ARCTIC SEA ICE –Whaler Gales–

The modern millennial likely would not approve of the life Whaler’s lived, seeing them as back-stabbers, but Whaler’s lived in a society where if you did not produce food, clothing and shelter you would not receive food, clothing and shelter. The choice was quite simple, back then: Work your ass off, or freeze and starve in rags. It was downright Biblical, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

Given this choice, men and women in the times Whalers sailed were motivated to do far more than the millennial mentality allows. There were no trophies for “participating,” for life was clearly a matter of life or death. Winning was life, and losing was death, and it was left to the angels in heaven to decide whether the dead got a “participation trophy.”

Not that people back then didn’t believe that certain losers, called “martyrs”, did get a “participation trophy” of far greater value than the plastic objects handed out to modern losers. However it was because they had given the ultimate sacrifice, their own life, so that others might live. Life and living was still the focus, and there was the awareness that in order to give, and be charitable, you must have. And in order to have, you must work your ass off. You must have a life worth living in order to perform the ultimate charity, and give your life away as a martyr.

Millennials seem confused about the basic premise which states one must have something to begin with, in order to be charitable. Some millennials indeed have things completely backwards. Where, in fact, an act of charity leaves one with less materially than one started with (though one may be richer spiritually), millennials feel they should wind up with more materially, if they are charitable. They only “give” because the pay is good; a “non-profit” should be highly lucrative; a “public servant” taxes those he supposedly serves. This colossal ignorance represents a complete redefinition of the word, “charity.”

This can only have occurred because millennials were misguided. Somehow they were misled into thinking you could give without first working your ass off. Perhaps this ignorance began with the ability of governments to reap without sowing, by printing money that didn’t exist. Who knows? I wasn’t there and I refuse to take responsibility for starting it.

I will accepts a certain amount of responsibility for perpetuating the lunacy of thinking charity is profitable. After all, I am a “Child Care Professional”, which means I profit off caring for small children. It is a shameful profession, for little children have no wallets, and to make money off innocents is surely a vile exploitation. The only redeeming factor is that the pay stinks, so I don’t share the shame of those who get filthy rich being “charitable.” However far better was the old ways of the old days, when a mother charged nothing for her milk.

Some of the worst offenders are psychiatrists, who do get filthy rich by helping the troubled. Likely they are aware of the shame involved, for no other adult occupation matches their rate of suicide. However, until they crack up, they like to sit in their stultifying offices and criticize whalers sailing out in the open air. They like to raise their noses and invent fancy words that demonstrate their contempt for honest men working honest jobs. To harpoon a whale is “sadism”, and the suffering of life on the pounding sea is “masochism.”

This only demonstrates their appalling ignorance, for they can have no idea how wonderful the wildness of whaling was, and that the people involved lost fortunes as often as they made them, but chose that life because a Nantucket sleigh-ride was the opposite of stultifying.

Arctic Whalers 2 1000 dpi un framed

Even though it did not always end well.

Arctic Whalers 3 3ae5bc1d-052d-40e0-80c5-83bff1f82e77

In any case, the daring lifestyle of Whalers took them to where whales congregate, and one such place was the edge of the arctic sea-ice.

Arctic Whalers 1 Arctic-Whalers

It is from these men we learn most about how the sea-ice has expanded and contracted in the past. Because whales like to push their limits, (because the edge of the ice hold the richest foods), and because even whales sometimes pushed their limits too far and were trapped in pockets of open water and eventually killed by expanding ice, (because whales cannot breath if they have to swim too great a distance under ice),  whalers were tempted to pursue the whales into compromising situations. Whaling ships were also trapped, and crushed, and crews only survived by hauling lifeboats south over sea-ice to land, or to open water.

Some captains, such as William Scoresby (Junior), kept amazingly scientific and accurate logs, but most captains had no idea we intellectuals-of-the-future would ever wonder what they saw, and bicker about what the sea-ice was like back then.  Their logs are far less scientific, yet we can learn much from them.

For example, in 1871 forty ships sailed north of Bering Strait in June, and proceeded to hunt whale along the coast of Alaska nearly as far as Barrow during July and early August, but then the winds shifted and the ice came crushing south and trapped all but seven of the ships. 1219 lives were on the line.

At this point I suppose certain people of the “vegan” persuasion are clapping their hands in glee. They hate the idea of men stabbing whales in the back, and if you visit their websites you discover their hatred does not frown upon wishing death upon fellow humans, if those humans feed children with meat. Nor would it trouble them much to learn that some captains had their sons and even wives aboard, so the 1219 doomed people included women and children. Certain vegan types basically loathe humanity, preferring beasts, and snicker when true saints weep.  The fact whales also were trapped by the southern surge of sea-ice wouldn’t trouble them much, as it would be well worth the glee of seeing 1219 evil “hunters”die.

Some of these people would also be glad to see so many ships destroyed. Even though they were mass-produced very cheaply in the shipyards of those times, they were worth roughly a million dollars each (in modern dollars), (though you could never build such a ship for a mere million dollars today.) (Each ship must hold a crew of 25.)  In any case, 33 lost ships represented a loss of 33 million dollars for the investors. The vegan mentality claps its hands in glee, for, though some have never made an honest dollar in their lives and dwell in a mother’s basement, they prefer to avoid their own motivations and instead accuse others of “greed”.

The problem with this idea is that, if greed alone was the motivation, many captains would have gotten out when the going was good. Having made their fortune, they would have stayed home. They were well aware of the risks involved. Why should they risk losing a fortune they’d already made? Yet some of the captains involved had made and lost fortunes more than once. This suggests something besides greed was involved. It suggests men might live for something other than profit. It suggests men might rejoice in the sheer challenge of the sea.

Not that some of the “vegan” mindset can comprehend the joy of such danger. A person who loves danger will seldom hide in his mother’s basement, (unless he understands that is a dangerous place for a man to be).

(As a daredevil who has experienced both storms at sea and living in my mother’s basement, I will testify the sea has a beauty and joy which basements utterly lack, and for that reason a basement may be more dangerous. But the basement’s chief danger involves cowardice, while the sea brings out your courage.)

It is the courage of the doomed 1219 that really stands out. They knew, as the sun sank and September chills filled the air, and the ship’s timbers moaned under the stress of the increasing sea-ice, that the sea-ice wasn’t going to miraculously open and allow them to sail to unload cargo at the home port. It wan’t going to be a happy, profitable voyage. It was going to be one of the unprofitable ones they’d heard tales about. From members of the crew. If not the captain himself. So they knew it was time to abandon ship. They lowered the lifeboats, but not to water. The lifeboats went “clunk” on hard sea-ice, and then served as sleds, as 1219 doomed people headed south for land.

1219 made it to land, and then headed southwest along the Alaskan coast, to where the sea-ice didn’t crunch against the coast. And what did they find there? They found the seven smart captains who had escaped the sea-ice. They were the seven winners, and faced a choice of what to do with the 33 losers.

Now, if the seven winners happened to be like some “vegan” I’ve known, then when faced with 33 loser “meat-eaters” in dire danger, they would not lift a finger to help. They’d likely shriek, “Die! Die! Die! For you deserve it, because you are greedy and cruel to whales!”

In actual fact the seven smart captains may have made a choice that the stock-holders far away frowned at.  They dumped the entire profits of their voyages overboard, to make room for the 1219 lives they saved.

The end of the story is that millions of dollars were lost, but not a single life. The 1219 all arrived safely in the sunny south, to bask beneath the palms of Honolulu.

Knowing this, perhaps you can understand why I am less than trustful of those who write a sort of revisionist history, describing Whalers as being wicked, sadistic, greedy men. Surely they were not perfect, but they had a class you seldom see these days.

Consider, if you will, the class displayed by the seven captains who saved 1219. Talk about charity! They could have been rich, but instead chose to be poor and save 1219 lives.

And then consider how different are seven Climate Scientists. They have been nowhere and done nothing, in reality, though they may have jet-setted to Bali and Paris, spending other people’s money to talk nonsense they could have just as well talked (with less expense)  at home. All their adventuring is in a mother’s basement, with the “mother” being the funding of a government which cannot make money, and instead must print it. It is a landscape devoid of the reality where one must actually catch a whale. And, rather than demonstrating sacrifices they themselves must make to save people, they instead utter strident cries that others should sacrifice, so they (and hypothetical future generations) can profit and do “further research”. It is an intellectual world so divorced from catching whales, from hard facts, from food, clothing and shelter, that I can only conclude it is stark madness.

It is perhaps fortunate that I wasted a winter in my mother’s basement long ago, for I know how the mind can stray from reality in such circumstances, inventing excuses for not leaving shelter, concocting elaborate blamings of others for ones own spineless reluctance to go out into the cold. But I got sick of it, and faced a stark dawn where the choice between fresh air and stultification, between sanity and insanity, was blatant. So I stepped out into the cold, and discovered something that surprised me: Life is a blast. One may not be able to sign up to crew on a whaling ship any more, but there is plenty of fresh air out there, if one only leaves the basement.

Perhaps there are now simply fewer opportunities for millennials to work meaningful jobs, where they can see they actually produce food, clothing and shelter. A lone man in a tractor can now do the farming and produce the food which once would have taken hundreds, if not thousands, of toiling farmers to produce. Robots now do the tedious toil, but should not this allow people to be poets? To study Truth? Instead many just become nasty, and disingenuous, and more prone to con-artistry than to art.

It is for this reason I distrust ideas that seem to be produced in a setting like a Mom’s basement, and have a greater trust of ideas that seem from the decks of ships at sea. I am skeptical of data from models, and more interested the raw facts from “field studies”. And this is most especially true when the maps and graphs produced by professors in cozy offices differ significantly from what is shown, (often without comment) by their interns out on the ice. Or by the floating cameras out on the ice. Or by the adventurers out on the ice. Or by the historical records of Whalers who sailed long ago, and never dreamed a society could exist that is in the state ours is in.

This at long last brings me back to the topic of sea-ice, and the fact one can compare computer-generated ideas of what the sea-ice was like, back before we had satellite pictures, with the records kept by sailors. One discovers the two views disagree. Ships were sailing where the computer-generated maps state they could not have sailed. After all, William Parry observed a sailing ship could be brought to a halt by as little as an inch of sea-ice, unless there was a strong following wind. The people back then were not aboard icebreakers that smash through six feet of ice with impunity. Therefore their reports of open water are not “modeled”, but based on actual fact.

Even the old Danish sea-ice maps, which are decent regarding where the sea-ice lay on the European side of the Pole, tend to overdo the historical amount of sea-ice on the Pacific side. The old Eskimo (Inuit) spoke of whaling every year along the same coasts the Danish maps show as being gripped by ice. One surmises the Danes were just guessing, but the Eskimo, (perhaps the most gutsy whalers of all), not only spoke from experience, but their very survival was staked on there being open water. (One reason the Inuit replaced an earlier people called the “Dorset Culture” may be because the Inuit could hunt from kayaks while the Dorset required sea-ice, which in turn suggests times of thicker ice was advantageous to an earlier people, but losing that ice (perhaps during the Medieval Warm Period) put them at a disadvantage.)

The computer models, for some reason, show more sea-ice in the past than the Danes and Inuit reported. To me it seems the modelers have been so eager to demonstrate that sea-ice is decreasing, and in a “death spiral”, that they ignored the eyewitnesses, and the models became an example of “garbage in, garbage out.”

To get around such bias I have always preferred the eyewitnesses, whether they be Eskimos, Whalers, Explorers, O-buoys, Satellite pictures, or modern adventures sailing those waters.

The modern adventurers often are full of zeal, when it comes to promoting the idea that sea-ice is in a “death spiral”,  but that never bothers me, for they can talk the talk, but they also walk they walk. Often they inadvertently share a picture worth far more than a thousand words, for they share pictures of persisting sea-ice, even while agonizing about an ice-free Pole.

I am of the opinion that the Arctic Sea was at times ice-free, or nearly ice-free, as recently as the Medieval Warm Period. Though sea-ice has increased since then, it has not done so in a steady fashion, and the reports of whalers like William Scoresby seem to suggest there was one summer, around 1817, where there was less ice up in the Arctic Sea, on the Atlantic side, than we have ever seen, during our Modern Climate Optimum.

This pits me against some computer models, and it also, (to those who have great faith in those models), makes my observations seem a sort of heresy.  I try to point out that the models do not match the historical record, but some simply refuse to hear such a possibility can even exist.

I also try to point out that a return to the relatively sea-ice-free summer conditions of the Medieval Warm Period would be good for humanity,  but this also seems like sacrilege to those who think a decrease of sea-ice signifies doom.

In the end time will tell. I just watch what happens, and rue the fact we have so few cameras this year, (for the funding of eye-witness views seems to be greatly decreased).

Because we have so few cameras I am thrilled that a group of sailors, calling themselves “Arctic Mission”, are thinking of attempting to sail several boats north as far as they can:

These are fellows following in the footsteps of the whalers of Yore, and testing the limits of the edge of the ice. I am not particularly concerned about their politics, (one fellow suggests there may be less sea-ice this year than any summer in 120,000 years), because Truth is better than politics, and these fellow will report the Truth.

A slight problem has occurred, as Truth doesn’t always involve fair weather. They were planning to have left Nome, Alaska by now, and to have headed up through Bering Strait, but rather than the summertime calms they expected, there have been gales in Bering Strait. So they are delayed.

Hmm. Is it just me, or is there some irony in the fact that in 1871 forty whaling ships made it north of Bering Strait in June, but these guys are delayed in August?

But I will not deny these fellows have guts to be attempting what they are attempting. They have not the vegan-mentality that stays at home. I’m a little worried they may get trapped up there. But they will give us eye-witness accounts of what the sea-ice is up to, and I personally value that more than any model.

In terms of weather, “Ralph” continues to storm up at the Pole, but high pressure pumped up over Siberia may be swung around to Bering Strait and give “Arctic Mission” some sunny sailing.

Subfreezing temperatures are becoming more common.

DMI4 0811 meanT_2017

Waters are open north of Bering Strait, but “Arctic Mission” should start meeting sea-ice at around 75° north latitude. (For some reason NRL hasn’t updated its maps for three days.)

Thickness 20170811 Attachment-1

Our lone camera shows the thaw has resumed after a sharp freeze, south of Parry Channel. The melt-water pools briefly skimmed with ice, but now are again expanding. Much of the melting now comes from beneath, and the ice should soon break up even if a freeze occurs above the ice.

Obuoy 14 0811 webcam

Stay tuned (even if hurricanes to the south get more interesting.)




9 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Whaler Gales–

  1. Another intriguingly rambling piece. I never know what to expect, only know that when it is going to longer than 5 paragraphs – and what do you write that isn’t? – it will be interestingly spiced with sprinkled tidbits of forlorn lore that most have never heard of before. And this did not disappoint.

    I do have two comments, though, and one may sound petty. It refers to this statement of yours – “a “public servant” taxes those he supposedly serves.” This is actually unfair to the average public servant. First of all, we are taxed by the same entities that tax you, and whether you accept what we do as service or not, that is the intent. Few are those that are in the employ of government don’t serve the public in some capacity – even though the public may see that capacity as “non service” at times. Elected officials, of course, are not public servants, and they generally fit the description you chose.

    Second is “garbage in, garbage out.” GIGO is an unfair term to apply to climate models. The first reason being that legitimate data, or even massaged data, is not garbage. What comes out of the model is not garbage either since it is actually calculated data based on the input, The garbage is what is in between. A program, any program, can only give as an answer what the programmer has set it up to give. If I write a program, and it runs without syntactical error, and the program produces the results that if you take the number 4 and divide it by 2 and the answer is 3, then the program did not output garbage, the programmer created garbage. So remember, please, it isn’t the data, it’s the programmer’s bias that makes the climate model ensemble output what appears to be garbage. And it is also worth noting that when you see the full array of the model runs together, there IS one model that tracks far closer to the actual weather, and that is the Russian model. See? Once again the Russians are attacking the “values” of the west, daring to write a program that pretty much works. How crude.

    • Valid points.

      I have met some public servants who were truly wonderful, and cut through red tape and made things easier. On the other hand…

      Regarding GIGO, I think the past is largely a blank, in the arctic, and people fill in the blank in a manner that smells highly of bias. There are a wonderful selection of proxies to choose from, and it is as interesting seeing what is not included as it is seeing what is included.

      I am illiterate, when in comes to programming a computer. But it does seem to me one would want to put in reality, not merely one “side” of reality. If you cherry-pick the data you put in, it seems like putting a fictional map of yesterday into a model, and expecting the forecast to be something other than fiction.

      • Caleb, when you write a program it does what you want it do. It isn’t the data, it’s the parameters they chose. A program needs “guidance” as to what it is supposed to do. It isn’t cherry picking the data that makes the output wrong, it is the design process – choosing the climate attributes you “believe” are in control of the climate. Since CO2 is believed to be in control, the programs are all designed to show reaction to CO2. It doesn’t matter if the oceans and Sun actually move the thermostat up and down, because the program has no choice how to look at the data. The only Climate model in the ensemble that comes close to following the data is the Russian model that assumed a very low influence from CO2. The fact that it, too, is off on the high side, only goes further in saying that CO2 has no true affect at all on the climate as far as causing warming is concerned.

        The models can be compared to NASCAR racing, in a sense. The cars can turn left or right, but the track – in this, it is analogous to the chosen parameters of the program – only turns left. The models were tuned to match the slow rise of temperature to the rise of CO2 in the past – that these two were “in step.” As we can tell by their output, IF CO2 and temperature were “in step,” then the actual temperatures would be reflected in their output. They aren’t close, so the basic premise they have chosen, that temperature and CO2 are in step, has been totally invalidated. They haven’t been abandoned because the underlying agenda of world government and population reduction would be lost, and we would end up in a world smarter when it comes to these methods used to create a one world government.

        Being low, that is, not having the temperature rise at the same higher rate, would not be a killing stroke to this animal, as it would still show warming and could be continued to be used to scare people towards the desired goal. It was the pause and indeed slow drop in temperature that is killing the beast. It has opened eyes and now they can see a little better, which also is the driving reason behind trying to show that the pause never happened. The climate alarmists are fighting for their life because the life they want isn’t the life they have. Even being the President of the United States, as in Obama’s case, wasn’t enough to keep him from not wanting to be “the king of the world” and thus to build a better America.

        That is why we continue to have these thousands of zany studies being published. I am waiting ti find out that “yes, the rising levels of CO2 have cause an abundance of left handed mosquitos , and to get a normal balance, we are going to have to lower the CO2 levels to preexistence times.

  2. Caleb I have been watching the DMI temps north of 80 graph and it is interesting that it has been flat lining since before ur post and continues to do so. It makes me wonder whether DMI has been gotten to and is now fudging their charts etc to match the GLO-BULL warming meme.
    Obuoy 14 is looking truly rotten as warmth gets sweep in from northwest Canada / Alaska region.
    Things should get interesting up north now … I always remember this week as being the transition to much cooler weather and waking up to the drinking water pail having a crust of ice in the morning and then the first bit of ice along the shoreline a few days later. I was so glad to get out of the north after almost 3 months of isolation, most of the time in a camp with only one other geologist. We were truly going shack wacky in the woods.

    • O-buoy 14 is now floating free!

      I was impressed by your tale of the ice skimming the buckets when I first heard it. It demonstrates the ice is not usually melted by air temperatures after early August, but rather by waters beneath. You can see the same phenomenon in the DMI two-meter arctic temperature maps. The freezing isotherm all but vanishes in mid July, but now it is back and expanding. (One interesting year, when the thaw seemed to last longer, was back in 1964. I wonder what happened that year?)

      You should write a short memoir of the summer you spent up in the north. I’ve heard bits and pieces, but never the three months all put together. (I recall some tale of a storm on a lake…) It might wake people up to the fact that we know what we know not because people modeled on computers, but rather because young and hot-blooded men conducted “field studies.”

  3. How many minutes do you supposed those whalers lived after having that rowboat smashed out from under them? There is no such thing as “warm water” in the northern oceans accept in very shallow beach areas. I can well remember swimming in the Atlantic off Maine’s beaches as a child. That “warm” wasn’t really very warm! Then again, you do get used to the chilly water if that’s all you get to swim in, but the deep North Atlantic? What do you think 5 to 8 minutes maybe before hypothermia starts to set in?

    • For a lean person it is only around five minutes. For people with a lot of body fat it can be longer, but you lose the use of your extremities pretty swiftly.

      I used to body-surf on Maine beaches when I was a lot more hot-blooded than I am now, and I don’t think I stayed out longer than twenty minutes, even after a summer of acclimatizing my body. And that “cold” water is 20-30 degrees warmer than arctic water, which is actually below the freezing point of your blood (because the sea is saltier than your blood.)

      I imagine there were more than one boat after a whale, and the other boats would hurry to get you if you got smashed, But I bet they were more careful in waters that cold. I’ve never read that they took fewer “sleigh rides” in the north, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t depend more on “floats” attached to the harpoon rope. (“Floats” were air-filled barrels that dragged the whale back up to the surface when it tried to dive.)

      Then some spoil-sport invented the exploding harpoon. The first patent was from 1844, but it took time to work the bugs out. Even the best ones today, (Norwegan), only have a 80% success rate.

      One whale survived an attack 130 years earlier, only to be carved up for blubber in 2007, when the un-exploded harpoon tip was found.

    • I caught that. Right on schedule! Pretty wonderful to be correct!

      One interesting thing I noticed was that, as soon as the open water was exposed, the air temperatures dropped to around -2 degrees. This shows how the ice actually insulates the air from the salt water, which is below the freezing temperature of fresh water.

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