I try to see the bright side of things, and one nice thing about having an elderly mother-in-law to care for is that, even at age seventy, I still get treated like a young whippersnapper. Of course, this also means that like Rodney Dangerfield, “I get no respect”, and it can be a bit wearing at times.
I tell her not to walk her dog up to a dangerous curve on a nearby country road, especially when it is narrowed by snowbanks after a storm, but later look up the road and see traffic stopped up at the curve, and even a front-end-loader stopped in a driveway beside the road with its scoop full of snow, as an elderly woman slowly crosses the road right on the curve with her alarmed little dog (who knows better) in tow. Her eyesight is bad, and this causes her to scrunch up her forehead and look cross even when she isn’t cross, and this apparently made people afraid to blare horns at her. In any case, she has proven no young whippersnapper is going to tell her where she can walk her dog.
Multiply this by twenty times and life starts to get draining. By fifty and she is almost as exasperating as the government, which seems to want to take a system that worked and utterly screw it up.
Lately life has left me feeling drained. It didn’t help matters that they stole an hour of sleep from us last Sunday, with the nonsense of Daylight Savings Time. Then we got hit by a major snowstorm. My wife and I were so worn out that a very nice Saint Patrick’s Day dinner we had on Saturday was in some ways just more work.
We sat down on Sunday and tried to plan a vacation, but even that made us tired. A sense of absurdity kicked in. When even vacations make you tired, perhaps you are nearing a sort of world-weariness some state is spiritually advantageous. I forget how the quote actually goes, but it is something like, “When even opulence makes you weary, your heart is making space for the Lord to walk in.”
When my wife and I got home after dark something happened worthy of a sonnet. Maybe it wasn’t a “sign” but I’m certain a Viking would call it an “omen.”
We're a couple old fools who have flunked a test.
Though we both make our bed we seldom get rest.
We try to treat all like they are a guest
Yet stumble and fall while doing our best.
We drove home in darkness. Silent was night
And our drive looked the same, lit by our light
But into its beams flew a shadowy sight:
An owl, with wide wings braking its flight.
It lit just above us, wisely looked down,
And melted away my face's sad frown.
Why should we interest this soul of the air?
What had we done? And why should it care?
I have no answer, but cannot refute
That souls from above us do give a hoot.
Socialists have never liked the freedom of small farmers, as the idea of liberty resulting in good things jars their concept of “collective” good. Stalin took this to an absurd length in his efforts to utterly wipe out the “Kulak”, who were seen as “class enemies” of the poorer serfs. Lenin described the Kulak as “bloodsuckers, vampires, plunderers of the people and profiteers, who fatten themselves during famines”.
In actual fact the last Czars created the Kulak in an effort to lessen the tendency of the serfs to rebel and join radical and militant movements, such as communism. Rather than veritable slaves who owned no land, the serfs were given the opportunity to borrow money and purchase land from wealthy landowners. In a sense it was a mortgage, which the better farmers paid back, becoming small landowners. Generally speaking, a Kulak was a small farmer who owned more than 8 acres.
As is often the case, the lazy did not become prosperous. It was the farmers with ingenuity and industry who became Kulaks. They produced a disproportionate amount of Russia’s food, and for the most part were conservative in their outlooks. Therefore they became the “petite bourgeois” communists despise.
Stalin killed roughly a million, either through murder or through starvation. He sent hundreds of thousands to gulags in Siberia, and more than a hundred thousand left for gulags but never arrived. Stalin felt that by removing such “weeds” the remaining population would be pure, and productive. In actual fact the production of grain plummeted, and there was a terrible famine, especially in the Ukraine, which is one reason there is animosity between Ukrainians and Russians to this day.
During the final days of the Soviet Union small farmers were once again allowed to farm small lots, and immediately out-produced the collectives. 5% of the farmers produced 50% of the food. This should teach a lesson, namely: People with ingenuity and industry have more value than lazy people.
Of course, it is deemed wrong to say any person has more value than another. And it is likely true that God cares for the lazy as much (if not more) than he cares for the industrious. After all, the lazy need help. They need motivation. Whether that help takes the form of a caress or a kick-in-the-butt likely depends on the person and the administrator. However, when it comes down to food on the table, having food has more value than lacking food; hence some people have more value than others, in that particular way.
In my time I’ve lived with many hardscrabble farmers who have first hand experience with the difference between feast and famine, and I found they had a sort of common sense which college students lacked. The college students borrowed money and ate in cafeterias, while the Navajo wove rugs and used the money they made to buy things their land could not produce, such as cooking oil. Their land could produce little that is needed to subsist on a vegan diet, but their land could support sheep. Therefore they ate a lot of mutton. In like manner the old New England farmers only had a little land they could grow vegetables on, but much stony land that could be used for cows, sheep, goats and pigs, and they tended to have diets which included meat and dairy products. Yet college students often looked down their noses at such practicality, and, if radical, tended to castigate non-vegan people, like Lenin cursed the Kulak.
I have tried to educate these idealistic, vegan college students, but usually have failed, and often have been dragged into arguing about politics which has little to do with eating. Therefore I was glad to come across this explanation of the practical side of farming, which I think every vegan should watch.
The Spring thrushes haven't come winging north
And all we have is our tiny winter birds
Hopping through twigs, but now they're bursting forth
With spring songs, heedless of how absurd's
Their pert joy, in a world howled white by snow.
They know what is still unseen by my glum heart.
Maples also stir sap, as they too know
Though they lack even bird brains..................................Just how smart
Is a man when, even though he's aware
The calendar speaks of spring, he can't help
But fight a demon of depressed despair
Which turns his crooned songs to a whipped dog's yelp?
Come on, sad heart; you can fake a few grins.
Pluck a bright banjo. Put away violins.
It has been a battle to even build a snowman this winter, with strong thawing so frequent. The children at our Childcare love an igloo, but often they have melted away even before the walls were halfway up. We did complete one in January, but it collapsed in a cold rain and soon was just the white letter “O” on the brown lawn. The one above is our most recent effort, over six feet tall and called “The Leaning Tower of Igloo”. It is also “The Last Igloo”, for two reasons. One reason is that it is March, and the sun is higher and stronger. Though we still have more than a month before pussy willows begin to bud, the snow shrinks so swiftly at times it is hardly worth shoveling it. The second reason is that I’m getting a bit old for such effort.
Not that a man is ever too old for a snow fort. I don’t doubt some stuffy bankers think they are beyond such childish sport, but that is because they never test their resolve. They stick to their daily duty and never dare leave the sidewalks and scoop a handful of sticky snow. If they did they’d realize they were like an alcoholic sipping just a single sip of whisky. Once they started they could not stop.
Nor is it that snow brings out the child in a man. In fact it is the other way around. Snow brings out the man in a child. There is something deeply civilized about the urge to build. After all, what is the dome of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome but Michelangelo’s glorified igloo.
Of course, I am no Michelangelo. Maybe I could be, if I had so many working for me, but I had to move the slushy snow, and my back stiffened up so I couldn’t flex as well, which is why the two sides don’t match.
Nature seemed to approve, as a retrograde gale up in Labrador brought us subfreezing gales and turned the slush to rock, and crusted the snow so the kids could run over the snow without sinking. Rather than melting my igloo nature preserved it. And the kids seemed to approve of the igloo as well.
Not that it will last. But the maple syrup other old men are tapping from trees will not last either. Some things are not made to last, but rather to be enjoyed, and hopefully this sonnet is such a thing.
The trees have sprouted buckets, and also tubes
Of modern plastic, as maple weather
Freezes the thaw each night, and frugal rubes
Get rich off sap. With skin like old leather
They concoct ambrosia, and city people
Escape concrete to inhale fragrant steam
And to worship, without any steeple,
A lifestyle so long lost it's like a dream.
At daybreak a big man can walk upon
A crust on snow that was practically slush
The day before, breathing puffs in the still dawn,
But I don't inspect buckets in that blush.
As winter birds sing spring songs, what I do
Isn't work; it's the play of my last igloo.
How great it is to laze in the morning,
To roll over, drift in and out of dreams,
And to arise without some screamer warning
Scheduling screeches snide timelines of schemes...
...To awake refreshed, without any girding,
And without feeling God is incomplete
If I fail to cross a T. If I sing
Or if I don't; if I'm sour or I'm sweet
Will not bring the universe to it's knees,
And the whole universe could abruptly pop
And God still would be God. Knowing this frees
Me from my stress. All my worry can stop.
Infinity's pretty darn big, I've decided.
A Unity boundless cannot be divided.
I’ve noted in earlier posts that a lot of the coldest arctic air has been dumped into the oceans this winter, out over the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific side, and down Baffin Bay past Newfoundland, as well as through Fram Strait, on the Atlantic side. This has given the big cities of Europe and of eastern North America a break, in terms of heating bills when prices are high. However it seemed to me that the oceans should be chilled, but there is only a slight sign of chilling.
I assumed this was because cold air has thinly dispersed molecules, while the water’s molecules are closely packed. The air is outnumbered, and is swiftly warmed as it passes over the seas. Yet there does seem to be slight cooling, as the clash between cold air and warm water creates an imbalance which results in the explosive development of storms, illustrated as follows in a paper by Josph D’Aleo:
These storms assume great magnitudes, though little noticed beyond those who risk sailing midwinter seas. Several have had pressures dive below 27.75 inches of mercury (940 mb) this winter, and such storms, while lacking the ferocious eyewalls of hurricanes and typhoons, often have gale, storm and even hurricane forse winds farther from their centers than tropical storms and contain more energy overall. All of this energy has been lifted from the seas, and much is dispersed to outer space, yet they don’t leave the distinctive stripes of cold water that hurricanes and typhoons do, as their low pressure is more dispersed, and also the waters at the very surface are not so warmed in midwinter as they are in the summer. Yet I have my hunch that, while the robbery of the ocean’s warmth is less obvious, it is occurring and ongoing.
Therefore, I noted with interest when places where people usually go to flee the cold reported snow on the beaches.
On the Atlantic side Mallorca was seeing snow right at the water, where late February temperatures usually range between 62 and 42 degrees Fahrenheit, and one beach had only seen temperatures dip below freezing a tenth of a degree, one time in its recorded history.
By the time I paid attention the cold storm was drifting off towards Italy, small but getting great attention, as far to the west yet another huge storm got no attention at all, out in the middle of the Atlantic, sucking very cold air out of the mouth of Baffin Bay, as had been happening all winter
In the above map a second unnoticed storm is roaring just southeastb of Svalbard, dragging cold air through Fram Strait. Most of the cold air is swung towards Norway, but a weak front has made it to Scotland. This invasion increases as the northern storm shoots a second, stronger cold front south, in the next map.
You’ll notice the storm making the news is weak, over Sicily with a pressure of only 1011 mb, while the storm south of Greenland has a pressure of 964 and hurricane force winds, yet generates no press at all. However, I have my hunch the Atlantic is being chilled in some manner which may not be reflected in the temperature of the air or water right at the surface, but may be more obvious 100 feet down or a thousand feet up.
On the Pacific side there was one of the oceanic storms which did generate media attention earlier this winter. Though the storm itself never came ashore, it’s southside winds directed an “atmospheric river” of moisture (the “Pinapple Express”) towards California, swiftly changing drought conditions to floods.
I don’t have fond memories of the Pineapple Express, because during my drifter years I arrived in California in December of 1982, and had a line of an old Al Stewart song stuck in my head for months, “It never rains in California…but girl, don’t they warn ya…it pours. Man! It pours.” That winter of 1982-1983 set an all-time record for rain, and the sun almost never peeked between the clouds. Most days were dark and dismal, and I have only two really happy memories.
One was when an older brother, perhaps noticing I was a bit gaunt on my emegency diet (rice and beans), took me out for a lunch of chicken enchilada verde, under a wind-whipped awning facing the sea. Surfers in black wetsuits were out creasing the sides of enormous waves, when suddenly they faded into a milky shroud, and for about five minutes the rain turned into a pelting shower of sleet. The pellets rolled off the awning and scattered across the wet sidewalk to cluster in puddles, and the situation was so absurd we couldn’t help but smile. My brother told me he’d never seen it sleet in Santa Cruz before.
The second happy occation was when the rain finally quit, which it did in April entirely, and without much adieu. The endless rain broke into a cloudless sky, and it didn’t rain for months. But the day the sun first came out I have never seen so many smiling faces in all my life.
In any case, I perked up with interest when I heard it didn’t just sleet on the beaches of Santa Cruz for five minutes, and there was even slush in tidal pools.
I was also interested because the rain was going to set yet another all time record. (The last time, after 1982-1983, was around ten years ago; that time it annoyed me because I could no longer brag that I arrived in California in the “rainiest year ever”.)
This does spoil the Alarmist narrative of several months ago, which involved predictions of a megadrought lasting until 2030, and ski areas closing due to lack of snow. Currently several areas are closed because they have too much snow.
In any case, I am not going to be a fool and venture a forecast. I am merely observing unusual snows coming in off the waters.
In jackstraw-sunbeams stray, bright flakes sail
As the chilling winds wail through the wires.
I chisel at walkways, cast salt from a pail,
And throw extra oak on all the fires.
Winter drudges on. Half the woodpile's gone
Like an hourglass running out of sand,
And though the days lengthen, it seems each dawn
Breaks colder, and that hope's fires I fanned
Went out. Sap's stopped running into buckets
By maples, and I tire of the many
Sounds of snow, hardly heard as a truck gets
Angry at ice. Some snow makes barely any
Sound at all. It starts silently falling
And men make the whining with all their stalling.
I thought that if we saw brown outs this winter they would be the sort that afflict an over-stressed electrical grid, due to Fraudulent Biden’s weird war against the middle class and fossil fuels. Instead it was a far more pleasant brown out, brought on by the melting of nearly all white snow. The benign pattern (unless you operate a ski resort) had storms passing to our west, swinging warm fronts past us and placing us in a warm southwest flow. When secondaries formed on the cold front or as “skippers” on warm fronts they never bombed out until safely out to sea.
In the map above the high pressure to the right is what I call the Bermuda High (though modern sorts seem to now call it the Southeast Ridge) and it is separated from the Azores High by a mid-Atlantic trough which has seemingly stolen all our thunder so far this winter, sucking in the biggest storms and coldest air. Our arctic air tends to be in that lobe of the Bermuda High extending north of the warm front, and has a hard time coming west as a back door cold front. However the above map has an actual arctic high coming via Calgary and the Alberta Clipper route, which suggests the brown out may not be forever and we had best enjoy it.
Lydia, my last surviving goat, decided she could leave her hay-pile and heat lamp in the shed and check out the garden, for some dried corn stalks, which she for some reason relished.
Goats like to be part of a herd, and Lydia doesn’t like being the last goat, and seeks a new herd when possible at out Childcare.
We definitely had rebounded from our cold shot, and hats and mittens were discarded all over the hillside, but a glance at the long range forecast warned another shot was in the works.
The high temperature of 39 on Tuesday was for early in the day, and the forecast snow was for late in the day, so everyone planned accordingly. Personally I planned to use the last of the brown out to load the porch and woodboxes, without annoying my wife by tracking snow all over the place. But, the best laid plans of mice and men…
And just like that the brown out was over. The question was, would this inch of fluff be swiftly melted by a resurgence of southwest winds?
Judging from the long range forecast above, a brief resurgence might have been expected Wednesday, but cold seemed to be pressing. The Bermuda High, suppressed to Florida in the map below, is in a fight with high pressure either side of Hudson Bay which, rather than being blithely pushed east, is starting to dig in its heels and do some pushing, showing signs of turning into a “blocking high pressure” which prevents lows (such as the one over the Great Lakes in the map below) from cruising north, but rather squishes them southeast, often as secondary “skipper” developments along the coast (as is the case in the map below.)
What happened was that low over the Great Lakes dissipated to a blip that barely gave us a flurry, as the coastal feature rocketed east to become a mid Atlantic Storm, which is what has happened over and over this winter, but the front it left behind was very different. It was a long warm front to the next storm, moving out of the Rocky Mountains. Formerly the Bermuda High would have whipped that front north, but now there was formidable Canadian High Pressure to the north, and even a weak cold front pressing south over New England. Battle lines were being drawn.
Yesterday provided just enough of a window to stack wood with a minimum of mess to my wife’s floors, but the blue sky grayed and by evening a silent snow was falling. By this morning I had three and a half inches of snow and sleet to shovel, and Lydia goat was nowhere to be seen. Smarter than I, she was basking under her heat lamp.
The sea-ice has been cruelly toying with the sensitive feelings of Alarmists, by having the “extent” graph adopt a saw-tooth pattern as we head towards the yearly maximum “extent”.
Now, you need to understand that each down-turning saw-tooth fills Alarmists with hope, for there is a chance that the maximum extent will be at a record low, which means, among other things, that the world is going to end, which is a good thing because it means you don’t need to worry about getting a Real Job and supporting yourself. Or, if you already don’t have a Real Job because you are a Climate Scientist of the unethical sort, that maybe you can glean some extra funding from politicians. But then, when the saw-tooths jump back upwards, you are plunged into gloom.
The gloom is because yet again the sea-ice “extent” looks like it won’t set any records. It will be low, as it tends to be when the AMO is in its “warm” phase, but it is refusing to plunge downwards in a “death spiral.” In fact you hardly hear that phrase used anymore, “Death Spiral”. Seems a bit odd, as it was on everyone’s lips a decade ago. How quickly they forget. Or, nowadays, bleach their computer records.
However the saw-teeth are interesting because they show how the passage of some Atlantic Storms, far to the north of their more ordinary paths, make an accordian out of the sea-ice, first compressing it, and then stretching it out.
This does reveal a weakness of the “extent” graphs and maps. To whit: The same amount of ice can have a differing “extent”. An area is deemed 100% covered regardless of whether the the ice is densely packed or thinly scattered, until sea-ice is less than 15% of the viewed water.
In other words, the condensed sea-ice may be the same amount as the the spread-out sea-ice, like the difference between a pat of butter, and that same pat spread out over toast. It will make a big difference in terms of “extent”, but in terms of “amount” there is no difference.
Over the years I’ve learned to keep such awareness in the back of my mind, as I watch the sea-ice do it’s thing. After being fooled one develops a sort of caution, and understands things my not be as they seem. A large “extent” may be largely illusion, if it is mostly water and only 15% sea-ice, while a smaller “extent” may endure, if it is 100% ice. One seeks out ways to gauge sea-ice beyond “extent” graphs.
The “volume” graphs are interesting and helpful, but, because they are models, they contain some assumptions which can result in embarrassments.
The “thickness” maps are best, though they tend to “average” thickness, so a single thick berg next to open water looks like an area of thin ice. When possible satellite pictures help verify what is actually there. But clouds get in the way.
If I get the time (unlikely) I’d love to paste pictures to illustrate what the above paragraphs describe, but for the moment I’ll just describe a couple interesting things I’ve noticed this winter.
First, the weather patterns the first half of winter have allowed an extra export of sea-ice, not only through Fram Strait on the east side of Greenland, but through Nares Strait on the west side, down through Baffin Bay. Along with the sea-ice there will be the contributions from glaciers.
This will be interesting to watch. Arctic winds do not chill the southern waters much, because for each molecule of cold wind there are thousands of molecules of warm water. However sea-ice and icebergs are different; they bring thousands of cold molecules. When the ice hits the Gulf Stream, what will happen?
This is interesting because cold currents tend to sink below warm waters, but ice cannot sink. Also fresh water has a hard time sinking in salty water, and “freshwater lenses” may accompany the sea-ice south. Can this change the Atlantic’s sea-surface temperatures to a degree where it chills Europe? (Cue ominous music.)
Another thing interesting to watch is the situation in the East Siberian Sea. Some multi-year sea-ice got swung over there, and there has been some extreme cold, and the result is that the sea-ice there is thick, and has been immobile. To be immobile is actually unusual in an ocean as active as the Arctic Sea, and even gets a special name, “Fast Ice.” And for a month the East Siberian Sea has been behaving like it is not part of the rest of the grinding, rushing, swirling ice, but is frozen solid. Not that this will last, but it is worthy of a “Hmm…”
I hope to comment further as we reach the yearly “maximum extent”. Until then…
We have been spared the more brutal side of winter (so far) but there have been a couple of cold shots, brief reminders we’re not off the hook. They are like a left jab in a fist fight, quick and then gone, but you notice you are a bit dizzy.
The cold air really has had to work to reach us, as the pattern wants to divert it all out to sea. A couple of maps will demonstrate how the cold air had to back track from Baffin Bay, rather than taking the normal route down the east slopes of the Canadian Rockies from Alaska. Then cold swiftly is sloughed off to the east, and we are back into a more benign southwest flow.
The first map shows a bombing-out low in the upper right corner, in Baffin bay, delivering much of the arctic air associated with it into the Atlantic east of Labrador, but a little is leeching west into the northern lobe of a mostly moderated high (“polar” rather than “arctic”) which is following a mild storm crossing New England. Because New England is in the warm sector, and because the following high pressure is not particularly cold, the weather bureau had to be on its toes to alert people to the sneaky cold coming around the top. They did a good job, but people still got caught off guard. Sneaky cold is called “sneaky” for a reason.
My own experience was perhaps typical. At 2:30 we were still enjoying near-record warmth at 55 degrees, (12.8 Celsius), and I was enjoying walking around fifteen pounds lighter because I wasn’t wearing my heavy coat and snow pants and bulky boots. I didn’t want to bother with that stuff if I didn’t have to, and thought I might get away with it. What could go wrong? I had only two and a half hours before the last child would be picked up, and then I’d be free for the weekend.
Yes indeed, as I thought that, there was, if not an ominous drum-roll, an actual, distant roll of thunder to the north. The clash between cold and warm was creating midwinter thunder, which is always a delight to me, but not a very good sign if you expect balmy weather to continue.
I mentioned to a teen-aged intern working with me that we might want to get rain-gear and warmer clothes, and she scoffed, and I said I’d be right back. I’d left most of my winter garb at home, but did locate an enormous mad-bomber rabbit-fur hat, and a couple of huge mittens, and walked back out looking like a slender lollypop with big hands. At age 70 I don’t care what I look like as much as I care about staying warm. However the teen-aged intern did care about looks, even though the wind was starting to whip cold showers and the temperature began dropping like a rock. My head and hands stayed toasty, but the rest of me quickly got drenched and cold.
Soon sleet began mixing with the rain, but also sunbeams. A big, high rainbow arched across the purpled sky. The wind gusted so strongly it even lifted the soddened leaves, which had been flattened by snow but exposed by the thaw. Most of the kids delighted in the crazy weather, staying warm by racing about in some sort of fantasy brawl involving sticks that were lasers, and fleeing many pursuing invisible aliens. However one little toddler felt the sucky weather sucked, and wanted to be picked up and held.
Both the intern and myself could commiserate with the toddler, because we had shared her sickness, due to a thoughtless mother who had dumped the little child off when the child should have stayed home, early in the week. We had comforted the child then, both had caught the child’s cold, and then the intern stayed home a couple days as I worked at less than a hundred percent, and now we were comforting the child for the final forty minutes before her mother came to pick her up, as the wind whipped and sleet pelted and wet leaves swirled.
I gallantly unzipped my wet coat to wrap the toddler, (but actually confess it warmed me as well), and attempted to distract the child from the misery we were midst. The rainbow worked. For around three minutes. Then I sent the child in with the drenched intern to help another intern do the end-of-week cleaning indoors.
Then I turned my attention to the other children, who were not bothered a bit by the abysmal weather. As they raced about I kept myself moving. The cold isn’t so bad if you keep moving. I picked up sticks the wind had blown from trees and put them by the place we have campfires, and picked up the gloves and hats kids were leaving strewn about. As their parents pulled into the parking lot I alerted the kids it was time to go, and handed them their hats and gloves. They all looked radiant. I felt ashen gray. Sometimes the last ten minutes of a Friday is the longest. I was shuddering, and wet to the skin.
But then the final parent came, and hip-hip-hooray, I was done! I headed home and skipped my usual Friday beer, opting for a half-shot of brandy. Then I loaded both fires, and even turned up the propane heat, but I couldn’t stop shuddering. It was 28 degrees outside, (-2 Celsius) which meant it had dropped 27 degrees in three or four hours, but it was 72 inside, so why was I still shuddering? Hmmm…
When I was young my mother, a trained and “registered” nurse, had a dread of something called a “relapse”. To my great annoyance, she would make me stay in bed a full day after my temperature returned normal after a sickness, to avoid a “relapse.”
Apparently relapses were something nurses had learned about during the Spanish ‘Flu. If you hopped out of bed too fast, you could wind up back in bed for an extended stay. Or die. I found the concept somewhat mysterious. Relapses only seemed to be a danger when I felt fine and could hear my friends playing outside. On Monday mornings, when I felt awful and did not want to go to school, there was never any danger of a relapse and I got booted from bed.
However now it seemed I was experiencing a genuine relapse. I had babied myself through some ailment all week, and was on the road to recovery, but then had stood out in arctic blasts looking like a lollypop with large hands. My mother was likely rolling in her grave, if she was watching, but hopefully heaven doesn’t look backwards.
I knew I must be feverish when I had absolutely no desire for beer, and just desired bed. Basically I slept like a rock Friday night, snoozed all Saturday, shivering, (except for spells after taking a couple aspirin when I felt wonderful waves of warmth). I only arose to tend fires and use the bathroom and ingest chicken soup. (My wife later informed me the teen-aged intern spent her Saturday the same way, which made me feel a bit less like a frail, old fossil.)
Despite sleeping Friday night, and most of Saturday, I slept right through Saturday night, and now am bounding back, revived. Can’t remember when I last slept so much. And now I look at the weather maps to see what I’ve missed.
The north winds that gave us our cold shot (with temperatures to 17 [-8 Celsius] Saturday morning) are now relegated to the upper right corner of the map, up in Baffin Bay, and again are pumping the cold air down into the Atlantic to our east. And again we are in the benign southwest flow, and could again see temperatures in the fifties tomorrow.
And that’s pretty much the news from here, except for a bit of thinking I did while feverish. I likely should quit here and make this like a Lake Wobegone post where “all the children are above normal”. In fact I’ll make a break below, so readers can bail if they wish to avoid an old man’s cantankerous rambling.
My feverish thinking involved all that cold air that has been missing us, and chilling the Atlantic. I’ve noticed the water isn’t as chilled by those winds nearly as much as I expected. Not only here, but on the far side of the Pacific, civilized areas have been spared the wrath of winter as blasts of cold air have been diverted out to sea. Yet the seas show little sign of being cooled by months of blasts, except at the very edges, where the sea-ice extends outwards a bit more than usual.
You can see the extended sea-ice in Baffin Bay, or in the Sea of Okhotsk on the Pacific Side, but only spots of blue east of Japan or south of Greenland. The air doesn’t really effect the water. However the water hugely effects the air.
Joseph D’Aleo wonderfully described the amazing and explosive power warm water has when cold air moves over it in a paper he wrote. I urge the scientifically inclined to seek it out, but I’ll just nab a couple illustrations from the paper which demonstrate the power the ocean has to generate super-storms. The first illustration shows cold air like a lid on a hot ocean.
The second shows when the lid is blown off and so-called “bombogenisis” occurs.
As I lay in bed thinking it seemed, to my feverish common sense, that water should have more power than air, because air is dispersed molecules bouncing about far apart, while water is densely packed molecules close together. In terms of molecules, air is hugely outnumbered by water. When cold air tries to chill water, you have a lone cold molecule taking on ten-thousand warm molecules. But when that same warm water tries to warm cold air you have ten-thousand taking on one. Who do you suppose will win such a battle?
The water will win, unless the water is chilled to a point where it is water no more. Once sea-ice forms, the air is no longer utterly changed by the ocean. But away from sea-ice air is utterly changed. It is not only warmed, but is supercharged with the most potent of greenhouse gases, namely water vapor. In the above illustration the air is not merely warmed, but also moistened.
Though my locale has been spared this winter, I have studied what I call “fisherman maps” of the Atlantic and Pacific, watching the amazing storms few care about because they seldom effect us. Each of these storms demonstrate water having a huge effect on air, as air, to be honest, has a minuscule effect on water. While it may be true winds whip up water, it was the water’s warmth and moisture that made those winds in the first place. Water wins, in terms of power.
Such super-storms are not rare. It is actually rare to have a pacific “fisherman map” as storm-free as today’s…
…which has no storms and only two gales. But note it has three “developing storms” and two “developing gales”. Winter brews storms by sending cold air over warm water, but the power is not in the cold air but in the warmer water.
Lastly, the power sent aloft by super-storms is not merely some sort of insipid water vapor, as if water vapor was an “inert” greenhouse gas. Water vapor also holds energy, though it is “latent energy”. It is not heat-energy measured by a thermometer, nor wind-energy measured by an anemometer. Rather it is latent, and lurking, and able to perplex and confuse all who downplay water vapor, in favor of any gas which holds no latent energy. Such as?
Such as CO2, which makes up a small part of our air. Only one in 2500 molecules in our air is CO2, and all the changes to levels of CO2 people fret about do not change that “one” to “two”. (320 ppm to 420 ppm may change “one” to “one point three”, but it remains a tiny fraction of 2500).
As I lay in my sickbed I wondered who could believe one molecule in 2500 could warm an ocean when an entire arctic blast could not chill it. Instead the ocean warmed the arctic blast, and turned its bone-dry air into a super-storm drenched with moisture.
If air is so slow to change the temperature of water, and water is so quick to change the air, why would we look to one 2500th of the air as a reason the water has warmed?
The oceans have warmed for the past sixty years, which should lead to an out-gassing of CO2, because warmer waters are less able to hold dissolved CO2. Even so, that out-gassing is a minuscule amount among greater gases that also have a minuscule effect, as air is outnumbered, in terms of molecules, compared to water. Also, if oceans are warmer, they must also be “out-gassing” more water vapor, which happens to cancel out much of CO2’s “greenhouse effect”. Yet all of this is like fretting about a flea on a stallion. The true big kahuna is the sea.
The argument that a tiny, trace gas controlled the enormity of our climate demanded, from the start, overwhelming evidence, because the idea basically sounds nutty. It was as nutty as the idea of drifting continents. You had better get your ducks in a row before you propose continents drifting about. But in the case of drifting continents scientists got their ducks in a row. In the case of Global Warming scientists just got nasty, which divorced them from science, so they were not scientists any more. Instead they just became nutty. Maybe to some degree richer, but nutty. Maybe to some degree holding prestigious positions at universities, but nutty. Perhaps holding some backroom power in government bureaucracies, but nutty.
Being somewhat nutty in my own way, perhaps I have a word of warning to rich nuts in prestigious positions of power. You can bully and bullshit all you want, but, as a “childcare professional” I must sadly inform you, you are transparent to the young. The young are not merely impressionable clay you can mold with nutty propaganda. They innately recognize a lie by the dead way it makes a heart feel. Then, because you represent a dead way, they will turn away from you, hungry for life, hungry for something that does not involve money or prestige or power, but what could that be?
Hmm…It seems I heard, through the fog of my fever, some sort of murmuring about some sort of stirrings of a “revival” someplace called Asbury…
…But of course you insist those “revivalist” folk are silly. What is not silly is to believe one molecule out of 2500 of already-thin air warms the mile-deep oceans. Or so your Nuttiness insists.
Begging your Nutiness’s pardon, but perhaps you do not know how you look, through the eyes of honest youth. You say what? CO2 is a poison gas but air by derailed trains is safe? Can you have actually said that? Need you have your nose pushed into it like a dog?