in 1860 the owner of a plantation’s idea of progress might be to own more and more slaves, in which case he would be threatened if peace ventured the idea that slaves should be freed. He would claim he was progressive, and peace threatened progress, and would declare war on peace. Which is what happened, in 1861, and in some ways is happening, now.
The weapons in the weird war we are within are not bombs but brains. I could (and perhaps should) go on at great length about the ideas involved, but for now I’ll leave that to others. It seems enough, for this post, to simply outline the parameters, to begin with. And then?
And then to simply confess it really sucks to find myself in the midst of a sort of Pearl Harbor I did not expect, or want, and certainly don’t approve of. Not that I didn’t see it coming, in some ways, but I always held out the hope that the people with foolish thoughts could be talked out of their foolishness.
In terms of the Global Warming debate, I felt that if we simply talked about the facts, we would see that much of the worry was needless. And shouldn’t people be happy to see they didn’t need to worry so much? What I did not see was that the worry was a weapon, and necessary for those who itch for conflict and are unfriendly towards peace.
Well, they have had their way, and now the conflict is upon us. In many ways their foolishness is emphasized and exaggerated to such a degree that their weapons are shooting their own feet, which are in their mouths. It is painful to be American, these days, with so many so-called “elite” people behaving like jackasses, especially when it includes our president, the so-called “Leader of The Free World.”
It is also hard to be American because the bomb-blasts of the weird weaponry have hit home. They’ve made our lives hard. Who could imagine schools and churches and local pubs would be closed? The economy is reeling, and it is hard to pay bills, or to hire help. Yet equally amazing is the resiliency of the average American. Those who wished to hurt America must be unpleasantly surprised. When they closed schools, home-schooling surged. When they closed churches, the number of “small groups” exploded. And when they closed pubs, friends quietly met friends, and on-line cooking-classes got many more “hits”. To those who wished to hurt, each of these non-hurtful responses was a counterpunch., even a devastating uppercut. In terms of the weird war, the offensive attackers were sent reeling backwards.
(How odd. To simply be a peaceful people can deliver such an uppercut.)
And so it goes. We are in the middle of a war many pretend isn’t even happening. But I am under no illusions. I recognize bad people have thrown down the gauntlet and are playing for keeps. They are making fools of themselves by doing so. But we have a way to go before they surrender.
Now winter gets mean. Holidays are past
And trashed, and the business of bitterness
Sinks needle claws like a cat who's cast
Affection to white-fanged craziness.
Cold winds roar through evening's hilltop pines
And twilight's orange with no flame; "The cold
grows stronger though days grow longer;" (designs
Long known, but ever new as I grow old).
Winter's test gets crueler. No Florida
pensions for men like me: Face the last stand
Without hope, and don't call it horrid,
A bad deal, for it is noble. It is grand
To be good when your reward is but death
For your warmth defies cold, until your last breath.
Once I had no crimes to confess. I was
Pre-traumatic-stress, yet life was lonely.
My people were starchy, were Yankees whose flaws
Were made of correctness. I asked only
For closeness, for warmth, but they stood apart,
Needing their space, friends from a distance.
A child needs love's hugs pressed to their heart.
Detachment can't deny this insistence.
Freedom can't deny the free will
Be free with affection. We may need space
To be centered, but egos are evil
When they separate us from Love's saving grace.
Once, as a child, I stood in the sun
And caught a brief glimpse of how we are all One.
Actually, to quit the click-baiting, it is Dr. Roy Spencer’s site which is specifically degraded by Google, which has the utter audacity to call it “unreliable and harmful”. Dr. Spencer does a fine job of explaining his situation:
Personally, I am far more irate than Dr. Spencer appears to be. I hardly know where to start. Some behavior is so outrageous one tends to sputter, unable to articulate their indignation, and Google’s absurd and basically juvenile behavior prompts that response in me.
To begin with, the UAH temperature record has been an island of reliability in a maelstrom of bias, for decades. Spencer and Christi had to put up with uproars from Alarmists each time the temperatures sank, and uproars from Skeptics each time temperatures rose. Through all the bludgeoning criticism, (one time they arrived at work to find a bullet hole in the plate-glass window of their office, several stories up in an office building,) they have been open and honest, and rather than fighting critics they actually seemed interested and inquiring. A few times over the past 43 years they even decided certain, specific criticisms had merit, and tweaked their formula at arriving at a “world-average-temperature”. This of course created further outrage, and sparked worries that they were “selling out”, but they were scrupulously open and above-board when they made adjustments, and swift to answer all questions and share all their calculations. (NOAA and NASA have not been so above-board about their “adjustments”.) Consequently, the UAH temperature record has become a trusted go-to resource for those interested in the world’s weather, and how the climate is fluctuating.
The primary criticism of UAH has been that temperature alone is not an adequate measure to use, in determining if the planet is heating, because water vapor distorts how much energy is involved in raising a parcel of air one degree, having differing powers at various locations. For example, a teaspoon of water turned into vapor would raise the temperature of a square meter of air far more at the Pole, at -40 degrees C, than that same teaspoon would do at the equator, at +35 degrees C. Most of the recent warming has occurred over the Poles. Perhaps air over the oceans is more moist, due to the PDO and AMO being in “warm” cycles, and therefore subpolar regions are more able to affect the Poles with moisture. However, the critical debate which this sparks is not banned by Spencer, and actually occurs at his site. Lastly, his numbers are not tweaked in any sort of nefarious way to arrive at a result he desires, but simply are what they are, with weaknesses and strengths in plain sight for everyone to see.
The situation was quite different at NASA, where James Hansen tweaked temperatures over a period of two decades in order to create a graph which confirmed his biased belief in Global Warming, and also conformed to his political puppeteer’s tugging at his strings of funding.
(Hansen apparently achieved this tweaking by going over the data collected by observers over the past 150 years and deeming certain observers unacceptable or unreliable, while others were allowed.)
Objective onlookers obviously regard Hansen’s records with a cocked eyebrow, while Spencer and Christi’s UAH record is regarded with respect, and as being more “reliable.”
The concern is not that Spenser is “unreliable”, but rather that Google is “unreliable.” If you worry about others falling from God’s grace into a hellhole, one should not worry about Spenser, but about the souls of Google goons.
In spiritual terms, to embrace the false is a complete disaster, for what you are embracing is not real; in the end it is a nothing. By definition, the false is not true; it is not real. Therefore, when people say, “The ends justify the means”, and use that motto as an excuse for their own dishonesty, the ones they are fooling most are themselves. What they clutch is a shadow, a zero with no substance.
Falsehood may appear to pay off in the short term. For example, the tough (but not particularly spiritual) baseball player and manager Leo Durocher purportedly stated, “Nice guys finish last,” but, in the end, Jesus stated, “The last will be first.” Therefore, in the end, “Nice guys finish first.”
The poor “useful idiots” at Google think they are winners by tweaking their search engines in ways that cloud the Truth, but what they are doing, by making Truth harder to find, is embracing falsehood. It will not end well for them.
For all the shortcomings the UAH temperature record may have, it attempts to be true, and therefore is a reliable metric, in terms of what it measures. Science is the effort of imperfect people to grasp a perfect Truth, and as long as they never dishonor Truth, scientists stand with saints. Spenser does not deserve the disrespect Google smears him with.
I hate to sound like a geezer, but people have become wimps, in my humble opinion. It doesn’t take much to close things down these days. For example, we had a snow today. Less than four inches. No big deal, in the old days, yet this morning school was canceled before even an inch had fallen. I rolled my eyes.
I am not resorting to hyperbole, nor saying I used to walk to school and home from school uphill both ways, when I simply say we used to be tougher. We used to get through ‘flu season without closing down businesses and churches and making everyone wear masks, and we used to get through three inches of snow without closing schools. What the heck has happened to us?
Somehow, we seem to have raised a generation of wimpy weaklings. Not that my own kids are weak; (they had to be tough to put up with me). Yet even they are addicted to modern machines, and poke fun at me because I like to do things by hand. Then, when their machines break down, they don’t know what to do. I do. You do it by hand.
Sadly, I am reaching an age where it is becoming increasingly difficult to do things by hand. I have given up on spading my garden by hand, and resort to a rototiller, but if that rototiller breaks, I know what to do. I just can’t do it. I must hire some young person, but soon discover they can’t do it either. They don’t know how to do things by hand.
In like manner I used to shovel snow by hand. Even as a boy my pockets would jingle with silver quarters after a snow, and as years passed I grew so strong I could beat a snowblower down a walkway, and keep up with a snowblower on a driveway. I made some big money shoveling roofs. You can’t snowblow a roof.
I couldn’t beat a snowplow, but I did less damage than they do, and put the snow where people wanted it put, and never rolled up the turf of their lawns. But those days, when I could shovel like a whirlwind, are now in my past. I now own a snowblower. But when the snowblower breaks I know what to do by hand, and can do it, (albeit very, very slowly).
Also in like manner, when it comes to heating my home, I know how to use an ax and cross-cut saw and bucksaw, and how to split with a maul, and how to stack wood so it dries, and how to triangulate the wood in the stove. But I’m old, and therefore purchased a propane furnace, and also confess to owning a chainsaw. But when the economic machinery of home-heating malfunctions, and the price of propane gets too high, I know what to do by hand. And what’s more, I have actually done it, albeit very, very slowly. Under Biden, our economic machinery has malfunctioned, yet my propane bill is half of what it was, though the price has soared, because I slowly, slowly split wood by hand.
The fact old folk know how to do things by hand is not a reason to send them all outdoors. In actual fact, the old folk are supposed to be honored, and pampered, and they should sit around by warm stoves indoors telling good tales full of good advice. (Which is what this essay in fact does.)
The truth is: It is a bad idea to send old folk outside when things get slippery. In the past two days I’ve seen two old-lady-friends get badly hurt, because they needed to venture out. Night before last one slipped and fell and broke her thighbone up by her hip, which will require surgery. Today another hard-working woman was sent home from work at a hospital early through the snow, (not for weather reasons but for coronavirus-panic reasons), and, as she drove home, she hit an icy patch, rolled and totaled her vehicle, and ended up back at her hospital’s ER. Why were these elders out in the cruelty of winter? Why were they not safe at home?
I’ll tell you why, (and be grumpy about it). It is because the young are wimps, and can’t face what is at hand, nor do things by hand.
What is at hand is that the “grownups” are getting old, and it is high time for the young to grow up. But many youngsters are too feeble to do it. I am no longer shocked when it is grandparents, and not parents, who bring children to the Childcare I run, because the parents have problems, (or have actually died due to drug overdoses). And, if parents can’t even care for their own children, how can they care for their own parents as they become grandparents sinking into “second childhood.”
In some ways I suppose old-timers are reaping what they sowed, for when they were young hippies, they did not honor their elders, and said things like, “never trust anyone over thirty.” Now they are over thirty, indeed over sixty, and are learning turnabout is fair play. But please exclude me from that bunch. I was meek and did honor just about everyone older than me, (including some utter scoundrels). If it is true that “Nice guys finish last” I didn’t care, because it just seemed nicer to be nice. Now I cling to a hope given by Jesus when he stated, “He who is last will be first”, because it sure does seem that that the winners, the so-called “elite”, have made a total mess of things.
Things are shutting down for the flimsiest reasons. It doesn’t matter if it is the coronavirus or global warming or three inches of snow, people seem to use whatever as an excuse to be incapacitated. It seems the opposite of a “Can do” attitude.
However, it is amazing what you can do when you have to. In fact, there is a difference between a “Can do” attitude and “Must do” attitude. A “Can do” attitude still has an option to do otherwise, and in a way lives out in the suburbs of theory. A “Must do” attitude has no option because it lives in the slums, and the option is death.
Now that my spoiled generation of Baby Boomers is getting old, the option of death is drawing closer and closer, and it is getting harder to be suburban. The approach of death can turn even a mansion into a slum, and even people who never lived through the “School of Hard Knocks” are facing the “Must do” mentality.
What is that mentality? It is that when things shut down, you can’t just sit around looking hapless. If you remain hapless either you die, or (worse) you find a way to make haplessness pay, which only keeps you hapless: The beggar remains a beggar, the welfare-dependent remains a welfare-dependent, the slave remains a slave. Freedom requires more. The hapless must fight to be something besides hapless.
And what is that thing? Well, in a simple way it is merely to do things by hand. When the machines have failed, what else can you do? When the computers fail, what else can you do?
Allow me to give a simple example from my rural life.
Just because the Public Schools can close for three inches of snow doesn’t let me close my Childcare. Taxpayers pay Public Schools even if they close, but no one pays me if I close. So, I must manage to stay open, which involves moving three inches of snow. However, my snowblower ‘s drive-belt slipped off the pully, so I called my repairman. He informed me his wife had just slipped off the highway and rolled her vehicle and was in ER at a local hospital. (So, I learned about her story.) In any case, there was no way to repair the machine. What option was left?
I suppose, if they could close the schools, one option was to close my Childcare. I could weep and wail and pass the buck. The only problem is that younger people are better at weeping and wailing, and some have important jobs such as snow-removal or patching up people after snowstorm-car-crashes at hospitals. They weep and wail I can’t close; somebody’s got to watch their kids. So, I had to adopt a “Must do” attitude. And this left me with a pathetic option. When the machine breaks, and you must remove snow, what is your option? It is an old-fashioned object called a snow shovel.
I will confess I felt foolish, in this modern age, as I walked out with a primitive shovel to attack the mountain of snow the street-plows had made across the entrance to the Childcare, from only three inches. But I began. The young fellows zooming past in their four-wheel-drive pick-up trucks-with-plows looked at me, an old man with a white beard, incredulously, as I shoveled. But, very slowly, I shoveled. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I paused often to huff and puff and examine the way the snow fell, or watch an upside-down nuthatch peck at a tree, but I didn’t stop. To keep the toil from causing mental atrophy, I pictured the weather map, which had shown a weak low pressure heading out to sea over Cape Cod. It was a weak storm just sinking past 990 mb, nothing like the bomb between Cape Farewell on Greenland and Iceland, which had bombed out to an amazing 936 mb, a lower pressure than most hurricanes.
Now, if we had a storm bomb out like that off Cape Cod, we’d have a reason to close schools, but this dinky little thing? I watched the snow lazily drift in the wind, noticing the wind was shifting from the northeast more to the north. With Hudson Bay finally frozen, we’d get our first single-digit temperatures (Fahrenheit) of the winter, but the wind wouldn’t howl. In fact the snow burdened the trees, untroubled by winds. A nuthatch flew to a twig and dislodged a small avalanche of powder, bringing back a mood.
I reminisced, recalling a walk I shoveled as a boy in 1963, and the face of a person I haven’t thought of in years. But I kept shoveling.
Two hours passed. It’s amazing what you can do, when you have to. I’d cleared the drive’s entrance, and up the drive past the Childcare’s front gate and into the parking area.
Just then a thundering diesel pick-up truck pulled into the space I’d cleared. It was a child’s father. I informed him his kid hadn’t shown up. Hadn’t his wife told him? He said he knew, and it was a big mistake to keep the boy home, because his wife worked at home and couldn’t get her work done with the rascal bouncing off the walls, so they’d decided to chuck the kid outside, but couldn’t chuck the kid out in his pajamas, so first the dad had to retrieve the child’s snowsuit, which had been left at our childcare. He bopped inside and came back out with the snowsuit, and then, as he left, and because his truck had a plow, he dropped the blade with a clang and plowed a path to the exit. Then he backed up and did a second swipe, pneumatically tilting his plow to spill snow to the left, and then backed up and swiped a third time, spilling snow adroitly to the right. Then, with a jaunty wave, he drove off.
I weakly waved back. The man’s random act of kindness had, in three minutes, done the work my feeble shovel would have needed another two hours to do. Even as I weakly waved I muttered, under my breath, “What a show-off.” Then, just to show his machine did not diminish what my hands-on attitude had done, I walked about tidying up around the edges, muttering how messy plows are. However I confess I did feel a bit diminished. I would have had something to brag about if I had shoveled the entire lot, but he’d stolen my thunder. But not all of it. I had kept the place open; his mercy had only made my mercy easier.
I got over my muttering. As I drove back home I decided I actually could manage to be glad I didn’t have to shovel another two hours, and could even be grateful for the young man’s kindness. I got to sit by my fire, which is what old people are supposed to do. So maybe not all young people are hapless, (which disproves my original premise).
After all, if he hadn’t been merciful, I wouldn’t have the two hours it has taken me to write this post. And this post? It my mercy for roughly 40 viewers on WordPress who actually like my stuff, and also mercy for more than seven billion people on earth who don’t have to read it.
But the rest of the world? What are more than seven billion doing? They are closing down. They are saying schools must be closed. They are saying churches must be closed. They are saying restaurants must be closed. They are saying stadiums must be empty. For what?
After staring into the dark a while, I doubted seven billion would actually do that. It’s just not in human nature. So there. And that defeats my original premise as well.
Open winters are like bracing for blows
That don't come. Today a brown landscape
Greeted me as I stepped like one who knows
He hasn't got cancer after all. The cape
Of a super-hero seemed placed on my back
As I left the doctor's office. Escape
Had occurred. My worries turned out to lack
Reality. Still, it felt like a close scrape
And my step had a spring, eyes saw beauty,
And my heart brimmed with joyous gratitude
That there was no snow, and no grim duty
To shovel such white. Though it may seem rude
To say this to skiers, it does me good
To scuff through the leaves of a snow-free wood.
On this day six years ago, I was leaving the hospital, barely able to walk.
Here is a nice, current example of the Beaufort Gyre reduced and the Transpolar Drift enhanced, leading to sea-ice being flushed down through Fram Strait, which is occurring today, (January 3).
It is important to remember the motion of sea-ice is in constant flux and varies from day to day. For example, only a few days ago the condition was reversed, and it was the Beaufort Gyre that was greatly expanded, to a degree the Transpolar Drift was erased and replaced by what I call the “Cold War Current” (because this variance from ordinary currents would cause Russian “spy” ice-bases to drift from locations easily resupplied from Russia, and away towards Canada, leading to spy vs. spy shenanigans; [see CIA operation “Coldfeet” in 1962].) (For the opposite situation, wherein a USA “spy” satellite fell on sea-ice where Russians might get at it, see the fate of the satellite Discover 2 in 1959, [which prompted the movie “Ice Station Zebra” in 1969].) Here is an example of that “Cold War Current” from December 29:
The fact that the sea-ice is whipped first one way and then another, first speeding up and then slowing down, is the reason the sea-ice surface is twisted and contorted into piled-up pressure ridges separated by flat areas of thinner ice, where “leads” of open water have swiftly refrozen in the Arctic night. However, notice that in both of the above maps the sea-ice is heading down through Fram Strait and the east coast of Greenland. This is called the Greenland Current, but I call it the “Fram Flush”.
Not that even the Fram Flush ice-flow can’t be reversed. An example of such wrong-way-flow occurred back on December 2. (It also is a fairly good example of the “Cold War Current”.)
Now I should confess something which I don’t understand. It is this: Most of the studies I have perused which attempt to map the currents under the ice fail to show any such variability. This may be due to the limited amount of data available, and the limited amount of time data has been able to be collected. Besides an array of fixed buoys across Fram Strait, there have only been limited expeditions taking actual measurements, strings of readings from icebreakers which may number scores or even hundreds of individual readings, but each such reading is one-time-in-one-place, which cannot be compared with measurements in the same place weeks, months, years or decades earlier. This sparce information is fed into computer models which may then create a stability where stability does not exist, (accidentally enacting GIGO). I also assume this false sense of stability is to a degree necessary. Why? Because models are already smoking, just dealing with the variables they already accept, and to include additional variables might make them be too big to buy and too expensive to run. In any case we are left with a seemingly impossible situation: The currents under the ice are steady while the icefloes atop those currents are erratic.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to downplay the herculin efforts of the men who gather the actual data, often in extremely uncomfortable environments and even at risk of their own lives from frostbite, thin ice, or 1500-pound polar bears. Furthermore, I assert every scrap of data they gather has value. But I do feel puzzled by some of the conclusions arrived at, even early on in the discovery process. In a sense it is as one found apples and attempted to attach them to the branches of a walnut tree.
For example, a certain, inherant doubt in the idea that the erratic-movement-of-sea-ice is not reflected in the currents under the ice was created by the O-buoys, which sent out signals indicating their precise location, and through which it could be seen the sea-ice in Fram Strait pulsed in a zig-zag manner, responding to the tides. (Obuoy 9 was fabulous in this respect, as it arrived in Fram Strait. Even during a spell of calm winds, when only the currents under the sea-ice could move the ice, the buoy zig-zagged.) Also, on certain other, earlier occasions the famous “North Pole Camera” drifted upwind, moving against the wind, which had to have involved the power of a current under the ice. Yet the idea the currents were steady, even as sea-ice moved erratically, persisted.
Forgive me for this suspicion, but I got the feeling that the concept of “steady currents” was one of those so-called “narratives” which a young scientist would be ill-advised to question, if he wanted funding. I haven’t a clue why “steady currents” might be more “politically-correct” than “variable and meandering currents”, but it did seem that evidence “for” was welcomed as established fact, while evidence “against” vanished into the dustbin of unfunded and disdained ignominy. Perhaps someone can explain to me why “steady currents” were preferred. But it does seem that one reason that funding for drifting cameras on the sea-ice was discontinued was because such cameras (and attached instruments) gave the general public too many reasons to question the various “narratives”, while doing too little to actually support the various “narratives.”
One reason to support the “steady currents” narrative was that, while gales might rage to hurricane force above the sea-ice, waters beneath the sea-ice were sheltered by the ice and were tranquil and still. I myself accepted this as a logical deduction. However, the MOSAiC Expedition noted “unexpected turbulence” under the ice. What was unexpected manifested in the following way:
Apparently, a large pressure-ridge that thrusts up twenty feet is like any iceberg, with nine-tenths of its bulk underwater, and therefore must theoretically thrust down 180 feet. Such a pressure ridge, many miles long, is in essence a boat with a sail twenty feet high, and an oversized keel. When winds of hurricane force hit the sail, the keel also moves, and has an effect like the blade of a spoon, stirring the water it moves through. In cases where that “spoon”, 180 feet deep and many miles long, moved across or against the existing “steady current”, the result was “unexpected turbulence.” The MOSAiC researchers dared not go any farther than that, in their conclusions, for one does not want to stir the waters of the accepted narrative.
Truth, however, is constantly stirring the waters. It cares very little about what we think. (In fact, when Truth actually does respond to what we think it is often called “a miracle.”) (When personal preference effects science it is deemed “bias”, a forecast becomes a “wish-cast”, and ordinarily we expect failure.)
Truth does what is Truth, and is most harmonious to the entirety of Creation. Truth sees the Big Picture. And the Big Picture often allows meandering and seldom lets the straight remain straight, (or a “steady current” remain steady).
Think of a meandering stream, on those occasions when the meander abruptly becomes an oxbow lake, as the river cuts a corner. Or think of the jet-stream doing roughly the same thing, when a loop becomes a “cut off low” as the jet resumes a straighter course. And then assure me arctic currents never, never do the same? I’ll politely nod, but privately entertain doubts.
At this point I feel I should take a hard look in the mirror, and confess my own unwillingness to have my own ideas poked and prodded by doubts. Just because something makes no sense to me, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. For example, take a platypus…
That being said, let me say another maxim of the idea of “steady currents” seems to be “thou shalt not include seasonal variability.” This knocks me backwards flat on my butt, for there is no place on earth where seasons are so exaggerated and extreme as the arctic, as it shifts from total 24-hour darkness to total 24-hour sunshine. It shifts from temperatures which (almost) never allow melting to temperatures which (almost) never allow freezing. A factoid of the not-many-people-know-that sort involves the extreme heat at the Pole when the sun is at its highest: On the summer solstice the Pole receives more heat than the equator.
This factoid strikes some as sheer nonsense. After all, on the equator the sun beats down from 90° while at the Pole it slants down from 23.5°. However it takes the tropical sun an hour and a half to rise above 23.5° in the morning, and it spends its last hour and a half below 23.5° in the afternoon, and then it does not shine at all during the twelve-hour tropical night, as the polar sun just sits at 23.5° 24 hours a day. In other words, the tropical sun only beats the polar sun for nine hours a day, and during the other fifteen hours the polar sun accrues enough hourly energy to beat the equator. It’s a race where the turtle beats the rabbit, in the end.
In any case, during the polar summer the Pole recieves a big shot of energy, while during the winter it receives no solar energy at all, (except as imports from southerly winds and currents). “Seasonal variability” is extreme. How can currents not reflect such extremes, especially when our understanding is that freezing and thawing in some ways partially fuels such currents?
The “cause” of currents is a weave of many variables, the most stable (and easy-to-model) of which is likely the Coriolis effect. But let us pick another variable thread from the weave: Part of thermohaline circulation involves cold water sinking at the Pole and being replaced by warm water rising and coming north from the equator. (Yes, it is far more complex than that, but we are examining only one thread.)
One major contributor to the sinking water is salty brine exuded from the sea-ice as it freezes. Such brine is especially cold and especially salty, which makes it especially dense. (Such brine is even exuded from the so called “freshwater lens,” for such lenses are actually “brackish-water lenses” due to diffusion and the mixing caused by turbulent storms. Where “seawater” has roughly 33-35 parts per thousand of salt, I have seen water with as high as 32 parts per thousand called a “freshwater lens”.) In any case, most of the freezing occurs in a rush between October 1 and January 1, which would mean most of the cold, salty and dense brine sinks in a surge at that time. Conversely, during the height of summer enormous melting occurs and little brine at all is contributed to the thermohaline circulation, though (because sea-ice has earlier been liberated from much of its salt) a lot of relatively fresh water is added to the freshwater lens. Therefore it “should” follow that, because brine is added in such a pulsing manner, a current ought to pulse, and have a sort of heartbeat. Do they? Not according to the “steady current” school of thought. “Seasonal variation” does not exist.
Another seasonal surge is water added to the “freshwater lens” by the flow of arctic rivers. With the exception of the Volga, nearly the entire northern half of Eurasia floods into the Arctic, but not during the winter. During the winter the water is largely locked up as ice, and precipitation locked up as deepening snow. Even the world’s tenth largest river, the Lena, dwindles away until its waters can drop as much as sixty feet, and only 1% of its yearly flow reaches the seas in March. But when spring comes, look out! All that snow melts under the powerful summer sunshine, and the river rises back sixty feet. The chart below shows that one June the flow of the Lena exceeded 100,000 cubic meters a second, which is five times the flow of the Mississippi.
Other great arctic rivers show the same sort of surge in flow in the spring. For example, the Makenzie River rises from a flow of roughly 3400 cubic meters per second in March to roughly 20500 in June. This represents an enormous inflow of fresher and warmer water, basically all at once, to the Arctic Sea. Then the cessation of this flow is nearly as abrupt, in October. And I am asked to believe the flow of associated currents remains steady?
Considering a first surge of sinking brine occurs October to January, and a second surge in the size of the freshwater lens, due to both melting sea-ice and river-water, occurs May through August, I am not only surprised currents are expected to be steady; I am also surprised currents don’t reverse course entirely. After all, a lot of sinking brine creates a very good reason for water to flow in at the surface, but adding as much as a quarter million square meters of river water to the freshwater lens per second, at the surface, seems to give surface waters ample excuse to flow out of the Pole. After all, the river waters raise the physical level of the Arctic Sea, so it must depart, due to the law of gravity. The only explanation I’ve been able to invent may be sheer poppycock: The thickening of the freshwater lens presses down like a sort of CPR onto deeper waters, pushing the flow along the same route the brine takes.
At this point I feel I need to throw yet another wrench into the works. In the above case the thermohaline flow involves the decent of waters at the Pole, however lava at over 1000 degrees would create a plume of rising water right where it is supposed to be descending. This scenario seems to happen in the area of Gamel Ridge, close to the craters of three volcanoes two miles down called Thor, Oden and Loke.
As an aside, the discovery of these craters discredited a view held by some geologists that explosive eruptions could not occur under the extreme pressure created by having two miles of water overhead. Explosive eruptions occur when a volcano is uncapped like a bottle of soda, and bubbles form in the lava in the same way bubbles form in soda pop, only on a far larger scale. However, pressures are so great two miles down that CO2 exists in its liquid state (as it does inside a pressurized fire extinguisher) and dribbles of liquid CO2 have actually been seen exiting deep-sea vents. The assumption was that pressures were so great lave could never fizz like soda pop, and therefore explosive eruptions could not occur. However, a swarm of earthquakes in 1999 led to a sonar investigation of the sea-bottom by the icebreaker Healy and the submarine Hawkbill, and the existence of the craters was revealed. Obviously, the lava did more than ooze out. Further investigation seemed warranted, and funding was procured, and in 2007 cameras were sent down, and revealed the eruptions were so violent that despite the pressure and the density of water pyroclastic debris was thrown a mile from the craters.
A paper was published in 2008, and then something odd happened. Silence descended. Funding ceased. Forgive me for again being suspicious, but I can’t help but think that certain “narratives” were threatened. After all, it messes up nice and neat concepts when descending currents abruptly put on the brakes and become ascending currents.
“Nothing to see here, folks. Please move along.”
This brings me to a couple of events I observed last spring. First, an odd hole melted in the sea-ice over the Gammel Ridge, and continued to be melted independently to the shifting of the sea-ice. Concurrent with that event, the WSC (West Switzenberg Current) seemed to lose its power to melt the sea-ice on the west and north sides of Svalbard, as if that current had been weakened. It made a sort of common sense to me that the two events might be related, and that if waters to the north stopped sinking then waters to the south would be less inclined to be drawn north. But what do I know? Let me simply present the observations.
First hint of hole on March 27
Hole on April 20
Hole enlarging and melting “backwards”, (independently of ice’s drift). May 20
WSC melted ice well north and west of Svalbard on February 27
Ice advancing towards north coast on April 20
Thick Ice on north coast and thin ice on west coast on June 20
I should note that if the sea-ice had been similar back in the year 1596, Willem Berentz’s discoveries along the north coast of Svalbard could not have happened. And you have to admit that, if there was less sea-ice in 1596 than in 2021, it harms a certain “narrative” which stresses sea-ice is currently at “unprecedentedly” low levels.
I cannot help but wonder if other innocent observations of Truth, of fact, of what is happening right before our eyes, also threaten the “narrative” in ways I can’t even see. Perhaps the idea of huge amounts of lava under the sea suggests there are other factors besides CO2 involved in the shifts we see to our climate, and introducing new variables in some way threatens the focus on CO2 and CO2 alone. I can’t say.
In any case, variables do exist, whether we include them in computer models or not.
I’ll conclude by returning to how variable the drift of sea-ice is right now, and to my original maps of how that is currently moving. Today’s map (January 4) shows an Aleutian Gale has drifted north across East Siberia, and, nourished by a nice feeder-band of Pacific air, has become a “Ralph” of low pressure over the Pole. This has completely reversed the normal drift of the Beaufort Gyre.
The above is interesting, for ice from Russia is not heading towards Fram Strait, which makes it a “Cold War Current”, yet ice is also being pushed into Fram Strait, which makes it also a “Fram Flusher”. Having one does not disqualify the other.
My conclusion? Variations happen. Sit back and watch. To turn a blind eye because it violates some narrative or pet theory is to miss the wonder.
Venus is taking the plunge. After blazing in the evening sky as a marvelous Christmas-like star, it is swooping low, for it is about to cross between the earth and the sun. In fact, if you had the superb vision the homerun-hitter Ted Williams had, (I don’t), you would notice the orb of the planet enlarged as it aproached, which at first would make it brighter, but also you would notice it becoming a crescent, which, like the moon, makes it dimmer, (although Venus does not stay the same size as the moon does, but gets bigger and bigger as it approached the earth in the process of orbiting around to cross before the sun, when it is at its nearest.) It makes me wish I had eyes like Ted Williams, but all that my dim eyes can see is that the star, which not many days ago was high in the evening sky, is now sinking down into the ruddy glow of the twilight. From experience I know it will soon vanish, and not long afterwards the ruddy glow of morning twilight will witness the birth of a new morning star, rising higher and higher.
If you are into astrology this is a big deal, for it doesn’t happen every year, and also Venus is the planet controlling love, and to have it come so close to the earth has certain effects. I used to poke my nose into this subject, but discovered that, when it came to gaining any sort of advance warning, I had better luck predicting the weather, (and I wasn’t so good at that, either). But I still watch the stars, as they wheel and deal, because they are worthy of wonder, (but not worship.)
One interesting thing about the time Venus swings around to pass between us and the sun is that the planet is going the opposite way the sun is going, against the background of stars.
In actual fact the sun is not going, we are the ones going, but, as we swing around the sun it looks like the sun is moving. (Move your head, and it will look like an object halfway across the room is moving, against the far wall, though that object does not budge.) Because the earth moves 360 degrees around the sun, it appears the sun moves 360 degrees against the background of distant stars. This movement is steady and in one direction, through the twelve signs of the zodiac. Currently the sun is plodding through the thirty degrees astrologers call the sign, “Capricorn”, at a rate of roughly a degree a day. On the solstice the sun was at zero degrees, and the next day it is at one degree, and the next day at two degrees, and so on. Pretty simple.
But Venus is not so simple. As it swung around the sun it appeared, against the background of stars, to rush well ahead of the sun, until was more than forty degrees ahead, and shone high in the evening sky. But as Venus curves around it can only get so far from the sun before it reaches a limit (greatest elongation) and then seems to draw back towards the sun as it curves towards us. In terms of the background of stars it looks like it goes slower and slower, until it stops and appears to go backwards. (Retrograde motion). In reality it never goes backwards, however it looks like it is, in terms of the background of stars. It nearly gets to 26 degrees of Capricorn, and then, as it passes before the sun, it retreats to 11 degrees of Capricorn before, in the morning sky, the arc of its orbit, as it heads away from the earth, creates the illusion it is no longer heading backwards but forwards again, in terms of the background of stars. In terms of the morning sky it is still rising higher and higher, and becoming brighter and more glorious. However, in terms of background called “Capricorn”, the “retrograde” period is over. In terms of astrology, a second period some call the “shadow” occurs as Venus appears to retrace its movement from 11 degrees of Capricorn back to where it began at nearly 26 degrees of Capricorn. But in terms of the “closest approach” to earth, the excitement is over.
In terms of gravity, the slight tug of the “close passage” fades, and I stop looking for earthquakes. I say that as sort-of-a-geologist, who more disciplined and trained geologists might roll their eyes at. But occasionally my madcap observations even pekes a trained geologist’s interest. I tend to notice stray coincidences they did not note.
I like to be free and free people notice stray coincidences by-the-book people don’t. However, I also understand the risk of being so haphazard. No conclusion should be based on what you have only seen happen once, (because scientific discipline demands replication), and yet how much occurs because of once-in-a-lifetime events?
Therefore, I am of two minds. I observe, but also question:
One “event” I’ve observed occurs during the “retrograde” period of the planet Venus deserves questioning, but, for what it is worth, it is this: When Venus draws nearest earth, we earthlings inexplicably seem to be sentimentally drawn backwards; IE: In one way or another we are drawn down memory lane. Even if we have rejected our past, some person from the past reappears. It may be a dear friend, or some complete jackass. But for a time, we are distracted from going forward, by our past.
I would ask you to test this out for me. The current retrograde period of Venus started on December 19 and will end on January 29 (with the “shadow” ending on March 1.) But such a test is a bit foolish, for this period covers Christmas and New Year’s, which tends to be a period when people get together with those they haven’t seen in a year. Even for dysfunctional families, ’tis the season for dysfunction. So, the theory would be prone to verify, even if the planet Venus mysteriously exploded and vanished from the sky.
Instead, as it is it the season of “Aud Lang Syne”, I want to focus on the oddness of looking backwards, rather than forwards. It makes no sense, when you think of it. Who drives ahead focused on the rear-view-mirror?
Furthermore, often the past has held some trauma I deeply want to escape, and looking backwards is PTSD, a nightmare, a glob in my subconscious that rears up and drags me backwards. What good can come of looking back?
The good is something called “reconciliation”, which doesn’t fit the idea of PTSD. Rather than a nightmare, the past holds some semblance of sanity.
The very word “reconciliation” suggests the powers that divide us are overcome. The “Re” in “Reconciliation” is important. The word suggests those who were divided come together AGAIN. The peace which was shattered by war comes back AGAIN. The sweet love made ugly by divorce returns AGAIN. The focus is on a better way to be that existed BEFORE.
As a sometimes-bitter old man running a Childcare, I am often confronted by the reality of children in the BEFORE state. A few are sadly already traumatized, but most cannot suffer PTSD, as they live in a BEFORE. I have no idea what trauma may occur in their futures, nor what variation of PTSD that future trauma may create, but it is very obvious to me that the less trauma in their future the better, and that humans, down at their core, are the antithesis of trauma.
In other words, down at our core trauma is not what we are, but rather something which happens to us.
Therefore, the trick of looking backwards is to look past the trauma, which is a cause of PTSD and can be used as an excuse for bitterness (and even as an excuse to further war, which creates further trauma), and to see, past the trauma, reconciliation.
To arrive at this reconciliation is no easy thing, when we deal with people who strike us as assholes and jerks. To be honest, they seemingly deserve vengeance, a pop in the snoot. And, as I have a fiery temperament, I am far more inclined in that direction than towards what is conducive to reconciliation. When someone has screwed me over big time, I am not inclined to be forgiving in the slightest. Yet reconciliation is all about forgiving.
To be honest (and this is worthy of its own post) the only way I have learned to be forgiving is to be stuck with people for decades, with no chance of escape. (Many do not have this opportunity, as they live transient lives and never know their neighbors.) However, I have lived in the same town for over thirty years now. There are certain town characters who were jerks thirty years ago, and despite the efforts of many to reform them, are still jerks today. Yet, as strange as it sounds, when they now behave like a jerk I feel a fondness I never could have dreamt I could ever feel, when they behaved like a jerk thirty years ago. Rather than familiarity breeding contempt, it has seemingly bred forgiveness. In some way I have given up hope of ever reforming them, and making them model citizens, and am resigned to them being jerks. And apparently being resigned is important, on the road to reconciliation.
The people you are most stuck with, even if you are transferred hither and yon by the military or big business, are your brothers and sisters. And, as a baby-boomer, I had three brothers and two sisters, and all had to deal with the family jerk, who just so happened to be me. All efforts to make me a model citizen failed. And now we have gotten old. Rather than despising me, they are resigned to the fact I am what I am, and from that resignation has seemingly sprung the beauty of reconciliation.
Blame the planet Venus if you will, but reconcilliantion struck me as the most astounding thing. Here I was, the epitome of what defines a dysfunctional family as dysfunctional, returning to what seemed likely to be a furtherance of dysfunction, and it simply failed to happen. Instead, this year, we simply enjoyed ourselves. They enjoyed me and I enjoyed them.
It shouldn’t be so hard. It shouldn’t take a half century. It shouldn’t take Venus retrograde. All it takes is “a cup of kindness.”
I confess the title of this piece is intended to be click-bait. Not that there is not such a thing as a man-eating walrus, but I am primarily aiming at undoing the damage done to me by censors in control of Google search engines, and sites such as Twitter and Facebook. Somebody somewhere has decided that there must be no questioning of the theory of Global Warming, and I apparently have been deemed such a questioner.
Not that I am able to adhere to the discipline of strictest science. Mostly, often in an intentionally silly way, I merely point out stupidities. The media makes little attempt to fact-check, when it comes to such politically correct narratives such as the theory of Global Warming, and it is quite easy for even a rank amateur such as myself to point out glaring inconsistencies between their narrative and recorded history. So, I have done so, often in a spirit of good-natured fun, and apparently made enough people chuckle so that even my silly posts might get 500 views, and one post even got 5000. But then the censorship hit, and now I’m lucky to get 50.
This seems unfair to me, and to violate Free Speech, and so on and so forth until I have worked myself into such a tizzy that I decide to fight fire with fire, and to utilize the irresistible click-bait of man-eating walruses. I figure this will overwhelm the capacity of analog censors to silence me, and I may reach a few people actually interested in sea-ice, besides the many who will be drawn by man-eating walruses.
I happen to know a thing or two about walruses because my mind has a strange capacity to absorb trivia, and trivia about trivia, and even trivia about trivia about trivia. Originally my interest was Greenland Vikings.
Greenland Vikings were able to raise several thousand cattle, and over a hundred thousand sheep and goats, on Greenland during the first decades after the year 1000. We can’t do that any more. This tidbit of history is a historical fact that the media failed to recognize, while touting the narrative that it is warmer now than it was in the Medieval Warm Period. It may indeed be the fact that got me censored.
But my further investigation of Greenland Vikings noticed they survived even when their cattle, sheep and goats didn’t do so well, as the climate slumped towards the Little Ice Age. They turned to trading, and one thing they had which Europe thirsted for was walrus ivory. This led to many delightful sidetracks involving walrus ivory, which of course led on to further trivia about the actual walruses the ivory came from.
(If you are interested in sculpted walrus ivory from the twelfth century, run “Lewis Chesspieces” through your search engine.)
One bit of trivia that delighted me was how the Europeans envisioned that the creature the tusks came from appeared. Many of us know the legend of the unicorn sprang from tusks of narwhales, but what sprang from the tusks of walruses?
One legend was the legend of the “morse”, which apparently slept while hanging by its tusks from cliffs. (Of course, I came across this because the Alarmist media was stating Global Warming was causing large numbers of walruses to fall from cliffs in Russia.) In any case, here is a somewhat skeptical discussion of the “morse”, as seen in the fifteenth century:
One thing I noticed about the ancient descriptions about walruses was that they were described as meat-eaters, who might even chow down on a man. This seemed very different from the modern view, which sees them as practically vegan in their tastes. But I knew they did eat clams, and clams are meat. So, I decided to dig deeper. Did, perchance, they dine on other meats? A crab, perhaps? Or a lobster?
That was when my sidetracking got a bit of a surprise. I discovered certain walruses will eat seals. After all, a walrus weighs two tons, and a small seal is only a hundred pounds. It is easy to see who would win that battle. However, did they only scavenge dead seals, when at the point of starvation? Or did they go out of their way to hunt living seals? And here I got another surprise. Some of the biggest male walruses, with the broadest shoulders, seem to say “to hell with clams”, and prefer seals.
Of course, my skeptical side rears his head, but here is a summary of a paper by two scientists, published back in 1984:
One sentence from the article intreagued me. It was this:
“Our findings from the stomachs indicated that seal eating was 10 to 100 times more common during the 1970’s and early 1980’s (0.6–3.0%, N=645) than it had been in the previous three decades (0.07–0.20%, N=4015).”
This may demonstrate how far trivia leads me afield, and you may ask, “What does that have to do with sea-ice?
The answer is that sea-ice expanded to a high point in 1979. The media was producing sensationist articles about a “Coming Ice Age”, rather than “Global Warming.” And the expansion of sea-ice meant there was less open water for walrus to hunt clams in. It also meant that seals and walrus were crowded together. So what was a poor walrus to do?
Now we come to the crux of the matter. Could a walrus mistake a human for a seal, and attempt to chow down on a man? And, because walrus were equally stressed back when the Medieval Warm Period’s open waters were giving way to the Little Ice Age’s thick ice, (ice which led to Iceland being icebound and ice fairs on the Thames in London), could not the poor walruses become so ferocious that they resembled the “morse” of lore?
Sadly, I couldn’t find a single example of a man-eating walrus on the web. And if you can’t even find it on the web, where you can find many unlikely things, then it likely isn’t worth thinking further about. So I stopped looking, although, as I have explained, trivia has an odd habit of persisting and lurking about in the dimmer recesses of my mind. But I gave it no further thought, until……TODAY!!!
Today I was just lurking around during my spare time (which I have too little of) looking for sanity on sea-ice sites (which there is also too little of) and I visited the zoologist Susan Crawford’s “Polar Bear Science”, to see what the polar bears were up to. It just so happened that she recommended an old video from 1986, “back when science hadn’t become so political.” I thought that might be a refreshing change and sat back to watch.
This video, called “Edge Of Ice” by William Hansen, is about the wildlife of Lancaster Sound, well north of Hudson Bay. Like many nature-documentaries it includes long spells of music where the narrator seems to have fallen asleep, but I didn’t mind because I happen to like views of sea-ice, especially underwater views. But what was especially unique was that it was not merely the narrator talking (where often one feels the narrator has never visited the arctic) but it also included the voice of an actual Inuit, describing how he hunted on the edge of the ice. And this Inuit, in a most offhand manner, casually mentions that one needs to be wary of walrus, for they can eat a man. It is amazing how casual it is; the music doesn’t even pause or become more dramatic; it is as casual as it would have been if he stated “Water freezes when it gets cold.”
If you want to see it for yourself, watch the wonderful video. (Hint: it is towards the end of the first half; and the video is 55 minutes long.)
To conclude,yes, it may be possible Walruses indeed do eat people. Not that I say this with any scientific certainty, but I say it in my mischievous manner, hoping to stimulate discussion. Science is all about discussion, as imagination wages its ceaseless battle with reality. Is such a thing possible? Well, let’s talk about it. Why not? Why censor?
I likely should end with a disclaimer, just in case any walruses are reading this. I am not saying that walruses want to eat us. After all, Great White Sharks don’t want to eat us; it just so happens that a surfer in a black wet suit resembles the seals the Great White Shark wants; apparently we don’t taste all that good, and the shark swiftly spits us out, but alas, by then it is too late. The damage has been done. And perhaps the same is true for walruses. Further research is needed. Please send funding.
I heard a good ghost story recently; not a creepy one but a happy one, and I’d like to share it with you, in my longwinded way.
Back in the 1940’s a farmer could make a modest living in these parts simply by raising a hundred chickens, and selling the eggs to a middleman who sold them in Boston. Some farmers expanded to having several hundred hens, but the eggs were produced on a small scale, compared to how they are produced nowadays.
The farm where I now run my Childcare was a chicken farm back in those days, and the farmer’s sons included two who stayed in town and also had chicken farms of their own. Even after the farm my Childcare is on was sold, the sons remained in town.
By the time I first visited “my” farm in 1968 its henhouses were in ruins, merely fieldstone foundations, plus a concrete slab where the incubator had been. The chicken farms were becoming less common, but a few of the larger ones still survived, and teenagers my age still made some spending money working in the reek, gathering eggs and shoveling chickenshit and sometimes carrying hens upside-down by their legs to move them from one pen to another, or to be turned into soup when they stopped producing.
I’m friends with a couple of old men who worked on such farms, and neither is all that fond of eggs to this day. But “my” farm (actually my father’s) had no chickens, and my stepmother swore she would die before she ever raised any, (because she had raised them as a girl and one rainy day had slipped on wet plywood into an oozy lake of poop). So I was spared such trauma as a teen, (and instead developed a deep distaste towards digging fenceposts in stony soil.) Then I hit the road in 1972, and, after traveling the world, only returned in 1988, (supposedly only for two weeks, but I met my wife).
By 1988 the last chicken farm was gone, as people had found construction was far more profitable. Some of the builders in my town gained international reputations or came up with inventions that made them quite rich, while others lived modest lives not much different from the lives the chicken farmers lived, raising children in a country town where people knew their neighbors. As I’d been gone for sixteen years, I had a lot of catching up to do, (and I’ll never match my wife’s ability to chart who is related to whom), but I soon learned that the two sons of the original chicken farmer who owned “my” farm were still around. They’d started families at a young age, and their children were older than me, and some children even had children, who were still around town. (So you can see why you need a chart).
Many old farms had dumps, as there wasn’t much trash in the old days, beyond bottles and cans which were often reused. (Paper was burned.) Around 1991 I was cleaning up the broken glass in the dump behind the ruins of the chicken house at “my” farm, when I discovered a silver spoon. It was a baby spoon which likely had been thrown out by accident. It had an initial on it that matched the family that had owned the farm in the 1940’s. I thought it would be a good joke to return the spoon and say, “I found something you lost.” So I did, but I got the generations mixed up, and the fellow I returned the spoon to laughed, “No, this was likely my Dad’s spoon, or one of his siblings. He grew up on your farm; I grew up on a different farm.” But my reputation was enhanced because I cared more for returning the spoon than for keeping silver. We became friends; not close friends, but friends in the way that knits small towns together.
Then thirty years passed. We got old. Unfortunately, the fellow I returned the spoon to had a hereditary ailment which made his life rough. Not long ago he said to his son, “I don’t much like being lame. Do you know what the first thing I’ll do will be, after I die? I’m going to jump and click my heels.” This was spoken in private, only to the son.
Then he caught the coronavirus, and after a battle in a ventilator, the good man passed away. Shortly afterwards, as the family gathered to mourn, a young granddaughter said, “I saw grandpa in a sort of dream, only I was awake. I saw him walking down a summer road, and, as I watched him, he jumped and clicked his heels.”
It’s hard to feel bad for a fellow clicking his heels. We grieve for ourselves, and because we miss people.
My wry sense of humor wants to let slip
Some joke about how Christmas's feasting
And napping doesn't seem like true worship.
Gluttony and sloth seem more like a bee's sting
Than like honey, and yet, all the same,
They drop the hardship, and just celebrate:
I dream by the fire, and see in each flame
The passage of sixty years, and await
Whatever is next completely assured
Light is our leader. Death has no bee sting
When death will see all age's aches be cured.
The bent will straighten, will walk whistling,
And will click their heels. Age is just a mask
We will some day drop. What more could you ask?
Hudson Bay is a relatively landlocked extension of the Atlantic Ocean in northeastern Canada of considerable size. It amounts to nearly a half million square miles, and has a definite influence on surrounding land masses, having a “maritime influence” when it is unfrozen, and a chilling influence when it is ice-covered. I am sensitive to this difference because autumnal gales often park over Labrador, wheeling winds over Hudson Bay and then down to where I live in New Hampshire. Our first arctic blasts cross over Hudson’s Bay’s waters, and while the waters are open the winds are warmed quite dramatically. Through the wonders of satellite technology, the air temperatures can be mapped, and it can be seen how air as cold as minus forty is warmed to freezing by the passage over liquid water. However as soon as Hudson Bay becomes ice-covered the air is not warmed so dramatically, and in fact once the ice thickens to several feet thick air can even chill over the bay, due to radiational cooling during long, starry nights. In essence Hudson Bay turns from an angel to a devil, in terms of New Hampshire, as its winds turn from being gentled to being bitterly cold.
The change can occur as early as November, but usually occurs in early December. It always amazes me how swiftly a half million square miles of open water turns to an ice-covered sea. This year it was a little late (and I am a bit surprised no Alarmists noticed the lateness, nor produced sensationalist headlines about how the lateness proved the world was warming, and we are all doomed.) Susan Crockford announced polar bears were moving out onto the new ice on November 26, and that this was 3 1/2 weeks later than 2020, when Hudson Bay was more than half frozen over by November 26.
One thing I try to adhere to is the avoidance of “cherry picking” while observing the sea ice. There is always variety, and it becomes silly if you only pick the places which support your view (less ice, if you are Alarmist, and less open water, if you are Skeptic.) Susan pointed out a perfect example of this in a prior post, where she compared the years 2020 and 2021, on November 23. Here is 2020:
And here is 2021:
Now, if you are an Alarmist, you can point out how much less sea-ice there is in Huson Bay in 2021 than in 2020, but if you are a Skeptic you counter by pointing out how much more sea-ice there is north and south of Bering Strait (or east of Svalbard.) All in all, it matters little, unless you live in New Hampshire and hope Hudson Bay stays open and continues to moderate the arctic blasts from the north.
At first the ice tends to form a skim at the very edges, especially on the west side where offshore winds are most bitterly cold. This thin ice tends to be piled up along the shoreline when winds swing around and become onshore. This year the growth was very slow until around December 3:
This “shorefast” ice cannot extend very far out to sea as long as the water temperatures are above freezing, and a sunny summer had the waters of Hudson Bay especially warm (the summer storm track was dented south.) However the onset of very long nights and very short days, with shallow sunshine, swiftly chills the waters, until a sort of flash freeze occurs, and the entire Bay ices over in roughly 14-21 days. Here is the ice cover on Christmas:
The darker lilac hues represent ice more than a foot thick, and the dark patch in the center of Hudson Bay is a bit of a mystery to me. Usually, the thicker ice is shorefast ice which was pushed away from shore (for example, in northwest Hudson Bay,) but this thicker sea-ice was home grown. More mysterious is that it lies in the same area which resisted freezing longest, open water which even paused the expansion of sea-ice for several days, roughly ten days ago. I assume the resistance allowed the ice to be piled up more, as waves had more time to do their stuff. But that is only a guess. (This is just an example of how, if you keep your eyes open, and don’t close your mind with preconceptions, the daily doings of the sea-ice can be filled with wonders to wonder about.)
One thing I like to wonder about is the astounding amount of heat released by these flash freezes. After all, what is the difference between water at thirty-two degrees and ice at thirty-two degrees? The difference is that the water molecule holds heat, as latent heat, and in order to freeze that molecule into a crystal that heat must be removed. When you are watching a half million square miles freeze in 21 days you are seeing latent heat released at a rate of roughly a thousand square miles an hour. Don’t ask me for a number in terms of calories, but it has got to be a lot, and is a last gasp of warming for New Hampshire. There is no noticable uptick in temperatures, except for the winds sweeping south across Hudson Bay. And then?
And then the tundra, (which truly isn’t barren), most deserves to be called “the barrens”, because it sucks the heat of life up at an amazing rate, especially north of the arctic circle where the sun never shines. You can witness the fierce chilling by tracking a milder mass of Atlantic or Pacific air when it has the misfortune to be drawn north into the deep freeze. The airmass chills swiftly, at a rate of five to ten degrees a day (depending on cloud cover), until, within a week, you can’t differentiate it from the deep blue air of the Pole on the isotherm maps, (deep blue meaning the air is down near thirty to forty below.)
Once Hudson Bay is frozen there are no truly enclosed areas of water left to freeze, and all further increases in sea-ice occurs along battlelines between ice and water, between the frozen Arctic Sea and the open Atlantic, or between the open Pacific and ice attempting to extend south from Being Strait and east from the east coast of Siberia into the Sea of Oshkosh. In such battles the ice sometimes advances miles when the winds are north, and then retreats miles as winds swing around and ice is crushed. For this reason the “extent” graph is slower to rise, and in fact there even seems to be a pause in the “extent” graph, every year, marking when the freeze of Hudson Bay is complete.
This year the increase in extent shows a slight slowdown as Hudson Bay completes its freeze, but otherwise continues to merrily rise and stay ahead of prior years. Not that “extent’ truly means all that much at this time of year. For example, one only needs to look at the 2020 line in the above graph, (yellow-green), and one can see 2020 had the highest extent of the past six years, in March, yet by early September it was lowest.
The problem with “extent” this time of year is that it involves the aforementioned battlelines between open sea and the arctic icepack, and this ice-edge depends greatly on weather patterns. Also, it battles over areas which will be open water as summer sets in. Although the “extent” will increase by more than two million km2 by March, it will all be along a southern periphery which the cold will retreat from, as warmer days arise. All the sea-ice in the Sea of Oshkosh will vanish, and even much of the ice in Hudson Bay will be gone.
The summer thawing of Hudson Bay is no new thing. After all, Henry Hudson “discovered” it by sailing it in the summer of 1609 (and the poor fellow was marooned there when his crew mutinied.) In the more than four centuries since, I can find a few summers when the Hudson Bay Company could not be resupplied, but that seemed to be because sea-ice clotted Hudson Strait to the north, and not the Bay itself. For the most part winter sea-ice is a “here today, gone tomorrow” proposition. Nearly two thirds of the sea-ice “extent” vanishes every year. So why do we bother with it?
Partly it is because, as I mentioned earlier, it seems to matter here in New Hampshire. We’ve had a relatively mild December, and I’ve been able to wear sneakers rather than boots, and I don’t think it is sheer coincidence that Hudson Bay was late to freeze. However now it has frozen, and I will not be at all surprised if it grows abruptly colder, and I don boots.
Also, the patterns that shift ice about do have an effect on the long-term growth and shrinkage of sea-ice in the arctic. Often the relationship between causes and effects are more complex than you would initially suspect. For example, temperatures up north of 80 degrees latitude have been colder this year than last year. Here is the graph for last year:
And here is the graph from this year:
Now, my initial response is to assume that though both years are above normal, (the green line represents normal), the past autumn got colder faster and remained colder overall, and with the blue line in the above graphs representing freezing, it can be seen the past autumn saw temperatures dip to thirty below freezing, (Celsius), and therefore there must have been more sea-ice created.
But at that point a voice in my head states, “Not so fast, Buckaroo.” There is another way to look at the above graphs. It is to add up the area between the green line and red line,and understand that also represents the amount of heat the arctic lost to outer space. And, in those terms, it can be seen that 2020 lost more heat than 2021 did.
There were two reasons. First 2020 began with far more open water, so the Arctic Sea itself lost more heat. Second, 2020 saw more intrusions of sub polar air, which means the sub polar regions lost more heat.
In the end I have to decide which year is more likely to increase sea-ice. With the authority vested unto me I declare I haven’t really got a clue. I simply watch, wonder, and wait.
A very good measure should be the “volume” of sea-ice, but, as I explained in an aggrieved manner last post, DMI “adjusted” its volume graph, and 2021 went from having the highest volume in recent years (and being above the gray line of “normal”) to being third highest. In any case, it is far above last year’s.
As I watch, wonder and wait, I look for situations which can result in an increase in volume, at least in the short term. Hopefully I’ll find time to delve more deeply into this subject in a future post. But, for the time being, I keenly watch to see if a lot of sea-ice is being flushed south through Fram Strait (which can have fascinating consequences I hope to address in a third post.) If this ice is not flushed south, it is retained, and simple logic states the volume of the sea-ice in the Central Arctic, (which is the ice that matters, after the edges melt away next summer), will increase.
One feature I am watching is a slender crescent of thicker ice north of Svalbard, about halfway between the Pole and Franz Josef Land:
If this feature heads towards the Pole (as occurred last winter) volume is more likely to increase than if it is flushed south through Fram Strait. And what is it doing? It is hithering and dithering, first moving one way and then the other. Today it was nudged towards the Pole by a flow up from the Kara Sea.