In my last post I was being a bit sardonic about the fact I lived too close to Boston, and therefore had to suffer their punishment, which was taking the form of a drought. It was uncanny how rains both from the east and from the north dried up as they approached our area, and I posted radar maps to demonstrate. Then I went to bed. A couple hours later I half-woke, hearing the sound of rain outside.

When I got up in the morning and checked the “timelapse-history” of the weather radar it was even more uncanny. The rain was still drying up as it neared Boston, but now it dried up five miles after it passed over my patched garden.

We only got between a tenth and a quarter inch, but it made all the difference.

The drought made darkness dry, nights dewless,
But last night I heard rain through my dusty dreams
Like an old friend winking from crowds cowed clueless
And blank-eyed by a leader's dulling schemes
To make low be high by pushing men down
And rearing up on his midget tiptoes.

Where dawn broke like cactus, today no frown
Creased my aging face as I arose.
The cool air seemed washed. All the dust was gone,
And purple scud brought the ocean's refreshment
As if a day at the beach was hid in dawn.
I didn't bother ask where the dryness went.
Sometimes it seems not the slightest bit strange
That a few drops of water makes everything change.

I have to hurry off, and just note the strange fact that we got rain and Boston’s western suburbs didn’t. Just a coincidence, but it happened again in the afternoon. As the ocean low departed and wind shifted to the west, afternoon showers and thunderstorm bloomed over New York State, and came cruising east. The ones aimed at Boston past north of Springfield in western Massachusetts, and shrank as they approached Worchester in central Massachusetts, and then utterly vanished from the map, however the ones along the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, while dwindling, made it to my garden and gave us another tenth of an inch.

Just a coincidence, but if I have time, I’ll update this post by including the radar maps. I’ll also see if my area, just north of the Massachusetts border, gets downgraded from “extreme” drought (red) to “severe” drought (orange) in the next updated drought-monitor-map.

As far as the suburbs west of Boston are concerned, the forecast is for three days of hot temperatures. I hope people are very careful with barbecues this weekend. Some towns don’t want to live up to their names.

Boston’s Drought Defeats a Rainstorm.

We had hopes of a summer rainstorm, as a coastal low did not head out to sea, but instead curved northwest off the tip of Cape Cod and into the Gulf of Maine.

Indeed, the forecast all day was for rain, yet in an uncanny manner it never fell. As the weak low came north some fairly robust rain showers came across Massachusetts Bay from the east, but the moment they hit the shore they vanished from the radar map. We saw purple clouds pass over, but they were flirts, and didn’t give us a kiss. Only when they hit the Berkshires of Massachusetts and the Green Mountains of Vermont did uplift cause them to unleash rains. This was insult to injury for we not only got rains to our east but also to our west.

As the weak storm moved up into the Gulf of Maine our winds shifted to the northeast, and all those showers you can see up in Maine in the above map started to be pushed down towards us. Yet again they dried up as they approached. Only the showers that hugged the coast retained enough moisture to give the south shore of Boston a few sprinkles.

It almost seems that the very dryness of our landscape discourages the uplift that brings about rain. Or perhaps the uplift does occur but is full of bone-dry air that squelches rain. In any case, that is my final attempt to be scientific. For when drought gets this extreme you tend to drift towards superstition, and the desire to burn witches.

Who do I blame? I blame the voters of Boston. They are the ones who brought this punishment from God upon us. Me? I’m an innocent bystander. I just happen to live too close to Boston. Maybe I’m just across an imaginary line, in New Hampshire, but imaginary lines don’t make good walls, when it comes to stopping a drought.

Whew! I’m in a rough situation! The only way to stop this drought, and get some rain for my garden, is to go into Massachusetts and convince those voters to choose differently. I’m not looking forward to such a task, for it is said (not in any scripture I know about) that, “If Democrats listened to reason there would be no Democrats”.

Likely I’m not up to such a task. Likely I should just pray.

Even the weeds are shriveling, and grass
On the lawns is brown, and when walked upon
It crunches. The sun's starting to harass
With its too-friendliness. I look to dawn
Hoping for gloom, but all I get is cheer.
Some lesson's being taught, and I've a hunch
It's to do with when I prayed skies would clear
When sick of rain. Now that the grass goes "crunch"
Dare I complain my prayer saw answer?

I know the danger of drought, how one butt
Dropped careless can release that orange dancer
Who makes her own wind, how both mansion and hut
Become mere ash. Did I pray for this doom?
I only know I'm now praying for gloom.


Recent events have me shaking my head, and the odd thing is that I don’t have to give examples and explain what I mean. People simply nod.

How stupid do the reporters think we are? When a person can be seen on YouTube stating X, and they report the person stated Y, do they think people do not notice?

The only person who fails to notice such a discrepancy is a person who never checks YouTube and who only watches the TV news. In other words, an elder. An old fart like me. Yet even I got so disgusted with the discrepancy that I bailed on watching anything on TV, and started watching YouTube. I even meddle with Twitter a bit. And despite all attempts to censor those forums, they are like a leaky boat. Enough seeps through to know you are on salt water.

It is astounding how the viewership of network news has plummeted. Either a lot of old folk are kicking the bucket, or even old folk are getting fed up with the discrepancy.

You would think the reporters would look at the statistics and say, “We need to report differently.” Amazingly, they don’t. The more reality states X, the more ferociously they report Y.

At some point one wants to ask the reporters this simple question: “Have you no shame?”

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Yet Another Blip–

Another blip has appeared on the DMI “extent” graph.

Upticks in “extent” such as this in August do not indicate any new sea-ice has formed. (As can be seen by referring to “volume” graphs.) Rather it tends to indicate sea-ice has spread out. “Extent” measures sea-ice without specifying how concentrated it is; a square km is a square km, whether the concentration is 100% or 15%. Usually sea-ice of concentrations less than 15% are defined as “open water” even if the concentration is 14%. Therefore it can be seen that, should winds push ice into open water, there can be an uptick in “extent” as the concentrated sea-ice is dispersed. I think the current uptick is due to north winds pushing sea-ice into the ice-free Laptev Sea.

As the shallow waters of the Laptev Sea have been warmed by the summer sun, the sea-ice shifted into those waters should swiftly melt as the waters are cooled. Those waters are five degrees above normal, according to the NOAA sea Surface Temperature Anomaly map.

I have a bit of a problem with the modeling NOAA uses, for at the center of the above map you will notice the deep, nearly-brown red actually touches the sea-ice. This is actually a physical impossibility, for the temperature of ice water, by definition, is the freezing point of that water, depending on how much salt it contains. For ice-water to be five degrees above normal means “normal” is water five degrees below freezing, which would be ice. See the problem?

What the edge of the ice should look like is how the south of Hudson Bay looks, as the last bits of ice melt away. Until the ice is gone the water, by definition, must be at freezing. The Canadian ice service shows ice remains, though it is melting fast.

And here the NOAA SST anomally map does show waters right at freezing, (or just below, as salt-water freezes at colder temperatures.)

Another place where the model’s output is questionable is along the coast of Newfoundland, where the sea-ice has retreated north but the icebergs still come south. Here is a good picture to demonstrate the difference between sea-ice and icebergs:

Sea-ice tends to be one to as much as nine feet thick, but icebergs can be gigantic, hundreds of feet thick.

Though the sea-ice has melted north, the icebergs are still coming south.

The icebergs do not show up on “extent” maps because they represent less than 15% (or even 1%) of the surface, but there are many of them even in the summer. To avoid a repeat of the Titanic, the movement of these icebergs must be tracked and charted.

Greenland must shed these huge bergs because more snow falls on its icecap than summer can melt. In fact, the past two summers melted even less snow than normal.

2020-2021 melt. (brown line)
2021-2022 melt (so far)

The above graph measures in gigatons, which is a colossal unit of measurement. A gigaton is 2.2 trillion pounds of water. (2,200,000,000). If you want to alarm people just mention that on a warm summer day the edges of Greenland shed 8.8 trillion pounds of water. Yet that is only a drop compared to what it loses in an entire summer, and in a summer only a third of what falls as snow is able to be melted (except on an exceptional year like 2011-2012.) What becomes of the other two thirds? It flows off Greenland as glaciers.

The size of these glaciers boggles the mind. When some of the icebergs break off the icecap at the edge, the land literally springs upwards, relieved of the weight. Earthquakes range as high as 5.0 on the Richter Scale, and can be seen on seismographs on the far side of the planet. Every summer roughly 4,400 trillion pounds of ice must be shed by Greenland just to achieve a balance, and all this ice comes floating south, down the east coast of Greenland and west coast of Baffin Bay. Each berg, and especially the larger icebergs, has a mini ecosystem all its own surrounding it. Sailors describe how they each have a cooler pocket of air around them and sometimes their own fogs, and each creates its own freshwater lens atop the saltier sea. With “sails” extending up over a hundred feet and “keels” down nine hundred, they can gouge coastal sea-bottoms and move contrary to currents, and stir the water like gigantic spoons, and when the bottoms melt more swiftly than the tops they can capsize with tremendous churning and splashing. Remembering that we are talking about 4,400 trillion pounds, just imagine the mess their magnitude, independence and variability makes of any attempts to model sea-surface temperatures along the northern edge of the Gulf Stream! Largely I think it best to use present tense satellite data and not attempt to chart the complexity, though the mortal mind loves to wonder about such things.

Yet all this is going on unseen by NOAA SST anomaly maps. Not that I don’t value the maps, and refer to them constantly, but I recognize their limits.

One final thing I notice in the maps is that it is colder than normal up in Bering Strait.

This anomaly in Being Strait likely is due to the cold PDO and La Nina, and may be indicative of colder than normal water flowing into the Arctic Sea, which could, (I hypothesize), preserve sea-ice blown into open water, or at least slow its melt. Where I usually regard blips in the “extent” graph in August with skepticism over their ability to predict any true increase in “extent” levels, and indeed think they often indicate a mass of ice will be melted more quickly because it is shifted into warmer waters, I am not so sure of myself this year, and am keeping one eyebrow quirked.

Stay tuned.


It has been a very dry summer, and an alarming drought is growing in New England.

When I was young, normalcy bored me, and any weather outside the norm seemed better than Camelot weather. I had a yearning for thunderstorms, and even tornadoes, and was very annoyed hurricanes never seemed to clobber New England anymore. But, if we couldn’t get storms toppling trees, maybe the sunshine could become a hazard, and drought could cause forest fires. Anything seemed better to me, as a young man, than the stultifying oppression of a Boston suburb. (Parents may have intended to create heaven on earth, but emerald suburbs were boring, boring, Bore-Ing.)

But now I am not a young man anymore. I am an old man, and a bit of a wet blanket on such youthful thirst-for-disaster. For one thing, where disaster once meant extra work, which I could profit from, now disaster means extra work I can’t afford paying others for, and must hobble about doing for myself. For another thing, thirsting for disaster nowadays always seems to involve Global Warming, and the politics of taking away people’s liberty and replacing it with a Globalist Big Brother. Heck with that. When I was young, I could thirst for disaster, and it didn’t cost the taxpayers a trillion dollars.

For example, if I wanted to thirst for a hurricane I had only to research the 1938 hurricane. If it happened before, might it not happen again? I had no need to involve men in white coats blaming CO2. In the same way, if I wanted thirst for drought and terrible fires, I had only to research the 1947 drought and the fires that burned nine towns from the map of Maine.

In the above picture the distant pines are likely at least fifty feet tall, so the sheet of flame arising is likely approaching 200 feet tall. Such fires might be ordinary among people in California, but it is completely outside the experience of modern New Englanders.

Oh, how I yearned for such excitement to return! The suburbs of Boston were so dull, dull, Duh-hell! And the trees grew so close together in the richer neighborhoods. A good fire with a southwest breeze of 25 mph would sure liven things up! But Alas! God had mercy and my wicked wishes never occurred, until….maybe….this year. If you look at the above drought map you will see the most tinder-dry forests are those fat-cat suburbs of Boston, where the suburbanites allow trees to grow right beside their houses, which the old Yankee never would allow.

Why not? Because every fifty years or so there might be a forest fire, and you sure didn’t want your house in such a forest as it blazed.

In fact, if you look back up to the picture of 1947 above, you will notice the people are standing by a house which is a heck of a long way from the fire. The house is far from the trees for a reason. People had common sense back then. People in the suburbs of Boston have no such common sense now, and the most expensive homes are midst the thickest trees.

Should the current drought result in a forest fire in the suburbs of Boston, many expensive homes will be involved. Yet will the wisdom of the builders and maintainers be so much as questioned?

No, Global Warming will be the culprit. Global Warming will get the blame. Why? Because of a political agenda which wants to do….. whatever…. but it has nothing to do with common sense.

Common sense just looks to the past to see what can be expected. This shouldn’t be any big deal. However, the past is politically incorrect, when the past does not affirm that the current situation is the “worst ever” and caused by “Global Warming”.

Now that I myself am an old-timer I inherently carry a certain political incorrectness. Why? Because I remember. I know the current drought is not the worst, for I lived through the worst.

The worst drought in New England history was not a single, extended period without rain, but season following season with below-normal rainfall. Slowly but surely it all added up. In some areas it began as early as 1960, but by 1964 it was becoming extreme. The water supply for the city of Boston was threatened. The chief reservoir for this water was the Quabbin, and in 1965 it hit an all-time low.

The above graph shows the severity of the drought, and also that, even when rains returned, the reservoir was slow to recover. Back in those days they could not blame Global Warming to raise taxes, but some politicians were deeply concerned Boston would lack water, and as I recall there were even suggestions that major rivers, such as the Connecticutt and Merrimac, should be diverted to the Quabbin Reservoir, so people in the suburbs of Boston could water their lawns.

Back then it turned out we did not need to divert major rivers. In like manner it may turn out we do not need to destroy our economy with a Green New Deal, when the current drought affects the plush suburbs of Boston.

As I say such things I confess I feel sorry for modern youth, who likely want disaster to liven up their lives, just as I once did. To such youth I say, you do not need Global Warming, to foster hopes of exciting ruination. You can do what I once did, and be a troublemaker.

A drought actually can be fun. I can prove it to you, for I lived through that 1960’s drought. I can show you my old diaries and tell you of the mischief I enacted, involving reservoirs it was illegal to fish and swim in. I managed to experience some exciting stuff at those shrunken reservoirs, despite the fact I lived in a boring suburb. People who know me have heard my tales too many times: The quicksand tale; the run-in-with-the-State-Police tale; the nearly-burn-down-the-neighborhood tale. But you’ve never heard them. Would you like to hear them?

What’s that? Do they conflict with the narrative about Global Warming? Well…maybe…just a bit. They do supply evidence the current drought isn’t the worst ever, and that the current drought may be caused by natural climate cycles, such as a 60-year AMO cycle. After all, the last drought was roughly sixty years ago, which suggests…. what’s that? I need to be censored? My blog should be shadow-banned? I’m a racist? Does that mean you don’t want to hear my three stories?

Oh, all right then. Have it your way. I’d hate to see you lose your nice, taxpayer-funded job, or be unable to afford your nice house midst the crowding trees in the emerald-green suburbs of Boston. But…what’s that I smell? Smoke?


Just a reminder to Americans:

Amendment 4
– Protection from Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Note the word “particularly”, and then compare that with the amazingly general and vauge description of what is to be seized in part “C” of the warrant.

Basically, the warrant allows the FBI to seize anything Trump wrote or received while president.

I’ll leave it to others to state whether this is a “fishing expedition” or not, and whether or not the possibility exists that evidence could have been “planted”, (especially as people were banned from serving as witnesses and onlookers), and whether or not the FBI has a shred of reliability left after it has been exposed as culpable to the processes that led to prior unfounded attacks on Trump.

Instead, I would like to address the question, “Why should Trump want to hide even a single paper?”

The simple fact of the matter is that we mortals are not perfect, and often need to go through a process of “feeling things out” before we arrive at a decision. During the “process” we may say things we would never say “in public”. We may stamp around and be wall-bangers. Those who love us wait until we are done ventilating, and then say something along the lines of, “You don’t really mean that.” And, speaking for myself, I tend to respond, “No, but it’s how I feel.”

Such emotional honesty is only possible with those who love you. It is a thing called “intimacy.” Such emotional honesty is not wise among those who hate you, and who want to harm you, for they will use such honesty as a proof you are a sinner.

The word “sin” has become politically incorrect, but the sad fact of the matter is that it is human to err. Saint John stated, “If we say we have no sin then the Truth is not in us.” It follows that our ability to confess our sin, in some safe space, is vital to our ability to grow, and even to exist, as humans.

This is not to say we accept sin as behavior we want to follow. After saving the adulterous woman from being stoned by telling the angry mob, “Let you who is without sin throw the first stone” Jesus told the woman who he had saved, “Go, and sin no more.”

There needs to be the recognition that sin is undesirable. If one attempts to justify sin and perpetuate sin, one faces a danger Saint Paul described as being “given to your sin.”

In fact, the good are as prone to sin as the bad, but the good fight what the bad promote.

To return to the subject of private papers, I have kept a diary since I was nine, and if the FBI wants to dig up evidence that I am not always sweet and saintly, or even sane, all they need to do is seize my private papers. In fact, just to tantalize them, here’s a page from 1965:

(The FBI might like to know why my older brother, who was 18 at the time, was coming home at two AM and entering the house through a third story window.)

I think it might do the FBI some good if they were forced to read my writing. All 60 years’ worth. If my poetry didn’t make them more sensitive, it might gag them, and either would be better than their current state.

But as far as your private papers are concerned, they are nobody’s business but your own. The U S Constitution defends your right to work things out in your own time and in your own way, and anyone who wants to limit or infringe upon that liberty can go take a flying leap.


I am horrified by the invasion of Trump’s home by the FBI, and the seizure of things they did not specify beforehand for reasons they did not specify beforehand. It is outrageous. Why?

Look at it this way: As I write a post on WordPress it keeps track of every alteration I make. If I accidentally delete a post, I can recreate most of it by seeking a prior draft. In some cases, WordPress may have as many as forty-nine drafts of even a simple and short-seeming post. The fiftieth draft is my public persona, and the forty-nine are times I got it wrong. In a manner of speaking, the forty-nine are my “private papers”, protected by the Constitution of the United States. They are a necessary component to the development of an idea, but nothing I want published. I would most especially resent the FBI barging in and seizing the forty-nine drafts as proof I do wrong things.

In like manner clients expect a certain confidentiality when with their lawyer, when with their psychiatrist, when with their spouse, and, during confession, when with their God. The FBI violates a vital intimacy when it taps into such conversations. They are as welcome as a mother-in-law in a bride’s bedroom on a wedding night.

As vile as such invasive behavior is, I knew I had seen it before, and when I put my mind to the test it produced an answer.

I am basically a baby-sitter, given the grandiose title “Childcare Professional”, and at my Childcare I often see situations wherein overworked, harried parents, late to work, dump screaming children at our door, offer brief explanations, and then dash away to their cars and screech tires departing, leaving me and my staff to deal with the distraught child.

One situation involves the rubber nipple children suck upon called a pacifier, or “binkie”. Sometimes the binkie has merely been misplaced, and sometimes the parent has decided the child is too old for a binkie. It doesn’t matter what the reason is. The child is like a person addicted to cigarettes denied a cigarette, or a person addicted to heroin denied a needle. For a short time, they can relate as a sociable human, and then they go nuts. They have a total tantrum. They violate even the simplest decorum of civil behavior.

This is what the FBI is doing. And the drug is power. Power is their binkie, and Donald Trump is taking away their binkie.

Their behavior is infantile.

As a so-called Childcare Professional, I can tell you that the appropriate behavior for a tantrum is to be patient, be kind, but never, never to give in.

ARCTIC SEA-ICE –Another Blip–

A blip on the “extent” graph has separated the decline of sea-ice this year from past years, making it look like there is more sea-ice this year. Is this true, or an illusion?

The melt is far from over, and the amount of the end-of-summer melt can vary considerably. Just in recent years it can be seen, in the above graph, that roughly twice as much “extent” vanished in 2020 as did in 2021. (The x-axis gradations in the above graph represent 2 million km2. Therefore 2020 saw a loss of 2 million km2 and 2021 saw a mere million km2 melt.) As our extent is currently roughly 0.8 million km2 above what it was in 2020, we’d have to lose that much more to reach a level approaching the 2020 minimum.

The most amazing reduction of “extent” was in 2012, due to a big summer gale that formed over the Pole and caused some major stirring of the Arctic Sea. That year there was a thick, cold “freshwater lens” over slightly milder and saltier water, and when the stirring brought up the milder water the sea-ice vanished with startling rapidity. Or at least I was startled. That April I was expecting the sea-ice to make a comeback, for it was nowhere near the lowest that records had seen; in fact, it was 27th lowest. Yet by August it was lowest ever seen. I was so amazed I confess I actually suspected fraud was involved.

But one nice thing about that time, (only ten years ago but now seemingly a different universe), was that you could write a polite email to scientists and get a polite reply, and I contacted scientists who were actually up in the Arctic at that time, and I got a wonderful reply from a gentleman who had actually been on flights over the Arctic Sea, and he described how amazed he was that so much ice had vanished so swiftly.

Also, scientists back then were not so swift the blame Global Warming and leave it at that. I recall discussions about how a shift in the AO had caused a shift in where the outflow of the Lena River wound up, and how this caused a thickening of the “freshwater lens” towards Canada. While such articles tended to have an obligatory genuflection towards Global Warming in the final paragraph, the body of the paper was full of fascinating wonders. Here is one about that shift, from January 2012, (if I’d been more on-the-ball, I’d have suspected the “freshwater lens” might affect the melt the following summer.)

After that amazing melt in the summer of 2012 everyone seemed made more aware of the effect a summer gale might have, and therefore Alarmists were expecting great things (in terms of melting) when an equally impressive gale developed the summer of 2013. To the surprise of many (including myself) far less sea-ice melted. In fact, the sea-ice seemed to slosh around and hardly melt at all.

I never saw a paper explaining why the sea-ice failed to melt; perhaps it was given a good leaving-alone because it did not support the narrative concerning Global Warming. However, it seems apparent the water under the sea-ice must have been altered. Perhaps the 2012 gale demolished the “freshwater lens”, and also “used up” the heat and salinity stored in the stratified water beneath.

It seems apparent that there are variations in the layering and makeup of the waters of the Arctic Sea which may rival the changing makeup and layers in our atmosphere. Perhaps there are the equivalent of warm fronts and cold fronts, and even watery “jet streams” at various levels.

Last summer I spent some time attempting to envision what changes might be brought about by a major eruption of lava on the Gamal Ridge. (Basically, it would screw up preconceptions and mess up carefully crafted maps of existing currents, by creating a plume of ascending water where water ordinarily should be descending.) This subject is another which seems to have been given a good leaving alone, at least since 2008.


To return to the subject of the “extent” of the sea-ice this summer, I think we cannot have a good idea of how the extent will diminish without a clear map of the sub-ice currents. We need a clear idea how the stratification of the water has proceeded. How thick is the “freshwater lens” and how has it shifted? How stratified is the water, and what is the temperature and salinity at various levels. We need more buoys. Lots and lots of buoys! Send much more money, please. (It is a far more worthwhile investment than the Clinton Foundation).

In the meantime, we have little to go on. I have noticed an abundance of small storms (“Ralphs”) over the Pole this summer, though so far none rival the gales of 2012 and 2013. Their cloudiness perhaps explains why temperatures have largely been below normal. (The lone spike above normal occurred as a high pressure’s sunny spell drifted over the top of the earth.)

The current dip in temperatures occurred as yet another small low drifted past the Pole.

This is occurring just as the temperature map shows the reappearance of the sub-freezing isotherm at the Pole; the surface thaw is ending.

Back when we had buoys with cameras up there, we could see the meltwater pools atop the sea-ice start to freeze over, but also we witnessed that the melt continued from below the sea-ice, and often saw areas of ice crumble even as temperatures above the ice dropped below freezing. Typically, more sea-ice melts than freezes until mid-September. So, where should we be looking? We should look where the sea-ice is most thin, and for this I like the NRL (Naval Research Lab) maps.

The lilac, especially the light lilac and white, represents the thinnest and most-likely-to-melt ice.

For comparison I’ll include a NRL map for the same day in 2020

One increase that jumps out at me is the increase in sea-ice in the East Siberian Sea, between Wrangles Island and the New Siberian Islands. This seems to happen when the PDO is colder and during La Ninas, though I can’t claim to understand the dynamics. In 2020 this area was largely ice-free by September, but I doubt it will happen this year. First, because the ice is thicker to begin with, and second, because that water was ice-free in 2020 it was exposed to cold air during the refreeze, which seems to “shock the system” and disturb any warm and salty layer beneath any freshwater lens. (I say “seems” because I haven’t seen any actual study.) Therefore it “seems” that, even if there was a big gale, the effects would be more like 2013’s rather than 2012’s.

A comparison of the two maps also shows an increase of thicker ice north of Greenland. While this makes no difference in terms of “extent” graphs, it does make a difference in terms of “volume” graphs.

The “volume” graphs involve many variables and the difficulties of modeling, so I tend to be a little leery of their accuracy, but they have given Alarmists a problem in recent years by refusing to show the expected decreases. The PIOMAS graph does show a sharp decrease between 1997 and 2010, but the curve has seemingly bottomed out since 2010.

Despite a mysterious subtraction of 2,000 km3 of sea-ice (see previous posts) the DMI model shows a recovery of volume to levels near 2018’s.

In conclusion, it seems highly unlikely that this year will see the long trumpeted ice-free Arctic Ocean we’ve been promised. But this is not to say the researchers don’t deserve more funding. They do. Much that influences weather further south occurs up there and is worthy of our wonder.

Stay tuned.


The curious sun lifts and peeks under
The river's morning mists, and gloom is lit
By bright fog. The day promises thunder
And heat, but my stressed, worry-wart wit
Is hushed by soft silence. My wife hums
A hymn to herself, reading her Bible,
And I just smile, look at my lazy thumbs,
And then lift my gaze to gulp an eyeful
Of beauty. This has been here all along
But I just didn't see it. In movies
The actors never notice the theme song
But now I hear the light in morning leaves.
Why worry if my uncharged cellphone dies
When I've got a call straight from the skies?


Some of the most constructive time I spend with small children at my Childcare is time that is not “organized”. It has no specific “curriculum” other than “hanging out”. Basically, the kids just tag along as I potter about doing chores in my usual disorganized manner. Sometimes they help me, but usually not.

I tend to be hit by a non-stop stream of questions, and sometimes I answer them seriously, and sometimes with an absurd answer, and sometimes with an answer that becomes so long and elaborate that the children start drifting away.

As I potter about I often stop to pull a few random weeds, and each time a child will ask “What are you doing?” After answering, “pulling a few random weeds” the first hundred times, during the early days of the Childcare over a decade ago, I got a bit fed up, and began answering in a spurious manner, just to entertain myself by watching how the children responded. For example, I might answer, “making a fudge cookie.” Some children would look at me with owlish innocence, while others would think a bit and then a slow smile would spread across their faces and they’d exclaim, “You’re fooling us!”

Rather than slowing the onslaught of dumb questions, giving facetious answers increased the questions, because the kids liked some of the absurd answers I’d come up with. And I confess I rather liked it myself. It could make dull weeding a time of jocular hilarity, if I stated that I pulled a certain weed because it had magic powers and could turn my dog into an elephant. Sometimes we’d even sidetrack over to the dog to see if the herb worked. When it didn’t, I’d scratch my head and say, “That’s odd. Elephants look just like dogs, today.”

Of course, I had to take care to judge the nature of the child. Some children were totally trusting, and I’d need to make sure they knew I was joking, or they’d be misinformed. One time I misinformed a gullible child without intending to, and he came in one morning and folded his arms and greeted me with the challenging statement, “My Dad says there’s no such thing as walking trees.” Other children were simply serious by nature and didn’t like jokes. However, I was usually surprised by the adroit ability children had (and have) to enter into nonsense. The world of make-believe is second nature for many children.

My wife didn’t always approve of my ability to get children “stirred up”, because she felt I was not so good at getting them to be serious again. I disagreed, but she said my way of getting things back under control involved too much growling.

Anyway, after more than a decade just hanging out with the kids, (and getting paid for it), I am very certain children absorb like sponges, when they hang out with pottering old men. They are not merely learning a slew of factoids but are learning social skills such as how to tell a joke, and how to challenge a person who may be pulling their leg. Maybe they learn how to spot a liar, which is unfortunately an important skill to have in this fallen, modern world. Perhaps most important of all, they, by being outside so much with a person who loves the outdoors, learn how complex and amazing nature is. The green things are more than “plants” and the wiggly things are more than “bugs.” “Plants” and “bugs” turn from two nouns to a hundred interacting species, and the kids get to increase their vocabulary by a hundred in a single summer.

Some might say all this could be done by watching videos indoors, but there is no substitute for hands-on experience. Also, there is no predicting how the children will react to the so-called curriculum of a setting, both individually and as a group. Two years ago, I could not keep the kids away from the garden’s patch of edible podded peas; this year the children were relatively indifferent, only occasionally munching a few. In like manner, most kids don’t mind watching me pick the potato bugs from the potatoes, but dislike actually touching the bugs, especially the slimy larvae, and they are in no hurry to help me. Yet there was one particular boy who just loved waging war on potato bugs. He would plead with me to be allowed to do the job. I’d set him to it, and he’d easily spend an happy hour in the sunshine, moving down the long row meticulously removing the bugs.

Some tasks, such as digging the potatoes, are always a hit, and I have to ration the plants to make sure everyone gets a turn experiencing the delight of digging up a treasure:

So, I suppose “digging potatoes” could count as an official “curriculum”, and as something you could put down on paper in the manner bureaucrats prefer, as a scheduled “activity” of the Childcare, but to me that seems more like an exception than a rule.

For example, in the process of seeing the noun “bird” divide into numerous species the kids tend to scrutinize various birds and see things that simply can’t be matched by videos. This is not to say that I might not turn to a YouTube video to let the kids hear a particular birdsong when that particular bird is refusing to sing, but there is nothing like the real thing.

The other day it was very hot and humid, and I sought out the deepest shade I could find with a cluster of grouchy small girls. I had only a short time before they could rush to the pool, and then their petulance would be cured, but sometimes twenty minutes can seem an eternity. It was while we were in the deep shade that I pointed out a catbird. Catbirds are very curious, investigative birds, and, though they always try to always keep a bough or cluster of leaves between you and them, they can come quite close as they investigate what we humans are up to. This bird came close enough to distract the girls from their crabbiness. They exclaimed it was “practically tame”, and then, because I said it was called a catbird because it had a squeaky, scratchy caw something like a cat’s meow, all the girls started meowing to the bird. I said, “Not like that; more like this,” and did my best rendition of a catbird’s meow. All the girls began copying me and then, with perfect timing, the catbird hopped onto a nearby twig and showed us how to meow properly. All the girls looked utterly amazed, looking at each other with eyes round as owls, and then burst into gleeful laughter.

That can’t be matched by a video, though I’ll try:

An even better example involved an eastern phoebe.

Photo Credit: Jill Staake Birds&Blooms

We have several families of phoebes nesting in outbuildings around the farm, and I likely have bored the older boys pointing them out as they hop about in my garden, praising phoebes for eating so many bugs. Phoebe have a very distinctive way of twitching their tails up and down as they sit on a fencepost, and also an interesting way of sometimes fluffing the feathers on top of their heads into a small crest, and I’ve likely bored the boys pointing that out as well.

I had a group of particularly jaded five-, six- and seven-year-old boys around me one hot morning last week. I wasn’t actually “on the schedule”, but I could see that they were giving a member of my staff trouble as she tried to organize the smaller children for a hike. All the children must be swabbed with repellant and sunscreen, and mischievous boys can complicate the process, so I asked them if they’d like to come in the garden and see the first ripe broccoli and cauliflower. They always seem eager to hang out with me (if not to help), so they came over, and a few accepted samples of broccoli, while some announced they hated broccoli. I rambled away in my gravelly voice, saying some people have tastebuds that that taste the bitterness in broccoli, while others don’t, and then telling the old joke about the difference between green broccoli and green boogers being that small children won’t eat broccoli, and then pointed out a phoebe hopping in the dirt down at the end of the row. I was moving on to saying broccoli was in the cabbage family, and I was likely boring the boys by pointing how the nearby cabbage and cauliflower and Brussel sprouts all looked the same, when suddenly the phoebe began flying towards us.

The bird flew clumsily and erratically, bumping into plants on either side. My first thought was that it must be sick, perhaps with the dreaded avian ‘flu, but I had no time to talk, for the bird swooped up and came to an awkward landing directly on top of one of the boy’s baseball cap. Only then did I say, “It is a fledgling. Just learning to fly.”

Meanwhile the fledgling was looking about with a rather alarmed expression. You could almost hear it thinking, “Holy crap! Look where I landed.” Then it bolted, flying straight into the side of an above-ground-pool and crashing to the ground. The boys rushed over and formed a circle around the bird as I said, “Don’t touch it! Let’s see what it will do!”

The bird seemed to be shaking off the effects of a concussion (do birds hear birdies?) and then it looked up at all the faces looking down, and again you could imagine it thinking “Holy Crap!” It panicked and shot straight up around fifteen feet, before it wobbled away to the peak of the roof of a nearby shed. The boys were all laughing and commenting when another phoebe came gracefully flitting over and landed by the first phoebe’s side. Without any prompting from me one of the boys exclaimed, “It’s his mother!” whereupon all the other boys began cheering, “It’s the mother! It’s the mother!” almost like they were spectators at a horse race. Then a staff member called them off to hike, and they rushed away to tell her what they had seen.

I knew I could claim no credit for “showing” the boys anything, and just looked up to the sky and was thankful. It’s amazing what you can see by doing nothing.

Off the beaten path long trampled by those
Thirsting for fortune and hungry for fame
I sit by myself and twirl summer's rose
And wonder if being unknown is a shame.
I don't make fame queen, nor the dollar king,
But am like a boy who has escaped school,
And classmate's shaming, and teacher's hollering.
I forget how it feels to feel like a fool.
I just bask in sunshine like it is a bath
Washing away aches of schooling's cruel wrath.
Though I'm just sitting I progress a path
Which adds up to healing. You do the math.
Soon bells will toll, and they'll resume classes
But I'll not be schooled by roomfuls of asses.