Around a fortnight ago I heard that Alarmist sites were proclaiming that the big guns were being rolled out to blast Skeptics, in order to convince the general public that Global Warming was a “fact” and not a theory, and that only wicked people (like me) denied such “facts”. In actual fact the Alarmists have rolled out pop-guns; not cannons. There has been a shortage of facts, and primarily we’ve seen raving and ranting by young people who are “on strike” because grown-ups are “destroying their world”, (which is basically a delusion, for it is likely there has never been a generation as physically well-off).
(Emotionally, such youth may well be destroyed, but their teachers are to blame for that. The climate itself is beyond reproach. And I could warn such foolish teachers what eventually happens to the teachers in socialist revolutions, but that would take me down a long, sad sidetrack and far from the subject of sea-ice.)
I will only go so far, playing this silly game Alarmists play, wherein they steer far from the facts while pretending they are the realists. As long as the person I am debating is willing to calmly discuss the facts, (and also whether the facts are “raw data” or so-called “adjusted data”, [which is data that has been fiddled-with and therefore can no longer can be called true data]), I can enjoy the conversation. However there are certain conversations that seem highly unlikely to involve any enjoyment.
Having raised two daughters, I am familiar with young women’s extremes of emotion, (though by age sixteen mine were showing some signs of returning to earth). But with daughters one at least owns the love which sees one through feminist storms, and daughters return some degree of that love, even when they’re furious at you. In the case of Greta Thunburg one is faced with a veritable iceberg of antipathy.
And “icebergs” returns me to the subject of sea-ice. Which is what people need to do, when faced with political nonsense. Otherwise one risks being dragged down by the sheer ugliness of untruth. In such situations it is often wise to go for a hike and absorb the beauty of the view. Become aware of the wonder.
This was actually all I was doing, when I first posted about sea-ice back in July of 2013. I was merely sharing a beautiful escape I had found, which offered relief to the heat of July.
But that post embroiled me in the Climate Debate on my own site. (I did visit the “subject”, in a political sense, on other sites, but my own site was for my personal, poetic wanderings, attractive to some 10-20 viewers a day.) Abruptly I had over 500 viewers a day, and all sorts of interesting comments.
My first sea-ice post made me aware of what a huge hubbub surrounded sea-ice, and that, though the subject seems inane, it can get you more attention than driving a Mercedes. Gosh! If I only knew I could get so much attention talking about icebergs I surely would have started much younger, back when I still had the lungs and stamina necessary to chase women. However, because I am largely past such pursuits, I am not as impressed as I once was by superficiality. In fact I am interested in things that didn’t interest me at all when young, such as “peace”.
When I was young I was more interested in stimulation and excitement, but even then I was aware of a richness and depth which could be found in quietude. I even pursued peace, sitting cross-legged and chanting “Aum” for an entire fifteen minutes, when swept up by spiritual zeal, but soon that seemed too boring, and I bopped away from meditation along an erratic path towards gratifications that never were lasting. To be honest, the course of my life displayed a sort of Brownian motion, despite the great gift of owning free will in a free country. Yet one thing did seem to come along with me and to be lasting, namely a sort of intangible and highly subjective sense of beauty.
Beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder. One time I was swept into a sort of rhapsody by the beauty of a sunrise, but when I asked a depressed and cynical friend if the sunrise was beautiful, he stated it looked like a vomited egg. For that reason I sometimes am in no hurry to share beauty with sourpusses.
As one gets older one’s initial attraction to mere superficial beauty (which is why people wear make-up) evolves. One is hurt when a person externally beautiful turns out to be cold-hearted, and one is touched when an ugly person turns out to have a heart of gold. One then becomes more aware of a thing that is an “inward” beauty. This in turn seems to have a relationship with a thing called “Truth”.
For some odd reason I have always had the ability to see beauty in situations that few would call beautiful. My depressed and cynical friend once told me, “You could face a pile of stinking shit, and you’d find something positive to say about it.” I had to laugh. It was the Truth. But that only annoyed my cynical friend, for I was finding something beautiful about his insult.
One time I was in an alley of a slum, and rather than be upset by the ugliness and decay all around me, I was entranced by the way a sunbeam found its way into that gloom, and how beautiful the old, orange bricks looked in the sunlight. Also I noted that, in some forgotten past before the slum was a slum, the bricks had been laid with extraordinary care by a skilled mason, at which point my cynical friend accused me of smoking dope without sharing any with him.
I actually did hope, when young, that legalizing marijuana might allow others to see the way I saw. After people smoked they would say things like, “Wow, man, the sky is so blue.” Unfortunately their revelations weren’t lasting, and the long-term consequences of using drugs seemed to lessen revelation, rather than stimulate revelation. Not that there was a definite decrease in intelligence. People remained the same. At age fifty they sounded the same as age seventeen.
When I look back and try to find some logical reason for my ability to see beauty, (rather than just calling it a “gift”), one thing I remember is an amazing collection of old and ugly people. My parents were both wealthy and very active, and chose to delegate the rearing of their children to others, and this tendency was exacerbated when they both were bedridden by polio in 1954. The first “nanny” I recall was an old French woman, the daughter of a French composer, who had no fear of polio germs because she was a Christian Scientist. She looked very much like the face on a box of Quaker Oats: Not exactly the face of a Hollywood movie star, but a person who was very beautiful, simply because of all she had endured in France during years of hardship, without losing faith and hope, nor losing her ability to suffer little brats like myself.
Someday I’ll hopefully write a post called “My Nannies” about the entire collection of fascinating refugees who I was cared-for by, by age nine. All were fired, as not one fully achieved the high standards my parents desired for their children, but they were all fascinating in my eyes. They didn’t ever tell me about the hells they had endured, the lynchings in America’s south, the barbaric behavior of Hitler and Stalin in Europe, but, though I later learned they had endured such ugliness, instead, in their wrinkled faces, was a triumph over evil, the victory of simple, good people over horribly astounding adversity. They shone with an “inward beauty” I was somehow able to see, despite being a naive and gullible child, and I think it stuck with me. Being old and wrinkled has never since seemed the slightest bit ugly to me.
Unfortunately, now that I myself am the old and wrinkly person, some young people do not look upon me with any fondness.
Greta and her ilk shows no sign of having the slightest interest in respecting any elders beyond those who indoctrinated her. She is as prejudiced against old people with differing views as some white people were when they listened to Louis Armstrong’s music at a nightclub, but wouldn’t allow him to drink at the same bar with them. Yet Louis wasn’t soured, nor convinced the world was doomed, but instead sang with hope in his old age:
There is an irony in watching Greta, (who has just sailed across the sea in a boat owned by monarchy), wrinkle her nose and insist her future has been stolen, and comparing her sourness with the sweetness of a man whose life was full of reasons to be bitter, yet who refused to be bowed, and persisted, and insisted on joyous song.
What makes the difference? To me it seems to be a difference between imagination and fact, between a dismal distortion of hope into despair, as opposed to an acceptance of what the present tense holds. Where Greta gripes about a forecast, Louis accepts the weather right now and, if it is raining, sings in the rain.
Greta complains her dreams have been stolen, but what are dreams? Even in a better world there is no guarantee dreams will come true. Nor is there any certainty worries will manifest; in fact they usually don’t, and even when they do they’re often not nearly as hard to endure as one envisioned. All in all, it is better to attend to today and allow tomorrow to tend to itself; even five-day-forecasts are often wrong, and few lives unfold anything like what we had scripted at age sixteen. We may plan for a pension, but “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray”. Conversely, even when one seemingly assures oneself a miserable future by being utterly morose in the present, unexpected fortune can befall one out of the blue. Even Greta’s sour face might tomorrow be the glowing face of a young woman who has fallen in love.
One reason it is better to focus on the present is because it is all we really have. It is where Truth exists. It is filled with beauty, if you only look for it. Sadly, people often miss what they have because they hanker for what they haven’t. It is not only heroin addicts who writhe in their cravings, despite the fact the sun is shining and birds are singing.
This at long last brings me back to the subject of sea-ice. It is a beautiful and wonderful subject, if one simply looks at the Truth, and has no need to distort with bias and “adjustments”, nor any need to advocate some political cause. Even though the sun has stopped shining at the Pole, and arctic birds have fled south, the starry polar night has a beauty all its own.
It is a time of great changes, from perpetual sunshine to perpetual darkness, from melting ice to freezing salt water. The flooding arctic rivers, glutted with meltwater, abruptly shrink to a trickle as melting ceases to the south, and even the south winds become cold, when they come north over a tundra which has abruptly changed from being a swampy ooze to being as hard as iron.
This time of transition is fascinating to watch, as it never happens the same way, because a great many variables are involved. Allow me to skim over the surface of this highly complex subject, to give you an idea of how wonderful it is.
One variable is the amount of sea-ice in the marginal seas, which seems dependent on the state of the AMO and PDO. This year the ice-cover is low and the passage along the coast of Siberia is open. What this in turn creates is the likelihood of air rising over those open waters, for the waters “remember” the summer sunshine in a more lasting way than the sea-ice to the north and the tundra (already snow-covered in places) to the south, which makes the air above those waters both milder and moister than the air to the north and to the south. Because the air is rising low pressure is encouraged, and lows tend to ramble from west to east, from Barent’s Sea through the Kara, Laptev, and East Siberian Seas, all the way to Bering Strait. In the map below (for September 29) the blue areas are places where pressures are lower than normal, (especially along the Siberian coast), and orange areas are where pressures are above normal (especially over Greenland and the Central Arctic.) You can see the suggestion that the open water is effecting the pattern. (Maps courtesy of Weatherbell Site.)
When we switch to the temperature maps of the same time (Sept 29) we again can see the effect of the open water, as compared to colder lands to the north and south. (I prefer the Celsius Weatherbell map because the difference between below freezing (white) and above freezing (purple) is so clear.) Of especial interest to me is the above freezing area towards Bering Strait over the East Siberian Sea, as usually the East Siberian Sea is colder and first to freeze.
Also of interest is the below freezing air just inland of the Laptev Sea coast in Central Siberia. It looks so cold one doesn’t see it is actually warmer-than normal, unless one looks at the temperature-anomaly map for the same time:
In the above map the area inland of the Laptev is so cherry red one is tempted to forget temperatures are in fact below freezing, and get carried away and step outside in a bathing suit. (One has to be careful with anomaly maps.) What the anomaly demonstrates is the after-effects of a large storm that stalled over western Russia, drawing cold air south over Scandinavia and pulling warm air north over central Russia. But remember the warm air is only relatively warm, has chilled as it came north, and is in fact below freezing and far colder then the air it displaces over the Laptev Sea, when it is sucked north because the air over the Laptev Sea is rising.
Also notice the above map shows colder-than-normal air plunging south in Western Canada, as Eastern Canada is above-normal. This is indicative of a loopy, “meridienal” jet-stream, (which is what you look for if you like exciting winters). A flatter “zonal” jet stream has troughs and ridges that are barely bumps, and on the surface beneath have meeker lows that travel west to east without much ado. But it is when the jet stream gets loopy that the fun starts. The storms beat their chests and roar. They can start down at the edge of the tropics and come northeast intensifying constantly until they are full fledged monster-gales as they approach the arctic, actually drilling up into the upper atmosphere and altering the steering currents. This is great fun to attempt to visualize, though it can leave you a bit cross-eyed. How can the steered control the steering? It messes up computer programs, for it is like unruly peasants marching to the castle with torches and scythes to tell their boss they aren’t going to follow his orders.
What you have to watch for is storms stalling, and the upper-air pattern getting stuck in a certain position (or sometimes looking like it is going to pull out of a certain position, but then relapsing back to its former pose.) As the storms stall they often occlude, which means the warm front has caught up with the cold front, and the “warm sector” is hoisted off the ground and starts messing around with the upper atmosphere. Though some take the attitude an occluded storm is “cut off” from the juice that feeds storms, at times an occluded front represents a pipeline of juice still feeding the gale, but feeding-in up a few thousand feet. The massive gale remains massive, and often slows, stalls, and then curves back to the west. What the heck is going on in terms of “steering currents”?
The most elegant explanation for the looping of high latitude gales is that they have escaped the influence of mid-latitude westerlies and nudged into the influence of polar easterlies. And, as is the case with many beautiful explanations, this idea works, but only to a certain degree, after which elegance is thrown to the wind like a rich, fat banker slipping on ice and falling on his butt.
In the most elegant scenarios all the might of the primary gale fades as a secondary storm grows new might, usually to the southeast where the occluded front meets the warm and cold fronts. In the most pretty examples, as the secondary explodes into predominance the primary low’s occluded front turns into a secondary cold front of the secondary gale, and the primary gale just vanishes. This happens often enough to be something I watch for, and it fails to happen often enough to cause me to think inelegant thoughts. Politically incorrect thoughts. Thoughts often begun with the three words, “I wonder if…”
There is stuff going on up there on the arctic coasts that bears further study. I fear we may have a sort of west-to-east prejudice, due to living in mid-latitudes, and that this prejudice manifests as a sort of blindness to ripples that move east-to-west, like our sun. What’s more, polar weather is capable of trickery impossible at lower latitudes, for a cross-polar-flow can make a south wind a north wind in one inch, which can’t happen anywhere else (except the South Pole). This messes with simple concepts such as “Coriolis Effect”, to say the least. But it makes the Pole a splendid place, if you like to wonder.
One thing I’ve been wondering about is what causes a jet-stream to get stuck in a certain location. This is important, because a stuck jet-stream has led to our most remarkable winters. For example, the winter of 1976-1977 saw the jet stream get stuck in a pose where the coldest Siberian air took a cross-polar flow north of a balmy Alaska and then across a frigid Yukon and straight down to where I lived in Maine, and far further, to freeze oranges in Florida and cause “Time” magazine to wonder if an ice-age was starting. But what the wonder should have been was: Why did the jet stream stay stuck? It is a small wonder if the jet stream assumes that position for a week in an ordinary winter, and we get a blast we call “winter’s worst.” But that year the blast began in November and stayed stuck until February. It was amazing how the cold just wouldn’t quit that year, and fortunately I was young and hot-blooded and enjoyed it to the hilt.
Now I’m more than forty years older and would likely call the same weather a pain in the ass, but I remain curious about why the jet-stream stayed stuck. Because it seems scientists are too busy trying to get paid by showing CO2 is the cause of everything, no one has the time to wonder why jet-streams stay stuck. Therefore I have to think all alone, (without the help of those who are supposedly educated, but chose to be slaves).
One thing I have wondered is that, if I was going to push around a jet-stream, I wouldn’t chose to do so when it was charging north, like giant surf that flattens swimmers, or sucking south like undertow that can drag swimmers out to sea, but instead would chose the moment when the mighty wave is reduced to a ripple, at the top of the beach. That “top” is the coast of the arctic. It occurred to me that seemingly small things, along that coast, may effect the jet stream when it is at it’s weakest. Just as a little pebble can start an avalanche that flattens an army, small events on the arctic coast may effect the entire Northern Hemisphere winter.
Not that I can say what the events are, but I do think we should study what happens, and not CO2-caused events that don’t happen. We should study what usually happens, and also study the unusual.
What usually happens is the East Siberian Sea freezes first, followed by the Laptev, and then the Kara, and lastly by Barents Sea to a varying degree. And “usually” as the waters freeze the low pressure systems passing over them lose the addition of heat and moisture, and therefore weaken, first over the East Siberian Sea, and later over the Laptev, then Kara, and lastly Barents Sea.
At this point I am launching into sheer conjecture. It seems to me that the point where a jet stream stops moving north and starts moving south may be a sort of “hinge” which can be moved this way or that way, by small things, and have huge effects on the world’s weather. The swing of a huge gate is determined by a little hinge, and that “hinge” is moved east or west by a scrawny little man with a screw driver.
God willing, I’ll find time to venture some of my ideas about who (or what) the “scrawny little man” that determines our winter might be, in a future post. However the point of this post is not to announce some grand theory, but rather to stress the importance of simply watching the Truth. The Truth knows all about the grand theory long before we get around to discovering it, and Truth toys with it.